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Database Marketing

Email/Newsletter marketing is the method of promoting products or services to a group/database of people using electronic mail (email). In reality we can say that any email sent from a business to a customer is a form of Email Marketing.

According to a recent study by the Radicati Group, there are around 1.9 billion email users worldwide, with a projected increase to 2.4 billion by 2014. Recent growth within the Smart Phone industry means that email users will now receive their email on the go, creating another perfect opportunity to spread news and promotions on demand.

As such, it is vitally important to create a communication channel with your customers, website visitors or newsletter subscribers and having the ability to collect and store your customer and potential customers personal information is a must.

Create regular newsletters and deliver them to your database with information about your products and services, send special offers to your existing customers to generate sales from existing customers. They have already trusted you and your business once so you have their attention and can be become repeat customers if you are expanding your product or service lines.


Back Links

Links into your website, commonly known as Back Links can become a vital part of your search engine strategy.

Obviously having lots of web pages linking to yours is a very good traffic generator in its own right as they will produce some highly targeted visitors, but we will focus on why you should spend a little time developing links to your site.

As we discuss in the basic search engine optimization article, there is only a certain amount of information that a search engine can glean from your website and pages. As the search engine spiders traverse the web, they build a map of the links from other web pages to yours and therefor count how many links out in on the internet lead back to your site.

It is not impossible for you to get your web pages highly ranked with almost no links back to your website, but if you are operating in a highly competitive market, you will find that you will need a good back link strategy to climb the rankings against your competition.

Google places a great deal of emphasis on the quality and quantity of a websites backlinks. Its better to have a few links from popular high quality well ranked websites than a gazzillion links from web sites that are essentially junk and worthless.

It is also worth noting that the anchor text of your back links will factor in your search engine ranking for any primary or secondary search terms you use, so when placing your back links, pick a number of keywords or phrases that will help your overall strategy.

If we take our website as an example, having Affiliate Directory, Affiliate Programs or Affiliate Forum as the textual element of back links will push up the search rankings for those particular search terms.

As for how you build your backlinks, there are many ways in which to do this.

Build a database of websites that are highly ranked for the various search terms you are targeting and send a carefully crafted email asking them to exchange links. Most website owners will understand the value of exchanging links and will be happy to exchange links with you if your website looks good and contains sufficient good quality content.

Submit your website to the various directory services such as DMOZ, Jade, FindWhat etc. Instead of doing this manually, we recommend that you use a directory submission software package such as Dynamic Submission from Apex Pacific Marketing or similar.

Post articles to forums and blogs and include a signature which contains a link to your website

Distribute press releases for network exposure including a link back to your website

Create Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and G+ accounts for your website

Create your own mini network of websites that link back to your primary site.

Be prepared to pay for some text links from highly ranked sites, although be careful as some "paid ad networks" will not improve your rankings as Google will see these links as being commercially controlled.

A successful back link strategy will take you many hours of hard work to initiate and then maintain and there are no shortcuts to a strategy with longjevity as most black hat techniques are eventually uncovered, you get penalised and have to start again or potentially blacklisted and all your hard work was for nothing.


Search Engine Optimisation

As an affiliate you are marketing someone's brand and receiving commission on revenue created by referrals. Naturally you want to maximize that commission so you can sit on a beach with a cold mojito and watch the waves. To get there though, you need traffic to your website.

Naturally the world of SEO is highly competitive because those who control the traffic make the money. Search Engine Optimization deals with how your website appears in search engine rankings.

The basic element of search engine optimization is the keyword. A keyword or key phrase is what people type into a search engine such as Google, Yahoo etc to try and find a relative site.


Back in the old pre millennium bug scare days there was many search engines vying for market share and you could choose between AltaVista, HotBot, Excite, Dogpile, Infoseek and a whole host of others to run your searches. It didn't matter which site you searched on as most engines used the web databases supplied by a company called Inktomi.

Inktomi traversed the web recording everything it found and stored the data for us to search through and depending on our search terms it would spit some results back at you which was pretty inefficient as you never knew what site you would end up at.

These search databases were advanced for their time, but we quickly learned that Inktomi was simply collecting the basic meta tag info such as the title, description and keywords and then the entire text and html tag content of pages.

The algorithms created by each search service provider was pretty similar too, and would basically weight your page based on its content for the keywords. Each service provider would weight or grade the pages slightly differently giving priority to the title meta tag, or how many times the keyword appeared in the top 50% of the page text. Some would count the image alt tag text and others any text you put inside html comments in the source code of your pages.

This was seen as a very cool and advanced way to map the world wide web content, but as everything technology based it becomes old, redundant and eventually needs updating and this is where issues started to appear.

Quickly the commercial minds of the internet took over and webmasters would "keyword stuff" website pages to drive traffic to their websites. Keyword stuffing is effectively over loading meta tags and pages full of relevant or irrelivant keywords and phrases to drive targeted traffic to their pages.

An example would be a website that appeared to the search engines like it was free pictures of Pamela Anderson, when it was actually a website that sold body building supplements to men. It is the right target audience, but the webmaster built the site to dupe users into thinking they would see lots of nice pictures, but then deliver something completely different.

Alas, search engines had to develop fast as users were becoming frustrated by the unreliability of search results and directories were becoming more favourable. Up to now, search engines licensed the Inktomi database, plugged it into a web search interface and in return for using the search engine you usually got a few ads at the top and tail, but now they had to work harder to give you better quality results or risk losing your business and advertising dollars.

Other than manually visiting each website to check the content, a new algorithm needed to be developed that was a little more intelligent than its predecessor. It is probably at this point where I will no doubt upset a few people, but no matter how complex you think an algorithm can be, it is as good as the data it is fed with and there isn't much you can do other than understand the basic content of a web page, how many people link to it from other websites and how many people visit it.

A search engine spider is a simple creature, and from what can see not much has really changed from the late 1990's. For sure, a global business industry has been developed around mystifying search engine optimization and listings, but the reality is that it's pretty simple and if you stick to some basic rules you will do just fine and see targeted traffic come to your website.


Primary - Your primary keywords should be the main search term you are trying to attract. For example "Affiliate Program". Your primary keyword should appear in your Title meta tag.

Secondary - Your secondary keywords should be the descriptive element to further target your primary search term. For example "Casino". Your secondary keywords should appear in your Description meta tag.

Underlying - Your underlying keywords will further assist the search engines in determining he content of your website. For example. "Gambling, Blackjack, Roulette, Cash" etc. Your underlying keywords should appear in your Keyword meta tag.

Meta Tags

Title - The title of your page. It should identify exactly what your page is about bearing in mind that this is also what search engine users will see as part of the search results, so it needs to be clear in its message and include some of your important primary keywords.

Description - Again the description meta tag should have a nice clear more detailed description as parts of it will be displayed for search engine results and include some of your secondary keywords.

Keywords - The keyword meta tag should include all your primary, secondary and underlying keywords.

Page Content

Once you have constructed the content of your page, use a keyword cloud tool such as Webconfs Keyword Density Checker to give yourself a visual representation of the content of your pages and adjust your page content to fit closer with your Primary, Secondary and Underlying keyword targets.

As a rough guide you will want your primary keywords to be somewhere between 4% to 7% of the page content, secondary from 2% to 4% and a sprinkling of underlying keywords around the 1% to 2% mark. All of these can be finely tuned at a later stage once you have established your competitions keyword page weights.


Directory Listings

As we briefly discussed in my search engine optimization article, the internet is still growing at an incredible rate with new users, websites and technologies. Finding what you are looking for with a search engine is sometimes a difficult task, usually resulting in you landing at an industry specific niche portal that has an online directory and then finding what you are looking for from there.

By the very nature of an online directory, users are extremely targeted in their searches and subsequently will be of a higher quality than raw search engine traffic or any generic link strategy you might employ.

There are thousands of online directories, some paid, some free, where you can list your website link with a title, description and contact details. Obviously listing with the free directory services is a worthwhile task as it will in some cases vastly improve your back link rating and you will also generate good quality direct traffic due to the targeted source.

Depending on your budget you might want to select a few of the paid directory services to boost your traffic and quality back link ranking although take some time to research the directory service to make sure that it will fit your needs and attract the audience you desire.

As a guide, expect to pay around £30 to £50 per year for a mid-range directory and up to £200 per year for quality branded directory listings. If you have any internal tracking solutions to analyse your inbound traffic, possibly setup individual landing pages for each listing so you can see the performance of each over the course of time and gauge if it is worth continuing your listing the following year.

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