1-866-930-0367


First Page Placement on Google: Two Routes To The Top

When you’re shooting for the elusive first page placement on Google, you have two simple choices: the overnight-celebrity option or the long-grind option.

Sure, Baby, I can make you an Overnight Celebrity
If you want the glamour and sparkling lights of topranked placement now and you’re willing to spend to get it, pay-per-click marketing is the option for you. Pay-per-click, or PPC, marketing is what creates those “Sponsored Links” at the top and sides of nearly every search.

The advantages of PPC are simple but powerful:

  • you don’t pay anything unless someone clicks on your Sponsored Link.
  • everyone who clicks on your Sponsored Link goes straight to your landing page, where you have the chance to turn them from a surfer into a customer.
  • the sponsored links start appearing the moment you’ve finished setting up the campaign, so there’s no delay; your customers arrive minutes after you’re done.

On the other hand:

  • Compared to a mature SEO campaign, the cost of PPC visitors is obscenely high.
  • If you don’t do your keyword research carefully, you can end up paying for a lot of visitors who are looking for information rather than a product or service to buy.
  • When you stop paying for PPC, it stops working instantly, too — there’s no ‘residuals’.

The Long Grind
The other option for first page placement is straight up organic SEO — doing everything you can to make your website look good to Google. This is a huge field and it takes an SEO company to do the job well.

If you think you might like SEO, it’s probably because:

  • SEO, once it’s matured, is extremely efficient money-wise, almost to the point of generating free traffic.
  • Visitors that come from a well-designed SEO campaign almost always arrive with the intent of buying what you’re offering.
  • Once you start getting traffic from SEO, you’ll keep getting traffic from it for quite a while, even if you stop paying for it for a while.

On the other hand:

  • SEO takes a long time to mature — six to twelve months is normal, and double that in particularly competitive markets — and until it matures, it can feel like you’re just throwing money down a hole.
  • Because of that, you can’t be guaranteed results when you pay for SEO; the best you can be guaranteed is that your website will move upward in the search rankings, which is not nearly the same thing.

PPC Management And The Power of Shoestrings and Bootstraps

PPC management is a service offered by many SEO companies — it’s the service of taking your pay-per-click marketing campaign under their wing and nursing it to health. Or just creating it from scratch if you don’t already have one; the point is, they manage the campaigns and make sure that they’re profitable.

Why is this important? Because for a great many entrepreneurs, ‘profitable’ is a line that’s hard to get across — it’s not that hard to make money, but it’s pretty tough to make more money than you had to spend in order to make the money in the first place. PPC management is the art of, forgiving the mixed metaphor, pulling your shoestring budget up by it’s own bootstraps.

Here’s how it works: you have a product with a profit margin. Let’s say you sell widgets for $8 at a cost of $3 per widget and a monthly cost of $5000 for rent and other expenses. Obviously, you need to sell a thousand widgets to break even. But in order to sell widgets, you need to advertise, and that takes money.

If you’re advertising online, you have two basic options: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), or Pay-Per-Click (PPC). SEO is amazing stuff, capable of driving huge quantities of traffic to your site for almost no money, but even the most affordable SEO services take months to build that traffic up to an appreciable amount.

PPC on the other hand gets your traffic today, but it costs significantly more money (on the vicinity of 16x as much per customer) as SEO. But let’s do the math. Let’s say you have to spend $.04 to get a single visit to your website from PPC. Then let’s say that, on average, only 1 in 25 visitors to your website actually buys a widget — that means your total cost-per-sale is $1 per widget.

That means that your profit per widget has just dropped from $5/widget to $4/widget, meaning you need to sell 1,250 widgets in order to break even. The question then becomes: can PPC help you sell 1,250 widgets in a month?

The answer is yes, of course it can, that’s why it works. You’ll need to sit down and talk to your PPC management company about the exact numbers in each scenario, of course, but it’s well within the power of a solid PPC campaign to drive a thousand visitors to your website every day (assuming you’ve done your homework and a decently-sized audience for your product actually exists) — and you only need, on average, 1041 to break even.

Is it extremely efficient? No — but when you’re working with shoestrings and bootstraps, the question is simply will it work? And for most businesses, the answer is yes — PPC management works.

Social Bookmarking: It Never Left, But Boy Howdy, Is It Back!

Social bookmarking — once the realm of Digg, Reddit, and Delicious — seemed to fade away for a little while, kept alive in the background by the various dedicated legions of SubReddits, the chaotiphiles of StumbleUpon, and other niche groups. But Pinterest brought the phenomenon back a year or so ago, and the notion of ‘tools for sharing links to stuff you love with your friends’ has only continued to expand since.

Just in the past six months, a host of innovative new ways to bookmark have evolved, inlcuding:

Pearltrees — a ‘visual bookmarking’ service, PearlTrees allows you to create what amount to mindmaps of related websites, and link to other people’s PearlTrees, allowing you to essentially literally browse the web by subject, moving from one topic to another naturally, the way the human brain intuitively arranges them.

Collectably — allows you to create ‘groups’ and ‘boards’ within the groups, then add whatever webpage you’re on to a specific group and board with three mouse clicks. You can share individual links or boards with others with only a couple of clicks as well.

StyleHive — specifically intended for bookmarking style-related goods, StyleHive is an amazing niche site if you happen to be selling clothing, hair extensions, quirky household goods, or similar items.

RedGage — a fascinating site that pays people to use it. We’re still not certain that this is going to turn out to be a decent business model OR terribly good for marketing purposes, but it certainly stands out among it’s peers.

BuddyMarks — still quite small, BuddyMarks is kind of across between Digg and Groupon insofar as it offers both social bookmarking and social coupon services from the same interface. We’ll see if that’s enough to get it growing in 2013.

There are, of course, hundreds more innovative new social bookmarking sites out there waiting to prove their value both to consumers and to those businesses looking to exploit them for their organic SEO value — and that’s exactly the point. Social bookmarking may have had a bit of a slump, but that’s clearly over – 2013 will be like 2008 all over again.

Blog Posting: Outsource, Insource, or Unsource?

So you just paid your SEO experts to perform some high-level custom blog creation, and now you’re sitting there looking at your newly-minted, empty blog, and it occurs to you: you don’t really have a good plan about who’s going to do your blog posting. Your basic options are:

Outsource
This is what most companies go with, and there’s good reason — a solid ghostwriter can learn your industry, develop a voice, and create content with serious SEO value for a moderate price. They might not whip out serious link-bait (if you want that, you’ll have to pay big bucks for a big name), but they’ll get your ranks up and get some positive comments rolling.

The advantage of outsourcing is that it comes cheap in terms of time and money, and it’s the industry standard, so you’re not going to stand out if you go with a ghostwriter. The disadvantage of outsourcing is that you’re really not going to stand out if you go with a ghostwriter — and quite often, standing out is the goal.

Insource
There’s also a pretty strong argument for getting the best writer in your office to whip up a blog article every week. It’s generally actually more expensive than having an outsourcer do it, because it takes some time and in-house people charge by the hour instead of by the word — but on the other hand, an in-house writer knows a lot more about what’s actually going on in your industry and in your company.

Unsource
Of course, if you have the ability to put words on paper in a coherent manner, there’s a couple of very good reasons to do it yourself. After all, you’re the boss — no one knows your business like you do, and you can be certain that if you’re the one writing the blog, you’re going to put out the kind of content that you want to see associated with your business.

Of course, you have to be willing to put yourself out there and take ownership of what you wrote (and how you reply to any flak you get for what you did write). If you’re not comfortable in that kind of position, unsourcing may not be the option for you.

Targeted Email Marketing Can Do A Lot More Than Just Market

It’s right there in the name: targeted email marketing is pretty obviously about marketing, right? The whole point is to send your audience emails that encourage them to buy things so that you can make money…right?

Well, sure. Everyone wants to have money. But thinking of targeted email marketing as a source of nothing other than cash in your pocket is dramatically undervaluing this incredible tool. Really, when you have a list of people that regularly reads your emails, you don’t just have a marketing tool — you have a podium, and an audience.

We’re not telling you to go out and start spouting your political ideals or religious views to people on your email marketing list — that’s economic suicide. But there are a lot of things that your audience could be doing to help you other than buying your stuff, and there’s no particular reason not to ask them to do those things. What if your target market was out there:

Doing social bookmarking of your best content on sites like Pinterest, Reddit, and Google+? Not only does that activity automatically share itself with their friends and followers, but if a particular bookmark gets enough upvotes, you could end up with a traffic surge because you showed up on the front page of some list or other.

Posting testimonials and stories related to your product or service on Facebook, Twitter, or even their personal blogs? Every instance is another backlink to your landing page, making it the best kind of SEO: the free kind.

Affiliate-selling your products for a cut of the commission? Not every product can be set up to take advantage of that kind of thing, but if you can manage to win a few affiliate marketers by putting the offer out to your list, it’s pure profit on your end.

There are always ways that you can profit from someone’s actions rather than from their credit card numbers — and if you’re using targeted email marketing, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. Just be creative and put the offers out there!

6 Small Business SEO ProTips

Start With Your Budget
The single most distressing fact about small business SEO is that it requires both time and money, and the less money you can put in, the more time it takes. That’s because the effects of SEO are cumulative, and the more you pay, the more an optimization company will do for you in a given time-period. So the first thing you need to do it figure out how much you can afford to put in each month, knowing that the more you put in, the faster it’ll become profitable.

Go Local
For a small business, it makes much more economic sense to invest in local internet marketing than in broad-scale marketing. Unless your business happens to be able to ship all over the world (or offers an entirely digital service), you don’t want to pay your optimizer to get hits from London and Senegal — you want customers that will actually buy from you.

Pair with PPC
SEO taking as long as it does to work, you might want to consider a pay-per-click marketing campaign to go alongside your SEO campaign. Yes, it means spending even more money, but PPC has bottom-line results the very next day, and if you calculate your percentages right, you can use the profit from your PPC campaign to pay for itself plus the SEO work you need done.

Be Penguin- and Panda-Approved
‘Penguin’ and ‘Panda’ are (vaguely) recent Google updates that made a lot of SEO techniques invalid. Don’t work with any optimizer that isn’t able to explain why their techniques are still valid under Panda and Penguin.

Look For Similar Results
Many search engine optimizers will take any old customer that comes along, without paying much attention to the details of each customer’s unique market and circumstances. Ask a potential SEO company if they’ve had success with customers like you, and ask them to show you. If they can’t, check out their competition and ask again.

Settle In For the Long Haul
Even after your SEO efforts start showing a profit, you’re not done — if you cut off your SEO spending the moment you see positive numbers, you’re going to be overtaken by a hungry competitor who is willing to spend enough to knock you off your top spot. SEO spending is something you’ll be doing for as long as you intend to have an Internet presence — just keep looking at the RoI and remind yourself that it’s well worth every penny.

Local Internet Marketing Means Finding a Local Internet

When you first start your business and you realize that you need an Internet presence to really compete in today’s market, there are two routes you can go: you can market world-wide, which totally works if you’ve got a product you can ship anywhere or a service you can offer via the Internet, or — much more likely — if you have a localized target audience, you can use local internet marketing.

But in order to use local internet marketing, you have to have a local internet…right? Some people are snickering here, because of course there’s no such thing as a local internet — or is there? No, no there’s not; but there’s something close: there’s a way to make a search engine only pay attention to the places near you. All you have to do is add an unambiguous location name to each of your small business’ SEO keywords.

The key here is “unambiguous” — unfortunately, if you’re a vehicle wrecker working in Toledo, Washington, you’re not going to be able use keywords like “scrap yard Toledo”, because there’s a much more famous Toledo that has wreckers that have that particular keyword under lockdown. You’ll have to either use “scrap yard Toledo WA” or even go a bit out of the way and use “scrap yard Chehalis”. (“scrap yard Castle Rock” is messed up because of the larger Castle Rock, Colorado!)

Once you’ve figured how to explain where you are to Google in a way that won’t confuse the poor titanic computational interface, you can get your SEO team to start the process of getting those newly-localized keywords linked to your landing pages. That part works just exactly like world-wide search engine optimization — the process is identical, just the keywords are different.

So there might not actually be anything called a ‘local internet’, but there’s certainly a way to put strict limits on what part of the broad Internet that a search engine pays attention

Organic SEO In The Black and White Era: Not Harder, Just Different

Organic SEO is one of those fields that’s constantly evolving, and every once in a while gets completely overturned by a change from the top — in this case, ‘the top’ meaning ‘Google’. In the past couple of years, a number of once-commonplace SEO practices have been deemed ‘ungood’ by the Goog, with the result that many people who considered themselves decent search engine optimizers suddenly found that their toolbelt was nearly empty. But is SEO actually harder since Google’s “black-and-white” updates (Panda and Penguin) hit?

No. It’s not harder — you can still accomplish the same kinds of results in about the same timeframe as you could a couple of years ago. But it is different, because the tools that you have to use to get the same website SEO‘d properly have changed radically.

Two years ago, you could bust out a daemon that would sign up your website to 2,000 different website directories in a matter of hours, pay a Bangladeshi family to create a dozen Web 2.0 properties and linkring them, and of course hire a hack ghostwriter to bust out a few dozen vaguely-related articles and put them up on EzineArticles.com, and you’d be doing ‘good SEO’.

Today, you have to work a bit more carefully — you have to have, among other things, a good writer and a social media expert. The same time you used to spend waiting for your daemon to finish, you’ll have to spend describing to your writer what it is you want him to do. The same money you used to spend on the Bangladeshi family and the ghostwriter, you’ll have to give to your writer to pay him to create 3-4 good, high-quality articles. And the effort you put into posting articles and linking Web 2.0 properties, you’re going to have to put into spinning each of your few articles a dozen times and then posting each of those dozen variations across different article directories.

The end result of all of this careful article writing and distribution is going to be about the same as your slapdash efforts of a couple of years ago — it just takes a different kind of content and a different attitude toward SEO to get the job done these days.

Organic SEO Is The ‘One Ring’ Of Traffic Generation: It Rules Them All

The world of SEO is constantly changing, and has been since year dot. Thankfully, the changes we have seen in the last few years are taking us in a direction that will make the internet a better place. Every time there is a Google update, SEO companies the world over panic. Will the new change mean that some of our clients suffer page drops? Will our own unique brand of SEO be less effective in the future after the latest change? The answers will of course vary from SEO Company to SEO Company, but what appears to be the case is that the more honest the approach of the SEO work, the less likely there is to be any problem.

The last few Google updates have seen sites with bad content penalised, which is no bad thing if you are an Organic SEO Company who relishes improving websites in ethical of ways. Any organic SEO company is going to be promoting good quality content, and will preach the importance of doing things right.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it turns out that Google recognise that people want genuine results when they search online, and they don’t want to be duped by someone who has just been very sneaky and artificially made something return favourable results in the SERPs. Because of this, Google work hard to make sure that the websites which are optimised organically, do better than those that don’t.

This means that the SEO company that spends weeks coming up with a viral linkbait campaign is rewarded with great results. If it goes viral, then backlinks are being spread justifiably, and genuinely. If a site offers a great user experience, Google will reward it with a good search engine page result. Good content is rewarded, and a site with genuine backlinks achieved through sharing information about the site will be rewarded.

A good quality, Affordable SEO company who works organically will help you so much. Organic SEO really is becoming the ‘One Ring’ of traffic generation and all other methods will fall out of the wheel in the long run. Get with the right sort of SEO company now, to ensure that you don’t fall foul of the next Google update that rewards an Organic approach and punishes anything else.

Social Bookmarking In The Pinterest Era

Social bookmarking has been important for a good few years now in terms of SEO. It is a great way to share information and if the right information is being spread, it can spread like wildfire. Of course, your social bookmarking is only ever as good as what you are bookmarking, and also where you are bookmarking it. With the great new site Pinterest on the scene, there’s no doubt that Social Bookmarking just got even more important than before!

Pinterest is a fascinating new site that allows you to bookmark individual pictures and videos, rather than simply the URL of a page that you want to revisit. The first thing to point out about this site is just how much fun it can be. Build up a collection of the pictures of things you love, and share it with the world! It makes for a lot of fun, and a great looking page to share with your friends. On an SEO front though, it is incredibly powerful. At present, a standard picture or video can link back to any URL you choose – including your own site. There is obviously plenty of potential here to drive traffic, but you have to remember that these are No-follow links – meaning that there’s no link juice. It might drive traffic, but Google won’t recognise the links as being valid indicators. However, if you type the source code of your website into the description it creates a DO follow link to your website, which has massive positive ramifications for your website.

This means that Pinterest not only can’t be ignored as a source for social bookmarking, it actually has to be recognised as the most important site on the web for social bookmarking purposes.

Just because Pinterest is fun to use, doesn’t mean that it is child’s play to make it work for you. If you are thinking about using it as a way to help your SEO for your website, then you really should approach an Affordable SEO Company who has their finger on the pulse when it comes to social bookmarking. Any SEO company worth its salt these days will understand social media and social bookmarking, and they should be able to help you by creating a Pinterest page that drives traffic and juicy backlinks to your site!