False Keyword Ranking in Google

As part of our series on basic search engine optimization (SEO), let’s talk about how to measure your SEO efforts. A key metric is how you rank for each keyword you are targeting. Are you on the first page of search results? Are you in the top 3? Are you moving up in the results over time or are you moving down?

The most basic way to track your ranking is to do a search in Google and then count where you rank. If you are on the first page, you are at least in the top 10. If you are half way down the third page, your ranking is 35. Most people agree that if you aren’t at least on the first page then your ranking is meaningless, however, it still can be useful to see whether your rank is getting better or worse over time.

The problem with this basic way of tracking your ranking is that Google can mislead you terribly due to a new feature called “Personalized Search”. If you find that with little or no SEO effort, you are suddenly ranking #1 for a particular keyword, you may have been fooled by personalized search. Here’s how to figure out what’s going on…

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Analyzing Site Traffic

There are a number of tools you can use to analyze your web site’s traffic but they fall into two primary categories – Web based tools and Server based tools. What’s the difference and how can they affect your sites stats? Read on…

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To Tweet or Not to Tweet

Social Media experts will expound upon the virtues of Twitter in terms of your online marketing strategy. There is no doubt that Twitter can help expose your product or service to thousands of new prospects if you use it right. The question is, will you use it at all?

Let’s discuss the advantages of Twitter to your online marketing efforts and then we’ll talk about reasons NOT to use Twitter.

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Social Media Marketing – LinkedIn

Most articles on social media marketing start with a discussion of FaceBook and Twitter, however, I’m going to start with LinkedIn because I think it’s an often underestimated contributor to social traffic. For many small businesses, if you have a good LinkedIn strategy, it can generate as much traffic as FaceBook. Here’s how…

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The Biggest Lie in SEO

Unfortunately, some SEO consultants are scammers or even worse, flat out liars. Search engine ranking can be so important to a business that some consultants have gone to great lengths, including doing things that are unethical, to get good rankings. A good example of this is using a competitor’s brand name as a target keyword in your site. Others advertise their services by making claims they simply can not back up. As a result, you need to be a savvy consumer when it comes to purchasing SEO services. What is the biggest lie in SEO?

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On-site SEO

The next step in the Basic SEO Plan is to optimize the rest of the pages in your site. Utilizing your target keywords, you want to sprinkle them liberally around your site so that every page in your site contributes SEO value. These are very basic suggestions that virtually all SEO consultants will tell you to do.

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A Basic SEO Plan

There are endless details and nuances to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but here is a basic plan that is easy to follow and WILL produce good results. With SEO, no single trick will guarantee results over time because the landscape is always changing – more pages are constantly being added to Google’s index and Google is regularly tweaking the algorithm they use to rank those pages. Therefore if someone guarantees to get you to #1 in Google, you should be very suspicious. Instead, you should think of SEO like any marketing effort – the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it and you need to do it consistently and over time, not just once. Here’s the outline of the plan…

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Basics

SEO is the art and science of getting your site ranked higher on search engines such as Google. I say “art and science” because while there is a lot of technical know-how to doing good SEO (science), there is also a lot that is unknown and a little creativity (art) is often required. SEO experts know a lot about how and why Google ranks sites the way they do, but no one except Google knows all the rules they use to rank one site higher than another.

Volumes have been written on the topic of SEO. This is by no means meant to be a technical SEO guide. Rather, I want to give an overview of SEO for marketers and business owners who need a better grasp of the basics.

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Driving Traffic To Your Site

Once you have a good converting site live – one that utilizes all the strategies that we’ve discussed so far – it’s time to start driving traffic to it. The primary ways of driving traffic are:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Pay Per Click (PPC)
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Press Relations (PR)
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Strategic Partnerships
  • Email Marketing
  • Viral/Referral

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Testing Conversion Rates

Virtually anything on your site can potentially affect your conversion rates. Different headlines, pictures, calls-to-action, etc., can all affect your conversion rates positively or negatively. 

You have to start with your best guess for each of these but after that, you can be very scientific in discovering the most effective combination. Google Website Optimizer let’s you test any number of combinations of ANYTHING on a web page. You load the various elements into Optimizer and each time someone hits the page, Optimizer serves up a different combination of elements.

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