The Point

Archive for the ‘Search/SEO’ Category

Aug

How to Take Advantage of the Web’s Two Most Important Words

Two most important words

Two words: how to. Simple. Effective. Foolproof. Timeless.

“How to” are the two most important words on the web. Experienced writers know it. Now you do too.

Should every headline begin with “how to?”

No. That’d be boring as the Celine Dion catalog.

Should every business blog include how-to articles?

Yes. Some blogs use the technique in practically every post. Again, snoozeville. Some bloggers purposely avoid the “how to” headline. They find it too cliché. Big mistake. Here’s the thing about clichés: people get ‘em.

You can make every post title include “how to” or never type the two words your entire publishing career. Doesn’t matter.

What does matter is your blog posts, web pages, infographics, podcasts, videos, SlideShares, and every friggen helping of content you serve should serve your audience. The sooner you start applying this principle, the sooner you’ll have an audience.

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Aug

Why is SEO Important?

Why is SEO Important

SEO is the digital God.

I mean no offense. I just mean to recognize the almighty power of the Internet. When us mortals need spiritual answers, many seek a higher power. And for grappling with many of the challenges of our daily lives, we put our faith in search engines.

The search engine doesn’t come to us. Many forms of marketing do. Or at least they try to. They interrupt us. We generally make them go away. Or we go away. Or we simply ignore them.

Search is kind and sensitive. We summon it in our time of need. When we:

  • Want to learn
  • Want to buy
  • Want to be entertained

Search won’t let you down.

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Jul

The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding AdWords PPC

Understanding AdWords PPC

How do you get on the first page of Google fast?

You run Google AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) ads.

If you don’t have the luxury of writing for one of the web’s most established websites, search engine optimization (SEO) is the hard way. Gaining visibility and generating leads requires creating stellar content and a ton of persistence. It’s not magic. And there are no shortcuts.

Pay-per-click is a different story. Patience is not required. You can enjoy results immediately.

You won’t succeed with zero understanding of the AdWords PPC advertising platform, however this article will give you enough knowledge to get started and put you on the path to success.

PPC is a money game

With pay-per-click, you get your web page displayed on the search engine results page (SERP) when someone searches for the keywords you’ve selected. As the name suggest, you pay only when your ads are clicked. Fees are based on a cost-per-click. (more…)

Jul

100 Ways Your Company Loses to Better Online Marketers

It's a jungle online

It’s a jungle out there.

Online marketing has become a wild animal. But you don’t have to be a gorilla to dominate. Nor do you have to go ape and do absolutely everything. However, you do indeed need to understand what’s working for the leaders of the pack.

I thought I’d survey the landscape and give you my take on how the most cunning companies are killing it with online marketing tactics. So here you are: 100 ways companies are thriving on the wild, wild web.

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May

Digital Marketing Lead Generation Strategies [Free eBook]

Free ebook Three Deep Marketing

I wrote a 40-page eBook covering today’s most effective digital marketing lead generation strategies. It was recently published by Three Deep Marketing, a sizable agency in Minnesota that’s one of the nation’s premier practitioners of data-driven digital marketing. From content marketing to marketing automation and many other tactics, the eBook covers a lot of ground. You can scroll down to see the chapters list. Go here to download the eBook in its entirety. Or check out how the book begins here and now….

The story begins with the predictably unpredictable buyer

The customer’s buying path is forever unpredictable. The only thing that is predictable is they will do their research.

You’re doing research here and now. You might pull the trigger soon. You might not.

buyer journeyIn a way, you’re a lot like everyone else. The decision you’ll make—in this case, about your company’s marketing—will be an informed one. You’ll put in the time, do your homework and make an informed decision.

And in a way, you’re unlike anyone. You’ll bounce around from source to source however you please. No one knows the path you’ll take—including you.

Let’s lay it on the line. Buyers command the buying process now. They absorb information like sponges, but don’t stand in line to get it. They go online and get it entirely on their terms.

If you want them to consider buying from you, you have to buy into the realities of the new media landscape. You have to map your marketing to their journey. And again, the journey’s wildly unpredictable.

Go ahead and gulp. In the 2010s decade, marketing and media have matured. Keeping up with the changes is a priority, but a highly challenging ambition. Deny the dominance of digital marketing and you’ll go down in defeat. Digitally savvy companies shall inherit the earth.

This eBook is a roadmap of sorts. Our hope is it will equip you with the insights you’ll need to achieve success in the age of the carefully considered decision.

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Feb

SEO Bullshit (And How to Avoid Stepping In It)

SEO Bullshit

I’m NOT calling SEO bullshit.

I’m not saying you don’t need to understand SEO. You do. And when you do, search will become a leading ingredient in your marketing mix and possibly the largest source of traffic to your website. (Psst… I simplified it for you here.)

I’m not saying you shouldn’t do SEO. If you’re doing content marketing, it comes with the turf. If you persist in knowing little or nothing about SEO, you’re sabotaging your success.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t hire SEO professionals. If you can’t parcel time to do the necessary research, link seeking and ongoing analysis, you should enlist the help of experts. It’s too important to ignore.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re still wondering…

Why the harsh title for this post?

I gave this post the title “SEO Bullshit” because we’re all up to our earballs in misinformation about the topic. It’s everywhere. (more…)

Jan

How to Find Keywords People Use (But Your Competitors Don’t)

Keywords People Use

Winning at SEO calls for outmaneuvering the field.

Let’s examine how to find keywords your competitors aren’t using—with tactics they don’t even know about. 

“Keywords don’t matter much anymore.” You find it written everywhere lately.

I asked a friend who eats analytics for breakfast and snacks on SEO all day long, “Whatcha’ think about that man?” He smirked. Then he turned toward his massive monitor, typed “g-o-o-g-l-e-(.)-c-o-m” on his keyboard. The ubiquitous page with the crude, but familiar multi-color logo and single blank field popped right up.

He turned back to me and said, “What do I do now Barry?” His point was pretty clear. However all-powerful the search engine that changed the world may be, it can’t yet read your mind. Whether you choose to type or talk, you tell it what you’re looking for with a string of words.

Notice I wrote, “string of words.” I meant to suggest three, four, or more, words. These searches have come to be known as “long tail” and represent the majority of searches. It’s also important to note long tail keywords, being more specific than one or two word searches (or “head” keywords), have proven to deliver superior conversion.

To illustrate, consider “acoustic guitar” vs. “Used Taylor 12-string acoustic-electric guitar.” It seems intuitive the longer, far more specific term suggests the searcher has a better idea of the product he seeks and is therefore closer to reaching for his wallet. Research consistently provides confirmation.

Perhaps an even more important reason long tail keyword enters the SEO discussion so often is because as an online marketer you have a remarkably higher chance of earning page one search results by developing content targeting the lengthier phrases. The “big fish in a small pond” metaphor applies.

By strategically implementing long tail keywords, you’re far more likely to rank high, attract the audience you desire, and show motivated prospects the way to your website.

Your challenge is to identify the right long tail keywords

How do you do this? (more…)

Dec

How to Get Your Blog Post on the First Page of Google – Featuring an Interview with Andy Crestodina

the first page of google, Crestodina

The “SEO is dead” parade marches on. Even some search professionals are now writing obits for their old friend.

But search continues to thrive. It continues to drive traffic more than, well, anything. So what gives? For any given search, ten web pages are going to command page one rankings and earn waaaaaay more clicks than the gazillions of pages that follow.

If you’re a content marketer, you’d love to see your next blog post on the first page of Google. How important is it to understand SEO? It’s crucial.

I’ll be straight with you. If you want to play last decade’s lightweight Google games, you’ve come to the wrong place. A pro like Andy Crestodina won’t indulge you.

However, if you want to talk about creating immensely useful content while executing a strategy to rank atop Google SERPs (search engine results pages), you’d want to listen to Andy, if you could. And you can.

Right now. Right here. I present my friend, the content chemist himself, with a full set of answers on how he gets his blog posts on the first page of Google and how you can do the same.

Listen to Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media explain:

•  How he puts in the effort—in advance—to create blog posts with a very high chance of landing on the first page of Google.

•  Why it’s always more important to appeal to readers than searchbots.

•  His formula: traffic x conversions = success.

•  The three questions that must be asked and answered:

  1. Is anyone searching for this phrase?
  2. Do I have a chance of ranking for the keywords?
  3. Can I make the best page on the internet for the chosen topic?

•  The number one factor for ranking in Google.

•  What to do after you publish.

•  A better name for “SEO.”

•  A more effective approach than keyword density.

•  The case of the ambidextrous armadillo.

(more…)

Nov

SEO Simplified for Short Attention Spans

SEO Simplified

“We really do want to understand SEO.”

I was on a conference call with a client who said that. And then:

“Let’s plan to have a 15 minute call where you can explain SEO to us.”

Gulp. Can SEO really be simplified to that extreme? Well, I do love a good challenge. But I don’t love SEO. I’m not the analytical type. If SEO isn’t exactly your cup of tea, here we go: SEO, with a spoonful of sugar.

(The article takes 15 minutes to read aloud and, of course, less to simply read.)

What’s SEO mean?

Search engine optimization. It’s a clunky term for sure. You can’t optimize search engines. In fact, you can’t even learn exactly how they work. These are well-guarded secrets.

What can you do? You can do the right thing to your website’s pages—optimize them—to increase the likelihood Google and the other search engines know where they are and what they contain, so it will present them as a recommended resource when they match a search.

That’s not all you can do. It’s ground zero—what you have to do. And though you need to understand what you’re up against to do it well, this activity, defined as “onsite optimization,” is the easy part.

The other stuff you can do represents the hard, but more meaningful part. This other stuff happens “offsite.” I’m going to explain.

But for now, to answer the question, I’ll say SEO means the things you do onsite and off to help get presented by a search engine and discovered by its users.

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Jul

How Publishing Crappy Content Ruins Your Rankings

content farm

Lessons from (and confessions of) a former content farmer.

This is a guest post from Erik Devaney of HubSpot, aka @BardOfBoston, pictured above 😉

Ever stumble across a poorly written, vaguely comprehensible article with a title like, “How to Cook Atlantic Pygmy Octopus on a Weber Grill” or “The Best Types of Blue Flowers for Japanese Rock Gardens”?

Chances are, an article like that came from a content farm: a website that publishes thousands upon thousands of crappy articles, all for the sake of ranking for as many keywords (and keyword combinations) as possible.

If you want to think about them in terms of actual farms, content farms are like giant, multinational agriculture corporations. Corporations like these can have thousands of employees, hundreds of different products, and they often use genetic engineering in order to optimize those products. Likewise, content farms can have thousands of writers, hundreds of different verticals, and they often use black-hat SEO tactics (especially keyword-stuffing) in order to optimize their content for search engines.

Of course, genetic engineering is a tad different from SEO. Yet both are frequently viewed as ways to “game the system,” and often carry with them negative (and unnatural) connotations.

It should come as no surprise then to learn that Google is not a big fan of content farms. And just a few years ago, they made these feelings known to the world with the release of their Panda update.

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