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IRCE 2012 – Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition tradeshow at Chicago’s McCormick Place

IRCE (Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition) is over for 2012.

http://irce.internetretailer.com/2012/exhibits/

Learning more in person then online

To all who came to IRCE2012, THANKS for visiting Chicago, the local economy appreciated your visit. I appreciated your ideas and the opportunity for networking in my backyard.

Even after all these years in technology, it still amazes me to see how technology continues to move quickly in a few different directions. So while I will be highlighting some different companies I met or got reaquanted with in the near future here at SEODamian in future posts,  let me share what I see were some major trends here from the show.

One of the big values I find in going to trade shows is the ability to compare and contrast different vendors in the same hour. The challenge with other solutions for comparing (trade journals, industry reviews, analyst reports) is that they often span data that makes comparisons irrelevant. They are X’s last quarter’s version compared to Y’s next quarter’s beta version. You still get the same issue at a tradeshow, but you can typically sniff out the game and get the real scoop on what the 2 companies are at today, and compare to 3 other similar solutions.  Some of the key trends I saw in Internet retailing are:

  • Prices are dropping. No big change there, except the rate they continue to drop. Typically not the same product at the same company, but by a new competitor creating most of the functionality of an existing solution and more for a lower price. Be it Chat and chat management (LivePerson look out, LogMeIn and others are looking to eat your lunch), survey tools, Addon’s to Magento (shopping cart platform), shipping auditing (no minimums needed here), affiiliate management, flash sales tools (keep it all in house or partner) and more.
  • SaaS is the trend. The cost to distribute code to customers, and deal with your internal data center/stack complexities is too expensive for most tool creators. It is far easier for them to increase staff to keep 1 (or 2) data center up and going, then trying to guess how you (the customer) tried to make your data center secure and how you dealt with your specific legacy issues.  The test bed is far easier to set up (if they are using AWS-Amazon Web Services, it is about 3 command lines to generate ‘another’ test bed). If you as a retailer can’t deal with SaaS or it’s API, look for adding at least one 0 (zero) to your cost in purchase price, and far more in TCO.
  • Big data is here. Small startups need a credit card with a few dollars open on it to get a billion dollar data center (Amazon Web Services) to build ‘rock hard’ services. The cost of AWS is low enough that the ability to deal with incredible amounts of data in real-time changes what is being deployed as solutions. This shows up at the consumer level as presorted and pretargeted for their needs, not brood strokes. No longer is confirmation that a card number may be valid a real number good enough. It has to be validated that it belongs as a charge, not reported stolen and has the proper credit limit. 
  •  The is no one stop shopping. The amount of tools to run a successful ecommerce site continues to grow. From the need to change pricing rapidly on one or all your SKU’s, to deploying across multiple channels (store, Amazon, eBay, Affiliate, traditional site, Facebook, ShopEngines) you need a collection of tools that is reminiscent of the stacks of apps in the 70’s and 80’s. The big difference, they are best not home developed, and often hosted in and out of house.
  • Change is now often measured in weeks and months rather then years for software deployment. If you don’t like what you see today, what a quarter and redo your RFP (Request for Proposal). But monitor the products and community reaction in the meantime.

There was a lot more I saw, but 500 booths is hard to summarize in a few lines, so more to follow in the next posts.

June 8, 2012 Posted by | Chicago, hosting, Large SKU site, resources, SEM Industry, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another Analytics Tool To Understand Your Engagements

http://chartbeat.com/demo/

Here is another analytic tool to consider. It is part of the Microsoft BizSpark portfolio, this SAaS tool provides analytics in a manner different then Google Analytics. This tool is more geared towards looking at all your online channels: Twitter, Facebook, Website, mobile. Designed as a dashboard to scan for action steps next, it has a new look and feel graphic that allows for quick absorption of information. The focus here is on how long visitors are engaged. ChartBeat Analytics is that tool. It can in real time show what your traffic is doing. It will show where it is from (in bound links), what the keywords that are driving traffic to the site, what links are getting visitors to your site and more. This lets you focus on what is working to turn it up, and what is not working, to keep on experimenting. You are experimenting your SEO and site conversion,  are you not?

This tool is another example that it is not just about getting someone to your site, but are they paying attention and engaging on the site. This is the same as someone running in the brick and mortar store because of the shiny display, only to find it does not correlate to the products inside. That user will just turn right back around,, and head back into the next store in the mall. Or the person in the mall that’s just looking for a restroom, and in 10 seconds head to the restroom, does their business and turns around and heads back out. The person didn’t buy anything, and best case your store maybe made a slight impact on him. So the next time they are looking for something like what you have in the store will consider you, probably not. You fooled them once shame on them, but they don’t want to be fooled twice. but it wasn’t a true engagement.  What they are really looking for is not real engagements, and their lifetime value to the store or your website is absolutely minimal because you failed them the first time to match your SEO to your real site.

Analytics are tools that help you understand who your visitors are, and allow you to get a sense of how they perceive your website and what the value is to them.  While it does not ask the question directly, you can infer that if they are staying on the site for longer periods of time, they are often more engaged and more interested in what you have to offer. This indicates a good correlation to your SEO and SEM efforts. Unless of course they just got distracted by a phone call.

 

April 18, 2012 Posted by | SEM Industry, SEO tools, Social Media, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Looking at Your Website from Your Cusomers Perspective?

Do you understand specifically what your website visitors are looking for or do you only have a generic idea? If you understand what they are specifically looking for to meet their needs, you have a much greater chance of true engagement. When you have true engagement, your odds of a sale increase dramatically, if not today, then on the next visit.

But if you don’t understand how to look at the trends and numbers, you will have a challenging time understanding what your visitors are really looking for.

That’s why retailers count how many people are coming in and how many people are coming out there also counting how many of them are actually purchasing. I have worked with over 100 different retail chains from single store retailer to office supply big box stores. They are counting by the month, day of the week, hour of the day (I know, I installed the counters that go back to the corporate databases with these body counts). They are counting how many of purchasing customers are actually signing up for the e-mail list. They’re counting how many of purchasers are return customers from previous orders. There also counting what is the average amount of each visitor’s spending. Retail stores count the numbers in so many ways you would be amazed. Just like you need to on your website. Your website is not a black box. You need to be paying attention to what’s happening.

If these types of customer engagement don’t make absolute clear sense to you, then I would suggest you go and spend some time and with brick and mortar retailers. Consider even working as a retailer. Learn how retailers convert the looky loo’s into true engagements. Yes we have all been shopping, but look at how retailers work with other customers not just yourself. Learn how retailers try to customize to the needs of each person, not a one size fits all. It is important that you learn how to look through a store or website through the eyes of a customer. It is important that you understand that the customer is always right in their perspective, and how they are looking at the world. And if you don’t understand their perspective, it will be very hard to understand why they’re not buying from you. If that same attitude of understanding is what a potential customer or visitor is looking at when they see a store and their perspective also becomes very useful.

This attitude of looking at your website comes into play in how you design your SEO and SEM. Did you need to present the right kind of signage from the street to get the customer to pull into the parking lot? Once they get inside the store, they need to see what the sign promised is fulfilled. SEO and SEM is about creating it signage from the street. You can fake a man once or twice, but once you do, they will ignore your sign for the rest of their life, because you made them cut across left-hand lane and pull into your parking lot. And they will tell their friends to ignore you or worse. You need to create a good ‘sign’ in your SEO/SEM to attract your visitors into your store. But you also need the sign to be a good indicator of what is in the store.

Just as stores don’t (at least those that survive long term) have the same layout year after year, websites also must evolve and continue to improve based on what works and what does not. This should be done as measured experiments. You can follow the models used in Lean Start-up (Eric Ries) and E-Myth Revisited (Micheal Gerber).  Those experiments need tools like Google Analytics and other tools like ChartBeat. Topics of other blog posts.

Oh, not selling products on your site?  I would place heavy odds that you are selling your ideas – be they the idea that your service is better then someone elses, or your idea is more important then the next bloggers. Remember to look at the website through your visitor’s eyes in the path they took to get to your website, and your pages.

April 16, 2012 Posted by | E-Myth, How To, local marketing, SEO tools, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Types of Traffic – It is all the same, right?

A customer is a customer is a customer, right?  No, there is the customer that asks 200 questions and buys your loss leader, returning it used and unresellable. There is the customer who comes in, asks can you ship 200 of your most profitable item? Oh, and can you autoship if they pay in advance for the next 5 years?  Who would you prefer more of?

Visitor traffic is similar, not all traffic is the same value to your organization today or tomorrow. There are different types of traffic to look at when trying to create a successful site.  There are different dimmensions of traffic – what type of traffic, what quality of traffic, what the cost it was to get the traffic and others. But lets just look at one dimension, where is the traffic coming from:

Referral Traffic

This is the traffic created by other sites referring / linking to your site, or your emails driving traffic to your site.  This is great ‘free’ traffic.  Referrals from other websites also supports your SEO traffic and rankings, because the search engines (SE) respect other sites sending traffic to your site. The more you are listed on other sites, the better your SE (search engine) ranking.  The more related the sites, the better your SE ranking. For example a site about guns referring to your site on trees is not as helpful as a referral from a site about arboretums referring to your tree site.

A way to quantify your ranking is to look at your Page Rank (named after Google Founder Larry Page). There are a number of tools including add-ons to your browser that will automatically let you know your PR (Page Rank) on a 0-8 (higher is better) score. Here is one – http://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php

SEO – Seach Engine Optimization or Natural Traffic

This is the traffic that comes from your site ranking well in the search engines, and the traffic coming from others looking for answers to their searches.  The 1st key to creating this traffic is to create content that answers your visitors questions. The key here is to look at your site from the perspective of your visitors. What are they looking for? Not what do you want to tell them. You may shift the answers to be what you want to share, but 1st look at what would be the perfect answer to a visitor coming the site.

Of course, if you collect the most common questions you can create a FAQ or Frequently Asked Questions page or better yet section of pages (depending on your answers, it may be appropriate to have a single page for each question).  The challenge is to come up with the best answer to meet everyone’s needs. But like all good communications, allow the reader to choose how much they want to read by putting the most important/simplest information first. DO NOT follow the mystery novel format and keep the best for the last.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing is when you pay to get traffic to your site.  This can include a variety of different strategies such as:

  • Banner Ads on other sites – here you can pay per image shown (maybe or maybe not registered in the viewers mind), or per click thru to your site.
  • Email marketing like Constant Contact or iContact (a whole other post) to someone else’s email list (make sure you are not spamming) or to your own list.
  • Google AdWords (buying ads on the search engine)
  • Google AdSense (buying text ads on different websites) – this is an overlap of banner ads, but through the 600 pound gorilla Google that acts as the ad-man for you.
  • Ads on other search engines
This traffic can be very profitable or a total waste of money. The great part of this type of traffic is it is easier to test. Testing is a big part of what you need to do to be successful. Consider it the equivalent of practice in sports, music or dating.  You don’t expect to get it perfect the 1st time, and you need to keep improving as your competition keeps getting better.

LMT – Local market traffic

Local market traffic is when visitors are looking for the types of businesses and solutions that used to be  typically found in a yellow pages directory.  They are usually the local businesses like restaurants, and cleaners.  These are businesses that are not trying to market across the country, but only the local community. This traffic is in some ways easier to get, because there is less competition (only a few real estate agents in Downers Grove, compared to million in the whole country). You don’t have to rank higher than the real estate broker in Texas, if you are Wisconsin. But you need to have people looking for Wisconsin real estate.  That is where focus is important.  This also requires looking outside the ‘normal’ spots.  Don’t try to rank high in ‘real estate’ on the search engine.  Instead try to rank in ‘Bloomington real estate’ or even better ‘Bloomington vacation real estate’. But also look at other sites than the big 3 search engines.  Look at local sites like the different yellow pages or Yelp.com.

What kind of traffic you want will determine what kind of strategies you should follow.

SEO is more on content.

SEM is more on converting the visitorOf course you have to define what conversion is. It may be a sale. It may be a signup for a newsletter. It may be a request for a consultation and setting an appointment. Or it may be requesting a free report. You need to define what your conversion funnel is (most businesses have multiple conversions in the process of a lifetime of a customer.

LMT is about converting and getting them to call or use traditional business channels. That may be getting them to drive to your store. That may be getting them to call and set an appointment. It may still be just calling or emailing for a report or other trust building step.

Understand that just like traditional sales takes on average 7 touches to convert to a sale (after having built up enough trust), online channels can take multiple steps to build the trust required for your final conversion.  Make sure you design your website presence to convey that.

What about you? Take our long poll – 1 question –

March 15, 2012 Posted by | Definitions, How To, local marketing, SEO tools | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Got a Free Blog – Thats Good Link Juice Right? (part 1)

The are many cliche’s that warn us there is no free lunch. But that does not mean we understand where the cost of those lunches really is. If we are used to paying the waiter, but the real cost is elsewhere it can be confusing.

The challenge is similar in technology, marketing and other areas that are changing rapidly. In the world of Free Blogs, the value and costs sometimes are hard to find. DRKent.Com had someone sell him a free blog that looked like a good value. It was bundled with other services, so it did not look like a scam. The creators of this blog generator may not have even known they were selling year old bananas, but they were.  Here are my comments to Dr. Kent about what is happening with his free blog.

I would take down your blog ASAP or ALL links to DRKENT or any other site you want to rank well. This is a clone site as you mentioned that I did not know until your email –

Google penalizes links from this site, since it is the equivalent of spamming,  since there are thousands of copies of the site. When I copy your 1st sentences into Google search it returns:

Results 1100 of about 5,320 for “I can’t believe how much my low back hurts! I don’t know if I can go to work with it like this!” Does this sound familiar? (0.32 seconds)

Over time, Google learned that real content seldom has the same sentences as other sites. Even if they are quoting the president, there are enough other analysis or comments that make the page unique. But if it is the exact same words, then Google interprets all the sources as junk. Additionally, if those sites are junk, then all sites they recommend are junk. Basically if you hang around criminals, statistically you are a criminals. Of course that leaves an interesting situation for Police and the FBI, but there are a few dozen TV shows and hundreds of movies and books exploring that correlation. So if you have ‘cheap, duplicate content’ pointing at your site, then you probably don’t have quality content on your site. While Google cannot really read (understand what you are really intending to communicate), it can statistically analyze what you have shared. It knows that if your friends are bad, then there is a greater chance you are bad. Just like a background check by the FBI.

From Google’s own blog at

There are some penalties that are related to the idea of having the same content as another site—for example, if you’re scraping content (automatically copying the ‘good’ parts) from other sites and republishing it, or if you republish content without adding any additional value. These tactics are clearly outlined (and discouraged) in our Webmaster Guidelines:

  • Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
  • Avoid… “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
  • If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.

In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.

I guess as a way to ‘prove’ that the process works, using the scientific method – test and see the results. It is not truly following the scientific method, but as an experiment it has greater value then just being a thought experiment so often used as truth on the Internet:

  • When I search for ‘back pain’, none of the 5,320 cloned blogs show up in the top 200 listings.
  • When I search for ‘lost work time’, none of the 5,320 blogs show up in the top 200 listings except for http://www.drlarrycimpermanblog.com/wp/2009/08/05/have-you-lost-work-time-because-of-your-back-pain/ who they changed his title tag and page name explicitly to include ‘lost work time’.  It appears that he was the 1st one they did with the new format on August 5 out of about 70, so he got a higher listing. The other 5,320 including you – lose.  Google will sometimes rank the 1st site it finds, and then count the rest as duplicates. So yes you can game the system, but it may be as much effort as just following the rules appropriately.

When I search for ‘Neck and Arm Pain – The Herniated Disk?’ – the title and heading of another page – one site gets listed in the top 200 at 12 or on the second page for most searchers (click through rate on page 2 is about 1% of being in the top 3, so unless it is a high volume search term, useless) – http://instantchiroblogs.com/wp/2009/05/31/neck-and-arm-pain-%E2%80%93-the-herniated-disk/ Ben’s page may have been a test or a mistake, since it has the extra characters in the page name, and his page does not have an address or phone number on it – probably making it unique.

So the moral of the story is check to see if your free website is worth taking. It may even be costing you (extra calories or wasted time) in ways you do not even know. Typically to give something away free it needs to be lower quality. In the world of the Internet, quality is easier then ever to determine with just a few clicks by human or less effort by computers.

 

February 15, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, copywriting, SEO tools, tools, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Site Redo / Refresh – New Sections to Add to Illinois Main Street Alliance – Part 4

This the fourth part of  my suggestions for a site redo/site refresh. Part one is at https://seodamian.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/site-redo/

Part two is  Here

Part three is Here

The Illinois Main Street Alliance (IMSA), is one of the organizations I am working with. This is a small business association with chapters across the country representing actual main street or real small businesses. The US Chamber of Commerce being more focused on large corporations (based on who is on the board, and amount of donations and how it lobbies). So as a small organization, it has a limited budget and resources. Most are volunteered with limited technical expertise.

Recently, I was asked for some input as to what would I do to improve its website. 

Not knowing the answers to the core questions asked in part 1 makes recommendations a challenge. But here are some suggestions for new sections to add to the site:

  • Create an section of an archive of newsletters.
  • Accountability section:
    • This could list a variety of different elected officials, and map out their voting history on those bills that are for or against our standpoint. There are a variety of tools that can be used to assist with this (most are free) from Google Maps (for listing legislative officials districts) to MegaVote by Congess.org
    • This section could also link to the different campaign donation sites and draw analysis on where our elected officials are getting their money from and how it’s working or not working in our best interest.
  • Jobs section
    • This could be an area to list jobs. This section has the opportunity to be a traffic generator because jobs always ranks well within Google and there are number of search engines that go through an aggregate job postings from across the Internet. It may be a way to bring in more individual participants that are looking for work as a way to plug into our system, as well as increasing our credibility and economic power within the state.
    • This may be a free or paid system it may be a outside managed service or internally easy to create page listing. It probably should be edited or at least monitor to make sure that there aren’t a lot of ‘junk’ postings and it
  • Editorial section. This could be a place where different leaders within IMSA can go share ideas and values to the community.
  • Facebook reposting section – Have a section that allows us to repost everything that is being posted at the Facebook site. Currently Google is not indexing much of Facebook (Facebook’s decision), so the good content, discussion and ideas shared there can not be found elsewhere.
  • Create a white paper section. This allows us to post the various content we have had and shared with the press and legislatures in the past. It provides both context and background. It also makes it easier for others including Google to understand our expertise and depth of understanding on the topic.
  • Create a press release section. This section needs to include both the PDF of the press release as well as the text of the press release. Ideally, this could be historical, going back to the beginning of IMSA.
  • Discussion board section
    • This section would be a good area for us to be able to have a’members only’ or ‘leadership only’ discussions and share the conversation back and forth rather than going in continuing to use just the e-mail post back and forth. This could also be a section to go through and post if we wanted to recordings of her conference calls today again we can allow others that were unable to attend a conference call to hear the actual conversation from those conference calls.
    • This area could also have conference call minutes that John typically collects and sends out after each conference call. They could be posted here as an easy resource for those to find all those discussion threads in one place.
These sections have multiple purposes. Again the priority and appropriateness of these suggestions is dependent on what the intended objectives are and who the primary audience is. But all of these expanded sections will create more content. That will improve Google ranking and improve viability in the search engines.
Greater sections tends to improve user friendliness and makes is easier for visitors to quickly and effectively find what they are looking for. Studies show that most searchers are not in the mood to be finding information until they find what they are looking for 1st. Just as it is much easier to be exploring and taking in the scenery then it is to be lost and enjoying where you are. Greater number of sections also makes it easier to have multiple people working in partnership on the same website without conflict. It is easier to define boundaries and not ‘stomp’ on each others work. Loosing an afternoon’s efforts can be so demoralizing.

What other ideas do you typically start with when doing an informational/community site redo/refresh?  Join in the conversation below with your comments.

November 2, 2011 Posted by | Chicago, Community, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Site Redo / Refresh – New Pages to Add to Illinois Main Street Alliance – Part 3

This the third part of  my suggestions for a site redo/site refresh. Part one is at https://seodamian.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/site-redo/

Part two is  Here

The Illinois Main Street Alliance (IMSA), is one of the organizations I am working with. This is a small business association with chapters across the country representing actual main street or real small businesses. The US Chamber of Commerce being more focused on large corporations (based on who is on the board, and amount of donations and how it lobbies). So as a small organization, it has a limited budget and resources. Most are volunteered with limited technical expertise.

Recently, I was asked for some input as to what would I do to improve its website. 

Not knowing the answers to the core questions asked in part 1 makes recommendations a challenge. But here are some suggestions for new pages to add to the site:

  • Consider creating a leadership page that lists biographies and links of the leaders.  This should include high resolution and low resolution images that could be used by the press, as well as how to contact for more information.
  • Create a page with links to other related sites, including Main Street AllianceCitizen Action and other key partners.
  • Create a How To Get Involved page:
    • This page outline the existing resources that we have in our annoying for people to plug into.
    • They should also list other ways to get involved from across the country:
      •  If there is a desire to create other groups throughout the state. It may also be interested in advancing across. Obviously this needs to be managed in a properly controlled so as to not create a group that fights against ourselves, but this is a great opportunity for a way to make it easier for someone further down state to create a group supporting our cause in adding legitimacy to our overall organization.
    • How to donate.
    • How to contribute informational material, such as:
      • Other blogs,
      • Blog postings,
      • Letters to the editor,
      • Podcasts,
      • Ideas
    • How to share our voice page:
      • List of e-mail addresses and fax numbers for letter to the editor sites.
      • List of suggested letter to the editor topics.
      • Links to Existing letters to editor that are either pro or con that we are asking others to comment on appropriately to increase the visibility as well as to link back to our site.  This creates an action page for members to check back to on a regular basis. This also creates a focal point where key talking points can be shared in an easy to digest format.
  • A calendar page. This could list past events as well as future events and again is a good way of creating credibility both within Google and by the press by showing how active we are and how often were meeting both as a entire organization as well as subgroups. Ideally, this would contain not only press releases, press briefings, but also key events from the national organization, key votes and commission committee sessions of important legislation, historical reminders of progressive accomplishments. Overlaying the legislative calendars would be a great way to help show a more clear focus of our agenda and intent.

These are more individual pages, again depending on the amount of commitment to website, that can be helpful in acheiving a variety of goals from:

  • increased traffic,
  • more links on the web,
  • greater press communication
  • increased membership
  • increased involvement of membership
  • greater understanding of our legislative leaders

What pages do you feel should be on this site?

October 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Looking at Your Visitors All the Same, or in Small Groups?

Poll –

Have you  heard about the long tail by Chris Anderson? Briefly his book is the ‘discovery’ that there is more ‘action’ in the rest of a market (in terms of total dollars or total number sold or total people involved or…) then the ‘top 10’ best sellers.  He spends a lot of time doing lots of analysis that proves that there is more ‘area’ under the curve in the long tail or the ‘rest of the market’ or the top 1,000,000 less the top 10, then there is in the top 10 of most categories.  Of course, top 40 radio stations do not want you to know this. Nor do Budweiser, Miller, Coke and Pepsi – they only feel the top 5 is all that counts.

What does this have to do with your website? Mostly that you do not have to be ‘the top 10’ of a ‘short tail term’ to be someone.  You can be very successful by focusing on your niche.  The key for success is to define multiple niches and excel at a niche rather then trying to be everything to everyone. You still have to rank high for your term, but it does not have to be a short tail term, it can be a long tail term (shoes vs. New Balance 531 AA Blue shoes).

This is born out by reviewing how searches are done on the Internet. The trend continues to be more and longer keyword phrases month after month as people continue to not find what they are looking for on short tail searches. Every go into a car dealer with the answer of ‘A Car’ to the ‘how can I help you?’. You frustrate most salespeople, they don’t want short tail answers, they want long tail answers – ‘I want a blue 2009 H2 with all the accessories’. Search engines are not (usually) smarter then even a car salesperson. They want you to identify what your interests are, what your desires are and how you will use the car – your

Psychographic modeling

Look at your psychographic in smaller chunks of the long tail and put the ‘chunks’ together. Look at the casual buyer, the passionate collector, the person who only uses it once, the family that only buys from a recommendation.

The point is concentrate on behavioral targeting. Of course, this can get creepy if you go too far, but being perceptive is a benefit. So understanding that collectors what good shipping and wrappers is good. Knowing your customer’s bra size (especially if they have never ordered from you) is usually creepy. The key is to look at it through the eyes of your potential customer.


Just like you should not prejudge all blue people as cold and distant, you should not prejudge all your visitors as meeting just one standard way of behaving.

  • Define different groups of visitors
  • look at how they would prefer to interact with your business
  • what should you do to most accommodate their preferences
  • how will they be looking to find you
  • what terms do each group use (surfboard vs. board vs. ) – need 4 examples of different terms that could be culturally or generationally different …Rad idea dude! Cool man! (when did cool get to mean hot?)
  • create extra pages that are focused on each psychograpic to cater to the needs of each group
  • look at what the overlaps are of the different groups this is what you should consider emphasizing in your main pages.
  • look at and map (MS VISIO is good for this or mind map software) your potential target group. Look at where they overlap and where they don’t.

When you start designing your marketing campaigns, it is important to look at the long tail of your market. What do the different niches want? What are the solutions they are looking for? The different answers to these questions will help you identify the correct strategies for marketing effectively to the long tail. That will allow you to create effective keyword lists that are far easier to rank well in then the ‘short tail’ terms that ‘everyone else’ is battling for.

Rather then fighting for top 10 place for the term  ‘Beer’ on Google, go after ‘Western Wisconsin’s best wheat ale’, your audience will be more dedicated, less price sensitive and  easier to reach. In other words more profitable.

August 2, 2010 Posted by | copywriting, How To, Large SKU site, local marketing, SEM Industry | , , , , | Leave a comment

How do I get ranked Higher?

I’m trying to get higher on the search engines when “grief” and “widow” is entered but that is not as easy as it sounds. All advice is appreciated.
Mary Francis
www.thesisterhoodofwidows.com

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but it is intended to be helpful, not mean.

I would suggest a variety of steps to improve your SERP (Search Engine Results Page):

  • Register your domain name for at least 2 years. If you don’t have confidence in your site for at least another $11 (2nd year cost at GoDaddy.com) , then Google will not think you are serious about your site, and therefore not treat you seriously.
  • Get links from other sites to your site. Google knows of no other links to your page (I know because at google.com Advanced Search I entered: link:thesisterhoodofwidows.com at the bottom). To Google, that means, no one else has recommended you, so Google feels that since no one else thinks you are worth recommending, that you are not a very worthwhile site. Of course there is nothing wrong with promoting yourself with a blog (wordpress.com), social networking like Facebook and LinkedIn and others.
  • Add ALT tags that focus on what the different images are about including Grief and Widow. “Mary Cover” is not real helpful to the site impaired, mobile user, or Google search engine. However, “Book Cover for Sisterhood of Widows, A how to book for new widows” is a lot more helpful to Google and readers in understanding what the image is about.
  • Change “Widows understand Widows like no one else can” to a Heading rather then a ‘STRONG’.
  • Consider your wording. You have Widow 23 times on the page. Some search engines will see that as ‘keyword stuffing’ for the amount of text on the page.
  • Remember that these are very broad words that will have quite a bit of competition. I would recommend on a strategy that is more focused initially. This will build more traffic and buzz. Then you can attempt a broader focus. “widow’s grief” will be a lot easier. You will need to have the words next to each other to optimize for this and focus your work accordingly.
  • Since you have already created a PDF of the 1st chapter,
    PDF available

    PDF Available

    share the PDF wide and far. But consider updating your PDF to include the domain name in the properties, on a separate front page to link to your website (And a last page to order the book online), and the footer having the domain name on every page. Some of the search engines can now ‘read’ pdf’s and that will improve the links into your site. Be descriptive on the properties to make it easy for someone to understand what a great treasure it is when it gets forwarded without your website.

  • Consider using some of the free or low cost tools for measuring your site and telling you what you need to do to improve it. See my post on Google Analytics for a free solution.
  • Consider using the services of an search engine optimizer who will work with you personally short term and longer term to optimize your efforts either as a coach or a implementer.
  • Put links to the stores where your book is being sold.
  • Continue to update and expand the site. In the world of change (imagine 6 months ago not being able to go to most of the Florida 1350 miles of coastline this summer because of an oil spill). If you are not updating your site, SE will consider you irrelevant our our changing world. Add new testimonials, press releases, announcements of book signings, links to reviews, and your own on-going thoughts and learning on the subject. Sorry, the project is just beginning once the book is completed.
  • Consider other domain names that link to your websites that are simple – perhaps just short summaries of each chapter. Do not host all the different websites at the same company. Google will interpret them as spam and penalize you rather then reward you.
  • Consider working with a proofreader.
  • Commit to adding a least one new page per month to your website, and improving your existing pages.
  • Look to other sources to interview you as an author for podcasts and radio shows. These of course should all be linked to your website, as well as posted on your website.

Sisterhood of Widows

July 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Google continuing to grow

I just heard that Google has reclaimed its marketshare that Bing lost while Microsoft was spending tons to launch its new revamping of its search engine.

It seems that many people checked out Bing and decided to stick with Google. Keep this in mind as you dedicate your resources on optimizing your sites for the search engines.

October 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment