Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Marketing Insight - the return of mini-sites and mini-webs

Just had to tell you about this one. Too neat.

(Warning: advanced terminology ahead - Geek Alert)

Dr. Andy Williams reminded me about it with his recent newsletter about site building.

I've been playing around with the idea of subdomains as minisites and have finally gotten it working. Mini-sites go back to the days of page-rank as King of SEO, and Michael Campbell (Striking it Niche, Nothing but 'Net, etc.). The idea is that you would build mini-sites around your niche and people would find all sorts of fascinating content within that mini-site and they'd bounce all around within it and build up your pagerank, making your SERPs improve.

Then you'd link these mini-sites together and you'd have a mini-web. Since the links were by related content, you could actually take over a major niche just on pagerank.

But the days of pagerank are ebbing, if not gone. Google doesn't think that metric is as important these days.

However, the concept is a fascinating one. It allows you to group your content by niche and then cross-link to related content on another site you also created and maintain. So link love can still be shared, along with subscribers (if you liked this blog post, other readers also found these blog-posts fascinating...).

Enter the idea of sub-domains. Now for the time being, Google still gives subdomains individual pagerank and treats them basically as their own site. Meaning that when you link from one subdomain to another, you are crosslinking sites. So you are giving authority to another of your own sites.

But this has been tricky to do, since other than hand-coding mini-sites, the best way to build a site was with WordPress (or some other CMS scripting platform). Meaning that if you wanted to set up a subdomain and install WP on it, you'd have several installs on your hard-drive with multiplicitous files duplicated in every subdomain.

Enter WordPressMU. (Multi-User.) It has the option of being able to create new blogs and assigning them a subdomain name - used on WordPress.com and many others. So each person runs a single blog, but the underlying program really runs them all as one huge mega-blog.

Here's the deal: Set up WPMU on a host and then create a new "blog" for each keyword niche. Posts in that blog are all germain to that subject and so build authority within that subdomain. Every subdomain is it's own subject - and so you actually build mini-sites again - and a mini-web, after a fashion.

What makes this really take off is that you can have completely separate look and feel for every sub-domain blog. It looks like it's own blog - which it is. And templates make it much, much easier to configure - but far more powerful - than mini-sites.

An example is Midwest Journal Press - this is set up as a main site for all the books I want to promote as a publisher. Every book is to have it's own blog. My latest project is How to Stop Telemarketers' Internet Scams. Note that the link goes to a subdomain on that main blog. I'm in the process of writing this book right now. And it will have all sorts of links off the site, but also to the other related books which I publish. It becomes an authority for the keywords of "stop telemarketers", if not "Internet scams".

The great part about it is that I can build an opt-in mail list just for that book (coming today, I hope) and so get subscribers on this particular niche completely independent of the other books I write/edit/(re)publish. Also, I'm not limited by a single template's foibles, but can actually grab and install various templates until I have the one which is appropriate to that particular niche. (A person looking to solve their "I've-just-been-scammed-by-a-telemarketer" problem will expect a more dramatic look and feel than the "I'd-like-to-lose-more-weight" person - who needs more reassurance.)

In short, WPMU looks to solve a variety of problems with a single install. Sure, there are some tricks that have to be mastered, but it's not a particular problem compared to learning HTML and coding pages by hand.

And to think - you probably heard it here first!

Your comments? Suggestions?

Marketing Insight - WordPress site-building sequence

This post on Marketing Insight is how to build your site. (And those are silo's above - where grain is stored before it is shipped to processors.) Dr. Williams (below) is offering one concept about how to build a site. He's actually converting old hand-coded sites over to a new WordPress platform. And I respect his work.
ezSEO Blog: "The overall idea of this new system is to concentrate on sub-niches, one at a time, and build those sub-sections before moving on to the next one.


Suppose my website was on dieting. This is a huge niche and to try to do the keyword research up front would be a monumental task. A large part of my site would probably be the various diets that people could go on, so I would start off by setting up my Wordpress site with a super category called 'Diets'.

I would then pick one diet at a time, e.g. the Sonoma diet, and carry out the keyword research only on the Sonoma diet. I’d keep this data in a separate database in KRA Pro.

I could then concentrate on the Sonoma diet, creating a main page for that diet as well as articles on the diet that can link back to the main page.

When you are finished with the Sonoma diet, pick another area you want to work on, e.g. South Beach Diet and repeat.

I would take a different approach. And as you know from following this blog I use RankTracker to query WordTracker to get my niches (which is a whole lot cheaper and more powerful).

Now, as I've discussed, my approach is to distill my niches and their keywords. This gives me what keywords add up to the targeted main keywords I want to use to create content. I simply line them up by KEI and then work on them in that way. I don't take a certain one and then create content for all the pages like that. I don't do all the dog-collar keywords and then do dog-leash keywords. I'd work all of the long-tail niche keywords for dog in order of their KEI. Sure they'll cross, but what you are trying to take over is "dog" as a main KW - and that is what your blog is named. (Yes, that is a lousy choice as a "niche", since it isn't really, but it gives a good example. )

Under dogs, you'd have categories (silos) of dog-collars, dog-leashes, dog-dishes, and so on. As Andy says above, I don't really hold to silos either. Mainly because people don't want their content served up that way. And your "back" button is there by default on every page you visit. So bouncing from a too-content-limited page is easier than not.

And WordPress has the option of viewing all your categories on the sidebar. So while they might be interested in dog-collars, they might want to compare with the content you have for cat-collars. Or just Cats. Those are all on your categories - and allow you to nest categories as well.

I recently imported a Blogger blog into WordPress and found that now I had tons of default categories. So that screwed any idea of having category-silos without editing every single page out of hundreds. (And I have more to study up on the use of both categories and tags for posts - both of which cross-link posts, making it easier for viewers, but ridiculous if you are trying to maximize page-rank.)

Another reason I like to post by KEI rather than category is to break up my week. While I still have lots of research to do on the various keywords, it gives you more diversity and options if you are posting for the best traffic/competition first. And when you have all the long-tail keywords established, you can come back to work them all in sequence again (or several times) because you already have the research done.

My writing is what I am inspired on - so I jump from blog to blog, depending on what I'm covering at the time. Lately I've been hobby-horsing how to stop telemarketers' Internet scams, but this also gave me a post on hate-addiction, as well as putting up a new post from an old draft about expanding your marketing mix beyond email newsletters I had hanging around on that imported Blogger site. So I'm working on several keywords at the same time. Each with different publics. Keeps me from getting bored, but it's mainly to get those-type thoughts out and written down before I forgot about them and lost the inspiration. (Plus, it makes my friendfeed life-stream far more interesting, let alone twitter.)

And this method of writing for just a single blog also makes more sense to the search engines, since a person doesn't just talk about dog-collars for twenty articles over a couple of weeks and then fascinate on dog-leashes. This also breaks up your flow if you are doing posts, so your subscribing public isn't bored to tears by dog-collars, then bored by dog-leashes. A simple approach would be to write in one category, then do your next post in the next-best KEI category, and so on.

But I'm pretty sure with both tags and categories, any idea of a silo is pretty shot. Silo's are actually a hold-over from the days when PageRank ruled SEO. And pagerank has been pretty back-watered for some time now.

The general rule is that search engines follow viewers. So Content is King - like nothing else. Build a great site and you'll get more subscribers and they'll stick around for more (as well as buy).

The point of doing your articles/posts by KEI then targets your most likely traffic first. Rotating through these keywords until you have several articles for each long-tail-KW - and a good leg-up on taking over the main phrase, this keeps your readers interested and coming back for more.

Just my thoughts on the matter. What are yours?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Don't start marketing a product unless you want to help build a community

In working over a new product, it occurred to me that there is a very tight relationship between the company, its product/service, and the community it serves.

Just in that statement, you can see tons of information alone.

Communities have needs and wants. Like corporations, they have a growth or decline. They have participants. Those participants (mostly) share common needs and wants. Doesn't mean they can't or don't also belong to other communities because of their other needs and wants.

So my story is this: I was scammed almost exactly a year ago and haven't made back the money they promised I was supposed to have in 3-4 months. The companies in this scam are Internet Income Solutions, Bright Builders, and Thrive Learning - all Utah-based companies.

While I'm pursuing a refund through Rip-Off Reports, as well as other complaint routes (FTC, FCC, FBI, state attorney generals, BBB), I'm also writing a book about these adventures and using the research I've done into this area over that past year. And I plan to promote that book down social media lines.

But then I plan to move onto other venues. I've got a lot of stuff that I need to get done, and other than this handbook, I don't intend to become a consumer advocate by any means. So my investment in the community of "stop telemarketers' internet scams" will draw to a close. (But my involvement in book writers/editors/publishers community won't.)

And so, while I can go full bore in promoting this book with social bookmarks, podcasts, videos, forum posts - why would I want to? I've got a whole series of books which are demanding my attention, forcing me to get this one up and off my lines, so to speak.

And that's the question I think that everyone should ask themselves about their products that they pitch or services they offer. Why am I promoting this product/service?

Is it for the community?

Is it just to "make a buck"?

Is it for personal fame?

If you look up or follow Dr. Mani or Chris Brogan and you'll see people who are completely working to build communities and to help others openhandedly.

Do Comcast or Dell or Home Depot really work to build the community - or are their social actions and participation simply CRM with a twist?

Now, if you follow Scott Monty, you'll see that you are dealing with a person who is trying to help a somewhat enlightened brick-and-mortar car company transition into our modern Internet age. And he's got his job cut out for him (but Ford didn't need to take bail-out money, did they?) If you check out his blog, you'll see he is tackling some tough issues that are actually contributing to the social media community as a whole.

As a book writer/editor/publisher - I have to ask myself about the products I'm bringing out: do they actually contribute something to improving this culture, our global communities?

But - what do you think?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Keyword research - an example of a very deep and wide niche

Index-mining of a huge niche - an example
(a dull and boring, left-brained exercise)

Had to sort out some other stuff, so I've been vacant from marketing insight posts. But I was able to get some work done on the side, because an upcoming mess was staring back at me - so I put the old RankTracker to work at digesting stuff it wasn't designed to do.

My example is the huge, vast "niche" of self-improvement/self-help/personal growth, etc. It's that big because all humankind's adventures fall under it. Any time you push the condition of a person forward, it's self improvement in some guise or another. (Because actually, only the person himself can improve or worsen their own condition...)

So there were really far too many words to describe this area. And those terms above either gave no useful terms or too many when I ran them through my Adwords/RankTracker/OpenOffice system.

But I'd been doing this for months, getting various insights and doing trial searches. All of which resulted in lists and spreadsheets of words, but nothing definitive.

Finally, I decided to take a rather adventurous leap (like some cliff diver) and assembled all these numbers of lists into RankTracker and made it digest them. Turns out it was far more difficult than I thought. It chokes the WordTracker component at about 240 words, so I had to split these up - meaning my 6000 words took about 120 times to get them all ranked by KEI. (Several days' work in the background.)

And then I tried to get it to find alternate WordTracker suggestions - it doesn't choke so easily, but RankTracker can appear to hang after a thousand or so...

Finally, I got most of these done and wound up with over 12000 keywords (that's right - what a masochist). Extracted these to a spreadsheet, cranked up a database from that (OpenOffice is a wonder) and then built queries based on the top single-world keywords.

Turned out I had about 20 or so real keywords that were applicable (and not porn or popular culture related).

Now, I copied these by hand into a text editor, and then pasted that list into a new RankTracker project. Right now, I'm getting the WordTracker suggestions for these, which I'll run several times until I quit getting any decent KEI new keywords.

All this just to tell you how to take something that doesn't really seem to have a keyword set for that niche you know is there.

The steps:
  1. Compile all the lists you have into RankTracker and find their KEI and suggested alternates.
  2. Copy/Paste this into OpenOffice spreadsheet, then convert that to a database format to do queries and narrow down to relevant terms.
  3. Take that short list and run it back through a new RankTracker project to find the real bottom line.
  4. Convert that into a spreadsheet database and mine it.
Some notes:
If I had these all in spreadsheets to begin with, I'd probably been able to just extract the top KW from each and drop them into RankTracker. But some of these were simple text files from my earliest research into the subject.

Now I'm up to date and should shortly have a concise set of huge KEI niches (in the thousands, literally) that can be approached with finding the QAT (in quotes, in anchor, in text) for these and then lining up content and products to start this approach.

- - - -

The results: about 3700 keywords gave me just over 1100 usable (above 2.0 KEI) terms. Of these, there are nearly 50 which are over 10K KEI (rare). To get that kind of KEI, nearly all are under 300K competing pages (rule of thumb says that I probably have less than 1,000 actually optimized pages for these terms) and those high-competing pages have around 3K visitors every day.

While that mega-digestion took days, it now sets me up with some apparent uber-niches to develop. (Let's hope I can find a product for that niche which serves the community...)

So: there's your example of what is possible. I imagine if you took something as broad as pets, you'd then also be able to digest this down nearly as profitably. (I may go back to those top terms I had before just as a test, but I'm really going to have to have some free time on my hands...)

Good Hunting!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How to get Started with Google Analytics

This little link is the simple how-to in starting to understand Google Analytics.

Analytics Help

There are some more free resources to track down - but since so many people are selling paid versions of their own courses in the subject, I thought to get this link out to you and save you some dough.

Google has its own course - and when I find it again, I'll link. When I do the course, I'll review...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Marketing Insight: Keywords which don't tell you anything about the Gorilla in the room

Marketing Insight: Not getting the right keywords
won't tell you anything about the gorilla in your room.

That's the problem with a lot of these niches we deal with. When we are simply trying to sell a product, we fail because some of these niches simply don't have buyers in them. And worse, some people are telling you that the way you find buyers is to see if people are advertising in that area. (Really? How come people are advertising where there isn't even any traffic? Google says they do - just look on their Adwords tool and see where there is "competition" even when there aren't enough traffic results to make up a monthly tally...)

Since I got myself all worked up with that (above-linked) post, I then had to see what was actually going on.

So I set up my Keywords Genies: Google Adwords Tool and RankTracker and started to get to work figuring this all out. I started using Google Adwords to see if it would give me bigger and bigger traffic keywords through its synonyms. After I amassed about 12,000 keywords, then I quit to digest them by OpenOffice database.

Now, this is completely the reverse of what my research says to do. I was purposely looking for stuff that couldn't possibly be a niche - waaayy too big. Of course, one of the first things I found out was that Google and WordTracker don't agree on what the traffic for something actually is. (Big surprise - all these tools only deal with their own estimates of traffic. Your mileage may vary, as well - only your own analytics knows for sure.)

But what I did find is that there seem to be a huge number of really good one and two-word keywords with decent KEI. Even though they could (and some did) have literally a trillion pages of competition. No, you couldn't dream of trying to get these on their own. So the niche theory of marketing empire-building still holds.

The review of these niches and their main keywords started showing something else (other than the fact I was really straining RankTracker and WordTracker - you can only check about 240 KW's at a time before WordTracker shuts you down). That something else was the point that people who search on Google are just that - lookers. Doesn't mean they are buyers. And you have to check that keyword on eBay or Amazon to see if people are actually able to sell something like that.

Even more striking was the observation that very little "stuff" was turning up with these keywords. Specific camera's, or toys, or gadgets or books or authors weren't coming up. But the big-ticket Maslow-pyramid-type phrases were. As niches.

But didn't I just say you couldn't sell anything in a niche that didn't have buyers in it?

Sure. The trick is that the motivations to buy are there, not the stuff you can sell.

This means that people are actually searching for their wants and feelings, not just specific stuff they want to buy - although that happens as well, but not in two words or less (most of the time, anyway).

Your niches show up in four-word or longer phrases.

But something even more interesting showed up - you aren't selling stuff, you're offering solutions.

All of these wants and feelings people put in their search engine forms - these are just problems they are having in their lives (more or less). What they are plugging away at searching for are solutions which would improve their lives.

Again, go back to Maslow and Cialdini. When you take these two giants together, you see what people as individuals and as groups/niches are trying to solve in their lives. All these things people buy are somewhere on Maslow's pyramid. And what you see selling on eBay or Amazon are translations of these items into the tribe-dominated Cialdini 6 (or 7) principle triggers.

Being blonde, young, trim, athletic, rich, famous, etc. - all of these have definite products associated with them. But below all these states are very definite wants and needs - and between those and the products that represent them are the person's feelings. Which are what all sales are based on - feelings.

My point in this actually goes back to what I've spend the bulk of this life on - personal improvement and self-growth. Recently, I've been studying marketing to see how selling this type stuff is done. And so, now I know how to sell almost anything - find out what stresses are hitting people's lines and offer solutions. Stresses are tied into feelings - and they come from a person's purpose, something seemingly disrelated to marketing.

The reason I'm telling you all this is to keep you up to speed with what I've been discovering.

Practically, with proper market research, starting with keywords and then finding what products are selling in that niche - you could conceivably sell sun-tan oil to Eskimo's if you wanted.

It's all sitting there in the keywords.

So, go ahead, compile your own list of 12,000 Google Adwords and see what comes up.

May you be just as pleasantly surprised.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Keyword Research Marketing Insight - Don't think the inmates know how to unlock the sanitarium gates...

(photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/amagill/)

Marketing Insight:
Escaping the sanitarium profitably with your keywords
-- don't ask the inmates for directions.

Sometimes I get fed up with people who use advertising as proof that people are buying or not buying stuff in any particular niche.

I've been doing a heckuva lot of research on keywords recently and can tell you this - advertiser are generally clueless about what people are going to buy. And they are caught up in this insane addiction to buying advertising as a way to get leads which will convert to paying customers.

The reason I say this is I've pulled in my Ranktracker files from Google adwords KeywordExternalTool and found that there are some fascinating keywords being used that have a lot of advertising competition, but no one is actually visiting these sites. True.

Now, this doesn't say all advertisers are this way - but when I've now run into the fourth or fifth "authority" saying that you look at these sites which tell you what advertising is being bought as an indicator of whether people are buying products in that area - and I say "BULL".

If you want to see if people are buying that product, check out eBay with one of the free analysis tools out there. This will tell you if there is a real buying market for it. Now, eBay is a bit different from Google, as people who are looking (google) aren't necessarily buyers (google and ebay). But if you use Terapeak, you can see over the last two weeks (for free) if anyone is looking for a product in your category and what types of products (and prices) they are willing to pay in an auction. (One caveat - auctions are for 1] Collectors, and 2] Bargain Hunters. So prices are unreal here - both too high and too low.)

Right now, I don't know of any other area where you can find out actual sales data. You want to be able to look at the records of buyers buying. Terapeak and HammerTap both license eBay's database records to generate their data. Another source would be WorldWideBrands - even though their entry is rather high, even for a lifetime subscription. But they can tell you the rough value of an area and whether there are buyers for that product. WWB does have an online trial where you can check out your keywords in a limited degree.

Oh - but you could check out Clickbank, which does (in a round-about way) give what is selling and you can work out roughly whether you could actually make money at that stuff. Also has return rates (as some of those digital products aren't worth the digital paper they're printed on...)

But when someone tells you to see if people are advertising as an idea of who's buying what - just smile and nod and thank them - then go right on by. Because those people are probably going to be there for a very loooong time. And you should be out in the real world earning money by the carloads.

Places to find out if someone is actually buying products for your niche:

  • Terapeak
  • WorldWideBrands
  • Clickbank.
Good Hunting!

Small Business Marketing Insight Tip: Keyword Article-writing tool - OpenOffice

Small Business Marketing Insight Tip:
Writing articles while keeping your keywords in mind just got easier.

Now, as you know from following this series of blog posts, I'm a big fan of using RankTracker to compile a spreadsheet of keywords - then mining that spreadsheet with a database.

Then you write your articles keeping those keywords in mind. And you can do this all from OpenOffice.

I used to keep a list of keywords to hand, and then started keeping a spreadsheet open on a second monitor while I wrote my articles on my main one. What I found out today is that you can search your database in the same window while you have your article open - saving desktop real estate. Look at this partial screen capture:

(image opens to larger version)

The database is opened up above your editing window, so you can see the keywords you've already culled from your RankTracker research. In this case, I'm working on a series of articles on telemarketing - and you can see the highlighted keyword "telemarketer training" right above the article with that keyword in it's title. Note that it's all in the same window.

Makes it easier to see what you're talking about. Now, if you have multiple databases, they'll show up there as well (right now, I only have the "refund02a" database registered, but more will be coming, rest assured). So you can switch easily from one to the other to find the cross-keywords you need, which helps you out with your Latent Semantic Indexing.

As you update your spreadsheet on a regular basis, that keeps your database current, so when you are writing articles, you can tweak them however your research sends you.

A probable sequence on this would be to

Follow your publishing schedule and then it's downhill for your work, and uphill for your sales and bank account.

Just wanted to keep you up to date on the latest and greatest - make us both more efficient that way, eh?

Good Hunting!

PS. Coming soon: How to break into Google Analytics without breaking a sweat - a newbie's guide.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Marketing Insight: Hype Curve, Bell Curve, and Long Tail - how to profit regardless of the economic downturn

Marketing Insight: Where Hype Rubber Hits the Laggard Road

Long Tail

I've recently been proving all those Madison Avenue psych studies right. By studying Cialdini, Gladwell, and Godin it pretty much says that we are actually being herded along in our tribes quite nicely. Of course my secret weapon in this is to study Maslow and then see that these tribes are far from being destructive, but are actually heading toward a better future quality of life for all members.

Madison Avenue has been helping, in their odd way, to enable people to spend their way to a better material quality of living. To do this, they need to keep earning more money than they have before. And people get sold on getting their kids through college (another tribe grist-mill) and living better lives.

Our use of this, of course, is to learn not to become effect of every marketing frenzy that comes along - and to re-learn our own mental habits so that we can make our own independent decisions. But meanwhile, as we become the lighthouse on the rocky shore for other ships passing through this storm we call life - we have to use these data to help people find our routes to success. Not that they have to follow it exactly - you just want people to be able to find it and utilize it. And if they become independent thinkers as well - hey, we might wind up with a huge tribe of people who care for each other and do the right thing more instinctively. Better for all of us on this small single world we share.

OK, today I wanted to tell you more about this tribe stuff and some fascinating explanations of what we go through.

Gartner's Hype Cycle, Bridging the Gap, and Fads Vs. Evolution

First off, there's Gartner's hype cycle - which of course is full of hype. But it tells us that not everything is a fad. Somethings make their way into society and do quite nicely after they are widely adopted. Beany Babies aren't one. Fire and the Wheel apparently are.

Someone else approached the same concept of technology adoption and talks about Bridging the Gap for early adopters, using the Bell Curve to show where early adopters, mainstreamers, and laggards show up. Unfortunately, this model only says that demand dies out for every new adoption.

A really bright lad made a great point over at Trashmarketing when he superimposed the two graphs. Not all of his arguments follow, but it's a great start.

He opines that hype is much greater during the early adopters phase and that the chatter drops off as the mainstreaming begins.

Gartner is talking about technology and adoption curves. Use of the bell curve and this gap theory is fine for fads - but says that people won't continue using an item.

I think that we are somewhere in the middle of these two curves. (And you'll see that the Long Tail curve also is represented there - if you look closely around "Late Majority and Laggards')

But you'll see what I mean when you look at Detroit's growth and decline. Compare the Edsel and the Mustang and you can see where Ford missed the boat and made it. Social media is going through this same scene, as some platforms are bought up and drop off. Practically, Nasdaq and our current real-estate economy bubble burst (thanks to Bill Clinton, Barney Franks, ACORN and Chris Dodd for our US version) show this same hype curve to some degree. At least for now.

And technology stocks as well as real-estate will always be with us - much as Jesus talked about the poor. So there is some combination of these to start making sense out of things. Sure, the hoop skirt never caught on, but the mini-skirt is still around - just not as hyped as before (but just as enticing to males).

How do we use this? Realize that your marketing efforts have to be way out ahead of everyone else. What you are looking for are early adopter evangelists and "sneezers" (per Gladwell's Tipping Point) in order to help your product get critical mass. And be prepared for that Dip (Godin wrote a book about it - which I haven't read).

But you are wanting to keep true to your main, core idea and purpose - both of yourself and of your business. You are there, actually, to help move society and this culture forward - to help it evolve. Don't worry if your company and product get snapped up and incorporated into some behemoth current juggernaut. Turn it over and start your next one - you've now got your own financing as that startup just went mainstream. Time for your next startup.

The main point is to keep on keeping on. Don't listen to the Joneses - but figure out what they really need next and offer them a better solution than the one they have. Like the fries at MacDonald's which formed the basis for a world-wide trend in fast-food. Or that entrepreneur who found out that selling everything for a little less made a lot more profit - Sam Walton created a very recession-proof business which has improved the lives of millions through his ideas like spoke-and-wheel distribution.

So: the sky is no limit, actually. Just get out there and create your tail off. Learn from the best and do better than them. With what we can now know in this Internet Age, anyone can retire several times over after creating their booms, not bubbles.
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A simple (mostly) way to keep on track with smalll business marketing keywords

Here's a simple way to keep on track with keywords
while doing your small business marketing.

But it's a little left-brained, so be warned.

If you've swallowed my efforts to teach you how to find really good keywords, and have fallen in love with the idea of spreadsheets - I've now figured out how to make it simpler to use the results.

The other caveat is that this is a bit tougher to set up originally- but when you do, it's easy to set up everything else.

Your goal is keywords with high KEI, good traffic, and low competition. And not spend forever extracting them. And you are really only using affordable (or free) tools to determine your natural SEO keywords.

The recipe:

  1. Your raw ingredients are Google's Adword KeywordExternalTool, RankTracker, OpenOffice Suite (haven't tried this with the Word Suite), and Web1Marketing's Keyword Competition Estimator.
  2. You research your keywords from Google, dump these into RankTracker to find their KEI and WordTracker associated terms, and then dump these results into an OpenOffice spreadsheet (as linked above). This new version means you don't have to do anything to them until after you have the spreadsheet - all big and raw and filled with stuff you don't need.
  3. OpenOffice has a database (called Base, of all things) which you can use to do all your calculations. Simply set up queries with your parameters (I'll remind you what they need to be in a second - hang on there) and then set up reports which the queries produce.
  4. The queries:
    1. Sort by KEI: less than 2.0 - these keywords you won't be using, but need a list to check when you're copywriting.
    2. Sort by Competition: greater than 4 million, KEI: greater than 2.0, and Length: less than 3 - these results give you likely major keywords.
    3. Sort by KEI: greater than 2.0, Competition: less than 4mil, # of Searches (traffic): greater than 100 - these results are your likely niche keywords. This is what you will author content for.
    4. Sort by KEI: greater than 2.0, Competition less that 4mil, # of Searches less than 100 and greater than 20 - this gives you your lower traffic sub-niche which you work on after you've filled the top niche keywords with content (or if that is all you get for this niche...)
  5. Now, you can take the queries at this point and have fun. But, I'd suggest you garnish them with their actual competition:
    1. Find your desired keywords by searching for them with "Find All" and then give their background a color. (It's a neat trick - once you've done it once, your hooked.) Remember, you're working from the good-KEI-but-too-much-competition words through your niche and sub-niche terms.
    2. Take these one by one (sorry I haven't found a tool for this yet) and run them through Web1Marketing's tool to get their "QAT" value - in quotes, in anchor, and in text.
    3. Then plug these in by the appropriate keyword you are looking for - all in their own column on the spreadsheet.
    4. Repeat 2 and 3 until you have all your (colored) keywords done.
    5. Update your queries and reports to include the QAT column.
  6. Now you can print your reports and have fun. If you want, you can save the report in native OpenOffice Writer format and then highlight all those terms with QAT you've found - then print it off in color so you can find them easily.
With these reports, it's easy to simply work up your publishing schedule and also see what other keywords you can sprinkle into any content you have in order to get gains on those, too.

Now, I still prefer spreadsheets myself - at least at this point. But I'll probably move over to simply doing the database route, as I don't have to do all these queries manually every time I create a new spreadsheet.

The real advantage is that you can update your spreadsheet by simply running all the keywords through RankTracker any time you want to update their usefulness - and then just re-run your queries to get updated reports. The query automatically dates the report, so you're set - particularly if you run your results and print your reports the same day.

The point of all this left-brained exercise is to save you time and make your life less of a hassle.

And make it easier for you to work at getting these top keywords by grabbing their lower-end niches. Plus, be able to update your work quickly to see what you should be targeting this week.

Obviously, if you are doing this as an SEO consultant, for an Internet viral marketing campaign, then you have an incredibly valuable tool here.

(But since this blog has few subscribers right now, our little secret is safe...)

- - - -

Update (about 4 hours later):
Found out how to search for terms with wildcards (had to figure there was a way).

So now you can add to the above to look for certain phrases within your spreadsheet base.

Meaning, you take the top single- and double-term items to winnow out just the top keywords you want to rank for. Then put these as part of the search so you wind up with lists of only the ones you want.

What this is then great for is combining several searches and using the database to crunch the terms instead of RankTracker (which runs on Java and so is only as fast as the amount of memory and CPU size you have onboard.) In other words, basically - slow. OpenOffice Base is remarkably fast with it's queries.

Now, the idea is that you take a spreadsheet and find maybe four keywords which are appropriate to your product line. Then get all the similar words and related words which help you describe it. Get RankTracker to boil these down for you and then OpenOffice to distill them into a ready package. Update that basic database once a month or once a quarter and you're set to run your campaign and keep it accurate.

[Additional: Just to give you an idea of what I'm working with, my RankTracker output rolls up to 1280 keywords right now (soon to be expanded). Within literally seconds, I can sort these down to the 14 major keywords, 50 or so niche and sub-niche KW, plus the 8 pages of alphabetical listings for terms I don't want to use. Nice. The whole cycle takes probably an hour or two to do the first time, then updating maybe 1/2 hour once a month.

Sounds like I could really open up a paid service if I wanted to... Because all I have to do to take any other set of keywords from a spreadsheet is to set up another database and then copy the SQL formulas over. Sounds far more nerdy/geeky than it is.]

Great stuff, eh? Let the computers do your work for you, so you can simply concentrate on polishing your natural SEO content.

Cheers - and Good Hunting!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Use Reverse-Cialdini to Stop Telemarketers

Cialdini's data is enough to stop telemarketers from exploiting you.

The trick is that the 6 points Dr. Robert Cialdini mentions in his "Influence" classic - if known by the individual and consciously used - explain all sales pitches, advertising, and sales campaigns. And if you have studied them carefully, will actually start to free you up from the "Sheep-think" which too often paralyzes our decision-making.

But all, yes - all, advertizing and sales pitches have most or all of Cialdini's 6 points in them. And they are all designed to hit those beloved Madison-Avenue triggers which tend to make us respond in one way or another.

The advise is to get his book (which has far more useful examples than these short lists which are broiling around on the Internet). Then study it completely (the 4th edition even has quizzes at the end of each chapter.) And be prepared to start re-evaluating your purchases (and how you vote for what).

Oh yes, you'll save quite a bunch of dough doing this as well...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How to Stop Telemarketers: Where to Complain

Stop Telemarketers by Complaining

Oddly, this is also the way you can get a refund if you've been scammed.

Just a short post today, though you can expect more in the near future as this personal campaign ramps up.

http://www.elsop.com/wrc/complain.htm - is a long list of internet links on where you can complain.

http://www.fraudbureau.com/midlink/enforcement.html - is a longer list of police and legal authorities you can complain to about a specific firm.

And you can always tell the credit card you've been frauded and request a charge-back - but I'll tell you more about this as I research it (and apply it to my own scene.)