When Learning SEO

Don’t Worry About Validation

Being afraid to ask questions to your online community will only hinder your progress. Get your validation from offline sources of your life, like work, sport or hobbies.

Have a Vested Interest

Like a website with a clear commercial nature. If you don’t know what you’re trying to sell and to whom, you will flounder about in mediocrity.

Plan Your Tests

Before you start them. If you’re starting a PPC campaign for example, take the time to read up on different testing methods and the steps involved.

Keep It Simple

It’s easy to become overwhelmed. Take everything one step at a time and don’t be too fancy – you have enough on your plate.

Small Business SEO – Why You Can’t Live Without It

small-busOne of the reasons small business can’t live without SEO is that fact that it is one of the only marketing channels available where the smaller players can compete with, and even trump big business.

Consider the marketing alternatives and the costs associated with achieving global exposure on TV, Radio or Newspaper?

So how exactly can small business utilise search marketing to compete and even thrive on the web while big business can’t?

1. Focus on the Longtail

The basic premise of the Longtail is that our culture and economy is shifting away from mainstream products and markets to a number of small, specific niches. Many of the typical constraints such as production, distribution and marketing are changing and being alleviated by technology and the internet.

Take a big site like Amazon, they must cover all their bases and sell a large number of unique items in smaller quantity. However, when consumers are faced with unlimited choice, shopping around to get exactly what you’re after becomes much easier. Niches are so successful because they allow people to satisfy and fulfil their specific interests.

With SEO it is easy to measure exactly how profitable your different niches are so that you can focus on the highest performing ones.

2. Unlimited Ad Budget

Traditional marketing tells us that we need to ‘set a budget’ for our marketing costs. When you can measure the exact cost of a conversion, why not simply keep purchasing ads while it’s profitable? As long as every ad click is costing you less than you’re making from that click (accounting for overheads), then there’s no reason to threshold your budget.

In big business, how often have you heard a marketer tell you ‘we don’t have the budget for that at the moment‘?

As a small business, armed with the tangible information of digital ads, you can now say ‘we have an unlimited budget for ads that work‘.

3. Create Valuable Alliances

Unburdened by bureaucracy, small business can easily align with other business’ when it’s mutually beneficial. Big business can often be slow to change because of procedures and legal issues making it take much longer to create strategic partnerships.

Ask your strategic partners to link to you and they will do your marketing for you. Make it easy and beneficial for them to talk about you and they won’t be able to help themselves.

4. The Personal Touch

How often have you phoned a call centre, only to be greeted by a faceless voice that tells you they can’t help because ‘it’s not standard procedure‘?

Small business has the luxury of taking the time to add that personal touch. If it makes sense to both the business and the customer, why not break the rules? When you can give people something they don’t expect you’re giving them a reason to remember and talk about you.

Rather than trying to disguise it, emphasise the fact that you’re small. Shout out the advantages to the customer; lower overheads, faster responses and savings passed onto the customer.

5. Change Often, and Quickly

With so many freely available research tools, it’s easy to stay on top of trends and discover new niches. When there is a shift in direction in a market, how long does it take a big business to react?

Small business has the advantage of flexibility. If it makes sense to change, you can do something totally different tomorrow. If it doesn’t work out, change again.

This post was written by Jack Archbold, a contributing author to Superuser and freelance SEO and Trainer.

Photo by Fisserman.

SEO For Firefox – Essential SEO Plugin

SEO is an extremely broad term, covering topics ranging from; On-page optimisation, link building, viral marketing, conversion rate enhancement, PPC (pay per click) management, competitor analysis and link authority analysis.

Now unless you’re an absolute guru, there is no way you could be an expert on all of these topics. But there’s no reason you can’t easily get a snapshot of vital data to help enhance your site architecture and search rankings.

SEO Firefox Plugin

One of the best tools to help you find an instant snapshot of data is the SEO Firefox Plugin. You can use it to easily determine:

  • Pagerank
  • Site Age
  • Indexed Links
  • Yahoo
  • Edu
  • Gov
  • Page
  • The number of Delicious bookmarks
  • Technorati and Alexa rankings
  • Google cached pages

Why should I use it?

Now if you’re a blogger or run a business Website, you may be thinking ‘I’m not that interested in SEO or learning about it’. Which is fair enough, however if you’re interested in the following then it may still be a very useful tool for you:

  • Growing your blog
  • Increasing the number of visitors that find your page
  • Directing tragetted traffic to your business site

Not all links are considered equal

Now it doesn’t take a guru to know that one of the biggest keys to a successful site is attention, and in web-terms that equates to links.

As a blogger / webmaster it’s likely you’re experienced in trying to get people to link to you, you probably also realise that it’s actually a lot harder then it sounds. If you have the funds you could outsource your SEO to a company, but if you’d prefer to try do it yourself then SEO Firefox will help you identify which links will yield you the most benefit.

Follow up to Choosing Your Webhost post; my friend that works at a los angeles marketing company sent me a review for bluehost site hosting which is one of the hosts I use.

Photo by Flod