Using SEO and Tagging To Play The Game!

Using SEO and Tagging To Play The GameOkay, today I am going to let you into the twisted world of “winning” at SEO and tagging on any website you are registered with. This is not for the purposes of ranking on search engines, but on specific websites that you are a part of (although it should work on YouTube and other sites that allow self tagging).

The Media Monster and I signed up for SpeakerMatch.com so we could get more public speaking events next year. You may be signed up for an association website, LinkedIn or other similar site where there is heavy database, keyword or tagging searching (I did this for my husband on LinkedIn so he could rank for Database Administrator (DBA) a keyword that people look for when they are looking for people like him! As you can see he is ranked number three with very little LinkedIn use and very few connections.

SEO LinkedIn Tagging and Keywords

If you are in the job market (for say speaking gigs), you could max out your profile with keywords that people might use like public speaker, denver, etc. These will all effect the number of hits you get. Don’t try to be everything to everyone on each site, just try to be the best you on each one!

Database Bits

SpeakerMatch Database SearchSo I was messing around searching the SpeakerMatch database BEFORE I publish our profile. There are a number of different database fields that you search (these are called CLUES to me!) This is the public search that meeting organizers will be using to find speakers. Some fields include:

please note that humans tend to start at the top and work their way down, keep that in mind!

  • Speakers First or Last Name – I can’t compete with this one…if they have someone in mind already I am NOT changing my name…:)
  • Keyword – This has to be a boolean search (a database term that means using keywords with the ability to use pluses, etc.) as the results that come up are not in the tags of the people who are returned. Note to self, make sure that I have LOTS of keywords in my description. Someone could search “marketing speaker” which returned 2 results OR “marketing speakers” which returned two also – could mean that it knows plurals but to be on the safe side I am going to use both.
  • Topic category – Now this is where it gets interesting! Like I said before, people read from the top down so my potential categories are (A) Advertising and PR, (M) Marketing and (S) Social Media. Now there is not a place for me to choose this so I need to make sure that I have those keywords in my profile so I can get in the juicy first category!
  • Fee range – optional based on your business…picking nothing (open) seems lame and counter productive
  • City - PLEASE use the biggest city in your area. I live in Westminster, CO but say that I am traveling from Denver as that is the closest large city to me!
  • State – Self explanatory
  • Gender, Ethnicity and Religion – Can feel like it is intrusive, but meeting planners and others sometimes have need of certain person to fill a spot. Your goal is to get on the list so fill these out!

Missed Opportunities

Now, I started filling bits out and thought I had it pretty well done except for tweeking. Then I dug a little deeper. You can have programs (your topics – many didn’t even have this basic information filled out), articles (why not write a couple of quick articles?), audio (pull it off of your videos!), blog (um add the link!), pictures, documents, and testimonials.

As with any website that makes their business selling information, rarely are the owners of the site (like SpeakerMatch) going to tell what to do to win. But dang, they sure give you come clues. If you are dedicated to succeeding at coming up in the most searches, add some articles (even though you wonder why in the heck you would…:) Upload your videos if that is what they like or share you YouTubes. Remember this is all a game and the player with the most cards WINS!

One thing that is tempting to do is repurpose something you have written somewhere else. I wouldn’t do that, make sure you have new content for the articles. Also, it would probably be a great idea to do a welcome video just for that website so people know that you care! These little touches will ABSOLUTELY make a big difference in how many people find you in searches (and that is the point right?)

If you have meandered down here, you probably have either a jones to make your LinkedIn or SpeakerMatch better BUT remember this works for ANY website that allows search term, SEO, tagging or opting in to things like “liking” certain pages (ie Facebook). If you start to think, “hey I want to be the one that comes up in searches” you can make a huge difference in your SEO marketing efforts!

Incoming search terms:

  • 태깅
  • youtube search engine
  • this is not for play

Small Business Marketing – Why Do They Keep Saying SEO Is Dead

Small Business Marketing - Why Do They Keep Saying SEO Is DeadThis post is for NON-SEO (search engine optimization) people, my small business owners who are out there in the trenches trying to figure out how to do SEO to get your posts and sites seen and read. It is pretty long and detailed, if you have any questions, please make sure to leave them in the comment section!

A little history of SEO

The history of SEO for me starts in about 1999 when I was working at a web hosting company and we started building websites for clients. In those days having a website was a rarity and luxury that few business owners could or would afford. In those days there were no search engines as we know them today, you just had yahoo and altavista which were sites that were effectively big directories of page links that you could add your website to. Not too much SEO going on yet…but we still tried. In those days you DID have to keyword each page because they were all separate HTML pages.

Fast forward to 2005-2006 for me and blogs had become all the rage in the big dog circles although I was still on the fence. That said, I built my two main sites there and we were off to the races. They looked clumsy and ugly, but man did they rank well in search engines like Google which was big and getting bigger all the time (check out the history of the Google here…:)

Around this time I first became aware that there were “black hat” and “white hat” methods of SEO and that some of the black hatters were doing mean things like hijacking your website and redirecting it to the porn…sigh. Oh this was high times for SEO. You could throw up a couple of “doorway pages” that were keyword stuffed and get rankings right away. You could also write a bunch of keywords in the bottom of the page and make them white so no one could “see” them…but of course the search engines could read them when the spiders came to index your site.

The other thing you could do was to make huge networks of links that were really lame and came from “thin sites” which had about 5 keyword stuffed pages. You could also pay very little to be put into gagillions of directories. All these backlinks still helped to increase your rankings on Google although everyone knew they violated the terms of service.

Onto 2009 and some really fun times. You could write a couple of posts and then “spin” them and submit them to sites like Ezine articles and article farms. There was no thought put into any of these, just tons of gibberish and sort of english sounding words all strung together. You could also find content on the internet and just pull the feed into your site as content or simply copy and paste it to your website and it would still rank well. For a while there, when you did a google search, all you got was crap sites…which leads us to a short break to talk about what Google does…

Google is focused on the user experience of the searcher and they don’t care if marketers are happy. They make changes to their algorithm constantly and this causes some sites to go up and some sites to go down. Sometimes popular site are penalized by these changes and tactics that worked in the past no longer will work. Additionally, they have an internal system for figuring out page rank of sites, giving sites a score between 0-10. Having a 10 site (like www.usa.gov and www.adobe.com) link to you is like the holy grail of link juice and something that all marketers try to accomplish!

Moving on, in 2011 the Panda Update targeted thin sites that offered a poor user experience…meaning that all of those crappy sites dropped like a stone. Not only did this effect the little sites, but it made the page rank that they sent to the connected pages in the network worthless. So if someone had 100s of sites all linking to them from thin sites and google took all those sites down all that ranking love went with it. Now we recommend that people have more “authority sites” rather than little tiny websites!

The 2012 Penguin Update specifically targeted links. This one mad me very happy because I KNEW that there were black-hatters out there who were getting LOTS of traffic because they had made A LOT of fraudulent backlinks to their websites and I didn’t want to cheat that way even though my clients’ and my sites were struggling to show up in the non-black hat world. This update didn’t just say that crappy backlinks were bad, and don’t do them anymore…it said we are going to penalize you dearly for all those backlinks you ALREADY have out there and you need to try to walk back the cat and make them go away. Think about finding 5 or 10 THOUSAND of bad backlinks, emailing the site owner and begging them to remove your link…not fun!

Last but not least, the Google is a changing over to semantic search. This is a term to describe the fact that, while many people are still searching on their computers, many searches are done on a smart phone with real words, such as “siri how do I get to the grocery store on 7th and main”. In the past this search would look much different as it was typed into a computer!

Now you are pretty much up to today so let’s break down some of the specifics about why they say SEO is dead!!! ps – I wrote a post a while ago about bad SEO not just not helping but hurting that you might enjoy too!!

No follow links

Back in the heyday of link building, there were many sites that allowed “follow” links in their comments and even on their sites (Squidoo comes to mind). That has changed drastically now and most links that you are able to proactively create are “no follow” links which do not pass any page rank to your website.

Over-optimized links

It has been almost two years now since Google said that they would punish you for bad links and still I get user names like this in my comment section…”SEO China, SEO Hong Kong”. What they are trying to do is get a link back that has the keywords SEO and SEO china in them. The problem with this is link building companies are unable to make links the way humans do. In the real world, some of those links would say “click here” and some would say the owner’s name, and some would say the company name and some would link to SEO china, but not all. The SEO companies are still using old tricks that no longer work and could hurt you!

Doorway Pages

Some of you may be wondering why I am talking about something from 4-5 years ago…well I am here to tell you, these are still going on and being sold by SEO companies even though they will probably hurt the website owner! These are keyword stuffed pages that are intended to stand alone and provide a “doorway” for a particular page on a website. For example, I could make a doorway page that was super optimized for SEO Expert Denver, and have the only link go to my sales page for that service. Sounds good, right? Well it was at least 4 years ago that Google got wise to these and shut them down (even before noticing the “thin sites” that they corrected in the Panda update). These do not work!

Keyword Links to multiple pages

Dude, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could just, like, rank for Social Media Expert Maryland, Social Media Expert Florida and a whole bunch of different ones like that? Then we could make pages for each one with the same content except change the words to the right city and state…people are STILL doing this to this day even though it was Panda-ed. This one just needs to die a horrible death!!!

Article Spinning

There are hundreds of article spinner softwares out there and it can be tempting to think about all the great backlinks you can get…unfortunately this is another blast from the past and it doesn’t work nearly as well as it did before. You would be MUCH better off to write a number of different articles so you will know that it is original content!

Fake directories

There are literally MILLIONS of directories that you can submit your website to. None are particularly good or high quality and they don’t work anymore. Here is a great article about this… What Makes a Good Web Directory, and Why Google Penalized Dozens of Bad Ones. Please note that this post is from 2007…when they started to crack down. The sad thing is this is still a service that SEO companies offer today.

Buying links

The whole idea that you will write great content and people will beat a path to your door is cute and not all that relevant. You have to work your face off to get backlinks from other sites and share it on social A LOT to get traction. This can make wanting to just buy backlinks from Fiverr or a really bad SEO company very tempting. DO NOT DO IT!!! All of those links violate the terms of service and will count AGAINST you. In plain English…you will pay someone to make a whole bunch of links that you will have to pay someone else later to get rid of through remediation and hard work.

Why EXACTLY Do They Say SEO Is Dead

Well, Google just hid all the data about what keywords people use to search for your website so it is hard to figure out what you rank for. The data in your google analytics just shows the info from Yahoo and Bing and is such a small sampling for most of us that it paints an inaccurate picture. There are a few companies out there with some data about this stored but it is getting more out of date day by day.

The “tactics and tricks” that people used in the past are all falling by the wayside as google cracks down (sometimes retro-actively) on bad practices. Being cute and trying to game the system is getting harder and harder. I wrote this post because many of our clients are still hiring “old” seo firms that are using these practices and are being hurt by them. Today’s SEO landscape looks more like a soccer field with multiple players. You need to be doing social and video and blogging and myriad other things rather than relying on one company to “get your site to the top of the search engines”. It isn’t pretty and it is hard, but honestly you don’t have any other choice.

Keyword Marketing – How To SEO A Blog Post

Keyword Marketing - How To SEO A Blog PostYears ago I wrote the perfect blog post and have been using it ever since to illustrate how to use Keyword Marketing to SEO a blog post (search engine optimize).

Just do a search for FUNNY REALTOR POSTCARDS and my post Realtor Marketing Funny Realtor Postcards comes up at the top of the list….but why?

There are a number of reasons:

  • Generally I rank on Page 1 of the Google for Realtor Marketing so my posts about realtor marketing rank well too! PLEASE know that this is because I wrote LOTS of realtor marketing posts and eventually I made the grade. I have three terms I am trying to rank for including realtor marketing, entrepreneur marketing and small business marketing. What are your three main keyword phrases?
  • I did all of the on-page SEO perfectly (if you don’t know what that is, never fear, I will be breaking it out for you below).
  • Lastly I found a keyword phrase that gets SOME traffic and which could help my top level keyword move up. I use a neat plugin (SEO SearchTerms Tagging 2) to see what terms people used to get to my pages and for this page they used: realtor postcards ideas, funny real estate postcards, funny real estate postcard ideas, clever real estate postcards, humorous real estate postcards, funny realtor postcards, humerous (sp.) real estate postcards, funny real estate marketing postcards, realtor postcard ideas, and Funny Real Estate Marketing.

Now, I feel a little funny when I tell small business owners about this when they are just starting out as it is possible that ranking well for the search term realtor marketing might have given me an edge that is hard to overcome.

What to do, what to do? Okay, I am going to write a blog post that is perfect in every way for a site that DOES NOT rank highly or nationally for a search term and see how it goes!

The SEO Challenge

Get a post related to property management or denver property management to rank for the DenverRealtyAndRentals.com website. I have been kicking around the idea of having Tena rank for something along the lines of “executive property management” or “luxury property management” so let’s start with doing some searches using the Google external keyword tool…here are the terms I looked for:

  • executive property management
  • luxury property management
  • denver executive property management
  • denver luxury propert management
  • ft collins executive property management
  • ft collins luxury property management

How to seo blog posts

IMMEDIATE SCORE! Executive property management had an immediate score….low competition according to Google and high local monthly searches (2,400). In comparison “luxury property management had 3X fewer searches, giving us a clear winner.

Next I wanted to see how much competition there was so I went online and did a Google search for “executive property management” WITH the quotes which shows me who I am competing directly with nationally. Okay, 775,000 results nationally…not bad but sigh, that is a lot of direct competition.  Now the good thing was they were almost all geographically centered sites…so, what does it look like right here in Colorado….

DOH….there are NO competing sites at all for “denver executive property management”…double score. What about ”ft collins executive property management”? Same thing, no results.

Now I have been doing keyword research for going on 15 years and I would have guessed that luxury property management would have been the higher search. This is why you always have to check!

The Metadata

I hate when people talk about Metadata because it is confusing to my biz peeps. Basically metadata just means that it is the bits the computers and Google use to know how to classify a site. There are 3 parts to metadata, the title, the description and the keywords (we are not going to look at these today as they are not as important as they were in the past).

The Title

Do a google search for something like “Small Business Marketing” (without the quotes) and you will see that all the top results have that phrase or close to that phrase in their post title tags…

How to seo your blog postings

As you can see here, almost every post has that phrase, in that exact order. So, we need to make sure we don’t mess up the SEO for our perfect post! While it would be tempting to use:

Denver and Ft Collins Executive Property Management Services

you probably have guessed that will not work as well as using:

Denver Executive Property Management | Ft Collins Executive Property Management Services

because we need to get the words we want to rank for in the property order! That straight up and down line between is a really great way to separate our search phrases as it doesn’t bother the search engines. You make it by doing Shift plus forward slash which is above the Enter key on my keyboard.

The Description

The next thing you might have noticed from the above picture is that the words “small business marketing” are prominently displayed in the content of the top results. This is going to be important to getting us good rankings.

SOOOO….next I have to figure out what kind of content ranks well in the search engines so I am going to do a search for “new york executive property management” and see what I can swipe – use this as a model ONLY!, copying someone else’s stuff verbatim really won’t hurt them too much but will assure that the search engines think you have duplicate content and will not help you at all!

Rats, for a search term that has decent results, we got a whole lot of nothing to copy…so I will have to wing it:

Providing Executive Property Management services in the Denver and Ft. Collins Metro Areas, Denver Realty and Rentals is your best choice for superior property management service.

You are going to use this description as your metatags description AND as the first paragraph of your post!

The Picture

Another great place to get your words in is on your photo. We named this photo denver-ft-collins-executive-property-managment.png and made sure the description and alt tags of the photo read the same!

Additional SEO Items

  • You want to make a sandwich of your SEO using your main keywords in the first paragraph and then also as the end paragraph
  • Make sure that some of your subheads or bolds include your targeted keywords
  • DO NOT stuff your keywords in there excessively! You should have a nice mix of keywords and content so that people can read what you are writing. We have all had the experience of reading garbled text because they tried to use their keywords too frequently – don’t be that guy!

Curious about what all this SEO looks like in real life? Well, check out our final product at the perfect post:

Denver Executive Property Management | Ft Collins Executive Property Management Services

The Results

Page 1 Listing SEOLess than a week later, Tena ranks #3 on PAGE ONE OF GOOGLE for an anonymised search for Denver Executive Property Management! WHOO WHOO

New Update! A month or so later, Tena is the top 3 of 4 listings for “Denver Executive Property Management”!

How To Do Keyword or SEO Research | Keyword Marketing

Today we are going to talk about how to do keyword or SEO (Search Engine Optimization) research for your website, blog or other internet property in order to increase your keyword marketing efforts.

The very first thing I want you to do is go to the google and do a search for any keyword, let’s say how to make paper airplanes (you can click the link to see the search)

How To Do Keyword or SEO Research | As you can see, all of the results that come up have that keyword phrase in their headline or at the very least in the description somewhere. This is VITAL to know as most small biz owners and non-seo types do not understand that google cannot extrapolate. If you are selling salon services in New York City but talking on your blog or website about coupon clipping, the chances that google will rank you highly for your target term are none.

There is just too much competition out there now with people who produced content that EXACTLY matches what the user is searching for and that is what google is going to give them…exactly what they are looking for.

So should you produce crap that has those keywords and hope google doesn’t find out? Nope, that does work anymore either! Google uses algorithms to figure out if what you say your page or post is about and then factors in how many people link into it, whether people bounce (come to it on a search and then reject it by clicking the back button) as well as zillions of other factors to make sure that what you say in your title and description is actually what the page is about!

Tools For Keyword or SEO Research

  • The Google External Keyword Tool – works great for finding out how popular a keyword is and how much competition you will have for that word.
  • Google – this is a duh moment for many people is figuring out how many competing sites there are. If you do a search without quotes, you will find the keywords in any order, if you use quotation marks, you will get the results of that keyword in that particular order.
  • Google analytics – if you do not have analytics on your site, stop right now and go get them on there! Figuring out what you rank for easily allows you to pick the low hanging fruit of keywords that you can ultimately rank for without a lot of effort.

So there you have it, my top tips on how to do keyword or SEO research for your Keyword Marketing efforts!

WordPress Internet Marketing – Categories and Tags

So when you are doing wordpress internet marketing (like we do for some of our clients), things change depending on what The Google is doing. Stupid things. Throughout this post I am going to be adding some ideas for you and then making suggestions – PLEASE read the suggestions so you don’t FUBAR your blog and then yell at me!

Wordpress Internet Marketing - Categories and TabsWhen I started doing marketing on WordPress years ago, the prevailing thought was to have your posts in LOTS of different categories. And oh, the tags, you should have small biz marketing, and small business marketing, and marketing your small business because the Goole had not figured out yet how to follow the rabbit hole down and know that all of those references lead directly back to one blog post (or even a number of them).

So today I was talking with a client who has done a FABULOUS job writing content for her corporate wellness blog and we were taking a peek at her blog posts, categories, tags and Google analytics. Wonderfully enough, she had started with us a couple of years ago AFTER the insanity had stopped and we had her content organized into just a few, highly relevant categories.

That having been said, they were not the best categories for where her business was two years later and we are going to move some stuff around (not two categories Gluten Free and Dairy Free, but now one Gluten Free | Dairy Free).

note – DO NOT change the slug (the url words) since it may already be indexed in google, if you have the ability, seo the title and description but leave the slug alone so that the Google doesn’t think it is a broken link on your website.

note – The straight up and down line is a called a “pipe” and is a neutral in programming language. We use it frequently so that we do not cause interent problems with using an ampersand or worse a forward slash which IS a programming keystroke.

note – Having 10 strong categories is MUCH better than having hundreds of disparate categories and each post should only be applicable to one category or maybe two or it is too broad!

Interenet Marketing WordPress TagsWordPress Tags

This is a picture of my tag cloud so you can take a peek. First off, I used to use them to make sure I was talking about the right things in my posts. They get bigger when there are lots of posts (I used to have a HUGE mindset tag which is nice, but my blog is about small business marketing, doh!)

Additionally, they allow for a subset of organization that could be below categories. For example, we have industry based marketing categories on our Marketing and Media Monsters site, but then we have tags that drill down to the type of marketing like video marketing or article marketing.

Tag clouds

So, just a year or so ago I came upon a site whose admin had put in HUNDREDS of tags using a plugin. Most did not have a post associated with them, but the thinking was that all these disparate words would help with the SEO (search engine optimization).

Whenever I have a question about whether something is right to do or not, I check with Matt Cutts, Google’s frontman who tells us things about how we are doing SEO-wise. A search for Tag Clouds and Matt Cutts turns up his take on these from 2010. Now I can’t say that I have ever seen the Google spontaneously change their mind and say that something they considered detrimental was miraculously made a good thing, so I listened to Matt and took my tag clouds off!

Why is there so much bad information about SEO data out there?

Okay, I am on a tear because one of our clients who hired a bad SEO company emails us almost every day asking if one or the other tactics of theirs is hurting or just not helping. I did a bunch of research with experts in this and watched a funny (funny sad not funny ha ha) webinar where the expert went right down the line enumerating the bad SEO tricks that people were using that hurt their website’s ranking ability. read all about it in my post Keyword Marketing – Does Bad SEO Hurt.

That having been said, I get asked often why someone would do that. They got bad SEO info. They are not deliberately trying to hurt my client (I don’t think), just they took a class for sale on the internet with ideas that were 3-5 years old and already rejected by the Google.

Doing SEO work is not easy and requires that you keep your own ear to the ground and research, research, research what is working and what doesn’t. Additionally, NEVER do anything that some guru is selling a quick trick to fool Google. Generally I find these all to be old “tricks” that might of worked years ago, but don’t work today.

Seriously people, there is NO WAY TO FOOL GOOGLE! They have the smartest guys in the room working day and night to keep ahead of the spammers who are working day and night to figure out new “tricks” to use until they are broken and then sell to the dupes that don’t know any better!

If you are a small business owner who is growing an internet empire to last, do not use tricks. Just hire a company that has strong white hat tactics and who will take the time to help your business grow online on strong foundations!

Keyword Marketing – Does Bad SEO Hurt

Keyword marketing and SEO is definitely a science. Marketers take the current SEO “rules” and help to increase your rankings by using what works now (things like posting to Google+, using the webmaster tools, social media, commenting, etc.)

Keyword Marketing - Does Bad SEO HurtBut I had an interesting question the other day, does BAD SEO hurt your marketing efforts. My thought was no, but after some research I am not as confident about that. It seems that bad SEO does hurt and has to be fixed when it is encountered by the Google. So what does that mean?

If you doing keyword marketing 10 years ago (some of us were, really!) then doing HUGE HTML sites with lots of pages worked because there was not blog content to compete with.

If you were doing Keyword or SEO marketing about 5 years ago, the prevailing thought was to make blog networks with “thin” content (meaning just a lot of SEO, few pages and little authority) and get them ranked and THEN pass link love back to your main site. This worked.

If you were doing SEO marketing 2 years ago, the best way to make a big impact was to have a couple of crappy articles written, “spin” them and then post them to sites like Ezine Articles. This worked then.

Oh, oh, oh, another thing to do was set up fake profiles on all the social media sites and directories with your exact keywords pointing back to them, or how about the fancy smanchy “fake” comments posted on websites all around the world with links back to your site? OOPS, forgot the make a Squidoo page, Wet Paint, etc and have links back to your site.

If you are in the SEO marketing space now and staying current, you know these “tricks” no longer work, but do they actually hurt? After listening to an amazing webinar yesterday by Leslie Rhode of the SEO Braintrust, a absolute EXPERT in search engine marketing, I think they do! The cool thing was he took questions from attendees and “diagnosed” what had gone wrong. Almost everyone on the call had at some point done one or more of these “tricks” to get higher rankings in Google, but had since been “slapped” hard by Google, no longer appearing in search results.

The thing that struck me is the amount of work that you have to do to UNTANGLE the harm that was done in the past. That fake directories thing, if you were using that technique, you might have 7,000 or 70,000 fake directory links that you have to contact and try to make legitimate or just ask them to delete them. ESL (English as a second language) blog comments, better try to walk back the cat and get those blog owners to delete your spammy comments.

Leslie said that for most sites it was worth the effort to fix them in Google’s eyes, although I don’t know if I would have the patience to do that myself!

Black Hat, White Hat and Grey Hat SEO

So what does all this mean to our people? Regular business people out there trying to get attention from the search engines so they can get some more business? Well, first let’s talk about the types of SEO Marketing…

Black Hat SEO Marketing is done in back rooms by programmers and is designed to “game the system” while perhaps hurting other sites. One example of this is hackers who hack WordPress blogs, redirecting them to sites for pharmaceuticals or loose women. When people do this kind of SEO, they are building sites that may be only up for a couple of days or weeks, get lots of illegal traffic and then get shut down by their providers and delisted from Google. They are not trying to build a business.

Grey Hat SEO is when you are knowingly violating the terms of service of the Google (like spinning articles so there is no original content) but Google is not currently penalizing you for it. Another example of this kind of thing is to have white text on a white background thinking that Google can’t tell the difference. More about that later!

White Hat SEO is boring. It takes time and energy. It means growing a website with great content, going and commenting on other peoples blogs, posting to social media and building an “internet city” that is built on a strong foundation, not on tricks and gizmos! We tell all of our people that it will take at least 6 months to see any improvement on their rankings and so LOTS of people don’t hire us, instead responding to one of those “we can get you on the first page of Google emails“. That having been said, we work mostly with legitimate business owners and are proud of the fact that nothing will “blow up” in their faces when we are done! find out more about our social media and SEO marketing services

What The Google Cares About

Okay, I promised to talk more about Google and why even dipping a toe over the line into that gray area might hurt. Let’s take an example from today. Pinterest is a new social media network and it has great SEO and linking back properties. I stay on top of “stuff” and so I saw a software that we could buy which would automatically search the internet and “pin” things to Pinterest boards. Now, it was not good software, it pinned all the pictures to one board and they weren’t really pictures of what they should be (the title might be great dinners and the picture was of a dog). I have seen a bunch of spammers on Pinterest using this and a LOT of pictures getting flagged as going to inappropriate content.

So why do they do it? Spammers and scammers and crooks are, and have been with us. They would rather try and cheat the system rather than doing the hard work of growing a business. I always wonder what would happen if they put all that effort into something productive….but that is their choice!

Google uses mathematical formulas written by really smart guys and gals (called algorithms) to make sure that the very best content is being shown on their search results. Their client IS the searcher, not the advertisers or those of us creating the content. They do not care if we made a mistake and did something foolish, they will just take us out of search until we fix whatever it was that we did in the past that makes them mad today.

So they have updates with cute names like Panda and Farmer and Penguin. These are tweeks in the search engine algorithm that penalize people using techniques that are gray or even black! I guantee that there are people getting TONS of traffic right now from those fake Pinterest pins but that Google will figure out how to stop them and all will be right with the world again.

Long story REALLY long, if you are growing a legitimate business with a real online presence, PLEASE do a little research before you allow some fly by night SEO marketing company talk you into the “latest and greatest” SEO marketing trick that used to work but doesn’t anymore!

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SEO Tips…Taking Over A Long Tail Keyword On Google And Social Media

SEO tips abound AND I have heard recently that “SEO IS DEAD” – I put those caps in on purpose so you can understand how adamant the discussion is! That having been said, I think that there is definitely a place for SEO in social media as well as on your website or blog.

So first off, let’s see what term we are going to attack…there are a couple of places that I go to find this but first we need to know what we are trying to accomplish. You can do this two ways…if you have a product to sell, then you want to get a keyword (or keyword phrase actually) that will help you sell more of those. If you want to get more traffic to your website, then it behooves you to piggy back on a popular phrase you already have on your website!

While I target small business and entrepreneur marketing primarily, I do have a little niche in Realtor Marketing that I like to keep healthy. I started up this site when I was just getting out of real estate in 2008 and so initially the Google ranked me for that term and I have been successful at keeping that connection, even while building up more authority as an entrepreneur or small business marketer.

In this video we are going to look at the difference between picking low hanging fruit keywords (ones that compliment what you already rank for) or how to find new keyword phrases to be able to rank for and sell stuff.

So now we have a keyword we are going to look trying to rank for (pinterest marketing tips)…what can we practically do?

  • Should I send all the pinterest marketing tips traffic to plain jane marketingartfully.com or should I send them to my sales page for my pinterest marketing course (this is the one that I chose – Pinterest Marketing – Video Training Course)
  • Next I went to my Google+ account and plus-oned the page (I can do some of these things from the post with the likey-likey plugin thingy (YES that is the technical term!) I made sure to use the search term while plussing it… see the google post
  • Next on my SEO list is Pinterest. Now, Pinterest does show up in google searches BUT if you SEO your pin right it will show up in pinterst searches too so over to the pinterest I go! link to pinterest pin
  • Shoop, shoop, shoop on over to the Twitter to tweet with a #Pinterest #Marketing Tips – throw in those hashtags on twitter when possible!!! see the twitter tweet
  • Over to the Stumble Upon to link it up! see the stumble upon link
  • Ahhh the facebook….Facebook is closed system so I am going to try and do a note and see if that gets us anywhere with our pinterest marketing tips keyword! so lame…can’t make links but…here is the Facebook note link

SEO Tips - Taking over a long term keyword on google and social mediaNow, there are about a million other places that I could make a link….like YouTube (see the youtube video with the link back and the keywords here), Tumblr, Squidoo, etc…but as a start I think I have a good chance of something somewhere winding up ranking on this keyword on Google’s universal search! find out more about google’s universal search for small business.

So, hopefully I have made a good case for why you would want to use these SEO tips to go about taking over a long term keyword that could help you grow a certain aspect of your business! Google is important but so are the social media sites and even offline marketing and sales.

PS – If you got all the way down here I wanted to give you something a little more (more advanced and more technical!) If you noticed the link to the Google Universal Search post has keywords and is linking INTERNALLY back to post on my website…this is great for making google know what your site is about because YOU control the keywords!

PSS – If you knew that, maybe you don’t know yet that while naming your Pinterest boards is important, maybe more so is filling out the descriptions so you turn up in search well! Just sayin…:)

About those "We can get you to page 1 of google emails"!

So I am astounded that those “Get You To Page 1 of Google” emails still work! In today’s search engines, there is only one constant, nothing is the same for each user and having a SEO (search engine optimization) company make that claim and get my peeps all worked up makes me crazy!

Getting on page 1 of google for what?

Let’s start with the keywords. When you hire a company to “get you to page 1 of google”, they are going to have you pick some keywords that you want to rank for. I can tell you, most business owners do not know what a good thing to rank for is! Consider Realtors, mostly they want to rank for their town and the search term “realtor”. So let’s break that one down…

Most people looking for a realtor who are going onto the internet search for the term realtors (with an “S” at the end), just like you wouldn’t look up St. Pete Plumber, you would look up St. Pete plumbers. So right off the bat, you could get to page 1, but for a term that doesn’t matter much.

Also there is a difference between the term Denver Real Estate and “Denver Real Estate”. In one I put the quotes around the whole phrase, meaning that the words have to be in that exact order. Without the quotes, they can be in any order and don’t necessarily have to contain all the words. Search results for Denver Real Estate are 163,000,000 and for “Denver Real Estate” are 5,450,000. If I was a snarky SEO company I could tell my customers that I had gotten them on page 1 for something both obscure (with not so many searches) AND have the quotes to make it easier to accomplish, with my client never the wiser.

Page 1 is a mess!

The Google Experiment - Getting To Page 1 of GoogleOkay, so what I was just talking about was straight ranking. Now let’s talk a little bit about other factors that effect what gets shown to YOU by google when you search.

It matters where you are because google knows the IP address that you are searching from! So if you search for hot dog stands, you do not get the ones in New York City, you get the ones closest to where you are, maybe some news about hot dogs stands and possibly some hot dog stand pictures.

It matters who you are because google follows you around the internet, figuring out what you like the most. Do you like videos, you will see more video results. Do you have friends on Google+ who have liked something, maybe you will too! If you are logged into google, you are effecting the search results you get.

The Google Experiment

So today I took a couple of hours to go over what results look like from all different browsers and all different types of people. Here is the breakdown of what I looked at:

  • Tara Jacobsen – I logged into google with my login
  • Realtor – I used another computer and logged in with a Realtor client’s google account
  • Proxify – This is a service that allows you to access the google from a generally blank slate
  • Retail Company – This company does sales and marketing but with big box stores, not my little moms and pops
  • iPad – On my iPad I logged out of google and did the searches (this seemed to be a little tainted I think because I got similar results to what I got on my real computer logged is as me)

So we have different people searching on different browsers (nothing I can do about my IP address so I am sure that affected the results too!)

What I found when searching for term Entrepreneur Marketing (no quotes) was there WAS some consistency in the top places, but after that, there were some REALLY big differences in what google returned as results. Here are my big take-aways.

  • None of the searches had any videos for this search term (the video link was to a page with a video, not the cute embedded videos on the search pages).
  • Proxify (who didn’t have any relation to anything else) showed indented listings (the ones under the main listing) for both my site and entrepreneur.com. They also did not get nearly as many listings as the other searches did.
  • I was surprised to get news results as I generally do not see those in my searches. I am not a newsy kind of gal!
  • The realtor had really weird results compared to everyone else! She had A LOT of friend connections in her results as she is pretty well connected online. She had links from three different friends on this search.
  • I thought it was REALLY interesting that I logged out of google on my iPad and got VERY similar results to logged in my big computer.
  • If a SEO company told you they could rank you for entrepreneur marketing, they would have a hard climb. Both Entrepreneur.com and MarketingArtfully.com (my site) have spent YEARS working on SEO to rank for these terms and would not be easy to knock off!

So, there you have it! A little bit about why those emails about getting you to page 1 of google are, at best, disingenuous and, at worst, total crap!


 

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Top 5 SEO Small Business Marketing Tips

When I talk about my Top 5 SEO small business marketing tips, I am referring to how to rank well in the search engines for targeted keywords that will increase traffic to your site organically. These are search engine optimization tips which can help you get more readers to your blog.

Top 5 Seo small business marketing tipsSearch engine optimization or keyword marketing is super fun, it is like a little contest to see if you can beat the person who holds the rank ahead of you in Google or the other search engines. BUT to rank well, you need to know EXACTLY the search terms you want to achieve for both your overall site and then each individual post. The math looks like this:

1 blog post about realtor postcards + 1 blog post about realtor logos = Realtor Marketing
1 blog post about baby safe laundry detergent + 1 blog post about green janitorial supplies = Green Cleaning Products

Trying to rank for BIG AUDACIOUS keywords starts with ranking for little attainable keywords first.

Tip One for SEO Small Business Marketing Tips

Know what your big audacious keywords are!

Small Business SEO Marketing Tip Two

Know what your tiny keywords are! I have a program that I use to find out what keywords I can gain rank for which we use to help our clients gain positions for targeted keywords. You can do the same by using a tool called SEMRush to find out what keywords you rank for organically already. Now, this will only show you the top 10 but it is a good place to start without having to spend a dime. Take those and make it your goal to move them up a couple of positions by the first of next month.

MAKE SURE you write them on a piece of paper and hang them in front of you while you work. When you are thinking of writing a post, make sure that you have those target keywords in there somewhere in the title and content!

Super Important Tip Three

Put google analytics on your website and look at it.

The picture above shows my google analytics for Marketing Artfully the last rolling month. I know that “social media services” is doing well because I am sending paid traffic to it is, BUT customer demographics is doing well also. Customer demographics is a subset of marketing that I am interested in but which I never really tried to rank for, I just put up a couple of posts and got the traffic. You can reverse engineer some great keyword rankings by figuring out what people are already searching for and finding on your site and then doing more of that!

PS – I bolded “look at it” because most people don’t, or if they do then they are not sure what they should do!

Tip Four for SEO Small Business Marketing Tips

Learn to write posts with keywords in them the correct way. This is one of my HUGE pet peeves with copywriters who write interesting articles but who do not know how to keyword them correctly. It is great to produce excellent content, but it is even better if it gets people to read it and find you knowledgeable or even makes you money because you have something to sell. Writing for writings sake is noble, but not lucrative.

Here are two posts that will help you write good, keywordy articles:

Here is my last tip – Write more. I know, not sexy but it is true. Sometimes I think to myself, why don’t I rank for that keyword and then realize it is because I have not written an article about that specific topic. Google and the other search engines do not care what you hope to rank for, they only care what you have added to the internet. The huge peaks on the chart above show that I have SO much more traffic on a day I write and bookmark a post. When I am focused on getting rankings I am writing A LOT and it is REALLY not convenient to take the time away from client work to do so BUT it is vital to the long-term success of my business. Do it first thing before any other work and then start your day.

Well that is it, my Top 5 SEO Small Business Marketing Tips – if you have any good, practical tips, shout them out in the comments!

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How To Write A Blog Post That Will Rank In Google

It is amazing how many bits go into writing a blog post that will rank in google. While there are a million different posts out there on this topic, this post is laser focused on one of the more practical aspects – keyword marketing.

How to write a blog post that will rank on googleWhen you sit down to write a blog post, the first step is to make sure that you have a topic that you are interested in and which will compliment your three main keywords for your site. My site is all about small business marketing, entrepreneur marketing and realtor marketing so I HAVE to talk about some kind of marketing (which is good because I am obsessed with all things marketing).

The next step is to start writing. Put down everything that you think is going to be relevant and interesting WITHOUT worrying about what keywords you are going to be using. Yesterday I started out writing a post about “Using national marketing campaigns for small business marketing” because I had seen a good link posted by one of my friends on Facebook. This is the first paragraph (which I use for my description) when I started:

The easiest way to jump start your small business marketing is to use national marketing campaigns. Piggy backing on something that a national company has spent GAGILLIONS to produce is a great way to help build YOUR brand!

Interesting to me, easy to research BUT after I got a little ways in I started wondering if anyone was searching for that! It is great to be a purist and write about what you are interested in BUT I want people to actually find and read my words also. Come to find out that NO ONE was searching for that type of thing. Now this doesn’t mean that I have to scrap the whole post and start again. I did a search on the google external keyword tool and found out that 135,000 people search for “funny youtube videos” – now that is MUCH better! So I kept writing my post about “funny youtube videos” when I realized that doesn’t have anything to do with marketing (and I am not funny but that is for another day!). RATS.

Okay, so I need to get it into the realm of marketing so I checked and there are 1,300 people searching on google for “funny youtube commercials”. A MUCH smaller number but probably people who are going to be at least a little interested in what I have to say about funny videos and marketing.

Here is the final description that I can up with for my “Use Funny YouTube Commercials For Small Business Marketing” post:

The easiest way to jump start your small business marketing is to use funny YouTube commercials for small business marketing. Piggy backing a funny YouTube commercial that a national company has spent GAGILLIONS to produce is a great way to help build YOUR brand!

I KNOW – that seems like an awful lot of effort just to get your keyword marketing right, BUT it actually took about a half an hour to write the post and 15 minutes to “fix” all the keyword problems. At the end of the day I am happier with how it turned out AND am way more likely to rank well in the Google!

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Writing Evergreen Keyword Blog Posts

Writing evergreen keyword rich blog posts is a great way to generate traffic for your site. Once you target a keyword phrase, all you have to do is make sure that the technical bits are right and you should rank well for that phrase.

Writing Evergreen Keyword Blog PostsIn my business there are two types of blog posts (1) ones that I can write off the top of my head and that are great for generating a little bit of traffic and reinforcing my keyword ranking for may main three search terms, small business marketing, entrepreneur marketing and realtor marketing and (2) evergreen blog posts where I want to rank consistently over time for a specific keyword or long tail phrase.

What exactly are evergreen blog posts?

Evergreen blog posts are ones that do not change over time and which are keyword rich in content that you want your site to rank for. In my case I target marketing terms like social media, direct mail (newsletters, postcards, logos and collateral), email marketing, keyword marketing and blogging as subsets of my main three keywords. In this way I can rank highly for entrepreneur marketing PLUS postcards or realtor marketing PLUS postcards.

When you are just starting out it is great to have those major keywords in mind and then use minor keywords to add up to the whole. For example, you might write about bookkeeping tips and tricks, then how to do your general ledger and which accounting software is best to use, all which help google add up to the fact that you provide small business bookkeeping services. The Google is super smart and knows the little bits of the whole which make up the major evergreen keywords.

So how do you find out what keywords you should be TRYING to rank for?

  • I check my google analytics and see what search terms people are looking for that they use to get to MarktingArtfully.com even if I haven’t targeted them that way yet. For example, I found out that I ranked well for the term “funny realtor postcards” even though I did not have a post specifically targeting that (although I did have a direct mail post about postcards and did have those other words in there). With a laser focused post I was able to truly rank for the tip top of page one for that search phrase.
  • I use SEM Rush to see what words I rank in the top 20 of google for, and reinforce those so that I can keep my standings or branch out to different targets.
  • I check the google external keyword tool to see what keywords are better. For example, yesterday I wrote a post about Email Marketing Writing Great Subject Lines. When it started out it was actually a post about writing great email marketing headlines because that is how I thought of it. Luckily, I popped over to google and found that no body but me calls them that and that there are 14,800 searches a month for the phrase “email subject lines” as opposed to “email subject line” which is only 9,900. I will take that extra potential 5,000 visitors anyday!

Extra tip – I have a habit of writing about things that are not necessarily in my “marketing” niche. I rank on page one for such obscure terms as “customer demographics” and “selling to c personality types” which I rank twice on the first page for because I am interested in how the DISC personality types work with sales and marketing. BEWARE BEWARE that you do not let your personal interests drag down the focus of your site. Check your tag cloud on your blog to see which words are big so that you can tell if you have fallen off track. As you can see on the right side of my blog, I am doing okay with my keywords but sometimes “mindset” gets big and I have get back on track!

For August our DIY Small Business Marketing Membership will have videos on exactly how I do all these cool keyword researches for my sites and my clients! Make sure you are signed up to get the scoop!

Do URL Keywords REALLY Matter Much To Google?

Does using URL keywords help drive organic traffic from google and other search engines is on my mind today. The URL keywords efficiency at getting google to notice a website is controversial but REALLY interesting.

URL Keywords and GoogleThe URL Keyword Controversy is a big deal in my world, probably not so much in yours BUT it does affect your online business empire! The URL (or Domain Name) keyword question is about whether using keywords in your domain name would increase your ranking in google and other search engines. So instead of picking www.abccompany.com you would pick www.wesellwidgets.com.

We have many clients who are adamant that they want to use their business name as their domain name for their blog (check out more information about the difference between blogs and websites). We have even had prospects that have sent us pages long emails about why we are nuts for trying to steer them towards using keywords in the web name where they host their blog instead of having their company name.

Well, if you think that having search engine keywords in your domain name helps, then using your company name as a your blog URL is silly. Since lots of people are looking to buy widgets or whatever you are selling and few people are searching for your company name, naming your URL your company name is counter productive. Here is a video from Matt Cutts (the google guy) who says that keywords in the domain name do help a little bit. Well, I will tell you, I will take every advantage I can get for my clients.

Additionally, it has been proven anecdotally over time with our clients. If we name a website www.HomesForSaleVictorvilleCA.com, they will rank for on page one for that common search term (there are over 30,000 searches for that term a month and over 173,000 search results to compete with) so why wouldn’t you do that instead of using the Realtor’s name which does not have enough search volume to register. I also have a colleague who got traffic and leads from an intervention steps website with a good keywordy url that did not have any backlinks or anything else to help promote it, so more evidence from a third party even!

Just as an aside, that does NOT mean that I think you should use a long, convoluted URL like http://bestrestauranttampabay.com for your marketing pieces, OF COURSE you will buy a good url like www.SnookersBlog.com and POINT it at your Best Restaurant Tampa Bay keywordy URL. BUT to google, since you actually built the blog or website on the good keywords you get a little bonus!

To muddy the waters a bit more, here are some somewhat supporting and contrasting posts from google about the benefits of having keywords in the URL:

Taking Advantage Of Trends On Google

Taking advantage of trends on google is a great way to get increased traffic to your website! Here is how a website took advantage of the new iPad launch to get increased traffic to their website from google.

Taking Advantage of Trends On GoogleWhen using my new iPad, I noticed that it would be MUCH easier to have icons on the desktop that linked directly to websites rather than using the bookmark feature from within the Safari browser. I did a search for “how to add an icon to your ipad desktop” and found this link “How to Make an iPad Icon for Your Website or Blog” but below that was an indented listing of how to do what I wanted.

OfZenComputing did a great job of finding keywords that people are searching for now and having a post out there that was great bait for generating incoming links. Here are some of my observations about what they did right!

Ways that this site took advantage of trends on google

  • Using the keywords in their title that covered a number of different searches
  • Naming the picture on the page “ipad bookmark to home screen” which increased the chances of google listing them
  • Internally linking the first post they wrote with the followup post the next day, reinforcing the keywords internally
  • Providing valuable information that people need (what you needed to do was blatantly obvious after I saw it so don’t assume that your knowledge has to be extremely technical)
  • The second day they made a photoshop picture that you could use to make your own icon on your website so that people could bookmark you too and gave it away for free

Tools to find out what is a hot topic right now – so how do you know what is trending now?

  • Watch the real news – many times you find out what is happening on the interwebs by watching the network news. It is their job to cover topics people are interested in.
  • Go to Google News and see what they are covering
  • Use Twitter Search to see what is hot right now and to do searches on keywords that you are interested in targeting

Small Business Marketing Goals Make A Huge Difference

Small business marketing can be super fun and totally overwhelming. Every once in a while I like to throw down the gauntlet with some small business marketing goal numbers so that my peeps have something to shoot for!

Small Business Marketing Goals Make A Huge DifferenceThose of you who have been readers for a while know that about once every six months I post a post with suggested tasks and arbitrary suggested goals! If you do even a couple of these things you will notice a change in your online success!

Stake your claim to audacious keywords!

When I started blogging for Marketing Artfully, I picked three keywords to shoot for based on my targeted clients, entrepreneur marketing, realtor marketing and small business marketing. Through repeated use of these terms in my titles and content of posts, MA ranks pretty well for some competitive keywords.

So now I have a secret for you! If you use the google buzz more and get friends through google, your site will show up on their search results ABOVE all the other regular search terms and google will put some recommendations below also based on the fact that you are “friends” on buzz or your profile.

Small Business Marketing Goal – select some keywords that you think are out of reach and make it a goal to write about them once a week for a year. Yes I said a year. If you think that you are going to write one blog post and take over a competitive search term, you my friend are sadly mistaken. If you think you are going to write one post and stay on top for the next 5 years, again no go. Search these days is more dynamic than ever and targeting keywords in your blogging, tweeting and facebook notes will make a huge difference in your results.

Do more email marketing

Email marketing is a pain in the rear. You have to write an email, then do your links, make sure it is pretty and THEN as soon as you hit send you notice that there is a typo on the first line….noooooo. Okay, that is pretty melodramatic but we all feel stress when we are going to send out something to our entire client base. Some people like accountants, bookkeepers and mortgage pros count on being correct more than, say marketers, so they SHOULD have someone else take a once over with a critical eye.

That having been said, if you send out 3 perfect newsletters per year while your competition is sending out one a week, who do you think will win that game AND do you think your mailing list will notice that you send “perfect” newsletters? Most people do not have time to critique your stuff and the ones who do are no loss. I can tell you in all sincerity, if you have a typo, SOMEONE will let you know! Thank them and then sell to them while you have them on the phone!

Small Business Marketing Goal – Set a schedule for yourself on how often you are going to send out a newsletter. Really. Then do it. Do not “try” to send it once a month and then skip. Do not “try” to send it once a week. Yoda says, “do or do not, there is no try”. If you make a commitment to sending out a newsletter twice a month instead once a month, your sales will go up. Sooo if you are not sending one at all, sign up for a service like Constant Contact and get started today. If you are already doing one (sporatically) make it a priority.

Figure out how to make video more a part of your marketing

Video marketing is going to be huge and just one more way to get your message out there. If you have a well written post and plop a video in there with your voice and some personality, you have made both the search engines AND humans happy! I KNOW that every one of you have watched a video online so you can not say that it is stupid and just ignore it.

So how do you do video? Buy a flip camera today. It is about $150 bucks and super easy to use. If you do not have $150 buck today, get the enhanced jingproject.com videos to do screen captures for $15 a year. If you do not have $15 to make a huge impact on your business, consider doing something else! Harsh? YES. But I see too many small business owners worrying about pennies when they should be worrying about how to dominate their market niche.

Small business marketing goal – If you know how to do video, do one each week or month. Post it to youtube.com with a link back to your HUB site. Share it on Facebook. If you do not know how to do video, do a search on youtube.com for how to do Jings and do one today. EVERYONE is intimidated when they do not know how to do something well. Your first videos will be HORRIBLE but as you do more they WILL get better!

Okay this is getting long so I am going to talk about the rest of my small business marketing goal suggestions tomorrow. For now pick just one of these ideas and implement it. Start now.

How to Choose the Right Keywords for Your Small Business

How to choose the right keywords for your small business is one of the most important things that you can do with your marketing efforts. This post features guest author Reid Peterson, Internet Marketing Educator at growthinharmony.com!

Keywords Small Business MarketingFor those of you that don’t know by now – your keywords do matter.

That doesn’t mean to choose a keyword like “Real Estate” because you are a real estate agent and you sell real estate. You would spend the rest of your life competing for a search result ranking that might make page 5. (if you’re lucky)

And you might think you’re clever and choose “Real Estate Denver CO” because you sell real estate in Denver, Colorado.

Guess what? Instead of taking a life time to rank high in search results pages, it may take a decade. (and if you’re a rock star- like one who would publish two or more blog posts per day, it you might get to #1 rankings in a year.)

Yes, SEO companies promise you page 1 rankings (and often #1 ) by tomorrow, but even if that is true (which I’m still waiting for someone to video blog their success of that), you would have to pray that the views of your website are converting to business. Are they?

So your website success (earning business from the people who view it) starts somewhere- where exactly is that “somewhere?”

It starts with keyword research and you have to be both very smart and creative about the keywords you choose. Here’s how to use your smarts and creativity to choose the right keywords for your business:

1) Know your customer. And I mean know them well- all five senses (maybe avoid what they taste like though.) You’ve probably heard that you must know your ideal customer’s needs (wants) but do you know how they react to the emotional umcomfortabilities that create their needs and wants? Yep, you must know that!

2) Listen to how your customer communicates. What words do your ideal customers use to speak or write? Those are your keywords right there! (I now feel complete but also compelled to write more)

3) Test the words your ideal customer uses. Now that you know what your customers say to express their needs, you have to see if there is enough search volume for these phrases. Google “google external keyword tool” for a free method of checking the search volume for these phrases. You can also use wordtracker (not sure if it is free) or a software that I think is inexpensive: Market Samurai (this is what I use and it serves me well.) When you select your tool, determine how many searches is enough for your business to prosper from.

4) Wordsmith the phrases that you select. You may have thought “Real Estate Denver CO” was a great keyword phrase because it has a specific location included in it, but guess what? Other real estate agents have also done the same thing. The competition is probably very high to compete for. Instead, get even more specific (and creative). People searching real estate online may be in the market to buy a home… Why not compete for the search term “buying a home in Denver?” (You may be surprised)

5) Use your smarts. Your final step is to analyze the key words/phrases that you’ve creatively crafted. Use analytics (in your head) to assess the relevancy of the phrases. Do they represent the language/communication of the community that represents your ideal client? If you were a good business person and listened to your ideal client speak emotionally about what they need, would you hear them say the keywords that you selected? If not, it’s time to go back to being creative and come up with new ones.

Going through this process of using your creativity and smarts will help you select the right keyword for your business; Ones that reflect the needs of your ideal clients. Also, ones that provide the comfort that your clients are seeking (which means sales for you!)

Reid Peterson teaches people how to market their business online. He teaches in focus group formats; empowering business owners to learn self SEO, Social Media, and Better Blogging methods. To learn more about Reid Peterson and how you can master your own online marketing, visit http://growthinharmony.com

Affiliate Marketing Where Is Your Passion

Affiliate marketing is a topic that comes up A LOT in my world. Bloggers are often affiliate marketers and I have just one word of warning for them. Make sure to follow your passion!

Affiliate Marketing PassionMany of the small business blogs that we develop are for affiliates. Oftentimes they have picked a topic that is “hot” by doing research on trends and search volume. I have done that in the past. Sigh.

Every time I have made the decision to do affiliate marketing with no passion behind it, I have petered out early. Now do not get me wrong, passion comes in many forms and it is easy to find a way to monazite your passion but pick your topic wisely!

The benefit of doing an affiliate blog with a hot topic is that you have the opportunity to get fast money. There are serious downfalls also:

  • AFFILIATE MARKTING COMPETITION – this is a biggie. If you are not serious about spending some major adwords coin on keywords, you are probably not going to see a huge amount of traffic right off the bat. Make money online is a great niche but the cost per click is about 3 bucks. Not cheap.
  • AFFILIATE BURNOUT – I can tell you unilaterally, if you are not at least somewhat interested in your category you will come to hate it more than life itself. I keep reading about fishing, lures, tackle, etc. So when Christmas rolled around I figured it would be a great idea to have a list of presents for fishermen. Argg. I HATE fishing. It took me 10 times as long to research fishing presents as it did for me to research crafting presents (I like crafting) since I had no background other than having fished 30 plus years ago with my grandfather.
  • ORGANIC KEYWORD COMPETITION – Now I am HUGE proponent of picking big keywords and having a long term plan for ranking well for them. That having been said, if this is just a little affiliate blog without tons of content, you will struggle to beat the established players in your niche market. If your category is not your passion, coming up with content or even content ideas will be a struggle.

So how do you make your passion pay? If you are a passionate green living nut, find a product or service to sell that goes along with your lifestyle, DO NOT pick something because it is hot. Today on clickbank the top selling product seems to be SatelliteDirect – Highest Converting Tv To PC Product. That is SO not a green item and would not be a good fit.

I was “watching” Seth Godin’s ebook the other day over at Vook and he talked about the farmers market Zeitgeist. Now the farmers had no way of knowing that eating well would be coming back into vogue BUT they had the products and systems in place to serve foodies when it did! Pick a topic that is trending but not super hot and then build a destination for people to come to.

Cathy over at Copy Cat Copywriting had a great post the other day about online marketing and picking a buying niche. It is SO worth a read!

Writing Great Blog Posts Strike While The Words Are Hot

Writing great blog posts can be a joy or a drudge. Since I have vowed to write a post a day, the challenge is to write great content on topics that interest my readers without wanting to commit hari kari.

Writing Blog PostsWhen I tell my small business blogging clients that they should aim for a post or two a week, many wonder what they will possibly have to talk about. If you would like to find out how often to post to your small business blog, check out my past article.

So how can you write great blog posts day in and day out? I have to admit that some days I do not jump out of bed with tons of good content rolling around in my head about small business and entrepreneur marketing. There I said it. That having been said, I have been blogging about small business marketing for quite a few years and the topic never bores me!

Additionally, I like the challenge of ranking well for keywords that I would have to pay money for over on google because I am frugal (cheap may be a better word). I DO pay for things that matter like technology and training BUT I have a hard time paying day in and day out for something that I can achieve organically.

So how do you make sure your blog posts have great content when you are not inspired? Here are some of my tricks for finding topics and generating great content…

  • Strike when the words are hot – today is a good blogging day. This is the third post I have written and I am heading out to the interwebs to make some free pages that will link back to my Marketing Artfully HUB site! I wrote my post for today, one for Friday and this one that will come out tomorrow. NO, I am not such a prolific writer every day, but when the words and ideas are flowing, I try to make the most of them!
  • Read interesting stuff by other people – my post for later in the week came from an idea I had while reading another bloggers post. Because I am a fun gal, I made sure to link back to her blog at the end of it AND had a great time writing it.
  • Check out your google analytics – see which keywords people are coming to site from and write more about those topics. This is a fun one because you can do internal linking back to old posts that could use some google love!
  • Do some keyword research – find out what other topics people are looking for that will meld with your blog. Sometimes just seeing new keywords can spark a blog post or two.

Well there you have it. That is how I get the great content for my blog. If you would like to learn more about keyword research and blogging, check out our Do It Yourself Small Business Marketing product, you will be glad you did!

Internet Marketing Keyword and Product Names

When you are doing internet marketing, keyword and product names are more important than almost anything else you can do. It is great to have a product or service, but if no one can find it then you are going to have trouble making sales!

Internet Marketing KeywordsFriday I wrote a post about Small Business Marketing Naming Concepts which covered the basics of generally naming your products but I feel like I missed something in the internet marketing translation.

Why Keywords and Product Names Matter

I cannot stress this enough, keyword and product names matter more today than ever! Getting sales or leads from the internet relies on humans being able to find your company while doing searches. People find information by doing looking on search engines. Every one of you has “googled” something at least once in your life so you know what I am talking about. Search engines are just databases of information that is indexed by taking words you use and comparing them to words other humans use and seeing if they match.

This is not rocket science. If I name my best product Small Business Internet Express instead of naming it the Marketing Artfully Success System I have more of a chance of showing up in the search engines for the search term “small business internet” which is closer to my product than using my company name or obscure terms like success system.

Just so you know what this would mean to your business in the real world:

  • Small Business Internet is searched 49,500 times per month
  • Success System is searched 33,100 times per month and
  • Business Success System has not enough searches to even estimate

So if I was trying to let small business owners know that I am selling internet products, the name I am using DEFINITELY will have a better chance of being found than something less fun and sexy. Now I KNOW it not fun to name your products what they are. It is more fun to make great marketing campaigns based on something funny or clever, BUT that makes it harder to get the word out there.

As a small business owner, I do not have the resources to do a branding campaign big enough to get the general public and especially the search engines to understand that a made up name is really a small business internet marketing program.

Incoming search terms:

  • internet marketing product naming

Internet and Keyword Marketing Are Constantly Changing

Internet marketing and especially keyword marketing is fun, challenging AND changing! It used to be so easy to define your business and then run with that for years or even decades. A barber was a barber and didn’t try to be a stylist or add things to his business. An accountant did books for small businesses and knew that tax time would bring a huge windfall to her business.

We do a keyword marketing analysis for each of our blog customers and I consider this to the MOST important phase of the project. I have often been floored when I find that there is little or no competition for keywords that I expect to be huge and also have been surprised that obscure keywords have such a high competition in the marketplace.

That having been said, it also pays to listen to what humans are talking about. Lately I have noticed a trend that when people call and ask me to speak they keep asking about “social media” instead of “social networking”. Now when I started out speaking and working with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter a while ago, it was all social networking BUT times they are a changing and I am always curious to see what the numbers have to say.

DOH – Social Media gets 135 THOUSAND searches a month and Social Networking gets only 12 thousand. Sigh. That means that I had to go back in and change my graphics on my social media how to videos, on my buttons and re-write my sales pages. I have to re-think my adwords campaigns and even how I present myself as a speaker. I have to change my vernacular and even go in and add new tags to my old social networking posts. Darnit. I wish everything would just stay the same, but it does not and that is just how our new world is!

If you are a small business owner, make sure you are listening to your customers. Have their words or needs changed. Do they want you to provide something that you aren’t currently doing. DO NOT get stuck in a rut or resist change because it is hard. I was reminded of a book that I read years ago (Who Moved My Cheese) which basically said that if you are not willing to listen and make changes your business will wither and die.

SOOOO get out there and call your best customers TODAY. Find out what they are talking about and what their needs are that your company can provide. Check your keywords to make sure they are helping your marketing efforts and product lines. If you have not checked them in 6 months, today is the time to do so. Look at all this change as an opportunity to fix what was not working and improve your bottom line while you are at it!

If you would like to have a keyword marketing analysis done, we are honoring our $100 price point through this month only, then the price jumps to $250. Also, the book reference contains an affiliate link, if you click that I will get a little bit of money. If you would like to avoid giving me a little bit of money just do a search for that title on Amazon..:)

Entrepreneur Internet Marketing Tips

When I think of my entrepreneur internet marketing efforts, I have to say that I have some huge wins and some blistering defeats. In all cases I started with a great idea and then either implemented it well or became distracted and moved on to something new. Entrepreneurs are a strange breed, we enjoy the thrill of the chase and are always willing to try something new, even if it means neglecting something we loved just moments before!

entrepreneur internet marketingKeyword Selection for Entrepreneurs

Keyword selection and focus is the one thing I see entrepreneurs struggle with the most because they can find something to love in many different types of businesses. They start a blog focused on home health care and two years later have spent more time talking about internet marketing than healthcare. They are in business doing real estate but their real love is boating and they wind up with a crazy mix of the two.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am all about blogging about what you love and having a business based on your passion. I just don’t think that you can have both on the same blog! Google and other search engines do not reward entrepreneurs for their audacity, they punish us for sending a mixed message!

My best suggestion to you is to pick one of your passions and then have a blog focused entirely on that for at least six months before adding anything to it or starting a new one with another topic. Over the course of six months, posting twice a week with targeted keywords, you will wind up with 100 posts that are laser focused on your topic.

Oh, and no more than 3 keywords – I KNOW it is hard to pick just three but it will make a huge difference to your success!

Blogging for Entrepreneurs

Okay, I talked a little about keywords but now let’s get serious now about how entrepreneurs can succeed with their blog! Yes keywords are important, but so is quality content. Fortunately for non-writers, today’s content can include pictures, videos or the written word.

So what you should you write? Start with “evergreen” blog posts that relate to your business and will not grow stale over time. These are the posts that will serve you long after your daily content has fallen off the front page of the search engines.

This post is an evergreen post for my blog. My keyword is Entrepreneur Internet Marketing and that is something that I want to rank well for so I am writing a GREAT blog post that will be of value to my readers as well as have lots of content and focused keywords.

After your evergreen posts, make sure you have a nice mix of posts that are fun to read and ones that are informative but still related to your three main keywords. These additional keywords will be “long-tail” keywords that can get you on page 1 for a specific search term.

Pay-Per-Click Marketing for Entrepreneurs

Another thing your keyword focus can help is with Pay Per Click marketing. It is VERY easy to spend a lot of money using PPC marketing. If you pick too broad a selection, you wind up paying for keywords that are not going to convert well for your product or service. If you pick too narrow a selection or too few regions to advertise in you will save money but not get much exposure either.

While I do do PPC marketing for my site, I do not consider myself expert enough for teaching you, my loyal readers. I use the tools and training in PPC Bully. It is great for researching keywords and where you can place your ads as well as how to write ads that should convert well. If you are considering getting started with pay-per-click I heartily recommend you check out PPC Bully.

That IS an affiliate link and I am happy to recommend them – I love messing around in there doing research on keywords and figuring out how to write better ads to succeed!

Information Products for Entrepreneurs

Information products are things like ebooks, membership sites and video training. I have done all three and some have sold like hot cakes while some died a horrible death. My social networking videos have done REALLY well in conjunction with in-person networking and hands-on workshops while my ebooks have really only been great for adding to email marketing lists, not selling outright.

The best things about info products is the low cost to produce them and the ability to get immediate feedback about what people like and are willing to pay for. The main thing to do is fail early and often, then modify your information product to sell better.

For example, my first social networking videos were okay and provided great content but they were slow to download and didn’t have a lot of professional touches that the new ones have. That having been said, it would have been a horrible waste of time to produce professional level videos which no one wanted to buy!

Free ebooks are a great way to see if anyone is interested in what you are considering producing! If you can’t “sell” a free ebook for the cost of someone signing up for your email list, there is little chance that someone will pay you big bucks for a full blown information product on the same topic.

Hopefully this information will help you with your entrepreneur internet marketing efforts! If you have a great success (or failure) story, feel free to share in the comments with the other entrepreneur marketers!