Online video for directories, RSS feeds and Google Universal Search

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ONLINE VIDEO

How can small and midsize businesses use online video in online directory listings?

“Using online video to tell directory users what makes your business unique is key to an effective listing,” responds Brad Inman, founder and CEO of TurnHere Inc. “Users are flooded with options when they search for a product or service. An online video ad should be leveraged to combat the glut of similar information returned from a directory search.”

Inman recommends letting the business owner's personality shine through. “The business owner is the heart and soul of most SMBs,” Inman said. “The passion and personality they bring to their work should be reflected in the video ad. Professional actors and elaborate add to costs and reduce the genuine feel.”

Finally, Inman cautions against unprofessional content and traditional advertising pitches. “Viewers want authentic, relevant content presented in an appealing manner,” he says.

SEARCH

How does Google Universal Search affect my online marketing campaign?

“Google is making specialized or vertical content more visible through Universal Search,” says Deepa Maran, group manager of technical programs at Digital Brand Expressions. “If your conventional Web pages were ranking well, they may be pushed down by universal search results — but if you have multimedia elements, you may have a new opportunity to climb.”

He adds that the advent of blended search results requires a new integrated marketing communications plan. Some steps toward this include registering your business with the search engine's local business center, adding or enhancing your business maps, creating and distributing useful video content, uploading your product offerings to Google Product Search, optimizing your news stories and taking advantage of the images used in your site. “Other search engines are stepping up to the game now as well,” Maran adds.

RSS

How can I effectively use an RSS feed to complement my other marketing efforts?

According to Dan Marques, marketing specialist, global organic search at VistaPrint, RSS feeds can be easily integrated into any company's current marketing plan. “Supplement your company's e-mail marketing efforts by offering RSS as an alternative sign up method for your e-mail offers, and also by showing the ‘subscribe to RSS' link in e-mail campaigns to gain additional customer touchpoints,” he says. If customers opt out of your e-mails, Marques recommends giving them the option of the RSS feed, so they can stay up to date without e-mail.

“For PR campaigns, RSS feeds can be used to easily distribute company news and updates to analysts and reporters,” Marques says, adding that they can also supplement organic search efforts. “Be sure to include links back to your site in order to gain the most traction,” he says.

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