Craigslist Removes HTML Links – Bad 4 Small Business

image-craigslist-changes-hurt-small-businessCraigslist Change Hurts Small Business & Marketers

For years, Craigslist advertising has served as a fantastically free site for Internet Marketers who post advertisements on behalf of small business clients that we represent. Too good to be true, right? Good things rarely last.

Recently, Craigslist implemented universal changes which completely remove the ability to post professional-looking html-generated image ads that live link to a website. So, gone is a way to post beautifully designed flyer templates, rich in graphic content with hyperlinks. They no longer work on Craigslist!

image-error-craigslist-removes-htmlSurprise. Gotcha! Empty Craigslist Ad

Those of us who frequently post on Craigslist were NEVER notified of the policy change via an email or mass media campaign. Nope. Nada. Not.

Instead, we found out by surprise. The roll out appeared gradual nationwide. But here in Omaha, Marketers logging into their accounts to renew previously posted image ads uploaded last year were met with empty content in 2014, or an error “0” when trying to re-publish the HTML-coded ad. Yes, the headers were there, but the image content was gone. What the heck!?

“I was confused at first. Some of my client’s professionally designed graphic ads were empty. I thought it was an error. Was it frustrating? Yes! A lot of work down the drain. It was not until I Googled “Craigslist HTML Changes” that I became aware of Craigslist’s new policy which bars HTML code ads.

Interestingly, the only articles about Craigslist’s new policy focused on the impact to realtors. The bigger news story uncovered by us is how the Craigslist’s changes hurt small business on limited budgets, including the advertisers and internet marketers who represent them:

“Cheap ads HAD generated great leads and the hyperlinks WERE great for SEO. Now, the newly mandated plain text ads look boring and amateurish and there’s zero SEO advantage to small business who must compete with the big budget corporations for a piece of the pie,” notes Susan Stern, an internet marketing Omaha consultant.

Why Did Craigslist Change Ad Policy?

It can be assumed that Craigslist wants to even the playing field. Many people don’t have the economic resources or knowledge to create custom HTML code to post professionally looking Craigslist ads. Internet marketers who write custom code have an advantage over small sellers. So what, we say!

By removing the image tags from posts, Craigslist appears to be standardizing ads so no company has an upper hand over another. “This is a ridiculous policy change especially for small business on a limited budget. Plus, all the ads now look the same. There is little way to stand out from the rest. In actuality, Craigslist is hurting small business from Maine to California,” notes Stern. Do you like the change? Take Poll NOW!

What Can You Post On Craigslist NOW?

Instead of being able to create eye-popping HTML-generated ads, internet marketers are now FORCED to write plain text advertising just like the layman would. Sure, you can still upload photos and images, but you can NOT link them to any live website. You have to type in plain text, period. If you want to display a URL, it does NOT work. Craig’s list removed outbound links, completely.

Officially, Craigslist’s new policy:

Please note IMG, FONT, TABLE, DIV, and SPAN tags are no longer supported… Please use CL image upload for images.

Craigslist HTML Policy Bad for SEO

The no-custom-HTML-code-policy means you may no longer use clickable Image Ads to drive traffic to your website, reducing the options for external link building and SEO (Search Engine Optimization: the process of building and maintaining a website’s Google rank).

Recover From Craigslist Ad Removals

“Change is never easy. But after the initial shock, internet marketers must accept the Craigslist changes.  Sure there is a mourning period for those who have successfully used Craigslist to generate new business for years. Someone could start a change.org petition, but let’s be real. Generally, internet signature gathering does NOT trigger change. Still, if enough people complain by blogging online, there is a slight chance Craigslist may listen.”

The best advice now is for internet marketers to stop focusing on what’s lost, and start thinking positive. Chin up. Search for new opportunities to generate new business. We should let the Craigslist policy change serve as a warning. Look at the big picture. Google could change its algorithms at any time. Where would your business be then?

“Marketers should encourage their small and medium-size businesses to think outside the box and use a marketing mix. It’s smart to diversify resources to find different ways to generate new business leads online as well as the old-fashioned way, like fostering relationships in person,” emphasizes Susan Stern, an Internet Marketing Omaha company owner.

Still, we here at Stern PR Marketing™ are not happy with Craigslist killing off the ability to post enhanced ads. It’s bad for small business on a budget. We hope they re-think their policy.

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Inquiries? Call 402-212-7489

Article originally published February 21, 2014.

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Stern PR | 1 in 5 Heard of SEO!

Susan Stern OmahaBy Susan  L. Stern
(Internet, USA) —  Can you answer this question definitively – Do you know what SEO is? Turns out – 1 in 5 Americans – have heard of Search Engine Optimization, i.e., SEO…according to a survey by Matt Cutts, a senior software engineer at Google. In other words, that means 4 in 5 people – do not – know what SEO means. Cutts’ survey sample involved 1576 people, using Google Consumer Surveys, a new research service.

The survey found gender differences, too. The number of men and women who have heard of SEO stands apart. Interestingly, the research found that nearly 25% of men heard of SEO, with 16% of women aware of same.

Definition: SEO is the professional process of attempting to achieve 1st page Google, Bing & Yahoo ranking for your Omaha business website and/or directory listings.

What does that tell us Omaha internet marketers? “We need to inform the businesses we represent about the absolute necessity of having a regular SEO plan of action in place to build and maintain top search engine placement rank. That is, where your website or online directory listing appears on Google, Bing & Yahoo,” emphasizes Susan Stern, Stern PR™ Omaha.

– Click for FULL View – Courtesy of Google’s Matt Cutts

Omaha Internet Marketer Susan Stern Stern PR™ did her own informal, unscientific survey and found the same results as the Google Pro – that companies seem to be in the dark about SEO. “You can’t just have a website coded correctly to appear on the 1st page of Google. You have to constantly refresh the website content writing, the graphics (coupons), keywords, and take extra measures like write industry articles on your business blog, add website coupons or a news feed and have your SEO professional promote your online video commercial in mass monthly. On the latter note, Forbes Insight published in December 2010 found that 59% of senior executives prefer to watch video instead of reading text, if both are available on the same page,” notes Susan Stern, a Marketing Consultant in Omaha, Nebraska.

The fact that only 1 in 5 people, an estimated 20.4% of Americans have heard of SEO based on the Google study is astonishing. “Cause it’s something that every business needs to achieve website search engine success,” summarizes the Omaha Internet Marketer.

Additional Statistics. Website business owners must understand that SEO is a high stakes game that you must win. After all, if your company website sits in the top tier of search results, you may experience a big traffic and sales increase.

Another study was released in September 2011 by the Pew Internet & American Life Project that found that 58% of those surveyed search the internet for information before buying products and services, with most users only viewing the first page: Google, Bing and Yahoo search engines.

How do search engines determine which websites go where? A site’s position on Google, Bing & Yahoo is based on a mathematical formula, an algorithm, which give high rankings to sites coded correctly, packed with viable keywords and more. In terms of outsourcing your SEO, Marketing Consultant Susan Stern, Stern PR™  in Omaha offers suggestions.

Stern PR Article Published Nationally – Ezine – Read Here!

The SEO professional you hire needs to regularly make updates:

**Write Industry-related journalism/PR articles on Business Blog

**Swap out & re-design online website coupons

**Write Social Media updates: Twitter and/or Facebook

**Website Keyword analysis, competition analysis, keyword implementation & reports

With 4 out of 5 people unaware of what SEO is, that is a tell-tale sign that website business owners need to get educated on SEO, at least learn the basics, before you outsource these tasks to an internet marketing expert. When all is said and done, in today’s internet-driven technology age, regular, i.e. monthly search engine optimization is as essential as having a company website.

Call Susan Stern, Stern PR™  in Omaha now to enroll in a monthly SEO plan.

 –end–

About the Author:  Susan Stern, Stern PR™ , Marketing Consultant in Omaha, Nebraska specializes in website design, website copywriting, search engine optimization, video internet marketing, videography and photography, graphic design, traditional marketing, public relations and advertising. Learn how Susan Stern can help your business achieve marketing success on & offline.

Call Susan directly in Omaha

402-212-7489

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Stern PR | Affordable Omaha Marketing On & Offline

(Omaha, NE) — Most Omaha marketing firms charge exorbitant fees for work that can be completed affordably, notes Susan Stern, Stern PR, an Omaha Marketing Consultant. Why the inflated charges? Many, if not most Omaha Advertising Agencies pay big bills on their own: high overhead and leasing costs, salaries for many individuals, utilities and the inflated costs for outsourcing Omaha website design, video production and so forth. Many of the tasks that Omaha area Advertising & Marketing firms offer are not in-house – projects are often outsourced to independent contractors, anyhow.

Here in Omaha, Susan Stern of Stern PR offers total marketing services on & offline – minus the major price tag. Cost for internet and traditional marketing services by Susan Stern – reasonable. Stern PR is a two-person Omaha marketing firm which handles everything a business needs on & offline: Website Design & Development, SEO, Video Production, Copywriting, Graphic Design, Commercial Scriptwriting & Voice-Over, Media/Print Buying and more.

Notes Susan Stern Stern PR, “small and medium-size Omaha companies don’t have the luxury NOR budget to be spending high dollar on Omaha marketing help. No. Absolutely not. Omaha business owners can not be straddled with a $5,000 bill for logo design or $10,000 website development which in fact, most Omaha marketing/Ad firms outsource those tasks to a third-party anyhow.”

Marketing is an essential part of any business owner’s budget. Susan Stern at Stern PR believes affordable Omaha marketing services should be available to not just the big guys. Small and medium-sized businesses deserve a marketing consultant partner, too. With Stern PR, all projects are done in-house.

For Inquiries, please contact Susan Stern in Omaha, Nebraska direct at (o) 402-212-7489

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Stern PR | Omaha Business Email Marketing

(Omaha, NE) — Professionally-crafted email marketing letters for business – are effective to achieve brand awareness & purchase action. “Companies searching for innovative ways to reach their target clientele or pursue leads – should get on the email marketing bandwagon now,” notes Omaha Internet Marketer Susan Stern.

The potential impression rate is high. After all, most people check their email several times a day – at least. So, as long as your copywriter crafts an attention-getting headline, it’s nearly guaranteed that an existing customer & potential one will open the email. Of course, to keep them interested – you’ll want to offer an incentive – a call for action. If done right, customers would be able to print a coupon or receive a rebate, etc.

This is not to say that traditional print advertising should cease. Notes Susan Stern, “hard copy mailers remain necessary for the older generation who may not be internet-connected.” Instead, Stern PR™ recommends that Omaha businesses use a mix of both print and email marketing methods. Once you build your email list, you can reduce the number of hard copy mailers, thereby spending less on printing & postage costs.

Of course, not just any email marketing letter will do. Omaha businesses need to hire a professional copywriter, graphic artist and branding strategist to get the job done right. Template-based programs for do-it-yourself emails – look amateur. That is not the image you want to project! Run your company. Let Stern PR™ Omaha NE handle the rest.

Susan L. Stern of Omaha, NE is a one-person marketing practitioner in Omaha, Nebraska, specializing in marketing, advertising, public relations & journalism – on & offline.

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Omaha SEO Pro

(Omaha, NE)  —  Every so often, I check where my Omaha company Stern PR ranks on search engines. Proudly, the results continue to amaze. I chuckle with total excitement that a one-person marketing firm such as myself – easily competes with large-size Omaha Advertising/Marketing Agencies, who have dozens on staff, high overhead and 10 people working on one client’s project, not to mention the much larger staff and salaries – altogether.

With the SEO strategies I have perfected, my business ranks on the 1st page of Google under ALL my industry’s key terms – beating out the big guys. Plus, the websites I have created for clients look beautiful, streamlined and 21st Century professional. They love my passion for copywriting, and my commitment  for total customer satisfaction.

Great news for Omaha area businesses on a tight budget. Stern PR is affordable. I handle marketing tasks myself, except that I utilize the expertise of my long-time programmer/developer Austin for the intricacies/expertise of website set up.  Stern PR does the rest: website management, website copywriting (active verbs, expressive words), web photography, videography such as internet video production, Video SEO, voice-over & production of TV/Radio Commercials, writing offline, graphic design and much more.

As for my 1st page ranking on Google for all my industry’s keywords demonstrates – Stern PR offers a lot to Omaha businesses in search of effective, yet affordable marketing solutions.

Reminiscing.  I recall a long time ago that my beloved mother taught me an important lesson when I was in the TV/Radio news business, in which I received attention and admiration. Sometimes it went to my head. She pointed out that, “you don’t have to tell people how great you are, they will figure it out themselves.” My dearest mother was right that modesty and humbleness make one a likable person. ‘Cause nobody likes a braggart. Agreed.

With that said, I am a firm believer, that if you have a highly marketable service to sell – that is your bread and butter – and Omaha businesses highly benefit with a streamlined image and increased profits – I think it’s ok to announce it! Don’t you?

So, in 2012, let me help you – elevate your Omaha business image – on and offline – to a higher level.

Expect personalized service.
Consistency.
Affordability by Stern PR.

Run your business.
Let Stern PR handle the rest!

Stern PR handles all your company’s marketing needs – on & offline.
As my motto goes, “Stern PR. Serious Strategy. Really!

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