Essential Search Engine Marketing and SEO Resources - Whether you're new to SEO or you've got some experience under your belt, this is an excellent collect-all resource for topics such as social media, blogging, link building, local search and reputation management. If you're not ready to make the time commitment to read it all, at least check out Google Webmaster tools or the Beginners Guide to Search Engine Optimization.
In all, there are about 400 online marketers in attendance so lots of great networking opportunities. During the Q&A session for an advanced paid-search presentation (advanced was a very loose term at this particular presentation) I was speaking to the lady who happened to sit next to me. She pointed out something very interesting trends in the questions coming from the audience. Everyone wanted the magic pill. They wanted actionable and measurable things that they could do right now in order to be successful. The waters are so murky in the online marketing world that these people are in over there heads and don't know who to trust. They read one thing, but the data tells them another thing. They're on short budgets and need results fast. The sad thing I realized is that things are better than they used to be, but I don't see them clearing up anytime soon.
Hopefully next week, I'll be able to share with you my findings and give you some great insight that you can actually use right now in your day-to-day business. Stay tuned.
1. Keywords - Keywords are the very foundation of your search engine strategy. I refer to a "keyword" as a word that your typical user will input in the search box when searching for specific information about a product or service. You may have put many efforts on fine-tuning your web pages for a better ranking with the major search engines yet it become not enough if the right keyword phrases are not targeted. Even if you achieve high search engine rankings, you may not get relevant traffic if you select the wrong keywords. The most significant keyword steps for search-engine optimization are (1) identifying your target audience and (2) keyword phrase researching. I've outlined some of the best ways to analyze and collect this search engine data below;
Search Engine Analysis
a. Brainstorm within your group. What keywords do you think embody your site? What are the obvious words and phrases?
b. Check your logs (I'm assuming you have some sort of web analytics program). What terms are bringing people to your site? Companies often make mistakes with their keywords because they choose based on how they, rather than their customers, think about their products or services.
c. Examine your competitors
d. Make sure you don't forget the misspellings
e. Synonyms, Split & Merged Words, Singulars & Plurals, Hypens
Keyword Suggestion Sites:
Google AdWords Keyword Suggestion
Free WordTracker Keyword Suggestion Tool
2. Content - Stuff (text) on your website. Good content is simply a well written paragraph or page which communicates to your readers, exactly what you hope to get through, with no ambiguity, while it also offers info to the search engines so our site is categorized properly within their database. Content on your site should be the first thing you think of when optimizing it. You must convey to the search engines that your site is worthy of ranking, and that you are here to offer something of value to the masses. Content is king and a very important factor in getting a high search engine ranking.
3. Links - There are 2 types of links in the eyes of Google - Inbound and Outbound links. Both are important, but Inbound links carry much more weight in the eyes of search engines. An inbound link (from someone else's site to yours) basically tells the search engine your site is worthy and other people should visit it. The crucial way to ensure Google finds your site, is for your site to be linked from lots of pages on other sites. In essence, its a vote from their page for your site.
Things to consider about links
a. How relevant is the website that is linking to your site? Is it targeting similar keywords and about similar subjects? If that inbound link comes from a site with relevant content, a high page rank and has been around for a while, its an even bigger vote of confidence to your site.
b. Find and resesearch other websites with relevant content. Join the conversations on that site. Establish your expertise. Be the first to link to them.
4. Time - The older the site is, the more recognized and regarded it will be. Sites that have been around longer are given preference to younger sites.
WebConfs SEO Toolset
35 SEO Tips Simplified According To Value And Importance
The Blogger's Guide to Search Engine Optimization
SEO TOOLBOX - 30+ Tools and Services to Improve Your SEO
- Smashing Magazine - 100 of the best free Wordpress themes
- 9 Benefits of Twitter for Bloggers - Also see my free trade idea post on using Twitter for your business
- The New Rules of Viral Marketing - free ebook
- How to Sneak Social Media into the Enterprise
- Best of Adobe Flash Tutorials
- How To: Effectively Talk to Execs and Clients about Social Media
- You Suck at Photoshop
Who is Consumer 2.0?
- Addicted to Leisure - They work hard, but they also expect a certain amount of work/life balance. They expect products and brands to conform to both aspects of their day. They want their phone to sync with Outlook while also keeping tabs of their Facebook profile.
- Create and share content - In their own eyes, they're a rockstar. They twitter, pownce, blog and YouTube everything in their life. If they like it, they share it.
- Always connected and love information - They subscribe to hundreds of RSS feeds, have thousands of friends online, never leave home without their iPod or their web-enabled phone. These consumers can find what they're looking for in a drop of hat (and expect it as well).
- Hypertaskers - Forget David Allen, these consumers chat online, play games, stream music and send text messages all while watching TV. In a survey produced by Yahoo!, 60% of 18-34 year olds said they surfed the web while watching TV.
- Love to be part of communities - They have multiple social network accounts and use them all on a regular basis.
- Listen to them. - They are more than willing to tell you what they think of your product, if you simply ask. Use them as your guinea pigs for new ideas and improvements on old ones.
- Collaborate with them. Just as Stromhoek, a small vineyard who collaborated with bloggers to create a grass roots initiative, so should you. Respond to their online posts and comments, answer their emails one at a time and take the initiative to create 'wow' experiences in your store. If you scratch their back, they'll scratch yours as well.
- Give them the tools to share. Create an online toolbox in which users can remix your brand to meet their style. Include RSS feeds, pictures, videos, music, Facebook applications, custom t-shirts and everything else they could use to evangelize your product.
So how does Search Engine Marketing tie back to Consumer 2.0? Well, because Consumer 2.0 is so intrenched and dialed in on a regular basis, they've developed a small case of ADD. Nearly 72% of people answered that they cannot recall URL's that appeared on TV spots. Therefore, not only should you do the things I've mentioned above to gain attention online, but you should also work to control those things you do have power over.
Your search engine marketing must include using appropriate keywords so Consumer 2.0 can find your brand, creating lots of relevant content, making sure your pages are user-friendly and have appropriate titles and descriptions just to name a few. Consumers expect brand leaders to consistently be in the top results of search and I can guarantee that many will look at a site because it was one of the first results regardless if it was what they were looking for or not. Great search engine marketing increases your brand familiarity, pumps up your brand consideration, improves customer satisfaction and results in a better brand experience.
Integrating Consumer 2.0 into your marketing plans and tweaking your search engine marketing will allow you to close the loop on your customers and engage advocates. I guarantee that if you implement the above to a tee, you will see much success online and off.
CASH courtesy of *mgwinc