Domain Strategies for Search Engine Optimisation

You’re optimising your Web site. You’re working on building links to your Web site. The best SEO will ask you ‘are you paying attention to your domain name strategy?’ Yes, your domain name strategy.

Although you have one main domain name, every small business SEO knows it’s important to take a look at your domain strategy as a whole and check for things that may help — or hurt — your search engine rankings.

Redirect Domains to Main Web Site

If your main Web site is www.maindomain.com, then you’ll want to 301 permanent redirect all the domain names you own that aren’t in use to www.maindomain.com. There are several reasons for this, such as stopping mirror sites from appearing, making sure your main domain name gets credit for links to other domains you own, and making sure your main domain name gets the PageRank credit for links to other domain names you own.

This brings up another issue: the links pointing to other domain names. By doing some domain name research, you can find domain names that were previously on the same topic that might have traffic, backlinks, and PageRank. You can benefit by finding the right domains, buying the right domains, and redirecting them to your Web site with a 301 permanent redirect.

Choose the right domain name and you may benefit from better search engine rankings. If you were to find a domain name that was formerly on the same topic of your main Web site and you’re able to buy that domain name and redirect it, it could mean additional traffic and additional sales.

Depending on how the search engines deal with that domain name, it could mean getting credit for additional backlinks and more Google PageRank to your site. And, if your domain is new to the Internet, there could be benefits to gaining some quick “authority” through domain purchasing/redirecting.

No Guarantees

Buying domain names and redirecting them won’t necessarily bring more traffic, backlink credit, or Google PageRank to your main Web site. There are many factors that might prevent this.

Whenever you buy a domain name, you don’t know if traffic is already going to that domain name until you take ownership of it and point it to some place where you can look at the traffic (you could point it to your Web site, set up separate Web hosting for it, or use a domain parking service).

There are many factors that can influence whether you get backlink and PageRank credit, including whether the search engines give you that credit. Some search engines, such as Google, have been rumored to “zero out” PageRank and backlink credit when a domain name changes owner; they’ve also been rumored to “zero out” PageRank and backlink credit for other reasons, as well.

There are many checks you can perform before you buy a domain name, and that’s probably best covered in a separate Google SEO discussion. Those include going to the search engine and typing the domain name to see what comes up — and searching for it in quotes to research it. You can also look at the domain name in the Wayback Machine to see its history.

Domain Auctions

There are several ways to find domain names, including searching at the expired domain name auctions such as Go Daddy’s TDNAM.com auctions, Sedo auctions, and eBay. There are other domain auctions at NameJet, SnapNames, Pool.com, and TUCOWS Auctions. Most of these are covered all at FreshDrop.net, a domain research service that allows you to search those auctions for domain names. You can also sort the results using several helpful factors, including sorting by domain age, PageRank, and number of backlinks.

By doing some domain name research, you may be able to find domains you can buy that were on your site’s topic that might bring some additional traffic to your site. And backlinks and PageRank might just come along with that on the side, as well.

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How to Create a Social Media Storm

At Summit Online Marketing we’re frequently asked as part of our Search Engine Optimization Training the same question. It usually starts with… “we’ve really good content that we want to get thousands of visitors to, how do we do it”?

This short guide should come in useful.

With social media optimisation (SMO), it helps an awful lot if you either know the right people or are active in the places where you are looking to target. Once you do or are it is fairly easy. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your good content and your SMO campaign, for once you find your feet:

Forget Digg: I know it has been said many times, but it is even more true then ever now. For nine out of ten sites Digg is a big waste of time and getting any kind of e-commerce site on the homepage is virtually impossible. The only people who look in the upcoming section are the digg staff and fellow marketers. Spend 30 seconds getting your free link and then move on.

Planning is Everything: Make a list of all of the social media websites you are going to submit your content to and then work out roughly how long you think it is going to take for your content to go popular on each site. For example with Reddit you can be fairly sure that if your content is going to go popular, it will do within and hour or two. With Mixx it will normally take a good 6 hours and with Stumbleupon you just can’t tell, so you leave that out of the equation.

Once you have done this you need to choose a time for when you are going to plan to have all of your submissions go popular. You might say to yourself, I want all of my submissions to be going popular 7 hours from now at 11.00pm. Then you add the time you need to submit next to each social media site on your list.

Go to work and do everything as planned. If you have submitted to all of the major social sites and if all of the elements are in the equation, then when the time comes you should be able to make it into the top 10 on popurls and you should be getting a load of traffic from JimmyR.com. I have had over 3,000 uniques from popurls.com and I have had over 2,500 uniques from JimmyR.com. If you make it into the top 10 on popurls you have won and you will generally receive over 50,000 unique visitors in a short space of time and lots of trackbacks.

Once you have started to go popular on some of the social media sites our SEO training has shown us that you can make your content go a lot further by dealing with negative comments. There are lots of different ways to do this and trying to talk to the negative commenter(s) isn’t always the best one, here are a few ideas:

* Have all of your friends down vote the negative comments heavily
* Take the mick out of the negative commenter(s) or their comments
* If they have a good point, you might want to think about possibly changing your content

With good SEO SEM planning you can consistently get content to go popular on the social media sites, generate buzz and generate trackbacks.

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A B2B Paid Search Success Equation Part 2

Quality of visit: assessing the value

Now, let’s turn our attention to the quality of a visit and how it factors into your paid search success equation.

To start, let’s get personal. What’s the value of a visitor to your site? (Play annoying game show music now). Okay, time’s up. The answer is, of course, that it depends.

Yes, it was a trick question‚ but the point is that there’s never just one definitive answer for this. The value of a visitor to your site should depend on the action they take while there.

Yet all too often, B2B marketers routinely identify a call to action, implement a tracking pixel, and plunge forward with their SEO PPC campaign with little regard to the differences in value.

Why is this? Especially considering the complexity of the buying cycle, and as noted earlier, that prospects are in different phases of it. For instance, some visitors may want to register for email updates or free white papers while they are researching their options. Others might want to look up product specifications or use product comparison widgets as they edge closer to making a buying decision.

Given that, each specific call to action on your site should have an assigned value, dependent on what it provides. Consider registrations – they actually capture user information, so naturally, they should receive a higher value than other actions where the visitor remains anonymous.

Essentially, what you want to do is create a quality index. Why? Because having a clear understanding of the value of a visitor (essential with all search engine marketing) can help you shift your marketing pounds away from the keywords that don’t perform strongly, to those that do.

To accomplish this, first identify all of the different actions a visitor can take on your site. And be thorough. Then rank them in order for the value they hold. Next, assign values to each action based upon what it delivers for your business.

Once you have your calls to action indexed, use a tracking system to capture these actions that occur as a result of paid search activity, and incorporate these values into your optimisation efforts. Lastly, use this information to inform your bidding strategy.

The bottom line is that while keywords, ad copy, and landing pages are fundamental to paid search, alone, they won’t add up. Tracking and understanding the quality of a visitor are also essential to your paid search success equation.

Unrelated Note

Please remember that if you pay peanuts you get monkeys, quality PPC and SEO agencies charge for the high standard of service their clients receive. Here at Summit we’re getting bored of clients asking for cheap search engine optimization and PPC.

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B2B Paid Search Success Part 1

A successful online marketing strategy, paid search campaign is contingent upon three fundamentals: Keywords, Ad copy, and Landing pages. Together they equal success. Right?

Wrong.

The fact is, those fundamentals are only part of the equation. There is another key component entirely. Namely, Analytics. Or more specifically, tracking, and understanding the quality of a visitor. In fact, not only are these other elements fundamental, they also take on increased importance for the B2B set. Why? Because of the complexity of buying cycles for this market.

Let me explain.

When it comes to web seo and search, there are many similarities between marketing to consumers and marketing to businesses, such is the need to understand your audience and speak their language. However, when it comes to buying cycles, the similarities end.

In fact, B2B buying cycles are inherently complex. Consequently, marketers need to be mindful that prospects can be in very different phases within the buying cycle. And because it’s your job to put yourself in the prospect’s shoes and think about what they need, tracking and understanding the quality of a visitor can be instrumental in helping you do just that.

Tracking: why digging deep on keyword data matters

To be sure, tracking offers marketers a myriad of benefits, not the least of which is keyword data. It’s a rich source, and analysis of it can yield highly valuable information that is both immediately actionable, and has the potential to significantly impact campaign performance. It can also help marketers avoid shooting themselves in the foot.

For example, many web marketing services providers, hastily ditch keywords that appear to be non-performers. This is a mistake. Instead, they should take a closer look at their tracking data. Here’s why.

A few years ago, comScore conducted a study that quantified the number of searches leading up to a purchase, by category. For example, the research revealed that computer hardware buyers searched an average of 4.9 times before ultimately making a purchase.

The implication of this finding should be obvious. Just because a keyword doesn’t yield immediate conversions, doesn’t mean it’s not contributing. It could very well be highly effective at moving a prospect through a particular phase of the buying cycle.

To capitalise on this behavior, marketers need to leverage tracking to better understand their customers and prospects. The first step in doing so is to make sure you don’t discount the keywords with a sub-par conversion record. In fact, before you remove a keyword that isn’t producing conversions, or reduce a bid, thoroughly review the query reports that are available through the search engines and/or your search vendor.

Regularly reviewing these click chain reports will help you understand the searches your customers actually conducted, and that ultimately led to their executing the call to action. Then use this data – whether manually or with a bidding agent – ensure that certain keywords maintain their positioning regardless of their direct conversion value.

And as you review these reports, pay attention to your inclusion window. This is the time allocated for a click and the subsequent conversion event to happen in order for it to be considered a result of a particular paid click.

It is critical to appropriately set your inclusion window within your tracking solution, otherwise the learnings gleaned from the data will be faulty. For example, if someone types a keyword, and then sees your ad and clicks, but doesn’t immediately convert, and then comes back to the site 10 days later and converts, it would not count as a conversion against the originating paid search click unless your inclusion window was set to 10+ days.

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5 Tips for Driving Qualified Traffic With Online Marketing

Online marketing consulting firms often need to be creative when it comes to solving client web site traffic and sales problems. Inspiration from friends and family, movies, or even the smooth sounds of the local radio station can be useful.

Take this longstanding frustration: The efforts of a top SEO can sometimes produce an increase in website traffic that is not accompanied by a corresponding increase in conversions. While more traffic is almost always positive, it does little good if the majority of site visitors aren’t seriously interested in the products or services being promoted.

So how does one make sure the right traffic finds the right web site content? I recommend taking the advice of 80′s pop icon Lionel Richie by asking your site visitors the classic question, “Hello, is it me you’re looking for?”

While Mr. Richie may be directing his sentiments at a visually-impaired student (see the video if you don’t know what I’m talking about), this is a question whose answer is critical to every online marketer as well. In order to get conversions, you need to make sure the business you are promoting is being found by legitimate prospects. Ensure your site provides what visitors are looking for by following these five musically-themed guidelines:

* Know your audience – Should you be targeting a product’s end-users or distributors? What stage of the buying cycle are you targeting? A good online marketing team conducts the proper background research in order to fully understand who they are trying to reach, where they are in the buying cycle and plans content creation, optimisation and promotion accordingly.

* Book your prospect’s favorite venue – Once you feel you have actionable knowledge of your target audience, you can select appropriate places for reaching them. Research communities, influencers and behaviours of the target audience to establish a useful presence and content, be it on social networks, forums, blogs or the company web site.

* Give fans what they want – Make sure the offer and conversion opportunity are a good match for what the target audience is looking for. In some cases they will be looking to buy your product, but in others they may want more information like a white paper or a case study, or the opportunity to be contacted.

* Choose the right ‚”lyrics” – When selecting keywords to optimise your site content or pay-per-click campaign, keyword popularity is only a starting point. Choosing the most appropriate keywords to describe product or service offerings considering relevancy, context and intent are important. Research, consideration, evaluation and purchasing are different phases of the buyer’s search experience. Optimising the right content with the right keywords for each of these phases will help prospects find your site in a more relevant way.

* Sing it loud – The copy, images and overall design of your website and landing pages should be obvious cues to the type of product or service offered and consistent with search query that brought them there. Structure your site design and calls to action so that prospects immediately know that they’ve found what they are looking for. For example, sending PPC traffic from a specific product keyword to the company home page will alienate and confuse the searcher. Send specific traffic queries to specific landing pages. For SEO, optimise specific content for specific phrases to help searchers pull themselves to the right content for conversion.

Implementing these tactics can increase web site traffic specifically for people who are more likely to convert. When you pose Lionel Richie’s question to your visitors, more will respond with a resounding “Yes it is you I’m looking for!” And while you may not receive thanks in the form of a clay sculpture, the increase in your conversions should more than make up for it.

Please contact SEO Liverpool for more information about our SEO packages.

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Does Google Conduct Minor Toolbar PageRank Updates Between Major Updates?

Summit Online Marketing are asking the question most people who participate in search forums ask themselves. Does Google, on occasion, update the toolbar PageRank score of a particular web site between the major and mass toolbar PageRank updates that are reported?

As an SEO company, why do we ask this question? Well, if you visit enough blogs and forums, you are bound to see a thread or five with the title, “PageRank Update.” These threads are fairly noticeable and we find spot them on a fairly recent basis.

Real Webmasters involved in SEO outsourcing are noticing updates to their PageRank scores in the Google Toolbar. This happens all the time, and then they jump to the forums to be the first to announce the next PageRank update. But then you see a mass response of replies saying, “no PR update here.”

So is it possible that what that SEO Webmasters have noticed was a true toolbar PageRank update for his site? Maybe. There are a few possibilities, the most likely is that he or she is hitting a different data center with different PageRank scores. But I would not rule it out that Google does push minor PageRank scores to the toolbar between major updates.

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More content… really?

Content. At SEO Liverpool we’ve noticed this buzzword in the SEO space has grown to astronomical levels. As I speak with companies on a regular basis, they constantly tell me that they’ve been advised by an online marketing company to write new and unique content by the boatload — no matter the Web site or space they’re in.

It’s time we review the advantages of content, and where it may be applicable. Let’s look at a few sites that will either need heavy amounts of content or little to no content.

These sites need content:

* Affiliate sites, which typically add little to no value by simply copying from others. These sites need a specific value-add, to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack.

* Sites with heavy amounts of graphics, Flash, video, or any other site that may be difficult for a user requiring a screen-reading program to view.

* E-commerce sites that use a set amount of content from a massive distributor, like Ingram Micro or Tech Data. Each merchant has access to the exact same data — what makes your site different from the rest?

These sites don’t need heavy amounts of SEO-specific content:

* Sites with a large community of content contributors who spend a good portion of their time writing about the topics surrounding the subject matter of each site.

* Sites that generate content on a regular basis, such as news sites or blogs.

Instead of trying to manipulate search engines, consider providing a way for your users, distributors and/or manufacturers to give you unique and well-written content. It’s likely that they have written marketing materials that won’t make it to their standard (and usually expensive) forms of distribution. This content could add a great deal of value to products and/or services that may be offered by many other online dealers with either the same or slightly different data.

When creating content to enhance search engine placement, keep in mind that it can come in multiple forms — services, contests, games, video, and even news . It’s critical that the content is interesting and compelling, so it has the chance of being linked to by a “fan.”

It’s very important that if you offer a special guarantee, such as a price match, you honor it to any possible level. By having complicated terms that make it nearly impossible to use… you’ll wind up upsetting your client base. While you may get links to your site, it will hurt your reputation.

It’s also extremely important to have a “yes we can help” customer service attitude. Your loyal customers can be solicited to come back and write about their experience. This most important feature has helped companies such as eBay and Amazon.

The retail sector, some stores have lost this attitude. In many cases, no matter how small the request, they just say no. You wind up spending an enormous amount of time arguing with them that you’re right.

However, if you buy the same product at a sites like ASOS, with their very friendly customer service attitude, you’ll be satisfied through the entire process and come back to buy more.

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Tips for finding Niche Keywords Part 3

The final part in our post from Summit online marketing looking… the top seo guide to finding niche keywords

4. Did you know that there are differences between the written word and spoken dialogue? Try exploring natural sounding “dialogue” and words based on dialogue. Your friends and customers often will say things, that give you a starting place to explore new data.

5. Open up your research and explore the world of colour. For example, what happens if you enter a single term representing a colour like “red,” or “aqua” or “green” or any other colour?

6. Explore any type of data at all in terms of a root word. Don’t forget to explore everything and anything that comes to mind. From a topic you notice on the news, to something that may not even be a word at all. What happens if you try to explore a number, or a price like £9.95 instead of a word?

7. Instead of just thinking of your research as “keywords” try thinking in terms of your audience’s “topics of interest.”

Wordtracker will give you absolutely AMAZING detail if you take time to think about it laterally, and outside of the context of just a “keyword hunt.” Don’t let the natural tendency to “guess at keywords” stop you from uncovering all the hidden evidence, that just needs a little digging to find.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, if you want more ideas you can visit Wordtracker and have a go for free!

Michael Campbell Notes: Anybody involved with online marketing consulting would think about your audience’s trade lingo, industry jargon, and words that are specific to a certain holiday, sport, hobby or service. For example, RIP, stripper, loupe, masking, pantone, dot gain and super black are all related to the printing industry. Spend some time in the industry association sites or read industry specific magazines to learn their lingo, for more potential niches.

Another tip is to use verbs and action words like “stop” or “improve” as your root word. Then let the keyword service (my favourite is NicheBot) tell you what people want “stopped” or “improved” in their lives.

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