Internet MarketingSEO

Promoting Your Product With Search Engine Optimization

I’ve heard it time and again, “Paying for online marketing is killing my business.” Many of the small businesses I consult with, and even some of the larger ones continually complain about the cost of online marketing and advertising, especially when it comes to pay per click advertising.

Why is online advertising so painful?

Many small business owners do not have the resources needed to effectively manage online marketing or the experience to implement productive pay-per-click advertising campaigns. All too often the common result is an abundance of clicks and few if any sales. This happens because pay-per-click advertising can be very expensive and it’s only half of the equation.

Once you get the appropriate traffic to your website, you need to focus on converting that traffic into paying customers. Improving on-site conversions can be a full-time job, and in most major companies it is. Many website owners have little knowledge or interest in creating and testing dynamic content, continually reinventing the purchase decision process, or evaluating their website’s deficiencies. All they’ve succeeded in doing is spending a lot of money to drive people to an ineffective website. The result is a large expense and nothing to show for it.

Changing the equation.

Improving conversions on your website is important, make no mistake about it. However, if you can reduce the cost associated with driving traffic to your site, the equation can shift in your favor. Enter organic search. My feeling is that instead of spending money on pay-per-click advertising; invest that money in improving your organic search results.

On-page optimization factors.

When we talk about on-page optimization factors, we’re referring to the proper use of HTML to signal the search engines what your site is about and what keywords best define your offer. On-page optimization, when done correctly, provides a strong platform for enhancing your natural search results.

The most important on-page factors include meta tags, keyword placement, keyword density, and link text. By using the proper meta tags in the proper format, placing keywords in your content using the right styles, and optimal page placement, results in improved organic search results. When working on your website, make sure that all code is WC3 compliant and you’re using style sheets for formatting purposes. Placing java script or unnecessary code on your site can make it difficult for search engines to best understand your content.

Off-page optimization factors.

Factors like link popularity and page rank all have a significant impact on your natural search results. Coupled with the competitiveness of other websites seeking optimal placement for your keyword or keyword phrase can also add a layer of complexity.

A great place to start your off-page optimization effort is through link building. Find other websites who are willing to exchange links with you, place a one-way link on their site to yours, or perhaps provide a link to unique content or tools you offer. By getting other websites to point to your website, you are well on your way towards enhancing organic search results.

Generating traffic to your site can be accomplished via online advertising, pay-per-click marketing, and organic search results. All too often, individuals believe that pay-per-click advertising is a quick way to Internet riches but quickly find out that the grass is always greener on the other side.

If you use SEM to promote your products, consider it to be only part of your overall marketing strategy. Invest your time in improving organic search results and the Internet marketing equation shifts in your favor. This method costs less and can drive significant traffic to your website resulting in a positive return on your time and marketing dollars.

SEO

Search Engine Marketing Resources

Search Engine Marketing Resources

SEO Resources

Find out how to navigate the world of Google, Google Ad Words, paid placements, and online sponsorships.

Free Tools

Turning 10 Paid Search Mistakes Into Pure Profit
One of the most alarming conclusions we reached while talking with hundreds of companies about search engine marketing practices is the sheer number of mistakes almost everyone seems to be making. These are mistakes costing companies untold millions of dollars in bottom line profits. Click here

Paid Search: Follow the Money
In just ten years, it?s been responsible for building an unknown start-up into the fifth largest corporation in America. It was the primary force behind the world?s richest man?principal stockholder of the country?s third largest company?offering more than $44 billion for a much smaller, financially-strapped competitor. Click here..

DM News Essential Guide To Search Engine Marketing 2008: Get it here
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Rescuing Problem PPC Campaigns: 7 Metrics You Must Consider
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The Complete Guide to Search Engine Marketing
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Maximizing Search Marketing Effectiveness
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The Long Tail of Search
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Long Live Position Management
As paid search engine marketing has evolved, we have watched bidding insanity shift to ad relevancy. The search engine providers have begun leveraging basic advertising design principles within the format of their search results. Chief among these has been the use of white space, contrast/emphasis and alignment. Click here

Turning 10 Paid Search Mistakes Into Pure Profit
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How Effective is Your Paid Search Marketing?
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The 80/20 Rule of Search
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Search Engine Marketing Ethics
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Increase Sales with Pay-Per-Click Marketing
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Internet MarketingSEO

Using Differentiators in Search Engine Keyphrases

As any good search engine optimization company knows, in search, more so than any other medium, you have a very short window of opportunity in which to engage your prospect.

The only way to get a solid competitive advantage in this arena is to utilize various techniques in order to make sure that you are giving a prospect exactly what it is that he or she is looking for. Otherwise, your prospect will simply click the back button and visit one of your competitors – a process that only takes seconds.

One way to gain a competitive advantage, of course, is to work on the website itself. Any search engine optimization company worth its salt will also be involved in conversion testing on your website – in other words, making certain that the visitors who arrive on your site are likely to take a point of action that eventually leads to a sale. Split tests, modifications in content, different color schemes, and numerous other variable elements can all have a measurable impact.

There is also another way that a quality search engine optimization company will seek to maximize the value of the prospects that find your website through search engines. In this case, however, it is using your company differentiators in the key phrases that they target to make sure that the traffic that comes to your site is of a very high quality.

Gaining a Competitive Advantage with Differentiators

As more and more companies turn to organic search to gain a competitive advantage while promoting their products and services, it can be increasingly difficult to achieve high rankings for the generic terms that everyone in your industry is pursuing.

While any ranking is ultimately attainable, eventually a search engine optimization company has to decide whether the effort involved is worth it, especially when it recognizes that you can get overall better results from the campaign by making sure that a very high percentage of people that are typing keyphrases into search engines are looking for exactly what you offer.

This is why your search engine optimization company should be able to leverage differentiators in your keyphrases to give you the best competitive advantage available.

What Keyphrases Will Work Best for Your Business? Suppose that you are in an industry where companies can have a wide array of prices, approaches, customer service levels, and so on. Instead of targeting, from the outset, the general key-phrase that defines the industry (for example “email marketing”), a good search engine optimization company will take the time to help you gain a competitive advantage by realizing what is different about your company in order to a.) attract very highly targeted prospects who know what they are seeking and b.) reduce the competitiveness of the key-phrases they are choosing.

Let’s take a look at a high-end provider of email marketing that has advanced web-based functionality and focuses on the B2B market. This fictional business is seeking a competitive advantage by working with a search engine optimization company. We can safely assume that the percentage of people that type “email marketing” into a search engine who are looking for this exact type of company is anywhere from between 0 and 100%.

By looking into the popularity of other variations, however, we can see that it is nowhere near 100%. Phrases like “cheap email marketing” or “free email marketing” are very popular, demonstrating that many people seeking “email marketing” are not looking for exactly the service that the provider is offering.

Imagine that instead of targeting “email marketing”, a daunting task (that, even if achieved, assures that a high percentage of visitors that come to the site are not looking for the provider’s particular type of solution), the search engine optimization company takes advantage of the provider’s differentiators.

In this case, the search engine optimization company would instead target phrases such as “business to business email marketing” and “web-based email marketing”. Suddenly the two objectives have been achieved – the provider knows that a much higher percentage of visitors that are typing these terms are actually looking for the right kind of company and the competitiveness of the phrases has also been reduced, leading to faster and higher rankings.

Using Modifiers to Give You the Edge

There are hundreds of modifiers that can give a competitive advantage by reflecting a company’s differentiators, including words such as “free”, “affordable”, “high-end”, “full service”, “proven”, “turnkey”, etc. The point is that by making use of your unique differentiators in the search terms you target, your search engine optimization company is already setting the table for your prospect before he or she even clicks over to your website.

When the message that is seen on your site then supports the key phrase that was typed, you now have an engaged visitor. This can mean more leads, less site abandonment, and better overall website performance.

Remember, your company is better than the others out there. Ask yourself why, and then tell your search engine optimization company to take advantage of these differences in your keyphrases to give you a competitive advantage in your industry. The subtle addition of a few seemingly minor modifiers can have a huge impact on your bottom line.

About the Author
Scott Buresh is the CEO of Medium Blue (www.mediumblue.com), which was named the number one organic search engine optimization company in the world by PromotionWorld in 2006 and 2007.

CopywritingSEO

The Value of a Resource Library

Learn more about the value of resource libraries and view examples of sites that have successfully put this technique to use.

Many websites currently offer a resource library for visitors – an area filled with articles covering relevant topics to the industry with which the site is connected. The articles may cover how to do something or define a particular aspect of the industry, but they do not usually directly sell the company’s products or services.

Benefits of a Resource Library While it’s true that a resource library, on the surface, exists to benefit site visitors, it doesn’t end there — they also provide benefits that can directly impact any business.

First of all, they spread goodwill among a business’s prospect base – and its non-prospect base as well.The site is seen by visitors as offering free information about important subject matter – and that makes it a more attractive site to return to in the future when a purchase will be made or a service established.

Second, with a solid resource library, the site puts itself in a great position to organically attract important inbound links. Outside sites will notice the offerings of important and unbiased information and link to individual articles or to the resource library as a whole. This will boost traffic and rankings overall.

Third, if the articles in the section are optimized properly, they will also boost rankings for popular and competitive key phrases, driving additional targeted traffic to the site. The traffic may enter the site at the articles, but visitors are then likely to click for further information about the site itself.

A Common Objection to Adding a Resource Library The most common objection a search engine optimization company hears when recommending that a site add a resource library is “I want to sell my product, not educate.” However, this is shortsighted.

It is important to reach buyers at all stages of the sales cycle. For example, if someone is just starting to investigate a product or service, a site with an appropriate informational article will reach him or her at this critical early stage.

The prospect will then likely remember the experience when he or she is ready to buy and will return to the site. In addition, a site with a resource library can help a salesperson save valuable time.

With quality articles freely available on the site, the salesperson will no longer need to take the time to explain the basics to a prospect – the site will have already taken care of that. Instead, the salesperson can focus on speaking to the people who are ready to make a purchase. Examples of Successful Resource Libraries

There are several sites that serve as great examples of this approach. Let’s look at three of them – Bed, Bath and Beyond; Lowe’s; and Step Two Designs (an Australian consulting firm). Bed, Bath, and Beyond opens its resource library with a friendly “Need help shopping?” and follows it up by telling visitors that they can “browse through the sections below for helpful shopping hints on a variety of topics.”

There is no mention of specific sales at any point on this page, which is found at http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/ShopGuide.asp?order_num=-1&. Taking a deeper look, one will find that the targeted phrase “window treatments” brings up Bed, Bath, and Beyond’s guide on the subject on the first page of Google.

This phrase has the impressive monthly search estimate (using data from Word Tracker) of 55,304. Note that this page, which is an unbiased article offering tips on choosing different types of window treatments, and not a retail sales page, is what achieves the rankings.

The home improvement chain Lowe’s actually has several resource libraries available on its site, from buying guides to an extensive how-to library. Its buying guide page, found at http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=howTo&p=HTindex/BuyingGuideIndex.html, notes, “Work Smarter: We’ll help you find the right equipment and tools you need for all of your projects.” And the company’s article on choosing floor tiles appears on the first page of Google for the targeted phrase “tile floor,” which has a monthly search estimate of 2,046. Again, it’s an informational page and not a product page that gets the great rankings.

Both of the above examples are great, but you don’t need to be selling a product online – or even be in the retail business at all – to use a resource library to your benefit. Step Two Designs is a consulting firm that offers a resource library of whitepapers on its site at http://www.steptwo.com.au/papers/index.php.

Its article “How to Evaluate a Content Management System,” for example, establishes its usefulness right at the top, stating that “No vendors or products are mentioned in this article: this is not a survey of current commercial solutions. Instead, it provides tools to assist you to conduct a review of suitable products.”

This article appears on the first page of Google for the targeted phrase “content management systems,” which has a monthly search estimate of 2,356. While this may be a lower number than the Bed, Bath and Beyond example, a consulting firm’s average sale will likely be greater than that of a single purchase from a retail outlet, and so these visitors are potentially more valuable. Even in this type of business, a resource library will quickly prove its value.

Conclusion
Resource libraries clearly offer something of value for everyone involved. Prospects appreciate their existence, search engines reward sites that have them, and salespeople are relieved of the burden of explaining basic concepts to early prospects.

You can either create your articles in-house or, if you’re not sure where to start, hire a search engine optimization company to help you with everything from idea generation to writing. In either case, with just a little bit of effort your site too can realize the benefits of establishing this type of section.

(C) Medium Blue 2014.

About the Author
Scott Buresh is the founder of Medium Blue (www.mediumblue.com), a search engine optimization company.

Online AdvertisingSEO

Are Paid Links Hurting Your Sites SEO

Are paid links hurting the natural search engine rankings of your website? They may very well be. For those of you who haven’t kept up with all the fanfare, Google has stated their position against paid links – virtually discrediting the paid link industry and indicating that they will penalize sites that purchase inbound links. By penalize, they are essentially saying that each time they identify a paid link pointing to your website, it will count against you.

So if you cannot buy links, then how can you attract them? This change in direction initiated by Google has resulted a series of questions aimed at how to properly generate links to your website without paying for them.

One place to start is with the question, “ Is Your Website Link Worthy?” The reason to focus on link worthiness is because companies, who are purchasing in-bound links to their website, are often missing the big picture. These companies should focus on the reason why purchasing links is the primary SEO option. Often times, sites have not focused on their own website and determined why other websites would want to link to them.

Here’s a great exercise. Open your web browser and visit your URL. When you get to your website, write down 10 reasons why other sites would want to link to you. Chances are you’ll struggle to write down ten. You’ll probably have 3 or 4 at most. The point here is that you should consider creating compelling reasons for other sites to link to you.

Once you’ve identified some of the most attractive link building qualities of your website, you need to exploit them. There are a variety of tactics you can use to let others know why linking to your website is so valuable. Consider promoting your website’s most desirable characteristics on your home page. Once browsers navigation to your free tools, information, or resources, encourage them to link to you.

Sometimes the direct approach is best. Encourage others to place a link on their websites directly to your homepage where users can easily navigate to you valuable resources. Alternatively, you can provide other websites with the HTML code or link they can copy and paste onto their own website, directing individuals to the proper page on your website.

Make it easy for someone to link to you. By providing the proper code, information, and description, other websites can easily link to your website. Those sites that do not think about link generation often do not simplify or encourage the link building process and therefore never generate a significant number inbound links.

The other thing to keep in mind is that when you encourage others to link to your website, to access your tools or resources, provide them with the specific link text you need to improve your search engine rankings. Instead of using your URL only, make sure that links are given the proper text that includes your specific keywords and keyword phrases.

By coding links with your keywords, you will be building your Google link popularity and provider other with information regarding your link. This will not only generate more links to your website, but encourage individuals to click on your link.

Now that Google has announced that they are punishing websites who buy links for purposes of link building, we all need to look at our websites and ask that important question “Is my website link-worthy?” Consider this when evaluating your website and identify reasons why others would want to point to your site. Make it easy for them to do so. The result can only be more links, better search results, and more traffic!