Sometimes I make the mistake of assuming everyone has the same understanding of basic online marketing concepts I do. I’ll mention a phrase like “key words” and get an affirmative yet questioning nod. That’s when I realize I need to take it down a notch and explain a little better.
Simply stated, keywords are the foundation of everything you do online. They’re that important. In online marketing we say “content is king.” Content is made up of keywords. Even images and videos have keyword tags.
We use keywords every day, but sometimes don’t realize it. Every online search you do is composed of keywords. Everything you write is full of keywords. Resumes are sorted by the keywords stated in the document.
Knowing that keywords are the foundation, I always ask clients if they have a list of keywords. They rarely do. Even if they do, I always do new keyword research and provide that list to them for review.
What is a keyword?
Let’s explain this first. Keywords are words used to find or categorize content. When you search for a name on Facebook or LinkedIn, those are the keywords. When you search for a product on Amazon, that is your keyword. When you look for an address on Google, those are your keywords or key phrases. Keywords are how visitors find you online.
What gets ignored?
Short words, letters or plurals. A, as, the and all get ignored by the search spiders. I’ll sometimes do keyword research and find an odd phrase with no modifiers. It’s because they have been stripped out. Using word modifiers can spice up headlines while still maintaining keyword focus. For example, the title “How to do Keyword Research” would get indexed as “Keyword Research.”
I’ll sometimes have business owners tell me they have 500,000 (or some other ridiculous number) keywords they manage. Why? Search engines look at root words. Search spiders look at what comes first in a phrase when establishing what is the root. I focus on core root words for my clients. The long-tail results will follow.
Speaking of long tails… What are they? A root keyword phrase could be “real estate.” A long-tail could be “find real estate in salt lake city.” See the difference? Web search has been around long enough that most users are sophisticated enough to add modifiers in their search. Modifiers reveal intent.
The most popular search term for real estate in Utah is “Utah real estate.” No surprises there. But that doesn’t tell us anything about the searchers intent. People search for two reasons; to purchase or to research. “Utah real estate statistics” reveals a much different goal than “Utah real estate for sale.” The more specific a search is, the more likely a consumer is ready to buy. A search like “Holladay townhouses for sale 84124″ is very insightful.
All of these are considerations when I perform keyword research and they’re very helpful in weeding out non-relevant terms. It’s even more critical when running paid search campaigns. Keyword research provides market research as well. Google’s keyword research tool tells me how many searches are made each month, what the competition pays for those keywords and how competitive that keyword is in the marketplace.
Research needs to be updated as searches change depending on season, product life cycle and market trends. Keyword research helps determine your site structure and content. That research translates to offline marketing as well. Keyword research tells you what your videos, brochures, Facebook posts, white papers, tweets and blog posts need to be about. Because that’s what people are searching for. That is what interests your prospects and customers. Provide the content they seek and sales will follow.
I’ve been trying to get to the WordPress Wednesday meetup group for some time, but have always had conflicts. Tonight was the night and boy was it worth it!
Recently, many of my potential clients and clients have been asking about web design. For a simple site, the first thing that comes to mind for me is a WordPress site. When most people think of WordPress, they think of a blog. While that’s what WordPress started out as, it has evolved into a content management framework.
Tonight, that’s what group leader Channa Connolly taught about and gave specific examples of using themes and plug-ins. Those themes and plug-ins are only available on the self-hosted version of WordPress. I’m not using that version, because I like the ease of use of the WordPress hosted version you see here.
With the right theme and design, consider WordPress a site you can make changes to yourself. Blog or not. My clients at Fiscal Networking chose to use a WordPress site because they wanted to blog and Corey keeps on adding cool plug-ins to expand the capability of the site.
One of my newer clients had his site done in WordPress and while a blog is available, it’s not being used yet. Tonight, Channa taught how to activate it using the Atahualpa theme which my client happens to be using.
Both of these sites use WordPress, but they are completely customizable and don’t have to look the same. Here’s another example of a WordPress based site. My takeaway from this meetup is WordPress is a viable solution for a quick website for clients who need something quickly and want to be able to make minor changes themselves. It’s also a great blog authoring tool.
If you want to learn more about WordPress, this is an amazing meetup group or you can contact me to set up and maintain one for you.
I’ve written before about how web designers don’t know how to do search engine optimization and why bringing an SEO company into your project as early as possible is a good idea.
This last week I saw one of the worst uses of meta tags on a new client’s site. The company that set up the WordPress blog for my client coded in a meta tag that tells the search engine spiders to ignore every page and link on the site.
The worst thing is every method I tried to change that code failed. However, I know a work around for everything. Since I couldn’t change the meta tag, I added a robots.txt file. Spiders look at two things when they visit a site, the meta tags and the robots.txt file. On my client’s site the meta tags said “go away” but the robots file says index my entire site.
It’s entirely likely that a robot might find the same links on some other page without a NOFOLLOW (perhaps on some other site), and so still arrives at your undesired page.
The other thing I did to fix the situation was submit the URL to Google for indexing and created a directory listing for the site at Merchant Circle. Tomorrow a press release hits that also contains links, so I know we’ll be getting a lot of quality inbound links for my client in a very short time.
In the mean time, I’ll still be figuring out how to move that irresponsible meta tag. The reason the tag exists is to avoid the so called “duplicate content penalty.” However the penalty no longer exists.
There is one reason and one reason alone to ever use the noindex, nofollow meta tag. It’s when you’re running a paid search campaign to a specific landing page and you don’t want organic traffic to skew your numbers. That’s it!
Where do you place the robots.txt file?
It goes in the root directory like this – http://www.seobyswaby.com/robots.txt. It’s just like a page except it’s in basic text instead of .html.
What’s in a robots.txt file?
Very simple commands for the spider. Here’s what my client’s file looks like.
If you’re doing a site redesign or having a site made for the first time, be sure to get someone who understands SEO involved early because you will save money and possibly avoid having your site tagged to be ignored by Google.
One of the challenges a sole proprietor faces in marketing is whether to admit they are completely solo. As our information based economy has evolved more and more people are successfully creating businesses on their own.
Technology has created opportunities that didn’t exist even 20 years ago. Back then, a secretary or telephone receptionist was a necessity for a small business. Typing was considered a “woman’s” skill and no self-respecting businessman knew how to do it. (Many writers of course did.) Technology has made us more productive. The Internet gives us a 24/7 salesperson, cell phones eliminate the ties of an office or the necessity of a receptionist. Word processing and personal computers eliminate the requirement of a typist or secretary.
The point is technology has enabled us to be more productive than ever before and the personnel needed to run a business successfully is much different than it ever was. A one person shop can be effective.
Old concepts die hard and some people still think they need to puff themselves up to their prospects. I probably went back and forth on that a little bit in my writing voice at the beginning of this blog, but I quickly settled into an “I.” Two reasons drove that decision.
The first came from reading an article by Steve Pavlina. He wrote -
Many one-person businesses refer to themselves as “we.” That’s something a lot of new entrepreneurs do, but it isn’t necessary. There’s nothing wrong with a one-person business, especially today. My games business has mostly been a we over the years, but my personal development business is still an I.
This makes a lot of sense. After all, I am the one with nearly 12 years of SEO experience. I am the one writing this blog. I am the one that came up with the concept for the business. I am SEO by Swaby.
I also knew this business would grow quickly and I needed help in some areas that are weaknesses for me. Here I am in month three of the business and I am about to become a “we.”
Through one-on-one networking (analog marketing) over the last 30 days, I’ve been able to form some solid relationships with companies that can provide services I haven’t been able to in the past. Chief among those services is web design.
I was a web designer ten years ago before the graphic artists beautified the Internet. I understand the programming and technology, but I don’t do enough of it any more to be efficient. Besides, I love the writing and marketing aspect much more than the programming.
As I’ve reviewed prospective client sites, I realize many of them need design elements or redesigns before we start marketing. I could lie and skip that important step and then have the SEO campaign not yield significant results, but I’m not like that. I want to create successful campaigns that Utah small business owners will tell everyone they know about.
During analog marketing sessions, I’ll tell people what I do – web marketing – and then they’ll ask me if I can do web design too. This is happening far too often for me to say “no” any more. If there is a demand for a service, I want to have a reasonable solution.
On the web design front, I have grown to a we. I am not a web designer, we are. There are three companies that are now part of the SEO by Swaby web design solution offering pricing and services from the very low-end to the very high-end. We can also offer many graphic design solutions as well.
Turnkey solutions for such things as WordPress installs and web hosting are also available through us.
I never thought we would grow this fast, but I’ve been as pro-active as possible to make sure the proper partnerships would be in place to handle such growth.
Now please excuse me as I have leaves to rake…