Is first page placement a realistic target to set your business?
Once you’ve registered a domain and began the tricky work of putting together a website eventually you’ll come to a point where you realise you need somehow to compete with a whole world’s worth of competition in your industry. This can be daunting, but fear not.
Fortunately though it isn’t quite as hard as it sounds. Here we cover some relatively very simple ways you can vastly raise your page ranking on Google, and how using your speciality you can achieve first page placement.
Our first tip is to always use short, simple, concise, and above all relevant website urls and page names. The same goes for your meta title and meta descriptions.
The website urls and page names are more to appeal to your viewer, so keep that in mind. Your meta title tells bots from search engines what the subject of your page / website is, and this helps Google to rank your page as more relevant to a given search.
Next make sure keyword research is given plenty of attention. Since the birth of the Internet the use of keywords have been used by search engines to determine page relevance. Though don’t be too enthusiastic as too many keyword repetitions can cause your page to be red flagged and penalized.
Clear navigation is another key to ranking well with search engines. Software called crawlers used by search engines roam the web link by link discovering and storing all of the pages. The more clearly your internal links are, the better you’ll rank with the robots, and your real audience, and both are steps toward first page placement.
Quality backlinks are also a great way to improve your website’s transparency with search engine bots, which also gives more information on relevance for a subject as well as giving your site more credibility.
Why First Page Placement IS achievable
It seems like finding a web page from your site on the first page of Google is a little like winning the lottery, however this is far from the case. First off winning the lottery comes by chance, achieving first page placement takes skill, hard work, and innovative ideas.
– The best content
First of all in whatever your industry is, you need to compete with the best, and you need to be better than them. However with recent development in Google the way this is worked out is fairer than ever, and even small websites can get on the first page with the right approach.
First of all you need to do your research. Look around at what your nearest competition, or the competition you aspire to, and see what they’re doing that you’re not. Once you have a good idea on what’s on offer it’s your turn to make something even better.
Check out the skyscraper theory, it tells us that nobody ever searches the second highest building (or at least far fewer than who search for the top). For this reason you need to do everything the competition does, and more. The reason this isn’t such a mountain as it sounds is that you can use others for inspiration.
– Solid keyword research
Next you need an expert to help you with high level keyword research. By tapping into more elegant keywords than your competition, and by differentiating your keywords you can really pick up steam, increase traffic, and climb the search engine result pages in no time.
– Take advantage of your locality
Finally take a shortcut to the top by using your locality to target your main audience – your locals.
By placing the name of the town of your business in conjunction with your keywords you can guarantee at least local searches bring your web pages right to the top of the rank. Once you have these pages in place your traffic will grow organically, and you’ll soon see a snowball effect start to grow your traffic from over unexpected angles.
Is Niche Marketing Dead?
This question seems to be all the buzz across the internet marketing community: is niche marketing dead? Before answering the question, think about this: when is something REALLY dead in the world of internet marketing? Things change, but they rarely disappear altogether. Not only is niche marketing alive and thriving, but it’s still as profitable, if not more profitable, than it’s ever been. Here are a few tips for a first page placement with your niche site.
Promote Your Niche Website with Video Marketing
Are you a little camera shy? Don’t worry, video marketing isn’t that difficult. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Don’t Make it Too Complex: Keep your video topic nice and simple – especially for your first video.
- Encourage Comments: Video marketing goes hand-in-hand with social media marketing. So make sure that your visitors are talking about and sharing your videos.
- Include a Strong Call-to-Action: Towards the end of the video, say something like, “For more information...”, or, “To claim your copy…“, and then give your viewer something to do.
Above all, stay relaxed, have fun, and be creative. In the end, you’ll find that video marketing can dramatically boost your sales, increase brand presence, and encourage customers to better engage with what you have to offer.
How to Measure Niche Marketing Analytics
Understanding the behavior of your site’s visitors can be confusing without the help of a web analytics tool. Each individual visitor brings their own set of data to the table – location, browser, device type, etc. To make sense of all this information, and track your success, you’ll want to use a reliable web analytics tool.
This is by far one of the best web analytics tools out there. The best part? It’s free! Perhaps the only downside to this tool is that it can’t give you real-time updates. Nonetheless, it’s still a quality option to consider. You’ll also love the fact that it’s compatible with Google Web Master’s Tools, which will provide with even more powerful ways to get your site ranked high in Google. It’s an invaluable tool for niche marketers.
Spring Metrics is a professional local internet marketing analytics tool that has the ability to show you the real-time conversion analytics associated with your campaign. You’ll be able to see top converting sources, analyze your landing pages, and track email performances. The only downside is that it isn’t free. The Standard Plan costs $49 per month with a 100% free 14-day trial. But considering the amount of stuff you’re going to get in return, there’s no doubt that it’s a quality deal to consider.
First Page Placement: Is It A Reality With SEO
There are two schools of thought with regard to first page placement. The one tells you that only brand names will ever get onto first place no matter what. The other is that you can get first page placement when you use SEO despite the brands. It is actually more complicated than this. Google is also ever changing which will affect your ability to get first page placement.
Google is changing from a global reach to a local one. With GPS and location requests, when you search in Google it will automatically assess your current location and provide results on a keyword search. If someone is in LA searching for couture pet supplies they are going to see LA based companies before a huge brand name that only services the East Coast. Likewise, if you are selling seeds for vegetable plants and the client is within 10 miles of your shop you are more likely to get first page placement than a brand name company that sells the same product in the next state.
Not Always Local
The results are not always based on local information, but it is often where the game of first page placement begins in the Internet world today. The next part is whether you have keywords that are actually relevant to the search being conducted by the consumer. Google and other search engines take a combination of location and keywords to determine what will be on the first page, which means it has less to do with your overall page ranking unless you have stiff local competition.
First Page Placement Is Not a Goal
Every client who comes in to our offices (or gets an email consultation for the more distant ones) gets asked: “what is your goal?” Not surprisingly, a goodly number of them respond with some variation of “I want first page placement for my landing pages.” That’s when we ask ourselves whether we’re going to nod and smile and move forward, or whether we’re going to tell them the truth: first page placement is not a goal.
Let us explain. It’s all well and good to want your landing pages to be on the first page of the SERPs for the keywords we decide to target. Heck, that’s what we want for your landing pages, too! But there are two significant problems with setting that as your goal.
First Page Placement is a Process, Not a Goal
If you reach the first page of Google for all of your chosen keywords, it’s time to celebrate! But celebrating doesn’t mean you’ve reached your goal. When you reach a goal, you get to stop. That’s what makes it a goal: it’s a finishing line. Being on the first page of Google isn’t a finishing line, because it’s a constant struggle to stay there, and an even greater struggle to increase your position on the first page.
Your competitors are constantly working to attain the same status that you enjoy, and because they’re not succeeding, they’re constantly estimating whether or not they can spend more than you are. Some of them will decide that they can, and they’ll do put a lot of effort into unseating you. But that’s not the real problem with this whole concept, anyway.
First Page Placement Is a Step On a Larger Process, Not an End Point
Getting your landing page on the first page — or even in the very first spot of the first page — of Google isn’t going to accomplish anything relevant to your business by itself. The only thing it’s going to get you is ‘people looking at your landing page.
If that’s all they do, you’ve wasted your money. You need to couple first page placement with an effective website that ensnares, enraptures, and then converts visitors. If ‘converts’ means ‘makes them buy from you,’ your goal needs to be stated in terms of either RoI or numbers of sales. If ‘converts’ means ‘makes them sign up for a thing,’ your goal needs to stated in terms of numbers of conversions.
In short, when you come to an SEO company, whether it’s SEO911 or someone else, come in with a goal in mind that is directly measured in whatever terms your business or organization as a whole measures success in. First page placement is good, and it’s why we exist, but it’s not the point of why we exist.
Three Paths To First Page Placement
First page placement is the goal of every single client of every single SEO company in the world — if you can’t hit the top few results of some SERPs, you’re not ever going to get any business. But that kind of top rank isn’t the result of a single monolithic activity — there are three distinct ways to get your way to the first page, or even the first slot.
Search engine optimization is the most basic way to the top, but it’s probably the most efficient. SEO is a wide umbrella, basically covering almost every single activity that can make your website achieve a higher rank for a particular set of searches. SEO is a long-term investment, but it’s well worth it in almost every circumstance. Unless you know your business is going to close it’s doors if you don’t get a customer or three today, SEO is likely to be your route of choice.
The next choice is pay per click marketing. PPC takes a lot more money to get into, but the results are essentially instant. If you need a customer or three today to avoid going out of business, spending the money to hire a PPC manager can get you those customers — and because you don’t pay unless you get clicks, it’s not even that much of a risk. All you have to do it make sure that your landing page converts like a beast.
Third: Third Party Site Funneling
The goal of SEO is to get your website up in the SERPs by linking to it. But having content up on someone else’s website that links back to yours and convinces someone to make the jump from one to the other has most of the benefits of an actual first page placement, only it can be faster and cheaper to obtain. It might not quite be technically a first-place for your own site, but if the traffic comes through and converts on the back end, who cares?
Most companies are going to want SEO, or PPC if they need it — but they shouldn’t ignore the potential of site funneling while they wait for the SEO to kick in.
First Page Placement in Google Is Still The Best Source of Traffic Ever
Statistically speaking, the first page of Google is absolutely still where it’s at. It would be nice to think that all of those companies who have websites which rank 45th for their main search term occasionally get noticed, but the sad truth is they will almost never be seen by anyone who is doing a Google search for their term.
At the moment, those ranked number one for a particular search term, will receive a click through rate of over 36%. That’s over a third of all people searching, selecting the first natural link. 58% of searchers choose one of the three top results, and an amazing 89% of people searching on the web will select their chosen website from the first page of Google. Yes, that means only one in ten people ever go to the second page of the search engine page results.
This is all well and good, but it’s not too much help for anyone who has a site which is languishing for the search terms for which is supposed to rank. Of course there is plenty that you can do, and the first step realistically should always be to find an SEO company who are committed to improving your rankings in an ethical manner. With the recent panda and penguin updates, it’s important you only utilise organic SEO techniques. Receiving a penalty from Google is hardly going to help you to climb to the top of the search results tree.
To get first page placement you need a good SEO company and a decent site. If you continue to create high quality content and you freshen things up and back up your site with social media pages, then you have every chance of improving your rankings. It’s absolutely critical that you reach the zenith that is the first page of Google search results, because without that you’re really nowhere.
Social Media Takes Too Much Time…Unless An Affordable SEO Company Does It For You
There’s a lot of yakking going on across the Internet Marketing world about the power of social media. Creating powerful, viral-enabled content and getting it out in front of the crowd is the new “backlink building”. Unfortunately, taking the time to fully engage the social media world is a massive time sink, and if you’re not ready with a deep and detailed plan for exactly how you’re going to orchestrate your social campaign — including how you’re going to respond if (when) things go pear-shaped, you’re going to be caught off guard and have to spend even more time fixing it all.
That’s why, for the 90% of businesses that don’t have Ford’s entire office building devoted to Tweeting about the latest Fiesta, it makes a lot more sense to handle the social media the same way you handle your front doormats: outsource it to an affordable SEO company. Those guys who replace your front doormat once a week are experts who specialize in a very small area of endeavor: cleaning and moving around those little mats. Likewise, any decent local Internet Marketing company will have social media specialists on hand who manipulate pins and likes the same way the carpet guy manipulates warps and woofs.
They’ll sit down with you and work out some goals and some tools that you feel comfortable with them using. They’ll want to know things like what you expect from your social media — are you “just” looking to secure a few more first page placements, or are you more focused on building a crowd slavering to buy your next product? Do you want to use the social media to create backlinks? Or do you want to switch it around and use backlink building to develop the size of your social crowd?
Once they know what your goals are and they have an understanding of what lines not to cross, they’ll sit down and get to work. Social media is inherently unpredictable, because you’re dealing with people and not bits and bytes, but it’s also easy to manipulate — so success is more a matter of time than a question of success.
First Page Placement Means Traffic, End of Story
There’s a few people out there who are claiming that organic SEO isn’t the be-all and end-all of traffic building. They want you to remember that social marketing, pay-per-click, and a host of other methods can also be used to drive traffic.
And it’s true — those things can drive traffic. They work. Just not in a way that small businesses and other commercial clients need their traffic to work. There’s exactly one thing that, at the end of the day, works for businesses: first page placement on Google. First page placement on Google has a few attributes that separate it from the other methods of gaining traffic:
When someone goes to Google and searches for something, and they see your website on the search results, you can be 99% positive that they wanted to see your business. With a few exceptions (try searching for a few variations of ‘date’ and see what gets you food and what gets you Adult Friend Finder), Google is really, really good at making sure that people who see your site are actually looking for it. The same can’t be said of social marketing, where people are more likely to visit because they like the poster rather than liking the content. Organic Google traffic is among the most well-targeted traffic you can get.
Mathematics has this thing called the Law of Large Numbers, that basically says ‘the more times you do something that has varying results, the closer you get to the actual average of those results.’ If you flip a coin a million times, you’re pretty darn likely to get about 500,000 heads and 500,000 tails. Google traffic follows this law as well — if you have a keyword with 5,000 daily searches, you know that a first page placement is going to pretty regularly expose your website to 5,000 people. Pay-pet-click marketing doesn’t have that kind of consistency because you never know who else has put new campaigns together, what they’ve bid on the same keywords you’re bidding on, and so on. Being on Google’s first page means you can count on visitors coming every day.
In short: there are other methods of getting traffic out there, no doubt — but none of them work as well as the standard first page placement in Google’s search results, period.
First Page Placement, More Than Anything Else, Brings Traffic
Pay per click marketing. Banner ads. Classified ads. Craigslist spamming. Joint ventures. Email marketing. SMS marketing. Magazine ads. Billboards. CPA advertising. Even billboards, these days, frequently have URLs on them, because everyone is trying to figure out how to drive traffic to their website.
The thing is, people have done studies of where traffic comes from on the internet. Google keeps careful track of millions of websites that use their Analytics Tool, and while you can probably mentally modify the numbers a tiny bit because Google has a tendency to support themselves, their results say that 80% of all website traffic comes from Google searches.
That’s a HUGE number. Even if you dock them fifteen percent for the Google self-promotion spin, somewhere around two of every three visits to websites across the entire world come from Google. Why, then, do we waste so much effort on marketing tactics that aren’t organic SEO?
There are obviously some good answers — if you’re already making a billboard and you have space, why not add your URL? — but there are plenty of bad ones, too. For example, so-called ‘shotgun’ email marketing (i.e. emailing lists of addresses that you purchase from listholders) have a success rate in the one fiftieth of one percent range. That’s pathetic.
A single first page placement on Google for a keyword that gets a thousand hits a day — even if it’s the bottom-most spot on the page — will net you as many visitors in a week as sending out an unfocused email marketing spam to one hundred thousand email addresses. Get yourself into the top spot of the same page, and you’re looking at sending an email out to everyone in North America to get that kind of visitation rate.
The simple facts are, when you do all of the cost-benefit analysis, there’s only two systems that make real sense to use. One is pay-per-click marketing, and that only really works for businesses that have a lot of money up front. Organic SEO is the route by which the vast majority of successful websites get the vast majority of their traffic — so quit beating around the bush and get an SEO company on your side today.
First Page Placement on Google Searches — They’re Where Traffic Comes From
Organic search traffic comes from a very few places. You’re probably thinking “search engines, duh?” — but that’s the broad answer. Organic search traffic, realistically, can only be found in exactly 10 places in the world — the first 10 results on Google.com. You can get 1st place on Bing, Yahoo, AllTheWeb, Blekko, and all of the other search engines combined, and you won’t get as much traffic as you’ll get from a last-place first page placement on Google.
Why does this matter? It’s the entire purpose of website SEO. Let’s look at it a different way: from a return-on-investment perspective.
You’re a business owner, and you’ve sunk $600/month into organic SEO for the past year. You’re top-ranked for 6 keywords….on the second page of Google. For all that time and money, you get what? 6 clicks per keyword per day? You’ve got an important choice in front of you: quit wasting your money, or double down.
If you quit, you’ll have an RoI of about zero, because those six clicks per day aren’t worth jack. SEO will become a term you associate with getting raked over hot coals, and your website will languish in obscurity.
If you double down, however, you’ll probably bump up a spot — and with that one clickover, you’ll increase your traffic by a factor of ten. 60 clicks per keyword per day. More importantly, if you stay doubled down, you’ll continue to rise in the rankings. The first few nips upward, from 10th to 9th to 8th to 7th, are minor. That’s because the REAL traffic comes from the top few slots on the search results. Stick with it, however, and you’ll make it into the top 5 — and those six clicks per day will turn into six hundred.
The lesson here? There’s a lot of talk about traffic sources in all manner of internet marketing repository on the Internet — but it’s all a distraction. If you’re not getting your organic traffic from those top few spots at Google.com, you’re not getting traffic, end of story.
Organic SEO and YouTube: Are Videos the New Route to First Page Placement?
Organic SEO is actually kind of a strange idea. According to the strictest interpretations of the search engine’s philosophy, there’s no such thing. ‘Organic’, in terms of the Web, means ‘those links and connections that happen naturally because people are actually interested in the things they link to’. ‘SEO’, on the other hand, means ‘those links and connections that are deliberately created by webmasters to get their site ranked on the search engines’.
So we all have to admit to ourselves that ‘Organic SEO’ really means ‘SEO that looks Organic’. And that’s a tough thing to do, because the search engines are constantly looking for any kind of pattern that might indicate that a given page is using ‘unacceptable’ levels of SEO. That’s why we SEO companies are always on the lookout for new and creative ways to get a lot of attention out of a little bit of effort.
Enter: video marketing. YouTube is the hottest site on the Internet, with more than 80% of surfers spending at least some amount of time on the video supersite once or more every week. Video marketing is among the leading edge of SEO techniques right now because the search engines don’t see any SEO when they look at videos.
How could they? Once you post the video, everything that happens after that is perfectly natural. People like the video, they follow the link, they go to your site, and they do what comes naturally. It’s just about as genuinely organic as ‘Organic SEO’ actually gets.
That’s why videos are the newest — and easiest — route to first page placement on the search engines. It might take a bit of effort to put together a truly good video — posting a crappy one isn’t going to do you any good — but once it’s up, the effects are frequently spectacular.
Not only does the video provide a solid backlink from a very authoritative site (YouTube itself), but it drives traffic as or more effectively than a good article, and if it’s even mildly popular, it will be embedded on other video sites, in blog posts, and more. What’s not to love?
First Page Placement: It Means EVERYTHING
If you have a web based business and you don’t have a first page placement on Google for at least a few high-traffic keywords relevant to your product or service, you are losing the game. End of story. In fact, if you’re not in the top 3 listings for your keywords of choice, you’re losing.
When you look at the behavior of people on Google, a very reliable set of statistics shows up over and over again: people don’t click any further down the list than they have to. The first big split is between people who click on the Sponsored Links (25% of all searchers) and people who skip them and go to the organic results (the other 75%.)
So if you have a search term that gets 1000 hits/day, you’re losing 250 of them to pay-per-click marketers right off the bat. Of the remaining 750 hits, 50% of them click on the first link. Another 15% click on the second link, and another 10% click on the third link. That’s 75% of the remaining 750 that vanish into the top 3.
That leaves only 187 people left to continue on down the page. A few percent veer off at each stop along the way until you get to the last link on the page, which steals about 1.5% of the traffic, leaving only 2.5% of surfers who ever click onto the second page. That’s 25 of your 1000 searches per day that reach Page 2, and then the cycle starts all over again. Half of that 2.5% click on the top link on page 2, and so on.
Let me put that in a different perspective: it’s better to be 3rd place for a keyword that only gets 400 searches per day than it is to be on the top of page 2 for a keyword that gets a massive 3,200 searches per day.
Of course, it’s a hell of a lot more affordable SEO-wise to get a ranking on a less competitive search term, as well. So not only do you end up paying less, but you end up getting more traffic out of the deal as well. That’s why, even if it means targeting “less valuable” keywords, it should be first page placement or bust.
Ultimate Conversions: Targeted Email Marketing From The Outside In
Targeted Email Marketing (TEM) is NOT typically part of the services offered by a website SEO company. That’s because it’s not actually SEO — there is nothing about TEM that will get your website ranked any higher for anything anywhere.
What TEM is, however, is a way of improving the effectiveness of any SEO you’ve already done. That’s because of a simple calculation:
Traffic * Conversion Rate = Sales
What that means is that if you have 200 visitors, and you convert 3% of them, you’ve just made 6 sales. You can improve your number of sales by getting more traffic, or you can do it by improving your conversion rate. SEO is designed to get you more traffic — but at some point, you’ll make more money by improving your conversion rate than you will by adding another 4 or 5 visitors per day.
So, Targeted Email Marketing. Have you ever seen a website that offers you something for free, but asks you to put in your name and Email address in order to get it? That’s TEM in action. If you’ve ever done this, you know that the next step is to receive an Email that says “hey, is it cool that you continue to receive Email from this website?”, and you have to say “yes” in order to get the free thing.
What you’ve just done is confirm via Email that any further Emails the webmaster of that site sends you aren’t spam and you accept his right to send them to you. From his perspective, he now has a ‘hook’ in you. He can send you an Email whenever he has a new sale, a new product, or even just because he wants to impress you with how knowledgeable and competent he is in his field.
As you can imagine, it’s a killer way to turn visitors into buyers, because you can remind them of your product and your offer every week…forever! You can keep trying different angles until you find one that sticks. Every time you throw an Email out to your TEM list, you get a bunch of them back on your website for another chance at that 3% conversion rate.
That’s the kind of tool that SEO companies typically overlook because they’re focused on traffic, but if you find an SEO company that offers TEM as a service, you know you’ve got someone who is focused on improving your profits from every possible angle — a great find.
Social Bookmarking Is a Sucker’s Game — Isn’t It?
There’s been a lot of changes to the social bookmarking game in the past few years. Even as far back as Google’s addition of the nofollow tag, social bookmarking pages have been declared ‘dead’ over and over again by various SEO gurus. Yet somehow, it keeps coming back like a zombie in a B-grade horror movie. The fact is that social bookmarking might not be the utterly amazing backlink that it was when Digg and del.ici.ous first invented the term, but they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
The reasons why are several, but the big ones are very big.
A social bookmark gives you control over two things that are very important: the context around your link (what many organic SEO experts like to call “Latent Semantic Indexing” or “LSI”), and the actual anchor text of the link itself. Every time you get a link to your site, Google looks at the anchor text and the LSI to determine how relevant the linking page is to your website, and modified the link’s strength based on the relevance. That makes controllable links much stronger than uncontrollable ones.
There’s nothing like investing a few thousand dollars in a massive and complex link building campaign and then discovering six months later than half of the sites you linked from have either disappeared or at least eliminated your links. That’s a lot of money and time down the drain. Mercifully, social bookmarking sites don’t do that. They are persistent, which means every well-controlled link you build on a social bookmarking site is here to stay.
Yes, I said Panda. Panda is the latest Google toy, and it’s designed to make sites more ‘user-friendly’. One of the things that the Goog decided when they built Panda was that social bookmarking buttons are totally cool to have featured prominently on a website (as opposed to, say, AdWords blocks or banner ads.) That means that, as the Web adapts to the latest twist Google has for us, social bookmarking is only going to get more and more used, which means social bookmarks will get more authority. What more do you need to know?
Who Else Should Be Looking Into Custom Blog Creation?
Custom blog creation is the name of a service that SEO companies have been selling to small businesses for years. It’s a very dependable way to improve a website’s rankings for particular keywords, which is exactly why it’s used — but it’s also relatively easy and inexpensive, which is why it’s marketed as a regular component of small business SEO.
A customized blog allows you to have content pages (which attract surfers) that then link back to your main site with controllable context and controllable anchor text. That, in turn, makes the site more likely to rank for the keywords that you use as anchor text. Thus, blogs serve as both an SEO tool and as part of your sales funnel — exactly the kind of multipurpose power that small businesses need in their tools. But there are other entities who should be looking into custom blog creation as well.
If you’re a freelancer looking to make a name for yourself, one of the biggest steps you can take on the road to stable success is to build yourself a website. People who want to learn about you — to decide whether to hire you — are going to Google you; that’s just a fact of life. You can let them find your Facebook page with your drunken college pictures, or you can present them a professional face.
Having a blog attached to that professional face is a great way to show your potential employers that you know your game. Write about what you do, about your challenges and your victories, and about the details of whatever skill you apply on a regular basis. As before, not only do you get to show off, but you can optimize your website for killer keywords at the same time.
It’s one thing to be in business, but the public sector is another area entirely. One thing that both groups seem to consistently need, however, is more attention. If you happen to be a hospital director, a college principal, or the head of any other public institution, you might not be aware of just how easy it is to focus the right eyes on your Web presence: all you need is a blog. Everything said above applies just as well to an .edu or an .org than it does to a .com — don’t hesitate!
When and Why To Put All You’ve Got into Article Writing and Submission
There is ample evidence for anyone out there looking that article writing and submission is a killer SEO tactic. The reasons are pretty simple: content is king, control is key, and article directories are heavyweights.
Content is King
Google loves content. If you write an article that talks intelligently about facts that aren’t already discussed to death elsewhere on the Internet, Google will love you. You’ll rank well for quite a few keywords, and people will see your words. Put a decent call to action at the bottom with a link to your site, and you’re likely to get quite a few clickthroughs.
Control is Key
When you create a backlink to your site, Google uses it to decide what your site is about. Having a backlink to a site about golf from a site about pit bulls confuses Google. When you write an article, you control the context of your backlink perfectly, giving Google a strong signal about what your site is about. Strong signals mean better ranking.
Article Directories are Heavyweights
Article directories are classic examples of what Google called “authority sites” — their pages are considered pretty trustworthy. What that means is that every link you get from a respected article directory gives your site a lot of ‘juice’.
So the question is When and Why to put your effort into writing articles (as opposed to building backlinks by doing some other form of website SEO)? The answer isn’t what you might think. The thing about article writing and distribution is that it takes a lot of time and effort per article. Articles should be high on your priority list if and when your ‘SEO basics’ are already taken care of. Before you get heavy into articles, make sure you’ve got a natural link profile consisting of:
- Social bookmarks
- Forum posts
- Blog posts
- Blog comments
- Web 2.0 properties
- Directory entries
- RSS aggregations
- Link exchanges
- and Videos
Once your backlink structure has the low-effort, high-rankings-impact backlinks above built, then and only then should you invest significant money into getting articles written and submitted Getting there might take a month or three, but the effect of good articles backed up by a solid link profile is pure gold.
First Page Placement Doesn’t Mean Automatic Success
There’s a lot of emphasis put on first page placement by SEO companies. Like many industries, they have a strong motivation to sell you on the idea that they can solve all of your problems. In the Web Wide World, “all your problems” seem to spring from a single source: not enough traffic.
So long as X% of visitors convert into sales, then more traffic equals more money. It seems pretty simple. If only it really were. But it’s easily possible — in the case of someone unfamiliar with the basics of marketing, even downright probable — that you can get a site listed on the first page of a decent keyword and get nothing for it.
There are a few ways that can happen. The first is if you go the ‘sponsored placement’ route. That is, pay-per-click (or PPC) marketing. With PPC, every time a surfer clicks on your advertisement, you pay a few cents. They end up on your page. But if they don’t buy anything from your page, you lose those few cents. Over hundreds of clicks per day, that can add up pretty fast.
That’s why, if you’re going to go the PPC route, it makes sense to hire a PPC management team that knows their stuff. They can keep costs down and traffic high at the same time — something that’s virtually impossible for a webmaster working alone.
Another way that you can waste a valuable first page placement is by having a page that simply doesn’t convert well. If you manage to do enough organic SEO to get real regular search traffic to your site on a regular basis (virtually the only functional alternative to PPC), you still need them to buy stuff.
There are a lot of ways to encourage them to convert. Learning sales language and call-to-action prompts are good. Belcher buttons (look up) are virtually mandatory. Using a gimmick like a web presenter or a focus video can work well in the right fields. Regardless of how you do it, you have to pay attention to conversions as well as traffic. Only then will your first page placement really mean what the marketers want you to believe it will.
Go Local! Internet Marketing for Brick and Mortar Businesses
Local internet marketing isn’t a new phenomenon if you’re familiar with online marketing in general — but if you’re a brick and mortar business just starting to build your online presence, you might be curious what the hoopla is about. There’s a lot of people out there talking in a lot of very excited voices about online marketing; this is the straight scoop.
“Reach audiences worldwide! Have an online storefront open 24/7/265!”
You’ll hear this one a lot. The truth couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, a website could potentially get hits from Pak Gwak Kai or Orniok, but the fact is that Google knows where you live. Google isn’t going to show your trading-card store to someone searching for rookie Chesbro if that person is searching from Latvia. They’re going to show that guy a store in Latvia. Google isn’t dumb.
On the other hand, if you deliberately include your location in all of your marketing strategies — what we call local internet marketing — you’ll end up showing up high on the results pages whenever anyone searches for “trading cards in Los Angeles”. SEO gets a lot easier when you keep it local.
“All you need to make money is a website and some traffic! It just runs itself!”
Yeah. That’s kind of like saying all you need to run the United States is an Oval Office and the title of President. It’s easy to say, but actually getting those things isn’t terribly easy. I mean, putting up a website is pretty easy, but then you also have to have a website that people will buy stuff from. That’s harder.
Also, getting traffic to come to that site isn’t all that easy, either. The best way to go about it is to get your site ranked on various relevant Google searches, but that means paying for someone to optimize your site for those keywords. Because local keywords are much lower competition than broad keywords, they’re much quicker and much cheaper to rank for — making local internet marketing a much smarter option.
What It Mean to Be Affordable? SEO and Cashflow Economics
Let’s just get one thing clear: the economy ain’t recovering. It’s not a matter of time, it doesn’t matter who’s in office — the economy isn’t going to recover for decades. That means that every single entrepreneur who tries to get started online is looking for the same thing: affordable SEO.
But what is affordable SEO? Affordable means a lot of things to a lot of different people. If you’ve got a J.O.B., affordable means it’s within your monthly budget. If you’re rich, affordable means it’s purchasable. If you’re an entrepreneur, however, affordable means it fits within your cashflow.
That’s because an entrepreneur has to deal with invoices — both incoming and outgoing –that are much less reliable than a paycheck. Sometimes, all of an entrepreneur’s money comes in at once; sometimes, it trickles in bit by bit every day. The question for an entrepreneur isn’t whether something is affordable overall; it’s whether the payment can be spread over a long enough time that there’s never a cashflow issue generated when the payment comes due.
In that way, most forms of organic SEO are still affordable to most entrepreneurs. Sure, there are always SEO companies who want you to pay three large on the first of every month to get their ultra-platinum superservice, but they’re dying if not dead. Real SEO companies have options.
Of course, you still need to have a bit of an idea what your cashflow needs will be — but the beauty of SEO is that it’s cumulative. From a cashflow perspective, that means you can get a little bit done when you have a little money, or if you catch a lucky break, you can buy a better service for a month or two. SEO isn’t a startup cost, that must be paid all at once — it’s not even like a bill that has to be paid every month.
What SEO is is a marketing expense — and any business guru will tell you what when money is tight, the best place to put your money is in advertising. How else are you supposed to start bringing money in? Especially online, SEO is the key to traffic which is the key to sales.
In the end, then, SEO is affordable when it doesn’t ruin your cashflow, and that’s the only consideration, because every ‘unit’ of SEO you purchase promises future income. The ‘right’ move, then, is to buy what you can afford when you can afford it, consistently.
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