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Bloggers: It’s Okay To Skip The Marketing And SEO

Every post you write does not have to be perfectly optimized for search engine optimization (SEO).

Every post you write doesn't need to have a marketing goal behind it.

It doesn't have to be published or shared at a “perfect time.”

Sometimes people just want to know what's going on with you. They want to know what the latest going-on in your world is.

When I started blogging in 2005 I wrote about what I was up to. I shared code examples and updates about the apps I was working on. I talked about my business.

At the time I didn't know what SEO was, but it didn't matter. You fed your RSS feed into a blog aggregator and people connected with you. It was greatly topical back then and niche aggregators like DZone and RubyFlow dominated for programmers.

It was the time of Digg. [Read more…]

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In Defense Of Search Engine Optimization

I swear, if I read another post where someone is bashing search engine optimization I am going to literally freak out. I am sick and tired of hearing about how this PR person or that social media consultant or that marketing consultant over there thinks search engine optimization is full of a bunch of shady people using shady tactics to rank sites.

In every industry there are bad apples.

Thanks to the Internet there are even more of them. And thanks to the Internet we can very publicly call shenanigans and help these shady people to be buried under their own garbage. But not every SEO person on the planet is selling snake oil. Yet company after company falls for the false promises of high rankings for little cash. If it was really that easy to get high rankings wouldn't everyone be doing it? Yes they would, because the higher up you are for the keywords that your customers use the more leads and sales you will get.

I submit to you exhibit A – the click distribution for search engine results. This backs up what I just said about getting more clicks the higher up in the results your page is. This also assumes that you are ranking for a word that's actually relevant to your business, products, services and/or industry. Tricksy.

Click distribution for search engine results

Click distribution for search engine results

So before I take my Thor war hammer to a few folks let's dispel some SEO myths. If anyone tells you one of these hang up the phone or delete their emails. Strap yourself in, it's about to get seriously fun.

3 SEO Myths BUSTED!

Opening up the black boxMyth #1: Guaranteed Front-Page Rankings

Um, no. There are no guarantees of rankings. There are many factors that go into how Google ranks your website, and the only people that know for sure are the people working at Google. And they won't tell. Nobody can guarantee you rankings as there are so many factors that Google uses to determine your rank, and they're changing the weight of each all the time.

We do know a few things though, and I cover that below. But let's continue this fun and look at the next myth.

Myth #2: Blog Comments Are Great For Building Links

I heard this one early on. And while blog comments are great for connecting with people and getting more exposure to a blog owner and his or her audience, if we're honest these are not high-value links. In fact, not all links are do-follow, meaning you get no “SEO juice” for them.

And while we're on this topic, I wrote an article on how you can tell if your SEO company is worth the money. In that article I show an example of a comment spinning service that will essentially spam comment blogs in order to get links for your site.

I don't condone this tactic and we don't use it here.

Do you really want your company, your brand, your reputation besmirched by a metric ton of crap comments spread all over the Internet?

If you're fine with that good luck to you. For everyone else, leave that stuff alone.

Myth #3: Article Marketing Is A Great Way To Build Links

This myth comes straight from Internet Marketing land. Article marketing started as a way to show publishers that you knew your stuff and could write about it. If they found it worthy of their sites, they would publish it and you'd get credit as the author. Then someone came along and bastardized it. Suddenly it became a way of building links to your site.

From that spawned article spinning software that took one article and turned it into many “unique” articles. Those articles were then spread to countless article directories, and the theory goes that Google then indexes the pages, sees the link on  your keyword heading back to your site and give you credit for it.

Not so much. Google took very unkindly to this tactic and in the Panda updates gave most of these sites a polar bear sized beatdown.

Suddenly these links weren't only worthless but sites dropped hundreds of places in the results. Too bad so sad. Franky I wouldn't waste your time on this as it's a huge amount of effort for little payoff.

What Actually Works In SEO

SEO - Search Engine Optimization is workingWhile SEO practitioners don't know exactly how Google does their maths we do have some indications of the at least 200+ factors they use. Here are a few:

  • On-Page Factors: strategic use of a single keyword or keyword phrase in the title, description, keywords (debatable) and content
  • The quality and quantity of inbound links to the page
  • Coming soon: social signals such as tweets of the page

I share a very effective method we use to help give our clients a huge boost in an seo case study which you can download for free.

How can you get high-quality links to your site? A few methods that actually work are:

  • Guest posting on other people's sites
  • Creating content for your audience that is highly share-worthy and link-worthy

Don't go the JC Penny route and buy the links on other people's sites. That didn't work out too well for them, and it definitely won't work out well for you either. And if you call Google on the phone I doubt they'll answer. I tried to buy something from them once and they wouldn't even take the call.

What Makes Content Share-Worthy And Link-Worthy?

Your guess is as good as mine here. Seriously. What makes your readers want to share something? Write a metric ton of posts and see which ones get the clicks and shares.

My post “Google Proves Not Being On Social Media Will Kill Your SEO” has received more than 1433 page views, 181 tweets, 13 +1's, 60 LinkedIn Shares, 98 Stumbles and 24 comments. And as much as my ego would love for me to tell you that I knew the post would be that popular (and the most popular post here yet) I really had no idea. I read a lot, spotted a trend, checked that against what is happening on my niche sites and for our clients and wrote about it. I then followed it up with a plugin to help you all.

Though many won't want to hear it the formula is this – write a lot, see what people respond to, and test. And then do it again and again and again.

A Special Note To The Shady SEO People And The Companies Using Them

Your days are very limited. Google and the other search engines are clamping down on your short-sighted practices. The screws will be tightened more until you are squeezed out. Consumers are becoming more savvy. The information is out there – all they have to do is look. And looking they are in ever growing numbers.

Burn down your own house but keep the happy flames from those of us actually providing value to our customers and clients.

A Very Special Note For You

Build a community around your business of customers and fans. Help first and sell second. Capture the language of your audience, echo that back in your posts, find out what content your readers truly value, and make it easy to share. Combine that with continuous testing and you will rank higher in the search engines. It won't happen overnight but it will happen.

Skip the shady tactics that only work in the short run. Don't compromise the reputation of your business in a foolish attempt to get guaranteed front-page rankings. Think smarter, work smarter. The rewards do come.

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Google Proves Not Being On Social Media Will Kill Your SEO

Search engine optimization and social media are becoming ever more intertwined as the days and weeks go by (we move fast on the Internet folks). With the introduction of Google+ this is no longer theory it is fact. And if your business does not participate in social media it will kill your search engine optimization efforts.

Click on the screenshot below to open it in a new window. We're going to be talking about this and it will be easier to reference.

Click on the image so we can talk about it

Click on the image so we can talk about it

Let's get to it!

The Semantic Web Has Risen

There is no easy way for me to explain what the semantic web is so I'll let Wikipedia do it for me:

The Semantic Web is a “web of data” that facilitates machines to understand the semantics, or meaning, of information on the World Wide Web. It extends the network of hyperlinked human-readable web pages by inserting machine-readable metadata about pages and how they are related to each other, enabling automated agents to access the Web more intelligently and perform tasks on behalf of users.

What this means is that web pages are associated with specific people and software like search engines and web browsers can see that association. This stuff has been in progress for many years, but we're at the point now where it's starting to come into play.

Recently Google has added support in their search engine for two HTML tags: rel=”author” and rel=”me”. You use these tags like this:

  • Use rel=”author” on a link when you want to tell Google that you are the author of the page you are linking to. An example is linking your blog post author line to your about page.
  • Use rel=”me” on a link that points to another profile, for instance a Twitter or Google+ page, or a guest post that you've written. This tells Google that you associated with that profile or content

I linked to a YouTube video on my Google+ profile where Othar Hansson (of Google) says explicitly that the big G wants to use this as a ranking signal. And this bring us to the image open in another window.

The Effect of Social On Search

The screenshot is of a test I ran in the Rich Snippets Testing Tool provided by Google to test if your semantic markup is working. We're halfway there with this blog. What I've done so far is:

  • Tell Google that I am the author of this blog
  • Tell Google which page contains my profile information
  • Linked to my other social profiles, including my Google+ profile, using the rel=”me” link tag
  • Linked back to my blog on my Google+ profile

I ran a recent post through the tool as a test took the screenshot. There are 3 major parts I've pointed to. All are extremely important. Let's look at each.

Part 1: The Search Result

Semantic search result

The top part of the screenshot shows an example search result. There are a number of noteworthy parts:

  1. The standard SEO information is there – title, url and description
  2. It indicates me as the author and puts my picture beside the result
  3. It shows the picture of the last person to comment on the blog post – my friend Adam Teece

So we can see deeper connections between what's happening on the blog post and the result that Google displays. It gets even more interesting from there. The next two parts of the screenshot show additional information that Google has about the people involved with this page.

Part 2: Google Knows About The Author

What Google knows about the author of the page

Here is where more of the semantic markup stuff we talked about comes in. Because of the updates I've made to the blog, to my profile on the blog, and the link to my Google+ profile, Google can see my:

  • Name
  • Author profile
  • Google profile

The tool also tells me that the authorship information is correctly formatted. Now Google knows for sure that it is I that am the author of this post and can connect me with the appropriate profiles.

Oh but wait, that's not all!

Part 3: What Google Knows About The Commenters

What Google knows about my blog commenters

Looking at Adams comment on my post about knowing if your SEO company is worth the money, you see:

  • His name
  • A link to his site
  • His gravatar image

Google sees that too, and can also split his name into first name and last name. But what's really interesting is how it uses that information in the search result – it put Adam's picture right beside it! And based on his Google+ profile it looks like it chose to display his gravatar profile picture rather than his Google+ profile picture.

I wonder if Adam had his blog linked to his Google+ profile if Google would display that image instead…

Implications For Your Business

The semantic markup that Google is now supporting has been around for many years. Now a growing number of companies are beginning to implement it on their sites to show who the original author of the content is.

Don't forget that Google said they are going to use this as a ranking indicator too. This means that those annoying people that steal your content won't get credit for your work and you'll rank higher than they do. You win, they lose (as they should).

With social media being tightly connected with search – your social media profiles ranking highly, your image and commenters images being placed beside search results, Google connecting all the profiles together to determine authority – it's imperative that you participate in social media, and become an authority in your niche. Your standings in the search engines will be up for grabs very soon. Wouldn't you like to rank above your competition?

My advice: start implementing this on your blog today.

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How To Know If Your SEO Company Is Worth The Money

Measure Your SEOIt seems that every time I turn around I see a blog post about some shady search engine optimization (SEO) tactic being used by a company. In fact a marketing program I just signed up for suggested the use of a service that creates backlinks to your site by commenting on blogs and using your main keywords in the name field. Backlinks help your pages get ranked higher in the search engines and you'd think that having hundreds of comments pointing to your page would help with that. And you'd be right to a certain extent.

This service allows to to create different versions of comments that they will automatically create on many blogs. If you've been moderating your comment spam you might notice a few of these showing up:

Comment Spintax 1

Comment Spintax Example 1

Comment Spintax 2

Comment Spintax 2

Comment Spintax 3

Comment Spintax 3

So with the plethora of low-quality tactics and shady SEO companies eagerly vying for your dollars, how do you know who to trust and how can you verify that what they are doing really works?

Keep Your SEO Company Honest

I add Dempsey Marketing to this list too, and I fully expect and welcome all of our SEO clients to verify the results we provide in our weekly SEO update reports. So here's how to do that.

There's an excellent WordPress plugin called Rank Tracker that will send you reports by email showing what pages on your site people are finding in the search engines, what keywords they are using to get there, and where you rank in the search engines for those keywords.

I can't even tell you how awesome this is.

For $27 you can download and install Rank Tracker and within 24 hours start getting email reports. Here's an example of one I got a few hours after installing the plugin:

Rank Tracker WordPress Plugin Example

Rank Tracker WordPress Plugin Example

A Compliment To HitSniffer

I told you a bit ago that HitSniffer added a similar functionality to their site where you can see in real time the keywords people are using to get to your site and where you rank. I don't see this as a replacement but rather a compliment to that functionality.

The more data you have the better you can optimize your site. The better optimized your site the more visitors you have. And the more visitors you have the more leads you can capture and then convert.

Can You Do This For Free?

There is but it's going to take a heck of a lot of time. So you could:

  1. Log into your cpanel
  2. Then your awstats
  3. Then copy and paste the keyword list into notepad
  4. Then go through and delete all the extra numbers that are in the data (this always drove me nuts)
  5. Then copy that list into a tool if you can find one that works with the way Google keep changing their layouts
  6. Then wait…

But why? $27 for the Rank Tracker plugin is pennies on the dollar for the value that you get. Imagine being able to know exactly where each of your website pages rank, improving them, and then bringing more of your customers to your site. And how much work does it take? Less than 15 minutes each day.

Other Ways To Use The Plugin

One of the things we stress to our clients is the use of long-tail keywords for blog posts. Long-tail keywords are phrases 3 or more words in length. A major keyword would be “shoes” while long-tail keywords would be:

  • red tennis shoes
  • athletic shoes for running
  • long distance hiking shoes

You can tell I'm not a shoe afficionado but you get the point. And this where the rank tracker plugin comes into play. Based on the keywords you know are working you can start writing blog post using variations.

That's a lot of value for $27.

Click here to purchase the Rank Tracker plugin and start measuring your SEO efforts and company today.

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Make Sure You’re Using These 7 SEO Plugins For WordPress

SEO Magnet Yellow

WordPress is great for publishing content, but when it comes to ranking high in the search engines, be sure you have these 7 SEO plugins installed. Let's take a look at each.

The Magnificent 7 (SEO Plugins For WordPress)

WordPress SEO by Yoast

Out of all 7 plugins listed here, this is the one SEO plugin that you really need to go install right after you finish reading this post. This plugin does everything, including showing you a preview of what your blog post will look like on Google like so:

5 Steps To Grow Your Blog - Listing Preview

This is just too good to pass up!

Not only can you configure many SEO aspects of your site including titles, indexation (if a page should be indexed, or not) and your sitemap, when it comes to each blog post it will:

  • Suggest keywords for you to use
  • Show you if you're getting your focus keyword in all the right places
  • Analyze your page and suggest things you can do to make it even better for the search engines

In short it's awesome and the best free SEO plugin out there.

Now blog posts and pages are great, and all that stuff the WordPress SEO plugin helps with is great, but it's not the entire story. Do you feel the need for speed? You should. And that brings us to #2 on our list.

W3 Total Cache

Relevancy is important to Google, but so is speed. The w3 Total Cache plugin gives us that. Here's how it's described on the plugin page:

W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.

In plain English not only does it make your site fast, it makes it fast for people all over the world. The Internet is global, people that visit your site could be anywhere, and they all want your content fast.

I won't bore you with the 8 levels of caching it can help with, but rest assured there's one for everybody.

W3 Total Cache Options

And speaking of speed, and lovely pictures and charty goodness, all those pixels can slow down our site too! #3 on our list of SEO plugins will help with that.

cSprites for WordPress

If you use pictures in your posts install the cSprites plugin. Pages can be weighed down with all the awesome images of you chatting it up with clients, speaking at events, getting drunk… I mean being lively at networking events. We know the search engines like speed so we can give em even more.

All geek speak aside what this plugin does is take all of your images and kind of squish them together into a single file called a sprite. And this sprite has some additional SEO benefit:

cSprites now has some nice SEO behavior, you can let it automatically generate ALT and TITLE tags based on things like Post title, categories, image name, etc.

Now that's a sprite you don't have to run away from! 😛

Speaking of changing direction, if you move a page to a new URL you're going to lose all of your SEO juice. To prevent that from happening, you need #4 on the list.

Redirection

But this plugin does more than save your cookies when the SEO juice starts flying. You can also create cute little URLs and redirect them as well. And quite easily too:

Redirection plugin screenshot

Those first four directly help with SEO. The next three help indirectly, but are no less important. First up, we bring in the big G.

Google Analyticator

There's really not much to say about this one. Google Analytics is one of the best free web analytics tools out there. It's so big there's even a certification for it. It's what I like to call the Adobe Photoshop of web analytics.

With the Google Analyticator plugin you can easily tie your blog to your Google Analytics account, and then see your latest stats inside your WordPress dashboard.

Google Analytics on the WordPress Dashboard

Tasty stats right when you log in to WordPress

Now there's something else you need be aware of as you're publishing blog posts left and right, and that's… ping spam. Avoid it with the next plugin in the list.

MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer

With WordPress, each time you publish a post it automatically pings a number of services, including the search engines, to let them know you have something new and tasty for them. Only problem is that out of the box WordPress will ping whenever you update or edit a post (or page) too. So if you update a post say 10 times then it'll ping all the services 10 times.

This is ping spam, and something you don't want.

But don't fret! This free plugin will stop your WordPress blog from ping spamming.

MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer

And speaking of all those blog post you’re publishing, how do you know how far they’re really going into social media and elsewhere on the Internet? Our next plugin will tell you exactly that.

PostRank

PostRank is pure awesome. In a single plugin and service you can see all of the “engagement events” happening around your blog posts. What are engagement events? A few are:

  • RSS views
  • Clicks
  • Comments
  • Tweets
  • Delicious bookmarks
  • Many more

The more engagement events your post gets the higher it's score. The higher scoring a post the better you know what your blog community likes and the more of that type of content you can create.

Easy peasy.

As I recently changed my domain name most of my stats seemingly disappeared. That's no fun, but luckily inside of WordPress we can see some numbers on each post:

PostRank Stats in WordPress

More stats? Yes please!

What does this have to do with SEO? Everything. We've discussed how social signals are an increasingly important part of search engines, and PostRank shows us many of them on a per-post basis. Pure awesome.

That concludes the list of must-have SEO plugins for WordPress. So there's only one thing left to do – install them all! Here's how…

Getting These Plugins Installed

Installing plugins is easy peasy. Once you're logged into WordPress do this:

  1. Click “Add New” under the “Plugins” menu item on the left hand side. This will take you to a page with a search box.
  2. On the search page, type in the name of the plugin and click “Search Plugins”
  3. On the results page, click the “Install Now” link underneath the name of the plugin.

WordPress will automatically download, install, and activate the plugin. After that you're pretty much done.

For the MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer though, you need to visit their site and download the plugin.

A few of the plugins above can be configured even more, but out of the box they're ready to help you rank higher in the search engines.

Any Plugins You'd Recommend?

What are your top SEO plugins for WordPress? Anything not on this list?

I know this is geeky but I'm sure someone reading this is at least a little geeky, or a geek has installed a few for you. What you got?!

See you in the comments below…

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Free eBook: Keywords That Convert And How To Find Them

Using the right keywords for search engine optimization means the difference between wasting time & money and attracting your ideal customer. But many companies believe that pure numbers on keywords are enough to bring in the business.

That idea is entirely incorrect.

Download the latest SEO guide: Keywords That Convert And How To Find Them and discover a method of using keywords that directly impact the bottom line of your business.

Download the guide: Keywords That Convert And How To Find Them

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Let’s End The Debate On Triberr Right Now – You Want To Use It

Triberr logo

Oh yes, you want some of this

There's been a lot of debate on whether or not to use Triberr to help increase your reach on Twitter. No more debate – you do. Here's why.

Search Engines Will Like You

More and more Google and the other search engines are using “social signals” to help show the relevance of a certain piece of content. The Google +1 button is evidence that Google is looking for additional information to help them determine relevance. After all, there are limitations to algorithms, and is a computer really the best one to tell you what is relevant? But then again, is the crowd always full of wisdom?

Who says that both you and I will find the same piece of content relevant in terms of a search phrase? It's a non-trivial problem. Google so far is the best at it, and Bing is pretty good too.

Either way, all the search engines are looking for more signals that something is relevant. Social, while currently a small part, is becoming an increasing part of that.

So Why Then Do You Want To Use Triberr?

One of the strategies I employ with social media is going wide and deep. The reasons for that are in another post, but it comes down to this: getting your content in front of more people increases the likelihood that it will get in front of more of your ideal customers.

That's where Triberr comes in.

Now, if you're inviting people out of the blue into your tribes, shame on you. Dino's posted on a number of Triberr strategies, but what I find is working for me is this:

  1. Seek out people similar to yourself. Some might call these your competition. If you take that view I have a link to a post below for you.
  2. Read a number of their blog posts, see their level of interaction on Twitter.
  3. If the person is a fit, invite them into your tribe.
  4. Sit back and bask as your content is shared with more and more people

Did I mention too that your tweet count automatically goes up as well for every post that goes out via Triberr? That ties into the “social signals” we discussed above.

And Thus I End My Argument, Well Almost

When Twitter hit the mainstream many years ago, I remember being asked if I was upset that everyone was hopping on Twitter. After all, we early adopters were geeks. We were forming relationships, sharing links and sharing ourselves. Who are all these interlopers who have no idea what they are doing?!

But no, I wasn't upset. Because what opened up with the huge influx of people was an enormous opportunity. How else can you connect with so many people so quickly? It's a dream come true for every business owners.

But it changed as all things do.

When I started blogging in 2007, the blogosphere was mainly people sharing stories about themselves. Now it's a cornerstone of every online marketing strategy.

It's not that the purity has been lost in blogging or Twitter, it's just a different ballgame now.

Are You Playing On The Right Field?

Ever have a dream where you showed up one place only to find out you were in the wrong place, and then no matter how hard you tried you couldn't get to where you were supposed to be? It's like that.

Interesting thing about Twitter is that it's both a broadcast medium and a 1-on-1 medium too, at the same time. Never break the rule of 1-on-1, but never forget the broadcast part either.

Cast a wide net, but make sure your net is made to catch the right fish.

Triberr is that net.

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SEO Competition – 3 Facts You Need To Know

Fighting Robots

Let The Battle Of The Websites Begin!

In the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) case study I released last week you were introduced to the method I used to get a website to #3 on Google – the Bullseye SEO Method. This method is composed of 3 steps:

  1. Audience-focused keyword research
  2. A pay-per-click (PPC) campaign to validate the keywords found in the research
  3. Bullseye search engine optimization: a combination of content strategy and link building

This method is proven to work as shown in the case study. And while that's great, you could easily be lulled into a sense of thinking this won't work for you. It can, but it depends on a large factor – competition.

Fact #1: Getting A Website Higher Up In Search Results Takes Time

In the case study it took me 3 months to get my #1 keyword to the #3 position on Google. That's after publishing blog posts 3 times per week for months and building a link wheel. It also took testing – putting an opt-in form on the front page, making the blog the front page, and more.

Fact #2: The Number Of Results Google Shows Doesn't Matter

For my #1 keyword there are 1,500,000 results returned.

Google Search 2011-06-15_11-39-22

Google Search 2011-06-15_11-39-22

But guess what – it doesn't matter. I'm not competing with all of those sites. I don't have to be better than all of those sites. I just need to be better than the 10 websites on the front page. Anything past page 3 is irrelevant anyhow as research has shown practically no one goes past page 3 of search results – just us research geeks.

And one other thing – with search engine optimization competition isn't simply a single factor..

Fact #3: SEO Competition Has More Than 10 Factors

In the SEO Competition module of Market Samurai – one of the tools I use for competitive research, there are 14 factors that make up SEO competition. And that just begins to scratch the surface.

Each of these 14 factors is applied to each website on the first page of Google to produce the competition chart below.

This actually reminds me of a story…

A Short Story About A Lady

The other day I was on a phone call with a prospect. Before the call some research was done to find a few potential keywords for her business. As we got on the call I pulled up the search results for these keywords so I had them in front of me.

At one point in the conversation I asked the lady who her competition was. She named a few companies. When I looked at the Google results I only saw one of the businesses she mentioned. It was at that point that I told her when it comes to search marketing, despite who you may think your competition is, whoever is on the front page of Google – those are your competitors.

Now back to the…

SEO Competition Charts

When you hire me to help you get more business online and receive your keyword research report, each of your major 4-6 keywords has competition information associated with it.

Here's the SEO competition chart for the #1 keyword from my SEO case study:

SEO Competition 2011-06-15_11-31-46

The more green you see the less "competition" you actually have

The more green we see the better – the “easier” it will take to rank a website, or specifically a web page, for that keyword.

Now take a look at this competition chart for the most broad keyword in the niche my website is in:

Big Keyword 2011-06-15_12-00-45

If I was a bull I'd charge this chart

Look at all that red. If we want to beat any of those sites it's going to take a lot of two things:

  1. Time
  2. Money

But it's not impossible. There's some green in the right places on that chart.

One thing to keep in mind here too is that some of these factors count more than others. So our job is finding the right formula to beat the competition.

And There's More, Much More

No one except Google knows the formula for getting a website to show up higher in the search results. Sure they'll give hints, but at the end of the day it comes down to many factors. If you take only one you're missing the big picture. With SEO competition we have to look at the forest and then start looking at the trees.

If someone tells you anything different run, don't walk away.

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SEO Case Study: This Is What Page 1 Of Google Gets Ya

Within 3 months of launching a new website I ranked #3 on Google for my #1 keyword. By doing so, I saved myself $3,000 a month by shutting down a pay per click campaign. The other stats are pretty tasty too.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) always seems to be one of those magic things where you hear a lot – good and bad – but you never really know what works.

In this SEO case study you'll see how I got this particular website to rank #3 on Google, and the benefits of doing so.

Case Study: Front Page Of Google

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How Relevant Are You, Really?

Connecting The PiecesFor many, search engine optimization (SEO) is alchemy. And to some extent it is. We are trying to figure out the winning formula to show up on the first page of Google, so that we can get more visitors, more leads, and more sales.

There are two parts to SEO – on-page factors and off-page factors. On-page factors include things like:

  • Use of your keyword(s) in the url, meta-data (title, description, keywords), and the header tags
  • How fast your page loads
  • Navigation of the site
  • Internal links – namely they have to work
  • External links – as with internal links they have to work too
  • More fun stuff…

But more important than what you have on your own site is what happens outside of your site, the off-page factors. And this gets to the heart of the question – how relevant are you, really?

What Is Google's Purpose?

It isn’t to help you show up ahead of your competition. Google’s purpose is to get the searcher to where they want to go as fast as they can. If Google can do that, the searcher will like Google and come back again, and again. And what do they see each time they visit? Ads.

If you trust Google to deliver you relevant search results, and you know that their brainiacs can deliver the same value via their ads, aren’t you more likely to click on them?

The answer to that is yes – and many do. It’s made the big G billions of dollars.

So what does it come down to? Relevancy. So how does Google determine if a web page or a site is relevant for a given word or phrase? That’s where off-site factors come into play.

Let’s take a short trip down the rabbit hole.

In the beginning of the Internet as we know it today, links were the currency. He with the most links won the higher spots on the front page of Google, Yahoo!, and others. Today links count for a lot, however the math is more complex. Links have been joined with:

  • The relevancy of the site linking to yours (measured by the number and quality of the links pointing to it)
  • The number of times a piece of content is shared
  • How long someone stays on your site after finding you in the search results and clicking on your site
  • Etc.

But guess what? None of this matters if you are heading down the wrong road.

Do You Speak The Language Of Your Customer?

With knowledge and understanding comes expertise, and with expertise comes new language and bias. Many times, language and bias separate us from our customers. This is not a value statement – it’s simply how it is. The words and phrases we use to describe our products and services may no longer be the same our customers use. And that is what I mean by heading down the wrong road.

If we optimize our sites to show up for one keyword, and our customers use another, we’ve gone down the wrong road. We have missed the relevancy train. So to ensure we are relevant, we need to have the language of our customer.

How do you get it?

If you’re part of a larger organization ask the best sales person you have on staff. Sit him or her down and record their sales pitch.

If you are a one-man-band like me, use social media to meet new people and then get them on a phone call as soon as you can. Listen to the words they use and ensure they understand yours. If they ask you to clarify you’ve identified a knowledge gap on their part. Take notes, and then use that in your sales copy and search engine optimization efforts.

What Do You Think?

Have you found a vocabulary gap when speaking with your newest customers? How do you ensure you have the language of your customer?

Let's talk about it in the comments below.

I’ll see you there.