November, 2011 Archive

Keywords: Your Key to a Successful Online Presence

November 8th, 2011 by Adaire in Sharing Success

You have a brand-spanking new website which you’ve submitted to the search engine gods. Your company blog is shiny and pretty. You have podcasts prepared for future dates. You sign up for social networking sites to spread the word about your business. If you think you’ve done your homework, allow me to point out something crucial you might have overlooked along the way.

Your first clue is in your copy. You know, that wall of text squeezed in somewhere on your site’s home page, between the picture of your star product and that of your pet ferret? :) The latter was said in jest, of course, but you know what I’m saying. The copy that you write is critical to a successful online presence simply because search engines like Google feed on keywords.

People use search engines as the very first tool when they need to find something online. Let’s say I want to look for a reputable wine dealer in my area who won’t charge me an arm and a leg plus my firstborn for stuff that tastes like airplane fuel. :) On my favorite search engine, I type “wine dealer” and my city and zip code, maybe even throw in the word “best” or “reputable” to weed out the not-so-great ones. The search engine results pop up, and I make my selections from the first page.

You are probably wondering how you can work your way to that coveted first page spot. Thankfully, Fred Meek shares tips on “How to Choose the Best Keywords for SEO” at Internet Marketing TNT. In his introduction, Meek points out why keywords are king, and guides us on how to choose the best keywords for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is something I like to call as the Race to First Page.

Here are the three things that Meek advises you to consider when adding keywords or keyword phrases to your web copy:

Relevancy
The phrases you select must be relevant to your target audience. If you’re in the plumbing business and based in Des Moines, then your web copy should contain the keywords “plumbing”, “Des Moines”, even “clogged drain” and “clogged pipes”. So think what a visitor would type on a search engine to look for services that you offer.

Daily Search Demand
This means you need to choose a keyword that is commonly used by search engine users. “Car Loan” versus “Auto Loan”? There are plenty of online sources dedicated to determining the most popular keywords per industry. Use them to boost your copy and ultimately your site’s ranking.

Competition
Expect stiff competition for the most popular keywords or keyword phrases. To raise your chances at SEO success, target words with lower competition but are still commonly used by the average online visitor. You can even include a niche word or two to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Now that you know how important keywords are, it’s time to revisit your online marketing strategy. The last thing you want to see is that you’re wasting money on bad keywords. If you invested in Pay per Click (PPC) advertising, you want only the best keywords and phrases to direct traffic to your website.

If you think your copy needs some cleaning up but don’t know how to go about it, here are two tips from the Internet Marketing TNT article “Are You Wasting your PPC Budget on Bad Keywords?”:

Remove Non-Relevant Keywords from Keyword Tools
Keyword Tools are computer-generated lists and not as reliable as one put together by a person. Look at your keyword list and pare it down to the most relevant ones. Put yourself in the shoes of a search engine user. Get your team involved in the process to get a broader mix of words.

Test your Keywords
Web analytics is your best friend. Check if your words or phrases convert to online leads or customer inquiries. Are visitors drawn to your keywords? Use good tracking to monitor the keyword effectiveness.

Keywords can make or break your online presence. An awesome web design and interface are great to have, but without SEO-friendly copy, no one is going to know you exist.

Adaire


Image by: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Congratulations, Kevin Vanderwolf!

November 8th, 2011 by Ric in Sharing Success

Congrats to Kevin Vanderwolf for getting his new Automated Cash Sites up and running! http://business1763.com/interviews/



Reinventing Your Career: How a Coach Can Help You

November 1st, 2011 by Adaire in Sharing Success

When I compare the career paths of people these days to the ones of our parents and grandparents, I can’t help but smile at how theirs seemed so simple and straightforward. I know several elderly relatives and acquaintances who share the following common denominators:

They worked in the same company most of their lives. Employers and employees were like one huge family. :) It was easier to foster camaraderie as work pressures then were not so great as to get in the way of building close relationships.

Seniority was golden. People who have been there longer made the short list of senior management looking to promote people.

Women took on traditional tasks. They were usually in some support or nurturing role like secretaries, writers and teachers. It was rare for a woman to lead a company.

Vacations were sacred. Time away from the office actually meant, well, time away from anything work-related. One could enjoy vacations with family without being incessantly contacted. I wonder how many of today’s executives wish they could be transported to the good old days when mobile PDAs didn’t exist. :)

Bear in mind that the above points mentioned are all anecdotal and don’t necessarily reflect one sweeping trend for all in those days. But they do certainly give us an idea on how building and sustaining a career then was less complex and cutthroat. A family friend spoke about how they learned things on the job and didn’t really get a lot of mentorship as they worked their way up the ladder. A far cry indeed from today!

Fast-forward to the present with its volatile economy, intense competition, mergers and acquisitions, ever-changing technology, overabundance of talent and a myriad of other factors that spell challenge and stress for the average career person. Staying in your comfort zone doesn’t seem to be the ideal thing to do these days. In fact, it may even be disastrous for you!

These days, the average employee shifts companies and career paths several times in his life. While there are a number who are fortunate enough to discover their calling early in their careers, there are those who go through several employer and job changes until they hit upon the one thing they really like.

I always encourage people to really think about what they want so they don’t waste the next several years drifting aimlessly. I’m glad to see my little piece of advice validated even by an expert like Ruchira Agrawal, whose Healthy Wealthy nWise article “Tips on How to Re-invent Your Career” coincidentally mirrors my own sentiments. Allow me to outline her pointers one needs to ponder on when making that all-important career shift:

“An open mind”. You know how we tend to fear the new and unfamiliar? Don’t stay paralyzed; see it as a new learning opportunity. Who knows, you might discover something about yourself as you go through different options and study them further. You just might unearth a new talent that you didn’t know you had in you. :)

“What will I be when I grow up.” Look back at your childhood days and try to recall what job got you so excited then. A friend who rediscovered her love for writing short stories and plays as a child is now doing well as a freelance writer and is currently at work on her first play.

“Passion, Abilities, Needs, Strong Interests”. Find out what you want and be really good at it. You might discover this passion in the seemingly mundane things you do. You might be good at organizing things or taking care of children. Those are just a couple of examples that could give clues to your hidden passion.

“Don’t forget to use your Intuition.” Trust your instincts. If something feels “off”, then it probably is. Move on to the next option until you hit that “Eureka!” moment.

“Fear is not your friend.” Rather than be afraid to make a move, be excited! Be happy that you have the opportunity to re-invent your life. Remove all doubts from your mind and give it your best shot.
Now what if you’ve discovered your passion yet you’re still clueless on how to start and sustain your career reinvention? Get a career coach. A good one will help you set goals, learn new skills and continuously evaluate your job performance and satisfaction.

And what if your issues at work are more about your relationship with your colleagues? A career coach can help you with that too. Gen Wright wrote this terrific article “Why You Need a Career Coach” in Healthy Wealthy nWise that points out workplace conflicts as one reason to get career coaching. When you don’t see eye-to-eye with co-workers and you don’t feel acknowledged enough, career coaching could help you address that issue.

To sum it up, career coaches cover more than just planning career shifts, monitoring your progress, and helping you gain new perspective to derive satisfaction from what you’re doing. They also help you improve your interpersonal skills and learn to deal with even the most demanding and difficult personalities at work. Paraphrasing what Gen said in his article, your coach will give you the tools so you can make the most from your career.

I believe life is too precious to be wasted on something you’re not happy doing. Take charge of your career and don’t hesitate to get help. Remember we have more opportunities now than the career people of the good old days never had. Sure, things may have been less complex for them, but I think we live in much more exciting times. :) So let’s rise to the challenge and get moving!

Adaire


Image by: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net