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A Simple Technique for SEO Keyword Research

Strategic organic SEO begins with solid keyword research and website analysis. Keyword research requires an in-depth look into both external and internal factors. Although most insights for SEO derive from external sources, such as keyword search volumes and sources of traffic, some ideas for optimization may spawn from internal intelligence. Have you ever wondered which page of a website is most primed to rank for a select search phrase? For smaller websites, the answer might be obvious.

But for larger websites, particularly those optimizing for new keywords or hefty long-tails, the answer to that question might be harder to find. Here we offer one of the simple keyword research techniques to help you evaluate your site's search prowess from an internal perspective. In other words, this easy research tactic will tell you which pages of a website have the highest potential to rank on a given keyword target.

Enter: Google Search "Site:"

At Google.com, enter in the search field "site:" followed by the domain of the website (no space, including www.). Submitting this search query alone will exclusively display the most powerful webpages of the domain in the organic results. However, if after the domain a keyword phrase is added, the results will then rank the webpages of the site in relation to the latter phrase.

Consider this make-believe scenario: The SEO team behind www.carters.com is optimizing the website for kid's sleepwear, particularly pajamas for boys. As a large ecommerce store for baby and toddler clothing, the webpage on carters.com that is most related to boys pajamas may requires some digging. The SEO team can determine the most relevant page on the site for "boy’s pajamas" with the "site:" technique. They can do a Google search for "site:www.carters.com boys pajamas" - and voila!

 

Now the SEO team of www.carters.com can be certain that the "Boys Pajamas | Kids Sleepwear" page is best primed for the keyword optimization of "boys pajamas."

This information is invaluable, because it does not rely on assumptions or SEO speculation. This internal keyword research technique objectively tells us the page(s) most relevant to the keyword phrase from Google's point-of-view. This little keyword research trick can help you pinpoint both the most powerful overall webpages of a website, as well as the most relevant webpages of a website with respect to a give keyword. For deep websites, this can be an efficient technique, saving time from sifting though sitemaps and website navigation. And if the results of the “site:” research are undesirable, this keyword research technique might even motivate the creation of new, more optimized webpage.

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Tips for Using Google’s Keyword Tool

Whether as the starting point for optimization, or a supplement for keyword information, the process for most SEO’s includes the use of Google’s keyword tool. Putting the Google Keyword Tool to use is a cinch. You simply plug in your desired keyword phrases and start analyzing. However there are a few essential learning curves to get the most from the Google Keyword Tool. The tips below can help you become more efficient, and more aware, during your keyword research endeavor.

Segment Your Queries

When searching for additional keyword ideas, using the keyword tool in chunks, or related segments, is ideal. Submitting a vast list of several unrelated keywords can result in a mediocre return. If you are researching more than just a few keyword phrases, or seeking the perfect keyword variations, chop your research list into categories.

By submitting a few related keywords, rather than a laundry list, the return will yield keywords that are more relevant and focused to the topic. As a result, your keyword list will expand into many insightful variations and awesome long-tails. This approach is definitely more time consuming than the alternative mass submission, but it’s worth it. Not only are the returns greater by segmenting keywords, but the structure of the end result is more organized too.

Especially from an agency perspective, offering a neatly segmented keyword list is clutch. It allows other viewers to analyze keywords in a more logical and cohesive manner. (Tip: using tabs in a spreadsheet to represent each keyword category works great)

Almost Always Be [Exact]

In left hand navigation of Google’s keyword tool is the option to display Broad, [Exact], and/or “Phrase” match results. By default, the tool will only show keyword volumes and data based on Broad phrase matches. That can make the keyword volumes appear extremely inflated than what they actually represent. It is important to note the immense breadth of Google’s Broad phrase match. In Pay Per Click advertising, bidding on Broad keywords establishes tremendous variation, or keyword flexibility.

For example, the keyword phrase “kids shirts” might also trigger Broad-based variations like “boys tops” or “girls T-shirt.” So if Google’s keyword tool claims that “kids shirts” is search approximately 201,000 times a month, think again.

Difference Between Broad and Exact

While conducting keyword research for organic SEO, or virtually any keyword-based Online marketing, almost always check the [Exact] phrase match box. It is the only legitimate representation of true search volume for particular keyword phrase.

Take the Contextual Tool for a Test Drive

Google’s Contextual Targeting tool is a great resource, particular for those in Pay Per Click advertising. Although its not only for PPC advertisers, the Contextual tool hints at how the search engine “decks” or “indices” work. It breaks down keywords into endless possibilities, revealing new long-tail variations behind each door.

If you haven’t dabbled in the Google Contextual Targeting tool, take it for a quick spin. It can expand your horizons on select keywords and offer insights for further optimization down the road. Like mentioned above, Google’s keyword tool is pretty easy and straight-forward (perhaps too much so.) Be mindful of the phrase matching and keep your keywords nice and organized. It will help facilitate your optimization efforts as well as your deliverables.

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Google Maps to Apply Pay for Service in 2012

Beginning on January 1, 2012, a shift in geo-local Google results will take place: websites will be required to pay for listings in Google Maps.

The charges will only impact those websites that receive a large number of clicks from the Google Maps listings. Once a website exceeds the 25,000 hits per day, Google will then start applying the charges.

The industry expected to be most affected by this development is travel. This because travel agencies often link clients to locations in which they’re inquiring about. Local businesses might also be affected as many business websites use the Google Maps API to point customers to their specific locations.

The rumor is that Google will charge $4 for every 1000 clicks that exceed the 25,000 limit. Heavy users will need to evaluate usage and take appropriate action if necessary.

Google defends its decision by disclosing that it is essential for the long term viability of the service. It is estimated that only 0.35% of all users will be affected.

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New Multi-Channel Funnels of Analytics Offers Valuable Insights

Online marketing is in a constant evolution, particularly with respect to tracking and analyzing data. Before Google launched its Multi-Channel Funnels on August 24, 2011, “sources of conversions” was a metric determined by the last destination from which a user came to a website. Now, with the new features of the Multi-Channel Funnels, Google Analytics offers insights about the various channels that users may have interacted with prior making a conversion.

The features of Google Analytics' Multi-Channel Funnels allow marketers to track the interactions consumers have with various forms of online marketing that lead to conversions. In short, the information provided offers valuable insights as to the impact of organic SEO efforts, banner and display advertising, Pay Per Click, as well as social media, email, video and mobile marketing. With Multi-Channel Funnels, online businesses have the capabilities to analyze how all of these online marketing methods come into play.

Google Analytics offers five new reporting features with Multi-Channel Funnels. This allows online businesses to track and analyze data from a number of perspectives. Learn more about each of these five features below.

The Overview feature of Analytics' Multi-Channel Funnels provides a summary of data on total conversions as well as assisted conversions. In addition, the Overview offers a Venn diagram that gives users a visual representation of which channels (Paid Advertising, Organic Search, and Direct Traffic) contributed to conversions as a whole. This multi-colored diagram is most useful for analyzing assisted conversions where more than one source is responsible for sales.

The Assisted Conversions report outlines the various sources of traffic and each one’s impact on aiding a conversion. In essence, this feature sheds light on which channels are influencing conversions more directly than others. Assisted conversions displays the amount conversions that occurred during a specific period of time. This information also shows the “assisted conversion value” of each channel, as well as “last interaction conversions,” which is the referral or channel that immediately precedes the conversion.

Also of great value to the Multi-Channel Funnels is the Top Conversion Paths report that shows the path consumers take leading to conversions. It can be sorted in several ways and is useful for determining the most effective keywords for organic search and Google AdWords campaigns.

Google Analytics also offers reports on Time Lag. This report displays the time it takes for conversions to occur starting from the time users first make contact with a specific source until the time of a conversion. Also of interests in the new five reporting features is Path Length. This displays the number of channel interacts leading up to conversion.

Currently used by 161 of the Top 500 Internet retailers, Google Analytics offers other useful features that will enable marketers to analyze their website and Internet marketing performance. The importance of the new Google Analytics reports impact the primary factors that affect online businesses. Richard Frankel, president of Rocket Fuel sums up the advantages of these reports, stating that, "Marketers can input all the metrics they gather - about brand impact, intent, sentiment, clicks, shares, conversion, and the like - into the media-buying process to make the most accurate buys possible".

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Creating And Optimizing Google+ Business Pages

With the launch of Google+ pages, online merchants have yet another avenue to broaden their web presence. This time, however, it is imperative to take action. If you’re not in with Google+, you’re not in with Google search. And if you’re not in with Google search, then where are you?

Setting up a Google+ page for your business is easy, and there is no better time to start than now. Below we outline a sound approach to creating and optimizing your Google+ business page.

Create a Company-Oriented Gmail Account

Using your personal Gmail account to set-up your Google+ page potentially limits administrative capabilities. Creating a dedicated account that offers accessibility to other members of your team is the best approach.

Since Google+ pages do not yet offer multiple page administrators, this approach makes it possible for a number of contributors to gain access.

Build Your Google+ Page

For a general overview to get started, visit http://plus.google.com/pages/create (here you can find a link to begin creating your Google+ page.) You'll be provided with a step-by-step guide to create your page.

Just follow the wizard and choose the most accurate classification for your business. A few options are available to help distinguish your Google+ page, including Local Business or Place, Product or Brand Company, and Institution or Organization.

After selecting the appropriate options, you'll be asked to provide basic information such as page name, business' website URL and category. You also have to fill in the classification of the page content, which specifically targets your intended audience. These elements are important because they all play a role in how your page is categorized, which can later impact optimization.

Optimize Your Google+ Page

The preliminary step toward Google+ page optimization is populating the page with the basics – such as logo and images; business name, tagline, and description; and any other rich media that seems applicable.

The next phase of Google+ page optimization demands some research and planning. Look at the page and its content through the lens of a marketer:

  • For what reasons would someone visit the page?
  • How can the content be presented to maximize user experience?

Just like a website, optimization and usability go hand-in-hand. The value of the content and the way it is presented makes all the difference in the world. Thus it is important that users have a meaningful experience when they visit your Google+ page.

Linking is also critical to optimize a Google+ page. Cross-promotion holds the key to a strong following, and one of the easiest links to build is from your website (or blog) to your Google+ page.

In addition, the "About" tab on a Google+ page offers the option to add recommended links. Here you can add additional links to your blog or other resources (such as lead generation offers) to increase interest and traffic to your business.

There are several ways in which your Google+ page can be optimized internally. One technique is to share many images that are relevant to your business.

In a nutshell, Google+ pages offer your business the opportunity to visually communicate with viewers through images, charts and slides. Choose the channels that offer the most potential for interactive exchanges to pique your visitor’s interest.

Because Google+ is a form of social media, pages thrive when users share content, like posts, links, and images. Your subscribers can generate much exposure for your business, you just need offer content that is compelling enough for them to share. When your content is shared and linked-to, Google deems your page more popular.

Google+ Page Maintenance

Measuring traffic and leads that come from Google+ pages will enable you to analyze the overall impact your efforts have on your business. You can determine this by checking out your referral traffic at plus.Google.com.

Savvy marketers know that it takes ongoing effort to engage the interests of online consumers. This means publishing fresh and relevant content on a consistent basis, and promoting such content through your Google+ page.

Also, show your fans that you are genuinely interested in them by responding to their posts. The smallest details can go a long way. Building a Google+ page is simple and it offers tremendous potential.

Once you've established a strong presence in the Google+ community, you'll have the opportunities to obtain exposure from many more users.

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Avoid The Google Search Penalty

For many companies who hinge their advertising and marketing efforts on organic search engine traffic, a penalty from Google can result in life-threatening situation for the business.

Most websites are rightfully deserving of Google penalization by way of sketchy SEO practices and unethical motives. However some recipients of a Google penalty are simply unaware of the errors and risks that exists.

Below we outline the basics of the Google Search Penalty and how to go about avoiding it.

How the Google Penalty is Issued

The Google Penalty Box, also known as the “Sandbox Effect," is the practice of filtering websites by Google's web ranking algorithms. The penalty is generally issued under two circumstances:

  • If a website does not conform to Google's standards for quality and content.
  • If Google finds out that the website is using subversive optimization techniques.

Results of the Google Penalty

Google penalizes websites that fail to use proper and ethical SEO techniques. The search engine will manually demote a website, or if the issue is prominent, Google may alter the search algorithms to cause the site, as well as many others like it, to move down in the rankings. Here are the specifics.

  • Manual demotion eventually expires after 30 days if it involves hidden text. Penalties last longer for cloaking and malicious activities.
  • Changes in algorithm can be managed if you improve your site, after which the penalty is lifted upon re-crawling and re-indexing of the page.

There are also varying severities of Google Search penalization. A “-30 day" penalty causes website rankings to slip 30 places from its original position. A “-60 penalty" lowers rankings by 60 places. A “-950 penalty" places your website on the 95th page, which is virtually non-existent to search engine users.

How to Avoid the Google Penalty

Given the reasons for the Google Penalty, it often general logic to avoid such devastations. Take in consideration these points to avoid the Google Penalty.

  • Website owners should conform to Google's standards for quality content.
  • Refrain from subversive optimization, such as unethical link building practices. Google has already filed patents to reduce or qualify the impact of these manipulations.
  • Google recommends checking on their Help Center articles to identify and fix what may be causing the problem.

What Makes Websites More Optimized?

Google also recommends solutions for making websites more "optimized" or searchable. This includes:

  • Using a text browser like Lynx because other search engine spiders interpret websites like Lynx does. You should also allow your search bots to crawl your website without session IDs.
  • Ensuring that your web server informs Google about content changes since the last time Google crawled it.
  • Writing pages that provide a clear and accurate description of content. Try to use keywords users type to find your pages and ensure that your site includes these words. 
  • Using text rather than images to display relevant names, links, and content. Texts contained in images are not recognized by Google Crawler.
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Ideal Internet Marketing Tools For SEO Success

Many websites fail to attract the amount of visitors they desire. This is often because the preliminary keyword research of the SEO process was insufficient and viewed from the wrong lens.

For the best direction leading to SEO success, there are many elements that must be analyzed. Most of these stem from using the right Internet marketing tools.

To help you become more successful with your SEO efforts, we outline four essential tools that the best Internet marketers use.

The Google Keyword Tool

Google provides a keyword research tool intended for Pay Per Click advertisers that displays the number (or volume) of people per month that are searching a given phrase. The data provided by the Google Keyword Tool helps to determine both the worthiness and the competitiveness of certain keywords. These two factors may be interrelated, because often a keyword that appears worthy of optimization lacks heavy competition.

Traffic Travis

Traffic Travis is a software platform that comes in both free and paid versions. It offer a fantastic competition analysis tool that provides a “difficulty rating” for a website's ability to rank on select search terms. In essence, Traffic Travis enables you to analyze how difficult it will be to rank and get traffic.

SEO Spyglass

Backlinks are the most powerful indicator of a strong site, especially for SEO. The link analysis provided by SEO Spyglass allows you to see where a site's backlinks are coming from. Spyglass will also provide statistical analysis on the pages containing those links, such as the Google Page Rank and anchor text. The information provided by this tool allows marketers to gauge how strong their websites are as well as their competitor’s. 

Google Website Optimizer

Conversions are key for SEO, and if your landing pages are not converting, your efforts are going nowhere. The Google Website Optimizer allows you to test different versions of a page to analyze which aspects of the page contribute to greater conversions.

Making decisions based on the factual statistics that these tools collect is likely to improve a website’s SEO efforts. By using these Internet marketing tools, you can give your website the SEO TLC it needs to move in the right direction.

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Google Getting Social With Search

The infusion of Google+ on an individual's search results is the latest development by Google. The underlying idea is to tailor highly relevant search results that reflect the social behaviors of a Google+ user.

It is a very novel approach by Google to go social on search results. The reaction of this announcement has been mixed. Many are happy in their Facebook comfort zones, and don't want to move to a new platform. However through Google's eyes, it's an imperative move for to start relinquishing the social media market share.

Impact of Socially Infused Search

There is an immediate impact on the SEO and Internet marketing strategies of many websites with respect to the new shift in search. Let us examine the pros and cons of this new direction by Google.

Pros

  • Socially integrated search results offer personal relevancy to the mix, helping users connect with the people and things that they love.
  • Credibility is huge in the world of search. Social endorsements are often the most trusted ways to recommend quality content, as well as products, services, and other things sought after via search.
  • A social media platform combined with a comprehensive search engine could be more efficient for users in the long haul (minimizing the number of online platforms a person uses.)

Cons

  • Incentivizing enough users to join Google+ and making the platform a worth-while place to hangout online might pose the biggest challenge for Google.
  • Users may be unsatisfied with the social search results they are delivered, and leave as a result.
  • Many businesses that feed on global search results may begin to loss impression share from personal search results.

Adoption Strategy

It is time to innovate and think out of the box. Similar to social media marketing on Facebook, SEO’s and internet marketing pros will need a new roadmap with extensive focus on the habits and behaviors of social users.

The SEO approach of today, which includes heavy keyword optimization and link building will drift away. Soon Google's "+1" will shape the credibility and popularity of a website, and thus contribute to its search engine rankings. This means that the quality of a website's content will win the SEO game.

A good mindset for marketers moving forward is to have a "community level" of thinking for SEO. Consumer behaviors and social interactions will be the ideal tracking tools to formulate SEO and Internet marketing strategies.

In essence, a winner's adoption strategy will take into account all things Google has to offer. This will include proper implementation of business "hang outs" on their Google+ page as well as executing Google's "Direct Connect" features. In addition, websites must not neglect the importance of obtaining "+1's" on their site, ads, and other forms of the sharable media.

In summary, Google+ search is a positive move toward better search relevance and improved social orientation, all in one package. For SEO's and Internet marketers, the overall strategy is nothing new, only are its executions. Winners in the future game of search will still need to focus on their true target markets to earn their love and attention.

HubSpot.com has great article about the 3 new search results that are now influenced by the Google+ platform. To read the article, click here.

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The Best Practices of Pinging Your Blog

The concept of "pinging" is quite simple. In essence, you submit your blog to various websites (via a central pinging website) to notify those sites of your blog's freshly added content. In turn, your blog may be crawled and indexed more quickly, and thus better perform in the search engines.

In addition to blogging, there are also some best practices of Pinging. Whether for a personal blog or a business blog, pinging, in the long-haul, can contribute to a more popular blog.

Below, we outline a few tips to help you ping your way to a more successful blog.

Ping Sooner Than Later

The first key aspect of pinging is when you ping. It is important to ping your blog soon after you update the content of your blog. We suggest getting in the habit of pinging immediately after you hit publish.

Ping The Post

The URL you submit to a pinging website can make a huge difference in how fast your blog content gets crawled. We did some digging and research on this topic and found that submitting the actual blog post URL of new content (and not just the domain of the blog) will result in faster indexing of your fresh blog.

Ping For Power

To get the most from you pinging efforts, ping to some of the most powerful pinging websites. We recommend:

Ping your blog to these pinging websites for the greatest impact. We hope these best practices of pinging will help increase the rank of your blog and establish a stronger readership.

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The Advantages of Google Engage for Agencies

The release of Google Engage for Agencies offers a wealth of resources for Internet marketers who work with locally-focused small businesses. Spanning from SEOs, webmasters, marketing consultants, and social media marketers, Google Engage is program designed for more than just agencies. Google Engage can up-and-coming entrepreneurs to grow and expand their business.

With Google Engage for Agencies, you can learn to use and take advantage of different marketing tools such as Google AdWords, as well as pre-existing Google advertising programs that generates income on the pay-per-click model. Not only does this offer SEOs and Internet marketers a significant advantage in promoting and executing their services, but in return, local businesses can reap the rewards of cost-efficient, locally targeted advertising opportunities.

Benefits of Google Engage

There is no cost to join the Google Engage program, but there are some qualifications that need to be met. The person must have or be in charge of a website for a business that is already functioning and established on the web. The individual must be ready to commit to learning about the different Google resources, and also to start promoting the resources from Google to existing and potential customers.

Become a Better Internet Marketer

The program will guide the individual through a training program that shows them how Google advertising and AdWords works, as well as how to become more successful at Internet marketing. In essence, the basic training phase will help increase and build marketing and advertising skills.

Get Free AdWords Coupons

One of the greatest benefits of Google Engage for Agencies is that Google will give you free AdWords coupons to use for new clients. This enables marketers to show their clients the potential of local Pay Per Click advertising before having to spend a single dollar. Agencies in the program are granted up to 20 AdWords coupons valued at $100 of free ad spend which they can offer to their clients in any manner they like.

Pursue Advanced AdWords Training

Google Engage members can also learn how to most efficiently target their audience, and how to set a solid AdWords campaign that attracts qualified leads for their clients. The program goes into advanced AdWords training concepts, such as properly setting-up ad groups, writing ad copy, and using other tools like click-to-call and mobile ad targeting. Google Engage for Agencies is a wonderful program that offers many advantages as well as reciprocity between advertisers and Google. Advertisers can take advantage of the offers in which Google Engage provides, while Google can expand its customer base and focus on building a reputation at a more local level.

Learn more about this amazing new program and visit the official website for Google Engage for Agencies.

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