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by Stoney deGeyter

One of the most important things business owners often fail to do is to make their website remarkable. It really doesn't matter what industry you're in or how many other websites you're competing against, making your site stand out from the pack is absolutely essential.

Take the movie Avatar.

Plot: Tired.

Story: Been

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there, done that.

Acting and directing: Nothing special.

Special affects: Absolutely outstanding.

Worthy of a "Best Picture" nomination: Not by a long shot.

Worthy of a "Best Special Affects" Oscar: Without a doubt.

Nonsense. You're only saying that because no one ever has.So, how is it that a story we have all seen played out in 100 different movies and "message" Star Trek episodes turns into one of the most popular movies of all time? It's because James Cameron took a great heaping pile of "Meh.", and made it all, "Oooh, shiny!". It's uniqueness overshadowed the complete and total hollowness of everything else on the screen.

A lot of business owners out there feel that their business is just the same old, same old. Nothing special there. But in reality, they can take what they are doing and turn it into something remarkable. And the easiest way to do that is through the content.

A vast majority of internet searches are informational. That means people are not looking for your products or services, they are looking for information about them. They want to learn something new. And, you can be the one to give it to them.

The key to creating unique content that searchers are looking for is keyword research. Let your keyword research become your idea generator for blog posts, articles, e-books, and whatever else strikes your fancy.

When perusing your keyword research here are a few things to look for:

Easy to Rank Phrases: When looking for good traffic, you can always start with phrases that have little or no competition. Find queries that match what you provide that others have not yet optimized for. This gives you a chance to build up some rankings and traffic for good (yet lower traffic) phrases. You can immediately start siphoning off traffic from your competitors and start building a loyal audience that will keep coming back.

Niche Areas: Look for an area within your industry that your competitors are not covering or not covering very well. Find obscure topics that people are interested in, but, after conducting a few searches of your own, show that the available content on the web isn't sufficient. This creates an opportunity for you to fill in the gaps and create authoritative information of your own.

Niche Areas, Easy to Rank Phrases, Highly Targeted Keywords, Info QueriesHighly Targeted Phrases: These are long-tail phrases that are very targeted for your audience, addressing specific areas of interest. Highly targeted phrases are generally pretty easy to get ranked but they also bring in an audience that has a very specific need. Write information that targets these searchers by providing new information, a new spin, a new take on, or a new way of looking at things.

Info Queries: These often fit into the categories above, but are queries performed by people looking for information and nothing else. They are typically the queries with a question that answers questions, such as "how to..." or "what is...". These queries provide a great opportunity to provide content beyond simple text. "How to" videos, diagrams, flash animations, and podcasts are all great ways to provide this type of content in a way that people find valuable. Telling someone how to do something is great, but showing them how to do it is even better.

Just because you are providing a product or service that someone else is, that doesn't mean you have to provide content that someone else has. There are plenty of ways to step outside of the box and provide valuable information that nobody else is providing. Look for these opportunities, and take advantage of them . . . before someone else does.

Inconceivable ContentThis post was inspired from The Princess Bride themed presentation I gave in early 2010 at SEMpdx's Searchfest titled Inconceivable Content: The Dread Pirate Robert's Guide to Creating Swashbuckling Content, Pillaging the Search Engines, and Commandeering a Treasure Trove of Conversions. If you enjoyed this post you also might enjoy other posts inspired from the same. Search for "inconceivable content" on this blog to find them all.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.


Submit a link and add a URL for free.Submit a link and add a URL for free to get the word out about your website. Many of the web's top search engines and directories offer webmasters the ability to submit their website's link to them for review and possible inclusion. Some search... Recent Article published on 8/9/2010 by Kevin Michael


by Stoney deGeyter

Finding keywords is easy. Finding the right keywords, organizing them into optimizable groups, and determining where and how they get optimized into the site is another story all together. Generally, keyword research is done at the hands of the SEO. Taking those keywords and integrating them into the content is the job of the Copywriter.

Under most circumst

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ances, you want defer to the person who has the strongest skills for each particular task. Let the SEO determine which keywords are best, and let the Copywriter work them into the page. But, when it comes to actually deciding which chosen keywords make it into any particular body of content, the Copywriter needs to have final say.

Only a great fool will reach for what he was given.

The SEO often chooses keywords based on things like popularity, importance, and ability to convert. All very important factors, and very likely the keywords that the site needs for optimization. But, sometimes keywords are chosen incorrectly. Sometimes the keyword selection process is circumvented by someone else. Perhaps a boss has a "pet" keyword they want to rank for because they said so. Don't laugh, it happens.

One of the most common ways to choose a keyword incorrectly is based on competitor usage. While you may want to analyze your competition to see what keywords they are targeting as part of their SEO efforts, you don't want to automatically use a phrase or keyword that they did, just because they did.

I've seen this time and time again. A client says, "We need to rank for "x" because my competitor is." A little research will show that this particular phrase gets little to no search volume, but none of that matters to the client. Getting good rankings for that keyword may work, but there may be others that would work better. So, is it worth taking the focus off of other keywords that are likely to be more effective to focus on others just because a competitor is using them? The answer is no, it's not.

Competitor Uses, Doesn't Fit, Single Word

Choosing single-word terms is tempting due to the search volume those terms have. Clients often choose these words on that basis alone. Single-word terms are not only difficult to rank for, they generally produce very poor conversions as well. Still, they are tempting targets for business owners who see dollar signs in every potential visit. But, instead of creating dollars, these keywords steal profits away through efforts that are better invested in other places.

I mentioned above that the ultimate decision of a keyword being worked into the page should be that of the Copywriter. Sometimes a keyword can hit all the right criteria, but when it comes to actually working it into the content, it simply doesn't work. This can be for any number of issues, such as it containing a poor qualifier (which depicts a benefit that isn't offered), or it's simply an industry term that just isn't a match for the rest of the user-focused content.

The Copywriter's job isn't to force every keyword given to them into the page. Their job is to make sure the keywords they are given do work and to leave out those that don't.

The Copywriter might have to do some research of their own, looking at the products, features, benefits, term definitions, etc. If, when all is said and done, the keyword doesn't work on a page, it needs to be deconsidered. (Ooh, new word... I like it!) The Copywriter may have to pull rank and tell the SEO and/or the site owner what's what.

The key here is that the keyword research process doesn't end with the SEO. It needs to continue all the way through to the copywriting process. Don't let the keyword selection and optimization process be derailed by people picking keywords for all the wrong reasons. Make sure all of your targeted terms work on all levels before demanding they get used on the page.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.


by Stone Reuning

One of the important pieces of building high search engine
rankings and driving traffic to your website is keyword phrases. In the old
days of SEO, you could simply pepper your web pages with high value keywords
and the search engines would rank you right up there with the best of them.

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l">But with today's more advanced search engines, content on
your site has to achieve more than that. Not only does it need to contain
keyword phrases people use to search for you, it also must serve to inform the
reader and offer some value as well. In other words, simply stuffing content
with keywords just won't cut it engines like Google will flag
your site and perhaps penalize you.

Not to mention, most people won't give it the time of day.

So what can I do to
get more keywords into my copy without sacrificing its flow or getting me in

Below are 11 ways you can maximize keyword exposure without
your readers picking up on it. And search engines will credit you with having a
strong keyword presence without sacrificing the quality of your content.

Remember, only optimize a page or article for 2 or 3 keyword
phrases...any more dilutes the impact each keyword has on your rankings.

11 ways you can maximize keyword exposure without
sacrificing content include:

1.       Separate keywords into different sentences
and/or paragraphs

Search engine spiders, or computer
programs that read and index a site, do not register punctuation, bullet
points, line breaks and other things when deciding on where your site should be
ranked - they only see letters. Therefore, keyword phrases can be separated by
a comma or period. 

Your readers will think it's just
the natural flow of your copy but search engines will see keyword phrases, in
turn, boosting your ranking potential.

See this example:

revenues for your small business today by investing in SEO. Content creation, crawlable site architecture and SEO design
elements all work together to increase your site's exposure and position in the
search engines.

2.       Create quotes for "first-person" keyword

Keyword phrases stated in the first
person are very powerful but hard to work into any copy because they're simply
not natural. Keyword phrases like content
for my website
are not natural for any web copywriter to use - content for
your website is a more natural phrase.

Instead, put the keyword phrases
into a question and put quotations around it, like this:

can I create valuable content for my
that gets me high rankings in the search engines and increases my

3.       Make your bullet lists work harder for you

From a strictly content position,
bulleted lists are great because they make reading and scanning much easier,
naturally drawing the reader's attention - a missed opportunity for many web
copywriters unfortunately. Adding keywords into each bullet point is pretty
simple though but be sure you don't become too repetitive, blend them in well.

4.       Split your copy into sections

Search engines find keywords on any
crawlable place on your website. Articles or landing pages are not the only
ways you can get more keywords out there. You can break copy up so it looks
natural to a reader, like placing some in a headline and a few sentences on the
top then some in a sidebar then more at the bottom of the page underneath some

The search engines will see a
keyword goldmine...your readers will only see great, informative content.

5.       Include a "more information" link

Another way you can get more
keywords into your page is to include a "more information" link at the bottom.
This link will in fact be the same page but your reader will think they're
going to another page since they will have to click a essence, it will look
short and concise to them but offer more information if they choose to go

6.       Include keyword phrases that are "opposite"
of what you are

Some strong keyword phrases in fact
state the opposite of the image you're trying to convey. For instance, "cheap
online marketing" may be a popular phrase but isn't exactly a reputation you
want to convey.

Get around this by writing a page
or article warning readers about the dangers of "cheap online marketing." Not
only will you get this popular keyword phrase into your copy, you will also
build credibility for your business.

7.       Try and use "stop" words in choppy phrases

Without stop words like "of", "the",
"a", "for" and so on, some keyword phrases are incomplete thoughts. Including
stop words like these makes them more complete. Since these words are so common,
search engines choose to ignore them...much like punctuation and line breaks
outlined earlier.

8.       Have keyword specific pages

Especially if you're an ecommerce
site, many keyword phrases are unrelated. And including too many keywords on a
single page dilutes the focus of that page. So create keyword specific pages
and focus on one or two keyword phrases per page. Doing so will make the copy
look natural to your readers but make the search engines drool at all of the
naturally fitting keywords.

9.       Combine keyword phrases

Using some stand-alone keyword
phrases too much makes copy sound repetitive and impersonal. But you can make
your copy sound more personable and natural by combining some keyword phrases.
Search engines will see two keyword phrases but your readers will only see one.

website SEO content, SEO site optimization

10.   Add other words

Many keywords by themselves sound
unnatural to someone reading a site's copy. Standalone keywords can make copy
clunky and difficult to read. Sometimes they need some help to make them sounds

To make these keywords sound more
natural, add words to the beginning or end of a keyword phrase. Descriptive
phrases like "experts", "agents" or another term that applies to your business
are great candidates.

content creation experts, web copywriting professionals, online marketing agent

11.   Include keyword phrases in testimonials

Testimonials offer a great way to
not only provide potential customers with others' prior experience with your
company, they offer a great opportunity for keywords as well. Much of the time
though, a customer writing a testimonial will not use keyword terms someone may
use for a search online...they will simply name the product or say "it."

With their permission, replace
these phrases with your keywords for even more ranking opportunities.

These are just a few, but effective ways you can work more
keywords into your copy without sacrificing its quality or flow. You want to
include keywords in your copy because that is how people find you online.
Having a strong presence of good keyword phrases is a major step in bringing
high-quality traffic to your site.

Following the steps above will go a long way toward
maximizing the amount of keywords on your page without creating copy that's
repetitive, boring and gets you penalized by the search engines.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.


You can have your website rank higher on search engines like Google and Yahoo by analyzing your content and comparing it to similar websites. This process begins by discovering where your site stands in search rankings. Recent Article published on 8/5/2010 by Rob Boudreau


by Stoney deGeyter

Remember the movie Old School with Vince Vaughn and Will Farrell? Yeah, me neither. That's because, while I'm sure the movie has some funny scenes, it just didn't have the staying power of, say... Tommy Boy. Of course Tommy Boy had a very distinct advantage out of the gate... it didn't star Will Farrell. You really can't come back from that kind

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of thing.

In the SEO world there is "old school" and then there is "old school SEO nonsense". In case you haven't figured it out, in my world, the "old school SEO nonsense" stars Will Farrell. In your world, it might star Colin Farrell, Lindsay Lohan, or the entire cast of Big Bang Theory--all viable alternatives.

Like the actors noted above, "old school SEO nonsense" gets a lot of buzz, but underneath the surface, there just isn't anything there. People are drawn to it like a mosquito to a bug light because it feels safe. It looks easy. It's simplicity wrapped in a complexity. But, in the end, it's hollow, useless, and generally leaves you feeling a little bit ripped off.

Let's look at a few common "old school SEO nonsense" tactics that keep coming back to bite anybody that's still stuck in 1998.

Keyword Density, Keyword Count, Keyword Positioning.

Keyword Density

The idea here is that you need to have the perfect keyword-to-text ratio on your pages. A 7% keyword density means you have your keyword 7 times for every 100 words. "Perfect" keyword densities range from 5-10%, and if you just get that magic number, your rankings will soar. Of course, you gotta wonder what happens once 10 other people find the perfect keyword density, too.

If you hear someone talk about getting the right keyword density on your site, shut them down faster than you would a "friend" offering to rent the Will Ferrell disaster (yeah, I know, that was redundant,) Land of the Lost.

Keyword Count

Keyword count is the Step Brother of keyword density (see how I worked in another Will Farrell movie reference there?) The theory goes that there is a minimum number of times you have to have your keywords on the page in order to rank well for it. Doesn't matter how much text you have, just get your keyword in there 3 times, 5 times, 7 times, or whatever.

Yeah, your keywords should be in the page if you want to rank for them. But in truth, it doesn't absolutely have to be. If you have enough incoming links pointing to your page with that keyword in the anchor text, that can get you the rankings you want in certain circumstances. But, in a competitive field, that's usually not enough. There is no magic number of times your keywords should be on the page. Sometimes you use your keyword more frequently, while other times you use related words. It really just depends on the content.

Keyword Positioning

Where you position your keywords in your content does have some merit. (Yes, I'll admit that I enjoyed both Stranger Than Fiction and Talladega Nights so I'll give Will Ferrell some credit.) But as so often happens, a single good idea often turns into 20 really, really stupid ideas. (Bewitched, anyone?)

Yes, you want to use your keywords in key places such as your title tag, meta description, headings, and body content. But, does it really matter if your keyword is the third word in the first paragraph or the second sentence of the last paragraph on the page? Do you have to add an additional instance of your keyword in your third heading tag on the page even though it doesn't really work? The answer is NO. It doesn't matter, much like most Will Farrell movies.

Old School SEO Without the Nonsense

Move that thing. And that other thing.

Old school SEO nonsense is just that. Just a bunch of blubbering directions that have no meaning other than to make the person uttering them feel smarter than you.

Real old school SEO is altogether different. It's SEO that says, "we're going back to the basics, back to what works." There is nothing wrong with SEO that looks at a lot of fancy data. That's all very important. But, old school SEO was true 10 years ago, and it's still true today. The methods used to achieve SEO may change a bit here and there, but the same basic principles apply:

Write good content, work in your keywords, and build a quality site worth linking to. Of course, that's easier said than done. Kinda like expecting a good Will Farrell... naw, too easy!

Inconceivable ContentThis post was inspired from The Princess Bride themed presentation I gave in early 2010 at SEMpdx's Searchfest titled Inconceivable Content: The Dread Pirate Robert's Guide to Creating Swashbuckling Content, Pillaging the Search Engines, and Commandeering a Treasure Trove of Conversions. If you enjoyed this post you also might enjoy other posts inspired from the same. Search for "inconceivable content" on this blog to find them all.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.


Bing replaced MSN Search.What used to be MSN Search is now Bing. According to a May 2009 article on USA Today, Microsoft developed Bing to replace both of the company's previous search engines: LIVE Search and MSN Search. The Bing website claims that the MSNBot... Recent Article published on 8/1/2010 by Contributing Writer


If you are number one, your site's Web address will become like a household name.Building a website to promote a business or make money is only half the battle. Without Web traffic, potential buyers won't visit the site. A way to get increased Web traffic is to be number one in the search engines for a particular keyword... Recent Article published on 8/3/2010 by Liz Jacobs


by Miriam Ellis

If you own a local business and get a phone call from a rep identifying himself as contacting you from Google (even if the call is coming from India), don't make the mistake of assuming it's yet another annoying phone scam. Mike Blumenthal has just reported confirmation from Google that these phone calls are legitimate and are part of Google's 2010 effort to clean up local busi

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ness data quality. This unexpected new move from Google has three interesting aspects to it worth pointing out.

The Good
I fully support any efforts Google makes to clean up spammy issues in Google Maps and Place Pages. This latest phone call program apparently stems from a new policy of verifying community edits made to business listings. So, if someone tries to make an edit to your business listing, you may get a call from Google asking whether the edit that's been suggested is an accurate one. Frankly, considering the great silence that has historically surrounded Google Maps, I was amazed to hear of Google reps calling business owners. This is really something new.

This program may help prevent negative competitive editing and hijacking, to some extent, so that's the positive aspect of this activity.

The Bad
The Google phone reps are not allowed to give out any type of contact information or call back number to the local business owners whom they are phoning. There goes a sense of trust in the legitimacy of the phone call! If I hadn't read the news about this and a client phoned me saying they'd been contacted by a 'Google employee' who wanted their business data, I would tell the client this was likely a scam. Business owners are inundated with phishing and telemarketing calls. How many of them are going to trust that Google is really phoning them? It's really unfortunate that Google didn't come up with a more trustworthy way of implementing this program.

The Ugly
Saddest of all, one has to fear that real scammers will benefit from this scenario. Once business owners understand that Google might actually phone them, how easy would it be for the bad guys to pretend they are from Google (after all, they don't have to provide any type of ID, thanks to Google not requiring this of their own employees) and get access to unsuspecting business owners' data, Place Pages and more? The results of this could get ugly, indeed.

In Conclusion
It's pretty easy for business owners to learn that certain entities will never contact them for particular types of information. For example, online banking entities warn their clients that the bank will never send them an email requesting their account details. Paypal provides similar warnings. Business owners learn not to respond to suspicious emails, once they have been advised not to.

Now, here we have Google, whose reputation for silence has engendered the belief that no one would ever actually hear from them, suddenly phoning the public. It's great that they are making these calls, but I would exhort Eric Schmidt to consider putting some type of safeguard in place so that business owners can identify that these calls are truly coming from Google.

I would suggest that an email be sent out to the business owner, notifying them that a call will be coming in from a Google business rep within the next day, week, or something similar. This would enable the business owner to cross reference the email and the phone call, arriving at some semblance of validity. Of course, scammers could duplicate this process, but at least it would give the business owner something along the lines of a heads-up that a real Google rep needs to speak with them.

I don't know if Google is depending upon the element of surprise in these calls to see if a phone number is answered by a legitimate business, but we're really looking at a problem if the business owner is trying to hide details from Google while Google is trying to hide details from the business owner. It starts to look like a strange boxing match, doesn't it?

It will be very interesting to start hearing more anecdotes from SMBs who receive these calls as time goes by. If you run a local business, I'm glad you are reading this article; per usual, Google hasn't done much to educate their public regarding this new policy. At least, having read this, you will know that a call from Google may be the real thing. May I suggest that you use this unprecedented opportunity to ask some of your most burning questions about Maps and Places? The chance may not come again.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.


Adding social media to your website broadens exposure and increases page views.Today's online marketing techniques require a special focus on harnessing social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin in order to spread the word about your product and/or service. When building your website, social media integration... Recent Article published on 8/2/2010 by Daniel J. Gansle

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