Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Gabriel Gervelis and SEOTIPS.ORG


A few months ago I accepted an offer by Clocktower Media, a Seattle Web Design Firm, to become there search engine marketing manager. After a few months at the job we (the Clocktower team) decided to launch SEOTIPS.ORG, A wordpress blog dedicated to helping others understand SEO.

Check out SEOTIPS.ORG to read my latest posts in the Search Engine Optimization world.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Seven Non-Search Engine Methods To Generate Traffic To Your Website

It happens every day. Business owners buy a Web site and expect instant results. Search engines are the #1 way people find what they are looking for online. Search engine placement takes time. Currently it takes Google thee to eight months to properly index a new website. Given this reality, the purpose of this article is to recommend some off-line and alternate online ways to drive traffic to your new website.

Off-line ways to drive traffic to your website:

It’s time to call the print shop! Your business cabinet needs to have your new Web site address on it. Business cards, stationary, envelopes, pens, coffee mugs, if it has your company name on it, it needs to have your Web site address on it as well.

Take an hour or two and take your staff on a tour of your new Web site. When your phone rings your staff can now use the Web site as a selling tool, a tool for company success. The more comfortable your staff is with your Web site, the more they will use it and present it to clients/prospects on a daily basis. On top of this your staff will be able to create a large word of mouth response.

Do you send snail mailers or print ads in local publications? Its time to launch a new Web site sale. “Our new Web site is live, go to www.vwxyz.com to print a coupon.” Use your Web site as a method to drive traffic to your business location.

Put a sign on your businesses window that advertises your Web site address.

Online (other than search engine) ways to drive traffic to your Web site:

Tell the world! Submit a press release. Both webwire.com/ and prweb.com/ are two great online resources. They are either inexpensive, or do not charge for a simple PR submission. An online press release will likely be syndicated on other related Web sites, and attract relevant visitors to your Web site!

Buy ad space in a relevant opt-in email blast. No spam here! In order for this to work you need to know your target market. Let’s look at a local skateboard shop as an example. A lot of skateboarders listen to rock music. Also, the odds are that your local rock music station has an email newsletter that is sent out. Our local rock station has 30,000+ subscribers to their email blast. Buy ad space in the newsletter. The average cost of a campaign like this can be anywhere from $500 - $1000—well worth it to reach 30,000+ people in your target market!

Offer a reason for you’re in business traffic to visit your Web site. “Hey Bill, take a look at our new Web site, we posted a wonderful story about how our business came to be.” When Bill takes a look at the story, he will be subject to advertising!

There you have it. 7 non-search engine related ways to generate traffic to your Web site. Your next thoughts should be, “Now that my Web site is seeing traffic, how can I track it, and how can I improve my conversion rates?” More to come!

Local Market Keyword Research

Targeting Your SEO Campaign For Local Markets

Many small business fail in their SEO campaigns because they fail to target the proper keywords. Defining your target market using proper (niche) keywords is one of the most important factors in a successful SEO campaign. On the other hand, many small businesses are scared to invest in an SEO campaign because they believe that the online marketplaces are too aggressive to compete in.

This article will clear up some of the confusion on local market keyword research, and how to judge how aggressive a local keyword market is. Make a LOCAL keyword list.

Sometimes when I answer the phone the first thing that I hear is “I’ve been online for 3 years, I can’t find myself on Google, HELP!!!” Of course my response is “don’t worry sir/ma’am we can help you out, first lets take a look at the keywords that you have picked out for your site.”
99.9% of the time the local carpet cleaning business will have the keyword Meta tag arranged like this “Carpet, Cleaning, Carpet Cleaning, Carpet Stain Removal”. When I see Meta tags arranged like this I always ask, “You’re a local business. Do you want people out of state calling you for our services?” and again 85% of the time the answer is NO!

If you target a local market, make a local keyword list for your business. Do not describe your local business using, what I call, national or international keywords. Below are some examples of a proper keyword list and an improper keyword list targeting the Bellevue, Washington carpet cleaning market.

Wrong Keyword list,

Carpet Cleaning Service

Proper Keyword List

Bellevue Carpet Cleaning
Bellevue WA carpet Cleaning
Bellevue Carpet Cleaning Services
Carpet Cleaning Company Bellevue

Take another look at your web pages Meta tags and see if you are using “National Market Keywords” or “Local Market Keywords.” If necessary make the needed changes, sit tight for a month or two, and run a new ranking report.

The next step will be to match the keywords used in the meta tags to the page content. Keep an eye out for that article!

Know how aggressive your keyword market is

Many small businesses look at a Google result listing and shake in fear. “Results 1-10 of about 2,500,000? How can I compete with that?” Before you rule SEO (or SEM) out of your marketing plan take a deeper look at how large your keyword market actually is. Lets stick with the Bellevue Washington carpet cleaning market for this example as well.

If you type the keyword Bellevue carpet cleaning into Google you should see, results 1 – 10 of about 224,000. If you notice all words on the result listing that are relevant to the search terms are in a BOLD color. This holds true with relevant words in the URL.

Knowing how Google indexes web pages we can assume that any web page on the Internet “housing” the individual words: Bellevue, Carpet, and Cleaning will appear in the results. So lets narrow down the “real competition” buy conducting a different search.

Lets search for only WebPages that have the words Bellevue Carpet Cleaning in the URL. We do this by conducting a Google search using Allinurl:Keyword. In this case we want to Google search for allinurl:Bellevue carpet cleaning

The results from this search jump from 244,000 to a mere 1,580. This is a number that a small business can compete with.

Recommendation: Homework

When creating your LOCAL market keyword list look for keywords that have ALLINURL:KEYWORD results of less then 2,000. This will ensure that your SEO campaign is not targeting overly aggressive markets, thus providing better keyword rankings on your first SEO Campaign.

Thursday, July 5, 2007