Features to Expect From a Search Engine Marketing Company

If you’re looking for ways to increase both your sales and customer base, you should consider hiring a search engine marketing company. And if your UK business doesn’t have a presence on the Internet, you should contract a search engine marketing firm to explore the many benefits of affordable search engine optimization. While there are many other factors you can consider when contemplating a website, if the site doesn’t place high in the most popular search engines, you’ll never realize the full power of search engine marketing. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the features a top-shelf search engine marketing agency should have.

Deep Analysis is the First Step

Every search engine marketing company should begin with a thorough analysis of both your needs and goals. Scale is important here and the search engine marketing firm should be able to competently determine the website size and features that best reflect your products and/or services. Armed with that in-depth information, the company should have for its goal a top search engine ranking for your business. And the premiere way to do this is by selecting the correct keywords to include the website’s content.

How Search Engine Marketing Works

Search engines like Google scan your website looking for matches with the search criteria the user types in. These search criteria contain keywords that should match content on your site. Although search engines have additional algorithms for ranking results, if your website is keyword rich, you have a much better chance of gaining top search engine placement. And this is where a professional search engine marketing firm can provide an extremely positive ROI (return on investment). The agency will use specialized tools to determine the most effective keywords and keyphrases to use in your website’s content. Here’s an example: For a company whose primary business is automotive-related, the goal should be to include as many words and phrases that are similar to the “key” keyword “automobile.” Specialized tools are available on the Internet to do just this. Google AdWords, for example, will return several pages of words and phrases related to “automobile,” along with the search volume (number of times a user typed them in). Google returns the information that users typed in the main keyword “automobile” over 2.5 million times. Less used but still effective variations include “automobiles” (over 1.2 million times), “automobile insurance” (over 200,000 times) and “automobile dealers” (over 130,000 times).

Other Important Services

Once the keywords are determined, the search engine marketing consultant should provide multi-lingual services, since about 70% of people who search the Internet do not speak English. This is a great and cost-effective way to reach new customers and markets. For example, an Internet marketing agency in the UK should also provide content translated into French, Spanish and Portuguese if your goal is to reach customers on the European mainland.

Finally, if your site does attain high search engine ranking your consultant should be constantly monitoring and “tweaking” it to improve your ranking even more. A UK search engine marketing company is not only a valuable tool, but also an essential one.

A Simple Guide to Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing is by far the most efficient and effective way to advertise your business. With over 86% of internet users using Google as their search engine, the need for your business to show on the first page of Google has never been greater.

Many people are unaware of search engine marketing and just take for granted the results that appear when they search for something on a search engine such as Google.

However, search engine marketing seems to defy to current doom and gloom of the recession. Think about this:

“The average Britain spends 164 minutes online everyday, compared with 148 minutes watching TV”

Over half the world’s population now has access to the web and nearly 90% of them find what they’re looking for using search engines. 36% of people think that the result at the top of the first page is the market leader and 80% of people make their choice from first page listings alone. With over 21 billion web pages wanting a first page position how can you get your website on the first page.

This is called search engine marketing and I have listed a few techniques and tips to get you started with optimising your website to rank well on a search engine. Remember that this is a basic guide to help to you on your way.

Link building

First we have to look at how search engines rank a website and decide which order to list them. The simple (very very very simple) version is, Google changed everything the way many search engine rank. The initial creators of Google (Larry Page and Sergey Brin) wanted to create a search engine that could rank a website for quality and list them in order of quality to the user. The way they decided to rank a website was to count how many other websites link to it. If other websites link to it then it must be good. So, essentially links mean votes. Like I said, this is the very simple version and there is so much more to it than this but it is a great place to start as it holds the most importance.

See who links to you and then see who links to your competitors and try to muscle in on some of their action. Simply go to yahoo.co.uk, then in the search box type “link:yourcompetitor.com”. This will bring up a list of websites linking to your competitors website. Then contact them and ask them to link to you too.
Don’t be stingy. Make sure you have links going out from your website. Important though that you link to high quality websites, i.e. If your website is a property website, have links to the relevant governing bodies, Wikipedia or the largest property portals. Search engines will see your site as being a good place to get good content.
Submit your website to online directories. This can be very boring and takes hours. But once you have had your site accepted in to a directory. You’ll have a link back to your website. Remember. The more the better.
Subscribe to forums in your niche. You can include a link in your signature straight to your website. Remember though. Do not spam on a forum. Forum users will not like it and the moderator will probably kick you off. If you use a forum properly though you will find it quite engaging.
Read blogs relating to you niche market. This is very educational as well as beneficial for link building. Read the blog then leave a comment about that blog. Don’t forget to include a link to your website though. Just don’t make it too obvious.

Social Media (web2.0)

“Facebook”, “YouTube”, “Flickr”, “Myspace” – These are all social media websites. They provide a means for people from all over the world to join online and share information. The way in which people communicate vary though. “Flickr” allow people to upload photos and share them with other users or even comment on pictures uploaded. “Youtube” allow people to upload videos etc. The number of people visiting these websites to share information is in the millions. So maybe you could use these social communities to spread the word about your website. Social media is a great way to connect with hard to reach people that share the same interests. There are a number of ways to do this.

Make your content interesting enough for people to want to view it. Then,unlike search engine optimisation, change the content often, This will make people want to keep visiting you.
Make it easy for people to tag or bookmark your new content. Bookmarking is very fashionable at the moment. The most popular way of doing this is by getting an “addthis” button due to its ease of use, however, there are many buttons available.
Use more than just text in your site. Create a video and submit it to a video sharing website like “youtube”, Create a PDF version of your content and create an audio version too. Submit it to appropriate websites. Don’t forget the link back to your site.
Blog.Blog.Blog then blog some more. The simple truth is that the majority of internet users love blogs. So do search engines. Create a blog and use it. A lot. Submit it to sites like “technorati.com”. If it is good enough people will link to you and then share and tell others about your writings.
Make friends. The social media community, are very social and friendly. They will want to talk to you and ask you questions. Make sure you are polite and take time to answer any messages. Negative feedback spreads faster than positive feedback.

Pay Per Click

This is a method in which you pay to get people to your website. Have you ever done a search on Google and found there are two columns. The Colum on the right is called sponsored links. They are adverts from businesses. They do not pay anything for appearing there but they do pay when you click on the advert (pay per click). This is a very fast way to get people to your website but you do have to pay. I would recommend getting a pay per click company to help here. It will save you a lot of money. However, if you must have ago your self here are some very basic tips.

Budget. Make sure you create a sensible budget and stick to it. Don’t get in to a bidding war.
Don’t just rely on pay per click as the be all and end all for your business marketing. PPC is great for promoting specific products and services very quickly but you always have to pay for the result.
Analyze your cost per click and cost per acquisition closely. Then compare it to your other marketing activities. See which one works best.
Remember that sites such as Google take into account the quality of your website content being marketed more than how much you are bidding. PPC is my favorite part of search engine marketing due mainly to the sheer speed of return on investment BUT make sure it is done properly other wise it can be devastating.
Always have two ads running at the same time for each product but with different ad text. Google will use the most successful advert for you and show that advert more often, helping you gain more traffic. Change to poorest performing advert and see if it improves. Keep repeating. This will eventually lead to you having the best possible advert showing.

Search engine optimisation

Remember the two columns we just mentioned. Search engine optimization is the are of optimizing your website enough for Google to rank it on the left hand column. This list is ordered on how relevant your website is. And you don’t have to pay for these listings. Ever noticed how all the big companies appear at the top of the first page. Now we should as “which came first – The chicken or the egg?”. Search engine optimisation is generally split into two categories onsite optimisation and off site optimisation. The first, when done property is very important but it will only get you to the starting line. Offsite optimization is the race itself. A good search engine optimisation campaign should include all the search engine marketing techniques mentioned and when you really get into it you can learn the more advanced techniques. Below are a few basics.

Include your keywords in your domain, title, meta tags. The first thing a search engine spider will read is your domain name. i.e [http://www.yourdomain.com]. This doesn’t mean anything to a search engine so ideally use [http://www.yourdomain.com/your-key-words], or even better [http://www.your-key-words.com] . Then the next part is your title. Don’t just have “home Page” or “Front Page”. I would have “your domain – your key words”. This also matches the domain name. Then repeat the same in your meta data. And sprinkle it throughout your web page. Keep it readable though.
Make each page different. This helps search engines differentiate them and should lead to them indexing each of your pages separately.
Get a site map and submit it to major search engines. Don’t pay for this service though. It amazes me that people actually charge for this. Just type into Google “sitemap” and you should be presented with website that will generate you a sitemap for free.
Keep going. Older sites generally rank better than new sites. It is believed that older websites must be more reliable. As there is nothing we can do about this just focus your time on other offsite optimisation such as link building, social media optimization and if you just can’t wait, Pay per click. Search engine optimisation is a long term solution but boy is it worth waiting for.
Validate your HTML code. Visit “validator.w3.org/ “.This will ensure that web browsers show your website correctly and helps search engine to index your site. There is no point in optimising your website if it doesn’t work properly.

Other useful tips

Get Google analytics. It is one thing having a website but you need to know what people are doing when they are on it. Google analytics is very comprehensive and FREE but it does not report in real time. Woopra however does report in real time. The choice is yours. Before doing anything else you should get one of these other wise how will you know your efforts are paying off.
If you decide to use a company to undertake your search engine marketing campaign (recommended) make sure you choose your search engine marketing company wisely. Don’t just go on recommendation. It is going to be a long working relationship so the important thing is that you get on with them. Do your own research on the industry. Think twice about search engine marketing firms that say they can guarantee a first page listing in a short time, the methods they use WILL end up in your website being banned. BMW found this out the hard way.

Insurance Search Engine Marketing For Insurance Agent Leads

For many insurance companies and insurance agencies, insurance search engine marketing is a brave new world, filled with a litany of confusing terms and acronyms. Like any emerging field, what might seem confusing at first, is readily understandable after a quick review of jargon and basics. Let’s take a look at insurance search engine marketing and define terms and acronyms along the way.

For the time being, let’s think of insurance search engine marketing (insurance SEM) as it relates to the insurance business, as if we were talking about the printed Yellow Pages phone book of the not distant past. Fifteen years ago, if someone was looking for a business, product or service, they could take a Yellow Pages off the shelf and open the phone book to search for the given product, service or company, flipping pages until they arrived at the relevant phone book pages. For the purposes of this example, let’s say that someone wanted property and casualty insurance, and were looking for insurance agents that they could contact. The person who was searching for the insurance, upon finding the two yellow pages which listed insurance agencies, might scan the insurance agency names beginning with the letter “A”. This is roughly analogous to a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) from Google, Bing or Yahoo. A key difference here is that these search engines display their results by relevancy as opposed to alphabetically. The placement of the names on the SERP relates to organic SEO, or in this case, insurance search engine optimization.

Of course there would also be many advertisements interspersed within the two phone book pages of agencies, both small and large. These ads are roughly analogous to PPC ads (Pay Per Click ads) found today on the search results pages. One notable difference is that in the case of the old Yellow Pages phone book, your insurance agency would pay a flat fee for the ad, whereas with a PPC, your agency only pays when a user clicks on your advertisement. Just for purposes of clarity, there is also something called PPI (Pay Per Impression), where your business would pay for impressions, though for our insurance agency web website optimization discussion, we’re going to stick with our PPC ad analogy. The difference between organic insurance search engine marketing and insurance PPC ads is as simple as having your agency name listed in the Yellow Pages at no charge, versus a display ad in the Yellow Pages at a cost of perhaps $1,000 per month. Thus the appeal of organic web marketing, if your insurance agency can rise to the top of the organic SERP, you are very likely to direct web surfers (read that as insurance agency leads) to your website and reap the benefits without any PPC costs. Think of this in the same way as the old phone book listings with company’s starting their name with “AAAA Auto Parts” or “AAAAA Insurance Agency” to ensure their names would appear first. A SERP offers a better alternative than the printed Yellow Pages name game, in that the agency name is secondary to other, more relevant criteria. This criterion is determined by search engine algorithms which can have over 100 attributes they use to determine relevancy, and subsequently determine if your insurance agency website should be on page one or page ten (SERP Ranking).

A simple explanation of some key terms often associated with insurance search engine marketing (insurance SEM) include:

Back links – Links to your agency site from other internet sites and directories.
HTML – Code used to create many websites.
Keyword Density – The number of times, in terms of percent, that a keyword phrase is used on any given page of an insurance agency website. Divide the number of uses of that keyword, by the total number of words on the page. Experts disagree on the ideal percentage for optimization with all engines, but targeting a number around 5% as of this writing should be effective. An important note, some article directories only allow keyword density of up to 4%.
Keywords – Words typed into a search engine to return a list (SERP) of relevant sites and documents.
Long-tail Keywords – Longer keyword phrases, which yield more specific search results germane to your insurance agency. These long-tail phrases are three or more words bundled together. For example, “insurance agency marketing” is a long-tail keyword where as “insurance” is not.
Off Page Optimization – Content creation, directory submission and back link building used to improve search engine rankings (SERP placement).
On Page Optimization – Modifications made to insurance agency website content and HTML code to improve search engine rankings (SERP placement).
Organic SEO – Page ranking results returned by a search engine based purely on relevancy as opposed to a paid ad placement.
Page Rank – A gauge of the popularity of your site, typically determined by the volume of visitors and links to your site. This was once a preeminent performance measure, but for niche industries like insurance agencies and agents, other criteria is now more important than page rank and back links.
PPC – Pay Per Click where your business posts an ad on a search engine and pays each time a web surfer clicks on your advertisement. These ads are displayed above and on the side of many search terms. Another variation on this is PPI, which is Pay Per Impression, where you would pay a bulk rate for every thousand times your ad is displayed, regardless of the number of times your ad was clicked.
PPI – Pay Per Impression where your agency pays a flat fee per thousand of times your ad is displayed on the Google, Bing or Yahoo results pages.
Search Engine Marketing – The process which is used for insurance companies and insurance agencies to rise to the top of the organic SERP listings, or to place ads that will be posted on page results for selected long-tail keywords.
SEM – Acronym for insurance search engine marketing
SEM – Search Engine Marketing.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
SER – Sometimes you may see the acronym SER used, which can refer to Search Engine Results, Rankings or even Relevancy.
SERP – Search Engine Results Page
Web Marketing – Insurance agency search engine marketing is a subset of an overall insurance agency web marketing plan.

The goal of insurance search engine marketing is driving qualified insurance agent leads to your agency website. Once these web prospects have arrived at your insurance agency website, you need an effective call to action, which in itself, is the topic for another insurance agency marketing article. Obviously, more qualified agency leads, combined with a compelling insurance agency website and call to action, should yield increased premiums and help grow your agency’s book of business.

Search Engine Marketing 101 For Corporate Sites

When most people want to find something on the web, they use a search engine. Millions of searches are conducted every day on search engines such as: google.com, yahoo.com, msn.com and many others. Some people are looking for your website. So how do you capture people searching for what your site has to offer? Through techniques called search engine marketing (SEM).
This tutorial is foundational information for anyone looking to implement search engine marketing. This tutorial will also help you understand how the search engines work, what SEM is, and how it can help you get traffic. What is a Search Engine?
All search engines start with a “search box”, which issometimes the main focus of the site, e.g. google.com, dmoz.org, altavista.com; sometimes the “search box” is just one feature of a portal site, e.g. yahoo.com, msn.com, netscape.com. Just type in your search phrase and click the “search” button, and the search engine will return a listing of search engine result pages (SERPs). To generate SERPs the search engine compared your search phrase with information it has about various web sites and pages in its database and ranks them based on a “relevance” algorithm. Search Engine Classes
Targeted audience, number of visitors, quality of search and professionalism is what determines a search engine’s class. Each search engine typically target specific audiences based on interest and location. World-class search engines look very professional, include virtually the entire web in their database, and return highly relevant search results quickly.
Most of us are familiar with the major general search engines; google.com, yahoo.com, msn.com. A general search engine includes all types of websites and as such are targeting a general audience. There are also the lesser known 2nd tier general search engines; zeal.com,ask.com,whatyouseek.com. The primary difference is that 2nd tier engines are lesser known and generate significantly less traffic.
There are also several non-general or targeted search engines that limit the types of websites they include in their database. Targeted search engines typically limit by location or by industry / content type or both. Most large metro areas will have local search engines that list local businesses and other sites of interest to people in that area. Some are general and some are industry specific, such as specificallylisting restaurants or art galleries.
Many other targeted search engines list sites from any location but only if they contain specific types of content. Most webmasters are familiar with webmaster tools search engines such as; webmasterworld.com, hotscripts.com, flashkit.com and more. There are niche SEs for practically any industry and interest. Search Engine Models
There are two fundamentally different types of search engine back ends: site directories and spidering search engines. Site directory databases are built by a person manually inputting data about websites. Most directories include a site’s url, title, and description in their database. Some directories include more information, such as keywords, owner’s name, visitor rankings and so on. Some directories will allow you to control your website’s information yourself others rely on editors that write the information to conform to the directory standards.

It is important to note that most directories include directory listings as an alterative to the search box for finding websites. A directory listing uses hierarchal groupings from general to specific to categorize a site.
Spidering search engines take a very different approach. They automate the updating of information in their database by using robots to continually read web pages. A search engine robot/spider/crawler acts much like a web browser, except that instead of a human looking at the web pages, the robot parses the page and adds the page’s content it’s database.
Many of the larger search engines will have both a directory and spidering search engine, e.g. yahoo.com, google.com, and allow visitors to select which they want to search. Note that many search engines do not have their own search technology and are contracting services from elsewhere. For example, Google’s spider SE is their own, but their directory is and Open Directory; additionally aol.com and netscape.com both use Google’s spider SE for their results.
There are a few other search engine models of interest. There are some search engines that combine results from other engines such as dogpile.com and mamma.com. There are also search engines that add extra information to searches such as Amazon’s alexa.com, which uses Google’s backend but adds data from its search bar regarding tracking traffic to the site. Getting In
One of the most important things to understand about the SE database models is how to get into their database and keep your listing updated. With a search directory, a submission needs to be done to provide the directory all the information needed for the listing. It is generally recommended that this be done by hand, either by you or a person familiar with directory submissions. There are many submission tools available that advertise they automate the submission process. This may be fine for smaller directories but for the major directories, manual submissions are worth the time.
Not all search directories are free; many charge a one-time or annual fee for review. Many of the free search directories have little quality control. For free directories you may have to submit your site several times before being accepted.
There are three different methods for getting into spidering search engines; free site submission, paid inclusion and links from other sites. Virtually all spidering SEs offer a free site submission. For most, you simply enter your url into a form and submit. Paid inclusion is normally not difficult, except for the credit card payment. For free site submission there is no quality control. The SE may send a spider to your site in the next few weeks, months or never. Typically with paid inclusion you will get a guarantee that the page you submitted will be included within a short amount of time. The other standard way to get included is to have links to your website from other web pages that are already in the SEs database. The SE spiders are always crawling the web and will eventually follow those links to find your site.
Once you are in a search engine database, you might change your site and need the search engine to update their database. Each directory handles this differently; generally each database will have a form for you to submit a change request. Spidering search engines will eventually find the change and add your updates automatically. Getting High Rankings
Getting into a search engine database is only the first step. Without other factors you will not rank in the top positions, a prerequisite for quality traffic. So how do you get top positions? You can pay for placement with sponsored links that is covered in the next section. To place well in the free, organic SERPs, you will need to perform search engine optimization.
Search engine optimization is one of the most complicated aspects of web development. Each search engine uses a different algorithm, using hundreds of factors, that they are constantly changing, and they carefully guard their algorithm as trade secrets. Thus no one outside of the search engines employ knows with 100% certainty the perfect way to optimize a site. However, many individuals called search engine optimizers have studied the art and derived set of techniques that have a track record for success.
In general, there are two areas to focus on for top rankings; on-page factors and linking. On-page factors mean placing your target keywords in the content of your site in the right places. The structure of and technologies used on your website also play a role in on-page factors. Linking, refers to how other website’s link to yours and how your site links internally. Search Engine’s Marketing Offerings
Search engines in the early days of the web were focused solely on serving the visiting searcher. They worked to capture as much of the web as possible in their database and provide fast, relevant searches. Many early website owners learned to reverse engineer the relevancy algorithms and to make their sites “search engine friendly” to get top rankings. They were the first search engine optimizers, manipulating the search engine’s natural or organic SERPs as a means of generating free web traffic.
Often times these optimized sites compromised the integrity of the SERPs and lowered the quality for the searcher. Search engines fought, and continue to fight, to maintain the quality of their results. Eventually, the search engines embraced the fact that they are an important means for marketing websites. Today most search engines offer an array of tools to balance website’s owners need to market while maintaining quality for the searcher.
You can generally break search engine marketing tools into free and for-pay. Realize these classifications are from the search engine’s point of view. Effort and expense is required to setup and maintain any search engine marketing campaign.
Organic rankings are still one of the most important ways to drive quality traffic. Search engines now seek to reward ethical, high-quality websites with top rankings and remove inappropriate “spam” websites. While organic rankings can produce continual free traffic, it takes time from an experienced individual to achieve optimum results. Additionally, organic placement offers no guarantees, it generally takes months to get listed and can be unpredictable once listed.
Some search engines offer services that add more control to your organic campaign. Most of these services will list / update your site faster or will guarantee that all essential content is listed. For integrity reasons, no major search engine offers higher organic rankings for a fee.
If you need top rankings quickly, pay-per-positioning (PPP) is the most popular way to go. PPP rankings appear in normal organic SERPs but are usually designated as “sponsored listings”. PPP listings use a bidding process to rank sites. If you are the top bidder, e.g. willing to pay the most per click on a given phrase, you will have top placement. The 2nd highest bidder is two; the next is 3 and so on. While most PPP works using this model, some search engines offer modifications such as Google’s AdWords where bid price and click-through rates are both factors for positioning.
Search Engines have many other marketing tools, such as search specific banner ads; listings on affiliate sites and more. Getting Started
The majority of websites have sub-optimal search engine marketing. Most sites have no effective search engine marketing and are continually missing out on valuable leads. Many other websites are too aggressive, wasting money on low value traffic or harming the functionality of their site due to over optimization. Too many sites are even paying money and receiving no results because they have trusted unethical or inexperienced search engine optimizers.
All SEM campaigns should start with a strategic evaluation of SEM opportunities based on return on investment (ROI). You need to assess how much each lead is worth for each keyword phrase and determine which SEM tools will achieve the best ROI for the phrase.
You also have to decide how much you want to do in-house vs. retaining an expert. A qualified expert will typically produce better results faster, but the high expenses may destroy the ROI. Often it is best to work with an expert as a team, the expert to develop the strategy and internal staff to perform implementation and ongoing management.

10 Secrets You Really Should Know About Search Engine Marketing

Beverly Sills, the opera singer who died earlier this year, is famously quoted as saying “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going”. As a specialist online marketing professional, I spend a lot of time reading about the latest developments in search engine marketing and how this or that tweak, ploy or shortcut will suddenly change your life and lead to huge amounts of traffic; riches beyond your wildest desires and everlasting happiness. At the risk of sounding something of a cynic (I suppose 8 years in online marketing gives me a right to be!), if not a downright party pooper, I have to say I’m with Beverly Sills on this one. Yes, there are some things that you can do that might give you an edge, but if you are lucky it will only give you an edge for a very short time (before you’re found out). At best you could have just wasted your time, at worst you could be set back significantly and lose far more than you gained.

Background

Before I elaborate, it’s important, in my opinion, to understand, the history and culture of the net and of a lot of the people that have been involved with it. The Internet’s early success was largely promoted by a group of altruistic, non-commercial, caring, sharing and fair minded people, who wanted something to develop that was free and good. After all, this is a community that gave their time and knowledge free to develop Open Source software, in response to what it saw as the commercial dominance of software by certain companies.

The Internet’s now most mighty company, Google, grew up with this altruistic ideology, even having a corporate motto of “Don’t be evil”. It embraced these principles to provide a free search engine that allowed people to find what they were looking for on the internet. It continued to develop this engine to become better and better and provide its users with a better and better experience, even though those users didn’t pay a penny for its services. Eventually, it developed so much trust that it was able to start generating revenue by offering paid advertising alongside its free results, however it has continued to invest in making its free service ever better, based on honest, fair & good, “Don’t be evil” principles.

Admittedly Google has had one or two blips along the way but it has developed, generally, a trust amongst its users by delivering what they want and being fair about it. Search Engine optimisation whizzes and website owners who ignore ‘Don’t be evil’, do so at their peril.

The Accidental Search Engine Marketeer

So, if there are no shortcuts and you have to play fair and by the rules, then why “10 ‘secrets’ you really should know about search engine marketing”?

Well, let me tell you another secret, I discovered search engine marketing almost by accident! Ten years ago, when I started out online, search engines were very much in their infancy. In fact, to me, when you typed anything into a search engine, the results reflected what seemed to be the web’s main purpose and preoccupation, sex and pornography!

Back in those days’ people had lots of other ideas how they were going to get visitors to their website, many of them a lot more glamorous than using search engines. Anyway, let’s face it, there were a lot less websites back then.

Being in possession of very few resources (in comparison to the huge amounts of money being thrown about by other start ups in those dot com boom days) and at the time a relatively limited understanding of the internet, I concentrated on simple and, what seemed to me, common sense ideas and business principles to drive visitors to my website.

By employing these, more and more people found my website but not only as a result of all my hard work and efforts, they were also finding the site through search engines because, unwittingly, these same tactics were improving the search engine ranking of the site.

Amazingly today, despite the huge cultural, technological, social and environmental changes (and by that I’m only talking about the search engines!) the same principles still apply, despite the huge volume of different techniques, systems and tricks that have been peddled in the meantime. So what are these ‘secrets’?

The 10 ‘Secrets’ You Should Know About Search Engine Marketing

1. Focus

The internet is a huge ocean. No matter how big a fish you are, you’ll be lost in it. Find yourself a pond. The smaller a fish you are, the smaller a pond you need, but don’t try to be all things to all people: a) it’ll never work, b) you’ll never be found.

2. Differentiate

You need to have a reason why someone visits your website and buys into your product or service. In the offline world it’s often OK to be as good as everyone else and rely on the fact that people like you as the reason they want to buy from you. In the online world, where there is so much competition and, generally, people don’t know you, you need to have sound reasons and differentiating factors.

By all means try to get people to like you (see 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10) but remember they have a lot more choice in a search engine than on a high street, you need to communicate why they should choose you simply, effectively and fast!

If you’re selling motor insurance for disabled lady drivers, yes you have a niche and you’ve completed step 1, but you need to establish the benefits that your customers will enjoy by buying from you and that they will value more than the 237,000 other links they could choose. You then need to communicate these on your web pages and in your Meta Description of your content or Search Advertising Copy, to make it easy for your visitors/customers to establish quickly why they should visit your site when scanning a search page.

3. Build Your Site and Its Contents for Your Customers Not You

In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), there is a concept that people are led either by their visual senses (what they see), their auditory senses (what they hear) or their kinaesthetic senses (what they feel). When you watch any great auditor speak (Bill Clinton for instance) you’ll see him trying to appeal to all of these senses, so that he communicates with his entire audience – not just a part of it. Your website must do this too.

Search engines like words but don’t fill your pages purely with text, a lot of your visitors will also like to see images. Likewise don’t fill your pages with images because you like them and you think your visitors should too. A lot of your visitors also want to hear what you have to say and feel comfortable with your site.

Search engines like words because they tell them what your site is all about, so you need to write clearly on your pages just this. But it’s important to write these words with your customers in mind, not what you think the search engines want. Your customers have got to understand them and they need to be written in their language.

If you are selling bling jewellery you need to use a whole different vocabulary to that if your offering savings and investment advice to the over 65′s. The reason for this is twofold:-

a) If you do get them to your page but they don’t relate to the content when they get there or it doesn’t make sense, they’ll just click off.

b) The same language your customers want to read is that they’ll use when searching

Search engines now also have clever robots that can read English and will penalise your site if it thinks you’re trying to trick them by writing keyword intense nonsense. In any case, what’s the point of getting people to your site if you lose them immediately because you haven’t written content they can understand or relate to?

4. Write Well Structured Content

I’ve already said it but I’ll say it again, make your pages easy for your visitors and/or customers to understand. Just like you learnt at school, structure your content to make it easy for people to follow. Write a good page title that explains what your page is about, use headings to explain what each section is about, use sub-headings where appropriate, use the words that are important to your visitors and/or customers in the content (though not repeatedly) and stress the important bits either by using headings or putting those words in bold. That’s just common sense writing.

Remember that people read web pages differently to printed pages (they tend to skim read) so write bulleted points, in sharp, concise text with links to greater detail and further information, if the reader requires.

Search engines like a minimum of around 300 words per page (about the quantity of this number 4 section) so that they can accurately gauge the contents of the page. You’ll also find this just about nicely fills a web page with an illustration or two, without going below the fold, i.e. forcing the reader to scroll down the page.

Add a Meta Content Description to explain to the search engine (or rather your visitor/customer who is looking for your page on a search engine) and lo and behold you’ve got a search engine friendly page! Yes, search engines, just like your valued visitors, analyse your pages by the Page Titles, Descriptions, Headings (H1, H2 and H3 in order) the use of Bold or Strong tags and by analysing the content of the page to understand the keywords and what the page is talking about.

5. Update Your Content Regularly

Just like a good shopkeeper changes his shop window and the layout of his store on a regular basis, then so should you change the content and look of your site. Firstly, in most cases, you want repeat visitors and they need to see you’re alive and care about the website (and them). Secondly, the more frequently you update, you’ll find the search engines will more frequently visit or crawl your website.

6. Give Your Users/Customers What They Want

I know this one is a bit radical but it really is one of the most important lessons you can learn. If you give your visitors what they want, when they want it and provide them with more value than they can get from other people/sites, not only will they be happy (and happy users or customers is surely the chief goal of any website or business) but they will return and what’s more they’ll tell their friends!

7. Delight Your Users/Customers and Make Them Your Evangelists

One thing I learnt early on is that going the extra mile to delight your customers really pays off on the internet. Word spreads really fast online and if you give a really good service and/or deliver an exceptional product, not only will your customers keep on returning (which saves you the marketing cost of getting new customers) but they tell their friends (who go on to buy from you and saves you even more marketing cost). The unexpected bonus is that they spread the word about your product or service through forums, blogs, web pages, etc., which talk about your great website and service and put links to your site, which drives more traffic to your site …… and improves your search rankings because of all these relevant (and not paid for) links.

8. Keep Your Website Simple and Working

Just like most processes, you need to build your website for the lowest common denominator. Make it as simple and easy as you possibly can. Rigorously check everything so that your users have no chance of having a bad experience. Always sacrifice sophistication for simplicity, if simple works.

Badly built, over complicated, unfriendly or broken sites not only turn off your potential visitors and/or customers, making them click off straight away (and what’s the point of going to all the trouble of getting visitors if your lose them immediately) but high bounce rates (people clicking off your site quickly because what they saw wasn’t what they wanted) is a big part in the Quality Score used by Google & Yahoo in their paid search algorithm. Furthermore, badly built sites, poor or obsolete code and broken links is something search engines definitely don’t like and you will be penalised for it in your search engine rankings.

9. Build Links with Relevant Sites

As I said earlier, before search engines became such a dominant driver of traffic, you tended to look all over for sources of traffic. Having no money meant paying for advertising listings was out of the question but if you could find relevant sites where a link to your site would benefit visitors and drive traffic, for instance if your site sold beds and you got a link from a site that sold bedding, then it was win-win. Similarly if you did stuff or created news stories that other sites may want to cover, then you could gain coverage and links.

What I wanted was traffic (which I got) but into the bargain I got what were essentially big votes from credible sites about my pages which boosted my search rankings. If you focus on being really good and giving value, you do develop these links and these are what search engines really want, so that they can establish you are a respected and credible site. Search Engines see links as votes of a websites value. If they see lots of paid or traded links these are not really saying the website is any good. What they want is impartial endorsements of your site and it will accord these links much higher value.

Do not trade links, willy-nilly or engage in reciprocal linking as it is sometimes called. In my opinion, the first and only question you should ask is, will this (incoming) link generate traffic/add value. If the site/page is relevant and/or related then the answer is that it probably will. If you are a management consultant and get a link from an adult dating website the chances are it probably won’t. The search engines see it similarly (though they’re not interested in the traffic). If they see a link to a horse race betting site from a site/page that is discussing racing form then they will see it as a credible endorsement or vote for the site and enhance the ranking of the linked to page. They will see the adult dating rank as being of no relevance to the management consultant with the result that the latter’s ranking could actually be negatively affected because the search engine thinks you’re trying to trick it.

10. Communicate With Your Users/Customers

Having got people to your site in the first place and even got them to buy something from you don’t then just ignore them. Work at keeping them on board and getting them to keep coming back. Communicate with your users/customers by giving them advice, information, offers, support, help – not junk but things they will value. Communicate with them in whatever means they prefer (obviously making sure you get their permission to do so), whether it be by email, text, blog, podcast, special pages on your site or whatever is their preferred choice. An established user will use you again more readily, as they (should!) trust you and this will be a lot less costly than trying to find new users. Once again, if your users value this (which if done right they will) you’ll find links appearing which add more weight to your pages and your search rankings.

Summing Up

Well, I told you there were no shortcuts and I also told you these were “10 ‘secrets’ you really should know about search engine marketing”. You certainly should know them because they all make common sense. Search engines employ legions of highly intelligent boffins to develop extremely complicated algorithms which are designed to make sure the search engine user gets the best result from their experience with the search engine. How they do that? Remarkably, they follow common sense rules to ensure that this is achieved and try to stop “evil” people from coming up with shortcuts.

How To Make Money Using an Udemy Online Teaching Course

A few decades ago, it was hard to find a good teacher. The only option that you had was to look for one in your area because the Internet was not available at that time. Nowadays, the internet has made it a lot easier to learn from the comfort of home. If you have been thinking of taking a certain course to hone your skills, we suggest that you check out Udemy. Let’s find out how people make money on Udemy by launching courses through websites. Read on to know more.

What Is Udemy?

Basically, this platform brings both students and teachers together. As a matter of fact, Udemy is one of the top platforms for online courses. It offers a lot of free tools and support for instructors to develop courses and make money from them.

Udemy allows anyone to create a course and offer it to everyone across the globe through its platform. Nowadays, the platform has more than 15 million students from more than 190 countries. Moreover, it has courses in more than 80 languages.

Launching a Course

If you want to submit a course on Udemy, you may want to follow the steps below. We will talk about each step in detail so you can get started without any problem.

Sign up

First of all, you may want to go to the home page of Udemy and sign up for an account, which will cost you nothing. As soon as you have signed up, you can access tons of free as well as paid courses.

Course creation

After signing up, you can hit the “Teaching” button. The “Create a course” button will show up that you can press to create a course and become a tutor.

Udemy revenue model

For course creation, Udemy won’t charge you any fee. On the other hand, for selling, you do have to consider the revenue model offered by the platform. Let’s find out more about the revenue model.

Instructor promotion

After a lead generation, the entire revenue goes to the course instructor. For instance, if a lead is generated through the coupon code given by the course creator, the instructor will get the revenue.

Organic traffic

If the course buyer comes to the platform through organic traffic, 50% of the revenue will go to the course creator. And the rest will go to the website. So, there is a lot of money to be made even if you don’t use other means to get the word about your courses.

Other revenue sharing model

This revenue sharing ratio can be between 25% and 97%. Actually, the ratio is based on the fact whether the customer comes to the platform via deals, ads or affiliates. So, based on these factors, the revenue can be more or less.

Resources for Udemy

Udemy helps you throughout the process. Whether you are going to create a course or you want to promote, the platform has resources for you. Udemy offers tons of free resources that help you make your course a success. As a matter of fact, the free resources on this platform are on the list of the best advantages of Udemy, as they help you make money from your course without too much struggle.

So, if you have been thinking of creating a course and publishing it on Udemy, we suggest that you take into account the advice given in this article. Just make sure your course is interesting and it can help your students learn new things. And that’s all you need in order to sell your courses and make a lot of money.

Ideal Solutions To Success Online

If you have ever spent time looking for ideal solutions to success online, you could find yourself very frustrated. You found that there are basic ways to succeed in this line of work. You know that online work isn’t hard, physical labor. Working online is easy in that there isn’t a lot of physical work involved. People who work hard as builders, factory workers, office personnel and in administration, must work hard and produce good results or they no longer have a job. Online work isn’t hard physically. However, it takes tenacity, perseverance, and a little knowledge to be successful. Perhaps herein lies part of your annoyance. Let’s look at some things that bring frustration into your ideal online performance. The items are not listed in any particular order of difficulty or ordered frustration levels.

Number 1, Building a Website

The number one thing that frustrates many people and keeps them from being successful online is building a website. This one thing kept me from being successful online years ago. When you find the right training building a website can be really easy. You don’t have to know HTML to build one today. You can learn how to make a website at certain locations on the Internet. There are places where you can learn how to make a free website.

Number 2, Finding a Domain Name

The best way to relieve frustration from finding a domain name is to first find the niche you want to promote. The name of your site needs to match the niche you have chosen. So, the way you keep this from being frustrating is to identify your niche, and then write a list of 10 to 15 names that describe your niche. It’s like choosing a title for a book, the title must tell what the book is about. Same with your domain name. It must tell what your niche is about. I prefer to stick with a .com. It’s just a personal preference that you don’t have to adhere to.

Number 3, Getting Site Ready

Until you learn, getting your site ready for search engine optimization can be really frustrating. Actually, it can be next to impossible if you don’t have the proper training. Again, I have a page for you to review that explains the ins and outs of preparing your site for SEO. Again, you can write articles, use social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. The big question you need to ask is, “Where are you going to get the training and knowledge on how to make these ideas work for you?”

Number 4, Getting Traffic

The number one goal for any marketing site is to drive traffic to it. There are many ways to do this, but the only way I choose to do this is by writing good content for my website. What if you can’t write, or at least you think you can’t? Many sites offer training on how to write.The training on a few sites is phenomenal. Every bit of the training is to help you build a site, monetize it and then drive traffic to it. You can learn so many ideas on what to write that you will never run out of something to write about. Getting traffic is almost done for you. All you have to do is follow directions.

Number 5, Training

Before I found a helpful site, training was my nemesis. The lack of training defeated me every time and cost me money. The training I have gotten has given me a handle on success. I have learned how to succeed because I have been trained well. Following are a few things I have been able to find online:

Certification Courses: 5 Levels

1. Getting Started

2. Build Your own Traffic Producing Website

3. Making Money!

4. Mastering Social Engagement

5. Achieving Maximum Success Through Content Creation

Each level has several courses and the training available to make you successful! I repeated most of the lessons. Some were simple but needed more exploring. Others were new to me and my then limited expertise. I can’t believe how much knowledge is packed into these lessons. Yet the progress from one step to the next is given in easy steps for those who aren’t technologically proficient when they begin the courses.

You Get All the Training

Every site that I tried before this would promise they could teach me how to be successful. What they taught me was that I needed to hire a group of professional online gurus to help me build a successful online business. I paid good money to learn this, too. Their ads said that even a monkey could learn how to use their program. I guess that I’m not as smart as a monkey because I couldn’t begin to understand what they were trying to teach me. “You’ll never believe how easy it is to make money online,” their ads read. I learned the hard way, out of pocketbook hard way, that paper will lie still and let you write anything on it. At least the paper they wrote on did! I was never able to follow more than the first couple steps. Not nearly enough to learn anything. However, all that has changed now. Since I found this site, I have learned how to be successful online. All I’ve done since I’ve been here is grow and grow. That’s where I am. That was what I was looking for in the first place. Can I tell you that I found a place where you can work at your pace, make the amount of money you want to make, and work when and where you want to.

Work for Yourself

The best boss you will ever have is YOU. Working for yourself online doesn’t require lots of energy. You don’t have to have a specific location where you go to work. With today’s technological advances, you can work from nearly anywhere. I prefer to work at home with my family nearby. That’s where you can find yourself, too. Are you ready for the change? Are you ready to be your own boss? Then don’t wait! Visit me to begin today!