Jennifer

This is the first part in a series where I’m going to be exploring how to do Keyword Research and generate good leads – particularly for anyone with a new or planned website. It’s true that keyword phrases can make or break a business that relies to some extent on search engine leads.

Why Pay for a Research Tool?

Since I’ve been using Market Samurai tool for nearly a year now, I’ve realised the information that is missing from the free Google Keyword Tool (albeit Samurai still relies on this tool for some search data)… that is both handy and vital to have.

One is ‘OCI’ commerciality – this variable measures the likelihood that searchers could be buyers. (Don’t fret, we’ll cover this later). Two is the ability to see Competition levels, Trends, and Adwords prices all in one screen.

Learn How to Use Professional Keyword Research Tools

Click to see helpful videos about the 1st Golden Rule – How to Find Relevant Keywords with Market Samurai. It’s really good for beginners. I like how they compare it to panning for gold. So true!

After this, go straight onto: 2nd Golden Rule – How to Find High Traffic Keywords

You will then be able to distinguish what defines a high traffic keyword – so you can cherry pick the niche markets/words for you to work on. You won’t believe what you will find out about Google searches!

If you’re running an online business, you’ll need either the correct SEO copywriter or this Market Samurai tool to be in the top 2% of all websites.

Other Relevant Posts:

Building Links for Better SEO

Search Visibility 2: Building a Theme with Keywords

Are you still wondering whether your website will pay off? Got no idea about online? Just listen to what Joe Public says about Google…

I loved this video on Yellow Pages versus Google from Luke & Tim of the Small Business Big Marketing podcast. They have a 44 minute audio (How To Be Found Online) that explains, simply, why local businesses should have an Effective Website.

They make some interesting points:

  • The website should Presell your products and services, answering questions that customers have in their mind
  • Ensure you have an editable website, the URL structure is indexable, and you can update your own website if at all possible.

For the business with grand plans online, it’s ideal to have a Content Management System (or CMS). That’s why our latest web design clients, all localised businesses, have chosen a custom CMS (WordPress) site. We are even changing our Red Planet Design website to reflect the clean look and easy user interface that WordPress and certain themes provide.

And as for Yellow Pages, the recent downpour wrecked some and others are very handy for propping up the laptop… With print and directory advertising, you have to pay megabucks for the kind of space you need to differentiate you from all the competition. Yellow Pages is a wall of ads, and often people like me access the internet to find some business websites so I can better compare service, prices, testimonials, and guarantees.

We’re going to explore today how to drill down on your online SEO competition for local Brisbane businesses. Especially now that we’ve had a tough month with floods and the obvious economic effects even for those not directly affected.

If you want to investigate the undergarments of your online competition, look no further than Yahoo Site Explorer. This handy wee tool shows you incoming links (inlinks) of ANY website.

Success leaves clues. Also bad back-linking leaves clues, so don’t get too confused.

Some blog comments with your signature are propagated through a site, leading to 20 links which only really count for one vote. On forums like meetup.com, you’ll find a similar occurrence. So don’t get too excited by the final number… quality counts.

If you want to recreate someone else’s inlinks, first ensure they know what they are doing, and then ensure that your target keywords are exactly the same. Probably you will want to have your own strategy and use a professional – for about $40 per hour, it could be well worth it.

Next – Gather SEO Competition Data

Anyhow, the next step is to gather your SEO competition data on the top five websites for your niche keyword searches. E.G. For ‘copywriter Brisbane’ results are: heart harmony #1, snappysentences #2, power of words #3  etc… ‘Copywriting Brisbane’ brings up entirely different results.

If I wanted to be absolutely sure of my own placement, I would use Market Samurai and the SEO Competition module. This is because your own computer gets to know your ‘most clicked’ results, so could be showing your website higher than it is to others.

Check Yourself Out – in Google’s SERP

Check how your website looks with “Instant Preview” on the Search Engine Results Page – hit the magnifying glass near the title. Compare your preview to others around it. Compare your title and bolded keywords to others above it. Like when we look in the mirror, we want our listing to appear attractive in every way!

I presume that you already know your top five keyword phrases with the most traffic. No?  Then use Market Samurai or Google Adwords Keyword Tool to find them. (I can also help you with this service if you’re needing to rewrite your website copy anyway).

Please note my upcoming presentation at B2B Brisbane meetup on the topic: Writing Your Way to a Distinctive Online Presence. February 9, at 6:15 pm. If you miss out on the last spot, I may be doing this presentation again in Redcliffe in March or April.

From hearing many different client stories, there seem to be three types of web designers:  ones who want your business, tells you anything, designs the site and whose only interest is to make a profit… leaving you stranded with a quickly outdated and solitary website. Then there are designers who come from a graphic design background, can put together a navigable, nice looking site, but expect you to go elsewhere for search engine optimization, copywriting and the like.

The third kind of web designer/development company takes a brief and wants the client’s website to exceed their expectations and return them a handsome profit… by being found online and being popular with customers. You can probably tell that category is where Red Planet Design is.

To do this, we design the site according to client’s preferences. Once our client is happy, then the coding of the website is done by the top talent in Expression Engine or WordPress, both flexible CMS systems that have their place.

Copywriting to Sell

To top it off, a freelance copywriter (aka your writer here) is put to work in creating or editing all the content and metatags for your new website – in conjunction with the designer. You wouldn’t know how rare this is, because mostly clients don’t realise that copywriting or editing is usually outsourced 90% of the time, if you’re offered that option at all.

It’s plain as day the websites which have employed a professional copywriter and which have cobbled it together themselves, doing an admirable job. Compare this first paragraph for a roof repairer (#1 on Google):

“Our aim is to make your roof repair and gutter replacement needs simple and easy. We do all we can to make your roof restoration as best as possible”, OR  #4 on Google for roof repairs:

“Welcome to Queensland Roof Restorations (QRR)

QRR have 25 years domestic and commercial roofing experience throughout Brisbane suburbs and Ipswich. Re-roofing, roof painting, and roof restoration are all part of QRR’s of the services we provide.”

QRR has put where they are operating, so that is one vital point, and they do list their main services. Crucially their copy lacks a little finesse – note the grammatical error – and a customer-oriented headline. Overall its OK, but is OK going to make your prospect call?

The first paragraph is often shown in the search engine results page… so it’s important to make this the best it can be.

Don’t leave your website to a freelance web developer who is not in tune with the entire sales process, and don’t leave your content in the hands of a keyword junkie (oops I mean SEO professional).

It’s true, there are many tricks to search engine optimisation and building links. Here are some of the main things that you can influence:

  • Use keyword rich ‘anchor text’ in both internal and external links (where you can).
  • Optimise your page titles metatag according to that page’s main content. E.g. Write ‘chocolate bars’ not ‘Cadburys’.
  • Write a great metatag description, especially for pages that may not have a lot of keyword content (when Google is more likely to use yours).
  • Comment on other relevant industry blogs, whereby they allow a link back to your website.

Anchor Text
You might be wondering what anchor text is. Here is a great article all about it: What is anchor text and why is it so darn important for SEO

Basically you should delete all the internal links on your website saying “click here” or “about us” and rename them with some keywords that could possibly be searched for. Your SEO-savvy copywriter should do this for you (say hello to Power of Words).

When commenting, don’t forget to use your main keywords, but still remember to add some value to the post’s topic.

Text Beats Graphics
If you just remember the phrase “text beats graphics”, it will remind you to not have a java language page, Shockwave Flash entry, or jpeg image as the main viewable graphic of your visitors. Hey, I love creativity. But when you have to sacrifice real interested visitors to be creative, that’s when any marketing objectives have gone bye-bye. (Image headers are OK and can always have a textual ‘alt tag’).

Robots like plain text and text-based links. So always have an alternative to your pull-down menus and your images, and use ‘alt’ image tags and keyword rich hyperlinks. It also helps us humans get quickly to where we want to go.

Last year I advised an accountant at Snelleman Tom that using Java meant that their website was impenetrable to searchers. I see they’ve made a new website with much better architecture and visibility. No need to thank me, that’s OK.

We’ve all seen the graphs and heard people say “word-of-mouth is the most powerful marketing”. Why then, do we still risk cold mailouts to bought lists, persist with cold calling and hit-and-miss newspaper/print advertising? It seems like madness.

Last night I attended “How to Get a River of Referrals”, a workshop by Lindsay Adams of the Referral Institute. I was actually impressed with how many benefits there are from having referral partners (frees your time, costs little, more visibility, more credibility/trust with prospect)… just as I was impressed with the obvious experience, helpfulness and jovial spirit of the man himself.

No sooner did I walk in than I was greeted with a handshake/intro and asked what I did, and 5 seconds later he offered my first referral for an alliance partner.

Not only did he ignite interest in what I do for everyone (thanks), but he used most of the attendees or their careers as living referral examples. Sidenote: when you feel welcomed, heard, and entertained, you don’t mind at all hearing about what the other person has to say about their programs and offerings.

Compare this with many other talks you might have been to where the speaker tried to appear ‘the expert’ and throw out big numbers or use industry jargon without trying to relate it back to you. One speaker recently lost me because he was talking to a room full of solo professionals (apart from 3-4), talking about HR management issues.

Whether presenting to one or 100, if you want to really help people, ask pertinent questions. The answer/s will help you frame your talk. Using their name makes them pay attention, and using their business as an example enables them to see the possibilities. You probably won’t have to ‘pitch’ in the standard way, more explain than sell.

And for Referral Partners of Red Planet Design: 10% commissions on project or commission exchanged for copywriting/blogging – does that sound like a good choice?

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