Archive for search engine marketing

There is a line from the movie He’s Just Not That Into You (don’t ask, I was forced to watch it against my will, I felt so dirty that I had to watch the Dirty Dozen and 300 afterwards), that goes something like this; “You are the rule, not the exception.”

When it comes to content, unless you already have healthy traffic, if you write it, people won’t come out of thin air. The content you write must be accessible. It must be available through search engines, it must be a part of the community, and it needs to be in areas where it must be found. When it comes to your content, you need to plan as if you are the rule (cause you are) not the exception.

The worst thing you can do is to rely on the fact that if you write it, people will all of a sudden flock to you. So how do you go about getting the word out?

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Categories : Commentary
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Curtis R Curtis from RankSense sent out a  tweet that is quite good. I have been thinking about it off and on for a while. What is interesting is it reminds me of a thing we use to do earlier in my journalistic career. That’s not the good bit though. The good bit is it has much more consequence today than it did some 10 or so years ago.

You Say, What is it?

Let’s face it, the average web surfer doesn’t have time to read… go figure. Instead we browse titles, and look at the first few sentences of the first paragraph. If the article holds our attention, we continue, if not we press on. The tweet was to this blog, entitled, “Thank You For Clicking! Part One: Corpse Found In Internet Guru’s Gym Locker.”

Corpse Found in Internet Guru’s Gym Locker, how cool is that title? So going back to what I non-too-subtlety alluded to in the first paragraph. As an exercise we use to pass articles around that were sans title and create our own titles for each article. The point was to get a title that sums up the article and captures the imagination.

If you have a blog or you do article writing on any level I would recommend trying out the exercise. Its best to do it with a group of people and with articles that you are not familiar with. For instance go to some site print out several copies of random articles with the titles removed, pass them around and have some fun with it.

Not only is it a learning experience it can also be quite fun… no really… honest.

Categories : Commentary
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10 Practices for Achieving SEO Success

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Search Engine Optimization covers a broad range of topics and is one of the essential parts of getting traffic to your web site. For business and e-commerce sites this can be the crucial step between making a profit and having to close down your doors.

Although there are a variety practices, far more than what I list here, these are the ten that have helped me and, though mileage may vary, I’m fairly confident they will help you.

  1. Be Mentally Prepared
  2. There are NO Magic Wands
  3. Never Stop Searching for Keywords
  4. Never Stop Searching for Negative Keywords
  5. Never be Satisfied
  6. Always Group Like Terms Together
  7. Take the Time to Learn the Material
  8. Search Your Log Files and Stat Data to Find Keywords
  9. Learn the Keywords of your Competitors
  10. Prioritize Key Terms by How Well They Help YOUR Site

Normally I explain each of these step by step but I think today I am just going to lump it all together.

SEO is not so difficult an activity that only a few people can manage. The concepts are fairly straight forward. However, you must be mentally prepared, just because they are not difficult does not mean it is not challenging. For instance we all know we need to find key terms that suit our sites, that concept is easy and fairly common sense. But how do you do that? I start with the focus of my site. I then take some time developing how I would want to get my site from a search engine. After that I go through my log files and see how others got to my site. Lastly, I go through my marketing information and look at my competitors and see what search terms they are doing well in. That is a start.

SEO tools are not magic wands. They are all there to pick up a basic function of SEO work and reduce the amount of time you spend on them. For instance, some tedious things are expanding your keywords. Some tools allow you to type in (or import) your keywords and then it will make suggestions. Some are pretty good, others are really horrid. It will take time to train the tools to your site such that they will constantly give you decent suggestions.

If you are running any sort of PPC campaign then you will need negative keywords, you will need to group like terms together, and you will need to learn which key terms work best for your site. Negative key terms allow you to remove those searches that are not relevant to your site and normally only come into play when doing PPC ad campaigns. Their use gives you highly targeted traffic and therefore spending time to come up with two thousand, five thousand, etc, is a good idea. By grouping like key terms together we can use similar PPC ads to target multiple areas.

Always remember that you can never be satisfied in this and your job is never done when it comes to SEO. You might be number one on various search terms today but other sites are also improving their own rankings. Therefore you must continue finding ways to optimize your site.

Lastly, to be a success at SEO you have to be mentally prepared. It takes a lot of time and effort and since you work is never done you will have to be willing to work at it over and over again. Even on those days where it makes you sick to your stomach you still need to plug away at it. Also if a term is doing poorly or you find you are spending a huge amount of time for very small gains, knowing when to quit is another part of mental preparedness.

Good luck in your own SEO endeavors.

Categories : Marketing
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RankSense: SEO for the Rest of Us

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In January 2009, there were more than 13.5 billion search engine searches in the United States alone. Web sites who want to tap into this incredible amount of traffic must have a site that performs well on search engines. Getting quality search engine ranks for a Web site can take a lot of time and money and although many Web developers understand the importance of paying for quality when it comes to finding an SEO consultant, the money simply isn’t there.

The very real truth is that many small business owners who require search engine traffic do not have the funds available to secure an SEO/SEM service. Likewise, they do not have the time to learn how to do better in search engine rankings. What small business owners and Web developers need in general is a way of getting their site’s search engine rankings up without costing a lot or taking too much time, but be flexible enough so they can use any information garnered from the search engine side to aid in content and marketing.

The objective of RankSense is fairly clear, to perform the above task for Web developers. It does this by guiding them systematically through a process that will optimize the entire site. Briefly, RankSense analyzes what keywords are currently bringing users to the site; detect pages with errors, compiles competitors and their rankings on your targeted keywords, page optimizations, link structure analysis, and Web site analytics.

What RankSense is

Users navigate four task groups in order to complete the process. The computer handles most of this process with the user adding things such as site information, logfile location, and what sort of keywords the site should pursue. On RankSense’s homepage, the user can easily navigate to each task group and to the subtasks within those groups. The right side of the homepage also contains a quick look at Task Progress.

Each subtask is its own page where the user selects what is needed then presses the start button. When RankSense is finished, either it will ask for more input or the user will move unto the next page. This progresses until each subtask is finished. That is RankSense in a nutshell; easy to use, wizard style tasks, and it can be done within any amount of time frame. Essentially, it is the answer to the problem that small business owners face when it comes to search engine optimization.

I have been doing SEO and SEM for a few years now and although I am not a master at it, I would like to think I am very good. Considering this RankSense is not the type of software that I need. However, even though RankSense is for novices and Web developers who do not have the time to learn a new skill set, it does have a few features that I have found to be indispensible even for SEO experts.

One feature in particular that RankSense has that I am amazed at is its Competitive Intelligence subtask. This subtask looks at keywords you select and then finds the main competitors you have for those keywords. It then gives you information such as their traffic, popularity, authority, etc. This not only allows you to keep track of competitors, but you can use this tool to find sites that you can build possible link relationships. Prior to using RankSense, I did a lot of this process by hand. Sure I would use various tools from places that I have subscriptions to, but it still requires a lot of time on my part (especially when I am looking at 200-300 keyword placements).

Emails and Support

RankSense is automated software. However, after purchasing RankSense I was sent several emails that provided helpful information, tips, and places to go to in case I had problems. This I found to be quite refreshing. The emails were well written and they contained some good information with screenshots. One email I received was a letter of encouragement and this too was impressive. Form letter or no, this is the type of thing I wish more companies did. It adds a personal touch and shows that the software vendor is going the extra mile to make sure their customer is taken care of.

Overall, RankSense is a very good product. It fills in void in the marketplace for those who need to get started on tapping into the large amount of search engine traffic out there. It won’t replace an experienced SEO technician, but it can help increase your search engine rankings and it is easy to use. RankSense has the motto, “Quality Search Traffic for the Rest of Us!” and in my opinion, they live up to it.

Categories : Marketing
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How to Reinvent Your Online Wheel

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Interesting to note that this time of season seems to be filled with web sites where the powers that be have decided its a great time for a redesign. Unfortunately, it also seems to be a time where the users are screaming bloody murder and protesting the companies to change everything back the way it was.

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