Successful SEO Begins With Keyword Research and AnalyticsMany webmasters / online marketers make a common mistake when they begin doing business online. Often times, people do the processes necessary for their success - backwards. Rather than starting at the beginning and working forwards, they start at the end and work backwards. As a result, they waste more money and resources, often breaking the back of their business, well before they start to see any real success in their business.
In my years of helping online marketers promote their businesses, I have seen business models that seemed to have all of the elements necessary to ensure great success. And unfortunately, I have seen many of these perfect business models fail miserably, because their owners failed to honor their business with a realistic promotional plan.
Putting The Cart Before The Horse
When people begin to promote their new business, this is where most people begin to err.
Just recently, I spoke with an individual who started a business in a pretty competitive field. I don't view heavy competition as being a bad thing. In fact, I find that there are often enough customers in any niche to support the additional competitors, especially when a new competitor answers a need not served by the current players.
The individual to whom I refer made his mistake by focusing 95% of his advertising budget on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), before he even knew what keywords would help him to be profitable in his business! He has so far blown $9,500 of his $10,000 to optimize his website for the search engines, and he still does not know what keywords will drive traffic to his website, leading to sales conversions for his website.
His "backwards" approach has left him with only $500 in his budget, with little hope for his future. He now emails me 4-5 times a week, always in a state of utter panic for the prospect of his future. All I can tell him is to be patient, since he has to learn how to "bootstrap" his way to success, now that he has no budget left to build strong and fast.
Test Your Copy First
Search Engine Optimization should "never" be a business' first step in the promotion process. Although SEO can bring great rewards, it can also be very expensive to implement. Look at it this way. What good is search optimization if you have optimized for the wrong keywords?
The first step in the promotion of any business should be focused on attracting potential customers to one's website.
The marketer needs to put human eyeballs on the website, so that they can test and tweak their sales copy for greater sales conversion.
Until a website has seen several hundred visitors, the sales copy should not be changed or tweaked. Sales copy should always be tested against a large statistical group of visitors, in order to ensure that the copy is given a fair and realistic test.
If the online marketer has a bit more money to start the process, often the best spent money will be to hire a professional copywriter to write the sales copy for the website. Professional copywriters have a skill, and that skill is to create the words that will drive people to buy what you are selling.
"Test Traffic" Is Important To The Process
Most Internet Marketing newbies are still focused on getting those first few hundred visitors to their websites.
At this point, there are systems like Link Referral (thephantomwriters.com/linkreferral) and Traffic Swarm (thephantomwriters.com/trafficswarm) that can help the new business owner bring in a bit of traffic to their website. In a test with Link Referral, I am seeing 250 visitors per month. The neat thing about systems like these is that other members will review your website and offer good advice on how to improve your website, if necessary. Membership is free for both systems, with an option for paid upgrades.
The Law Of Attraction
While the traffic exchange systems mentioned above can send some traffic to your website, you are not going to get rich participating in those systems.
Once you have positioned your website to convert visitors to buyers, it is time to start attracting a larger number of visitors (potential customers) to your website.
There are a number of ways to do this, but two of the most effective are: Article Marketing and Pay-Per-Click Advertising.
Mark Silver recently produced an exceptional home study course about writing articles that will help you be much more successful in your article marketing activities (thephantomwriters.com/heartofarticlemarketing).
Just last week, a friend of mine told me that he has not promoted his website in over a year, yet he noticed that his website has a steady stream of traffic to it, from the three-dozen articles that he wrote and distributed in 2006 and 2007. He said that his ebook continues to produce new sales each and every month, and the only thing he can really attribute those continuing sales to is the articles that are available on the Internet that are promoting his website and ebook.
Article marketing, in and of itself, is a promotional tool that will allow a marketer to bring regular visitors to his or her website, and if the website does its job well, then the website will be able to convert those visitors to buyers. This is important, because all businesses need money coming into a website early, to ensure that the business can survive financially, until the long-term "recipe for profit" can be found and duplicated reliably.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is a process where you bid on keywords in the major search engines, through Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, etc. You tell the search engine companies what words you desire to bid on and how much you are willing to pay for a visitor, and the highest bidders for that keyword phrase will be shown above and to the right of the free results in the search engine results pages.
Keyword research, utilizing systems like Word Tracker (thephantomwriters.com/wordtracker), or my favorite, NicheBot (thephantomwriters.com/nichebot) will enable you to brainstorm keywords and get a good idea of which keywords might be more profitable for your business.
By utilizing Google Analytics or Yahoo's Panama Full Analytics (traffic analysis), an online marketer can follow a visitor from the search engine to the marketer's sales page. Where this is important is it enables an online marketer to uncover the essential business knowledge of which "keywords" will bring people into a website and help convert those visitors into customers.
Essential SEO Knowledge
What one must keep in mind is that some keywords will deliver visitors who will never buy, while other keywords will deliver visitors who are extremely likely to buy. This one paragraph holds within it the secret to a successful SEO strategy. This is the essential knowledge that a marketer should have, before engaging in any Search Engine Optimization campaign.
Like I said previously in this article, "Although SEO can bring great rewards, it can also be very expensive to implement."
If you are going to spend a lot of money to optimize your website for the search engines, doesn't it make much more sense to target the keywords that will actually help you to earn back your investment?
The Backwards Thinking
The backwards thinking I referred to in the beginning of this article was the idea that many people put SEO in front of their keyword research, keyword tracking and keyword conversion statistics.
An industry I like to pick on is the travel industry. In order to rank well for the solitary keyword "travel" in the search engines will require an astronomical SEO budget. But most people seeking travel information are looking for something just a bit more specific, like: Disney vacations, Hawaii vacations, and European travel.
So long as a keyword has been proven to convert visitors and sales, then it makes sense to optimize for that keyword. But you will never truly know which keywords will convert visitors and sales, until you have invested some of your budget into pay-per-click advertising and traffic analysis.
Once the necessary "keyword" knowledge is in hand, then the marketer can make an investment into search engine optimization for those keywords that can actually make them money, and with good SEO deployment, the marketer can find that they can actually capture a lot of the search engine traffic for specific keywords through the search engines' free listings.