Posts Tagged 'search engine optimization'

The Easy Way for Agencies to Do SEO

The Easy Way for Agencies to Do SEOSearch engine optimization (SEO) can be a little intimidating for the non-technical person. After all, it’s a mysterious science filled with unknown algorithms, metadata, XML sitemaps, HTML tags, linking schemes, and much, much more. And to further complicate things, it’s always changing.

Then there’s the agency that is not even responsible for the client’s website. How in the world is an advertising, public relations, or marketing communications agency supposed to get involved in SEO? Actually, it’s pretty easy these days. I’ve compiled some tips to help get you started.

Take advantage of others’ SEO technology.

SEO has matured to the point that there are countless platforms optimized for search. You just have to add the content and the search engines do the rest.

  • Social media sites like YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, and Merchant Circle, to name just a few, are large in size and highly optimized. Posting content on these sites will help you get listed in the search engines. Just be sure to use your keywords in the postings for the various sites. And include a keyword in the file name of any photo or video file you upload to a website too!
  • Blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger are free, easy to set up, and highly optimized. However, the biggest obstacle with a blog is that it takes some time to grow the blog to a size large enough to be noticed by search engine
  • Press Release wire services like PR Newswire and Business Wire provide optimization of press releases and host the release on their site. In addition, the press release is distributed to media news sites that also host a version of the release on their site. This gives one press release numerous opportunities for listings on a search engine results page (SERP).
  • Lead Maverick is an SEO platform developed specifically for agencies with integrated optimization tools for content, customizable landing page designs and real-time tracking stats — all in a non-technical, user-friendly interface. Lead Maverick agency partners use the SEO platform to get their clients to the top of organic SERPs or to add additional listings so their client owns more of the SERP real estate.

Write well, rank well.

There are a number of guidelines for developing content that will enhance its findability in organic search. The goal is not to trick the search engines, but to provide quality content on a subject while following SEO best practices.

  • Length of content should be at least 300 words.
  • Each content posting should focus on one keyword, keyword phrase or keyword theme. Putting too many different keywords in one posting will dilute its effectiveness.
  • Headline should not exceed 70 characters and should include a keyword ideally placed towards the beginning.
  • Subhead should not exceed 160 characters and should include at least one keyword ideally placed closer to the beginning.
  • If there is not a subhead, treat the first paragraph of the content as the subhead by making it bold, keeping it under 120 characters, and include at least one keyword.
  • Emphasize a keyword by making it bold and emphasize other important points with bold or by using a bulleted list.
  • Rule of thumb for keywords is one keyword for every 100 words. If you repeat a keyword more than this, the search engine may think you are keyword stuffing and not add the page to the index.
  • Include at least a couple of hyperlinks to your website. Also include a link or two to a third-party website, preferably ones with good size and traffic. For example, Wikipedia is good to use for a definition.
  • Link your various content pages with hyperlinks on your keywords. Be sure the page you link to discusses the keyword that is hyperlinked.
  • Avoid posting duplicate content from another website by making some edits to your posting. Add a link to the page with the original content so the search engine will know that you are not trying to trick it.

Spread Keywords Across the Sales Decision Process.

One of the greatest benefits of search marketing is the ability to track responses and conversions. For that reason, many advertisers focus keywords on driving a purchase. But, searchers use the internet throughout every stage of the sales decision process. They search for information on categories at the beginning of their research, all the way through to searches on specific products to check pricing.

Keyword Sales Decision Process

Be sure you focus keywords and content for every stage of the sales decision process. Just set your client’s expectations for ROI. The earlier in the sales decision process, the fewer click throughs on the landing page. Early on in the process, you are trying to educate and build awareness for a purchase down the road. And you’ll have keywords and content covering those later purchase-related stages where click-through rates and conversions will be the key success metrics.

Leverage Existing Assets.

Most companies have a wealth of information already developed about the company. In developing your online posts, leverage the existing assets that already exist, incorporating targeted keywords:

  • brochures
  • white papers
  • fact sheets
  • executive bios
  • advertisements (print, broadcast, etc.)
  • trade show schedules
  • speaking engagements
  • press releases
  • product photos
  • how to videos
  • power point presentations

This list is just the beginning. Try to identify all existing assets. Each asset represents a potential posting for a search engine. Spread the posts out across the sales decision process as mentioned above. Supplement with new content developed with your keywords in mind. Just be sure to follow the content writing guidelines above.

Get in the Search

Leave the website optimization to the geeks experts. Now that others are taking care of the SEO part, it’s easier for agencies to get their clients to the top of organic search — with keyword strategy and content.

Is Your Client Doing Keyword Research Without You?

Brand KeywordI’ve written about the reasons that agencies should offer SEO services before. But it wasn’t until recently that they became tangible. An SEO consultant said that a client asked her to do keyword research and then write taglines using keywords.

And so it begins. Agencies are not necessarily the gatekeepers of a client’s brand anymore. Rather, the owner of the keywords will be the driving force behind the brand. Keywords for all stages of the sales decision process:

Keyword Sales Decision Process

Keywords incorporated into all communications from the company: off-line and online advertising, public relations, investor relations, internal communications, customer service, etc.

So the question to consider is do you want to wait for your client to give you the keywords that off-line communications need to integrate? Or do you want to continue to be the leader of your client’s brand by integrating online with off-line?

For those choosing the latter, the good news is that it’s not too late. Agencies that specialize in advertising, public relations, and marketing communications have options to get into search:

If you would like to jump headfirst in to see what keyword research is all about, here are some tools that will help:

Search is continuing to grow…in the number of searches conducted and in online spending. Agencies that delay getting into search risk losing control of their clients’ brands…and eventually the budgets.

Learn about SEM from the best — SEMMYS Winners Announced

SEMMYSTwo weeks ago I posted an article urging you to vote for the top search engine marketing posts of 2008 — the SEMMYS. The votes are now tallied and the winners have been posted on the SEMMYS website. Congratulations to all the finalists and of course, to the winners.

If you are interested in learning more about search engine marketing, I urge you to read the winning articles, as well as those of the finalists. And be sure to subscribe to their RSS feed because all are thought leaders in the industry and share valuable insight on a regular basis.

Without further ado, here are the winning SEMMYS for 2008:

Is Twitter the Next Big Search Engine?

twitter_through_glass

With 4-5+ million users, and new accounts added at an estimated 5-10,000 daily, and mentions on traditional media, Twitter (website) seems to have become mainstream. It’s one of those simple internet ideas that has taken on a life of its own. And spawned countless complementary applications.

One such application, Summize, was purchased by Twitter last year and, apparently is soon to be integrated into the Twitter user’s interface. Appropriately renamed Twitter Search, this app is available at http://search.twitter.com.

Twitter Search enables a search of all tweets–not just those of people you follow–in real time based on a keyword or keyword phrase.  Unlike Google, Yahoo! or other search engines, Twitter Search returns relevant tweets based on recency. There is also an advanced search to filter your Twitter search results by names, locations, hashtags (info), attitude, or the inclusion of links.

At any given time, there is bound to be someone tweeting about whatever is going on in the world–whether it’s a sporting event, a television show, an earthquake, or a conference. People are also tweeting opinions, reviews, interesting articles, new product announcements, events, and much, much more. I searched for “twitter search” and found this tweeted 22 minutes prior to my search:

twitter-search-tweet1

From the searcher’s perspective, the great value of tweets is that they are 100% user generated–it’s the equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing. And since each post is limited to 140 characters, a Twitter Search results page is a very quick read.

I can’t tell you how many searches are conducted on Twitter Search each month because I couldn’t find the data anywhere. But my assumption is that it is growing…and fast. ComScore (website) tracks search engine volume each month, but does not include Twitter Search data. It is unclear if this is due to a low volume on Twitter Search or just a lack of tracking on the part of ComScore.

What we do know is the websites on the low end of the December search volumes were:

  • Facebook with 161 million searches
  • Amazon properties with 204 million searches
  • Craigslist with387 million searches

Time will tell whether Twitter Search will become as mainstream as Twitter itself–or even the traditional search engines. Integration with the user’s Twitter interface should help increase its use exponentially. In the meantime, I’ll continue to add to it’s search volume. How about you?

Related Articles

Twitter Officially Goes Mainstream

HubSpot’s “State of the Twittersphere” Report

Does Twitter Represent the Future of Search? Or is it The Other Way Around?

Should Twitter Add Authority-based Search?

Is Twitter a Viable Conversation Platform?

Vote for the Best Search Engine Marketing Articles of 2008

Cast your vote online until February 2, 2009

Cast your vote online until Feb. 2, 2009

What the heck’s a SEMMY? To quote the website, “It’s an annual awards event honoring some of the best articles and blog posts from the search marketing industry, as voted by the industry. We have 200 authors nominated, representing 157 blogs/sites.”

The SEMMYS was developed by Matt McGee (blog), David Mihm (website) and LogoWorks (website).

SAMMYS Timeline

Don’t delay. Head on over to the SEMMYS website now and cast your votes because public voting ends February 2nd. Here’s the timeline:

  • January 28 —  Finalists announced; public voting begins
  • February 2 — Public voting closes
  • February 4 —  Winners announced

Nomination Categories

Nominations are included in each of the following categories.

I’ m sure we will see a lot of SAMMYS chatter online over the next week. Be sure to Digg, StumbleUpon, Tweet, Blog or whatever it is you do to encourage voting. And congratulations to all of the nominees.

Options to Get Your Clients to the Top of Organic Search

man-on-mountainYour client wants to be on page one of Google’s organic search results. But you and your agency have not yet entered the wonderful world of search. What should you do? Here are 5 options for obtaining top organic search results.

Optimize the client’s website for search engines – Otherwise known as search engine optimization or SEO. Requires making changes to a website’s code, design and content to follow the search engines’ recommendations for SEO best practices. The good news is that search engine optimization done well usually delivers long-term organic results. And you own the site, you have complete control over it and the content is exclusive to the company. However, the cons with search engine optimization are that you must make changes to your website, which is not necessarily inexpensive or painless. And SEO can take six to 12 months to see the organic results. But perhaps the biggest barrier for an agency is that SEO requires specific expertise and experience. Agencies without experience with website SEO should find an SEO consultant to hire or to bring in as a partner. To learn more about optimizing a website, read this article.

Launch a company blog — There are plenty of blogging platforms, even free ones like the one used for Search Matters from WordPress. Most are extremely easy to use for the non-technical and have many search engine optimization features built in. However, be prepared to write and publish often, and to invest time to market your blog. It takes about six to nine months at the least to build the authority of the blog to the point of realizing seo benefits. But the long-term benefits of a blog are great. Here’s an article to help you get started with a blog.

Add the company to online directory listings – There are countless online directories for companies. These range from online yellow pages, business listings, and map listings to industry, product or geography specific directories, and more. Advantages for directories are that they do not require special expertise, many listings are free, and most only require a one-time submission. But, the challenge with directory listings is that you are usually along side your competition fighting for attention. And, you are limited to just the company name. To get rid of ads on the page or to get above your competition, you will have to pay for a premium listing. Although it is a good idea to make sure your client is listed in the major online directories and targeted directories, it is not necessarily a long-term strategy to get your client to the top of organic search – with the exception perhaps of the company name. You may read more about directory submission here.

Submit articles to online sites – Also known as article submission or article marketing. You write articles around the topics of your business integrating targeted keywords and submit them for publishing on various article sites. It is important to publish articles with quality content, providing educational information. The biggest sin of article marketing is just writing a sales pitch. Article submission allows you to extend your message across the internet as well as search engines without making changes to the company website. It helps the company build itself as an authority in the industry. However, some of the article sites review articles prior to publishing and deny those deemed to not meet their article standards. And like blogging, there is time involved in writing the articles as well as the submission process. Here is an article that further discusses the benefits of article submission.

Become an Ecordia Reseller Partner – Ecordia is the proverbial “all of the above” option for agencies because it combines the search engine optimization best practices and advantages of websites, blogs, directories and articles. At its core it is a super-charged directory of  landing pages. It is a non-technical way for agencies to publish content  for its clients onto pages custom styled according to the client’s brand identity. Ecordia integrates a keyword research tool and an automatic SEO analysis for the content. So you’ll know prior to publishing how optimized the content is, and what you can do to improve the findability of the page. Simply put, Google loves Ecordia pages. To learn more about Ecordia, visit the website.

These are just a few of the ideas for search engine optimization. It really is becoming easier than ever before for the non-technical to conquer the top of mount Google.

December Search Volume by Search Engine

comScore (website) tracks the volume of searches in the United States each month. Following are their findings for December 2008, compared to November 2008.

December 2008 U.S. Core Search Rankings

Google Sites led the U.S. core search market in December with 63.5 percent of the searches conducted, unchanged from November, followed by Yahoo! Sites (20.5 percent), Microsoft Sites (8.3 percent), Ask Network (3.9 percent), and AOL LLC (3.8 percent). Visit the comScore website to see their full findings.

comScore Core Search Report*
December 2008 vs. November 2008
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore qSearch 2.0

Core Search Entity

Share of Searches (%)

Nov-08

Dec-08

Point Change

Dec-08 vs. Nov-08

Total Core Search

100.0

100.0

N/A

Google Sites

63.5

63.5

0.0

Yahoo! Sites

20.4

20.5

0.1

Microsoft Sites

8.3

8.3

0.0

Ask Network

4.0

3.9

-0.1

AOL LLC

3.8

3.8

0.0

* Based on the five major search engines including partner searches and cross-channel searches. Searches for mapping, local directory, and user-generated video sites that are not on the core domain of the five search engines are not included in the core search numbers.


Welcome

There are approximately 12 billion searches conducted on the internet each month. And that number continues to grow. As more companies look for ways to gain an advantage in an increasingly competitive environment, marketers seek to integrate search engine optimization (SEO) into their marketing communications. And with the advancement in non-technical online tools, SEO is not just for programmers and search marketers anymore. Search Matters is specifically for marketers who want to learn about organic search and how to integrate SEO into their integrated marketing communications programs.

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