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4 Things You Should Know Before Hiring an SEO Firm

 

4 Things You Should Know Before Hiring an SEO Firm

Since SEO companies still aren’t being regulated, and might never be, it’s hard to separate the experts from the self-proclaimed experts. It’s common for SEO companies to be founded by someone who read an eBook on the subject (a book which may or may not have been written by an expert) and who has no real world experience in online marketing. In many cases, they don’t even do the work themselves. They just manage their relationship with you and outsource all the work to someone else.

In some cases, this outsourcing can be a good arrangement. It can save you lot of money and get out of the confusion and chaos which comes from communicating with an entire team. In other cases, it can be a disaster. It all depends on how adept your SEO consultant is. Here are four things you can look for when hiring an SEO company to make sure you make a smart decision with your outsourcing…

Continue reading

 

 

Cheap SEO – You Get What You Pay For

What is effective SEO?
Although there are varying answers to this question, most SEO consultants warn against buying cheap SEO and they can summarize their answers with the following breakdown:

  1. Your website position has increased on Google, Bing and other search engines.
  2. Traffic to your website has increased.
  3. You also see an increase in sales sourced from Google and other search engines. Continue reading

 

 

Five Ways Direct Mail Can Make Your Online Marketing More Profitable

I had another interesting conversation with a business owner about SEO, direct mail marketing and online marketing. It seems that a lot of people are still thinking of direct mail as one method, SEO as another and email marketing as another. But I’d like to share five ways you can use online marketing AND direct mail together to create a powerful marketing campaign…

#1:  Find Them Online, Connect With them Offline
People are burnt out with email. The response rates and delivery rates for email are dropping so drastically that it doesn’t make sense to depend only on email as a means of reaching customers. Why not collect your prospect’s physical addresses and offer to send them something via old fashioned snail mail? You’ll get less form submissions, but your follow ups will appear more credible and they’ll have a much better chance of getting a response.

#2:  Use Direct Mail for Existing Customers
If people have already bought from you, don’t just email them. Put them on a follow up campaign and send them a good, printed offer (newsletter, catalog) every month, or twice a month. If they’ve bought from you already, there’s a good chance that they’ll buy from you again, and using direct mail will make it easier to get their attention than if you just use email.

#3:  Use Direct Mail In Addition to SEO
If customers aren’t finding you via Google, you need to find another way to connect with them. Why not use direct mail? You can always put an offer on your direct mail flyers for them to like your company's Facebook page or to sign up for your email list as well as your physical mailing list.

Of course, I recommend that you keep working on getting to the first page of Google, but using direct mail will help you get in front of the people who may otherwise never find you on the internet.

#4:  Use PPC & Facebook Marketing to Build Your Physical Mailing List
One is always the worst number in marketing, so why depend on email alone? If you’re getting a lot of emails from your users, but your email response rate is low, it’s probably because you’re relying on email only. If you ask for a physical address and offer to mail them something in exchange for giving their contact information, you’ll have more than one way to reach your customers. You’ll be more visible and, if your Google PPC and Facebook marketing campaigns are well written, you’ll get more responses than you could by just using email.

#5:  Offer Shippable Products
If you’re only selling virtual products, you could be missing out on some opportunities to test higher price points. This is especially important if you’re selling information products or software. Digital products are great, but people still love getting packages in the mail. So instead of only offering digital products, try creating a physical product with a higher price point. You’ll find that people who prefer shippable products are a different breed of consumer. They’re more value focused and usually willing to pay more money.

There you have it, five ways to use direct mail to make your online marketing more profitable. If you have other ideas, be sure to tell us about them in the comments!

 

 

What Will Happen if Google Stops Ruling SEO?

What’s wrong with us?

Everyone is trying to get on the first page of Google as if that’s all there is to internet marketing. But have you ever stopped to think about what Google really is? It’s a website. Of course, they have Google+ and YouTube and a ton of other influential platforms online. But think of all that money you’re investing in getting on the first page of Google. What will happen if another search engine knocks Google off their high place over the next two years?

It could happen, and when it does, what will happen to your web traffic? Maybe Google will be around for a long time. Maybe they’ll eventually rule the entire internet. But it’s unlikely, so it might be smart to prepare yourself for what might happen if Google becomes second (or third) in the SEO game…

Authority Trumps Visibility

This is the most important thing to remember in SEO. If you become a known authority in the mind of the public, you’ll never have to worry about what’s happening with Google. Do you think Apple is worried about where they rank in the Google search results? What about Disney, McDonald’s or Starbucks? These giants are more interested in where they rank in the mind of the public. They’re creating authority and credibility with ALL their marketing practices. Your dedicated audience can carry you through SEO trends as long as you treat them well.

I doubt any of those famous brands will bat an eyelid if Google goes down in flames. So how about you? Are you more concerned with getting to the first page of the Google search results than you are with creating an authority website? If so, it might be time to change your priorities. It might be time to stop worrying about what Google is doing and start trying to creating the best possible experience for the people who land on your website.

If you do this, you’ll get higher Google rankings AND you’ll be less dependent on them because your customers will bypass Google and go directly to your website.

Google is Just a Messenger

Google is really just a media company. They bring people credible content and that’s why they stay on the top of the heap when it comes to search engines. If this ever changes, or if someone comes along who does a better job at delivering quality content than Google, Google will be replaced pretty quickly. Just look at how quickly Wal-Mart ousted K-Mart. Look at how fast Borders bookstore went belly-up because of Amazon.

Of course, Borders tried the online thing, but they didn’t stand a chance against Amazon because they didn’t’ give the public what they wanted. The same thing is happening to eBay now… more and more people are buying on Amazon because the site is easy is to use and delivers great prices on new and used materials. Facebook took over MySpace and forced them to become a network for musicians instead of a social media hangout space. How many other stories can you think of where the king of the mountain was brought down by a newly emerging company? What did all those little David's have in common against Goliath? They knew where to throw their stone for maximum impact; they knew how to deliver to their customer base.

In the new economy, things can change in the blink of an eye. Google is no exception, so remember this when you’re working on your online visibility. Focus on authority and on connecting with your loyal visitors and getting more of them. SEO is good to keep in mind, but some of this will come naturally if you focus on visitors. If you focus on your authority, you’ll never have to worry about Google, or anyone who takes their place in the future.

 

 

Keyword Density

Safe Keyword Density 2013

 

Correct keyword density is critical to your website’s on-page optimization.

Unless your website is optimized on-page, all the work you’re doing off the website (building links, marketing content, executing a social media campaign) will be seriously undermined.

 

Will offsite SEO still have a positive effect even without proper on-page optimization? Sure. But that’s like taking a bike with two flat tires to the Tour de France: you’ll get half as far for twice the effort … and there’s no way you’ll be able to keep up with the competition.

So what’s a safe keyword density in 2013? Unfortunately, thanks to Google’s Penguin update that launched last spring there’s no hard and fast answer to that question. We can’t tell you “Shoot for 3% keyword density and you’re good” because Google is playing keyword density info close to its vest.

 

What we can do is share with you two tips on building a keyword theme to ensure you never have to worry about keyword density now or after future Google algorithm updates.

 

Tip #1: Don’t try to rank for a word; rank for an idea.

In a post-Penguin world, trying to hone in on a single “silver bullet” keyword is far less effective than building a keyword theme around a highly-focused key idea.

 

For example, let’s say your topic is home gardening. Good luck ranking for the competitive keyword phrase “when to plant a garden”, but you might have more success with “planting a winter garden” – and even greater success if you drill down to a highly-focused idea like “winter vegetable gardening in California”.

 

Think about your target audience and the exact information you’re trying to share with them and then strip away anything that doesn’t pertain directly to that information. What remains is your key idea and you can rank for it by carefully building a keyword theme around it.

 

Need a little help focusing in on a key idea?

 

Übersuggest is a powerful (free!) keyword suggestion tool that uses Google Suggest and other suggest services to help you narrow broad topics down to viable, focused key ideas.

 

Tip #2: Build a keyword theme around your key idea.

In the past, if you were writing a 500 word article or blog post you might have tried to fit your primary keyword into the content 12 to 15 times. Take an approach like that now and Google will most likely flag your article as spam.

 

A more effective strategy today is structuring your content around a number of relevant, focused keywords – utilize a keyword theme, in other words.

 

Once you’ve honed in on a key idea, building a keyword theme around it is as simple as heading over to the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and doing some basic research.

 

Typing the above example “winter vegetable gardening in California” into Google AdWords Keyword Tool’s search bar and searching for “Keyword ideas” brings back a list of hundreds of potential candidates for my keyword theme. For a 500 word article I might choose the 12 or 15 that are most relevant to my key idea to include in my content.

 

By building an article around a keyword theme rather than a single keyword you’ll not only improve the relevance of your content and make it more reader-friendly, but you’ll also never have to worry about Google penalizing you because of keyword density.

 

 

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