Tips for finding Niche Keywords Part 2

More on keyword research

With my first tip, I’m going to use an American example (It’s still more than relevant for the UK and European search marketer)… it was a quick sample page I’ve taken from a previous client.

1. If you are a Realtor, instead of using an obvious “logical phrase” like “real estate” (with 323 million competing pages on Google), or using a keyword acronym such as MLS (over 40 million competing pages on Google.) Try a researching a single “root word” term like “listing” just all by itself, leaving Wordtracker to do the hard part. Here are a few examples – each with under 1000 competing pages – which I grabbed in under 3 minutes of Wordtracker research:

* “house listings parry sound” – 90 competing pages for this exact phrase.
* “Wyoming MN home listings” – 197 competing pages for this exact phrase.
* “michigan real estate listing” – 197 competing pages for this exact phrase.
* “Wisconsin Home listings” – 697 competing pages for this exact phrase.
* “Central Virginia land listings” – 95 competing pages for this exact phrase.
* “north oaks minnesota home listings” – 233 competing pages for this exact phrase.

2. If you are an affiliate marketer, avoid researching the exact product that you want to promote. For example “candlestick holders.” Try using a single word like “holder” to determine exactly what type of “holders” are in highest demand with lowest competition. You may discover many other products – that you hadn’t thought of – with better windows of opportunity. Here are a few examples using the root word “holder.” Each phrase has under 10 competing pages. My research time, a mere 90 seconds -

* “motorcycle wheel holders” – KEI 676.0 – Competing pages on Google – 1
* ” southwest pot holders” – KEI 768.0 – Competing pages on Google – 3
* “hanging vine holder” – KEI 924.5 – Competing pages on Google – 2
* ” folbe fishing rod holder” – KEI 1156.0 – Competing pages on Google – 9
* “.30 Remington shell holder” – KEI 1444.0 – Competing pages on Google – 1

3. Try working with descriptive verbs, instead of researching a specific product. Using comprehensive search, try researching words like “new” or “old” or “rare” or “limited” or “reconditioned” or “polished” or “bronzed” or whatever. Use any type of descriptive terms to explore all kinds of interesting data.

Tune in for the final post

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Tips for finding Niche Keywords Part 1

These days, most search engine marketing companies have access to all the common research tools. For this post we’ll explore one of my all-time favourites, Wordtracker (You should all know the link). Let’s start with a short intro, and talk about solving some common keyword research problems. Then I’ll share some quick and easy “how to” tips that will help you find a profitable niche.

A few years ago, I wrote an post about Wordtracker. After publishing the post, I had the privilege of dealing directly with Wordtracker support, and answering all sorts of keyword related questions. I spent months teaching companies how to tap into keyword phrases, trends and niches. But the real treasure I discovered, is that many customers were not finding the best keywords, because of the natural tendency to “guess” at keywords, rather than open up and fully explore the existing data, to reveal a wealth of information along the way.

First tip: Stop guessing about keyword phrases that people “might” be entering into the search box.

One of the biggest hurdles is trying to “dictate to the data, which keywords that you ***THINK*** are most relevant, instead of letting the Wordtracker system reveal the best information to you. Look at it this way… if you think in the identical fashion that everyone else thinks – by relying on keywords that are already lodged in your mind based upon your experiences – then the more you will be thinking like the rest of your competition. The more we rely on our thinking process for keywords that “make the most sense” to our brains, the more we tend to discover exactly the same keywords, that the rest of the world is discovering and targeting. That’s why it’s easy to get disappointed and feel like there are no untapped niche phrases available. In this mindset, we find only limited results based on logical guess work. What this usually means is… huge numbers of competing pages, all trying to rank for deadly dull, obvious phrases.

You can build your SEO skills to compete in highly competitive phrases – and you can win the game too – but that’s not the point. A much wiser approach is to learn how to “think differently” and explore the data that 99% of the competition never will see or find. When you research single keywords using Wordtracker’s powerful comprehensive search functionality, you will discover multiple instances of how a specific word is being used within different phrases, but without any guess work at all. Try working with a single, action related “root word.” Now listen carefully. Your root word does not have to be a word that your logical thinking dictates. For example… what happens if you research a term in its most generic form, and let Wordtracker piece together HOW that word is being used. This is one of the rare times when using human brilliance – or natural logic – can actually prevent you from seeing the most powerful truths.

The next post will give you a few creative examples to get you started…

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Banners for (SEM Dummies) Part 2

Basics: What is a Third-Party Ad Server?

In the beginning of display advertising over a decade ago, advertisers sent in their banners in the same way traditional marketers traffic ads to magazines or television stations. Publishing sites would “paste” these ads up and then deliver post campaign results. There were some obvious inefficiencies in this method. As the technologies and methodologies evolved, advertisers could send in “tags,” which aren’t actual ads, but rather “placeholders” which would pull these ads from the advertisers’ own tool call the third party ad server. This is a superior adaptation as now advertisers get real time data of their ads, can serve targeted ads each time the tag is pulled by the publisher, and can perform many other vital operations.

Here are some of the basic features that most third party ad servers can bring to a display campaign and now can be used for Content Campaigns in Google (via certified tools):

Rules: When a banner tag is “pulled” by a publisher site to load on a page, the third party ad server is passed limited anonymous user data such as the location of the user’s IP address, what language their browser is set for, whether they’re using a Mac or PC, etc. Rules can be set to send the appropriate creative every time. So, for example, you can serve a Spanish ad to Spanish speakers. You can also send a user in Liverpool a specialised ad vs. a user in Manchester. This higher relevancy generally increases CTRs and conversion rates.

Frequency capping/storyboarding: Not only is anonymous user data passed in milliseconds to the ad server, but also user cookie info. Using this information, the ad server knows if this user has seen your ad before and how many times. Over time, you can develop a strategy to frequency cap and not show anymore to users who don’t click your ads (thereby not wasting CPM purchased impressions). As well, you can storyboard, which means you can start serving different ads to users based on how many times they’ve already been exposed. So, for example, you could have general creative out there (example: “10% off), and then, if the ad server detects a user who hasn’t clicked after seeing your ad five times, you can start serving an ad with a stronger message (example: “25% off if you act now”) and so on.

Reach and frequency reporting: Provides insight into the number of people who have seen an ad campaign, and how many times, on average, people are seeing these ads. This is important in understanding how users are interacting with your ads and finding the ‘sweet spot’ to just how many ads you need to buy in order to get your message out to a good percentage of your target audience. As well, a Reach report may show you that buying on football Website A may not be needed because a high percentage of the same users are being exposed to your ads on Football Website B, which you are purchasing at a much lower rate.

View-through conversions: As stated above, once a user is served an ad, they are cookied. So, unlike search, if a user converts after seeing your ad (but not clicking an ad), you will have that insight. This is huge because you’re lucky to get more than a .3% or .4% CTR on your ads…that means if you run 1,000,000 impressions, you may only get 3,000 clicks. However, the other 996,000 ads do have an effect in the marketplace and you can measure that when those users come back and convert.

All of these features may not be immediately available to advertisers. However, Google Content is one of the largest (if not the largest) ad network in terms of volume and these tools are going to help you get the most out of them.

Totally Unrelated Free Tool: HTML That Every Online Marketer Should Know


Tired of “viewing source” of an HTML page and thinking it looks more like ancient Greek than a real language? Online marketers are always checking out web pages to see if their tracking tags are there, checking navigation/link structure, reading competitor metatags for keyword ideas, etc. Understanding HTML is a good skill to have.

Check out Dave’s HTML Interactive Tutorial for Beginners (find it using Google Instant). Sure, there’s a ton of spamvertising, but I’ve literally sent dozens of folks there and they’ve all come out the other end of the seventeen mini-chapter tutorial with a good HTML foundation. Check it out!

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Banners for (SEM) Dummies Part 1

Banners for (SEM) Dummies

I used to work for  mainline consultants. We were very specialised and very good at what we did. We all drank the “search” elixir and laughed at the poor click rates and conversion rates that our counterparts at the online display (banner) agency were getting. Search is still (and probably will always be) one of the strongest online vehicles due to its “double opt-in” nature–a user has to not only type in a relevant keyword to trigger your ad, but read the ad copy and click it before you are charged. The ROI and ROAS of that delivery method has proven itself…thus, most online marketing budget allocation has a huge portion going to Search.

I remember one distinct marketing meeting with a large client where all of the various agencies were reporting their numbers; the print folks had their presentation, then broadcast, then online display, etc. When they got to us, everyone in the room was amazed at our success rates. I left that meeting vowing to never, ever, ever run display campaigns. It was all Search for me!

Only later did I realise I had been doing display for years!

When I set up Summit Online Marketing a full-service digital agency last year, it dawned on me that I had been doing display advertising all along via Content campaigns in Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. DUH, right? Because Content (and later Site [Placement] Targeting) was offered by search engines, I had rolled it all up to Search. Big mistake!

Now that I’m a fully integrated digital marketer (my agency manages search, display, mobile, email, digital out-of-home, analytics, affiliates, etc.), I truly believe in the value of display/banner marketing… not only for direct response, but especially for branding and reaching users at the front end of the buying cycle. Remember, search relies on users to actively be querying a search engine to trigger ads. If no one knows to type in your keywords, then your Search efforts are sunk. Thus, banners can be a SEM pro‘s best friend!

With the news that Google will be expanding the features of its Content Network, I thought it might be good to share some banner insights to SEM pros that are using Content now so they know what the future might hold for this kind of targeting. Google has already begun to open up their Content offering to allow advertisers to use third party ad servers and these tools have important features that will change the landscape of Content.

(More to follow on Monday)

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Advanced Business to Business Marketing

This week at SEO Liverpool we’ve had a discussion this about how best to leverage b2b marketing. Have a look at our tips.

10 Tips for business-2-business marketing

1. Reach prospects early in the buying cycle
2. Advertise in “the tail”
3. Include non banded keywords
4. Pre qualify clickers
5. Focus and align ad copy
6. Create very specific landing pages and microsites
7. Test pages continuously
8. Offer multiple action options
9. Simplify registration forms
10. Turn web inquiries into sales leads

Advertising in the tail

Example is software: the tail would go to software…. enterprise software… business enterprise software and so on

Include non banded keywords

  1. Use adcopy to pre-qualify clickers
  2. Address your specific target audience

Pre qualify clickers

  1. Align ad copy with search query
  2. Modify copy across buying cycle
  3. laptop computer -> laptop information -> laptop user reviews -> ibm laptop models -> ibm thinkpad t61

Microsite

  1. Typically between 3-10 pages.
  2. Focused on a solution or client type.
  3. It eliminates the political stuff that comes with changing a corporate website

Test page elements – landing page testing

  1. Run a/b or multivariate constantly on microsites.
  2. Pick items to test.
  3. Page layout.
  4. Action triggers.
  5. Images.

Registration form placement.

  1. Names and descriptions of downloadable assets
  2. Registration form fields

Track & improve results

  1. Get some decent metrics into a chart of 60 days

Secondary actions

  1. Allow for more than just one action
  2. Registration forms

*Scour the internet and look for great examples of these*

For more information contact SEO Liverpool

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Some Excellent Search Marketing Advice

Some quick tips for budding SEO company or in-house SEO’s

Strategy deployment and competition

Check your competition… simply try and have more content rich pages than them. Assuming you have the same amount of content and same amount of links. Treat it like a head to head race. Then improve your navigation and architecture to get the edge.

Assume we all have healthy marketing budgets to allocate towards these strategies. What do we do? We allocate a % towards each strategy. Because we know it works, and have demonstrated this. That’s what the bigger firms do. Implement as many strategies you can within that budget. Choose the ones based on looking at your competition. Not hard to find out the strategies they’ve deployed already. If you conduct good research, you won’t need to deploy all these strategies. Implement as many as you can afford and make sure you have conversion processes.

A bit about conversion.

Create a measurable goal for each page. Lots of pages have great filler and content, but don’t compel readers to take action. Capture an email, lead, sale, etc. Have a clear call to action at the end of the page to get to the next step. Put an phone number on there, or a simple a link that advances the process. Don’t make users search for the call to action.

When collecting personal info, make people feel secure about it. Get a security certificate. Some laws require it. Make the contact page have multiple mechanisms of communication. This is your opportunity to increase conversion rate.

Your ideal SEO team:

Designer
Web Developer
Content Writer
Marketing Manager
Wiz Technical Manager
Expert SEO Specialist
Expert Strategist that’s done it more than once

SEO Liverpool would appreciate your feedback

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7 Proven Tips That Will Get You To Number 1

Some SEO tips from the offices of SEO Liverpool company Summit Online Marketing.

Now everyone has heard that content is king. It’s really all about the text, video, images in a keyword rich environment.

* Tip 1: Get good copy to support the keyword research. If it’s an appliance part – find images and text to support it. Video too.

* Tip 2: Navigation and architecture. Ability to choose structure that the engines can index. Be careful of certain types of Javascript and other non-indexable navigation.

* Tip 3: Blogs. Another form of content. Pictures, text, images served in a slightly different manner. It’s a strategy. You don’t need to use all these strategies to dominate, but in a competitive arena, you need to deploy more and more to compete.

* Tip 4: Quality and keyword rich inbound links. Utilise keywords in link text – avoid using your company name. Helpful resources at Google Webmaster Central, and on the Thinkprofits website. Yahoo! Site Explorer is a great tool to measure inbound links. The bottom line is you want links from other websites to your own.

* Tip 5: The database you install is important. Make sure the engines can index the content in your database. It’s well worth the investment to get the right database in place.

* Tip 6: Electronic press releases. There is so much we can do with PR to get sites on Google often within 24 hours.

* Tip 7: Domain name strategy. We do find many people are missing out on this. When the opportunity arises to purchase a keyword rich domain, although not always possible, if the opportunity is there – set it as primary domain. Get extra points for that e.g. LuxuryYachtCharters.com will help rank. Register your domain for a long term, because it may give you more points. Another idea is to register your keyword rich domain, and forward it to your primary site. Also assist in getting more traffic by address bar navigators.

Hope you enjoy these quick search engine optimisation tips

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Thanks for your patience… SEO Liverpool are blogging again.

Thank you for your patience

Good news…. We’re starting to blog again.

Over the past year, unfortunately we’ve been unable to contribute to this blog. I’d like to tell you that this will all change. Extra investment into summit online marketing will enabled us to update the blog daily from Monday the 20th of September 2010.

Please feel free to contact us with any post ideas or contributions

Regards

The SEO Liverpool Team

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