Google’s keyword tools was the first thing SEO professionals used to visit when researching the keywords for SEO as it was reliable, free and it was Google’s tool. But in late August, 2013 Google took it out and its place was taken by Google’s Keyword Planner tool which was a combination of Keyword tool and Traffic Estimator.
This change by Google shaked the SEO community as there was no way to find closely related terms, no local or global monthly searches, no phrase or broad search, hus the exact match data was available, nor any way to let you target specific mobile devices. All the historical data was provided based on exact match only and it targets all devices by default (According to their official page they say they are working on setting bid adjustment for mobile devices). But when some of these features were removed, for sure did Google added somethings to improve it like filtering locations which means you can view the search volume on a local basis, “multiple keyword list” which lets you search on combination of words and dividing your keywords into ad groups. (Now there are a lot of other things in Keyword Planner tool added that we will be working on as we start doing our keyword research)
How to access it
To use the Keywords planner tool you need to have a google account. Login into your google account and access Google Adwords. If Google keyword planner doesn’t open up, you can find it under “Tools” -> “Keyword Planner”.
How to use it
On the Keyword Planner tool you are presented with 4 choices:
Search for new keywords and ad group ideas
Choose this option if you just want to perform regular keyword research for SEO or ad group based on a particular keyword, landing page or a category.
Get search volume for a list of keywords or group them into ad groups
Upload your keyword file or enter a list of keywords and get the average monthly search, competition, keyword cost just for those keywords. Related keywords won’t show up in the results.
Get traffic estimates for the list of keywords
Upload your keyword file or enter a list of keywords and get the daily traffic estimates for those keywords.
multiply keywords to get new keyword ideas
You can enter two lists of keywords here and google will come up with all possible combinations of keywords from that list.
Since we are focusing on using Keyword Planner tool for SEO, we will need to choose the first option. The other options are more related when we are focusing on paid advertisements. So we choose “Search for new keywords and ad group ideas” and you will have these options to refine your search:
Your product or service – enter your product or service which will be the keyword and you get the results based on that entered term/terms
Your landing page – enter a website or a webpage and you get the results based on the keywords that are related to that page.
Your product category – choose or type in your product category and you get results based on all the keywords related to that category.
it also gives you some options to refine the results
Targeting based on
Location – you can choose a particular country or can further narrow it down to a state or a city and your search results will be based on that.
Language – choose a language if you want search results based on any specific language
Search partners – choose if you want to get results based on just “google” as search engine or want to include results from other search engines too.
Negative keywords (keywords that should not be displayed in the result) – any keywords entered here will not be displayed in your results
Option to customize the search based on
search volume, suggested bid, competition
related keyword terms, adult result terms, keywords already added to account
Include/exclude keywords with specific terms.
Once your data is entered click “Get Ideas”. The result will be displayed in two tabs “Ad group ideas” and “keyword ideas”. By default “Ad group ideas” will be selected as Keyword planner tool focuses more on pay-per-click campaign. SO you will need to go to “Keyword ideas” as we are focusing on using the tool for SEO.
Understanding your results
Based on the filters that you applied, the results of your keyword are displayed. As you can see the “Global monthly search” and “Local month search” is replaced by “Avg. Monthly Search”. In the same column right before the average monthly search value is displayed there is a graph icon. Move you mouse over it and it shows a historical data for the search volume of that keyword over the period of twelve months. This gives you an idea of the trends based on months or season.
On the right side of your results table you can see “Targeting” and “Customize your search” panels, you can use them and refine your search again if you are not satisfied with the shown results.
It is important to know that by default the results shown are based on “broad match”. If you want to get the results based on the “exact match” of your keyword, you can do this by going to the right side of the page towards “Your plan” section. You can see a pencil icon, click it and change the “Add keywords as” option from “Broad match” to “Exact match”.
Once you change it will ask you if you want to apply the same to change to you previously saved keywords in your plan, but remember that it is for your keywords saved to your PPC campaign. Once you change your keywords match, the next search you perform will be in that keyword match (for example, if you choose “add keywords as” option to “exact match” it will show future results for “exact match” until you go and change it.)
Saving your results
You can download all results by clicking on the “Download” button on the top of the grid. It will ask you for the format to download it into and choose “Excel CSV”. This will be easy to do if you are just searching for one set of keywords. But if you are entering your keywords in separate goes, then you would have to download them every time you search and then merge them on your computer. So there is an easier option, instead of downloading them click “Add All” button right next to “download” and add all the keywords on to one plan. If you just want few keywords from the search result you can click on the “ >> ” icon on the last column of the search results and that will add the keywords individually to you plan.
Once you have your desired keywords on the plan, from the right side you can download your plan. Once you have all your keywords you can delete the plan as well.
Though Google Keyword Planner has replaced Google keyword tool it is a step closer to getting more refined keywords results and does a good job helping SEO professionals in their keyword research.
We would like to know if you use Google Keyword Planner for your SEO or do you use some other tools?
Google Trends was a tool we all have used for so many reasons, some might have used it just to check the hottest trending topics while some might have used it to find the trending topics to write a blog about. Until now Google Trends might have showed up the wrong terms for your topic of interest. But the new intelligent update today it has become smarter and shows more meaningful results while you are searching for the topic. So when you look up “rice,” are you measuring search interest in Rice University or the rice you eat? In the past if you wanted to campare the trends between “RIce” and “Harvard” you mich get a report which would look like this
With the new update (still in beta phase) when you start typing in “rice” you will see suggestions showing up (just like Google Instant but with tip underneath to distinguish them). So when you type “rice” and you’ll see suggestions like “Rice University (University)” and “Rice (Cereal).”
This will show a fair comparison between “Rice” and “Harvard” and more give you better “related searches” results. The new result will look like this
This new update not helps with ambiguous search terms but gives results considering many different searches which pretty much mean the same thing. It is like it thinks (uses brain) and shows results based on what a mind can come up with. Say you are searching for a person it will even show the results if you have mis-spelled the name. For your search “Jason Statham” or you miss-spell it and say “Jason Stathom” the algorthim will take many factors in consideration and show the same results. Google in their blog are even saying that in the future, as they keep updating and improving their algorithm you might get right result when you search for a phrase. Example you search “Lead actor in Transporter” and might show the results for “Jason Statham”. This will be a useful update when taking commonly misspelled searches in different languages into consideration.
There are data for more than 700,00 unique topics from Barack Obama to football (soccer) to Hayao Miyazaki. You can even filter the displayed data to measure the worldwide performance or choose any of these seven countries: Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, UK, and US.
Share your thoughts and reviews on this update. DO you like it better now or do you like the previous version better?
Meta tags are HTML attributes used to describe page elements like keywords, content, author of the content written and other metadata. Meta Description is one of that HTML attribute that is used to describe the content of the page. Few years back it was all about Meta tags, Meta tags and Meta tags. Meta tags have played a significant role in SEO for long years. We all used to spend a lot of time figuring out the appropriate keyword density and optimal length of the description but my question now is “Is it really worth spending time to create Meta Description or Keywords tags for each and every page of your website?”
Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team shares his views on the same on by answering to a user from Netherlands who asked him the question on Nov 18th 2013 :
“Is it necessary for each single page within my website to have a unique meta description?”
According to Matt, you have two practical approaches to this situation – one is have a unique meta description for each and every single page or dont have a meta description at all but it is important to not have any duplicate meta descriptions for your pages. The lazy fix for this is just register your website with Google Webmaster Tool and let the tool do the hard work for you. Google Webmaster tool is one of a amazing tool to keep track of your site’s pages, crawl errors, search traffics and much more features. Once you register your website with it, it crawls your website notifying you of any detected errors or warnings. It will report all the pages that have duplicate meta descriptions under “Search Appearances” -> “HTML Improvements”. Once you reach that page it will show the overview report of the site and you can browse through it to see all the pages that need a fix.
He also says that it is possibly not worth spending your time generating unique meta descriptions for all the pages on the website and says that even he doesn’t spend time writing meta descriptions for his blogs. Let Google do the hard work of generating the meta description for you pages through it’s own snippets. BUt he also suggests that if you think some page on your website are important, or have a high ROI, your home page, featured products page and you think that Google’s generated meta description is not up to your mark then you can go ahead and write a unique meta description for those pages.
Now that we know that its not really a necessity to spend time writing meta descriptions, it would be wonderful if we dont even need to work out on the Meta Keywords tag as well. So I found a video of Matt Cutts uploaded on Mar 19, 2012 and there he says that “You shouldn’t spend any time on the meta Keywords tag”. There are no pages in the search engines (where he means Google) these days that use meta keywords to determine the importance of that tag as that tag is not visible on the SEPRs.
In the later part of the video he puts importance on meta description tags but I would say we can ignore that part as in his latest video he said that Google will generate those snippets for you.
Here is what I found when I tried to analyze what Matt had to say about the Meta Description and the Meta Keywords tag.
I searched “Meta Descriptions” in google and the following results were displayed.
As you can see that Moz has acquired the top rank for that keywords and the description of that page displayed on the SERP is “Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that provide concise explanations of the contents of web pages. Meta descriptions are commonly used on search engine …”
When I visited that page and checked their Meta Tags this is what is found:
1. No Meta keywords written
2. The actual Meta Description written by the page author is “Get SEO best practices for the meta description tag, including length and content.” This description is nowhere included on the SERP for the term searched.
Then from where was the Meta description displayed on the SERP generated. The answer is – Google snippets try to generate the most precise description for the page from the actual content of the displayed page. They try to make it as accurate as possible based on the quality of the content written. It is not necessarily the first few sentences of the page, it can be the located anywhere on the page – top, middle or at the end of the content.
I checked the few other displayed results on the SERP for the same keyword and found that the description generated was the first line but instead they were selected couple of line after the first line.
It is not necessary to create Meta Description for all the pages of your website instead you can either leave it blank and let Google do your job or create completely unique descriptions for most important pages. Do not have duplicate meta descriptions and to help you find that make use of Google Webmaster Tools.
Create quality content for your pages without any keyword stuffing as that will give search engines create a good description for you helping you rank higher.
It is not worth spending your time writing (thinking) meta keywords for your pages thinking that it will help you rank higher as Google doesn’t have any pages that uses Meta Keywords tags in their search algorithm according to Matt Cutts. But if you are focusing other search engines which account for 35% of the searches made that will be a different story and we are not aware of what their considerations are.
Will you be still spending time generating Meta description and Meta Keywords? Share your thoughts and reviews on this.
WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platform around since it was launched in 2003 and it has gained popularity as Content Management system. There are so many benefits of using WordPress for building your website up. Some of the most common reasons people choose WordPress these days are:
Easy to use
It has a very easy to use interface and adding new pages, crating blogs, images, etc. can be done in no time.
there are a lot of pre-designed themes to choose from and the customization is easy to do if you want to make any changes to the existing theme.
WordPress websites are well structures and have a clean and simple design. You can easily define your own URLs, meta tags for each page and can also write ALT tags and meta tags for individual images. And so you can get a WordPress site rank more rapidly than a regular static site.
There a are developers who design WordPress plugins for almost everything, some are free while some can be paid. These plugins are easily available on the plugins sections and all you need to do is “activate” them and you are good to go. Plugins range from anything to SEO tag generators, social sharing, backup generator, etc.
All the WordPress themes have built-in blogs as the when WordPress was first launched it was a blogging platform it has in built blog which only needs to be integrated with newsletter subscription feature, commenting system, XML generation and RSS syndication.
Full Control over your website
you can manage your WordPress website or blog from any internet based computer as there is no need for any FTP software or any coding to be done. And so you dont need to look for a web developer to manage basic changes on your website.
It has become the most used content publishing platform and with the increase in content marketing strategies it is gaining popularity. But sometimes the most web savvy people are prone to making mistake while using WordPress themes that might make them look silly. Here this infographic shows th e15 most silly mistakes people make while using WordPress and the ways to avoid them.
15 silly WordPress errors to avoid
If you have read about search engine optimization or even done seo you surely might have came across the term “backlinks”. But what are they and what is all the fuss about backlinks? We will talk about what backlinks are, why are they important and how to build quality backlinks to your website without spamming the web.
So lets start with what are backlinks? Backlinks are the links pointing to your website from other websites. They are also known as inbound links. The number of backlinks to your website determine its value to search engines.
Why are backlinks important? Backlinks when received from high quality websites suggests search engines about the importance of your website. It is also a factor in increasing your Google PageRank. According to Google, the more high quality backlinks your website has the more relevant it is compared to your competition. When talking about relevance, when you receive backlinks from web page with related content they are considered more relevant and of higher value than from the website with irrelevant content.
Do not confuse yourself with reciprocal links as they are different from backlinks. Reciprocal links are a mutual link exchange between two website to boost the traffic and links pointing. But since to reach their goal many webmasters performed link exchange with websites that weren’t related to their niche. With the Google’s algorithm updates, it is penalizing websites with irrelevant link exchange and there were lot of webmasters emailing to remove their links from the link exchange program. Link building is considered an off-page optimization strategy and is equally important to the on-page optimization strategy. But lets not deviate from our topic and get back on ways to build high quality backlinks to your website with rising the spam alerts.
1. Build website for people, not for search engines
Create interesting and valuable content on your website. If your content is created by keeping your audience in mind and not the search engine your readers will share it attracting more audience and better backlinks. If your content is good it acts as Link bait. According to Matt Cutts link bait is anything interesting enough to catch people’s attention. Real backlinks are generated by people, you don’t need to work for it.
You can see that wikipedia dominates this by providing relevant and valuable content to its readers and that is the reason it tops on Google for most of the general terms searched.
When you create content you should keep these points in mind to create content to attract right audience.
- Use inviting title tags for your content like
- 6 ways to…
- how to generate…
- Write unique content. Don’t ever try to start your blog with few sentences of your own and the just copy someone’s blog to increase your word count.
- Controversies get more views. Something like “Is Google the best search engine?”
- Write about what your viewers are interested in.
2. Guest blogging for other blogs in your industry
If your website is new and you don’t have enough audience for your content to act as link bait then being is guest blogger is your option. Guest blogging on high profile websites will not only get you popularity but you can get backlinks with custom anchor texts with the keywords you want to rank for. You can provide anywhere from 1-3 backlinks to your website from your content or your author bio page.
Guest blogging is a great way of generating high quality backlinks and an easier way to establish yourself in your industry.
3. Interview someone influential
Interview someone important from your industry or any influential person and create a blog post about your interview pointing link to their website. This is will benefit you in two ways, first either that person will link you back and publish the experience on their website or the second thing can be you will get audience who are interested in reading the interview and share it for you.
4. Create your social profiles
Creating social profiles for your company and the key employees or the founders of the company linking to the website gives you high quality backlinks from reliable websites. This way you can get some good number of links back to your websites. Some of the major social places to do this is Google Plus, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.
5. Write a review/testimonial
I am sure you might be using any services and products, you can write a review about them giving a link back to your website. You can also write a comprehensive review about a business and ask them to link back to you.
6. Give away free stuff
Develop software, template or some plugins and give it for free with a link back to your website. You can also have your users share it socially before downloading your software or free templates. That way you get your software, template or plugin socially shared as well as get a backlink to your website.
7. Getting Press as a HARO source
Sign up for Help a Reporter, the website where they are looking for specific type of people to respond to inquiries and interviews which they feature in their press release which gives you or your company a good brand awareness. Reply to the inquiries your get in your emails you feel are relevant to you.
8. Blog commenting
This is another way of generating good backlinks. Go on to other popular blogs and commenting there with a link back to your website. Doing this regularly not only generates backlinks but also helps you build a relationship with the author.
This is not the primary source of getting backlinks as most of the blogs have “nofollow” tag for their comments.
These are some of the few common ways to get backlinks but the best way to find which works for you the best is through your own research. What ever ways you chose make sure you don’t choose spammy black hat ways and don’t get yourself blacklisted. If you think you have some other good ways to do so share it with our audience.
Instagram is a social networking service which allows its users to share photos and videos online by applying digital filters and gives users the opportunity to share it on other social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. And since its launch in October 2010 it has became a popular sensation.
Instagram over 100 million active users and 58 photos and one user signing every second. With its increasing popularity there are a lot of people using it, but there is no fun using it if the photos and videos you share are not being viewed by anyone. You need followers for your uploads to be viewed. The question how to get popularity on Instagram and how to get more followers?
1. Upload good pictures
Its about quality and not about quantity. Dont keep on uploading pictures one after another thinking that it will generate you more followers. Go for quality pictures which your followers are really interested in. Look at what theme most popular pictures are on try to follow the same trend.
2. Connect Instagram with your Facebook
Connecting these two accounts can help you get more likes as most of the Facebook users are using Instagram and once you connect these accounts you will be able to see a lot of friends on there too. Chances are they might follow you as they are already your Facebook friends.
3. Use Filters
Filters can beautify your pictures. Using filters on your original pictures will help you get more likes. Some of the most popular filters are:
4. X-Pro II
4. Timing is everything
If you upload a picture in the middle of night at 2 AM because you are a night owl, you cannot expect a good amount of likes or comments on your picture. The right time to upload is when most people are going to work or returning back from the work as that is the time when there are most chances that they would be checking their profiles. So the right time can be 8 AM or 4 PM.
5. Use Hashtags
Just like Twitter, Google Plus or some other social networking site Instagram also uses hashtags. Some tags are more popular over the others. Using hashtags while uploading your photos helps them to be found easier based on the hashtags used. It is important to use relevant hashtags. You can use upto to three hashtags for one photo to avoid making your photos look spammy.
Here are the top 20 most popular hashtags. You can also check out the list of top 100 most popular hashtags.
1.#love – 143,817,139 photos
2.#instagood – 97,570,915 photos
3.#me – 80,693,198 photos
4.#tbt – 75,411,509 photos
5.#cute – 75,047,873 photos
6.#photooftheday – 70,995,806 photos
7.#instamood – 64,925,462 photos
8.#beautiful – 54,570,181 photos
9.#picoftheday – 53,776,027 photos
10.#igers – 52,997,258 photos
11.#girl – 52,960,538 photos
12.#instadaily – 51,313,415 photos
13.#iphonesia – 51,124,375 photos
14.#follow – 46,372,281 photos
15.#tweegram – 44,656,230 photos
16.#happy – 43,360,681 photos
17.#summer – 42,718,347 photos
18.#instagramhub – 42,101,798 photos
19.#bestoftheday – 40,202,550 photos
20.#iphoneonly – 39,287,795 photos
6. Combine Images
Sometimes combining images (making a collage) to display multiple images into one. It gets more likes and/or comments over the regular ones. Some of the apps to create collage are Pic Collage, Diptic and Collage Maker Free.
7. Use Statigram
This is one of the best platform to use Instagram on the web. It is a faster option to comment on other’s photos (liking/commenting on others photos increases the number for likes and/or followers for you). It performs a statistical analysis for your profile
8. Follow back
If you want your profile flowing in the right direction you would want more “followers” than “following”. Follow users who are likely to follow you back and when you follow someone back, give them few days to follow you back. If in that certain period of time they don’t follow you back, stop following them. Keeping a track of all your followers/following will be difficult if the number is large so make use of some automated tools. “InstaFollow” and “JustUnFollow” are two great apps that will do it for you for free and are available both on App Store and Google Play Store.
These are some of the most useful tips to get more followers on Instagram. If you have any tips that are not listed here we would love if you can share it with our audience.
PPC is way of getting targeted audience to your website by publishing ads on search engines. It is an effective way of generating when you don’t highly rank for your top keywords. But unlike SEO, you will have to pay a price for visitors coming through those published ads.
In order to have a successful PPC campaign, you will need to take care of few important things.
1. Understand your business/brand
- What is your brand/business all about? What are your services/products?
- Study your competition. How are your different than your competition?
- Go through your successful and failed marketing strategies so you can learn from them and not repeat them.
2. Know what your goals are.
- Different businesses have different set of goals. It can be anything based on the nature of your business like of you own a blog your goal is to get more visitors or may be more subscribers, if you are a online shopping website you want more buyers. You goal can be anything based on the nature of your business, so determine your goals early.
- Make your goals realistic. Say if you advertise for $200 you cannot expect to get 200 new leads. But a more realistic goal might be getting around 30 leads. New leads don’t mean new buyers/customers to your products or service but they might possibly turn into one.
3. Determine your budget
- Managing a PPC campaign is exciting and yet overwhelming. You can end up wasting more than whats on your budget if you don’t keep a close eye on your spending. You don’t want to go crazy on an advertising campaign which is not paying off.
- Based on the industry and the keyword you opt-in for, your cost of advertisement varies. For example if you are a cake shop owner you keyword might cost you around 30 cents while if you are a auto care center you might end up paying 5 dollars to 8 dollars a keywords.
- Study your ppc campaign on a regular basis and keep and eye on your ROI. Study how much is your one customer worth. If your spending is around $20 per customer but you are just making $10 on one customer, its not worth carrying that campaign.
4. Who is your targeted audience
- Who is your audience? Figure out the targeted age group, gender, etc. If you are a Bridal store your targeted audience are females.
- What is their location? If you are a cake shop owner in Los Angeles you don’t want to target audience in Seattle.
- What are they looking for? If you are trying to sell an iPhone to a user looking for ringtones it will not turn into a lead. But instead if you are offering a ringtone to audience looking to buy iPhone it can turn into a lead.
5. Work on your keyword list
- Make a list of all important keywords related to your services or products. The success of a PPC campaign mostly depends on the right keywords.
- Finalize your targeted keywords using keywords tools – keywords planner tool (by Google Adwords), Google trends, Wordtracker, etc.
- Bid on the keywords that aptly describe your business.
- Eliminate the keywords that don’t generate leads.
6. Attractive ad Campaign
- For your ad campaign to be successful, your audience has to find your ad attractive.
- Make your TAG line appealing and catchy. Putting right keywords in the campaign is not the only thing about tagline.
- Create different ads for multiple keywords.
- Try not to mislead your audience with your ad campaign. If a visitor come to your website and doesn’t find what he/she is looking for it negatively affects your business.
7. Homepage is NOT your Landing page
- When users are redirected to home page instead of landing page they can get overwhelmed with the content.
- Design a new landing page if you don’t have one.
- Landing page should have a good call of action. If it doesn’t have a call of action the visitor leaves your site, increasing your bounce rate.
8. Most IMPORTANT – monitor your campaign closely
- Check your ROI.
- Redesign your ad if its not generating enough leads.
- You need to track the success of your campaigns and ensure if its getting you right audience.
- Redo points 1-7 based on market changes and change your campaign accordingly.
In general, it is advisable to work towards increasing your ROI by drilling your Adwords spending up and down based on trends without losing the track of your monthly spending. SHare your views with us on this.
Any new client I am consulting always asks me: “What approach should we start out with first?”
So the first thing I would like to say is that there is no first, second or last approach. SEO and PPC are the standard and most powerful traffic generating approaches for your online marketing campaign besides other marketing strategies like social media marketing, video marketing, content marketing and so on..but lets not get into it right now and carry on with our discussion on how to choose between PPC and SEO.
Lets start with a brief understanding of both these approaches. Both these approaches work towards the same goal (generating more traffic) the only difference is the way of achieving it.
SEO – Search engine optimization is building your website traffic using strategic approaches to have a higher ranking in organic search engine results page (SERPs). The major investment in using SEO tactics is your time (of-course money is involved too), and since it takes time for your SEO methodologies to take effect and have higher rankings, SEO is a long term effect. You will need to keep on following the new approaches (changing your in-page and off-page methodologies) towards your SEO marketing to maintain your higher rankings. The higher your SERP rankings high is the number of leads your business is getting and you will realize your efforts are well worth the investment.
PPC – Pay per click marketing is paying directly to the advertiser to display your digital ads on the search engines result pages. CPC – as the name says cost per click is what you will pay every time your ad is clicked. Advertisers bid on the keywords they want to target on their niche to get a spot on the sponsored results. The most common platforms to have your sponsored results displayed are Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Bing.
Comparing both the approaches:
Position on SERP
Displayed with all the other organic listing on the main body of the page. There will be a lots or related search results (mostly your competition) displayed based on the search engine’s algorithm, the search query and your strategic SEO approaches used.
These results might not be filtered based on the location until and unless specified. There may be no guaranty on the position/ranking of your website.
Displayed on the top or the right of the search page’s body with “Sponsored Results”, “Ads” or “Promoted” written.
The background color will be different from the background color of the body to make them stand out. There will be no guaranty for top ranking on PPC either, but the results displayed here might be filtered out based on the keyword bid for, location, timing selected.
The ongoing cost of SEO consultant (if you are hiring one) which can include your initial website setup, implementing SEO strategies and continuous maintenance of those strategies. There is no cost associated with choosing targeted keywords by SEO.
Spending around a $1000 per month on your SEO approach, getting higher rankings in SERPs will keep on generating lots of free to your website. But you need to keep in consideration that more leads will pop in only if you have higher rankings, websites with lower SERP positions can only manage to get very few leads.
The ongoing cost of PPC consultant (if you are hiring one) plus the cost of the PPC campaign which you will be paying to the ad platform based on the number of clicks and the price of your keywords.
Based on the industry and your keyword your cost on maintaining that campaign may vary.
If your keyword is “Truck Insurance” your average CPC according to Google Keyword Planner tool is $11.22. On average for 100 clicks your cost would be $1122.00. Taking a realistic conversion rate of 5% your cost of one lead is $224.40. Keeping your profit and your cost per lead in consideration, decide if its worth spending this much every month and don’t forget to add the cost of the consultant to this budget.
With SEO you have to expect at least 3 months for your leads to flow in with regular organic results. If you are a startup business you would not love to spend on advertising while just waiting for 3-4 months for your first online lead to show up.
You might need to keep up with your SEO approaches to maintain higher ranking and have new leads flow in.
With PPC, all you need to do is sign up with a ad publishing platform, chose your industry keywords and have your ad designed (1-2 days). You will have your first ad published as soon as you are done with these simple steps and can expect leads to flow in.
Once you remove your campaign your PPC leads stop (except if your leads have turned in your returning customers – you expect them as your direct leads now)
Maintaining SEO is maintaining your website and your code. It will be more complex if you don’t have much knowledge about how to manage the code and what to change when needed.
Here you will need to keep up with the new search engine updates and follow the strategies accordingly to maintain your higher rankings.
Maintaining PPC campaign will be easier (easier and not easy) compared to maintaining a website. All you have to manage here is your ad campaign and your keywords.
Here you will not need to keep up the new search engine updates, all you will need to do to maintain higher rankings in sponsored results is to bid higher on your keywords and you stay on top.
Reading the above points you would have now figured out that SEO is more of a strategic approach while PPC is a more tactical approach. So talking realistically is not about deciding between SEO or PPC, instead its more worthwhile when both the approaches are incorporated in your internet marketing strategies.
Advise: If you are a small business owner and are trying to manage your own SEO or PPC, always keep a track of your approaches and your campaigns. If you realize your efforts are not yielding your expected results it never to late to hire a consultant.
You spend lots on money on marketing, advertising, hire a SEO company or do PPC and get a lot of traffic, is that traffic really converting? What is it on your website that your visitors come and go without buying or products or services? Some of your visitors are just bouncing off or not converting as you expected them to. That is when a good landing page comes into play.
Landing page is important when you want to direct your paid traffic to instead of your homepage. Homepage is a more generic page where you give your audience an overview about yourself, your service and other things. While your landing page talks just about the product, or service from which the target audience ended up on your page. You want them to convert and not just read and leave your website.
Here’s how an ideal landing page should be designed.
- Have a Head line which give a clear message about the page. It should explain your product or service in one or two lines
- Include an image or a video that explains your service or product. “A picture says a thousand words” and for some audience that can be a converting point.
- Write short points explaining your services. Don’t write a paragraph on it just short bullet points.
- A compelling Call-to-action which would differentiate it from the rest of the page. Like a “Call Now”, “Download Now” or a “Book Now” button.
- Provide navigational links to different pages of your website.
- Now probably you have reached the page fold (the time when your audience would have to scroll to read other information on the page), you would like to describe your services or products which the visitor would like to read before buying or using your services.
- Include testimonials from other users of your products and services. It helps your visitors have faith in you and your services. Also include the name, position and the company of the person writing a testimonial.
- Include security seals and statements to build trust when taking their personal information to build trust with your audience.
There is no one rule that fits all, you need to keep on testing your page to see which one converts more than others. If you have any other information that you think we are missing here and might be helpful to share do comment below.
Want your website to have top rankings in the major search engine? Want to generate more leads for your business through organic search? But you are not sure what keywords to target or what keywords are your targeted audience using to reach you?
If you are managing an online marketing campaign – keywords research is a very important module that you want to focus more energies on to. Without optimizing right keywords you would not get the right audience for your website that would convert. Some of you might think that you have a lot of visitors coming to your website, but have checked if they convert or if they are spending enough time on you website. If your answer is negative, then you definitely need to do a thorough keyword research for your website.
Why is keyword research so important and why do we need to focus our time and efforts towards it?
Optimizing right keywords helps you get higher rankings on search engines and talking about the organic search results and number of clicks, 53 percent go to the top result. The second sees 15 percent of the action, the third 9 percent, the fourth 6 percent, dwindling all the way down to 4 percent to round out the top 5.
Image courtesy – @SearchEngineWatch
As you can see here in the image there is a huge difference between the position of your website on the SERP and the traffic you get. But does getting more traffic to your business mean more revenue? Its a YES and No answer based on what your goals are. Yes – when your website is a blog or publication and your revenue is based on the number of visitors, more the visitors more will be your revenue and No – when your website is about selling your products and service, more traffic doesn’t mean more revenue, revenue will increase only when that traffic is really interested in buying your products/services. When the right keywords are targeted it monetizes correctly.
This image give you a basic idea on what your website traffic results can be based on the keywords you chose to optimize:
- First case – is when you don’t optimize your website for the targeted keywords you get nothing to 5% search engine traffic (that 5% might end up to your website if you are lucky to have a well-designed SEO friendly website). Of course we are not talking about the direct traffic or the referral traffic that you might get.
- Second Case – is when you haven’t chosen the right keywords (keywords that your customers are really searching for) but have worked on some general keywords for your business which represent your major services and products. This means that your website may be attracting some search engine traffic – the visitor who come to your website, don’t even browse more than 2 pages nor spend any more than 1-2 minutes and bounce off. This is not the audience who would convert. They are just researching about the products and services and have landed on your websites. They are just the visitors and not your potential buyers.
- Third Case – is when you pay good attention to your keywords and do a thorough keywords research on a regular basis. Being particular about your keyword research and find the target audience not only gets search engine traffic to your website but also increases your conversion rate. Because it is bring you the audience who are ready to buy. And that is what you want, revenue (buyers) and not just visitors.
Now that you understand the importance of choosing the right keywords for your website let focus on how to find them and have the buyers come looking for you. Here’s how we will proceed to do our keyword research.
1. Keyword Brainstorming
Go through your website and just simply think of what your core business is and what you have to offer your visitors. Think of words that describe your business and what you think your potential customers might search online to reach you. You might come up with tons of keywords (your services in words). It can be one word, two-word or long tail keywords. Note all of them down as you will have to do some work on it.
2. Identify the right keywords
You will be working on the brainstormed list to refine the right target keywords that will bring you’re the right audience who are willing to make a purchase and not just the irrelevant search traffic.
Make use of keyword research tools that help you with your homework. Some of the tools that will prove helpful are Google Keywords tool, Bing Keywords tool, WordTracker, wordpot and SEMRush. Lets work with Google Keywords Planner tool and show you how to use it.
Now let’s say your business is about “dry cleaning” and you want to find out the right keywords for your targeted visitors to turn into buyers. That can happen only when the visitor find the right information they are looking for. If you are targeting wrong keywords visitor will remain visitors!
3. Google’s keyword planner tool
To use this tool you will need a google Adwords account and you can use your gmail email for this. Once you open that tool choose the option “Search for new keywords and ad group ideas”.
Enter your keyword in the “your products or service” box, you can choose the category if you want. Enter one keyword at a time to get better keyword ideas. Change the target location based on your serving area. When your results are displayed, “Ad group ideas” will be displayed by default as this tool’s first priority is to support Adwords more than organic search campaign. To see the list of keywords organized by their average monthly search volume choose the tab “Keywords idea”.
The average monthly search displayed is for Adwords, but it is very close to the organic searches performed. It at least gives us a rough idea of the keywords to work on and find related search phrases. Sometimes we get keyword phrases which we are unaware that visitors search for. The competition displayed in not the keyword competition in search engines but instead its the adwords competition for that keyword. Download Your list in CSV format.
Now from your downloaded list, choose 10-15 keywords and enter them one by one in the Google Keyword Planner tool to get better suggestions for each of them. Entering individual keywords help get keyword ideas focusing around the core of the keyword entered. Download the list for every search. You can choose more than 10-15 best keywords to do if you want.
Remove all unwanted keywords (you can put that in a separate spreadsheet if you want). Combine all your keyword files downloaded and maintain one spreadsheet for all your keywords with their average monthly search volume. Sort them out to remove any duplications or unwanted keywords. For all the keywords in your spreadsheet note down the search results competition next to the keyword.
4. Bing’s keyword tool
In bing’s tool when you enter your keywords there is an option to choose search location, language and your date ranges. I usually go for 1 month and 6 months to check on averages. Export your keywords list for every separate search you perform. Once you get the volumes for these date ranges, choose the option Strict, and export the list again.
The Strict features provides us with the search volume of the exact keyword phrases displayed. This is helpful in finding Long tail keywords. Combine your results into one spreadsheet so you can work them out easily.
5. Finding Long tail keywords
Long tail keywords are helpful in getting more targeted audience who are expected to convert better than visitors who end up on the website by searching generalized keywords. The difference in the numbers between the search volume with Strict checked and unchecked is the number of long tail keywords for that phrase.
As you can see the keyword “dry cleaners”
google search – 60,500
google’s competition – 28,000,000
bing’s monthly search – 8780
bing’s strict monthly search – 2587
difference between strict and broad – ( 8780 – 2587) = 6193
Analysis – it has a good monthly search volume with an acceptable competition volume. Also it has sufficient number of hidden long tail keywords which we can target. (Any keyword with a search volume of over 1000 and a competition volume less than 50,000,000 can be targeted)
6. Expanding your keyword list
The tool we are going to use now is Ubersuggest and the main purpose of this tools is that it gets keywords ideas using Google suggestions and other suggestion tools. Go to the website http://ubersuggest.org/
This tool is helpful as it works out most permutations and combination of your main key phrase entered plus the variations of word starting with every alphabet and number after it.
There are other keywords tools that are useful and each of them have their own pros and cons. So using them in combination can work to filter out the best keyword list for you. Some of the other valuable tools to use are SEMRush, WordTracker and Keyword Spy.
If you are a local business it makes more sense in targeting customer in your locality rather than targeting customers nation-wide or globally. Adding location to your keywords helps you get targeted traffic to your website based on the location you want customers from.
Eg – targeting “dry cleaners Dallas” can get you higher ranking in Dallas in turn more targeted traffic than targeting the keyword “dry cleaners”
8. Using plurals/singulars
Keywords would mean the same in singular or plural and expected to display same search results. But thats not the case with search engines. For search engines singular or plural can have different search volume and different competition. So it is important to do your analysis and research on both the plural or the singular keywords.
Eg – analysing “dry cleaner” or “dry cleaners” and then optimizing these keywords will be different based on their monthly search volume and competition.
For keyword “Dry cleaner near me” –
google’s search volume – 1,600
google’s competition – 9,630,000
For keyword “Dry cleaners near me” –
google’s search volume – 18,000
google’s competition – 1,300,000
It will be a smarter decision to choose “Dry cleaners near me” over its singular form.
9. Competition review
Check major search engines and see who are the toppers for your keywords. Analyze their websites and check what keywords they are ranking for. Work on those keywords and find out the statistics for them.
Note – if you see that the top ranking are taken over by the big corporations, it is nearly impossible to beat them. Its more advisable to leave those keywords alone and choose a different keywords in which those corporations are not the competition.
10. Final Note
Keyword researching can be a tedious job and and it is important to track the performance and and analyze the success of the optimized keywords. You can make use of the tool – SeoBook’s Firefox
extension – Rank Checker. Success of keyword research is only measured by the improvement in the number of visitors it gets you. Check how many of the optimized are ranking well and what strategies you used for those keywords. See what keywords are converting better and compare their success rates. Rework your keywords every once in a while to meet your requirements.
Share your thought and ideas on this by commenting below.