It’s a fact: in order to start a successful online business you need to research your market first. Do you struggle finding the right keywords for your niche? It’s not hard if you know how to do your research. Many use Google’s External Keyword tool, the WordTracker tool, or a tool that pulls their data from one of these. And there is nothing wrong with it, but if you want to be ahead of the game, you need to be a little more creative, and research in ways that others don’t.Today we’ll take a look at how eBay can help you with your keyword research.
Go to the home page of EBay, and start typing your main keyword in the search box. Let’s say I was researching “men’s watches”. As soon as I start typing my phrase, there is a drop down box that shows several potential key phrases.
Click on search and you’ll be taken to a page that lists men’s watches, of course.
But what’s important is that you look right under the search box, at the related searches, and you’ll notice some more specific phrases:
mens fossil watches
mens watches seiko
mens watches rolex
If you go over at the google keyword tool and search for “mens watches”, you won’t see any of these searches, yet, they have many exact searches daily. Let’s take a look:
As you see, none of the 3 key phrases discovered above with the eBay search are on this list. So let’s just enter those individually in the Google tool and see what happens.
Surprise, surprise! These key phrases have quite a good number of exact searches.
What you do next, is go back to the EBay search and dig for more key phrases. Click on any of the “related searches” and you’ll get more specific terms. For example, if I click on the “mens fossil watches” which I discovered above, here is what I see:
This search uncovers at least 2 more key phrases I may be interested in: “mens guess watch” with 5,400 exact searches and “mens diesel watches” with 1,600 exact searches. You can go on and on and on, and discover key phrases your competitors won’t, just because you dug a little deeper and thought creatively.
I see this all the time: someone makes a half-hearted attempt to try Twitter and gives up after a day or so because they fail to see the point. While Twitter isn’t for everyone (or every business), I’d bet that 9 times out of 10, that person isn’t seeing the value because they’re not giving it a proper chance and don’t know what to do with it. Twitter isn’t a ride – you can’t just climb in and wait to be wowed. It’s a tool, and you do have to learn how to use it.
Here are some tips for getting ramped up on Twitter, so you can start to see the business value and have a little fun with it too.
Ever have the feeling that you just don’t get Twitter?
- Use a Twitter client
I firmly believe that you need a client to get the most value from Twitter. Most of us on the marketing team at WordStream use TweetDeck, which has a number of advantages over Twitter’s standard Web interface. (Other options include Seesmic and HootSuite.)
For one, it refreshes automatically, with (modifiable) notifications so you can read tweets as they happen. This is important because Twitter’s real value is in real-time use. Reading everything you missed over the weekend is mostly pointless. When you use Twitter in real time, you can interact with people, spot trends as they’re happening and respond to questions and problems before it’s too late. (Likewise, you can get help with questions that aren’t easily answered through search.)
Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you have to be on Twitter all the time. Like any other social application, Twitter can be a distraction from work. But devoting a little active time to Twitter every day will make its strengths (both for marketing and making connections) much more apparent.
- Be generous with follows at first
You’ll get a lot more value out of Twitter if you have more followers. The larger your audience, the more business contacts you can make, the more traffic you can send to your site, and the more influence and trust you can potentially wield. One of the easiest ways to build up your follower list is to follow others. Start with well-known influencers in your industry and pay attention to who they follow and interact with. Many will follow you back – if not, try sending a relevant @ reply to one of their tweets, which will help get you on their radar.
It takes time to gain a large number of followers, so have patience. Also, remember that you can always unfollow later if someone’s tweets aren’t adding anything to your stream.
- Create lists or groups
Twitter now has a native list feature, which is a great improvement; however, the Web interface only allows you to see one column at a time. With a Twitter client, you can set up columns and view multiple groups side by side.
There are a number of ways you can use columns to your advantage. You can separate those you actively engage with on a regular basis from those you follow more tangentially. You can separate by specialty (for example, if you work in search marketing, you can set up columns for PPC marketing specialists, SEO specialists, social media specialists and so on). You’ll find this organizational ability especially helpful as you expand the number of people and brands you follow.
- Create columns for mentions of you and your company
This step is absolutely key to getting the most out of Twitter. If you don’t pay attention to who’s talking to and about you, you’ll never experience Twitter as a conversation – it will just seem like a million people talking to themselves.
In both the Web interface and Twitter clients, you can save searches of your Twitter name and other terms you might want to follow (such as the names of your products), but a client makes it easier to track those mentions in real time. (You’ll get a notification when a new tweet appears in these columns.)
- Follow up on as many mentions as possible
Knowing what people are saying about you is great, but it’s not enough to monitor mentions. Respond to them! This is especially important for reputation management – if someone asks you a question or has an issue with your company’s product or service, you should respond in as timely a manner as possible. (It should go without saying, but don’t just acknowledge them; offer to help.) It’s not worth getting involved in social media at all if your business is going to seem faceless and unresponsive to existing and potential customers.
But Twitter isn’t just a tool for protecting your brand. You can follow up on positive mentions too. If someone retweets your tweet or recommends your product, thank them! If it’s someone you don’t know, follow them. This is a great way to build goodwill and grow your follower base.
If you haven’t tried the above tactics, you haven’t really tried Twitter. So get back on the horse and I guarantee you’ll at least see what all the fuss is about.
Elisa Gabbert is the Content Development Manager at WordStream, a provider of advanced SEO Tools and pay per click software for search engine marketing efforts. To get in touch with Elisa, send a note to egabbert at wordstream dot com, follow her on Twitter, or check out the WordStream Internet Marketing Blog, where she’s a regular contributor.
Of all methods for doing solid search engine optimization, link bait is one of the most alluring (yet mysterious) methods. Good link bait will grab attention and gather links from various pages across the web, but bad link bait won’t grab much attention and will not have the SEO effects desired. Keep in mind that bad link bait and bad attention are two different things – bad attention is still attention, and for the goal of link baiting, this is still accomplishing the desired result.
photo credit: psyberartist
To get good links and grab solid collections of links, here are 3 link baiting tips to try:
- Strong research on a popular topic. This is especially functional if you can find a valuable topic that has yet to be covered. This is also more effective if you can be specific. For example, in a market about dog care, doing a study on which species of dog sheds the most (with actual figures, quantitative values) is something that anyone who cares about a canine impact on their home interior would be interested in. And if it’s solid information, they’d be happy to share it with a link.
- An instructional guide. Showing people how to do something that is not naturally intuitive is a contribution to the web that is appreciated by both humans and the search engines. The more detail that is put into such a guide, the better. This can be done for all sorts of things, from how to operate machinery to how to practice a skill. Again, being tightly specific will help – a guide on how to properly shoot a pool ball (including the proper way to hold the cue stick, with pictures) will likely get more attention and links then a guide on how to play pool.
- Setting up a contest or a competition. This can be of particular value if it’s set up with some sort of reward, specific to the market. Putting a competition up to find the 5 best horror stories about blind dates would be great on multiple levels. If giving something away of relevant value to each winner (free movie tickets, a free dinner at a nice restaurant), it will get good attention from people wanting to win the prizes as well as getting great reception when you post the results. Who wouldn’t want to read the 5 best stories about horrid blind dates? And as the result can also be solid link bait, you can get a double effect from putting together a good competition on your site.
But not all methods of using link bait that are known are good. Be careful about spending time on things that are not really worth the effort. Here are 3 areas to be careful with, when it comes to link baiting:
FaceBook has over 400 million active users. Around 200 million of them log on to Facebook in any given day. An average of over 71 million pieces of content, which include links, images, videos, notes etc., are shared among them everyday. To say I find it difficult to fathom the enormity of viral possibilities on Facebook would be an understatement. Two years ago, Facebook was touted as the go-to social media platform for marketing, viral or not, but now it has become the social platform de rigueur for anyone looking to promote just about anything online. It’s always a good idea to Compare Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus against other social platforms.
At the risk of sounding like a FaceBook fanatic, let me say this: Facebook’s reach in the US and worldwide is nothing short of phenomenal (okay, I admit, not as phenomenal as Twitter’s), with 94.91% yearly increase in the number of visitors, eclipsing the 8.11 % yearly increase that Google, the world’s most popular site, enjoyed. But the point of the post isn’t to list out the many virtues or quirks of FaceBook, lest you misinterpret my intentions. And I am not intentionally dithering, I just want to you to realize how much Facebook has grown and how much it will continue to grow. But that is not the point of this post either. The point of this post to is to highlight the fact that by growing into the mammoth social networking site it is, Facebook has also made viral marketing opportunities on it bigger and better than ever before!
The following is a list of features and tips that make Facebook so viral-friendly. Consider each one carefully if you wish to embark on a viral journey with Facebook.
- FaceBook Applications – Viral marketing hasn’t been the same ever since Facebook swung the doors to Facebook Platform wide open in 2007. We’ve seen an endless number of applications come our way. Of course, not all have gone viral, there are many that have gone bust as well. But the sheer number of viral successes that have happened on Facebook through apps argues in their favor. Want to launch a viral marketing campaign on Facebook? Create an application or sponsor one. The number of FarmVille invites I have received is in three digits and is responsible for introducing Zynga to a non-gamer like me. The interactive nature of the apps makes them appear less like the marketing props they are and goes a long way in hooking people in.
- FaceBook Pages – FaceBook Pages are essentially (slightly) modified profiles for businesses, brands, celebrities and (other) public figures. You cannot ‘friend’ them, but you can become a ‘fan’. Setting up a Facebook Page for your business is a great way to reach out to your customers, also to lure in new customers. The Page will allow you to set up discussion boards and give your customers a forum to air their views. Having said that, updating your Page regularly is a must, even your most loyal fan can ‘unfan’ you if given the opportunity. To prove just how popular Facebook Pages are, let me give you this piece of statistics: There are over 3 million active Pages on Facebook, and every day, 20 million people become fans of these Pages.
Sending gifts and promotional products has always been a powerful marketing tool. It can be used to improve client retention and to reach out to prospects. The Guinness Book of World Records Most Successful Salesman in the World used to send out greeting cards to every customer and prospect on a monthly basis. He was sending out more than 16,000 cards each month, and it worked. Customers knew him by name, and they came to him for all their car-buying needs.
But now, with the power of social media, gift giving as a marketing tool can make an even bigger splash than before.
I want to share a couple of stories with you of my experiences with receiving promotional products from some of my friends on Twitter.
- 2 Bottles of Wine from St. Supery Winery—I’ve been following @RickBakas, Director of Social Media for St. Supery Winery, for quite a while now. We had a little interaction with each other, but it wasn’t on a regular basis. Then, one day Rick reached out to me for help pushing some content on Twitter. I obliged, and next thing I know, I’m receiving 2 bottles of wine in the mail. By the way, the wine truly was amazing. Thanks again Rick!
So, why did Rick send me the wine? Well, I think there are a couple of savvy marketing reasons he did so.
- To cement our relationship. See, you can only build a relationship through Twitter so much by @replying and DMing. Rick decided to think outside the box by sending me 2 bottles of his companies wine, knowing I’d be forever grateful and pay much closer attention to him.
- To spread the word. After getting the wine from Rick, I of course thanked him through Twitter, and now even felt compelled to write an entire blog post about his company’s effective social media marketing tactics.
- Books from my followers—Rick isn’t my only Twitter follower who has reached out by sending me a promotional product. On a few occasions, my social media pals have sent me books they’ve authored or co-authored. The 2 most recent examples that come to mind are @ConvertBond and @AlisaBowman.
The book I received from @convertbond (Lawrence McDonald) was called A Colossal FAILURE of common sense(a New York Times best seller), and it took a look at the fall of Lehman brothers. Lawrence was a former VP at Lehman Brothers, so he had an interesting story to tell.
Alisa Bowman, who gives marriage advice at her blog, and has also collaborated on five New York Times best sellers, sent me a book she co-authored called The Skinny: On Losing Weight Without Being Hungry.
What’s my point? The point is that you need to do something different to stand out from the crowd. Sending a promotional product or a simple greeting card can put you on a first-name basis with influential social media users and your customers. It can also create a buzz, getting your name out there and driving sales.
Do you have a “outside of the box” marketing story? We would love to hear about it in the comments.
Whenever we talk about guest blogging, the conversation usually focuses on the link building benefits of guest blogging. And while this is certainly one of the best reasons to guest post, I’ve personally found that the increased exposure and the ability to position yourself as an expert in your niche are the most profitable effects of guest blogging.
Let me explain.
I’ve been fortunate enough to guest post on several popular marketing blogs throughout the internet. At first, the only reason I was doing this was to get quality back links to my website. But as time went on, I started realizing that I was getting far more from my guest blogging efforts than some good link juice.
Suddenly, I was getting contacted by readers of my guest posts who were interested in becoming clients. I was also getting contacted by other bloggers who wanted me to contribute a post to their blog as well.
But I’m not the only one this happens to. Even in the comments of the post I linked to earlier, Ann Smarty admits
“The most recognition, client work, business contacts came from guest posts. I think I owe my whole marketing career to just a few awesome pieces I posted elsewhere.”
Why does this happen when you guest post? For a few reasons:
- You’re reaching a new audience—No matter how much effort you put into growing your own blog, any time you guest post, you’ll be reaching some new people. Guest blogging is a great tool for building your network. To get the most from your guest blogging efforts, make sure to respond to all comments left on your post. And don’t just respond with a “Thanks for leaving a comment.” Instead, take the time to push the conversation forward by truly engaging with the commenter. This helps you build relationships with this new audience.
- Guest blogging positions you as an expert—Being seen as a thought leader in your industry certainly has its advantages. As an expert, you’ll attract the top-shelf clients who are willing to pay more to get the services of an industry leader. You’ll also have an easier time earning the trust of new customers, a challenge for all online businesses.
- Guest posts act as an endorsement from the other blogger—Think about it. If another blogger allows you to write a post on his or her blog, that’s their way of saying “I endorse this blogger, and I think he has something of value to share with the community.” It’s like whenever a President endorses someone running for Congress. The endorsement builds your credibility and name recognition.
Tips for Guest Blogging Success
- submit your best content. This is your one chance to make a good impression on a new audience.
- Interact in the comments to build relationships
- Always look for guest blogging opportunities, even outside of your niche
- Use MyBlogGuest to find the latest guest blogging opportunities
Do you guest blog on a regular basis? How has it helped you? Share your experiences by leaving a comment.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of different ways you can acquire links. Every link buildling tactic comes with pros and cons. I have found that the most effective way to build links is by taking the time to build relationships with experts in your industry, than to just dropping a link in a directory or forum. I understand this is a time intensive process and it requires a lot more work, but the end result are highly relevant, authoritative links. Below is a step by step process to effectively approach potential link partners.
Follow this 4 step process:
1. Make a Potential Link Partner List
If you read industry blogs, than you probably have a pretty good idea who the major influencers are in the industry. Start by generating a list of potential experts/bloggers you would like to contact. Take note of their blog (if they have one), what sites they contribute to, and any social media sites they engage in.
2. Start Following Them
Before you even begin contacting anyone, start following them. If they are on Twitter, start following them. Pay attention to what they tweet about, who they tweet about, who they are tweeting with, and pay attention to their style/personality.
If they manage or contribute to a blog, sign up for their RSS feed and being reading recent and upcoming posts. Start to understand their style of writing, how often they blog, and what topics they cover.
If they use social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, start following their bookmarks. See what type of sites interest them. Find out if they have other types of passions besides just the industry you are in. You may be able to connect with someone on a deeper level (similar intersts, location, background, experience).
Thanks to a recent feature story in Entrepreneur magazine, ghost Tweeting has once again become a hotly debated subject. So, I thought I’d throw in my $.02 on the subject.
Note: For those who don’t know, ghost Tweeting is when you hire someone else to Tweet under your name.
- It goes against the whole point of social media—Call me crazy, but isn’t the whole point of social media to be, umm, social? Social media is about interacting, building relationships, getting to know one another, and just being yourself. Now, if someone else is Tweeting under your personal name, doesn’t that violate all of this? It’s like when a 50 year old fat guy in a chat room pretends to be a 21 year old blonde chick. Not cool, man.
- It can distort the brand image—Celebrities and high-profile execs are usually the ones who hire people to ghost Tweet for them, and I get it. They’re busy. The last thing they have time for is to Tweet all day, but they also want to build their brand and keep their name out there. However, I think this is a bit dangerous and can easily backfire. Even if the ghost writer is good at capturing your exact tone and personality, there’s no way they can know the celeb’s thoughts on every subject they Tweet about. Sooner or later, something will be Tweeted that isn’t in line with the celeb’s “personal brand”, and this will distort that image and confuse their audience.
- The speed of Twitter makes it difficult to edit—I understand ghost blogging because the ghost writer has time to interact with the credited author to get ideas for posts and edits on their writing. But Twitter is a real-time conversation. There’s no time for editing and approving every single Tweet before it gets published. This creates a dangerous environment where the ghost writer can very easily slip up by Tweeting something they shouldn’t, and as a result, it’s the celebrity who ends up paying for it.
Alternatives to Ghost Tweeting
- Hire a social media consultant to train you on how best to use Twitter.
- Tweet when you have time. Quality over quantity.
- Don’t Tweet at all
Chrome Seo for modern search engine optimizers, search engine marketers and webmasters. Now more than ever seo is tied directly to the live web and real-time actions. Blog farms and scrapers, gave way to mass social spam and vote rigging. Brokering links was safe, then unsafe for Google whitehat seo, and everything in between. Page rank was abandoned even though its still with us. No-follow links and page sculpting turned out to be a shame, even with proof of concept.
Now oddly like once before we must track the structure and wider statistics. Serp rank, page rank, site rankings and social authority all now weigh against the new real-time focus. Links are still important but reputation global impact and social reach are just as much a search ranking factor in modern search analysis.
Google’s chrome browser has been with us now for many month but only recently opened the extension arsenal to the world. Social tools, blog extensions, seo plugins and more can all be found. That was half the problem. With so many changes happening every day in the world of search more than the same old tools were needed. With so many old idea once again seeing the light of viable search marketing use, the old tools were sorely needed.
After weeks of trolling the Google extensions directory I was able to round up a multi-layer seo toolkit of chrome extensions. Combine they can take a large chunk of dismay in your conversion to chrome, the extensions we need to assess our clients sites, links and reputation are now includable. The list includes three sections of focus, seo data, site research and technical helpers for the search marketers and seo’s trade.
The SEO ranking and Analysis Section:
The Google Chrome SEO extension provides easy access to Search Engine Optimization Tools that can help you with Competitive Analysis, Keyword Research, Backlink Checks and other daily SEO tasks. [link]
Current functions list:
- Pages Indexed on: Bing, Google, Yahoo
- Backlinks as reported by : Alexa, Bing, Google, MajesticSeo, Yahoo
- Current Traffic and Rankings as reported by : Alexa, Compete, Google PageRank, Quantcast, SEMRush, Technorati
- Social Bookmark counts on : Delicious, Digg, Dmoz, StumbleUpon,
- Cached Versions of the website from : Archive.org, CoralCDN, Google, WebCite
- Domain Details such as : DNS, IP Address, Server Location, Whois details
A friend of mine reported seeing these new options in Google and sent me this screen shot and video. Notice you now see additional search options above the search by time frame options. The new search options read, everything, images, videos, news, blogs, updates, books, maps, shopping, more.
I did not see these new search options on my end, but I have some similar options as you can see by the second screen shot below. Notice the options are similar but slightly different. In this second example you also see forums as an additional search option.
I can’t help but wonder is Google is doing split testing live? Possibly a realtime multivariant test by the king of search. Let me know what you unveil to in the comments