|SEO is Search Engine Optimization|
A Three Day Marketing Plan for Better Google Rankings
If you're reading this article, you've probably discovered that simply building a website is not enough to ensure success with your small business. Competition on the web is fierce. Rising to the top of the search engines is often a combination of web-savvy marketing, link trading, and understanding the intricacies of complex ranking algorithms for search engines. You may have already spent a great deal of time optimizing your pages, creating content, and building your email lists. It's easy to get overwhelmed in your web marketing endeavors, especially if you're a small business or a business moving online from a brick-and-mortar location.
Don't worry - the marketing tools that you're about to work with will enhance your search engine rankings AND attract more visitors, and they don't require any extra coding or hard core marketing. You can accomplish a lot in three days - maybe enough to take the rest of the week off!
Day #1: Use Craig's List. (http://www.CraigsList.org)
This is a simple, but rarely used, tool for those that are not so tech-savvy. If you're not familiar with Craig's List, here is a bit of information: it is one of the most highly-trafficked websites for thirty-something's and twenty-something's on the web. CraigsList announced last year that they were currently serving over 75 million page views per month. The site is ranked among the world's 125 busiest websites (Alexa). Almost all ads are free (only employers pay to post "help wanted" ads in some areas), and highly trafficked in major cities such as San Francisco, New York, and DC. Craig's List adds instant link popularity - a friend of mine started a literary website and found himself with over 800 hits a day from several well-constructed CraigsList ads that were "googled".
How to Do It:
Step 1: Write the ad first. 50-100 keyword-rich words work best, along with a link using your target keywords. Craig's List accepts html tags and allows you to upload images. If you are an online retailer, consider advertising one product as a test with a link to your website's entrance.
Step 2: Decide which region you are posting in. If you are a national company, try out a major metropolitan area. If you are regional, stick to the area you service.
Step 3: Find the appropriate category for your ad. Don't spam the forums, the Craig's List Counter Culture will resent you! If your website advertises a massage business, choose "therapeutic services". If you offer classes, choose "lessons". If you don't fit into a specific category, choose "small business ads".
Step 4: Write a specific, keyword-minded headline - don't try to be too vague or clever. If you offer freebies or coupons, mention this in your ad.
Step 5: Post! And make sure you check your email to confirm the ad. (You can always tweak the ad as long as you keep the email.)
If you have time, create an additional ads. You'll have to change most of the content. CraigsList's software is intelligent with recognizing duplicate content. If you are compelled to place a second, third, or 30th ad, change up your keywords and rewrite the ad. Craig's List erases ads after 30-60 days, so be prepared to post again in a month or so. It's worth the effort - if not for the direct response, then at least for the link popularity. Craig's List is one of the first websites in line for the infamous "Google dance."
Day #2: Become a Vendor
Okay, you're probably thinking, I already AM a vendor. My question to you is, "Why aren't you listed as one?" I'm not talking about the internet directories or link exchange websites that list thousands of vendors under the term "resource directory". What I'm referring to, specifically, is what associations, trade publications, and commerce websites term as a "vendor list". (Sometimes also called a "vendor directory".)
Vendor lists and directories are great tools to market your website, services and products to a specific niche. The best part is that most of these places don't require a link-back and your listing is permanent. The resources listed are provided as a service to their members. In fact, many of these companies will also send out a yearly print version of their vendor list. Your link popularity will be affected as well, since associations and other professional organizations are typically linked to by their members.(making them a "popular site" in the eyes of the search engines?) It really doesn't matter what you're selling - a quick Google search will turn up links to a plethora of vendor lists in various industries and niches.
How to Do It:
Step 1: Using your keywords, prepare your descriptions ahead of time. If you've worked with link exchanges, you'll probably already have a few descriptions in mind. The link title should contain your primary keywords. (Not necessarily your website or company name!) for example, if you sell magic supplies, you'll probably want to use the word "magic supplies" in the title.
Step 2: Find the directories. Keep in mind, a lot of government website use these terms as well, which is great if you have a service or products to sell to the government - you can print out the paperwork to do later. Otherwise, ignore the .Use Google (of course!) to find specific niches. The following terms will help you find what you need. Substitute your market or service for the word "keyword" to find the directories you need.
- "vendor list" keyword
- "keyword" vendor list
- "keyword" supplier list
- "supplier list" keyword
- "vendor directory" keyword
- "keyword" vendor directory
- "supplier directory" keyword
- "keyword" supplier directory
Some of the website will require you to email the information, while others simply have a form to fill out and wait for approval. It may seem a bit tedious, but if you turn on "auto fill" through your browser, you'll find it easier to fill out a lot of forms in little time. Remember, a permanent link from a respected authority is a powerful thing!
Day 3: Get Froogled (http://www.froogle.com)
If you sell a service or information product, it's time to try out Google's newest feature: Froogle. Froogle allows you to upload images, product descriptions, and physical store information to its search engine within 24 hours. And remember, as a Google product, your website unofficially has a chance of increased ratings - after all, Google googles Fro ogle! (say that ten times fast!)
How to Do It:
You can find all of the step-by-step information on using Froogle at its respective homepage.
If you don't sell specific items, however, Google isn't going to approve your listing. If you're a service provider, you MAY be allowed to create listings. For example, you can't list vague graphic design services but you may be allowed to use a "logo design package". You may also be able to publish a report or eBook and market it alongside its print competition.
If Google doesn't accept your product feed, it may be worth it to open up an eBay store. Ebay stores are automatically added to Google's feeds, and although they cost a little extra money a month, it may be worth it considering the sheer numbers of searches Froogle is already claiming.
Once you've put these powerful tools into motion, keep a eye on your rankings and your website statistics to see what's working and what isn't. Take a breath before you get back to your enormous to-do list. Congratulate yourself for being ahead of the game. After all, up to 70 percent of small businesses are still without a web presence. Take some pride in building your business in a global market.
And get back to your weekend, instead of your work. :- )
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