How Does Google Search Work?

May 11th, 2012
By admin

Recently, Matt Cutts, the “press secretary” for Google, released a video titled “How Does Google Search Work?”.

If you are a beginner to SEO or a business owner who is trying to figure what SEO, or search engine optimization, is all about, I strongly urge you to watch this 8 minute video.

SEO for Beginners — A PowerPoint Presentation

June 6th, 2011
By Jami Broom

A few weeks ago, Erin Marton (aka @burghliving) asked me to give a presentation for Realtors at the R-Day Conference here in Pittsburgh. Since many Realtors are managing their own website and online marketing, I put together a presentation that anyone could use to better understand internet marketing and SEO.

The following PowerPoint presentation was geared for Realtors, but I think that anyone – be it a small business owner managing their own online marketing or a busy marketing executive exploring the options online, could benefit from this overview of SEO and what it involves.

Enjoy!

If you were an SEO of a large company, what would you include in your 2011 strategy?

April 5th, 2011
By admin

This video from Matt Cutts, aka The Google Guy, covers what search engines will be looking for in 2011 from webmasters and Internet Marketers. I think the name of the game here is SOCIAL.

Getting Your Site Listed in the Yellow Pages (for Free)

January 10th, 2011
By admin

The Yellow Pages? Those annoying large books left on my door step, wasting paper because no one has used them since the invention of the Internet? Noooo….not THOSE yellow pages, rather YellowPages.com or YP.com, as it’s known these days, the ONLINE version of the bulky books, which people actually DO still use.

Yellow Pages Submission

As a local business, I’m sure you’re trying to find the best ways to market your local business online and if you’re not, you should be, if only to Increase Your Local Search Results. One way to spread the word, help increase your SEO, and join the 21st century is to list your business, not just with search engines, but with local directories, too.

As a small or local business, it might seem like a simple thing to do: to submit your URL to the Yellow Pages website. But go to YellowPages.com and there is no link and no section that says “add your business” or “submit URL”. Why not? Isn’t it free, you ask. Yes, it is free to list your site — of course they (YellowPages.com) want you to pay for advertising, but you don’t have to pay for advertising to get your site listed — it’s free. And if you click on the link on YellowPages.com that says Advertise With Us, you’ll be taken to the correct page to submit your URL on YellowPages.com and list your site, which is here.

This site takes you away from YellowPages.com and its branding and moves you over to ATT Advertising Solutions. Which is confusing. But it’s still free and it’s still the YellowPages or YP.com.

These are the series of logos you may pass in your quest to list your website for free on YellowPages.com

Yellow Pages Listing

Yellow Pages Logo

ATT Advertising Solutions Listing

Once you’ve reached the ATT Advertising Solutions page, you must click the link that says “Get Started”. From here, you’ll enter your business phone number to see if you’re website/business is already listed. If not, you’ll be taken through a series of questions to get your site listed. This should take you somewhere between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on how fast you type and what information you’d like included.

Now here’s the tricky part: after you’ve finished providing your business details, YellowPages.com, or YP.com, or ATT Advertising Solutions, or whatever they want to call themselves, requires you to verify by phone, which means they will call you with a code, and then you will need to enter the code into your website profile before proceeding. The phone number they call HAS TO BE the phone number you provided for your business. And YOU HAVE TO ANSWER the phone, because this is when YellowPages.com will tell you the code, which you will then use to type into your profile.

There is, unfortunately, no option to verify by mail, and it’s best to not even bother filling out your company information unless you are ready to verify by phone, because you can’t save your work and come back later.

So that’s it, and that’s enough. Your listing should look something like this when you’re finished.

The Yellow Pages isn’t the only place you should list your website online. There are plenty more sites, like Yelp, and HotFrog. Here is a list of more sites for local businesses to submit to.

By the way, if you’re fancy and tech savvy enough, opt out of receiving the Yellow Pages that come to your door step by going to: www.yellowpagesoptout.com

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Hey, someone actually reads my posts, because @nezencreation tweeted me after reading this to say that he followed my instructions but the Google Chrome browser ‘went into an endless loop at the “call me” step’. Which is unfortunate, since this is the last step and that’s a real pain in butt. So…..use Firefox or Explorer browsers when setting up your account until YP.com gets their bug fixed.

Google Instant is Instantly Wrong – Will Adwords Users Be Penalized?

October 27th, 2010
By Jami Broom

I was Googling around, checking in on some local listings and seeing if Pittsburgh’s Google Local listings (or ‘Places’, whatever it Google is calling it today) had any of the new changes that Andrew Shotland was talking about in his blog post last night, when I noticed that Google Instant is very screwy.

First I was Googling for ‘pittsburgh dui lawyers’ (not for myself, for a client!!) and then I wondered if a more common search term would display the new changes, so I typed in ‘pittsburgh dentists’, and this is what happened:

So there is one dentist (the first result) that comes up in the sponsored results, but the rest of the PPC ads are lawyers, left over from my previous search. All of the organic listings are dentists.

Obviously, you can see where this could cause problems. My questions is, if I were to click on one of the “Lawyer” pay-per-click ads after using “pittsburgh dentists” as a search term, would the law firm be charged for that click? I know the lawyer isn’t bidding on “pittsburgh dentists” for a keyword!!

These two search terms are completely unrelated, but what happens when search terms ARE more closely related, for instance, what if I typed in “tennis shoes” and then Googled “work shoes” — will Adwords advertisers be charged for clicks they didn’t bid on?

Would love to hear your insight and comments.

p.s. Notice that Google Places (what I was originally trying to have displayed) did not show up at all!!

Bing & FaceBook “Friend” Each Other

October 19th, 2010
By Jami Broom

Find out what your friends are “liking” without ever logging into FaceBook.

Bing & FaceBook recently partnered up and now the Microsoft-owned search engine will be incorporating even more FaceBook “social content” into their search results. Search for a pizza place and see how many of your friends “like” the pizza place.

Just another way search and social media are becoming more and more intertwined.

Watch Bing’s video about how this is going to work:

Just as an aside, this video is being brought to you by YouTube, which is owned by Google. Speaking of Google, how long do you think it will take Google to jump on this bandwagon? And is it a smart move by FaceBook, to not incorporate better search on their own website?

Be a Better Tweeter — A How-to for Beginners

September 16th, 2010
By admin

With PodCamp Pittsburgh coming up fast this weekend, I thought I’d write a short post about some Twitter functions and tools available and how they are used.

I remember sitting in a PodCamp session last year (unrelated to Twitter) and a woman asked me what the hashtag was used for and how to send someone a message or DM. If you have been using Twitter for a while, it may not be obvious what the newbies need to know or should know about how to get started with Twitter. And if you are new to Twitter, knowing what some of these functions mean will make your life a lot less confusing and will catch you up to speed so you don’t feel so out of the loop.

1) Hashtag: A method to track conversations about given topics. (Also often used to clarify sarcasm, make a stronger point.)
Example: #pittsburgh #pcpgh5

Using a hashtag before a word will allow people to search for that word on Twitter search. For example, as I type this people are tweeting about the hostage situation at Johns Hopkins and they are using the hashtags #baltimore, #johnshopkins and #jsu for those who are following the story and trying to find out information about their loved ones, who may be working at the hospital.

At PodCamp Pittsburgh 5, we will be using the hashtag #pcpgh5. There will be screens set up that will show all the tweets coming from people who are using that hashtag, so people at the conference can follow other people at the conference, as well as see pertinent information, like what’s for lunch!

Hashtags can also be used to make a clearer point.
twitter hashtag

2) Replies: Using the @ in front of someone’s name will allow you to respond to them, so they can see your tweet in their “replies” column or section of their Twitter account. You can also use this mid-tweet to gain someone’s attention. Careful though – everyone can also “see” this reply in their Twitter stream, if they happen to follow you both, or if they read your Twitter profile. For example:
reply twitter

3) Direct Messages or DMs: This allows you to send someone a message that only they can see. This can ONLY be done if they are following you. If they’re not following you, you’ll have to @them to get their attention, or try a more old-school, traditional approach — like email!

4) Retweets: This is what you do if you like what someone you follow has tweeted and you’d like to also share it with YOUR followers. Retweeting is the heart of social media. For example:
reply twitter

5) OH: Overheard. This is when you tweet something that you actually just heard IRL (in real life).
For example:
overheard tweet explain

6) Twitter Applications: Twitter’s interface isn’t the easiest to see what’s going on — using Twitter apps, either on the desktop or iPhone, make it much easier to interact and socialize, as well as retweet, use URL shorteners, and upload pictures through other Twitter clients, like Plixi or TwitPic.

I generally use TweetDeck or HootSuite on my desktop and Echofon or Twittelator for the iPhone.

7) URL Shorteners: You only get 140 characters, so what to do when a link or URL takes up most of that space? Use a URL shortener like bit.ly or is.gd.

I hope these explanations and tools can make a better tweeter out of you! Let me know what I missed in the comments below. For more advanced users, I blogged a while back on #followfriday etiquette, if you’d like to know what I think about the concept.

Google Updates ‘Updates’ to ‘Real Time Search’

August 26th, 2010
By admin

Google appears to have updated its ‘Updates’ section of their search engine, with a URL of its own, calling it “Google Real Time“. Real time search includes conversation people are having right now on Twitter and FaceBook. Check out the video below.

Top Five Easy Tasks That Will Increase Your Local Search Results

August 19th, 2010
By Jami Broom

If most of your business comes from local shoppers and other local businesses, or if you are trying to increase your local market share, there’s a few things you can easily do that will better your chances of being found on local searches.

For instance, when someone Googles “widgets pittsburgh”, there are a variety of ways search engines display results — how can you make your website appear in those local results?

These easy tasks are the top five things I do when helping small businesses compete for traffic online.

1. Claim Local Listings

By claiming your local listing in Google Places or Bing Local Listing Center, you have more control over how your company is displayed and what keyword search terms will trigger your website to appear in the results. When you claim your listing, you can enter your business categories (hint: use your top keywords as categories).

local search

If your business has multiple locations, you can also upload the addresses to other business locations. And you can post coupons and specials through Google Places, as well as pay for sponsored ads.

2. Use Local Keywords on Your Webpage Title Tags

Within the HTML of your website are title tags for each of your pages. Placing keywords such as “Pittsburgh Widgets” in your title tags can help search engines determine where you are located, and therefore, rank your website for searches within your location.

3. List Your Business (and address) on Directories & Review Websites

Set up your business profile in local directories like SuperPages.com, CitySearch.com, Local.com and review websites like Yelp and Angie’s List.

Having your address and business profile on sites such as these indicates to search engines that your business is in the city/state that you say it is in. It is good to have links back to your websites, if possible, but even if the directories do not link back to your website, the citations about your business still play a factor. Read David Mihm’s blog post on why citations are the new link.

4. Use a Local Phone Number

Search engines can tell where you are by your area code, and place even more importance on your phone number if it is consistent across the web.

5. Ask Clients/Customers to Rate Your Products/Services Online

Once you’ve set up your profiles on business review sites, ask your customers if they could rate your products or services, or fill out the Google Places review with a great testimonial. Make it easy for them, by sending them the link or giving them clear instructions.

Search engines (especially Google!) do not trust what YOU say about your website — that’s why client testimonials and reviews are so important. Also, LINKS.

How is Your Website Ranking (or Not Ranking)?

The above is a handful of easy and quick things I recommend every local business do to start increasing their local traffic and ranking higher in local listings — what are some factors you see in playing a role in local search?

PodCamp Pittsburgh

August 2nd, 2010
By admin

pcpgh5

Registration is now open for the social media event of the year  – PodCamp Pittsburgh!! For those of you who don’t know already, PodCamp Pittsburgh is a social media “unconference”, a FREE 2-day event where you can learn about social media, podcasting, blogging, tweeting, and anything technical and social.

I will be presenting a session on WordPress Plug-ins for SEO:

‘If you are interested in using, or are using WordPress.org as a content management system to manage your website or blog, find out which SEO plug-ins are beneficial in helping search engines read your website/blog, and what you can do to help boost your search engine rankings.

Keyword analysis, redirects, sitemaps, robots, and Google Webmaster Tools will be discussed.’

Hope to see you there!

podcamp pittsburgh

See more SEO and social media events.

So Easy a Caveperson Could Do It – Google Analytics

July 19th, 2010
By Jami Broom

I am always shocked when I meet with small business owners and they can’t tell me how much traffic their website receives.

Why am I surprised at this? Because tracking website visits is a fairly simple (and free) thing to do — and because, how can a business owner make any (good) business decisions without knowing what their customers are finding (or not finding) interesting on their website? Or how visitors are finding their website in the first place? Or in which city their website visitors are located?

They can’t. They can’t make good business decisions pertaining to their website or online presence without this information.

Google Analytics is one of many free SEO tools that is easy to set-up. All you need to do is create an account and place a snippet of code on your website. That’s it. So easy a caveperson could do it. (If said caveperson had an Internet connection.)

Image representing Google Analytics as depicte...
Image via CrunchBase

There’s so many features that Google Analytics provides, but at the very least business owners, (and the people who market the business) need to know which keyword phrases people are using to find their website, the referring sites that are sending traffic, and which pages people are visiting. Then, start thinking about what needs to be done differently, and how to implement a better social media marketing plan, pay per click advertising campaign, and SEO strategy.

Get Listed!

July 18th, 2010
By admin

Listing your website with the major search engines will help to ensure they are crawling your website. Click on each link below for a direct page where you can list your website URL.

In addition, you will want to submit your website URL to each of the main search engine’s local business directories.

Google Places

Yahoo! Local

Bing Local Listing Center

Social Media and Your Heart

June 18th, 2010
By Jami Broom

I’m kind of a jerk. It has taken me nearly two weeks to reply to a blog post by Jeffrey Inscho, which he wrote in response to a conversation originated on Twitter. The conversation was about an interview with writer Malcolm Gladwell, author of best-sellers such as Blink and The Tipping Point.

Jeffrey was in agreement with Gladwell’s stance on social media. I am not. Not completely, anyway. In the interview, Gladwell says, “People aren’t spreading ideas on Twitter, they’re spreading observations, perhaps.” I strongly disagree with this statement, for several reasons, and this statement particularly had me thinking because at the time I was preparing to give a presentation on social media at Duquesne University on this very topic — how businesses and entrepreneurs can use social media as a PR tool. You know, PR, public relations – a form of communicating ideas.

First, some background on Gladwell. He does not use social media himself. In his words, “There’s only so much you can do in a day. And I don’t feel I lack for platforms for expressing myself.” No social media? That’s one strike. His books, if you’ve never read them, can be summed up as statistical sensationalism. I first read The Tipping Point about seven or eight years ago, and while it was a very good read with some compelling arguments, I was disenchanted with Gladwell a few years later when it was apparent how easily his arguments can be disproved. That’s two.

And Google “Gladwell full of shit” and see what you find.

But the point of this is not about whether Gladwell’s populist books are bullshit, but about whether his opinions on social media have any substance to them.

And I think it largely depends on your experience with social media and how you use it. If you only use Twitter to tweet that you’ve ran a mile (big deal), or eaten strawberries with creme fraiche for lunch (who cares?) or to send a link to a music video (that one is in question), than no, you’re probably not spreading big ideas. You may be, however, making connections with people on a small level — the same as you would in the office chit-chatting about nothing – your lunch, your exercise habits, your interests.

But do you consider this statement an “idea”: “A friend gave me some really good advice. ‘Your self-esteem can’t depend on other people.’ I keep thinking about how true that is.” Is that advice or an idea? I don’t know, but it made me think. And it made me think about a friend I have that could use that very same advice at that moment, so I sent it to her.

Or what about when I make apolitical statements on Twitter, only to be bombarded with people telling me how I should form my opinions or how I should or shouldn’t vote? I do this quite often, mainly because I like to hear other people’s opinions, especially when I can’t make up my own mind. They are spreading their thoughts and ideals directly towards me. And I should note, these aren’t random people, they’re people I have come to learn and know and respect, mostly from their writings, but also due to having listened to their ideas over time.

Or what about this scenario: Local Pittsburgh Blogger, Secret Agent L, uses Twitter and she also blogs about all the good deeds her crew of secret agents are doing. She’s recruiting more good-doers and encouraging people to “be nice, no exceptions!” . In fact, local t-shirt company, Wear Pittsburgh, has recently made a t-shirt for her, further spreading her ideas about how to treat others.

Also, take this very blog post as an example — if I hadn’t seen Jeffrey’s tweet about the Gladwell interview, I never would’ve wrote this post spreading MY ideas about social media.

That said, if you’re simply posting what you’re doing on Twitter and not getting in on conversations, or just using it to read the news, no, it’s not a vehicle for spreading ideas. If you’re only using FaceBook to login every few weeks and see what your friends from high school are doing or where they went on vacation this summer, no you’re probably not spreading ideas.

But if you’re using social media to meet people, make connections, learn, and share — hell, yeah you’re going to be integrating yourself and your thoughts and your opinions and your mindset into that mix. Will it be a big deal? Maybe not to all of your “fans” or “followers”, but even if it’s to one or two, you’re making a connection.

Which brings me to “friends” and “followers” — I much prefer the name “followers” over “friends”. I have several “friends” on FaceBook that I haven’t talked to in over 15 years. These are not my friends. I am not delusional in thinking I have 160-some friends. “Followers” on the other hand, can mean anything, but I’m also not delusional either in thinking that my followers are following my every tweet. I bet only about 5% of them do. And this is where I can say I probably do agree with Gladwell, and especially Jeffrey, on some level. But 5% is 70 people, and those 70 people, the ones I interact with everyday online, the ones I see at “tweet-ups”, or even in the grocery store, do have an impact me on me, at least on some level, and they do own my heart.

Jeffrey made a good point in his blog post about the number of followers or fans you have not being a very good metric for success,  ”marketers are using antiquated metrics to measure online ’success’. The bigger a network gets, the easier it is for true communication to break down.” That’s true – the more followers or fans or friends you have, does not make any big difference — it’s how you communicate with those people, how you engage them, and how you respond to them that is going to have an impact. I’m down with that.

And maybe 140 characters isn’t quite enough to spread ideas, but it’s enough to start conversations. And maybe the conversation only starts on Twitter, but it branches off to deeper discussions via other social media vehicles such as blogs, which can then be linked to from other blogs and then tweeted about or re-tweeted about. Or maybe that then encourages other people to write about the same idea on other places on the Internet, such as articles, and wikipedia entries, and who knows what else, but the point is — of course we’re spreading ideas because we’re COMMUNICATING.

That’s right. Social media is a form of communication. And, yes, while the platforms (MySpace, Friendster come to mind) may come and go, the connections are still made, conversations are still had, and people still learn from each other and share with each other. It’s very simple really — of course you can spread ideas through social media, the same as you can spread ideas through everything else you say and do.

Social Media & PR – Seminar & PowerPoint Slides

June 11th, 2010
By Jami Broom

Yesterday, I had the opportunity of speaking at Duquesne University’s Annual Entrepreneur’s Growth Conference on Social Media & PR. There was a great turn-out and people had a lot of great questions during the Q&A portion.

I also met some really great people, including people I’ve been following on Twitter for a while, but haven’t had the privilege of meeting in person like Lauren Lawley-Head of the Pittsburgh Business Times, Jeff Schroeffel of Pittsburgh Internet Consulting, and Chris Chris Dilla, owner of Bocktown Beer and Grill.

And I met some great NEW people like Megan Burns, Rich Wilson, and Salene Kraemer, who was even live-tweeting during the presentation!

Here are my slides from the presentation:

I hope to make it back next year, and to possibly partner up with Paul Furiga again on another Social Media & PR seminar.

Social Media & PR – Changing the Game Session

May 11th, 2010
By admin

socialmedia


Next month I’ll have the opportunity to speak about social media at the 12th Annual Entrepreneur’s Growth Conference held at Duquesne University here in Pittsburgh. The problem? I only have 20 minutes to talk about social media!!

I will be doing a session with Paul Furiga of WordWrite Communications on “Why PR is More Important—and More Affordable Than Ever: How Social Media & Online Networks Are Changing The Game”. It’s a very broad topic and every entrepreneur is curious about social media, whether or not they’re already dabbling in it and no matter what their skill-level is. So the challenge is, what information should I put out there with only a 20 minute time-slot?

I am planning to demonstrate how social media (Tweets, Videos, Status Updates, Blogging, and Social Bookmarking) can be integrated into an overall business strategy, as well as discuss the applications and tools that can make social media easier to use. I also want to talk about the tangible items (clients, customers, sales, publicity) that businesses can work towards obtaining through the use of social media. AND, I want to cover how important social media is becoming in searches, and therefore, search engine optimization. Oh, and then there’s the PR aspect. 20 minutes. That’s it.

If you were an entrepreneur attending a conference, what information would you like to hear regarding social media? What questions would you like to have answered? Which of the above ideas would be most pertinent to YOU?

Two Must-Have (Free) SEO Tools

April 30th, 2010
By admin

For those of you managing your own SEO efforts, or if you’re simply interested in seeing what keywords your blog or website rank for, or how many links are pointing inbound to your site, there’s a couple of free SEO tools that make it quite simple (if you use the FireFox browser).

seo tools for firefox

1) Rank Checker — This tool allows you to insert multiple keywords and then check their ratings against any given domain across all three major search engines. You can also export the results in a .csv file for use in Excel. The beauty is, you don’t have to worry about your rankings being skewed due to “self-searching”, plus it works pretty quick.

So, if you’ve ever wondered where your website ranks for certain keywords (don’t forget to test misspellings), now you’ll be able to figure it out without googling each and every keyword.

2) SEO for FireFox — So much valuable information here! You can easily see a website’s PageRank, age, the number of Yahoo! links pointing at the domain, not to mention .edu and .gov links, as well as data pulled in from Del.icio.us, Technorati, Bloglines, and Alexa. This tool works whenever you do searches in Google, so you can actually see all of the data for multiple websites.

Speaking of finding out the number of in-coming links to your website, you can also do this yourself by using Yahoo’s Site Explorer — go to yahoo.com and type in the search box: site:www.yourdomain.com to find a complete listing. Take advantage of this great tool soon, because rumor has it that it will not be around much longer.

Yahoo! Inc.

Tell me what you think of these tools:-) Love to hear your comments.

Adwords: The Best Fish Swim Deep — Linking to your Product Pages

April 26th, 2010
By Jami Broom

Last month (has it been a whole month already?!) I wrote a blog post about how the number of keywords in an AdGroup can affect your cost-per-click when using Google Adwords. The reason is due to targeting — the more targeted your ads are to your products or services, the better your ads will fare, the less money you’ll end up paying in the end.

deep-links

In the post, I touched briefly on the importance of deep-linking within the context of your written ad, or linking to pages within your website that are not your home page or category pages, but a specific product page.

Deep-linking is an important strategy for those of you managing your own Adwords campaigns, so let’s take a deeper look at deep-linking.

If you were to search for “Pittsburgh pay per click”, you will see that I have bid on that keyword. You will also see a link below the ad: www.ClicksInternetMarketing.com. This appears to be a link to my home page, but when you click on the ad, you are taken to a deeper link, http://www.clicksinternetmarketing.com/ppc-services. This is the page that gives information about the pay per click services I offer, specifically.

ppc

People like landing on a page they were looking for, and Google knows this, so they like it, too. You are more likely to have conversions (actions taken by visitors – phone calls, request a quote, downloads, sales, etc.) if visitors are first taken to the information they were seeking — the product or service page — and do not have to click from your home page and look for another page, etc.

These pages are also called “landing pages” — sometimes landing pages are not just simply the product/service page, but a web page specifically designed for an ad. Essentially every page on your website is a landing page.

The bottom line here? Swim deep. I’m no fisher(wo)man, but I can tell you that it will effect your bottom-line, or cost-per-click. By deep-linking, you then have to TARGET your ads to that page — your keywords will reflect only the information on the specific product page, your ad copy will be written only for that particular product, etc. Therefore, users who see your ad will be more likely to click on it (increasing your click-through-rate). AND, visitors who click on your ad are much more likely go to your website and actually DO something (browse around, click on other pages, convert).

How many of you are using deep-linking or simply sending visitors to your home page?

How Many Keywords per AdGroup?? (Hidden Costs of Google Adwords – Post #3)

March 25th, 2010
By Jami Broom

As discussed in previous posts, if you are using Google AdWords, or plan to use it, you need to be aware of some of the default settings and features that will cause you to pay more for each click, and how to avoid those hidden charges.

ppc-pittsburgh

The number of keywords or keyword phrases in each of your ad groups is yet another small feature that can have a BIG impact on your bottom line. (If you’d like to see how much of an impact, check out the Google Adwords Tax Calculator.)

Let’s say you have 1,000 keywords defining your products or services. You’ve put them all into one ad group and now you need to create ad copy. You should create multiple ad copy for testing and targeting. Your ad copy should reflect your keywords, but since you have 1,000 keywords stuffed in one ad group, it is impossible for your ad copy to be targeted to a specific product or service. If your ad copy doesn’t target your keywords, which should reflect the content on your landing page, your click-through-rate will decrease, which will cause your cost-per-click (or CPC) to increase.

Sadly, nothing is simple. Let me explain further.

The reason that stuffing all 1,000 keywords into one ad group will decrease your click-through-rate, is because if someone Googles your keyword, and your ad copy appears, the relevant keyword (if it’s in your ad copy!) will be bolded, which guides people to click on your ad. Testing has proved that if ad copy is relevant to what the searcher is searching for, the searcher will be more likely to click on your ad.


Not writing relevant ad copy decreases your click-through-rate, which will signal to Google Adwords that your ad is not relevant, causing your cost-per-click to INCREASE. Totally not cool.


To avoid this debacle, it is generally good practice to limit the number of keywords per ad group. There is much debate over the “right” ratio of keywords to ad group, but a good rule of thumb is to only cover the keywords of the landing page to which you are directing traffic. Which brings us to another point: Deep Linking! Don’t send searchers to your home page (unless they are seeking your brand, specifically) — send them to a specific product/service page.

For example: You are a baker and you offer five products (pastries, pies, bread, cakes, and muffins). One of your keywords is “blueberry pie”. When someone searches for “blueberry pie”, you do not want them to see ad copy that reads:

Get a bunch of baked goods here
The best bakery in Pittsburgh
www.generic-bakery.com

Instead, your ad copy should reflect the content on the page that you are sending your paid visitors to. For example:

Our pies taste just like Grandma’s
Apple, Cherry, & Blueberry Pie -
www.generic-bakery.com/pies

This way, when someone searches “Blueberry Pies” – they will get precisely what they asked for, be more likely to click on your ad, and, if your website is enticing enough, be more likely to EAT YOUR PIE. Win!

All of this was a round-about-way of explaining WHY you don’t want to have all your keywords in one ad group, nor do you want to have keywords pertaining to your pastries in the same ad group as keywords pertaining to your blueberry pie.

You could even break it up further and have a landing page on your website for blueberry pies, apple pies, and cherry pies with three separate ad groups that reflect only the keywords and ad copy for that particular type of pie.

Takeaway: If you can break down each ad group to only hold 10-20 keywords, you’re doing pretty darn good.

I would love to hear your thoughts about the “right” number of keywords for an ad group, or about your experience on “The Hidden Costs of Adwords”!

If you’re really into Adwords, be sure to read my other two posts on The Hidden Costs of AdWords – In the first post I show you why keyword matching is important and in the second post, why you should be using negative keywords.

Negative Keywords (Hidden Costs of Google Adwords – Post #2)

February 23rd, 2010
By Jami Broom

Negative keywords. What is this – alphabetic algebra? Not quite, but it does involve subtracting keywords out of your Google Adwords (or other pay per click) campaign. Why would you want to subtract keywords? Because it could save you a lot of money. That’s why.

Using negative keywords is an integral part of running a successful Adwords campaign. In my last post, I gave an introduction on the hidden costs of Google Adwords and discussed the importance of keyword matching. Today we’re taking keyword matching one step further with negative keywords.

Let me give an example of why you should be using negative keywords in your campaigns. (If you would like a formal definition of negative keywords, Google Adwords help section explains them).

Let’s say you sell a line of razors. Some of your razors are electric. So you use the keyword ‘electric razors’. Sounds reasonable, but what if someone is searching for an electric blanket? You still are using one of those keywords, ‘electric’, in your campaign.

In order to ensure your ad does not pop up when someone searches for ‘electric blanket’, you need to use ‘blanket’ as a negative keyword. In the below example, RotoShave, needs to incorporate the use of negative keywords into their campaign.

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You’re probably wondering why not using negative keywords would cost you money, because if someone is searching for blankets, why would they click on ‘razors’, anyway? Good point, but there’s several reasons, the least likely reason being an accidental click and the more likely reason being that people misread ads. A much bigger reason, and a very hidden cost, is that having your ad appear in irrelevant search results causes your click through rate to decrease, which in turn, causes your cost-per-click to rise.

If you want to calculate how much money you’re wasting by not incorporating negative keywords, the good people from SEOBook.com came up with this nifty Google Adwords Tax Calculator.

So how do you determine which negative keywords to use in your campaign? Do some research and a lot of thinking. Look at your analytics, for starters, to see which keywords are bringing people to your site, and which keywords you are paying for. Here is an excellent blog post on negative keyword research.

There are also some tools out there, like Wordstream’s negative keyword tool, which offers a free trial. If you know of any other tools, please post them for others in the comments.

Let’s face it – Google exists by taking your money, so you should be proactive in making sure they take as little as possible :-)

Hidden Costs of Google Adwords – A Look at Keyword Matching

January 28th, 2010
By Jami Broom

Someone asked me recently, “Does Google Adwords work? Do people actually click on those ads?”. The answer is YES, YES, YES. This is how Google makes money — a LOT of money. And businesses keep buying and bidding on ads because THEY make money using Google Adwords – people DO click on the ads, and businesses DO get exposure, much faster than they would with organic searches or by using SEO methods.

As much money as there is to be made from Pay Per Click Advertising, there is also a lot of work involved with managing an Adwords campaign, including, first and foremost, ensuring your business is getting a good ROI.

From testing and tracking conversions, to performing a thorough keyword analysis, to spying on your competitors, it is imperative that businesses know what they are getting for the money. (And this goes for The ROI of Everything, not just Adwords.)

In order to manage an effective Adwords campaign and not waste money over time, you should be aware of “hidden” costs, or the default settings in your Adwords campaign. Google may or may not be evil, but the default settings in Adwords, by design, can cost you a lot of money, especially over time, if you do not manage your investment and monitor your campaigns regularly.

New advertisers can especially be wasting money, as many of them do not notice these default settings at first.

If you are thinking of beginning an Adwords campaign, or are currently managing one, there are several “hidden” costs you should be aware of. The PPC Blog recently put up a Google Tax Calculator, which allows you to estimate the money you may be wasting if you do not adjust these settings or address some of these issues. This is a really neat tool, and although I cannot vouch for its accuracy, it does an excellent job of pointing out the hidden “taxes” you should be aware of.

Over the next couple of weeks, this blog will address specific ways you can save money by configuring your Adwords account settings to what works for YOUR company, not Google’s bottom line. A general rule of thumb is, the more targeted your ad is – your ad copy, your keywords, your landing page, the less money you will need to bid in the long run.

Hidden Costs of Keyword Matching

Today, let’s hone in on Keyword Matching Options. Adwords allows for three types of keyword matching: Broad, Exact, and Phrase. (There are actually four, but we will discuss Negative keywords at a later date.)

Pay attention, because Keyword Matching Options can be very dangerous.

Broad Matching

Let’s say you are a music store and you sell guitars. If you use Broad matching, which is the Google default, for the keyword electric guitars, your ad could potentially appear when someone Googles electric ovens. I hope no one clicks on your ad, because they surely wouldn’t find what they were looking for!

In the Google search below, I only typed in electric. Notice that Musician’s Friend (2nd Ad down on the right) is targeting that keyword for their electric guitar ads. This is most likely a big waste of money for them.

adwords example

There are times you may need to use broad matching, but you should also be thinking of more innovative ways to use exact matching, phrase matching, and negative keywords.

“Phrase Matching”

Using Phrase Matching makes it possible to target your ads and get more relevant impressions and clicks. For example, if you were to use “acoustic guitars” as your search term, your keyword may appear for searches like buying an acoustic guitar or martin acoustic guitars, but it will only contain that phrase in some format, or a phrase with close synonyms, like guitar acoustics.

One thing you DO want to avoid is a phrase like how to play an acoustic guitar, because someone searching for that phrase most likely already has a guitar in hand!

Notice in the screenshot below, all of the companies that bid on “acoustic guitars” are gone. Only businesses that offer guitar lessons are bidding on the phrase “how to play an acoustic guitar”.

google adwords

[Exact Matching]

You can eliminate the problem of irrelevant searches altogether by using Exact Matching only, but this requires that you use EVERY combination of keywords possible. That’s why there are options :-)

With exact matching, only the exact phrase will appear. For example, your ad with the keyword [acoustic guitars] will only trigger when someone types in that exact phrase. Therefore, you would need to think of every possible phrase that someone might use if they were looking for an acoustic guitar, including misspellings, like acoutsic guitar.

Negative keywords are another method to use to fully target your Adwords campaign, which we’ll discuss next time.

What you should remember is that the thought that goes into developing an Adwords campaign may seem tedious and pointless when you’re first starting out, but when campaigns are set up almost randomly and by intuition only, the campaign not only wastes money, it may also not have any ROI whatsoever.

I would love to hear your thoughts or questions about using Adwords – what are you doing to increase your ROI?

Stop Chirping and Sing a Song, Twitterers.

January 15th, 2010
By Jami Broom

A warning: if you’re not familiar with Twitter and do not currently use it, this post will be lost upon you. I advise you to first read the twitter manual.

If you are a heavy Twitter user, and you are a fan of the meme, #followfriday, raise your hand. If you didn’t raise your hand, I believe it’s not because the meme itself is a noisemaker and a complete waste, but the way people are USING it, is sometimes…well, annoying.

You see, #followfriday is like a tribute – if you really like someone’s tweets, in particular, you pay tribute to them on a Friday, by telling all your followers that they should, too, follow this person.

This is much like social etiquette IRL, in that if you tell a group of friends they should also be friends with your new friend Sally because she just installed a new home theater, of course they’re going to welcome Sally into the group, and become friends with her in hopes of being invited to her next Super Bowl party. And Sally is going to be grateful to you for hooking her up with all these new friends that she wouldn’t have met without your help.

However, if you introduce your group of friends to 1,000 people at once and tell them to be friends with them for no particular reason, your current group of friends is not going be able to keep track of all those people, or have any good reason to befriend them. Likewise, the 1,000 people that you are trying to introduce won’t get any real value from this introduction, and therefore won’t remember you or have cause to be thankful.

Here’s a case in point:

#followfriday

This person has listed (two tweets in a row!) all the people he feels are worthy of following. But what good is this doing anyone? Where is the value?

Here is another example of #followfriday, but this time the person tweeting is giving a good REASON to follow someone on Twitter:

twitter

In this example, @thehrgoddess has accomplished a few things: First, she’s established a reason for following @ldguymn – for the great leadership content of his tweet.

Secondly, she is using two memes, #leadership and #followfriday, to get her name out there for people who follow the memes. (After all, that’s how I found these people, I wasn’t following them initially!)

Thirdly, she’s established a direct one-on-one connection with @ldguymn, because he can see that she singled him out. His reply?

twitter

So ultimately, as we all know, Twitter is about building relationships. This is just one of many, many ways to make the most of our experience.

What are some other good uses you have seen of #followfriday?

WordPress Plugins for SEO Presentation

October 9th, 2009
By Jami Broom

This is the .pdf version of the WordPress Plugins for SEO presentation for my session at PodCamp Pittsburgh 4.

Leave comments/feedback about the session, as you please! I’ll write more about the session soon!

What Does Social Media Mean To Me?

August 7th, 2009
By Jami Broom

Social Media has had such a huge impact on my life, that I’ve decided to narrow down its effects on only one aspect of my life – helping small businesses grow. Grow, you ask. Yes, small businesses can increase their reach through social media.  Big Time.

Let me give you an example: Just today, I was browsing through the 650 some people I follow on Twitter, and I noticed this tweet from @illyrias (a real person I’ve also met in real life due to “tweet-ups”, blog fests, and similar interests in music).  Her tweet happened to be a re-tweet, that is, she was tweeting what someone else had previously tweeted.  It said this:
tweet

This tweet originally came from @thesonomagrille (The Sonoma Grille), which is a restaurant in Pittsburgh’s cultural district.  I have never heard of The Sonama Grille before, and I wondered if they were in California, so I decided to look at their profile and discovered in fact, they are here in Pittsburgh.  So I decided to follow them.

And then I thought, “hmmm…that FREE bottle of wine does sound appealing!”

So I re-tweeted the same tweet that @illyrias had just tweeted in hopes of getting my free bottle of wine and winning the contest.  And while I was tweeting this, I was thinking “I bet they have a good wine selection and that when my sister and her husband come to visit me in Pittsburgh, The Sonoma Grille would be a good place to take them, since my brother-in-law is kind of a wino.  I filed this information someplace in the back of my mind, so that even if I don’t win the free bottle of wine, and head down to the restaurant to enjoy the free wine with a nice dinner that I would (most likely) be paying for, I probably WILL still get there sometime soon when my sister and her husband come to Pittsburgh.
wine

Now, I don’t know how many people follow @illyrias and re-tweeted her tweet.  I don’t know how many people Re-tweeted the original tweet from The Sonoma Grille, but I can tell you that at least 2 of my 850 followers re-tweeted my tweet about the free bottle of wine within minutes.  And how many of their followers did the same?  I bet quite a few. Not to mention, all the people reading this right now.

How many potential customers does one tweet, which took 30 seconds to type, add up to over the next year?  Who knows, but I bet that one tiny tweet and one bottle of wine was damn well worth it.

And that is how I spend a lot of my time – helping small businesses grow their business, expand, and cut advertising costs by using social media and the power of the Internet.  I love seeing nothing turn into something, and to see people’s eyes grow wide with excitement.  That’s what social media means to me.

Cheers!

And don’t forget to register for this year’s PodCamp Pittsburgh, (a FREE two-day conference) where you can learn how your business or nonprofit can use Twitter, among many other wonderful social media tools, like blogging, podcasting, vlogging, and more.

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Learning about Internet Marketing (in Pittsburgh) from PEOPLE

June 15th, 2009
By Jami Broom

I spend a lot of my day, not actually performing Internet marketing for my clients, but also educating them about Internet marketing. I don’t mind at all; I enjoy explaining what I do and what I can do for people and providing examples to all the possibilities there are for improving traffic and sales.

However, if you are not a client of mine (or even if you are), you can still find plenty of free resources available locally for learning about web design, social media, blogging, search engine optimization and a host of other web-related resources. And by resources, I don’t mean reading more boring white papers or extending the length of time your poor eyeballs are already glued to your computer screen — I mean the best kind of resources — PEOPLE.

Whether you are a small business owner, a marketing professional, or perform many different roles at a nonprofit organization, you are going to need the Internet to keep people interested in your products or services, attract donors & customers, and find new ways of reaching out to clients, donors & customers.

There’s plenty of networking events out there, but you should be aware of the “meet-up” groups and professional groups that meet regularly (for free or small fees). These groups of people are the best kinds of resources, because you are connecting with people and building relationships and trust.

SEMPO Pittsburgh & The Internet Marketing & SEO Group: Free; meets monthly in evenings. Holds seminars on how to optimize websites, internet marketing, pay per click advertising, and other search engine marketing techniques. SEMPO is a national Search Engine Marketing Professional Agency.

PodCamp Pittsburgh: A yearly FREE 2-day conference with seminars on social media, blogging, web design, twitter, podcasting, and other Internet-related subjects. This year’s PodCamp will be held October 10 & 11th at the Pittsburgh Art Institute.

Pittsburgh Web Design Meet-up Group: Free group that meets monthly in the evenings.

DevHouse Pittsburgh: A free networking group for web developers in Pittsburgh; free; meets monthly.

Someone once told me the reason people never ask a question is either a) they know everything or b) they know nothing. I think the same is true for attending business and networking events – If you are already a top dog and know everything in your industry, you don’t think you need to go to these types of events. Likewise, if you feel as if you know nothing about the industry or related subject, you don’t want to make a fool of yourself.

I think both groups of people are missing out on huge opportunities. First, if you are a leader in your industry, you’re going to need new clients someday. Better to get out there now and start building relationships and keeping your status. Second, if you are new to a particular industry and ask a question, a smart person isn’t going to gape at you in horror at your stupidity. Rather, they will gladly answer your question and hope that they can someday rely upon you for referrals. And if not, they aren’t very smart:-)

I would love to see comments about any groups that I missed or that you would be interested in seeing formed.

Pay Per Click Advertising — Growing Your Business in a BAD Economy

January 12th, 2009
By admin

Recently the NY Times published an article about Search Engine Optimization, and its exponential growth during a period of ever-changing technology and in an increasingly terrible economy. With the national unemployment rate at 7.2%, the highest in 16 years, this article tells us that the SEO industry is growing like crazy (read article here).

It’s great to have a popular source validate the positive effects of Search Engine Optimization and confirm that the industry will only continue to evolve and prosper. What the article fails to mention is how important Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) is to the growth and expansion of a business (any business, but small businesses, in particular). With PPC, the company controls the amount of clicks, the bidding, the monthly budget, the keywords — everything. And the search can be so extremely targeted (if the campaign is managed correctly) that ROI is a given, no matter what industry.

I recently had a potential client tell me she saw the potential effects of SEO, but couldn’t get her peers to feel the same. “The economy is so bad” she said, “that we are in survival mode”. I hear her pain, but one surefire way to gain on your competitor’s advantage, get that big client, sell that big order, is to get started with a Pay Per Click Advertising campaign.

If you’re not familiar, don’t have the resources to hire a PPC company, or are just dipping your toes in the water, a great resource for you to read comes directly from the horse’s mouth, Google Adwords.

A First Step to be Found Online — Google Local Business Center

October 22nd, 2008
By admin

A first blog post can be a little intimidating, especially for a new business owner.  Plus, I have so many things I’d like to blog about, that I wasn’t sure where to begin!  But I found a list that I’d jotted down a while ago titled “Small Business First Steps to be Found Online”, and the first item on my list makes for a very good first blog topic — “Google Local Listings”.

Registering your website with Google Local Business Center will increase the chances of a searcher finding your product or service if they are in your geographical area.  For example, if someone is looking for a dentist and they google “dentist pittsburgh”, they will find a short list of 10 dentists who have registered their dentistry business with Google, in addition to the 10 search results that appear on the first page.  This is how the search results will look:

If someone simply googles “dentist”, they will find only search results of websites about dentists or for dentists, but not a listing of dentists in their area.  That page will look like this:

Google local listings are different from submitting your URL to Google, and a separate registration is required.  I recommend doing both right away: Register your business with Google Local Business Center and add or submit your URL to Google.

When you register with Google Local Business Center, you will need to verify your business either by phone (you must call using your business phone line to verify your listing) or your business mailing address (you must verify your listing through your business postal address.)

Do not expect your listing to appear automatically — sometimes it takes Google several days to update its records, or sometimes even weeks.  Typically, it should take 3-4 days.

Equally important: submitting your URL to Yahoo! and registering with Yahoo! Local Listings.

When you submit your site, be sure to use the appropriate keywords in the company description!  Otherwise how will Google know what type of business your have?  They won’t, and therefore will not be able to list your site when someone is searching for your product or service.

You can also place an image (your logo) in  your listing, offer coupons, and add a video through Google Local Business Center.

One of my clients grew her business by 30% after registering her business with Google Local Business Center.  You can not afford to miss the opportunity — did I mention it’s free?