Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Best SEO Tool is SEO Power Suite!

Everyday I go to work and find myself buried in “what ifs”. What if I had more time, what if I had more staff…

I work with a company who owns 30+ websites, and I am only one person doing the best I can to follow the best practice I know how of going after linking opportunities, creating compelling optimized copy, and monitoring all the sites to ensure we are staying on track with increasing traffic that will benefit the organization. Now granted I probably need a couple more people to help, but I also need good tools that will help streamline all strategies.

There are many free tools out there that can help with watching your rankings, help build a link strategy, analyze your on-site optimization efforts and determine if your content is relevant for keywords you wish to rank for, but many of these free tools are limited.

Lots of SEO folks find that the paid tools are worthless. Why should I pay for a tool when I can get information like that for free? I know you can get it for free but how much time do you have to invest? I am a busy person and I cannot afford to take too much time to search for links, run ranking reports and constantly keep up with what my competitors are doing. So I did some research on paid tools and I found software that has made my life SO much easier. The software is called SEO Power Suite. It is one of the best ones I have seen on the market so far. I have used Web CEO, IBP, and SEO Elite and this software by far has so much more to offer. It has several tools in one suite:

Rank Tracker - this tool allows you to customize ranking reports so you can monitor what is going on with your search results. You can automate it so that it will run when you need it to run.

Website Auditor - this tool will allow you to view what your competitors have done to their web pages to rank well in search engines. After analyzing the data you can use the same techniques and apply them to your site. Brilliant!

SEO Spyglass - this tool alone was the reason I bought the entire SEO Power Suite! The one tool I felt was a tremendous asset. You can literally spy on your top competitors and see what linking strategies they have employed. You can run customized reports easily and the tool will tell you what links they have, where they came from, what their PR is, and even if they actually purchased the link or not! Amazing!! If you are tired of doing the tedious work searching for links yourself this tool is amazing and completely assists in the time factor that is involved of doing this research.

Link Assistant - helps you find additional link partners and assists in providing you with their contact information so you can establish a relationship and hopeful earn that link partnership as well as monitor your link popularity over time.

I would recommend the entire suite of tools, but if you cannot get the entire suite then at the very least try the SEO Spyglass and Link Assistant, you won’t be sorry you did. But if you do decide on the SEO Power Suite, for a small business owner they offer a Professional license. But if you are a Search Marketing Firm or a large organization that hosts many websites then the Enterprise license is for you. Now there is a way to manage your clients or your own websites easily and stress free and gain more insight than you may have in the past as well as cut costs with effective time saving methods that work.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have purchased the tool and let me know what you think of it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Get a Free Website and Get Found Today

Just saw a commercial for the new Intuit quick site builds. What bugged me about this commercial was how they were quick to say “Get a FREE website and get found today,” If the offer is too good to be true then it probably is. I don’t think it is right that companies offer products like this and essentially prey on people who really do not understand what it takes to be found on the internet. You don’t just slap some content together click publish and “get found” in the search results as their commercial implies. This may be far-fetched but I just think that companies should be more forthcoming with consumers who are looking for ways to make money online with a brand new website. Buyer beware, if you are looking to start a new business online do the necessary research and find out what it will really take to market your site to the masses. Get educated and understand the essentials of marketing your website online.

Just my own $.02.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Twitter For Business

I recently read a great article on the 50 Ideas for using Twitter for business. It was originally written by the very smart Chris Brogan, check it out:

First Steps

1. Build an account and immediate start using Twitter Search to listen for your name, your competitor’s names, words that relate to your space. (Listening always comes first.)
2. Add a picture. ( Shel reminds us of this.) We want to see you.
3. Talk to people about THEIR interests, too. I know this doesn’t sell more widgets, but it shows us you’re human.
4. Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you.
5. Share links to neat things in your community. ( @wholefoods does this well).
6. Don’t get stuck in the apology loop. Be helpful instead. ( @jetblue gives travel tips.)
7. Be wary of always pimping your stuff. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out.
8. Promote your employees’ outside-of-work stories. ( @TheHomeDepot does it well.)
9. Throw in a few humans, like RichardAtDELL, LionelAtDELL, etc.
10. Talk about non-business, too, like @astrout and @jstorerj from Mzinga.

Ideas About WHAT to Tweet

11. Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”, answer the question, “What has your attention?”
12. Have more than one twitterer at the company. People can quit. People take vacations. It’s nice to have a variety.
13. When promoting a blog post, ask a question or explain what’s coming next, instead of just dumping a link.
14. Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions.
15. Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who she follows, and follow her.
16. Tweet about other people’s stuff. Again, doesn’t directly impact your business, but makes us feel like you’re not “that guy.”
17. When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.
18. Share the human side of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has value for human connections. Point us to pictures and other human things.
19. Don’t toot your own horn too much. (Man, I can’t believe I’m saying this. I do it all the time. - Side note: I’ve gotta stop tooting my own horn).
20. Or, if you do, try to balance it out by promoting the heck out of others, too.

Some Sanity For You

21. You don’t have to read every tweet.
22. You don’t have to reply to every @ tweet directed to you (try to reply to some, but don’t feel guilty).
23. Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation ( got this from @pistachio).
24. Use services like Twitter Search to make sure you see if someone’s talking about you. Try to participate where it makes sense.
25. 3rd party clients like Tweetdeck and Twhirl make it a lot easier to manage Twitter.
26. If you tweet all day while your coworkers are busy, you’re going to hear about it.
27. If you’re representing clients and billing hours, and tweeting all the time, you might hear about it.
28. Learn quickly to use the URL shortening tools like TinyURL and all the variants. It helps tidy up your tweets.
29. If someone says you’re using twitter wrong, forget it. It’s an opt out society. They can unfollow if they don’t like how you use it.
30. Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.

The Negatives People Will Throw At You

31. Twitter takes up time.
32. Twitter takes you away from other productive work.
33. Without a strategy, it’s just typing.
34. There are other ways to do this.
35. As Frank hears often, Twitter doesn’t replace customer service (Frank is @comcastcares and is a superhero for what he’s started.)
36. Twitter is buggy and not enterprise-ready.
37. Twitter is just for technonerds.
38. Twitter’s only a few million people. (only)
39. Twitter doesn’t replace direct email marketing.
40. Twitter opens the company up to more criticism and griping.

Some Positives to Throw Back

41. Twitter helps one organize great, instant meetups (tweetups).
42. Twitter works swell as an opinion poll.
43. Twitter can help direct people’s attention to good things.
44. Twitter at events helps people build an instant “backchannel.”
45. Twitter breaks news faster than other sources, often (especially if the news impacts online denizens).
46. Twitter gives businesses a glimpse at what status messaging can do for an organization. Remember presence in the 1990s?
47. Twitter brings great minds together, and gives you daily opportunities to learn (if you look for it, and/or if you follow the right folks).
48. Twitter gives your critics a forum, but that means you can study them.
49. Twitter helps with business development, if your prospects are online (mine are).
50. Twitter can augment customer service. (but see above)

So how are you using Twitter for your business?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tips for Local Search Campaigns

There are many businesses that are local in nature. What I mean is local businesses who look for an increase in visitors to their website via local traffic online. The goal of many local businesses is to turn to search engines to advertise their websites online in search of this local traffic. Geographic targeting is an easy and sometimes an inexpensive way to reach this goal but there are a few things one must consider when building out these local pay per click campaigns.

In Google Adwords you can choose your geographic location. Not only can you choose the city and the state you would like your ads to appear in, but you could even include a zip code to narrow down your locations.

Choosing keywords is critical, you should not just target general words, consider targeting words that include the city and state as well like:

Blue Widget Ft. Lauderdale
Blue Widget Ft. Lauderdale Florida
Blue Widget Ft. Lauderdale FL
Blue Widget Ft. Lauderdale 33316
Blue Widget Ft. Lauderdale Florida 33316

Assuming you have an ad of interest these keywords should bring you some pretty targeted qualified leads.

Take it one step further; for those who are familiar with Google Adwords and understand the ins and outs of keyword matching you can take your Geo Target campaign to a whole other level.

Once you have your geographic campaign setup create an additional, or companion campaign that is “Nationally” targeted. Yes, I said nationally targeted. But make sure that ALL of your keywords used are listed as “EXACT” matches ONLY. This way you can ensure that you cast an additional net to those folks who may not be in the city of your specific location at the time of their search online.

This is important for businesses like, limo services, or spa services. You might want to just advertise to your cities location, but those who live elsewhere who may be traveling to your city would benefit from seeing your ads appear for services they might be interested while in your city.

Remember when building pay per click campaigns be smart about your local advertising. Should you ever need assistance seek a professional who is well versed in local search and paid search advertising.