Infographic: SEO Why Your Business Needs it NOW?

In today’s digital age, having a strong presence on the web is a crucial component for many businesses that operates both on and offline. Though the proliferation of new digital platforms like social media, smartphones, and mobile apps have made the competition stiffer, it also allowed many brands, especially the small ventures, to improve their visibility across the internet, helping them to reach a larger audience and increase their leads and sales.

Your business might be implementing a couple or more digital marketing tactics today, but there is one technique that you should never miss to take advantage with, and that is Search Engine Optimization, or more commonly known as SEO.

Though SEO may seem like an old-hat, there can be no doubt that it is still the most effective organic traffic driver today. According to statistics, 93% of people who are looking for products and services do so use a search engine. With that huge amount of raw traffic, it is impossible not to attract enough volume of the audience that will find your product and services helpful.

To ensure that your website will resonate on top of search engine results pages, you must employ highly-qualified SEO practitioners to make your website all set up – from its user interface all through its technical roots such as headers, meta keywords, and title tags.

To help convince you more, here are the key takeaways from the infographic below which details the reasons why business should implement SEO today.

  1. Many people start their online experience through search
  2. It is more cost-effective than other marketing tactics in terms of producing organic reach
  3. It generates highly targeted traffic that converts into loyal customers
  4. Your competitors are probably doing it today.
  5. It caters to mobile consumers
  6. It keeps an evolving so there is an unlimited number of opportunities.

Check the infographic below from Harris Myers to learn more.

infographic seo why your business needs seo

 

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5 Tips for Non-Profits to Master SEO

nonprofit seo

There are many reasons why non-profits have a great opportunity in digital marketing channels. The competition is low, their brands are authoritative and private companies love to be linked to them to improve their PR and brand recognition.

One of the online channels with great opportunities for non-profits is Search Engine Optimisation. Follow these 5 tips and make it work for you.

1. Understand your potential

How powerful is your non-profit’s website? Google uses a very complex algorithm to assign a value to every website that it will later use to decide which one is shown in rankings when someone uses the search engine.

In order to understand this value we can use 2 metrics from different trusted SEO tools, Domain Authority (DA) from Moz and Trust Flow (TF) from MajesticSEO. Even if you don’t have a paid for account, you’ll be able to see this data.

I’ve used 2 non-profits as examples to see how many points they are given:

(Please note that Orbis is a big and well-established international non-profit and Help them Hope a small national non-profit operating in Peru.)

As you can see, there are big differences in the above values, but these numbers are not helpful unless you have some context. Find your competitor’s score and see how your site fares against them.

2. Understand what works for you

I am sure if you are a UK non-profit like Orbis you would love to rank for terms such as “Donate to Charity”. And as I’m sure you know, this can prove difficult. The first non-profit that shows for this term is Oxfam. They score a DA=87 and a TF=66. However, you really don’t need to go after these big competitive terms; there are thousands of long tail keywords that would be more strategic. The question is: how do we find them?

If you log into your Webmaster Tools (now called Google Search Console), you will be able to find many keywords that your site is ranking for. Go to Search Traffic/Search Queries and download these keywords in a spreadsheet.

webmaster tools

This is the data for the last month for my digital marketing blog. I sorted the data by impressions to see where the opportunities are.

You can now easily check your current rankings for the top 10 keywords and see how far you are from 1st position. In my case, I have a great opportunity in RLSA as there is lot of interest based on the number of impression and I’m just 2 positions off 1st page.

If you are a registered non-profit in the UK, you are eligible for Google Grants, free AdWords advertising in Google! You can use this grant as a testing tool to see how the chosen keywords convert for you. If you see these are working for you, you´re in a stronger position to start your SEO campaign.

Now that we have the data and we know what to focus on, let’s see how we can put this into practice.

3. Make it accessible

We first need to check your On Site ranking factors to make sure Google can access your site easily and understands what you offer to potential visitors. Here is a checklist:

  1. Title tags: Do you use unique title tags in each page? Are these under 60 characters long? Do you use keywords when appropriate?
  2. Meta descriptions: Do you use engaging meta descriptions to improve your Click Through Rates? Make sure you add ‘call to actions’ to stimulate clicks.
  3. Page speed: How quick is your site to load? This is a very important SEO ranking factor
  4. Internal linking: Do you use internal links to refer users from one page to another? Internal linking is one of the best tools at your disposal to help Google understand what your site is about.

A great tool which will help you with this checklist is Woorank. Woorank analyses your on-page SEO accessibility and lets you know what you should focus on.

4. Build Links

This is where non-profits have their best chance to improve their SEO value.

Donors: Have a look at your list of current corporate donors. Do you have a link from their sites to yours? Go and ask them if they can put up an article on their blog/news section about how cool they are by funding one your latest projects. Offer them help to write up the article and they should be happy to oblige.

Badges: Most companies that donates to charity likes to be linked to the organisation they’re supporting. Why don’t you create an official badge that every donor can proudly show on their homepage? Make sure this badge contains a link back to your site.

Events: Charities tend to organise events in collaborations with other companies/organisations. Make sure you do a write up article talking about how great these companies are and let them know once this is published in your blog. They’re likely to take the bait and link back to your article to show their customers the great endorsement you’ve written about them.

5. Monitor your results

SEO is an art; you can’t scientifically prove what will work and what won’t. Therefore most of your successes will come from testing! And in order to test, you need to monitor the impact from your activities.

One tool I really like for this purpose is Serplab. Serplab is an amazing free tool that will allow you to monitor your rankings for all your chosen keywords on a daily basis. You can even set an automatic email with a daily report so you don’t even need to log into the tool.

Implement, monitor, learn and repeat!


Alvaro Bellido is London-based digital marketer passionate about non-profits, advertising and entrepreneurship. Alvaro collaborates with a number of non-profits as a digital consultant as well as London-based start-ups. You may find him on Google+, Twitter and his personal website.

Is It Our Job to Educate Businesses in Tactical SEM?

by John Sylvester

Around the middle of last month I took a phone call from a friend who runs a similar web design agency to ours, with a request for help in putting together coherent SEO/SEM packages for seven of his clients. Before we met, I looked at his clients’ websites and found there was much to do.

When looking at the SEO, virtually all of these sites used keywords in the title that had been plucked out of thin air; most of them had no relationship with the copy whatsoever. With research, we made recommendations for changes in both title and on-page copy. The easy part was the SEO; the difficulty was then to educate the client about how they need to be involved. The feedback from one company was instant and unusual: they accepted our recommendations without question.

In the good old days of directory submissions and the like, SEMs had the sole responsibility for search engine marketing. Not any more. Today, it’s about providing advice to clients on writing press releases and articles, on-site blogging, and how to get involved in social media marketing, together with tweeting.

But how many website owners either have the necessary skills or the resources to relate information about their “products” in a meaningful way in online articles and press releases? In my experience, not many. Most companies appear reluctant to become involved in this, and worse, cannot perceive any real value in a subject they barely understand.

At the height of the dot.com crash at the start of the millennium, I was working with a web design agency in London. To my mind then, and it remains so now, the importance of using the internet as a medium to expand reach and to bring in more business could not be clearer, but the bottom line is that when times get tough, the tough cut internet spend. That will sound a little strange to our industry, but it is inexplicably true.

From my company’s perspective, quality SEO’s are a rare breed and their real value should not only be to provide an excellent service but to educate management (those who will listen, that is) on what we have to offer, which is to help drive traffic to their website and boost revenue. In reality though, this is a far harder job than one would expect. It seems that most companies are resistant to dedicating resources to this effort. As such, SEM lacks both the financial and human resources that need its support.

Our industry has a long way to go yet in assembling and disseminating this concept. With directories moribund and other short-cuts removed from link building processes, providing quality SEO services today belongs in the hands of the wordsmith, the blogger and the social media engineer. And yet, how do we get this message across convincingly?

In one of my posts on this issue, I got the following comment: “Show them the results. Don’t even talk about SEO…then tell them how much in time and resources it’s going to take.” That’s all very good and valuable but how many company executives understand what they are paying for prior to “showing them the results”? Case studies and/or a results-based campaign? That is one strategy we are using for our clients.

In a related article I read recently, an SEO company was explaining why they didn’t end up closing more of their proposals. It was because they advised the company from the outset about how much in-house involvement was required in successfully delivering a comprehensive SEM campaign. It sort of summed up why we need to do more in providing information that will educate companies about the effectiveness of what we are looking to achieve for them.

There is also a case for educating SEO/SEM firms themselves, as almost every week I receive emails from SEO outsourcing companies, generally from India. The majority of these emails pitch the same tired old submission services, including the outmoded reciprocals. On one occasion I decided to try them out – it was a very cheap experiment – and found that not one single link out of the dozen they had submitted appeared in Google’s indexes.

Also, there are many SEO companies that falsely claim they can get a client’s website to the top of the search engines for a given keyword or phrase. This has always been a contentious claim, as we could easily get any site to the top of the first page of Google/Bing if the search term is easy to compete on, although the chances are it won’t be searched on. Too much of the time these blanket assurances are an across-the-board, indiscriminate boast. Try “music”, go up against Yahoo, and see what happens. So, let’s now look at some possibilities:

  • It is extremely rare for management to understand the benefits and economics of SEM in organic search and how it can lead to extended market reach and more customers. Too much of the time they take the view that to boost revenue, or in a recession to maintain it, they need to fall back on the reliance of traditional media. The result of this is that migration languishes and profitability targets stagnate. We need to convince them otherwise with case studies and, where appropriate, with results-driven campaigns.
  • One of the major problems in SEM today is that human resources do not normally extend to writers who are conversant with the web in general, and blogging and social media in particular. As such, the SEM is often asked to write about subjects they are unfamiliar with. If no in-house assistance is provided, the chances are the project won’t ever get off the ground. Ideally, companies need to start to look at hiring staff that can implement SEM strategies effectively. But they won’t change until management starts to understand how marketing online actually works. When they do, it could result in a shift of marketing spend towards SEM.
  • The other difficulty is in the actual measuring of SEM, as the search engines have blocked page ranking tools, which in turn leads to sketchy reports on how the campaign is proceeding. Placement is the only real arbiter on this and that takes time. Companies need to be made aware of this.
  • It really is no excuse for companies who are looking to the search engines to broaden their exposure to say that they don’t have the time. They have the time for glossy brochures and hoardings, so why not divert some of that effort to the internet? We may all be experiencing difficult times at the moment and the idea of expanded SEM campaigns now, with companies downsizing and all that entails, should not translate into “campaign postponed”. SEM is the cheapest way of getting a company’s message across to new markets.

As one of the clients we have just taken on board mentioned above, let’s look at the guts of the proposal we submitted in developing their online presence:

  • Creation of RSS feeds for the dissemination and syndication of news;
  • Submission of articles to high-value article sites;
  • Updates to the meta information, including adjusting copy where appropriate to target specific key phrases;
  • Creation of a presence in the Facebook community;
  • Setting up a Twitter account to post weekly news as well as breaking news;
  • Development of an on-site blog with regular updates, linking the headline from the home page so the search engines see movement;
  • Writing and submitting to blogs related to their industry;
  • Where circumstances permit, post regular podcasts, including YouTube and Google videos.

To sum up, we need to create a method, typically via case studies, by which companies not only see the value in SEM but, more importantly, how they ought to be participating in it.


 

John Sylvester is the media director of V9 Design & Build, a company specializing in web design in Bangkok, and who is an expert in search engine optimization and web marketing strategies.

Making Your Site Search Engine Friendly (Spiderability)

by John Buchanan

One of the keys to obtaining top rankings, or ANY rankings for that matter is making sure that the search engines can properly spider and index your site. This means doing whatever you can to make sure the search engines are able to reach each page of your site as easily as possible.

When I talk to my clients about spiderability, I’m generally referring to two things…

  1. Are all the links in the site true hyperlinks that can be picked up properly by the search engines.
  2. Are all the pages within the site reachable within 2-3 clicks from the homepage.

So let’s go over the above two areas of concern.

Hyperlinks

This may seem almost silly, but you would be amazed at the number of sites I run into when doing consultations and website analyses that have non-standard hyperlinks. By “non-standard”, I’m referring to JavaScript generated hyperlinks or hyperlinks embedded within flash files.

There is nothing inherently wrong with JavaScript or flash when used properly, but the simple fact is that JavaScript and flash are NOT search engine friendly. Google is pretty much the only engine that is able to pick up links within JavaScript or Flash code. At this time, I have seen no evidence that either Yahoo or MSN have this ability.

While Google may be able to pick up links, it is unclear as to whether or not Google places any VALUE on the links it finds in this manner. Remember, much of a page’s ranking in Google is determined by links, so you want to be absolutely sure that each and every link is valued.

So, be absolutely sure that your links are true hyperlinks (by “true” hyperlinks, I’m talking about hyperlinks coded with the normal href tags) if you want to make sure they are found, followed, and counted by all the engines.

Distance from Homepage

Ideally, you want your visitors and the search engines to be able to reach any page within your site within a maximum of three (3) clicks and preferably two clicks. The more clicks it takes to reach a page, the less chance there is that the search engines will index that page.

It is for this reason, that site maps have become so popular. By utilizing a sitemap, you are able to link from your homepage to a page that lists all or most of the links to the various pages of your site. The search engines (and visitors) are then able to get to virtually any page of your site within just a couple of clicks.

You’ll notice I’ve mentioned not only the search engines but the visitors as well in the above paragraphs. By reducing the number of clicks it takes to get from your homepage to any page on your site, you will find that you also increase the overall usability of your site.

While site maps can definitely help to increase the spiderability of a site, it is important to remember that they are not a total fix for bad navigational structure within a site. As mentioned, all of the search engines utilize page link popularity in one way or another in their algorithms.

In general, the homepage of a site will have the highest link popularity of any page within the site. This is because most inbound links to a site are pointing to the homepage. It’s from the homepage that all the internal pages derive their link popularity from a sort of “trickle down” affect.

A site map will only derive a certain amount of link popularity that it can pass on to the pages it links to. To understand this best, think of the homepage as a large river with each link on the homepage a smaller river branching off from the main river. Each river will be fed a similar amount of water by the main river. Alone one branch of the river will never be able to deliver as much water to the various areas as all the branches of the river can combined.

The site map is one branch of your sites link popularity river and it has value, but it will never have the same impact as a well thought out and implemented links structure that makes use of all the rivers of link popularity within your site.

To make the most use of the link popularity of your site, you should try and setup your sites navigational structure so that even without a site map, the search engines and visitors are STILL able to reach any page on your site within 2-3 clicks.

So…to make a long story short…always be sure to utilize true, standard hyperlinks throughout your site and be sure that your sites navigational structure allows any page of your site to be reached within no more than 3 clicks.

See you at the top!


John Buchanan is a veteran search engine optimization specialist with over 9 years experience. For more information, visit his site at http://www.sesecrets.com or his newest site http://www.seovideoanalysis.com where he will provide you with a professional SEO video website analysis of your site.

More Tips on SEM and SEO

Here is a down and dirty checklist I compiled a while back. Feel free to use it when you audit your own websites. Enjoy!

Matt

HTML Coding/Development

  • Add brief descriptions to the alt attribute of image tags. The attribute should describe the image, not be a summary of the article.
  • Use H1, H2, and H3 for titles and headings. Ensure the main body content is immediately after the H1, with no breadcrumbs or navigation in between.
  • Create a relevant HTML title for every page. Using the actual article title that appears in the page is a good idea.
  • Use style sheets as much as possible to keep the page size low.
  • Use brief and relevant meta tags (keywords and descriptions) to provide a backup for the description that appears in search engine listings.
  • Don’t fill the meta tags with words that don’t appear in the content of the page. The exception to this is to put common misspellings in the meta tags.
  • Don’t repeat meta tag content on every page. The content should be specific to the page.
  • Create separate sites rather than making a site a sub-site of a larger one.
  • Do not make every visit to a URL unique by appending a session ID or something similar.
  • Create a site map. This is as much for users as for search engines as it can serve as a gateway to deep content.
  • Don’t link to redirects. Better to link directly to the destination page.

Images, Flash, Video

  • Avoid creating images that contain only text (i.e. if an image contains just text, consider using HTML instead.)
  • Ensure all images are named appropriately, have alt tags and are placed near text that is relevant to the image.
  • Don’t put content in Flash movies. Better to have the content outside of the Flash and in the HTML.
  • Provide transcripts for video or audio interviews.

Copy and Content

  • Create a title that uses words that describe the main theme of the article.
  • Use headings and sub-headings that describe the main theme of the copy that follows.
  • Don’t automatically swap out repeated words and phrases in favor of less common words and phrases.
  • Post all content on the web site including newsletters.
  • Keep all special content such as Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving specials on-line.
  • Don’t use pop-up windows for content. If pop-ups are necessary, provide an alternative link to the same page that isn’t a pop-up.
  • Don’t remove content from a web site.
  • Ensure all content—in particular old content—has a link pointing to it. Use a sitemap or archive list page if necessary.
  • Allow search engines to view forum discussions. This is free content.
  • Update content as often as possible. Search engines like frequently updated sites and will visit more frequently.
  • Don’t worry about writing articles that are too long. The longer the better when it comes to SEO.

Links

  • Use link text that is relevant to the destination page. Avoid creating links that read “click here” or “read more”.
  • Don’t create links out of entire sentences.
  • Don’t fill the page footer with links to other sites. Better to keep the list short.
  • Cross-link between pages in the web site.
  • Link to external sites.
  • Encourage external sites to link to specific content. Many sites are open to sharing links.

More SEM and SEO Tips

  • Decide what search phrases you want to target. Use a tool such as the Google keywords suggestion tool to see what search phrases are popular, and optimize your site for these. You can optimize for any number of phrases; a bigger site can target a greater range of phrases.
  • Clean up URLs. No capital letters, no spaces, no special characters. Separate each word with a “-” dash. Make sure each URL accurately describes the page.
  • Remove query strings from URLs. No question marks in your URLs.
  • Redirect the non-www version of your site. When you enter domain.com into the browser, it should redirect you to www.domain.com using a SEO friendly 301 redirection.
  • Make sure you don’t link to “index.htm” or “index.php”. Instead, link to “/”.
  • Remove frames from your site.
  • Ensure the title is different on every page of the site.
  • If your main navigation is flash or image based, ask yourself if it can be done using CSS. If it can, do it.
  • If using CSS styled text for navigation is unthinkable, then add text based footer navigation on every page.
  • Add a Google XML sitemap, even if it’s just a simple list of all the URLs on your site. Submit this to Google through the Google Sitemaps program or Google Webmaster Tools.
  • Is your website tables-based? Consider a cleaner CSS-based layout for your site.
  • Have you got a website statistics program installed? Do you know how to access it, and do you check it regularly? If not, discover Google Analytics.
  • Do you know where your website currently sits for your main phrases? If not, check Google, the localized version of Google (e.g. google.co.nz,) Yahoo and MSN. Remember: few visitors will search past page three.
  • Check the optimization of each page. Pick one search phrase that is relevant to the content on the page. Ensure the page contains the phrase in the title, H1 heading, twice in the meta description, twice in the opening paragraph, and also in the URL if possible.
  • Have good content? SEO will be much harder if you don’t have plenty of original text content, so engage in more time writing good content.
  • Check the source order of your page. Good source code will have the page content as close to the top of the HTML document as possible, and the least important elements such as sidebars and footers last. If you can get the content above the main navigation, great.
  • Action all recommendations that it makes, such as fixing broken links. Look carefully at the list of URLs, and make sure they are clean (no spaces, capitals, etc.)
  • Check the search engines to see how well indexed your site is. If the search engines have indexed pages that have since been moved or deleted, setup a 301 redirect to redirect all traffic that these pages generate (or lose it).
  • If you are a local “bricks and mortar” business, make sure you use your town / city / country on every page, in the title if possible, and in close proximity to your chosen search phrase.

Contact Matt to optimize your website and help you with your search engine marketing.

Benefits of Link Building for Your Business Website

by Dane O’Leary

Having a strong web presence is an asset to any business. With technology and the internet being integrated into our daily lives to such a thorough degree, web presence could be considered the most important component of advertising, marketing, and customer acquisition for a business.

There are many ways to improve web presence and make a business’s site more prominent across the web and, in fact, sustaining a site’s findability requires ongoing maintenance. However, one of the most effective ways to ensure that a business’s website is easy to find is to list the site externally on other niche sites and web directories, which is frequently referred to as link building. Here are some of the benefits of making your business’s website available on other sites and directories.

backlink building

Via túatú

Targeted Traffic

You can find niche websites on just about anything these days. Hobbies of all sorts, science, and a plethora of industries are just a small range of the topical sites that span the worldwide wide. When an individual needs information on a subject, they perform a search using popular search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, which compile a list of sites based on the search terms or keywords that were used; according to estimates, the strategic use of keywords is one of the key components to getting web traffic and can increase a site’s views by 200 percent or more.

The websites that are listed in these specific searches are niche sites that get targeted traffic, which is a steady stream of visitors seeking the information that the niche sites offer. Contractors, for example, can benefit from this targeted traffic generated via search engines queries by listing their businesses’ websites on the niche websites recommended by the search engines. Users who browse niche websites were able to find those websites because they already had interest in the content and links the sites offer. In short, a niche site’s traffic becomes a targeted audience who are likely to click suggested links to sites that offer services they were already looking for.

Increased Visibility

Niche websites and directories offer businesses a way to significantly increase their visibility on the web. Making a website available in numerous places throughout the web increases visibility in several key ways. However, understanding link building requires a basic understanding of the way search engines work.

A search engine’s responsibility is to provide users credible, relevant, high-quality information in the form of a list of links to sites offering products, services, and information that corresponds to what the users are searching for. Search engines like Google determine a website credibility by observing how often it’s referenced on other sites, the site’s organization and user-friendliness, whether it consistently posts information of value, and as well as many other determinants. Search engines then rank sites with the most authoritative, reliable ones at the top of lists of search results. As such, sites that search engines consider credible and high-quality will be significantly more visible because search engines put them at the top of search results. Consider it like the difference between Wikipedia and a blog; Wikipedia always tops lists of search results while private blogs are typically buried in the list unless the blogger has taken steps to improve their blog’s visibility.

When the California Implant Institute increased the number of quality links to their website on authoritative sites around the web, the amount of traffic to the institute website increased by 79 percent, which has contributed to increased business in the long-term. It takes time to improve search engine rankings; however, link building on niche websites and in directories considered credible and authoritative by search engines will have a huge effect on a site’s visibility. By improving search engine rankings, a business’s website becomes more visible while the numerous links across the web provide more opportunities for users to discover and access the site.

Networking and Partnerships

Another benefit to link building is the potential for networking. Not only does this increased visibility make a business more visible to prospective customers and clients, but it also increases the chances of being discovered by a potential partner and developing lucrative professional relationships.

Web partnerships can be a great source of traffic, especially when the two businesses offer related services; for example, a business that offers carpet installation could advertise for and link to the site of a carpet cleaning business. Such a partnership would be mutually beneficial because customers needing the services of one business might need the services of the other, but each business’s services would be sufficiently different that there wouldn’t be competition.


Dane O’Leary is a full-time freelance writer and design blogger for Modernize.com. He has degrees in psychology and anthropology with additional study in journalism, graphic design, and public relations. Dane is currently working on his debut novel.

SEO Case Study: Content is NOT King

content is not king

The prospect wanted to go after the key phrase “corporate wellness Michigan”.

They had their heart set on this term. Now, this was not really based in any kind of keyword research they had done. They were in the corporate wellness business and, by golly, they wanted to dominate the search results for corporate wellness in Michigan. Their logic was sound.

They said they had been trying to rank for this term for about 6-7 months, and they were stuck at page 3. They had all sorts of content in their website. The term “corporate wellness” was woven throughout. Yet for some reason they just were not able to get pass the top of page 3.

So we conducted a little experiment!

The prospect contacted us on a Thursday and by Friday we had decided we were going to try this experiment, so we bought a domain. The domain we purchased was not even an exact match domain (EMD). We went with “corporate wellness”, then put the little “MI” in front of it so it read “micorporatewellness.com”.

Next, we stood a few things on the page. Not a lot of content, mind you; a page title, a sentence or two, an image and a link.  “Corporate Wellness Michigan” is the title for this particular page. We placed it in the title and meta tags. We were even bold enough here in this case to say, “Dear Prospect, you want to rank for this? Please click here.” After that, we pointed a couple links (literally, two) back at this very fresh domain.

Ranking Corporate Wellness Michigan

Turns out, we were able to rank this site by day six.

corporate wellness michigan day 6

All we did is buy a domain, stand up a barebones site, put a couple backlinks facing it, and by day six we had this brand new website on the first page of Google. Not too shabby.

And two weeks later? We were at the top of the search results!

corporate wellness michigan week 2

Keep in mind, nothing changed at this page since the day we built it. We never added any more links going back to it. Yet there it was, on the top of the rankings for those statewide state results. The same search this prospect could not attain on their own, even after six months of trying.

Want to see the page? (You probably want to see the page.) Here it is.

corporate wellness michigan page

This single page is the whole site. That’s it.

So, you know the whole notion that content is king? And how, in order to build up an authority site, you must produce reams and reams of blog posts, each thousands of words long, and they have to be so captivating that people will link to you naturally and (blah, blah, blah)—all the junk we been hearing ever since the Panda and Penguin updates from back in 2012?

It’s junk.

Content is NOT king, folks.

Content helps, especially on the long game (this experiment was a very short game we played) where it’s important to keep people at your site. You eventually want to show that people are staying on your page. Google likes pages that are sticky. With good content, people tend to stay at a website longer and when they linger longer, your bounce rate decreases and your page views increase. Google uses these metrics as social proof by which to weigh the value of your website, so—at some point—you’ll want high quality content on your website.

Again, if we wanted to keep this domain and really turn it into authority-ranked site, we would want to do something more to the site to build it out, but this was just an experiment. Do we have any desire to keep it and build it into authority-ranked site? No, not really. Not unless something happens along the way; maybe the prospect wants to buy this?  For now, it’s just an experiment to boast about and to use as a lesson.

Note: In this case, in this niche, competition was not terribly strong.  We saw things like indeed.com showing on the top of this search results. Usually when you see job sites coming up at the top for search results (when you weren’t searching for jobs,) what you’re seeing is Google not knowing what else to put up there, so it begins filling in the blanks.

P.S.- “Corporate wellness Michigan” was not a well-loved search term to begin with, so the notion that the prospect could not rank for this within six months? They simply did not know what to do. This is why they came to us.

So you there you have it, folks. I hope you enjoyed this presentation! Have questions? Leave them in the comments.

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101 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website

Over 100 ways to drive traffic to your website, drive traffic to your website

One of the chief concerns we have as website owners is how to drive traffic to our websites. Without knowing how to get more traffic, how else will we get more leads, make more sales and continue to make money online?

There are a number of ways to get more traffic, so I’ve collected this list of my favorite traffic-generation techniques. I’ve tried to organize them into the following categories:

  • Content & Article Marketing
  • SEO & Search Engine Marketing
  • Video Marketing & Podcasting
  • Email Marketing & Syndication
  • Advertising & PPC
  • Public Relations & Spreading the Word
  • Social Media & Bookmarking

(Of course, some techniques could arguably be placed in more than one category. Enjoy!)

P.S. – Was this helpful? If so, please

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Have more ideas? Add them to the comments below!!

In support of your efforts,

Matt

marketing ideas, drive traffic, drive traffic to your website

Content & Article Marketing

  1. Start a blog or add a blog to your website. Use WordPress. Tip: Don’t go with the free WordPress hosting offered by WordPress.com. It’s a watered-down version of WordPress you cannot optimize!
  1. Research your article keywords using the Google keyword tool. Target your blog posts and articles using these keywords. (Read How to Add Keywords to Your Website.) This will help your posts rank higher in the search results.
  1. Update your website or blog frequently. Three times each week is great. Daily is better.
  1. Write better headlines. Writing compelling headlines that convert into views is an art. Make sure you research your keywords and work them into your headline. Keep your headline congruent with the webpage it describes.
  1. Stay away from duplicating other posts and articles. Duplicate content is one of the big no-no’s according to Google and your site can be penalized or banned if you are engaging in this practice. Tip: If you’re hiring out your content writing, ensure the contractor knows their work needs to pass a plagiarism-detection tool like Copyscape.
  1. When considering content for your website or blog, there are two approaches to consider: timely hot topics or evergreen. Hot topics—like world events, emerging technology or celebrities—will offer you a chance to speak to something that is on everyone’s minds, however those topics often cool off and fade from relevance over time. Evergreen content—as the name suggests—is content that provides timeless value, based on principles that aren’t as likely to change with the public’s mood. A good piece of evergreen content can bring traffic steadily, year after year, and makes for a real asset to your website.
  1. Convert your blog articles to Adobe PDFs and offer them on Scribd.com.
  1. Offer to guest post at other highly-ranked websites. Include your URL in your resource box (your brief description about you and how to reach you for more information.)
  1. Comment on other blogs in your industry or niche. Make your comments thoughtful, courteous and use a keyword or two. Include the link back to your site.
  1. Similar to blog commenting, offer helpful solutions on Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers and Quora. Place the brief synopsis of your solution in answer to the question you’re addressing and post the link to the full article (already posted on your website) if they want to learn more.
  1. Join niche-related forums and offer advice, ask questions, etc. Include links to your websites in your forum signature.
  1. Offer a whitepaper that answers a common challenge for your audience. Collect email sign-ups in exchange. Deliver your whitepaper automatically using your confirmation autoresponder.
  1. Write an ebook. Include links to resources and to your own URL. Offer the ebook on your website.
  1. Place your new ebook into ebook directories for free or low-cost download.
  1. Convert your ebook into a PowerPoint presentation and post on SlideShare.
  1. Repackage your ebook for delivery on the Kindle, Nook and other tablet platforms. Then offer it for sale through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.
  1. Add your blog posts to BlogCarnival.com. Host a blog carnival to bring exposure to others within your niche while building the value in your own site.
  1. Form a blog promotion network. Agree to retweet, mention, link or otherwise promote one member each week. (This requires 100% dedication from all members to make it work. If a member begins falling down on their commitment, they’re out.)
  1. Article marketing. Submit your pithy articles to sites like the following and remember to include keyword links leading back to your website. (Read Marketing Mastery Series: 5 Steps to Powerful Article Marketing.)
    1. Ezinearticles.com
    2. Ehow.com
    3. Hubpages.com
    4. Articlesbase.com
    5. Buzzle.com
    6. Associatedcontent.com (now Yahoo Voices)
    7. Suite101.com
  1. Build a quiz or self-test that shows people something about themselves. Entertaining, informative or both, bring value through self-discovery. Though I am certainly biased, here is an example I especially like: Branding 101: Discover Your Brand Archetype Quiz
  1. Create a Squidoo lens. This is a collection of original articles that link back to your site from your Squidoo page.
  1. Add a forum or discussion group software to your website. (Be warned: It takes time, dedication and love to grow a thriving community, but it can be well worth it.)
  1. Offer regular webinars and communicate the schedule and topics through your website and mailing lists. Tip: Record the seminars and add them to a members area on your website, or make them available 24/7, thereby bringing even more value to your site.
  1. Offer a free tool, template or software. When Hotmail was first introduced, each message carried a little signature at the bottom of each email that said “Get your free email at Hotmail”. The email system went viral, spreading naturally from inbox to inbox.
  1. Need help getting posts out regularly? Hire a ghost-writer through an outsourcing service like iWriter, oDesk, Elance, etc.
  1. Create a compelling infographic. When done well, infographics make even the driest material visually interesting, effectively grabbing and holding the reader’s attention long enough to deliver the message—and your URL.

SEO & Search Engine Marketing

  1. Use keyword-centric tags with your WordPress posts.
  1. In WordPress, make sure to leave trackbacks turned on. When you link to other site owners, an email will notify the blog owners of the new link and they will likely visit your site. They may even link back!
  1. Install the Google Sitemap XML plugin for WordPress. It automatically sends updates to Google and other search engines when you make a new post, helping your material get indexed more quickly. Don’t have a WordPress site? Use Ping-O-Matic to accomplish the same thing.
  1. Can’t use the Google Sitemap XML plugin for WordPress* to create your sitemap.xml or robots.txt files (used by Google and other search engines?) Use a sitemap generator like XML-Sitemaps.com.
  1. Two words: Google Authorship. Set it up and get your face to appear next to your posts in the Google search results. (Read Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture into Google Search Results.)
  1. Install Google Analytics on your site and actually look at it once in a while. It doesn’t even have to be Google Analytics, but you should be able to see how much traffic you’re receiving on a weekly basis and where your visitors are coming in from? How can you intelligently drive more traffic to your site if you don’t know what’s already working for you?
  1. Submit your website to search engines and search directories. Seems obvious, but most folks don’t know where to start. Here is a list of some of the top search sites:
    1. Google
    2. Bing
    3. Yahoo! Search
    4. AltaVista
    5. Excite
    6. Go.com
    7. HotBot
    8. Galaxy
    9. Lycos
    10. Gigablast
    11. Alexa Internet
  1. Use the linkdomain command in Google (ex. linkdomain:marketingideas101.com). While this only shows a subset of the links that lead into a domain, it can give you an idea about how your competitors are getting their rankings.
  1. Research popular misspellings of your company’s name and those of your competitors. Buy those domain names and forward them to your website.
  1. Find expired domain names in your niche that are still receiving traffic and buy them, directing them toward your site. For this, I recommend Expired Domains.
  1. Use a custom 404 page to help people find the information they are seeking from your website in the event it moves or otherwise becomes unavailable.
  1. Reciprocal linking campaigns with mid- to high-PR sites can offer a boost to your rankings and traffic. The best backlink is a one-way, dofollow link from a high PR site. Also, if you’re just getting started with your website and you have low PR, you had better have some great content, otherwise your opt-in rate with a reciprocal campaign is likely to be low.
  1. Join a web ring like WebRing. Advantage: Niche-related linking. Disadvantage: Uglies up your site. (Not as much of a disadvantage if you already have an ugly site. If that’s the case, jump in!)
  1. Pay a freelancer or company to generate obscene amounts of traffic for you. Just beware of the very real chance it could be a scam (Read How NOT to Drive Traffic Using Fiverr.)

Video Marketing & Podcasting

  1. Read or speak to your ebook contents in an audio post or series of audio posts and place on BlogTalkRadio or iTunes.
  1. Why only create audio posts of your ebook, blog post or web content? Create a video demonstrating the same information and post to YouTube and Vimeo. Include links back to your site in your video description and in video captions. Tip: you can do this either by presenting the material yourself, hiring someone to present it, or by creating a video with something like Animoto.

Email Marketing & Syndication

  1. Link your blog with your Aweber email marketing account. Take signups for your newsletter, ebook or other promotional/informational offers. This will grow your emailing list.
  1. Establish an RSS feed for your site. Add it to FeedBurner.com. (Well.. what was Feedburner. Google gobbled them up.)
  1. Connect your RSS feed broadcasts to your Aweber email marketing service. This will deliver your blog posts in an enewsletter format to your mailing list. Set the mailing list to weekly or whatever is appropriate for your posting frequency.
  1. Email your current and past clients regularly. Ask them about their interest in new products and services (segment your list accordingly.) Send letters of appreciation, short polls, tips, client spotlights and other relevant correspondence to stay at the front of their minds.
  1. In your enewsletter, don’t embed complete articles. Instead, display hook paragraphs with links back to the full articles on your own site. This also allows you to gauge what topics are most important to your readers.
  1. Don’t stop with only offering your whitepaper from your newsletter signup confirmation page. Include your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ profiles and links to other websites you own that complement.
  1. Syndicate your blog with Technorati.
  1. Include your website URL in your email signature. (It’s a good place to offer some of your social media URLs as well.)
  1. Run a solo ad, whereby you pay someone to market your offer to their list. Research your list owners carefully here; all is not as it may seem. (Proceed with caution. Read Solo Ads Advertising: Why Solo Ad Scams Suck.)
  1. Conduct an ad swap. You have a mailing list. Another marketer has their mailing list. Your offers align with each others’ mailing lists. The other marketer sends your offer to their list and you send their offer to yours. All things being equal, you both should see your opt-in lists expand. (Get started at Safe-Swaps.com.)
  1. Join venture with another marketer. Similar to a solo ad, you run your ad to their list, with the difference being they get a cut of the sales instead of taking a flat fee.

Advertising & PPC

  1. Run pay-per-click (PPC) ads using Facebook ads, Google Adwords or Bing Ads. Tip: Watch your ad performance carefully at first. You can lose a lot of money quickly if you don’t pay attention!
  1. Pay for banner ads on other websites. Target websites in your niche, preferably. This is a quick way to begin receiving qualified traffic.
  1. Banner exchange. Similar to reciprocal links, you agree to trade banner ads with other website owners. Aim for the same or complementary niches.
  1. Post free or paid ads on classified ad sites like Craigslist, ClassifiedAds.com, and Backpage.
  1. Begin an affiliate marketing program and spread the wealth! Pay others to promote you to their website visitors and mailing lists by giving them a cut. Make sure you can track referred traffic correctly before rolling this out.

Public Relations & Spreading the Word

  1. Offer to start an advice column for local media outlets. Have some example column posts and know your pitch well before approaching publishers. Finally, make sure the publisher’s audience matches your own.
  1. Along the same lines as an advice column, offer to write an editorial. This is akin to guest posting on someone else’s blog. By offering thoughtful insight into a common challenge or current event, you bring value to the publication and a spotlight to your own efforts.
  1. Write a compelling press release and post to free press release sites and local media outlets. Here is a short list of free and paid press release sites:
    1. eReleases.com
    2. Free-Press-Release.com
    3. Free-Press-Release-Center.info
    4. 24-7PressRelease.com
    5. 1888PressRelease.com
    6. PRBuzz.com
    7. PRCompass.com
    8. PRUrgent.com
    9. Express-Press-Release.net
    10. ClickPress.com
    11. PR9.net
    12. EcommWire.com
    13. PRLog.org
    14. I-Newswire.com
    15. PressAbout.com
    16. NewswireToday.com
    17. PRLeap.com
    18. PR.com
    19. TheOpenPress.com
  1. Are your offline marketing materials supporting your online marketing efforts? You should have your URL on your business cards, flyers, brochures, letterhead; any and all stationary.
  1. Pay a high school or college student to place flyers with your offer and URL around town. Include college campuses, malls, grocery stores, houses, etc., so long as business proprietors are asked and so long as the location is congruent (or neutral) with your offer. These locations should be places where your target audience frequents. Tip: Not sure those flyers won’t end up in the trash? In today’s age of smart phones, pay for each image of the flyers as they’re placed.
  1. Drive your URL all around town. Brand your URL onto your license plate cover, bumper sticker, or have it added professionally to your vehicle’s rear window, tailgate, side, etc. Better if your car is unique in some way (and I’m not talking about that rust spot shaped like Elvis or the Virgin Mary.) Want to take this over the top? Invest in an eye-catching vehicle wrap.
  1. Buy a pair of sandals or boots and carve your URL into the bottom of them. Then go walk on wet sand or snow and give those who follow in your footsteps something to think about.
  1. Hold a contest. Winner gets a rave review on your site, a fun toy or gadget, cash.. whatever. The more compelling and niche-appropriate the prizes, the better. Announce the contest winners on your site.
  1. Join a local business group or association. Members often benefit from being listed in the member directory, complete with their website’s URL.
  1. Your business card should have your link on it, of course. Better, use the back of your business card to state a special offer, coupon code, promotion or other thrilling reason for them to visit your site. Now those networking mixers may actually bring some visits to your site instead of seeding your business cards at the bottom of trash bins all over town.
  1. Sponsor a league team. This might be softball, darts, roller derby, bowling—even chess. Consider the audience (the players and their families and fans) and your own interests when choosing your sponsorship opportunity.
  1. Get seen on television. This technique worked well for Dave Mayer of CleanBottle.com. Dressed in a gigantic bottle costume—complete with URL—Dave was first caught on video running along Tour de France bicyclists. The video went viral and CleanBottle’s orders exploded. He has since made this technique a cornerstone in his marketing strategy, though he’s occasionally roughed up by drunken cycling fans.
  1. Give a live talk, presentation, seminar or workshop. At the end of that event, you should be collecting a short survey to see how to improve the next event. Request email addresses from those who confirm they would like to opt into your mailing list.
  1. When folks were registering for that event, did they fill out a registration form? It better not have been printed! Any flyers or advertising for the event should point to your website where they’ll find more event details and the registration form.
  1. Give an interview. Regardless of the format, a recorded interview can offer you great exposure to your market and places you in the expert seat. As the interviewer for a list of questions ahead of time, or offer your own. Practice being at ease and ask for a copy of the interview for use in your own marketing efforts.
  1. Interview others. With every interview you conduct, the easier it will become for you to interview larger names in your industry. The larger the names, the larger the draw. Tip: Have your recorded interviews transcribed and offer them on your website. It’s a great way to generate fresh content!
  1. Offer to give a product review (whether positive or negative) or testimonial in exchange for a backlink.
  1. Send your product (for free) to other site owners for an online product review.
  1. Hand out promotional items with your URL on them. Don’t skimp here. Nice metal pens and USB drives tend to tend to stay with me for a very long time, even if they have a logo and URL emblazoned on them.
  1. Hold an online treasure hunt. Contestants compete to answer riddles and collect clues to win mind-boggling prizes. Of course, one of the clues (or maybe the treasure!?) will be on your website.
  1. Printed banners, billboards and skywriting. Enough said there. Better: Save yourself the printing costs. To retaliate against political sign thieves, Michigan digital marketing agency, Oneupweb projected a 30-foot video loop of a dancing Senator Obama onto the side of their building. The stunt made the evening news all over the country.
  1. Produce viral content. How? One idea is to make a legend come true. Athletic shoe manufacturer Hi-Tec, made a series of “reality” videos showing their new line of running shoes were so water-resistant, people were attempting to run on water—and they were succeeding.
  1. Tattoo (temporary or otherwise) your URL onto your body. Anything that important is sure to get looked up.
  1. Ask a celebrity to wear a t-shirt or dress with your URL printed on it.
  1. When attending a tradeshow, you and your team wear the same shirts, visibly labeled with your URL. Buttons and hats are another version of this.
  1. Create an award program. Establish the guidelines, the award graphics, press release templates, etc. Be discerning about how you select your candidates and make your announcement. Encourage the winner(s) to place the new badge on their website. Of course, it’s a link to the award summary on your own site.
  1. Promote a sale, introductory pricing, free trial or other enticing promotion to lead deal-conscious buyers to your website.

Social Media & Bookmarking

  1. Facebook. Share interesting or relevant posts, images and videos on your Facebook ‘fan page’. Every now and again, include a link to your own website.
  1. Facebook. Install the NetworkedBlogs Facebook app and connect your blog to Facebook. When you post to your blog, your post automatically shows in Facebook.
  1. Facebook. Link your Facebook account with your Twitter account so a post in Facebook automatically posts in Twitter. This lightens your need to log into both accounts and adds diversity to your Twitter posts, especially if you’re smart enough to automate some of them using…
  1. MarketMeSuite. Manage your social media streams and accounts from one place. Best: Create, schedule and upload your social media broadcasts a week, month, quarter or year at a time. Greatly reduces the social media marketing burden.
  1. Twitter. Display your Twitter feed on your website or blog. If you’re using your Facebook or Twitter account regularly, your tweets will display and serve to freshen your website. This encourages repeat visits and updates your website, keeping you fresh in Google’s search results.
  1. Twitter. Include your website’s link in your Twitter bio.
  1. Twitter. Tweet about your product, service or articles. Include links to your onsite material. Use hash tags (#) to add your tweets to relevant topic streams.
  1. LinkedIn. Connect your WordPress blog with your LinkedIn account so your blog posts appear on your profile.
  1. LinkedIn. Include your URL in your profile.
  1. LinkedIn. Start a LinkedIn group. Best: Target your niche and mention your geographical location in the group’s description to build a more focused group.
  1. LinkedIn. Too busy to start your own LinkedIn group? Join other groups and add value to those communications. Often, those posts can be expanded to become full articles on your own website. Then offer the link to the group.
  1. Pinterest. Add interesting, non-copyrighted graphics to your web pages and blog posts then pin them to your Pinterest account.
  1. Create a profile in any of these popular social bookmarking sites. Include your URL in your profile.
    1. Digg.com
    2. StumbleUpon.com
    3. Delicious.com
    4. Fark.com
    5. Slashdot.org
    6. Newsvine.com
    7. DZone.com
    8. Diigo.com
    9. Tumblr.com
    10. Pinterest.com
    11. Reddit.com
  1. Using these popular social bookmarking sites, bookmark links of value, related to your niche. Your own website should be one of these bookmarks.
  1. Ask others to bookmark your site. Or bribe them. Either way.

And finally–because you can’t have a list of only 100 marketing ideas on a website called “Marketing Ideas 101”:

Content & Article Marketing (cont.)

  1. Make a “100 Ways to” list post and ask people to share if they found it helpful. Not quite that ambitious? Make the list “10 Ways to”, “3 Ways to”, “50 Ways to”—you get the idea.

Share if you approve!!

marketing ideas, drive traffic, drive traffic to your website

References

Boorn, Cassie. 50 Ways to Drive Massive Traffic to Your Blog. Retrieved from http://askaprgirl.com/50-ways-to-drive-massive-traffic-to-your-blog/ on 12/17/2012.

SEOLogic. Web Traffic 101. Retrieved from http://www.seologic.com/guide/traffic on 12/09/2012.

WarriorForum. 50 Great Ideas to Get More Traffic to a website – I found it and you might find it useful. Retrieved from http://www.warriorforum.com/mind-warriors-success-power-self-improvement/166835-50-great-ideas-get-more-traffic-website-i-found-you-might-find-useful.html on 12/17/2012

 

(* Did you see a pattern? I’ve mentioned WordPress a few times now. I wonder if WordPress could be a powerful option for those who want to have a search engine optimized website that draws traffic. I wonder…)

How NOT to Drive Traffic Using Fiverr

marketing ideas driving traffic fiverr

(Subtitled: Beware the $5 Traffic Gurus)

I thought I was being smart. I thought I could pay someone five bucks and they would work their magic and funnel all sorts of traffic to my new blog. Of course, I was experimenting, but I had no idea what kind of a fail to expect, so—naively—I hoped for success.

I went to Fiverr.com and dove into ‘Online Marketing,’ then into the ‘Get Traffic’ category. I sorted by rank and found a promising ad. Here’s what it said:

[Name removed to protect the guilty] will drive UNLIMITED
genuine real traffic to your website for one month for $5.

Sounds good, right?

And the job profile comes with lots of rave reviews. I shrugged and hopefully gambled away my $5. The profile asked me the right questions. What’s the URL, what areas do you want to target, etc. Since the job promised to be delivered within three days, I spent three days haunting my Google Analytics reports, eagerly anticipating the hints of a traffic tsunami.

Then it happened! Traffic went from zero (this was a brand new site) to 60 hits and then climbed to 70 hits! Yes! $5 well spent, right!?

Wrong!

Upon further inspection, it appears all the traffic is of the BOUNCING variety (read Should You Worry About Your Bounce Rate? for a better understanding on why high bounce rates are undesirable.) Eyeball the web traffic report below and see if you see what I see:

drive traffic with fiverr

More, if you’ll notice the referrer URL’s, I’m sure you’ll see a trend. Visiting some of these sites will clue you in further to the junk traffic they bring.

Well, there’s an experiment in traffic generation that gives some important feedback. While I might not have benefited from massive volumes of quality traffic, five dollars is cheap tuition. I feel wiser already!

In support of your efforts,

Matt

marketing ideas leadership

Update! (November 2, 2012)

Well, folks.. after writing this post, I opted to go back to the Fiverr vendor and ask them to discontinue the gig, which was supposed to last for a month. I gave them a “thumb’s down”. Here is our discussion:

Me: please discontinue this program. the traffic is junk.

Guilty: Hi, Can I know what happened? And why did you leave a negative feedback without asking information? The traffic is direct to ensure an high level of security with adsense and affiliations, and the bounce rate is related to that because it’s direct. All information are in the document and it’s described, please remove your feedback, and let me know if you are interested in a refund instead.

Me: See attached. Of course you should be expecting negative feedback. There is no value in the traffic you are providing. fiverr-traffic-generation.gif (36.175 KB)

Guilty: My traffic is direct only, and I know the bounce rate is high because it’s a consequence of setting the traffic this way. Some people are converting as they reported me and wrote in the feedback, so it’s valuable for someone, I’m truly sorry it isn’t working for you. As I said, I will refund your order, if you agree to remove the feedback. Please help me maintain a good service, I always do my best to provide that but I know sometimes can’t give the expected results.

Me: Will remove the feedback as soon as we see our sites (both of them) removed from these spammy sites. If we look at our Google Analytics tomorrow and we can see all this bouncing traffic has fallen away, we will remove the comment.

Guilty: I will suspend your campaign immediately, you will notice the removal from a few minutes. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

Guilty: I suspended them as agreed, if you will check the tracking url you won’t see any more visits from me.

Guilty: Hi, Please check the tracking url and you will see the campaign is no longer active, I’m waiting for you.

Me: Go ahead and refund these orders. Thanks.

Guilty: No problem, but you should remove the feedback before I ask the refund or you won’t be able to modify it anymore… Write me as soon as it’s done and I will send the refund, thank you.

I allowed them to sweat a little until the next day. I was still debating taking the review down–after all, wouldn’t the honest feedback protect others from making my same mistake? However, it seems the decision was made for me! I received the following email from Fiverr:

Your order #FO_____________ was cancelled by Fiverr’s customer service team.

Your funds have been returned to your Fiverr Balance and will be used automatically for your next purchase.

Thanks,
The Fiverr Team

So I guess the vendor didn’t want to wait. However, much to my surprise, Fiverr actually removed my feedback from the vendor’s ratings completely! See below. Notice two things:

  1. My negative feedback has been removed, as well as my comments!
  2. Another person has gotten an inkling that the traffic they are receiving isn’t doing them any good; though they are much less confident about what they should be seeing, they suspect there’s something wrong.

drive traffic fiverr

Now, it’s somewhat disheartening to recognize most of these folks see the spike in traffic like I did, however they aren’t looking at their bounce rates or the referring URL’s, so they aren’t realizing they’re being duped.

I liken this to ordering the steak dinner at a restaurant, being served a rice cake, and commenting how full you are now that you’ve eaten so well.

And what about Fiverr in all this? They didn’t reach out to me at all. They just deleted the truth and will let this person continue their deceptive practices. Yikes!

Ah, buy why the heck should they do anything? Fiverr gets paid on every sale, don’t they?

Buyer beware, folks.

In support of your efforts,

Matt

P.S. – The vendor said, “My traffic is direct only, and I know the bounce rate is high because it’s a consequence of setting the traffic this way.” That’s junk, people. Traffic being direct versus referred has no bearing on the quality of the traffic; it’s merely an indication of how people are getting to your site. If there were even people behind those hits. It’s quite possible that traffic is from bots.

Should You Worry About Your Bounce Rate?

marketing ideas bounce rate

by Lucy Beer

A low bounce rate is often cited as a hallmark of a good website–40% or lower is typically heralded as the goal–signaling that visitors are engaged with your site and finding useful content. A high bounce rate is often assumed to mean that your site is not doing its job. In reality, bounce rate means different things for different sites and the emphasis you place on it will vary according to the type of site you have and its goals.

What Does Bounce Rate Mean?

The definition from Google’s Analytics help pages is: “Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page.”

When is Bounce Rate a Relevant Metric?

  • If you have a sales or conversion process which requires the user to follow through multiple pages on your site.
  • If exploration of your site is important to your goals. If you are trying to turn new visitors into loyal readers or customers.
  • If yours is a retail site and you want people to shop around and make purchases.
  • If your homepage is not inducing further clicks, particularly if it contains blog excerpts or other ‘teaser’ content.

What a High Bounce Rate Could Mean:

1. Keywords and content are mismatched.

In cases where visitors are coming from search engines, a high bounce rate may mean that the keywords they used and the content they found on your site are not aligned–so your site doesn’t meet their expectations in some way.

What you can do:

Analyze your keyword traffic and make sure your pages are optimized for the keywords you want and that the content is closely aligned with keywords and not misleading in any way.

2. The next step in your conversion or goal process is not obvious or easy enough.

What you can do:

Look at your landing pages with an objective eye and make the next step clear and easy to take.

3. The navigation on your site is confusing or unclear, making additional content hard to find.

What you can do:

Re-evaluate the navigation and see if there are ways to streamline or simplify. Also double-check for browser compatibility–perhaps the page is not displaying correctly under some conditions.

4. Your offer or product is not presented in a compelling or easy to understand way.

What you can do:

Look at your sales copy or offer details and see if you can refresh it or make it more appealing. You could try split-testing different versions to see which performs better.

5. Your site has technical problems. Particularly if your bounce rate suddenly spikes or displays an unusual trend, it could be an indication of technical issues–broken images or links, or something on the page not loading correctly.

What you can do:

Check for compatibility and broken links. Test the load speed of the page and generally make sure your code is as clean and functional as possible. Check for server outages and other issues that could have temporarily affected the functionality of your site.

A high bounce rate might not be a problem if:

  • You have a blog homepage containing all your recent posts in their entirety – Blogger blogs are notorious for this. When all your posts are presented up front there would be little reason for someone to click to any other pages.
  • You have a loyal blog following and your site has a higher proportion of returning visitors than new visitors. Your followers and subscribers may just want to read the newest post and have no need to visit other pages.
  • You are promoting a landing page which contains the call to action within it, such as submitting an email address. That single page can do its job effectively without requiring further clicks.
  • The call to action or conversion takes your visitor off-site–to an external shopping cart or email sign up for example. This would look like a bounce, but can still be a conversion.
  • Blogs typically have higher bounce rates compared to other types of sites so the same benchmarks do not apply.

Bounce Rate is Not the Only Metric.

Don’t look at bounce rate in isolation–look at the overall picture of your website and how it’s performing according to the metrics that matter to you. What DO you want your visitors to do at your site? Are you making it easy for them to do that, and are you measuring it?

Look for trends and other data that give you a fuller picture of what the bounce rate really means:

  • Is the bounce rate higher or lower for certain keywords?
  • Does it vary according to how people found your site? Search engines vs. social media, for example.
  • How does it vary with New vs. Returning visitors?
  • Which particular pages or types of content on your site have higher or lower bounce rates?
  • Look also at length of time the visitor spends on the page which could indicate whether or not they are reading what they find–this is very important for a blog.

marketing ideas leadership

Lucy Beer of WebTrainingWheels.com is a marketing professional of more than 8 years. She has been using and loving WordPress since 2004 and provides WordPress training services. She also consults with small businesses on their marketing online strategy, helping them develop and execute a plan that increases their business and engages their target audience.

How To Work Keywords Into Your Website

marketing ideas how to add keywords

One of the most important things you can do to improve your rankings in the search engines and directories (Google, Yahoo, Bing, DMOZ, et cetera) is to ensure your website is optimized in accordance with the keywords and key phrases you are looking to target.

To “optimize” a website for search engine relevancy means going over it with a fine-tooth comb and seeking out ways to make the website more targeted toward the topic it incites. There are a number of ways to do this.

Domain Name

Does your domain name carry with it “maximum information per square inch?” As in, is your product or service in your name? While this can help your rankings, it is not the end all, be all. After all, do a search in Google on “fast food” and you will notice McDonald’s and Wendy’s sites come up to the top and their domain names are not mcdonaldsfastfood.com or wendysfastfood.com.

Page Titles

Each web page on your site should have its own distinct title. A web page title should tell the user and the search engines what the page is about and you want to make sure to work in a couple keywords relevant to your website and specific to that page. Recommendation: Resist the temptation to place your company name first in the title—your keywords are more important to both humans and bots, so they go first.

Metadata

Add keywords and key phrases into your website’s metadata. Every web page has the capacity to have within it a hidden description and set of keywords. Whether web designers make use of this feature is another matter. Besides your domain name and page titles, this is one of the first things the search engines use to determine where in their indexes your site should be placed. While the importance for metadata has been greatly reduced over the years, it is still something you want to address as it’s the meta description that shows up in the search results.

Copy

Your copy (the text you write,) your links and the images you choose can all be constructed to give the search engines a greater idea about your website’s singular reason for being.

When you seek to “keyword optimize” your website, you begin by knowing the keywords you want to target. Once you have a list of 20 to 30 keywords or key phrases, you may then begin to craft your message to your public, sprinkling in those important words along the way. A good rule of thumb here is to focus on a few keywords per page, rather than trying to stuff them all onto every page.

Tip: Write for humans, but optimize for search engines. Do not pack your site with your keywords. The top search engines have algorithms in place that will penalize for “keyword stuffing.” (Keyword stuffing is considered to be a “black hat” search engine optimization technique and is wonderful way to get your website banned from the search engines. Not recommended.)

Links

Descriptive links are another great way to tell the search engines what your site is about and they carry a good amount of weight and should be used wisely. If you are merely stating “click here” or “read more” you are missing an opportunity. Instead of stopping at “read more”, build a little more information into the link by saying “read more about online marketing” (or whatever your topic.) Assuming “online marketing” was one of our key phrases, we just gave that search engine a little more reason to promote our site when someone searches on online marketing.

Images

Even the images you use can build relevancy for your website. For example, if you have a dog grooming company, abstain from putting up pictures of your clients that still carry the same filename as the day they were pulled off the digital camera. “DC3459.jpg” tells the search engines nothing about the subject of that image. Since search engines cannot actually see the image to interpret it (yet,) they can only rely upon the filename you give your image (and an “alt” tag, which we will discuss later,) balanced against the rest of the page on which it resides. A better filename might be “dog-grooming-service.jpg” or “pet-grooming.jpg.” This same principle holds true for every filename you use on your site (.doc, .pdf, .gif, .htm, .php, etc.,) including even the pages of your website.

Does it sound like we are catering to the search engines? We are. Search engines and directories are large conduits into your website. Without them, there would be considerably less traffic on your site, so you want to make it clear to them you are 1) an authority in your field, and 2) your website contains great value to those who will find it.

Marketing Mastery Series: 5 Steps to Powerful Article Marketing

Marketing Ideas Article Marketing

Today, article marketing is probably one of the most powerful and inexpensive forms of online marketing available to small business owners and non-profits. For those not savvy with the term “article marketing”, here is a quick definition:

In exchange for a little sweat and focus, an article author (you) shares their wisdom and experience with the world by posting their short article of advice or insight to blogs, social media and article publication sites. Within those articles are one-way links leading back into the author’s own website, raising their website’s “authority” karma with the search engines and increasing their qualified web traffic.

You Are the Expert

Here is a little mental preparation for you. I want to make sure you are looking at article marketing—and yourself—through the proper lens.

When you produce articles, it is your goal to encapsulate gems of experience-hardened wisdom and share them with the online community. In doing so, you:

  1. Help to advise those who are seeking that knowledge, and you
  2. Position yourself as an expert on the topic. (Important!)

Warning: Don’t get caught on the term “expert.” Many humble folks who are vastly knowledgeable about their industry wouldn’t refer to themselves as experts because they are also aware there is much they don’t know. You don’t have to know it all. You just need to know more than your customers and then know where to find the answers when you are stumped.

Your Mission: Inspire, Inform, Entertain

Your primary goal in business is to help, right? Businesses and non-profit organizations provide products and services with the intent of helping people. (Naïve? Maybe. Choosing to see the best? Definitely.) That might mean helping to:

  1. Provide a solution to a problem,
  2. Offer inspiration, motivation or elevation,
  3. Foster greater awareness to a social concern, or even to
  4. Entertain and enthrall.

The best place to start? Begin with what you know. Offer advice. Offer your life experience. Offer sagacious words of wisdom. Expound and elucidate. Maybe even do a little research. Article marketing is your vehicle for taking your wisdom to your audience, answering their questions before their questions have bubbled up.

Step 1: Target Your Topic

What do you specialize in? What do you know a lot about? What is the point to your website? After all, the goal of any article marketing campaign is to place articles of value out into the world and grow your number of back links (links that point back to your website from another website.) Google and other popular search engines/directories see these links leading into your website as proof you must be something of an authority.

Translation: On the Internet, you are somebody important if other people say you are. It’s like high school all over again! Yeah!

Step 2: Write the Article

To begin marketing with articles, you must write the articles. No kidding. Sure, there is some work involved here, but the rewards can be great as qualified traffic to your website increases. Yes, I’m aware there are certain sources for pre-written articles on a myriad of topics, however I would recommend against putting your name on other people’s work. Call me paranoid, but here are some possible dangers with this:

  1. Loss of credibility and damage to your reputation when it’s discovered you’re not writing your own material,
  2. Being called upon to discuss a topic you barely considered to begin with, and
  3. Being accountable for someone else’s errors if they pop up.

Remember: One of the greatest things about writing is the fact you’re building an asset when you write. You are building a body of reproducible and shareable knowledge. This is what “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author, Rob Kiyosaki, refers to as “doing it once and replicating it over and over.”

To write an article, you don’t have to be a Harvard literature graduate, but you should know how to complete a thought, hold a one-way conversation with a friend, and use spellcheck.

  • First, know what your goal is for your article. What is your point? Being clear on this will help keep you on track as craft your introduction, body and conclusion.
  • Next, pretend you are relaying this information to a friend. What would you say? How would you counsel this friend if they came to you seeking this advice?
  • Finally, use spellcheck. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Read the article aloud to test for smooth flow and phrasing. Ferret out all typos, grammatical errors and punctuation gaffs. If missed, these mistakes can detract from your writing and credibility.

The Resource Box

The last detail you’ll consider for your article will be your resource box. Your resource box is the little paragraph at the end of your article that tells the reader a little about you and how to contact you. It should always include a link to your website. Always. You want your readers to be able to find you if they desire more information and you want the search engines to see you as an authority through that back link, remember?

Key point: In your resource box, you don’t always have to use the same link back to your website’s homepage. In fact, you will likely have greater success by linking to the page on your site most closely related to your article’s topic. This moves visitors from the article directly to their topic of interest. (For example, if a web design company also offers web hosting, their article “How to pick the best web host” should link back to the page on their website that describes their web hosting services.)

Step 3: Launch!

There! You have produced a shiny little gem of literary brilliance. Now it is time to set it free.

  • Place it on your blog (if you have one and if it fits appropriately.)
  • Share it with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and your other social media outlets. You can post it over and over by hand or use tools like PingFM to automate this process.
  • Submit your article to free article directories! Here are the top 10 most popular article directories, according to list of the top 50, found at http://www.vretoolbar.com/articles/directories.php:
  1. seekingalpha.com
  2. ehow.com
  3. hubpages.com
  4. biggerpockets.com/articles
  5. ezinearticles.com
  6. brighthub.com
  7. buzzle.com
  8. textbroker.com
  9. selfgrowth.com
  10. knoji.com/articles/
  • Use an article submission software or service to shorten this process. One good example is isnare.com.
  • Feeling brave? Record your article as you read it into a microphone and post it to iTunes.
  • Braver still? Use your digital video camera and post your work to YouTube, Vimeo and the like.

Step 4: Track Your Results

Just because you’ve accomplished the first three steps of deciding, drafting and delivering your article, don’t think you’re done! You should be watching to see how this article affects your traffic. Did you see an increase? Did your website’s conversion rate (the number of calls, emails, sign-ups, sales, etc.) edge up? If not, did your article compel people to want to know more? Did it provide enough value? Was it placed properly?

Marketing Tip: Use the powerful and free traffic-tracking tool, Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics). Design your Analytics reports and schedule them to automatically arrive in your inbox as frequently as you like.

Step 5: Rinse and Repeat

Now do it again. Find different-but-related categories to place your articles under so they don’t compete with each other. Discuss different aspects of products and services you offer. Determine how often you will produce and post your articles. This depends on how intensely you will run your article marketing campaign. You’ll need to weigh your priorities against your normal day-to-day workload, your goals and the competitiveness of your industry.

If you’re just starting out, aim to write weekly or bi-weekly articles using the promotional campaign in Step 3 as a model. If you are an ambitious writer or blogger, step up your efforts to daily and spread your articles across the media outlets.

Marketing Tip: Since you’re writing these articles anyways, you may as well post them to your website to keep your site’s content fresh. Then place them in your online newsletter and send them to your mailing list.

Afterglow

At this point, you have enough of a blueprint to successfully manage your own article marketing campaign. Writing articles can be a fun way to promote your website and your effort, but it can also be a great way to collect your thoughts and bring greater clarity to challenges you and your audience may be facing. Use articles to entertain, educate and inspire!

In support of your efforts,
M

Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture into Google Search Results

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship

You may have noticed a trend emerging when you perform a search in Google. Every so often, you’ll notice someone’s face comes up next to their post. At first, you may think, “Wow, they must be an authority. Google is even publishing their face!” Once the star-struck awe wears off, you may then wonder, “How did they do that? Can I do that?”

For authors, bloggers, podcasters, video personalities and content producers, the answer is, “Yes, you can!”

Google—in their tireless effort to serve and encourage rich Internet content—has produced something called “rich snippets,” which offers content producers and marketers an opportunity to stand out using “Google Authorship” markup code.

The Google Authorship process, however, wasn’t terribly clear for me. I ended up needing about five different resources to successfully navigate the Google Authorship process. Therefore, I’ve taken the time to reproduce a step-by-step process for getting that pretty mug of yours into the Google SERPs.

Step 1: Set Up Your Google+ Profile

If you don’t already have a Google+ profile, go to Google.com and select You+ from the navigation bar at the top. As you move through setting up your profile, pay close attention to adding content for the following fields:

  • Introduction
    • Keep this short and sweet; one to four sentences. A little about you and where visitors and followers can find you.
  • Profile photo
    • Use a clear headshot. This will be reproduced as a small thumbnail if it’s placed into the Google search results. (Google is sure to repeat “if” and “no guarantee” numerous times on your Authorship journey. Be prepared: Your face may not show up in the SERPs for months, if ever.)[image of intro and photo]
  • Work Email
    • Preferred: Select an email address with the same domain name as the one you will be linking from (i.e. your email address is yourname@yourdomain.com and your website is yourdomain.com.) If you can’t do that, any email address you control will do.[image]
  • Contributor to
    • This is where you tell Google what sites you post to, or—in cases where you have been a guest author on someone else’s site or blog—what articles you’ve had published. If a guest post, link directly to your post on the other site; not the main homepage.

Marketing Ideas Google Plus Profile

Step 2: Link to Your Google+ Account from Your Posts

There are a couple different ways to add Google Authorship markup code to your site, but I’m going to focus on my favorite: the rel=author parameter. Why is this my favorite method? I feel the rel=me parameter you would add to your blog’s “about me” page is too broad to be targeted, whereas the rel=author parameter you add to specific links, giving you much more control. You may say, “Matt, that seems like more work!” but I would say, “Not if you do it the way I’m about to teach you!”

Your goal now is to add the code to one place: the bottom of your posts. If you don’t already have one, begin by writing your “about the author” blurb. Here is mine:

Marketing Ideas Author Matt SchoenherrWritten by Matt Schoenherr
Matt is a husband, father of four, marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Ideas 101. As a student, teacher and published author, Matt supports the worthy goals of service and commerce in the small business and nonprofit communities. You may find him on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. Creative marketing ideas and marketing strategies may be found at MarketingIdeas101.com

As you can see, I’ve included links to some of the other social media channels I use, the same headshot I used for my Google+ profile (this could be any picture; I’m just being consistent) and a little about myself.

Pay close attention to the Google+ link here. This is the format you want to use:

<a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/111111111111111111111?rel=author“>My link to Google+</a>

Change the 1’s to your Google+ profile ID. To find your profile ID, make sure you’re logged out of Google+ and

  1. do a search for your profile from the Google+ landing page (Google.com, then select You+.) You may see your profile posts come up on the left and believe you just found your profile.
  2. Don’t be fooled! This is not the right address!
  3. You still want to select your profile from the list that appears on the right.

Marketing Ideas Google Plus Profile ID

Now you will see your actual profile and will be able to capture the URL address properly:

https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363/posts

Strip off “posts” and now your URL should look like:

https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363/

Once you have your “about the author” description created, you will add it to the bottom of your posts. If your website is built on a content management system, this may be easy. With Joomla, you may simply add a custom HTML module to the bottom of those pages. In WordPress, you may use a wonderful plugin called “Post Footer” and drop your “about the author” blurb in. If you need help with this, ask your web guru. Here is what my code looks like:

<img src=”https://marketingideas101.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/marketing-ideas-author-200-150×150.jpg” alt=”Marketing Ideas Author Matt Schoenherr” title=”Marketing Ideas Author Matt Schoenherr” width=”150″ height=”150″ class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-1465″ /><strong>Written by Matt Schoenherr</strong><br />
Matt is a husband, father of four, marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Ideas 101. As a student, teacher and published author, Matt supports the worthy goals of service and commerce in the small business and nonprofit communities. You may find him on <a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363?rel=author” title=”marketing ideas” target=”_blank”>Google+</a>, <a href=”https://twitter.com/#!/mattschoenherr” target=”_blank”>Twitter</a> and <a href=”http://www.facebook.com/marketingideas101″ title=”marketing ideas” target=”_blank”>Facebook</a>. Creative <a href=”https://marketingideas101.com/category/marketing-ideas/”>marketing ideas</a> and marketing strategies may be found at MarketingIdeas101.com.

Step 3: It’s Alive!

Google has provided a slick little tool that tells you whether you’re on the right path. It’s called the Rich Snippets Testing Tool and you can find it here: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

To determine if things are working properly, place the URL address for one of your posts carrying the Google+ link into the top box and select the Preview button.

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Testing Tool

An example of what your post will look like in the search results will appear. If you see your picture, great news! You’re done! If not, the Rich Snippets Testing Tool will tell you what errors it found. For me, I was told I hadn’t verified my email address, so once I added the work email address to my Google+ profile and verified it, my “Extracted Author/Publisher for this page” section looked like this:

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Verified

Afterglow

Per the search engine marketing agency, CatalystOnline:

“The results over a few weeks proved the quintessential SEO theory that Rich Snippets do increase CTR and as a result greater traffic. According to Google Webmaster Tools, clicks to the site dramatically increased by +150% and this improvement resulted in an increase of visits and page views (see chart below).” (Emmanuel, 2012.)

Marketing Ideas Rich Snippet Results

True, it may take a little time to get Google Authorship markup installed and functioning. Still, if your posts begin displaying your profile picture in the Google search results, you stand to gain considerable advantage over other content authors whom have not made this effort. As of today, I will begin watching to see when (if) my profile picture begins appearing alongside my posts. When (if) I see this occur, I will come back here and post an update to let you know how long it took.

In the meantime, if you work through these directions and you discover something was unclear or missing, please offer some clarification in the comments below and I’ll update this post.

In support of your efforts,

Matt

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Update, Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Well, it seems Google caught my Authorship submission today!  Fairly quick turn-around at exactly a week. Nice. So, what did we learn? It’s possible and it can happen quickly. We also learned your photo won’t show up next to everything you’ve written. See below.

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Results

As you can see, a search for “marketing ideas 101” shows four listings (page 1, positions 1-4) for the Marketing Ideas 101 site but only one entry in the search results shows my Google Authorship image. Still, every little bit helps. In the meantime, I see I need to address the meta keywords and description for my pages, as my resource box content is being displayed instead of the page description. Ah, good times.

If I notice any other updates, I’ll post them here!

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References

Crestodina, A. Google Authorship Markup: How to get your picture in search results. Retrieved from http://blog.kissmetrics.com/google-authorship/.

Emmanuel.E. January 19, 2012. CatalystOnline. How Rich Snippets Can Improve Your CTR. Retrieved from http://www.catalystsearchmarketing.com/2012/01/how-rich-snippets-can-improve-your-ctr/.

Google. Author information in the search results. Retrieved from http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1408986&expand=option2.

Google. Rich snippets not appearing. Retrieved from http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1093493.

Google. Rich Snippets Testing Tool. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets.

Jamieson, E. How Long Will It Take For My Face/Logo To Show Up In The Search Results? Retrieved from http://www.authorsure.com/514/how-long-will-it-take-for-my-facelogo-to-show-up-in-the-search-results.

To Market Online, Know Your ‘Why’

Marketing Ideas Know Your Why

Question: When marketing online, I have always focused on marketing only one of my many services. Should I market something else? How should I market my business online?

Answer: Many folks wonder how to market businesses online. I believe your starting point depends upon where your heart lies.

If you’re in love with one particular element of your business, focus on that. For instance, if you’re a photographer who favors working weddings, I would recommend staying focused on ‘wedding photographer’ as a keyphrase. Then add your target location (where you want to work these jobs.)  Your keyphrase would then look like ‘wedding photographer Detroit’ or ‘wedding photographer Chicago’.

Yes, if you’re a talented wedding photographer, you probably do well photographing other events. If you prefer photographing sporting events, sure, follow that. However, know that maintaining a singular focus over time will yield more singular results than a dispersed focus (better position in the search engines, more qualified traffic, therefore higher conversions to paying wedding photography jobs.) When choosing keywords during your online marketing activities, take aim at your singular idea—your one thing—and charge after that.

At the time of this writing, MarketingIdeas101.com is only about five months old. Judging by the domain name, it’s safe to guess ‘marketing ideas’ is one of the coveted keyphrases. Well, it so happens there are lots of top-dogs ranking well for that keyphrase, nationally and globally. When the Marketing Ideas 101 site first hit Google, it was on page 2 for ‘marketing ideas 101’ and between pages 13-17 for ‘marketing ideas’. For ‘marketing ideas’, that’s a position of 130-170 out of the approximate 196,000,000 results found by Google. Who is going to go to the 17th page of their search results? The site may as well have not existed!

It took only five months and now Marketing Ideas 101 dominates ‘marketing ideas 101’ (top four positions when I looked this morning) and is now on page 3 for ‘marketing ideas’, surpassing even an Inc.com page. During this time, Marketing Ideas 101 has been grown from a single page to over 50 pages, most of which have ‘marketing idea’ or ‘marketing ideas’ in the title and URL.

(Note: Don’t think for a second I believe there are throngs of people looking for ‘marketing ideas 101’ as a keyphrase. This phrase—which coincides with the domain name MarketingIdeas101.com—was simply one of the smaller milestones I used to gauge progress. Now that the top position for the full phrase has been captured, we’re continuing on after the big fish on the national and global levels; those who sit atop the ‘marketing ideas’ search results.)

The off-site marketing of the MarketingIdeas101.com site has not been aggressive. Maybe there has been a blog comment every two weeks? Maybe there has been a broadcast for new post or article to Twitter and LinkedIn about once a week? More importantly, there are 2-3 new posts every week. Plus, most these posts carry titles based on low- to medium-competition keyphrases with higher search volume.

The aim is to reach folks who have specific marketing questions on topics that have been under-served. Combine this with broadcasting new posts through Facebook, Twitter (automated), LinkedIn groups, and Pinterest (my photographer example should definitely be using Pinterest) and Marketing Ideas 101 moved up to an average daily volume of 50-60 visits each day. The Marketing Ideas site cleared 100 visits in a day last week. Yes, these are still small numbers, but for many small businesses and nonprofits operating at a local level, it is targeted traffic at this volume that begins to make the phone ring.

Again, the only aggressive effort here has been in the delivery of solid content. This content was designed to provide answers to current marketing questions, assisting as many people as possible (e.g. where to find Google Analytics report templates, what’s hot in social media, why you don’t care about building a mobile app, etc.)

Make no mistake; claiming page 1 positioning may take a couple more years even though the Marketing Ideas 101 site jumped to page 3 after 5 months. I can be patient. I understand this is a journey. As long as I’m serving others with the goal of making a difference for as many people as possible, I’ll keep after it. You must know your ‘why’ though; otherwise you may find it easy to become distracted or frustrated when you occasionally lose position to a competitor (or the latest Google update,) or when you lose a client, etc.

My goal for this project is to serve as many folks as I can by providing great content, tools, instruction and support. The intent is to help my followers and students 1) gain the competitive edge in their marketplace and 2) see their dreams through to fulfillment and expansion. Ultimately, my ‘why’ is to fortify or restore hope in the entrepreneur, the small business owner, the freelancer, the nonprofit–anyone who would have more from life from the status quo. Then I arm them with a set of the tools by which to do this.

Knowing your ‘why’ will help you focus your direction and your dedication. Then you can begin selecting your keyphrases. Then you can really get into your online marketing strategies.

So my question to you is this: What is your ‘why‘? Why is it you do what you do? What does driving toward your mission fulfill for you and what does it fulfill for those you support?

What is your ‘why’?

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Update, Saturday, July 14, 2012

It appears the Marketing Ideas 101 site has jumped to page 2 in at least one of Google’s indexes (Google has at least two I’m aware of.) Since this original post 20 days ago, I’ve produced three light posts and two full-length articles. Additionally, I had an online article publisher offer to publish this article and Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture into Google Search Results. (Read more on article marketing.)

Page Position Marketing Ideas

I’ll report back once I’ve achieved a first page position for “marketing ideas”. Until then, go forth and conquer.

Matt

Perspiration Precipitates Performance and Other Marketing Lessons Learned

Marketing Ideas Douglas Criticism Quote

The following is a letter I received from a dear client, John Douglas, who also happens to be a talented local photographer. Over the past year, John has undergone the rigors of becoming an SEO-savvy entrepreneur. John is a model student; eager to learn, invested in his own success and quick to pick up the strategies required to build success, both online and offline.

I asked John if I could share his letter with you. I feel his experience may resonate and help normalize others who may feel as he did as they attempt to break into their local marketplace.

As I mentioned to John, it is wonderful to see yourself progress toward self-confidence as a business person and professional. Yes, it’s hard to teach such things without the frustrating mechanism of time and the roller-coaster of the success/failure continuum. Take pleasure in recognizing your inner growth. Lessons like these are learned not just intellectually, but also at a cellular level, through life discovery. This means such valuable lessons become truly yours, adding onto the wisdom you already possess. You are richer today–both in the spirit and in the material–as a result.

In support of your efforts,

Matt Schoenherr

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Hey Matt:
It’s been close to a year since we started working together. I thought I would share some observations with you. I have been seeing increasing activity and interest in my work as manifest by the number of requests I am getting now. Am I as busy as I’d like to be? Absolutely not, but I’ve learned to be patient. Some random thoughts:

  • Success is measured incrementally, and doesn’t happen according to your prescribed schedule. I have learned be comfortable with even modest gains. As you are well aware the last year has seen some frustrations on my part, largely because I was focusing on the success of others and not on my personal successes. I have learned to focus on myself and my abilities and not be concerned with the success or failure of others.
  • Don’t evaluate your success on the short term. It has taken me a while to assimilate this, and I’m sure you’ve told me this a number of times. Being an engineer, I plotted a linear regression of where I expected to be in a year with regard to web traffic. Am I going to reach my goal? I don’t know. Do I care? No.
  • “P cubed”. Perspiration precipitates performance. Gains are not achieved without some hard work and drudgery. I never imagined it would be so difficult to to get top ranking, and to hold on to decent ranking.
  • Web design is fun, but web maintenance is boring and mundane. The website design looks fantastic, and I am still happy with it today after nearly a year.
  • Word of mouth is the best advertising. I firmly believe that reputation trumps any search engine rankings or website designs. SEO is a way of getting your foot in the door and establishing yourself as a credible resource.
  • Does top ranking mean you are the best? Absolutely not. I have learned that you have to have faith in people and recognize that they will make decisions to hire me based on their criteria, and not my criteria.
  • Learn to see the difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism. Appreciate the constructive, ignore the destructive.
  • Has it been worth the time, effort, and money? Absolutely! I would not be seeing the interest I am seeing without decent ranking on keyword searches. Thank you for your efforts.

Lastly, thank you for being patient with me in the last year. You have been my technical advisor, mentor, and (at times) my spiritual and psychological counselor.  =)

I am very appreciative of all of your efforts and assistance in the past year.

John Douglas
Photographer

Social Media Gone Bad: I’ll Like Your Page, if You Like Mine

Marketing Ideas Social Media Backliking

An interesting thing happened to me the other day. In the course of performing routine search engine marketing tasks, I received a message from someone who had just “liked” one of my Facebook fan pages, Marketing Ideas 101. The message read:

“Hey, I just liked your Facebook fan page! Please like mine back!” ~ Random

Now, I don’t know about you, but every time this happens to me, I feel awkward. What if I look at this person’s page and determine it’s junk? What if it’s spammy? What if it holds little value in the world at all? The burden! The obligation! All from a single note from someone I’ve never met!

Gasp. What if I don’t like their page?

I try to bring value to my websites. I try to inject interesting content, helpful tips and a wealth of wisdom in my contributions to the Internet community.

In addition, it takes a lot to “wow” me. I’ve never just “liked,” or “followed,” or “retweeted” someone just to be nice. Oh, wait..that’s not true.

In The Beginning

In the world of search engine marketing (SEM, commonly and erroneously referred to as SEO the same way everyone insists on calling all facial tissues “Kleenex,” there is a technique referred to as “back linking.” Back linking (spelled backlinking, back linking or back-linking, depending on who you talk to) is an activity whereby you add your website to niche directories, submit articles, post videos and podcasts, post blog comments and more – all of which include one-way links back to your website.

Of course, the result is simple to guess. The more conduits leading back into your website, the more traffic you have, and the more conversions (sign-ups, comments, calls, sales, etc.,) you should receive, right? That’s the theory, in a nutshell.

Well, humans are ingenious beasts. It wasn’t long before people figured out you could swap links and accomplish similar results. Google caught on, slapped everyone, and reciprocal link campaigns lost their value.

Then came link farms, where links between sites were less direct, placing sites in a circular chain of links. Google figured that out too, mostly.

During all this, social media was blooming. Blossoming. Exploding.

One booming social channel was called Twitter. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Personally, I resisted Twitter at first. The notion of a glorified text messaging system seemed a faddish time-eater to me. As a business owner and father of four, I am busy enough as it is. Eventually, I gave in, signed up and thus began my fall from grace.

I Blame Twitter

From day one, I began to see the “if you follow me, I’ll follow you” phenomenon in Twitter. Being new to Twitter country, I took this virtual exchange with random strangers to simply be part of the Twitter culture. “This is what you do with Twitter,” I said to myself. To play the game, you must first learn the rules and I figured following random people (especially if they followed you) was how you played the game.

Occasionally, I would see a Twitter account that did not follow this pattern. Usually, this person was a celebrity, so they would have a million followers in contrast to the five people they were following. These examples were not the norm, however.

Enter Facebook

Born two years earlier than Twitter, Facebook was all about connecting friends. As time passed and dreams of monetization increased, fan pages were created. As fan pages were created, people and companies began to realize the power of “likes.” This power – similar to Twitter, whereby a broadcast became more powerful with the growing size of the fan base – was a real turn-on to anyone who understood the marketing principles of exposure and amplitude. Want to extend your reach on the most popular social network on the planet? Get more “likes.”

How do you get more “likes” you ask. Provide greater value. Increase your engagement. Maintain dialogues. Be entertaining. Be remarkable. “All that takes work, Matt!” you say. “What if we just trade ‘likes?’ That sounds easier.” True.

Welcome to “Back Liking”

I see a problem with reciprocal “like” campaigns. For one, social media is supposed to be about connection and engagement; not spamming. It’s similar to getting spam on your cellphone. Your cellphone is a very personal conduit into you, like your Facebook news feed. Who wants it junked up with spammy broadcasts and solicitations? Yuck.

Another problem with “like” reciprocity campaigns is the dilution of your “like” power. How can anyone trust you as a person of influence if you “like” 3,000 pages and many of them are junk or of little value. If you have “liked” 3,000 quality resources, that’s another matter; good for you.

Afterglow

This brings me back to my initial point. “Liking” someone back out of pure reciprocity and not from a place of belief in them or their message:

  • squanders your influence (a currency advertisers pay social networks handsomely for),
  • soils your news feed (and your attention) with posts and ads irrelevant to you, and
  • fails to reflect you and your tastes accurately.

I believe one of the best ways we can shine in the world – including the virtual world of social media – is to show integrity in our communications with others. Our daily challenge is to bring that integrity to every corner of our presence, both online and offline.

The next time someone asks you to “like” them back, make sure you can do so with a true heart and a clear conscience.

In support of your efforts,

Matt


Matt Schoenherr is a husband, father of four, marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Ideas 101. As a student, teacher and published author, Matt supports the worthy goals of service and commerce in the small business and nonprofit communities. Creative marketing ideas and marketing strategies may be found at MarketingIdeas101.com.

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Reference
Photo cropped from the work of Justin Blanton, http://hypertext.net/photos/112.

Dispelling 7 Common SEO Myths

Marketing Ideas SEO Myths
(Excerpt from Ideas Online, as seen in the Marketing Ideas Academy, Module 4, Online Marketing.)

Let us begin by dispelling a few myths about the art and science of search engine optimization (SEO).

Myth #1: If you purchase a new domain with maximum information per square inch, you’ll rank higher in the search engines.

Answer: Yes and no. Domain names are the first things a search engine looks at, so if you have the name of your product or service in your domain name, kudos to you. Google, on the other hand, uses what’s known as an “aging delay” for all new domains. This allows Google to weed out many of the fly-by-night’s and give priority to the sites that have remained staples the longest (thereby making Google a more valuable resource to those who use it.) This is just one of over a hundred metrics used by Google to ascertain where your site shows up in the search results.

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Myth #2: If you pollute your website with your targeted keywords, you’ll propel your site to the top of the search results.

Answer: Maybe. You may also be blacklisted by the search engines, causing you to plummet in rankings or disappear altogether. For months. Or years. Sound worth it?

You must strike the balance between optimizing your website for the search engines and optimizing your website for your target audience. Yes, construct your content with keywords and search engines in mind, but always write for your customer. What keywords are they going to use to find what you’re offering (read: What are they looking for?) The keywords your customers are using are the ones you want to target, so once you know those keywords, work them into your site. You will do this a number of ways:

  • Domain name (if the opportunity makes long-term business sense)
  • Your title (specific to every page)
  • Meta tags (description, keywords, et cetera, built into each page’s code)
  • Copy (your content about your, your services, ideas, etc.)
  • Your links (use descriptive links instead of “read more” or “click here”), and
  • Your image “alt” tags (which tell the search engines what the picture is)

While these are some important staples, there are still more items to consider. More about those later.

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Myth #3: Pick the top words for your keywords and stick with them, regardless of whether you ever see those keywords generate any traffic for you.

Answer: Continually refine your keywords. You must know what your customers are searching on. It doesn’t matter if you sell the best widget in the world. If your customers call your widget a thingamabob, they will never find you. Worse, they will find your competition who may make a very fine widget as well, but they refer to their widget as a thingamabob, which brings them up in the search engines in front of your prospective clients. To see what people are searching on, use keyword research tools such as the Google AdWords keyword tool (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal.) Create lists of the most relevant keywords and key phrases for your website and choose different ones to embed on each page (in the meta data and content.) The more specific you are, the more qualified your visitors will be to buy from you.

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Myth #4: We can save all this keyword optimization mumbo-jumbo until the end of our web project and just add our keywords in later.

Answer: Construct (or reconstruct) your site with your keywords in mind. Once you know what your clients are looking for, now you can ensure your site offers it in the way they would like to see it presented. For instance, if we go back to our earlier widget example, you might consider that people may be looking for a particular brand of widget, type of widget, size of widget or widget genre. The more you know about how they’re searching, the better you’ll be able to set up your site to show them what they’re looking for. When applied properly, your keywords will affect what you name your images, files and folders all across your website, so settle on them as much as possible prior to breaking ground on that big website overhaul.

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Myth #5: I made my site in Adobe Flash. It’s really killer. Whoever lands there will be really impressed.

Answer: Maybe, but they have to find you first. Back to optimizing your site for the search engines. There are certain things most search engines choke on:

  • Flash
  • Frames
  • JavaScript links and menus
  • Image maps
  • Dynamic URL’s

Search engines also can’t read graphics, so without descriptive alt tags and file names, the graphics may as well be ignored.

When search engines get caught on these things, years ago they would simply stop indexing your site and not dig any deeper. Obviously, this didn’t win you any visitors. Search engines are smarter these days and most can sniff past troublesome areas. You can certainly use these technologies on your site, however you also need to ensure a search engine can find what it’s looking for. Using text links, linking images to web pages (and using appropriate alt tags), including ror.xml and robots.txt files in your website’s home directory, and using sitemaps will help search engines make sense of your website.

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Myth #6: See? I have the same keywords at the top of all my pages. This should work, right?

Answer: Only if you’re in a very small niche or your local competition is just as lazy as you are. Make every page title unique. It’s terribly easy to use the same title for every page as you’re constructing a website. Take the extra time, however, to vary the title, meta description and meta keywords for each page. Ensuring each title is different and uses the keywords used within that page will take you further than relying upon the same title, description and keywords for every page on your website. The search engines rely heavily on page titles, so use them wisely. The title will be what the search engine presents as a link to your site (providing your site appears in the results at all.)

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Myth #7: Okay! I’ve optimized my site! I’m done! Right?

Answer: Not quite. Search engine optimization and marketing is a journey; not a destination. Even if you make it to the top of the first page in the search results, you’ll have to contend with other sites jockeying for the same position. Fostering backlinks to your website is a very important strategy for achieving search term dominance and maintaining it. How do you do this? There are a number of ways.

First, ensure people want to link to your site. If you’ve worked to make your site helpful, informative or just plain cool, you may earn the links from other websites that will increase your standing with the search engines.

What if your site is lame? Well.. it’s likely your search engine ranking will be as well. Don’t be afraid to approach other webmasters with an offer of “link reciprocity”. If your websites compliment each other, a reciprocal link campaign may be just what the doctor ordered to help drive traffic and rankings. Just be sure to link to only the best and the brightest; your links are a reflection upon you and your site to your visitors and the search engines. Other ways to grow backlinks may include social bookmarking, article marketing, news release sites, and posting your link when commenting on blog sites. All these methods need to be handled responsibly and maturely, otherwise you risk rebuke by the Internet community. Strive to provide value in whatever you post and you go a long way toward keeping your reputation in good standing.

Marketing Idea #102: The Great SEO Lie

Marketing Ideas The Great SEO Lie

Question: Your SEO marketer has guaranteed you long-term placement on the front page of Google. Do you believe them?

Answer: I’m amazed at how often I run across customers who have been sold on “guaranteed rankings in Google” only to find out once their PPC (pay per click) campaign ended, their “top-spot” rankings fell away. Of course, they were never told this would happen, so all that money they were putting toward PPC just dried up and blew away with little to show for it.

Whenever possible, focus on improving your natural search engine rankings. This is where the most longevity will be. It will take you longer to achieve a top position in the search engines, but once you stop paying, your site will remain in or around that top position for a while (depending upon how competitive your industry is.)

How to Use Blog Comments to Build Backlinks

Marketing Ideas Blog Comments

When conducting search engine marketing, the quality and quantity of backlinks leading into your website provide the search engines something upon which to base your authority metric, bumping you up in the search results.

When making blog comments on sites that compliment your own, remember to mention your keywords 2-3 times, as well as your location (if pertinent.) Don’t be spammy. Make sure you are bringing value–or at the very least, validation–to the author’s blog.

Have patience: sometimes it takes a while for comments to be approved by the blog owners (if ever at all.)