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Identifying Your Market - Keyword Research
What Keywords Define Your Market?
In the digital marketing world, especially around search engine marketing, keywords are the way you define the market you are in. If you want to gain exposure to new clients, then you have to know what it is that those people are looking for and, more specifically, entering into a search engine like Google.
Before you can start any digital and online marketing campaign you have to know what keywords you want to target and to do this you have to perform extensive keyword research. Failing to do so can have significant negative effects on the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.
What Is A Keyword?
A keyword is essentially the term that that is entered into a search engine in order to find information, a product or service. The terms that are entered by people using search engines like Google are stored in databases that are accessible by the public.
An example keyword term for a Dallas based plumber would be “plumber in Dallas”. However, that will not be the only term used and there can be dozens, if not hundreds of variations. While these variations may have lower volumes of searches, they can add up significantly.
What is Keyword Research?
The search term database information is the basis for keyword research and allows people to find out what a potential target audience is actually entering in a Google search.
Taking the above example of the Dallas plumber, keyword research starts with the broadest term, in this case “plumber in Dallas”. Through targeted searches and variations of this term other keywords will emerge which can include “plumber in Dallas TX” or “emergency plumber Dallas”.
Creating this long list of potential keywords for any business essentially involves combining the service or product description with the location of the business. Through this detailed analysis a long list of search phrases can be determined that the target customers are using to find similar products and services.
What Keywords Should A Business Target?
This will very much depend on three critical factors:
1 – Product or service name
2 – Location of target customers.
3 – Volume of new sales inquiries you can handle.
The first one is pretty obvious; there is absolutely no logical reason why a plumber should be targeting legal advice related keywords. It gets a little more complex though with the other two items.
Going back to our example above, there is no point in the Dallas plumber targeting search terms like “plumber in El Paso”, unless that same plumber actually had the ability to offer services in those multiple locations. Targeting search terms in such locations would not be a cost effective marketing approach.
Similarly, targeting a keyword that would result in more sales inquiries than a business can physically handle is also a less than ideal use of marketing resources. So it also becomes important to target the keywords with the right amount of volume to ultimately reduce the marketing cost per new customer acquisition.
This is where the advice from keyword research experts can make a significant difference to ensure the most efficient and effective execution of a digital marketing campaign.
Is SEO Right For Your Business or Company?
Is SEO Right For Your Business Or Company?
There are many different ways to dive into online marketing for your business. Some people prefer social media marketing while others swear up and down by how effective pay per click (PPC) advertising has been for their business. Search engine optimization (SEO) is probably the type of online marketing that is discussed most, and for good reason.
Every smart business knows that they need a strong online presence, and while there are many ways to get attention, nothing works better than naturally getting your website on page one of the search engine rankings (especially Google), especially if you can get in the top three spots of page one. To do this, you need to look at search engine optimization since SEO is the only online marketing that focuses specifically on getting to the top of the natural search engine results.
Is SEO really an online marketing cure all, or are there certain times when it might not be worth the investment?
Know Your Market
One of the first things to look at is your local marketplace. Are you one of thousands of small businesses in your niche in a giant city like Chicago where getting to the top naturally might be an insurmountable issue, or are you in a smaller city that has decent competition, but not thousands of people going for the same few slots?
This makes a huge difference when it comes to figuring out if SEO is a good investment. The size and competitiveness of your market will not only tell you if ranking naturally with a new website is likely or even possible, but also give you an idea of what your long-term investment might need to be if you do that direction.
Why Should A Business Consider SEO Services?
Any business serving a local or regional area. If you can make a list of keywords you would want to rank for in an area, then optimization is at least worth looking at. Any business that is going to be built around being found for a certain service or product should also look at ranking locally for those words that can make them money.
Keep in mind that in most cases you’re looking at developing or expanding your marketing budget for starting SEO services and will most likely need to commit to a year or longer depending on your market and competition. Optimizing your website takes time, and a steady effort is required to see results.
Basic on page with use of description and keyword integration should be used by everyone – that’s simply putting your website in a position to succeed for you.
Why Would A Business Hesitate?
Companies stuck in an overly competitive area like a major city, are extremely specialized, or who don’t rely on a traditional organic search. If your business relies on getting views to a news or gossip site, getting attention on social media, or a lot of views for a YouTube video, then conventional SEO isn’t going to be worth the investment compared to other forms of online marketing.
That being said, the majority of businesses will find that adding some element of digital marketing enhancement to their online marketing plan is worth the investment and will create impressive results.
"On-Page" Factors Explained
Just What Is “On Page”?
When it comes to website ranking, every action can be tied into one of two specific types: “on page” and “off page”. “On page SEO refers to everything that can be done on the actual front end of the site to shoot your websites up the ranks of Yahoo, Bing, and Google. If you want to compete in today’s markets you need a solid online presence, and on page SEO is a part of that.
Make Sure Your Tags Are Correct
There are three major types of tags that need to appear on every page or post of a website: your meta tags, alt tags, and title tags. Meta tags don’t directly affect your rankings anymore, but you want every page’s meta tags to be unique since you can get penalized for just having the same one page after page.
Alt tags go with the pictures and give you a chance to tell the search engines what the picture actually is, giving searchers another way to find you as you optimize the page.
Finally, title tags like the H1 and H2 tags give a little bit more emphasis on the keywords in those titles, letting the search engines know those are important in the article.
Mind Your Picture Quality
An important part of on page SEO is making sure you maintain a strong picture quality. You never want pixelated images. Your pictures should be very clear, well proportioned compared to the text, and uniquely tagged. Good pictures help keep viewers on the page longer.
High Quality Content
For years now Google has declared openly that content is helpful and they want to connect the best possible content with the top rankings for various keywords. High quality content is one of the most important (if not the single most important) factor that goes into a successful on page search engine optimization strategy.
High quality content means:
– Completely original text that isn’t copied from anywhere
– Written by a native speaker with proper grammar, punctuation, and syntax
– Original ideas from an authority source
– Content that answers the question of the searcher
– Good visual organization of articles
Many different studies have also shown that the length of content matters. Everyone agrees posts should aim for 700-800 words as a minimum with many first page results on competitive keywords end up with every single entry being over 2,000 words.
Does Time On Site Matter?
There are two factors that often go hand in hand: bounce rate and time on site. These are important to balance out. Bounce rate means the person views your page then backs out, with no interaction on the site. There’s some argument over how much of an effect this really has, but creating an attractive website that makes it easy to find other interesting pages will only benefit you.
Time on site definitely matters. If Google sees a visitor only spends 5-6 seconds on your page before leaving on average, they drop your rankings like a stone. Use video, use interesting initial pictures and a great opening line to make sure people spend more time reading your site – it makes a huge difference. However something to consider would be the type of business and actual interaction needed to convert that visitor to a customer. It may not take long for a visitor to get contact information from the site or submit a contact form.
Off page can be a powerful tool but it won’t work if everything on page isn’t working the way it needs to. By focusing in on even a few main factors like tags, content, pictures, and time on site, you will be amazed how much of a difference that makes against your average competition.
"Off-Page" Factors Explained
What You Need To Know About “Off Page” SEO
There are two major styles of search engine optimization work: on page and off page. After some recent updates that are famous (infamous?) among Internet Marketers, like Google Panda and Google Penguin, there have been stories that off page optimization doesn’t matter anymore, but that is definitely not the case. While on page optimization might be enough for many local businesses in low population areas with very little to no competition, most businesses with need some off page SEO to get the results they really want.
Step #1: Create A Social Media Footprint
Having a social media footprint is crucial to modern SEO efforts. Google and other search engines understand the importance of social media and expect to see you on Facebook, on Twitter, on Google+, or they at least expect some degree of conversation about your page. Even having basic accounts that you update just every so often makes a huge difference. You need to create those accounts, and update them when you have a new post – social media backlinks do matter and help engage with new or potential customers.
Step #2: The Quality Of Your Hosting Matters
One of the major factors in ranking a website comes down to the quality of the hosting being used. How long does it take for your website to load? The longer the wait time, the worse your website will rank. You want full up time, and you want fast loading times.
Step #3: Max Out The Years On Your Domain Name
This might seem like a strange one, but domain names can be bought for as little as one year or for as many as ten. There is a shown boost to domain names that are owned for a longer time because this builds trust with the search engines. One year owners are much more likely to be spammers or short term projects that never pan out.
Someone who buys a domain name for 10 years is in it for the long haul, and the search engines reward that dedication with a little bit of a boost.
Step #4: Learn About Backlinks
Backlinks have a bad reputation recently because of the mass website purges that happened with the Panda and Penguin updates from Google, but the truth is that backlinks are more important than ever, but you have to be careful on how you use them.
How to get penalized for using backlinks:
– Spam large numbers of backlinks
– Large number of backlinks from bad websites or weak websites
– Using your main keyword as the the anchor text on backlinks too often
All of these actions can make backlinks a bad thing since a linking penalty is often extremely difficult to come back from since it is considered blatant manipulation of the rankings.
However, getting high quality links from websites in the same or similar niche is an extremely powerful off page technique for improving your rankings in all the major search engines. Even just a few links from large authority sites in related niches can shoot your website up the rankings.
When it comes to getting that last extra mile to get the rankings you really want, it is important that you understand how off page works. When properly applied, these techniques make a huge difference in how you will rank.
Free SEO Analysis
Find New Customers
Where Are You Ranking? Getting Traffic? What Analytics Are In Place?
Setting up the right type of website analytics is really one of the many keys to understanding the traffic coming in and what they are doing on your site. This allows you or your marketing team to make informed decisions like; who to target, where to allocated ad budget and even market to specific devices (mobile or desktop).
Ranking software is very beneficial to see where you’re at in the search results and the progress you’re making based on your market and specific keywords.
If you don’t have any form of tracking setup stop reading right now and call me (801-903-2646) to help set this up.
You should, at a minimum, have visitor tracking software because it’s free and provides an excellent set of historical data to analyze — which you can’t start learning from until you’ve installed the software.
This information is really valuable because it gives you insight to what Google already thinks your site is relevant to or if maybe you don’t look relevant! Again its really important to access this information so start getting it or find an SEO Consultant to help you get it.
How Competitive Is the SEO of Those Ranking In Your Industry?
This is where many SEO consultants fall short. Providing a valid and extensive analysis of your competition really shows insight to where you’re either lacking or where you might be ahead. This is also a prime opportunity to evaluate what on- page structure can help your online asset be lifted in rankings.
It is very important to determine what competition you’re up against quite simply because we can estimate how long and how much it will cost to get results from quality search marketing. Additionally your competition may not be as difficult or as dynamic as you think or even better they may actually be ranking for something similar but not really where your priorities lie. To get a competition analysis for your business please fill out my SEO Strategy Form.
Do You Know Where To Go From Here?
The #1 thing anyone will, or should, tell you when confronted with a problem is to come up with an action plan. I have found that many businesses are actually further ahead in this then they may know! I have also found that consulting with a expert in is worth it. You’ll know when you have an expert because they won’t shy from most questions. They actually give you valuable feedback on your business and what they can do for you based on specific points and detailed analysis. One of the most important factors to consider is that your website is actually an asset.. not just a form of communication or pretty piece of art, it is one of the most valuable assets a business can have if cared for as such. In the wrong hands, someone with a lack of knowledge or willingness to keep up with current search engine algorithms and best practices, could tank your site over night! If you would like to learn more about your online asset fill out my SEO Strategy Form so I can give a detailed map of where you can go from here! I look forward to hearing from you!
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