Month: September 2011

How to: Plan your small business SEO Strategy

Miami SEO

 

Everyday I meet with businesses across South Florida (Miami, Ft Lauderdale, West Palm Beach) who know they need an SEO strategy, are sick of their competitors taking away all of their business using internet marketing and search engines, but most of the time they are confused or unsure about where to start or what to do.

This simple guide will walk business owners through the process they should go through when taking on the task of setting up an SEO strategy for their business.  For most of these steps, I go in to greater detail in other articles, and where possible, I will provide a link so you can find more information about that topic.  This should simplify the steps from planning, to execution and evaluation of your Search Engine Optimization.

1 ) Keyword Research – Before you put any Search Engine Optimization (SEO) processes in place, finding the right keywords to target is a must!  If done correctly, SEO can be one of the top sources for incoming leads for your business, but make first you need to make sure you are targeting the right keywords!

Start by coming up with a list of phrases that you think would be a good fit for your industry and target area.  You can then use several keyword generator tools like the Google Keyword Tool, Keyword Discovery, or Wordtracker to come up with other keyword ideas.  Realize though, that many of your competition may be using these same tools.

Keep in mind that the more general and shorter industry keywords and phrases can be more competitive and can take a lot longer to start ranking for.  Longer keywords and phrases (longtail) can be much easier to rank for, so you may also want to add some of them to your keyword mix as well.  Try using Geo terms or call-to-action oriented words in your mix.

The best way to come up with a final list of keywords you want to choose for your SEO campaign is to first run a Pay Per Click campaign with all of your keyword ideas.  SEO is a longer term strategy, so by implementing a shorter term PPC campaign, you can get fast data to apply towards your SEO.

By implementing a PPC campaign, you will instantly get data on which keywords are converting into sales, and which ones are not.  You will then avoid starting a 6+ month SEO campaign, only to find out in the end that you just chose highest traffic keywords that are ending in a low amount of sales and quotes.

And unless you are just trying to brand your company, there’s nothing more frustrating than looking at your analytics and seeing a ton of visits from people who aren’t BUYERS!

So in short:  Spend plenty of preparation time making sure that you are choosing the right keywords, and it will save you a lot of time and money moving forward.

2) Analyze and Optimize your Website- After coming up with a short list of keywords that are going to be the best for you to target, your are going to have to take a good look at your website.  View your source code and set up your meta tags properly.  For more information on meta tags view my blog article here.

Next up for your on-page SEO is to place keywords strategically across your website.  Create a new page for each keyword that you would like to target, and litter the page with your keyword.  Keep the language sounding normal though and not spammy, so you don’t get flagged for “keyword stuffing”

3) Start Blogging – A major key to Google’s rankings is to have unique relative content, so your blog is one of your best tools to your SEO ranking process.  This will move you up the rankings, along with making you the expert in your industry.  Keep your articles on topic, and keyword optimized.  Not convinced?  Read my article about 17 reasons why your business should be blogging.

4) Inbound Link Building – One of the most important factors in your organic SEO ranking are your inbound links.  This is just as important, if not more important, than your on-page SEO.  Write unique content will get you some referral links to your site.  You can also exchange links with other sites.  Getting inbound links from sites in your industry is also important for your PageRank.  You will also want to claim your link on directories across the internet to generate inbound links.

Please contact me directly if you would like more information on inbound links, as this topic deserves a whole article on its own.

5) Local Presence – Claim all of your local listings!!  This is especially important for all of you local business owners out there that have a brick and mortar location.  All the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) all have local listings that you can claim for your business.  Take advantage of this, optimize the pages, and you will see benefit on your search results.  For information on how to claim your local listings, watch my video here.

6) Get Social – A great way to help your rankings on search engines is to get active in social media.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Google+ can all be used to get in front of more customers, engage with potential clients, and will also help your organic ranking.  Search engines love content that bodes well on social sites.  Stay active and have passionate followers and you will prosper with social media.

You should also be posting your articles on social bookmarking sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Delicious.  If your content truly is great, it will generate traffic through all of these sources.

7) Check your rank – The final component for your SEO campaign is to check and evaluate your progress.  Where did you start and where do you rank now?  Keep in mind that SEO is a long term process.  Changes you make will not take effect overnight.  Change a few things, add some links, and keep monitoring your progress to see how it affects your PageRank for your different keywords.

Also, keep checking your analytics to track where your conversions are coming from, and if you need to tweak any of the keywords.

And the most important part… keep building links!

 

This should give you a starting point for your SEO campaign, and a framework of what needs to be done.  Although I didn’t go into too much detail in this article, please check out the links I have provided which should explain everything more completely.

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me, and if you’d like a FREE evaluation let me know and I’ll be happy to take a look at your gameplan.  Thanks!

How to: Target BUYERS instead of BROWSERS for your PPC Campaign

Ft Lauderdale Internet MarketingThe goal of the vast majority of Pay-per-click campaigns is simple; create a customer from someone searching for your product.

Although this may sound simple in theory, many PPC campaigns have a huge lack of target in the way that they try to reach potential customers, by targeting people who are either looking for information or browsing.

As you can see on the buying funnel to the left, consumers go through a cycle when deciding on making a purchase:

  1. Awareness that they have a problem that needs fixed or a want to be fulfilled
  2. Research and comparison to find out what the best product or service would be to fix their problem or fulfill their want
  3. Buying, which consumers know what they need and make the purchasing decision.

You should be fulfilling your awareness portion of the funnel with you outbound methods of marketing (Traditional media and Online Display Advertising) You should get your brand name pushed out the prospects, so when in time of need, your name will be the one they remember when consumers turn to search engines in order to find the product that they want.

For your PPC campaign though, it is a waste of money and clicks for you to be bidding on words that are very generic and informational in nature, because these people are not yet ready to make a purchasing decision (save these high traffic keywords for your SEO campaign, use the free traffic for the highest volume words)

For your pay per click campaign, keep to longer keyword phrases that are call-to-action oriented in nature and contain action verbs.  These will be much lower traffic than the shorter, more generic keywords… but when you are paying per click, these highly targeted action keywords are the ones that will generate the highest conversion rate, and ultimately create the best return on investment for your search engine campaign.

Example:

Impact Windows” – Generic keyword, highly competitive, and usually around $5-10 per click depending on what market you reside in.  With Miami Internet Marketing campaigns  it is currently around $6-8.

Hire Impact Window Company” “Buy Impact Windows” “Impact windows quote” – These keywords have a specific call to action, and show that the consumer searching is in the buying section of the funnel… they have already done previous research to look for what they need to solve their problem.  And if you’ve done any awareness marketing, they might have already heard of your company too, to boot!  Now sit back and watch your conversion rate skyrocket!

And the kicker:  Since these highly targeted call-to-action words have significantly less traffic and bidders than the generic words, the cost per click will end up being WAY less…. so let your competition bid each other up and get tons of traffic for “browsers” by bidding on expensive informational keywords like “impact windows”, while you bid on the less expensive longer buying keywords keywords like “hire impact window company” and laugh at their stupidity.

Note:  I’m not saying to not bid on generic keywords, you can still close business this way, just bid less on these words so you don’t blow through your budget.  Also, you will need many MANY more keywords in order to generate the same amount of traffic as the short generic keywords, but your conversion rate will be ridiculously higher than your competition, and you’ll be spending way less money for your clicks at the same time!

If you’d like me to take a look at any of your campaigns, feel free to contact me anytime for a free consultation.  Thanks!