Hispanic Americans’ Internet Use Lags Behind Other Americans

Pew Center study finds that most Hispanic Americans "remain largely disconnected from the Internet."

By Larisa Thomason

Hispanic Americans are the fastest growing minority group in the United States, but they don’t access the Internet in numbers equal to their size. A joint study titled “Latinos Online” by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that only 56% of Latinos regularly use the Internet. Comparatively, 71% of non-Hispanic white Americans are regular users.

The study also found that length of residence, education, and language largely determines Internet use among Latinos. For example, the summary section notes the following statistics:

  • 78% of Latinos who are English-dominant and 76% of bilingual Latinos use the Internet, compared with 32% of Spanish-dominant Hispanic adults.
  • 80% of second-generation Latinos, the sons and daughters of immigrants, go online, as do 71% of third-generation Latinos.
  • 89% of Latinos who have a college degree, 70% of Latinos who completed high school, and 31% of Latinos who did not complete high school go online.

So, does this mean that Web site owners who spent time and money creating good, usable Spanish language pages and Hispanic-oriented content to their Web sites have wasted the effort? No.

They should probably congratulate themselves for being ahead of the curve. The Hispanic population is growing rapidly, which means an increase in absolute numbers of users – even if the percentage remains the same.

However, the statistics cited in the Pew survey lead me to believe that the current 56% overall total should rise sharply in the next decade (or sooner). If for no other reason than the population of second and third-generation Latino Americans will increase as the current generation raises families.

As a relatively youthful, fast-growing segment of the population, Hispanic Americans are an attractive demographic segment. As you develop new content for your Web site, maybe it’s time to consider appealing to this market.

That doesn’t mean you have to start developing a complete Spanish-language mirror of your site. Instead, review culturally relevant ways you can appeal to the market. Maybe that does mean offering some Spanish-language pages, acknowledging more diverse holidays, or modifying your merchandise offerings. It depends on your target audience and their preferences.

A key component of usability is readability and, by extension, the ability of your audience to understand the content offered. Make sure that you and your target market (literally) speak the same language!

High Rankings SEM Seminar Minneapolis – 15 and 16 March 2007

I’ll be joining my good friends Jill Whalen, Lee Odden, Matt Bailey, Scottie Claiborne and Karon Thackston next week in the Twin Cities for another High Rankings Search Engine Marketing Seminar.

If you’ve never been to one of Jill’s seminars, they are an informal two day immersion into the world of search marketing. Another good friend Kim Krause Berg has joined us at several seminars and wrote about her experience in her article What a High Rankings Search Engine Marketing Seminar is Really Like
.

To register or to get more information on the Minneapolis seminar, go here. Hope to see you there.

– Christine Churchill

Political Campaigns Finally Take Notice Of SEM and Paid Search

By Larisa Thomason

It almost seems comic now in 2007. But one of the big election stories in the 2000 campaign was John McCain’s decision to put his Web site address on his yard and rally signs. The Web site 4President.us has a screen shot and an accompanying article.

McCain noted on April 30, 1999 that:

“The Internet provides us with a new and exciting opportunity to communicate directly with voters,” said McCain. “Each of us can now become better informed and more closely involved with candidates and their positions on the issues. Using sites like mine, citizens young and old can find the information they need to make more educated choices about their leaders.”

A prescient statement, but – if anything – Senator McCain underestimated the impact of the Web on political campaigns. Changes have taken place at lightning speed. Here’s a quick timeline:

1996: The Dole/Kemp campaign announces the launch of the first customizable, interactive political Web site.

2000: John McCain puts his Web site address on signs and participates in online chats. The site also includes biographical videos.

2004: Howard Dean becomes the first true, Internet-powered candidate, raising an astonishing amount of cash online, organizing support via Meet-ups, and a chatty campaign blog.

By 2004, the coveted “grassroots support” factor had evolved to “netroots support” and everybody wanted some.

But even as candidates jumped on board with interactive sites, blogs, and custom tools, most completely ignored one of the most critical components of a successful Web site: getting people there in the first place!

Or, as we call it, Search Engine Marketing.

At least, they ignored the whole process until this past 2006 election cycle.

The Rimm Kaufman Group, an online marketing agency, conducted this study of paid search advertising during the 2006 election cycle.

The money quote (emphasis added):

“We conclude that paid political advertising on the search engines is still in its infancy. Note the cost of search advertising is a fraction of the cost of television advertising, yet often has comparable reach.
We anticipate search engine marketing will become increasingly prevalent to the American political process in coming elections. In the 2008 elections, we predict political advertisers will completely fill the paid search spots on the first page of Google search results pages; political advertisers will advertise heavily on Yahoo; political advertisers will use more video; and Democrats will increase spending to match Republicans. “

Some current trends tend to prove them right. Just do a search on Google for different candidate names and you see that not only have most candidates jumped into paid search, they’ve gotten canny about it too.

Republican candidate Mitt Romney is the leader so far. Search on “Rudy Giuliani,” “John McCain,” “Sam Brownback,” or “Tom Tancredo” (all rivals for the GOP nomination) and a link to Mitt Romney’s site appears in the AdWords results section.

In contrast, Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark, and Tom Vilsack are the only Democratic candidates running any paid ads at all – at this time.

That’s a surprise, given the preference of Democrats for news delivered via newspapers, magazines, and the Internet. The NewsCorpse Web site discusses a study of news preferences broken out by political preference published in Editor & Publisher, noting that Democrats preferred written and online news sources:

…breakdown by percentage of Dems vs. Repubs for each type of media:

Red Media:

Preferred by those inclined to vote Republican.

Repub Demo
TV News 87% 83%
News Radio 62% 51%

Blue Media:

Preferred by those inclined to vote Democratic.

Deno Repub
Local Newspaper 78% 70%
National Newspaper 24% 15%
News Magazine 21% 16%
Internet News 43% 38%

So why aren’t the Democratic presidential candidates for 2008 jumping into the fray, and what’s up with those Republicans who also lag behind Mitt Romney?

Maybe they the need the guidance of professional search engine marketers! Too many campaigns are run by political science majors. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – except that not many are technologically literate.

I see this as a fertile field for search engine marketing professionals. Here, I’ve only discussed the declared presidential candidates, but there are numerous state races, local races, and all 435 members of the House of Representatives in contention in 2008.

Think of all those clients!

And remember, in most cases, we’re talking about opportunities in both the primaries and general elections.

In my opinion, most campaigns don’t have the time for a full SEO campaign to work. Some lucky campaigns will benefit from increased link popularity when plugged-in supporters add home page links to their blogs, sig lines, and other Web sites, but that’s for the major, highly visible campaigns.

The real opportunity here is in managing a paid search campaign. Think about the benefits: the campaign gets instant exposure – even when the searcher may be looking up a rival!

Political search engine marketing is potentially a lucrative sideline; it’s also a way for an SEO professional to do some pro bono work for causes that really matter to them personally.

It’s a win/win situation either way.

Keep this opportunity in mind as you consider what sign to put in your yard, what sticker to attach to your car, or where your carefully-considered contribution dollars will go this year.

Google’s Latest Search Network Partner – MySpace

by Jim Gilbert

And the word come right from the horse’s mouth… Google

“MySpace Search Traffic
Google’s AdSense for Search has gone live on MySpace.com. Clients currently running ads on Google’s Search Network are now eligible to have their ads served on MySpace.com searches for US-based traffic only.”

If what what they said here has not quite registered, better think about it a little harder.

We will make it easy for you. Adsense publishers who use the Adsense Search Network get ads delivered from Google’s SEARCH Network (NOT the Contexual Network). MySpace is very popular and now has a good search mechanism (Google’s) — not the old terrible one they had before.

What does this mean? Means advertisers in AdWords will have their AdWords ads displayed on MySpace for every search done there — and MySpace has so far proven to NOT be the best converting area for traditional advertising.

THINK THE GUYS BELOW WILL HAVE GOOD CONVERSION RATES ON MYSPACE?

MYSPACE SEARCH FOR NURSING HOMES

MYSPACE SEARCH FOR SENIOR INCONTINENCE

Niche Terms a Thing of the Past?

by Jeff Martin

Jeff Staub posted at theGoogleCache.com that he believes that the Google Adwords tools he used to research associative keywords may be responsible for filling the previous low competitive ad space with pages of ads.

I agree that it makes sense that Google would be looking to continually increase word associations. I saw a video a few months ago linked to from TW where the speaker showed an example of just the stemming tables they had at the time, of course it was impressive. Makes sense that they would put as much work into associations especially when you consider that more proper word associations equals more clicks in the long run which means more $$$ for Google.

It would seem that Google could do this without you using their research tools. They could discover the same word associations when you insert the keywords into an ad and point it to a landing page. Then cross-reference the other keywords used for the same landing page. Less helpful when you point everything to the home page, but of course we don’t do that, do we? :-)

SEO Isn’t Rocket Science — The Debate

by Jim Gilbert

If you even know how to spell SEO and have not seen all the posts associated with the debate surrounding a post a few months ago stating SEO Isn’t Rocket Science, you MUST live under a rock.

Well, I’ve stayed silent long enough — I’m taking sides! Threadwatch brought to my attention a post by Oilman on the subject and I feel compelled to help the Oilman out.

Here are the Oilman’s comments — WITH MY ONE SIMPLE ADDITION AND COMMENTS. Trust me… I could have said a LOT more.

From Oilman:
I propose this list as the useless and easy SEO tactics:
* Title Tags
* Meta Description Tags
* Meta Keyword Tags
* ALT Tags
* H1, H2, H3 (and accompanying CSS)
* Keywords in the content
* Internal Links (images vs. text (keyword rich))

I propose this list as the 5% of useful and more difficult tasks:
* URL Structure (the fixing thereof)
* Advanced Linking
* Appropriate Cloaking (er…IP Delivery)
* Dynamic Template Modification
* Analytics (I mean useful measurable numbers)
* Client Management (agency life)

MY ADDITION (and comment on the Oilman’s blog):
* Usability (aka improving crummy sites so they actually “convert”)

After all isn’t “conversion” what it’s all about? A site with a #1 listing with a shopping cart nobody can use ain’t worth the realestate of the owner’s footprint in quick sand.

Or, how about a navigation system that leads to nowhere but a blackhole?

Okay… some will argue that Usability is not part of SEO. If you claim that then you are an SEO that does not care about your client’s conversion rates — AND, if that’s the case you are:

1) A hell of a poor SEO, or

2) Somebody that just does not understand what professional SEOs do!

Yikes – I’ve been Blog Tagged

By Christine Churchill

My link lady friend Debra Mastaler of Alliance Link and blog mistress of The Link Spiel forced me to finally bite the blog bullet. She convinced me that there’s nothing like a good game of blog tag to inspire anyone to finally start a blog. I keep saying I don’t have time, but here goes anyway. Ready? Five things you don’t know about me.

1. I have collapsed my lungs twice in horse related accidents, but I am still a horse fanatic. Horses keep me sane. I find being around horses and doing the daily chores associated with them – feeding them twice a day and mucking stalls is relaxing. I can be stressed out from work, then head off to the barn, and after a few minutes there I calm down. Plus, horsebackriding is excellent exercise. You work almost every muscle in your body when you ride, but you’re having so much fun you don’t think about how physically taxing it is. I’ve become more careful over the years about what I’ll do on horseback so hopefully no more bad accidents. Maturity means I don’t need to jump a horse over a four foot fence to get an adrenalin rush.

2. I’m still a tomboy. I know this because my 12 year old daughter tells me so. Growing up with four wild and crazy brothers, I had to be a tomboy or I’d never have survived. I played tackle football with them, wrestled, and was always treated like one of the guys. In business I’ve had several careers where being a tomboy has been an unexpected benefit; including a stint in the Army where I amazingly managed to get an early promotion to Major and another job in Europe where I “played” missile simulation games for NATO. Great fun.

3. I love the outdoors. I once spent eight months living in a tent in the Panamanian jungle and was totally happy. Another time I almost got killed on a mountain climb in Washington State when I fell on an ice cliff and had to do a self-arrest with my ice pick. (Okay, . . . there was this cute little French guy with tight buns walking in front of me who distracted me so I wasn’t watching where my feet were, but that’s another story.) I also survived living on a remote island in the South Pacific, which at first sounds delightful until you realize the island was barely a half mile across at its widest point. I lived on that rock for nearly two years. Downside? The experience totally burned me out on supposedly idyllic beach vacations.

4. I had a vagabond childhood. My father was in the military and throughout my childhood I moved about every 18 months. We saw a lot of the world and were immersed in many cultures. Before I left home I lived in the Far East, Europe, Latin America, and had traveled to all 50 States. Having a global childhood forces you to be open-minded and teaches you that there are multiple ways to do virtually everything. Another side-effect of constant moving is you learn to be (or act) extraverted or you end up having a very lonely existence. By nature I was introverted, but by sheer will I learned how to walk up to complete strangers and start conversations. Since I was constantly the new kid in the school, I ended up getting a lot of practice.

5. My mom inspired me to start my own company. I was very close to my mom and she lived with me the last five years of her life. She was my biggest supporter and believed in me. After her death, I started my own company partly as a tribute to her. I like to think that she somehow knows that and is still supporting me.

Okay, so who to blog tag next? This is tougher than it might seem . . .

Brad Geddes (http://www.ewhisper.net/) – someone I truly admire and who is one of my favorite panel partners.

Barbara Coll aka Webmama (http://thewebmama.blogspot.com/) – Barb is a long time friend who is a great SEM and humanitarian. Barb is humble about this but she gives a lot of herself to make the world a better place.

Greg Jarboe (http://newsblog.seo-pr.com/) – Mr PR News himself. Greg, time to tell the world about yourself.

Heather Windsor (Grnidone) http://www.greeneyewire.com/ – the lady with the usability eye and a dear friend who is one of the most energetic people on the Web. Tell Sebastian hello for me.

Durk Price (http://www.affgoo.com/) – my affiliate manger friend who has taken on blogging with incredible gusto.

Google Devalue Social Links Like Digg.com?

First noticed at at SeoRoundtable where they are pointing to a Webmasterworld thread — slow but very interesting WebmasterWorld thread asks, “Is Googe Devaluing “Social Content” Links?”

It appears many are missing the whole social point here — it’s not the links from the social sites that the smart guys are after, it’s the natural linking from non social sites that social linkbaiting generates that’s important long term!

Google, Yahoo and MSN can devaluate the links from social sites all they want, but it’ll be darn hard for them to determine which natural links were produced because of the social linkbait!… Jim Gilbert

Register Your Domains with Google?

Picked this up via Threadwatch and Seobook and felt a comment was necessary.

Goggle analytics worried the heck out of me in that I thought our log files was our last line of defense from Google’s prying eyes. We were aware that Google had become a registrar, but didn’t give it much thought since the only thing they could see was what domain owners provided for public viewing — which included privacy options.

But wait… now they want you to register your domains with them. Then they have EVERYTHING! Including your domain billing information — the one piece of information that we thought Google couldn’t get hold of.

We have a prediction… Registering your domain with Google may eventually raise the level of trust they have with your site (if they choose to include it in the algorithm)! Why? Because it’s a given that the “blackhat” world would not dare register domains with Google! … Jim Gilbert