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Social Media, Web 2.0, Social Marketing, Social Search, Social Networking, Gadgets, Apps, Widgets, Ajax, Web Services, Open Social–what does this all mean for your online business in 2008?
From 2004-2007, I spent serious time in search engine optimization, product research, technical application development and online marketing (SEO, PPC, link building, e-mail marketing, affiliate marketing, landing pages, copywriting) and delivery. What I learned is that there really are no secrets, just hard, continuous work: changing, tracking, monitoring and not ever giving up, no matter how frustrating (yes it is!). This work has helped me immensely. I wrote about many aspects of this and more than 15 years of learning in the Ultimate Guide to SEO, coming out in the spring.
However, without the work of other people and the networks I belong to, I would not be where I am today. The headline of this post references research from a group of people that I consider to be leading the online marketing space. Not only have these people made a serious dent in the online marketplace themselves, but their goals are similar to mine: educate, and provide stellar information that you can use for yourself.
Therefore, a combination of all the strategies you’ve learned should be included in your internet-marketing and search-marketing work (which includes search engines). But do not miss out on the single most important aspect of growth online: the social medium.
Look at the stats on this traffic graph. Can you see how fast Facebook has risen in 2007? Look at the red line–this is compelling data.
The toughest part is not understanding the importance of this data. Rather, it’s understanding how to execute within this fast growing, social media space.
For example, if you are in the B2B space, how can you leverage and take part in this huge growth and future explosion? Is it only meant for B2C? For example, does the ad network in Facebook even matter to a corporate business, since most believe it’s only for kids and teens anyway?
You may have it all wrong, as I am learning as well.
I wrote an article on social search and social media optimization awhile back, updated for 2008–I felt the movement, but had really no clue.
The proof of 617 million people that may help navigate the online chaos in 2008 is found below.
It might make your strategy and thinking change drastically for 2008.
The video below provides tons of detail about how you can increase conversion on your existing pages. It also makes you think about creative frameworks for new pages that you can (and should) develop and test.
Andy Jenkins (funny but experienced internet marketer seen in this video) explains how his company, through science and research, more than doubled conversion by making just a few changes on existing websites, and how their foveal view eye application impacts their landing page design work.
An example of what this may look like in one screenshot is depicted here:
They are advanced topics, but listen carefully, and the presentation will show you insider tips on optimizing your site for users.
Among the four secrets:
I recently came across a fun, interactive and useful presentation that could help in better understanding the Search Giant.
From Portfolio.com: “In the past 12 months, Google doubled its staff, tinkered with its search engine to speed up results, and now answers more queries than Microsoft and Yahoo combined,” Paul Smalera reports.
The question remained, though: “How does Google work?”
Click here to see the interactive “How Google Works” Movie. (Note: It takes a moment to load the Flash file. Be patient; it’s worth it)
Recently, a conference was held in Las Vegas, the Publishers Conference (pubcon.com). Lots of discussion around search marketing and opportunities to generate traffic and business online: Link building, universal search, local search, social search, personalized search, web 2.0, social media optimization, content strategies and much, much more.
One of the top videos that came out of the conference that’s available now is the Matt Cutts interview for top SEO advice. You will also find more tips on WordPress and its recent release.
Lastly, some tips on YouTube and Google Video optimization, which is important for possible massive exposure.
When a user searches in Google, the results pages show listings with titles, descriptions, url(s), size and other things. Are you optimizing these results in the best way possible? Did you know that you have some control over this, and that it’s the number one underutilized opportunity for upselling your site in these results?
Did you also wonder how to get those multiple authority links in the search results?
Try entering pubcon in Google, and you’ll see the site listed with title and description, but also a number of other links. They are called site links. How do you get this level of authority display for your own site?
And, are you going to this year’s WebMasterWorld Pubcon? It will be my first. It’s a very popular search-marketing conference, if you’re interested.
All the answers to the above are found in the recent snippet video by Google Guy Matt Cutts:
When it comes to “off-page” factors (links) for SEO, their importance cannot be overstated. A mix of natural, relevant links is always a great way to go, and it’s a secret to good rankings.
You need to Always Be Link Building, with no spam. The more links, the better.
This is something you can build by offering not only good quality content (people will natually link to you), but research web locations where relevant links can be had. You should look first at your competition to discover where they get their links from and what quality sites they belong to–as it will help guide your link-building efforts. You may find that they belong to directories.
A fast, easy way to check for link popularity of a site is to use the link: command in Google (limited) and preferably linkdomain: in Yahoo. Yahoo will show you direct links for the domain, example: linkdomain:zillow.com (more than 2 million links).
This research is important, and there is another, complementary (read: additive) way to get links to your website. It’s a form of paid links, but Google tends to value them, especially the top sites.
Since a good way to track the lists you submit to is via Excel Worksheets–I have pulled data from strongestlinks.com and broken them out into regional/subject tabs as well as global data sets on the search marketing resources site.
The worksheet lists PageRank, Alexa Rank, Fees, and more information.
===> You can download the excel sheet here.
Since this is an exhaustive list, I don’t recommend signing up for all of these–but selecting the top directories in your niche (do the research first), adding key directories every other week or so, and not overdoing it. There are free directories, but many are paid–and if you have commercial websites, most require a fee. You should sign up to get more features enabled, including searching.
I recommend DMOZ, Yahoo, Business, JoeAnt and Gimpsy to start.
You should also investigate Back Link Watch for more links detective work; and SOLO Seo Link Tool provides a powerful way to manually use search builder to find and add links using Google. A Bad Neighboorhood Links checker may be a place to review for poor link networks.
Make sure to not forget the social media, videos, blogs and more. You are ultimately doing all of this for one reason: to build an authority asset(s) on the web, one that generates trusted traffic and converts to business, 24/7, 365 days a year.
Top earners making money online not only know that traffic is key to their business, but they understand that the secret to turning that traffic into a cost benefit from targeted traffic to conversion – is the *niche* they live in.
What is a niche?
Niche is defined as a focused, targetable portion of a market sector. You may be positioned to present products and services in a health-care sector for example, and your niche drill-down is specifically targeting seniors and assisted living services.
On the Internet, how can you find the niches for your marketplace – for FREE?
Step 1 – Use Google (power tool)
Click here to access the keyword tool without going through Google Adwords. Once there, make sure to select the 2nd tab – “Site-Related Keywords”.
Step 2 – Select area of interest (research)
I entered ‘http://finance.google.com’ as a targeted site, since I’m interested in that sector. Leave all checkboxes and settings as is for now.
Step 3 – Review keyword groups and properties (competiveness)
The results are showing keywords grouped by these top tier groupings/terms:
stock market (27), stock quote (4), stock trading (6), stock chart (1), stock (27), financial (6), finance (2), fund (5), Miscellaneous keywords (6)
What you want to look for is where you see the following:
a) healthy competition (almost full green bar)
b) solid search volume (at least 1/2 the green bar)
c) not ‘too generic’ a keyword (thinking long tail here)
‘Stock Market Software’ looks like an interesting niche keyword. Let’s use that.
Step 4 – Review bid pricing (Traffic/Pricing)
Change the “Choose columns to display” to include Avg Bid Position & Cost. That will allow the display to render updated info in the same tool, same screen. Set Max CPC to 10.00 or higher, to capture what the Max CPC might be for keywords in the list. Alternatively go to this tool and check keywords for traffic and pricing and geo targets. Enter the keywords using Phrase and Exact matching types (see descriptions next to the input panel). Use “” and  to denote differences. Exclude Broad match at this time.
Review the results for many more keywords, and keep going back to Step 4 to discover more profitable keywords and traffic, clicks (daily) and overall ranges for bid position. Because of no performance history and other factors, these are only indicators, but good ones – directly from inside Google.
This detailed research should give you good insight to goldmine niche markets. If you can supply visitors with quality products and services via a compelling website and driving traffic to it, you are on your way.
I didn’t take the ‘stock market software’ keyword phrase to the next level, which includes more keyword research and drilldown + related phrases, but you get the drift… You may want to use this under-valued keyword tool to see good potential Adsense keywords, including trends (Google) for your keywords: Keywordcountry (great for Adsense)
Last week, I read a marketing letter from Perry Marshall, a “guru” online marketer with a big following. His well-known Free 5-Day Adwords (aff) course has kick-started many businesses online.
In this letter, a guy asked “how to make money online?”, “is making money online really possible?”, and “I have tried everything (including many MLM programs) – but it doesn’t seem to work”. Sounds like another frustrated and most likely scammed victim of “money making secrets revealed” programs to me…
If you are asking similar questions, then it may be time to read what follows. (Notice: What follows may be somewhat technical, but you can learn too).
The owner of the money making website, is not formally educated in the United States, and not well versed in the American/English culture and language, but managed to go from nothing to over $10,000 dollars in a very short period.
After reading this post, decide on what goals & objectives exist for you. Think about what can I offer (content/message-wise), then put a monthly number next to it. For example, you may want to earn $200/month to start. Be realistic, and build over time. Of course, none of the below works without traffic to your site. Read my blog and articles on Entrepreneur Online for more on how to do that.
Before downloading the whitepaper, review top 10 ways ways to earn money online:
The key to remember is that unlike the poor soul in the email to Perry, you must realize that as you move from an “outsider” (newbie) to an “insider” (authority) – it is continuous learning, implementation and testing of your online systems that will get you the bigger dollars and opportunities.
While affiliate marketing may be for you – information products via clickbank.com for example, you should consider developing a specialized niche for yourself, creating a product or service that is not “common” and that you are passionate about. Try to differentiate enough in your niche to where you create “insider” mentality and information for yourself. People will follow and don’t rely on others to do it for you.
As a quick example, no more than a year ago, I was creating detailed analysis for businesses online for less than a thousand dollars. These enhanced analyses now range anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000 onetime, depending on detail/options.
Recently, websites (yes, blogs too) have come into question by Google. They re-ranked pages/sites based on bought links that seemed “spammy”. Make sure your content has something to say, provides good quality content and don’t “overdo” anything and keep your link building in check and naturally.
The golden ticket to higher search engine rankings, are many-fold, as described in my articles on Entrepreneur, and as you are seeing in my blog posts on seoworld.
However, there is one secret technique that can be used to further build your presence in search engines, and specifically Google. It is a quality way to generate traffic and improve the search quality indicator for your site – it’s called .edu backlinks. (Note: .edu & .gov links are good because of the assumed PageRank and Quality of those neighborhoods, not because of the extension. Also, check to see if backlinks have ‘nofollow’ which will impact pagerank juice, but still bring traffic).
The number of links back to your site are important, as is the anchor text that describes the link/page to your site, but introducing a mix of links from highly trusted domains is extremely crucial.
How can you get these trusted backlinks?
Load up your favorite browser and search engine (Google) – and enter the below into the searchbox, and I’ll explain each one.
The key is to find blogs that owners within the (.edu) educational websites provide outside /public access to. You may find some blogs that will still only allow approved authors, but the below shows a way to open it up. Please note/important: This is intended for quality content contribution and discussion only. Submit if you have something to say, and that is useful, and related to the topic at hand.
Step 1 – locate the sites and blogs
site:.edu inurl:blog (enter this, and watch Google results – you are on your way)
Step 2 – filter for posting possibility
“post a comment” (add this after ‘blog’ (and a space) and filter for posting )
Step 3 - clarify intent
-”comments closed” (make sure to include the hyphen too)
Step 4 – remove walls:
-”you must be logged in” (do not include the blogs that require log ins)
Step 5 – restriction & filtering:
“your keyword(s) here” (add your keyword or phrases to limit and show themes)
Tip: Use Roboform – to handle all your logins and lighten your workload for filling out forms.
Lastly, it not just about links – you’ll also get traffic from these links – and combined with backlinks “juice”, it’s a highly valued exercise, for users as well as search engines.
As always, testing is the key – the landscape changes so often – what works this week, may need modification the following, etc – you know the drill…
If you answered yes to to any of the above, you are not alone. There are many more questions of course, but so many bypass the most important factor for search engine optimization and resulting success.
What would you do to sit next to a trusted source and
look over his/her keyboard and to listen to how they do it?
The resource and the “secrets” lie in this 52-page guide and keyword research.
You can learn as top marketers show you step-by-step how they do it. It’s a great guide, and the best part is – there is no charge.