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