Category Archives: ethical search engine optimization (seo)

Top Vertical Search Engines for Consumer Products

No matter the time of year, those in ecommerce and web marketing need to stay on top of vertical search engines in the shopping space. Fast Company reports in 2008 in an article entitled “Top Vertical Search Engines” that the most trafficked sites include:

Amazon - Not many people realize this, but Amazon is steadily developing into a search engine for almost any product you’d want to buy. Today, when I shop on Amazon, half the products I get delivered are not even sold by Amazon, but by one of their trusted merchants. Hmmm…sounds like they are nicely going from just a commerce site to a complete search engine for products. Not a bad direction on their part. They already have the brand, they understand the unique UI needed for product search, and users trust them.

theFind.com- Siva Kumr, CEO of the thefind.com thinks that a pure focus on crawling commerce related products across the web and a great UI can make a big difference in product search. I tend to agree. His search engine is one that could give Amazon some heartburn in a few years.

Shopping.com- Owned by eBay, this is a big ad network as well as a money machine when it comes to the volume of transactions that happen on the site. My only concern is that eBay tends to be slow in innovating their properties and care too much about near term results (something all public companies have to do at some time or another). We’ll see if they can keep pace with companies like thefind.com and Amazon asI see a lot of competition in this space. Fortunately this can only be a good thing for consumers.

More recently, Anna Maria Virzi of ClickZ pointed to these vertical shopping shopping engines for search suggested by Bing and Federated Media:

… the top 10 search categories including vertical search (e.g., Hotelicopter.com, TheFind), federated search that involves searching deep into Web sites to find select databases (e.g., Mednar.com, Biznar.com), and social search (e.g., OneRiot and iMedix).

Of course anyone considered with the digital marketing space would also check out iPhone applications for shopping and to improve their e-commerce SEO and conversion optimization (pdf).

Advanced SEO Tips and Techniques

Best SEO Books: The Truth about SEO

Wondering what the best SEO books are?

Here are the top books about search engine optimization (SEM) and search engine marketing (SEM)

The Truth about SEO (on sale for $12.91)

SEO Book by Aaron Wall ($100)

SEO on an Hour a Day ($20–on sale for $7.48)

Purple Cow by Seth Godin (???)

Also very relevant to search engine optimization:

Web Analytics on an Hour a Day by Avinash (about $20)

Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug (about $30 and well worth it)

Landing Page Optimization by Tim Ash (about $20–on sale for 18.89 right now)

What is your favorite SEO book or resource?

Ethical SEO Tips from SEO Book’s Aaron Wall

Here is Aaron’s overview of the SEO for Firefox plug-in tool, which can provide a lot of competitive data for web search engine marketers, social media marketers, and entrepreneurs.

SEO for Firefox Plug-in. If you don’t have Firefox, you will need to download it.
The SEO for Firefox a) Page rank, b) cache data, c) how old the URL is, d) linkage data, e) traffic data, and f) listings in major directories. It can help you know what factors the website use to rank. It can also help you find its backlinks as well.

Also, there are 4 key buttons you can look at below Google’s search box.

Something to Remember about the SEO for Firefox plug in: there are two modes: automatic and on demand mode. You will likely want to turn off Firefox for reasons of speed.

You may also want to check out these SEO Tools for Firefox suggestions by Danny Sullivan for your SEO and SEM needs.

Alexa (not recommended highly by Aaron, due to biases, but allows you to see what sites your competitors own) Aaron mentioned that Domain will also allow you to do this.
Hitwise ($10,000 or so)
Trellian ($250 fee and $99 or a whole year for $1000)
Compete has some affordable options
SEO Digger (???) not as useful anymore
Key Compete
Spyfu seems more useful than SEO Digger or Key Compete (it also provides paid and organic results)

Using Backlink Analizer an SEO Book.com Tool

Best SEO Videos from Aaron Wall at SEO Book

Links can give you authority, if you get authoritative links in your topic. They can also build your brand or authority. Also, media sites do the later.

For instance, good anchor text can help a great deal (ie Stuntdubl example as a collaborator) Further, directory links can help.

Seth Godin mentioned my book, which helped drive sales and credibility. Brian Clark re-wrote my sales letter, which helped and he recommended it. Also you can find people who linked at delicious.

Building links from authoritative sites can create self-reinforced ranking.

One great way to build links and search engine ranking is via public relations. Here is Aaron Wall’s video on using PR for search engine marketing.

PR campaigns target influencers and reach. Have to have a unique angle, contacts, and need good pitch.

This is a handy resource for doing PR.

One example is US pr with Mediashift and its coverage on threadwatch.org (which is owned by Aaron Wall). Paul Graham wrote a story called The Submarine.

Finally Aaron concludes by pointing out that PR builds your brand. Its hard to replicate. And it builds on itself–or at least can build on itself.

Note: Aaron mentions buying links, however now Google looks on this as a tactic which can get your site penalized. It is not recommended as a strategy. Its not ethical and its counterproductive.

Look at your webserver (or Google analytics) for traffic to determine your future keyword strategy. Its easier to rank more for what you already rank for.

• Use wordtracker or related keyword tool. Dig deep into the long tail. (chocolate, chocolate gifts, corporate chocolate gifts) (chocolate recipes, chocolate brownie recipes) (white chocolate, white chocolate truffles).

• Look at competing sites and see how they organize it. Reverse engineer their successes.

• According to SEO Quake research lower trust sites can rank much easier for . Its easier to rank for unique or longtail search queries.

• Quintura shows related keywords–to find related phrases. Also check out the tools section of SEO Book. No one keyword tool is authoritative or silver bullet.

• Check out the free tools at Google like the Google keyword tool and the URL tool. (Google’s search based keyword tool)

• Compete.com (as well as the free tool Spy Fu can help you do competitive research).

• Aaron also did a spreadsheet for keyword research for SEO. Remember:

Transactional-find, buy get, purchase, sell,
Informational keywords-tips, learn, ideas,
Price modifiers-discount.
Clothing keywords-sporty, comfortable
Also remember site numbers or brands or industry related jargon.
States of being and family relationships
Shopping.com has an interesting and helpful site structure.
Time sensitive keywords are easier to convert
Compare one item or one brand to another. Guiding them toward conversion.

Best SEO Book Videos by Aaron Wall

Here are some free SEO tutorial videos which will help you as you outline your search engine optimization strategy. I’ve provided some bullet points suggestions from Aaron which include fantastic tips, techniques, and strategies. Whether you are looking to increase SEO for your nonprofit, small business, or ecommerce site these smart SEO tactics should be extremely helpful.

Initially, Aaron Walls’ “Preparing & Planning for Internet Marketing Success” has basic, but strategic recommendations for building your brand and search engine ranking online.

• Pick a strong domain name
• Site name, site age, and site trust is key
• Build links to relevant sites and directories
• Create resources (aka link bait) similar to SEO Books tools and videos.
• For instance: blackhatseo ranks for domain name, domain age, and a couple of quality links
• Also, make it easy for the press to contact you
• Topical expertise is self-reinforcing
• Easier to establish it now in 1 hour vs. 4 or 30 hours later.
• Cost is minimal versus the potential reward

Aaron gives 7 reasons to start blogging now, here are 6 of them:

• Blogs easy to set up and maintain (WordPress)
• Many feedback mechanisms–so you can track your success.
• Easy to join the conversation
• Its easy to track how ideas spread (experiment. launch ideas and track how they spread) Aaron also explains RSS feeds and why to subscribe to them. Its important to remember: the web is one big conversation. You can join the community and create community marketing ideas, which can be quicker than yelling at people with adversing by building trust.
• Subscriptions via RSS can allow you to build audience and influence. One way messages spread is via aggregators like Techmeme.
• Blogs have many signs of social proof
• It does seem like they are reading

• Think about users and usability. Steve Krug wrote a great book about web usability and user center design called “Don’t Make Me Think.”
• Search-marketing
Dan Thies calls out specific groups, which converts far better than most
• Example: crop insurance services (ie no diversity–mix things up a bit)

• Need links in content
• Need call to action
• Call out who its for (specific)
• Heading with keywords (and mix it up with oder and natural sounding modifiers)
Wordtracker is a great keyword tool (they have free keyword offerings)

Quintura is a search engine which helps you mix in modifiers, which help you rank (for reasons of latent semantic indexing or LSI)
• Google tool
Google Keyword tool
• Look at legitimate authoritative web sites in your niche (match up)
SEO for Firefox is a free tool that provides great data
• Remember: mix it up with keywords, use bulleted lists, and subheadings
• Also, link back to past coverage of an issues. This drives more relevance for user and helps Google.
• Example: create a resource like a glossary
• Unless you are addressing specific sub audiences with individual pages, you may want to consolidate content.

How SEO Moz’s Rand Fishkin Gave Me “SEO Religion”‘

rand-fishkin-funny-seomoz
(Mr. Fishkin getting his hustle or grove or ?!?!?!? whatever !?!?!??!?! on : Tamar)

Or Everything I Learned about SEO I Learned from Rand Fishkin

One of the key search engine optimization blogs I read alot is SEO Moz. Rand Fishkin and his crew provide excellent analysis of the social media optimization and search engine marketing space. Here are some of Rand’s better blog articles he has written over the last couple months. It provides an impressive 21+ SEO tips and strategy articles from the SEO Moz blog and website. I hope they prove to be educational and helpful in your SEO journey–I know they’ve been helpful to me :) :

Rand Fishkin on Keyword Research
Segmenting User Search Intent“certainly helps for creating a conversion funnel and website optimization.

Rand Fishkin on Link building and Development
In “21 Tips to Earn Links and Tweets to Your Blog Post” Fishkin delves into several helpful techniques for creating content that spreads and garners Google link juice (from the cold dead hand of the linkerati).

In “Catalysts for Earning Natural Links and Link Rate Conversions” Rand focuses on the role of the linkerati and focusing on their internal motivations to drive quality link development. (see also: ranking at the search engines)

In “21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic” Rand talks about leveraging analytics, speaking in a human voice, building a brand, and creating expectations and fulfilling them.

Blogging in an Oversaturated Market is Usually a Poor Decision.” Discusses niching your content and finding a unique content area to explore. Too many people make this fatal mistake (or at least realize it will take far, far, far longer to rank in this space with probably less ROI).

Rand Fishkin on Innovative and SEO Friendly Web Design
In “8 Innovative Design and UI Elements That Make Sites Better” he talks about tips like top level design narrative navigation, auto-scrolling content, conversion-funnel based navigation, dual tabs for filtering (and organization), and creating specialness for the user with unique beta invites. (see also great post by Rebecca on website design ROI and Oatmeal on web design and usability: great website footers)

In “17 New Rules for Successful E-Commerce Websites” Rand discusses important design elements for e-commerce websites to create better user experiences and ultimately far better conversion optimization.

Rand Fishkin on SEO News and Updates
Did Google Change SEO Yesterday” provides Rand’s insight into the recent shifts in the Google algorithm.

Rand Fishkin on Human Resources for SEO Hiring and Sourcing
The SEO Moz Hiring Process” is a great explanation for potential hirees of SEO Moz as well as SEO firms or non tech oriented companies looking to hire new SEOs for the purpose of bring SEO in-house.

Rand Fishkin on Strategy, Workflow, and Ethics
In “If I Could Go Back in Time and Give Myself Advice This Would Be It” Rand provides fantastic advice for SEO company owners and CEOs on vision, leadership, and strategy. Rand suggests a focus more on people and strategic vision and less on the nuances Google.

In “The 6 Goals of SEO: Choosing the Rights Ones for Your Business” Rand discusses 6 (possible) top reasons for creating a search engine optimization campaign including: raw traffic, lead generation & direct marketing, mindshare/branding, e-commerce sales, ideological influence, and reputation management.

In “Business Assets + Historical Tracking = Serious Value” Rand highlights some of the core questions webmasters and executives should look at in determining value for their company. Rand uses a SWAT analysis to provide an overall website assessment and strategic analysis.

How to Price an SEO Campaign” by Rand is another oldy but goodie. Rand provides some examples of pricing for upper end SEO services.

In “PPC Agencies Make 45x What SEOs Do for the Same Value” Rand provides insight into the ROI of SEO as well as comparative pricing for SEO services (vis a vis PPC).

In “Is social media marketing illegal” Fishkin talks about the issues of ethics and legality surrounding social media optimization with respect to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This is a critical article to read for ethical SEO principles.

Of course they cover a host of fundamental SEO issues including social media optimization, relocating a domain via a 301 redirect, harnessing the long tail of internet marketing, best practices for title tags, and best practices to avoid linking link equity.

Bonus SEO Tips Just for You
SEO Moz’s [rocking] search ranking factors study and Rands explanation of the Google algorithm are quite helpful for navigating some of the uncertainties associated with search engine marketing with Google.

If you want to look into the more technical aspects of search engine ranking, you might check out the on page SEO ranking tips and techniques from the whole SEO Moz gang (or rather the You Moz gang…opps). Finally, Danny Dover’s The Beginners Checklist for small business search engine optimization isn’t technically written by Rand, but I’ve thrown it into the mix for your education and enjoyment. (see also: SEO launch proposal and outline, everybody loves a web business checklist, and getting an entry level SEO job)

Rank also has some great posts about Moz Rank, Moz Trust, and the SEO Moz Pro tools that I’ll let my readers and decide for themselves about. Also “The Internet Marketing Handbook” is a great summary of some of the most helpful SEO resources, tips, and techniques available on the web according to the kind folks at SEO Moz.
Hopefully this guide will help you to go out and DO THE (Rand Fishkin) HUSTLE!!!!!!!!!!

SEOMoz-linkerati-in-common

Affordable Long tail Keyword and Link building Reports for SEO

Affordable Longtail Keyword and Link building Reports for SEO

Get the advantage on your competition with valuable market data in your niche
Affordable Keyword Data Reports
Keyword data reports targeted at “fat belly” and “longtail” keywords (big bang for buck) Sets for $30 to $50
Wordtracker longtail keyword reports Sets for $30
Aggregated data sets 3 search engines and 2 major keyword tools (wordtracker and keyword discovery) for $30

Affordable Link Building Reports
Link partners report $30 per report
Competitive market analysis report $30 per report
Blog backlinks report $30 per report

Best SEO Advice from Aaron Wall of SEO Book

A recent post at SEO Book points to the relationship between building SEO and Popularity online:

1. Be Popular, Or Appear To Be Popular

2. Create A Viral Message So People Spread The Word For You

3. Carve Out Your Niche, Focus On Quality And Building Critical Mass

Do the same thing as Google. How can you add value? What can you do that other guy is not doing? What can you give away that the other guy is selling? How can you be better that other guy? Figure out what your audience wants – ask them directly, if need be – and give it to them.

• Pick your niche and own it. Niche too competitive or too broad? Keep slicing it finer (go niche within a niche – e.g. rather than take on travel, become the biggest authority on Fiji) until you find space in which you can compete.

Make sure anyone searching that niche knows your name. Advertise on other sites in that niche. Appear on other sites in that niche. Figure out a way to lock people into what you’re doing. It might be as simple as encouraging them comment on your blog. The aim is to get them to remember you, to interact with you, to internalize your message, then to pass it on.

4. Build Brand

A logical argument for hiring a recommended seo consultant

Guide to Hiring an SEO/SEM Consulting Firm

I don’t recommend DIY search engine optimization for most small businesses. Initially, it requires you to learn and track your seo efforts on an ongoing basis, which can be massively time consuming (and distracting). A lot of search engine optimization (SEO) is hard work (about 50% if fun, but 50% or greater is legitimately HARD and LABORIUS).

The changing world of the web means you constantly have to stay on top of the latest changers in the search algorithm. Second, online there are differentials of trust–you can find a TON of information, but the trust value is hard to assess. A responsible seo can help you see through the clutter and help you make the right decisions in your internet marketing efforts. The third issue you want to consider when you decide to hire an SEO or go the DIY route is the issue of time wasted. Initially, going the more independent DIY route means time wasted moving in the wrong direction and far worse a TON of time reading the echo chamber of posts (aka BAZILLION POSTS!?!??!) about “blogging about blogging” and “internet marketing” and “seo tips.” You could read for 30 straight days and not be any smarter in terms of search engine optimization. And what do you do if the so called “experts” disagree? As a newbie its hard to do that without the expertise provided by an SEO/SEM consultant. You simply don’t have time to navigate ALL the web advice on the world wide web–instead you should focus on what you do best: your business. For instance:

Which of the 100+ tools do you use?
What blog platform should you use?
Are metatags important?
Is Google stressing brands right now?
What does do-follow and no-follow mean to me?
What will get you banned from Google?
What is black and gray hat SEO?
What tactics should you avoid?
Whats the deal with Google and paid links?
Should I submit to paid directories?
Should I outsource?
What should I outsource?
Can I hire a freelancer to help me out?
Who is the best freelancer SEO or content creator?
How should I go about hiring a designer?
How do I know if the designer is ripping me off?

This is the tip of the iceberg. Its important to have someone you can trust to help you navigate the landmines of dealing with Google, content creation, and link building. A responsible search engine optimization consultant can help you and put your mind at ease so you can focus on your business’ success.
A trusted guide or consultant can help open up the black box that is the Google search algorithm in way that make sense for your life, your industry, and your target audience.

To be continued….

Calculating the ROI of a Lead

Calculating the value of a lead and Calculating the value of web traffic

Internet Lead Generation with SEO and Social Media

The nice thing about internet lead generation is that it can be 24/7 365 days a year. I’ve done a calculation here based on 5 days a week. The following (targeted traffic) is worth, in other words not just a bunch of junk traffic, but really targeted traffic based on terms that can generate conversions.

If you are in the real estate or legal area the pay per click costs are around $1.50 per click.

$1.5 x 100 = $150 per day
$1.5 x 200 = $350 per day
$1.5 x 300 = $450 per day

150 x 260 = 39,000 per year
350 x 260 = 91,000 per year
450 x 260 = 117,000 per year

Very important: these are academic estimates. Second, these traffic details aren’t particularly useful if you’re website doesn’t convert users to contact you or sign up for your email list.

What is a lead worth in your space? How do you calculate the value of an internet lead?

Best Free SEO Analysis Reports and Tools

Quick SEO Evaluation Tools

Website Grader-pretty quick way to find out about your site

SEO Automatic Tool-tells you about on page search engine optimization factors

Review My Web.com SEO Analysis Tool

SEO Backlink Checker Tools

Google Backlink Checker

Backlink Watch

Yahoo Backlink Checker

MSN Backlink Checker

Technorati for blog specific backlinks

Competitive Analysis Tools

Spy Fu

Google Insights for Search

SEO Moz Trifecta

SEO Moz Linkscape

Other Helpful Search Engine Optimization Tools

Google Webmaster Tools

Yahoo Webmaster Tools (same link as Yahoo backcheck links above)

Webmaster Live Tools

SEO Book Link Suggester (based on similar keyword or website topic)

Free SEO Keyword Tools

Google Keyword Tool
(related keyterms & web user data)

SEO Book Keyword Tool (web stats on your key terms)

Wordtracker Question Tool (web stats on questions around your keyterms)

Google Sets (semantically related terms to your keyterms)

Quinturra (semantically related terms)

SEO Tracking Analysis

Graph of Backlinks Over Time for search engine marketing purposes.

Compete-unique user statistics over the year

Quantcast-multiple analytics on users of your site

Go Rank-key word number & density

Please remember to bookmark this SEO Resource. Thanks!