In my opinion, your company blog is the second most valuable piece of online real estate your company has, next to the company website of course.

Blogs and other content marketing platforms are essential for long term SEO success. The saying “content is King” has been around for a long time simply because it’s true. Great content gets shared and linked to, which makes it more valuable in the eyes of the search engines, which in turn helps your site perform better in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

Each blog post can rank individually in the search engines, helping expand your overall online brand presence and giving you the opportunity to target various keywords as well as different segments of your target audience.

However, even with nearly 7 years of posts backing me up, I’m fairly confident that most visitors don’t find my company blogs by searching for “SEO blog.” There are too many high-powered industry blogs for me to compete effectively for that search term.

The same is true in most industries. Unless your company is a major player, chances are there are a few industry blogs that are always going to outperform yours. They’ll get more social shares, more RSS subscribers, more inbound links and more readers every day, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make big progress with your own company blog and help build your business online.

Become the go-to resource: Write to help your clients

I know and accept the fact that most of the content I write isn’t going to outrank some of the big names in the SEO industry, but I also know that it doesn’t matter. I’m not writing to rank well; I’m writing to help my clients.

I want to become a trusted source of information for my readers (no matter how many or how few that may be) so that if they ever are in need of SEO help they think to come to my site and blogs first. Some SEO blogs are geared towards other SEO professionals or more advanced site owners, but I focus on helping my target audience—small to mid-sized businesses, website owners and marketing professionals. Those are the people I want to connect with and build relationships with, so I create content that speaks to their unique needs.

I know that not every blog post is going to be a huge hit with every reader and go viral, but I also know that every post has that potential. You can’t force something to go viral, but as long as you are publishing great content you’ll succeed in the long run. When you focus on producing great content for the reader, as opposed to content that exists solely to help your SEO, you usually end up producing much more interesting and useful content.

Interesting and useful content gets shared, generic and boring (no matter how SEO friendly) does not.

Become savvy in your vertical: Write to fine tune your own skills

By adopting a content marketing schedule and sticking to it you actually help improve your own skills, along with providing valuable information to your target audience.

Think about it, in order to become and stay a trusted resource your readers need to know that you know what’s going on in your industry. You need to be aware of trends and how they impact your business and the business of your clients. What’s coming down the pipeline? What are people looking for more information on?

In order to give people the knowledge they need (and in a way that makes sense) you need to do your own research. Activities like reading other blogs, attending local conferences or signing up for a webinar help keep you on your toes and fuel your own content marketing strategy. The tips and tricks you learn can be spun for new posts for your own blog or company newsletter.

You don’t always need to be ahead of the curve but you should at least be keeping pace with the pack.

Content marketing is incredibly valuable for long term SEO success, but that isn’t the only reason website owners should invest in a company blog and other content marketing platforms. Writing content that speaks to your audience is going to pay off in the long run, both for SEO and your long term business success.

About the Author – Nick Stamoulis

Nick Stamoulis is the President of the Boston-based full service SEO agency, Brick Marketing.  With 13 years of experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by writing in the Brick Marketing Blog, and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 160,000 opt-in subscribers.

You can find Nick on Twitter [at] @brickmarketing, and contact him directly [at] [email protected]

Looking for low-cost SEO copywriting training? Learn more about the SuccessWorks SEO Copywriting Certification Program, designed for in-house marketing professionals, agencies, SEO shops and copywriters.

photo/image thanks to Mike Licht,

A brave new world: the title of Aldous Huxley’s literary masterpiece seems to capture the essence of this week’s latest and greatest Web-writing news’ highlights, as marketers from all spheres of the internet push their thinking (and tools) beyond the usual conversations. Content marketers discuss a shift in digital marketing, SEO & search pro’s entertain life beyond Google, while social media marketers celebrate the new Facebook advertising numbers. ”Consume” and enjoy this week’s web gems!

Content Marketing

Jahnelle Pittman discusses the accelerated speed of content/internet marketing with “Digital Marketing and The New World Order” at Level 343.

Emarketer predicts that U.S. iPad use will nearly double this year, extending its reach to 53.2 million users.

From Blog World New York, Ashley Zeckman shares Jason Falls’ “No B.S. Guide to Mobile” at Top Rank.

Graham Charlton reports that “A third of brands provide a poor mobile customer experience” (and suggests remedies) at Econsultancy.

Rebecca Lieb shares “14 Ways To Turn On The Content Flow” at Marketing Land.

Heather Lloyd-Martin discusses the three critical things a site owner must do before the content development even begins at SEO Copywriting.

Melissa Fach posts the “non-negotiables” of business content marketing for beginners at Search Engine Journal.

Pamela Muldoon posts “4 Metrics Every Content Marketer Needs to Measure: Interview with Jay Baer” at Content Marketing Institute.

Marketing Sherpa’s research chart of the week features “top content tactics for engaging your B2B audience,” by Jen Doyle.

Jordan Kasteler speaks to the necessity of attractive-looking content with “Is Presentation More Important Than Content Itself?” at Search Engine Land.

From SES Toronto, Lee Odden previews his own presentation with “9 [SEO] Steps towards Optimized Content Marketing Nirvana” at Top Rank.

Gabriella Sannino posts “5 Steps to Boosting the Perceived Value of your Copywriting Content” at Level 343.

Sunil Rajaraman addresses the question of “When Should Your Outsource Content Creation?” at Content Marketing Institute.


SEO & Search

Search sans Google? Miranda Miller posts “Beyond Google: Tap Into the Alternative Search Engine Data Opportunity” at Search Engine Watch.

Matt McGee highlights the more salient of Google’s (39) “search quality” May updates at Search Engine Land with “Google’s May Updates: Inorganic Backlinks, Page Titles, Fresh Results & More.”

Eric Enge interviews Google’s Justin Cutroni on “Using Google Analytics to Increase Adwords ROI” at Stone Temple Consulting.

Are you familiar with ICANN? (Hint: .com, .net, .whathaveyou) The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers may be ushering in “one of the greatest disasters in the history of the internet” posts Owen Thomas at Business Insider.

Danny Sullivan gives an epic rant on link building at SMX Advanced (Seattle), more (calmly) and coherently captured in his post “Link Building Means Earning Hard Links Not Easy Links” at Search Engine Land.

Lauren Litwinka generously links out to the more notable posts covering SMX Advanced 2012 with “Hardcore Brain Chow Meets Seattle’s Best Seafood: #SMX Advanced 2012 in Review” at aimClear.

Also from SMX Advanced 2012 is Miranda Miller’s report on Matt Cutts’ presentation: “Matt Cutts Talks Google Penguin, Negative SEO, Disavowing Links, Bounce Rate & More” at Search Engine Watch.

Jonathan Allen, director of Search Engine Watch, discusses his literary and philosophical background in part one of his interview by Laura Crest at SEO Copywriting.

In part two of his interview at SEO Copywriting, “The Englishman in New York” shares his provocative take on Google’s search and social initiatives, Panda and Penguin updates, as well as his own “search manifesto.”

Barry Schwartz reports on Google’s update to its “Hot Searches” feature with images and stories (apparently at the expense of searching hot trends by date) at Search Engine Land.

Wikipedia with a robotic female voice? Danny Goodwin explains with “New in Bing Search Results: It’s Qwiki-pedia” at Search Engine Watch.

SEOmoz’s “Whiteboard Friday” features Bing’s Duane Forrester, who walks readers/viewers through the search engine’s new webmaster tools.

Josh Bernstein posts “A Guide to Mobile SEO & Local Search SEO For Your Business” at Vertical Measures.

Portland, Oregon’s David Mihm discloses Google’s new local search ranking factors, as shared by Matt McGee at Small Business Search Engine Marketing.

Christian Arno posts “Quality Links, Quality Content: Linchpins of Your SEO Strategy” at Search Engine Watch.


Social Media Marketing

Facebook partner ComScore has produced data showing that “Viewing Facebook Content Makes People More Likely to Buy,” reports Cotton Delo at Ad Age.

And buying on Facebook will be much easier, as it has simplified mobile payments for mobile web apps (and marketers now have the option of buying mobile-only Facebook ads) reports Cindy King in Social Media Examiner’s weekly news.

Brian Solis speaks to Facebook advertising and G.M. pulling out scads of advertising dollars with “The GM Facebook Advertising Saga Plays Out Like an Episode of Mad Men.”

Jason Keath posts the “3 Common Facebook Ad Mistakes Everyone is Making” at Convince and Convert.

Citing a new global study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte, Shelly Kramer reports that “C-Suite Executives Not Measuring Impact of Social Business” and “remain largely divided on the value of social business” at V3 Integrated Marketing.

HubSpot teams with HootSuite to promote social media lead nurturing (and other noteworthy items) are featured in Corey Eridon’s weekly story summary at HubSpot.

Greg Finn reports on Twitter’s new “Tailored Trends” feature (“to increase trend relevancy”) at Marketing Land.

Lisa Peyton explains “How to Use the New Google Analytics Social Reporting Tool” at Social Media Examiner.

Christina Schmitz makes the case that “Moms are the New Community Managers” with “Who Owns Social Media?” at Jeff Bullas’s blog.

So does your brand belong on Pinterest? Adrienne Rhodes discusses whether Pinterest is right for you at Social Media Today.

From Blog World New York, Chris Brogan’s tips on blogging (“Stand Above the Noise…”) are shared at Top Rank.

So does your brand belong on Pinterest? Adrienne Rhodes discusses whether Pinterest is right for you at Social Media Today.



Would you like to learn SEO Copywriting? Whether for your own career, or for your staff, there are several low-cost options available! All are taught by the widely-recognized SEO Copywriting pioneer, Heather Lloyd-Martin. 

photo thanks to Urban Woodswalker (Mary Anne Enriquez)

Of penguins and pandas…In this week’s latest & greatest Web-writing news, Google is yet again shaking up the SEO and search community with its latest Panda (3.5) update and webspam “Penguin” update. Meanwhile, content marketers run the gamut from the reality of mobile marketing to linking to email, and social media marketers get thoughtful (yet real) about the industry and that social ROI. Cuddle up with your favorite domestic animal and enjoy this week’s web gems!

Content Marketing

The data is in and the web is dead: Great read by Gini Dietrich on the (current reality and) inevitability of the dominance of mobile marketing platforms over the desktop PC with “The Web is Dead! Long Live Smartphones!” at Spin Sucks.

Angie Nikoleychuk discusses smart content marketing with “How to Boost the Success of Your Link Bait Before You Hit Publish” at Level 343.

Lee Odden shares “12 Timeless Link Building Tips for Business Blogs” at Top Rank.

Mitt Ray discusses how to write white papers and how to use them as part of your content marketing strategy at SEO Copywriting.

Roger C. Parker shares “3 Tips for Increasing your Content Productivity” at Content Marketing Institute.

Tim Ash discusses clarity in landing page design and content conversions with “Do Your Site Visitors Push Your Buttons?” at ClickZ.

So “Is Your Message Missing the Mark?” Jessica Collier discusses honing your landing page message for the best possible visitor experience at Ion Interactive.

Ian Lurie posts “10 ways to get into big trouble in marketing” (with skimping on content being #6) at Portent.

Need to feed the beast? Heidi Cohen discusses feeding the content development and marketing beasts with “7 Places to Find Cheap Content” at her blog.

Citing a study by Return Path, Pamela Parker discusses the incredibly promising new world of mobile email marketing with “Email Marketers Better Prepare For Mobile Opens, New Study Finds” at Marketing Land.

Illustrating with great examples, Corey Eridon posts “The 9 Must-Have Components of Compelling Email Copy” at HubSpot.

Running an email marketing campaign? Ashley Zeckman posts “Convert More Customers: Tips & Tricks For Running A/B Tests On Your Email Campaigns” at Top Rank.

Jeanne Jennings discusses a case study in which revising the email welcome message with a marketing message dramatically improved open and click-through rates, at ClickZ.

Smart all-around insights into content sharing and optimization are shared at TopRank Internet Marketing News with “Ask an Expert: How Can I Optimize My Online Content to Increase Shares and Exposure?”

Marketing Sherpa’s weekly research chart is on the imperative of content creation in improving SEO effectiveness.

The value of consistency (in showing up on your target market radar) is discussed by Seth Godin at his blog.

Did you miss BlueGlass LA? No worries – two different posts cover it in different ways:

The first, by Kevin Gibbons, “50 Tips & Takeaways from BlueGlass LA,” summarizes his tweets sharing on SEO and search to content marketing and much more, at SEOptimise.

The second, by Jason Miller, shares part one of two of “Ten Takeaways from Blueglass LA” (B2B perspective) at Marketo.


  • CMS Expo Learning & Business Conference begins next Tuesday, May 8th and runs thru the 10th, in Evanston, IL. The conference theme is “ Content Management Meets Content Strategy & Content Marketing.” A whole lotta content going down!
  • MarketingProfs University is offering a live, online “Marketing Writing Bootcamp” from May 10th thru the 23rd (with on-demand access to the recordings thru April of 2013). Use coupon code SUCCESS to save $200!
  • The Content Strategy Conference, ConFab 2012, scheduled for May 14th thru the 16th, is completely sold out, but you can catch live coverage via blogs, updates, and the @confab2012 Twitter stream.
  • Usability Week 2012 Conferences, hosted by the Neilsen Norman Group, are scheduled for May 14th thru the 18th in Washington, D.C., and for June 25th thru the 29th in Chicago.
  • Marketing Sherpa’s Optimization Summit 2012 will be held in Denver from June 11th thru the 14 th.
  • Marketing Sherpa’s B2B Summit 2012 will be held in Orlando, August 27th thru the 30th.
  • Content Marketing Institute’s Content Marketing World 2012 is scheduled for September 4th thru the 6th in Columbus, OH.

SEO & Search

A plethora of posts greets the SEO & search pro with the double-smackdown of Google’s Panda 3.5 (low quality) and Penguin (webspam) updates:

Danny Sullivan distinguishes between the Panda 3.5 (low-quality content) update and the Penguin (outright webspam) update –  including the winners and losers of Panda 3.5, and his correspondence with Matt Cutts – with a clarifying post at Search Engine Land.  (See source, Search Metrics, for the list of SEO visibility winners & losers).

Sullivan’s original post on Google’s Penguin update has some great background information: “Google Launches ‘Penguin Update’ Targeting Webspam In Search Results,” also at Search Engine Land.

Other enlightening posts on Google’s Panda 3.5 and Penguin updates include:

Aaron Wall’s decidedly no-bullshit take, “The Google Penguin Update: Over-Optimization, Webspam, & High Quality Empty Content Pages,” at SEOBook.

Bill Slawski’s “Google Praises SEO, Condemns Webspam, and Rolls Out Algorithm Change,” at SEO by the Sea.

Chris Crum’s “Google Panda Update: 12 Tips Directly from Google,” at WebProNews.

And of course, there’s Google’s own post by Matt Cutts, Distinguished Engineer, on the Penguin (and Panda) update: “Another step to reward high-quality sites,” at its Inside Search blog.

And for those who believe they’ve been wronged by the Penguin Update, there’s:

Danny Goodwin’s “Google Penguin Web Spam Algorithm Update Feedback Form Now Live,” where Matt Cutts is quoted announcing that you can plea your case or report a site that you think is spammy (“negative SEO”), at Search Engine Watch.

Pamela Vaughan’s “What to Do if Your Search Rankings Were Hurt by Google’s Penguin Update” at HubSpot.

And for those who believe they have been hacked by web spammers:

Citing Matt Cutts, Chris Crum reports that included in Google’s Webspam/Penguin update are sites that have been hacked by spammers (“The other kind of spam Google is dealing with”). An explanation and resources for help are at WebProNews.

Crum also reports on Google’s unprecedented move of sharing about the “human raters” in determining its algorithms, at WebProNews.

Asking what we all may be wondering, Bas van den Beld posts “Can We Still Trust Google?” at State of Search.

So how does the Google search engine actually work? Brad Kuenn explains at Vertical Measures.

Another great SEO 101 tutorial, on how to use HTML meta tags, is posted by Kristine Schachinger at Search Engine Watch.

For the more advanced, Ian Lurie shares “4 tips for technical SEO” (“for starters”) that every technical site audit should include, at Portent.

Lyena Solomon posts smart considerations for 1st quarter website spring cleaning, from SEO and PPC audits to cost-effective social media strategies, at NetSprinter.

Lars Lofgren discusses the four types of Google Analytics goal types that are essential to businesses, at KISSmetrics.

Beyond SEO lies WPO? Krista LaRiviere discusses the all-inclusive “WPO” with “The Hierarchy of Web Presence Optimization” at gShift Labs.

Tim Schmoyer posts the ReelSEO summary for the week with YouTube Changes, Google Indexing Embeds & Adwords for Video – with a video about Google addressing “discovery problems” on YouTube.

Vanessa Fox discusses the expansion of search query data to 90 days using Google’s Webmaster Tools, and kindly offers a refresher, at Search Engine Land.

Josh McCoy discusses SEO competitive analysis with “3 Pillars of SEO Competitive Analysis” at Search Engine Watch.

Julie Joyce posts “Why Link Builders Need To Do More Than Just Build Links” at Search Engine Land.

Sujan Patel posts “Social Shares: The New Link Building” at Search Engine Journal.

Garrett French posts “How Limiting Your Google Queries Makes You a Better Link Prospector” at Search Engine Watch.

Ian Lurie discusses enterprise SEO with “Easy SEO Wins For Big Sites” at Search Engine Land.


Social Media Marketing

Mark Lazen pens an insightful read, “Right-sizing your Social Media Management Process,” at Social Media Today.

Level 343’s Gabriella Sannino discusses community building and “friends” with “Stop Everything You’re Doing In Social. You’re Fired.”

Sam Ford posts “6 New Maxims For Social Marketing” at Fast Company.

Josh Peters posts “60 Minutes to a More Efficient Social Business Strategy” at Mashable.

Kate Rose posts “5 Reasons Social Media Isn’t Working For You – And How To Fix Them” at business2community.

Bas van den Beld asks if social media activity can really boost rankings, sharing a fun infographic, at State of Search.

eMarketer posts “For Brands, Social Media Shows Returns but Measurement Hurdles Remain.”

Brian Solis discusses Frank Eliason’s book, @Your Service, with “Do Customers Really Matter to Your Business? Prove it.”

Rachelle Ayala posts the “Seven Sins of Social Networking” at Rachelle’s Window.

Mike Lewis posts “Evolving Social Media Analytics: Insights from Marshall Sponder” at Social Media Today.

If you can’t beat ‘em? In an interesting twist, “Flickr Teams With Pinterest For Easy Sharing & Proper Attribution,” reports Greg Finn at Marketing Land.

So Facebook is about to raise $5 billion from investors. It gets even more interesting with Jeff Bullas’ “20 Interesting Facts, Figures and Statistics Revealed by Facebook.”

Brittany Darwell reports that “Facebook says it sent more than 160 million visitors to Facebook-integrated mobile apps last month,” at Inside Facebook.

Hide and go Facebook tab seek? Nancy McCord posts “Facebook Business Pages – The Hidden Tabs – Can You Find Them?” at SiteProNews.

Ann Smarty discusses how to analyze your tweeting style from the readers’ perspective with 3 “addictive” tools at Internet Marketing Ninjas.

Dan Zarrella discusses the free Twitter tool, TweetCharts, which allows you to analyze Twitter data for any search term (and more), at HubSpot.

Nisha Kaushal posts “Why Twitter Needs to Change to Keep Up with Social Media Marketing” at Webbiquity.

Harry Gold posts “27 LinkedIn Social Media Marketing Tactics” at ClickZ.

Stephanie Sammons shares “5 Tips to Build and Grow Your LinkedIn Network”  at Social Media Examiner.


Would you like to know more about writing for Google?  (This is especially important since their latest algo update, Penguin, just rolled out.) Simply visit the SEO Copywriting Buzz page, and sign up to receive either the daily or weekly newsletter (or both), and receive Heather’s “How to write for Google: 25-point checklist” whitepaper, free!

photo thanks to cnystrom (Chris Nystrom)



Are you feeling the need to get your (editorial) act together? If so, you’re in luck, as today’s SEO copywriting video is on how to create an editorial calendar. In past webinars, Heather has discussed the importance of having an editorial calendar, but she has never actually addressed how to create one. So today, she does just that.

Heather has wanted to do a video how-to on creating an editorial calendar – especially for those new to SEO content writing and for DIY SEO copywriters – because she realized that in previous posts, her using the words “editorial calendar” may have implied a complex concept, when in fact it is very simple.

Tune in as Heather de-complicates the “editorial calendar” with three steps to creating one that serves both you and your content development team…

“Editorial calendar” sounds so complex…

  • People think that it should be a fancy, detailed document.

Many folks assume that creating an editorial calendar means that they need to have a special document and do things in a special way in order to track all of their content…and it really doesn’t have to be that complicated.

  • Two advantages: planning and accountability.

The advantages of having an editorial calendar are that you can plan all of your content and that everyone involved is accountable.

That way, it’s not just a case of having all of this stuff in your head – you can actually lay out a schedule so everyone concerned knows what pages are going to be written, by whom, and when. Down to the end-process of who is responsible for uploading the page or post, everyone involved knows what’s going on and can then fit it into his/her individual workload.

  • There are a lot of ways to create an editorial calendar (and some of them are fancy and detailed), but let’s keep it simple…

Step #1: What are your monthly SEO content goals?

The first step in creating your editorial calendar is to make a list of your monthly SEO content goals. This is where you sit down and think: “All right, what do I want to do this month?”

Things you might want to consider include:

  • What new pages do you want to create?
  • Are there pages that you want to edit for keyphrases?
  • Are there other SEO content initiatives (for instance, changing page Titles or descriptions)?
  • What’s your content “theme” for the month?
  • Think “manageable.” Know how much content you can create/edit a week.

In considering the last point – manageability – the upshot is to not overwhelm yourself. It is all too easy to write a list of 50 things that you want to do in a month, when the reality is that you can do about 10 of those things.

Focus on what’s really important to accomplish in the month, and hold yourself to what you know you can actually do.

Step #2: Mark up a page from a calendar

This is the easy part: print out a calendar page or buy a calendar, then start marking it up with content specifics and deadlines, such as:

  • When are you starting the writing project?
  • Who is the writer?
  • When is the rough draft deadline?
  • When are the edits back?
  • What’s the final deadline?
  • When will the content be uploaded and who will upload it?

If you feel more comfortable with an online calendar, then by all means use one.

Once you’ve completed the month’s editorial calendar, you’ll be able to look at any given week and know immediately what’s going on.

If after you’ve created the calendar you realize that the schedule is overwhelming, then it’s absolutely okay to take some stuff off! You want the calendar to be something that is manageable and that is going to work for your team – not something that’s gonna drive people insane!

Step #3: Get more detailed (if you choose)

While simplicity and manageability are key, it may be that you’ll want to go a little deeper with your editorial calendar and provide more detail.

Ask yourself: What does your team need to see?

For instance, if you use an Excel doc, you can include details such as:

  • Per-page keyphrase focus
  • URL
  • Title
  • Call to action

You can also group content by type, detailing such things as creating X number of sales pages/month, or writing Y number of blog posts/month.

  • “Type” of content (sales page, blog, press release, “how-to” page)

This is something that you can play with, and again, it’s about what works for you and for your editorial team.

There is no set way to create an editorial calendar, but it is good to have something that is functional because – guaranteed – you’ll not only be able to write much more content, but that content will also be better because: you have planned the time to work on it, you know the scheduling details, and you know the deadlines, so you can upload your content on a consistent, regular basis.

Thanks for joining us for this week’s SEO copywriting video how-to! Do you have an SEO copywriting question or topic suggestion for Heather? Love it! Send it on over to her [at] [email protected] or tweet her [at] @heatherlloyd. See you next Monday!


Want to learn more about SEO copywriting? Sign up for either the daily or weekly SEO Copywriting Buzz newsletter and receive a free download of Heather Lloyd-Martin’s white paper, How to write for Google!

And psssst – a head’s up! If you’ve been thinking about becoming certified in SEO Copywriting best practices, you have until May 15th to register for Heather Lloyd-Martin’s SEO Copywriting Certification training at its original price! Sign up now and save $170!


photo thanks to yoppy




So where is that crystal ball when you need it? This week’s latest and greatest Web-writing news is ripe with speculation and projections. Perhaps inspired by comScore’s recent release of 1st quarter industry data, internet marketers of all persuasions seem focused on trends and the future. Content marketers discuss where they’re heading, SEO & search pro’s assess their state and forecast trends of their calling, while social media marketers digest big numbers and speculate away…Enjoy this especially thoughtful, forward-looking collection of links to the best of the marketing web!

Content Marketing

Rebecca Lieb discusses “Publishing in Today’s Digital, Social Reading Environment” with thoughts on the future of e-reading, at Marketing Land.

And speaking of publishing, Lee Odden talks about his newly-released book, “Optimize…” at Top Rank.

Ian Lurie and Geoff Livington discuss “how to save marketing from itself” with Matthew Grant via MarketingProfsMarketing Smarts (podcast).

Gabriella Sannino discusses developing a web presence with strategic content development, branding, and more with “What’s Your Branding Power?” at Level 343.

So where is the internet going in the next three years? Douglas Idugboe considers the question at Smedio.

Lyena Solomon summarizes Matt McGee’s thoughts on content creation strategies and more from the weekly Twitter #SEOchat, at Search Marketing Weekly.

In his third of a series on content development, George Aspland posts “9 More Content Development Ideas For Increased Visibility” via user-generated content, at Search Engine Land.

Gilad de Vries posts “7 Lessons From Content Marketing’s Greatest Hits” at Mashable.

Shelly Bowen posts “5 Great Starting Points for a Content Recycling Program” at Content Marketing Institute.

Sharon Hurley Hall discusses content curation with “How to do Content Marketing ‘Without’ Content – Be a Curator!” at unbounce.

Rand Fishkin discusses overcoming content creation fatigue with the latest SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday presentation, “Overcoming Your Winter of Dis-Content.”

Ian Lurie discusses the three elements comprising a core marketing formula with “Three principles of internet marketing,” at Portent.

Sean McGinnis posts marketing mistakes to avoid (and how to fix them) at his blog.

Mack Collier discusses building trust with “5 Reasons Why You Need to Stop Marketing and Start Teaching.”

Robert Rose posts “How Asking ‘Why’ Helps Us Get to Our Larger Story” at Content Marketing Institute.

Marketing Sherpa’s weekly research chart depicts the top-rated B2B tactics for “developing value propositions that resonate and convert.”

One for the bookmarks: Lee Odden lists 2012’s top UK internet marketing blogs at Top Rank.

Gini Dietrich generously shares her own blogging process at Spin Sucks.

Per Schmitz shares “6 Tools That Help Bloggers Manage and Monitor Their Online Reputation” at Kikolani.

MarketingProfs’ considers whether you should host your blog on-site or off in its “short articles.”

So “Does Website Design Impact The Bottom Line?” Zach Bulygo explores the question in detail at KISSmetrics.

Tim Ash shares an interesting case study in landing page conversions with “It’s Not Over Till the Stragglers Convert” at ClickZ.

Seth Godin talks perception with “Money scales but emotions around money don’t.”


  • MarketingProfs University is offering a live, online “Marketing Writing Bootcamp” from May 10th thru the 23rd (with on-demand access to the recordings thru April of 2013). Use coupon code SUCCESS to save $200!
  • The Content Strategy Conference, ConFab 2012, scheduled for May 14th thru the 16th, is completely sold out, but you catch live coverage via blogs, updates, and the @confab2012 Twitter stream.
  • Usability Week 2012 Conferences, hosted by the Neilsen Norman Group, are scheduled for May 14th thru the 18th in Washington, D.C., and for June 25th thru the 29th in Chicago.
  • Marketing Sherpa’s Optimization Summit 2012 will be held in Denver from June 11th thru the 14 th. Register by April 30th for early bird savings of $300!
  • Content Marketing Institute’s Content Marketing World 2012 is scheduled for September 4th thru the 6th in Columbus, OH.

SEO & Search

From Search Engine Watch: Miranda Miller reports on Google’s record-setting $10.65 billion first quarter revenue and its proposal for a “new class of stock” to allow the behemoth “…to remain focused on the long term.”

Meanwhile, Matt McGee reports that Blekko’s traffic shot up nearly 400-percent in the first quarter – and Blekko CEO’s five reasons as to why – at Search Engine Land.

Citing comScore data, Greg Sterling reports that Yahoo’s first quarter revenue actually exceeded expectations and its traffic increased by 8-percent – also at Search Engine Land.

State of Search posts its 88th podcast in which Bas van den Beld and Roy Huiskes discuss the state of (re-structuring) Yahoo, Google’s performance under Larry Page, and the potential for Google Analytics for Google+.

First-generation SEO expert Jill Whalen shares her 15+ years’ perspective of the SEO/search industry, including her take on Google’s latest round of updates, via her interview with SEO Copywriting.

Following up on SES New York, Eric Enge posts his interview with Adobe’s Warren Lee on “How To Structure Your Organization For SEO Success” on the enterprise level at Search Engine Land.

Hugo Guzman also discusses enterprise SEO strategy with the astute “When it comes to SEO, diplomacy often trumps technical ability.”

Google vs. Facebook: Jeroen van Eck compares numbers with the (admittedly speculative and) provocative post, “Facebook Might Be Going After Google, And They Could Just Win,” at State of Search.

The next step in the “ever-evolving” SEO industry – semantic search – and Google’s “rich snippets” update(s) are the subject of WebPro Tech’s Bharati Ahuja’s post: “Is Your Website Markup Enriched To Support The Rich Snippets Updated By Google?”

Semantic search and Google’s rich snippet updates are also the subject of Bob Meinke’s post, “Why Is Google Allowing Rich Snippet Spam?” at Bruce Clay’s blog.

Neil Patel posts a how-to on improving your rankings with semantic keyword research at SEOmoz.

Peter van der Graaf discusses the seasonal trending, hype spikes, and search volume life-cycles of keywords with “Timing Your SEO Efforts to Rank During Traffic Peaks & Spikes” at Search Engine Watch.

Trond Lyngbo discusses social search spam and the future of social signals with “Social Search: Dead On Arrival? Or On Life Support?” at Search Engine Land.

So is personalized search getting too personal? At Search Engine Journal, Melissa Fach posts “User Thoughts on Personalized Search” which features an (MDG Advertising) infographic suggesting users think so.

At Search Marketing Standard, Rebecca Appleton posts the second of a two-part series, “Six Top SEO Tips Straight From the Horse’s (Google’s) Mouth” (and here’s the link for part one).

Heather Lloyd-Martin offers perspective and tips for panicked site owners on Google’s latest Panda slap, the “over-optimization” penalty, via her weekly video post at SEO Copywriting.

Anthony Verre posts a helpful guide to DIY site audits, sharing his favorite tools, with “Down and Dirty Audits for Quick Wins” at Search News Central.

With “Real SEO Specialists: Finding the Needle in the Hay Stack,” Level 343 shares the questions their clients most often ask and the answers a legitimate optimizer should give.

Andy Crestodina posts how to get your picture in search results via Google’s Authorship Markup at KISSmetrics.

Tom Anthony posts “How Authorship (and Google+) Will Change Linkbuilding” at SEOmoz.

SEO Hacker’s Sean Si features a Matt Cutts’ video on white-hat link building with “Yes we Can! Says the White Hat SEO Hacker.”

Sujan Patel posts a how-to on tracking off-site clicks as goals using Google Analytic’s Event Tracking feature, at Search Engine Journal.

For beginners, Glenn Gabe posts a detailed guide to conversion goals in Google Analytics, also at Search Engine Journal.

Erez Barak discusses “7 Ways to Use Visitor Intelligence in SEO & Marketing” at Search Engine Watch.

In the global market? Tom Schmitz posts “11 Considerations For International SEO” at Search Engine Land.

Ending on a light note, Jack Martin posts “The 101 Best Google Tricks, Easter Eggs, April Fool’s Day Jokes and Pranks” at Portent.


Social Media Marketing

Citing data from a variety of sources, Christian Arno notes some astounding numbers as well as geographical diversity in platform preferences with “Worldwide Social Media Usage Trends in 2012” at Search Engine Watch.

Among the sources cited (above), is the eMarketer post, “Facebook Helps Get One in Five People Worldwide Socializing on Online Networks,” and its prediction that 1.43 billion people will use a social networking site this year (up 19.2-percent from 2011).

Heidi Cohen also cites a number of sources in her post, “Where is the Future of Social Media Marketing?” noting that 70-percent of marketers are looking to expand their mix of social media platforms, at ClickZ.

Brian Solis discusses “Disruptive Technology and How to Compete for the Future” at his blog.

Gabriella Sannino offers an industry veteran’s viewpoint on social sharing, conversions and optimization with a thought-provoking post at Search News Central.

John Lewis speculates on “The Next Phase of Social Media” at Sexy Social Media.

At Marketing Land, Greg Finn discusses Google+’s new format with “Google+ Gets A New Look With Interactive Navigation & ‘Timeline-esque’ Profiles.”

Citing Google’s slick PR spin in announcing Google+’s new look, Danny Sullivan weighs in with “If Google’s Really Proud of Google+, It Should Share Some Real User Figures,” also at Marketing Land.

Noting the anemic business and news community support of Google+, as well as Google’s lack of G+ branding on offline media, Debra Mastaler asks “Where’s the G+ Beef?” at LinkSpeil.

Pamela Vaughan discusses the importance of social proof in consumers’ purchasing decisions with “10 Ways to Instantly Amplify the Social Proof of Your Marketing” at HubSpot.

Chris Brogan speaks to the value of working for your content’s social sharing with “Earning Attention” at his blog.

Bas van den Beld issues a warning to Groupon with “Facebook Slowly Rolling Out Facebook Offers, Watch Out Groupon,” featuring an embed of Facebook’s video on its Offers, at State of Search.

Following up on her recent webinar on Facebook’s Timeline, Sarah Schager posts “15 Facebook Timeline Tips to Bring You Up To Speed” at Vertical Measures.

Andrea Vahl illustrates “5 Ways Businesses Are Using Facebook Timelines” at Social Media Examiner.

Pamela Vaughan posts “35 Statistics That Fuel the Battle Between Pinterest and Google+” (along with a free download comparing the two platforms) at HubSpot.

Jason Miller video-interviews B2B “thought leaders” about “their interest in Pinterest” at Marketo.

Anna Maria Virzi contemplates whether Pinterest will push into e-commerce at ClickZ.

Ashley Zeckman shares “3 Pinterest Tools That Will Have You ‘Pinning’ In No Time” at Top Rank.

Rich Brooks posts a how-to on “4 Ways to Grow a Twitter Following That Matters” at Social Media Examiner.

And finally – remember Foursquare? Rick MacManus posts “Just Checking…How Many of Foursquare’s Reported 20 Million Users Are Active?” at ReadWriteWeb.



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photo thanks to Outdated Productions (Courtney)



Jill Whalen will always have a special place in my heart. Back in the day, we had a lot of “firsts” together.  We spoke at  Search Engine Strategies for the first time together. We presented at our first international conference together.  And we created RankWrite together, the first newsletter that discussed SEO and copywriting.

Jill was also featured in our “SEO women” series as one of the first-generation woman pioneers who helped build and define the SEO and search industry.

Here,  Jill shares about her path to becoming a leader in the SEO copywriting profession, answers our questions about Google’s latest updates, and discusses her perception of the SEO and search industry as a whole…including why truly good SEO copywriters are a rare breed, indeed.

Enjoy! – Heather

Q:  As one of the first wave of women who pioneered SEO, could you share with us your journey into that wild west world?

That’ll take us waaaaaay back to the early 1990’s when my kids were little and I first got online with a 2400 baud modem!

I got interested in IRC chat and created a parenting chat channel. By 1993 I taught myself HTML and developed a parenting website to go along with the chat room.

I was determined to figure out how to get that site found in the search engines of the day, i.e., Lycos, Excite, Webcrawler, so the same way that I taught myself HTML I analyzed what made certain websites rank for certain keywords and others not.

  • Discovering “SEO” – before it was “SEO”

It was pretty obvious at the time that it was the words on the page that would make the most difference. If you wanted to show up for a keyword phrase such as “parenting chat” then you needed to show that your site was obviously focused on being a place where parents could chat. Pretty obvious, but funny how others just weren’t thinking in those terms.

Eventually I started offering to design websites for some of the parents I had met online in my chatroom, and that gave me the opportunity to play with my new found SEO knowledge (it of course wasn’t called “SEO” yet).

Others had started to figure out the whole words on the page “trick” but instead of just making their pages relevant to what they wanted to rank for, many simply hid the words at the bottom of the page or with a font in the same color as the background of the page.  (I laugh when I still see this going on today, as if these people think they were the first to think of something so “clever”!)

  • The power of great copywriting

I went the opposite route for my clients and hired people far better at copywriting than I was, to describe what my clients offered in a way that would entice people to want to purchase from them. (That’s how Heather and I hooked up back in the late 90’s.)

And suddenly the SEO copywriting industry was born!

I found that the hard part of SEO was finding great writers. But once you found them, it was simple enough for them to understand the whole process of making sure they used keywords within their great writing.

Today I find that while great copywriting is still the number 1 thing you can do for a website, and I still recommend it for most sites, I focus my own energies on diagnosing technical issues that can hurt a website’s ability to gain the search engine traffic they deserve.

  • On search engine friendly website design

Website designs have become so complicated, and surprisingly too many developers still don’t understand how to create a truly search engine friendly site.

In addition, I love using Google Analytics (GA) to figure out why a website has suddenly lost a good portion of their search engine visitors. GA is so powerful these days, and if you know what you’re doing, it’s almost like being able to go back in time to see what was previously happening and then comparing it to what is happening now.

Q:  So what is your take on Google’s data encryption? How do you see it affecting keyword research?

Sadly, Google encrypting the searches of people who are logged into Google products such as Gmail and Google Analytics has meant that website owners have lost a lot of keyword data that we used to have regarding who visited our sites.

It shouldn’t affect keyword research as Google’s keyword research tool still provides the same data, but it will affect being able to effectively measure our success. It’s hard to know if the keywords you optimized for are bringing you traffic if you can’t see exactly what those keywords are in your analytics.

I actually just wrote a post about this subject: Measuring Natural Keyword Traffic in the Age of (NotProvided) Secure Search.

Q:  What are your thoughts about Google Search Plus?

It’s good and bad.

Sometimes I like it when I’m looking for a past article that someone in my online social circle has written. And I also like that it’s helping SEOs to *finally* agree that rankings are no longer possible as a way to accurately measure SEO success since they’re different for everyone. (That’s something I’ve been saying for years, but SPYW has made it all that much clearer.)

To go along with that I like that it should help to get search marketers focused on making their pages better overall, rather than being concerned with just a couple of keyword phrases and where their page shows up.

On the other hand, as a user/searcher it’s often annoying as I don’t always want to see what my friends have recommended! (You can hit the “non-personalized results” button, which does help.)

As to how it will affect SEO overall, it’s much too soon to say. They’re still tweaking it a lot and have already made Google+ results not quite as heavily featured as it was at first.

I’d recommend keeping an eye on it, but don’t make any major changes in the way you do business just because of it. You should probably have a Google+ account and filled out profile, though, if for no other reason than to get Google Author status which is an amazing perk for anyone who puts content online.

Q:  What is your take on Google’s “over optimization” penalty?

Aside from the fact that it’s impossible to “over-optimize” anything (because to optimize is to make perfect and you can’t go beyond perfect!) it’s likely just Google propaganda to scare dumb SEOS and web spammers.

But if it is indeed a real thing (and I hope it is) then it’s all a step in the right direction for Google. I’ve always found it annoying that SEO in all the right places could often beat out sites that were actually much better, but didn’t know anything about SEO. You shouldn’t be able to stick an extra keyword in a Title tag of a crappy site and have it beat out a great site!

So if it’s indeed something Google’s working on or implementing, it will finally make what I have been teaching in SEO for over 10 years to be true! (To be clear, what I’ve been saying and teaching did always work, but it was and is a long-term process which could sometimes get temporarily beat out by silly SEO parlour tricks.)

I’ve always said that the better Google gets as a search engine, the better the sites who’ve used my SEO methods would do. And they are! Hard work and good marketing should pay off even better if Google is serious about their spam fighting.

Q:  What would you say are the most important factors influencing SEO now?

This is a difficult one to answer as it’s different for every site. There’s certainly no magic formula or something that will work for every site.

  • Site architecture

That said, I find that having the right site architecture can make a huge difference for most websites. That is, creating a great hierarchy for your site so that the most important top level category pages are linked to from your global navigation, and then those top level pages each link into their own little subset of pages within their sub-category.

This pushes or funnels your internal link popularity properly throughout your site so that your main pages can be optimized for the more competitive phrases and your deeper pages for more long-tail phrases.

  • Technical, duplicate content issues

Another key factor influencing SEO is fixing any technical duplicate content issues. And by that I don’t mean duplicate content in the sense of someone posting someone else’s article on their site, but more the issues that can be created by some content management systems when they create multiple URLs for the same content.

Cleaning up those issues via rel=canonical or other means can make a huge difference to a site’s ability to get targeted search engine traffic.

  • Content marketing

And because nearly every industry has become so competitive online, it’s critical for people to market their websites via a blog and/or email newsletter or some other outlet that can showcase the company’s areas of expertise on a regular basis.

This will help to bring new people to the website who may still be in the research phase, but who may be ready to buy at some point in the future.

Q:  You’ve been in the SEO industry since the (pre-) beginning. What’s your overall impression of the profession, from where it started to where it’s going?

I have both good and bad impressions of the SEO industry.

I know and have met tons of people who truly get SEO and want to make a difference for the companies they work for. Unfortunately, I believe they are still few and far between.

It’s too easy to talk a good game about SEO without really knowing what you’re doing. And many companies are getting burned by them.

While many scammy SEO companies exist, clients have to take responsibility for doing their due diligence before hiring one. It’s often a case of the quick fix mentality, which clients often have. They want what they want, and they want it yesterday.

While a professional SEO consultant will set realistic expectations, often it’s not what the client wants to hear, so they’ll find an SEO company who will tell them what they do want to hear. In which case, they get what they deserve!

I kind of hate to say this, but with SEO being so hard to pinpoint these days (in terms of how to do it), I think businesses new to website marketing may want to start out with PPC first to see how their site performs overall. That way they can learn what works and what doesn’t.

Once they are making some profit through that marketing channel, then they can start branching out into SEO. It will be much easier at that point, because they’ll have hard data that they can use to optimize for the natural listings.

Overall, I feel that the better Google gets at fighting web spam, the better our industry will be. If spammy stuff simply doesn’t work anymore, those bad companies should eventually die out. And the sooner that happens, the better!

About Jill Whalen

Jill is the CEO of High Rankings and has been in SEO since its pre-beginnings, circa early 1990’s.She is a prolific writer and contributes regularly to Search Engine Land and Talent Zoo. Jill also founded and runs the High Rankings Newsletter, and just recently started an online forum for those interested in Google Analytics, specifically its custom reports, at Custom Report Sharing. You can contact Jill via her High Rankings website, and find her on Twitter at @JillWhalen.


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photo thanks to aussiegall




Maybe it’s due to the tax season, but there seems to be a lot of number crunching going on in this week’s latest and greatest web writing news.  From content marketers trying to make sense of data and social media marketers measuring returns on relationships, to the SEO and search community analyzing the relative impact of social influences, valuation is the common denominator.  Here’s the tally of this week’s selections:

Content Marketing:

Great read at Design Damage about achieving long-term online marketing success, and a smart post at Eisenberg & Associates exploring the value of content marketing.

Seth Godin addresses the “economies of small,” and “tiny media” (the four horsemen of media).

HubSpot posts Excel tricks for crunching tons of marketing data, as well as an (“inbound now’) interview with Joe Pulizzi about all things content.

Content Marketing Institute posts a two-part series on content marketing analytics, the first about what to do with all those numbers and the second about turning analytics into actionable tasks.

The brave and bumpy path to exceptional content is posted at Shelly Bowen’s site (pybop), while Copyblogger posts how brevity can sometimes be bad for your content.

Hugo Guzman discusses the Johari Window concept as a way to understand your marketing, and HubSpot posts a video interview with Gary Vaynerchuk on “context marketing.”

Sonia Simone posts how to consistently attract high-quality traffic to your site at Copyblogger, and Frank Reed posts the many factors that make up internet marketing at Marketing Pilgrim.

Patsi Krakoff (of “the Blog Squad”) posts how to connect the dots to drive content marketing results at Writing on the Web, and Brian Tarcy offers five tips for better business storytelling via HubSpot.

The fundamentals of starting a company blog are at {grow}, and brand expert Jim Joseph shares tips to win customer loyalty at PR Web.

An interesting interview with Hugh MacLeod, discussing the infinite market for something to believe in, is posted at Copyblogger.

Content Marketing Institute offers a step-by-step guide to the new LinkedIn company pages for content marketers, and Search Engine Journal posts free Google tools for generating great web content ideas.

Social Media Today posts thinking strategically about content curation, and a Mashable posts no less than 40 new digital media resources.

Finally, Marketing Sherpa’s inaugural Optimization Summit, June 1st – 3rd in Atlanta, is fast running out of room.  Those interested are urged to register soon!

SEO & Search:

Marylene Delbourg-Delphis authors a great piece about the real nature of SEO power words at her site, and Distilled’s Tom Critchlow shows “how to make SEO happen” at SEOmoz.

ClickThrough Marketing reveals the biggest search engine marketing spenders, and Forbes’ Jeff Bercovici reports that Demand Media shares have tanked as a result of Google’s Farmer/Panda update.

In a related post, Search Engine Land’s Matt McGee reports that Google has lowered the boom on eHow, and Pamela Parker reports that the big G is planning to distinguish poor quality landing pages from policy violations.

SEOptimise publishes 30+ resources for Google’s Farmer/Panda update, while DIY SEO gleans the opinions of 45 experts on the biggest mistakes that small businesses make with SEO and online marketing.

Smart guest post by Level 343’s Gabriella Sannino about the need for customized social media and SEO strategies is at Search Engine Journal, and Search Engine Watch posts a great piece on “granular” SEO analytics.

Michael Gray addresses steps to make your website look more brand-like to Google at his SEO blog, and Kimberly Castleberry shares Matt Cutts’ video addressing how to prove your content is original at her site.

Search Engine Land post discusses an “Outbrain” study showing that search drives both more and better traffic to content sites than does social media.

Rand Fishkin looks at detailed data about the relative influence of Facebook and Twitter on Google search rankings at SEOmoz: interesting!

Website Magazine posts an article on 2011 search marketing trends, while Marketing Sherpa discusses capturing future seasonal traffic lifts with four SEO factors.

Ann Smarty guest posts on how to highlight your brand’s name in Google Reader search results at Search Engine Journal, and Linkbuildr discusses tactics for keeping your link-building “fresh.”

SEOmoz’s Dr. Pete discusses eight “easy wins” for on-page SEO, and Search Engine Land offers six simple SEO tips for small businesses.

On a much more ambitious note, SEO Book discusses starting an SEO business, and Level 343 takes on writing for your website visitors.

Finally, SEOmoz announces Pro SEO Boston, scheduled for May 16th and 17th.

Social Media Marketing:

The Social CMO proposes a new measure of social media success, namely, return-on-relationship (ROR) rather than ROI.

How to optimize your brand’s Facebook page for search engines is addressed at Read Write Web (Biz), while All Facebook posts tips for using Facebook features to market your brand.

Top Rank’s Lee Odden posts understanding B2B social media via infographics, and Social Media Examiner cites a study showing that small businesses benefit most from social media.

Pure Driven discusses how to protect your company from “dysfunctional” social media strategies, and Social Marketing Forum posts a thoughtful piece about social media advertising.

iMedia Connection posts simple tips for Facebook and Twitter success, as well as 10 Facebook lessons learned from Apple vs. Google.

The book “Marketing lessons from the Grateful Dead” is discussed by Mack Collier, while Brian Solis announces that his Engage 2.0 in now online and available at bookstores.

Social Media Examiner posts how to use geolocation in your marketing initiatives as well as ways to use social media to sell successfully.

Mark Schaefer posts a video interview with Jay Baer at {grow} in which Baer shares his advice for those wanting to go into social media consulting.

Speaking of Jay Baer, he ponders if Twitter is massively overrated at Convince and Convert, while For Free Blog discusses what makes a great tweet.

Finally, Social Media Examiner headlines its weekly news with YouTube’s new YouTube Live streaming video feature.




As promised, today we’re going to delve into the nitty-gritty of generating keyphrases to optimize content that targets all phases of our prospects’ buying cycle: awareness, research, and purchase.  To capture our prospects “clicks” in each phase of the buying cycle, we’ll want to devise a keyphrase strategy that places our brand front and center, throughout.  So without further ado, let’s get into how to develop an effective keyphrase strategy for conversions optimization!

Building your core keyphrase “seed” list

Every SEO copywriting and content marketing campaign works with a core (“seed”) list of researched keyphrases that reflects the entire buying cycle,”and yes, that can translate into one monster of a list!  If you have a ten-page site, your seed keyphrase list will most likely contain fewer then 100 keyphrases.  At the other end of the spectrum, if you’ve a large e-commerce site, you’re probably looking at thousands of keyphrases across product categories, brands, and sub-categories.

Regardless of the relative depth and complexity of your site, the same SEO strategy/conversions goal applies: Get found, then convert!

Let’s begin at the beginning.  Your first task, while seemingly daunting, is actually very simple:  brainstorm your keyphrases.  Put yourself in the customers’ shoes and try to figure out the terms they would most likely use to find you. Don’t forget keyphrases that reflect customer preferences, such as:

  • Your location (essential if you want local traffic)
  • Product brand names
  • Product makes/models
  • Individual/Unique (U.S.P.)

If you’re working on a large site with multiple sections, and feeling overwhelmed, simply choose one section of your site and do SEO research just for that:  “Eat the elephant, one bite at a time!” (The same advice applies to smaller sites.)  The ultimate goal is to conduct keyphrase research across all site sectors/buying cycle phases, incorporating your brand terms, products/services, and general, overarching keyphrases.

Brainstorming brilliant keyphrases

Let’s start with this example:  Your client is in the business of selling bracelets both locally and nationally, through their website.  And let’s assume that you want to focus your efforts on “leather bracelets” versus other possibilities for that section of their e-commerce site.

Some possible “seed” keyphrases to begin your research could be:

  • Leather bracelet
  • Leather bracelets
  • Braided leather bracelet
  • Women’s leather bracelet
  • Men’s leather bracelet
  • Women’s jewelry
  • Men’s jewelry
  • Silver bracelets (for contrasting results/negative research)

Now, let’s do some keyword research using Google’s free tool.  Here are the initial results for the search term “leather bracelet”:


In considering the yearly-averaged, approximate search volume, understand that even poorly trafficked terms can be important to your campaign, depending upon what you’re selling.  This is especially true of B2B marketing:  there may be only three searches/month for a particular piece of industry-specific equipment, but capturing just one of these web surfers could result in a huge, six- figure sale!

For your content message, you’ll want to look hard at the “approximate/local search volume” results of keyphrase research.  People tend to search more for different products/services at different times and seasons of the year. Referring to our “bracelets” example, it’s clear that searches for “silver leather bracelet” spiked in April.  It follows that you’d want to generate a lot of solid content around “silver leather bracelet” for a spring SEO campaign focus.

So try this: run your most general keyphrases through Google’s keyword tool, and see what happens.  Now, you have your SEO “seed” list. Then run those keyphrases from your seed list though the keyword research tool, and see what happens…A more refined list!  That’s how you can “drill down” and distill the most effective, high-octane keyphrases, from the most general over-arching terms down to the most specific, to use throughout your content to capture your prospects’ clicks!

Stay tuned, as next week we will discuss the process of “keyphrase filtering”!

Wow, people still talk about doorway pages? Turns out, that answer is “yes,” and Google has changed how they define them (which doesn’t make sense to me – I always thought of doorway pages as copy that’s been optimized for one keyterm for the sole purpose of driving traffic.)

I suppose, like leg warmers, neon and parachute pants, doorway pages have to come back in vogue. People discuss them in forums as a new, easy way to generate content. Sure, the new brand of doorway pages may seem sexier, have a different name or enjoy a cutting edge reputation (better design – yeah!). But they still won’t help you convert. Nor will the search engines respect them as “real content.” Spam has been…and will always be…spam.

Side note with doorway pages: Where I see folks inadvertently do this is around local content pages. Say your bank has 10 branches scattered around Washington State. Some banks create the same sales copy for all locations, and simply swap out the city name. Easy strategy, bad planning. Instead, create custom pages for all locations. Besides, including references to local attractions shows that you’re involved in your community – and this can be a major selling point for folks who prefer to “buy local.”