Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quick apology

Things have been a little nuts around here, so I haven't had time to study or blog. Here's a bit of info I received from I haven't checked it out or tried it, but until I can, at least you can play with it! Feel free to email me your thoughts and questions - I promise I'll do my homework and report back!

Squeeze Every Bit Of Value From Pay-per-Click

PPC advertising now makes up a substantial share of search marketing spend. Paying for an advert when someone clicks on it reduces the up-front cost associated with traditional advertising and brings a powerful, revenuegenerating machine within the grasp of any size of business.

As with organic search, keywords are at the heart of PPC campaigns but the dynamics are different. Organic search is frequently perceived as free and while there is no payment
to the search engine, there is a very definite cost in creating the content that must accompany each keyword if it is to have any chance of success. Therefore the number of keywords you optimize for is limited by the resources you have to create content around them. And of course, you will not start to see the results until many weeks have elapsed.

On the other hand pay per click is easily controllable and measurable. Success depends on finding the keywords that attract the most click-throughs and the highest return on investment.

• If a keyword doesn't attract traffic, it doesn't cost you money.
• You'll start getting results quickly and can see what works and what doesn't.
• A keyword that isn't working can be discarded instantly.

So a popular strategy for PPC is to start with a large number of keywords and test their performance through the detailed analytics provided by Google AdWords for example.

The higher the number of keywords you start with, the higher your chances of quickly finding the ones that are going to bring you the greatest return on investment. Wordtracker is an ideal tool at this early stage. The database will allow you to identify hundreds if not thousands of relevant keywords with just a few minute’s work.

Many people start their campaigns with just 30 or 40 keywords but according to PPC guru, Perry Marshall, any site needs a minimum of 200 keywords to start with. Of course, the search engines provide their own keyword suggestion tools, but Wordtracker allows you to go further. Here are some important ways:

(i) The ability to suggest related terms and dig into the long tail of search terms is a perfect complement to the search engine's own tools. Many of your less savvy competitors may not use Wordtracker and you will have access to information that they do not have.
(ii) Once you've found profitable keywords in your PPC campaign, you can use Wordtracker to dig deeper and give you similar keywords that are also likely to be profitable.
(iii) For PPC campaigns that are failing to deliver profits, running all the keywords through Wordtracker will help to uncover where the real money terms lie.

There is great synergy between PPC and organic search campaigns. PPC keywords that get high impressions but do not convert well may be ideal candidates for organic optimization. So someone searching on 'digital photography' probably does not want to buy a digital camera immediately and would be a poor PPC target. However, it is probable that in the future they will want to buy – so would be an ideal target for content optimized around 'digital photography' designed to build an opt-in mailing list.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Make the Most of What You Already Have!

We talked about using keywords to optimize your site. Before you go through all that trouble, you should start by looking at your existing content. Can you improve it in any way that will increase search engine traffic? Organizing your web content is the best place to start. You want to be sure that you've used your keywords in the right places.

Start by reviewing your current content and making sure there's some sort of structure. Decide what keywords you want to use and make adjustments so that keywords and related words are put into your content.

Each page on your website has a purpose. What is it? Once you define the purpose of each page, you can then move on to optimizing the page with your chosen keywords.

Next, you'll use keywords in this fashion - broad to specific filter. Chocolate is a broad filter. Truffles is a narrower filter. French truffles is an even narrower filter. You want to make your home page "findable" by people doing a broad search. After that, searchers can narrow down to specific pages, then specific products on your site.

The Home page is the most important page when it comes to an internet search. It tells people who you are and what you do. Home pages get the largest number of 'hits' from searchers, so you want to be sure that you have used your keywords well here. You should find the 3 most important keywords for your homepage and use those. The homepage should have internal keyword-rich links to category pages that are designed for people doing more specific research. Category pages should relate to a single topic. For instance, my fictional website sells chocolate. A category page could be dedicated to truffles and I would use the keywords "chocolate", "truffles" and "gourmet" to drive traffic to that page.

The category pages will then link to specific product pages. The truffles page will then go to French Truffles product to order. Product pages should be optimized for 2 keywords. This will narrow the search terms, as I mentioned above.

I took the next bit from; it's not the ONLY way to optimize your content, but it's one way to start.

Next let's look at optimizing specific pages. Here are the steps to follow:

(i) Decide on the specific subject you're going to write about and the reason why you're going to write it (for example, 'to help people understand' or 'to close a sale'.)

(ii) Pick a primary and a secondary keyword phrase around which you'll optimize your content. For the home page and for category pages, you can add a third phrase.

(iii) Write the title meta tag including at least your primary keyword phrase. Also include your second and third phrases if possible. However, limit the title to around 70 characters so you might just have to use two out of your three chosen phrases.

(iv) Write the description meta tag including all three of the keyword phrases. This should be meaningful and written in good English with a limit of around 200 characters. The description can often double as the summary or first paragraph of your copy.

(v) Now work out the structure of your copy, write keyword rich subheadings that help you organize your material.

(vi) Now write the copy itself. Don't worry too much about keyword density – if you've followed these steps your page will be well optimized. It is much better at this stage to write persuasively for people, not search engines.

Optimizing your existing content is the first step in getting a real business return from your investment in keyword research. Many people stop here and don't realize how profitable using keywords in other ways can be. With this section you've done the basics. In the next class we'll look at the less common uses of keyword research that can give you a real competitive advantage.