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Don’t you wish there was an easy way to find out exactly what terms people are using to find your business online? That way, you could refine your keywords to take advantage of where you’re already succeeding and put more work into areas that aren’t getting found without hours and hours of research and analytics.

Well, now you can do just that without any expensive software or tracking services, with AdWords’ new ‘Searches’ card. The new card shown in your AdWords dashboard highlights the most popular words and phrases people are using to find your business in one convenient space.

With this information, you can better target your ads and search keywords or create negative keywords from search terms that aren’t relevant for your business. This way, you can be sure that people who are interested in what you offer are finding you.

The AdWords Searches card can be found on your Overview page of your account and looks like this:

The card is only available in the new AdWords system which recently rolled out for most countries.

Of course, the new AdWords card isn’t as powerful as comprehensive keyword research or analytics. However, it provides a quick glimpse into where you are doing well and where you can do more to promote your goods and services online.

SEO Magnifying Glass

Source: Flickr

Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t the easiest thing to get into, even though it is one of the most important things you can learn when starting an online business or building a website for your company. It isn’t that SEO is too difficult for most to learn, it is simply that most people in the industry have been working in it for so long that even the basic guides often come out overly complicated.

SEO is extremely important for bringing in new customers and being found online. In basic terms, SEO is notifying search engines to the existence of your site and telling them what its about. This way, search engines can rank the quality of sites and decide where you belong in the results. Of course, the higher you are in the search results, the more people will come to your site.

Daily SEO Tip categorizes SEO into four basic parts: keywords, content, links, and relevance. If you understand each of these components, you are well on your way to setting up your search engine optimization.

Keywords

Keywords act as the basic main ingredients of your website. The amount of keywords you have, their relevance, and how often you use them all play a role in a search engine determining your site’s quality.

  • Make sure all keywords you use are directly related to your service, brand, or product. Keep them specific to what you do, not just the broad industry you work in.
  • There is a practice called keyword stuffing that can get you into a lot of trouble. Keyword stuffing is the practice of overusing keywords in order to trick search engines. But, the search engines are very smart and will quickly see that you’re using words out of context or unnecessarily.

Content

Search engines are basically rating your website, and content is the main thing they are judging. The engines want to show searchers sites with valuable information. That doesn’t mean the content is selling to the user. It should be offering something of real value such as informative videos, up to date news, or helpful tutorials. Instead, the content establishes yourself as an expert in your field and raises your site’s reputability with search engines.

Linking

Ratings are partially decided based on how many inbound links a website has. They serve essentially as arrows directing the search engines to your site. It also follows the theory that if people are linking to your site there must be something of value there. It also shows that you aren’t an isolated spammy site in the internet ether, which is why you should also include links on any social media sites (aside from simply helping visitors find your business.)

Relevance

Relevance is less of a concrete component of SEO, but it is relevant in every facet of the work. Search engines spend the majority of their time fighting spam, and irrelevant content, keywords, or links are a huge red flag that a site may not be reputable. Search engines assume webpages deal with specific topics, be it news, jewelry, or a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanpage. By keeping your content relevant to your topic, search engines know you are focused, professional and informative.

Conclusion

If you can get a hang on these four basic ideas, you will have a solid grasp on how SEO functions and how you can get your site showing up on search engines, bringing in new visitors and potential customers. SEO can be a broad, complicated topic, but the basics tend to always stay the same. Follow these principles, and you’ll be able to figure out the rest.

In my opinion, you can never read too many opinions and advice columns on how to manage your PPC campaigns. Sure, some may turn out to be full of bad advice, but I believe every bit of information can either guide you to improving your own campaigns, or steer you away from looming mistakes. At the very least, it’s good to see what other people are doing in order to inspire you to come up with your own methods.

With that in mind, how could you avoid Chris Kent’s article at Search Engine Journal called ’10 Golden Rules of AdWords.’ It’s loaded with good information. Some of it is bordering on cliche, such as logging in to your account at least once a day and testing every conceivable movable piece. But, even these have been repeated for a reason. They are important and are a key to building a successful campaign.

My favorite pieces of advice are a suggestion of how to determine how much to bid for certain keywords. For many, this seems to be a guessing game, which is not good. Also, remember to link your PPC ads to the specific page your ad refers to. Don’t just leave traffic at your doorstep, invite them in and put them right where you want them. In other words, bypass your homepage and get users as close to a conversion as you can.

You’ve probably read plenty of articles, including some on this blog, that have informed you how important your keywords are to your PPC advertising campaigns. If you’re using short, broad, generic keywords, however, you’re missing out on a more engaged and qualified audience. Using long tail keywords, which are simply longer, more precise search terms, narrows your target audience.

The PYXL blog has some valuable information about how to use long tail keywords to drive more traffic to your site or blog and get more views and clicks on your ads. This is not only a money making option, but also a money saving option as you can eliminate extraneous traffic and hone in on the users who will convert.

Some companies can afford to just throw money at their online marketing campaigns and get results, but if you run a small business with an equally small advertising budget, you’ll want to look into these tips from Business2Community.

1. Google Search

Surprisingly, they suggest those with a limited budget limiting their options to search only. While it is likely the most efficient platform, I would argue that, depending on your business, you could yield great results with other options as well. But, it is a great place to start and if your budget is extremely limited, maybe also a great place to stop.

2. Keywords

You get a high conversion rate at a low cost-per-click. Keywords are a huge money saver and hone in on the users who are most likely to be looking for you. Also, be sure to learn about “long tail keywords” to get the most out of your ads.

3. Geotargeting

Chances are, if you have a small business and limited budget, you are only interested in those consumers living in your area. Use Google’s tools to only show ads to those in your vicinity. You can set parameters by city, zip code or even a mile radius around your physical address.

4. Day Parting

This one requires some legwork on your part. Check into your campaigns and find out when the peak hours are for conversions. You can then choose to either turn ads off during down times, or turn ads off during some of these peak hours when costs are at their highest. Either way, it is an opportunity to save some coin.

I do not endorse turning off ads simply because your business is closed for the day, however. Many consumers do conduct searches outside of normal business hours, which means you could be missing out on a large part of the market.

5. Device Targeting

The main reason to use this tool is to ensure ads ideal for mobile devices are shown only on mobile devices, while ads ideal for laptops, or not ideal for mobile, are only shown to laptops and tablets.

 

 

 

On-page optimization goes back to the very beginning of SEO. It has also changed a lot since then. In the old days, on-page SEO was mostly about keyword usage. While you can still use this aspect to create some optimization, it won’t do as much as you would like. This is because on-page SEO has been expanding.

Instead of focusing on keywords, focus on what your users want. You don’t need to repeat keywords your users may be searching for, you just need to have the answers to their questions. The keywords you do use, should be more circled around a theme than they should be trying to exactly match what your users are looking for.

Basically what I’m saying is, if you are still trying to exactly match what your users are looking for, you are as likely to be penalized as you are rewarded. However, if you have content talking about every facit of a topic, users looking for that topic will find you.

It is also important that every bit of information offered on the results page reflect your business and your brand. If the title says the article is about guitars, but the description is about amplifiers – or worse, completely off topic, like kittens – people will be confused and move on.

If you want to see how on-page optimization has gotten here, Almog Ramrajkar has an article on the evolution of the topic. What is important to note is, the old ways are not dead. They still work, but they are no longer all you can do. The few tips I offered here are just the tip of the iceberg to what on-page optimzation offers now.

 

Longtail SEO is beginning to become the dominant method for article marketers to be successful in the results pages, as well as strengthening brand visibility and awareness. It is the most effective method for most marketers.

In the past, the problem for many has been deciding whether to invest energy, time and money into marketing a single primary keyword, which might receive a high volume of searches every month, or possibly to focus on a longtail keyphrase. The longtail keyphrase might only get a small amount of search queries every month, but it allows for the business to achieve the top ranking, which receives the most traffic.

Trying to focus on a single keyword puts you at a disadvantage. It may get queried more than your longtail phrase, but it will be such a crowded market, you would be lucky to get on the third page or results. When most traffic goes to the very first result, being on the third page isn’t going to get you many visitors.

Longtail phrases on the other hand put you in a much higher ranking on SERPs for less popular related queries, which will net you more traffic overall. As Justin Arnold, writer for The Mightier Pen, puts it, you have to choose between theoretical popularity, and actual sales traffic.

Choosing a longtail phrase is much too big of a subject to cover here, but the main idea is to think about claiming a corner of the market. People are searching for more specific queries, so marketing a longtail phrase for your specific area of the market puts you in a good place to actually get some sales.

 

I’ve talked a lot about how important it is to try to think like your customers. It’s always important to find out what people are thinking, what questions they are asking, etc., but I didn’t offer any specific ways to accomplish this. But today I have one method of finding out what questions people are asking about topics important to you.

Justin Arnold from The Mighter Pen suggests using Twitter because it offers real time feedback on what people are talking and thinking about relative to keywords.

Of course, this is pretty common knowledge, but what people don’t realize is Twitter has some key features built into its search engine that really benefit the person looking for questions people are asking.

Finding out what questions people are asking is as simple as adding a space and a question mark after a querie. Suppose you are writing about painting. You can search ‘painting’ but you probably will get a lot of extraneous posts not of interest to you. If you search ‘painting ?’ however, Twitter filters your results to only include tweets with questions.

Now, the problem we are faced with is Twitter is used pretty heavily for promotion. Don’t you wish you could filter out any tweet containing links to avoid all of the ads? Well, you can. Just add ‘-filter:links’ to your searches to do away with all of the promotions. What you have now is a list of questions users are asking about a topic in real time.

This is just one way to try to get into the minds of your audience. Trying to gain some perspective is always important when creating content.

 

Many SEO companies know that sometimes their clients have in mind that they must rank for a specific keyword. No other options are acceptable for them. And even though you try to tell them that ranking for that keyword will take a great amount of time and effort because of their competition or that ranking for that keyword isn’t worth the effort they think it is, they do not budge.

It can be intensely frustrating (check out this story at Search Engine Journal for a good example) and even if you accept the request by the client, sometimes they are not happy with the results produced even if/when you satisfy their needs. What can be learned from this?

If you need SEO for your site, realize that keyword targeting is still important but is not the ONLY thing SEO does. SEO is about generation of quality traffic. If you focus only on ranking for keywords, you’re missing a lot. When you show up for keywords on the SERPs it’s good as a testament to the work that you’ve done, but are you getting quality traffic for those positions and those keywords?

In many cases the keywords you get better traffic from may not be the keywords you’re actively checking. The best way to find these are to check your Analytics tools to see what people are finding you with on the search engines.

Real SEO brings quality traffic to the site in many different ways, not purely from specific keywords you might be targeting. This has changed especially since the Panda and Penguin updates – overoptimization of specific keywords is penalized even more readily now. So if you’re focusing on just one keyword, that runs a big risk of making all of your rankings worse than they were before, even using what used to be fully functional SEO tactics.

If you do hire a professional SEO team, keep in mind that they should be doing work beyond just trying to rank for specific keywords, and if they don’t, be cautious. And don’t expect rankings to be the only positive results from this work – you should want to get some quality traffic from the work being done. Good rankings is just extra gravy on top that you can look at and be happy about.

I still hear from a lot of SEOs that are convinced the keywords meta tag actually makes a difference.  Well, I thought I’d run a full test to see how much attention the search engines pay to it.

The test was as follows: I put a random string of letters and numbers together and slapped it into my keywords meta tag.

Keywords Meta Tag Test

Keywords Meta Tag Test

So there it is.  And I let the engines go out and gobble up my site.  After the robots had all crawled it, I did a check to see what each search engine found.  And this might surprise you, but here you go:

Google Keywords Meta Tag Test Results

Google Keywords Meta Tag Test Results

Yahoo Keywords Meta Tag Test Results

Yahoo Keywords Meta Tag Test Results

Bing Keywords Meta Tag Test Results

Bing Keywords Meta Tag Test Results

Ask.com Keywords Meta Tag Test Results

Ask.com Keywords Meta Tag Test Results

And as you can see for yourself – only Yahoo and Ask seem to pay any attention to the keywords meta tag.  Not only that, but it was very recently revealed that Yahoo will no longer use the keywords meta tag.

So, as I’ve said before – the keywords meta tag is only used by people who have not done the research to realize that it doesn’t do anything.  For SEO, keep your optimizing solid – use the primary elements, the title tag, the description tag, header tags where valid.  But remember to target humans, not just the search engines.  If you keep that in mind, you’ll likely find yourself in better positions on the search engine results pages.