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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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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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3 Essential Perspectives for SEO

What makes for good SEO? There are many aspects of search engine optimization that contribute to its effectiveness, many of which depend upon the nature of the website being optimized.

Good SEO begins with awareness. That is, understanding the website, its competition, and the best techniques to achieve desirable keyword rankings.

Here we outline some broad-based perspectives in which every optimizer should master.

Start Thinking Critically

An essential requirement for SEO, as well as in life in general, is critical thinking. In short, critical thinking means using reason and rationality before accepting what others claim as fact. This doesn't mean disregarding what others say just so you can be original and do your own thing.

Critical thinking means weighing the presented evidence against an accepted belief without bias. Hearsay doesn't count as evidence, especially those based on a single occurrence. Search engine optimization can be complex, and many optimizers have their beliefs about what works. This often results in a flood of theories about SEO which are often published as articles and blog posts.

Before you nod your head with agreement, do some additional research and make sure one’s theory is not just a bunch of fluff.

Know the Mark-up

Mark-up language is the heart of the web. Web pages are “marked up” with HTML and XML, which governs most data interchange on the Internet. Search engines recognize most content through mark-up language, which is why it is essential for a SEO to understand the basics of HTML. This enables optimizers to accurately audit and review a website as well as execute mark-up enhancements properly.

Absorb the Information

Search engines are specifically designed to retrieve information. Regardless of search engine’s information retrieval capabilities, its basic function is governed by precision and recall. That is, search engines are highly precise in the way in which they can retrieve information based on the user’s needs.

In addition, search engines are able to recall information that is most relevant to the search query. These two principles form the basis from which strategies for SEO can be developed. With a good idea of the concepts of information retrieval, optimizers can better organize their strategies.

Critical thinking is also improved as SEO’s discover a wider source of relevant information from which conclusions can be drawn upon. Formal SEO education does not focus on these three foundational skills.

In many contexts, SEO education is targeted towards the immediate symptom of the problem rather than the cause. Symptomatic treatment never lasts, which is why addressing SEO from a broader perspective can often shed light on big picture issues (and opportunities.)

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Tumblr: The Next Big Player In The Social Media Scene

Since Tumblr launched in 2007, its growth has been notably immense amongst the click of content sharing sites. In fact, Tumblr witnessed its largest increase in use between May of 2010 and May of 2011. The 183% spike in just one year hints at tumblr being the next big player in the social media and blogging scene.

Tumblr Growing in Numbers

The Nielsen Company revealed in its "State of the Media: Social Media Report Q3, 2011" that Tumblr's unique visitors increased from 4.2 million in May of 2010 to 11.9 million in May of 2011, a whopping 183% increase in one year. It also noted an average of 21,280 messages and links posted daily.  

As reported by Mashable, Tumblr overtook WordPress in the number of hosted blogs in June 2011. In September, the social blogging site reportedly hosted 29 million blogs -  a strong statistic against the most popular blog site on the Web.

Tumblr Attraction

The growth of Tumblr has attracted marketers, however online advertisers are still on the experimental stage, brainstorming and testing ways to maximize the business potential of this rapidly expanding community.  

Fashion companies and media outlets are Tumblr's most avid advertisers. At the pace at which the site is going, it would only be a matter of time before it becomes a force to be reckoned with in the social media scene. Tumblr offers easy creation of posts, like photos, videos, and links, as well as following other blogs for re-posting.

Tumblr's emergence as the next social media site to watch provides new opportunities for online marketers. It is quickly becoming a goldmine to capture in-market consumers. It just a matter of how to dig for such gold that presents the current challenge.

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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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Mobile Website Optimization

If you are an online business owner and want to keep up with the most important changes in online business trends, then it is important that you get familiar with mobile website optimization and how it works.  According to Google, “by 2013 more people will use their mobile phones than P.C.’s to get online.”  This is a growing trend that is expected to continue well into 2015 and beyond.

So, what does this mean to you as an online business owner or marketer? Well, usually when a user is using a mobile device to get the information that they need online, they are usually need the information in a timely, efficient manner. 

Most users will expect their mobile experience to be just as good and just as fast as their desktop access.  When someone tries to access a website from their mobile device that has not been optimized for mobile, they often leave that site and try the next one.

This means that without mobile website optimization the potential of losing website visitors to your competition is very predictable.  This can leave a very bad taste in the mouth of your visitors and cause them to speak negatively about not only your website, but about your company as well.

How to Optimize for Mobile

The good news is that mobile optimization is not that all that difficult when you follow a few basic steps :

1. Have a separate mobile user website created for your users. This should include, at a minimum, iPhone and Android users. The menu options or navigation should be designed to give visitors quick and direct access to the key content or contact information that they are looking for.  The mobile website should also be designed to load quickly.

2. Create shorter versions of your main pages that are better suited for viewing on mobile screens.  This is where formatting is critical for mobile users because content will appear differently on a mobile device.  Titles and headlines may need to be shorten or re-written to accommodate the smaller screens.

3. Setup a separate marketing campaign for mobile users.  Allocate resources for growing your mobile marketing, support, and customer feedback.  This will allow you to track, do split testing and make tweaks and changes to improve your results.

Begin Your Mobile Website Project

By starting out small and improving as you go you will be able to take full advantage of the current and future growth of mobile phone users.  This is a trend that can have a significant impact on the success of your business and can put you ahead of your other online competitors.

The key to achieving the best results from your mobile website optimization efforts is to first make it a priority to create and implement a mobile website project, which should include identifying your target mobile users. 

Do research to learn more about what others in your market are doing that is working.  Implement your own mobile SEO strategy with an eye towards making it better than your competitions. This can help ensure that you maximize your return on investment as quickly as possible.

Try testing your website's currently mobile-friendliness by using the GoMo tool by Google.

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Optimized Anchor Text Links for SEO

For all the newbie’s in the SEO game looking to increase your rank, the term anchor text is used to define the visible words that are displayed on a link. Anchor text substitutes the need to link using the URL and enables search engine spiders to crawl the site being linked to with better sense of direction. The spider can gauge the relevancy of the anchor text to that of the webpage’s content, making it more popular to certain keywords.

For example, a link with the anchor text free rank checker that directs users to http://tools.seobook.com/firefox/rank-checker/ tells search engine that this webpage is about a “free rank checker" and will better rank the site in the organic search results for users searching for similar keywords.

Optimized Anchor Text for Partial Linking

The practice of applying anchor text may seem simple; however there is one strategy to better your organic listings in the search engines. Using anchor text for partial linking a powerful tactic is often overlooked by many in the SEO business. Partial linking is just like it sounds – using only part of the keyword phrase for SEO in the links anchor text.

A few examples of solid partial linking in anchor text (when targeting the keyword phrase “Felt triathlon bikes") would be “top triathlon bikes", “Felt brand bikes" or “learn more about Felt."

As link building continues to be dominant in SEO, using the best practices of anchor text is critical. Start using creative SEO anchor text links to better your organic search performance.

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Tumblr For Effective Link Building

It's no secret that using blogging platforms for link building is an effective search engine optimization strategy.

One of the best of these platforms is Tumblr, a free micro-blogging site that allows you to post almost anything. Aside from text-based content, you can also post videos, audio files, links, and images to your own tumblr blog.

This posting flexibility is what makes Tumblr the platform of choice for a lot of bloggers and publishers. You can post a one-sentence blog post containing a backlink, or a 1000-word article with several backlinks.

5 Reasons to Use Tumblr for Link Building

1. Google loves Tumblr because the site is popular and SEO-friendly. A lot of Tumblr blogs rank very highly in the search engines. Additionally, there are features such as "liking" and "reblogging," which are very powerful for SEO purposes.

2. All the links you publish on your blog or any "reblogged" posts you make are DoFollow. This means that every link you create in your Tumblr blog passes on solid link juice.

3. You have full control and flexibility over what you publish. There is no limit to the amount of words that a blog post can contain.

4. Tumblr does not moderate your content as long as you stay within the site's Terms of Service. Once you hit the publish button, your blog post goes live instantly. You don't have to wait for somebody to review or approve your post.

5. Ease of use. The user interface of Tumblr is clean, uncluttered, and very easy to use. Whether you want to publish an article, a photo, or a video, all you need to do is click on the appropriate button on the dashboard.

Tumblr offers the potential to deliver high-quality backlinks, and these links are often free and easy to generate. So what are you waiting for? Start link-building with Tumblr today!

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