All posts by Andy Walker

Andy Walker is CEO and Senior Strategist at Cyberwalker Digital. He is the author of five books and is a well known technology expert. Andy is a former G4TechTV host and currently appears in the media as a commentator of the Internet and all thing technology. He is co-authoring the book "Super You: How technology is revolutionizing what it means to be human" with CWD's Kay Svela.

Why your brand should publish a book

Why your brand should publish a book
There’s a funny thing book publishers always tell first time book writers when they get their first deal:

“You don’t want to write this book for money. It’s a reputation builder. It will get you paid speaking gigs and it’ll will elevate your career.”

It’s actually true. Because getting a book deal really won’t make you much money unless you are Stephen King, JK Rowling, or Tim Ferriss. And it does get you speaking gigs. And it does elevate you above the crowd.

For professional writers, however, this all sucks.

But these are very reasons are why your company should publish a book. In today’s crazy world of content marketing, having a book that demonstrates your brand expertise to its customers is perhaps one of the best things you can do for your marketing efforts.  There are lots of reasons, but here’s five:

  1. Arm your sales force with a killer book that they can give away.
  2. Demonstrate you expertise tangibly.
  3. Give it away as an ebook as a lead magnet in email marketing.
  4. Differentiate your brand.
  5. Adapt the content into blog posts for content marketing purposes.

So what kind of book should your brand produce?

Identify the problems your customers or potential customers are having in your market place and then give them a solutions book. The book should be a guide to getting problems solved. A plumbing company should product a guide to avoid household plumbing issues. Something a Do It Yourselfer would find useful.
Now if that sounds nuts, trust me on this one. You can show someone exactly what to do to solve a problem and most of the time they are going to call you anyway, because you have demonstrated the expertise on how to solve problem easily. And they won’t want to do it themselves, because they may make a mistake and mess up and have to call you or someone else anyway.

This works equally well for B2C companies as it does for B2B companies. All customers have problems. And all companies want to solve those problems for a service fee. Or sell a product that helps the issue.

A water filtration company recently came to the door of our home in Tampa because we have awful water quality here. The sales guy was the 10th person to knock in a year and I turned them all away, except him. They all occurred like scam artists. The guy that got invited in was genuinely interested in educating us about the water we use in the home and reducing our usage of both water and the detergents and cleaners we use.

Now if this company had  guide book on water quality, tips and trucks and low cost solutions that solves of these issues with step by step instructions that I could try myself and then an overview of the water solutions I could buy including theirs, I would have started to develop a trust for their brand, and probably called them sooner.

I knew I was going to buy a system, but I didn’t trust anyone who was selling them, even though they came to my doorstep.

In a book, if they had a 1-800 number where I could called for further questions and even a coupon the back of the book, that would have helped too. They are lots of things you could do. In fact I have a list os strategies that I will share at some point.

Digital Marketing Secrets Revealed, by Cyberwalker Digital
Digital Marketing Secrets Revealed, by Cyberwalker Digital

Producing a nicely designed giveaway book that it professionally written and educates, creates trust and makes a company stand out in its market it will do wonders for a brand’s reputation. Will it do that  for your company? You’d be surprised at the amazing reaction you’ll get. (Have a conversation with me if you like – contact info below.)

At Cyberwalker Digital, we produced the book Digital Marketing Secrets Revealed (cover above). We sold a branded version of to a client in the materials handling business. And we distributed a generic version of it in a direct mail campaign and as a giveaway on our web site.  It’s very effective at getting attention and opening up a conversation about doing business.

You can get a copy of our here: Digital Marketing Secrets Ebook.  If you  want to reach out to us about producing your own book, reach out to Kay Walker at kay@cyberwalker.com or call her at 813-525-3185.

Most common content marketing mistakes

Most common content marketing mistakes Content marketing, on the face of it, is easy to do. You produce great content demonstrating you are an expert, and people buy from you. Right? Well, it should be that easy, but it is more complicated than that. There are some critical steps you need to follow to ensure your strategy produces results and a return on investment.

However, a lot of people do it wrong because they execute poorly, or don’t take all the necessary actions. Here’s some of the top mistakes people make with content marketing

1. MY PRODUCT IS THE BEST! Writing articles that boast and brag promotes instead of educates. It also annoys. If you are creating that kind of content, you are missing the mark here. Teach “how to”. Demystify. Provide insight. Provide overviews. Don’t write about how your Widget ™ is better than all the other generic widgets. Instead write about why the market for widgets is hot and what people are using them for and what widgets do to improve a person’s life. After reading this people will understand the value of widgets and they know you make Widget(tm), because they are on your site or you tell them at the end of the piece (that’s ok) so they might buy yours. Or think of your Widget(tm) when they want to buy a widget. Produce great content that you would be proud to see reprinted in the New York Times.

2. DON’T BE A BRAND FIREHOSE Share your content on your Facebook page, on Twitter, on  Google+, on Pinterest, and on Instagram. Instagram? )Yes, it’s now the 2nd largest social media platform behind Facebook and ahead of Twitter.) Then engage people who consume it or share it on. Ask them questions. Remember it’s SOCIAL media. And share other people’s great content in your area of expertise. Don’t be a one way brand name firehose where your content is all about you. You are building a reputation for expertise about your business focus. Be a sprinkler. Share expertise from other places too. You will become a resource as opposed to a product shill.

Don't be a brand firehose with your content marketing
Don’t be a brand firehose with your content marketing

 

3. YOU WRITE IT, BUT THEY DON’T COME: Search engines are your most valuable source for free traffic from people that you can turn into customers. However, you have to format your content to ensure it is being found for the right keywords that people are searching for. This means you’ll need to gain a command of Search Engine Optimization (LINK: What is SEO?). That includes three things: 1) Research keywords that get searched. 2) Optimize your content for those keywords…and 3) Get people to link to your content.  #3 is your hardest task and will be your most successful  method to attract search engine traffic. Google and Bing reward content with lots of inbound links to it.

4. IGNORE THE POWER OF EMAIL This is a huge mistake in content marketing strategy. When people come to your web site, offer them something crazy-awesome in return for signing up to your email list. Then use the list toshare your most valuable content. Email is a great way to stay top of mind with a prospect. It’s a brand-building process. It’s also a way to validate your expertise. Create content exclusively your email list subscribers. Write it with them in mind. And give them extras, bonuses and exclusives. And I am not talking about selling here. Give away your best stuff. Make them feel like they have stumbled on a goldmine of information by being on your list.

5. WRITING OCCASIONAL POSTS Writing one article per month is not going to cut it. I don’t go live with a new web site without posting at least five articles and then I try to produce a piece of  content once a week at minimum and only because I run more than 10 sites. If you run just one site you should post once per business day and at a minimum twice a week. Write daily if you can squeeze the time.

6. MISUNDERTSTANDING BUY TRIGGERS – B2C content should have content that moves and inspires. Consumers are emotional buyers and connect and purchase from experts that make them feel safe and that embody trust. B2B content should be jam-packed with data and numbers that are evidence based. That inspires and validates business cases. Buyers buy from vendors that are trustworthy experts that back their business with data.

7. DON’T FORGET TO MEASURE – Be sure to track your content engagement. You want to write more copy that gets consumed and shared and less content that gets visited occasionally. Track your social media shares. Track you page reads with Google Analytics and   use a Smart CRM to track email marketing content engagement, including opens and actions. Tracking audience behavior response should guide content strategy.

Track your content usage and consumption with Google Analytics
Track your content usage and consumption with Google Analytics

 


8. DON’T BURY YOUR LEAD – This is a term in journalism that means the point of the story is buried down in paragraph 5 or 9. Don’t open with “There was a community meeting on April 14 at 6pm”…and then five paragraphs later talk about the water pipe that burst during the discussion about water quality. Start with “A ceiling pipe burst in the middle of community meeting last week, as a discussion began about water quality.”  Put the most important material at the top of the article – open with it.

9. DON’T BE TOO BRIEF – While writing short posts is occasionally ok, writing longer more comprehensive pieces is better, because longer pieces get indexed by search engines more often, and can demonstrate your expertise because they provide all the information someone is seeking. Make your content a one stop for all the info someone needs. They won’t move on to your competitor.

10. AVOID WALLS O’ TEXT – A wall of text is intimidating to read, so be sure to present your awesomely written and engaging post with images and diagrams. Use links where appropriate and break up the text with subheads and bullet pointed lists. All these tricks help with readability and improve search engine pickup.

10 reasons your business should be part media company, regardless of what it does

all companies must be part media company
All companies must be part media company to succeed

If you don’t have either a decent content creator on staff, or at least one (or more) on retainer, then you are going to have a problem in the next few years.

Successful companies invest in marketing, and marketing in today’s business means you need to create content that people love and find helpful. If you are driving sales messages down their throats, then your company is not going to around for long. The era of the hard sell is over. And the era of the relationship sell will only work these days if your company is seen as an expert. And what’s the fastest way to that? Publishing.

Great companies make great content today, that means text, photos and video. They have websites that look more like a media website than a sales brochure, so here are 10 reasons why your company should invest in content creators:

1) Customers appreciate being educated and hate being sold to.

2) When you publish helpful content you are seen as an expert and people trust and buy from experts.

3) Google and Bing do not index and rank sales brochures particularly well. It indexes great content and people don’t link to sales brochures, they link to great content.

4) Send someone a great email with helpful content and they will look at the next email from you. Send them a self serving sales message ad and they will more often than not unsubscribe or click their spam button.

5)  No one follows people for their ad messages on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, but they do follow them for great content.

6) Great content can contain sales copy. And great sales copy should contain great content.

7) 100 million Internet users watch video each day.

8) 90% of online shoppers at a major retailer’s website said they find video helpful in making shopping and buying decisions

9) 50% of people at work watch business-related videos on YouTube and 65% visit the marketer’s website after viewing a video.

10) B2C content should strike an emotional cord. B2B content should contain data and facts, because the two sectors buy differently.

Andy Walker is a senior digital strategist at Cyberwalker Digital LLC in Tampa, a marketing agency that helps you company market itself with great content and generate great leads. Read more about us at Cyberwalker.com. Reach Andy at andy@cyberwalker.com or 813-501-8043.

How do I grow my consulting business with digital marketing?

How do i grow my consulting business with digital marketing?A change management consultant asked me this question recently: How do I grow my consulting business. Whether you are an expert in that topic or you consult around another area of expertise, the answer and tactics are pretty much the same.

Here’s the answer I gave him. (You can substitute your consulting business for his in my answer and it will be equally relevant.)

Answer: The best way is to become the pre-eminent expert in your field on the web and attract people who are seeking change management expertise.

Here’s how to do that:

1) Figure out the top 100 questions anyone buying change management services might ask and answer them comprehensively on a blog over the next 6-12 months.

2) Provide a glossary of terms on the blog around change management terms. Use common and esoteric terms, as many as makes sense.

3) Establish a layman’s guide to change management and publish it in an ebook. 10 to 30 pages will do. Make it the best intro to guide you can. The offer it for free in return for a sign up to your mailing list.

4) Send our great content on the list about case studies, new trends, how-tos, and other questions answered about the topic (you can use your blog material)

5) Offer a Q&A submission form and answer any questions within one business day to someone who might have ask about the topic. Answer directly (this is a nice lead) and reuse the answers on your blog and in your newsletter to generate more leads.

6) Follow the core community of change management experts on social media, contribute to the conversation and publish some of your material on linkedin and tweet almost all of it on Twitter as it is produced. You can use hootsuite for this

7) Hire an Search Engine Optimization company to work with your site to get it ranked for change management. Your amazing content will be a key tool in making this happen.

8) Get help is designing your email marketing funnel and be sure to use a tool like http://cwd.link/infusionsoft to drive it. This will help you identify opportunities among your subscribers.

If you poke around the web you’ll notice that there is not a lot of stiff competition on change management. With a bit of time, money and effort it won’t take long to dominate search engine results and social media. Then let the business come to you.

BTW, you might also want to write a piece or FAQ (frequently asked questions) on “how to hire a change management consultant” and post it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and of course your own site.

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Drop me an email if you think we can help you with your business at andy@cyberwalker.com or if you’d like a copy of our free 60-page Digital Marketing Secrets Revealed ebook, get it here.

10 reasons why you should use Shopify to build a web store

Shopify ecommerceAt Cyberwalker Digital we build web stores for our clients and our preferred ecommerce platform is Shopify. Here are 10 reasons why:

1. Shopify scaleable. You can start with a $15/month store and scale to a multi-language multi iteration enterprise site.

2. You can launch with either a free or $100 theme that you buy or have one custom designed by an agency like us.

3. Shopify handles all the transactional technology and credit card tools. You just connect your bank account.

4. Shopify handles all the site security so its worry free.

5.  One person can manage the store or you can set it up to managed by a team.

6. Tax tables make collecting sales tax easy – by country, state.province or region (including US counties).

7. Shipping can be manually setup or connected to Fedex or UPS or USPS for real time shipping calculation

8. It’s easy to manage SEO

9. You can easily sell digital products such as videos, ebooks or software keys.

10. The stores are beautiful, easy to manage and you can be selling in a day or two.

If you would like a free 30 minute consult on how Cyberwalker Digital can help you setup and build your store, contact us here

Or check out Shopify directly.

 

How to use content marketing to promote your local business

local content marketing and SEO works for eye doctorsThe fundamental idea behind content marketing is to demonstrate your expertise  on a topic in you specialty and draw attention to your web site so you can earn trust from potential customers and generate engagement.

In a local market this is especially achievable because  the pool of competition is smaller and you can easily rise to the top of the list for a local business using the tactic.

The catch is you have to be willing to put in the time, investment and effort to make it happen,

You can hire an agency to generate the content. Or generate it yourself and hire an agency to promote it. Or, you can do it all yourself if you are ambitious and willing.

Here are 10 content and promotional ideas that will help you get there.  I have used the example of a local eye doctor clinic that wants to draw more local business, but if you are a plumber or a florist or any local business you can substitute your operation using the same tactics:

1) Write 50 answers to the most common questions your customer ask and post them on your website as articles.

2) Use Google Adwords to find out what the most common keywords are around search related you your business and generate content that essentially answers the keyword query. There is a Keyword Explorer tool that is free to use.

3) Build a great guide to solve a problem your customer base has (ie an eye doctor could write a guide to solving failing eyesight aimed at 40+ customers) and offer it as an incentive to sign up for an email list where you share great tips (and occasionally offers).

4) Make sure your business locations are registered locally in Google Places, Bing Places and Yelp and Foursquare

5) Write a comprehensive glossary that consumers can use to understand the world of eye health and publish it on your web site.

6) Become the eye doctor on Twitter and Facebook using your content and expertise.

7) Engage an SEO agency (try us – we have an SEO pratice) or appointment someone on your staff to get your articles and content ranked on Google and Bing. (Learn how to on our SEO expert site)

8) Produce an Ask the Eye Doctor service on your web site so people can ask eye health questions and use the Q&A to enhance your blog.

9) Fund or back a vision charity and engage in online fundraising and campaigns to draw attention.

10) Use PRWeb or PRNewswire to promote newsy press releases and become the eye doctor who is called by the local (and eventually national) media.

 

The best time to send marketing emails to maximize sales and engagement

Alarm clock in fire flames. Lack of time
You have a killer email that you want to send out to your list. You want to catch people at the perfect time and have high open rates and engagement rates. you want to sell stuff.

What time do you send it? What day of the week?

4pm Tuesday?

9:45am Wednesday?

8am Saturday?

Unless you are a seasoned email marker you’ll likely guess wrong.

The conventional wisdom among email marketing gurus is mid morning on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.  With open rates peaking on Thursday morning. Actually the gurus say 10AM is the magical time. And I have evidence that 930am to 1030am is the optimal target time.

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I learned this when I worked as the Infusionsoft guru on best-selling author Neil Strauss’ team. Neil is an email marketing mastermind and I owe him a lot from my time working with him.

Of course Neil’s audience is primarily ambitious young men in their 20s and 30s. Over the years we have used this wisdom in most of our clients campaigns and it seems to work nicely. But I never personally tested it. A little voice in the back of my head always asked: Does this hold up for every list?

Is age of recipient a factor for open rates?

The easy answer is pretty much yes, with some variables. Age is a factor. Teens and younger 20somethings (read: college students) get out of bed later in the AM so later in their schedule is better than early in the AM to receive an email. They are typically in bed until mid morning. 1pm is a good time catch them. Now this sounds like a stereotype (and not all college kids are in bed til 10AM), but we are talking about aggregated behavior here to get the most out of a volume send.

Retirees have a different schedule. Early day is better. Afternoon not so much.  Why? Sleep cycles of older people have them rise early.

Working people tend to be in front of their computers or smartphones or tablets between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. As you would expect Mondays are a bad day as people are prioritizing urgent work and not browsing their inbox. After noon on Friday and even anytime Friday at all is  generally a bad time to send a marketing email.

What about email sends on weekends?

There’s some evidence that if the target audience is an interest group around niche leisure time that weekend sends are a good idea. However, I have some evidence to the contrary, which I will explain below.

I recently decided to test it and what I discovered was surprising. My test audience was a large 25K list that belongs to a client who I am consulting with. — It is made up of people interested in a niche Caribbean recipe site. It consists largely of  women living in the U.S.,  in their 30s, 40s and 50s. But there is also decent contingent of men (20%) on the list. There are Canadians and British subscribers (totalling 10%) mixed in to the list too.

(BTW, if you need some help with your email marketing strategy I have a couple of consulting slots available each week – drop me a note)

The site they follow (and subscribed on) tracks the biggest traffic volumes on Saturday and Sunday. Sunday is actually the site’s biggest traffic day. They are weekend home cooks, essentially. It would suggest that the weekend would be a better time to send an offer, right? Nope.

We tried a Saturday at 10AM send and the open rate and engagement was half of the Thursday AM send. People are not in front of their computers or paying attention to email on their phones on weekends.

How to test send times

Here’s how I tested for optimal send times.

I segmented the list on Infusionsoft (a smart CRM and email campaign system) to test for my client when the best send times would be for this audience just so we could optimize revenue against from list.

We sent the same email to 750 different people every hour on a Thursday from 8AM to 5PM – we also added a 930AM send.

Here’s what we found in the data within 48 hours of the send:

Best times to send for highest open rates noon and 1pm however engagement rates (with the email offer) were better at 1PM and 2PM.

Best time to send for high engagement rates: 930AM and 10AM were better on the first day of the send for open rates and engagement with the offer. On Day 2 (24 hours after the send) the 1PM and 2PM group had slightly better open rates and very good engagement rates.

But the best engagement rate over all came from the 930am group even though the open rate was about 0.75% (three quarters of a percent)  lower.

After 48 hours, the best engagement rate was 50% better from the openers at 930am than at 10am and similarly at 11am. The engagement rates were similar to the 930am group for those that received emails at the 1pm and 2pm sends.

There also a weird anomaly for a high open rates for the 5pm group. Like an end of day email check when work is done, however it had a significantly lower engagement rate. People were opening, but not clicking the call to action.

Actual sales from the campaign transacted as follows:

27% of all sales transactions occurred between 930am and 10am, 27% after work hours between 630pm and 11pm

This suggests that people rarely buy immediately, but they save emails and go back to them when there is something of interest. You need to give them a deadline, however, and threaten to take the good deal away if they don’t act.

However, 80 per cent the sales from the campaign came from the people who received the 930am email.

Your list behavior may vary.  It’s worth doing the legwork to test the list.

The bottom line: Send to your list between 930am and 1030am on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Preferably Thursday. Keep the offer open over the weekend.  Send a casual reminder email, but don’t expect high open rates on the weekend.

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10 simple ideas to generate blog content quickly without much effort

10 simple ideas to generate blog content quickly without much effortContent marketing requires that you publish a lot of great content. And specifically you’ll need to publish content that demonstrates your (or your company’s) expertise on a particular niche topic. The idea is that you draw people who find that content useful and interesting toward your company, teach them that your are an authority on the topic, and through the process develop trust and over time a relationship, which is the foundation for a sale.

But what if you are not much of a writer? Or you find generating content ideas tedious?  Or you have no time to pen the next great post? Or perhaps you don’t have a budget to hire a journalism grad or professional writer to produce content for your brand? No problem. Just use these 10 simple ideas to generate content quickly without much effort.

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1. Top 5 and Top 10 lists

Go find the best resources on a topic on the internet that can be pulled into a list. 10 things you need to know about X, or 5 must have tips on how to Y. Find web sites that  publish the material. Describe their tips in a few sentences. Put a link to each one and list them. Write a brief intro and BOOM!: You’ve got one awesome article ready to publish.

2. FAQs

That’s Frequently Asked Questions. List 10 questions that your customers ask your sales reps. Then answer them. Don’t be self promoting. ie Q: Who is your favorite plumbing company. A: Ours! More like: Q: What’s the best way to unclog a garbage disposal. A: We like this Youtube video for do it yourselfers (LINK) but give us a call and we can talk you through it or send one of our pros out to get it done for you.  

3. Retop a rewrite

This is an old journalism trick that editors teach young reporters at newspapers. Find a piece of news or an article (usually from a competitor in the media business) that is of interest to your customer base. Rewrite it into a summary using your own words. Do not use the quotes – paraphrase these. The finished product must be all new and it’s helpful if the top of the article includes a new development that is not covered in the original piece. BTW – No copying and pasting – that’s plagiarism. ie. Source: “Apple announces the ultra thin new iPhone 9” Rewrite:  “Thin is in – but some say breakable – for the latest smartphone from Apple” 

4. Write definitions

Pull together lingo or or complex terminology from your business or market and define them.  Over time build a glossary of terms that is specific to your industry and publish this on your site.

5. Transcribe an interview

Call a seasoned know-it-all n your shop and record an interview on a topic her or she is expert in.  Or call a industry colleague or supplier. Ask them 10 questions about an area of expertise. Transcribe the answers and clean up the Ummms and Errrs and turn it into an article with a brief introduction. ie.   “Have you ever wondered how to  organize a bedroom closet? We called Susan Littleton, a professional closet organizer, who provided the following tips on how to optimize space in a bedroom walk-in closest.”

6. Record an interview

Too busy to transcribe an interview? Record it on Skype and post the audio or video file on your blog and write a brief description to introduce it. Use Recorder, which is an add-on app from Skype.

7. Photo slideshow

Explain how to do something using a slide show. Grab your phone and take step by step pictures and describe each step as captions. Niche “how to” content is hugely in demand.

8. This week in history

Go back in time five years, 10 years or further and pull up an old article or post or newspaper clipping or even a photo that marks a historic day  that is of interest to your audience. Rehash the piece into a retrospective or post a series of old pictures.

9. Aggregate great tweets

Use Twitter’s search engine to find people who are experts on a topic and aggregate their tweets together. (Use a screen grab software like Snag-It) ie.  Top 5 hurricane preparedness tips from smart people on Twitter!

10. Social media interviews

Speaking of Twitter post a request on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus for help with a question that everyone wants answered – that your audience will love. Aggregate the best answers into a single post. Credit the contributors and link to their social media accounts.

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What is SEO? An overview and definition

…or said another way: What is Search Engine Optimization – if you don’t know what the acronym means

What is SEO: an overview and definition
What is SEO: an overview and definition

If you are unfamiliar with the term SEO – or if you have heard about it but not exactly sure what it is, then here’s an overview and definition so that you can understand what it is used for and even explain it to someone else, like an expert.

A search engine is a web site like Google or Bing or Yahoo. Its where you can find resources on the Internet by entering search terms. Simple terms like “organic dog food” or more complex phrases like “where in Tampa can I find organic dog food”.

The search engine will provide a list or web sites that answer that question and ranks them in order of relevancy. So the top site on the results page should be the best resource to answer your query. This is achieved by analyzing all kinds of criteria about each web site. The search engine scans web sites across the Internet and then indexes them based on the key words that they are about.

So what is search engine optimization or SEO for short? Its the process by which a web site owner customizes their web content pages – including the home page – to make them appealing to search engines looking for a match for specific keywords.

How is this done? There are three basic steps, although there is much more to SEO than just these, but they are the start of a strategy.

STEP 1: Research keywords

The first step in any SEO strategy is to identify what keyword or set of keywords (often called a “keyword phrase”) to optimize a web site and its web pages for. Choosing the right keywords will result in large volumes of traffic arriving on the web site if they are keywords that are typed into a search engine frequently. LEARN MORE about keyword research

STEP 2: Optimize keywords on a page

This process involved editing text and programming code on a web page to help search engines recognize it as a good page to rank for a particular set of keywords and to list it in their search results. LEARN MORE about on-page optimization

STEP 3: Get linked

This process – also called in-linking – is the work done to get other websites to link to your web site. It can be done by listing a site on free directories, getting mentions in other peoples blogs, getting media mentions and in some cases buying links (although this can sometimes be ill advised) on prominent web sites. LEARN MORE about In-Linking

STEP 4: Track and analyze

This process is about evaluating what keywords you have been ranked for on Google and Bing and then looking for ways to improve these rankings through  optimization and in-linking.

STEP 5: Create valuable content and continue to optimize

After an initial execution of steps 1 to 4, your ongoing job will be to create great content on your web site that positions you as an expert on the web in the areas that you specialize in an what to be known for. This is critical to your success in SEO. If you want high rankings on search engines you MUST become a content creator and update the content regularly.

Of course these steps only give you a basic overview of what SEO is, but should now have a basic understanding of the process and why its important. To learn more, join our Ultimate Digital Marketers email list. You will receive a free copy of our ebook Digital Marketing Secrets Revealed ebook. To order it, CLICK HERE.  There is a whole chapter dedicated to SEO in the book. You can also find out more by clicking the banner below.

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How to pick the right keywords for SEO

How to pick the right keywords for SEOPicking the right keywords for search engine optimization is one of the most important steps you can take in SEO. It can lead to volumes of traffic arriving on your web site for free if you do it right. If you do it wrong you’ll end up with a trickle of visitors and a lot of wasted time and effort.

The best way to start your research is to make a list of the keywords – or more accurately “keyword phrases” you think a web search would type into a search engine such as Google or Bing to find your web site. Then search for them on Google and see what web sites and content come up. If sites that you compete with come up then you’re likely on to the right keyword phrases.

Quick Keyword Research Strategy

The next thing to do is to try combinations and variations on the keyword phrase and see what Google suggests in its pop out search menu. These are phrases  a known to be searched on in Google index and likely have good traffic behind them. For example, start typing “dog food” and Google will suggest common searches that use that keyword.

keyword research on google
Use Google to see what keyword phrases are auto selected

 

For the time-pressed SEO, this could be all that you need to determine what keyword phrase could be valuable.

Of course it doesn’t tell you the best keyword phrases or the search volume you’ll likely to get by winning a top spot with this phrase. But this is a quick keyword research strategy that can be done in a few precious minutes.

Google’s Keyword Research Tool

Google has a nice free keyword research tool called  Keyword Planner which is built into Google Adwords. That’s the search engine’s paid keyword ad suite and it is a good place to do your SEO keyword research.

Using it you’ll get a good sense of what a particular keyword is worth per click and what the search volume is for the keyword phrase.

To find it visit Google Adwords (click) then log-in with your Google account (a Gmail log-in will work) or create a new one because you will need this for a Google Analytics account and Google Webmaster.

After logging in to Google Adsense, click the “Tools” menu to the far right, then choose the research option you find most appealing. I like the “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category” option.

great free keyword research tool
Google Keyword Planner is a handy free keyword research tool built into Google Adwords

 

Paid Keyword Research Tool: WordTracker

At Cyberwalker Digital we like to use WordTracker, a paid that runs $27 to $69 per month depending on which plan you choose. The base plan works fine unless you plan to do international search engine optimization and need multiple country data.

WordTracker lets you input keywords to find related and suggested keywords that are getting good search volumes. Once you have identified a series of phrases you can use a secondary tool to determine search volumes. It also lays out for you several key indicators as follows:

VOLUME: This is the number of searches estimated for the keyword phrases per month.

COMP: This is competition rating. The higher the number the more competition there is to win a high ranking on this keyword. “Cars” has a volume of 1.2 million searches per month and a COMP value of 45.22. So that would be a tough keyword to win. Of course the pay off would be high. The keyword phrase “iphone 6” has more than 6 million searches but a COMP value of 35.65. This value is handy to compare similar keywords however. Use the volume and  competition values to determine which is a better keyword phrase to chase.

IAAT: This means “In Anchor and Title” and shows how many web sites have the keyword phrase in their page titles and linked in inbound links from another site. It’s an indictor of keyword popularity and shows what you are up against. If the IAAT is a high number you are for some hard work to win ranking on the keyword.

KEI: This is Keyword Effectveness Index and goes up when the keyword popularity increases and goes down when there is lots of competition. You will never see a KEI larger than 100. You want high volume and low competition so a moderately rated KEI is likely to be attractive. Use it to compare keywords too.

 

paid keyword research tool WordTracker
Paid keyword research tool WordTracker

The Ultimate Keyword Research Strategy

So what to do? Design a keyword phrase portfolio that has a blend of low volume keywords that are easy to win and moderately high volume keyword phrases that you have a shot at with some effort.

You might want to add a few “golden” keyword phrases that would would love to win. Tracking these will give you an indicator of how successful you are against top competitors. In a niche these are fun because with time and with great content and persistence you can win them. They are the golden eggs you can attain. If you can win national single word keywords (like “cars”) then you’re doing really well.

Even a regional win like “cars for sale in Tampa” will take some effort. If your business has a local angle then its worth making this kind of keyword phrases of of your golden eggs.

Bottom line though: start with the easy stuff. Cut your chops. Learn what works and get more aggressive as you develop your skills. And be sure to celebrate every win as your organic search volume grows.