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July 27 , 2010 In: Linking

Deep Linking – The Overlooked SEO Strategy

Even those with a modest understanding of search engine marketing realize that link building is a major component to increasing search engine rankings. As many realize, each and every link placed on the internet acts as a vote towards a website’s placement. Again, most people are well aware of this. What they are not aware of is the fact that these process needs to be employed for the various subpages on the site. Such an SEO strategy is known as “deep linking” and it is vital for the success of an online marketing campaign.

Most website publishers will exclusively optimize their homepage. Certainly, this is a wise idea because the landing page is the main page for your site. However, it is critical that you do not overlook the importance of the subpages. This is particularly true if these subpages are based around an individual theme that could easily stand on its own in a Seach Engine Optimization campaign. In some instances, there will be visitors that might only be interested in the items that appear on the subpages.

Or example, an entrepreneur that is promoting a used book website will certainly use the home page to promote a very general marketing campaign. Common keywords that would be employed would include “used books,” “used books for sale”, and “cheap used books” among other obvious keywords. But, what if there is someone looking to specifically purchase a certain genre or theme? Well, if the site offers such items then it could provide for this customer’s needs. However, the quandary that is present is the fact that the potential customer would have to visit the homepage first and then follow it to the subpage that is promoting the particular product he/she is seeking. The problem here is that the keywords the person will type in the search engines may not have anything to do with the keywords that have been optimized on the homepage.

For example, if the individual is looking for “home improvement books” or “fitness books” and the website has only optimized the homepage of the site, the visitor may never find his/her way to the subpages that would offer such books.

Again, this is why an effective deep linking strategy intended for the optimization of the subpages is an absolute must. It simply increases the ability to successful market to those customers that would otherwise be missed in a generic marketing campaign. These days, it is not easy for any business to earn money. Actually, it is never easy for a business to succeed regardless of the economic climate it finds itself. With a depressed economy, however, the ability to succeed is even more difficult. That is why more expansive Search Engine Optimisation steps are required. You simply do not want to miss out on any opportunities to connect with a potential customer. Missed and lost opportunities are certainly not helpful as all entrepreneurs will agree.

Some may wonder how expansive their deep linking SEO strategy needs to be. For those with 15 or so subpages, the costs involved with such a linking strategy might be a little out of their budget range. The key here is not to look at deep linking from a ‘zero sum’ perspective. In other words, do not look at it from the process of optimizing all 15 pages or none. You could optimize one page at a time based on your budget. Or, you could always pick the most important subpages for your needs and only optimize them.

Another cost-effective process you could employ is simply taking part in a barebones SEO strategy. You could just purchase a few cheap links for the subpages. Or, perhaps, you could simply write a few promotional articles for the various directories now and then while putting mostly all of your resources into the homepage.

For those that DO have the budget for an expansive deep linking/SEO strategy, it is possible to put as much effort and energy into the subpages as possible. Such an investment would certainly prove valuable over time.

Whatever strategy you follow will, ultimately, prove irrelevant. The key point here is that you do not ignore the subpages on your website since you want to expand your success potential greatly. The subpages are there for a reason. Why not put them to good use?

June 29 , 2010 In: Blogging

Promotional Blogging for SEO Success

Those that wish to engage in internet and search engine marketing do so for one reason: they want their business to be successful. Granted, there may be other motivating factors that lead them to running a successful business. In all likelihood, no matter what one’s motivations may be, the ultimate goal will be making the marketing venture successful. That means you need to make people aware of your product or service and promotional blogging may be the best method in which this can be achieved.

Some might be shaking their heads at the notion of blogging as a means of advertising. Is not blogging primarily a process in which one “muses” over his or her interests? Well, if can be but there are many other uses for a blogging platform. The use of a blog for promotional ventures is not only popular but it is a very successful process. In many ways, a quality promotion blog not only aids in driving traffic to a site and increasing search engine ranking, it can also instill confidence in the visitors. This, in turn can make them more likely to convert into paying customers.

How does this process work? It is about as simple as can be: you would launch a blog that covers a subject related to your commercial enterprise. So, if you were promoting a work from home network marketing venture, your blog could provide a variety of entries that cover the subject of working from home. These entries could range from “How to” articles to interviews with popular MLM figures to historical overviews of MLM to an analysis of the current network marketing landscape. The key here would be to provide informative and interesting articles that leave the reader with an impression you are knowledgeable and trustworthy. This can potentially instill a great deal of confidence in the reader to the point the reader will be much more likely to purchase from you as opposed to another marketer.

Blogging is a lot more than just article writing and publishing. The psychology involved with blogging creates a more personal connection between the blogger and the person reading the blog. It is this somewhat intimate relationship that would be very difficult to attain in another promotional format. That is why promotional blogging is becoming a preferred method among those looking to expand their internet marketing horizons.

Then there are more logistical than psychological benefits present with promotional blogging. It can sell the product or service you are promoting. No, that does not mean you should turn the totality of your blog into a promotional ‘pitch fest’ designed to hard sell what you have to offer. However, putting your product or service in its best light and actually promoting it would not be a bad idea.

Also, a promotional blog can certainly help boost the search engine ranking of your site thanks to the traffic it can deliver to it. (Traffic stats weigh into SEO rankings) Remember, each and every entry that you enter into your blog will be indexed as a separate page in the search engines. As such, if you properly optimize each and every entry with effective keywords you will assuredly see a steady stream of consistent traffic to the site. This, hopefully, will translate into consistent revenue for the site also.

Just be sure to remain consistent with your promotional blogging. Infrequent entries do very little for maximizing success. This does not mean you need to put forth multiple entries per day (not that it would hurt!) but you would probably want to avoid making less than 2 entries per week.

Promotional blogging is not all that difficult to take part in. You need not be the greatest writer on the ‘net. You just need to be passionate about what you are promoting and be consistent with your blogging. This will be a strategy that boosts the likelihood of success tremendously.

May 10 , 2010 In: SEO

Google Engineer Matt Cutts Talks SEO

A good summary right from the source!

Bringing traffic to your web site is just the first step in converting those visitors into buyers. You need to qualify your visitors and get their contact information so that you can follow up with them in the future. This type of lead-building is a major marketing activity offline and online. Online marketers use a “squeeze” page to get qualified leads from their visitors.

Sometimes called a “name squeeze page,” your squeeze page is a single page with teaser copy offering something attractive to visitors, in exchange for their name and email address.

The actual layout and content of squeeze pages varies, but it should always include a headline, enticing copy, an offer, and a subscription form. You may also choose to use bullet points (always a great way to grab attention), testimonials, and audio or video to get your message across.

Your headline must immediately answer the main question in your visitors’ minds. This question is always, “What’s in it for me?” You need to tell them, in as few words as possible, why they should keep reading your page. Your headline should grab your visitors’ attention and convince them that they need to keep reading.

Using a classic headline “formula” almost always works. Some popular formulas include “How to…” “How I…And You Can, Too!” “Seven Ways to…” “Do You Want to…” The one thing all of these headlines have in common is that they promise a benefit to the reader. Your visitors will keep reading to get that benefit.

Make your sales copy short and to the point. An idea squeeze page covers only one or two screens. Your goal is not to sell your product at this time; you’re just qualifying leads. You need to get your message across as quickly and as simply as possible.

To do that, you need a great offer, something your visitors will really want. This can be your ezine, a free ebook, a free consultation, or anything else that will appeal to the people you want as your customers. This last point is important. While almost everyone would like a chance to win a free television, this type of incentive won’t qualify your visitors.

Your free offer should be interesting only to people who really want and need what you have to offer. And to those people, it should be very attractive. You need to offer them something for free that they would willingly pay for if given the option.

Basically, your squeeze page is a sales letter, for a free item, that convinces your visitors to hand over their name and email address in exchange for something they really want.

In addition to your headline, copy, offer and subscription form that adds them to your email list, you should also include a privacy notice. Make it very clear that you will not distribute their private information to anyone, for any reason, at any time. A link to a full-blown privacy notice is an even better idea.

If you offer the right incentive, you can expect up to 50% of your visitors to sign up for your email list. You can then follow up with these qualified leads and convert them into customers.

A great name squeeze page is indispensable in building your list.

I joined Twitter on December 29, 2008. Right around the start of 2009, most people were either on vacation, not in the office, or spending time with family. All the talk was about the phenomenal growth that was happening at Twitter. I’m not sure I fully understood what it really was all about. Why do I want to share my personal information on Twitter. What am I doing? Does anyone really care what I am doing? If I’m eating a bowl of Fruit Loops, do people want to hear about that? Seems like a major waste of time. Or so I thought.

There are over 12 Million registered users of Twitter. There are over 70,000 applications designed for Twitter users. Twitter users are now sending 50 million tweets per day, which translates to an average of 600 tweets per second. So what is Twitter? Twitter is a combination of these various forms of communication, but its primary difference is that posts, or tweets, are restricted to 140 characters or less. As a Twitter user you can post updates, follow and view updates from other users, and send a public reply or private direct message to connect with another Twitterer.

One of the most important things I did when I set up my Twitter account was to post a pleasant picture of me. Since I was promoting a business, I used the business name so my customers could find me. Don’t use something very long or complicated, it makes it difficult to communicate with you if I can’t remember your name. I also put in my website URL in the profile, and a good summary of my interests. I added a few introductory tweets just to get things rolling, I didn’t want new followers to come and see a blank canvas.

Generally, I found the rule of thumb is that if I follow you, you’ll follow me back. I also quickly found that people really like it when you “re-tweet” their message, abbreviated by RT. It gives them credit for the original post, and you share that content with all of your followers. When I would re-tweet someone’s post once, they would notice. If I did it a second time, I had a friend. They were also much more likely to re-tweet my posts.    

So, what did I “tweet” about? Well, anything to distract them. Funny pet videos. Funny pet pictures. Pet news and information. Anything that I felt my followers would find valuable, and possibly re-tweet themselves. If it was something I could have a conversation about with my followers, it was worth a mention. I also asked lots of questions, and found that my followers were quick to answer them. Conversations (not the long drawn out ones meant for phone calls, the short ones) generally allowed for big groups of people to add their feelings or opinions. I got to know all the people that were talking to me on Twitter.

Where did I find people to follow? A few good sources is to search twitter for your keywords at search.twitter.com, twellow.com is a good resource to find others in your niche, and Twitdir.com is a good directory of the top people on Twitter. Surely they must be doing something right, so why not follow along?  I found all the big players in my market (the pet niche), followed them, and then followed their followers as well. You can see all their followers on their profile page by clicking on “followers”.

You can also find people that are local in proximity if you have a local business such as a pet sitter. Go to Twellow.com/twellowhood, and you will find people by location. Nearbytweets.com is another one you can use to find Twitter folks in your neighborhood. There are lots of “Tweetups” all over the United States where you can meet fellow Twitter users in person. Find them and meet them in person!

One of the best tools I found for Twitter is something called Tweetdeck. You can download the software for free at Tweetdeck.com. It organizes your follower’s tweets, people that reply back to you, direct messages to you, and even groups that you can organize by topic or even your favorite people on Twitter. I highly recommend using Tweetdeck, it will make your Twitter experience easier and it will make much more sense.

Most of all, have fun. Be believable and authentic. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, just be yourself and you will find a great community of other people in your niche that love what you do! It’s a great way to find business partners, vendors, customers, and others that share your interests. Try to dedicate at least 10 minutes each day to make a few posts and see what your followers are up to. You’ll be glad you did!

Michael Ayalon

Online Pet Marketing Specialist

516-690-PET1

Follow me on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/petwebdesigner

P.S. If you are struggling in your pet related business, it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ll help you personally: http://www.Petwebdesigner.com

I know that many of you have been prospecting to get new clients, which consists of using your personal time to find people interested in your pet related service or pet related products. I prefer to market, which involves leveraging tools so that the right people find you!

Since 2002, I have been working with just about everyone in the pet industry. That includes hundreds of service businesses like pet sitters, dog trainers, veterinarians, and groomers. It also includes hundreds of product businesses like pet beds, pet supplements, and dog diapers. I’ve even built websites for pet celebrities, and celebrities’ pets. During this time, I’ve experimented with every type on online marketing available to attract quality leads to these sites. I took careful notes on the ones that had tremendous results, and those that failed miserably based on traffic volume and sales conversions.

Google Adwords is a great way to go if you have an unlimited budget, but many of my customers have a budget and don’t want to work for Google. Since I don’t like wasting time, let’s talk specifically about the marketing tactics that really WORK for you in the pet niche without breaking the bank:

  1. VIDEOS. They can be instructional videos (for instance a veterinarian showing how to identify ticks), or they can be funny. The best performing videos are (a) funny, (b) cute, and (c) involve animals. Think of something totally unique that hasn’t been seen before, and you can get tons of leads each day. For instance, a couple of years ago I came up with the idea of showing images of dogs who look like their owners. It took off like a rocket, and now I have close to 800,000 views: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=642qxehEcGg. Be sure to upload your videos to YouTube and some of the other high ranking videos sites, and put a link to your website in the description of the video and as a slide at the end of the video.
  2. PRESS RELEASES. Press releases are a real easy way to get thousands of eyeballs looking at your company. If it’s carefully crafted and newsworthy, you can even get newspaper reporters calling you for a story in their paper. Some of the top press release distribution companies (like PRweb.com) will charge you for the distribution, but there are many free services available as well.
  3. LINKS. How do certain companies get to the top of Google for their keyword? Simple. It’s a popularity contest. The more links you have on OTHER people’s pet related sites, the higher your site will rank in Google. So, contact everyone you know (suppliers, customers, professional organizations you belong to) and find out how you can get a link on their website. You don’t want to exchange links, as Google sees the reciprocal relationship and then discounts the link. You want one way links to your site only.
  4. ARTICLES. If you don’t have time or you’re not a writer, hire someone to write for you! Articles are a great way to draw potential customers in. Typically they will type their “problem” into Google, find your article that explains what to do, and then they click on the link at the bottom of the article that takes them to your website. These articles can be distributed all over the Internet, there are hundreds of article submission sites that are looking for original content such as yours!
  5. ONLINE CLASSIFIEDS. Newspapers are dead, but online classified websites have taken their place. Websites like Craigslist.org (and all of their competitors) are hotspots for pet people looking for pet products and services. Be sure to advertise your business website in the ad.
  6. BLOGS. Blogs are so search engine friendly. Google loves the fresh content. You can talk about pet news stories, funny pet videos, funny pet pictures, or just about anything! Once you start publishing content on a frequent basis, you will start drawing lots of traffic to your blog and then you can advertise your business all over the blog.
  7. FACEBOOK FAN PAGE. Facebook will allow you to set up a “Fan Page” for your business, which is an excellent way to drive traffic to your site. Start by inviting all your friends to join your business fan page. Once they are in, start posting pet related content on the fan page. When your friends log in to Facebook, your postings will come up in their timeline of posts, and they will (hopefully) make comments about your post. Then their friends will see the comments, and check out your fan page to see what all the talk is about. A great way to get free advertising for your company!
  8. TWITTER. I currently have almost 7,500 followers on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/petwebdesigner. Follow me to see what I tweet about! I generally post pet news, funny pet pictures, and funny pet videos. People love to forward this around to their friends and contacts, so many other pet lovers find out about me when my followers share my posts. It’s free and easy to build a large base of loyal followers that will go to the places you want them to go!
  9. EMAIL MARKETING. You should be gathering email addresses and sending out newsletters to your customers and potential customers at every opportunity. There are many services that are available that will record the names and email addresses of people that submit their information on your site, and then make it easy for you to market to these people on a weekly basis. That way, if someone is only interested in your product/service but not ready to buy, you can close the sale at a later date when you market to them via email marketing. It’s pretty typical that you won’t close the sale on their first visit to your site.
  10. BANNER ADS. Banner ads are a great way to draw visitors from other blogs, forums, or websites without spending big money. It’s actually much cheaper than you think. Find a pet related blog that has the right demographics (right age, right content, etc.) and contact them to see what their rates are for banner advertising. The same goes for popular pet forums and websites. You would be surprised to find out how reasonable the rates really are, and it is completely targeted traffic!

Take a real honest look at your business. Are you generating the kind of leads online using your prospecting methods? If not, try these marketing techniques that bring the right people to you. If you don’t have time to do these on your own, hire someone to do it for you. In the long run, you will find that it makes more sense for you to focus on your core business, and let these tools work for you. It will make your business much more efficient and effective. If you need help, contact me! 516-538-0933, or you can view my website at www.Petwebdesigner.com

March 17 , 2010 In: Articles

How to Improve Your Marketing Articles Today

If you’re using articles to market your business, you could be losing a lot of potential visitors. Articles are a good way to get the word out and build your business, but using good articles, instead of excellent articles, can cost you visitors, and money.

How do you turn your “pretty good” articles into really great articles? It’s much easier, and much faster, than you might think.

First, start with the title. If you’re writing an article on, say, time management, an okay title might be “Learn Time Management Skills for Better Productivity.” Nothing wrong with that, but it could be turned into an eye-catching headline that would draw people into your article. “5 Time Management Tips for Doing More in Less Time” is much more interesting.

Next, take a look at your lead sentence. This needs to be something that really grabs your reader. Let’s say you currently have, “Time management helps you get your work done more quickly. Try changing that to, “If you manage your time well, you could save up to ten hours a week—hours that you can spend doing things you need to do, not things you have to do.” See how much more effectively that draws the reader in?

In journalism, there’s a saying that if you can get someone to read your headline, they’ll read the first sentence. If they read the first sentence, they’ll read the first paragraph, and if they read the first paragraph, they’ll read the whole article.

So your goal with your first paragraph is to keep the readers who liked your headline and your first sentence. You need to convince them to read the rest of your article. You can do that by telling them, clearly, what they’re going to get from your article. For instance, after your great first sentence on time management, you could continue with, “By making a few very simple changes to your routine, you can create over an hour of free time each week.” Then in the next paragraph, you can start explaining what those simple routine changes are, and how to make them.

One of the biggest errors people make in writing articles to market their business, is in style. Many people try to write in a very journalistic style, like they’re writing for a newspaper. But the people who find your article online are more interested in reading articles that are clear and interesting. A relaxed, personal style is more appealing in this type of article. Fortunately, it’s also easier to write.

Many business owners are uneasy about writing their own articles, because they feel they “can’t write.” Chances are that you can write well about your own business, because you know it better than anyone. If you want to write your own articles, you can, and you can do it well.

Pretend you’re writing your best friend a letter about your business. Start out with a great first line (your headline) with the benefits of what you’re going to say. Follow up with a sentence that explains clearly what’s coming and builds it up, and then start telling your reader what they need to know.

Finish up with a final paragraph pointing out the most important parts of your “letter,” and you’re done.

It is well worth your time to write articles that really grab your readers’ attention and keep them reading. If you do that, they will visit your web site and buy your products. And that’s your main goal, after all.

If you’re not using Yahoo! Answers to promote your business, you’re missing a great opportunity to reach people who might otherwise not see your message. Like forums, Yahoo! Answers provides an opportunity to answer questions, promote your business and enjoy yourself at the same time.

The following tips will make your Yahoo! Answers marketing efforts more effective:

1. Get a Yahoo! 360 account. This is a social network like MySpace and Facebook. Your 360 account will allow you to write a blog and build a page all about you and what you do. When you use Yahoo! Answers, other members can see your 360 profile page, rather than the small and relatively boring profile you get by default on Yahoo! Answers.

2. Use your business name in your nickname. You can use your Yahoo! 360 nickname or make up a username for Yahoo! Answers. Use your business name or a descriptive nickname that tells what you do, such as EbookWriter.

2. Add a picture to your account. You can use the picture from your Yahoo! 360 account, if you have one, or you can build an avatar using Yahoo’s avatar tools. Either way, create a fun image of yourself. People are more likely to check out your profile if you have a picture or avatar and they have some sense of who you are.

3. Answer questions every day. If you’re committed to Yahoo! Answers as a marketing strategy, you should set aside fifteen to twenty minutes a day to answer questions. Understand that this is only a small portion of your marketing effort, but in order to prompt people to visit your profile, you need to be visible. Answering a few questions each day will accomplish that more readily than answering fifty questions each Saturday.

4. Choose your questions carefully and answer them with authority. It can be fun to start answering questions like, “What made the ping-pong balls fall on Captain Kangaroo?” And there’s nothing wrong with having fun. By all means, answer some fun questions. But concentrate your marketing time on answering questions related to your business, and write answers that demonstrate your knowledge of your field.

5. Don’t expect instant results. You can build your traffic by answering questions on Yahoo! Answers, and it’s a welcome change from some of the more tedious marketing tasks you have to do. But it does take time to build up a reputation and get a steady stream of people visiting your profile and checking out your business. Be patient, and work steadily at this marketing strategy, as you would any other marketing technique.

Yahoo! Answers is still a relatively young site, and very young as a marketing technique compared to, say, article marketing. This newness is an advantage for you, as a marketer, because it gives you the opportunity to build a profile and generate traffic before the masses of marketers begin to understand the importance of Yahoo! Answers.

Now is the best time to make Yahoo! Answers part of your marketing strategy. Schedule an answering session each day and take the time to answer good questions well, and this can really be an effective way to market your business.