Monday, August 31, 2009

Keyword Wars - Episode 2

If you joined us late, in Keyword Wars - Episode 1 we learned that keywords are the words and terms potential customers use to search for your company on the internet. But there is sometimes costly competition for the best keywords and you need to know how to put keywords to work for you without blowing your internet marketing budget.

In Episode 1 and a previous instalment of this blog, we spoke about the advantages of long tail keywords; those keywords that are not necessarily the most popular terms, but, collectively, form a significant proportion of the keywords for your product or business. It’s considerably less expensive to get search engine rankings for long tail keywords.

A large and growing portion of internet searches are local – that is, the searcher is looking for a product or service in their geographic area. About half of local searches include a place name to narrow the search. In other words, a large portion of web searches are for a product or service in a specific location – for example, auto repair in Springfield.

If you were in the auto repair business and wanted to get good rankings for the search term “auto repair”, you would need lot of time and effort (translation: money) because you would be competing with every other auto repair shop in the English speaking world. Unless you had garages in every major market, most of your effort would be wasted because you’d be listed in markets you didn’t service.

By including a location in your search term, you reduce your competition to the local market and reduce your chances of being listed in areas you don’t serve. Best of all, with only local competition to deal with, it’s much less expensive to get ranked for “auto repair Springfield” than simply “auto repair”. A side bonus is, by going for the local keyword term, you improve your ranking for the main keyword term too – “auto repair Springfield” improves your “auto repair” ranking.

Volumes can be written on keywords and putting them to work for your search engine optimization (SEO) and internet marketing efforts. We have touched on a couple ways here, but, if you expect to get business from the web, or to get more business from the web, you will do well to learn more.

By Stephen Da Cambra

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Business Networking on the Net

Business networking is as old as business itself. It used to be called “rubbing elbows” or “working the room”, but it was all networking before the term became common.

Being a network, the internet is an great place for business networking – but you wouldn’t know it by how long it’s taken many of us to come to the realization. While LinkedIn, a business-oriented networking site, beat Facebook to the web by almost a year, it never had a chance against its more “social” rival and others, including MySpace and Twitter, which blew by LinkedIn in popularity after only two years.

Online networking is an important part of any business's internet marketing and LinkedIn is as good a place as any to start. A good example is Charlotte Business Professionals. In June, 2008, Jason McKinstry opened a LinkedIn account from his office in Charlotte, NC. While things were slow in the beginning, he began receiving messages from other LinkedIn members in town. Jason decided to start a LinkedIn group to bring together all of his Charlotte business contacts. One year later, the Charlotte Business Professionals LinkedIn group has over 4,000 members, monthly face-to-face meetings and has just launched their own website

Fortunately, if you prefer to Tweet rather than link, social networking sites are not just for finding out your mother is getting her hair styled right now. Business groups and networks – and opportunities – exist on every major networking site. There might even be a networking site devoted to your industry or interests.

For most users, online networking success doesn’t just happen by joining a site. Networking requires action. In fact, it usually requires two actions: a) finding contacts, and b) being found by contacts.

When you join a network, you should actively search out those with whom you are most likely to make a connection. If you’re a real estate agent, you might want to search for mortgage brokers or lawyers. When you spot them, make contact.

Being found means developing a web profile that makes it easy for other searchers to find you and know what you are about. That way you are more likely to attract the sorts of contacts you want to pursue.

Finding and being found – that’s networking on the ‘net.

By Stephen Da Cambra