Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Study: does it pay to invest your time in long-tail keywords?

Here is a study documenting the value of long tail keywords ("LTKW"). These are "... long and specific keyword phrases that generate little traffic and few conversions each" as defined in the study.The are really referred to as "long tail" because of the shape of the curve on a graph of frequency of use of a set of keywords. These are the phrases less often searched for, and the graph shows a "long tail" going out to as far as there are phrases being graphed.

This study was done using data from AdWords campaigns, but the principle pertains to optimizing your web pages just the same.

The study revealed that the impact of  LTKW is different for different businesses. Some receive a large percentage of their total traffic from these phrases, while others receive only a small percentage. These phrases appear to be more important to SKU-based commodity retailers. That seems to me to make sense.

The author of the posting also pointed out that a company in the study that received "... only 8% of its sales through the long tail keywords made a significant amount of money with them." That got my attention! Even when the percentage is smaller, there can still be real money involved. Who wants to leave money on the table when doing business?

In the clinic, we always emphasize the value of paying attention to LTKW. It is nice to see some documentation of that concept.

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Keeping Good Blogs Alive

In preparing for a class on blogging, I went back and reviewed some of my old posts on blogs and blogging to see if there was something there that would be useful to present in class. I came across a couple of old posts that I thought were still relevant and very useful information.

One of them made a reverence to using "hard links" on your blog template to boost performance on postings of particular interest. I have liked that idea and have already used it to create links to my "tags" that I thought would be useful and convenient for my readers. I don't really want to create hard links to posts on the template because I think it would quickly become so overwhelming, such a large volume of links, as to be more confusing than useful. What that made me think of is the idea of creating a new post occasionally that points back to selected posts from the past.. That seems to me a better way to accomplish the desired result, as it allows me to reflect on and add new thoughts or comments to the material contained in the old posts, while reviving them with new links.

That is when I discovered that finding an old post was not all that easy, even when I knew just what I was looking for! I had no trouble finding the post to read, but locating the individual posting so I could link directly to it was much harder. This made me think about how valuable direct links could be to someone reading the blog who would not have the information to find a particular posting from the past without conducting a real search. That is important because you don't want people to have to search for something that you want them to read. You want to make  it very easy for them to find what you want them to read!

Anyway, with a little effort, I solved the problem and here are the two posts I wanted to revive:

First is a post with some tips for making a blog effective. One of the tips from the author I was quoting dealt with "Reigniting old posts", and his suggestion was a different idea, but triggered the idea I am proposing. I thought ihis suggestions were good in themselves, but was also interested that his ideas suggested something else to me that I used instead. It is important to keep in mind that ideas that you gather in your research should always be adjusted to your own needs and environment. This situation forms a good example of that concept.

Second is a post with an example of a company that found a blogging strategy that increased its business more than ten times! Anything that can do that is certainly worth taking a look at to see how it can be adapted to your circumstances! This example was a winery that gave wine to bloggers who had written about wine. The gift of the wine caused the bloggers to write about the wine on their blogs and the activity and attention turned into a big increase in sales for the winery.

Researching marketing is good because you learn things that can be useful to you as you can see from the "6 Tips" article, but creativity really makes for the big payoff as illustrated by the story in the second article.

Footnote: The winery article said that they increased their business by "more  than a factor of ten"! That is a nice increase, but if I read the numbers correctly, their increase was way, way more than a factor of ten!! Check it out and see what factor you come up with...

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Want privacy on Facebook? Here is how to get some

"... Facebook has given users many granular controls over their privacy, more than what's available on other major social networks."

Facebook is a site that can offer substantial benefits, under the right circumstances, to people promoting businesses or services over the web. It also presents some challenges, often due to the mingling of personal information with commercial purposes. The article referenced here provides some help in understanding what privacy controls are available and how to use them. With this information in hand, one is in a much better position to assess the situation in light of one's own circumstances, and to set up controls that can help bridge the gap between the demands of different uses.

The key here seems to be in understanding what privacy controls one can set in connection with custom groups that define the status of persons in your friends list. Making clear which of your friends is personal and which is commercial might make using Facebook more productive.

Another point that strikes me in this article is the caution about joining groups and how that can compromise what you have done with other privacy settings.

Finally, games and "fun things" sent by friends introduce real dangers to your system because of how your response can allow other applications access to your information. Personally, I am reluctant to participate in any of these games for that reason.

To read the complete article, click on the title above.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Google Local Business Center Categories

I just discovered another tool that could be very useful in optimizing a site for a local business. This is a list of the categories that Google uses to identify local business listings. The really handy part of this list is that it includes a list of keywords that are associated with each category. This makes it easy to scan the list for ideas of categories that might be relevant to your business. Using this in combination with the Google Toolbar, which allows you to highlight words on a page that match those entered in the Google search field, makes it very easy to scan the listing for occurrences of selected phrases to determine what categories Google thinks they are relevant to.

I came across this list while browsing the Search Engine Guide blog, which is another handy source of useful information. While not completely clear what the source of the list is, the information should be helpful as a reference for any of your keyword optimization efforts.

To see the complete listing, click on the title of this article.

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