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DISCLAIMER: The FTC requires me to let you know that I may be compensated for products or services recommended. In many cases I am recommending my own company's services, so it's kind of funny to have to spell this out, but I do get paid by some of the companies whose ads are on the site. I ONLY list ads for companies that I use and fully endorse.

Posts Tagged ‘search engine optimization’

What You Need to Know about SEO (On Page SEO – Part 1 of 3) – Fueled Friday

Search Engine Optimization (a.k.a. SEO) is a very confusing subject to many. Like anything else, once you learn the theory and the specific components of SEO, it starts to make more sense. Some might even say it’s not that hard, and I would agree. Not to beat a dead horse, I will define SEO as “architecting a website such that the search engines are able to understand what is is about and why it should rank well for its related terms.”

There are two general components to SEO; “on page” elements and “off page” elements. On Page SEO refers to how the keywords related to your business appear in the written content of your site as well as the behind the scenes code that only the search engines read. Off Page SEO refers to how other (relevant) websites link to your website. When speaking, I put it like this “on page SEO tells the search engines what your website is about and off page SEO tells the search engines that your website is important enough to rank for what its about.” There is a third component to consider for effective SEO and that is the website platform iteself. There are essentially search engine friendly and non search engine friendly web platforms. I am sure you can guess which one is best for SEO. In this post, I will discuss on page SEO in detail and in the next two posts, I will discuss off page SEO and web platforms.

The two components of on page SEO are the actual page content (what people read) and the page coding (which the search engines read). In days of SEO past, content was referred to as “king”. You would hear people in the SEO business using that phrase very often – in fact too often – “content is king“, “content is king“. So let’s chat about what kind of content and coding you need to have on your website to get great results in the search engines.

Themed Content
Your website content should be “themed” meaning that each page on your website should target a unique set of keywords. For example, if you own a financial services company, you would want to have a separate page on your website for each service that you offer. This gives each of those pages an opportunity to rank for its related keywords. Many people fall short here in trying to get a single page site (often their home page) to rank for multiple keywords, and that generally can’t happen. What the search engines are looking for is how relevant a single page is to a keyword or set of related keywords. If you have a single page website that talks about everything you do, chances are that it will not rank for anything that you do because the keywords are diluted in value.

Fresh Content
The search engines want to serve relevant and current content to the searching public. While it is often not practical to change your web content frequently, there are certainly things you can do to keep current content on your website. Here are a few suggestions:

– Whenever there are changes to product or service offerings, you want to make sure to use those opportunities to update your website.

– If you have events or news, always make sure to add those to your site as well (news websites tend to do well in the search engines due to continually having new content).

– Adding articles to your website on a consistent basis can allow it to grow into a resource website that will attract those search at search engines and others linking to and sharing your content; which should ultimately lead to increased sales.

– Having a blog as a part of your website is a great way to add content on a continual basis and can help to position your company as the thought leader in your industry.

Website Coding
If you are not technical, some of this may not resonate with you. This just means you need to get someone to sit down and explain it or do it for you. Website coding (for the pupose of SEO) refers to having your keywords in the specific tags that the search engines look for such as TITLE tags, ALT tags, and META tags. Some may disagree with me, but I will say this. If you focus on creating solid content and use relevant keywords in your TITLE tags, you will do well. You should add META tags as a matter of good practice, but NEVER expect the META tags to make a big difference in your website. In he past, they used to have value but they have been abused so the search engines simply devalued them. I have had website obtain #1 rankings with no META tags whatsoever. Using ALT tags to add keywords to your images is a nice way to reinforce their keyword relevance, but a bigger way to do this is to name your images with keyword terms rather than the default names (i.e. loan-modification.jpg vs. DSC0112.jpg).

I hope this gives you some great ideas for adding relevant content and coding to your website. Once you start to put it into place, I am confident you will see results. If you need more specifics on the coding aspects, my book on Internet Marketing spells a lot of this out.

So, while content may be king, links are the “queen” that turns the kings head. Stay tuned for next weeks Fueled Friday where I disucss links and off page SEO.

Have a great weekend!

Fueled Friday – Using Multiple Online Marketing Strategies

Today, I want to discuss the various types on online marketing strategies that you can use as an intro to the upcoming blog posts on the mechanics of each.

For many, the term online marketing brings to mind a host of different thoughts. Some immediately think of search engine optimization, others may think of paid search, and yet others may think of email marketing, blogging, or social media strategies. The fact remains, that they are all components of online marketing, and frankly should all be employed at some level. Some strategies will come more naturally to you, and others will seem to give you better results. Over the next several posts, I will cover each, but today, I will leave you with a simple list of online marketing strategies to consider. To get a head start on this series of posts, I recommend doing a search on this blog to see what you can find on the topic as well as a Google search to learn more about whichever segment of online marketing you are seeking to learn more about.

Here is my list of the various online marketing strategies that you can employ. If you feel something is missing, let me know my leaving a comment below:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This involves architecting your website to obtain natural rankings in the search engines. It is the most effective form of online marketing, and takes the most time to see results.

Paid Search / Pay Per Click (PPC) Search: This involves paying for each visitor that comes to your website. The upside is that you will see results immediately; the down side is that you can lose lots of money if you do this wrong.

– Blogging: You will learn several reasons why blogging is a highly effective form on online marketing. It is one of my favorite and I cannot wait to share more on this. You can also implement blogging without spending a penny, which make it a great option for those with limited budgets.

Email Marketing: There are two aspect of email marketing that I will share. The first is the most effective and involves emailing your clients and prospect. The second and less recommended form of email marketing it purchasing email lists (NOT spam lists) and marketing to cold prospects.

Viral Marketing: This is a form of marketing where you share valuable information for free (from your website) and allow others to share it for free. It is a great way to get the word out about your product, service, or business.

Social Media Marketing: Everyone is talking about Social Media these days, and it’s a great way to build a following for your brand and reach lots of prospects in a short period of time. Sadly, most don’t really understand how to implement it effectively.

Text / Mobile Marketing: As the name implies, this is a method of reaching people via cell phones and smart devices. It is a growing field that you should not ignore.

Affiliate Marketing: This is a powerful way to empower others to send you business. Of course, you will pay them for their successful referrals, but it essentially puts a commissioned sales force to work for you.

Online Press / Media Relations: This is an area that many businesses neglect and it can produce amazing results.

Online Advertising: This is closely related to PPC, yet it deserves its own category. I would recommend this only as a last resort or a supplement to a multi-channel online marketing program.

Local Search Marketing: Reaching your local audience is critical if you are a local business, but even if you are a national business you don’t want to neglect customers in your own backyard.

Well, I am sure that gives you lots to consider. Please take the time to do some research on any of these that are not familiar with you. This way, when we reach this part in the series, it won’t be totally new to you and you will be able to ask some great questions to help you implement or optimize a specific strategy.

I am off to Louisville, KY today where I hear it will be cold, so keep sending me warm thoughts. :-)

Have a great weekend!

Fueled Friday – Finding Your Online Market Potential

Online marketing is the most effective form of reaching a targeted audience. In this weeks Fueled Friday post, I want to show you how to find out how much online marketing potential exists for your business. This is critical because if you don’t realize what you are missing out on, you might never be motivated to go after it. I will tell you this as well; most of your competitors are not paying attention to this so it will be fairly easy for you to outrank them and get the customers you need. This holds true whether you are a local business or serve clients nationally or internationally.

The most critical factor in any organic or paid search marketing plan is having keywords that heave search volume. If no one is search for terms related to your business, then online marketing may not be the best form of outreach for you. It is rare, but there are definitely cases where it is not in a company’s best interest to invest in an SEO or Paid Search campaign.

So how do you find out what people are searching on? The simplest and most cost effective way is to use Google’s free keyword research tool. This will tell you what people are searching on and how many searches are being done in a given month. If there are lots of people searching, then that means you have a high online marketing potential. If the search volume is low, then you do not have a high of an online marketing potential, but this could also be a good sign if there are fewer competitors because most of the prospects searching would end up at your website. Below is a screen shot from a search I did for local accountants in my area.

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From this you can see what the search potential is for just two terms specific to “accounting in phoenix.” Let’s assume for a minute that you are going to target these two terms here which represents roughly 35,200 monthly searches. Now keep in mind that the percentage of these searchers that come to your website will be relative to where you rank for these terms. You really will need to get ranked on page 1 for to see any reasonable percentage of these searchers. Let’s say you get to position 2 and you generate roughly 8% of this traffic. That would give you roughly 2,800 visitors to your website, of which a smaller percentage will engage. We can conservatively use 3% which would give you about 84 visitors for the month. What percentage of those that contact you looking for your help do you think you can close? If we assume it’s just 20%, that would net you 16 new clients that months. Now let’s assume they are small business clients with an ongoing monthly retainer of $1,000. This would generate about $16,000 in additional monthly revenue for your business.

So now you have the formula to find out your online marketing potential. I encourage you to do your own search and plug in your numbers to see what the specific potential is for your business.

The exact formula is: “total number of searches” x “percentage of those that you can attract via paid, local, and organic search” (use 3-10% if you are on page one and zero if you are not) x “the percentage of people that land on your website then contact you (you can use 3% as an estimate) x the percentage of people that you close (use 20% but do track and find your actual closing ratio).

If your average cost per client is low, then you have to be a bit more cautious to how much you spend to generate leads online. If your average cost per customer is much higher, then you may need fewer clients to see a very strong return on investment.

I know you may be thinking that there is no way you can afford to get to the top of the search engines, but I have to tell you that it certainly is possible. Does it have to be expensive? No. In fact, there are plenty of low cost or no cost strategies that you can use to attract people to your website (mainly blogging and social media which I did not include in the calculations).

I’d love to hear your success stories, so feel free to email me and let me know what you came up with in terms of your market potential. If this is a bit overwhelming, then feel free to contact me and I will provide a free online marketing assessment and this way you will know where you stand in terms of what it would take to get you to the top of the search engines.

Now that you have some work to do for the weekend, enjoy your Friday!

Why You Might Not Want to be Number One in Google

I was talking to a prospective client a while ago and she was fixated on being number one in Google for a highly competitive keyword. It’s not that I didn’t have the ability to help her accomplish this as I have obtained countless top 10 positions in Google over the past decade. Her problem was that she didn’t have the finances to have the work done in order to make it happen.

I tried to help her by crafting an affordable proposal that would get her website found on the search engines for lesser competitive (long tail), but equally effective terms. She seemed to still be fixated on her keyword of choice. I posed the question to her about how much business she thought she would get if she were at the #1 spot. Specifically, I asked her if she was prepared to handle the amount of inquiries and customers she would receive if she was #1 for a high level and highly searched term (knowing that she was not based on the size of her company vs. those in the top 10). Her reply was something to the effect of “that would be a great problem to have.” I agree it would be a problem, but I am not sure it would be a great problem for her.

We talked a bit about her plans to grow her business and she really did not have a plan in place, which I am sure would have sent her into panic if the need arose as quickly as it would have.

There are plenty of stories of companies that have grown too fast to their detriment. There are multitude of reasons, but they all revolve around not having the resources to serve the needs of a massive influx of customers all at once. This all has to do with business planning, which is the first point of failure for most small business owners. You’ve heard the saying I am sure; “people don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan“.

So my question is not “do you want to be #1 on Google” but rather “are you prepared for what it may look like?”

OldSchool SEO offering SEM Services

This really isn’t news other than I have not posted any specific information on SEM consulting services on this blog prior. As far as SEM services, I am a one man operation however I utilize the services of two firms in particular to handle my overflow work. I also work with a designer who handles any web design needs that may arise. From time to time I consider adding additional SEM staff and building Web Traffic Team into a larger entity, but I did that once already and I just don’t think it’s the direction I want to go in. There is always the possibility of partnering with one of the many SEM firms that I respect and trust, but for now, I am very content working as I do.

I will be focusing on a few niche industries, mostly related to financial services and offering a host of services including:

– Tele-coaching
– One on One Coaching
– Full Service SEM
– Social Media Marketing
– Link Building
– Pay Per Click Search
– General SEM Consulting.

For more information on SEM service offerings and pricing, please visit the Search Marketing Consulting section of my blog.

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