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SEO

Search Engine Optimization for Business

Generating Leads With Targeted Traffic to Your Website Presented by:

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Search Engine Optimization for Business Section 1 – What is SEO & Why you need to do it In basic terms SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of making your website more relevant to the major search engines. Increasing your site’s relevancy equates to your site showing up higher in their search rankings when someone performs a search related to what you offer. Due to their dominate market share of search traffic, most optimization is done for Google, but these same actions will help with Yahoo and Bing, as well as other lesser known search engines. Local SEO and Niche SEO is about optimizing your website to rank highly for local or specific niche based search terms (keywords). Instead of just ranking for a general keyword like “Mechanics” you would try to rank for “Grand Rapids Mechanics”. Local SEO and Niche SEO is becoming increasingly popular and more importantly, effective. There are certain advantages when optimizing for localized and niche specific search terms: •

Easier To Rank – Typically, it is much easier and faster to rank for a local/niche search term because it is less competitive. You can rank at or near the top of Google for these terms with a lot less work.

More Targeted - When people are searching using local/niche keywords, they are often ready or more likely to buy. This is because they are searching using the words or terms that are specific to what you offer. If you optimize for “knitting”, people all over the world will find your site, but if you localize / niche that

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______________________________________________________________________________________SEO For Business search term you will be targeting people who are searching from your area or specifically for what you offer.

24/7 Availability - Now with the mobile internet, finding businesses through search engines will only get more popular and more important. Not long ago, every business needed to be in the Yellow Pages.

It is now the age of the mobile web and real time search, and

if you want to get the mobile consumer, you must rank highly for those local / niche terms. Add to that the ability to search for a local/niche specific item, product or service while they may be in a competitor’s store or when a niche product comes to mind, and you are significantly increasing your chances of earning their purchase. With less competition you can rank quicker and with less effort. You will be tapping into a perpetual funnel of local/niche based web searchers.

Section 2 - KEYWORD RESEARCH In this section we will explain keyword research. Keywords are the words or terms that people use to search on the internet, be it using Google, Yahoo, Bing or others. If you do a search for “Cheap Laptops” then the keyword is: cheap laptops. Keyword research is an important if not critical first step in any SEO plan. 1. Brainstorm – Start by creating a list of as many keyword terms that

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______________________________________________________________________________________SEO For Business someone would search for to find your business, product or service that you can think of. Don’t worry about modifiers (local or niche specific terms), focus on what people would search in any part of the world to find a business, product or service like yours. Try to come up with as many terms as possible. Also, think of terms that may not be what you personally would use, but what people may use when they are searching. The SEO specific terminology that is used is “Short Tail”, which is a one or two word search term, or “Long Tail”, which is a three words or more search term. There has been significant research done on keyword usage, and they have found that the longer the “tail”, the level of interest and propensity to buy increases.

So, ranking highly (on the first page of the

search) for local / niche specific long tail keywords puts your business, product or service in front of those on the verge of taking action. Once you have your keyword list, I would also ask friends, family and even customers for their input. This will give you an outside perspective that may open your eyes to many that you missed, or never thought of. If you get stuck coming up with terms, you can actually get help from Google! Google has a free tool (Google Keyword Tool) that when you enter your keyword terms, it returns a list of related keyword terms, and even the estimated search volumes. Keep in mind we will localize these terms so the amount of searches will not be applicable, but it still gives you an idea of what keywords are searched more often. You are going to want to be pretty thorough in this process, as this is what the whole point is – optimizing and ranking in the search engines for your terms...

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2. Consolidate – Review your list, and choose 5 – 10 of the most relevant keywords. To do this, you can use your personal preference, a hunch, the search volumes presented from Google Keyword Tool and common sense. Create a new list with these 5 – 10 terms. (Keep your original keyword list – you will probably be able to use many of them later)

3. Localize / Nichefy - Now that you have your list of 5-10 terms localize or nichefy them. Add your location (town or city, maybe the state if you are in a city with common name) or niche specific terms. If you are a company that services a number of towns, then add the other towns in front of the keyword as well. For example... City One + Keyword One City One + Keyword Two ... City Two + Keyword One City Two + Keyword Two So each new town or niche modifier you use will be another 5 focused keyword terms. Once you have localized / nichefied your keywords you will now have a list of keyword terms that you can begin ranking for. While this is a basic form of keyword research it is leagues ahead of most of the online marketing that businesses do.

Section 3 - SEO BASICS The topic of SEO is actually rather involved and complex. The good news is that you really don’t need to know the full details. In this section we will review some of the basics. If your site was created using Word Press you can do much of the on page SEO yourself. If your site was built using HTML

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______________________________________________________________________________________SEO For Business design, you may have to involve your web designer to make a couple of changes. The changes will be quick, so it shouldn’t take too much time. If your site was built using Flash, unfortunately, the search engines cannot read your site… Search Engine Optimization can be broken into two main categories: on page SEO and off page SEO. On Page: on page means exactly that – what the search engines find on the pages/posts of your site. Below are some of the more important elements: •

Title Tags: The first things the search engines see when they come to your site, or a new page on your site, are the title tags. These are simply the titles of each page. The “title” in this case is what is displayed ABOVE the address bar in your internet browser. It is at the very top of the browser. On Google.com, “Google” is the title of the page. If you are familiar with HTML code, this is usually accomplished with the <title></title> tags near the top of the code. If you are familiar with HTML you can change them yourself, just remove what is in between them and paste one or more of your keywords. (You may need to get your web designer to fix these for you if you use a traditional HTML website, or you aren’t comfortable making the changes). With WordPress based sites, you can do this very easily by using a plug-in such as All-in-One SEO.

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______________________________________________________________________________________SEO For Business Each page of your site needs to have a different or unique title tag. For SEO, it needs to contain one of the keywords from your list. In some niche markets, and in smaller towns and communities, this is all you will need to do to get to the first page of the search results for localized / niche terms. One of the great SEO features of WordPress is that you can access permalinks through the “Settings” and create a custom structure like: /%postname%/. This will make the title tag of every blog post you create to be the same as the post title. So just by using keywords in your post titles, you will automatically have keyword rich title tags. •

Keyword Tags – The search engines also look within your source code for your keywords. The code looks like this: <meta name="keywords" content="keyword1, keyword2, etc" /> and is the same on HTML sites, WordPress and others. This is good confirmation to the search engines that along with your Title Tags, if they are consistent, your site is relevant to the search.

Content - You also want to use your keywords in your On Page content. Now a bit of a warning here – do not stuff your content with keywords. Meaning your content should be written for your visitors (humans), not the search engines. Good quality content that naturally mentions your keywords will engage people, make them more likely to share your site and will seem more natural to Google and the other search engines. Sites th at are regu larly u pdate d with new or fresh conte nt also typically rank be tte r in search engines . This is one of th e reasons that bloggi ng has become so i mportant an d powe rful.

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______________________________________________________________________________________SEO For Business •

N a v i g a t i o n - Proper navigation is also very important in getting your site an optimal placement. It needs to be both logical and fully functional. Broken links on your site can actually hurt your rankings. You want the search engines using what are referred to as bots or spiders to be able to crawl or search your entire site with no broken links.

S i t e m a p - A sitemap is basically a list of your website pages. This step is more important for dynamic websites such as blogs where new content (pages) are added regularly. Search engines, like Yahoo and Google will use it to quickly search your entire site. If you are using Word Press you can easily add a sitemap to your site with a plugin like “Google XML Sitemaps”.

Privacy Policy - This tip actually came directly from Google itself. The complex algorithm that Google uses to rank websites gives a bonus to sites that have a privacy policy. If you have an HTML site ask your web designer to add a link in your footer titled Privacy Policy, and have it link to a basic privacy policy for your website. If you use Word Press just use a plugin like “Easy Privacy Policy”.

SEO is a major area of focus for online success, but the above topics are a good On-Page start for your site. Since ranking for localized and niche keywords can be easier, these tips will work wonders for most businesses. Off-Page - Of f -Page optimization is really about one thing - backlinks. Backlinks are simply links on other sites that point back to your site. All search engines place significant value on backlinks. Below are some critical factors to backlinking and Off-Page SEO:

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______________________________________________________________________________________SEO For Business •

Anchor Text: The anchor text is the actual text that makes up the link. For example, if I wanted to link for the term “Grand Rapids Mechanic”, I would make it so that when I click on the term “Grand Rapids Mechanic” as a hyperlink, it would take me to your site. The HTML code to do this would look like this: <a href= http://your sitenamehere.com >Grand Rapids Mechanic</a>. In most cases, the anchor text is highlighted or in a different color to show that it is a link or a hyperlink. Links that have your keywords as the anchor text are valuable for SEO purposes.

Page Rank: Google gives pages a rank from 0-10. This rank isn’t quite as important as some people make it out to be, but it is still a good guide. The higher the page rank of a website, the more valuable the link on it is. Many other search engines do the same or similar. Another ranking is the Alexa ranking.

NoFollow/DoFollow: There are actually two dif f erent kind of links. If a link is “no follow” it means that Google does not recognize or count the backlink to your site. There is considerable debate over dofollow and nofollow. Just because a site has nofollow links, they can still drive traffic to your site, but they do not help with your link counts.

These are some of the basic terms regarding backlinks. There is a significant amount of information about backlinking in the form blog posts, reports, white papers, books, courses and video tutorials, some free, some costing thousands of dollars… When you are searching for backlinks there might be times when you need to use code to build your links. Don’t panic. The code is pretty

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______________________________________________________________________________________SEO For Business simple. In general, you will need HTML code or BBCode. The BBCode will usually be used if you’re building links on forums, and the HTML code will be used on your own sites, or other places that aren’t forum based. HTML Code: <a href=”your full website link”>Your Keyword</a> BBCode: [url=”your full website link”]Your Keyword[/url] You can use a simple tool like Note Pad or any text editor to save the code for quick and easy reference. When you reference your site for backlinking, be sure to use your full website link which includes “http://” . Where Can You Start Getting Links? There are a few steps you can do to get your first backlinks. While these might not be enough to get you to #1 on Google (it might be for some terms), it is still a very solid start. •

D mo z .o rg - Dmoz is a great backlink. It is free, easy and powerful. Just visit the site and follow their instructions closely, making sure you choose the proper category. When asked for your Site Title - use a Keyword as this will be the anchor text of the link. It takes a notoriously long time to get your site in DMOZ, but don’t reapply too often. Check every 3-6 months and reapply at that point.

Yahoo Biz Directory – This is a paid directory, and is considered one of the few worth paying for.

Fr e e D i r ec t o r ie s - These use to have a lot more power, but are not as important. Be cautious of link exchanges. In fact, never exchange

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______________________________________________________________________________________SEO For Business links with a directory. If a directory requires you to link to them before you can submit your link- don’t bother. •

Your Existing Websites/Blogs - If you have multiple websites, or have built a blog of f site - then link between all of them. If they are hosted on the same server, or have the same name server (DNS) address, this is not as powerful, but for local or niche keywords, this can be 10

important. •

Social Media - Make sure you drop your website link in any of your social media profiles (i.e. Facebook & Twitter). Even if these links are nofollow and not keyword rich, they can still drive traf f i c and may affect your Google ranking. Other social networks like LinkedIn and Digg will let you add keyword rich, dofollow links.

These basic steps are a great start for your off-page optimization, and might be enough to get you to #1 for your localized or niche terms.

CONCLUSION When it comes to online activities for business, SEO has one of the highest ROI’s. One of the primary reasons that businesses would want to invest in SEO is for lead generation. The recommendations and basic steps presented here should help most businesses and niche marketers begin to see better search engine rankings, increased traffic, and conversions of web site visitors to actionable leads, and more sales opportunities for the business.

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About demandLEAP: demandLEAP specializes in demand generation and inbound marketing programs that help companies grow by implementing digital and direct marketing strategies focused around measurable and meaningful results. Utilizing the latest technologies in marketing automation and web analytics, they are experienced in SEO, web development, social media, and CRM and also have deep experience in sales, sales management, business development and marketing. You can learn more about demandLEAP by visiting them online at http://www.demandleap.com or contacting them directly at 616.588.5777.

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SEO For Business