list of keywordsBefore you can optimize your websites for search engines, you need to know what keywords you will be optimizing for. That’s the role of keyword research. If your website is perfectly optimized for keywords that no one is looking for, it won’t help your traffic or your sales. On the other hand, if your optimization is not perfect but your keywords have huge search volumes and little competition, you’ll be successful.

Step 1 – Identify the pages that you are optimizing

You can either choose existing pages on your website that you are going to rewrite for keyword optimization, or you can create new pages. To identify the page, you need to have an idea of what the page will be about, even if it is only a general concept. A website devoted to dogs may have one page about choosing a new dog, one page about paper training a puppy, and one page about getting the right size of collar for your dog.

Step 2 – Create a list of keywords

Once you know the concept of the pages that you are optimizing, you can come up with a short list of keywords (no more than 20) related to that concept. Don’t try to get the best possible keywords at this stage. Just choose keywords that relate naturally to the concept of the page. If you are directing people to pages in a sales catalogue, be sure to include words like “buy” in your keyword phrases.

Step 3 – Use the Google Keyword Tool

For each set of keywords you came up with in the previous step, use the Google Keyword Tool to determine search volume and suggested similar searches. Remove any keywords with low search volumes, and add any suggested keywords with high search volumes.

Step 4 – Perform competitive analysis

For each keyword phrase in the revised list, choose three to five companies that are successfully getting traffic for that keyword phrase. If there are more strong companies than that, or those five companies have locked up the first two pages in Google, remove the keyword from your list. Otherwise, review their websites and lift additional keywords from their meta text. You can also use SEO tools to discover the anchor text that links to these pages or which Adwords phrases they trigger. Add these new keywords to your list.

Step 5 – Refine with the Google Keyword Tool

Run your updated list through the Google Keyword Tool and again remove any keywords with low search volumes. Check the competitiveness of the keywords, and remove any that are too highly competitive. Your final keyword list will be profitable keywords for which you are likely to be able to place highly.

 

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: Morguefile)

article on computerYou can write an excellent article about a topic, put it on your website with Buy Now links, rank for a specific long-tail keyword, and pick up the occasional sale. Or you can write hundreds or thousands of articles, spread throughout the Internet, ranking for multiple long-tail keywords or ranking multiple times for the same keyword, and take advantage of a flood of sales. Done correctly, both options take the same amount of work. Smart Internet marketers use the second approach.

Link to your sales funnel

While some article databases, especially paid ones, allow you to include context links within the body of your article, no matter where your article is posted, you will be allowed a short blurb including a link at the end of it. Don’t waste that link by sending people to your main website page. Instead, send them to a tailored sales funnel page, where you can get them to give you their contact information in return for a white paper or special report that elaborates on the topic of the article. Now the article is generating more than simply traffic. It’s generating leads.

Keyword research topics

Use a keyword research tool that tells you both how many clicks specific terms receive on a daily basis, as well as how many other websites target that keyword. Starting with your main keyword, which is most likely a company name, product name, or general concept, find low-competition keyword phrases that receive 10 – 20 clicks per day. With a good landing page, you should get one new lead every day for these articles.

Create three basic articles

Write three basic articles for the keywords, or outsource the writing of the articles to someone with excellent written English. One of these articles should be placed on your website, one should be placed on ezinearticles.com, and one should be placed on hubpages.com. These are high quality article directories, so make sure that the articles you submit to them are unique and well-written.

Spin the articles

Using automated article spinning software, you can turn each of those three basic articles into hundreds or even thousands of unique articles. If you are using software such as the Article Marketing Robot which also automates the submission of the articles, you can set the software to schedule submission of the unique articles to the thousands of lesser article directories over the days and weeks to come. Otherwise, if your software merely spins the articles, you will need to manually submit the articles to article databases which you identify. These lesser articles should drive traffic to both your landing page and one of your three main articles.

 

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image courtesy of ddpavumba, FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

WWII bomberThere’s a story told that during World War II, the RAF wanted to add additional plating to their bombers, in order to protect them from anti-aircraft guns. Since additional weight would decrease the bombers’ range, they could only plate the most crucial areas. They analysed the bullet holes in the returning bombers, mapped out where most of the holes occurred, then presented their findings with a suggested plan to plate those areas. A quick-thinking officer pointed out that the planes didn’t need protection in those areas, since they flew even with numerous bullet holes. The planes that had been hit in other places were the ones that hadn’t returned home. Successful product development and marketing requires asking the right market research questions.

Ask open questions

Closed questions are those that can be answered by selecting from a list of options, such as “Do you prefer option A or B?” Open questions are ones that require explanation, and usually begin with the words what, how, or if. Ask what they want or need in a specific arena, how getting it will make a difference, and hypothetical questions about their general situation. By using a mix of all three types, you will find out details about the way that your customer or prospect currently does things, including the things that work and the things that don’t. A successful product needs to be better than existing products in important areas, while still doing all of the important things that the existing products do well.

Identify both issues and costs

It’s not enough to ask what their biggest challenge is, or what causes them the most frustration. You also need to put a price tag on the solution. How much is that challenge or frustration costing them? The upper limit of your product’s price is the sum of all the money saved by all of the problems it solves. You can follow up with the confirmation question, “If a product solved those challenges, what would that be worth to you?”

Understand motivation

Ask them what their top goals are, and then ask how their life or their business will be different if those goals are met. What would achieving those goals look like? By understanding their picture of success, you will better understand the emotional needs that your customers believe their goals will satisfy. For example, two executives with a goal of 10% sales growth might have vastly different pictures of what that success will look like. The first might be happy that no employees need to be made redundant, while the second is thrilled by a promotion and even bigger challenge. Pitching your product to appeal to a sense of safety and security would attract the first executive, while repelling the second.

Thanks!

 

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: MorgueFile)

pile of chain linksAfter the major shakeups in search engine algorithms in 2012, many of the tried and true means of link building no longer worked. Either they were wasted time and money that resulted in no benefit for your site, or they actually penalized your standings in the search engine results. Now that the dust has settled, here are some tips to build quality links, as well as tools to help you do so more efficiently.

Link to the best pages

Using your website analytics, whether that is the free Google Analytics or a service you pay for, determine which of the pages on your website are getting the most traffic now. Which are the ones which people are engaging with for the longest time? Which are the ones that are part of your sales funnel and lead to the most sales?

These are the pages for which links will do the most good to raise the placement in search engine results. You can also link to upstream pages in your website, which then benefit all of the pages beneath it. So, for example if all of your most popular product pages are in the same category, links to that category page will be most productive for you.

Use the best link text

The best anchor text is buried within content, and related to the rest of the high-quality content surrounding it. To get great ideas for applicable anchor text, enter your keywords into UberSuggest. You can also enter “why do” and “how to” with your keywords to find the most common long tail keyword phrases being searched.

By creating excellent blogs and other rich content that feature these terms, you can create powerful links to your target pages.

Link to your links

A single layer of links is helpful. However, what is more helpful is when you send links to the page that is sending links to your page. You can create these secondary links from your main website, or you can create them from blogs or social media. To do so in a natural way, only link to important pages, such as useful blog entries or interviews. A cascade of links might be a social media post that directs people to your blog, where you link to an interview and the interview points to your desired target page on your website. You can control all of the anchor text and keywords for the links down the entire chain, making this very powerful.

Appeal to others for links

Using the tool Followerwonk, you can find people who are active in social media and who care about what you have to offer. Target them for links, by letting them know when you add something to your site that you think they will be interested in. They’re already predisposed to like you, so it won’t  take much for them to give you a mention.

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: MorgueFile)

anchorThe importance of anchor text to search engine rankings took its first major hit when Google decided to penalise websites for over-optimisation of anchor text. As a result, instead of every link to a specific page on your website using the terms for which it was optimised, only about a third of the links could be the specific keyword text. Still, Internet marketing companies adjusted and adapted.

Now, it appears that both Google and Bing are downplaying the importance of any anchor text at all, in favour of meaningful keyword relationship metrics such as co-occurrence. In other words, it doesn’t matter as much what you say about your website (in the anchor text you provide in your blog posts, press releases, and other Internet marketing efforts), as it matters what else you say, and what other people say about your website. They don’t even have to be linking to your website, just talking about your product or company.

Shout outs or streams

One of the ways that the weight given to anchor text is (or may be) being modified is to compare the anchor text with the rest of the text in the article, blog post, or website. If your anchor text is a shout out – a single reference to a keyword that otherwise has nothing to do with the main topic of your article, blog post, or website – it is given less weight than if the anchor text is part of the same thematic stream as the rest of the text. So, for example, if your anchor text was for a specific model of camera, and the rest of your text talked about a family vacation in which you used that camera, it would be given less weight than if the same anchor text was included in an article that talked about how beginning photographers could take the best photographs.

Synonyms

Previously, Internet marketing required manually optimising your websites for every possible misspelling and synonym for your chosen keywords. Nowadays, the search engines have their own lists of synonyms and meaning clusters, developed by analysing which words are found most often together in text samples. So, for example, if the search engines see that the phrases “cell phone” and “mobile phone” are frequently found together, they may decide that “cell”, “mobile”, and “phone” are synonyms of each other. They will also determine that “phone”, “phones”, “telephone”, and “telephones” belong in the same cluster.

It is obvious from looking at results such as the Google Adwords insights that explain where the search volume assigned to a specific broad keyword is coming from, that these assignments are machine generated. As a result, when your brand is mentioned in conjunction with a particular phrase, especially if the phrase is fairly unique, your brand will be considered synonymous with that phrase. Similarly, you can be penalized for using too many variations on the same keyword within your text because the search engines consider the phrases to be synonyms.

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: MorgueFile)

Red circuit board connectionsThere are two basic schools of thought when it comes to blogging. The first is that blogging is like journaling, in that you simply write whatever comes to you, without regard to people’s feelings on the subject matter. You will eventually attract an audience for your words that is in tune with your point of view. Most personal blogs or pundit platforms ascribe to this school of thought. The second school of thought is that blogging is like a cocktail party conversation, where any one thing that you say to any guest is part of the greater conversation occurring at the party. To this way of thinking, the wisdom of your words will relate not only to how good your blog is on its own, but how it relates to what everyone else in your industry is saying on their blogs. Are you a leader, follower, or voice in the wilderness? Most business blogs ascribe to this school of thought.

Understand the conversation

If you want your blog to be perceived as part of the conversation of your industry, it is important that you understand the topics of conversation being covered. One way to find out what topics of conversation are hot in your industry is to use a service such as Bottlenose which will either show you a list of the latest topics (under the Now tab) or a visual representation of which related topics are close to your chosen area and which are more distant (under the Sonar tab). Another search tool is Topsy, which by default shows Twitter topics, but can also show topics from other social media.

Another way to find out what conversations are happening in your industry is to follow other industry blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, Pinterest boards, etc. The point is not to copy the blog entries verbatim, which will cause your search engine rankings to be penalised, but rather to add your own spin, interpretation, or commentary. This has the bonus of allowing you to comment on the original blog with a link to your blog entry, saying that the blog inspired you, and increasing your backlinks.

Answer questions

Using your blog to answer questions is like focusing on a single interaction during the cocktail party. It’s a good idea, but should not be your exclusive means of generating blog topics. Sources of questions can come from your customers, either in person, via phone, or electronically. You can find other questions at industry-specific web forums or general web forums such as Quora. Finally, you can find lots of questions (and answers) for your industry by attending Tweetchats, which are scheduled chat room type events held via Twitter.

Once you locate questions that are applicable to your business, you can create a blog entry to answer those questions. Odds are good that if one person spoke up to ask the question, there are plenty of other people searching the Internet for an answer to the question as well.

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: MorgueFile)

PenguinIn the past, the general assumption was that the more backlinks you could buy, create, or generate to your website, the better. By using keywords as the anchor text for those backlinks, the website they linked to could rank higher for those keywords. Many Internet Marketers built the bulk of their marketing efforts on vast numbers of backlinks driving traffic to their website. After the Google Penguin update, that strategy not only ceased to be effective, it actively penalized the people who used it.

The idea behind the Penguin analysis of backlinks is that they fall into three general categories based on the type of anchor text. The first type of backlink is considered a brand link. These backlinks use the name of the company, the name of a product, or the URL of the company’s website as the anchor text of the link. The second type of backlink is considered a target link. These backlinks use targeted keywords as the anchor text of the link. The third type of backlink is considered a generic link. These links use generic words and phrases as the anchor text, such as “click here”, “here”, “this”, or “cool website”.

The Google Penguin algorithm looks at all of the backlinks to your website, and considers the ratio of types of anchor text used in all of them. Google decided that if a high percentage of backlinks were targeted backlinks, they were probably the result of marketing efforts by site owner, either organically as a result of press releases and articles, or through purchase of backlinks. On the other hand, if a high percentage of backlinks were brand or generic backlinks, then they were probably the result of other people finding the information on that site useful and linking to it.

With the Google Penguin update, those websites that were deemed to have too high a percentage of targeted backlinks were de-indexed, and removed from Google’s search results. This was a huge impact on online businesses, but it also impacted offline businesses with an online presence. To determine how close your website is to the danger point, for each page on your website obtain a list of backlinks using your favourite backlink tool, and sort the anchor text of those links into brand, target, and generic categories.

To keep your website from running afoul of the Penguin algorithm in the future, it is generally safe to have less than 1/3 of all links be targeted links, with about 40% of links generic links. The remainder should be brand links. For example, if you are sending out a press release with 5 links, make only 1 of the links a targeted link, 1 of the links can list your company name, 1 of the links can list your company URL, and 2 of the links should be generic. If you had only 3 links in your press release, you’d make 1 a targeted link, 1 a brand link, and 1 a generic link.

Thanks!

Sean

Sean McPheat
Managing Director
The Internet Marketing Academy
http://internetmarketingacademy.com

(Image PhotoMorgue)

What is niche marketing and why is it important online?  A niche is a very small and specific part of a targeted market.  For example, many larger companies might target a demographic of women from age 23-34, which is NOT a niche.  A niche would be women age 23-34 who swing dance.  There aren’t a lot of these, but the ones there are don’t have a lot of options for shopping that caters to them.  In the regular marketplace it doesn’t make a lot of sense to open a store that caters solely to female swing dancers, but online it makes plenty of sense.  The online business model essentially says that anyone with a need can be reached directly through online sales.  In a more traditional approach you must provide to the masses.  Online any customer can find you.  Provided you have a website that is optimised to take advantage of your niche, customers will find you.

1. If you don’t target a niche then you are in competition with super giants like Amazon and Walmart for customers.  This will not lead to a successful online business.  The trick is to find an underserved market.  Even if only one person in ten thousand is interested in the product, that still gives you a respectable client base of approximately six hundred thousand people worldwide.  It is sort of like a small slice of a very large pie.

2. If you don’t target a niche, search engine optimisation is difficult, if not impossible.  Without search engine optimisation, customers won’t find your website and it will languish in obscurity and negatively affect your earnings as it will cost you money to own it, but bring in no profits.  Choosing a niche lets you choose specific keywords to help optimise your site.

3. Niche marketing can also provide you with a direction.  Starting a business without some direction or focus results in a lot of ineffectual flailing that accomplishes nothing.  With a niche decided, you can develop a marketing plan that will work to spread information about your specific products.

Sometimes it is a good idea to research niche markets before deciding on a product to sell.  Often once the market is identified the product offering becomes clear.  Intellectual property is one of the best sellers online, and it is great for a new start-up since the cost is minimal.  Do your research before you get started, it will save you a ton in the long run.

Thanks!

Sean

Internet Marketing Academy

Internet marketing allows anyone to start a business if they have a little time and money. It’s easy to use keyword tools to see what people are searching for online.

However, there is a big difference between what people are searching for–and what they’re actually BUYING.

A lot of marketers assume if there is high search volume for a keyword, there is definite buying potential. They’ll get a lot of traffic via that keyword but that doesn’t mean they are going to translate into buyers.

What you need to do is find out if there are products in that market that are already selling. Are there ebooks in your niche that are being sold on Clickbank? Can you go to Amazon and buy a book on the subject?

Best one: is there a magazine devoted to your niche people will subscribe to?

Those are the real signs there is a buyer’s market out there. You have to look beyond simple keyword research and search volumes to determine what people will buy.

Another trick is to do a series of Google searches. Google terms like, “(insert niche) affiliate”. If affiliate programs in your niche show up in the search results, then this is another sign there is a buyer’s market.

Finally do a simple search for your main keyword in Google. Are there any Google Adwords ads showing up? These are the ads that show up on the right hand side of the organic search results.

If there are, check in every 4-5 days to see if the ads are still there. If they are, then the marketer is probably making a profit advertising there. Make note of them for competitive research.

These tips will allow you to go further than a simple keyword search volume statistic when it comes to uncovering niches that can be lucrative. Also don’t be afraid of too much competition–competition is a sign money is to be made in that market!

Keep Selling,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Internet Marketing Academy

Keyword research is truly the lifeblood of any internet marketing business. You have to know how to choose the right keywords; otherwise, your business will struggle.

Here are some keyword tips that’ll allow you to get the edge in your market. Ignore these tips at your own peril!

1) Don’t ignore the long tail.

Long tail keywords are keywords that are specific. They get less traffic but their specificity will yield higher conversions.

For example, if one of your keywords was the word “Toyota” you’re going to get a lot of results and traffic, but they are going to be too general.  A person typing in that keyword could be looking for anything about their cars or their company.

However, the keyword “Toyota Camry SE” is a more specific keyword. It is not going to get as much traffic, but the person typing in that keyword is going to be looking for that specific car or anything related to it.

So research long tail phrases that aren’t going to get as much traffic as the obvious keywords in your market, but will yield better results.

2) Don’t Get Carried Away With “Back Door” Strategies.

Several years ago, you could get away with using “back door” keyword strategies that involved choosing keywords that weren’t targeted for what a user is searching for–but as long as the keyword was relevant to the market you would get some conversions.

For example, if you were selling football pads and were using the keyword “football helmet” to drive traffic to your site, you would hope that since football players also need helmets that you would get some sales.

These strategies still work, but some channels such as Google Adwords will compare the relevancy of your keyword to your offer and ad–and commence to raise your bid prices if your offer is not targeted.

So use backdoor keyword strategies sparingly and concentrate your efforts on using the most targeted keyword possible.

More keyword strategies to come, so stay tuned!

Sean

Sean McPheat

Internet Marketing Academy