Posts

Using pay-per-click guinea pigs: How to leverage PPC for more successful SEO campaigns

It happens to the best of us. You work on an SEO campaign with a few carefully chosen keywords for months. But when you finally get to the top of the search engine results…nothing. The traffic you expected doesn’t come in or, even worse, neither does the money. You start to wonder, “What went wrong? Is it that people don’t like the search snippet? Are they finding what they want on the website?”

It’s perhaps the most frustrating thing that can happen to an SEO. But it’s also something you can often avoid completely with a little planning. In this post I’m going to talk about a technique I like for using pay-per-click first to test out my SEO game plan. This way the next time you make it to the top of the search rankings, the traffic and money will start pouring in! Read more

Link Mass: How to determine how much effort it takes to rank for any particular keyword phrase

Based on the emails and response I received for my contribution to the “Link Building Secrets” project, I know that I am not the only one that loves to use metrics to measure how close I am to my goals. Thanks to everyone for your emails and encouraging comments. In this post I want to reveal another useful metric I use for our internal and client projects.

When you check the backlinks of sites ranking for competitive keywords (terms with many search results) you see that those sites have a large number of links pointing to them. But if you count the links of the top ten (using Yahoo Site Explorer, as the rest of the backlink checkers are not very useful), you notice that the results at the top don’t necessarily have more links than the ones at the bottom. This is the case because each link carries a unique rank-boosting weight (real PageRank and other link-value factors in the case of Google) that contributes to the ranking of the page for that particular term. In order to simplify things, I like to refer to the combinations of positive and negative link value factors of a page as its Link Mass. Read more

A Radically New Concept in Keyword Research

SEO expert and blogger Donna Fontenot recently honored me with a positive review of my recently launched software, RankSense. I must admit that I was not born a salesman and I detest hype and hyperbole, so it feels great when my peers see the value in what I am trying to bring to the market. Thanks Donna and thanks Tad for your reviews. Although I have worked closely with top copywriter, Paul Robb (winner of the SEOmoz landing page competition), and my clever technical writer and editor, Benjamin Zadik, to create persuasive copy for our product site, I have to admit that there is still a lot of work to do explaining the true benefits of the software (and in some measure, the benefits of SEO).

If you have read some of my posts, you know that I don’t like to do what everybody else is doing and I think that reflects strongly in the way I designed the software. For instance, if you have used any of the keyword research tools on the market, you know that there is little that differentiates one from the other. Most do the same thing: find the keywords people are actively searching for, measure their competitiveness, assess their value, and so on. RankSense is different.

In this post I would like to go deeper into what I believe is one of the most powerful and useful features of RankSense—a radically different keyword research module. Read more

A Little Personality Goes a Long Way

If you read my last post on advanced keyword research, you probably thought that there was no way you could look deeper into your search visitors’ desires. Well, think again. I want to share a clever technique I’ve been using for several months now to drastically improve the conversion rates of some of my projects.

The technique I am going to present is useful for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing like Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing. As you will see, you can later leverage the results for your SEO efforts. Read more

Advanced Keyword Research — The power of understanding your visitors

As search marketers, I think sometimes we underestimate the power of understanding our visitors. One way we can do this most effectively is through keyword research. Essential keyword research not only helps determine the success or failure of your whole search marketing campaign, but it can also provide a way of understanding your visitors and their intentions. Together, these points help define a winning SEO strategy.

If you have read about traditional keyword research, you are already familiar with the basics: keyword suggestions, search counts, level of competition, misspellings, and so on. The focus of traditional KR is to find relevant keywords that are also good opportunities (i.e. have low competition and enough search demand).

In this post, as has been my practice on this blog, I am going to dive deeper and push the limits of current keyword research. Carefully tailoring your content to your target visitors will provide you an edge most search marketers are currently missing. Read more

What do Search Marketing and Going to the Doctor have in Common? Learn my Best Kept Secret: How to find profitable keywords

doctor.jpgPicture this scenario:

Laura Martin has a mild headache. She knows she suffers from migraines, so she goes to her pharmacist. The pharmacist calls her doctor to get approval for a new refill of Imitrex, a migraine treatment medicine.

Paul Stevenson feels extremely tired. He is aware he suffers from type 1 diabetes. His body doesn’t make enough insulin. He only needs another insulin shot to help the food he has eaten turn into energy and get his body back to work.

These patients know exactly what they need. They have health problems and they already know the solution.

Now consider this:

Ralph Fortin was hit on the head by a baseball. He’s been having strong headaches. He doesn’t suffer from anything, as far as he knows. He doesn’t have a clue as to what might be wrong with his system. He goes to the doctor, explains what happened. The doctors gives him a check up and prescribes a pain killer.

Helen Willis was taking her usual morning walk. She’s a very healthy person with no medical history. She gets dizzy,  everything begins to spin, and she falls to the floor. She wakes up in an ambulance. The emergency doctor starts asking questions, but she doesn’t have a clue how to respond, so he needs to perform further tests. It turns out that she forgot to eat breakfast.

These patients didn’t have a clue as to what their problems were. They needed a solution to their problem.

What does this have to do with search? Good question. Read more

I'm not slacking, I'm working on a homerun post!

I am working on a killer post for next Monday where I am going to detail my best kept secret: a very simple technique to identify keywords with high demand and little or no competition.

Do you want to have keywords like this?

profitable_keywords3.gif

I've asked several A-list bloggers for their niche finding formula.  And guess what: they don't have time or don't think it's a good idea to share it.  I can't blame them.  Sharing this powerful information will render it practically ineffective and can cost them thousands of dollars in revenue due to the increased competition.

My blog reader Paul Montwill started the fire when he dared to ask me for such information.  I am sure he will be delighted when I post my technique next Monday.

Here are a couple of tidbits I was able to squeeze out of Aaron Wall and Neil Patel.  They are busy guys and I am glad they took the time to respond:

if he wants to become an SEO consultant then the easiest way to learn marketing is to start marketing one of his own sites… preferably covering a topic he is passionate about. Aaron Wall

The way I usually start is to look at terms that have a high CPC and
then from there I look for the least competitive ones and go after
them. I don't know of a quick way to do this because I myself don't
really do it, but there maybe some easy ways.  Neil Patel

What Neil mentions applies when you are planning to do SEO only. For PPC, you don't want to pay high bid prices.  In either case, what I personally look for is for terms that have high demand (search volume), good profit per sale, and low competition.  The profit per sale depends on the product and the affiliate commission you would get paid.

To measure the level of competition, I use two basic methods. If I am going to do PPC (which I usually do to start), I check the level of competing Adwords advertisers.  In the case of SEO, I check the SERPS (search engine result pages) to see how many sites are ranking organically for those terms.

How can you find those terms in the first place?

That is what I am going to answer in Monday's post.  I will include very detailed instructions and examples too.

 I am still debating whether this is a good idea.  Am I going to take food from my table by doing this?  Probably, but as I've committed myself to share, I guess I don't have an option.  I have to stick to my word.

Please leave some comments and let me know if this is something that you'll find useful.  Would I be giving away too much?  To share, or not to share: that is the question.

Estimating visitor value

We love traffic.  We want as much traffic as possible.  It is really nice to see our traffic graphs jump really high.  With our PPC campaigns we pretty much obsess over our click-through rates.  We like to go after the keywords phrases that drive the most traffic.  Everybody is in love with Digg and Social Media.

All traffic is not equal, even search traffic coming from similar phrases.  What we really need is traffic that converts.  Visitors that take whatever action we expect them to take.  Buy an e-book, subscribe to our newsletter or download our software, etc.  We need traffic motivated to take action.

There is a big difference between running a site that get 10,000 visitors a day that makes $10,000 a month and one that gets 1,000 visitors a day that makes $20,000 a month. For the first, the visitor is worth 3 cents, and for the second is worth 66 cents — 22 times more. Read more

Determining searcher intent automatically

Here is an example of how useful it is to learn SEO from research papers.

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you will know that I am a big fan of finding out what exactly search visitors want. I posted about classifying both visitors and landing pages, so that search visitors looking for information find information articles, searchers looking to take action land on transaction pages, etc.

I really like the research tools MSN Labs has. One of my favorites is this http://adlab.msn.com/OCI/OCI.aspx

You can use it to detect commercial intent. Try it. It is really nice.

I’ve been wanting to do something like that, but I didn’t have enough clues as to how to do it. Until now.

Search engines patent expert, Bill Slawsky, uncovered a gem. A research paper that details how a team of researchers achieved exactly this.

I still need to dig deep into the document and the reference material, but it is definitely an excellent find.

I will try to make a new tool for this. I will also try to make this and other scripts I write, more accessible to non-technical readers. I guess most readers don’t care much about the programming details. They just want to be able to use my tools easily :-)

LongTailMiner v0.1 alpha — find invisible Long Tail keywords

I’m really enjoying this blogging thing! Every comment I am getting from my readers is a new idea that I feel rushed to put into practice.

My reader, Andrea, mentioned she parses log files to mine for keywords as well. That is an excellent idea.

I decided to put that idea into code and here is a new tool to mine for long tail keywords.

To make really good use of it, I would setup a PPC campaign in Google with a “head keyword” in broad match, bidding at the minimum possible. Make sure your ads maintain good click-through rates (over 0.5%) to avoid getting disabled. Run it for a week or two (preferably more) and you will have a good number of search referrals and “long tail keywords” that people are actually looking for. You can later create good content pages that include those keywords. In most cases, long tail keywords are really easy to rank with on-page optimization only.

I will probably write a Youmoz entry with more detailed instructions on how to take advantage of this. In this way I can get more people to try it and get really valuable feedback.

Read more