Web crawlers have been around for years.  However, these crawlers have become more and more sophisticated to detect when people try to use shortcuts and "black hat" techniques to try and influence a website's placement in the search engines.

At Semiam Solutions, we ensure each of our published websites are verified with the major search engines and accurate site maps are created so that these search engines can find your website and the content loaded on your website.

The crawlers love to see new content with relevant keywords.  This is easier said than done.  Semiam's strategy is to use relevant blog content to educate your prospective customers.  More importantly, it is used to build your website rankings over time.

Semiam Solutions will only used the tried and true methods of building links, content, and rankings.  We believe this strategy is a long term strategy for success.
 
 
Self-Publishing is a growing phenomenon around the world as aspiring writers are now discovering that they can bypass major publishing houses and sell their works directly to the public.  Consumers are now armed with Amazon Kindles, Barnes & Noble Nooks, and of course Apple's iPads, and mobile phones.
Increasingly, consumers of these products are looking far and wide to discover new and less expensive reading.

There is a relatively new, and fast growing market of self-published works for these devices.  Although self-publishing covers a wide range of topics including business related categories; the top sellers according to the Wall Street Journal are in these categories:Crime/Mystery/Thrillers, Fantasy, Action/Adventure, and Romance.

So, how do you break into self-publishing?

Well, it is fairly easy and inexpensive.  Also, like everything else in this world, you can spend more money if you choose to roll the dice to get better results.

First, you need to locate self-publishing programs.  Finding self-publishing programs, (usually online tools), are relatively easy by doing a Google search.  Some of the most popular programs are with Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.  Steer away from self-publishing programs that try to sell you "magic in a box" programs that guarantee results for only...$$$$.

Secondly, you need to ensure you have a good word processing program and the ability to convert your work to the format asked for by the publisher (Usually a .pdf file format is sufficient.  Note:  There are free tools for word document to pdf conversion at download.com.  Or, use OpenOffice, a free downloadable word-processing suite that can "print to pdf").  

Also, you may consider purchasing royalty free photos, art work, and drawings through a company like iStockPhoto.com to help enhance your work.  Depending on the scope of your work, you may consider purchasing editorial services to help you put out the best product possible.  Some of these services are available from companies such as elance.com

Thirdly, consider pricing your work at an affordable price.  You need to see what other books in your genre are selling for these days.
Many self-published works are selling for 99 cents...a carryover pricing model from Apple's iTunes.  Some works are free!  The free self-published works are generally loaded with web links to other websites with the hope that the reader will follow, (Hint-Hint!  This is an excellent marketing strategy).

Other considerations include: Paying for a book review by companies like Kirkus Reviews. In addition, a standalone website with a shopping cart along with purchasing online ads such as Google Adwords can also help your prospective audience find you.  The advantage of selling from your own website is that you get to keep 100% of the sale unlike Amazon or Barnes & Noble that ask for around 30% of your sal (Semiam Solutions can help with the website and Adwords marketing management).

Finally, look into being prolific rather than have a strict focus on quality.  I know, I know...this sounds horrible.  However, a friend of mine who self-publishes extensively compared it to fishing by throwing chum in the water.  He said you can spend a lot of money by throwing a can of caviar in the water and get some results.  Or, you can throw a bushel full of cheap chum in the water and get a lot more fish.  He also stated that in time, your quality improves through putting more product onto the self-publishing market.

So, there it is.  My Christmas gift to you, my fans.  A quick synopsis on how to get into self-publishing and make yourselves money or get your company noticed on the internet.

Best wishes to you and your family for this Christmas season. And, a very Happy New Year to you.
 
 
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the many blessings we enjoy in this country.  Semiam believes that freedom and liberty are the values that are paramount to reach your personal or business potential.  This is also a time to look forward.  When you peek into the coming year ahead, take stock of your marketing efforts.  Today, it is not enough just to produce a good product and support it with good service.  You have to be known.  

The internet is a jungle.  Make Semiam Solutions a part of your business strategy to help get your business on a better footing for 2012.  Contact us for a free consultation to see if we can help you leverage the internet to increase your business.

For our current customers, a hearty "Thank You" for your support.  We have grown over the past year by providing great service offering a custom product to each of our clients.  Thank you for the kind referrals to other customers.  It is because of you that we have increased our business approximately 40 percent over 2009.
 
 
Google Plus (sometimes referred to as "Google+"), is the next iteration of Google's social media.  It incorporates the former "Google Buzz", "Wave" and other Google initiatives to help compete against the ever popular Facebook.  Currently, Google Plus has an estimated 13 percent market share of social media ("Google Plus May Pass Twitter", Bloomberg.com, 2011)

If you are familiar with Facebook, you know that users connect with you as a "Friend" or as a "Fan" if you have a business or interest page.  Google Plus has what they call "Circles."  You invite people that may share an interest in your business "into the circle."  They will receive notifications as you update your Google Plus account.  So, in our opinion, Google Plus blends the social aspect of Facebook with the notification features of Twitter.

Should you add Google Plus to your marketing strategy?  At the moment, Google Plus is in a beta test mode.  What that means is that there are a limited amount of features available for Google users, in the future, more features will be added. If you are a company that depends heavily on social media, i.e. retail and hospitality markets, it maybe a good idea to join (you can use your existing Google account to join or create a Google account).  The marketing strategy for Google Plus is to add another social media outlet for your business.  And, since there are many Google fans, it could be another way to reach your prospective customer.  Also, Google Plus integrates into the Android operating system and the Google Plus Application that can be downloaded onto Android mobile phones. 

Google Plus also gives you the opportunity to create a webpage.  However, Semiam will not be able to manage the webpage because of the personalization features that integrate into your existing Google account. Because the usage criteria is strict, Semiam Solutions will not be able create a Google Plus account on your behalf (Google can suspend your entire Google account for abuse*).  However, we can tie-in your Google Plus account into our website which is professionally managed by our team.

As Google Plus evolves, Semiam will update you on new features.

To sign up for Google Plus, just click on this link: "Google Plus"  

*Abuse would constitute any misrepresentation of who you are and your intentions.  Semiam Solutions would not want to risk any of it's clients being banned from Google because of perceived abuse.
 
 
A legitimate tactic used by many people on the internet is "link building."  I use link building to help websites interconnect with high quality websites where the content matches or is related to the subject matter.  For example:  If I were adding a link to another website for a client whose business is a tire shop to another website where a business was a dance studio, that would not help my client.  Google and other search engines have sophisticated crawlers who look for such blatant abuse of link building.  At Semiam, we only use "white hat" techniques to build links over time.  Also, we protect our clients from SPAM on their websites by approving all blog comments before they are published.  This is to protect our clients and prospective customers of our clients who visit their site.

Pictured above is a recent blog comment that was added to one our customer's websites. Semiam Solutions intercepted the blog comment and discarded it.

Links posted in blog comments are often harmless, some are not.  Some links forward the user to an "executable file."  This executable file can launch a virus attack or place malware of adware on the user's computer.

At Semiam, we take your business seriously.  Although we cannot guarantee against attacks on the internet, we do our best to make sure your website is an effective marketing tool.
 
 
Picture
Internet Explorer
A recent article in the British Newspaper, The Telegraph, cited a study that found that users of the default browser, Internet Explorer, scored lower in online IQ tests.   The survey of over 100,000 people found that users of the Internet Explorer browser scored lower on IQ tests than users of other browsers such as Mozilla's Firefox, Camino, Google Chrome, and other browsers.

My personal experience with Internet Explorer, (IE), is quite limited and I haven't used it for about five years.  Now, this doesn't make me smarter, I just got sick of "IE" getting in the way of my work.  IE can often be intrusive to deal with and is usually slower than my favorite, Firefox.

Many corporations stick with IE as their default browser because it keeps troubleshooting simple.  And, many third party corporate intranets are built to only be supported and controlled by IE.

If you haven't tried the other browsers, I would encourage you do to so.  Each browser has it's pros and cons.  I find that Firefox allows me to add on functional components that help me with my professional responsibilities and personal enjoyment without sacrificing speed.

What is your favorite?
 
 
The one thing you have to admire about Facebook is that it has convinced companies like Google to create a social media environment.  This battle reminds me of the old Microsoft versus Apple debate.  It went like this: "If you are serious about business, you use Microsoft/IBM, if you are serious about the creative arts, go with Apple."  Facebook gets many eyes and time spent on it's page.  However, it doesn't necessarily convert their "fandom" into business for advertisers.  A recent survey by advertisers showed that only 30% of customers found them through Facebook.  Google is often used as the default "I mean to do business" search engine.  So, now, it's Facebook for the creative arts, Google for business.

So, what does this means to you.  It is important to know where to dedicate your precious resources in this economy.  Don't waste your time, give Semiam Solutions a call or contact us from this web page to get a complimentary consultation on where to spend your money.  If you don't you could waste a lot of money, pouring it down a empty marketing well.


 
 
If you are new to the area of Social Media, you may have heard about websites such as "Groupon", or "Living Social." 

If not, they are basically companies that will publish a "deal of the day."  Customers may "opt-in" to the deal by pre-paying for a product or service.  If enough people opt-in, the deal is "On!"

The cost to the business that uses one of these services is 50% of the value of the product or service.  For example:  Say you sold gourmet hot dogs for $4.00, a typical Groupon deal is 50% or more off the list price.  So, the customer would pay $2.00.  The business would "split" the profit with the business, 50/50.  So, if your cost of the hot dog is 50 cents, then, the difference would be $1.50, Groupon would keep 75 cents of the deal.

For a business, it is important to understand that you are indeed sharing your cost structure on a specific offer with one of these Social Media Marketers.

However, there might be a use for Social Media marketing services like Groupon.  First, a business with multiple locations could gauge how successful a product sells at a particular location.

I recently spoke an executive with Dairy Queen and they had one franchisee experiment with Living Social on an offer for their famous ice cream cakes.  Selling more ice cream cakes is of particular focus for DQ as it is a high profit item.  This particular DQ store sold 30 ice cream cakes over a two day period.  (They were $30 cakes sold for $15 each during the deal.) This was a record amount of cakes sold.  The store included coupons so they could be given to friends of the people who bought the cakes.

So, the lesson from this DQ franchisee owner is that you need to be smart and strategic on how and what you offer on these Social Media Marketing deals.

For unbiased consultation, please contact Semiam Solutions for more information on how Social Media Marketing can help your business.


 
 
In the near future, you will be able to push a "+1" button on business listing that comes up in a Google Search that you make so any friend of yours who also has a Google account can see that you recommend the business or service.

What does this mean for businesses?  First, businesses already know that "word of mouth" advertising is the best kind of advertising.  This upcoming change with Google Search helps extend this type of advertising to the virtual world of search.  For Google, this encourages existing Google account holders to invite others to become part of the "world of Google."

Facebook already does this by scanning your personal "Likes", Hobbies and Interests and tells your friends that you like "X" Business or Service.  Marketers know that relationships are the key to staying in business during this difficult time of our economy.

When "+1" for Google comes in your area, encourage your customers to seek you out in Google search and push "+1.
 
 
Apparently, many people still do...That is, let their fingers "walk" through the Yellow Pages.

San Francisco apparently assumed that many people have given up on Yellow Pages directories and essentially banned delivery of these directories to businesses and residences.  Individuals now have to "opt-in" to have a directory delivered to their business or home.

Local Media Research has recently released a study that claims that over 70% of consumers, (Yes, OVER 70 PERCENT), used the print Yellow Pages, or, a combination of Yellow and White Pages to search for a local business.  That's astonishing!

Honestly, I have always thought that print directories were heading the way of the buggy whip.  However, it appears that more people trust the print directories that I originally thought.  It also appears from the study that a great deal of people combine a web search with print directories, (84% on consumers use both).

Another interesting finding in the study is that only 32% of consumers use Social Networking sites such as Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, and others to search for a local business.

Predictably, consumers only use newspapers 58% of the time to search for a business.  Also, do you think junk mail will go away anytime soon?  Think again.  Sixty-Eight, (68%), of consumers access flyers, brochures, and mailers to select businesses.

However, after reading the survey, the demographics are not working to the printed directories favor.  People under age 34, and those with higher education, generally turn to search engines most of the time.  Whereas, people over 55 years of age, and those with less than a college degree tend to lean heavily on the printed directories.  So, expect the baby boomers to cling to their printed directories...The younger generation are not embracing the Yellow and White pages.  And, another factor plays into consideration: Smart Phones.  As these phone become more commonplace, expect more mobile searches and "App" generated searches.

At Semiam, we believe a balanced approach is necessary.  The print directory experts do a great job.  Where Semiam Solutions can help businesses is with their online marketing needs and managed Google Adwords campaigns.