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November 29, 2017

My profuse apologies, it has been way too long since I have sent you any updates on this so I wanted to make sure that got done asap. A lot has been going on, both professionally and personally and I wanted to provide you with some information that can help your ongoing marketing efforts.

On the personal front, my father-in-law recently passed away but at age 94, he said he has already done everything he wanted to do and was ready to go home. I learned a lot from that man, I don’t think anyone could ask for a better in-law.

Our grandson is the apple of our eyes! If I would have realized that grandkids were so much fun, I would have had those first. At age 3 he is a real sweet boy. It is interesting to have a conversation with him because he frequently makes me think about things that “us old folks” take for granted, where he looks at the same thing and asks “why”. That is a lesson because that is such an excellent question for so many things.

Earlier this year,  Melanie (my wife of 37 years) and I, along with two other couples, spent a fantastic vacation in Europe, touring Paris and the surrounding area for a few days (a full day in Normandy was outstanding), then getting on a cruise ship out of Amsterdam to tour the British Isles like Dover, Loch Ness, Dublin, Guernsey, etc. It was outstanding and a desperately needed diversion and personal battery recharger.

In terms of Telarus news, you can read about all that at the Telarus web site but one very notable item that you should be aware of is how Telarus has acquired CarrierSales, another Master Agency albeit smaller than Telarus. You can read the details at http://www.telarus.com/blog/master-agent-telarus-to-acquire-carriersales.php

Is Your Web Site Stagnating?

When you bought your domain name and set up your web site and hosting for your Telarus lead agent site, it was pretty simple, or at least a bit less painful than a root canal, right?  And I’m willing to bet that you haven’t touched that site in months, perhaps years, right?

With ongoing changes to Google’s search algorithm, you may want to rethink that total hands-off approach to your web site. Google wants to see ACTIVE sites, and continues to devalue sites that are static which haven’t been changed in months or years.

An easy way to do that is to create a BLOG section on your website.  If your site was setup with WordPress, that functionality is already there, you just need to make some entries in the blog occasionally.  Those entries don’t have to be Nobel prize-winning masterpieces but rather just some telecom industry news blurbs, preferably something you have rewritten or reworded so that its not blatant plagiarism. But even if its not WordPress, hopefully you have some way to regularly add some content to your site about something newsworthy so that  Google does not see your site as totally stagnant.

Why You Need An SSL Certificate For Your Web Site

Google in its almighty presence wants to make the Internet a safer place to surf, and in that light, starting back in October 2017, it has started to slowly roll out things to help guarantee that the Internet is safer, especially where a site requires information from the customer.  Yes, like your Telarus GeoQuote sites, where the user enters name, email, address and phone.

Today you might not even notice this if you aren’t specifically looking for it, but go to your site and look to the left of the URL in your browser’s address bar. You will see a small “i” with a circle around it. Click on that small “i” and see what you get.

Holy moly, insecure? Yes, without an SSL certificate, in Google’s eyes, Google is telling the world that this site is INSECURE. And if you go into a couple of the fields on our site and enter some information like you are going to request a quote, you will note that the small “i” now expands to read like the graphic above where it’s telling the user that this site is not secure.

Over the coming months, Google is reported to become more aggressive with this, even starting to show sites in the Google search results as not secure, so that people will not want to visit your insecure site.  Sure, you and I both know there’s nothing insecure about it, but when Google is going to lengths to “warn” people about insecure sites, how many visitors could you potentially lose?

You can resolve this with an SSL certificate.  SSL is Secure Socket Layer, which in layman’s terms, encrypts the data going between your site and the server.  And with an SSL certificate, the insecure warnings shown above will not display, which is more than a worthwhile investment.

SSL certificates are pretty cheap, you can easily get one and install it on your site for under $25 or so. It’s an ANNUAL thing so make yourself a note to renew it next year.  If you’re not technical, check with your hosting provider and they can almost certainly walk you though how to get it installed, or might even do it for you.  You can find SSL certificates for way MORE than $25 but keep looking, there is no sense in spending big bucks for it. Your site will then be accessed via HTTPS instead of just HTTP.

What Products Are You Promoting?

Fifteen years ago when Telarus started, the obvious product to offer was a T1 line. Telarus had several carriers with aggressive and guaranteed pricing, and many of the products we can offer today were still very much on the drawing board only back then.

But like everything else, things change.  As I always say, change is inevitable except from a vending machine.

What I’m trying to say is you may want to stop promoting T1 lines. A common saying is that today, “10 MB Ethernet is the new T1”. And in fact, in most cases, 10 MB Ethernet today is cheaper than what a T1 cost 10-15 years ago.

Why stop promoting T1 lines? Two primary reasons:

(1) Everybody and their brother is offering T1 lines these days. While one never sells on price alone, the consumer has an order of magnitude more choices for where to get his T1 compared to the number of choices years ago.

(2) The amount and level of marketing effort required to promote T1 lines is increasing, while the returns from successful sales is decreasing. If you are going to invest effort into promoting something, it should be something that helps recoup your time and money you spent promoting it, and with T1 lines in many areas being under $300, it is hardly worth your time when there are much bigger fish in that sea.

So WHAT should you be promoting? Browse the Internet and see what’s hot in the telecom world right now.  Fiber Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet will continue to be big as fiber gets deployed further and further across the nation and the world.  MPLS will continue to flourish. More and more customers are requiring non-stop 24×7 continuous connectivity, and that frequently means a primary and a secondary circuit at each site, where one of the best ways to maximize that bandwidth, traffic shaping and failover is via SD-WAN appliances, which many of our carriers offer. Unified communications (UC) and hosted VoIP will continue to be big. Cloud storage and cloud virtual servers along with colocation will also be increasing.

Promote cable like Comcast or Spectrum?  Probably not, as there is very little advantage to you or me in doing so. The customer service from both Comcast and Spectrum is horrible on a good day, and that reflects on me the agent. What about the dedicated fiber services from Comcast and Spectrum? Customer service does not improve as I have found, and the LATENCY on their “dedicated” fiber circuits is about 3 times the latency of a real carrier, so like anything else, the customer gets what he pays for.  But personally, it is to your and my ultimate advantage to have one LESS customer than to have one MORE customer who is very unhappy with the carrier.

WHO should you be promoting to? Stay away from residential customers for the most part, like 98% of the time. A residential customer running a real bona fide business out of their home is not a good candidate for us, and many carriers will not even install a circuit of any type into a residential site, regardless of how valid or successful the business might be.

A real business is your best bet, and an even better bet if they have multiple locations, either in the same city or spread around the nation or even the world.  Yes Telarus has several carriers with a strong worldwide presence. Promote your site, promote it on forums and social media, don’t let it stagnate and keep it current.

My best wishes to you and your family for a happy, safe and healthy holiday, and to be totally politically incorrect: Merry Christmas!  Please feel free to contact me if you have thoughts, ideas, questions or  concerns!

Jon Arnold, President
JA Communications Group Inc
Telarus Technical Consultant
https://business-ethernet.com

Business Ethernet | Fast Ethernet | Gigabit Ethernet | MPLS Networks | Everything Telecom


Office:  888-874-3837
Fax:  321-821-1921
Mobile: 321-223-5238

 

November 16, 2015

alaskaWhere has this year gone? Yowsers it sure seems to have flown by, with the normanend-of-year holidays just around the corner from here. It has been an eventful year, watching my grandson grow up, now just shy of 20 months old and always having a hug for “Papa”. My wife and I did an Alaskan cruise earlier this year, and if you haven’t done one, make sure to advance it very highly on your bucket list, as it was incredible and I would do it again in a heartbeat. On the second-last day of the cruise, we got a message that my wife’s brother had passed away so we re-arranged the post-cruise land portion of the trip to go to Michigan for the funeral. I am going to be gone next week but figured it would be a good time to be away, both from the aspect of being a short work week with Thanksgiving in the latter part of the week, as well as preferring to be “pre-occupied” with something else like a western Caribbean cruise as I remember last year when my dad passed away around this time of the year. But we try to keep moving forward!

Marketing!

marketingHow can you do effective marketing? It’s like deer hunting or fishing — you go where the deer or the fish are at! If you are hunting deer, you are going to have success in the “slim to none” category if you are hunting in downtown Chicago or downtown New York City. If you are fishing for marlins or tuna, you don’t cast into the mud puddle at the end of your driveway. The game is not going to come to you, but you need to go to where the game hangs out. That might seem kind of obvious but it is totally amazing to me the number of people who claim to get this, yet fish in mud puddles.

Forums

forumYou want to get your offer in front of as many people as possible, so you want to go where they hang out. Find some discussion forums on various topics related to networking, dedicated circuits, MPLS, WAN setup, and other associated keyword terms. Search for these keywords in Google with the word “forum” appended and then join those forums.

But a major key is that once you are accepted into the forum, do NOT start your very first day there with a sales pitch. That will get you banned faster than you can say “dialup”. Become a member of the forum. Read through the posts and offer answers and suggestions to show that you are a contributing member of the forum interested in helping others. Don’t write a doctorate dissertation for post responses, but keep your responses short, to the point, educated and informative, even if you need to research the answer first, and even if someone else has already answered it, where you can perhaps offer a slightly different perspective. Become accepted by forum members.

In many forums, you are allowed to add some information to your posts, kind of like a signature line. If allowed, and again, not on day 1, add a BRIEF one-liner with a URL to one of your sites. This can be incredibly effective but it’s not going to happen overnight. Show up consistently in the forum (ie, not only twice a year) and show yourself to be knowledgeable, informative, and helpful to others in the forum. Once your credibility is established, you you will be accepted and people will be much more likely to check out your URL in your post signature.  Also put your URL in your forum profile, and since that is not blatant, that is something you can do on day 1, and it also is another quality and relevant backlink to your site.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

ppcI am not personally a fan of PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing because my wallet still has scars, but it can be a great way to get targeted visitors to your web site (or landing page — see below) quickly if you do it right and are cautious.  In Google, you setup an Adwords account, specify the parameters, pick your keywords, indicate the max you are willing to spend per keyword, and your campaign is actively running, literally within minutes.

The problem with this is that it can get expensive in a heartbeat if you are not careful. The best way to do this is to use the LONG TAIL KEYWORDS that everybody and their well-funded brother are NOT using so that it does not financially force you to give it up.  For example, just targeting “business ethernet” is going to cost you about $5.57 per click, but a long tail keyword that is more specific such as “atlanta fiber ethernet” or “seattle ethernet cost” is going to be far less. True, you won’t get nearly as much traffic but the traffic you do get is going to be much cheaper and much more targeted. Studies have also shown that including the word “cost” or “price” in your keyword is a good indication of someone searching with buying intent which is what you are looking for.

Another option to consider is Facebook paid advertising. This is very similar to Google Adwords but in Facebook you have much more control over  who your ads are shown to. For example, you can specify age groups, demographics, household income level, education, vocation, subscribers to Telecom Today,  and a host of other parameters. Do you see where this can laser-target your marketing? With Google Adwords, you can (and will) get clicks from any 12 year old in Mosquito Junction, Minnesota who clicks your ad, but with the Facebook laser targeting, you have much more control over who your ad is shown to.

Something to think about. Note this does NOT guarantee sales (conversions) since that it ultimately your responsibility via your web site and/or landing pages but it does get your offer in front of the people who are looking for those things, it does so quickly, and can be worth the investment.

Landing Pages

landingpageOne of the things that many successful marketers use is a landing page.  This is not your main web site where customers would get quotes and enter their information, but rather is an “intermediate” site that provides additional information (BRIEFLY) that links to your real web site, and essentially does a PRE-SELL on your customer, where if the visitor is really interested in what you have to offer, helps to “prime the pump”, so to speak.

Do some searches in Google on virtually any product and you will see what I mean. The function of a landing page is to pre-sell the customer so that they are primed when they go to visit your real site. For example, perhaps the visitor is visiting your landing page by clicking on one of your links where the anchor text for the link was “business ethernet”. The landing page would talk about business ethernet, obviously, but would also include some BRIEF statements about related offerings that you can also provide, such as Ethernet MPLS, WAN optimization, hosted PBX on that Ethernet, cloud services, etc.  If your customer was interested in business Ethernet, chances are high that the customer is also interested in those other things, where the “one stop shopping” aspect will be appealing.

In fact, many online marketers have MULTIPLE landing pages, one for each specific product. To illustrate but not telecom-related so that everybody doesn’t copy it verbatim, say you’re selling pet food so you have a landing page for tropical fish food, another landing page for cat food, another landing page for llama food, etc.  That way, the landing page is specific to the link that the user clicked to get there, but the cat food landing page would also mention that you can also provide food for their dog, their llama, etc. Use your imagination.

Links Of Course!

backlinksAs mentioned consistently in my newsletters, relevant links are by far the best way to advance your rankings. Getting relevant links from high ranking sites is the best way to give your web sites greater visibility for searches.  But note the keyword “relevant”, which is important but not nearly as important as “high ranking” and authoritative sites. In other words, getting a 100 links from various pet food marketing sites will not give you as much link juice as a single link from an authority site.

One of the ways many people are doing that today is with PBN’s, or Private Blog Networks. You can create your very own PBN relatively easily, its not rocket science, and the beauty of it is that since you own the network, you have total control over it and what it links to.

There are many sites online that sell expired and expiring domains that already have authority and link juice, where the owner has not renewed the domain for various reasons. One that I use a lot is domcop.com.  Initially, I look for domains that have not been abused, already have both citation flow and trust flow (Google and Moz), have a number of links coming in from various different IP addresses, and do not have backlinks with “questionable” anchor text or obvious spam.

The tool I use to determine that is majesticseo.com, although there are several others also. When I find a potential domain to buy for my own PBN, I look at with with majesticseo, where the summary page of the results are shown below:

majestic

Basically, I would pass on this one.  My own criteria is that the Trust Flow and Citation Flow need to both be at least a value of 10.  And if there is a wide spread between TF and CF, that is also a bad sign.  Also note the “Referring Domains” column, where this only has 16 backlinks pointing to it.  That’s not many, I personally want to see at least 25 referring domains.

Note the tabs across the top — I would also click on the “Anchor Text” tab to get an idea of the anchor text pointing to this domain to make sure that none of them are spammy, gambling, pharmaceutical or porn.  I also look at the “Backlinks” tab to see where the backlinks are coming from to see if it makes sense for its intended purpose.

I would not purchase this expired domain, even though Google says is a Page Rank 3.  By the way, Google’s page rank metric is becoming almost meaningless and is rarely updated, so you need to look at the metrics shown here to get a real idea of the value of the domain.

Summary

Pilot In CommandI hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your In Flight 2 airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness“) of where you are at all times, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place, with contingencies already thought out. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

flyingThe same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions. My very best wishes to you for a happy holiday, and a safe, healthy, and prosperous new year!

February 24, 2015

Hello partners!  I hope you are keeping warm with all the crazy weather going on.  I know that here in Florida, I am glad the Florida winter appears to be over, since that was a long couple of days. LOL.  I wanted to get an update out to you because over the next couple of weeks I am going to be very busy. I’ll be meeting my sisters at my dad’s place in South Carolina to (hopefully) complete going through dad’s house and get it ready to go on the market. My dad passed away just before Thanksgiving and my mom passed away about 3 years ago, so there is a lot to go through.

justincaseJust a note, possibly for you or your parents. As my sisters and I were going through much of dad’s stuff, we found a file folder in his desk labeled “Just In Case”. What the heck? In that folder, he had written a brief note that if we were reading this, then it was because he had been called to go meet up with my mom and his Creator, and he hoped this would be helpful. After that was a spreadsheet, completely up to date, listing all his account numbers, username and passwords for each and every account he had; ie, utility companies, bank accounts, investment accounts, life insurance policies, mortgage info, everything, even his newspaper subscriptions and a copy of his will. What an incredibly useful labor of love that saved us all a ton of time. This might be something to think about as an additional gift for your family and heirs.

And then a few days after returning from that, I will be attending the Channel Partners Conference in Las Vegas, meeting with the carriers and their upper management, finding out about new product offerings and learning new stuff.  A good time will be had by all, I am sure.

VAR Transition

As mentioned in my previous newsletter, I have been encouraging you to let me know if you are interested in transitioning to become a VAR partner of mine instead of just a Cognigen or Commission River lead agent. As of this morning, I have completed the few people who indicated an interest in this but I am surprised at the large number of people that I did not hear from about this. If you haven’t do so yet, please email me indicating your interest in doing this.  Since I do not have access to your information, I will (and have so far, for the ones who have indicated interest) setup the VAR account and have the system send you the welcome email. You need to go into your new VAR account asap and put in your address and such.

This will work the same way as your old agency but if any leads close with your new VAR account, then you will be receiving TWO commission checks every month — one from your old account and one from your new one. There is really not a cost effective way to merge those accounts, unfortunately.

There are many benefits to doing this, where topping that list is the fact that you are no longer required to sell a Commission River product annually in order to maintain your agency. Of course I hope you will generate leads that will close for the benefit of both of us but I currently do not have or enforce any quotas. In addition, if you can establish a track record of creating leads every month that result in sales, with the VAR program I have control over the commission split percentages (where I had no such control for Commission River agents), where I am more than happy to bump up your percentage of the split if you are regularly producing leads that result in sales.

You WILL need to change your web sites for this change. In the line in the target URL where it currently says “?cogid=oldagentid“, you will change that to read “?telid=newvarid“.  In fact, after you make that change, you may want to go to your site and create a test lead to make sure it is working correctly. (Please label it as “test” so I can identify it and delete it).

MarketingWhat Is Your Marketing Plan?

Do you have a marketing plan?  The old saying is that if you fail to plan, you can plan to fail, and there really is no middle ground here, it is absolutely one or the other.  And if your marketing plan is purely trying to get ranked in Google with SEO techniques, you have a very long row to hoe because that landscape is changing rapidly.

Of course with SEO you need to be ranking for the right keywords, where that in itself is more than 2-3 minutes with your favorite keyword tool.  You want to choose keywords that are relevant to what you are offering but not keywords with so much competition to where you won’t get ranked or even noticed by Google prior to the second coming, but keywords with at least enough search volume to make it worth your while to be ranked for those keywords.

Url addressInbound links from RELEVANT and HIGH RANKING or AUTHORITY sites are clearly the best thing you can do. It would be better for you to have 1 link from a site like this, say www.att.com instead of 1000 links from dogfoodtoday.com just because of the relevancy factor.  Add new content to your sites frequently, even if its just a well written and relevant 300 word article in the BLOG or NEWS section of your site, since Google is unimpressed with stagnant sites that have no change month after month and year after year.

Create your own link sites on high ranking (and FREE) sites like Tumblr, Reddit and such. Keep them updated with  relevant content on a frequent basis, even every week or couple of weeks. You should be able to write a relevant, unique 300+ word article quickly, or there are places online to get that written for you for under $5. Have each article target a different keyword in the anchor text or sometimes just even use your site’s URL for the anchor text; ie, NATURAL linking. Spread them out over time, since Google knows it is totally UNNATURAL to get 500 or 5000 new links in a couple days, rather than drip-feeding those links over the course of a month. Fiverr.com can be great source for getting quality links but be sure to read the description of the service, since 500 links all from Korea will not gain you as much authority as 5 relevant and high ranking sites from the US.

Social media is hot these days and Google is taking more and more notice of “social signals” to determine what is hot and relevant in today’s searches. Create a Facebook fan page for your site and be sure to LIKE it and have links from it to your main site. There are a ton of social media sites these days, all of them free, only requiring some sweat equity on your part to get that link. Keep those sites updated on a regular basis with new content and new relevant anchor text in your links.

hotWhat Are Today’s Hot Product Offerings?

In the target market we are going after, I think T1 will continue to be hot but the competition is heating up to the point where I am not sure I would make T1 a focal point anymore. The cable companies are ruining it for everyone, where Joe Average Consumer does not understand nor will take the time to understand that cable is a “best efforts” offering whereas T1 is contractually guaranteed. All Joe sees is that cable is about one-third the price and he really cannot see beyond that in most cases, nor is he willing to listen to an explanation of it.  In short, I would not totally ignore T1 but again I would not make it a focal point of a marketing campaign.

Fixed wireless is luke-warm but based on the limited number of locations where decent fixed wireless is a good deal, I don’t think I would make that a focal point of a marketing campaign either. DSL has been dead for years, it just hasn’t had the good graces to roll over and officially die yet.

Ethernet is hot and continues to be hot. And it’s not just for the major metro areas either anymore. Fiber Ethernet is obviously and readily available in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, etc, but it is no longer limited to large cities; ie, I have current fiber Ethernet customers in Jefferson City TX (population 2055), Wiggins MS (population 4517), and more, and at extremely competitive pricing too.

verticalsLooking for some verticals or specific markets?  Let me provide two of them here. Is there a company near you that has a lot of offices across the US?  Let them know what you can do for them. I am currently the “telecom go-to guy” for two such companies with offices across the US with at least one office in almost every state. Working with the corporate IT department at the headquarters office of those companies, they have come to realize that with a quick email to me saying they have a contract expiring in somecity and what are the best options, I can turn that around in a heartbeat to show them their best and most cost effective options. It saves the corporate IT department a TON of time to not have to do that research and they are loving the relationship they have with me in that regard. I also keep them posted on when the contract for somecity is nearing expiration so they can be proactive about renewing or switching to a carrier that might be more cost effective today than it was 3 years ago.

thinkoutsideOr how about being a WISP (Wireless Internet Service Provider)? I have multiple customers who are providing wifi for areas where DSL/cable is not available, or if it is, it blows, where the residents of the area are more than happy to pay for good wireless service. In one case, I have a customer with a 300 MB Ethernet circuit who is wirelessly serving almost 1000 residents of a Florida condo community with wifi and VOIP, and it is insanely profitable for him (even on his $6k/month circuit), as well as less than HALF the price of what cable service would cost each resident. He has actually approached me about expanding his service into other areas.  For new WISPs starting up, several of my current WISP customers are more than happy to provide a “free initial phone consultation” and an ongoing consulting (paid) relationship to help get them off the ground and avoid the pitfalls that they themselves encountered when they were getting off the ground.

January 6, 2015

Taking Imperfect Action

In starting out the new year, one of the things that I keep coming back to is needing to take action. But one of the things that prevents me from taking action is that I know my actions will not be perfect. Perfect?

imperfectExactly. It may be a trait from my previous life as a software engineer but I always had a problem when my team wanted to release a product when I knew it was not yet perfect. I had to learn that taking action, even taking IMPERFECT action, was a better course to take that waiting until it was “perfect“, and primarily because we all know it would NEVER be perfect.

Look at the examples in the world today. Remember all the hubbub about the iPhone5 antenna issues? Do you have any idea of how much revenue Apple would have lost if they had waited to correct that issue before releasing the almost-ready product? We are talking about at least a 7 digit number here. Or another very classic example is Microsoft with the many releases of Windows. Waiphones Windows perfect in any of those releases?  Absolutely not but it was stable enough for Microsoft to release it, make millions of dollars on it, and send out regular updates to fix things that perhaps COULD have been fixed before they even released it … at the cost of losing out on millions of dollars worth of sales. If Microsoft had waited until the software was “perfect”, I am sure we would all be running Linux with Open Office today.

But do you see where I’m going with this? Delaying taking action because it’s not perfect and continuing to add more bells and whistles to it is preventing you from getting your product or advertisement out there to the masses, where it can start paying for itself, and you can still continue to enhance it and make changes to it.

Feature Creep

Have you ever heard of “feature creep”? It’s an insidious ailment that many software engineers develop over time, a kissin’ cousin to the Frankenstein Complex. It’s where you get to a point in featurethe product development when all you had planned to do it working well and as it should be, but then you get to thinking “wouldn’t it be cool if it could also do this”, and so you DELAY its implementation while you add that new feature. Then that gets completed, and another thought comes to you, and the process repeats.

Let me give you a real example from my previous life. I was working for this major multinational computer company (DEC) and was given the opportunity to create some software for a major conference — about 50,000 people from all across Europe to attend this conference in Cannes France. Yes, that summer I lived in London (Reading) England for 1 week teaching a computer course, then lived in Geneva Switzerland for 6 weeks and in Cannes for 5 weeks to create this software. It was a mid 80’s version of a social media thing, where each attendee had an account, and could sign in from anywhere at the show to get information, make dinner reservations, email his colleagues, etc.

languagesSo I got it completed but then Feature Creep came in … gee, this is being held in France, so let’s make it so the attendee can push a button and all the menus and information is shown in French. Kind of obvious, right?  So I did that. But then I thought about the German contingents where a lot of German customers were coming, so I added another button to display everything in German. But then not wanting to offend other countries, I kept adding and adding, where the final deployed version of it could switch from English to any one of 12 other European languages. It was my masterpiece but that insidious feature creep almost made it a non-reality at all!

Thankfully, even with the huge amount of Feature Creep, it was completed less than 48 hours prior to the opening of the conference, and it worked well.

Perfection Is The Enemy Of Success

If you wait for “perfection” before you actually deploy something, you are doomed. Seriously. Yes there are some necessary things you need to know as “basics” before you deploy pattonsomething — for example, if you embark on a PPC (Pay Per Click) campaign with Google before you understand how PPC really works, you can lose your shirt overnight.  (Voice of experience there). But once you have a basic understanding of what you are going to do and make sure there is an excellent ROI (Return On Investment), whether that investment is dollars and/or time and effort, then just DO IT. Don’t spend weeks wondering if you should phrase your ad differently or use a better adjective in your content, or use a 24 point headline in blue instead of a 20 point headline in red, or use another comma here, etc, etc, just DO IT and make adjustments as necessary as you go along.

The benefit of taking the “take imperfect action” approach is that you are actually then IN THE GAME. Maybe you’re not PERFECTLY in the game, but you’re in it nonetheless, and that beats sitting on the bench, NOT being in the game, striving for perfection, every time and any day of the week.  Just ask Joe Kavarski.  Oh, you don’t know Joe?  Me neither, because he is still perfecting his advertising campaign strategy and has deployed NOTHING to date….

Become My VAR Partner

varJust today I got authorization to switch you to become my VAR partner instead of a Cognigen or Commission River lead agent.  I do not yet have all the details as to how that will work but I can say that doing so would be, in my humble opinion, a better option for you going forward, if you are planning to continue creating leads.  If you ARE interested in this, please just shoot me a quick email with a “yea verily” or something to that effect (and include your agent ID, as I don’t have a good way to go from your name to your agent ID) so I can gauge interest in doing this for you.  Details to follow as soon as I have them.

December 19, 2014

It sure seems like this year has gone quickly, I can hardly believe Christmas is less than a week away. But I wanted to take time to put out a newsletter, thinking that perhaps it will give you some good ideas and directions so you can hit the ground running in 2015, headed in the right direction. This year has had major ups and downs for me — on the up side, I have a new grandson this year, the first grandchild and he is of course adorable. On the down side, my dad passed away just before Thanksgiving after a brief battle with liver cancer, but one needs to deal with both situations and keep moving forward, even though the latter situation was significantly tougher than the former.

 

There is a big difference between success and failure, where you of course want to follow the success path. But to get there, you need to do what successful people do and follow their advice. You COULD do it on your own via trial and error, backtracking, and picking up the pieces of your errors, but wouldn’t it have been easier if you had followed sound advice the first time?

Getting ranked within Google is getting harder and harder as Google tries to decipher who is relevant and who is spam, where even spam sites can have the right keyword density and a ton of links going to them. This is a huge project for Google, and one that I am not sure they can ever sort out completely, so there are many people that are looking at alternative ways to get quality and authority links.

Authority links?  Yes. A link is not a link, all are created differently.  A link from a one-page website about dog food with less than 10 words of content obviously does not carrry the same level of authority as a link from a page on cnn.com, using two very extreme examples. Do you see the difference? In fact, if you had 1000 links from 1000 different one-page dog food sites, they would in sum total still not be as much value as a single link from a page on cnn.com.

Google is paying more attention these days to social media than it ever has before. Sure, it still looks at authority and high value links from authority sites but it is also factoring in references and links to your site from the popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Drigg, LinkedIn, and various others.

If you do not have a Facebook fan page for your web site yet, get one created and make sure you have good relevant content on it, as well as good and relevant graphics.  For the graphics, set the ALT tag to describe what the graphic is about, since Google is pretty poor about reading graphic images and will pretty much take your word for what the graphic is, based on the content of your ALT tag.

Don’t have a Tumblr account yet?  Get one created, see the previous paragraph.  Ditto the others.

You don’t have the time and/or don’t have the technical expertise to do that?  Then have it done for it. The site I have used for years is called fiverr.com and I think I have mentioned that site in these newsletter before.  Log into fiverr.com and create an account (free) and then just look at the tasks you can have done based on your search for just $5.  Search on “backlinks” and find hundreds of backlink projects where they will create “x” backlinks for you for just $5.  Search on “facebook fan page” and find hundreds of offerings for folks there to create a Facebook fan page for you for just $5.  Want some Facebook “likes” and “shares” from your Facebook fan page?  $5.

The variety of services here is staggering. But like anything else, read the reviews. Each fiverr.com seller has a rating with reviews, so read the reviews to find out what you are getting and determine if its really worth it. There are even flags to indicate where the seller resides. While you might be tempted to choose a USA vendor, there are actually some quality offers from folks in India, Taiwan, and elsewhere.

Hopefully you feel that you can invest a $5 gig or two into your business. The investment is very small but the returns can be huge. Over the years, I have invested as much as $200 into link packages from sellers that do not deliver more quality than a fiverr gig or two would have done at a fraction of the price. It’s a small investment into the future of your business and the dividends can be huge for you.

So what’s hot right now? I can tell you for sure, DSL is not. DSL is not worth your time and effort, nor mine. DSL died a long time ago but just hasn’t had the good graces to fall over and completely die yet. But for the locations that still need it because they don’t have other options, they DO have other options, spelled T1, and if that is out of their budget, then keep that customer on your Christmas card list if you want to but I cannot help. Cable is luke-warm in my opinion. I’m not excited about cable, and have a higher percentage of horror stories with cable service than the percentage of issues with dedicated circuits. What is hot right now remains Ethernet circuits and MPLS circuits, and that is particularly attractive when there are multiple sites involved. Even a two-node MPLS deal can be attractive and well worth your time if one of those nodes is international, where MPLS is significantly more cost effective than point-to-point. T1 and bonded T1 are still strong and could be considered “bread & butter” but for the same amount of marketing effort on your part, the returns are much higher on Ethernet, on Gigabit Ethernet, on MPLS and and multi-location sites.

Summary

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness“) of where you are at all times, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place, with contingencies already thought out. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions. My very best wishes to you for a happy holiday, and a safe, healthy, and prosperour new year!

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238
Email: jon@jacommgroup.com

May 22, 2014

Am I mistaken or was it just Christmas and New Years a couple weeks ago? I have been lax at sending these newsletters and my apologies for that. But I wanted to bring you up to date on some new stuff, and until recently, Google really has not sorted out what it wants to be when it grows up. Actually, it still hasn’t but I wanted to share some stuff with you about what the current trend is as far as getting good rankings in the search pages, based on a ton of research and study I’ve been doing in this area, and if you have been doing SEO in the same old way you’ve been doing it over the years, you have probably already noticed Google giving your sites a huge digital YAWN. So as you are relaxing on this holiday weekend, here are some things to be thinking about between the beers and burgers…

If only it were that easy… but lets talk about a few things that you should be thinking about in terms of getting better rankings for your sites and how to keep them there.

Forget PR (Page Rank)

The first thing you need to do is forget about Google’s Page Rank (PR) and stop obsessing over it. PR is no longer is serious measurement of a site’s overall worth, and this is evidenced by the fact that Google’s PR updates are few and far between, just frequent enough to tease us and keep us off our game. There are several other things that can be used to assess a web site, which are headed by DA (Domain Authority), PA (Page Authority), the number of backlinks, what anchor text is used, and how many different IP sets those links come from. Now before you glaze over, let’s break that down a bit.

Page Authority (PA) is Moz’s calculated metric for how well a given webpage is likely to rank in Google.com’s search results. It is based off data from the Mozscape web index and includes link counts, MozRank, MozTrust, and dozens of other factors.

Domain Authority (DA) is calculated by combining all of the other link metrics — linking root domains, number of total links, MozRank, MozTrust, etc — into a single score.

If I am looking at a page or domain, I would put much more emphasis on the PA/DA of it rather than the simple single digit PR that it has. That evaluation is in terms of rankability and in terms of the amount of link juice it has. Typically, I look for a page to have PA and DA greater than at least 25.

How do you find out what the PA/DA of a site is? Go to:

Domain Authority & Page Authority Checker

and looking at the resulting metrics from entering my http://business-ethernet.com site into that tool, we see the following:

Not outstanding but not bad. Do not pay attention to the number of backlinks shown here as I have found the number here is way off.

Another assessment is of course backlinks and anchor text. For this I use Majestic SEO at:

https://www.majesticseo.com/

where entering this same site here I can see the summary page showing:

When looking at a page in Majesic SEO, you want to assess multiple things. The Majestic TF (Trust Flow) and CF (Citation Flow) should both be greater than at least 10. Numbers lower than that indicate that the quality is not there and/or the trust factor is lower than it should be. Also look at the total number of backlinks compared to the number of referring IP’s, and the keyword here is NATURAL. Having a billion backlinks from only TWO referring IP’s does not look natural. If you have a paid account with Majestic or want to try it out, it also provides information on the “Topical Trust Flow”, where you already know that a backlink from a RELEVANT site carries much more link juice than does one from an underwater basket-weaving site or other non-relevant topic site.

Majestic (even the free version, with more limited data but a good overview) can provide data about the backlinks going to this site:

verifying from a NATURAL perspective, the follow/nofollow ratio to show that this site is not JUST “follow” links, which would be unnatural, as well as over overview of the anchor text of the backlinks:

So What?

The reason for mentioning this is that one of the biggest things lately in ranking well with Google is PBN’s, or Private Blog Networks. There are a lot of people out there who are creating their own PBN’s via expired domains that they purchase, and then they control the links and anchor text that is put on those expired domains. The beauty and power of getting expired domains (and evaluating them thoroughly with the tools above, plus more) is that many times those domains already have a bit of PR (maybe 1, 2 even affordably 3), but more importantly, they already have backlinks coming in as well as having PA and DA above my personal threshold of 25, and hundreds of existing and valid (non-spammy) backlinks. And looking at various places that offer expired domains, you can often pick up a great domain with established PR, PA, DA, and backlinks for really cheap, frequently under $25.

When evaluating a possible expired domain, also use the backlinks tab and the anchor text tab at Majestic to check out where the backlinks come from and what the anchor text is, to make sure it has not been spammed to death, or used to be used to promote products or services that might be … uh … objectionable, if you get my drift. Typically, RUN do not walk if you see a lot of backlinks from the “.RU” domain (Russia), which is a high sign of probable spam-to-death.

What about the hundreds of backlinks already pointing to that domain which may have been for an entirely different niche, where your intent is to build this domain out and make it telecom-relevant over time? If you setup the new domain with WordPress (recommended and by far the easiest), there is a free plugin called “Link Juice Keeper“, where a link coming in to a page on your domain that no longer exists will be redirected to the site’s home page instead of simply returning a “page not found” error, so in the eyes of the owner of that backlink, the backlink is still good. Cool, eh?

Do not underestimate the power of link juice, which is the authority and popularity of the sites that link directly to you. All links have a certain amount of relative power and sometimes it is obvious, like when comparing a link from mysummervacationinamonastery.com to a link from cnn.com. Duh…

Do NOT link your PBN sites together, but build them up on your own with their own separate resources. And I have found a ton of reliable hosting at:

http://www.webhostingtalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=4

where surprisingly enough, I have found reliable and solid web hosting plans for as low as 75 cents to $1.50 per month, complete with your own CPANEL! You would want each of your PBN’s on a separate webhost so that it has a different IP (think diversity).

One of the other things that is possible and I have done is to have web 2.0 sites created. Since these sites already have Domain Authority (ie, yourkeyword.tumblr.com), the building up of these types of sites becomes a bit easier. On the downside though, you do not have CONTROL over the site, and if some overzealous webmaster at the web 2.0 owner gets miffed, then that site might be taken down. But the web 2.0’s are free, except for the effort you expend to create relevant content.

My suggestion would be to do BOTH things — your own expired domain PBN’s as well as web 2.0’s used for PBN and providing link juice to your main sites. The additional benefit of going both ways here is to provide an additional level of link diversity in the eyes of Google.

Anchor Text

Google is getting more and more insistent on NATURAL and is paying more and more attention to the anchor text used when you link to another site. Historically the common wisdom has been to make the anchor text related in some way to a keyword or some LSI variation of that keyword but even doing that has triggered Penguin penalties for many folks, where a Penguin penalty is essentially “over optimization”.

Many of the tools in place today have the ability to rotate anchor text when creating a backlink to artifically provide a look of NATURAL or how Google views things would happen in the real world if real people were creating real backlinks. As such, many of the SEO experts are recommending today about reducing the keyword-related anchor text WAY down, like some are even saying in the “less than 30%” area, where the other “70%” of anchor text used would be things that would actually happen in the real world, such as “click here”, “more info here”, “check this out here”, “visit my site now”, etc.

What Google is trying to say is that it is much smarter than it ever used to be, and it can figure out what a site is about without you having to “push it in the right direction” via the anchor text of a link, which leads into the next section:

What Is Different Today?

Google today is more and more into TOPIC-THEMED sites, rather than a keyword or two per page. In the “old days”, if you had 10 primary keywords that you wanted to rank for, you really needed to create 10 different pages, where each page would try to establish dominance for each particular keyword and its LSI variations.

Today, Google is saying it’s smart enough to figure out what a site is about based on the content, based on the meta data, based on the page title tags, with help from the H1 and H2 tags on a page. As an example, I have found sites that rank very highly for “banjo playing online tutorial” but that exact phrase is not found at all at that site, nowhere! But based on all the other phrases and content on the site, Google has figured out that this keyword variation is also applicable and therefore ranks the site highly for that phrase.

The advice I am trying to pass on here is that if you are trying to rank for a gazillion keywords, that no longer means you need to create a gazillion pages, with one page for each keyword phrase. The idea now is to THEME them together on a single page, create a title tag for the THEME of that page, put the broad variation of the main themed keywords as H1 and/or H2 tags on that page, and keeping things as NATURAL as possible. That, combined with backing off on keyword anchor text as explained above, plus quality backlinks from a wide diversity of sources, is the key today.

A Slightly Different Marketing Approach

Here is something to be thinking about as you market and especially for those of you who cultivate relationships with relevant people in various forums and/or the area where you live. This situation virtually fell into my lap. Think of a relatively small company, an industrial distributor, who has at least one office in almost every state. Their corporate IT department is overwhelmed with insufficient time or resources to keep track of the carriers at every branch office (which today is a mix of almost 10 different carriers), when the contracts are coming due, and if there are more cost effective solutions available. So based on a lack of time and resources to find out differently, they have almost always just renewed the existing contract, even though that was FAR from the best solution.

Enter Jon, who is now their “telecom go-to guy” for corporate IT. At least every month, I get an email from corporate IT at the headquarters location saying that the branch manager from the office in city-state called and their contract is coming up for renewal, asking ME to provide more cost effective options for that office in city-state. So far I have provided new circuits at 3 of their offices, with a 4th one to be coming up next month!

The corporate IT department loves it. I am responsive, he has quotes in his inbox within 24 hours of requesting it, with a full and complete understanding of what his viable options are. I have not yet encountered a branch office where I could not save them a ton of money. Corporate IT is not spending hours on the phone trying to find out who could even provide service there, allowing them to spend time on the things they should be doing and are being paid to do. And having me as their “telecom go-to- guy” is not costing them a cent. It’s always a 3 year contract, integrated circuit with 5-8 phone lines, a somewhat modest sale but multipled by the potential of having that many offices in my book of business, it is really attractive to both them and to me.

The reason for laying this out is to have you think outside the box. What if YOU found something similiar, where every sale that came in was tagged to YOUR agent ID, would that be of interest to you? It is truly a win-win-win situation — the customer wins because it takes a ton of drudge work off his plate, the branch office wins because they are saving money over the previous ill-researched solution they implemented, and you win because you get commissions off every branch office they bring to me, which I will tag with your agent ID so you get credit for it.

If you find someone that may be interested in that, I am more than happy to talk with them and explain the wide range of benefits to them, as well as ensure that you are tagged to the accounts they bring in.

Summary

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness“) of where you are at all times, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place, with contingencies already thought out. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238
Email: jon@jacommgroup.com

October 25, 2012

It doesn’t seem like the holidays are right around the corner. I cannot believe that the local Lowe’s store has had Christmas stuff on the shelves for almost two weeks already, there is something basically WRONG with that. But before the busy-ness of the holiday season sets in and engulfs us all, I wanted to take the time to write a newsletter to hopefully help you with your continuing marketing efforts.

It was really nice to attend the fall Channel Partners show in Orlando recently. I usually don’t go to that show because it is significantly smaller than the equivalent spring show in Las Vegas, but since Orlando is only an hour’s drive away for me, I thought I would go and was glad I did. I learned much more than I would have expected from the carrier partners, as well as being able to spend some time with the great folks from Telarus, who also need the occasional opportunity to relax and unwind when the show is over, like maybe in a local Greek restaurant…. no, not gonna name names here….  🙂

And I guess I am famous, kind of, as a quote of mine with my mug shot was shown on the back wall of the Telarus booth in the exhibit hall…

Mine is the lower one, the guy with the hair.  🙂 Sorry Ron, kidding…..

As I said in my last newsletter and I think it bears repeating: the smartest people in the world have said that “if you want new results, then do something new“. This is actually a corollary to the adage from Einstein who said that “insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results“. But the important part of the first statement is the verb “DO“, where another saying goes “Your job is simply to show up and take action. Knowledge without action is the most useless thing on the planet“. In other words, “take action” = “DO“.

In your marketing efforts, you need to stay a step ahead of the curve and the constant algorithm changes that the search engines are throwing at you. That doesn’t mean that is a full time job, you don’t need to be keenly aware of every little nuance that happens but you DO need to know generally what changes are being done, what the newest top ranking factors are, and most importantly, what you can do differently to take advantage of those top ranking factors, and to possibly UN-DO anything that is now causing the search engines to devalue your site or perhaps even deindex it.  If your site is beyond page 4 of the search results at best, you will rarely be found, and if you are deindexed, it is guaranteed that your site will NEVER be found, finding your site would be as fruitless as trying to find an honest politician…

The first thing you need to do when “casting your line to fish for customers” is to cast your line, with the right bait, where the fish are. I know many of you, when you do get a bite, make a huge haul like this representation:

Is that the kind of catch you want? Heck, that wouldn’t even keep the family CAT happy for more than 15 seconds. In terms of commissions, that would barely represent a monthly pack of gum. Is that what you are expending your efforts, when the same level of effort could be devoted to fishing where the marlins and swordfish hang out, knowing that you are using the right bait? Fishing where the fish are with the right equipment and the right bait — doesn’t it just make logical sense that this would get you much closer to your goals?

Continuing with the fishing analogy, I fully realize that in that big ocean, there is no way you can avoid catching the occasional carp, ratfish, or old bald tire. It goes with the territory and you need to accept that. But you need to fish IN THE RIGHT PLACE WITH THE RIGHT BAIT to have a snowball’s chance of seeing success.

One of the things I’d like you to think about is the following saying, which many of you have heard me say before:

Don’t step over the dollars to get to the dimes.

 In other words, if you are going to invest the marketing and promotion effort, don’t take the shortcuts and shortchange yourself. Doing it the right way will pay for itself, and hey, isn’t that why you are investing your personal time in doing this in the first place? As my father-in-law is noted for saying:

Don’t embark on vast projects with a half-vast approach.

 Ok, think about it, repeat it out loud if you need to.  Moving on….

Where To Do Marketing & Promotion

In previous newsletters, I’ve given you a ton of information on mostly FREE methods for promotion and marketing. You may want to review those if you don’t remember or if you are thinking this would be a good time to finally get serious about your marketing.

The big fish rarely hang out in the online classified ads. Rarely. You need to market where the big fish will see it and make sure you are marketing a product or service that these particular fish would be interested in knowing about. To give you a really BAD example to illustrate the point, if you were marketing fur coats, would you blast advertising to an Animal Rights Group? Ouch, I hope not. The same analogy applies here. You are marketing and promoting telecom services to businesses. You are NOT marketing services to Joe Schmoe who runs a home business offering turnip greens and needs something faster than dialup or satellite. Cast your fishing line where the fish are, and the fish you want don’t hang out in the online classifieds where your ad for telecom services is sandwiched between used couches and trailer hitches.

I’m not going to tell you WHERE to advertise because there is no sense in having a pile of people all getting new accounts at the same places. Rather, do your research and find out, and then TAKE ACTION. There are a TON of places online where the big fish hang out.  You don’t want your advertising “billboard” to be on a used-twice-annually dirt road, you want it along the 12 line super highway where it will be seen by the people that are much more likely to want what you have to offer.

Link Diversity

One of the things that the search engines are placing more emphasis on these days is link diversity. They want to see links from a lot of different places.  If you have a gazillion web site all hosted at HostGator, having all those sites link to your telecom site is going to do more harm than good. Google is not stupid and can easily determine that all these links, even with the sheer volume of them, all come from the same IP address. Get links from LOTS of different places, and preferably from related or at least somewhat related sites.

The search engines are placing increasing emphasis on “social signals”. Do you have a Facebook “like” button on your site, or a Pinterest button, or a LinkedIn button, or a Google-Plus button?  If not, do so asap, and then sign into your own account on those services and LIKE your own page. Nothing wrong with that. (You do like your own page, right?)

Where else can you put links, satisfying both the “link diversity” advantage as well as the “social signals” advantage? How about creating a FREE site at some of the top Web 2.0 properties? Tumbler is a PR6 site, Squidoo is a PR7 site, Scribd is a PR8 site, HubPages is a PR6 site, Digg is a PR8 site, and you can get accounts at all FIVE of these for free and point those huge levels of solid gold link juice back to YOUR site. There are many more but those are just off the top of my head.  Just ONE link from one of these high pagerank sites will trump 200 links from PR0 sites, and these are all on different IP addresses, providing the LINK DIVERSITY you want. Did I mention they are FREE? Is there a good reason to NOT jump on this, say as soon as yesterday?

 Is there a “gotcha” to having all these FREE accounts at high PR sites to give yourself quality link juice?  Yes, and that is that you need to keep the content current. This means writing quality content on a regular basis, say weekly or every couple of weeks.  The only thing that the search engines like better than basic content is UNIQUE and well-written new content that is FRESH.

In other words, don’t simply search ezinearticles for your topic keyword and paste the content into your site Digg/Hubpages/etc site. Besides being illegal, again Google is not stupid and can spot duplicate content at 100 paces. But what you CAN do which is perfectly legal and acceptable is the following simple process:

1. Find content that you think is good, appropriate, and on-topic.

2. Copy it onto a blank Word document.

3. Open a second blank Word document and display them side by side.

4. Now REWRITE that article in your own words, taking care not to copy verbatim. Sure, you are probably saying the same thing, but you are saying it in your own words, which makes it unique and you get huge brownie points from the search engines for fresh, well written, grammatically correct, no misspellings, content. That type of content is one of the holy grails of the Internet.

I read of a similar approach recently which I’ve found to work almost as well although it takes a bit more effort.  Find the same kind of on-topic thing in a Youtube video, then take “cliff notes” as you watch the video, even if you need to rewind a few times. Then write your UNIQUE and FRESH content based on those cliff notes.

If you don’t want to do that, you can have an article written for you that you could put on your sites, the best pricing for decent writing I’ve found is at Fiverr where you can get a 400+ word article written for $5. The problem is that you may need to check with the writer first to make sure they are really technically qualified to write a good and accurate article on your telecom topic of choice. Fiverr is an excellent resource if you are just plain out of time and need to get it done.

Anchor Text Diversity and “Natural”

The search engines today, especially Google, is into anchor text diversity as well. They are more into “natural” than your local organic health food store. Having several hundred links from different sites around the world appear overnight and then not have any more for a month or two is clearly not natural, and yes there is software that will generate hundreds and even thousands of links for you overnight, which used to work well, but now Google sees that and the “unnatural” flag is likely to be thrown on that play.

The other thing that plays into “natural” is anchor text diversity. Say you create 50-100 links to your site overnight, not really a big deal since 50-100 is not excessive, but what if each and every one of those links has the same anchor text, say “T1 line”? Again, UNNATURAL. (See previous newsletters for a description of what anchor text is if you don’t remember).

You are significantly further ahead to vary your anchor text, varying for example between “T1 line”, “T1 circuit”, “cost of T1 line”, “T1 line quote” and various similar variations. In the eyes of the search engines, this appears much more NATURAL, since so many various sites and various people would not use exactly the same anchor text when linking to the same page.

Your Own Blog As Part Of Your Arsenal

There is no ONE method of marketing and promotion that is going to get you where you want to be. Rather, it is a matter of intelligently using multiple methods simultaneously, with each method accomplishing a small piece of the whole pie. Every successful online marketer has MULTIPLE methods that they regularly deploy in order to enjoy success.

One of the things you may want to consider to give you additional link juice is to create your own blog, or if you want to, even your own “blog farm”. Your blogs would talk about telecom topics, perhaps have one blog talking about T1, another talking about Ethernet, another talking about MPLS, yet another discussing Cloud Services, etc.

Yes, these blogs being brand new would have PR0 but again, that minor setback is overcome by a couple of factors: (1) you are going to provide regular NEW UNIQUE FRESH content, and (2) you now have TOTAL control over those blogs, which includes provides links and/or banners to your main Telarus site(s).

As discussed in previous newsletters, if you go this route in addition to the other methods, I strongly recommend WordPress as your blog platform. It is MUCH easier to use, there are a ton of useful and free plugins to enhance its core functionality, there are gigabytes of free video tutorials online showing how to use it, and one of the strongest features is that every time you make a new post on your WordPress blog, it will automatically ping as many RSS aggregators as you have defined so that your new post will be crawled asap.  Do a Google search of “ping list” and you will find a ton of suggestions of ping lists that you can define in your blog for this purpose. (In your WordPress blog from the Dashboard, go to Settings –> Writing –> Update Services and paste the ping list in the box there).

Be sure to use the “good SEO practices” for your posts and your blog to gain the most link juice possible; ie, targeted keyword in the title, targeted keyword somewhere in the domain name, targeted keyword in the H1 and H2 tags, targeted keyword has a density of between 2-3% (not more, not less) in the content, at least 500 word posts, use images with appropriate ALT text reflecting your targeted keyword but be sure to use “creative commons” images that you have rights to use, etc.

Keywords To Use

Previous newsletters have talked about how to find keywords to use, and an issue about online marketing and promotion would be incomplete without mentioning that critical aspect again. I use a variety of keyword tools (again, discussed in previous newsletters) but one that is always part of the mix is the GKT or Google Keyword Tool.

When you use this FREE tool, be sure you are logged into your Google account first, because it will give you MORE results and more ACCURATE results if you are. Check the EXACT match type for the most accurate info possible, then sort the results by Global Searches by clicking on the title of that column.

Here’s the part that’s tougher to get your head around: do not automatically go after the terms that have tens of thousands of searches per month, which is the natural temptation. Everybody and their kid sister is targeting those keywords. Instead, scroll down the list and find related keywords that have fewer searches per month but they also have FAR less competition from other people also targeting those keywords.

The reason for this approach is that with intense competition for the highly sought after keywords, you are going to drive yourself to drink trying to rank for those keywords. But by going after the “less desirable” keywords, you have a MUCH better chance of ranking highly for them if you do everything above correctly.

Put another way, would you rather be in the Google search results page 7 for a very competitive keywords (meaning essentially you’ll never be found), or very potentially on page 1 for a keyword term that has much fewer searches but you’ll get attention from people looking for that term?

Let’s look at a non-telecom example to illustrate this point. If you were trying to compete for the EXACT term “dog collars”, there are 40,500 global search per month with 4.7 million competing pages.  But if you are searching for the EXACT term “red leather dog collars”, while there are only 140 global searches per month, you are now only competing with about 170k competing pages. You could dig deeper with some tools like Market Samurai to find title competition, URL competition and a dozen more factors, but the key being that I’d be collecting Social Security before I ever ranked for the first term, whereas I (and you) could be on Google page 1 within a week or two for the second term.  As far as how that translates into clicks to your site, well, you can do the math… zero vs _____…

Summary

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness“) of where you are at all times, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place, with contingencies already thought out. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238

June 18, 2012

I am back and well-rested from a long vacation. Well, I don’t know that I would call the Telarus Partner Summit in Park City, Utah a “vacation” but it was certainly a great time meeting with other agents, Telarus partners, as well as the Telarus staff who did such an outstanding job of organizing and orchestrating the entire event.  It was “poetry in motion” and a tremendous kudos goes out to the Telarus staff who pulled their hair out for months to create such a high-quality event, along with the full and complete cooperation of the Stein Eriksen Lodge staff.  It was a truly impressive event as well as indicative of the level of high quality and innovation that Telarus continues to deliver to this industry. A great time was had by all and I am very much looking forward to next year, especially now that I recognize that spending a few days at 8500 feet in Park City, Utah is significantly different than my usual altitude here on the Atlantic coast of Florida at about 12 feet….

It was also excellent that the Telarus partners were able to meet the agents who are actually staffing the front lines and making sales for them. My wife and I were sitting next to one of the Time Warner directors at the awards banquet, and as I went up to receive my second award, he commented to my wife, “Gee, I didn’t realize I was sitting with royalty“.  LOL.

Then the week immediately following the Summit, my wife and I took a vacation in California, visiting Monterey, Carmel, driving down Highway 1 along the Pacific coast to Cambria, and generally just unwinding.  In fact, as part of my own “unwind”, I found myself trying to explain my problems to one of the statues during a tour of the extravagance at Hearst Castle:

Anyway, given this time to unwind (where I hadn’t realized I was wound tighter than a Swiss clock) and think about where my business was at and where I wanted it to go, I am starting to implement some changes that will enable me to get to where I want to be, where I wanted to share those with you to make sure we are all on the same page.

Time

One of the things I came to realize is that no matter how “powerful” you might be or how much money you might have, everyone regardless of financial status, marital status, economic status, or shoe size still has one limitation:

That limitation is TIME. We all have the same amount of TIME in the day to accomplish things, irrespective of whether those are things that we WANT to accomplish or if they are things we MUST accomplish. If you have run out of TIME at the end of the day, then chances are that you traded TIME for something that you WANTED to do for something else that you NEEDED to do but perhaps really didn’t want to do, where “running out of time” is just a handy excuse that most people will buy. Am I right?

The smartest people in the world have said that “if you want new results, then do something new“. This is actually a corollary to the adage from Einstein who said that “insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results“. But the important part of the first statement is the verb “DO“, where another saying goes “Your job is simply to show up and take action. Knowledge without action is the most useless thing on the planet“. In other words, “take action” = “DO“.

Ok, so now let’s take that a step further.  You say you don’t have time to do “whatever“. That is totally untrue and a blatant lie you are telling yourself. How much time did you spend reading and re-reading online forums trying to learn something instead of paying attention to the folks who have “been there done that” and are trying to teach you?  How much time did you spend standing around the water cooler at work discussing last night’s football game? How much time did you spend trying to upload a picture of your dog to be used as wallpaper on your cell phone? How much time did you spend with Facebook or Pinterest, two of the biggest wasters of time in this century to date? How much closer did you get to your goals by spending an hour in front of the TV watching that re-run of Star Trek or Desperate Housewives that you’ve already seen at least once or twice before? How productive was it to spend a hour or two with Google using the term “Burton Cummings” to see what he’s up to these days?  (Sidenote: he’s the former lead singer of the “Guess Who” and had a couple solo albums out, one of my favorite singers, believe it or not….)

The time is NOW, not later because we all know that “later” will never come. If I’m flying and air traffic control calls me on the radio and says “converging traffic at your 2 o’clock position at 3 miles, descend to 3000 feet“, I don’t have time to think about it, over-analyze it, and maybe do it in 10-15 minutes, they mean do it NOW.

And there are consequences of NOT doing it NOW. In the example above, I could be a newspaper headline tomorrow if I don’t comply NOW or have my pilot’s license revoked. If you have goals that you want to accomplish by the end of the calendar year, NOW is when to take steps to accomplish those goals, not as you are preparing to go to a New Years Eve party, or else next year you will be lamenting that you “ran out of time“, that same untrue and pitiful excuse you told yourself and accepted for so many previous years.

Think about it: if you got rid of many of the time-wasters in your life that can so easily just SUCK the available time right out of you, how much closer would you be to your goals?

The reason I am going on and on about this is because we all waste time, we waste a LOT of time, even without really meaning to, and doing so is depriving us of achieving what we want to achieve in life. Sure, there are times when doing a totally brain-dead thing is good for us, but how many of those things do you do on a regular basis that are preventing you from doing the things that will move you closer to achieving your goals? How much time have you really spent, REALLY SPENT, implementing or trying to implement so many of the tips, tricks, and techniques I have tried to teach you with my newsletters over the years to get more of the type of traffic and leads that you really want to your sites?  I’m looking for an honest answer here, a self-evaluation … go ahead and think about it, I’ll wait….

Oh, you didn’t understand something? Where have you tried to get the answer to it? You didn’t ask me, did you? (Answer: no you didn’t). Or was it that, without trying it, you didn’t think it would work?  If that’s the case, let me ask another question: do you understand in depth how jet propulsion engines work?  If not, would you want to call the CEO of Delta Airlines and tell him that you won’t fly because you don’t think jet propulsion engines work? (If you do, please conference me in, I’d like to be on that call…..)

Anyway, I need to change some things. The change will be for BOTH our benefits and my hope is that you won’t take offense to any of the changes I will be implementing, but out of respect for you, I wanted to share this with you, and hope that you will think about what I am saying here and join me as I try to take things to the next level:

* I am going to start taking a very dim view of residential leads that come in. While I understand that you think you do not have control over the type of leads that come in, you have more control over that than you think you do. I have some agents who never send in a residential lead, and others where residential leads outnumber real leads by an order of magnitude. In the course of almost 10 years with Telarus, it’s time to lose residential leads in the same bit bucket that the leads from Fred Flintstone and George Jetson fall into. Dealing with them takes time that I am no longer willing to devote to them. Many of our carriers will not even provision a circuit to a residence, even on the very slim chance that the residential customer is serious.

* I’ve got to stop dealing with customers that are going from crummy DSL to a T1 and literally agonize over spending $300 a month for weeks and even months on end. Yes, I’ll talk with them but if it starts taking them weeks and months to decide if they can afford it, they are clearly not a serious customer, and are wasting my time.

* When I call a customer and don’t even get voicemail or an answering machine but it just rings and rings, that customer gets trashed after sending them the intro email. If they are a serious business and haven’t figured out that voicemail and/or an answering machine is a REQUIRED STAPLE of a serious business, then they are not ready to really BE in business until and unless they call me and let me know where I can call them.

* Not a change on this you but just to let you know — for the customer who wants to communicate ONLY via email, they get trashed. I explain to them (via email) that I cannot help them or provide a firm quote until and unless I have talked with them at least once on the phone first, and I believe this is also still Telarus policy. If they only want to communicate via email, then they are simply price shopping and I have no time for them because price-wise, Kmart Telecom is going to beat me, which they have demonstrated is the type of quality they really want.

* The telecom landscape is changing and I/we need to change with it. Over the coming years, I am going to be concentrating on three growing areas: cloud services, MPLS and Ethernet.  T1 is starting to almost become a “commodity”, IMHO, and single-site T1 sales are starting to be appropriate for only very small businesses that will jump to DSL or cable as soon as it’s available in their area.  I am going to start focusing more on generating my own leads in these quickly growing areas, and I would encourage you to start focusing on these areas also.

* Lastly, and this goes back to my own time management changes, I only want to work with people that are serious about this.  I firmly believe that “no action” means “not serious”, and it really is as simple as that. This is not a social club, I don’t do this for my physical health, and I am as serious as a heart attack in moving my business to the next level, and I invite you to join me as part of what will be a very elite team. In my newsletters, I have given you the recipe on a silver platter, where the only thing I didn’t do was mix and bake it for you.

Summary

Overall, no offense intended if I hit a nerve. But if I did hit a nerve, then you might want to stop and examine WHY that nerve was hit. My intention is to motivate, not demean, and sometimes motivation requires pointing out some of the painful parts.

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness“) of where you are at all times, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place, with contingencies already thought out. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238

May 8, 2012

Greetings and salutations! I hope you are doing well and will enjoy this latest newsletter that I have written to help you gain more traction with your online marketing efforts for the benefit of all of us, as well as taking the time to share with you many of the things that I am continually learning about SEO and online marketing, which is a landscape that changes by the minute, it seems.

First of all, I want to introduce you to a couple of friends of mine:

panda penguin

Yes, these are my friends PANDA and PENGUIN, referring of course to the two most recent Google updates known respectively as the Panda update and the more recent Penguin update. You may have heard Internet marketers in forums talking about how bad this is for you and how your sites and earnings are going to tank, and all other sorts of “the sky is falling” type of tirades.

Not true at all, and the REASON that it’s not true is the basis of how many of these nay-sayers are making their online money today — by utilizing and deploying deception and loopholes to exploit Google and get more traffic than they really should have. And that is also why I would refer to the dudes above as my FRIENDS. Really? Yes really, let me elaborate.

Google is getting smarter, as are all the search engines, but let’s focus on Google here since they still control the vast majority of search traffic. (Facebook and YouTube? Snort, that is an entirely different discussion…) The core basis of Panda and Penguin is to provide the user with a good search experience, returning to the user hits that are relevant to the terms that were used to search. Yea, that sounds a lot like “mom and apple pie” but let’s dig a bit deeper into this and how it POSITIVELY impacts people that are following the rules and NEGATIVELY impacts people maintaining sites that do NOT follow the rules.

What rules you may ask? Google is not the big bad beastie that many people make it out to be; well, not for the most part anyway. If you create a Google Webmaster Tools account (which you have already if you have a gmail account), Google has DOCUMENTED and TELLS YOU what it is looking for in order to reward you with the coveted Google link juice and love. THEY TELL YOU! Why would anyone do anything differently than what Google themselves have said they are looking for??

You need to understand that Google is not stupid. The most important thing on your site that you could possibly have, bar nothing else, is well written unique and interested content THAT IS NOT OVER OPTIMIZED. Yes, Google will now penalize you if it believes you are over-optimizing your content in order to gain Google love, because they are looking more and more for naturally written and well written content.

As an example, consider the following (fictitious) sentence that is found at a T1 marketing site:

The reason your company needs a T1 line is because a T1 line will perform much better than DSL, a T1 line is faster, a T1 line is more consistent, and a T1 line provides you more benefits than anything other than a T1 line, if your company’s budget can accommodate a T1 line.

Argh!!! I certainly hope that does not remind you of YOU. Google looks at that and sees SEVEN references to the main keyword in just one sentence and consequently starts digging up the demerits. Yes that is an extreme example, but I think you can see what I mean here and hopefully this does not reflect on YOUR content at your sites. Writing like that is not NATURAL, at least not for an EMPLOYED writer…

There’s another aspect to Panda and Penguin that has changed, according to industry experts, and that is in regard to LINKS. To explain this, think back to your high school physics class where you were asked to determine the amount of deceleration that takes place when a FLY going 2 mph hits a LOCOMOTIVE going 50 mph head-on. The answer can be calculated (and I used to remember how to do that) but the pat answer is “virtually nothing”, right? Going back to the analogy with LINKS, that is also the amount of link love you get from a link to your site from something totally irrelevant. Do you have a ton of links to your TELECOM site from some quilting blogs, some blackjack strategy blogs, and maybe a few scuba diving sites? If so, the sum total link love you will get now can only be seen with a powerful electron microscope capable of seeing things at the molecular level. Get it?

Where you want to get links from is either RELEVANT or RELATED sites, or AUTHORITY sites. Yes, many of the popular “Web 2.0” sites are considered “authority” so keep up your work there. I have talked about these in previous newsletters too. Get a link from one of your Telarus buds who has a telecom site — in fact, contact them ALL because that is a RELEVANT and RELATED link. To show the value of that, I got an email recently from the web marketing firm being employed by one of our carriers asking how much I would charge them to have a link to their site on MY site!

You can do some studies in any niche or industry and find this out for yourself. Note that the listings on Google’s page 2+ in many cases have SIGNIFICANTLY more links than the sites on page 1. That is because the CONTENT on the higher ranking sites is better, and also because the LINKS, although fewer in number, are from RELEVANT and RELATED sites. It makes a difference and is worth keeping in mind as you go through your link-building efforts.

FREQUENCY of content update is also important, and one of the platforms that makes that incredibly easy, as I’ve discussed with you before, is WordPress blogs. You can throw a literal TON of content in there for new posts, and schedule them to be published on dates of your choosing, per post. Google loves new fresh content, even more so than flies love a fresh pile in the cow pasture.

Speaking of WordPress, if you are not using WordPress to get extra link juice and love to your sites, you are doing yourself a disservice. I’m loving WordPress and all the neat (mostly FREE) plugins that are available for it to make your life easier, but there are some things about the WordPress “out of the box setup” that is going to shoot you in the foot if you are not aware of it, with the biggest thing being the issue of the dreaded DUPLICATE CONTENT. Yes, we’ve talked about duplicate content before, but if you don’t take some precautions AND understand how WordPress works internally, you are likely violating the duplicate content rule unintentionally.

In your standard WordPress setup, you need to make sure you are doing good internal linking. From each post, it’s a great idea to link to other posts or pages in your site with appropriate anchor text. Google loves that.

But one of the things that Google will NOT like about your WordPress site (or ANY site) is duplicate content, and especially content that is duplicated WITHIN the same site. Oh Jon, I would never do anything that dumb. No you wouldn’t, not intentionally, but you may be doing it anyway. Say you have a post and you have the standard WordPress Archives function enabled and being followed. Then as you publish the post, you are thinking that the post is appropriate to go into three different categories you have defined. Presto, duplicate content! There are now FOUR copies of that SAME post in your site — one in each of the three categories you designated, and another one in the WordPress archives. Bad, bad, bad. Be VERY aware of how WordPress operates, only post to ONE category for a post, EVER, and setup NOFOLLOW on your archives and do NOT put the archives as a navigation link on your page.

One last tip today, and that is about video. Include video on your sites. It creates a better user experience, and if the visitor takes the time to watch the video at your site, that will take TIME, and Google uses the component of “time on site” to calculate your rankings and bounce rate. So if the visitor takes the time to watch the RELEVANT video, that will significantly increase his “time on site”.

How do you insert video? It could not be easier. Go to YouTube and do a search on a keyword for a RELEVANT video about your keyword. When you have found the one you want, click the SHARE link under the video, then click the EMBED link, and you will be presented with the following code (as an example):

<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/zlPb8vsvcoM” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Take that gobbledegook and put it in the HTML editor of your site (normal site or WordPress, same idea) which then gives you something like the following:

But what is there is a link there referring the visitor elsewhere? So what if there is? The visitor is at YOUR site right now and you are providing the good user experience, so that, combined with other elements on your site that will continue to provide a good user experience, your visitor will have no reason to leave!

Summary

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness”) of where you are, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238

February 22, 2012

Happy new year! Even though 2012 is well underway, I wanted to allow the holiday rushing to slow down a bit and get back into the normal pace before writing a new newsletter. I figured this would also be an optimal time to send this since my wife and I will be leaving on Saturday for Cancun as a winner of the Telarus Presidents Club again to enjoy a few days of relaxation, sun and fun with the Telarus management and my fellow Presidents Club winners.

So something to note there is that I will be shutting my leads off Friday evening and not turning them back on until sometime late next Tuesday, since I will have zero opportunity to work those leads while I am gone. You do not need to do anything, as any leads that you generate will be automatically assigned to another closer, but I just wanted to make you aware of it.

Marketing

As I said in my last newsletter and feel like I need to reiterate, I would encourage you to take a good long look at your marketing efforts that you are currently using, and really evaluate if you are getting the results you want, or if something needs to be changed or added. One of the things to keep in mind is WHO are you marketing to, which should always be the forefront of your mind when you are considering a new marketing venture for your web sites. It is amazing to me the number of residential leads that I continue to get, and I even know that some of you have a statement at your site saying “not for residential use” but that doesn’t stop a lot of people, thinking that that statement for whatever reason does not apply to THEIR residential environment. Go figure…

A lot of the bogus or trash leads you generate are based on marketing hype, since the term “high seed Internet access” and “broadband” is used by the marketing campaigns of DSL and cable companies as they attempt to get more and more people onto their already-oversubscribed “service”. It goes back to the question of WHO are you marketing to, and the residential customer should NOT be a target for you which is why I will not touch a DSL “lead” and will only sell cable to an existing customer who already has a T1 or larger circuit. Basically, I don’t want to hear the customer complaints about how bad the circuit performance is on DSL or cable (even “business class“, which essentially means nothing) and there is ZERO contractual obligation on the part of the carrier to provide ANY kind of throughput or speed. And I know I don’t and certainly hope that you don’t need the nickels and dimes in commission that a DSL or cable lead would net for you.

In other words, if you were fishing, which of the two photos below would you hope would represent YOU after a day of fishing:

little rish big fish

That is actually a pretty good analogy because if you only fish where the little ones are, all you’re going to get is going to be sushi wannabe catches, but if you are looking for the BIG fish, you need to fish where the big catches hang out, and that is NOT in the local retention ponds or drainage ditches.

I realize that you cannot control who comes to your site and fills out the information there, even if you have “Not appropriate for residential customers” plastered all over your web page, as I know some of you do. There are too many people out there where, like in driving, so many of them assume that that stop sign was meant for someone else, not for them because they are “special”. Yea, they are “special” all right….

But don’t spin your wheels on things you cannot control. Instead, focus and concentrate on the things you CAN control. That means fishing where the big fish are and using the bait that attracts the kind of fish you want to catch. That is done with KEYWORDS and BACKLINKS, both of why contribute heavily to the kind of bait you are using on your hooks and which waters your cast lands you in.

One of the inevitable truths of virtually ANYTHING you do, especially when it comes to producing revenue, is that:

“Hobby-sized efforts will produce hobby-sized income”

And it really can’t be said more succinctly than that. So are you looking for hobby-sized income where all your efforts to do marketing effectively may gain you enough to buy a pack of gum at the end of the month, or are you serious about it where you are looking for income that can make your car payment, house payment, or fatten up your 401K at the end of the month, or even more?

Keep in mind that Telarus has one of the best deals going that can be found anywhere to your benefit. All you need to do is generate a decent real, closeable lead, and I do the rest. I talk with the customer in terms of 1’s and 0’s or the bit rate of fiber under a full moon, or if talking with the finance guy, in terms of “ROI”, and in terms of options, pricing, suggestive selling, all of that. But all you have to do is generate a decent closeable lead and then your responsibilities have ended. It really doesn’t get better than that.

There is a saying that “the one thing that determines if you are a winner or a loser is whether or not you take action“. Have you taken action? Have you taken positive action consistently? Or do you just THINK about things you could or should be doing every now and then but haven’t implemented much of anything so far? Nothing happens if ACTION is not taken. Nothing.

So at the end of it, it comes down to which road you want to travel, where your options can be depicted as shown in the following picture:

success or failure

Hey, we are ALL busy, no issues there, I’ve been a charter founding member of that club for many years. Spouse, kids, church, yard work, social commitments, so much more, I understand. But what do you do in your spare time? Or if you don’t think you have spare time, where can you CREATE some spare time? Did you really need to watch NCIS or Glee last night when you know it’s being recorded on your DVR anyway? Did you really need to spend 3 hours a few nights ago reading other people’s posts on Facebook? Did you really need to spend a whole evening last week reorganizing your paper clip collection? You know what I’m saying, because if you examine the things you MUST get done (and YOU are in charge of defining “must“), I don’t believe that you are busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest. And as sobering as that might be, the choice of what you spend your time doing is entirely in your hands.

So again, keywords and backlinks. I’ve spent the last couple of newsletters talking about backlinks and may visit that again in a future newsletter but let’s talk about keywords.

Digging Into Keywords

You could be selling new Lexus cars for cheaper than dirt but if nobody knows about it, especially people who are actively LOOKING for a great price on a new Lexus, you could be GIVING them away and it would not make a difference. So how do you let people who are looking for what you have to offer that you have something they should stop and take a look at?

That is done via the right keywords, plain and simple. Simple? Yes simple when you consider where these people hang out and what they are searching for that you can easily get your web sites RANKED FOR in the search engines. In fact, that is simpler than you probably think. To avoid giving you the whole enchilada on a silver platter, I’m going to use the keyword of “dogs” but hopefully you can catch my drift here.

So you have a web site that is specifically geared towards “dog collars”. You sell various different makes and models of dog collars and have super prices from the leading makers of dog collars. That’s good, but at that point, how do you get the word out? So you add some content to your web page about dog collars and how great they are, taking care to use your keyword phrase in that content at the 2-3% level (to avoid venalities of “keyword stuffing”) and you include include phrasing in that content to include what the search engines would see as “LSI” phrases, or “Latent Symantic Indexing“, or in other words, things that may not specifically SAY “dog collars” but are known to be related to that topic. This is unique content you have written, not simply snarfed of someone else’s page and pasted verbatim on your page. So when the search engine spiders come around and read your page, they understand what your site is all about.

But this is a huge market! How do you get your site ranked for dog collars so that your rank in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) isn’t on page 2,763 which people will never find?

You dig deeper. You look for keywords for the dog collar industry where you may have 4000 competing pages instead of 40 million competing pages! For example, if I do a search in Google for “dog collars”, I find that there are 9.1 million search results. Yowsers, how do you compete against that? So you revise your site to talk specifically (with content) about “red dog collars”, because you see in a Google search that there are only 2.1 million results for the term “red dog collars”. Ok, you’ve eliminated about 75% of your competition but that is still a pretty hefty number to compete against.

Dig deeper still. You add more content to your page to talk specifically about “golden retriever dog collars”, because you note in a Googlel search for “golden retriever dog collars” that now you have only 215K competing pages. NOW we’re getting somewhere with a term that is MUCH easier to rank for! You could dig even deeper and lessen that but you get the idea.

To find the real shoppers instead of the people just doing their college term paper on the topic of dog collars, maybe you want to check the results for “buy dog collars” or “install dog collars” or “discount dog collars” or “quality dog collars”, etc. Yes, it’s a bit of manual tabor with checking and re-checking, but at the same time, doing this research hasn’t cost you a cent.

Let Google Help You

Did you know that Google is more than happy to help you? But did you also know that Google will give you exactly what you asked for and not provide insights into better ways to ask? Let me example.

A great place to go to get keyword/phrase information is Google itself. Hey, go right to the horse’s mouth! But there are some things you need to know. First of all, the Google External Keyword URL is:

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

Bookmark that URL, put it on your browser favourites task bar, just keep track of it because this can be ONE (not the only) of your best friends. You can enter a keyword or phrase there and find out how many searches are done for it and how many competing pages you have for it, but like I said earlier, Google only provides answers what you ask, and there are some things Google won’t tell you to get better results from this tool.

First of all, if you don’t have Google account (like gmail), get one. (It’s free). Then when you go to the URL above, click the “Log in” link in the upper right to log into your Google or Gmail account FIRST and THEN do your keyword research. Why? Two reasons: (1) if you are logged in, Google gives you more and allegedly better results. I haven’t been able to confirm or deny that but several SEO experts have mentioned that, so since there is no harm in doing so, it is a good idea; and (2) after you enter your search phrase, if you are logged in, then Google won’t ask you for the “captcha” before it works its magic, which is that funky phrase in graphics that you need to enter just right before Google will display any results.

The default, if you don’t change it, is BROAD match. That means that Google will show results based on many variations of the search term you entered, many of which may have little to no bearing on the type of traffic you are really looking for. This can be changed on the left side of that page by clicking the search type box.

Another type of search is PHRASE match. This will match the exact PHRASE that you entered as your search term and is the type of search that I personally do myself most of the time.

The last type is EXACT match, which means that. This is the most specific type of search and means that your specified search term MUST be contained within the results that come back. You will notice that there are significant discrepancies in the numbers coming back from each of these query types so it helps to understand what the different types mean.

After you get your results page, you probably want to filter it using the link on that page (only shown AFTER you’ve done a search) titled “Advanced Options and Filters”. You should only be look at the US since almost all of our carriers need to have at least one circuit end in the US, even if they have international locations where they also want a circuit. You can also click the title of the Monthly Searches column to sort them in order by ascending or descending, since as they are initially displayed, there does not appear to be an order (as it relates to number of searches).

Many of the people that spend a lot of time doing keyword research correlate the Google keyword results with results from other programs that may also include Yahoo and Bing search volume numbers. There are many of them out there, too many to list, but one that I have used (they have a free version) is called Traffic Travis, which will also show the competitiveness of each keyword shown in the results in terms of your ability to rank well for that term based on the competition. The “Cadillac” of keyword research is arguably the Market Samurai software, which is not free but provides tremendous insight into keyword and each keyword’s relative competition.

Implementation

So how do you utilize those holy grail keywords you were able to uncover? Go back to my newsletters about backlinks and create a blog about them, which points to your Telarus site! You could create a WordPress blog for free at wordpress.org — in fact, create say 3 off them, one targeting red dog collars, one targeting labrador dog collars, and one targeting spiked dog collars, where each of them would point back to your main dog collars web site. Then create another set of blogs at blogger.com that targets blue dog collars, diamond dog collars and leather dog collars, again all pointing back to your main dog collar site.

What you’ve just done from the 6 blogs above is to create 6 different keywords, all of which provide a one-way link back to your main dog collar site. And it hasn’t cost you a cent! Now rinse and repeat — create blogs at some of the other “Web 2.0” sites like Tumblr, OnSugar, Zimbio, Gather, WorldVillage, Xanga. LiveJournal, Thoughts and/or so many more and target the heck out of keyword phrases that you want to rank for, because from EACH of these sites, you are creating a one-way link back to your main dog collar site.

Oh and by the way, do you have a Facebook account? Chances are high that you do. Is your Telarus site listed in your Facebook profile as one of your favorite sites? If not, it should be because Facebook links are valuable and noteworthy to the search engines.

Summary

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness”) of where you are, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238

December 11, 2011

It is disconcerting to me to realize that it’s almost Christmas and it has been many months since I have published a newsletter to you, but it seems like things are happening at warp speed this year, and several things “out of the ordinary” have kinda cropped up. It has been an interesting year as we approach the end of 2011, starting back in January when I played piano/organ for my nephew’s wedding in Columbus Ohio, to the other extreme of my mom passing away a few months ago. Wow, one end of the spectrum to the other! And yes, I did send a Christmas card to each and every one of our active customers again this year!

So a newsletter post on a Sunday afternoon two weeks before Christmas?? Let me ask — have you tried to get near a mall on a Sunday afternoon this close to Christmas? Nuff said…..

But I wanted to take time before the end of the year to let you know that I appreciate you and the leads that you send. Those, combined with my own marketing efforts, is going to make me one of the top three Telarus closers for the year, assuming nobody else comes up with a monster deal in the next couple of weeks. Am I bummed about not being “number 1”? No, not at all. Because I know that I have done the best I could do, and one can never feel bad about giving something their best shot. There is nothing I would have done differently if I had been number 1 or number 100. Rather, my goal is to help you to become as good of marketers as you can possibly be, and help you to understand some of the things that you should consider doing to increase your marketing efforts for our mutual benefit. In the words of Paul Whitmore: “Success if not determined by by one or two players, but by the whole team”, and we are a team.

Looking Ahead To 2012

I am excited to think about what 2012 will bring, as 2011 and previous years seem to have laid the groundwork for future years. I have qualified for the Telarus Presidents Club again and will be e enjoying several days with my wife, Telarus brass, and other Presidents Club members at a resort in Cancun at the end of February. Then in March I will be attending the annual Channel Partners Conference which is a great place to rub shoulders and talk with industry leaders and top management from the carriers, reinforcing those relationships and learning about new products and offerings that we can provide to our customers. Then in June there is the Telarus Agent Summit at the Telarus HQ which promises to be fun-filled as well as information-packed. By the way, in case you didn’t see it, the new Telarus HQ building, which they just moved into recently, is pictured below:

 

Marketing

I would encourage you to take a good long look at your marketing efforts that you are currently using, and really evaluate if you are getting the results you want, or if something needs to be changed or added. One of the things to keep in mind is WHO are you marketing to, which should always be the forefront of your mind when you are considering a new marketing venture for your web sites. It is amazing to me the number of residential leads that I continue to get, and I even know that some of you have a statement at your site saying “not for residential use” but that doesn’t stop a lot of people, thinking that that statement for whatever reason does not apply to THEIR residential environment. Go figure.

But again, be aware of WHO your target audience is when you are starting a marketing campaign, and WHO the most likely reader of your marketing campaign would be. As an example, if you were marketing fur coats, can you guess what your success rate would be if your target marketing efforts were all within forums or newsgroups where the members were animal rights advocates? Would you market alligator shoes to the “Save The Reptiles Foundation”? Would you market a great turtle soup recipe to the “Sea Turtle Preservation Society”? (A real organization, by the way). Do you market to a group of people interested in a fishing dingy where your offering is super-tankers? In the same sense, marketing T1 circuits or any of the circuits that Telarus offers to the residential user is throwing your marketing efforts and money into the wind, where your return on that investment in time or money will never be realized, and quite frankly, has been wasted.

Elements Of Your Blog Posts

When you post something relevant to your site on a blog, whether it is YOUR blog or one of the social network (ie, “Web 2.0”) sites, there are certain elements you really want to have in your post to maximize the amount of “SEO Love” that is given to this site by the search engines and spiders. Since many of the free social network sites do not allow you this level of control over your post, which varies from site to site, this is probably most relevant to the blogs that you have and own yourself, which have links back to your main site:

1. The article text is relevant to the keyword you have selected for this article post and has at least 450-500 words, where the keyword density of your keyword phrase is between 2-3%. There are several freeware packages out there that can help you determine your keyword density. The article must be original, not copied from someone else’s blog or web site.

2. Make sure that you use your keyword phrase once in the first paragraph and within the first 10 words of that paragraph, and again in the last sentence of the post or article. Then of course, as needed in the middle paragraphs to achieve the desired keyword density. Believe me, this is important.

3. Start your post with an H1 tag that contains the keyword, and as the article flows, also include at least one H2 tag and one H3 tag which also contain your keyword phrase. These are HTML heading tags and tells the spiders that the content of these tags is of primary importance. This is not rocket science — in HTML code, say your heading is “Why T1 Lines Are Great”, then your heading tag format would be “<h1>Why T1 Lines Are Great</h1>. In other words, the opening tag (ie, “<H1>”), the text that comprises this heading, and the closing tag (ie, “</H1>”. Ditto for H2 and H3 tags.

4. Include a picture in your post, and more than one if you create a longer post. Just text is boring, and pictures will add credibility to this post. But even more important, since the search engine spiders are not real good about reading a graphic file, it is up to you to HELP them, and you do this via the use of the ALT TEXT qualifier in the HTML source code. The ALT TEXT will contain your keyword phrase, which helps the spiders understand what your graphic is showing. So if your keyword phrase was “bonded T1 lines”, the HTML code for your graphic would be like:

<img src=”bonded-t1-lines-image.jpg” width=”680″ height=”472″ alt=”bonded T1 lines image”>

Notice in the example HTML code above, the filename of the graphic ALSO contains the keyword phrase, as does the ALT text, where both of these extra steps which will probably not consumer an additional MINUTE of your time will help with the ranking and search engine spider evaluation of your site.

5. With your keyword phrase in the content, use HTML tags to BOLD it once, ITALICIZE it once, and UNDERLINE it once. Once only so it does not look like you are trying to spam the content, but the additional emphasis allows the search engine spiders to know that you are putting additional emphasis on this keyword phrase.

6. Somewhere on your SITE (ie, blog or social media site but NOT at your main site you want to direct traffic to, like your Telarus site), have a link on your site to an authority site with your keyword. Contrary to popular belief, this does not bleed off a ton of your link juice but instead gives more authority to YOUR site because you are willing to provide a link to another site which is known as an authority site. Think like the search engines think — you are trying to provide a “better user experience“. (Or at least give the illusion thereof….) What I suggest here is a link to a site like Wiki which is an authority site but really does not COMPETE with your site by offering the user alternatives places to buy. I would also suggest setting it up like the following code, where I have bolded the important part and then will tell you why:

<a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org.wiki/T1_line” target=”_blank”>bonded T1 Line</a>

Notice the bolded-underlined part of that link, where your keyword phrase “bonded T1 line” is what is known as the ANCHOR TEXT for this link. What the ‘target=”_blank’ qualifier means in this anchor text link is that when the user clicks the link, the new page referenced by this link should open IN A NEW WINDOW. In other words, it will leave the window for YOUR page still open. Cool, eh?

If you are doing these things in Blogger.com or with a WordPress blog, the posting section where you enter a new post contains all of these things so that you do not need to get your hands dirty with that nasty HTML stuff, but again, it’s really not rocket science if you review the examples here. Whether or not you can do that or how easily it can be done at a social media or Web 2.0 site depends on the site, but at least now you know what to aim for, if they allow it at their site.

Summary

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness”) of where you are, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

My very best wishes to you and your family for a (ok, here comes the politically incorrect part) very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and blessed new year. I look forward to 2012 being a banner year for both of us!

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238

April 22, 2011

After my most recent newsletter, it occurred to me that it might be appropriate to back up a couple of steps and help explain some of the background about what Google (and really, all the search engines) are looking for and what they want to see. As you might have read, search engines are trying to provide a “good user experience” for people who search on specific search terms so that people will be more inclined to use a particular search engine. This means making the resulting pages as relevant as possible when a search is performed. For example, if your search term is “fur coats”, one of the results returned, although it could be considered appropriate based on the content of the page, would have been from some animal rights group, before search engines determined that they need to get smarter, because that result is almost definitely NOT what you are looking for if you search for fur coats.

Optimization – On-Page, For Humans AND Search Engines

So understanding that search engines, above all, want to provide a good user experience and return relevant pages for a particular search term, what can you do to help the search engines realize that your sites are as relevant as they come? The days are long gone when you can keyword-stuff a page with hidden text (i.e., text that is the same color as the background, where the search engines caught onto that trick long ago), keyword-stuffing your meta tags, and so much more. These days, the search engines are getting smarter, much smarter, and they look at the CONTENT of your page and from a reader perspective, what you are trying to impress the reader with in terms of importance.

Think about it — when you are writing a paper designed to be read by another person, what do you do in that written word to emphasize key points and major sections? You use BOLD and ITALICS, and sometimes BOTH in order to make those words stand out as being important to the message of the overall content, right? Knowing that (but not overdoing it, as the search engines would view overdoing it in the same light as keyword-stuffing, creating NEGATIVE points for you), it makes sense to write the content as if you were having a conversation with someone or writing a white paper, where you would emphasize certain words, like your keyword phrases.

For other musts-have items for your on-page SEO tasks, there are various things that you can implement. And note that your site, while perhaps being weaker in other areas, is going to SURPASS competing sites that do not use these “SEO common sense” tactics to put the emphasis for your page where it really belongs, which is on your keyword phrases.

Use H1 tags for the heading of a content section. This is like a paragraph header that tells the search engine spiders which the following text is all about. The H1 tag automatically makes the text bigger and perhaps also in a different color to provide additional emphasis, and the spiders see this as IMPORTANT and relating to the text that follows. So to implement and say your content is about “T1 Line Pricing” which is your keyword phrase and also your paragraph heading for content, you would insert “<h1>” before that text (the opening tag) and “</h1>” after that text (closing tag). Voila, it really is as simple as that.

For a given page, common wisdom says not to overdo it, so don’t use more than 1 or 2 h1 tags on a single page.

In the same way, you can use “h2”, “h3”, and “h4” tags, which are all “lesser” variations of the “h1” tag. Again, use sparingly and do not overdo it, and make sure your keyword phrase is in the text within the opening and closing of the tag.

For the keyword phrases that you are targeting, make sure that those keyword phrases (no more than 3, typically) are in the meta description for the site and are also in the TITLE tag for the page. Although not nearly as important today as it used to be, also include your keyword phrases in the META KEYWORDS section, simply listed and separated by commas. For the title (if you don’t have a Premium site where much of this coding is done for you by the software), say your keyword phrases are “T1 line pricing”, “T1 circuit pricing”, and “DS1 pricing”. Your title tag would be coded as “<title>T1 Line Pricing | T1 Circuit Pricing | DS1 Pricing</title>”. Note the opening title tag (“<title>”) and closing title tag (“</title>”), and also note that you used the pipe character (“|”) to separate the three keyword phrases, which is the recommended way to do this for multiple keywords.

Do you have images or graphics on your page? The search engine spiders cannot read graphics to determine what that image is really depicting, so it is YOUR job to help them determine that. They can see that an image is shown on your page, but they cannot determine if that is a graphic of a T1 router connector or a bungie cord. This is done with the ALT tag. So to give you an example, look at the following line of HTML code that is displaying a left-justified graphic on your page and the name of the graphic file is “t1line.jpg”:

<img src=”t1line.jpg” alt=”T1 Line Price” align=”left”>
Note the section that says “alt=”T1 Line Price”. This is telling the search engine spiders what this graphic is depicting, and they have no other choice but to take your word for it. And notice that to add more credibility to my page, the ALT tag used here just happens to be one of the search terms that I want to rank for!

As far as the content on your page, again do not “stuff” your keyword phrases into the content, as the search engines learned about that years ago and are much too smart to give you additional points for that. The word that is used to describe this is “keyword density”, which should be about 2-3% for a keyword phrase. In other words, for every 100 words of text content, a particular keyword phrase should not be used more than 2 or 3 times. And when you DO use it, use the BOLD and ITALIC attributes on it occasionally to put further emphasis on it.

Optimization – Off-Page

The most obvious off-page SEO you can do is backlinks, and I have talked about that before in previous newsletters. I am working to create a “roadmap” or “blueprint” for you to follow to create link wheels and take advantage of the added emphasis that Google is putting on social media sites (i.e., “web 2.0”) sites today, but that is a topic until itself and I will save that for a future newsletter. To give you a hint to accompany my previous newsletter on the topic of link wheels, you are going to be creating “feeder” sites and “buffer” sites. To understand the usage of the feeder sites, think of those like when you used to watch “Star Trek” and a particular episode had a new officer that you hadn’t seen before — you just knew that this was basically “Ensign Expendable” and he was gonna get fried by lasers before the end of the show. Buffer sites are much the same way, but I will explain further in another newsletter.

Your best links are one-way inbound links where you do not need to provide a reciprocal link. In other words, they are pointing to you but you do not need to point back to them. This is exactly the case when you publish an article at ezinearticles.com, because your author resource box is going to point to your site but you do not need to point back to them to have your article published in this AUTHORITY site.

Remember, every link to your site is a “vote” for your site. But unlike a democratic voting system, all votes are not created equally. Say you are running for governor — you get 1000 votes but your opponent gets 10,000 votes. He won, right? Not in the online “link voting” system, because say your 1000 votes came from pastors and city leaders around your state, whereas the 10,000 votes that your opponent got were all from convicted inmates in the state pen. Your votes counted as “1” each, but based on the very low quality of your opponent’s votes, his votes only counted as 0.001 each, so you actually got more votes.

The same thing happens when Google tallies the number of links or “votes” for your site because not all backlinks are created equally. The basic types of links you could get would be:

Class A: High pagerank or authority sites, relevant topic, anchor text used.

Class B: High pagerank, non-relevant topic, anchor text used.

Class C: No pagerank, relevant topic, anchor text used.

Class D: No pagerank, non-relevant topic, no anchor text used.

In other words, it is not worth your time and effort to solicit class D backlinks, because the return on your investment in effort is going to be non-existent, or marginal at best. As far as anchor text, I discussed that in a bit of detail in my previous newsletter so I won’t go over that again here. (But is probably a good refresher if you are trying to get your arms around this topic).

It hardly makes any sense to have a vote for your site without anchor text because it does not help the search engines determine what keyword phrases to rank you for. Just a vote for your site is not nearly as relevant or powerful as a link to your site with anchor text that contains one of your targeted keyword phrases

Also, when you are doing a “backlinking campaign”, be sure to keep it as “natural” as possible. Remember, Google didn’t just step off the boat yesterday. For a site that has been getting maybe a couple backlinks a month for awhile, then overnight it gets 26,593 backlinks is not natural at all. If you are doing backlinking manually, this should not be a problem since there are only so many hours in a day and you can only type so fast, but if you outsource your backlink project or invest in some software to do it for you, keep in mind that a humungous number of backlinks appearing overnight is going to raise Google’s electronic eyebrows.

Summary

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness”) of where you are, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238

April 7, 2011

The year is flying by at an incredible pace. I can hardly believe that this is April already and so much has happened. But there are only so many hours in the day, and my typical day is pretty busy, kinda like a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest, now THAT is busy. LOL.

I’m proud to report that a good time was had by all on the first annual Telarus President’s Club cruise in February of this year, where all the president’s club members and their spouses went on a five day Caribbean cruise which was outstanding. A good time was had by all. If you haven’t seen the video of the cruise, take a few moments to check it out at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-dKbspGPKk

Then only a few weeks after that was the annual Channel Partners conference of the National Telecom Association, where I am very proud to report that Telarus won again, for the third consecutive year, the “Agency Of The Year” award from the National Telecom Association. Hopefully you are as proud as I am to be associated with such a winning top-quality and highly professional agency like Telarus that truly puts agents first, as well as providing more help, support and assistance for agents than the others combined.

Marketing & Backlinks

Google had a major update recently and the new focus puts much more emphasis on backlinks from relevant sites and/or authority sites. Backlinks from non-relevant sites are still better than nothing, but a relevant site or an authority site backlink now counts for more than it used to. An authority site would be a site like Ezinearticles or Tumblr or one of the high-PR popular web 2.0 properties. Remember, a backlink to your site is a “vote” for your site in the Google “election” of where do you appear in the search rankings when somebody searches on your targeted keyword term or phrase.

But that last part should be noted, because a simple link to your site, like http://www.cool-t1.com is not nearly as useful or relevant to either you or Google if only the URL is used. That is where anchor text plays a very important part. For example, can you determine which of the following two examples would carry more “link juice weight” with Google when it is trying to rank them:

For the best T1 prices, go to http://www.cool-t1.com.

For the best T1 prices, go to http://www.cool-t1.com.

In these examples, I have highlighted and bolded the link that is used. In the first example, the link and anchor are both just the URL, so what does Google have to go on to rank this site? Very little outside of keywords that appear within the domain name. But in the second example, the anchor text used for the link is “T1 prices” where Google now gives you points for that particular keyword term/phrase. Do you see the vast Grand Canyon-sized difference between these two examples?

To give you a classic “faux pas” example of this, consider the Google search term “click here”. I mean, nobody in their right mind would search for that phrase, right? Yet the good folks from Adobe have ranked #1 for that term for a good number of years, simply because of all the web sites out there that use “click here” at their site to encourage people down download the free Adobe reader to allow them to read PDF files. But did they really want a #1 ranking for the term “click here”? Methinks not as there is little to no value in ranking for that term.

In my last newsletter I gave you several methods, both free and paid (and CHEAPLY paid) where you can get backlinks and well as choosing the proper anchor text. But to avoid Google thinking that perhaps you are trying to pull the digital wool over their eyes, make sure that the anchor text you choose is really referenced and addressed at your site via having that anchor text in your TITLE TAG, via H1 links in your page content, and for good measure, as BOLDED text within content that discusses that particular keyword in your content. This is not “HTML rocket science”, so please don’t be put off by this, as it is the simplest of the simple in terms of very elementary HTML, and can be done with Notepad if you wish, not requiring DreamWeaver or any specific HTML editor.

As an example, check our one of my premium sites below, http://business-ethernet.com, where the screen shots below show the Google results (as of this morning) for the term “business ethernet” and the second one for the search term “fast ethernet”:

screen capture business ethernet

My site is #1 in Google for this search term from, as you can see, 54 million competing pages. Not bad, eh? Ditto these results in Yahoo search and Bing, which is also good news. Note that in the example above, the entries BEFORE my site in the pink area PAID to be in those positions, referred to as “sponsored listings”, which means they added to Google’s overflowing coffers to be shown there. I didn’t pay a cent to Google to be listed where I am with this site.

screen capture fast ethernet results

The screen shot above is using the search term “fast ethernet”, and as you can see, my site (the SAME site, meaning a site can rank for MULTIPLE keywords) is #5 in Google from more than 19 million competing pages. I’m still working on this as well as other related search terms, but I wanted to show you via demonstration that this IS possible, and I haven’t done anything other than follow my own advice as outlined in the newsletters I send you!

Changing Text & Images With Every Page Load

Did you ever wish that you could setup something in your web pages where the images and/or the text content would change and be different with each page load or refresh, yet still be relevant? There are a lot of benefits to doing that, including making visitors and possibly also Google think that your content is new. (There are arguments as to whether this can really fake Google out, nobody knows for sure, but the key point being that it does not HURT).

There are various ways to do this that cost money for software, tools and development, but I want to show you how you can do it for FREE with just a bit of sweat equity invested in it.

First of all, your web page needs to have a file extension of “.PHP”, not “.HTM” as it probably does today. That is fine, it should have no bearing on anything else on your page. Also, your web host needs to support PHP, although I think almost all of them do these days without additional cost.

So let’s say you have a graphic on your page, and you have 6 other graphics of roughly the same thing but you want the graphic to change with each page load (ie, different visitor). And/or say you have a paragraph talking about some feature of the circuit, and you have 6 different versions of that paragraph which you want to change with each page load (ie, different visitor, even if that visitor is the Googlebot spider).

Easy stuff. Using the example of the different paragraphs, you will put each paragraph into its own “.TXT” file and upload them into the root file of your domain’s hosting account. These will be named something like PARA1.TXT, PARA2.TXT, PARA3.TXT, etc up through PARA6.TXT. With me so far?

Now within the HTML (PHP) code for this page, at the location where you want this paragraph shown on your web page, insert the following code:

<?php
$x=rand(1,6);
$fil=”para”.$x.”.txt”;
include($fil);
?>

Really, it’s not as bad as it looks, let’s go through it. The first line indicates that the following code is PHP code, not a big deal. The second like creates a PHP variable called “$x” which is assigned a random number between 1 and 6. Again, no biggie. The third line creates another PHP variable called “$fil” which is the string “PARA” plus the random number between 1 and 6 that was generated on line 2, and then sticks “.TXT” on the back of it. So what you have here is the PHP variable “$fil” containing the string “PARA1.TXT” or “PARA2.TXT” or “PARA3.TXT”, etc. Finally on line 4, you tell PHP to INCLUDE this into the web page display at this location. And the fifth line ends the PHP code. Presto! That wasn’t so bad, was it?

You can do the same thing with graphics, and you can do this multiple times, as many as you want, in a single page. If you have 20 versions of your graphic or paragraph, then you would generate a random number between 1 and 20 instead of just 1 through 6 as in this example. Don’t forget the required semi-colons after each PHP statement!

Go ahead, try it out, play with it, experiment with it and see how you can use this to your advantage. It won’t cost you a cent outside of some sweat equity and you will have learned something along the way!

Summary

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness”) of where you are, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238

January 18, 2011

Happy New Year!

The new year for me has started a bit on the slow side with lots going on. Over the New Years holiday, I was up in Columbus Ohio playing piano and organ for my nephew’s wedding, as they thought it would be cool to be married on 1-1-11 instead of opting for the tax deduction by backing up their wedding by one day. 🙂 But it was great. Interesting how things work out — the bride and groom were actually brought up within 30 miles of each other, but they did not meet until they were both in the Peace Corps at the same time in Africa! Unfortunately, after living in Florida for so many years, I guess I have turned into a wuss about the cold weather and came back with bronchitis which I am happy to report I am on the down side of now.

If you REALLY get bored, you may want to check out the following video which was taken with a flip-cam by the bride’s mother for one of the solos I accompanied at the wedding, which was the bride’s sister and a bud of hers, beautiful stuff with outstanding voices:

http://business-ethernet.com/theprayer.mp4

What does all this have to do with circuits and marketing? Directly, not much, but indirectly you should be able to see some parallels. It takes a lot of work to be successful at anything, whether that is to create a successful relationship, a great marriage, or anything else. Michael Jordan did not just wake up one morning and decide to shoot some hoops. Liberace did not wake up one morning and decide to diddle with a rendition of Chopsticks. It all took work to achieve that success. It does not just happen because you happen to show up and are taking up space and using good breathing air.

As has been said many times, life is much more than just “showing up”. Life is not a spectator sport where you just take your place on the bleachers. It has been said that there are three types of people: those who MAKE things happen, those who WATCH what happens, and those who wonder WHAT happened. Endeavour to MAKE things happen. Whatever you do, do it because you have a passion for it, which will almost ensure your success with persistence. Anything worth doing at all is definitely worth doing WELL, and anything done with a grudging or half-hearted effort will inevitably yield low and half-hearted results. You will find this to be true in virtually ANY aspect of life, whether it is relationships, your marriage, your job, your church, and yes even your efforts with Internet promotion and marketing. Take the time to learn what you don’t know and learn how to improve what you already know, becoming a student of your endeavours and passions.

In other news, I thank you for your support and help and partnership over this past year. 2010 was a great year and I am happy to report that I qualified for the Telarus CRUISE next month — a 5 day Royal Caribbean cruise departing out of Miami to the Caribbean, all expenses paid for my wife and I, as well as several other Telarus closers who qualified. I owe it to you, I thank you, and hope we can continue on such a successful path in the future. It’s going to be a busy couple of months, since only about 3 weeks after the cruise is the big mama telecom trade show (“Channel Partners”) in Las Vegas that I will be attending.

Marketing & Backlinks

Everyone always talks about TRAFFIC as being the holy grail of Internet marketing success. But backing up a step, how do you create traffic? You could have the most beautiful and technologically advanced site on the face of the planet, but without traffic, marketing, and promotion, all that beauty and site effort have gone completely to waste. It is true, without quality traffic, your site is dead and your income level is lower and flatter than a heart monitor in the morgue. Additional tweaks and improvements to your site will be of minimal interest to the rest of the online world if they cannot determine where your site is or find it in the search engines somewhere north of page 100 in the search results.

Backlinks are one of the main keys, and turning your attention to backlinks is the best vitamin you can provide for your sites to create better health and better results. Backlinks are not the ONLY solution and remedy, in the same way that vitamin C is not the ONLY vitamin your body needs to maintain good health, but backlinks are definitely one of the primary ingredients.

So how do you create more backlinks for your sites? There are many ways to do this, and a Google search will reveal more ways to get backlinks than you would have time to implement in a lifetime. But you need to START the process to gain additional visibility for your sites, since any journey starts with the first step. One of the best, FREE, and easiest ways is to write some articles and submit your UNIQUE and NON-DUPLICATED article to ezinearticles.com and others. To do this, create a title with your selected keyword in it (i.e., “Why A T1 Line Is So Much Better Than DSL For Business“, where the keyword in this example is bolded), use the keyword within the first 10 words of your first paragraph, 2-3 more times in the middle paragraphs, again within the last paragraph, and then your anchor text and URL in the “author resource box” of the article. A typical author resource box might read like this:

If you are looking for the best pricing from quality carriers on a <a href=”http://mysite.com”>T1 Line</a> which is backed up by our Low Price Guarantee, be sure to visit http://mysite.com for the best prices nationwide from amongst about 30 quality carriers.

Note that in this resource box, the keyword “T1 Line” is used as anchor text and the site is given again with the URL.

Your article needs to be UNIQUE, it cannot just be copied and reworded from the publications of somebody else. But this is not hard, not even close to rocket science! The minimum article length (not including the author resource box) at one of the top article directories online today (and also viewed as an AUTHORITY SITE) is about 250 words at ezinearticles.com. 250 words! You should be able to crank out a useful article with 250 words or more during commercials on NCIS, right? There is NO CHARGE to submit an article to ezinearticles.com after you have signed up (free) to be a contributing author there. And the link juice that this published article gives you is incredible.

Taking this a step further, write more articles, perhaps on even the same topic (but not duplicated) and submit to other article directories for the same kind of benefit, and again, it is FREE to submit your articles to these directories and get that link juice working for you and your sites. There is goarticles.com, articlecity.com, articledashboard.com and literally hundreds of others, but stick with the top ones to maximize your link juice power. Hubpages.com is also an excellent resource for these links and is also known as a coveted authority site.

Make the article useful, informative, outline the BENEFITS to the reader and finally provide a way (i.e., the author resource box) for the reader to go and actually be excited to use this new information he has found. The article needs to be good but it does not need to be worthy of a Pulitzer Prize documentary. In the leads that I see in my inbox, I know a few of you are already doing this, since I can see the “referring URL” in the lead record, and many come from ezinearticles.com or other article directories.

As you write more articles, vary the KEYWORD that you are using for subsequent articles; i.e., use “T1 Line” for one article, use “Bonded T1” for another, use “Ethernet Services” for another, and more. Become a student of article writing and keyword research, put it to use, and the benefits of doing that are yours.

For keyword research, I have many tools that I have used over the years but the one I keep coming back to is Google’s own tool, which is at:

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

A common mistake, however, that many people make in using this tool is that they select the highest ranking keywords with the most traffic. What’s wrong with that, isn’t that the goal? Yes that is the goal to get as much traffic as possible, but FILTER that fact with the additional fact that the highest volume keywords also have the most competition from other sites, probably people who have been doing this much longer than you. So you may want to consider going after the “long tail keywords” where there is not as much competition but where you stand a much greater chance of being ranked well for that term.

Another very inexpensive way to get backlinks is a service I found online a few years ago called “Angela’s Backlinks”. For a lousy $5 a month (FIVE DOLLARS!), Angela sends you a list of about 30 sites (most of them PR4 and greater) where you can get a one-way backlink, frequently with anchor text. The PDF she sends outlines exactly what you will see at each site, making is basically as “stupid simple” as something can get. If you are willing to put in the sweat equity required (I can usually go through this in a couple hours or so), it is the best $5 you will have spent all month. Check it out at:

http://angelasdiscountmarket.com/backlink_builder.html

There is also a relatively new service that you should be aware of that I have used with a high degree (not 100%) of success called Fiverr, naturally to be found on http://fiverr.com. This is a list of countless things that the publishers will do for $5 (FIVE DOLLARS), quite simple. Topics are all over the board, like “For $5 I will wear a sandwich sign saying ABC Company is crap all day long” or “For $5 I will jump out of a cake at your girlfriend’s workplace in greater Los Angeles” or other such silliness. But there are also some golden nuggets there, like if you search for “backlinks” or “article writing” or “site promotion” or similar topics. There are several publishers who will write quality articles for you, which you can then review, tweak as necessary, and then submit to an article directory with YOUR keyword and URL as the author, which is entirely legitimate since it would be unique. Again, $5 invested well into your business, creating the backlinks that will be so valuable to you. Some of the fiverr’s available will also create the link wheel I described to you in my previous newsletter, and if you do not have the time to do this yourself, whether backlinks, link wheels, or article writing, this can be a superb investment of $5 to jumpstart your marketing efforts.

Summary

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness”) of where you are, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238

Marketing and Keywords – September 28, 2010

I did not mean to “hide” this article, but in the email I sent you about this, I asked you to respond and I would send you the link to it. Granted, it’s not exactly “hidden” real well but I wanted to keep track of who is interested in this information and will be potentially putting it to use. So if you responded to my email and got the link from me, congrats and I hope you find this valuable.

Happy Post-Labor Day Greetings!

Labor Day traditionally makes the date of the end of summer, the beginning of school, and time for everyone to get out of “summer mode” and back to work. So I hope you have been successful in making that transition and things continue to go well for you.

For me, every day is a new learning adventure and I can certainly say that I am enjoying myself. I remember back in my days working for corporate America, where I would dread the alarm clock going off weekday mornings, which is in stark contrast to my recent years where I hear the alarm clock and think “Oh boy, I get to go to work today!”. I think it was Dale Carnegie who said that if you find something you enjoy doing, you will never “work” a day in your life, and I can vouch for the validity of that statement.

There is rarely a day that goes by where I don’t learn something new. I learn what carriers can do a good job with customers in what areas of the country, to the other end of the spectrum learning which carriers are really lacking in many areas (functional areas, not geographic areas). While I give all our carriers a chance to show me that they are capable of handling business I send to them, I have found that with certain carriers I will almost certainly have to do certain levels of “damage control”, so I refer business to the carriers that I know can handle it. A happy customer has much more value to me and to you than unhappy customers, and a happy customer will also keep you in mind for upgrades, new locations, as well as the occasional referral.

Telarus has recently brought on a new carrier to add to the ranks, Broadview, as Telarus continues to be successful and grow. But that growth is being watched and handled carefully, as Telarus never wants to grow faster than our ability to handle all the vendor relationships and keep an excellent relationship going with all the carriers we represent.

Marketing

One of the things I wanted to talk with you about today is how to increase traffic to your sites. There are a lot of ways to accomplish this, and doing a Google search on the topic will yield more results than you could ever hope to digest. The other problem with that is that some methods truly do not work, some methods will have the OPPOSITE effect on your web site, whereas there are a few methods that really do work.

But the “problem” with ANY of those methods is that it does take work. There is not a magic button you can push that will yield the results you want. It takes time and effort. I know that many of you are willing to put forth the effort, and would make the time whenever possible in your busy schedules, but you really do not know WHAT to do. In my view, that is the worst case scenario since if you have the time and are willing to expend the effort, then you should also have a good feel for what you want to accomplish and be taking positive steps to get there. So with that said, let me see if I can lay out some steps for you to take and some directions you should seriously consider implementing for your own benefit for your web sites.

Keyword Research

More has been said about keyword research online that probably any other topic. There is a reason for that, and that reason is that keyword research is truly critical to the success (or lack thereof) of your web site. You could do all the online promotion that you want to do, and even be doing all the right things, but if you are going to target the keyword phrase “red widgets” and the phrase “red widgets” doesn’t appear or rarely appears on your web site, then the search engines are going to feel like you either made a mistake or you don’t know what you’re doing, but the end result is going to be the same; i.e., NADA.

So how do you do keyword research? It will take longer than a couple of minutes to do it properly, so relax, understand what is going on and take a deep breath. Your first stop will be at the Google Adwords keyword tool at:

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

Google being on the online search giant that it is, this is a good place to START, though as you will see, this should not be your ONLY stop in keyword research. Play with this tool awhile and be sure to use the “Advanced Options” to get a truer picture of the search volume for the base keyword phrase you enter. And also make note of the “loser keywords”; for example, there are 210 searches per month in the US for “T1 line at home”. I say that is a “loser keyword” because having your site rank well for that keyword is not going to do you any good, and probably won’t even give you bragging rights, at least not to people that you may want to brag to…

Use the “Advanced Search” options to limit your searching to the United States to give you the best view. Look at the suggested “related” keywords on the left side of the results page and uncheck those for which this is not applicable. For example, using the telecom keyword that I used just now, Google thought a related keyword was “DSL”. DSL (Darn Slow Line) should have no business in the searches you are doing, since DSL is not worth your time or effort to even market, imho…. sorry, don’t get me started….

One of the things you want to look for here is the number of searches per month. Yes you want to have a lot of searches per month, but then you need to temper your enthusiasm with the fact that the number of other people who are also trying to rank for that term grows geometrically as the monthly search volume grows. But there are hundreds of search terms that you can rank for that do not have high levels of competition, and of course the lower the competition, the better your chances are, with some time and effort involved, to rank very highly for that term.

As you come across keyword phrases that might be a possibility, make note of them, either on Notepad, in an Excel spreadsheet, or for this purpose you could even go real low-tech and use pen & paper.

For another keyword tool, which you can use to further refine your results from above, you can download (free) this tool:

http://www.traffictravis.com

This really is a powerful tool, and I will give it’s creator, Mark Ling, a huge kudos for making this free. Do you gain that much by paying money for the “professional” version? Not really, so go ahead and use the free version.

One of the really nice things about Traffic Travis is that it gives you the DAILY (not monthly, as the tool above does) search count, and gives it to you for Google, Yahoo and Bing. The reason for this is that when you get to the point of being a real SEO expert, there are some differences to take into account when you want to rank well with Yahoo and Bing, where they evaluate certain things as being more important than Google does, but for now, don’t worry about that.

Again, check the results here and play with the various options for finding keywords, related keywords, and maybe things you have not even thought of before. There are many other tools out there you can also use, many of them free, so some searching can reveal quite a bit.

Relating To Your Web Page

Once you have found some keywords that you think you can rank for, you need to make sure that those keywords are on your web site. If you have a premium site, that is a piece of cake, since you can almost write a novel in the text section of your site. But again, remember as I stated earlier, if you found the super ultra deluxe keyword “red widgets” and your web site doesn’t say squat about “red widgets”, you are toast in the eyes of the search engines.

Make sure your site has the search terms you want to rank for. Looking at http://business-ethernet.com which is one of my premium sites, note the text at the bottom, which is completely customizable. I am obviously trying to rank there for “business ethernet”, “fast ethernet”, “gb ethernet”, etc, you can see how that works. And for the search term “business ethernet”, that site currently (as if the date of this writing) ranks #1 and #2 in Google, #1 in Yahoo, and #2 in Bing, just as it did in my last newsletter in early July. So if you have 1, 2, 5 or more keyword phrases that you want to link for, make sure there is text at your web site that also contains those keywords so that the inbound links will have value and make sense when the search engine spiders visit.

Inbound Links

Of course inbound links are a great way to promote your site, and if those links come from a relevant source, or even better, from an authority site, the link holds that much more value. So in other words, a link from the AT&T site would be a relevant link (although you could open a 7-11 on Mars before you’d get one), and a link from ezinearticles.com would be from a recognized authority site. The good news is that you can easily, within a few days, get a one-way link on ezinearticles.com pointing to your site.

How do you do that? It’s probably much easier than you thought, and I know some of you are doing this because when I get a lead from you, I can see the “referring source”, and I have to feel good for you when I note that referring source is an article at ezinearticles.com.

Go to ezinearticles.com and sign up for an author account, which is 100% free. Then write an article that focuses on your selected keyword phrase. Use the keyword phrase within the title of the article that you submit, once within the first 10 words of the opening paragraph of the article, once again in the closing paragraph of the article, and a couple more times in the inner paragraphs of your article. Do not try to “stuff” keywords into your article — your overall keyword density should be around 2% but the good news is that ezinearticles will detect this (in real time when you go to submit it) and allow you to make corrections before it accepts it.

The article does not need to be worthy of a Pulitzer Prize but needs to be well written and provide good information for the reader. After a couple days, you will get an email saying that your article has been accepted and is now searchable and findable in the ezinearticles index.

Where you get the benefit here is from two places — one is when you submit your article, you are given room to submit about 120 characters worth of keyword phrases separated by commas. Go ahead and put secondary keywords in there but have your target keyword be the first one in the list. The second place is from the “author resource box” at the end of the article, where your link would appear twice. A sample “author resource box” might read something like and appear as:

Don’t spend more than you need to when you are searching for the best value in a <a href=”http://eee.my-telarus-site.com”>T1 Line</a> where we guarantee the lowest price from more than 30 first tier carriers. For a free quote, please visit http://www.my-telarus-site.com

Do you see what is happening in that author resource box? First I am getting credit for the anchor text “T1 Line” in the first URL and then I am also providing the actual URL to the main site, so I am getting two links from an authority site for the price of one! Beauty in action!

One of the keys to a good author resource box is to try to make it look like it is a “continuation” of the main article, not a separate entity, which will cause it to get read quite a bit more frequently.

Be very aware, especially with ezinearticles, is that they do not accept duplicate content. Do not just grab an article from somewhere else and submit it, because they will never accept it, or if they do, they will reject it shortly afterwards. After too much of that sort of thing, they will ban you from submitting any more articles. They have a super reputation and they will not allow some author without enough motivation to rewrite an article to discredit or mar that reputation. But by the same token, that is exactly why they are known as an authority site and links from them count a great deal.

How many articles can you write? How much time do you have? I am personally a Platinum author here with over 1100 articles published on a wide variety of topics. One of my articles that I submitted about two years ago about the “Complexities of Vitamin B” has been viewed more than 10,000 times!

You aren’t a writer? That is ok, you can use another article that you may find somewhere else and do a rewrite on it, in your own words. Just be sure to make it at least 40% or more unique from the original version, with a different sentence and paragraph count. Or for about $5 or so, you can have an article written for you by a variety of different places. Ezinearticles has a minimum of 250 words per article, others such as goarticles.com, articledashboard.com and others have different minimums but even the most stringent one has a minimum word length of 500 words, which should be relatively easy. (And FREE if you do the writing yourself). And remember, in addition to the one-way inbound link to your web site, you have also created something that people will read if they are interested in the topic. There are at least a half dozen to a dozen article directories that you can submit to, and at least 5-6 of those have Page Rank 6 or greater, so after your article is accepted and published, those links become active quite quickly.

Taking It To The Next Step

You will almost certainly get more targeted traffic if you start writing articles and use different keyword phrases for each one, and submitting a different version of them to the foremost article directories. But what then? How about a Link Wheel? Let’s start with the following diagram and then let me explain it:

link wheel image

Your site is obviously in the middle labeled “Your Site”, which is where you want the traffic to be directed to. You have created accounts (free) at the other suggested sites above, and in fact you may want to create SEVERAL accounts at those sites because you are going to be linking to your main site with different keywords phrases (“anchor text”) from each site. There are literally hundreds of such “Web 2.0 Properties” that could be used for this, so don’t take the examples above as suggestions or an exhaustive list, or anything outside of being used for illustration purposes.

You are going to have a brief article at each of these sites, complete with anchor text that links back to your main site, as well as linking to your account at the other Web 2.0 properties. In other words, you have an article published on your account at Tumblr.com, and you have links in that blog to point to your main site with the keyword “T1 Lines”, as well as links there that point to your article on T1 Lines in your Squidoo.com account.

Notice in the example above that your article at WetPaint.com and Squidoo.com do NOT point to your main site. The reason for this is that you do not want a “complete” circle in your link wheel because a complete circuit makes it very easy for Google to detect. Detection is not necessarily a bad thing since there is nothing “black hat” or illegal about what you are doing, but having a couple of the sites in your link wheel that do NOT point back to your main site is generally seen as prudent.

So you would have a setup like the above, perhaps with different Web 2.0 properties, for each of the keywords that you want to rank for. Some SEO experts even recommend taking this to yet another level where you also have an OUTER ring that links to the sites on the inner ring, with occasional (less than half) links also to your main site to create an even more robust link wheel.

As far as ongoing maintenance, make an occasional update to the article on the sites in your link wheel to keep them current and at the forefront of the search engine spider’s eyes. The search engine spiders almost literally salivate over fresh content at Web 2.0 properties, so this is a quick way to get some great inbound links to your site, and at zero cost to you by the way! Remember, the anchor text used to link back to your main site MUST be a keyword that EXISTS at your main site, as discussed above, otherwise that inbound link is not going to help you at all.

Sometimes you may discover that one of your Web 2.0 sites was disabled. No worry and do not lose one iota of sleep over it, some of them do not want to be used for this purpose, even though it is as much benefit to them as if you were using this is a stand-alone information site. Think of it this way — do you remember in Star Trek when they had an ensign you had never seen before and they were going to beam down to a dangerous planet? Inevitably, that was Ensign Expendable and you just knew he would be vaporized by the end of the episode. No big deal, Kirk and Spock were safe. It’s the same with these; if one gets turned off or banned, just replace it with another Web 2.0 property. (or two, or three…)

And then the next step, after you have setup a regular routine for maintenance and fresh content, is to bookmark each of these sites. There are at least as much bookmarking sites as there are Web 2.0 properties but that is a topic for a future newsletter.

What If…..

I hear you thinking that to start a section with the heading of “what if”, I have obviously been spending a bit too much time too close to Disneyworld and the Imagineering team. Perhaps but there are still things to be considered here.

Yes, what I have described above is a lot of work. It doesn’t have to cost you as much as a penny out of your pocket but there will definitely be some effort involved.

So what if you did all this and it didn’t make a difference? It may not make a notable difference immediately but you need to know it WILL make a difference. One of the keys is in selecting the right keywords, which need to be in your article directory articles submissions, your Web 2.0 articles, your link anchor text, and of course some paragraph (or more) about that keyword phase at your main site. It’s like that 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, where you just need to do it piece by piece, getting each piece done correctly and in place, then move on to working on the next piece, and when it is complete, it is a true work of art.

Or look at it from the opposite point of view — what if you DON’T do any of this? I can guarantee that your results will very likely not be much different than what they have been to date. Are you satisfied with that?

I would encourage you to think in terms of “What If”. You have already seen the results of having implemented this for one keyword phrase for one of my sites, which is #1 and #2 in Google, #1 in Yahoo, and #2 in Bing. So you know this is not just hypothetical theory but something you can see for yourself that does work and has yielded great results.

What if you implemented this for the right set of keyword phrases? What if your main site started to move up from page 102 in the Google search results to page 1, maybe even in the top 10, top 5, or even #1? What if you setup a routine where you update this site on Mondays, that site on Tuesdays, the other site on Wednesdays, where such an update might take you as long as 5-10 minutes per site? I have agents who are being paid on almost 50 active customer accounts and I know they have implemented much of what I have preached in my newsletters.

What if………………….?

Summary

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness”) of where you are, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238

July 8, 2010

Happy Mid-Year Greetings!

I hope your summer has been going well so far and you enjoyed the recent holiday weekend. Summer is a great time to kick back, revitalize the engines and brain cells, and take stock of where you are currently at and where you want to get to. I find that this also includes taking time “on vacation”, where for some it may be all about vacation, but for me, I find that as I lay poolside in the sun trying very hard to be “on vacation”, my mind is always thinking about things, typically business things and how they can be better or improved. But the nice thing about this scenario is that your mind can really focus on things without the normal distractions that cause your head to be filled with a half gazillion random “thought threads” that never get completed or completely thought through.

Then again I may be wired differently from most folks, so feel free to take that with a grain of salt….

Telarus has added several more vendors and carriers to our family which gives us (meaning YOU also) even more opportunities to market telecom services and make money as a result. Telarus now includes RealLynx who provides very competitive pricing on VOIP and Hosted PBX solutions. I have sold some of this already and I can attest that they are very responsive and a real joy to work with. We also have Netwolves and Telx who do colocation services across the country at very competitive rates.

To further attest to the fact that Telarus is doing things right is the fact that a couple of our carriers have recently given us a raise in terms of the commissions they were paying us. The carriers had asked for “proof” that Telarus could deliver what we said we could deliver, and we provided that proof in spades, so they have bellied up to the bar.

There are also a lot of mergers and acquisitions going on. Qwest was recently acquired by CenturyLink, Covad is acquiring Megapath (or vice versa), and the end result is also acquiring SpeakEasy. Nuvox, who last year acquired FDN (Florida Digital Networks) has been acquired by Windstream.

Is this a concern for you? It shouldn’t be, and in fact is a definite benefit to you. These mergers and acquisitions mean that the strongest carriers have become even stronger and also have a larger footprint in which we, as one of their top-producing agencies, can continue to send them a ton of business.

Marketing

I truly wish I could get inside your head or watch over your shoulder as you do the marketing and promotion of your Telarus sites, whether that/those site(s) are basic, GeoQuote Lite, GeoQuote Premium, or some other variety of web site. The reason I say this is because when a new lead comes in, I can look to see who the lead agent for that lead is, and with uncanny accuracy, can determine if that lead is going to be trash or a real opportunity for both of us. If you have been reading my newsletters for awhile and following the advice I have given, as well as participating (live or via after-the-fact recordings) of the marketing training calls that Patrick does such an outstanding job with, it is still hard for me to understand how various people “doing the same thing” can achieve such drastically different results. The only thing I can figure is that you are not all doing the same thing, so I wanted to provide some help with that.

There is a battle in the world of search engine ranking and positioning, but much of that battle boils down to determining what is king and what is queen. Some say CONTENT is king and LINKS are queen, others swear that the reverse is true. But irrespective of which of those you choose to believe, you need to know that CONTENT and LINKS are critically important to where your site and pages rank in the search engines and you need to treat both with ultimate respect. Let’s talk a little about both of them:

Content

“On-Page SEO”: The content on your web site is critical. The search engines don’t know you personally so the only way they have to determine who you are and the “seriousness” of your site is based on the content of your site. Is it unique? (Point). Does it provide useful information? (Point). Do you make good use of the keywords that you want to rank for without “stuffing”, keeping keyword density to 2%-3%? (Point). Is the information valuable to the reader (think like a search engine: what is the “user experience”), and long enough (at least 250-300 words) to have actually said something? (Point).

“Off-Page SEO”: This also gets into links but I’ll address that separately. For things you have that point back to your site (think blogs, think social media, think article directories, think authority sites), does the content there follow all the “point” values mentioned above? If so, give yourself another point.

You can get an account at ezinearticles.com, goarticles.com, buzzle.com and dozens more for free, and then you can write an article that talks about your keyword. This must be a unique article, not duplicating something else, just say it in your own words. In fact, ezinearticles.com only requires a minimum article length of 250 words, and you could probably write that without breaking a sweat.

Links

Links are at least as important if not more so than content, but in my humble opinion, you cannot ignore either one of these aspects. When you submit an article to the article directories or a blog or social media sites, again keep the rules about CONTENT in mind, but within that article, provide a link with anchor text back to your main site. That is a super valuable type of link for many reasons; i.e.:

  • It is a ONE-WAY link. You did not have to link back to that site (reciprocal linking) to share some of your “link juice” with them.
  • Many of those sites mentioned above are known as AUTHORITY sites, and a one-way link from an authority site is super powerful.
  • That link comes from a different IP address and a different host. The search engines watch for this — having a gazillion links that all originate from the same IP address is more NEGATIVE link juice than positive.

What Is The Cost and Is It Worth It?

As far as cost, the only cost involved is known as sweat equity. You are putting time and effort into marketing and promoting your site(s) but there is no need to reach for your wallet. There are of course tools you can purchase to make much of this faster and easier but that is not a requirement to make this happen.

As far as is it worth it, check out the screen shots below, captured just this morning, from one of my Premium sites, business-ethernet.com for the search term “business ethernet”, and then you tell me. Keep in mind that the very top results in the shaded area are “sponsored listings”, meaning those companies PAID MONEY to be listed there, whereas I did not pay a cent to the search engines:

google serps

 

 

yahoo serps

 

 

bing serps

 

That’s not bad, wouldn’t you say? In Google, I have BOTH positions #1 and #2 since I finally figured out how to get the envied “double listing”. I am #1 for that term in Yahoo, and I don’t know what Bing’s problem is but #2 is still not a bad place to be. The point however that I am trying to make is that this CAN be done; it is not some theory being spouted by an alleged expert about what SHOULD happen, but it is the results of me, a non-expert and non-guru, just providing enough consistent sweat equity to achieve the results that I was aiming for.

The other point is that you can do this too if you are willing to invest the effort. (Note I did not say money…)

There are of course a ton of other things that can be done, and I try to follow the “SEO landscape” as much as possible, but if you can do CONTENT and LINKS right, the other stuff simply becomes icing on the cake.

Summary

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness”) of where you are, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions. My best wishes for a very happy Thanksgiving!

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238

March 8, 2010

Happy New Year!

I hope your new year started off on a great note. I know mine did and with your partnership, I hope to continue that throughout 2010 and beyond.

There are many things happening within Telarus. More carriers are coming onboard and the pricing for circuits, including T1’s, bonded T1’s, DS3, Ethernet and more continue to improve and get more accurate all the time. As a “veteran” with Telarus, I am familiar enough with our carriers to know, pretty much, WHO can offer WHAT in WHICH locations, and so if I don’t see those carriers showing in realtime in GeoQuote, I do not hesitate to go directly to the carrier senior channel managers to get the pricing required for our customers.

At the same time, it is always exciting since there are very few days that go by where I don’t learn something new. So you’d think that with more than six years full time with Telarus I would be a walking fount of knowledge? Not quite but getting closer every day. 🙂

As we start the new year off, I wanted to mention to you that you really should plan to attend the marketing calls which are moderated by Patrick Oborn, the CIO (Chief INNOVATION Officer) of Telarus. If you don’t know Patrick or have never heard him speak, you are missing out big time. Patrick has the equivalent of a PHD in search engines and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and holds these trainings periodically to help you understand what you need to do with your web sites in order to get more of the type of traffic that you want … in other words, the kind that can result in a SALE that puts money in your pockets.

Please try to make time to attend the next marketing training call, which has been postponed until April to allow Patrick and the Telarus folks to wind down a bit after the Channel Partners show in Las Vegas last week.

I would also encourage you to think BEYOND just T1 lines. There are much bigger circuits being installed out there, and if you are focused only on “T1”, you’re missing a potentially much bigger piece of the pie. MPLS and Ethernet options are going like gangbusters, and are much more cost effective on a “cost per MB” basis than their point-to-point and T1/bonded T1/DS3 equivalents, respectively.

It will definitely and clearly be worth your time and effort to attend, as well as having the expert right there to answer questions. How do you get more of the type of traffic you want to get? How and where to advertise? What kind of links should you be looking for and getting? How can you target the BIGGER circuits like Ethernet and OC-x? If you are serious about taking your marketing and your business to the next level, you will definitely want to be there for this and future trainings.

If you are going fishing, wouldn’t you agree that your best fishing trips result from knowing what kind of fish are biting on which type of bait? Get involved with these marketing calls and find out what kind of spider food (for the Google site spiders) is best. Many of you are fishing with styrofoam lures, resulting in your net being full of carp, not a real intelligent fish, obviously. Start fishing with bait that can make the mouths of the Google spiders water in anticipation, and start seeing the results that come from using the right bait.

Las Vegas Channel Partners Show

Speaking of the Channel Partners show put on by the National Telecom Association in Las Vegas last week, a good time was of course had by all. The prior weekend were very full days of Telarus meetings and trainings, specifically by Nuvox (now Windstream) and Qwest on some of their very aggressive higher end product offerings. Telarus was of course well represented by the large number of agents and closers that also attended … on our own nickel by the way, although between carriers wanting to take us to lunch, dinner and breakfast, I think very few of us had to pay for a meal. 🙂 Telarus once again won the Platinum Partner award from AT&T as well as awards from several other carriers.

On the personal front, I won two awards — for the third or fourth consecutive time, I won the Telarus Presidents Club award, and also one that I was not expecting — the Qwest “Partner Of The Year” award, presented to me by Qwest senior management. See below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course I was very proud and pleased to have received these awards. I really do not pay a lot of attention to where I stand with awards and ratings and such — the thought process I use is to recommend and do what is in the best interests of the customer, and over time, these things will fall into place. But it sure is nice to be recognized for the time and effort that I put into this, both for my own benefit as well as for your benefit for your leads and customers.

Something else that was announced at the Channel Partners show and demonstrated almost continuously in the Telarus booth in the exhibit hall is CarrierQuoteShop.com; i.e.:

 

You may see this in your Internet travels so I wanted to spend a bit of time letting you know what it is. This is designed for independent carrier agents that exist across the country, and indeed, across the world. An independent master agent who already has carrier agreements in place can use this tool to generate quotes but ONLY for the carriers that he already has agreements with, and the carriers need to verify this. In other words, if Joe Agent has carrier agreements with AT&T and Qwest, then Joe will ONLY see AT&T and Qwest quotes appear when he signs in and runs this, and he will NOT see quotes from the other 28 or so carriers that Telarus represents.

One of the huge goals that this is intended to achieve is to make GeoQuote the “de facto standard” for getting carrier quotes in real time. There are other platforms out there that attempt (most unsuccessfully) to mimic the accuracy and user friendliness of GeoQuote, but they have literally decades of development time in front of them to even get close to where GeoQuote is today. Agents using this system will essentially ONLY see the prices — they will NOT have access to the proposal generation tool, the task manager, the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) module, etc, ONLY the quotes.

At the end of the day, this is an advantage to both you and me as GeoQuote evolves to be the de facto standard for generating carrier quotes, with one of the major benefits being more and more carriers wanting to become a part of this system since “everybody” will be using it! But I have the advantage here for YOUR benefit because I have access to ALL the modules and features of GeoQuote, and YOU have the additional advantage (SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO EXERCISE IT!!!) of having access to the marketing calls to understand how to effectively market your site(s) online.

One Minor But Possibly Significant Change

One change I wanted to make you aware of. It should not be a problem for you, but in fairness to you, I wanted to make you aware of it as well as get your feedback on my decision. Some of you generate a ghastly number of RESIDENTIAL leads. I mean, a truly outrageous number, like more than HALF of all leads that are generated from your sites. One of the problems with residential leads if I do not recognize them as such if I call them, is that they rarely even know what a T1 line is, and clearly have a “telecom IQ” lower than the freezing point of water.

To a point, I cannot blame the non-technical housewife in Podunk Idaho who cannot get DSL to her house to have generated a T1 lead or even a Business DSL lead from your web site. Somebody who is not in the telecommunications industry cannot be expected to know that a T1 is out of the question for 99.99% of the residential leads, any more than I would be expected to intuitively know the reaction temperature in nuclear fission off the top of my head. That’s not my ballywick, and by the same token, telecommunications “realities” are not her ballywick either.

One of the things that the system does when I flag a lead as”residential” is to send them an automatic email directing them to your ShopForDSL site. Part of the problem here is that to allow this to happen, I had to do something with that lead, even though it was only a few clicks, but I get nothing out of it. We’re talking zip, zero, nada, zilch, even if it results in a residential DSL sale at your ShopForDSL site.

That does not necessarily bother me, but given a “loophole” it seems inevitable that there will be some who take advantage of it. I strongly suspect (although cannot PROVE) that some agents are using the ranking power of GeoQuote to market to residential leads, and via the mechanism that is already in place, to allow GeoQuote to essentially perform their marketing efforts for them on autopilot with zero intervention or manual effort required on their part. It is unfortunate that a few bad apples ruin the whole barrel and I know the majority of you do not take advantage of this “loophole” but I needed to do something about it.

So the change that I have implemented is that if I see a residential lead come in, I will send them the standard “intro email” which allows them to contact me if there really were serious about a T1 (heaven forbid DSL … gag, spew, hurl…), since then they will have my email, my toll free number and my cell phone number, as well as having a good understanding of what we do. But after that, I am not putting any more leads into the “residential” folder. Instead, I am putting them in the JUNK folder, meaning that auto-generated email that GeoQuote would send to a residential lead which would direct them to your ShopForDSL site DOES NOT GET SENT.

If you are genuinely interested in offering cable or DSL (barf, gag, spew….) to residential customers, you can still do so, but you will need to be watching over your JUNK folder and contact them yourself. The benefit to you is that you now know who you are marketing to and not relying on GeoQuote to do your marketing for you, where GeoQuote was not designed to market to residential customers. The other benefit to you is that by looking through your JUNK folder occasionally, you may be surprised to find out exactly how many trash leads are there, which were generated by YOUR sites, which might be an additional clue that you may need to change some of your marketing approaches and techniques.

I realize that this may not be the most popular decision for many, but it is part of my TIME MANAGEMENT process so that I can spend more time, concentrate and focus on the REAL customers that GeoQuote was intended to target. I am more than willing to consider alternative opinions, even though I have written volumes about how marketing DSL, either to business or residential customers, is not worth either my time or yours. So bring it on….. 🙂

Summary

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness”) of where you are, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions. My best wishes for a very happy Thanksgiving!

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238

November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving holiday and share a few notes and observations with you. With Christmas just around the corner, I find that the Thanksgiving holiday provides more time to actually be reflective without all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, so in case I don’t get a chance to send another one of these before the end of the year, I also want to wish you and your family a very happy holiday season. There, I think that covered all the politically correct angles….

I thought I was pretty familiar with the GeoQuote system but I learned something new this week. When a residential lead comes in and I mark it as residential, an email is sent to that customer automatically with a link to your ShopForDSL site with your agent ID. It may still be worth you following up, that is a decision only you can make, although I personally believe that residential telecom offerings are not worth the time to market them, there are many other things that can be offered to the residential consumer, assuming you elect to market to that segment anyway.

Speaking of residential customers, I find it both interesting as well as distressing that so many residential leads have been coming into the system lately from many of you. Part of that is not your fault — the residential DSL and cable providers make a lot of use of the terms “broadband” and “highspeed“, which in my opinion is toeing the line of truth in advertising. Yes, DSL and cable are technically “broadband“, and while “highspeed” is a relative term compared to dialup or smoke signals, it is unfortunately at least somewhat accurate. And we cannot expect every residential surfer on the face of the planet to understand or comprehend that a T1 is just not financial reality for a residential setting. When you are doing Internet marketing, some of this is part & parcel of the territory.

But there are things you can do also. Do you market or advertise your site(s) in places where residential users gather? If you are fishing for marlin or sailfish, you do not throw your line into the shallow waters where the minnows gather, and then scratch your head and wonder why all you are catching are minnows.

What kind of bait are you using? If you just throw the hook into the water with NO bait, you are only going to catch … well … stupid fish.

I am continually amazed at the number of leads (trash leads) that originate from RiverOffers.com. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a tremendous amount of respect for what RiverOffers has to offer the residential customer, but I can virtually guarantee that the customer who finds your T1 site via riveroffers.com is not the kind of customer where your T1 site can help them at all. The link from your riveroffers site to your T1 site is there for linking purposes, and NOT because you are likely to obtain any worthwhile customer traffic from that link.

If you know that the big fish are looking for particular kinds of bait (and if you have been following my newsletters, reading in your back office, and doing your own research where I have already told you where to do that, you already know what kind of bait you should be using), how many different kinds of carp will you catch when you use jello or yogurt on your hook?

Have you even tried fishing in a barrel, where you KNOW the right fish are there? I’m talking about offline marketing, where you already know that the qualified leads you get from that are 2 to 3 times better than the leads you get from the Internet? I don’t mean putting on a suit and meeting face to face with customers (gasp!), I’m talking about a US postal mail campaign, where for about $42 you can send out 100 flyers addressed to the IT Director of companies who use the bigger bandwidth. That could be the best $42 you’ve ever spent.

Do you have what it takes to actually talk to potential customers? Remember, if YOU enter the lead in the back office as a WARM lead where you have already talked to the customer, the system is fully aware that you have hand-entered that lead, and if it closes, your commission is DOUBLED. I’m not suggesting that you become a walking Wikipedia for telecom, but rather just talk to a customer and see if there is interest there, where you would be more than happy to have someone who CAN talk 1’s and 0’s all day long give him or her a call, like me. Do NOT simply let your fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages and start entering company names & addresses, because at the end of it, that is still a cold call, but if you have already talked to the customer and they have indicated some interest in discussing telecom, wouldn’t that be potentially worth your while?

Do you need help putting together a flyer for a mailing? If so, where have you gone for help? I am more than willing to help you with that.

Do you need help in determining how to bait your hook and where to throw the line? Instead of continuing to wonder, why not search out the answer, and if nothing else, contact me where I can provide suggestions until the cows come home, and beyond.

Have you implemented any of the things that I suggested in previous newsletters to increase your relevant traffic? If not, why not? Are you not convinced that they can be effective? I can virtually guarantee that those methods (and many others that I have not even shared with you yet) are indeed effective. The one sure thing that you can take to the bank is that with inaction, nothing will change, and in fact with inaction, things will go downhill from where they are today.

The companies who are interested in telecom circuit purchases are out there, guaranteed, and the market is not saturated. Even in this economy, and in many respects, even more BECAUSE of this economy, companies are needing to reduce costs. This fact gives you a tremendous leg up because you are in a position to allow them to maintain their connectivity, maintain their productivity, and still save money in the process. What more can you ask for? I have run across many customers in recent years where they have a T1 or DS3 circuit that they have simply been paying the bill for years and years, not doing any price shopping. This is the kiss of death for a business, since the CARRIER is not going to tell them that prices have dropped. One customer from a few months ago sticks in my mind — they had a fractional T1 (384k) that they have had for about 6-7 years, and I could have QUADRUPLED their bandwidth (to a full T1) and still cut their costs in HALF. If a customer has had their circuit for more than say 2-3 years, chances are better than excellent that they can save money on it with us.

So how are you finding those customers? First you need to make them aware that they have a need. If they don’t know they have a need, they are not going to be searching online in the search engines, so even the best keywords in the world are not going to help you find that customer. This is a huge point for a mailing, to have the right person open that mail, read your flyer, and suddenly start to wonder if this is a place they can save some money and appease the corporate bean-counters who are requesting budget reductions, without also being required to sacrifice bandwidth or functionality. This particular business model came out decades ago and is still extremely viable. As an example, a couple of years ago, I did not know I needed a big-screen LCD TV until I started to see the ads I got in the mail, then suddenly realized that of course I needed one of these, but without the mail and flyers, I would still be watching a smaller tube TV today. In other words, the ads CREATED the need, where prior to that, I was not burning up Google or Bing searching for deals on LCD TV’s because I didn’t know I needed one. 🙂

Many closers are getting away from receiving leads from lead agents because the quality of those leads has seriously deteriorated in the past year and particularly in recent months. It also affects the closer’s RPL score (Revenue Per Lead), where with too many uncloseable leads coming in, the closer does not receive new leads from the system. However, I used to be a Cognigen agent, am still a Commission River agent, and I still firmly believe in lead agents and the leads you are capable of producing, given some direction, and that is the purpose of these newsletters. As the saying goes, “ya gotta dance with who brung ya to the party“, and I have not forgotten who brought me to the party – YOU, where I want to continue to help you get this party livened up!

Summary

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness”) of where you are, where you are going, and how you are going to get there. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions. My best wishes for a very happy Thanksgiving!

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238

Premium Site Tweaks – September 30, 2009

Premium Sites Tweaks

You are reading this because you got a Premium site (or maybe more than one). I attended the Premium site training in Fort Lauderdale this past Saturday and after that training, plus playing with the four sites that I bought myself, there are some things you need to know which are not intuitively obvious. I will send out future updates as I become more familiar with the sites, but you need to know about the power of those sites that you are holding in the palm of your … uh … keyboard. These sites are a webmaster’s dream, focusing on all the essential elements that search engine spiders crave.

The problem with “essential elements” in that if left in elemental form, they are useless. For example, in the pantry at home, I have the essential elements to make the most delicious dish this side of Paris. But since I have no clue how to combine those elements in the right proportions, my non-spouse-made meals usually consist of a peanut butter sandwich. So my reason for writing this for you is so that your Premium site(s) do not because your online version of a peanut butter sandwich.

Site Info

First you need to select a category for your site, such as “T1”, “DS3”, “Ethernet”, etc. There is a pull-down selection box when you create your site to determine what you want this to be. If you messed it up originally, don’t sweat it, you can change it later via your admin panel in the back office. To get to this point, from your main page in your Premium site admin area, which looks like the figure below, click the “Edit” link to the right of the “Category” label:

Then you will see a page like this:

The most popular search phrases for the keyword category you have selected are shown. You can select up to THREE of these by simply checking the radio box next to the term. The links near the top left allow you to see various additional information, such as in the example shown above, this is the number of terms each term has been searched for in the previous month. Don’t always pick the most popular terms, since those are harder to rank well for, where “T1 line” was searched for 27,100 times last month, compared to “cheap T1 service” which only logged 320 searches last month. Click “Save Settings” at the bottom when you are done. You can also enter a NEW keyword not found in this list if you find out or know of one somehow.

Keywords are critically important. The Premium site interface has simplified much of this for you so that it is just point and click to get the info you want so you can make intelligent decisions. If you wish to do more keyword research, one of the primary (and FREE) tools you can use for this is Google’s own tool, found at:

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

You can also play with the Google “Wonder Wheel” found on the left side of a standard Google search, which presents the information shown from the tool above in a graphical format. You can do additional keyword research with various tools, some free and some paid, but between the information presented in your Premium back office and the Google tool above, I cannot see a need to do more or spend money on yet another tool.

The next “Edit” link down the main page is for your current XML plugin. Make sure that agrees with your category; i.e., if your selected category is “T1”, don’t set your plugin for “Ethernet”, they need to match.

The next “Edit” link down the main page is for your contact info page. This is where email will be sent if someone visits your “Contact Us” page. You will actually configure this PAGE later, but here you will enter your web host’s SMTP information, username and password. If you don’t know what that is, you need to contact your web host’s technical support department, who can give you this information in about 20 seconds or less.

For the “Custom HTACCESS configuration”, my best advice to you is DON’T TOUCH IT unless you are 110% confident that you know what you are doing. If it needs modifying (and 99% of the time it won’t), you can get info about how to change that without barfing up your entire site from your web host’s technical support department.

Additional Site Settings

Do you have a logo for your business? If not, you may want to consider getting one to add to the professional look of your site. Go ahead, BRAND yourself, get wild … and give yourself a more professional look too while you’re at it. If you are not good with graphics, there is a link there for “Contact Ned” who will create you a very neat logo at extremely reasonable prices.

To upload your logo, click the “Site Logo” link, upload your logo, then deselect what is there and insert your logo. Could not be simpler.

For “Header Content“, click the link. On my sites, this is where I have put the VAR Network graphic with my agent ID if the user clicks on it which takes the user to the VAR network pages. Please, please, please do NOT put stupid stuff here. This is NOT a place to have a rotating banner with the joke of the day, a dumb cartoon (even computer related), or a banner for RESIDENTIAL products. Remember, this is a professional looking site offering services for businesses, not the residential consumer. PLEASE don’t put retreads on your Lamborghini…

For “Footer Content“, this is up to you. Another graphic for another (non-residential) product, whatever. On mine currently, I simply have “Copyright 2009 http://mydomainname”.

Adword Content

This is so cool that I gave it its own section. Adwords is that advertising program from Google (and others) that generates huge amounts of advertising cash for the search engines, especially Google. If you’ve spent any time at all surfing, you have undoubted seen Google ads on various web pages, even in gmail. These are from the Google Adwords department. Google reads the content of the page, and delivers those ads to the page. When a visitor clicks those ads, the website owner gets a few cents, Google makes about 8 times more, and the advertiser gets the visitor to come to his web site

This is not really Adwords but it is the best way to describe it. These LOOK LIKE the very standard and usual Google Adwords advertisements, but they are really yours that you define and Google has nothing to do with it. What you do with these is to advertise your other RELEVANT, NON-RESIDENTIAL sites. Remember, this is a business professional visiting your site and having ads on there for joining a “make money now” program or DSL (barf, gag, spew…) or discount cellular ring tones or home phone long distance service is only going to DETRACT from your site. Instead, put links to other sites you own that offer networking services, or maybe even link back to yourself. This is most beneficial if you have multiple sites because they can cross-link to each other.

There is enough room on your page for FOUR of these ads. You can have less if you want, but why not maximize the resources available to you? If you have MORE than 4, then 4 of the ones you have will be selected randomly to be shown on your page when it loads. Each “ad” has 1 line for a title which will be bolded, 2 lines for description, and 1 line for the URL.

Individual Page Settings

These are the pages that will appear on your site and you need to do a certain amount of editing here as well, and not leave these purely as they come out of the box. If you click on the “General Settings” edit box for any of these pages, you will see a page that looks like this:

Be VERY aware that these are all BLANK as your site comes out of the box. Edit each of these. Each page needs to have a TITLE, and your title should contain at least one or more of your keywords. The DESCRIPTION is frequently what shows up in the SERPS (Search Engine Ranking Pages) when you do a search as the description of what this page/site is all about. The ABSTRACT is a condensed version of the description. And the NAVIGATION TAB is the default link for your internal page navigation for how to get to this page. Do you want to rank for the keyword “Home” or for the keyword “T1 Line”?

The “Add Variation” part is pretty cool too and you will see that elsewhere in the premium sites as you get deeper into it. You can add as many variations as you want, where the variation used for a particular page load will be randomly selected from the variations you have. This gives your site a bit of a dynamic nature, and since Google LOVES new and changing content, this is also goodness in that respect. But if you do nothing else, at least provide ONE variation so that these values are not blank. Yes, for each page.

Now the “Edit Content” is a bit different. If you click on “Edit Content” for the home page, you get a screen that looks something like this, dependent on your keywords and selected color scheme:

Note all the “Edit” links thrown all over the place inside a bright blue box? If you click those edit links, you can edit that section of your page. For example, if your site is about Ethernet, there is no sense in having the default caption say “Searching For T1 Services Is A Snap”. So you would click that edit box next to that caption and change the caption so that it reads “Searching For Ethernet Services Is A Snap” or whatever catchy phrase you want to put there.

For the 3 edit links near the bottom, those are for the title of the article being shown, the author and date of the article, and the article content. You should replace this as soon as possible because everyone by default is going to have the same article! I’ll talk more about articles below, how to do it and/or get it done, but make a note to yourself to get a different article here that is specific to the category you’ve chosen.

Be sure to edit your About Us page, your Contact Page and your Privacy Page as well. Google is specifically looking for these to exist (really!) on your site, and if they don’t or if they contain nonsensical content, your site will not be maximizing its potential for page rank.

This is where you can also add custom pages if you wish.

When you write articles for your site, note at the top of the page the easily-overlooked simple statement as shown below:

These are special fields that can be used within your articles or onsite content. For example, you could have an article that says:

“You should really buy #keyword# from this site”.

When that article is displayed, the keywords you have selected will be inserted into the “#keyword#” slot in that sentence, making the article even more relevant in the eyes of the search engines because your article talks about exactly what your targeted keywords are. Is that cool or what?

Speaking of how search engines see your site, keep in mind that there are things search engine spiders CANNOT see. They cannot see graphics, javascript, or flash. That’s right. You could have the coolest graphics this side of Neptune with awesome and killer flash animation, and the search engine spiders will produce a huge YAWN over it. They cannot see those things. That is a big reason why for each and every one of your graphics, be sure to do two things: (1) use the ALT tag to provide a textual description of what that graphic is (ie, “T1 line graphic”), and (2) use a filename that is also descriptive and also uses your keywords; i.e., “t1-line-graphic-image.jpg”.

Have you ever been curious to know what your super-duper web page looks like to a search engine spider? You might be surprised, and it may give you some clues or hints about how to further optimize it if you could see it like the spiders do. Check out:

http://www.yellowpipe.com/yis/tools/lynx/lynx_viewer.php

Content Is King

If you follow SEO (Search Engine Optimization) forums at all, you have no doubt heard before that content is super important. Without content, you have nothing. The Premium sites provide you with a starting point for content, but if you leave your Premium sites as they come out of the box, that is like putting retreads on a Lamborghini. In other words, DON’T DO IT.

In addition to adding UNIQUE content to your site, you should also create content OUTSIDE of your site that link back to your site. Content and linking go hand-in-hand in this way. Spend some time to get some UNIQUE content written about the category of your site, and make it interesting enough to where people will want to come to your site.

This is done for multiple purposes. For one thing, people are interested in the topic but they typically read elsewhere. So as the saying goes, if Mohammed won’t come to the mountain, bring the mountain to Mohammed. In other words, if Mr Network Director doesn’t visit your site, but he DOES regular visit the technical articles at Ezinearticles.com., Hubpages.com, Squidoo.com, Wetpaint.com, and he always has his RSS aggregator setup to catch the latest RSS feeds from blogs (where your blog IS pinging the aggregators when you add new content, isn’t it, as I explained in a previous newsletter?), so your UNIQUE publications at these various resources will surely get his attention at some point, where he will come and visit your site.

Ok, no more beating around the bush, I’ve said UNIQUE more times than I can stand. Yes, your content needs to be unique. Why? Because if Google or the other search engines detect that your article is not unique, only the FIRST occurrence of it will get any credit for it. Subsequent occupancies of it will actually HURT you because the search engines (particularly Google) will recognize it as duplicate content, and not only will you not get any benefit from it, you will actually be penalized for it.

One popular method for creating content is to REWRITE what someone has already written. But you need to be very careful, because too many of the same words in a row in various sentences is going to trigger Google’s “duplicate trigger”. Again, there is no way to know how many words or how many sentences that is, but to be on the safe side, my recommendation unless you are a very skilled rewriter and quite adept with the English language, is to either write them from scratch or have them ghost-written for you. There are many tools out there available, some free and some paid, that check for duplicate content. Check out copyscape.com, dupecop.com and others.

If writing is just not your bag, there are various services online where you can outsource that task. Check out need-an-article.com, textbroker.com, helium.com, skontent.comconstant-content.com, and many others. Since this is content of a more technical nature, you may want to have techies bid on it to write your article based on an abstract you provide that dictates what your article should be about, which can be done at elance.com, rent-a-coder.com and various other places.

The Icing on the Cake – Links

You want a site that is visited by the right people and links are a huge criteria for what your ranking will be. You could have a car dealership that is selling new Lexus cars for $1.98 but if nobody knows you’re there, what difference does it make? You want links from the outside world, but in the process, you want to be and NEED to be selective about it. You want links from Authority Sites and sites with high page rank. If you write an article for EzineArticles and it gets published, EzineArticles is both an Authority Site and has high page rank (PR 5 or 6 last I looked), so that is a great link. And it is of the best variety too — a one-way link, from their site to yours, and you do not need to link back to them.

The only thing better than links is MORE links. But they need to be right KIND of links. Getting links from a “bad neighborhood” is actually going to do you more harm than good. You do NOT want links from sites that promote residential products, since your Premium sites do not offer anything of interest to a residential customer (that they can afford, justify, or even get installed from the carrier — many carriers will NOT install a T1 into a residence, even if the customer CAN afford it). A link like that is of no value to you and simply dilutes your overall link strength. Links from your typical bad neighborhoods (porn, casino, gambling, drugs, pharmacy, etc) are detrimental to your links, so they have even LESS value than zero.

Doing an investigative search into this, it will not take long to discover multiple sites for the same topic, where one site has say 500 links pointing to it, and it ranks significantly higher than another one with 50,000 links pointing to it. Looking through those links via some tools I have, the guy with the 50,000 links apparently took each and every link request that came to him, including a truckload of bad neighborhood links. The end result is that even though he has 100 times more links pointing to his site, the search engines have penalized him for his rabid association with online riff-raff.

The Premium sites come with an option (at no additional cost, I believe) for the LMS – Link Management System. This is of incredible value to you, and if you did not opt for it initially, run do not walk to your computer and get signed up for it. The LMS provides two-way links from other sites that are willing to do a link exchange with you. The LMS also requires you to confirm or deny a link request. You may get link requests from some bad neighborhoods, which with a simple click you can DENY (as you should) and no harm done. But you also need to CONFIRM link requests that you want to accept. The LMS also has a feature where you can check to make sure, on a regular basis, that the link to your site still exists on their site. This is something you must do as part of your regular site maintenance — there is no sense linking OUT to someone who is not going to link back to you, as you are diluting your link strength and getting nothing in return.

Some things to keep in mind about links, especially two way links where you get a link in exchange for that other site linking back to you:

* Make sure the site that you are doing the link exchange with is ON A DIFFERENT HOST than you. Know what your IP address is for your web host and make sure they are on a different host.

* Make sure the link is RELEVANT as discussed above. Maybe that site about plastic mermaid figurines is cool and even has high page rank, but without RELEVANCY, you get almost zero benefit from it.

* Make sure the link EXISTS. This is an ongoing task but make sure that any site that you link to, which is supposedly linking back to you, is indeed really linking back to you, and still exists. One of the worst things in the world, even worse than being out of Miller’s, is a dead link.

* Make sure the site you exchanging links with is WORTHWHILE. I don’t think I would want to exchange links with someone whose site is not at least a PR2 or PR3. And when you achieve the rank of say PR4, there is less sense in bothering with “lesser” sites. Not to be snooty, but this is your site’s business world.

* A trainload of new links CAN happen overnight but you do not want it to. SLOW and GRADUAL is the key when adding links. The search engines want it to be a natural progression and if you acquire 5000 new links overnight, there is nothing “natural” about that, and you will likely be penalized instead of getting the shot of link juice that you expected.

One of the sites where you can do a link exchange, and actually provide the anchor text that they will use, as well as approving each and every link exchange, would be www.linkmarket.net. It’s free to join, although you will need to maintain your own links page. Maybe this would be a good application for adding a new page in your site configuration. But as stated above, you need to regularly go into your linkmarket account and run the report where they ensure that all outgoing links that you have accepted have a corresponding link back to your site. Delete any links you have that are not reciprocating. There are also various link exchange programs that will do this for you as part of your monthly membership (about $25) like 3waylinks.net, neurolinker.com, linkvana.com and more — email me if you want more info, but note that these are NOT free so I am not going to elaborate on them here.

You can also BUY links to get things started for you. In fact, there are various sites online where you can “rent” a link to your site from a PR5, PR6, even a PR7 or PR8 site for a month, a few months, a year, whatever. Depending on the page rank, this can get pricey, but I wanted to let you know what is possible.

Summary

Wow, my apologies, this turned out to be significantly longer than I had originally planned. But if you actually USE the information presented here, it will pay off in spades for you, and after all, isn’t that why you got a Premium site? You may be thinking “wow Jon, that sounds like a lot of work”. It is and I make no apologies for that. Anything worth doing is worth doing WELL and will take some effort and sweat equity. But the good news is that you have all the info at your disposal and do not have to test out various theories and techniques to find out what works and what doesn’t.

I hope you found this valuable. I know it may sound like a lot of work, and to a certain degree I may have barely scratched the surface. But as I said earlier, these sites are an incredible creation, and you now have tools at your fingertips where you can do in a few clicks what others need to do with text editors and bare code. It may seem like a lot of work but if done regularly and properly, I am confident you are really going to enjoy the results.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238

WordPress Stuff – July 20, 2009

Keeping Your WordPress Blogs Safe

I am only sending out an email about this to the lead agents who responded to my last request for a response. To me, that says they are serious about learning the techniques and methods that I am trying to teach, and why would I even bother telling the folks that do not respond?

Just a few words about blogs. There is a LOT of information out there about blogs but I wanted to share with you some of the tidbits I have discovered.

* Use WordPress, not Blogger or some other proprietary blog platform. There are an incredible number of themes and plugins for WordPress, much more so than any other platform, allowing you to customize literally to your heart’s content. Not to be argumentative, but a valid argument can be had with virtually any experienced blogmaster and this would be the overwhelming concensus. Sure, Google OWNS blogger but that fact in itself does not really gain you anything if you do everything else properly.

* Use an attractive and functional THEME. There are trainloads of free WordPress themes out there, and a Google search on “wordpress themes” will keep you busy for weeks. As a start, there are about 900 free WordPress themes available for download at http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/

* Use themes that can accommodate WIDGETS. It would seem that one sidebar is sufficient, whereas using two sidebars, unless done quite creatively, can easily tend to look crowded and confusing.

* Compose your SIDEBAR thoughtfully. Is there really a need to have a calendar and the current date and temperature? No, so leave it out. Again, keep it simple and clean. The widgets I would suggest for your sidebar would be Archives, Popular Posts, and of course Related Links. Related Links would be the title that you would use to replace the useless stuff that comes in the default “Blogroll” and these would be links to your site(s), like your T1 site, your Ethernet site, your MPLS site, etc. Use good and appropriate anchor text for these links.

* PERMALINKS: Put a descriptive name with your posts. It is not useful to have an indexed post which is referenced by the URL “http://my-t1-blog.com/post-id=839290425”, right? I mean, where is the visitor’s incentive to want to go visit that URL? Under Settings then Permalinks, click the radio button for “Custom” and use the form “http://my-t1-blog.com/%postname%/”. (Without the quotes of course and use your own blog’s URL). So in this case, this change will show that indexed and perhaps archived post to read “http://my-t1-blog.com/why-you-need-a-t1-line-from-telarus-today”, or in other words, use the title from that post instead of a number.

* Use PLUGINS where appropriate. Plugins were designed specifically to make your WordPress blogging life easier. The minimum set of plugins I would suggest and why I suggest them are below, and they can all be found and downloaded free from http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/

Plugins:

* Google Sitemap Generator: This plugin generates a sitemap for search engines to pick up. Search engines give priority to sites with optimized sitemaps.

* Auto Tagger: This plugin uses Yahoo! to determine keywords related to the content of the article. These keywords are then added as tags to your blog and show up on your posts meta keywords. It’s always best to create your own tags in WP when writing a post, but just in case you forget this plugin will create them for you.

* Sociable: This plugin adds links to the bottom of every article allowing your users to share your articles with popular social networks such as Digg, Technorati, and Twitter. This helps people find your site when they are searching popular social networking sites and hopefully brings them back to your blog for more.

* Ping Optimizer: Blog pinging notifies blog servers that your blog has recently published new content. It shares your content across other networks, increasing your blog’s exposure, but excessively pinging these servers can get your site banned or blocked from future blog pinging. So you have to make sure that you are pinging these servers when necessary. This plugin will handle when and when not to ping these blog servers, optimizing how often you ping.

* Akismet: This plugin is included with every WordPress installation. This plugin protects your blog from comment spam. Monitor and protect your blog from comment spam.

* Simple CAPTCHA: CAPTCHA is a form utility to protect your blog from comment spam by web bots. A CAPTCHA places an images with random text that the user must manually type to submit their blog comment. This utility verifies the commenter is human, cutting down the potential for comment spam.

Summary

I hope this has been helpful and you can put it to use. Again, do not abuse blogging or social bookmarking, but if used wisely and cautiously, it can provide a lot of good quality links and traffic.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent

President, JA Communications Group Inc.

Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238

Social Presence – June 27, 2009

Social Bookmarking (SB) For Links & Traffic

I am only sending out an email about this to the lead agents who responded to my last request for a response. To me, that says they are serious about learning the techniques and methods that I am trying to teach, and why would I even bother telling the folks that do not respond?

This is designed to be an overview of social bookmarking (SB) for the purpose of getting traffic and higher ranking for your sites. There is a lot of discussion about this in the various SEO newsgroups and forums, but after studying this for a few years and trying a lot of different things, I want to let you know what I have found to be successful, as well as having aspects that are “generally agreed upon” within the various places that discuss this. These are all entirely “whitehat” methods, nothing illegal, immoral, or fattening about it, as opposed to various “blackhat” methods which I will not even get into. This may be a bit “gray hat” but certainly not blackhat.

The PURPOSE of doing this is to gain visibility for your site. More visibility equals more traffic. More links equals more traffic. Using social bookmarking provides your site with both greater visibility and more links.

The key is to do this properly. Done incorrectly or with too much haste could mean that your site is de-indexed from Google and the other search engines, which is certainly something you do not want to happen. Do NOT try to take short-cuts to accomplish this in a day or even a week — it takes time, but it is time well spent — again, IF done properly.

The definition of “properly” means gradually, randomly, over time. Read that sentence again — go ahead, I’ll wait….. It needs to appear to the search engines as being natural, and if you raise too many red flags in the process, Google will catch on and you will not like it. Google is not nearly as stupid as that one date you had back in high school, but if given the appearance of being done naturally, Google won’t bat a digital eyebrow at it and will pass on the link juice that you want.

Step 1 – Create Some Email Accounts

For the purpose of using many social bookmarking sites, the first thing you need to do is fire up Excel or Notepad or whatever and create yourself about 10 email accounts at free email sites. This won’t cost you a cent, and you don’t have to search far to find free email accounts; ie, gmail, yahoo, hotmail, lycos, etc. Remember the username and password you enter at each one by entering it in your spreadsheet or notepad. This is absolutely critical because you will need to log into them to confirm and click a link to finalize your membership at many of the social bookmarking sites. The username you choose should be different at each one, and as far as the “real” name you use, make that different also — use your dog or cat, your great aunt, etc. If it asks for an “alternate” email address in case you forget the password, leave it blank. You don’t want to leave a Hansel-and-Gretel trail of breadcrumbs that all lead back to a single person – YOU.

Step 2 – Create Social Bookmark Accounts

There are literally hundreds of social bookmarking sites that can be used. You just want to use the top ones, and depending on how much time you want to put into this, you can sign up for as many as you want. This is going to be the most time-consuming process of all. There are some PAID software packages that can do it, but I am focusing on things that you can do with only sweat equity and no money. A list of the top social bookmarking sites is shown below:

social bookmarking sites graphic

Don’t be intimidated, its not as bad as it may look. The sites with a checkmark in front of them are considered to be the “best” ones to use. I would recommend using those, and as time permits, the others. The process for setting up your account there is quite simple, although it varies slightly from site to site. Basically, click the “register” link at the site, enter a unique username, a password, your email address and sometimes your “real” name. (See above). Again, use one of the throwaway email addresses you created in step 1 because for many of these sites, they will send a confirmation email where you need to click the link in that email to complete and validate your registration.

Also, remember to write down the username and password that you used for each one in your spreadsheet, as you will need that again as you make postings to this particular social bookmarking account.

Social bookmarking helps create incoming links, and multiplies the possible number of results you have in the search engines. For example; submit one of your pages or blog posts to the social bookmarking sites and that one post can now show up as 29 “unique” results in the search engines. So now instead of having that one page/blog post rank just once in the top 10, it is possible for that one page to actually rank 29 times… you could literally own the first 29 results in google for your search term when you use Social Bookmarking as part of your promotions.

The SB incoming links aren’t as “valuable” as other types of “hard coded” links.. but hey, they do add value to your traffic-getting efforts. Much of it comes down to proper keyword selection. The more targeted the keyword phrase the better your chances of ranking high. (See last week’s newsletter about keywords).

You are going to want to create about 10 accounts at each of the SB sites, using a different username/password and email address for each one. Yes this is tedious and yes slightly painful, but once this is done, you’ve got the hard part of the manual labor out of the way. Why create multiple accounts at each one? The key here is to make your SB promotions appears to be as NATURAL as possible to the search engines. Remember NATURAL from above? You do this by setting up multiple SB accounts, and by running your promotions slowly, over time, a few today, a few next week, a few next month, etc.

Do not forget to keep track of your email accounts (where/username/password) and your username/password/email combination for each account you setup. Again, your spreadsheet or notepad is good for that. If you want an automated tool for that, Roboform can work quite well.

To have all the SB links on one page so that you can easily links to each SB site to create an account (and we’ll come back to this FREE website later too), the best and easiest one I have found to use is http://socialmarker.com.

Step 3 – Your SB Promotions

Again, NATURAL is the keyword as much as possible. Do not be in a hurry to get this done since that will clearly look UNnatural to the search engines.

You are ready to make posts, and this can be most easily done by again using Social Marker at the URL above. When you go to create a new bookmark for a site or page, there are some very minimal pieces of information you need to enter; ie, the URL, a title, a description, and TAGS. This is seen in the example screenshot below for the del.icio.us SB site, one of the most popular SB sites out there today:

delicio bookmark image

Make your title count and make sure that the keyword/phrase that you want to rank for is in the title. Description (or “Notes” as this SB site calls it) is just a slightly more verbose description of the site.

But one of the most important fields for you to use is the TAGS field. The TAGS field is additional “tags” or keywords that are relevant to this site. Be sure to format them correctly to ensure that you are going to get maximum benefit from the tags you enter. For this site, separate multiple tags (which you will almost certainly want to have) with a space. For multi-word tags, lose the spaces, so the tag for “T1 line” becomes “t1line”. Case is not important. Example shown above.

Again, not all the SB sites are the same. Some have a SPACE between keywords, some have a COMMA, so be sure to follow the rules. For multi-word keywords, some want you to squish out the spaces while others allow it.

Do NOT click the “do not share” button. YES YOU WANT TO SHARE IT and that is the whole purpose of this! At some SB sites, this is titled “public” or “private”, where the answer is always “public”.

After you have your SB sites created, you can go back to Social Marker and let that free software create your bookmark at the sites you have designated via the click boxes. Rotate the SB accounts you use for each page/post that you submit with Social Marker. For example, you have 10 accounts with propeller.com, so randomly choose 3 of them to submit each unique page/post to for this time, and the next time randomly choose 3 more. Break out that spreadsheet and keep track of what you are doing.

Do NOT submit the same page to all 10 of your propeller.com accounts (or any of the other SB sites) at the same time!

Add new SB accounts to use in your promotions on a regular basis; ie, every couple weeks, once a month, etc. Also, mix it up a bit. You want to keep the appearance of randomness and ensure that the sole purpose of your SB account is not only to get link juice to your site (even though it is), you should also throw some other bookmarks in there on occasion, both on-topic as well as off-topic. For on-topic, maybe a bookmark to the Wikipedia definition of a DS3 circuit or a tech page on calculating T1 speeds. For off-topic, that’s your call totally. As an example for me for off-topic, I would probably make a couple posts pointing to the Cessna or Piper web sites, and another one to the Garmin GPS web site. 🙂

Step 4 – Rinse and Repeat Periodically

Remember, NATURAL and RANDOM. Those two words are part and parcel of your keys to the kingdom in deploying this type of promotion and marketing. Not too often, mix it up, only 2-3 of your SB accounts for each post.

Now keep in mind that so far I have been referring to ONE post. Again, mix it up. For your next session a few days from the start, post a different product set as your primary post; ie, if you focused on T1 for your first go-around, focus on DS3 the next time, Ethernet the following time, MPLS the next time, etc.

Then rinse & repeat. And again, I cannot stress enough the important of keeping your spreadsheet up to date with WHAT you posted at WHICH SB site WHEN. The burden of showing randomness and naturalness is on your shoulders with this, and without good record keeping as far as what you have done where and when, you are just whizzing into the wind. If you are going to expend the effort at all, make sure the effort is well-spent doing it correctly so you can obtain the maximum benefits from your hard work.

Step 5 – Re-Emphasis, More Thoughts & More Advanced Stuff

To really get the most benefit from SB promotions and marketing, here are some other tips to consider:

* Social bookmark your SB pages too! Yes you can do that, as they contain a specific URL that can be bookmarked.

* Do your SB promotions for each page/post slowly over time. Do a few today, a few more next week, etc. NATURAL and RANDOM.

* Mix it up, do not do ONLY bandwidth-related posts, have some other stuff in your SB accounts as well.

* Remember that you can bookmark other of your bookmark sites too!

* Make use of the TAGS for your primary keywords for each post, especially the LTK (Long Tail Keywords) as described in last week’s newsletter that do not get as much search volume but have a lot less competition where you can rank very well for them.

* Can you make a video that somehow shows telecom? I’ve been struggling with this for a long time and have not yet come up with anything, but if you have a brainstorm, videos tend to stay in the rankings longer than Social Bookmarks themselves, so if you do create one and upload it to Youtube, don’t forget to bookmark your Youtube site.

* Do not allow social bookmarking to consume all of your spare time. Again, it is a method, a technique, but it is only ONE method or technique. Keep up with your blog posts as well, as outlined in last week’s newsletter.

* Do not create an SB post for each and every little keyword that you could possibly come up with. SB can be a very effective tool, but like with any tool, use it wisely because the SB sites are also aware of the high possibility of SPAM, and you do not want to go there.

* If you have a GQ+ site, you have a whole bunch more potential posts to make. Say you want to target “Michigan T1 Lines”. Find the URL of the page on your GQ+ site that is specific to Michigan, then use THAT URL for an SB promotion. Cool, eh? Again, use wisely and carefully but there are some benefits to this as well.

* After you make your posts, many of the SB sites have an RSS feed associated with it. Get the URL for your specific RSS feed at that site, and then submit it to the RSS aggregators. I think there are some free tools to do this but I personally use “RSS Submit” software which distributes the XML file to the RSS aggregators for distribution.

Summary

I hope this has been helpful and you can put it to use. Again, do not abuse social bookmarking, but if used wisely and cautiously, it can provide a lot of good quality links and traffic.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent

President, JA Communications Group Inc.

Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238

June 17, 2009

Hello Lead Agent! Did you realize there are only about 200 more shopping days before Christmas? I can hardly believe that 2009 is already half over already. I just wanted to share a few words and thoughts with you to help you with your marketing efforts.

The State of the Economy

True, the economy is currently nothing to write home about. Certain areas of the country are affected much more than others, where Detroit comes immediately to mind. But how is this affecting circuit sales?

The telecom industry has not slowed nearly as much as other industries during the current recession, at least from my perspective. Companies are taking longer to make decisions in many cases, other companies are reconsidering switching carriers right now based on the uncertainties of what the future holds.

Then again, there are also many companies who realize that telecom is an essential part of doing business, and keeping those costs down only serves to help them and their bottom line. I am not seeing many companies ditching their T1 and replacing it with DSL or cable — if they do (imho) they might as well shut their doors now and avoid the frustration of prolonging the inevitable failure that will come with DSL or cable. It’s kind of like trying to put 50 pounds of potatoes into a 5 pound sack. No matter how many different ways you twist the sack and no matter how many angry phone calls they make to the sack manufacturer, it just ain’t gonna work. A 5 pound sack was never designed to hold 50 pounds of potatoes, in the same way that DSL or cable was never designed to do the same job for as many users as a T1 or greater circuit.

Despite the recent rash of really poor leads I have seen, there are still serious customers out there. The customers who currently have a T1 with some carrier where they have been paying $600 a month, and we can get them a T1 for about half that. The customers who are expanding their business (yes, there are some of those, even in today’s economy). Customers looking to consolidate phones and Internet access. Customers looking for more bandwidth for less money where that can be done with Ethernet or one of our carriers. Customers looking to replace all those interoffice point-to-point circuits with MPLS technology. Keep working at it, since the only way to lose is to quit.

Advancing Your Internet Marketing

The Internet is a constantly changing and evolving place and you need to keep up with what is going on. The promotion methods that worked two years ago and not nearly as effective today, but another method that worked two years ago is still very effective today. You need to understand where you can get the best return on your investment of time and effort as you continue to do your marketing.

With that as an introduction, I wanted to give you several things that have proven effective and as far as anyone can see, will continue to be effective for at least awhile yet, or at least in worst case will not become a negative even in the foreseeable future.

Blogs

The search engines, especially Google, loves blogs. In fact, the Google spiders almost get in each other’s way when they discover that new content has been posted on a blog. But that does not mean that a blog is the be-all end-all for your marketing needs, since a blog needs to be done correctly in order to maximize its effectiveness for its purpose.

It’s purpose? Yes, every site/blog has a purpose and there is zero sense in creating a site that either has NO purpose, or has so many purposes that a visitor cannot being to have a clue what the site is about. Your blog’s purpose is to drive qualified traffic to your SFT1 site.

Your best bet by a long shot for a blog platform is WordPress. WordPress has many more capabilities built into it than other blogging platforms, including TypePress, Blogger, and others. WordPress is FREE and can usually be installed for free from your web host’s cpanel interface (via Fantastico). Some notes about “best blogging practices”:

* Pick an appropriate theme. There are literally thousands of themes available that you can download and use, the majority of which are FREE. Pick the right theme and header graphic. If you are referring the visitor to a site about animal rights, it is obviously a faux pas to have a header graphic on your blog depicting fur coats. In the same sense, if you are referring visitors to your SFT1 site, a graphic depicting a log cabin kind of clashes.

* Edit your theme. Take the time to understand what WordPress can do with the theme you have selected. Why have a sidebar section titled “Blogroll” (which it is by default) with a bunch of links to some WordPress widgets and stuff — how does that help your visitor? You can RENAME your blogroll to be “Related Links” with links to your SFT1 site(s).

* Post frequently. Every time you make a post to your WordPress blog, it notifies the world (well ok, the RSS aggregators) that “yo, I have new fresh content, come and check it out”. Successful bloggers post content as often as daily, but I would say at least a couple times a week. It doesn’t have to be your version of War & Peace, but just something related to the topic, about 250-300 words in length. Check your spelling! Nothing screams “amateur” more than misspelled words.

* Setup Categories. You can have a category for “T1”, a category for “DS3”, a category for “Ethernet”, a category for “MPLS”, etc. You can make posts in each category separately, or designate a single post to appear in selected categories.

* Title Your Posts With Your Keywords. That should not be a news alert, but make sure your title contains your keywords.

* Setup Permalinks. In your WordPress Dashboard, designate that you want “custom” permalink structure, which would be “/%postname%/” (without the double quotes). This will take the TITLE that is in your post (which per the bullet above, contains your keywords) and use it for the posts in your blog. Can you see where the string “http://myblog.com/?p=123” has much less juice to give the search engines when compared to the string “http://myblog.com/saving-money-with-a-t1-line“? Do you see the difference?

* Your Ping List. From your WordPress Dashboard, click on the “Writing” link and you will see near the bottom a list of sites that you want to be pinged when you make a new post. The default single site there is Pingomatic. I would suggest changing that to include the following sites:

http://rpc.pingomatic.com/
http://api.feedster.com/ping
http://api.moreover.com/RPC2
http://api.my.yahoo.com/rss/ping
http://www.blogdigger.com/RPC2
http://www.blogshares.com/rpc.php
http://www.blogsnow.com/ping
http://www.blogstreet.com/xrbin/xmlrpc.cgi
http://bulkfeeds.net/rpc
http://www.newsisfree.com/xmlrpctest.php
http://ping.blo.gs/
http://ping.syndic8.com/xmlrpc.php
http://ping.weblogalot.com/rpc.php
http://rpc.blogrolling.com/pinger/
http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping
http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2

Make sure you don’t overdo it with your pings. If the ping aggregators start getting multiple pings from the same blog, they may consider you a spammer and ignore those pings. In this case, MORE is definitely not better.

Lastly, get your own domain name(s) for your blogs. There are many hosting services that for under $10 per month, you can host unlimited numbers of domains and have unlimited disk space. If your budget allows it and you want to have multiple blogs, spread out the blogs over multiple web hosts because that gives you multiple IP addresses that your blog links originate from. For example, I have some sites hosted with a host in Germany, a web host in Hong Kong, several in the US, so my target sites are getting “incoming link juice” from sites “around the world”, quite literally.

Now lastly again (really this time), I think it is worth the effort to indicate on your blog at the point where you refer people to your SFT1 site that this is not appropriate for residential users. The fact that they have a bona fide IRS-sanctioned tax-deductible HOME OFFICE is cool, but is not applicable for T1 or greater circuit more than 99% of the time. Remember, you catch what you are fishing for, and if your bait is aimed at residential customers, that is what you will get

Keywords – The Keys To The Kingdom

Hopefully I don’t have to tell you about the importance of keywords. In any link you use, you want to make sure that the anchor text has the keyword or keyword phrase that you want to promote. See the previous issue for more info about anchor text.

Google actually provides some tools for you to determine what keywords to use. If you go to:

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

You can enter your desired keywords (and probably have to enter a “captcha” phrase as well to make sure you are real and not a software robot), Google will give you a pretty good idea of the approximate volume of keywords. For example, using “T1 line” would yield a page like:

While you can’t tell the exact volume in many cases, you can determine that, using the example above, using the keyword phrase “t1 or t3 line” which yielded only 12 searches in all of last month, is probably not worth your effort.

Google helps further with a fairly new feature they are beta testing. Say you are searching from the main page at Google for the keyword phrase “t1 line”. The first page would look something like this:

Notice right above the first listing the link that says “Show Options”? Click that link. Now you will see:

Notice the link second from the bottom on the left that says “Wonder Wheel”? Do you WONDER what that is? When you click it, you will now see a graphical representation of the keyword you searched for, as shown here:

Kinda neat, eh? For your keyword phrase “t1 line”, Google is telling you that other searches that included the phrase “t1 line” and shown by the LINKS in the star-shaped graphical representation. Note I said those were links. That means you can click them to get more information. Clicking the link in the lower right for “t1 line price” comes up with the following:

Where Google has now allowed you to drill a bit deeper into that keyword to come up with even more keywords. You can continue to drill down, and in no time will discover LTK’s (Long Tail Keywords) which are keyword phrases with usually 3 or more words in them, but the beauty of LTK’s is that if they have sufficient search volume, they are rarely targeted by others or at least the competition is not nearly as steep for the LTK’s, giving you a much better chance to rank highly for it.

Summary

This newsletter went longer than I anticipated and I was also going to get into some other areas as well beyond blogs and keyword research, but I will save that for another newsletter.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238