Are you familiar with the term “long tail” in relation to SEO and website optimization? If not, here’s the lowdown.
Think of a many-headed hydra. In Greek legend, the hydra was a monster with nine heads. Those heads were quite dangerous. If one got you, it hurt. And of course, if you cut one off, then another one grew to replace it. The Greek hero Hercules had to fight a hydra one time – you know, mythologically speaking.
Many search engine optimizers approach SEO like they are fighting a hydra. They focus on the head. But if you focus on the head, even if you defeat one (that is, manage to take over its search engine ranking), there are two more ready to sprout up in place and challenge you to work harder. This type of SEO is very difficult to beat. You can go after the most popular search phrases and risk fighting more and more powerful and dangerous heads (competitors) or wise up and go for the long tail instead.
The long tail in SEO are the less popular phrases that can be just as powerful yet easier to defeat. That hydra had a tail. It was long. And it could sweep around and knock you off your feet. But if you managed to cut it off, nothing grew in its place.
Long tail keywords are like that hydra tail. They’re easier to defeat even as powerful as they are. Knock your competition off the pedestal and there aren’t as many competitors there to try and replace them. It’s easier to win.
You cannot manage a website without traffic. It is the lifeblood of any online business. So how do you drive traffic to your website? How do you ensure that your website is profitable when you are building your business?
Here are 5 incredible sources for website traffic no matter what kind of business you are running online:
- Search Engines – Search engines are still the No. 1 driver of traffic to most websites online today. That’s why we always recommend that you dedicate a portion of your online marketing budget to search engine optimization.
- Pay Per Click Advertising – PPC ads are immediate. You can start a campaign today and see business results today. Yes, you pay for the clicks. But if you do it right, it will be profitable. And the results are instant.
- Newsletter - An e-mail newsletter is one of the most profitable investments you can make. After more than 20 years, it’s still one of the most effective online marketing tools. You can take e-mail subscriptions right from your website and deliver your newsletter electronically more cost efficiently than any other kind of online marketing.
- Videos – Online video marketing is just as effective as TV advertising and much more cost effective.
- Social Media Marketing - The best thing about social media is it allows you to build relationships off site, then you can drive that traffic to your website for the close.
Use these five online marketing strategies together for incredible traffic generation results.
If you’ve had one eye on Gogole+ and the other trying to figure out why you’d try it, let me give you 11 reasons why you should try it. You don’t have to leave Facebook and Twitter behind, and you don’t have to spend all your time on Google+ checking out your friends. But if you run a business, Google+ can be your friend.
11 reasons to try Google+ now:
- Every time you use Google+ your Google profile rises in search. Give yourself more search prominence.
- Because Google+ is owned by the largest search engine online you can bet there will be search benefits in some fashion.
- There is a built in local component with the tie-in between Google Maps and Google Places and Google+
- You can use your Circles for better targeting of your prospects.
- Google+ business accounts are soon on the way.
- Sharing YouTube videos is much easier through Google+
- Google Picasa allows you to share photos easier through Google+ and you have unlimited photo storage.
- Google Hangouts.
- Google+ allows you to add hundreds of new people to network with one click through Circle sharing.
- You can set the privacy for each component of your Google+ profile.
- It’s easy to use.
So how many more reasons do you need? Google+ offers you the best in search and social. Try it.
In the world of search engine optimization, the robot can be good to you or it can diss you something fierce. The human reviewer, however, is more likely to kick you square in the big one. And it could hurt.
As Jennifer Ledbetter explains, you’ll only be reviewed by human eyeballs when you hit a respectable ranking on Google.
What that really means is you did a spectacular job with your SEO. Now you have to convince the human reviewer you deserve the spot you’ve worked so hard for. How do you do that?
The first thing you should keep in mind is that searchers are doing the same thing. The difference is that the searcher can’t ruin your day by knocking you down to page 10. But you know they’d like to. If only they could.
If you don’t want that big drop to happen, then you need to learn what those human reviewers are looking for. One thing that could make you fall in the rankings is obvious spam. Just don’t do it. You’ll pay for it.
What they are really looking for, however, is something positive. Is your page relevant for a search query? If so, you likely have nothing to fear.
What does it take to be good at SEO? Can you do it overnight? Is it a long-term strategy or a short-term strategy?
There is actually a lot of debate about this in SEO circles. Some SEOs are content to go on responding to Google’s frequent algorithm updates in hopes that they might figure out the secret to high rankings. Some SEOs will spend hours, days, and weeks “studying” the search engine algorithms hoping to learn how best to rank well for specific key phrases.
Is it possible? Can you study the search engines and learn the secret to rankings? Many SEOs stake their reputations on it.
The fact of the matter is that learning “the secret” to high rankings is a never-ending struggle. The best that any SEO can do is maintain a posture of good, solid content creation over time. While you might lucky and achieve excellent search engine results over the short term, the real SEO success formula is a long-term strategy. You are building websites and creating content for next decade as much as next year.
Instead of chasing algorithms, you’d do well to simply create great content and let the search engines do their thing.
Many business owners believe that if they hire more than one SEO to work on their website, then they’ll get better search rankings. Not necessarily.
You really should only hire 1 SEO per website. You can hire a separate SEO for each website if you think you need to, but you should only use one SEO per website. Why is that?
We call it optimization purity.
Every SEO has his or her own style and they may use different strategies. This isn’t to say that one is better than the other. That may be the case, but the real point is that if you use two SEOs to optimize the same website, they could cancel each other’s efforts. One could hurt the other and that would hurt your website.
Your SEOs aren’t going to use the same tactics. SEOs in general are a secretive lot. They don’t want the competition to know their trade secrets. So they could use the same strategies and tactics and not know it. That could lead to duplicate content issues or lead to you have a reputation as a spammer, which could hurt your optimization over the long haul.
You’re better off playing it safe and using only one SEO per web property. You’ll be happier and more successful in the end.
Are you afraid of SEO? You don’t have to be. Some SEO tasks are so easy you can accomplish them in less than 5 minutes. Here are 5 SEO tasks you can perform in 5 minutes or less and improve your website’s SEO by major proportions.
- Write an optimized page title – Your page title is one of the most important SEO elements on the page. Each page should have a unique page title and they should not exceed 80 characters. Keep them short and use your primary keyword for each page.
- Improve your headline - Write a short attention-grabbing headline with your primary keyword in it.
- Your meta description – Each page’s meta description should be less than 150 characters. The search engines use this as the snippet in their search results. Use your primary keyword and summarize the contents of your web page.
- Bookmark your web pages – Social bookmarking can often be a good source of inbound links to your website. It only takes a few seconds to bookmark each web page.
- Create an internal link – Find a page on your website and link to another page using keyword anchor text that is appropriate for the linked-to page.
Each of these SEO tasks takes less than 5 minutes to complete, but each one has the potential to increase your search engine rankings considerably.
You might get the impression, if you spend a lot of time watching the news, that because newspapers are dying off and the whole world is going online then press releases are a thing of the past. That would be wildly inaccurate. Press releases are, in fact, more important today then ever.
Rather than limit themselves to sending out press releases to local news organizations, many public relations professionals today simply submit their press releases to press release distribution outlets online.
This might be done in addition to sending press releases to pet news and media professionals at the local level or in one’s niche.
Since press release distribution is typically done online these days, it behooves a public relations professional to make sure the press release is optimized. You can’t rely on news professionals to search the press release directories to find your press release. You also want to optimize them for search engine traffic.
One reason why you want your press release optimized is because your audience doesn’t merely consist of media professionals. Anyone searching for information online can find your press release if you have optimized it correctly. And, in truth, that’s the way you want it to be.
If you’re used to doing a lot of offline marketing, or traditional marketing, then you’ve likely noticed that it has become quite expensive in the last few years. Oil prices have driven up the cost of paper and everything else. The economy taking a downturn has caused many businesses to stop advertising altogether, or diminish their marketing budgets.
But there is hope. Online marketing is less expensive and, if done right, is much more effective. That’s why so many businesses have transferred their marketing and advertising budgets to online.
Here are 5 online marketing methods that are outpacing their offline counterparts:
- Pay Per Click – Pay per click advertising is the online equivalent to some forms of print advertising. The difference is you pay only when a desired result takes place. It can be less expensive and deliver a higher ROI.
- Social Networking – Offline, you go to business functions. You often have to buy dinner, pay for transportation costs, business cards, and other incidentals. Online, you just show up. And talk to people. Make friends and contacts. Sell them stuff. The time commitment is higher, but it’s a lot easier on the budget.
- Video Marketing – Liken it to TV advertising. Do you really want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on 30-second spots that disappear with the money? Instead, pay for one video and it stays live online forever.
- Website Design – Call them online billboards. Just like outdoor advertising, you have a limited space – your prospect’s browser window. Unlike outdoor billboards, that space can be expanded. And you can build many websites for less than the cost of a handful of billboards.
- Search Engine Optimization – Sorry, but there is no offline equivalent to search engine optimization. Yet it’s still the most effective online marketing money can buy.
Try just one or incorporate them all into your marketing plans, but online marketing is where it’s at.
When businesses go online to learn how to participate in Internet marketing campaigns that work, there is usually a lot to think about, a lot of new information to take in for those business owners and managers. The problem is how to process it all.
What I always suggest is to take it a little bite at a time. You can’t learn everything in one day. You can’t become a master of every art in your lifetime. Don’t even try.
The key is to start with the basics. Study a little bit about web design before you do anything else. What are the best practices for web design for businesses of your size and in your industry? Study the competition to see what they are doing that you like and that you don’t like. Then analyze what is effective.
Remember, you are only studying the basics at first. At some point, you have to rely on the advice of experts because you are nowhere near that status yourself.
After you have learned the basics of web design, move on to another topic such as search engine optimization or pay per click advertising. Again, take the time to learn the basics before moving on to something else.
It takes time to truly learn how to successfully manage an Internet marketing camnpaign. It’s not going to happen overnight. With the proper guide, your business can achieve a little success and move on to greater success – one step at a time.
Is SEO getting harder to achieve for everyday webmasters? I believe it is. This can be evidenced by the number of webmasters who are giving up on it entirely, or in part, and begin chasing other, less effective, channels like social media marketing.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe that social media marketing can be effective. But numbers don’t lie. And the number that I’m speaking about specifically right now is the 80% number. That’s the percentage of web traffic that is driven by search engines – organic search.
If 80% of your web traffic is coming from search engines (and 90% of that from Google), then that’s a channel you don’t want to ignore.
Granted, the search engines are making it harder and harder for the average webmaster to figure out how to style and write their content for the best rankings. It seems sometimes that the blackhat guys have a better chance. Don’t fret. You have as much a chance to rank your content as everyone else does – if you just pay attention to a few little details first.
- The first thing to remember is that search engines like fresh original content. Don’t use those old PLR articles. Even if you rewrite them, you’re likely to fill your website with duplicate content.
- Titles are very important. Write good ones that are effective and optimized.
- Build some inbound links to that website, but be careful where you go to get them.
- Study the competition; what are they doing right – and wrong?
Search engine optimization hasn’t changed a whole lot in 10-12 years. Sure, there have been big changes, but the core fundamentals are still the same. Don’t go chasing every new method or technique someone mentions and be sure to do a lot of testing.
More important than keyword density, more important than ensuring you put your keywords in all the right spots, and more important than inbound anchor text with a solid keyword pick is your keyword selection to begin with. Of course, I’m not talking about whether or not you choose keywords. I’m talking about making sure you choose the right keywords for your business.
Keyword selection is about more than picking the right keyword for the best search engine optimization practices. It’s just as much about choosing the right keywords for your business.
For instance, if you sell red widgets, then you would not want to optimize your web pages for the term “yellow widgets.” You would attract all the wrong customers. But I see businesses doing this all the time. More often, I see businesses targeting a generalized keyword when drilling down to a nichier, narrower keyword would deliver better targeted traffic.
Here’s another for instance. If you sell industrial construction materials, optimizing your website for the keyword phrase “construction materials” is too broad. You want to narrow it to “industrial construction materials.” This will eliminate anyone looking for construction materials to build a house. You want to attract people looking for a specific type of construction materials.
Keyword selection is very important. Make sure that you are not only optimizing your web pages for keywords related to your niche, but that they are the right keywords for your business.
An article at Marketing Pilgrim says that small business owners worry about obtaining new customers. In fact, they lay awake at night thinking about it.
Is that you? Do you lay awake at night worrying about where your next customer is coming from? Don’t. It could come from any number of sources – if you take action.
Prospecting for new clients takes time. And it is costly. More costly, in fact, than retaining the customers you already have. But if you don’t do it, what will happen? Many small businesses find out what happens when they are no longer providing a service after two to five years.
You can’t let worry freeze you. Running a small business is about taking action to attract new customers and keep the ones you have happy. Here are a few tactics that other small business owners have used to do just that:
All of these tactics are effective if employed correctly. They’re not the only tactics that work, but they do work. They are much more effective than worrying. So stop worrying and start taking action.
Quora has made a name for itself as a Q&A site. Relatively new to the game, it has grown quickly and is the Q&A home of many savvy and high profile people. Originally, the site had a strict no self-promotion policy. However, recently, that has changed.
There are two ways to look at this change. You can see it as an opportunity or you can see it as a problem. If you are of the glass-half-empty variety, you could see it as the spammers are taking over. But if you think in terms of the glass being half full, then you’ll want to jump on the Quora bandwagon real quick.
In April, Google started indexing Quora in its real time search feature. That’s awesome news for marketers using Quora for traffic generation. It’s already been established that Quora posts are great for SEO.
Whether you see the glass half full or half empty, the risk is there for Quora to become another content farm under Google’s Panda rules. Quora can avert that eventuality by incorporating a few simple rules into its answers policy to combat link and content spam. But will they? The debate is on.
Until this is settled, the best thing for a social media marketer to do is to get involved in Quora and reap the benefits. If you post on Quora now, you can enjoy the benefits of excellent social media positioning and search engine optimization. Rarely do online marketers get to kill both of those birds with one stone.
I’m convinced, after years of being in this business, that an Internet marketing plan is something that every business would benefit from. In most cases, a company that has an established marketing budget can get more mileage from their marketing with less outlay if they transfer some of that budget into Internet marketing. But what does an Internet marketing plan consist of?
Of course, every business is different. Therefore, every Internet marketing plan will be different. The first step is to determine the needs of your market and approach those needs with an open mind.
Once we’ve established your priorities and the needs of your market, your Internet marketing plan could consist of any of the following special tactics:
- Pay per click marketing – PPC is a pay-as-you-go marketing tactic. You buy clicks and send them to your important landing pages. It’s very effective and costs are determined by how much you are willing to pay per click.
- Search engine optimization – SEO is the long-term tactic. We’ll help you rank your web pages in Google, Bing, and other search engines in order to attract the right customers.
- Social Media Optimization – SMO is a different kind of Internet marketing. It’s about building relationships through connections off of your website.
- Custom Web Design – Your website should be a reflection of your business and your values.
- Online Video Marketing – Online videos are the 21st century equivalent to 20th century TV advertising – only better.
When it comes to developing an Internet marketing plan, the strategies you use depend on your market, your business, and your goals. Talk to someone who has designed a custom Internet marketing plan more than a few times.
If you want to ensure that you have great content on your blog or website, there is one way to make sure that you always have great content. It’s called surveying your clients or site visitors.
If you ask the right questions, then you’ll get the right answers.
Ask your customers and/or site visitors what information they would like on a web page that discusses (fill in the blank with your topic). For instance, if you are planning a page on baseball hats, your customers might want to know the following information:
- What size are they?
- How large is the brim?
- Are they adjustable size or are they made for one size head?
- Is there a logo, writing, or a picture on the hat?
- What material is the hat made of?
These are just a few of the questions your customers and site visitors would want to know about your baseball hats.
So now you can take that information and customize it to your situation. Find out what people are looking for when they search Google or Bing on your topic. Then, write your pages to answer those questions. It’s really that simple.
When you do it this way, you’ll not only ensure great content, but you’ll also ensure your web pages are search engine optimized.
Ask anyone who has been around for 40 years or longer and you’ll find that the ways of marketing a business have changed. What worked in 1960 was different than what worked in 1980 and what worked in 1980 isn’t what worked in 2000. Even the marketing strategies used today aren’t the same as what worked in 2000.
Here are 7 online marketing strategies that work today and that will likely work ten years from now.
- Search engine optimization – Build a website and make sure each web page is optimized for search engine traffic.
- Pay per click marketing – Spend your money on clicks for a speedy response to your message and watch your income rise.
- Social media marketing – Use social bookmarking and social networking to connect off of your website, then drive that traffic to your web pages.
- Video marketing – Online video marketing has arrived in full force. Engage with your audience on YouTube and other video marketing websites.
- Start a blog – Write to your blog every day. The search engines love the fresh daily content.
- Article marketing – Write articles and distribute them online to websites within your niche. You’ll build your reputation and build links to your website.
- Claim your local business listing – Each major search engine has a local business listing associated with their Maps feature. Claim your listing if you are a local business.
There is no substitute for these 7 online marketing strategies. You can do more, but I wouldn’t dare do less.
Professional directories and search engines pose a terrific opportunity for any professional to increase their search engine optimization benefits.
Such directories often allow you to add a link to your website. Sometimes you have to pay for this link, but it can still benefit you as Google often does not penalize directory listings. However, they can, so make sure you are using a reputable directory and not a spam farm.
When it comes to profession-specific directory listings, there are two types. The first type is the official old-fashioned directory where you submit your listing and it is either approved or unapproved by the directory owners.
The second type of directory really isn’t a directory at all. It’s a search engine. You don’t have to submit your website because the search engine will list it automatically.
An example of the second type of directory is MyVeterinarian.com. Their search engine is powered by Google, which means if you have a website indexed by Google, then it will appear in the profession-specific directory as well. This benefits you in two ways.
First, if someone conducts a search for a vet in a specific area at that search engine, then you could be found there. Secondly, the link to your website from the profession-specific search engine could pass on some link juice and help your website rank better for the right search term. Presto! Two benefits.
I highly recommend using profession-specific search engines. There is not a lot that can go wrong.
SEOmoz is a leading SEO blog and they recently posted a very thoughtful essay on Q&A sites and the value of SEO. I encourage you to read the entire blog post, but I’ll offer a few highlights here.
For starters, there is a general encouragement that, despite Google’s recent farmer update, Q&A sites still are a great opportunity to build your own reputation and to do some back linking. If you’re not familiar with the farmer update, let’s just say that Google introduced an algorithm that put a slap on some of those how-to sites, what are generally referred to as “content farms.”
Interestingly, many of the sites that were affected are sites that are written by average Joes. These sites are HubPages, Squidoo, and Associated Content. Even EzineArticles, the popular article directory (and a few other article directories), took a hit. But many of the Q&A sites did not. This forms the basis of Pavel Israelsky’s argument.
I’ll have to hand it to Pavel. He does a good job of outlining why Q&A sites represent a great opportunity right now. Here are his six reasons:
- People Google more questions than generic keywords
- Q&A sites have grown in popularity in the last year
- Q&A pages rank high in the search results
- They also offer great diversification opportunities for your link portfolio
- People prefer to link to Q&A pages than to corporate-sponsored pages
- Targeted traffic means better conversion
I can’t really argue with any of those points. Keep in mind, however, that if you use Q&A sites to target your important keywords, be sure that you find out which questions related to those keywords are being asked in the search engines. That will be key to optimizing your Q&A posts. If you answer questions that are asked, try to optimize your answers as well.
Q&A sites are a relatively recent phenomenon. If they start getting spammed with useless content, you can expect another Google slap down, so don’t go hog wild. Just see the opportunity for what it is and approach it intelligently.
Do you have a difficult time keeping up with Google’s algorithm? Do you try to follow it and make changes to your site every time a new algorithm change is announced, hoping that your changes are going to improve your search engine rankings? Here’s a word of advice: Stop doing that.
It’s a good thing that you are watching the search engines and seeing what they are doing. Keeping up with changes in the search engines and search technology is an important part of SEO and keeping your sites geared for search engine traffic, but that doesn’t mean you have to make changes to your website every time a new algorithm change is introduced.
In fact, most algorithm changes don’t require any changes at all. Instead, keep your eyes on the basics of SEO and let the search engines take care of the rest.
The search engines change their algorithms for different reasons. Sometimes they are correcting or compensating for other factors in the algorithm in order to balance out the importance of the factors being considered for ranking purposes. Other times, they are combating spam or addressing negative issues that affect the entire search community. Instead of guessing at what the algorithm means and how you should respond, focus on the basics and doing what is right.