Climbing to the Top of Search Engines (Part 2)
Previously we reviewed a variety of ways to obtain top placement on search engines using pay per click and organic search engine methodologies. Once you begin to drive traffic to your site you will learn that simply having a website isn't enough. Your website needs to be fast, functional, easy to navigate and action oriented. It should include a variety of features that are integrated with your marketing campaign.
I recommend starting with a mix of items which are focused on helping you increase your sales and bookings using proven online marketing techniques. In order to get the most out of your marketing efforts try utilizing a variety of the tips that are listed below:
· Create a Plan – It is amazing to see how many people begin to execute an ill-conceived concept of what they want to achieve without doing any preliminary research or creating a plan first. It is not uncommon for clients to invest more time in planning a dinner party than they spend planning and outlining their entire business strategy. First, analyze your target market and create a plan to define your specific goals and objectives for soliciting new speaking opportunities and selling more products in your targeted geographical areas. This should include a preliminary assessment of your existing site along with ideas on how to better serve your prospective audience from their point of view. Involve your target audience and solicit their input. You are there for one reason – to service their needs. Don't try to serve them in a vacuum. Create a well thought out plan to give them what they are looking for and success will follow.
Analyze Your Current Level of Internet Marketing Penetration
yourself the following questions. What have you done so far?
What has worked and what has been a waste of time and effort?
Drop the dead weight and focus on what works. Are you listed on
any search engines? How high is your ranking? If you're not on
the top few pages then you're probably invisible. What keyword
phrases are you listed for? Are they relevant and highly sought
after terms or are they secondary terms that receive little or
no traffic? Where are you advertising? Is this where your
potential target audience congregates? Are other relevant sites
linking to you and are they using the appropriate keyword rich
phrases in their links? Do you know how much activity your site
is currently generating? Don't' fool yourself by getting wrapped
up in the number of hits your site has received. The key is
determined by tracking how many unique (targeted) prospects
currently visit your website per month and what they are doing
when they get there. This information will be used as a baseline
to highlight the progress made by your enhanced marketing
· Search Engine Friendliness – What have you done to make your site search engine friendly? Is it graphically challenged? Many people hire graphic designers to create sites that look good but are invisible to search engines. Search engines index text! If the majority of your navigation or content has been created using graphic images you are destined to loose business. An easy way to check this out is to place your cursor on top of the “text” and try to highlight it. If you can't highlight individual characters then it is probably a graphic. Does your site contain a site map? Site maps offer an easy and effective way to help the search engines index all of your pages. In addition, they can help your visitors find what they are looking for with ease. By submitting your site map page to search engines you will help ensure that all of your pages are listed. For additional information, look at the tips in part one and part two of this series.
· Website Enhancement – Use the observations noted to enhance your existing website and obtain more qualified leads and profitable bookings. Your site should be engineered to be fast, functional and easy to navigate. It should be search engine friendly and designed to brand your professional image while providing quality information that encourages visitors to take action. Lead visitors to the information that they are looking for and then repeatedly encourage them to act. The most popular sites on the Internet are clean and straight forward. Make it easy for visitors to navigate your site, buy your products and book your professional speaking services. Nobody has the time or desire to learn the nuances of your site. Driving traffic to a website that doesn't meet these criteria will yield little or no results. These proven techniques can help reduce the time you spend on chasing unqualified leads and can enhance communication with new prospects and existing clients.
· Keyword Analysis - Using specialty tools such as Wordtracker or Overture's keyword suggestion tool, you can identify targeted keyword phrases that potential clients are using to search for your specific services online. Often times we will spend dozens of hours researching targeted keyword phrases as one of the first steps to online marketing. This information is extremely important because it will be used to define keyword advertising as well as content topics, layout and placement.
· Create New Targeted Client Acquisition Sites – Many speaking professionals elect to create multiple sites which are targeted toward their specific audiences. For example you may create a Bureau friendly site which does not include your direct contact information as well as a personal speaking site. In addition, you may want to create individual sites that highlight specific products or speaking topics. Tom Antion is a master of creating specialty sites and has dozens of them that are tailored toward a wide variety of topics. An example is www.instanteulogy.com.
· Competitive Market Analysis - Why spend heavily to identify potential opportunities when you can let your competitors do the work for you? Analyze your top competitors and find out where they are advertising on the web. There are a variety of special tools that can be used to find out what your competitors are up to. A simple one is to enter the following into the Google search box: link:http://www.competitorsdomainname.com. This will allow you to view a list of sites that are linking to your competitors. Closely review the results on the list and determine the appropriate sites that could link to you as well. Contact them via phone or email and explain the benefits that both of you could receive by linking to each other. This approach offers an easy way to help identify areas of opportunity that you may be overlooking. In addition, this will increase your link popularity, which is one of the key factors used by many of the search engines for website ranking.
· Reverse Engineering – Go onto Google or your favorite search engine and review the sites of top competitors to determine their keyword density, proximity, page titles, etc. This will allow you to pinpoint specific techniques and potential “sweet spots” to enhance your search engine marketing. Websites that are listed highly are often the ones that have the best mix of: quality and depth of content; link popularity; keyword density; site layout; relevant url naming; server performance, etc. Many analysts believe that there are over 100 specific parameters that the search engines use to determine ranking. By closely observing top ranked competitors you can determine a variety of commonalities that you can strive to achieve.
· BLOG Creation and Maintenance – Blogs are a hot new way of generating excitement and staying in constant communication with your target audience. You can easily add this feature to your site by going to www.blogger.com and following the simple directions.
· Directory Placement Services – Perform searches on terms such as: “professional speaker directory” and view the results. Often times you will be able to identify either bureaus or directories that will offer you a free or low priced listing if you meet their minimum criteria. By contacting these companies or individuals you will increase your link popularity and establish relationships that can open doors to potential speaking opportunities. We have found that this is an excellent way to increase your ranking and develop new business with lasting benefits.
This process takes extensive effort, analysis and time to implement. However, by selecting relevant keyword phrases that drive targeted traffic to a well designed, action oriented website you can obtain similar results.
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