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SEO and PPC: How to Make the Best of Both Worlds October 20, 2008

Posted by seonotes in SE Rankings, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization.
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How to Make the Best of Both Worlds

SEO versus PPC: How to Make the Best of Both Worlds

Industries are more open now than ever to both organic and paid internet marketing tactics. Businesses today are seeing the value of optimizing their official website, and launching a paid advertising campaign, as well.

Just like any marketing plan, going online deserves careful study in terms of resource allocation. There are certain tricks that might work well in one campaign, but will not in another.

Here are some fresh tips in order to get the best results out of your SEO project, and your PPC or pay-per-click campaign:

Mining your Keywords and Traffic Data

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Useful Tips on Keyword Research October 2, 2008

Posted by seonotes in On-page Optimization, SE Rankings, Search Engine Optimization.
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Keyword Research is the heart of any SEO project. It is a crucial phase in doing optimization for your web pages. Your choice of keywords can either make or break you in the Web world. No doubt, the keyword research stage in optimization entails analytical planning, and careful research.

To help you out in doing it right the first time, here are some useful tips in keyword reasearch to take note of:

Think Relevance

Some people fall into the trap of picking the most popular search term there is. Be careful though, because every topic has a particular niche. The hotel and travel industry for example, has several niches – from high-end luxury hotels, to medium-range accommodation providers, to cheap or budget-friendly inns and motels. The key isn’t about going for the most popular search term. It’s about carefully studying which key phrases are most relevant to your business. Remember, related does not necessarily mean relevant.

Consider Both Search Volume and Competition

Search Volume versus competition – aim to strike a balance between these two factors. Of course, most keywords with the highest traffic normally get the tightest competition in the SERPs. However, you can consider first your webpage’s search engine standing before choosing your keywords. If you have a stable site with good links, and your stats say you can compete big time, then go ahead and dive in the bigger ocean. That means you can consider optimizing your site for the high-traffic and highly competitive terms. But if you are a fairly new site with lesser links to begin with, you can choose search terms with an easier level of competition, but have “fairly” significant amount of traffic to give you. Long-tail key phrases can give you that, when their traffic demand are summed up together.

One more Tip: specific and long-tail keywords are known to be great for translating traffic into conversions – or user site visits into sales, as an example.

Make use of tried and tested Keyword Research Tools

Don’t just rely on sheer gut feel when drafting your final keyword list. Sure you can list down any term you can think about in the preliminary phase of keyword research, but always test the “profitability” of these straight-from-your-brain words and phrases by using tried and tested keyword tools. You don’t want to mess up your final keyword list with mere guesses.

One more Tip: Wordtracker, SEObook, Google Adwords Keyword Tool, Keyword Discovery, and even your Analytics and PPC stats are useful sources of data.

Allot enough time for doing keyword research. Most people think this is just some 10-minute click and copy activity when starting SEO. Don’t allow yourself to commit the same mistake. There is value in doing it right in the beginning.

The Key in Finding the Long-tail Keywords September 26, 2007

Posted by seonotes in keyword research, SE Rankings, Search Engine Optimization, SEO.
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The long-tail of search theory has helped a lot of small websites in making it big. Long-tail keywords may not be a trophy keyword if the basis is brevity or the level of competition in order to hit the ranks for it. But if all know that a successful online campaign boils down to relevant traffic that leads to conversion, long-tail keywords are definitely your most prized bombs in the battlefield.

Long-tail key phrases are unpopular, never-been-seen-before, and easy to target keywords. Disclosed from the human mind, long-tail keywords cater to a larger demand balloon as an economic theory.

If long-tail keywords are easy to target, the only challenge is how to find them. Here’s how:

Look up queries that lead to your site
Server logs can show which key phrases and real human queries that got you found by the visitor. From this data, you can actually see the types of searches your target audience is looking for in a given period. If your business is highly dependent on seasonality, you can notice the changes in the key phrases people use in finding you.

Google Webmaster Tools: Relevant Keywords
Just like your server logs, Google Webmaster Tools show the most number of queries that brought people to your site. The list may contain both short and long-tail keywords. The main point is, you will know the variations of phrases that are more likely effective in bringing traffic to your website. Plus the main key terms that Google recognizes from your site: check out the “what Google sees” tab.

Most popular searches
Hitwise can always come up with a list, but one cannot ignore the highly-populated social media sites like technorati, delicious, and whatever site that caters to people interested in your niche. These sites where social participation is involved will help you analyze what people are looking for. Some portals also have this option of showing a list of the most recent searches done in their website.

Competition Check
After getting a harvest of long-tails from these sources, it’s now time to check the battlefield. Check the competition for each individual word in your long-tail phrase, and analyze which combinations will help you find your niche. It’s always nice to have a blend of high traffic keywords combined with not-so-popular queries. It’s like hitting two birds in one stone.

Test and Analyze
This can sound too safe and can be dubbed as a last resort, but it won’t hurt to sit down and write down the natural flow of words when one is to make a search in the search engines. Think how your audience thinks. Then compare how this set of long tail keywords fared in the previous months/years. Analyze market trends, in other words.

Know Your Playing Field in SEO June 15, 2007

Posted by seonotes in SE Rankings.
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SEO is not a grand grand field. It involves careful study, and an honest gauge of what is achievable and what is not. So before you aim at that generic, lucrative keyword, take a step back and find out if it’s really lucrative.

The key? Know which court you’re supposed to play at. Are you ready for the big players’ court? Sometimes it’s wiser to bring your game in that little (yet thriving) court if you really want your website to sell. Go for the conquerable niche rather than aiming for that big big playing field, where you are but a small participant.

Take this scenario:

I want to rank for the keyphrase: web design specialist. Overture returns with results of about 401 searches last January 2007, and now with 65,600,000 competitors in Google’s SERPs.

But if I focus on my primary target market say, web specialist Philippines – I’d get an estimated 108 searches (Overture, Jan 2007), but with fewer and more forgiving number of competitors in the SERPs of about 1,270,000 (Google).

Keyphrase                               Search Volume        Competition

web design specialist                 401                           65,600,000

web specialist Philippines           104                           1,270,000

If you wish to go further, check out the Page Rank (PR) of the top 10 websites appearing as you search for your main keyword. That’ll say if your key phrase is worth the fight.

The key is to find your niche. In this particular case, the Philippine web industry is the focus. Next step is to study the market online, know who’s competing, and with what keywords, then strategize.

It’ll save you a considerable amount of time, effort, and frustration.

Sometimes it’s more worthwhile to make it big in the small court.

On Title Tags June 12, 2007

Posted by seonotes in SE Rankings.
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The Title tag wins your rankings, as they say it’s still the undisputed and ever consistent factor in search engine rankings. It really takes skill and ability to achieve that rare blend of an optimized title and a title that invites your lookers to bookmark your website, in other words excellent branding or site recall. Take a look at some SEOnotes regarding meta titles.

1. Keyphrase | keyphrase | Company Name

– maintained same level of ranking, increased visibility for more search terms, quite low CTR

2. Keyphrase Company Name Keyphrase

– confused the reader all through out! (joke! That’s just a guess for that very low CTR). Achieved good rankings, however. That makes me wonder if special characters really hurt you.

3. Keyword + in + Keyword | Company Name

– Uhm… medium ranks, looks quite amateur for me though (IMO only). Still works for CTR, site usability.

4. Company Name: Keyphrase

– Nice for the index page. It lets people see what your site is all about. Good CTR. Good for branding. Rankings would need more link building.

5. Keyphrase: Company Name

I use this pattern for the inner pages of the site. It says more about what the page is all about.

The recommended 65-character title tag and your 150-character description should contain the same keywords, and should be both cater to search engines and the actual target audience – if your goal is conversion, and not just mere traffic.

Look up: SEOmoz Best Practice for Title Tags.