By Ben Fremer
The following are some of my best trade secrets. Please only use them for Good.
This article has been developed as an internet marketing how-to for entrepreneurs and small businesses who make up 95% of businesses, yet are currently underserved by the professional search-marketing industry, and are often poorly self-served due to lack of expertise and time.
A successful internet marketing program almost always beings with
Itâ€™s important to find out which of your services people are looking for, and in what quantity they are searching for them. One of the most popular free tools to see how many searches per month there are for your keywords is Yahooâ€™s Search History tool (http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/).
Remember that as Yahoo only holds about 25% of the market share for total searches (Google is about 55% and MSN is about 15%) so the actual number of searches for most terms is really about 4x the numbers you will see.
There are many search terms that you can show up for in search engines that are less competitive and costly than others (usually the less obvious terms that people havenâ€™t found), although they are just as likely to convert the searcher to a customer of yours. The more of these terms you can find for your keyword list, the better your whole search marketing campaign will be in cost and effectiveness.
While developing your list of terms and search volume, it is important to note that many search volume numbers given are â€œover the radarâ€?â€”the real quantity of searches is much less. It is important to have accurate numbers so you can proportionately distribute your efforts to showing up for search termsâ€”rather than spending hours trying to show up for a term that very few people are in reality actually looking for. To find more accurate data, you can either keep multiple months of data on hand and compare for discrepancies, or you can use MSN AdCenterâ€™s daily search volume tool to also see un-natural spikes in search volume.
It is also important to note that some terms are â€œunder the radar termsâ€? of Yahooâ€™s Search History tool. Anything under 25 searches per month doesnâ€™t show up, and there is often a *huge* potential market under the radar. This is particularly true with local searchesâ€”usually the keyword + major metropolitan area will show up, but adding up all of the other local cities and suburbs is often just as many total searches, and very few people think to try to show up for the individual cities.
Another technique for converting searchers are finding â€œindirect keywordsâ€?, where somebody who is searching for one thing, though not what you are offering as a product or service, would still be interested in your productâ€”for instance somebody is looking up how to fix a dent in their car themselves, and you can offer them professional dent removal services. One great use of this is running ads for the names of your competitors, and as people look up their services, they will then also be able to see your offerings
Next, convert your keyword list into an effective Pay-Per-Click campaign to drive targeted traffic to your website.
You should have at least these three subdivisions in your keyword list. If you offer services nation-wide, you can just go ahead and run only national ads using these keyword lists. If you have a local geographic area that you service, more advanced techniques should be used.
You should have a generic list of all of the services which you offerâ€”for example, accountingâ€”which may include your non-competitor-name â€œindirect keywordsâ€?. If you only serve a local market, these should be put into a geo-targeted campaign to keep people you outside of your market from seeing your ads, clicking them, and costing you money.
You should have a list of all of the cities you service, multiplied by the services you offer (i.e. Chicago accountant, Naperville Accountant, Elmhurst Accountant, etc.). This should be run as a national or global campaign, using the Ad to disambiguate the location of your offerings from other cities in the world with the same name.
You should have list of the names of all of your competitors. This can be run as a geo-targeted ad if you service only a particular areaâ€”especially when you have national companies listed as your competitors.
These campaigns should be run in at least the major 3 search engines â€“ Google, Yahoo & MSN. An important point to make is that Yahoo and MSN usually have a better ROI because there are fewer people bidding against you on pay-per-click in these search engines, which thus reduces the cost-per-acquisition. The bottom line is that it is important to run ads in all three search engines.
Finally, Take Over the Natural (Non-Sponsored / Non-Pay-Per-Click) Results to drive more targeted traffic to your website
For small businesses, there are a couple approaches which work well. To show up for searches in the keyword list of all of the cities you service, multiplied by the services you offer, making a page listing all of the services you offer and then all of the cities you serve will get you to show up well in the search engine results for many of these searches.
To show up for the more competitive terms, due to the search engine algorithms, you are going to need links to your website. We have a pre-sorted list of directories (www.WebAndGraphicSolutions.com/link-directories.html) you can submit your site to in order to build inbound links to your website ( be sure to list the Title as the keywords you want to show up for), and going through this list is usually enough to get on the first page for any major profession in most major metropolitan areas.
Well doneâ€”you have now covered your keyword universe and beyond with an effective internet marketing campaign.
[The above article is a submission for Marketing Pilgrimâ€™s Search Engine Marketing Scholarship Contest. Each Monday in October, entries will be published and the most popular article of the week will qualify for the $5,000 grand prize. If youâ€™d like to submit an entry, please view the contest entry-requirements and guidelines.]