Bakery fanatics rejoice! Cupcakes finally hit Israel.

Several new immigrants to Israel have found that the taste of their childhood celebrations can be turned into a solid business model: cupcakes are becoming the latest rage in the Holy Land. In the last several months three new cupcake businesses have opened up selling their treats online.

Hayley Rabie, 28, from South Africa opened the first virtual cupcake store in Israel about six months ago with her partner, a Manchester woman named Danielle Levy. Both are new immigrants to Israel and their shop “I Love Cupcakes” has hit the ground running.

Read more about this cupcakes in Israel article on Israel21c.org

Tip to switch email accounts safely [from HARO]

If you do search engine optimization like we do out of our Los Angeles office, it means you have a lot of email addresses for your clients that you are constantly adding and changing for your SEO activities. Remail.me is a simple service that does one difficult thing really well: it helps you switch email accounts safely, simply, and professionally. It does all six things you should do when you switch email addresses, but just don’t have the time for.  If you’re still hanging on to an old email account because you can’t risk losing clients or contacts, this service makes it completely painless to switch.  Leave all the old junk behind, but make sure you don’t risk losing anyone you care about — or who cares about you.  Best of all, the authors are active members of the HARO community so they’re giving it to you for FREE through the July 4th weekend. Check it: http://bit.ly/14ITT6

Facebook Vanity URLs for SEO | The Stampede has begun

So this morning i got an email from my CNET subscription about Facebook’s recent announcement that you can set up a keyword rich Facebook vanity URL to be used instead of (or in addition to) your alphanumeric web address for Facebook. SEO companies are running faster than the angriest bulls in Pamplona to build portfolios of Facebook accounts with keyword rich URLs.

Here’s the post I got:
Facebook’s 200-plus million members can now customize the URLs to their profiles. This is a move that will help Facebook profiles get better traction in search engines, potentially upping traffic–and give people-search sites a run for their money in the process. For brands whose “fan pages” are a crucial part of Facebook’s marketing and advertising strategy, it’ll make their pages easier for people to access without needing to click around much. But there’s fine print! “Think carefully about the user name you choose. Once it’s been selected, you won’t be able to change or transfer it,” a blog post by Facebook’s Blaise DiPersia read. Need help figuring out what to do?

So i visited my Facebook account and lo and behold there was an invitation to add a vanity URL. So i chose www.facebook.com/jasonciment. Now though i run a web agency, where I offer through our Los Angeles office web site design, search engine optimization and web software services for a CMS and an ecommerce shopping cart software platform, PLUS I still have a magazine subscription service, i still chose to make my vanity name my personal name instead of a keyword rich vanity URL like www.facebook.com/magazinesubscriptions (which by now probably someone just snatched).

here’s my recommendation to Facebook. Stop the insanity. PROHIBIT keyword rich vanity URLs. Don’t allow common names to be registered. Since when does someone’s personal name sound like a noun. Next time I meet someone who says his name is web design, I’m checking my shot glass for some milky residue because I must be drinking something funny.

Here’s my second recommendation to Facebook. if you want to allow the registration of common nouns, then setup a separate directory just for “business” use and call it www.facebook.com/business and put all the common nouns in that directory. this way people will be able to distinguish a real PERSONAL facebook account from a company’s account.

Now since Fcebook is probably not going to follow these recommendations right now – though let it be recorded forever in the web sphere that i am the first one writing this idea on a Sunday morning in 2009 – if you are interested in taking advantage of the fantastic opportunity this presents for search engine optimization purposes, then find someone who has registrered their facebook accoutn befpre May 31st and have them give it to you so that you can get the keyword rich vanity name before it is taken.

Hey! maybe Google, Yahoo and MSN will do the right thing and absolutely ignore the keywords in the URL’s and really screw with the SEO companies who don’t miss a beat (me included).

SEO backlinking tactic courtesy of jon leger

Courtesy of Jon Leger, here is an outline of an SEO Tactic he shared recently at one of his search engine optimization seminars. It’s a really easy strategy that should be in the top 5 of your tactics. Any web design company should be sharing this with their clients. We for sure will be telling some of our local clients in Los Angeles about it because it is so simple to implement.

Leaving contextual comments on other people’s blogs is a very solid SEO technique to boost your search engine rankings because of all the links from the comments pointing back to your web site. This process is one of the premier tactics in acquiring backlinks. If you do this the right way, you can really maximize the impact this has on your search engine rankings.

1. Make a priority list of your top 5-10 targeted keyword terms. Each keyword can be used to find related blogs to leave comments on. So the more keywords you have, the more blogs you will be able to find. This of course leads to the catch-22 which is the more you find, the more you have to do. So keep in mind that as John Candy said in Volunteers, Time is Money and Money is power. use your time wisely and you make the most money.

2. Start looking for blogs that come up in Google for each keyword. The point is that if a blog is already highly ranked in Google for your keyword, then you will want to leave a comment on that blog too because a link back to your site from a “ranked blog” is extremely valuable.

3. If you have a “concrete fence” website and are looking to rank high for the term “concrete fence”, then find blogs that are already ranking for “concrete fence”. the top 10 results are sufficient for each keyword because the further down the list of the results the less valuable a link will be.

4. Consider as well where you link from and where you link to. When you place the comment, make sure to put on the same page that came up in the Google listing. by showing up on that ranked page, you get some of their Google Juice passed along to your site too. It’s called semantic linking and is at the heart of successful backlink strategies.

5. Use Google Blog Search directly to find the sites: http://blogsearch.google.com and then offer the sites:

– A link exchange arrangement.
– Purchase a text link (ie. advertising)
– Offer them an article or press release to publish on their sites.
– Leave a blog comment.

6. When you link to your site, you should link either to your home page or directly to an internal page on your site that is specifically related to the keyword you are targeting. this means that the TITLE TAG of the page should have the KEYWORD in the title.

7. To do this continuously, search daily and set the search parameters to show only the results published in the last 12 or 24 hours. To do it weekly, set the search parameters to show only results from the “Past Week”. There are also a few “Stay up to date on these results:” options provided by Google at the bottom of the results list.

Reduce PPC Ad Budgets with Timing based ads

At our web site agency LaDezign.com, we’ve been working on a “4 Dimension” roadmap to online success. We put every web project – whether it’s an ecommerce web store, an SEO client or a web site design project – through this 4 step strategy which we call Define, Design, Deploy, Deliver.

The entire thrust of this “4-D” process is to maximize results at the most efficient level of ROI.

Here’s an example that explains this process using the prism of PPC advertising. The challenge: how do we define a targeted PPC strategy, that will include high converting and well designed landing pages, which can be deployed quickly and adjusted quickly and on a platform that enables us to rapidly measure results and deliver a high value to customers. So the starting point to this challenge is identifying our targeted audience because we need to deliver our advertising message to a prospect that is likely to become a customer. Once we figure out our audience, then we need to identify where he “shops”, where he “browses” and what times he does these things.

Once you see this process coming to life it leads you to a strategy related to PPC optimization that is more colloquially known as Dayparting. If you are doing search engine optimization, you most likely are also spending money on PPC ads. There is a strategy of PPC advertising called “Dayparting” which is a popular way to make your pay-per-click dollars work smarter.

With Dayparting you dictate when ads are delivered time and day. This means you as the advertiser can turn off paid advertising during periods of low or poor conversion and turn your ads back on during times when conversions are best. If you are measuring your conversions you should expect to see a nice boost in your ROI because it means you are flashing your wares at times when customers are most likely to convert.

How To set up Dayparting PPC Periods:

1. Compare ad delivery times to your targeted customer demographic habits. You will need to know who you are targeting, what they search for and what they actually buy (as opposed to just window shop). Install Google analytics so you can compare visits to interactions and get a more realistic idea of your customer behavior.

2. Adjust your ads so that they display during high conversion time slots. So if conversions spike during lunch breaks, then set your ads to display during those times.

3. Track Results and do it again Again, your analytics software will help you figure out the best roadmap to efficient ROI results. How to do this with Google AdWords (you can find info on Microsoft separately):

  • Pick YOUR time zone to target.
  • Click the Edit Campaign Settings link in your account admin area
  • Turn on “ad scheduling”
  • Pick the days and times to run the ads (Use “Bulk Edit” to set multiple time periods)

WordPress shortcuts related to blogging for search engine optimization

Though I sell my own ecommerce shopping cart platform called WebCart, I still use another platform now for my personal blog. It’s called WordPress and for now it is a great blogging platform for search engine optimization purposes. The first rule of on-page optimization for SEO is fresh, update content, and wordpress is a great tool for taking content out of your head and putting it online. Time though is a big killer and any chance I have to speed up the process of transfering mind thoughts into matter makes me really happy. Below is a list of shortcuts that will make your days of web publishing that much easier.

A short note that Windows and Linux use Ctrl + letter. Macintosh uses Command + letter.

Letter Action

cCopy
vPaste
xCut
aSelect all
zUndo
yRedo
bBold
iItalic
uUnderline
1Header 1
2Header 2
3Header 3
4Header 4
5Header 5
6Header 6
9Address

The following shortcuts use these keys: Alt + Shift + letter.

Letter Action

nCheck Spelling
lAlign Left
jJustify Text
cAlign Center
dStrikethrough
rAlign Right
u• List {bullet list}
o1. List {numbered list}
aInsert link
sRemove link
qQuote
mInsert Image
gFull Screen
tInsert More Tag
pInsert Page Break tag
hHelp
eSwitch to HTML mode

Hope these shortcuts help you blog and format your post faster. The more you try them out the more you will ask yourself how you did it before?

Freeware to find and replace in multiple files

This is a new freeware editing software that makes it really easy to make changes to content within files without having to open up all the files. For my search engine optimization campaigns this is a really great tool.

Multiple Find And Replace finds and replaces batches of files. You don’t have to open all of your files and apply the find&replace operation one by one. Also, the program includes an advanced command system that can change the find and replace strings in run-time. This version is the first release on CNET Download.com.

New freeware utility for creating windows scripts on your PC

Because I am constantly flipping between programs on my PC when working on web design projects or search engine optimization campaigns for our ecommerce customers, I find myself wishing I had a way to hit a magic key or something to make the process easier. And besides the difficulty of flipping between tabs inside my Chrome or IE (the Alt Tab trick flips between windows tabs, not tabs within a browser), it’s sometimes a real pain just to access programs for specific tasks – Like MS word to send a fax from a template or excel to run a quick keyword ranking report to see how an ecommerce store is doing with its PPC advertising or SEO rankings. So there is this program i discovered at www.Download.com today called Hotkeyz which enables you to program one or more multikey combinations – it’s a powerful utility that makes it easy to create and manage hot keys that open programs, shut down your computer, and control media applications.

HotKeyz’s intuitive interface divides hot keys into nine preset categories, including Control Panel, Desktop, and Internet. A simple table lists the 11 preconfigured hot keys that perform basic tasks like launching Internet Explorer, accessing the Control Panel, and adjusting volume. Novices will appreciate the step-by-step guide to creating their own hot keys, especially for more complex operations such as opening your Internet Explorer home page or automatically filling in online log-in information. A reliable help guide also eases the learning curve.

Hotkeyz sits in the system tray when not in use, but of course, it has its own hot key combination. This effective freeware application makes it easy for anyone to create customized keyboard shortcuts.

SEO Open Plugin For Firefox 3.0 Is Now Updated

There’s a new trend in the firefox plugin world where the original developers get so busy they don’t have the time to update their plugins as new releases of firefox are introduced. Leave it up to the technogeeks to fill in the gaps. One of the most noteworthy firefox plugins is something called SEO Open which is used to help with search engine optimization tracking right from your own firefox browser. You can quickly visit any web page and using this plugin, you can see yahoo backlinks, msn backlinks and the grandaddy of them all, google backlinks. plus a host of other SEO statistics.

In any event, since Firefox 3.0 was introduced this plugin was sitting there dormant waiting for someone with the time to update it. And Mike from emikey.net has stepped up to the plate with one of his most recent Firefox extensions postings. So if you have downloaded firefox 3.0 and you want a free copy of the updated seo open extension, drop by Emikey.net and pick it up.

How to reduce your traffic budget for Pay per Click or PPC

It used to be that clicks could be purchased for pennies per click. Even with the insanely high fraud rates of 30-40%, it still was worth it to buy as much traffic as you could afford. In the last few years, the costs have skyrocketed. And as more people become web savvy, the competition for those elusive top sponsored ads, becomes even more acute and thus the prices go up another notch.

When I began helping other clients develop their own 4 Pillar Internet Success strategies, I used to focus mostly on search engines. The traffic from them was basically free and therefore it made a lot of sense on how to dominate on free search engines. The funny thing is that as their rankings increased their traffic increased but their conversions did not move in sync. And the reason that made the most sense was the PPC ads on the top and right of Google for example. The heat map studies show that 7x as many people click on the free search engine rankings results as people who click on the ads.

That’s great if you have good rankings. Problem is that people tend to forget that 1 out of 7 people still click on Sponsored ads. So if you are willing to give away 14% or so of your business opportunities to your competition, then you can ignore PPC. But, if you want to take advantage of every business opportunity from a targeted prospect (remember the user typed in the query into the search engine because ostensibly he or she is looking for your service) then you need to buy sponsored PPC ads. So maybe this is counterintuitive but the point is that as your business grows and your rankings grow, so too will your PPC budget grow because 14% of the traffic will always click on the ADS.

What I intend to cover in this PPC section are strategies, case studies and applications designed to get the most out of your PPC budget.