Friday, July 30, 2010

Web marketing guru, Bruce Clay to hold first SEO training seminar in India

NEW DELHI: Bruce Clay, global Internet Marketing Guru and founder of Bruce Clay, Inc. will be on his first visit to India next month to conduct an exclusive 3 day SEO Training programme from 3rd to 5th of August 2010 at The Palms Town & Country Club in Gurgaon.

Bruce Clay has been delivering SEO training for over eight years with courses now held in USA, Italy, Japan, South Africa & Australia.

The 3 day Bruce Clay SEO Training Program shows you how to improve rankings of your website in search engines and increase traffic to your website. This program is effectively designed for Online Marketers & Advertisers, Entrepreneurs, New Media Consultants, Webmasters, IT Managers, In-House SEO Analysts, and people working with Search Engines or within the Search Engine Optimization and Marketing Industries. The Training Program is based on over 10 years of search engine research and covers SEO basics to advanced concepts and methodologies.

Bruce Clay, founder, Bruce Clay, Inc. says, “The SEO Training Program provides a corporate with effective Internet Marketing strategies. It will provide information on how a corporate website can become the ‘Window of Growth,’ by being well recognized by search engines. Bruce Clay Services have worked closely with the best global companies to achieve top search engine rankings. India is now one of the most important global markets since Internet usage is increasing at a fast pace.”

The new 2010 SEO Training Program includes emerging trends & useful strategies for Social Media. It covers popular topics like getting high rankings in search engines, increasing click through rates from searches, analyzing your & your competitors’ websites using our proprietary SEO Tools.

Siddharth Lal, Managing Director, Bruce Clay India says, “We are glad to have Internet Marketing Guru, Bruce Clay, in India to conduct his unique SEO Training Programme. His sessions will be an eye opener on how SEO can effectively work like a catalyst in growing an organization within any industry leveraging the power of the Internet. ”

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

7 Tips to Writing a Blog Post That's Scannable

One of the realities of writing content for the web is that people don't stay on any page for very long. Typically, web surfers scan a page and determine within a few seconds if it's worth staying on that page and reading further or if they should click away and try the next page they can find. With that in mind, your blog posts should be written and formatted in a way that makes them not only visually appealing but also scannable. Make sure your visitors know what you're writing about within a couple of seconds by following the tips below for creating scannable blog posts:

1. Pay Attention to Titles
The first thing your visitors will notice are your blog post titles. While it's great to use clever titles sometimes, make sure you have enough clear and concise titles, so visitors don't have to search very far to know what your blog posts are about. Also, remember that search engines weigh your blog post titles heavier than the content of each post, so take some time to consider search engine optimization when you name your blog posts.

2. Use Headings
Using the "heading" formatting options in your blog post editor not only makes your content scannable because it breaks it into smaller pieces with clear headlines for each section, but search engines also weigh text published using a "heading" format heavier than non-formatted text. Make your headings relevant, clear and search engine friendly.

3. Make Lists
Bulleted and numbered lists work equally well in turning text that could be published as long paragraphs into easily scannable content. Use lists whenever you can to break up long blocks of text.

4. Use Bold and Italicize - But Not Too Much
Bold and italics work very well to draw attention to specific text within your blog posts, but when they're overused, they become useless. Instead of drawing attention to the most important parts of your post, they make your post cluttered and more difficult to read.

5. Go Easy on the Links
Links can be very helpful in directing your readers to more information. They're also helpful in search engine optimization because search engines weigh linked text higher than non-linked text. However, too many links can have a negative effect on the readability of your blog just as too much bold or italics can. Use links but don't overuse them.

6. Use Images
Images are a great way to break up a text heavy blog post. They can help to draw attention to a specific post, add color to your blog, and help with search engine optimization. Don't use too many images though, or your posts get cluttered and your text gets harder to read rather than easier. Also, make sure you only use images that you have permission to publish on your blog. There are many websites that offer free photos to use on your blog. Take some time to learn about copyright and fair use laws before you publish images in your blog posts.

7. Write Short Paragraphs
Blog posts are easiest to scan and read when paragraphs are short. In fact, one or two sentence paragraphs are perfectly acceptable and usually welcomed by blog visitors. Short paragraphs add white space and visual relief to text-heavy blog posts. Remember to keep your paragraphs short.

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Importance of Content Writing for Website: - Get effortlessly information on net

Many of us are not familiar with the term content writing. People want to know that is it any special or specific form of writing? What is the specialty of content writing? These are the common questions that create confusion among the people. Mainly, content writing is the art of word through which you can explain your views or thoughts. With the help of shifting of words, you can create an outstanding paragraph or page of writing that will influence the new viewers. Nowadays, internet plays very crucial role in the modern era. A large number of articles or contents are available on the web sites. A deeply search on the internet; can help the people to find effortlessly subject or topic of their choice.

Today, in the online market, SEO copywriters (Search Engine optimization) are in great demand. These copywriters are experts in the filed of developing content which are not only informative but search engine friendly also. SEO requires techniques such as keyword optimization, use of Meta titles, Meta descriptions, building inward links, etc. If you are interested to make your own online presence or want to establish site up then you need to have an effective search engine optimization. For searching anything from the internet, users have to click on few links. These links are linked with other links. If you want that your links should be among those links then you need to have an effective SEO and its efficiency will enhance your customers list and give you a good web presence too.

Today, content writing has become more popular and famous among the UK citizens. It is called the lifeline of the website and the failure or success of any content depends upon its effectiveness and efficiency. Due to increasing popularity of articles, now companies are hiring the professional content writers to develop contents which are fresh, informative and user friendly. It is the main condition that the contents should be relevant otherwise it will lost its effectiveness and important and it will not satisfy their readers.

A large number of websites are available on the internet and a rigid competition is noticed among them. The contents should be accurate and to the point. If the users will not find the appropriate content then they will immediately going to switch away from that website to a competitors website. Maintaining image and status in the market is must, so write ups should be effective and apt.

Lastly, you should write relevant and informative contents for the website. Before writing the content, you should have full knowledge and information about the topic or article. Always write short or small sentences on any topic that you want to publish on the website. These are the few tips that can promote your business through the website proficiently with article writing.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Internal and external linking

Like you all know, linking can be internally done or externally depending on the perspective of personal business website. Today linking is seen in most of the top class blogging sites wherein thousands of blogs and context view an internal link within a blog that is within a same domain. Linking assures web site design, navigation, banners graphics and much more. Do you know that internal link building and external link building is now used with SEO basics? With internal linking you can link to different relevant pages, utilize anchor text along with keywords and do lot more. Are you willing to increase the rankings of your site online in no time? Try out external linking and get connected with some relevant sites from outside. Yes, if you are successful in creating higher inbound links from external, relevant websites you will definitely succeed in not only increasing the site rankings at search engines but also improve rankings with SERP’s. Exciting isn’t it!

Tips for attractive link building
Get on with link building and ask your partners and friends to link back on your sites. What if you wish to promote your business articles and plan to write blogs for the same? Will it work if your blogs are not linked back to readers? It won’t! Number of external links to your blogging page will decide its popularity. But on the other hand you are missing something if you try to avoid the internal links. Pay attention to both links and receive higher SEO benefits. But then how to receive maximum traffic back to your personal business site? Where links are supposed to be lifeblood of web it won’t work if they are not fresh. Yes fresh links always give your site the authority to stay on top in search engine rankings. Posting forums and blogs can help increase your links.

Blogs with perfect keywords and content are a start for good link building for your sites. Relevant links from credible sources make it easy for others to reach to your blog posts and even forums. If you enroll and get listed on some other blogger’s blog roll, your links can be effectively submitted. It’s of no use if the blog URL is not listed in profiles. You need to be smart to thank all people when they link back to you. Latest trends in link building suggest that you need to give higher importance on links that bring together maximum traffic and increase your SEO rankings. Do you know that e-mailed links are effectively used these days? Yes, emailed link requests are not dead! If emailed link requests and online banner ads are well planned, these will do wonders for your traffic generation procedure.

Have you tried forum posting for building great links for your site? A one direction quality link can be created for your website through forum posting or signature posting. Forum postings with direct links can help increase website traffic. With forum posting you can have theme based postings, more number of anchors, and lot more. Yes but what about the spam that may get connected along with link building? In order to successfully avoid spam you need to mask the email address in forums, blogs, newsgroups, chats and others and set up some throwaway addresses.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Viral marketing tips

Viral marketing increases online sales! That concept seems to pop up everywhere on Internet marketing resources. So what exactly is viral marketing?

The simplest way to explain viral marketing is to think in terms of mainstream networking. Your contacts know about you and your site and you hope to that they pass that information on to someone else. But hoping is not a good way to approach web marketing, you need to be pro-active in promotion.

By implementing viral marketing strategies, you provide an incentive for web site visitors to carry a sales message. This incentive is usually a free "carrier" tool for that marketing message or a means by which it is easier for people to spread the word about your products and services. The idea is not to push your visitors into delivering your sales message to others, but as a side effect of them gaining benefit from a utility or service that you offer.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

SEO Content Writer Announces New Article Service

Article Marketing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to gain exposure online. Many information marketers and solo-preneurs report that they had an increase in traffic and sales by writing and distrubuting content across the Internet.

"Many business owners don't have time to write or they don't like to write. If a business owner doesn't invest in learning how to write or hiring someone to write for them, a lot of leads and profits can be lost." Says Nina Lewis, President of Nina Online! A SEO Copywriting & Online Marketing Firm.

Nina Online! offers two types of article services they feel every web owner should have. First Base and Home Base Articles.

"First Base Articles are a popular choice by many business owners. They are usually 300-500(words) keyword rich articles. They are good for lead generation, posting to blogs, or posting to article directories", explains Lewis.
Lewis Continues by saying:

" Once businesses invest in " First Base"articles, they notice the amount of traffic they are getting to their website, and they realize that they need more content for their website as well. That's why we also have Home Base articles, which is more in-depth and exclusive website content.

Home base articles are usually 500-1500 words, and may require research and some technical jargon. By investing in both type of articles, business owners will discover:
- Increase in traffic
-Increase in leads and sales
- Brand Recognition
-Being Positioned as an expert

Nina Online! is located in Las Vegas, Nevada , however, they can work with clients virtually around the world. Nina Lewis, President of Nina Online is the head SEO Content writer and writes 95% of content for her clients.

Article Source :

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Website Content Writing Tips

When writing for the web, use

* shorter sentences, words and paragraphs
* one idea per paragraph
* concise text - half the word count (or less) than writing for print
* the inverted pyramid style, putting the most important point or the conclusion first.
* simple words
* objective language to build credibility, rather than exaggerated claims or overly promotional words like "great", "tremendous" etc.
* bulleted lists
* highlighted text (bold or color, also hyperlinked text) for scannability
* meaningful headlines and subheads, avoiding cute or clever lines

Write better web content.
Understand how people (don't) read on the Web

1. Reading on the web is too much work!
Reading from a computer screen tires the eyes. People read 25% more slowly on the web than they read print material.

That's why, web content has to be 50% shorter than print.

2. Readers on the Web scan text
According to a study by usability expert Jacob Nielson, 79% of readers on the Web tend to scan or skim text rather than read word for word.

Highlighted text (bold or color, also hyperlinked text) and bulleted lists aid scannability.

3. Readers on the Web are impatient
Readers on the Web are in a hurry to get the information they want, and move on.
They don't have the patience for obscure and complex text. They don't enjoy scrolling through masses of text either.

Since there are millions of alternative websites in cyberspace, they will quickly move to another site if they don't enjoy the information gathering experience on your site.

Attracting attention and retaining reader interest is a challenge, specially as you have just

* 10 seconds to grab attention with your web site content
* 55 seconds to develop an understanding of your company or product

To combat reader fatigue, make it easy for your Web users to get relevant information. Put the most important information at the top. Use clear and concise text.
4. Readers on the Web are skeptical
Credibility is a major factor in retaining reader interest on the Web.

Use objective language, write meaningful headlines and subheads and avoid marketing jargon or exaggerated claims to build credibility. Cute or clever lines could mean that the reader takes longer to get to the main point.

Hyperlinks to the sources of your information or to related information also add to credibility.

5. Readers avoid information overload
In an average workday, people suffer from information overload . They already have a large number of emails in their inbox to contend with, and several documents to read.
They don't want to spend time and effort reading content that they may not find useful.

Offer your readers information in bite-size chunks which are easily digestible. Use short sentences, short paragraphs, one idea per paragraph.

Use meaningful headlines and sub-headlines which help them nail the information they want, quickly and easily.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Web Content Writing India

Have you ever thought of a business website that is with flashy pictures, videos, audios and sounds but lacks content? No website is complete without its content and some written masterpiece about what exactly is the business about. Especially in India new business seekers are coming up every year and they know the importance of maintaining a complete website. Your website needs to be with related content, services and pictures to make it attractive. Web content writing is one of the essential parts of selling the business online. Marketing your business, selling the produces and targeting new clients with some write-up, content, are truly amazing business elements. Web Content Writing India is now in boom and definitely a bigger contributor to entire online markets and service providers.

Now what’s so special about web content writing and why it has become a need of professional businesses? Web content writing is to be implemented and used by businesses willing to always stay ahead of the competitors. Web Content Writing India is helping businesses and clients from around the globe to generate perfect content that is required for creating powerful, effective, meaningful and engaging business site. Professional content writers or Web Content Writing India professionals can generate perfect set of content that is required for your business sites.

Web content writers in India are well knowledgeable and write better contents by understanding the needs of any particular client and people. Web content writing companies in India are specialized to understand how exactly people approach any text present online and how exactly they read the website content. They consider all points like:
• Reading online is too much of work
• Readers usually scan and read
• All readers are important
• Readers are cynical
• Readers try to avoid overload of data
• Readers online grab things that attract them easily

Web Content Writing India is helping the online businesses to grow faster by tracking online traffic through professional content. Website content writing services helps in article writing, SEO content writing, Blog writing, press release, policies, procedures, proposals, bulk content writing, content editing and everything. Highly talented content writers from Website Content Writing India implements keyword effective contents and thereby help attract maximum clients online. Content writing services in India are offering a perfect helping hand and platform for new businesses to boost up the business in less than expected time. This will let you earn an extra mileage on all major search engines.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Social media marketing and SEO: How to achieve success on a shoestring

As any marketing manager knows, marketing budgets took a real hammering last year. It is sometimes seen as an easy first cut to make - reports show that around 60% of all marketing budgets were reduced in 2009. Some confidence has been restored this year, with marketing managers showing more optimism to invest, but the need to show restraint and resourcefulness will be a recurring theme until the end of this year I suspect.

Businesses are always under pressure to do more for less, to reduce cost per sale, ultimately to protect sales margins. Ironically, this period of downturn has also been mirrored by the exponential rise of social media which has opened up a raft of new opportunities for marketers to engage with their stakeholders. So, how can marketing managers first tune-up their websites ready for social media and the benefits for search engine optimisation (SEO) and also take full advantage of opportunities from ‘free’ social media without burning through their time and budget?

Before you dive in on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, there are some foundations you need to put in place first to get ready for social media and that means looking at your website. Your website is your shop window on the web, the place you want your social media traffic to go. Directing visitors back to your website is where you can capitalise on sales leads (or sales if you have an ecommerce site) and also benefit from 'organic' SEO.

Like any good marketing activity, planning is essential. Your strategy for your website and your social media activity has to tie in and support your overall business strategy. Is your targeting correct – if you are unsure, this is the time to use tools such as brainstorming or mind-mapping to research and evaluate the audiences you need to reach.

Organic SEO means letting the strength of your web site content, news flows, in bound links (links from other websites) and social media activity help drive up your website hits, search results and rankings, rather than spending more money with SEO agencies or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns. Companies spend a great deal of money with SEO specialists to help inch up the search engine page rankings, but we now know that the best way to do this is by using relevant, researched, keyword rich content. Your SEO agency and social media efforts need to be intertwined. If your SEO agency has not mentioned anything about social media you need to ask why. With a concerted campaign to push organic SEO, your SEO and PPC spend should ease; at the very least you will arrest its rise.

Search engine friendly

First base for your website is having a site that is search engine friendly such as a content management system (CMS) that makes your site open for quick and easy consumption by search engines such as Google. If Google cannot easily read your site, then you are not being indexed by Google which means you are not even on the radar. This does not mean an expensive upgrade. Open source CMS’ such as Wordpress or Joomla are ideal. They can easily incorporate all your social media tools such as blogs, RSS feeds, Twitter feeds, bookmarking and so on. Including a simple site map of your web site, with a ‘sitemap.xml’ file provides an instant index for search engines to use to crawl through your website.

Steer clear of overusing Java-based scripts and Macromedia Flash graphics especially for the front pages of your website, as the search engines cannot read it as they would have to run the application first. Sites can be optimised for SEO by ensuring keyword-rich text is included extensively into web page content. Registering for free website directories such as The Open Directory is another 'must-do' on your SEO task list.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Social Media Marketing... The Challenge of Herding Cats

Sure, social media -1:1 marketing and communications - sounds glamorous. It's like the romance, the freedom, the adventure of the old West. It’s just you and him [or her]. Long hours in the online saddle, what could be better?

Ask the folks who have been doing it for years - customer/tech support - it’s a lot like the EDS herding cats commercial.

According to Digital Brand Expressions, less than 41 percent of companies have a cohesive, strategic social media plan. Fewer yet have policies/protocols for handling/managing the activity.

So anyone who can swing onto the keyboard/touchpad saddle declares that he/she is a social media expert. They’re not really a herd of cats. They’re a collection of individual cats. And as any cat lover knows [we’re not one of them], cats are independent thinkers/players.

They can do what you want or they can turn on you in the flick of an eyelash; and gawd, are those claws sharp! Social media is where people got together to:

* share advice/assistance with people of like interests
* talk to each other about their experiences in using products/services
* chat, carry on, whatever
* discuss common interests:
* photography/scrapbooking
* playing games
* raising kids, family issues
* boss/employee problems/solutions

As PC/CE/communications products/services got more complex and converged, they became indispensible. It has also become more difficult to separate fact from fiction, hype from reality, blind love/lust from true satisfaction.

For producers, providers, the challenge is to:

* reach, educate, influence, persuade prospects
* efficiently/effectively provide product/service application/support information
* produce happy customers who influence other prospects
* keep customers/prospects involved in the company, its products/services
* encourage favorable reviews, testimonials
* obtain application/market inputs, proactive product/service improvement ideas
* quickly, effectively solve customer/product issues to retain proactive customers
* build a solid backlog of customer loyalty/goodwill for the dark days

And they must do all this efficiently, cost-effectively.

The Web’s social media watering holes have made it possible for people to get more purchasing assistance beyond their own reading and the geek next door.

Suddenly, guidance, assistance - more than you ever wanted to know is only a few clicks away.

Growing Choices

Technology Priorities according to poll by Internet Retailer
The world of social media just keeps expanding, enabling people to connect with their online communities. They are also prime opportunities for companies, products, staff members to connect with customers and prospects/suspects.

Information, recommendations - good, bad and ugly - are everywhere. Right now, hundreds of millions of consumers worldwide are using social networks, blogs, microblogs, online forums and video-sharing sites.

The growth and influence of social media over product reputations/purchases hasn’t escaped the watchful eyes of corporate, marketing and communications management. But a Digital Brand Expressions worldwide survey showed that 50 percent plus of the firms - large and small - didn’t have a defined social media strategy.

"Everyone" wants to have authority over social media efforts. Marketing, PR, sales, HR, customer relations, IT all have their ideas on how they will manage the social media activities. But few want to be responsible/accountable!

Independent Assistance

Online Purchase Process

Good and bad recommendations, ideas, assistance is available on the Web to help people choose just the right product/service, use it and when necessary get real user and "expert" advice/assistance.

Marketing Objectives for Targeting Social Media
Social communities provide plenty of opportunities for marketing organizations to learn more about customers, find out what products/features they want next and strengthen relationships with customers and partners.

The challenge is that there are probably three billion people online, and believe it or not - more than three million social media options:

* blogs
* micro-blogs [Twitter, Yammer]
* Wikis
* Public consumer Nets [Facebook, MySpace]
* Private social net tools [Lithium, Mzinga]
* Public news, information, fun sites [DigitalMediaNet, YouTube, CNet, etc]
* Consumer websites [AllBabelTech, JocGeek, BitYard, more]

There really aren’t any best practices or established business models for social media activities, so companies just need to get some experience - and quickly.

Most of the social media landscape is of little or no interest to producers/providers unless we address the "One-to-One-to-Many" Principle, as IDC illustrated in the image below:

The One-to-One-to-Many Principle by IDCSocial media enables experienced professionals to build sound relationships with individual customers who spread the word to their contacts.

This grassroots network will also spread negative information about companies, products, services just as rapidly…if not more rapidly.

And since it’s been labeled media, it’s only logical to give the task to the kids who went to school for that sorta’ stuff. That’s okay, as long as things go smoothly.

However, if lightning can spook a herd of cattle [or cats], negative comments about companies, policies/programs, products/services can hit just as quickly and with more devastating effects. It costs time and money to win back customers and many never return.

But… one social media complaint lightning bolt can cause a stampede. That’s why it’s important to be proactive in the social media arena.

Busy Landscape
Sea of servicesWhile every company agrees they have to be involved in the social media landscape, most firms don’t have organization-wide policies and programs on what can/should be done by staff members, how the efforts will be monitored/measured and who is responsible for the social media activities.

Social media includes everything the company does in reaching out, touching, working with people in the firm’s many/varied publics.

The company’s product information and support Web site areas are good - albeit less glamorous - places to start.

Until recently the information was provided with words and diagrams but as people go online to watch videos, progressive companies have been able to add content to their Web sites.

Here is where consumers visit to:

* discover products, services
* refine choices
* decide on a product, service
* gain assurance, inspiration
* execute, find where to purchase
* get support, answers

Online Video Viewers as a Percent of Internet Users
The number of people who turn to their computer or smartphone for their video content is growing rapidly. Online and on-the-go video includes news, information, entertainment, education and business.

Short videos - product demonstrations, applications, installation, troubleshooting, technical discussions - are finally being added.

In addition, they’ve gone viral and are being used by channel partners, linked by blogs and other social media sites and shared by viewers everywhere.

Methods for Sharing Online Video Companies are finding that their corporate videos - product discussion, use, problem solving - can go viral across the iNet as quickly as the latest video joke.

Community members are finding it is faster, easier and more reliable to send or distribute a complete video or link to others in their group.

New compact cameras like the Flip can be used to produce real-people mini-stories quickly, easily, economically. Products like muvee’s Reveal 8 do most of the work automatically.

For departments on a tight budget, low-cost cameras, simple business environment locations, homegrown talent and automated video production software can be used to produce interesting, informative product/service videos that can be uploaded to the company’s Website and social media locations. The key is to tell the story quickly, effectively… then stop.

Interesting, informational, short videos - even with minor mistakes -- are more believable than polished ads. The software helps you explain products, develop SEO [search engine optimization] links and visually assist customers in efficiently, effectively using your products/services.

Using staff members taking viewers through the product/service story not only adds credibility, it encourages people to share the videos and links with others. Viral videos not only quickly tell the product, application story, they also reduce customer frustrations when they’re trying to explain their problem on the phone or online.

They are also finding their way into interest area blogs where authorities want to highlight a solution or respond to an application/support question. Since the digital environment is changing rapidly, there are no "best practice" social media models you can follow.

But you do - or should - know that pushing messages at the consumer doesn’t work. Product explanation, how-to, technical videos helps the consumer feel connected to the company, the brand because they allow person to share information, ideas, rather than being advertised to/pitched/sold. Monitoring the consumer’s feedback/inputs on the videos and the information presented is all part of the changing social media environment.

Explaining the whats, whys, hows of the company’s products and strategy/direction - and listening to inputs - should be your first small step in social media engagements. It’s only a small step forward but it’s a start in build reputation equity.

Herding cats and the social media community have a lot in common. Ride slow, watch/listen to the herd, be ready for the unexpected. It’s a tough, long, rewarding trip.

But at the end of trail, you get a warm bath, good food and a few hours to rest before there’s another herd to round up.

Article Source :

Sunday, July 4, 2010

USA - The recession's not over till its over

U.S. consumer confidence dropped sharply in June, as concerns over the sustainability of economic recovery and the outlook for jobs brought one closely watched indicator's three-month streak of consecutive gains to an end.

Separately, U.S. home prices rose in April from a month earlier, according to the S&P Case-Shiller home-price indexes, boosted by the expiration of the federal first-time home-buyer tax credit. They had fallen for six straight months before the most-recent increase.

The Conference Board, a private research group, said its index of consumer confidence for June dropped to 52.9 compared with the 62.7 seen in May, a figure that was revised down from a previously reported 63.3. The current month's reading was far below economists' expectations for 62.5, according to a survey conducted by Dow Jones Newswires.

The present situation index, a gauge of consumers' assessment of current economic conditions, fell to 25.5 from a 29.8 the prior month. May's result was previously reported as 30.2.

Meanwhile, consumer expectations for the state of economic activity over the next six months plunged to 71.2 from 84.6 in May, previously reported as 85.3.

The drop in the expectations index more than halved the steep 22.4 point-gain it had seen in the three months since February, an increase that had put it to its highest level since an 89.2 reading in August 2007, just before the last recession began.

"Increasing uncertainty and apprehension about the future state of the economy and labor market, no doubt a result of the recent slowdown in job growth, are the primary reasons for the sharp reversal in confidence," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Until the pace of job growth picks up, consumer confidence is not likely to pick up."

The June survey was conducted after the release at the beginning of the month of May payrolls data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that showed a far-lower-than-expected rate of jobs growth in the private sector.

This was reflected in an increase in the percentage of respondents who think jobs are "hard to get" to 44.8% from an upwardly revised 43.9% in May. Meanwhile, those who think jobs are "plentiful" continued to fall, dropping to 4.3% from 4.6% in May.

Expectations about labor markets in the future also deteriorated. The percentage of consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead dropped from 20.2% in May to 16.0% in June, below even its April reading of 17.7%. The proportion expecting fewer jobs rose to 11.4% from 10.6% last month.

April Home Prices Jump
Home prices rebounded some last summer, following stock-market gains, after dropping off sharply for several years. But they began sliding month to month again in the fall. The expiration of the first-time home-buyer tax credit has drained some of the housing market's demand the past two months, and mounting concern over European finances and May's "flash crash" have prompted skepticism about the economy.

Housing analysts have recently grown gloomier about the outlook for home prices as sales slump, with a survey released last week by MacroMarkets LLC finding that 56% of 106 economists and analysts surveyed expecting home prices to decline this year, up from 40% a month ago.

The Case-Shiller 10-city index climbed 0.7% compared with March, while the 20-city index rose 0.8%. The indexes "do show some improvement with higher annual increases than in March's report," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of S&P's index committee, though he noted that "many of the gains are modest and somewhat concentrated in California."

The indexes showed prices in 10 major metropolitan areas jumped 4.6% in April from a year earlier, while the index for 20 major metropolitan areas increased 3.8% year over year. On that basis, San Francisco saw the biggest jump in prices, rising 18%, with San Diego up 12% and Minneapolis rising 9.5%. The biggest decliner remained Las Vegas, which dropped 8.5%.

Month-to-month gainers were headlined by Washington, D.C., which rose 2.4%. Only two of the 20 major metropolitan areas, Miami and New York, saw month-to-month declines.

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