October 14, 2013 by
Keywords are the currency of the internet. Most people find a website by first typing keywords in the query box of a search engine. This information is telling for words that should be on your site; it is rich with insights about the unmet needs of your audience; it is the foundation for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Google Analytics is the most widely used tool for understanding consumer behavior on a website. It is rich with insights. It is the GPS for a site but keywords are no longer one of the things Google Analytics gives.
Google has always [not provided] some keywords but it is now encrypting all keyword search activity — except for clicks on Google ads. Google says this has been done to provide “extra protection” for searchers, and the company may be aiming to block NSA spying activity. Possibly, it’s a move to increase ad sales. Or both according to Search Engine Land.
He that giveth can taketh away. Google gave us Google Analytics for free but 96% of Google revenue is from ads. Obviously, Google can do what that want.
But what are the rest of us? What do we do? Here are 10 other SEO resources now that Google has taken away our keywords.
- BING WEBMASTER TOOLS: Contain an organic keyword research tool. The keyword tool measures up to six months of historical data and is ideal for long tail keyword research, since the data is based completely off of organic information and not paid data. Look for some of the fall out from Google to migrate offer to Bing for organic keyword data.
- ALEXA: A subsidiary of Amazon, has a user base of over 1,000,000 people and is a vast repository of information about the traffic and structure of the website. Among the information they report is top keywords for your site as well as your competitors. Alexa also trends this information if you go to their subscription service.
- KEYROW: How would you to see the top keywords for your site and track those changes without even registering? How would you also like to see a side-by-side comparison of those keywords to your competitors? KeyRow does all this just by typing your site, your keywords or your competitor’s site in the KewRow query boxes.
- TRELLIAN KEYWORD TOOL: While it won’t give you the keywords for your site, it will give you the keywords for your industry or your type of business. Trellian Keyword Tool also gives you keyword searches, seasonality and density. Trellian Keyword Tool has been around for awhile and has always been a valuable keyword resource.
- KEYWORD EYE: is a cool little tool to help you conduct keyword research. With a unique visual approach that uses a “Keyword Cloud.” Keyword Eye makes keyword research creative, fast, simple and even fun–adding a new twist to keyword brainstorming.
- MOZ TERM EXTRACTOR: Register for a free account at MOZ.com, a great resource. You will then have access to this tool as well as a variety of their other free SEO tools. Enter the URL of your site or your competitor to receive one word, two words, and three word phrases.
- MOZ OPEN SITE EXPLORER: also falls under the MOZ tools umbrella. To use this tool for keyword ideas, enter your or your competitor’s URL and go to the Anchor Text Distribution tab. This will show you up to 20 of the keywords that you or your competitor uses for anchor text when link building.
- COMPETE: is a subscription, not free, resource but a great one. Like Alexa or some of the other tools listed, it gives you keyword information for your site or a competitors. It has a panel of over 2,000,000 and is considered by many to be the gold standard for competitive analytics and business intelligence.
- GOOGLE ANALYTICS (CONTENT): While Google has taken away keywords, they haven’t taken away the ranking of what your write. If you have Google Analytics on your site, go into the Content tab, this will list the most viewed pages in sequence. Think about the keywords on them and you’ll have a good idea of rhw keywords people use to find your site. If your site has a blog, it will also give you a very good idea of the topics your readers value most.
- GOOGLE KEYWORD PLANNER: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Google Keyword Planner won’t tell you the top keywords for your site, but it is perhaps the best tool for estimating search volume for specific keywords as well as giving ideas for other words that are similar and worth considering.
This is to give you alternatives. While none of them do exactly what Google Analytics used to, they reveal how valuable keywords are the the insights and ideaa they offer.
Were these resource valuable to you? Do you have any to add?
August 10, 2013 by
You can’t be good or bad at social media; you can only be yourself.
Social Media Optimization (SMO) is the method of social activity that attract visitors to a website through an elevated search rank. It proves there is a science to social media just like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the process of maximizing visitors to a web site by achieving a top rank on search engines around specific keywords.
Both work hand in glove.
But there is a fundamental difference. SEO is based on keywords; SMO on contents (words, videos, images). When integrated, they are a brand’s most powerful combination for raising visibility and generating business on the web.
Just remember search engine don’t buy products, people do. So be yourself.
How do you make Social Media Optimization (SMO) happen? Here are 12 tips.
- DEFINE OBJECTIVES AND SET GOALS: Know your desired outcome at you start – for example, reputation, sales, influence, credibility, charity, traffic/page views – Lee Odden
- MAKE PEOPLE SMARTER: If a piece of content makes people seem smart, they’re more likely to share it with their friends. And people like being the first to share information because it makes them seem cool and in-the-know – Mashable
- INCREASE LINKABILITY: To optimize a site for social media, we need to increase the linkability of the content. Adding a blog is a great step, however there are many other ways such as creating white papers and thought pieces, or even simply aggregating content that exists elsewhere into a useful format – Rohit Bhargava
- TAG CONTENT SO IT TRAVELS FASTER:Make sure pages include a list of relevant tags, suggested notes for a link (which come up automatically when you go to tag a site) – Rohit Bhargava
- MAKE ACCESS TO CONTENT EASY: Content that is easy to view through short links (PDFs, video files and audio files), travels further and is more trackable in proving it is driving visitors ultimately to your site – Rohit Bhrargava
- USE PERMALINKS IN BLOGS FOR KEYWORDS AND SHARING: When you blog, permalinks automatically capture keywords in the URL titles that search engine look for when the crawl your site; at the bottom of your blog, they make it easy for readers to copy and share – BarnRaisers
- REWARD HELPFUL AND VALUABLE INFLUENCERS: Share the content of the people who are sharing your content. It is both a sincere and smart way to raise visibility - Jeremiah Owyang
- BE A USEFUL RESOURCE, EVEN IF IT DOESN’T HELP YOU: Add outbound links to areas that could help others. Folks will link to your social site and tag is as helpful or the ‘ultimate’ guide in that space. As this adds up, it will become more and more relevant in search engine results – Jeremiah Owyang
- DON’T FORGET YOUR ROOTS; BE HUMBLE: Sometimes it can be easy to get carried away being a BlogStar or industry talking head. Remember those who helped you along the way, and that respect will help all involved – Loren Baker
- LET GO OF AN IDEA AND LET OTHERS OWN IT: In the spirit of social media principles, the idea of Social Media Optimization is now out there and belongs to the marketing and PR community. I strongly believe the future definition of this emerging marketing practice will come from the group – Rohit Bhargava
- KNOW WHO AND HOW TO TARGET: On the internet as in life, there is always going to be a certain audience you can appeal to and others that you can’t. Listen to who is engaging with you and take the learning to build your audience – Cameron Olthius
- STAY FRESH : Social Media is changing and morphing by the minute, keep up on new tools, products and challenges in your social sphere – Loren Baker
Do these tips explain Social Media Optimization to you? Do they prove the value of SEO and SMO working together? Can SMO happen for your business?
June 24, 2013 by
Why do people like or dislike a website? The research says it’s all about the experience.
KISSmetrics says, when people leave a website, the most common reasons are:
- Bad navigation
- Bad content structure
- Obtrusive use of ads and sign up forms
- Bad design and content
- Poor legibility
The business term for a great experience is web personalization. It means the website matches content and experience to a specific user’s instructions or preferences.
What makes or breaks great websites? Here are 12 tips.
- CLEARLY COMMUNICATE WHAT YOU DO AND MAKE IT EASY TO BEGIN A RELATIONSHIP: State or, better yet, visualize the benefit and take immediate advantage of potential interest. A company like Feed Stitch, for example, has a difficult communication challenge. They take many different data feeds and integrate them to have a common purpose. They use an effective metaphor, simple descriptions and a visible invitation to “get started.”
- KEEP KEY INFORMATION AND ACTIONS “ABOVE THE FOLD;” Visitors to a website spend 80% of their time “above the fold” according to Nielsen. So don’t lose the majority of prospects. Dollar Shave Club gives viewers a video to explain what they do and registration form to take advantage of its audience – all “above the fold.”
- HAVE A CLEAR CALL-TO-ACTION: These days, visitors’ experience to a website can come for any page. Don’t miss the opportunity to have them take action. Amazon always shows a clear call-to-action next to a motivating offers with their landing pages.
- DEFINE THE ROLES OF YOUR AUDIENCE: Visitors to a web site have different “roles” or potential relationships. Speak to them. Sermo is a physician’s network that recognizes through roles the different types of doctors who visit Sermo for a variety of reasons.
- RECOGNIZE DIFFERENT TYPES OF READERS: For each role, there are three types of readers: 1) Researchers, who expect to be educated, 2) Shoppers, who want comparisons and 3) Buyers, who are ready to take action. They are not mutually exclusive. For example, a Researcher can become a Shopper who turns into a Buyer. Design content and web pages so you can captivate all three.
- ESTABLISH TASKS: The best way to establish if people who visit your site are doing what you want is to identify task. Here are some examples: 1) For an Insurance Comparison Site (Researcher): Find three, 1 million term life insurance quotes for healthy 30 year living in CA: 2) for an E-commerce (Shopper), Determine cost of XYZ laptop with optional DVD drive: for a Mobile App your Website (Buyer), Set up free trial account and go through steps to create app to publish
- DON’T PARALYZE WITH TOO MANY CHOICES: It’s normal to imagine, when someone visits your website, they might be interested in lots that you have to offer, but they rarely are. If you went to this page looking for a certain kind of shirt, would this page help or confuse you? Don’t lose visitors by giving too many choices.
- …OR TOO MUCH TEXT: There is probably a great deal of meaning behind this text for the people who created this page. But, to the people who visit, not so much.
- CONSIDER POP-UP CAREFULLY: I know lots of people who are believers in “Entry” (Welcome) and “Exit” (Wait…Before you go) pop-ups. I’m not one of them. Why? Many sources say it costs 6 to 7 times more to acquire a new customer than keep a current customer. That’s a lot to put at risk when you think about the inconvenience you may be costing your best customers who have to skip pop-ups to get where they want to go. If you use pop-ups, just make sure the risk is worth the rewards.
- ESTABLISH TRUST AND CREDIBILITY: According to Reevoo stats, 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates. So think about the addition of trust and credibility features like reviews, client testimonials, client lists and case studies on your website.
- OPTIMIZE FOR SEARCH: 80% of visitors find a web site by typing their unmet need in the query box of a search engine. 80% of those people click on an “organic” or “natural” listing. The subject of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is fundamental to creating a great website. Here are tips on how to write for your audience and the search engines.
- BE SOCIAL AND ENGAGE: Your audience and the search engine send more traffic your way if they know content on the site is always being refreshed. The best way to do that is integrate a blog and your social networks into your site. Make sure when you set up your blog the URL tracks back to your website like it shown below.
Everyone who has a website wants to be loved and giving visitors a great experience is the way to get there.
If you’re interested in knowing more about Website Optimization and Personalization, I’ll be teaching an online course on this subject at UCal Irvine with Mike Moran this summer. Or you can contact me through this website.
Are these tips helpful to you for creating a great website?
June 02, 2013 by
80% of visitors find a website through a query to a search engine. 80% of those clicks are on natural or organic listings.
If you want your website to be found on the internet, an effective SEO (Search Engine Optimization) program is a requirement. SEO is a precise marketing science; one that takes a strategy, diligent effort and generally 2 to 6 months to get to a top rank.
The results are substantial and lasting. Good SEO professionals, for online businesses, are one of their most valuable assets.
But we all should be able to learn. Here are the best 12 Free SEO tools everyone should know and the ways in which they help your business:
- ROI: Even if you get to a top rank, it doesn’t do much good if you don’t establish the action you want people to take once they get there. Google Analytics is an essential guide. It’s the GPS system for a website. Before you begin your SEO program, you should benchmark key measures like Unique Visitors, Bounce Rate, Keywords, Content, Traffic Sources and, if you sell online, Sales, Conversion, and Average Order Value.
- KEYWORDS: The currency of an SEO program is keywords. Everyone should allocate time for research and discovery. The best tool to spot opportunities is Google Trends. It’s the Library of Congress for keywords because it’s Google entire catalogue. Once you identified keywords, the best tools for substantiating them is the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Look at monthly searches, competitiveness and CPC (Cost Per Click). It’s good to know what others pay for a word that you achieve a natural listing. The Trellian Keyword Discovery Tool is also excellent.
- LINKS: The two factors that drive search rank are relevance and authority. Keywords establish relevance but links establish authority. Because spammers took advantage of this area through inauthentic backlinks, the search engines, particularly Google, are cracking down on links that aren’t trusted. Google has updated their algorithm through updates called Panda and Penguin to reward authentic content and links and penalize Black Hat tactics. The best tools for identifying links and identifying trusted links are Majestic SEO, and Alexa.
- INDEXED: With the right keywords and links, your business starts to appear or is “indexed” on more search engine pages. You’ll want to report and track progress with a tool like Marketing Grader from HubSpot.
- TECHNICAL ISSUES: When links lead to pages that don’t exist or a website url doesn’t redirect properly, it can create a major setback in SEO progress. That’s why there is Google Webmaster Tools. They bring these issues to your attention immediately and should be installed on every website.
- SERP (SEARCH ENGINE RANK PAGES): To report and track progress as search rank improves, you’ll need a good tool to check your search rank. SEO Book is a great SEO resource and their SEO Rank Checker, with the Firefox Extension, is the tool to install.
- SITE SPEED: The speed in which your site loads influences SEO rank. Most people are not willing to wait long for what they are searching for. Pingdom and YSlow are two tools that tell you how long it takes for your site to load; how that compares to other sites and what is influencing site speed or slowness.
- GENERAL SITE AUDIT: If you want a good diagnosis of see progress in the steps you are taking above as well as steps you could be taking in the areas of blogging, social media outreach, tagging images and mobile search optimization, Marketing Grader is a helpful guide for evaluation and setting up a course of action.
SEO can get technical but it doesn’t have to be rocket science. Everyone can learn because great tools are very accessible.
There are very possibly others that should be include so please let us know. If you would like to learn more about SEO, let us know too. You may also find it helpful to know about key SEO measurements.
Do you think these are tools for SEO everyone should know?
May 12, 2013 by
- 80% of people find a website by typing keywords into the query box of a search engine
- 42% click on the website in the #1 organic search position
- 90% click on a website on the 1st page (Source: SEO Book)
These facts show, for any company doing business on the internet, search engine optimization (SEO) is a requirement.
But search engines don’t buy, don’t download and don’t fill out requests for more information. People do. That’s why, although search rank is important, a top rank is only as good as the content on the website at getting visitors to take the action you want.
How do you accomplish both? Here are 12 tips on how to write for your audience and search engines.
- DO KEYWORD RESEARCH: Keywords are the currency of the internet. They establish relevance to both your audience and the search engines. So look for the words consumers use to express their unmet need; how many express it and how often. Two tools that are a valuable guide in this discovery are Google Trends and Google Adwords Keyword Tool.
- CREATE SITE ARCHITECTURE: When search engines crawl your site, they are trying to give your audience the best match for the words that express their unmet need. So give both your audience and the search engines something to work with and make it easy on them. Organize your keywords and content to create a more complete picture.
- DIFFERENTIATE BY BEING SPECIFIC: The people who are most ready to take action are most likely going to be more specifics about what they need and less willing to wade through a lot of information. So help them on their journey with content that includes “long-tail” phrases, not just “short tail” keywords. If you were in the market for a digital camera and ready to buy, wouldn’t you be looking for the brand and model, not just the category?
- IDENTIFY AUTHORITIES: “It”s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This truth applies to life and doing business on the internet. That’s why hyperlinks (the blue text that goes to other websites) play a pivotal role. They connect you with authorities on your topic. If the search engines determine, through links, you are connected to authorities, they raise your rank. There are many link tracking services. Options range from free to subscription services. A few to consider are: Alexa, ClixTrack and Linktrack and Linktrackr and options from free to subscription.
- WRITE HYPERLINKS INTO SITE CONTENT: The search engine are cracking down on websites that load backlinks into the back end of their websites but they are rewarding websites that do it, authentically, by featuring relevant links in content like suggested above. Also, consider social network pages as links and build your “social authority.” This is increasing greatly in importance.
- USE INTERNAL LINKS THROUGHOUT YOUR SITE: Hyperlinks are also good for connecting pages within your site. This give both your audience and the search engine the opportunity to spend more time with your business and get to know you better. And that’s always a good thing.
- CHECK FOR BROKEN LINKS: Make sure everything is working as it should. A website analytics tool, like Google Analytics is your GPS system. Google offers Google Webmaster Tools for spotting any critical issues.
- TITLE YOUR KEYWORDS IN THE URL, TITLES AND HEADERS: The reason for being for each page is a key consideration for you, for your audience and the search engines. Put your keywords in url’s, and titles. Here is where you need to include them.
- WRITE MORE THAN 200 WORDS ON EVERY PAGE: Your audience and the search engines want to get to know you. Although there are a number of opinions, at least 200 words per page is a good rule of thumb.
- WRITE FOR 3 TYPES OF VISITORS: Regardless of the website, there will always be 3 types of visitors. “Researchers,” who expect to be educated and want lots of information. Reviews and testimonials are important. “Shoppers” look for comparisons. They want to know the facts, but they want the Cliff Notes version. “Buyers” are ready to take action but they want the specifics, as clearly called out as possible. All are important. They also are not mutually exclusive either. One can move from one stage to another.
- KEYWORDS: Now that you have your plan in place, track your progress is raising your rank every month. A good tool to track your progress is SEO Book Rank Checker (Firefox Extension).
- INDEXING: The more search pages your are on, the better so know how many search pages you are “indexed” and work to increase the number. Marketing Grader from HubSpot lets you see how your doing.
To write for your audience is as important, if not more, as writing for the search engines. Do these 12 tips help teach you how to do it?