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Keyword Research Basics For SEO

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … there is no more important step in the SEO process than keyword research. One could make a compelling argument for link building or for architecture or for copywriting but at the end of the day – ranking highly for keywords that either don’t convert or which you close up shop waiting to rank for isn’t going to help too terribly much so in my opinion – I’d put keyword research higher in importance. In fact, when I’m building affiliate sites first step is to look up keywords and competition levels – then I look into products and websites and this method has worked very well indeed. It insures that I choose keywords that with both convert and that I can rank for in a period of time and with an effort level that matches the return.

So – if you’re doing keyword research, where should you begin? Unless you’re an affiliate marketer you already have a product and since you’re the target audience of this article – I’m going to assume that’s the case. For the purpose of this article I’m going to pick a hobby of mine and also an area where I don’t have a client and imagine I’m doing keyword research for the imaginary online downhill mountain biking store DH Mountain Bikes.

So Where To Begin …

The first thing one needs to do is try to think up all the possible phrases that might apply. I call this my seed list … it’s the list of phrases that my research starts with and is generally based on brainstorming. In this case the list would be:

downhill mountain bike
dh mountain bike
mountain bike

The keyword tool I generally use first is Google’s keyword suggestion tool. There are other great tools which I’ll discuss below but I’ve found Google’s tool to be as accurate as any other, the price is definitely right (free), and they’re very good about providing the information required to know just how wrong the data is if you know where to look. So let’s do just that.

Before we begin you’ll need to head over to Google’s keyword tool at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal. In the top left (for now) you’ll see a link to a beta version of the tool. Click on the link and you’ll be at the new version of the tool which will provide you easy access to much more information – as long as you know what to look for. So let’s begin with our three seed phrases.

When you see the list you’ll first have to know what the numbers are. This tool is a tool designed for AdWords and the default number is the Broad match which means it includes every phrase with the term. For example, the term “mountain bike” has a broad match total of 2,740,000 which will include “downhill mountain bike”, “mountain bike parts”, “kona mountain bike”, etc. etc. What we want to know is how many searches are for “mountain bike”. Down the left-hand side you’ll see a set of check boxes. Deselect “Broad” and select “Exact” and you’ll get the Exact match numbers – the number of searches for the exact phrase. You’ll quickly see that 2,740,000 drop to 450,000. This is how many people searches the GOOGLE SEARCH NETWORK for “mountain bike”. Why is this in caps – because it’s so commonly misunderstood that I definitely want your attention brought to it. This isn’t the number of searches on Google.com – it’s the number of searches on all sites who’s search is powered by Google. From YouTube to Beanstalk’s blog search – it’s all in there so the data starts to get skewed from the start. Then let’s add in all the automated queries from rank-checking tools and just manual searches from you and your competitors can further skew the data. This skewing will exist in all data – the thing I like about using Google is that at least we know more about what’s skewing the data.

OK – so from there we need to organize the data into a more useful set of information. To do this one needs to understand the columns of data. The first column is the keyword, the second you’ll see is a link to the term on Google Insights. We’ll get into this later. The next is Global Monthly Searches – this is the average number of searches/mth worldwide. This can be helpful in some industries but in ours – I’m only concerned with the US market which is where my imaginary store ships to so I’m more interested in the next column Local Monthly Searches which is the number of searches in the US (or whatever region I’ve specified when entering my keyword phrases). This is the data I’m interested in. The last column is the search trend. This is extremely important but often overlooked. It is a column that wasn’t visible by default in the old/current version.

OK – let’s organize our data by search volume. Click on the “Local Monthly Searches” and you’ll see the keywords order by descending search volume. With this data in front of me I then typically look over to the Trend data to see what I can find there. In our case we’re going to see an increase in search volume in the spring and summer. This make sense of course. Think of your industry and see if the trends reflect what makes sense.

I’m also looking for anomalies. Often I’ll see phrases that jump for a single month. One has to know that unless there was a news story or other event that would spark interest in a single term or brand – a tool or some other such incident is likely falsifying the data. You need to look at these trends and see if they make sense. If not – you need to either test the phrases with PPC or jus skip over them and select different phrases. There’s little worse as an SEO than focusing energies on a phrase only to find that the search volume is not what was expected based on the estimates delivered.

So now what?

So what do you do once you’ve filtered your data down to just what you’re interested in looking into competition levels on. Well – the first thing I do is to look to the trends to see if there are any phrases that obviously need to be filtered out. In this case there really aren’t any high in the search volume column. So the only thing left is to look at the competition levels to see what makes sense. For our purposes we’ll be dividing the list and research into two categories:

Major phrases – We need to decide what the long-term goals are going to be and the targets for the main pages. These will be the totally generic phrases such as “mountain bike” and “downhill mountain bike” as well as brand or type specific phrases such as “specialized mountain bike” and “full suspension mountain bike”.

Longtail phrases – We also need to look into the types of longtail phrases we’re going to want to target. In this case I know I’ll want to target specific parts which will require new research. I will spare you the details there but I’ll end up with specific models of components such as “hayes mx2”. You don’t need to know what that is – you need to know the makes and models in your industry (or other longatil opportunities such as “new york hotel with jacuzzi”, etc.)

I generally would gather together a list of 15 or 20 major phrases and 50 or 60 longtail phrases and would then head into the competition analysis to determine which phrases to move forward with.

And next week I’ll have that article for you …

SEO news blog post by @ 11:29 am on May 12, 2010

Categories:Articles,SEO Articles

 

BOTW Discount & New Face For Google

The first thing I’m going to discuss today is the discount being offered by my favorite paid directory Best Of The Web.  They always offer good value for the money in regards to both trust enhancement AND just plain old traffic but for the month of May they’re offering a $25 discount on submissions of both your site and your blog.  Both the Beanstalk site and blog are in there so I’m not recommending anything I wouldn’t put my own money behind.

So if you’re looking for a good quality link from a solid and respected site, BOTW is a good place to head and I’d recommend doing so before the end of the month.  Submission is typical of  an advanced directory (find your category, click “Submit”). :)  They charge both annual and one-time fees depending on your short vs long term goals.  You can visit their site at http://botw.org/.

Google’s New Face

Some of you may have already noticed that Google is displaying their results differently with a left hand navigation allowing for some advanced tailoring of the search results.  I’ve actually been seeing it on my work computer for a couple weeks now on and off.  Basically the default results set is the same as always but with a click you can tailor your results by time, type (blog, regular, news, etc.) and they even offer suggestion additional searches to consider.

As an SEO I of course have to consider that this is yet another factor in clickthroughs that I have to consider and that will likely put more work on my plate BUT on the plus side – t also may reduce the bounce rate of sites by allowing people to tailor their results more specifically.  Oh – and as a searcher I do like it which (I suppose) is what Google’s trying to do. :)  You can read Google’s post on the new face on their blog at http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/spring-metamorphosis-googles-new-look.html.

Once again Google, you’ve made my life a little more complicated but I have to commend you on a job well done.

SEO news blog post by @ 6:36 pm on May 5, 2010


 

Adobe CS5 Trials Available For Download

For those of you who (like me) were waiting anxiously for CS5 trial versions to become available … you’re in for a treat. :)

I just got my email from them announcing that the trial versions of the new suites are available and of course – I’ve just downloaded Dreamweaver to give it a test drive.  I’ll report on that another day as, well … I just downloaded it.  I can so far say the download was fast but that’s the only review I can do.

You can get product information and download the trials off the Adobe website here and if you order by the end of the month you get free shipping. :)

Do download the trial, give it a try and of course – watch the Beanstalk blog for more information. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 6:42 pm on May 3, 2010

Categories:SEO Tools

 

What Type of Blog Will Benefit My Business the Most? Business Blogging: Part 2 of 4

In Part 1 we broke down for you why it is just good business for a business to have a blog. Now that you’ve decided that having one is beneficial to your company, Part 2 explores what type of blog will benefit you the most.

Now that you know how blogs can benefit your site, you might think that if one is good, two would be better. Or more. You would be right. However, it takes a little more than simply registering with Blogger or WordPress and throwing some verbiage into the void. You need to seriously think about what approach would benefit your company the most. If you take a well thought out planning process, your blogs will accomplish their mission—establishing you and your company as a useful, expert resource that motivates people to revisit your blogs and do business with you.

Remember, blogs can either reside right on your site, or they can be independent domains all to themselves. The advantage of having your blogs on your site is that it powerfully connects everything in them to you and your firm, which is a strong branding and ID play. Developing offsite blogs gives them a little more freedom, both perceived and real, and the “buffer” lets you be a bit more controversial or experimental than you normally might be. The blogs can be official or unofficial.

The executive blog

Every company, in every industry, can have at least two blogs. One, an “executive blog”—and a second, “news” or “insider info” blog. The executive blog should not be the CEO posting about where he ate lunch or his new Blackberry. It should show that the executive, and thus the company, is at the leading edge of the industry. This blog should cover industry and world news and events, items of particular interest to the firm’s industry or region, and company news—anything relevant, with the emphasis on relevant, not on anything—and offer intelligent, insightful comments.

Sharp analysis and insights will demonstrate up-to-date, intimate knowledge of industry trends and true expertise about the industry as a whole. This shows that your company has the sharpest people around and instills confidence in those who are considering doing business with you. All of this is accomplished in a way that helps the reader, so the value propositions of your firm come forth naturally, absent marketing blurbs or sales talk. Blogs are incredibly valuable communications tools, as people don’t automatically raise their defenses against your message.

News blogs and others

A news blog, obviously, will comment on news stories concerning your industry. It is probably wise to refrain from turning the blog into an op-ed. Just provide facts and figures—and others’ opinions. This way you can bring up controversial subjects without the risk of alienating readers. There are many other types of blogs that you can do, depending on your vertical and the defining characteristics of your target readers. By their very nature these are helpful and supportive, without the slightest risk of offending anyone.

Beyond executive and news blogs, many companies are at a loss for what kind of blog might help them succeed. Sometimes the solution is obvious, and other times it takes a little creative thinking.

For example, if you own a retail site that sells many products and you created a blog that just tried to sell a different product every day, it might come off as self-serving and clumsy. However, let’s say instead you created a pair of “cool product” blogs, one male-focused and one female-focused. Each could highlight cool, trendy products, but more from the approach of someone recommending something really great to a friend, or from the approach of an insider. It is a subtle difference, but if done right making them more recommendation-based instead of sales-based can come off much better and more successfully. On the other hand, retail sites selling few products could have a blog that discusses inventive ways to use the products, or invites third-party stories about unique, thoughtful product usage. Every site should consider blogs that offer insight into how different sub-demographics within their customer base can use or benefit from various products.

Unique firms, unique blogs

In the “B2B” universe, staffing companies could blog about staffing needs in various important times, like expanding, opening new offices, corporate transitions, planning for holidays or tax time, and so forth. Accountants could have a “tax tips” blog, or write about various issues of financial planning for executives and employees. Lawyers in virtually any law area could explain legal concepts and situations in their specialty in layman’s terms, comment on the legal ramifications of current events and analyze high-profile cases to give expert insights. Mortgage firms could target the many different demographics looking for refinancing or home equity loans, from newlyweds and couples with children to seniors, first-time buyers and people in mortgage trouble. Each group has different reasons for refinancing, giving you limitless fodder for endless blogging.

Companies in the food industry—from organic farmers and bakeries to the corner restaurant—can have recipe blogs that utilize the products they sell. A spice manufacturer could offer recipes using its ingredients, or an organic foods purveyor could offer tips on cooking and eating right in addition to a multitude of health-conscious recipes. Really, any blog could similarly tie into the company site and its products or services. Kitchen or cooking supply firms could offer cooking tips and processes that involve their products. Or they could answer technical “what is this?” and “what’s it for?” questions, and offer “stories from the front” relating real-life kitchen experiences, including important safety reminders.

Affiliates—and everyone else

Blogging is important for all firms, but can be enormously beneficial to affiliates. Every idea related above is just as relevant and powerful in the affiliate world, if not more so. Many affiliates keep their sites spare, just desiring to get the visitor through the site to get the sale. But by creating a highly informational and helpful blog in any industry, they can drive affiliate traffic and sales organically with high conversion. Anyone who wants to be a successful affiliate can use any of the above blog ideas as an affiliate to an industry.

Clearly, blogs are extremely valuable in the right hands. It may take a few tries to get your particular formula working smoothly and consistently, or to come up with just the right approach for your situation, but it’s time well spent and the ultimate results will be good for business. If you keep a service mentality and put yourself in the reader’s place during both the development and the writing phases, you will stay on track and your company will reap the benefits.

On To Part Three >

SEO news blog post by @ 3:28 pm on May 1, 2010


 

Beanstalk’s Blog Now In WordPress

Well alas, it had to be done.  After years of touting the benefits of Blogger blogs and recommending client’s host their blogs there we’ve been forced to move by Google and their decision to discontinue support for FTP.  While it’s a shame to have been pushed out of blogger. Of course I’m still working out a few of the kinks BUT all-in-all it went pretty smoothly.

For those facing the same dilema – here’s roughly what it took:

  1. Install WordPress.
  2. The easy way is to convert directly from your blogger account as Dusty illustrates on his blog at http://dustyreagan.com/convert-from-blogger-to-wordpress/ BUT I wasn’t able to go that route so I …
  3. Export your Blog (if you can’t use the method in Step 2).
  4. Using WordPress’ Import function (under Tools in the left nav)  you’ll have to convert your exported data to a WordPress format (since you can’t use the Blogger import if you’ve gone past step 2.  I was relieved to find an awesome tool at http://blogger2wordpress.appspot.com/ that worked wonderfully converting all the data exactly how it should.
  5. So now you have your blog working.  It’ll look different but all the information is there.  I then had to go into the files and edit the theme to look like the Beanstalk blog is supposed to but if you don’t have your blog matching your site and you’re happy with one of the countless themes available for WordPress – you’re done.  If not – you have to then manually convert your Blogger template to a WordPress template that requires a reasonable understanding of PHP.  I say reasonable as I’m in no way a PHP developer and I was able to do it in about 30 o 40 minutes with the tweaks and the addition of a couple new features that WordPress had that weren’t available in Blogger. :)
  6. Now all that’s left is to go through your backlinks and incoming traffic points and make sure to 301 all those link and entry points so you don’t lose link strength or annoy your visitors.  And don’t forget to 301 your feeds. :)

And that’s all there is to it.  The total process including figuring out how to do it took about 1.5 to 2 hours.  I hope you have the same success or better. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 5:54 pm on April 30, 2010

Categories:Misc

 

36 SEO Myths That Won’t Die But Need To

A couple days ago I got my regular newsletter from Search Engine Land with an awesome article on SEO myths that just keep sticking around. If you’re an SEO you know what I’m talking about – those myths that you have to answer to every couple days and when you say it’s a myth, the client responds as if you’re an idiot because they heard it from some very knowledgeable person on a forum somewhere and that person had 37 posts so they must know a lot right?

Well Stephan Spencer, Vice President of SEO Strategies at Covario wrote a great article on 36 myths and while I do tend to disagree with some of the assertions he makes (as I’m sure he woudl disagree with some of mine) it’s a highly worthwhile read. Below you’ll find his list but to read the full scoop you’ll just have to head over to read the full story on Search Engine Watch. The URL for that is below the list but first – here’s his 36 myths:

  1. Our SEO firm is endorsed/approved by Google.
  2. Don’t use Google Analytics because Google will spy on you and use the information against you.
  3. Your PageRank score, as reported by Google’s toolbar server, is highly correlated to your Google rankings.
  4. Having an XML Sitemap will boost your Google rankings.
  5. Since the advent of personalization, there is no such thing as being ranked #1 anymore because everyone sees different results.
  6. Meta tags will boost your rankings.
  7. It’s good practice to include a meta robots tag specifying index, follow.
  8. It’s helpful if your targeted keywords are tucked away in HTML comment tags and title attributes (of IMG and A HREF tags.)
  9. Having country-specific sites creates “duplicate content” issues in Google.
  10. You can keep search engines from indexing pages linked-to with Javascript links.
  11. Googlebot doesn’t read CSS.
  12. You should end your URLs in .html.
  13. You can boost the Google rankings of your home page for a targeted term by including that term in the anchor text of internal links.
  14. It’s important for your rankings that you update your home page frequently (e.g. daily.)
  15. Trading links helps boost PageRank and rankings.
  16. Linking out (such as to Google.com) helps rankings.
  17. It’s considered “cloaking” — and is thus taboo and risky — to clean up the URLs in your links selectively and only for spiders.
  18. If you define a meta description, Google uses it in the snippet. .
  19. The bolding of words in a Google listing signifies that they were considered in the rankings determination.
  20. H1 tags are a crucial element for SEO.
  21. There are some unique ranking signals for Google Mobile Search, and they include the markup being “XHTML Mobile”.
  22. SEO is a black art.
  23. The Disallow directive in robots.txt can get pages de-indexed from Google.
  24. SEO is a one-time activity you complete and are then done with. .
  25. Automated SEO is black-hat or spammy.
  26. A site map isn’t for people.
  27. There’s no need to link to all your pages for the spiders to see them. Just list all URLs in the XML Sitemap.
  28. Google will not index pages that are only accessible by a site’s search form.
  29. Placing links in teeny-tiny size font at the bottom of your homepage is an effective tactic to raise the rankings of deep pages in your site.
  30. Using a service that promises to register your site with “hundreds of search engines” is good for your site’s rankings.
  31. Home page PageRank on a domain means something.
  32. Outsourcing link building to a far-away, hourly contractor with no knowledge of your business is a good link acquisition solution.
  33. The clickthrough rate on the SERPs matters.
  34. Keyword density is da bomb..
  35. Hyphenated domain names are best for SEO.
  36. Great Content = Great Rankings.

To read the full article (with explanations of why he believes they’re all myths) head over to http://searchengineland.com/36-seo-myths-that-wont-die-but-need-to-40076.

SEO news blog post by @ 4:11 pm on

Categories:SEO Tips

 

An Apology & Keyword Tool

We’ve all been there, you start doing something when you have time and then – as other things creep up (let’s call them clients and staffing obligations) suddenly anything that isn’t hammering at your door tends to slip through the cracks. This blog has fallen victim to just that and for this – I am sorry. You come here for reliable and up-to-date information from the SEO realm and find a post 2 weeks old. Well that’s about to change.

Not only am I personally recommitting myself to posting more frequently (at least 3 times per week) – you’re going to see a lot more posts coming in from other Beanstalkers (or should I write … Beans talkers). But for today – you’ll have to put up with me.

So for today I’m going to discuss the newish face of Google’s keyword tool which is right now in beta. The data’s the same so what’s different. A lot if you know where to look.

My quick feedback is that I like it. I think it’s a big step forward to the lay-person and is far more intuitive. Here’s what I like:

  • I like that the trending data is shown by default. To me it’s a huge help to not just see if a phrase was highly search last month but what it’s volume has been like for the past year. This data is already available in the keyword tool but it’s displayed by default in the new version. Very helpful information. You’d be surprised at how many phrase have a 1 or 2 month spike that augments their importance. Personally – I want phrases that show steady traffic over all months.
  • I like the new “Contains” option that allows you to further filter down your results based on what keywords you want in and what you don’t ant included (words like “free” for example).
  • The Match Type has moved to the left. I’m neither here nor there about location but thought I’d let you know where it is. :)
  • If you’re looking for suggestions – they also have a category selection so you can choose similar keywords by the category or filter by category if your keywords would span multiple industries (let’s use a phrase like “windows installation” for example).
  • Google Insights link – I also like the link to Google Insights which gives the user more information on a phrase-by-phrase basis. With regional data, trend data, etc.

Now Google added the beta back in September but I’ve only recently really started digging into it as I can already pull all this data from the classic tool but it was when I was chatting with a client who was at the new version that I realized that for the layman – it’s WAY better.

So head over to the tool at https://adwords.google.com/ – at the top left client over to the beta tool and see what’s available. While you’re at it – schedule regular checks to do this every couple months … it’s just a good idea. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:12 pm on April 15, 2010

Categories:Uncategorized

 

An Apology & Keyword Tool

We’ve all been there, you start doing something when you have time and then – as other things creep up (let’s call them clients and staffing obligations) suddenly anything that isn’t hammering at your door tends to slip through the cracks. This blog has fallen victim to just that and for this – I am sorry. You come here for reliable and up-to-date information from the SEO realm and find a post 2 weeks old. Well that’s about to change.

Not only am I personally recommitting myself to posting more frequently (at least 3 times per week) – you’re going to see a lot more posts coming in from other Beanstalkers (or should I write … Beans talkers). But for today – you’ll have to put up with me.

So for today I’m going to discuss the newish face of Google’s keyword tool which is right now in beta. The data’s the same so what’s different. A lot if you know where to look.

My quick feedback is that I like it. I think it’s a big step forward to the lay-person and is far more intuitive. Here’s what I like:

  • I like that the trending data is shown by default. To me it’s a huge help to not just see if a phrase was highly search last month but what it’s volume has been like for the past year. This data is already available in the keyword tool but it’s displayed by default in the new version. Very helpful information. You’d be surprised at how many phrase have a 1 or 2 month spike that augments their importance. Personally – I want phrases that show steady traffic over all months.
  • I like the new “Contains” option that allows you to further filter down your results based on what keywords you want in and what you don’t ant included (words like “free” for example).
  • The Match Type has moved to the left. I’m neither here nor there about location but thought I’d let you know where it is. :)
  • If you’re looking for suggestions – they also have a category selection so you can choose similar keywords by the category or filter by category if your keywords would span multiple industries (let’s use a phrase like “windows installation” for example).
  • Google Insights link – I also like the link to Google Insights which gives the user more information on a phrase-by-phrase basis. With regional data, trend data, etc.

Now Google added the beta back in September but I’ve only recently really started digging into it as I can already pull all this data from the classic tool but it was when I was chatting with a client who was at the new version that I realized that for the layman – it’s WAY better.

So head over to the tool at https://adwords.google.com/ – at the top left client over to the beta tool and see what’s available. While you’re at it – schedule regular checks to do this every couple months … it’s just a good idea. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:12 pm on

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Yes, Your Company Really Does Need A Blog

The term has become so common that most people don’t know that “blog” is a condensed version of “weblog.” It is not a new form of communication, by any means. People have been blogging since man began painting on cave walls, really; it’s just that the tools have changed and the definitions of writing styles have evolved a bit (but just a bit). When the Internet was still without its graphic interface, the World Wide Web, there were the bulletin boards and file-sharing services that allowed the distribution of text files.

Even though the Internet traces its roots way back past Al Gore to the DARPANet (Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration) in 1969, not every article in that era was a description of biological weapons or a flight-simulator log. People would rant, discuss, argue and hold forth on any number of topics. The term weblog seems to have started, some folks say, with one Jorn Barger, who would “surf the net” (not his phrase) and keep a log of what he found interesting, then comment on some of it. As words have a way of doing, “weblog” became “blog” and now they’re everywhere, and everyone has one.

Why don’t you have a blog?

The fact that there are so many blogs is perhaps the most compelling reason that your company should have one. It is no longer noteworthy to have a blog; today people will wonder why you don’t have one. You probably know a lot of reasons why you should have one for your firm, whether your business is plastic extrusion, audio engineering, IT consulting, or anything really. What you need to focus on are all the benefits you are forgoing by not having a blog that represents your product, service or organization.

One immediate benefit is that you are validated as being up to date, a 21st century cybercitizen. If no one knows a thing about your firm except that you have a blog, there is a lot that can be surmised from that one fact. It signifies being computer literate, technology savvy, thorough, and communicative. As mentioned before, it seems odd now when companies don’t have a blog. It was well over a decade ago that having a Web site became an absolute must for businesses, and for a time it was de rigueur for individuals, as well. Now, folks can have a blog instead of a Web site and maintain just about the same level of “cool factor”—but you, as a businessperson, need both.

Quick connections, extended reach

Up-to-the-minute information is no longer good enough. Things change by the second, which is why texting and Twitter have become parts of the communications toolkit, too. A sense of immediacy, the need for updates on a continuous basis, has driven the development of these technologies. However, these are bandwidth-limited and one-dimensional. A blog, on the other hand, has most of the benefits of your Web site—it can carry text, display images, stream media and link to other destinations—but is easier to manage and update. You can make changes at any time without calling the IT department or waiting on your webmaster. This business benefit is immediacy—of contact, information delivery and feedback, all crucially important to any business.

Extending Your Network

Another big benefit is the same thing realtors talk about all the time—location, location, location. You’ve got another location that will be indexed, spidered, cataloged and listed in special blog directories. It can become a side door to your main Web site, or a completely separate site altogether. In any case, the network of links, in both directions, will both differ and grow independent from your business site’s links, too, so you’re capturing more (and more varied) visitors—a business benefit we’ll call “extended reach.” A blog increases the range for your corporate message: it allows greater flexibility of presentation, and has a “personal touch” that makes it friendlier, thus making your message more accessible and absorbable than a business site.

Dialogue with customers (and fans)

Regular, consistent and consistently high-quality blogs will attract a readership that will learn to trust you. As trust is established, your visitors will give you more than just brief feedback. They will engage you in discussions that could result in both of you (as well as your other readers) learning something quite valuable. There is no telling what might happen when you are out there in cyberspace meeting and greeting new people. A blog gives you the opportunity to teach and learn, another broad and valuable benefit.

Finally, because of the less formal look, feel and operation of a blog, you can take chances you might not take with your business and/or e-commerce site. You can try focused promotions, test new marketing ideas, gauge the effect of a new advertisement—and you can be right up-front about the fact you are doing these things. It’s a blog, after all, so you can ask things of visitors that you would not ask a Web site visitor that you’re trying to convert into a buyer. You can be more casual than you could at your business site.

Use common sense and go for it

None of the foregoing should be interpreted to mean that you can just cut loose and rant about politics, religion or your in-laws in any offhanded manner that you choose. If your business name is on that blog, you are still representing the firm and its interests. Yes, you can post personal photos and take the occasional tangent, just as you can commend an employee for a job well done or offer discount coupons for a spur-of-the-moment sale. If it’s a business blog, however, there is a reasonable standard of decorum expected of you and everything that carries the company name.

That said, remember what the benefits are—validation, immediacy, extended reach, flexibility, accessibility, dialogue, teaching and learning, experimentation and test marketing—and use your blog to benefit your business, its Web site and its future. Go forward with the desire to offer as much as possible, and you may be surprised at how much you receive in return.

On To Part Two >

SEO news blog post by @ 3:34 pm on April 9, 2010


 

Proud Of Our Awards So We’re Blogging It … Oh The Irony

Today is April 1st. Apart from Google changing their name to Topeka and my kids running off with dreams of changing teacher’s pen colors – it’s a lot like most days before except that we get the honor of again making Top SEO’s list of the best firms in a variety of categories. This month we made the grade in the following categories:

  • SEO
  • Link Building
  • Content Creation
  • SEO Training
  • PPC Management

Of course we’ve very pleased to be including in this list and proud that our dedication to our clients and ethical SEO techniques is recognized. Thanks to Top SEO’s for once again including us.

Okay – that that was the good news of the day – now the bad news. Those who use Blogger’s FTP function (including your truly) have one month to find a new solution. Google will not be supporting FTP for Blogger after May 1st.

We’ve been looking into various solutions and will let you know when we lock down the one we’ll be implementing. And one last time – I’m not impressed Google. While only the minority of us use the FTP function I’ll bet that if we only count legitimate blogs (as opposed to splogs) that percentage is much higher. But alas – our hands are tied and our blog will be pulled out of Blogger – I just haven’t figured out where it’s going to go yet.

But did I mention that we won an award? :)
(wanted to end this post on a high note)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:52 pm on April 1, 2010

Categories:Uncategorized

 

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