Why is an SEO Analysis Important?

seo analysis Search engine optimization is a great tool for small business. But what good is it if you don’t undergo a proper SEO analysis?

Before you dedicate your resources to executing search campaigns or other online marketing services, an SEO analysis will help you understand the areas of your website that you need to work on as it relates to your competitors.

No matter how well-optimized your website is, it doesn’t exist as a singular entity. Depending on the competitiveness for your desired keywords, your rankings will constantly change unless you put in a consistent amount of work to maintain your position.

Although SEO analyses are usually done when a site is first built, it doesn’t hurt to do a regular analysis. Usually, it’s helpful to do this at least every couple of months. This will give you time as search engines crawl new content and adjust your rankings. You can even analyze organic traffic on a month to month basis and tie those into keywords that you want to be associated with. It helps to keep a regular list of keywords that you want to rank for and keep track of them to see the progress you’ve made.

When new updates are made or fresh content is added, links and pictures may get broken. You can thoroughly test the usability of your website across different browsers to ensure that everything is working as it should. There are also free tools, like Link Sleuth and Google Analytics that can help you identify problem areas on your site.

Now that we’ve seen the importance of a competitive SEO analysis, make sure to get your free site analysis today!

Are More Keywords Better for SEO?

This post is brought to you by an actual conversation I had this past week:

“If I add all related keywords related to my site, why do I need to do anything else?”

Unfortunately, many people have this same point of view when it comes to how online organic SEO works. Search engine optimization is a constant process that needs to be updated to the changing industry and search engine algorithms. But it can be confusing when you ask yourself why it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it process once you add as many keywords that you can possibly think of.

As we can’t emphasize enough, accurate and detailed keyword research is vital to any successful SEO campaign. Search engine and search users are more sophisticated than most people think!

The Google Keyword Tool is an effective and free way to research:

Which keywords to use: lawyer or attorney, expert or professional, best or great, shop or store, sofa or couch? Check the data and you’ll see that some phrases that you think are similar have much different search data.

Search competition: Do you want to rank well for a phrase that has half a million + competitors? This will require an aggressive plan that takes place over a course of many months. In the mean time, you can conquer other phrases with less competition by using the right long tail keywords.

Long tail keywords: These will usually run from 2 to 5 words and are usually descriptive adjectives that help better describe your product/service. Affordable hotel room, luxury day spa etc.

Search volume: There’s no point in ranking well for a phrase that no one is searching for! And with what we’ve mentioned about competition, it isn’t so effective to go after competitive keywords that get the most search volume. You’ll want to find a middle ground that matches your SEO manpower and monthly budget.

SEO involves more than just throwing together a page, adding all “relevant” keywords and calling it a day. The keywords you choose should be about quality and not quantity because let’s face it… choosing the right keywords is an art in itself. But it’s how you use them, afterwords. Check out this oldie-but-goodie resource by Rand Fishkin on how to “perfectly” optimize a page.

Why is Keyword Research Important for SEO?

keyword researchThe secret to effective keyword advertising is thorough keyword research. If the thought of that sends shivers down your spine (in a bad way), here’s an easier way to digest this topic:

Why Research is Necessary

A recent study showed that college students don’t really know how Google works OR how to properly use it to look for the information they need. Interesting. This means that as a small business, you have your work cut out for you when it comes to choosing the right keywords by understanding user search intent.

Criteria for Choosing the Right Keywords
Here are a list of a few factors that should be taken into consideration when you choose keywords for your online marketing campaigns:

  1. Relevance and related terms – Is the selling point of your product price? If so, you’ll want to include terms such as: cheap, discount, affordable, low cost, economy, and inexpensive. If you sell products like grills or printers, you’ll also want to target accessory terms
  2. Search volume – Now that you have a list of organic, related terms that you’d like to use, it’s time to see just HOW many people search for these terms per month. Keywords with large search volumes tend to be incredibly competitive so you can narrow it down by adding more detailed keywords or a geographical region. So, which terms should your business go with? Low search volume, high search volume or somewhere in between. Having a good mix of goals is always a good idea in the short and long run of your business.
  3. Geographical target – Location is a very important decision. As a business in Los Angeles, you might want to target the entire LA area but what’s more realistic? For example, if you own a restaurant, you can even narrow it down to neighborhood. Instead of the vast, general area of Los Angeles, you can break it down to Eagle Rock, Echo Park, Silverlake etc.
  4. Intent – One word or phrase can have different meanings in the mind of a searcher. If someone types “kitchen cabinets”, they could be looking to buy new kitchen cabinets. They could also be looking for kitchen cabinet repair services or do-it-yourself guides. By tackling these topics with a wide array of keywords, you can gain more insight to different intentions that your customers may have.

Learn More About Where to Start
Keyword research requires a lot of time and patience but the payoff is well worth it. Are you ready to choose an effective list that will work for your business? Here’s a helpful article with some resources to help you learn more. And you can also check out our other blog posts on keyword research.

Have You Used Google Correlate for Keyword Research?

google correlateGoogle Correlate is a free tool that is great for keyword advertising research. The purpose of this tool is to give you correlations related to certain keywords. In our sample, when “gifts” is typed in, we can see that it is highly correlated with “creative gifts”. The graph below shows the correlation of the two keywords and their peak times. Are you surprised that it occurs around the holiday season of December?

(Note: The closer to 1 you get, the more closely correlated the terms will be. Remember, if the keywords are closely correlated, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the input causes the output – but that they have similar search patterns.)

Google Correlate works by scraping raw search data and presenting you with the results. In some cases, you might get weird and unrelated search results – so you can try it out for yourself and play around with the results by state and time series. You can even log in and save certain keywords so that you can track them and see how it changes overtime.

This is a great tool for bloggers and brands who want more information about consumer behavior. It can also help if you need alternate keywords or inspiration. When used with Google Trends, it can give you better insight when it comes to your online marketing campaigns. The best part is that you can search for brands and see state and seasonal demand for certain products. Type in Nike, Sony, and other big brands to see results.

Take a look at Google’s tutorial for a more in-depth look at how Correlate works and how to use it.

Keyword Trends on Yahoo! Search Clues

Yahoo! always seems be overshadowed by the giant that is Google, so it’s good to see something new from them.

Yahoo! Search Clues allows users to search keyword trends over time. You can also see demographics such as: age, gender, income and location. Pretty neat right? And it can definitely come in handy on your PPC or SEO campaigns.

I think the visual comparison between PPC and SEO is cool and probably accurate. Don’t you think? SEO is more of a consistent and long term tactic while paid search can fluctuate depending on different factors.

What will you use it for?

4 Common SEO Mistakes

Search engine optimization is considered to be an art to some and a science to others. I’d like to look at it as a mix of both. No matter what you believe, it’s important to avoid these common mistakes:

  1. Forgetting about keyword research – People often feel tempted to use the first words that come to mind. Remember, it’s not about the words YOU think are relevant to your business, but what customers think. Keyword research is important to see if anyone is actually looking for specific words/phrases.
  2. Feeling too attached to general keywords – Many times people aren’t too thrilled about niche keywords or phrases that include a location. They may have their mind set on “dog groomer” when what they really need is “Los Angeles dog groomer”, “gentle dog groomer” etc.
  3. Expecting too much – Clients can sometimes get frustrated with SEO as a service because it’s not tangible and it can take a while to see results. This means that you won’t instantaneously show up under relevant keywords, so don’t trust anyone that tells you otherwise! Patience will be your best friend as consistent SEO is a long-term investment.
  4. Linking with useless anchor text – Resist the urge to link with words like “Click Here”. Example:
    Bad: Click here to learn more about internet marketing design.
    Good
    : Learn more about internet marketing design today!

Is there anything else you’d like to add? Remember, the best way to avoid the pitfalls of SEO is to get educated or ask the experts for help.

internet marketing design

The Key to Keywords Overview

Harry Brooks of Search First Internet Marketing moderated the PR Web webinar this morning with Kye Strance of Vocus. It was an educational overview of beginning the keyword process for PR campaign. These tactics can also be the starting point of your SEO or PPC campaign.

A Keyword Advertising Outline
There are three crucial steps that anyone should start with when organizing a keyword advertising plan for a press release.

  1. What is your goal – PR relation purposes or search engine optimization? You can easily have a mix of both by optimizing your content.
  2. Keyword or key phrase research. There are many free and paid programs but Kye gave these 3 examples. Google’s Keyword Tool, Google’s Wonder Wheel and Marketing Samurai. (Maybe it’s just me but I’m a little wary of downloading free SEO software).
  3. Publicize topic. What message do you want to send? Make sure that the content you release matches with your goal(s).

Organic Optimization for Relevant Key Phrases
Organic optimization is a great way to build a relationship with the key phrases that you want. But where do you begin? Whether you offer a product or service, there are hundreds of words (synonyms and misspellings) that can describe your business. As most keyword experts will stress, you want to hit the words that bring you: high traffic with low competition. This is of course subjective for your industry so don’t be afraid to do some snooping research on your competitors. Keyword research is more than just a technique as it becomes an ~*art*~ form when you add your own special touch.

Wednesday Webinar Overview: Keyword Research

Midweek already. Yesterday’s webinar with Gord Hotchkiss of Enquiro and Connie Stack of WordStream was about PPC Keyword Research and the B2B Buyer.

My favorite analogy that Gord used was that keyword research is best utilized when you do both quantitative and qualitative research. A quantitative strategy can be compared to looking at your dashboard and monitoring your speed as you drive. A qualitative approach would be more like looking outside your window. So in the end, effective keyword research (and driving) consists of both these techniques!

Connie mentioned a good point in her own experience with WordStream. Instead of just focusing on pushing their products/services, WordStream is also interested in the user experience, such as queries like “frustration with AdWords”. As buyers look for a proper balance in their search, it’s important for sellers to find an equilibrium point in understanding the user experience.

If you’d like to learn more about keyword research and read more about the fascinating eye tracking studies, Gord has a free PDF of his new book available for download on his site.