How to Choose Keywords for Your Website

Whether you dive fully into SEO or just dabble a bit, keywords are a must for your website. They’re the key (get it) to people finding your website when they’re searching online. If they’re not properly targeted, they will lead the wrong people to your site, and keep the right ones away. Here are some tips for identifying and using the appropriate keywords for your website. The information is adapted from Search Engine Optimization All-in-One For Dummies, which I reviewed here last week.

Start Brainstorming

You know what you sell, and the type of person you consider your ideal customer. Start by thinking about the words that those people would search for to find your site.

  • What words would you use to find your own product?
  • Are there other terms for what you sell (i.e. someone might call a Jacuzzi a ‘hot tub’)?
  • Are there industry terms for my products?

Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, make a list of the words that come to mind. Don’t be afraid to make a long list; you’ll be whittling it down soon.

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Search Engine Optimization All-in-One For Dummies

I like reading about topics I’m weak in. For me, that’s the more technical side of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. So when I picked up the behemoth book, Search Engine Optimization All-in-One for Dummies, by Bruce Clay and Susan Esparza, I knew I’d learn a thing or two. This is actually 10 books in 1, which explains its 700+ pages. I recommend using it as a reference book and picking the sections you want to work on as you go.

If you’re new to using SEO as a way to be found by search engines, the first book, How Search Engines Work, will demystify SEO and the terms it uses. It’s not complicated, actually, and Clay and Esparza do a great job of breaking it down for newbies. If you’re ready to move on to more advanced tactics, read Keyword Strategy and Optimizing the Foundations. The authors provide the tools you need to see where your keywords currently rank, as well as determine what you can do to improve your search engine rankings.

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10 Tips for Title Tags

Title tags, those brief descriptions that appear when you search for something on Google or other search engine, can help more customers find your website. Even if you think you’re SEO-illiterate, you can write title tags that search engines love.

1. Use Your Keywords. The “key” to great title tags is using keywords. Use resources like Wordtracker’s Keyword tool to find out which keywords that relate to your products or services are being searched for. Make a list of them and keep handy when writing title tags.

2. Give ‘Em a Title

Each page of your site should have a title (this will appear as the link to click on Google). Use one to two keywords in the title, and focus on what the page is about (“Blog Tips for Entrepreneurs.”)

3. Write a Brief Description.

In a few sentences (no more than three) write what this page is about. Use keywords in your copy, and make sure it reads naturally.

4. Don’t Overstuff

Just like turkey, you can only get so much stuffing in. Make sure you use your keywords in a natural manner so that your copy doesn’t sound odd. Google knows better.

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SEO Leader Webimax Secures New Funding

Webimax,  the nation’s #1 rated search engine optimization (SEO) company, announced some exciting news – the company was recently on the receiving end of an undisclosed amount of additional round of funding.

Kenneth C. Wisnefski, Founder and CEO of WebiMax, shares that their recent financing will mainly be used for expansion, and he also imparts more info about the company in this recent e-interview with Lead411:

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SEO Basics for Entrepreneurs

seo block
Image via Wikipedia

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, got a lot of buzz a few years ago. Webmasters lived and died by it. But is it still important or relevant?

You bet your business.

While the tactics may have changed a little (Google loves changing how its systems process data, so it keeps us on our toes), SEO is one of the biggest tools you have to get traffic to your website.

SEO 101

For the non-technical, SEO reflects how well your website ranks in search engine results. Let’s say you sell cupcakes in Oregon. Ideally, you’d like to be the top site listed when someone searches for “cupcakes Oregon.” That might not be the case if you don’t pay attention to the copy on your website. More on that later.

You can improve your search engine rankings by using keywords throughout your website. Keywords are the words you want people to search for to find your site. If you sell cupcakes only, you probably don’t want to mention “cookies” or “pies” on your site, as those aren’t keywords you want to be known for.

How to Improve Your Web Copy

Make a list of 10+ keywords that describe your business. Sticking with our “sweet” example, we might have:

  • Cupcakes in Oregon
  • Oregon bakery
  • Homemade cupcakes Portland
  • Portland cupcakes

For a business that only operates locally (as opposed to one with clients everywhere), that location will need to be part of the keyword. Your competition for appearing in a search for “cupcakes” alone is much fiercer, so stick with your local market.

After you have your list of keywords, make sure you’re using them in your copy. For instance, your About page would say, “A leading supplier of Portland cupcakes, Sweets n Stuff delivers homemade cupcakes Portland-wide.” See what I mean? Use the keywords as part of your copy.

If you get into the back-end of your website at all, you probably have something in your content management system (or WordPress) where you can set a title and description for each page. This is your opportunity to use those keywords again. The description is what will appear in a Google search, under the title. So make it good to entice people to click on your link:

Buy Fresh Organic Cupcakes in Portland

Choose from among many flavors, including vanilla, strawberry and chocolate cupcakes in Oregon at our organic cupcake bakery.

Other SEO Tricks

Okay, they’re not really tricks, but they will help you!

  • Change your content slightly every few months. No one likes a stagnant site, least of all search engines.
  • Add articles or blog posts using your keywords. Search engines love this.
  • When you add a hyperlink, set it over a keyword. “Cupcakes in Oregon” is better than “try our products.”
  • Read up on the latest SEO news and tips. They’re always changing.
  • Check your competitors’ sites to see what keywords they’re using.
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Tracking System Direct President Interview

This is our first post in our “Marketing Interviews” series. The goal of these posts are to give you marketing tips and to let you know how other companies are growing their business.

Tracking System Direct is a wholesale distributor of personal and vehicle monitoring solutions for consumers, businesses and law enforcement agencies. They offer the latest in real-time tracking solutions, cost-effective passive GPS data logging devices and fleet management hardware. We caught up with Ryan Horban to ask him a few questions on their marketing.

Q: Who Are Your Competitors?

A: Ten years ago, there were only a handful of companies online that specialized in GPS tracking system technology. Today, the market is saturated with companies online dedicated to providing GPS tracking devices and other surveillance technologies. Consumers or businesses interested in investing in either personal or vehicle tracking systems need to do diligent research on both the company they intend on purchasing from and product they feel is right for them. With so many companies re-branding and packaging poorly manufactured and supported GPS monitoring devices from Taiwan, China or other regions across the globe, people need to utilize all the evaluation tools available to them before purchasing a GPS tracker.

Reading consumer reviews and researching review sites online are some of the best ways to become educated on the various tracking systems available on the market.

Q: What marketing tactic has given you the highest ROI?

A: Any business looking at enhancing their brand and increasing profit needs to put a great deal of emphasis and focus on improving marketing strategies that are working and eliminating strategies that are not effective. Each business and industry is going to have a different target market, and how that market or audience is reached is critical. In regards to the GPS tracking industry, since vehicle tracking devices currently do not have a strong presence in most retail markets; Tracking System Direct has invested the majority of marketing efforts into search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO has been the foundation of Tracking System Direct’s marketing efforts, and still to this day has resulted in the highest return on investment.

Q: What percentage ROI do you get back on this?

A: SEO has been the fundamental marketing strategy of Tracking System Direct from day one. Having a presence on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other popular search engines is more important today than ever before. With the boom in smart phone technology, people everywhere are now using voice activation or Internet features on their mobile communication devices to search for products and services in both the local and global landscape. Businesses wanting to tap into this mobile market need to put emphasis on keyword optimization and SEO for both the local and global consumers who they wish to reach. Increasing rankings on global search engines will result in increased online traffic, and an increase in traffic will typically result in more profit and ROI.

Q: What Percentage of your marketing is spent on SEO, Public Relations, Direct Marketing, Advertising, Social Media Marketing, etc.?

A: Any successful company will say that reaching, communicating and sustaining a relationship with the consumer is essential. Clearly, every business and industry is different and therefore needs to have a different marketing strategy. There is no cookie cutter answer to marketing. What works for one company may fail for another business.

Tracking System Direct spends about 75% of marketing efforts on SEO, 20% on social media marketing and the remaining 5% on an eclectic approach of advertising and other marketing avenues. With social media sites such as Facebook now receiving more traffic than Google, a company that does not put any effort into social media marketing is really shooting themselves in the foot. More and more people are putting less emphasis on keyword searching and instead consulting friends and families for referrals for products and services. Having something as simple as a fan or group page on Facebook, MySpace or any other social media platform is critical in establishing brand and company credibility.

3 Marketing Tools You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Tweets. Status updates. SEO. Blog posts. It can be daunting to keep up with the latest and greatest marketing tools if you’re an overworked entrepreneur, but if you’re going it alone, there are some tools you simply can’t overlook.

Many entrepreneurs think they can’t afford to market their business. They look at the big players in the industry and see their excessive marketing budgets. Fortunately, small businesses don’t need big pockets to market effectively. In fact, some of the best marketing tools are free or low cost, and are just as effective as bigger ticket tools like commercials or print advertising.

1.    Social Media

Whether you’re into Twitter or Facebook personally or not, if your customers and target audience play there, you can’t overlook social media as a way to reach new business. One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make is put his own opinion of social media (it’s for my teenagers; we’ll never get business from such a waste of time) in the way of his business’ success.

People are clamoring to interact with brands, and social media provides a fantastic way to do so. Choose an employee, intern or social media consultant to represent your company’s voice, and plan how often they will update and interact on sites like Facebook and Twitter (currently the two most popular and useful for a business). You should have activity at least two to three days out of the week to continually generate interest.

Not sure what to post to these sites? Links to press releases, company news, new products, sales and tips on how to use your products are a great place to start. But don’t be afraid to add a little of your personality. You don’t have to be business-minded all the time. Talk about the World Cup or the downpour outside. People relate to people, not robots, so it’s important to build a repoire with your contacts on social media sites.

2.    Blogs

Blogs as a marketing tool come from two different angles:

  • Writing one to represent your business
  • Working with other blogs to tell others about your business.

Writing a company blog is a great way to explain what you do behind the scenes, offer tips for how to use your products better, and become known as an industry expert. Aim for 2 to 3 posts a week, and vary them up. Write about news in your industry (if you’re in the oil industry, talking about the BP oil spill is a great way to drive more traffic to your site) and show that you know your stuff. People are more likely to buy from a company that shows it’s blog savvy.

For each blog post (which you can write, if you’re prolific enough; otherwise employ an intern or marketing firm to write them), focus on a topic, and boil it down to a few keywords that people are likely to search for. “How to” posts are always helpful and popular.

After your blog has been up for a while, check your analytics to see which posts were the most popular. Revisit those topics from new angles, and always link to past articles to keep people on your site longer.

Use sharing tools (WordPress has several free plugins that let visitors easily share your posts on sites like Digg, Stumbleupon, Twitter and more) to give your new posts more exposure and get more traffic.

Bloggers: Today’s New Journalists?

While you may wait years to get on Oprah’s hot list, there’s no waiting line to get the attention of many bloggers who write about your industry. Connecting with influential blogs is an economical and smart way to reach a wider audience that trusts what a given blogger writes about.

By doing a bit of research, you can find the bloggers who are writing about your industry. Aim to connect to the blogs with better traffic and following. If you sell a product, reach out to them with a well-crafted pitch, inviting them to try your product (for free) and/or give your product away on their blog. The better you treat the bloggers, the more they will become evangelists for your brand.

Set up a plan to reach out to a certain number of bloggers each month. Track your efforts well; some bloggers will drag their feet on reviewing your product, so it’s important to keep up with the dates you contacted them and the status of your review.

A simple look at your analytics will show which blogs sent the most traffic to your site. For those that sent the most, build longer relationships with them, perhaps buying affordable advertising on their sites.

3.    SEO and Keywords

If you’re not technical minded, the term SEO may scare you off. It’s simple, really. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s how well your website ranks among others that use the same keywords. A keyword is simply a word that describes what your business does. If you sell baked goods online, your keywords might be:

  • Brownies
  • Corporate baked goods
  • Birthday cookie

You want your website to appear at the top of a search result for a given keyword, and there are strategies you can use to get there. The easiest is to think in terms of your keywords at all times. When you (or your web design firm) write the copy for your website, it needs to use the keywords you want to be known for often. Your blog should use those keywords and link to your site. You want to write great content that uses the keywords too.

Do a little research on how to think in keywords, and with a little practice you can boost your placement in search engine results.

By implementing these three marketing tools, you will see a ramp up in website visits, interaction with your brand, and sales in just a few months. These tools are free if you do them in-house, but hiring a marketing consultant to handle them can also be cost effective if you don’t have the manpower to pick up new skills.

Lead411′s News and Tips Blog has been launched!

blogWe launched our official blog today! Our mission for this blog is to provide news and tips to sales & marketing professionals inside small to medium sized businesses. We have a lot of knowledge in this area as we are a startup ourselves and we already track news on a daily basis with our Lead411 alerts.  We hope you will continue to stop by and see our new content. Segments will include

  • News on Sales/Marketing companies
  • Tips on Marketing Online and Off
  • CEO Interviews focused on their Sales/Mktg efforts
  • Tools of the Day

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