Focusing on the right keywords

Depending on the keywords for which you want to get high rankings, you have to employ different tactics. Keywords with less competition require different tactics than keywords with high competition. If you target long keyword phrases with little competition, then the relative value of on-page web page optimization is very high.

For example, if you want to be listed for the search term “buy black adidas samba sneaker in knoxville” then it is enough to optimize one of your web pages for that search term because the competition for that search term is not high. You don’t need many inbound links to get high rankings for that keyphrase. The more competitive the targeted keyword is, the higher is the effect of inbound links on the position of your website in the search results.

Which search engine optimization tactic should you use for your website?

1. The best web page optimization tactic: When you optimize your website, optimize different pages of your website for different keyphrases. Start with longer keyword phrases that don’t have much competition and then proceed with more competitive keywords. For example, start with the keywords “buy sneakers in knoxville”, “buy cowboy boots in knoxville”, “buy pumps in knoxville”, “shoe shop knoxville”, etc. When you have managed to get high rankings for many of these keyphrases, Google will know that your website is relevant to the topic “shoes”.

As soon as Google knows that your website is relevant to the topic, it will be much easier to get high rankings for more competitive keywords such as “buy shoes” or even “shoes”. The more pages of your website you optimize for different but related keywords, the better.

2. The best link building tactic: It’s not always necessary that you have more links than your competitors. You need better links. Try to get links to your website that use the targeted keyphrase as the link text (also called anchor text) and that point to the web page on your website that has been optimized for that keyphrase. Don’t focus on quantity, focus on quality. Getting hundreds of links from a link farm won’t help your website as much a few dozen links from relevant web pages with authority. If your website has both optimized web pages and good inbound links then it will be easy to outrank web pages that only have one factor. 

If you have additional questions about keywords and how important they are to helping your company get found online please contact me and I will be more than happy to help. I can be reached at 208.598.0084 or matt.shifley@yahoo.com for more information to discuss how I can help you or your company with its search engine optimization, online marketing, or copywriting needs.

Getting Found Online

There are many things that you must do if your website is going to be found online and that it is optimized to be found in the search engines. One of the most important items you must do is title tags, and below is some information that explains title tags in a little more detail.

Title tags
Although they are not visible on the page, it is the single most important on-site search engine optimization (SEO) factor so it definitely shouldn’t be overlooked.

1) Aim for 65 characters, this is the cut-off point in Google when listed with search results and it also helps to keep your title tags concisely targeted towards the most important keywords.
2) Include keywords towards the start of the title tag.
3) Include consistent branding in the title tag. This comes down to preference, but the branding value of having your company name seen several times when listed in search results can be very valuable. I normally opt for a consisitent style of “Keywords | Brand” but this really is down to personal preference, if you have a long brand name it may be worth abbreviating or cutting this down in some way.

If you have any questions about Title Tags and how important they are to helping your company get found online please contact me and I will be more than happy to help. I can be reached at 208.598.0084 or matt.shifley@yahoo.com for more information to discuss how I can help you or your company with its search engine optimization, online marketing, or copywriting needs.

How Small Business Owners Can Get Started with Online Marketing

Small business owners don’t have the resources that larger businesses have, but in most cases they can move much more quickly.  They need  to take advantage of their ability to move quickly especially in regards to online marketing, but where do they start?

The first step is to get educated or find someone you trust to help you along the way (subliminal message -> think Matt Shifley).  Find a blog or two, like this one, to follow and pay attention to industry trends.  Making uneducated decisions can lead to money in the hole and wasted efforts.

Next, it’s important to prepare a strategy that works for your business.  Do you run a service business, e-commerce website, or retail store?  Do you need search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) or both to get targeted leads?  Get your campaigns going and enjoy the process of refining and optimizing.

One of the easiest steps to success that provides lasting results is to start a blog on your website.  WordPress is a great  starting point.  Even if you only update your industry specific blog once a month and you don’t get hundreds of comments it’s still providing great SEO value.  There are lots of great sites that allow you to submit your blog to their directory.  By doing this you gain a link to your website and set yourself up to get noticed.  More importantly, blogging helps show your passion for your business and allows you to express your expertise.

Another method that works well for some and wastes time for others is social media.  Twitter, Facebook, and community websites can be valuable ways to find prospects as long as you stay focused and don’t let the hours go by as you explore.  Setup accounts specific to your business and provide meaningful information about what you do best, your business.

Finally, plan on revisiting your campaigns regularly.  Dig into the numbers to see what’s working, what’s not and where you need to put more money.

And if you want to go the extra mile try podcasting or creating a video to put on youtube.

By putting time into all of these different methods you can spread a wide net and capture a larger client base.  And don’t forget, while you’re getting things done the big competitor down the street is still working it’s way through all the corporate red tape.

Please give me a call today at 208.598.0084 or contact me at matt.shifley@yahoo.com for more information to discuss how I can help you or your company with its search engine optimization, online marketing, or copywriting needs.

Drive More Visitors To Your Website

The Internet is becoming increasingly crowded with lots of new e-commerce businesses starting every day.  How can you be sure your website won’t get lost in this vast crowd?  By using experienced search engine optimization (SEO) copywriters like myself who skillfully embed targeted search terms with appropriate density into your website’s content.  Content is critical because search engine spiders (programs Google and other major search engines use to survey your website) only read text.  One of the determining factors in where Google ranks your website is the relevance of keywords and phrases in your site’s content.

I  have experience in properly using SEO copywriting techniques to create content that will improve your search engine positioning for your targeted search terms.  I create content that is original, well-researched, on-topic and search engine friendly.  I seamlessly fold keyword phrases into content that flows smoothly for the reader.  Quality SEO copywriting is invisible to your site visitors.

Benefits Of Our SEO Copywriting Services Include:

  1. Improved ranking in the SERP’s (search engine results pages)
  2. Greater volume of visitors hitting your website
  3. More narrowly targeted traffic leads to higher sales conversion rates
  4. Promoting your website as an “authority” site in your field
  5. Establishing trust with your site visitors
  6. Developing a new customer base while solidifying your existing one

In today’s uncertain economy, every online marketing dollar is precious.  My proven SEO copywriting services can help you increase your income without busting your online marketing budget.

Please give me a call today at 208.598.0084 or contact me at matt.shifley@yahoo.com for more information to discuss how I can help you or your company with its search engine optimization, online marketing, or copywriting needs.

Questions about Search Engine Optimization and Copywriting

A few questions and answers about copywriting in regards to online marketing and search engine optimization (SEO).

  • Do you think making some of the keywords like “example 1″ “example 2″ etc. as anchor text links pointing to articles on the site might be a good thing? Only if those are terms being targeted on the pages. You want to keep the same keyword throughout. They should be a matched set. If you put “example 1″ or “example 2″ in your title tag, description tag, page copy, ALT tags, etc., then yes, you can use those terms as anchor text with links pointing to the pages. But don’t target a page to “blue widgets” then use “example 1″ as anchor text pointing to it. That defeats the purpose.
  • I have over 100 articles on my own site, all original content. 30 days after they have been posted on my site, I submit them to specific article directory sites with a back link to the original article as well as multiple links to the site I am trying to promote. Do you think this is a valid SEO strategy? Yes. I do not want the sites I submitted the article to, to out rank the original article. Why not? As long as the reader still has access to the link back to your site, what difference does it make? If they are interested in what you offer, they’ll click to your site.
  • Do you think that by adding a backlink to the original article this will tell Google who had the article on the web first and who should be ranked for the article? It doesn’t work that way. Google will know you’re the original source for the article because it was published on your site/blog/forum/whatever first. Once it’s spidered and included in the index, you’re good. They know you were the first. Being first to publish doesn’t mean you automatically get ranked higher than others. There are LOTs of elements that go into deciding which pages get ranked where for what.
  • Does it help to wait 30 days to re-publish the article? No. Once Google picks it up, you’re good. Just type the title of your article into the Google search field (using quotes). When it shows up, go for it!
  • Also would you syndicate all of the articles to various sites or maybe 10-20 articles to 5 different sites? It’s not the quantity. It’s the quality. There are a bazillion article directory sites online and most of them are fly-by-night pieces of trash. They have no visitors (thus, no people to read your article and click to your site), they have lousy PageRank, etc. Be selective. Don’t worry about quantity. It’s not the article directory link that will do you a lot of good anyway. You get the power of article distribution when other sites pick up your article from the article directory and republish it on their high-quality site.
  • When marketing people talk about a “127% lift” in conversion rate what does that mean? Will I get a conversion rate of 127%?No. That’s a common misunderstanding. The lift is the amount of increase shown. So, if you started with a conversion rate of 2% and you experience a 127% lift (or increase), your new conversion rate will be 5%, not 127%.
  • I know you can split key phrases with punctuation. But can you split key phrases with line breaks, paragraph breaks or bullet points? Will Google ‘jump over’ the gaps and see the key phrase in its entirety?You can split keyphrases with *most* punctuation. The common stuff like commas, periods, semi-colons, dashes, etc. Tildes, brackets, etc. are iffy sometimes. When in doubt, check. Go to Google and type in the keyphrase without the punctuation and write down the top 5 sites. Then type in the query with the punctuation and see if the same top 5 sites come up. If they do, Google sees it as the same thing.Yes, you can split with line breaks, paragraph breaks and bullets. Spiders will read right through. Except that bullet points count as special formatting and *might* give you an extra point or two as far as SEO goes because the info in the bullet list would be considered important.

    Please give me a call today at 208.598.0084 or contact me at matt.shifley@yahoo.com for more information to discuss how I can help you or your company with its search engine optimization, online marketing, or copywriting needs.

Search Engine Optimization Tools

Those new to the world of search engine optimization (SEO) may feel a little overwhelmed with all of the tactics that are needed to achieve higher rankings. But here are a few tools that you need to help you get started.

Keyword Tools – Employing the right keywords can really make a difference in your SEO campaign. If you begin your campaign without taking the time to find, analyze, and validate your keyword set, then you run the risk of using keywords that won’t perform well for you. It takes considerable time for your SEO efforts to reach your ranking goals, so it might be months before you realize you needed to use different keywords. That would be a waste of time and money. A good place to start is SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool. It links to most of the other existing keyword tools, such as Wordtracker, Keyword Discovery, and tools from Google, MSN, and Yahoo. This one tool lets you explore many others.

SEO Site Grader Tools – If you have an existing site and would like to take a pulse on the SEO effectiveness, then these tools will help. They will analyze your site against specific criteria and produce a report, or even give you a grade. You can even use these tools on your competition to see how you stack up against them. Website Grader is a great tool for running a health check of your site. Then it will provide a score that incorporates elements such as Web site traffic, SEO, social popularity, and other technical factors. It will also provide advice on how your Web site can be improved from a marketing perspective. Another SEO site grading tool is Quarkbase. This tool provides a great way to find your site information, including social bookmarking statistics, Alexa ranking, and related sites and domain information.

Linking Tools – You should be aware by now that the number and quality of external links that come to your site are an important factor in achieving good rankings. You need to be able to see how many URLs have links to your site and their quality, which is measured by its PageRank. A PageRank of 10 is the highest and rarest. You’re looking for PR 3-4 and above. SEO Pro’s Link Checker will report all backlinks to your site. Be patient, it will take time to run this report. This tool will show the PageRank of the pages your URL is on. It will also tell you the number of links on the page and the anchor text for the link. You also have the ability to check the number of backlinks for all of the pages on your site, or just the top domain. Another important factor in SEO is analyzing your internal links and identifying bad links. You’ll need to isolate any that you have and fix them.

Google Webmaster Tools – A free service that provides a wealth of information about your site. After you’ve verified your site, you’ll be able to check for errors, analyze your HTML tags important for SEO, identify top search queries, enhance 404 error pages, and much more.

Please give me a call today at 208.598.0084 or contact me at matt.shifley@yahoo.com for more information to discuss how I can help you or your company with its search engine optimization, online marketing, or copywriting needs.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet …

that is indeed a question some of you may have been asking yourself since it seems like everyone and their third cousin from their Mother’s side is on Twitter. But is this social networking phenomenon right for you? Well ultimately it is up to you and how you want to leverage Twitter. Do you want to meet new people? Follow businesses or columnists? Increase the exposure of your business? Or just want to be part of the in crowd? Whatever you decide here are some reasons that a lot of the experts think Twitter should matter to you and can be an effective online marking tool:

1. Personal Branding. Twitter is a social media platform you can use to build your personal brand. It has the primary benefit of developing a casual persona and establishes you as a social personality that is connected and approachable.

2. Get Feedback. Need an alternative perspective on how a website looks or the right course of action to take? Blast out a message asking for advice and you’ll receive replies from other users. This collective intelligence can be used as fodder for articles or projects.

3. Hire People. Need a good logo designer, marketer or programmer? Send out a message asking for recommendations. This is a very quick and easy way to hire freelancers or even companies based on familiar recommendations.

4. Direct traffic. Twitter can be used to get traffic to your websites or the sites of friends. If you ask your friends to tweet about it, the message will spread faster and further as other active users pick it up. There is a viral nature to all types of news, even on a site like Twitter.

5. Read News. Twitter users often link to useful sites or articles and can be a source of scoops and alternative news. You can also subscribe to Twitter feeds for specific websites/conferences, which allows you to receive and view content quickly. This is very useful for active social news participants.

6. Make New Friends. Like any other social network, Twitter has a built-in function for you to befriend and track the messages of other users. This is an easy way for you connect with people outside of your usual circle. Make an effort to add active users you find interesting. A Twitter acquaintance can be developed into a long lasting friendship.

7. Network for benefits. Twitter can be used as a socializing platform for you to interact with other like-minded people, especially those in the same industry. It can be used to establish consistent and deeper relationships for future benefits such as testimonials or peer recommendations.

8. Business Management. Twitter can be used as a company intranet that connects employees to one another. Workers can liaise with each other when working on group projects. Particularly useful when certain workers go out often in the field. Updates could be set to private for security reasons.

9. Notify Your Customers. Set up a Twitter feed for the specific purpose of notifying customers when new products come in. Customers can subscribe via mobile or RSS for instant notification. Twitter can also be used to provide mini-updates for one-on-one clients.

10. Event Updates. Businesses can use Twitter as a means to inform event participants and latest event happenings/changes. This is a hassle-free way of disseminating information, especially when you don’t have the means to set up a direct mobile link between you and the audience

11. Find Prospects. Twitter can be used as a means to find potential customers or clients online. Do a search for keywords related to your product on Twitter Search and then follow users. Tweet about topics parallel to your product and close prospects away from public channels by using direct messages or offline communications. Discretion and skill is needed in this area.

12. Provide Live coverage. Twitter’s message size limit prevents detailed coverage of events but it can allow you to provide real-time commentary which may help to spark further discussion or interest on the event as other Twitter users spread the message. Very useful for citizen journalism.

13. Set Up Meetings. Twitter can help you organize impromptu meetups. For example, you can twitter a message while at a cafe, event or art gallery and arrange to meet fellow users at a specific spot. It’s an informal and casual way of arranging a meeting.

Please give me a call today at 208.598.0084 or contact me at matt.shifley@yahoo.com for more information to discuss how I can help you or your company with its search engine optimization, online marketing, or copywriting needs.

Create Content to Improve Search Engine Rankings

Content is one of the most important pieces. Without it, you are just showing off a graphic composition, even if done amazingly well, you are missing the necessary information your customers need to purchase what you offer. For online marketing reasons content helps you rank top on search engines.

How? When you constantly post information on your site web spiders establish that you are a constant content generator, therefore you will be visited with more frequency than pages that don’t post with the regularity you do. This way you become a more important and useful website people consult regularly.

Keywords are very important in this process, especially on titles or headlines. Also on the first paragraph of your content, keywords are added with the intention of becoming the main words on your site, the way you are going to be found online. So, when your potential customers enter those words on search engines, your site appears on the first places without having to pay for words or place bids on them, like PPC campaigns.

You will have a natural ranking on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines depending on how frequent you add information on your website. There are many ways of having different sections on your website to post information: news, blogs, press releases, audio content, video content, etc.

Although written content is useful for web crawlers to improve your search engine positioning, other information sources will also generate more traffic on your site. Remember, you are creating a site to be positioned online and a spot where people can find the products/services you offer, also a place where web surfers can find useful information and tools they search for online.

Please give me a call today at 208.598.0084 or contact me at matt.shifley@yahoo.com for more information to discuss how I can help you or your company with its search engine optimization, online marketing, or copywriting needs.

How about 5 more Search Engine Optimization and Online Marketing Tips?

1. Check for canonization issues – www and non-www domains. Decide which you want to use and 301 redirect the other to it. In other words, if http://www.domain.com is your preference, then http://domain.com should redirect to your preferred website.

2. Check the link to your home page throughout your site. Is index.html appended to your domain name? If so, you’re splitting your links. Outside links go to http://www.domain.com and internal links go to http://www.domain.com/index.html. Ditch the index.html or default.php or whatever the page is and always link back to your domain.

3. Frames, flash and AJAX all share a common problem – you can’t link to a single page. It’s either all or nothing. Don’t use frames at all and use flash and AJAX sparingly for best search engine optimization (SEO) results. If you are determined to go with Flash, make sure you have an awesome blog so your content can be found by the spiders.

4. Your URL file extension doesn’t matter. You can use .html, .htm, .asp, .php, etc. and it won’t make a difference as far as your SEO is concerned.

5. Got a new web site you want spidered? Submitting through Google’s regular submission form can take weeks. The quickest way to get your site spidered is by getting a link to it through another quality site.

Please give me a call today at 208.598.0084 or contact me at matt.shifley@yahoo.com for more information to discuss how I can help you or your company with its search engine optimization, online marketing, or copywriting needs.

Five more Search Engine Optimization and Online Marketing Tips

1. Fresh content can help improve your rankings. Add new, useful content to your pages on a regular basis. Content freshness such as a blog adds relevancy to your site in the eyes of the search engines.

2. Be sure the links to your site and within your site use your keyword phrases. In other words, if your target is “fat bassets” then link to “fat bassets” instead of a “Click here” link.

3. Focus on search phrases, not single keywords, and put your location in your text (“our Boise store” not “our store”) to help you get found in local searches.

4. Don’t design your website without considering search engine optimization (SEO). Make sure your web designer understands your expectations for organic SEO. Doing a retrofit on your shiny new Flash-based site after it is built won’t cut it. Spiders can crawl text, not Flash or images.

5. Use keywords and keyword phrases appropriately in text links, image ALT attributes and even in your domain name.

Please give me a call today at 208.598.0084 or contact me at matt.shifley@yahoo.com for more information to discuss how I can help you or your company with its search engine optimization, online marketing, or copywriting needs.