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Search Articles

Posts Tagged ‘search’


11 Things You Need to Think About in an Online Marketing Strategy

February 11th, 2010 :: Steven Fisher

If you have a small business these days, chances are you are online in some fashion and looking to leverage that channel and do some sort of online marketing. In order to prepare for your online marketing activities we came up with 11 lessons learned that you should consider with your online marketing strategy.

1.) What is Your Pitch?

Many clients I have met want to run head first into online marketing without asking a simple question – what are we pitching? The art of the pitch revolves around the marketing message you are looking to convey combined with the take action that the person you are engaging will take.

2.) What Are Your Goals with Online Marketing?

Once you have the pitch and the take action down you need to ask another very fundamental question – what do you want to accomplish with online marketing? Some goals can be to get new leads or subscribers or store customers.

3.) Where Are Your Customers to Engage Them? (email newsletters, online video)

Gone are the days of “build it, they will come”. You have to build a web site but also reach out in many different channels to get attention. You have to go where your customers are and engage them. In some cases it can be after the fact when they sign up for a newsletter or subscribe to your blog, only to be brought back to your site when the offer is right. In other cases it is using tools like online video, Twitter and Facebook to engage them.

4.) What Will You Offer On Your Web Site?

When you build your web site you should ask a fundamental question and that is “what will you offer someone that visits your web site?” and that is because people will come there interested in your business and wanting to get something from it. This could be a free e-book, photos, contact info. Something that people need. This can also be separated into specific offers that are tracked and go to a certain place. They are called landing pages.

5.) What is the “Take Action” on Your Web Site? Subscribe to email newsletter, Get Leads, Sell Something, Get an Appointment?

Following up right after you know what you will offer on your web site, you need to ask a follow up question – what is the “take action” of this site? Should my goal be to get an email address for a newsletter? Sell them a product? Make it easy to request an appointment or free consultation?

The site needs to have a take action in some form or because if you spend your time driving traffic and potential customers to your site and there is nothing to take action on, then there is nothing you will gain from having the web site in the first place.

6.) Should Have a Blog?

These days many people are almost expecting a company to have some sort of blog but many companies fail miserably at it using it as a press release dumping ground or worse writing a few things at first and then…..nothing. So you have to ask yourself, is your company the type of place that would benefit from having one? Do you have the resource to dedicate to it? Are you looking to establish your company or you as a thought leader or is this a channel that can connect you with your customers in dialog?

7.) Should You Leverage Social Media Channels? (Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, MySpace, YouTube)

I mentioned above that you will need to be where your customers are to engage them. As part of your online marketing strategy is the emerging and hot topic of social media. The core of social media is about having conversations with people and being at various “outposts” where your customers are located. The most popular social media channels are Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. You must explore and research where your customers are spending time and how they like to interact with you.

8.) What is Your Search Engine Marketing Strategy?

Yes, this old chestnut. Search engine marketing is really the tip of the spear in your online marketing strategy. All your activities do one of two things – improve your search engine results so people find you better or you use search engine marketing/advertising so people find you better. All to come your web site and take action in some form that we mentioned above. This works in unison with things like social media that increase your search engine rankings and improve your results.

9.) Will You Advertise? What Types?

There are many types of online advertising, pay-per-click, banner ads, video ads, etc. The main question is, will you advertise to direct traffic to you? It should be some aspect but you need to to your homework on what might work. Most important is to have your campaigns identified and test, test, test.

10.) What Are Your Metrics of Success for All of This?

Each business is different in how they measure success. Before you jump into all these activities we talked about above you need to know what will be a measure of success for your campaigns. If you have an e-commerce site it might be % of visitors converted to sales. If you have a content or services web site you might be looking to maximize your e-mail or blog subscribers so you can market to them at a later time.

11.) How Will You Measure?

That depends on the tools your employ and the metrics you need to gather. If you are looking to track social media metrics, you can utilize a tool like Radian6. If you are tracking pay-per-click or landing page campaigns, you can use a tool like Google Analytics. There are many tools out there and you need to know the metrics of success first and then researching for the tools will be much easier.

10 Powerful SEO Tips for Your Blog

February 9th, 2010 :: Steven Fisher

Everyone these days with a web site has probably heard words like “blogs”, “SEO and “Search Engines”. I am sure if you are on the web you are using a search engine every day. Over the last few years people have used blogs to communicate in a more engaged way with their readers. With the millions of blogs out there it is a bit tough to be heard and while search engines love blogs (each new post looks like the site is new and that is great for rankings) there is a challenge in how to properly tune your blog and optimize it for the search engines. Therefore we have put together this list of 10 powerful SEO tips for your blog.

1.) Leverage great SEO plugins

On WordPress, there is a plugin called All-in-One SEO pack which you can do the required optimization such as adding titles, tags etc. and obtain higher search engine rankings for your blog. Another is called Google sitemap plug-in and when you update your blog, its URL is submitted to the Google index by Google Sitemaps, which will help search engines to index the same. You can also use related posts plug-ins like Simple Tags as these generate deep links under each post linking to related posts within your website owing to the presence of common tags. This fetches a great number of visitors from search engines as these love internal linking of pages within your website. If anyone integrates full RSS feed in a website, the links will be directed to your pages. This increases the usability of your blog manifold thereby enabling search engine crawlers to index your previous blog posts too.

2.) Create Great Headlines

There is nothing better than a great headline. It has worked for newspapers since they were invented and if you are like me you have a feed reader and scan the headings to see what to read and what to pass over. Headings have a lot to do with that. So you might have the most awesome content in the world but if your heading stinks, no one will even go further in your post.

3.) Use Alt Tags on Your Images

Freelance Folder has a good write up on using Alt Tags in your images -”Putting alt attributes on your images actually serves two purposes. In terms of SEO, putting a brief yet descriptive alt attribute along with your image, places additional relevant text to your source code that the search engines can see when indexing your site. The more relevant text on your page the better chance you have of achieving higher search engine rankings. In addition, including image alt attributes help the visually impaired who access web sites using a screen reader. They can’t see the image, but with a descriptive alt attribute, they will be able to know what your image is.

4.) Create Relevant Content

Freelance Folder also talks about how important relevant content is to a blog. “You can put all the keywords you want in the meta tags and alt image tags, etc — but if the actual readable text on the page is not relevant to the target keywords, it ends up basically being a futile attempt. While it is important to include as many keywords in your page copy as possible, it is equally as important for it to read well and make sense. I’m sure we’ve all seen keyword stuffed pages written by SEO companies that honestly don’t make much sense from the reader’s point of view. When creating your site copy, just write naturally, explaining whatever information you’re discussing. The key is to make it relevant, and to have it make sense to the reader. Even if you trick the search engines into thinking your page is great — when a potential customer arrives at the site and can’t make heads or tails of your information and it just feels spammy to them — you can bet they’ll be clicking on the next web site within a matter of seconds.

5.) Leverage Social Media Channels

Everyone these days are using Facebook and Twitter in some way. Social media channels range from social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn — to social bookmarking sites such as Delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon and many more. There is a lot of relationship building involved, but as you build your own networks and build quality content on your web site or blog, you’ll see traffic to your web site increasing, as well. However, that with any relationship, it is a give and take. Don’t just expect to join a site like Twitter for the pure sake of pushing your content. That isn’t going to work – your true intentions will be very apparent and people will turn you off and ignore you.

6.) Use Your Awesome Headlines in Your Permalink Structure

That term might sound a little foreign if you are not familiar with blog administration. The permalink is a code that tells the blog software how to structure your hyperlink. Like, domain name/year/month/title/. In this case you will want to look at your blog software for more specifics. Most important and the point of this tip is to use the post title in your permalink structure. SEO-friendly permalinks that include the post title get indexed faster by search engines.

7.) Get on Blog Directories and Site Submission

About.com has a great tip here – “If you haven’t already submitted to blog directories, you are missing out on some great one-way links. Many of the top directories can be found onRobin Good’s Top 55 list. But before you head over there and start submitting, you should know a little about how to optimize your blog. Then your new listings can help your site get the best keyword placement in the major search engines.

8.) Frequently Update the Blog

Another thing the About.com talks about is updates and spiders – “The more you post, the more food for the spider, which can cause the spider to react by splitting up its job into several visits, whereupon you have even more content, and so on, until the spider just adds you to a more frequent schedule of returns.”

10.) Work Steadily and Consistently – The Most Important Tip

To get the results you are looking for, you don’t have to slave over long blog posts several times a day. You do things like writing in a big chuck and scheduling them so that you can have posts show up daily even though you might only be writing once a month.

What Things Are Working For You?

So have you applied any of these tips already? Did you learn anything new? What tips work for you that we should share with fellow readers? Leave a comment.

Building a Marketing Driven SEO Strategy

February 4th, 2010 :: Steven Fisher

We are all competing for what it seems is like the same space to get our message out there. People are inundated with marketing messages and pitches to take action. Almost all of those messages include a web site address. This is a form of outbound marketing, like cold calls or sales letters. What many people are looking to do which is low cost is get found on the web better so people get to their web site and take action. However, if you don’t have a marketing driven search engine optimization strategy, people will never find you. Many people start out with search engine optimization not knowing where to start. The conventional SEO strategy looks like this:

  • Research keywords
  • Optimize site for those keywords
  • Link internal pages using keyword loaded terms
  • Get links from other sites with keywords in the link

These days, this strategy isn’t working as like it used to and people need to start realizing that if a web site is not genuinely interesting and is not worth remarking upon, it can be nearly impossible to get links, attention and rankings.

Following the Rules of Marketing

In order to clear the decks and hit the reset button we will need to build a marketing drive SEO strategy. That requires us to actually follow the rules of marketing to make it work. Start with a market analysis. You have to ask three primary questions –

  • What does the consumer need?
  • How many consumer need this product/service?
  • What is the buying process?

In order for SEO to work well, a product or service must be designed with a clear audience in mind. The beauty of this is you can figure out if there is a market, and what that market demands, test that market, and then build a site to cater to that market. You can do this quickly and cheaply, using search marketing.

Next you need to do some competitive research. Query the search engine results pages under the keywords you want to rank for and pick out the top ten sites in your niche. You will need to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the competition as well as determine the strengths and weaknesses of your own site, relative to the competition.

Now you will need to start positioning yourself through campaigns and testing them out. SEOBook has a great set of steps to do position testing:

  • Undertake keyword research
  • Look for a niche that is “worth remarking upon” and is new, or doesn’t have a lot of existing competition
  • Select a brand name and domain name the describes the niche ie. SEOBook.com. It is useful to include a keyword term
  • Build a site that focuses exclusively on this niche, and no others.
  • Conduct SEO campaign
  • Monitor results.
  • If you aim to be the first in the customers mind when they think of a keyword term, you can easily win the ranking game. What do you think of when someone mentions the name “Google”? Search, right. How about IBM? Computers. Hewlett Packard? Printers.

When you are ready you will need to take this niche you have selected for bit of a causal test drive around the block.

So when you evaluate the competitors in your niche, also consider how difficult it will be for followers to compete with you.

Executing the SEO Strategy

In the same article, SEOBook has a great check list to try things out and execute the strategy. Here they are:

  • Build content. Get a list of 50 keywords and write a page on each. Include how-to’s, generalist information, news (use Blog software), video, photos and maps. Tag all graphical content with keyword terms
  • Write naturally, stay on a single topic per page. Forget keyword density, it is overrated
  • Layout the site by placing most important (money) pages at the top of the hierarchy, one step away from the home page
  • Create a Google Site Map to ensure crawlability
  • Once the site is complete, submit to the top directories. We recommend Yahoo!,BOTW, and Business.com
  • Issue a press release. Ensure you include a link back to your site.
  • Open Twitter and Facebook accounts, and update each time you add a page of content
  • Add one new page of quality content to the site per day
  • After 30 days, examine your stats. Look for long tail keyword terms, choose the most popular term, and write a page about it. Use this list of long tail keywords as article starter ideas
  • Every 15 days, do the same thing again
  • Remember to write a new page of quality content every day
  • Find the top ten sites in closely related niches, and offer to write articles for them. Include a link back to your site

They say and after doing this myself with some other sites and after six months, you should be ranking well, and your traffic should be moving in an upward trajectory.

If You are Looking for Help from an SEO Marketing Firm

We can’t do it all and when we are a small business, we might try and do it all but we need to learn the hard way that it is best to find the expert for something and hire them to do it. In this case, you should be looking for a online marketing provider that provides SEO services. Here is some great advice from SmallBizTrends on what to look for:

Analyze your web site. The basis of SEO starts with your web site. Like a doctor who should ask questions and do some tests before making a diagnosis, your SEO company should start by examining your web site.They should look at factors such as: the URL structure, your title and Meta tags, page content, and how you link pages of your site to each other. The more complex your web site, the more thorough the analysis should be. This is where advanced SEO knowledge is crucial. Minor changes can have a big impact.

Identify keywords. Keywords are words that people type into search engines to find web pages. For most, they already rank well for the name of their business. To attract new business, they also need to rank well for other terms. Where your web page shows up in the list is your ranking – and getting on the first page can mean a lot more business than being lower on the list.Keywords and content are the foundation of a well-optimized web site. Your SEO company should see where you currently rank for relevant keywords. They should give the approximate demand and competition for various words (usually phrases) that are important to your business.If your business is a local business, your SEO company should focus on local terms by adding state or city names to keyword phrases you’re targeting. They should be sure that you’re listed correctly on search engine maps like Google Maps because map results show up above the rest of the results.