Thursday, May 28, 2015

When picking keywords, focus on good key phrases

When the time comes for you to choose a domain name, it makes sense that you somehow incorporate what you do with your domain name. As written in last month’s column, the domain name should give a potential customer an idea of what your business is about. This is known as optimizing, or Search Engine Optimization (SEO.) SEO, when done properly, brings huge results to your business, and is fundamental to your online success. Google, and other search engines (Bing, and Yahoo) are able to locate a website that has keywords or key phrases in its title tag or name when users search for products and services you may provide.

I believe we should focus on key phrases, because when I am searching for something on Google, I type phrases in the form of a question. For instance I was searching for washing machines that are large enough to wash comforters. So I typed in Google, “washing machines that can handle comforters.” Mind you, Google suggested the last two words, so that meant a lot of people must be searching for the same thing. This is a smart tidbit to notice, the fact that Google already had suggestive wording to help me search. Obviously, this key phrase is being searched for a lot. That being said, keywords should not be your focus, instead key phrases are a more accurate term which really defines how people search.

It’s important during the discovery and development of your keyword and key phrase lists, that you don’t over think the process (it’s very easy to do this.) My recommendation is to place yourself in your customer’s shoes and begin to think like them. Think about what you would be searching for if you needed dog food. You might type something like “where is organic dog food sold?” And if you wanted to narrow it down further, you may search for “organic dog food sold in St. Louis.”

You may ask, how does this help in the keyword selection for my domain name? Good question. Your domain name should contain the obvious words of ‘organic dog food’ (using the example above.) Try to resist the urge to use broad keywords like ‘dog food,’ because your website may not rank very high for that term unless you are a huge, highly authoritative website. The goal is to select primary keywords that will boost your website to the front page of Google and other search engines. Google will reward you immensely when your relevant keywords match your website address.

Try to use descriptive keywords, such as ‘organic dog food.’ The term ‘organic’ describes the type of dog food you sell, which helps to drive traffic to your website from users who are specifically looking for that type of product. If you are a jeweler, you would want to use terms like ‘gold jewelry,’ or ‘silver necklaces’ – these are specific items a person might search for. When you use specific keywords or key phrases, you are more likely to drive lots of targeted traffic to your website leading to significantly higher conversion rates to sales.

In closing, keep an eye on which keywords and key phrases are working and which ones are not. Analytic data like this helps you to forecast or predict your customers’ behavior. Data? Analytic data you say? Yes, part of running a continuously successful online business means understanding the behavior of your customers and putting that intelligence to good use.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

More Keyword Usage Tips For Your Business

Another reason I’ve been writing about keywords and how important they are to your online promotional and marketing activities is that the keywords you use are like the gold nuggets to everything you produce on the internet. These words are how your current and brand new customers will find you. It’s what your business will be known for. Most times businesses get this part of their online marketing wrong. Then they wonder why they aren’t getting traffic to their website, or that no one is noticing their online advertising.

Successful keyword development should be a well thought out activity. According to Wordtracker, “Keywords are what we type in when we are searching for products, services, and answers on the search engines, an act that Americans performed 15.5 billion times in April 2010 according to ComScore, the web research firm.”

That’s why it’s imperative to use words and phrases that your customers are searching for. If your customers are looking for ‘cupcake stores in Ferguson’ (better known as local search) – ‘Natalie’s Cakes and More’ shows up as the third listing on the first search page of Google. That’s just how important keywords are to your marketing efforts. When a user finds this listing on Google, more than likely they will consider Natalie’s Cakes and More as a first choice. Maybe they are familiar with the name of the bakery because of the news reports or just word of mouth. It is still a powerful testament to what and how keywords are beneficial to your marketing efforts.

Still using Natalie’s Cakes and More as our example, the company could also use what are known as ‘vanity keywords’ as another method of getting found in the search engines. These are trickier keywords to use as they are words that describe the kind of cupcakes Natalie’s bakery sells. For instance, if Natalie’s sold a special summer only flavor of cupcakes like key lime for instance, the vanity keywords could be, ‘key lime cupcakes in Ferguson.’ This use of keywords will target the type of cupcakes available for the user as well as the location of the bakery. Keywords are a powerful tool that must be used in order to have any success online.

Even using those same keywords for Facebook advertising is another way of utilizing your marketing power. Since Facebook allows for targeted advertising like local and vanity keywords, this practice will cause your marketing efforts to be earn you more customers and in turn, more money.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

No Winners In War

I sit here in some kind of unnamed emotional or just some kind of space. Trying to make sense of something that has no sense. No reason, no rhyme, just utter stupidity. I’m free but it doesn’t feel like it. Something simmering for a very long time finally boiled over, hot liquid running down the side of the boiling pot. The liquid finally meets the hot stove surface and sizzles. More steam arises enticing more liquid to run down the other side of the boiling pot. it won’t end until it ends. The liquid can not go back in the pot. It is gone forever. Only a memory of it remains. Only a memory.

Places of pain dot the landscape of our lives. Like abandoned landmarks, only to be remembered when a similar pain finds and revives it. A deserted dry place. Not fun to visit, quickly passed by. Wandering tourists don’t even stop for gas. Speeding past it on approach; water doesn’t live here.

Take the pain and stuff it. Hide it, move it far away from sight. Don’t talk about it, don’t think about it, and you can make it. You can go on because in you is the stuff survivors and winners are made of. It’s flight or fight, and you fought and won, but it doesn’t feel like victory. It feels like it was a job, a duty, a task that fell in the order of things. It was a last minute addition. A pinch hitter brought in to win the game. The first swing is a foul ball. Speeding down the 3rd base line. The pain strikes again this time missing the target leaving itself open for the ultimate ending. Not letting it beat me, not wanting to show weakness or vulnerability. Stay strong, stay the course, end this dreadful game of pretend. Show your real feelings. Say what’s really on your mind. It’s better that way. Now you know where I stand and what I’m capable of.

I won’t back down now, you’ve pulled me from spectator to participant, and you are driving me in the ground. Winning a battle that should have never been. Where in this ungodly world do you exist? What place of barren emptiness do you dwell? Last swing and it’s a good hit. Not only is it a hit, it’s a homerun! The pain is here, the void, the emptiness is visible. Light shines on it showing nothing growing in the dryness. Hope for a seed, something to bring it back to life. Nothing you possess can make it bountiful. There are limits to what you can do, what you know how to do. Those limits sarcastically smile, knowing that the battle is only stopped because the opponent is out of time. Out of innings, out of breath. Defeat is never beautiful. Victory isn’t always sweet. In war, there will be casualties. There will be pain. What now?