Search Marketing for Beginners

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When was the last time you looked under the hood of your Internet presence? The web is a huge part of our lives – especially if you have a business! It’s something that has to be managed and maintained just like anything else. If we don’t, bad things could happen.

It’s ideal if you perform a web check up at least once a month.

 search marketingSearch Marketing – Reputation Marketing

If you have a business to consumer model it’s crucial that you monitor your reputation. For example, if you own a restaurant when people decide they’re going out for dinner that night and they feel like something a little different what do they do? They get out their handheld and they do an Internet search for a local spot. THEN once they make a decision they’ll do a search to see what people are saying about it. Nobody wants to spent their time and money at a place that has a bad rap. ANYONE can leave feedback about you.

Today with the Internet everyone has a voice – for better or worse. I spoke with someone the other day and he said that he decided that he wasn’t going to give into that situation (reputation marketing). Guess what? I don’t need your permission. I can leave bad feedback about your place of business whether you participate in the situation or not. So to ignore it is not only not very smart, but it could be costing you money.

Large companies like Verizon Wireless for example have made very steep investments in very sophisticated tools that monitor what people are saying about them. Want to have a little fun? Go talk some smack about them on Twitter and then just count down. It won’t be long before someone is Tweeting back to you offering their assistance. Now this is how it works FOR US. :-) We finally have a little leverage against the big guys.

There are actually tons of great tools out there but I will share with you a few of my favorites for monitoring your reputation.

1. Google Alerts -

I LOVE Google alerts! As an Internet personality I have to monitor my name and my website on a regular basis to make sure nobody is talking smack about me. Google Alerts is also how I learn when people mention me and link to my content on their websites which is always a very welcomed surprise.

Another great way to use Google Alerts is to monitor competitors. But my favorite way is to get articles written on specific topics. You do Google Alerts on specific topics and everything that was written on it and published on the Internet can be sent you daily or weekly. Click here to set up your Google updates. I read mine every day you’ll love it!

2. Tweet Beeps

This sort of works like Google Alerts only it’s just for Twitter. There is a charge for the premium service, you can click here to check that out.

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3. Topsy -

I would have to say that Topsy.com is one of my VERY favorite tools for SO many reasons! I can do a search on myself and my business to see who is talking about me and sharing my content – but the best thing is it literally searches the ENTIRE Internet. It searches through Twitter, videos, photos  -  you name it! I also love Topsy for a whole different reason than reputation management. It’s great for getting ideas on blog topics! Just do a search on Internet Marketing for example and you will find out what people are talking about! This is a great way to create content around relevant topics that are hot and happening!

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4. Take it Old School -

This is my favorite way to do a quick Internet check. Type in the name of your business, city and state into Google. Then just glance over the first 5 pages in the search. You may be surprised at what you find. What I HATE is a lot these shady directories populate YOUR information into their fields on their websites. They want you to find it – they want you to know that it’s incomplete. Then they want you to call them so they can sell you their premium service. Don’t do it! Tell them to remove your information or you’ll sue them. That will get them to take it down pretty fast.

 search marketingSearch Marketing – The Skippy on Local Marketing

If you own a business and have a listed phone number I’m willing to make a bet that you get a fair number of phone calls every single day promising that they will put you on the first page of Google and that they will list you in every local directory under the sun. Let me tell you right now there is absolutely zero value in having your link spread across every single directory. In fact, it’s now considered to be spam. Google has made tons of updates lately and that is changing the entire ballgame. Now if you don’t want to take it from me, fine! Take it from Brian Dean of Backlinko and Neil Patel of Kissmetrics who are International SEO Rock Stars! I had a Google Hangout interview with them a while back and got their input on local marketing. You can click here to watch that on YouTube.

The problem is, these local marketing snake oil salesmen still prey on the fact that you don’t know any better. There’s absolutely no value in having tons of links on low-grade obscure websites that no one has ever even heard of! Now there IS value in being listed on sites like Yelp, Foursquare, Yahoo Directory, Bing Places for Business, and Google Places. Make sure you have only ONE listing otherwise your efforts are wasted.

Search Marketing – Content Theft

I’ve been lucky that this has only happened to me once, I kindly asked them to remove it and they did. I work really hard to create great content for my readership and it’s NOT cool to steal it from me. Especially when it’s considered spam to duplicate content on the Internet. So imagine having your content stolen and then Google slapping you with a spam offense. Not cool! Check out CopyScape they have a great tool for monitoring your content and making sure it doesn’t get stolen.

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Search Marketing – Website Check Up

Just like you take good care of your car so it runs well – you need to take care of your website. How’s it functioning? If you have some really nasty errors on your site it can cause your page not to be indexed by search engines. Here’s a great video from Matt Cutts of Google (head of search), he talks about how errors can impact your site index, just click here.  Here are a couple of tools that I love, Visible Net and WooRank. Just put in your website address and see what it tells you. You’ll want to print out the list and share it with your developer so you can get it fixed.

Search Marketing – Searchers Point of View

When was the last time you looked at your website from your ideal client target’s perspective versus your own? What do they see? Do they find what they need immediately? Was the website written for their point of view or your own? Are there lots of great resources for them there? What about how your website looks? How does it look on mobile for example? Did you know that the majority of the population now searches the Internet with a handheld device? Take your mobile phone out and look up your website. How does it look? This is what your searcher sees – are you happy with it? If not, it’s time to make some changes. Ignoring this shift in the way we search the Internet will cost you money.

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Search Marketing – Measure Your Impact

Type in what people would if they were looking for what you do and see if you come up. If you’re a local business include city. For example if you’re a plumber in Atlanta Georgia the search would be plumber Atlanta Ga. If you’re a local business and you don’t come up on page one you may as well not even be on the Internet. The reason is people now have 8-second attention spans and will take the results they seek from page one. So if you’re not in the search, you’re leaving some money on the table.

It’s imperative that if you’re working on a search engine strategy (Sorry we won’t go into details on that now, that’s another article!) you optimize your site for the right phrases. A great tool for local search engine is the Google Keyword Planner which is traditionally set up for adword customers. You’ll need to set up an adword account to us this tool but you don’t have to actually place an order. Click here to check it out.

Just FYI if the SEO company you use ever asks you what search words you want, this is a red flag – FIRE THEM because they’re unqualified  - it’s not like ordering fries, it’s about the facts.

Here’s a picture of an example search using the Google Keyword Tool with the plumber in Atlanta Ga as an example:

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The information on this table is based on 30 days, so over a months time approximately 880 people in Atlanta look for a plumber typing in the phrase plumber atlanta. The word high means that the competition to rank for that keyword is high, but don’t worry you can still rank with that phrase with the right strategy on that low number of a search, I’ve done it many times. Now if that number was 1 million instead of 880 now that would be a different story. Here’s the mindset, the reason I’m showing you this is because I want you to realize the impact of the way people type in the information and how much power this can give you in your marketing efforts. So keywords aren’t about what you think they are, instead they’re about what people type in that you can rank for.

Now, if you’re focusing on a wider search, that’s a bit more complicated, you can use a great tool I love called Keyword Spy. See the drawing below, make sure you click on the word Keywords, then you can start typing in phrases that are related to what you do. Here you can not only use this tool for a keyword strategy but it also gives you great ideas on what you should write about in your blog based on searches. It’s great to write about things that are important – but to write about things that are relevant – now THAT gets you web traffic!

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I hope you enjoyed this guide! Use it once a month to give your Internet presence a good check up and you’ll receive optimal results! Please don’t forget to share this post!

Cheers!

Tammy

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How to Create Targeted Website Traffic

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Your blog is an amazing tool to help you get clients and grow your business. The trick is you really need to have a strategy, a plan, and you need to stay within that structure. You must commit to it for the long haul and you WILL see results. If you only need to rank locally great for you! However, ranking nationally or internationally (like me) is a bit more a challenge. Let’s face it the Internet is very crowded – that’s one fact that will NEVER change as it will only grow. That’s why you have to be smart in your efforts.

 

Search engine optimization (commonly referred to as SEO) is the process of building a structure (your website) internally but also doing things externally (marketing) to bring traffic into your blog. Think of it like this, if you want the search engines like Google for example to find you – well you’re going to have to help them out and give them directions on how to find you. Without the proper structure in place you’re literally invisible to the search engines.

 

One thing I want you to make sure you understand is that Google caters completely to the searcher. The searcher asks for information on a particular subject and Google wants to return to them what it thinks is the most relevant and popular information. This is Google’s (or any other search engine) purpose.

How Do I Create Targeted Website Traffic?

Create Targeted Website TrafficFirst off I hope that you watched the video up top first before reading this! I’m much better at explaining things via video than I am at writing them. However I will give it a good whirl!

To get great traffic to your website you will need a keyword strategy. What the heck is a keyword strategy you say? LOL.. Okay a keyword strategy is a word or short sentence (phrase) that explains what you do or sell. Let’s go back and consider the searcher. If they’re looking for what you do or sell what would they type in to the search field? Whatever the information is that you know they would type in if they were looking for you those words and phrases need to be in the structure (internally and externally) of your website.

Remember in E.T the Extra-Terrestrial when Elliot laid down Reeses Pieces to get E.T. to follow him? Consider it like that. :-) You need to give the search engines some Reese Pieces if you want them to send you traffic.

How to Choose a Keyword Phrase or Strategy

The first step in determining a great keyword strategy has nothing to do with keywords, but more about the structure of your entire business. You need to consider your niche.

Step 1. Niche 

What is your unique mastery or niche? What special thing do you do? What special target audience are you looking for? The reason why a niche is so crucial is because you need to be very clear and specific about what it is that you do otherwise it will be too hard to rank. Additionally, it’s hard enough to rank for one thing as it is – do you really want to try to rank for 10 different things? Also if you’re going to attempt to rank you need to have page one as your goal because 9 out of 10 people don’t have the patience to past page 1 before they settle on a result.

Step 2. Do the Research

You have to consider one very crucial element before deciding what your keywords. What are people actually looking for? You would be very surprised how many people NEVER consider this. Choosing keywords is not like ordering french fries, you don’t just “decide” what they are. You have to find out what people are looking for first THEN you decide. Obviously your keyword strategy has to be in the parameter of what you do but what you want to find out is how people ask for the information. Remember the search engine caters to the searcher.

Here are two tools that I use in my business, one is the Google Keyword Tool, and the other is Keyword Spy. (Don’t get too comfortable with the Google Keyword Tool because they claim it’s going away soon.) What you can do with either of these tools is type in phrases that would explain what you do and see how people type it in. You want to see what has a good search volume. Now largest search is not always better because you still have to consider competition. If I chose a keyword phrase that had 6 million searches for example, I wouldn’t be too jazzed about that being in my search strategy because it would just be too hard to land on page one in a search of that volume. Now on the other hand, if you see that nobody is searching for how you’re wording something then that should be a huge red flag to you.

It’s ideal to start out with choosing about 5 or so very solid keyword phrases and incorporate those into your blog posts consistently. You’ll want to commit to those phrases until you rank for them which by the way it’s not unheard of to take up to 6 months (or longer) to rank for one phrase at a rate of putting out new content (blog posts) twice per week. 

Step 3. Stay Inside the Structure

The idea is to write often and include your keyword phrases. If you are constantly putting out fresh content on a certain topic the search engine thinks “hmmm, this person writes about this specific topic quite a bit, they must be an expert at it, so they should rank for it”. Get it? This is why people that just blog once a month or almost never find it hard to rank. So the idea is to stay in the structure and be consistent so that the search engines can learn what it is that you talk about and allow you to rank for it. Search engines don’t do bootie calls, so just doing it once or twice isn’t going to cut it.

Here are two other tools that are crucial and most people don’t give them the consideration they deserve. These two tools are HUGE in your search engine strategy.

1. Categories – There is a place for categories in your WordPress framework and you want to use them every time you blog. The biggest mistake I see people make in their categories is having a ton of random ones. You should NOT have too many. Whatever your keyword phrases are they should be your categories as well. So you should only have 6 or so categories. Yes, that’s all!

Here’s the trick (pay attention): Now remember you’re going to have 6 or so categories right that you write about for one niche. But here’s the thing – every single time you blog use all 6 categories. Use them over and over. Guess what? You can rank for categories too. So if you’re using them every single time then you will rank faster. I actually rank for categories before my posts rank for a certain keyword phrase.

2. Tags – Your tags are very important and I don’t see enough people use them correctly. You should tag every single post with its category. I want you to consider your tags as a map for your visitor. They can come to your blog and click on one of your tags and up will pop every post that you have written about that topic.

If your blog is well-written, organized, easy to navigate and friendly to your searcher guess what? They are going to bookmark you, perhaps subscribe and visit you again! 

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How to Protect Your Blog From Hackers

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How to Protect Your Blog From HackersRecently my blog was hacked into and had spam spread all through it! I was so outraged! How did this happen? I will never understand how a human being could be satisfied with an existence that was made up of breaking into people’s websites. Terrible!

Great Lessons on How to Protect My Blog From Hackers Going Forward

So even though I was outraged and felt completely violated by the experience I have to admit I am thankful for it. First of all, great learning usually comes from even the worst things and I certainly learned a lot. Unfortunately I learned that my blog being hacked was not only my fault but could have been prevented. You can prevent your blog from being hacked but you have to take precaution and be aware.

One day I was checking on some keyword rankings I had been working on so I was Googling my website pages and up pops some search results with the words Levitra in them and some other gibberish. I was like WTH???!!!

protect your blog from hackers

 

 

 

The Steps to Get Rid of Spam on Your Hacked Blog

So what did I do about it? Well after I panicked for a few hours I made some calls, hired a professional, and came up with a plan of attack.

First we had to manually go through every single post and deleted bad categories or strange looking tags. I could’ve waited for the indexing process to wash it out but I didn’t want to. I had to rewrite several post meta tags so they had fresh content to be indexed.

We then backed up everything and updated WordPress after learning the version I was on had tons of bugs and some security issues. (Go figure!)

Then we installed very tight malware and security plugins. After the process was finished (which took almost 2 weeks!) I pinged all my pages and submitted them to Google through my sitemap to be indexed. Technically there is still some left over residue out there, until Google indexes my entire blog thoroughly and it washes out it will be there for a while.

One big concern for me is things like this can really tear down your ranking in Google. I work very very hard for rankings so I was terrified that this situation would sabotage me. I can’t imagine what would have happened if I wasn’t so cognizant of my search engine results, I would have never found it and it could have destroyed all of my SEO efforts.

I work really hard on my WordPress site and it’s very important to me so needless to say it was a very upsetting experience.

Steps to Prevent Your Blog From Being Hacked

Okay these are the things I learned the hard way and needless to say I am indeed thankful for the experience. If you want to protect your blog from hackers please take these steps very seriously.

1. First and foremost update your WordPress site on a regular basis. Every single time a new update comes out make sure you do it! I actually just made the executive decision that I now have someone that does that for me. It’s a very worthwhile investment!

2. Update your plugins and get rid of any that you aren’t using. It’s really important to keep your blog very clean and organized.

3. Make sure you have a back up plugin installed. You need to have a back up on your WordPress site incase something happens that you lose your content.

4. Make sure your password is very tight and not guessable! Also you need to change it often.

5. Have a sitemap of your site so you can submit it to be indexed very quickly. Here is some information on that if you need an education on it- click here.

6. Make sure you have a very tight security plugin and a malware plugin.

I really hope this never happens to you – it’s not fun to deal with! Please go to the Internet and Google your website very carefully and make sure your WordPress site is okay. Also go through this list and make any updates you need to as a preventative.

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To Get Business Show Up In The Search

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The Internet is an amazing opportunity for every business – some more than others – but every business needs to be onboard. However, unfortunately very few are taking the time to learn its true value.

get clientsTo Get More Clients – You Have to Show Up!

Do you know where you fall in the search for your business category? Have you ever Googled your business? Nobody uses phonebooks anymore to locate what they need – they use the Internet.

Did you know that 1/3 of people will pick up the phone and call someone from the first page of search?  So if you aren’t on that first page, you are leaving a ton of money on the table. Thing is though the challenge doesn’t end with being on the first page. You still have to have an engaging site that your visitor finds useful otherwise ranking at the top is useless – they will overlook you anyway.

What about your competitors? Are they coming up before you?

You’ll Need a Strategy

You will need a keyword strategy, that’s one of the ways Google finds your business and ranks it in the listings. Google’s priority is to the searcher, it wants to return to them the most relevant and qualified information. If you use the same set of keywords often, Google assumes you are an expert at that particular topic and let’s you rank for it. Of course there are many other factors but this is a great start.

However, it’s important that you use terms people are actually looking for otherwise it’s pointless. Google has a keyword tool and you can use it to search for words and phrases that you can use for your strategy. You really need to pay close attention to how people request the information by what they type in – this will be used for your keyword phrases.

Here are some examples:

  • Birmingham Alabama Divorce Lawyer 480 searches in 30 days
  • Divorce Lawyers in Birmingham Alabama 720 searches in 30 days
  • Divorce Lawyer Birmingham Alabama 390 searches in 30 days
  • Attorney in Birmingham Alabama 5400 searches in 30 days

Note that Attorney in Birmingham Alabama has 5400 searches. That search is going to be more competitive so you need to very specific and focus on a niche to try to get on page 1 or 2.

get clientsHow Do I Get There?

You will get there by being consistent in your marketing efforts for the most part. Once you come up with your keyword strategy you will need to create consistent content on a regular basis that not only uses that keyword strategy but is engaging. Remember you have to write for people because if they don’t find it interesting they won’t connect with you anyway. Also if you just pump a post with keywords and the text doesn’t make sense – Google considers that to be spam and they could ban you. You don’t want that to happen!

Just remember consistency is key – when you are trying to rank on the Internet sporadic marketing won’t cut it. You have to get there – then you have to hold your position or you will loose it. However, the reward is going to be worth the effort.

 

 

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