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Submit Express Newsletter #82 (April 2012)

elcome! Before you is the Submit Express April 2012 Newsletter. It's been a busy spring in the realm of search engine optimization, internet marketing, and social media, but you can expect the pace of change to speed up as the year progresses. Now is the time to read up on the latest changes over at Google Search and about some of the biggest news in the industry. We encourage you to use the tips and information compiled here to stay on the cutting edge of your industry. Remember that subscription to our newsletter is free. Sign up by visiting

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Landing Page Optimization Tips & Techniques

by Pierre Zarokian

Your Web site's landing page is the biggest factor readers and visitors use to size up and form an impression about your business. It's really what determines their first impression. We all know that the daily pace of Internet commerce dictates that you're unlikely to have another chance with as much potential to persuade your audience to try your products or services. The first time they arrive at your landing page really matters; make it count! Someone gets to a landing page by clicking on an ad, and that's why this page weighs so much -- it's what's joining a person's interest in buying with the product or service you're offering. A great landing page's influence is strongly felt in the following areas:

1. Driving force of conversions

A landing page that's optimally created will have comprehensive information about your product and coax visitors into making a positive decision about purchasing what you offer.

2. Positive first impressions

Landing pages that are compelling, lucid, and straightforward are the best positioned to turn a Web visitor into an online purchaser. Getting visitors to like your business and products enough to part with their cash starts with a good-looking landing page; one that is informative, understandable, and true.

3. Better sales muscling

Landing pages have a direct impact on your sales. Use them to express, and transmit, your brand's identity and appeal. Remember that the landing page constitutes the link between your advertisements and your Web site.

4. Tracking

With a conversion tracking code installed in your landing page, it's possible to extract improved data about conversion rates. This information proves pivotal when weighing decisions about future marketing campaigns. It's data that can make your decisions more efficient and cost-effective. Both Google and Bing provide conversion tracking codes that you can install. Once these are in place, it will be possible to track the specific keywords your leads or sales are coming from.

Below is a Before and After example of a Landing page design we've improved. Click on the images to enlarge.


To see more examples, please visit this page.

Now let's look at how to build an optimal landing page. Start by:

1. Having pertinent content

So what is the most pertinent content? It's information that compels readers to buy. In other words, it's a call-to-action that works. The best ones are simple and feature a single, specific product. If you do not have very many products and services, then create individual landing pages for each product and service. However, if your products are too numerous, the next best thing is to group your items into categories and to create landing pages for each specific category.

2. A focused call to action

The call to action should suffuse the landing page, but the header is an ideal place for it. Short commands to buy work well. For service-type businesses, we highly recommend placing a lead generation form on your landing page. Use symbols, like red arrows, to point out the most relevant information to readers.

3. Optimally structured navigation menus

A visitor on your landing page should have no trouble finding his or her way around the page's menus for making purchases or going to your home page. This aim is best accomplished with menus that are excellently structured and simple to use. However, try to limit your menus to only those items that are relevant to what you're promoting. Move all extra menu items to the bottom of the page.

4. Standout design

Having standout design means that the look of the landing page is appealing and smart -- clutter is out of the question. Keep the focus on the product or service being highlighted by the landing page. Most recommended are white backgrounds and a single, distinctive graphic. All the details included should present your product in the best light possible.

5. Test and re-test

Because your products and services are unique to your business and brand, it's essential to conduct tests to measure the effectiveness of your landing pages. For this, the installation of conversion tracking codes comes in more than a little handy. Data pulled from the tracking codes will make clear which landing pages perform better. Create multiple landing pages to carry out A-B Testing. Once you find the best converting page, use it to conduct additional testing (Multi-Variant Testing) on that page's components; these include changing the header, main image, and background color. Testing takes time, but the knowledge gained is invaluable.

At Submit Express, we offer Landing Page Design and Optimization services. If you are interested in a quote, please contact us.

Share Limited Access to Your Website through Webmaster Tools

Google has launched a new product that allows verified site owners to provide third-party individuals with limited access to their site's information and settings in Webmaster Tools. Although site owners have had the ability to provide full access for several years, the new feature grants limited permission, blocking third-party individuals from the ability to modify all settings.

By selecting the "Add or remove users" option under the "Manage site" menu on the home page, site owners can now access the new User administration page, where they can add or delete up to 100 users. The new feature also allows site owners to specify each user's access as "Full" or "restricted."

The "Restricted" access will provide third-party individuals with access to most data and can prompt certain actions, such as utilizing Fetch as Googlebot, and initiating message forwarding for their account.

"We hope the addition of Full and Restricted users makes management of your site in Webmaster Tools easier since you can now grant access within a more limited scope to help prevent undesirable or unauthorized changes," wrote Jonathan Simon, a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, in the blog announcement. Read More.

Yahoo Sues Facebook Over Patent Infringement

Yesterday, March 12, 2012, in a San Jose, Calif. District Court, Yahoo filed a suit against Facebook alleging ten counts of patent infringement. It hasn't escaped anyone's notice that the filing comes during the hyper-buzzed buildup to Facebook's big IPO, which is expected in May, or that both companies are current business partners.

Michael J. de la Merced, writing for the New York Times, reported late last month that representatives from both companies had met to discuss Yahoo's then-potential suit. At the time, Yahoo stated that it had "a responsibility to its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders to protect its intellectual property," and that it had to "insist that Facebook either enter into a licensing agreement" or that Yahoo would "move forward unilaterally to protect [its] rights."

Reacting to yesterday's filing, Facebook said: "We're disappointed that Yahoo, a longtime business partner of Facebook and a company that has substantially benefited from its association with Facebook, has decided to resort to litigation. Once again, we learned of Yahoo's decision simultaneously with the media. We will defend ourselves vigorously against these puzzling actions."

The technologies Yahoo is suing over are wide-ranging, and include, as worded in the case file, "messaging, news feed generation, social commenting, advertising displays," and click fraud prevention and privacy controls. Above, Scott Thompson is seen; Thompson was named CEO at Yahoo only this past January. Read More.

Google Launches New Video, Provides Deeper Look Into Search

In an effort to provide the public with an inside look at how search works, Google has launched a new video documenting one of its company meetings about a possible algorithm change. Captured on December 1, 2011, the rare video documents one of Google's weekly "Quality Launch Review" meetings held every Thursday, and, in this case, discusses a possible change to its spell correction system.

Google's new uncut and annotated video attempts to capture the company's thorough process of approving possible changes it makes to its algorithm. According to Google, one of the aspects of this process is that even relatively minor tweaks to its algorithm receive close examination by its search evaluation and ranking teams.

In a blog post announcing the video, Google also highlights that every improvement or tweak to the algorithm is assigned a search quality analyst to "study the impact." Google assures the public that its search quality analyst are not part of the engineering staff creating the tweak.

When it comes to making the decisions, Google wants the public to know that it relies on detailed analysts reports and data. According to the blog announcement, sometimes these reports can be more than 25 pages long, while other times they might include specific examples to demonstrate trends in the data. According to Google, its engineers search for algorithm tweaks to improve millions of queries at once, instead of manually changing one example. Read More.

Google's Nonstop Social Misadventure

Google's uneven foray into the social Web has left it vulnerable to thrashings in a remarkable number of spheres. Once unshakable, the giant is currently taking heat from national and international governments, employees and market rivals, and from an increasingly discomfited public.

Although people's wholehearted embrace of Google Search, Gmail, and YouTube, which the company acquired in 2006, is a strong buffer against new vulnerabilities, it's uncertain how long it will hold up. Individuals, American attorneys general, and the French Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) have all been expressing heebie-jeebies about Google's 2012 privacy changes. To top it all off, the social network Google+ was not that big of a hit. People aren't using it like they are Facebook, and James Whittaker, a top Google engineer who just quit, published a blustery letter singling out Google+ as a failure for the company as a product, and as a vision.

Buzz, the company's disastrous social Web experiment brought in a 2011 settlement with Federal Trade Commission on charges of deceptive practices. Now, the FTC has opened another investigation into possible violations of that settlement after Google was found to have bypassed security settings to track the Web activities of millions. It implanted stealth tracking codes into Safari browsers. The newest tracking fiasco originated in the rollout of the +1 feature, which is a "social layer" added to Google Search last year.

Google already accepted that the violations occurred, but defends itself by saying they were "inadvertent." If that's found to not be the case, the fines for the violations could be astronomical: millions were tracked and the cost per violation, per day is $16,000. Read More.

Wall Street Journal Announces Google Search Changes

The Wall Street Journal reported that Google plans to launch major changes to its search engine algorithm, changes that could affect millions of websites. In what is being described as some of the biggest changes in the company's history, Google's revamped search engine will be providing more data and direct answers to search queries at the top of the search engine results page, as opposed to the basic blue web links.

While Google plans to honor its current keyword-search system, the new change aims to produce "more relevant results" by introducing a new technology called "semantic search," the process of "understanding the meaning of words." In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Google's top executive Amit Singhal said that semantic search will provide better search results by connecting search queries with a database of entities (such as people, places, and things) which Google has collected over the past two years. The new process will connect different words together, such as a company name with its founders or top executives.

Under semantic search, users who search for a certain city will see additional information about the city, such as its location, altitude, and average temperature, while users who search for the same city today might only receive various web links, such as the city's visitor bureau site and Wikipedia page. Another major difference under the shift will be Google's ability to answer complex questions without pointing to web links.

When producing answers that are not in Google's database of entities, the updated search engine will combine the new technology with the current keyword-search system to provide results. According to the article, some changes will appear in the coming months; however, most changes represent Google's "years-long" process to create the "next generation of search." Read More.

Latest News

Google Sending Messages About Bad Linking Issues

Google is increasing its efforts to penalize bad linking issues, according to Search Engine Land. While the search giant has always disapproved of artificial or unnatural links pointing to a site, the company will no longer label these issues as "silently distrusted" links, but plans to be "more vocal" when webmasters openly violate Google's quality guidelines. Read more.

Bracing Itself for More Suits, Facebook Buys 750 IBM Patents

It's official: Facebook brass confirmed that the company bought I.B.M. patents pertaining to software and networking technology. What hasn't been confirmed, though, is just how much the world's most popular social network paid to obtain ownership of those patents. According to Bloomberg, I.B.M. handed over 750 patents during the transaction. Read more.

Facebook: Don't Hand Over Or Request Profile Passwords

Recently, media outlets have been reporting about a new jobseeker experience: would-be employers requesting Facebook passwords to vet online comportment. The reports have said that the job applicants were asked, and not forced, to hand over their passwords, but the inherent imbalance of power between the parties involved makes it seem a lot like coercion. Don't hand over your password and you won't get the job, seems to be the subtext of the request. Read more.

Beyoncé Gets Hip to Sharing: Releases 100+ Family Photos

Beyoncé Knowles' Tumblr,, just went live, and it's prefaced with a sweet, handwritten note that reaches out to the Social Web: "This is my life, today, over the years -- through my eyes. My family, my travels, my love. This is where I share with you. This will continue to grow as I do," says the singer-actress before her scribbled autograph. The same day, Knowles sent off her first tweet to give news of the completed revamp of her official Web site, She's had a Twitter account for years, but had never actually posted anything. Read more.

The Advantages of Social Media Profiles for Your Business

One of the most powerful ways to boost your Internet marketing efforts is to create and market social media profiles on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. The creation and marketing of social media profiles on popular social networking sites allows companies to engage with their clients within an online community. Through social media, companies can connect with customers and create long-lasting relationships. Read more.



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