The Cure to a Small Marketing Budget: Get 'em with SEO

You're seeing your competition advertising where you can't - or don't want to - afford. You see their banner ads on Facebook, in the "Sponsored Link" area of Google searches, or even on blogs you're reading to relax! Well enjoy that blog read, because guess what: if your website is well SEOed, you may have an edge on them without spending a dime.

Google Reminds us About Timely SEO

Google blogged about tax season as told in search. This means that the people analyzing all search results for social implication over at Google narrowed their focus down to just searches done around the term "tax", found all related searches, and noticed a trend, as they do every year. As the months inch close to tax season, the keyword searches that people conduct change and follow trends. For example, as we get closer to April 15, searches for tax filing extension increased. In January and February, when W2s are normally sent out, searches for W2 forms increased.

What does this mean for your website? This is especially important if you have a blog that coincides with your website or business. Not only can you be thinking of possible keywords for your industry, but you can be mindful of current events right now, and how those fit into what you write about. This approach to SEO falls into the creative writing approach we've talked about before. Search engines such as Google have gotten very fast at indexing new content on the web. A blog post you wrote this morning may show up later today or tomorrow in search engine results, thus improving your SEO quickly.

Think about current events as you are brainstorming content. What TV shows are on? On which celebrity or model did you see your product on, in which magazine and issue? What legal guidelines have just been passed and how does that effect your industry (especially good for financial planners, accounting, etc.)? Chances are you will write about these things anyway because they inspire you to action. Be the first to write about it, and you may earn high rankings because bigger websites haven't caught up yet. So take those few days of spiked traffic!

For example: when the Feist song came out for the Apple iPod commercial, I didn't know who the singer was. I did a search in Google, and found slim pickings. I wrote a blog post to identify the artist, using the search terms that I myself used when trying to find the artist's name. Note: I didn't know her name, so having that in the title wasn't as important for SEO because people weren't searching for Feist, they were searching for "1234 song" or "song in iPod nano commercial". Only later did I add the artists name into the title, as a way to grab clicks from the sea of search results. I was one of the few to write a blog post in this manner, and my traffic shot up for about 3 days, before the big boys like Yahoo's writers caught on. Plus, the searches were short lived, as more and more people learned Feist's name and the commercial stopped running. But, it was enough time to increase my earnings from my Amazon Affiliate program, as well as Google Ads.

Think about it! Timely search for SEO is very important. If you need brainstorming, we're here to help.

SEO, Human Brains, and a 400% Website Traffic Increase

As you plan your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy, factor in the importance of copywriting and how your page titles will be written. The page titles are the blue underlined links that you see in search results at Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. They are what people read (or skim over in the blink of an eye) when evaluating which link in the search result that they want to click on.

If you've done your keyword research, you will have an idea of which keywords to target. That's the first step. The next step is looking at your website stats and in live search results to see how your website is ranking. If your website is ranking well for a specific term, but your traffic for that term is low, then you could have a problem with how your page title was written. Not a technical problem, but a creative copywriting problem.

Here is a breakdown of how to approach your page titles to increase your website traffic for a specific term. Even if you're hired an SEO team to do this work for you, you'll need to be aware of this angle as they try and build your traffic. If you've left your SEO work to the technical person who built your website, and they told you in an off-the-cuff way that they SEOed your website, then you really better read this article.

Yup, time for some creative writing with a fresh cup of coffee! And visit our Workshops schedule to see if we have any Private SEO Blitz Sessions available.

Top SEO Tip: Keywords are...Key

So you're paying a web person to do SEO for you. Great! What are they doing? How are you checking their work? If they provided you with a report that says where they filled in keywords, that may be satisfactory to you, encouraging you to sit back and wait for Google and other search engines to start flinging traffic your way.

Bad idea. Here's why:

Is Content Still King? UBS Conference Raises Interesting Questions

Today while going through artcles I deemed a "must read but don't have time right now" from the past week, I sat down to read New York Magazine's coverage of the UBS Media Conference.  One of the hottest topics there was the discussion of the phrase we've heard time and time again "content is king".  This was not only true in traditional media, but seem

SEO Strategy: Do Not include a "dofollow" in Your Comment


For those of you who only comment on blogs in the hopes of including a link back to your website: beware. Savvy blog owners will read your blog comment like a hawk, and read the between the lines to decide if A. you actually read the blog post and B. if you are being legitimate. If the blogger treats "dofollows" like this guy, you're out of luck. See here where Google started to implement "nofollow tactics" to prevent this sort of thing. A "nofollow" command tells search engines like Google to not follow a link, and therefore not count it in the grand link popularity count for a web page, as seen by search engines.

What would be the most blatant attempt of using a website or blog that does allow comments to count links, is to inject a rel="dofollow" command in the code of your comment. Which doesn't even do anything. It's an attempt to override a "nofollow" command set on a website. Therefore, it's just salt in the wound of your attempt to create a link to your site, and calls attention to you even more. Blogger blogs set the "nofollow" by default, and blogs might (see here for a "nofollow" setting adjustment for blogs hosted on individual hosting accounts). But what we do do is monitor every single comment that gets placed on our blog or regular articles. When we see one that is blatantly spamming or link-dropping, and ads no value to the article at hand, we delete with a swift click. But that's not all we do.

We have reading each and every entry. Mollom is a fantastic resource for not only blocking a lot of spammy comments that never even see the light of day on a blog or website, but if one slips through, it gives the blog owner the option of reporting it to Mollom, so that they can be on the lookout for that infringer's IP address, or other super power methods Mollom has. Ok, it's not super powers, but it is data crunching.

Increasing Pageviews: A Perfect SEO Storm

Books can be very powerful traffic generators, when they are published in full online. If you are looking for reasons to create content on your website, and if you have a book already published, then you may be sitting on a golden goose of traffic generators. 

I just completed a website traffic analysis for a company I've been working with for several years. On an ongoing basis, we employ different SEO strategies, track those strategies to see if they worked or didn't work, and continue to analyze traffic patterns to better fine tune the website, both to increase traffic and to expose different sections of the website to existing readers. Several years ago, we decided to publish online a short book that had about 7 pages and was picture based. Each page had a description of the picture. We dedicated a section of the website to this book, built it in an SEO friendly way, and it continues to bring in the most traffic for this website in droves.

The decision was made again to put another popular book online. This book had fewer pictures (although shared some pictures with the search engine popular first book), and was all content. It had several chapters, so the navigation was deep. Initially, it didn't make a big splash. It was not integrated well with the website, in that, there were not very many internal links pointing to it from the website's own content. SEO-wise, it needed links from outside websites to help specific pages and sub-sections rank.

After the yearly review, in which several strategies were employed to help the website in general, here is how this section ended up getting a major boost. And I mean major. Keep in mind, this increase was the compilation of  several factors, almost a perfect storm of SEO strategies.

  • Word choice for the menu navigation: Originally, the menu was a repeat of the book title. However, past keyword research indicated that having the word "book", and specifically what kind of book, yielded searches for that term. The conclusion was drawn that if people were using that term in searches, they would most likely respond to it if they saw it on the website. Result: Changing the menu name caught the attention of people already on the website, thus increasing pageviews to that section.
  • Capitalizing on other high ranking pages: One main section of the website ranked highly for a few specific yet popular searches, which was odd because the content wasn't fully developed. For a long time, a "Coming soon...sign up for our newsletter" type message was the main content of several main landing pages in this section until tweaks were made to make it look a little less sparse. The goal became to better capitalize on the traffic that repeatedly came into this section from search engines, yet had nowhere to go because the content wasn't ready. We created very SEO friendly landing pages for the main pages of this section. We made sure to include linked pictures and linked text to specific areas of the website, to help this new traffic dig down deeper into site to find related content. Result: It worked. Featured sections of several areas of the website saw increased pageviews, including several pages of this new book
  • Building from success of an image in Google Image search: Thanks to the first book that got put online, and the pictures in that book, we knew that the pictures were very SEO friendly and were ranking well in Google Images. We used that same image to appear in the section for the new book. Result: That image continues to rank highly in Google Images, but this time, it is linking to a page in the new book section, breathing new life into this new section.

These changes took place over the course of a few months, and were tracked in a spreadsheet we keep to track all changes, so that we can refer back as time goes on and increases in traffic are generated. One can't keep all of this in their head, so it is most effective to record all changes made by date, and with notes of what you hope will happen, and why you made this change. If you changed copy, record what the old copy was, and what the new copy is, so that if you have change for good, you know why. If you had change for bad, you can revert back to the copy that you didn't think was working but apparently was.

Take a look at the content you already have in your files. There are most likely a lot of ways you can transition it online and build your audience. If you need help thinking, consider our SEO Blitz sessions that we have periodically. Views from an outside perspective almost always sheds new light and refreshes what you are doing. You could be sitting on a gold mine right now!

SEO Tip: Obvious Terms are Often the Least Searched

Here's an SEO tip for you: If you are looking for reasons to post content on your blog, look in Twitter. People are always asking questions, and I'll bet you can answer one of them. For example: a Twitter person asked no one in particular: "What is a hashtag?" If you are in Twitter, you will know that you have seen the symble that looks like this: #, commonly known as the "pound sign." As a person who works with social media, and answer question like this often, I know two things:

1. This is a small question that many people want to know the answer to.
2. Twitter has a vocabulary unto itself. Before Twitter came into my life, I know the # sign to be referred to as the "pound sign". "Hashtag" was a fancy new Twitter term.

As and SEO person, I know that if many people are asking a question, then there are lots of searches to be had from the search engines for this very answer. However, I have identified my first response when thinking of that term - which is so commonly "hashtag" in Twitter - to be "pound sign" in my own brain. Guess what? There are many others like me, or the early me, before the term "hashtag" became normal in my vocabulary.

That means that I have two ways of gaining searches for this question. I can deduce that the people asking this question are Twitter newbies. Therefore, they may not know the official term of the tag. People will ask:
"What is the Twitter hashtag?"
"What is the pound sign in Twitter?"

Yes, they may even type those very questions into Google, and I want to position my blog to catch them. Therefore, I have to use both the "hashtag" term and the "pound sign" term in my blog post title, overall body copy, and in any text or image links. I experimented with this by writing a post that defines the hashtag or pound sign, and uses both the "hashtag" and "pound sign" in the title.

What has been the first search result to come in? A result for the "pound sign". Does this mean that more people are searching for "pound sign"? Not necessarily. But it does indicate that not very many other websites thought to target that term, so my blog will rise above the competition and get those searches, ripe for picking.



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