What is Web 2.0? an Introduction

Every one says I need web 2.0 style website… What is web 2.0? Let’s understand the core concept by considering the history and comparing with current updates in the technology

web 2.0 is a web development and web design technique providing facility to develop not only interactive information sharing sites, but also lays down strong foundations for diverse systems to work together in a web environment. It also provides User-Centered Design (UCD) facility in which the end user of an interface is given extensive attention during each stage of the design process of a website. Some examples of Web 2.0 are web-based communities, software systems that support interoperable interaction over a network, web applications, social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis(sites that allow easy creation and editing of interlinked Web pages, with the help of simplified markup language), blogs( websites, maintained by an individual with regular updates of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video) and mashups(Websites that combine data from two or more external sources and create a new service.

Web 2.0 is basically a concept of integrating and presenting several components of a web based system. As far layout of just the functionality, I don’t see any hard and fast rule that clearly marks a website 2.0 compliant. However, Web 2.0 compliant website permit their users to interact with each other and allow changing website content on the run, in contrast to non-interactive websites where users are just restricted to the viewing of information that is provided to them. Although the term Web 2.0 suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, but it is not actually an upgrade to any technical specifications, rather a cumulative change in the ways developers and users use the Web.

Historical Overview of WEB 2.0

The term “Web 2.0” was introduced by Darcy DiNucci in 1999. When she said

“The World Wide Web that we know now, loads into our browser window as static screenfuls, but it’s actually a rudiment of the Web that follows. It is an indication to get ready for Web technology to begin, and we are just starting to see how that embryo might develop. In future web will be conceived not as screenfuls of text and graphics but as a transport mechanism, the ether through which interactivity happens. This futuristic shape of this technology will appear on your computer screen, on your TV set, your car dashboard, your cell phone, hand-held game machines and maybe even your microwave.”

This concept of web technology was further enhanced by Idehen, Kingsley (http://www.openlinksw.com/blog/~kidehen/index.vspx?id=373) on August, 21, 2003 and by Eric on December 15 2003. These authors applied this concept on only currently associated term, whereas Scott Dietzen brought it to the Web and make it universal, standards-based integration platform.

In 2004, this concept was further upgraded and gained popularity when John Batelle and Tim O’Reilly hosted the very first Web 2.0 web conferencing site (O’Reilly Media and MediaLive). In their initial remarks, John Batelle and Tim O’Reilly exemplify their definition of the Web as “Platform”; a platform where software applications are developed on the Web not on the desktop. The distinctive aspect of this conversion is that the customers are building your business for you. That is, the activities performed by the users generate contents like ideas, text, videos, or pictures which could be “harnessed” to create value.

In other words Web 2.0 can be perceived as a business revolution in the computer industry due to the concept of Internet as a platform, and the only thing required is to understand the rules for success on that new platform. From that time onwards Web 2.0 was largely used by bloggers and journalists. And in 2006 TIME magazine Person of The Year was given to the selected users who were participating in content creation on social networks, blogs, wikis, and media sharing sites.

Lev Grossman covered this store and says “It is a story about the collaboration of a community of a large scale as never before. It states the creation and sharing of knowledge and information by Wikipedia and a network of millions of people of YouTube and the citizens of a large online city MySpace. It’s about enormous power generated as a result of collaboration of few who are helping each other for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.”

Some Basic Characteristics of WEB 2.0

Web 2.0 websites do not restrict their users to just retrieval of information, they can also upload and share their Photos and profiles. Even they can build interactive facilities to provide Network as platform computing, which allows the users to run their software-applications directly through a browser. Users can be given the right to own the data on a Web 2.0 site and experience full control over the data available on the site. Some of the Web 2.0 sites may have an infrastructure of participation which encourages the site users to add contents to the site resulting in the addition of value to the applications available on the site. This type of response from the site is completely in contrast to traditional websites, the sites that have limited visitors for viewing available information and whose content could only be modified by the site’s owner himself. Web 2.0 sites often provide rich features like user-friendly interface based on Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (Ajax), client-side interactivity frameworks, an open source platforms like OpenLaszlo; for the development and delivery of rich Internet applications and even Flex; for the development and deployment of cross-platform rich Internet applications based on the Adobe Flash.

Another concept of Web as a participation platform provides many of these types of characteristics. Web 2.0 can also be said as “participatory Web” and regards the Web as information source.

Duplicate Content and SEO

Search Engines like fresh content but hate duplicates. Duplicate content affect badly on your organic SEO campaign

As a webmaster or an online business owner, everyone is running after getting higher and higher page rank and lead the industry especially within organic search results. Acquiring a higher page rank in search engines is not that easy and one has to employ many strategies, techniques and methods to accomplish especially when competition is high. These methods are classified into black hat and the white hat techniques for SEO. Like everyone knows that search engines like the fresh text based content and websites with high quality content often gain high page rank quicker. Sometimes so-called SEO consultants suggest their customers to create multiple copies of the similar pages and some of the intelligent consultants suggest minor changes in page titles and meta keywords. This is considered one of the devious methods for artificially creating content and intending to gain high page rank. Search engines have gone one step further as far this black hat method. They’re continuously monitoring the websites with duplicate content which can ultimately be kicked out of their indexes.

Duplicate Content Filtering

Search bots crawl billions of website and pages on daily basis. They read and save the crawled content in their database. Once it is done, then they pass the content through a series of algorithms and analysis and one of them is content filtering. Just as they analyze your content for relevance and grading a rank in respect to particular keywords, similarly they compare your content with other pages and websites to mark either a fresh unique web copy or just a duplicated content. In case your content is found to be duplicated, they mark it spam and you lose all the score and rank if previous analysis had granted to your website.

Types of Duplicate Content

Well… duplication means duplication and it should not basically be classified in further categories. Although core purpose of duplicating content is the same i.e. to gain higher page rank but based on the usage. Content duplication can be categorized in two classes.

The massive but comparatively ethical way of creating duplicate content is to create mirror sites i.e. to have multiple yet same web pages on other sites or sub domains. This includes doorway or landing pages geared for some specific purposes. Sometimes search engine consultants suggest using landing pages for specific keywords. That’s good for making your PPC or SEM campaigns perform better. But either if you’re an SEM consultant or just a website owner, must not use duplicate content, rather create landing or doorway pages with real fresh content, layout scheme and headings to make your website valuable for search engines and efficiently pass their duplicate content filters.

Another but completely un-ethical way of duplicating content is to copy from other websites and manipulating it to use within your own site or web pages so that it look different from the original source. Search engines are very smart these days and are continuously keeping eyes on most of the malicious activities and strategies adopted to trick their algorithms and efforts artificially gain high page rank. Content duplication is something like poison for SEO and search engines hate it. Just don’t duplicate content rather spend some time to write your own web copy or hire a professional content writer.

Avoiding Duplicate Content for SEO

In order to follow the ethical guidelines for gaining high page rank and achieving a sustainable position within search results of search engines against your targeted keywords, you may not like to trick search and engines to acquire your goals and ultimately get your site marked as spam just because of using duplicate content. So you must make sure that your web copy doesn’t look similar partially or completely with at least any of the visible competitors in search engines.
A better way of avoiding duplicate content is to use free or paid online tools and get your content verified a unique copy. One of them and vastly used is copyspace.com.

Writing SEO Copy

Copywriting is the baseline for SEO. Step by step guide to a successful SEO Copy

Everyone knows that the biggest share of web traffic gets originated through search engines and it has been a trusted theory so far that these are the keywords and the links responsible majorly to drive traffic to your website. If researched and implemented well, keywords educate the search engines of your business or whatever you do on your website whereas incoming or inbound links tell them how important your website is. So the combination of keywords and the inbound links conclude the relevance of your website to particular theme or business and the relevance is the major factor for granting top ranks within search results of any major search engines and this is the key where most of the search engines focus while analyzing and positioning your website within organic search results.

Keyword stuffing your SEO Copy

An HTML expert can incorporate keywords and targeted search phrases into your HTML meta tags and huge bunch of information is also available everywhere on the internet how to do it. But just incorporating the correct keywords in your HTML meta tags won’t help at all. It is basically half of your race and must think out of the box to present your keywords as the billboard headline or something like breaking news. That’s how a general internet user grades the relevance to your webpage against the searched term and this is how search engines view your web pages. Search engines analyze your meta tags and then compare with your content copy. This is tricky; you got to make your HTML meta tags and content copy compliant to each other. If you don’t elaborate and use your keywords within copy and just the meta tags, most probably your website will never be indexed against those keywords.

Using your targeted keywords just once or twice in your content copy won’t work since search engines just don’t stop and rank your site on that point. The intelligent search algorithms also consider the prominence by considering the number of times you used them within the very first visible sentence of your webpage, the very last paragraph of your copy and how often you used a particular search phrase within the whole of your content copy.

To explain it in a simpler method, if you don’t stuff your SEO or web copy with your primary keywords, your website won’t be able to score remarkable marks as far relevance but not compromising the readability and accessibility. Yes!!! Accessibility and readability is the most important factor for the visitors of your website. After all, you need site visitors to buy your products or take an action and not just the search bots. So must have a strong content copy compliant to both i.e. the search engines and the users to gain maximum benefits of the internet and the search engines.

SEO Copy Writing

Like said before, writing SEO content copy is tricky however, following below suggested guidelines will ensure that you have visitors as well as SEO friendly content copy.

  • Structure your website: Just ask a libertarian or a pharmacy operator how important and helpful structuring is. Doesn’t matter whether you’re gearing towards a brand new website or overhauling an existing website SEO perspective, categories and if possible sub categories your website pages depending upon key offerings. For example if you’re selling gifts through your online shop. The top two categories could be gifts for men and women. Then your products can further be classified into jewelry, dressing etc… Proper website structuring will help you write very specific content copy for each page, product and category which will not only benefit for SEO but also genuine website visitors.
  • Research the right Keywords: Keyword research is a vast yet baseline for organic SEO, SEM or internet marketing. After all, all of your advertizing and marketing efforts will focus on driving traffic to your website through specific keywords and proper usage of those keywords within your content copy will not only affect your ranking and placement in search engines but also help you pitch your sales speech to the visitors and potential customers. So must research keywords that are relevant to your business and are commonly used by internet searchers. I spoke about keywords research here in detail depth.
  • Be specific in keywords and avoid being broad: Not sure how important this factor is for web copy since this factor jumps in while researching and chalking out an internet or search engine marketing campaign. But I still dare suggesting to use specific search phrases instead of broadly categorized single words. Studies have been proving that internet searchers are now more learned towards search engine attitude and most of them have started understanding the kind of response from search engines against any search query. In a nutshell, these search engines are to aid people save time, money and efforts in researching and approaching a particular theme, topic, business or product. So people use them considering the core purpose. On the other hand, if you focus on broad terms, very high competition may not let you drive the nail aright and you may have to face lots of challenges even to gain exposure to search results against your specific keywords. Let’s say you’re a trophy manufacture made of glass and crystal. So instead of just trophies or trophy, you should rather focus on crystal trophies or glass trophies. This will not only help you gain position on search engines quickly, but also your website will grab targeted traffic and most of them are specifically searching the products you’re selling. Your keyword research should also assist you statically in selecting the right search phrases.
  • Be Focused: Don’t try stuffing your page with bunch of keywords. Rather consider only one or two keywords at max for a particular page. In addition, avoid using irrelevant or broad terms. For example, instead of saying “our awards” or “our trophies”, you can say “our glass awards” or “our crystal trophies”. Just don’t compromise readability, if using specific key phrases don’t affect badly, go for it then but adhering consistent balance.
    Just don’t compromise on readability because badly written web copy will just leave surmise impact about your services.
  • Use keywords and phrases in text links: Search engines will consider your neighborhood pages to be relevant and it is a good idea to create navigation through your website pages using text links. If you can use your primary key phrases in text links then it’s much better. This can be accomplished by just linking the same page within your SEO copy by just anchoring your different key phrases. More the text based links, the better.
  • Stuff headings with keywords: Just as billboards on the roadside draw your attentions by presenting something as the headline. You as being a customer conclude the offers by just reading the headline, your site visitors will do and so do the search engines. Search engines value content within headings and bold texts. Try introducing some additional headings within your SEO copy without compromising the readability. Having targeted keywords within headings will not only tell the search engines to grade high your webpage against specific keywords but also will help visitors to summarize your offers of a specific page.
  • Balance your keyword Density: Just don’t spam your web copy!!! Generally you should keep your keyword density between 3%-5%. You can find many free tools on the internet that help you calculate density for a particular keyword or phrase within any web copy.

Hope above guidelines will help you write useful SEO Copy.

SEO copy is not an easy job. For sure if you can speak a language, you can write it too. But it is hard to create a balanced web copy written for search engines and the users. Better hire professional website and SEO copywriter.

Directory Submission & SEO

Directory Submission still alive for gaining organic SEO results?

Google recently removed one of the guidelines from their webmaster help center section saying “Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other industry-specific expert sites”. However, I still keep hearing hawks about huge directory submission packages from numerous SEO companies around the globe. Not only these SEO companies are advocating the directory submission, but also they are spending substantial amount of money in advertising their directory submission services. Being in SEO consultancy since last 5 years, I sometimes get astonished when some SEO consultants speak in favor of directory submission while Google explicitly removed this technique of achieving organic SEO rankings from their guidelines. So being the one who strongly recommends adhering Google guidelines and believe in only white hat SEO techniques, directory submission hawks bug me! If I hear such offers from a newbie, who’s not well aware of SEO techniques and has not worked out especially high competitive keywords, I may just pass a smile. But the source of confusion is that why the companies who claim to be experts in SEO and have numerous satisfied clients in their portfolio are offering this so called “non-sense” service? Does this mean that SEO companies are just fooling the businesses and are taking advantage of ignorance about SEO? OR, is it true that directory submission is still alive and works as it used to be?

Directory Submission still alive?

Google still suggests submitting websites to paid directories like yahoo and some others. But a common sense question is that a directory is a directory after all! Is there any difference if the same information is posted on my website just as on yahoo directory? What makes Google think that having a back link from yahoo is good but from some other directory is useless and unlawful? The purpose behind directory submission is to just get one way back links that Google highly recommends and that’s what directory submission accomplishes. Digging deep into investigating the issue with directory submission, many sub branches open up and each of them needs to be researched to find the actual conclusion. One interesting phenomenon is that search engines like back links from websites bearing relevant content and while you’re submitting your website to directories, of course you strive to place your link within the right category where some of your competitors are also linked. Most of the directories allow you submit your link title, description and the actual URL. So if a page in a directory contains 30 links and all the site links are relevant to each other, doesn’t it make sense that each webmaster might have typed link description and title that is very relevant to their industry and yours too? Imagine, 30 chunks of content that are relevant to your website theme are there on the page along with your site description, title and link. Doesn’t this make page a relevant page? Shouldn’t this page buy some value for your website from Google and other search engines? Apparently sounds sensible and it should. Then why Google and other search engines discourage the directory submission? There are many other factors that prove that directory submission in the right category should give value to your link and must play valuable role in giving your site better PR. Little further branches of this investigation process lead me to think that may be we’re misusing directory submission? I know I spoke about directory submission and discouraged this practice in one of my previous articles about link building. However, further studies and experiments prove that directory submission is not the source of problem. Actually, we’re using directories wrongly! Yes!!! I mean it. Let me try explaining why and how.

Correct use of Directory Submission

Normally when we start submitting a website to numerous directories, what we do in the start is that we create only one page title and one site description, then submit it to hundreds of directories and resource sites. This practice is observed in 99% of directory submission service providers. Let’s say that your website was submitted to 100 directories. Now imagine, same title, same description and same URL is placed on 100 websites. Search engines like unique contents, so doesn’t it mean like spam for search engines? That’s the hick and this where directory submission sucks!!! Automation and ease is always a demand of human nature, one can understand that finding and submitting to hundreds of directories is a hectic job and business owners always intend to find some automated programs that submit their websites to thousands of directories just in minutes. This is good as far time consumption and cost effectiveness is concerned. But you actually completely lose the outcome of your directory submission efforts if you do it through automated process. Automated programs ask your site credentials only for once and then blast to tons of directories. That makes it spam for search engines. So the best practice in directory submission process is to first short list the directories ensuring that they have enough amount of relevant links already placed in your targeted category and search engines have easy access to those pages. Then for each directory, have unique link title and description and then manually submit your website to each directory.

To cut short, automated directory submission is something like poison for achieving your organic SEO goals. However, manual directory submission ensuring unique descriptions and titles on each directory must be helpful in getting better PR. Even if you have outsourced your link building and directory submission part of SEO, be sure that they use unique titles and descriptions on each link they create for you through directory submission.

The Right SEO Company

A detailed checklist to make sure that your SEO Company is doing the right job

Search engines are masking their algos and policies in a complete mystery. Unfortunately there are not any hard and fast rules exposed by search engines adhering which one can guaranty the top rankings and first page impression in search results. So coming up with the solid points detailing what works for SEO and what does not to achieve the search engine optimization campaign targets, can only be achieved by analyzing the websites that hit page 1 of the search results against your desired keywords. This is basically called “competitive analysis” and is the base point to start with any organic SEO campaign. The effectiveness of an SEO campaign directly depends on the competition, sometimes you’ll start receiving results sooner and sometimes you got to do lots of efforts, spend tons of money and monitor each and every competitor for at least 6 months to gain prominent position on search engines and hit page 1 within search results for your potential keywords. It’s really hard to audit the success of and SEO campaign especially for a layman who’s not aware of the organic SEO life-cycle and besides of this, existing of numerous SEO companies on the globe and several diverse theories each of them claiming the proven SEO results make it more difficult to choose the right SEO Company.

Basic tasks of an SEO Company

SEO is not a rocket science but must be addressed with sensible approach. If you’re not aware of the whole SEO process and not sure of the fundamental activities conducted by a professional SEO Company, a little research on the internet will give you an understanding that organic SEO campaign doesn’t generate results quickly where as SEM and PPC put your website right on the top position in search results instantly. Another difference in PPC and organic SEO is that you can sustain with your paid rankings as long as your search engine marketing budget allows. However, organic SEO is an ongoing phenomenon and even if you have not hired a professional SEO Company, you should be aware of the whole SEO process yourself and know the ongoing tasks to achieve and sustain high SEO rankings. Considering the fact that search engines keep updating their algorithms and policies, be patient with your SEO Company for 3-4 months to the results.

The biggest hurdle in understanding and revealing the effective SEO steps is that search engines don’t expose any guidelines ensuring the top rankings. However in a broad perspective following activities are the primary jobs an SEO Company should perform and are considered to be playing 80% roll in achieving results for any organic SEO campaign.

  1. Optimized page titles, keywords and meta tags
  2. Optimized headings, bolds, italics and Alt tags.
  3. Optimized programming (proper usage of CSS and adhering Web 2.0 standards)
  4. Keeping targeted keywords in URLs or the domain name.
  5. Well optimized content copy with appropriate keyword density and geared towards actual users (not the search engines)
  6. Quality back links from relevant yet good PR websites.

If you’re operating with an experienced SEO Company and they’ve intelligently integrated above myths within your website, you should be expecting to see your website within first 20 results of search engine search against targeted keywords. However, competition directly affects your results, time frame, cost and efforts. If you’re dealing with very highly competitive keywords, you SEO Company should put in more efforts to beat the competition and hence will consume more time to get you stable and high rankings over search engines. But as a business owner and the one who’s spending hell of money on an SEO Company to achieve and maintain high rankings, you must be keen to know the daily or at least monthly progress using which you can gauge how effectively your SEO Company is managing your search engine optimization campaign.

But below are two methods you can use yourself to see how much they’re putting in for your website.

Analytics and Traffic Stats

Google provides a very easy to use analytics and stats software named as “Google Analytics”. One should be able to integrate it with any website without any hitch. Ask your SEO Company to install Google analytics for you that you can monitor on daily basis the amount of traffic, the sources of visitors, high performing keywords and bounce rates. You should compare your traffic stats with previous dates, months and years to know more about the efforts your SEO Company is putting in place for your website.

*A smart SEO Company should not only focus on getting high rankings and increasing PR of your website. As a professional SEO consultant, I always critically analyze and compare the bounce rate to make sure that SEO efforts are helping the prospect customer in real sense. i.e. an SEO Company should also analyze the landing pages to make sure that they’re providing the specific information to the visitors and encouraging to take an action.

Google Alerts

Any time an article posted on a blog, news is placed on a press release website or a directory picks up your link, Google alerts will inform you through email. Configure Google alerts by your company name and once it’s done, you’ll start receiving alerts from Google. So more you receive alerts, means more your SEO Company is doing for you.

Auditing your SEO Company

Since I have been debating throughout my lectures, articles and white papers that SEO is a time consuming process and as a business owner, one should be patient while working with and SEO company. However, a question always stays there, “How much should I wait to see results of my SEO Campaign and efforts done by my SEO Company?” Even if you’re not an SEO guru and are a simple business owner with minimal or no knowledge about SEO and website designs. I am plotting some situations below. If any of the situation occurs while working with any SEO Company and nearly 6 months are over, I would suggest to fire your SEO Consultants and choose the right ones with proven track.

Traffic increased but not getting conversions?

May be your landing pages are not formatted well and giving hard time to visitors to take an action or your SEO Company placed your ads on some places to generate spam traffic just take credit of increased traffic. You must consult with your analytics and try to analyze all sources of traffic, keywords, search engines referring sites etc…

No Improvement in traffic and position within search results?

May be your SEO Company is not working at all or putting into wrong keywords. One can understand that highly competitive keywords can generate high amount of traffic for your website. But it takes longer time to deal with such keywords. A smart SEO Company should not focus only on working with highly competitive keywords, but they should consider your return over investment (ROI) too. Like said in start of this article, SEO is not a rocket science but must be approached sensibly. A combination of high, medium and low competitive keywords should be used to start with any SEO Campaign.

SEO Company reports lots of inbound links but little affect on ranking?

Depends when actually they started with link building, normally SEO companies optimize your website first (on-page optimization) and then move towards off-page factors of SEO process. So maybe it will take some time to bring results if those links are not 4 months older. But if those links are more than 4 months older, rest assured, they will cause negative effect on your search engine ranking. First try removing such links and then better to work with a renowned SEO Company.

SEO Company reporting improved ranking but no affect on traffic and conversions?

This can happen if your SEO Company is operating and collecting data from a different geographical location (different country). Especially Google have dedicated domains for each country and organic search results vary from country to country. You just use your Google’s search box and search for some of the keywords, if search results are close the agency’s report, its fine. Otherwise, they’re just lying and must be fired immediately.

Of course there could be several other scenarios that could drive you seriously reconsider your SEO Company. However, it’s difficult to know whether your agency is doing hard to get you page 1 impression or not. But sounds a good idea to keep in touch with your SEO Company constantly and ask for monthly ranking and competitive reports so you can track, compare and know more about the efforts put in place by your SEO Company.

Keyword Research, SEO & Internet Marketing

Keyword Research – the base for a successful internet optimization & marketing campaign

One of the most trusted and proven tools that help driving the targeted traffic to your website are the search engines. However, an SEO or SEM campaign executed with proper keyword research gives an understanding to the website visitors that they’re on the right place and can see the exact information they’re looking for, assures better success rate and more conversion ratio. Researching the right keywords is just like playing a jigsaw game. Yes, sometimes it becomes so difficult to choose the right keywords especially when you somehow have a hazard in mind either they’ll just drive traffic or can play a significant role for making your internet marketing campaign successful. Your keywords are the door openers in your online advertizing strategy and regardless of the budget you spend in online marketing, if didn’t research your keywords accurately, your potential customers may lose the chance in finding you and ultimately you lose the chance of welcoming more customers and enjoy increased market share in your industry. So in laying down the strong foundations for any online advertizing campaign, your first step should be to envisage a strategy to assemble the list of right keywords and evaluate them focusing on your industry, nature of services and searchers aggression on search engines.

Keyword Research Strategy

Being experienced with a particular industry, as an entrepreneur you may think that you probably know the most efficient terms for your search keywords. However, if you don’t adhere to some particular guidelines in researching the right keywords for optimum performance of your business over the internet, for sure you’re not on the right track. Naturally, it’s not easy to be inventive while promoting a business over the search engines and internet especially when you’re at core of your business industry. As a commander in the business, you may not think like a customer and that could be one the reasons that you are unable to research the best keywords. So the best way in choosing the right search words for your internet marketing and optimization efforts, you got to access the community where you are gearing your business. I mean, better contact your existing or prospect customers and try asking them how they would like to search your business over the internet. In more than 90% cases, a business owner will discover a fact that as a customer you drastically differ from your customers as far internet keyword search. You strive for gathering the keywords and search phrases from external resources and should compile them in a list and get ready for evaluation of each search term and phrase

Keyword Evaluation

You may have tons of keywords in your list and may sound impractical to apply all of them while comparing with budget. So by evaluating your keywords will help you narrow down your search words and come up with a smart list of keywords and search phrases that will drive quality traffic to your website. There could be several factors that affect the performance of a keyword. However, if you keenly focus on popularity, aggression and precision of a search phrase during your keyword research then be sure that you’ve researched the best keywords for online advertising and marketing campaigns

Keyword Popularity

The easiest factor in evaluating and researching a particular keyword is to calculate its popularity. It’s just a simple math, more the popular a particular key phrase, more will be typed in search engines and more the chances for your website to greet maximum possible potential customers. Several online tools and tutorials are there to help you out in researching the popularity of your shortlisted keywords categorized in both free and paid softwares. For example Google Keyword Suggestion Tool and WordTracker.

If you’re advertizing on some specific search engines e.g. Google, then I think free tool by Google for keyword research will do the best for you. However, if you’re operating in diverse dimensions and aim to push your online marketing efforts spawning in several search engines and online advertizing platforms, then your best bet is WordTracker. Though it’s a commercial software for keyword research and you pay to use it. But it gives you more accurate results and does calculations from numerous resources not just Google search statistics. Keyword popularity is of course one of the major factors in considering a keyword. But you’re just middle of the way in your keyword research, once you calculated popularity for particular key phrase. Let’s explore other two factors that I mentioned above to better understand why they are important too along with popularity.

The Aggression

If you’re reading this article consistently from start, it might have left an impression that I am more focused on searchers and actually ignoring how much knowledge and understanding YOU have about your industry being a business owner. I think, I am going the right track because you won’t want to see that this is only YOU who searches and clicks your ads. Lols…

Think again, how can your ads and landing pages be optimized with the right keywords to provide the exact information your visitors want to see? The ultimate goal is to drive visitors ready to make an action and are willing to be your customer, this needs fine research of your keywords until you find the most specific and directly targeted key phrases to bring the most motivated traffic to your site. Let’s say someone Googles “Running Shoes” and another person types “Adidas running shoes” in the search engine’s search bar. Which term more focuses to your products and services? And which term gives a broader vision leaving an impact that searcher is may be interested in just researching about running shoes? For an online shoes store, I think 2nd search term is better to focus on because searcher exactly knows what he’s looking for and he sounds like a real customer.

To summarize, you should research the keywords that drive the potential customers to your site and encourage for conversion. More the aggressive your keywords research comes up with, more the leads you get.

Keyword Precision

Having concluded before, the popularity and aggression are not the only factors to invest in a particular keyword. If you analyze one last point i.e. precision, during your keyword research for each shortlisted key phrase, you got the best keywords for your online marketing efforts. The idea is simple but tricky to understand. Let’s try understanding keyword precision with an example. Someone searches for “beauty salon in LA”, being an LA based beauty parlor; you should come up within search results. But here’s the heck, what if your saloon offers its services for women only and not for men? Obviously,  “salon for males in LA” or “male beauty salon in LA” will rank lower in popularity but do you still believe that highly popular keyword will serve you better in this hypothetical example? Instead of getting helluva of visitors interested in everything related to a beauty salon when you can’t entertain all due to limited spawn of services, try addressing the actual customer and keep your search phrases précised to your business operations. More you’re précised with your keywords, lower the competition you face!

If adhered the above three points for your keyword research, and have shortlisted the search terms for your online marketing and optimization campaigns, you’re done! However you should regularly monitor the performance of each keyword on all major search engines for having an always précised list of keywords that you researched for your promoting your business online.

Lead Generation Techniques

Lead Generation – 6 proven techniques for quality lead generation

I’m over whelmed with lots of emails and phone calls since I wrote about Lead Generation last month. The most common or may be the only question that I am still being asked over and over again is to suggest some effective techniques to generate quality leads. I can understand that a serious business owner is mainly concerned in figuring out proven techniques of regular lead generation. Before I go further with detailing and suggesting the lead generation techniques, I assume that you have done some of the homework first that includes writing up profile of your target vista, listing up sources leading to potential leads and documenting the approach to reach your sales prospects.
So you’re ready to head up adopting proven techniques to lead generation? Okay, I am going to outline some of the tactics that I personally experienced and found all of them generating remarkable results. Depending upon business policy, budget and viability, you can advance with all of them or just a few to start with generating new quality leads for your business.

Matching Domain Referrals

I take this as most effective technique for quality lead generation. Effectiveness of complimentary business referral may vary depending on the industry you’re operating in. However, the specialty of same domain referrals is quality lead generation especially for companies that do business to business sales. This technique of lead generation requires a cooperative and polite nature of business operators. You establish good relationships with the sales resources of companies that somehow do business similar to yours. For example, a company engaged in printing and supplying office stationary may be helpful for a website design or SEO company. Similarly, post men of a courier company can be helpful for variety of businesses like office furniture suppliers, recognition event organizers, building maintenance contractors, interior decorators etc… Such sales reps approach variety of businesses and prospects and can work as your affiliates or you can compensate them with exchanging leads.

Conventional Marketing & Advertising

Works well if done effectively. Advertising in magazines, newspapers, leaflets, billboards, television, radio and banners is one of the conventional but result oriented lead generation techniques. Budget depends on the industry you’re in and the media you chose to advertise for quality lead generation. I practiced this lead generation technique only for 2 customers in my whole sales and lead generation experience. So may not be able to advise the most cost efficient and best practices to adopt this advertising prospect. So one should completely research well and consult with a trusted advertizing agency before putting helluva of money into conventional lead generation techniques.

Telemarketing/Cold Calling

One of the disliked techniques by majority of people but does really well in generating quality leads on regular basis. I noticed most of the companies don’t feel comfortable adopting telemarketing as a possible way to generate quality sales leads. However, a planned and continuous execution of a cold calling campaign can generate exceptional amount of continuous sales leads. Another discouraging factor to adopt telemarketing is problem of hiring dedicated and additional staff equipped with complete product training and skill of telemarketing. Telemarketing sometimes can lead to more than expected financial overhead for overall lead generation. But can be balanced if outsourced on commission basis. Tons of companies in countries with low economies specialize in lead generation and operate in the same capacity like Philippines, Pakistan or India. Just Google for “Call Center Services” and see huge list of companies around the globe ready to assist you for quality lead generation.

Search Engine/Internet Marketing

One of the most cost effective, quick and controlled technique for targeted lead generation. Works well for both starting and established businesses or even working at home professionals having online presence with a well designed website. You chose your best keywords and create ads to be posted on search engine search results and referral sites to drive focused but quality traffic to your website. I explained this technique of lead generation in depth detail at “Secrets of Successful Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing” and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Email Marketing

Spam??? No!!! I like sales letters through emails and found it as one of the cheapest method generating quality leads. Email or direct mail marketing is tricky to use. Several companies specialize in this field to blast out your sales pitch to millions of their subscribers. Even if you don’t possess a remarkable list of opt-ins, outsource your email marketing campaign to an experienced yet trusted company. The success rate in generating quality leads through mass mailing depends on the quality of list i.e. more the related users receive your sales letter, more the business you earn. Besides all the dooms and glooms, I consider email marketing one of the cheapest yet one of the best techniques for lead generation.

Seminars & Trade Shows

If you can locate well targeted events and shows to effectively present your products or services, they can do good to generate new sales leads. However, stats prove that such events result into low quality or small amount of sales leads because mostly seminars and tradeshows are attended by researchers, journalists or reps of invitees instead of actual prospects with decision making powers. Though works good in most cases but is I take it one of the low-valued lead generation techniques.

When in action, no one can stop human brain to devise and envisage new and innovative ideas to excel in any department of life. Of course, there could be many more methods and strategies but I summarized some of the lead generation techniques that worked well in my professional experience.

Social Bookmarking & SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Social Bookmarking – a useful service for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Social Bookmarking is an advanced form of bookmarking websites. The need for social bookmarking rose when folks started being concerned about losing the bookmarks after their computers are crashed or anything happened with the data. Social bookmarking sites allow you to bookmark websites that you like and intend to use frequently or rarely in future. Majority of the sites allow you categorize your bookmarks as well, just as you do with your own browser based bookmarks. The main difference in conventional and social book marking is that your favorites reside in your computer only while social bookmarking systems give you some free space to store your book marks online which can be any time restored or accessed anywhere in the world and regardless if you are not even at your own computer.

Social Book marking & Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

In majority cases, social book marking can directly affect your rankings on search engine search results and are a great tool for giving a quick boost to PR and SEO objectives. It comes into play for search engine optimization (SEO) when you create groups, join communities and share your book marks with other users of your social network; a URL revolves around the whole group and reserves some permanent place on some pages of the social bookmarking sites.
The successful social bookmarking sites like dig.com, del.ico.us, furl, stumbpleupon, fark, reddit are rapidly visited places by search engine bots and almost every page of these sites is re-indexed daily. In addition, they have scored very high PR over the time and are considered to be authority sites by major search engines. So being linked back from an authority website is definitely a big advantage as far achieving goals for organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and a step towards first page search results position.

Social Bookmarking for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

This is not a rocket science to know that social bookmarking is good for organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization). But always strings are attached with free and attractive services. Don’t just book mark your own websites, try to use social bookmarking sites as a real user otherwise you will be no where if you are penalized and lose the chance to win the bet with social bookmarking.

Secrets of Successfull Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing

10 essential myths for Successful Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaign

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising sounds easy to go with and usually business advertisers intend to use PPC to drive targeted but immediate traffic to their business sites. Unlike a small percentage, most of them don’t really know how to effectively run a PPC campaign to gain maximum results while spending minimum possible cost in internet marketing. This ends up with dramatically un-expected or sometimes no results accompanied with an argument that “PPC (Pay Per Click) is useless and just a wastage of money and time”. Another class of business operators outsource their internet marketing and PPC campaigns to highly experienced, trusted but well paid Pay Per Click management companies letting them spend the PPC budgets at their own will and learn new methodologies and strategies on customer’s money. Besides the bright and dark circumstances in PPC or internet marketing, specially a business owner should know what is going to do the best for their business in PPC (Pay Per Click) and internet marketing.

Benefits of PPC (Pay Per Click)

If managed well after doing all the research and considering preliminary precautions, PPC (Pay Per Click) works the best and is the most cost efficient yet quickest way to promote or advertise any business over the internet and search engines. In addition, you have then full access to track and generate immediate results with an un-beaten PPC (Pay Per Click) campaign.

Now, let’s try revealing the secrets of a successful PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing campaign.

Identify your market

When it comes to internet or search engine marketing, one can practically experience the tour of whole global village just within couple of hours or days. But must know that with each visit, handsome amount of money is associated and if advertised in non-operative market place, can result into wastage of helluve of money. If you’re researching your market place yourself, make sure you hit the wall right and narrow your geographical market place right within boundaries of your business operations. In case of an outsourced PPC marketing campaign, explicitly ask that they really understand your targeted market and have done all their homework to pitch your products or services within the right place.

Hit the Right Audience

A business may not be interested in generating specially paid traffic from a particular group of community. For example, a mobile phone seller should not pay for clicks made by people searching for ringtones, wall papers, mobile applications or bulk SMS packages. Surveys prove that most of the internet advertisers don’t take this part seriously and most of the times they create opportunities for non-potential customers to kill their PPC marketing budget. For a successful Pay Per Click marketing campaign, don’t just rely on demographics, rather research to work with the real people, try using descriptive avatars that self explain the overall theme of your products or services. This will give you an added benefit of understanding the response and reaction of your customers. Plus, you also create an opportunity for yourself to better understand how your customers want to see your products and how not. In a nutshell, if your Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing ads give a feeling of understanding the needs and your products or services are worthwhile, they gona buy them for sure.

Make your customers take an Action

Clearly define what you want your site visitors to do. More focused you’re about what you need your site visitors should do; more the chances for them to act just as you want. But if you’re not that clear and fill up your page with tons of information and many directions to move, will make things hard for customers to decide and most probably, they’ll just click away with a promise to never come back again.
Address yourself and try to understand what action you want from your site visitor and design your pages right according to the sales needs. Desired actions can vary from case to case like; you may be interested that you site visitors:

  • Click the “Buy” button and directly make a purchase.
  • Download an informative document.
  • Sing up with your site and become a member.
  • Request a custom quote.
  • Or call to book an appointment.
  • Opt-in to your newsletter

Required actions will of course vary from case to case. So be focused on design for your landing pages that they offer the crystal clear information and inviting the direction to take an action.

Understand What They Need

This is very critical point that plays vital role in success or failure of a PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing campaign. Surprisingly, in my personal experience of meetings and conferences with many internet & search engine marketers around the globe, I discovered the fact that only a small ratio of Pay Per Click (PPC) experts know or take this factor into account while managing PPC marketing campaigns for their clients. You must understand how your potential customers want to look at your site and what actually they’re looking for. Even combination of your highly targeted keyword with some generic phrases may mean far different intent for an internet searcher.  Let’s say someone types “Rolex Watches” or “Rolex Watch” on Google and hits the search button. Mostly likely this searcher has intentions to research and know some features about Rolex watches instead of purchasing. However, an actual buyer with intentions to buy the Rolex watch will actually type the actual modal or category like “Bezel Rolex Datejusts watches”. Technically this is called dealing with “Negative Keywords”. Each industry and business corresponds to diverse amount of negative keywords which must be researched well and applied to spend budgets in the very right direction in any internet or Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing campaign.

Start with small but expand to bigger

Especially a new business owner or even an expert PPC (Pay Per Click) marketer may not have full grip over a particular industry. To avoid wasting notable part of advertisement cost in useless and irrelevant keywords and communities. Better start with small group of keywords geared right towards your services or products and expand as you learn more the industry, behavior of searchers and search engines. Can be a useful tip for new businesses or the one with small advertising budgets.

Split Testing Ads

It is again an astonishing statical fact that most of the internet & search engine marketers don’t practice split testing their ads in PPC (Pay Per Click) internet marketing campaign. This can be a helpful resource for better understanding the response to your ads and improve the performance even better.

Create two or more ads in your adwords account. Better to test both at a time so if you come up with some rocking ideas and create multiple ads at a time, the easiest way would be to pause the other ads and run the two just created. Once you have received 50-100 clicks (the more, the better for accurate results but see your budget first) you can select the winner. The problem is that, making a change in an active ad will demolish the statistics history and you will lose the opportunity to compare with old data. What you should do is, pause the old ads and create two new ads while one of these two should be exact clone of the most performing ad.  Now start the two fresh ads while historic statistics are preserved from old ads for analysis and auditing. Another but bit more time consuming option could be to download the statistics in a spreadsheet and make changes in active ads instead of duplicating anything.

Using the Landing Pages

The purpose of a PPC (Pay Per Click) advertizing campaign should be to invite searchers to a page where they find exact information what they’ve searched for and the information should be clear and easy to find for site visitor. This can be accomplished by using landing pages and I always recommend landing pages specially when you’re expecting only one or maximum two results from a page. However, business owners with limited web design experience or the ones running online business without a webmaster should drive their visitors through Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing campaigns to the pages with most relevant information and a clear way to perform desired action.


After all, there must be way using which you gather and store all the statistics of your website and analyze the searchers and visitors behaviors in your Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing campaign. Even if you don’t know how to do it and where to go for this. Hire external resources or an expert who can configure analytics for you. Alternatively, just Google for statistics or analytical services, you will find bunch of useful resources categorized into paid and free services. You can even consult Google and easily configure Google analytics in your site.

Adhering the Stats

Once have configured your site with trusted and powerful analytics software, try analyzing your stats at least twice a day and compare the sales with your PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing expenses and monitor your keywords if they’re driving the right traffic for your website.  Immediate actions may be required on daily basis as far keyword optimization based on the results you notice in statical data. But this process should be prolonged as long as you’re comfortable that your keywords are highly optimized and generating at least expected profits.

Educate yourself with PPC (Pay Per Click)

Constantly and consistently analyze your stats and try to learn more from your success and failures.  The same time, keep a critic eye on your competitors and try getting good things from them too. List down all your success and failure stories in a spreadsheet and before doing any change in your PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing campaign, consult with it.

Since I manage many accounts, industries and customers simultaneously, so I headed up with a personal notebook few years ago where I write down all my success and failures to keep my PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing experience pure and flawless. You too will learn from the experience and I strongly recommend documenting your dooms and glooms.

I just tried to summarize my personal findings during my professional PPC (Pay Per Click) or search engine marketing experience. Of course, new challenges come around every morning but always there’s a way to deal with them. If you’re managing your search engine marketing campaign yourself or have outsourced to external resources,  you should adhered well the above 10 myths to be sure that your PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing campaigns are doing the best for you.

SEO Process – Search Engine Optimization for Newbies

Search engine optimization (SEO) is tricky. Must separate fact from fiction

Search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play when even a well designed site cannot attract the potential customers and gains traffic that it should. Basic purpose of search engine optimization (SEO) is to ensure that your website is easily accessible and visible to search engines, drive quality traffic and help to convert the traffic into a successful lead. SEO helps you make your pages more attractive to search engines that obviously increases your rankings on Google and other search engines which ultimately generate more traffic, more customers and better conversion rate. Considering the fact that a website one Google page 1 attracts more traffic than a site on page 5 or 6. If your website is not hitting the page 1 especially for Google search results, you’re definitely losing a chance to maximize your business and new lead generation. Besides high rankings and traffic, search engine optimization (SEO) gives you added benefits like Branding, quality leads, less expensive advertising opportunities etc…

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Process

Search engine optimization (SEO) process spans on several elements which integrate with each other to result into better ranking of your website, increased traffic and more conversion rate. Though even an advanced SEO process revolves around 4 key elements but especially a newbie SEO should start with Keyword selection, copywriting, on-page html optimization, link building and measuring success rate.

Keyword Research

The success of an SEO campaign mostly bases on good keyword research.  So working on the right keywords that well represent your services or products is essential to keep your search engine optimization (SEO) campaign on right track. If your keyword research is off to your business domain and your working on wrong keywords, then you may not be able to drive quality traffic to your website and your website may not be able to attract the visitors who are looking for what your website offers. So it is very important to make sure that your website is optimized properly focusing on most search keywords that are related to your business domain.


Of course basic purpose of search engine optimization (SEO) campaign is to increase sales by means of getting higher ranking and generating more traffic. But achieving high ranking and driving targeted traffic to your website fulfills half of your ultimate goals. Once a visitor is on your website, your content should be self convincing, covering all the pros and cons of your products in a well descriptive manner accompanied with a killer content copy pitching sales oriented approach to convert the visit into sale.  Search engines like the website with more content, so your content copy should be optimized and well focused to your targeted keywords. This can be achieved by adding detailed product pages, biographies, news, informative but related articles, blogs etc. Having a good sales oriented content copy is not actually enough to increase conversion ratio. It must be integrated well with your site design. i.e. most important part of your content should be visible to the visitors on the very first glance before they scroll down. There are several ways to accomplish this, for example using absolute DIVS.

On-Page HTML Optimization

Search engines like descriptive and clean websites. Code to content ratio plays a vital role in optimization on page HTML for any SEO campaign. Make sure that your title tags, keywords, meta descriptions, alt tags, headings and visible text are compliant to each other and are coded cleanly. Search engines prefer to know what your page is all about and they don’t like to figure out the actual theme of your website through a bunch of irrelevant code. Try using CSS based page structures and avoid from conventional tables, fonts and iframe tags.

Link Building

Democracy is dominating everywhere… may be search engines too like the democracy. Ever thought what is basically a democracy and who’s the actual winner in a democratic system? The core is, an opinion dominates if majority of RELEVANT people vote for it. For example, In US presidential elections it only matters how many US residents vote a particular person. Let’s say John McCain is less popular among Americans but more in rest of the world and on the other hand, Barak Obama is more popular among Americans and less in rest of the world. Who’s going to dominate? Of course this is US election and votes from US citizens worth more than anything else. Regardless how popular McCain is in rest of the world, he can’t be chosen as US president.
Same philosophy works in search engine optimization (SEO) link building process. Search engines like the websites that are linked from RELEVANT sites. Try getting more one way links from websites that have similar content as your products or services. These sites could be web directories, advertizing forums, blogs, partner sites, social networks, discussion forums etc…

Auditing Success

Measuring success rate is essential part of an SEO campaign to know if your search engine optimization (SEO) strategies are working. Auditing an SEO campaigns is easy by using free tools like Google Analytics or any other stats collection software. You should keenly observe the click through rate and compare it with actual conversions and must adopt an ongoing strategy to beat the curve with your competition over search engine search results.

Above myths are just a starting point for an effective yet successful search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. Each phase of SEO process needs understanding advance techniques and much more details for keeping SEO campaign the right track but a perfect path to start with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)