Though it is home to over thirteen percent of the world's population, Africa (and namely, Sub Saharan Africa) continues to account for only around three percent of internet usage, globally. In fact, the internet saturation rate in the former colonies of France, Belgium, and Portugal is currently at less than two percent. Though these numbers are extremely low, it is not predicted that they will remain this way for long. Thanks to business development in Africa the growing popularity of internet services provided via mobile devices, internet service providers should expect to enjoy excellent business opportunities in the Sub Saharan regions.
Why are internet saturation rates so low in Sub Saharan Africa?
At present, the cost of the internet in the Sub Saharan regions of Africa are truly astronomical. In most areas the price for online access can be as high as $350 per month! This is higher than the per capita annual GDP in some places. This is largely due to the fact that in many Sub Saharan areas, ISPs are still required to rely on foreign internet providers for bandwidth via satellite.This process is far more expensive than obtaining bandwidth through undersea cable.
The old style copper based telephone systems which allowed dialup access to the internet are very poor and sparsely distributed. In some countries, three digits was sufficient to cover the entire country's telephone number system (not counting country code) before mobile coverage became available. In addition to the high cost of internet access, there are still a great deal of African people who lack education and training on how to use the world wide web. This is a trend that is rapidly changing, however, as more and more Africans are making use of mobile devices which offer internet access.
Lastly, the number of internet service providers in Sub Saharan Africa are few. As business development in Africa continues to increase, however, it is believed that Africa will make greater strides in providing a submarine cable system for internet access and more providers will be required.
What business opportunities are available to internet service providers in Sub Saharan Africa?
With business development in Africa on the rise, more and more companies and merchants are beginning to realize the importance of internet access to their success. The usage of online services are critical in the sales products, regardless of whether or not products being sold are hand made. Because of this, businesses in Sub Saharan Africa are turning their attention to finding affordable and reliable internet service providers in order to boost both marketing and sales.
Due to the fact that many African people are not up to speed with much of the world with regards to their understanding of how to best use the internet, internet service providers in Sub Saharan Africa would benefit from expanding their services. Instead of simply providing internet access, internet service providers could benefit greatly from offering training intended to help with business development in Africa. These training sessions could show African business people how to create and manage their web sites, how to use the internet to properly market their products (via social media, blogs, etc.), and how to allow for sales transactions online.
The mobile market is obviously critical to internet service providers in Sub Saharan Africa. With more and more peoples joining the ranks of the rest of the world as they access the internet through their mobile devices, it is certain that more internet service providers will be required in these regions to keep up with the demand. Mobile internet access will assuredly play an important role increasing the internet saturation levels throughout Africa and in boosting business development in Africa.
Many African people have turned to cyber cafes to go online. In fact, the country of Zimbabwe has made a concerted effort to provide at least one internet cafe in each major city. This is yet another great strategy for business development in Africa. Internet Service providers and business owners alike will profit greatly as more Africans are learning the importance of being online.
Much of what our lessons have been geared toward focus on getting your website found by the search engines so that your potential audience can find you. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has been addressed before, but I wanted to make sure that regardless of how well your website shows up in search engine results pages (SERP), you may still want to keep some basic PPC in place.
PPC Advertising vs. Organic Positioning - SEO SOS #17
I recently did a search on a company product that was very specific. So specific that the company showed up three times in the sponsored links - positions one, two and three - and was in the first two positions on the left side of the SERP, known as organic positioning. Since my search was a product specific search, I think that paying for PPC advertising on the specific product is probably not money well-spent. My suggestion is that the company should remove their PPC ads for the specific product name and only advertise for the product purpose or industry keywords related to their product.
So how does this advice translate to your website? If you are running PPC campaigns, create ads that touch on the need for your product or for the problem that your product solves. If you run an ad with your specific product name or your company name as the keyword for the ad, watch carefully when you do a search on your product or company name where you come up organically. Initially, you may not show up at all, so these ads are very ppropriate.
However, you should be testing frequently for results on your ad campaigns to see where you show up on a keyword search both for sponsored and for organic results. Once your product name and company name begin to enjoy some basic branding, you will want to move your PPC ads into product type ads instead of product name ads so you are not spending money on click-throughs that you can get for free.
Does this mean that you will never do PPC campaigns once you are positioning well organically? If we could trust that what Google does on its three or four major algorithm updates each year to be logical and predictable, then this would be the case. However, for reasons sometimes unfathomable by mankind, the Google updates often drop your website from good positioning to obscure at the most inopportune time. It is important for you to keep a close watch on your PPC campaigns and the SERP for your targeted keywords. Be ready to shift in and out of PPC campaigns at a moment's notice. It is quite easy to organize your campaigns in such a way that you can simply pause a campaign when it isn't working and then resume it when you need to be back in the sponsored links because your organic positioning has changed.
So the moral of the story is to pay attention to your positioning at all times. At the very least, a couple of times a week you need to run a Google search on your main keywords to be sure that you are showing up where you expect you should. If you find yourself in the enviable position of having top ranking on both sponsored links and organically, then pause your PPC campaign until it is needed again. But if you drop from these top positions, then
simply resume your PPC ads to fill in the gap until you are organically dominating your keywords again.
Copyright (c) 2012 TAO Consultants, Inc. All rights reserved.
Chesa Keane has been designing and developing web sites with an eye toward search engine optimization and traffic generation since 1995. TAO Consultants offers online web and SEO courses to help you make the most of your web business and investment at the www.computergoddess.com website.
Your homework this week is to check your website for positioning. If it still doesn't come up organically posistioned well, then keep your PPC advertising in place; in fact, review it to make sure that it is being posted under sponsored links in a favorable position. If your site does come up well organically, consider revising your PPC campaigns so you aren't spending money for something you can get for free with your good organic results.
There are several directories that you can also add your links to which will give you a certain amount of exposure. One of the easiest and most reasonably priced linking websites is Strongest Links (http://www.strongestlinks.com ) and offers a free 30-day trial period with full functionality. This website will give you an updated list of directories, the price they charge (if any) and how valuable the directory is as shown by various statistics.
The Internet would not exist if it weren't for keywords. But the second most important element of the Internet involves linking of websites. Think of it -- its called the World Wide Web because all websites are connected to other sites in some way. One website leads to another which leads to another which leads to another.
There is a double-bind involved when you entertain linking to other websites. No one wants to send people away from their site by linking to another website. However, you wont get any links to your website if you dont create any links from your website to others. It is important that search engines see that your website is connected to the rest of the Internet by seeing links coming to your site from other locations.
Let's look at the rules of article publishing for creating and generating web traffic to your website.
Article TitleYou want to use a title that generates interest as well as utilizes your main keyword. Time spent on coming up with a good title is time well spent. You are competing with a lot of other articles, so you want to stand out from jump. It is not always possible to come up with a title that is both interesting and contains your keywords. When you publish your article, you will be identifying the category. Therefore, it is sometimes more important to write a
catchy title that does not contain your keywords than to incorporate your keywords in a dull title. As an example, I wrote an article about meditation called "The Mind is Like a Frisky Monkey," that has spread virally very well across the Internet.Even though it does not contain the keyword, meditation, it has
done very well and is published on over 550 unique websites. Each time the article appears it contains the resource box that leads back to my meditation websites.
Article LengthIdeally, your article will be from 400 to 800 words in length. It will be keyword rich, of course, but be sure not to extend the length beyond 800 to 900 words. If the article is getting longer, break it into multiple parts and publish as part 1, part 2 and so on.
Who Writes the Article?Not everyone is comfortable with writing. If you have difficulty writing your own articles, the time involved may be too lengthy to make authoring your own articles practical. Consider a ghostwriter if this is the case. There are many outlets for ghostwriters including www.elance.com to www.rentacoder.com. You may want to engage these ghostwriters to write several articles for you that will become your property. You can then take these articles and break them into multiple articles or blog postings. A blog posting can be as small as 200 words and still be very effective.
Precautions About Unique ContentThere are several places where you can post your article: on your website, to several article directories, and to your blog. However, for every different location that you publish your article, you will want to change the article by at least 25%. This is not difficult to do; simply rearrange sentences, paragraphs and
headings. When you publish to an article directory, such as www.ezine.com, if your article becomes popular, it will be replicated over and over across the Internet. However, this is not a problem with duplicate content since you are not doing the re-publishing. Where duplicate content becomes a problem is when the content is duplicated throughout your web of influence. Your blog and your website are related to each other with the same links, names, and keyword content. So the rule of modifying your content by 25% relates to whatever and wherever you publish. The article that you post at the article
directory should also be different from the article published on your website because you are leading people back to your website via your web link. You do not want the search engines to make this discovery of duplicate content on your website with articles that are published outside of your website. All other locations outside of your web world can be duplicates, just be sure not to publish an exact duplicate of an article on your website that you post to a directory.
How Often Should You Publish?It is a good idea to set up a regular interval of publications, perhaps once every week or two if possible. However, if you do not have the time to do this, don't succumb to the temptation to spend one day publishing 10 articles to article websites. A barrage of article publishing is not as well received as one article every 10 days. Besides, the process of publishing an article can take a considerable amount of time without publishing software.
How Do You Publish Articles?One of the best tools available for publishing articles is a software program called Article Announcer . AA allows the writer to publish to multiple article directories and keeps track of what, when and where your articles have been published. It also allows you to prepare your articles and have someone else do the publishing with the free version, Article Announcer Lite. Otherwise, without this tool, you will have to sign up for various article sites, format your article according to their specs and slog through the process slowly. If you only want to publish to one or two sites, this is not difficult. However, you probably
want to publish to several article directories and Article Announcer works very well.
Formatting Your ArticlesThe article directory may or may not allow HTML formatting and may only allow simple text formatting with line length not to exceed 65 characters. You will want to format your article as a text article with 65-character lines for basic publishing. If the directory you are posting your article to does allow HMTL formatting, you should not use this option unless you are familiar with some basic HTML formatting codes. Plain text will work just fine if HTML is a
problem for you. Make the article accessible by not going overboard; that is, avoid bullets, italics, bold, etc. Remember you are trying to get your article picked up by directories and other websites looking for web content on your subject -- make it easy for them to do this. In addition, it will be easier for you
to publish your article and avoid non-text formatting codes if you write your article in WordPad or TextEdit or some other simple text format program. If you use Word, you will have to strip out all the special codes that Word uses to make your document look pretty to make it simple, vanilla text-formatted.
This lesson is a basic introduction to article publishing and if you should have any questions, please feel free to contact us for more information. There is a tremendous value to publishing articles; however, to do it right takes a little effort. But the payoff is great traffic generation. One of my articles was picked
up by a major article syndicator and that one day alone when it was published as a feature article increased my web traffic by 30 times! It does work with a little work.
Copyright (c) 2012 TAO Consultants, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission.
Chesa Keane has been designing and developing web sites with an eye toward search engine optimization and traffic generation since 1995. TAO Consultants offers online web and SEO courses to help you make the most of your web business and investment at the
Your homework this week is to look around your business and find articles that would be of interest to those looking for your products and services. If you want to get an idea of how these articles should look, do a Google search on Article Directory and look for articles related to your business.
One of the most important factors that affect the search engines indexing your web pages for search engine results pages (SERP) positioning and page rank is changing website content. If your pages are published but never updated or changed, you will never be ranked high enough to show up in the first few pages of a SERP.
I'm sure you have heard the term Blog before, but you may not know what it means. Blog is a word derived from Web and Log. That is, it is similar to an online journal that you can post in addition to your core website. Blogs are created as journals or as soapboxes by many people who don't even have a website, but seem to have something to say.
Continuing the mantra, "It's all about keywords," once again, the focus for your PPC ad is relevant keywords. You are not limited to how many keywords you can target in your PPC ad campaigns. The keywords you choose will probably be chosen based on their cost. If you can target some 5-cent and 10-cent keywords, you can get more exposure for your budget. In contrast, if you target only high-priced keywords, you will usually be competing against deep-pocket competitors and your exposure will be limited.
By selecting several (10 or more) keywords and targeting ads for those keywords, you give yourself more opportunity to expose your website to a select audience. However, make sure that the keywords are not so obscure that you get too many non-productive click-throughs. It is a delicate balance and will take some testing to know what works and what doesn't. In addition, the broader or more general the keywords are, the more likely that the click-throughs will be non-productive. For example, if you target using the keyword, web design, your competition will be very high. If you use the keyword, web design Reno, you have a much higher chance of getting productive click-throughs. And the price will be lower.
Once you have determined which keywords you want to target, it's time to look at competitor's ads for these keywords. This is easy to do. Simply go to Google (http://adwords.google.com) or Yahoo (http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com) and enter the keyword or keyword phrase into the search block. When the results are displayed, pay attention to the ads that show up on the right-hand side of the page under Sponsored Links. Depending on the keyword, there are probably several pages of ads. Get a feel for the ad content, especially those that appear on the first page and in the top positions. Usually the higher the price an advertiser is willing to pay, the higher the position on the pages under sponsored links.
Remember that these links are hot and when you click on them, it will cost the advertiser the price of the click. Because you are not planning to purchase the advertiser's goods or services, don't click on their ad. Would you want to pay for a competitor's clicks? In fact, if you intentionally click on a competitor's ads with the idea of costing them advertising dollars, both Google and Yahoo would construe it as click fraud. Don't do what you wouldn't want done to you. If you want to go to their website, simply type in their URL to get to their site.
Once you have reviewed your competitors' ads, begin to formulate your ad. We will use Google AdWords for our example. Yahoo Search Marketing is very similar. There are five lines to complete for each ad. Devise your Google ad with the following points in mind:
- Headline: The first line allows a maximum of 25 characters. This line includes your keywords stated in a way that attracts the reader to read further. For example, using words such as free, easy, learn, how to and teach yourself are effective attractors. If your products are not free or you do not have a free offering, you can use attractors like cheap, discount, inexpensive, low cost or limited offer. The first line should be the attention grabber using keywords with attractors.
- Description lines: You have two description lines containing 35 characters each. Again, consider using additional keywords that support your heading or attract the viewer to your website. One of the ways you can attract viewers is to offer something specific. Perhaps it is a free report, a free download, or some other example of what you have to offer in your business or as an authority in the industry. Look back at your competitors' ads and get some ideas on the content for your ad. You don't want to copy their ad, but you may find it useful to borrow from it.
- Display URL: This is the computer URL link that you display to the viewer. If you have a domain name that is easily understood as a name or a phrase, you will want to make it very readable to the viewer. For example, do not use http://www.computergoddess.com/ but rather enter www.ComputerGoddess.com. It will be easier for your viewer to make the connection to your site, and this is a good step toward branding your name.
- Destination URL: This is the URL link that leads to your landing page, where you want the viewer to end up on your website. You may not necessarily want your viewer to land on your home page but rather on a sales page in direct response to your PPC offer.
- Split-testing: In order to find out which ads work well and which don't, create several ads for the same keyword or keyword phrase. Google and Yahoo offer a means of determining the number of click-throughs for each ad. The ads that get the highest click-throughs are the ads you want to keep. The ads with lower click-through rates should be modified or discarded.
Your homework this week is to study PPC ads of your competitors and devise several ads using targeted keywords. It is easy to set up ad campaigns and both Google and Yahoo Search Marketing do a good job of leading you through the process. Set up your ads; determine how much you are willing to spend each day on your ad campaign; and check back frequently to see how well your ad is pulling traffic.
Copyright © 2012 TAO Consultants, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission.
Your homework this week: Using a Google search for your main keywords and look at the ads that come up as a result under sponsored links. The ads coming up using those keywords are going to be your basic model for creating your own ads. Don't copy them directly, but try a couple of variations and split-test the results. Remember, as a courtesy, do NOT click on the ads that come up. If you want to see their website, then type their URL into the address box in your browser.