Dan Stelter

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Dan Stelter is a SEO Writer with special interest and expertise in content development and production.

How Does Content Affect SEO?

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Years ago, when search engine optimization was in its infancy as a profession, you could build a bunch of back-links, get those keywords in the right spot on the page, and you had a pretty easy time getting to the top of the search engine rankings.  But, staying near the top of the search engine rankings is becoming increasingly difficult.  While back-links still remain the foundation for keeping you ranking high, the fact is content is quickly playing an increasingly strong role in how you rank.

How Google Evaluates Your Content

The most important thing for SEO as far as content goes is to have content meaningful for your audience.  Meaningful content gets shared, and sharing means you receive more back links.  Google simply cannot evaluate how meaningful your content is to your audience, but social signals such as Google +1s and retweets give Google a clue the content is liked by a certain number of people.

In addition to those shares, however, there are many other factors that go into how Google evaluates your content for rankings purposes:

  • Trust.  Domain names that end in .edu or .gov are automatically trusted by Google and receive a slight rankings boost over all other domain names.  This is because content at these sites tends to be higher in quality in the first place because it’s written by people who are already experts in their own niche.  PageRank is also another trust/authority signal.  If your site has a higher PageRank, its content is likely to rank higher than a site with a lower PageRank.  Notice, however, that the term “more likely” is used.  Just because one site has a higher PageRank than another does not mean that site will actually rank higher in the search engines – it’s just more likely.
  • Word flow.  Google does check how your content flows.  If it’s worded awkwardly, Google ranks it a little lower than content that reads well.  Yes, Google is that good at checking quality.  If you outsource your content to a foreign person or country, you may want to reconsider, as the quality of non-native English speakers is markedly different than the quality of native English speakers.
  • Spelling/grammar.  Spelling errors and grammatical mistakes hurt the rank of your content as well.  All of it should read absolutely perfect.  A spelling error here and there probably doesn’t hurt your rankings at all, but why even allow the opportunity for your rankings to take a beating?
  • Keyword density.  Overoptimize your content, and you’ll find you get nailed in the rankings.  What is the “right” keyword density?  There is no magic number, but if you’re around 1.0%, with some keywords in the title and H1, you’re good to go.  If you go any higher than 1.0%, you run the risk of overoptimization, but it’s okay to some extent.  Google will always need a method for understanding what your page is about, and which keyword to rank it for, so keywords will always be important – just don’t overdo it.

When you’re writing content with these points in mind, you’re maximizing the SEO benefit you’ll get from it.  Writing stellar content is not an easy process, so be sure to take it seriously when you develop your own.

If you enjoyed reading this article from Devenia, you might also enjoy Reasons Why Backlinking is Important (And How to Do It) .

Dan StelterHow Does Content Affect SEO?
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3 Reasons to Tune out the Hype about Social Media and SEO!

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If you follow search engine optimization at all, you’ve probably heard about Google’s increasing focus on social media signals and how they can affect SEO in a positive way.  Is social media necessary to ranking highly on Google?  Not at this point, but it will be interesting to see if that becomes the case in the future.  Can social media help boost your rankings?  It sure can.  Should you make it an absolute priority on a tight budget?  No way!  Here are some reason why you don’t have to get stressed out over the fact you don’t have a strong social media presence:

  • To be effective, it really takes a ton of time and hard work.  And, I do mean a ton of time and hard work when I say that.  Are 100 followers going to make a strong difference to your search engine rankings?  Not likely.  Would 1000?  Maybe a little.  How about 20,000?  Now, that might make a difference.  But, Google doesn’t care so much about your follower count as it does about the quality of those followers.  Quality followers share your stuff.  Did you know it’s possible for anyone to get 20,000 followers?  It is – there are agencies that will happily help you get 20,000 spam followers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, and other obscure parts of the world.  But, a high follower count does you no good if these people don’t care about what you say – which is usually the case when outside agencies make extravagant promises about follower counts.  It takes several years of hard work, and a little luck, to get high follower counts.
  • It’s hard to monetize social media.  Professionals themselves are still trying to figure out how to make money on social media.  The fact is that for most companies, it’s really difficult.  What do you post to keep people interested and engaged on a regular basis?  Will this lead to them making a purchase when you offer it in the future?  It’s hard to say, really.  To really do a social media strategy right, it takes a ton of time and dedication – at least several month’s worth.  And, you have to track everything so you know what works and what doesn’t.  If people aren’t sharing your stuff – it’s tough to figure out why and what action you need to take in order to encourage them to make the shares.
  • Back-linking is still king.  When it comes to boosting your rankings in a hurry, back-linking is still the foundation of any SEO strategy.  It is losing some of its strength, but how else is Google going to determine how important your site and its content are in relation to others?  Yes, social media are a factor, and yes, the quality of your site’s content is a factor.  But neither of those tell Google which keywords you are ranking for, or how highly you should be ranked.  Back-linking still remains supreme, although social media and content do provide a boost.

If you’re on a tight budget, a social media strategy just isn’t worth the time or effort – not for SEO reasons, and not for making sales.  The only people who can guarantee returns from social media are either 1) really popular in the first place or 2) have a certain amount of luck on their side.  If you have extra time and money to experiment with, go ahead and try out a social media strategy.  Otherwise, leave it alone.

Dan Stelter3 Reasons to Tune out the Hype about Social Media and SEO!
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4 Reasons Why Google Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon…

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You probably already figured this, but Google isn’t going away anytime soon.  Sure, they’ll probably eventually fall away sometime, but who knows when that will be?  At this point, the most likely thing to stop this company from growing further is Congress…what if Google appears to be operating as a monopoly?  Other than potentially becoming a monopoly, Google has almost no chance of ever being taken over by another company.  Here’s why:

1.  Its incredibly well-thought-out algorithm.  While Google still doesn’t return perfect results, it does return the best results of all the search engines out there by far.  The algorithm is made of more than 200 factors, is kept totally secret, and they’re testing thousands of changes year-round.  People still talk about Yahoo! and Bing, but it’s hard to understand why, as Google currently owns 80% of the U.S. search traffic and 90% of worldwide search traffic.  However, Google could still improve, and let me show you one reason why.  I searched for the term “NFL jersey,” and here’s what came up:
nfl jersey Google Search 300x116 4 Reasons Why Google Isnt Going Away Anytime Soon...
See that visited link at the top?  At the time of this writing (8/9/12), that is the fifth-ranked term for “NFL jersey.”  If you follow the link, you are taken to a website with incredibly poor grammar – something a 10-year-old could easily have written.  I couldn’t locate a contact address, but Chinese companies are known for selling American sports products cheaply, so it’s a reasonable guess that’s what this is.  The conundrum comes in with position #6, which is a result from Nike, a global corporation!  You’d certainly think Google would rank Nike ahead of this Chinese outfit, but it didn’t.  Google is great, but its algorithm isn’t perfect!

2.  Manual support.  In addition to its algorithm, which isn’t perfect (yet), Google has 27,000 employees.  For many of them, their job is to manually review websites to ensure people aren’t trying to game Google’s ranking system.  27,000!  It’s going to be awfully difficult for another company to develop a sophisticated rankings system and hire the right personnel to support it.

3.  The average consumer loves it.  Google pisses off internet marketing professionals routinely, but the fact that it makes use of the American capitalist system by understanding what the market wants and delivering it to the market in a way better than anyone else can means it’ll be around for some time.  Look at how crowded with advertising Yahoo! is.  It resembles the front of a newspaper or magazine, not a search engine.  Bing’s look at least copies Google’s, but that’s as far as any resemblance of Google goes.  It doesn’t even compare in its ability to return relevant search results.

4.  Google isn’t just about search.  Although it dominates search right now, Google has so many other tech-related holdings that make it a beast to contend with.  You know about its office productivity suite.  You also know about Google+, which some predict will have 500 million users (Facebook has 900 million) by the end of 2012.  It also has Chrome, a competitive browser, owns YouTube, another popular social media channel, heads the development of Android, and finally, it’s coming out with new glasses to help you organize and stay on top of your digital life on the go!

When you look at it this way, Google isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and it’s not just because of its ability to provide unequaled search results.  What should you do now?  Learn how to make the most of its algorithm by ranking your site highly, so you can reach the most people in your target market!

Dan Stelter4 Reasons Why Google Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon…
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Reasons Why Back-Link Building is Important (And How to do It)

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While the importance of back-links, as Google sees it, has diminished somewhat in recent years, there’s no doubt  back-links are still the most critical aspect of any SEO strategy.  Why?  Google needs some method of determining which sites are more important than others.

To help make this computation, it looks at the back-links from other sites to your site.  Each link counts as a “vote” for your site.  But, don’t be fooled, Google is not democratic – each vote/link doesn’t count equally.  In the past, when they were more equal (but not exactly equal), people would build links from all sorts of spammy/low-quality websites.  He who could put out the most links was the winner.

Over the years, Google has become much, much smarter.  So now, it looks at several factors regarding each page and link point to your site,  including the following:

  • If the site linking to yours is loaded with advertisements and poor-quality content, the link will count for next to nothing.  However, if the page from which the link is coming is reputable (PageRank reflects the reputation of a certain page), then the link is worth much more to your site.
  • The theme of the site linking to yours.  If your site is about car repair, and the link coming to you is at a site about computers, the link counts for a little something.  However, if your site is about car repair and the site linking to you is about cars, then the link is worth much more.
  • The anchor text on each back link.  If the back links coming from outside sites have anchor texts exclusively with your site’s keywords in it, Google will view your site as being “over-optimized,” and your rankings will suffer a little bit.  There is disagreement as to how many anchor texts should be exclusively your site’s keywords, but somewhere around 15 to 30% of all links pointing to your site should contain exclusively your keywords.
  • The number of links constructed over a period of time.  Google likes what it calls “natural link building.”  No one knows exactly what that means, but one thing known is that you have to have a consistent number of links built over a period of time.  When Google sees the same number of links being built, and then all of a sudden that number skyrockets in a short period of time, your rankings will suffer.  Steady, fairly-even growth is the name of the game for Google.

How do You Build Back Links?

There are about as many ways to do this as there are SEO companies doing the job.  Believe it or not, many SEO companies break the guidelines you just read!  In general, though, this is how you would build back links:

  • Contact websites related to, but not competing with yours.  Ask them if you can write an article for them, or offer to pay them to post your link.  Link exchanging is another tactic, but when you give them a link and they give you one, you are effectively canceling out any rankings boost you could receive.
  • Avoid directories.  There’s scores of free directories across the internet at which you can post more links to in a very short period of time.  However, Google is increasingly disapproving of directories, as they are typically not thematically related to your site and are often spammy or filled with poor content and other poor links.  Some directories are still valuable to Google, but you have to maintain a database of them and research them regularly to know their true value.  Long-term, most directories don’t provide a ton of link-building value.
  • Forums.  Forums are absolutely awesome, for three reasons:  there are always some thematically related to your website, many of them have great authority with Google already, and you can build a great amount of targeted traffic to your site.  Forum posting contributes great value to the back links of any website.
  • Free blogging sites/build-a-website domains.  Many of these are available, but the link value they provide is questionable.  You simply build a one-page website with links to your site.  They aren’t thematically-related to your site, but many of these sites do carry a good overall reputation with Google.  They can be included in an SEO strategy, but they should be just a small part of the strategy.
  • Article directories.  Article directories have a good rapport with Google, but Google has decreased their importance in recent times.  You can post as many articles as you want for free to many different directories.  Including these directories in an SEO strategy is a good idea, but the effectiveness of doing so is lessening.
  • Guest blogging.  Writing guest blog articles for other sites related to your niche is effective in terms of link-building, gaining new traffic, and building your reputation with different web communities.  However, it is very time-consuming.

Pulling it All Together

What an SEO company does is maintain a database of all the different types of websites from which you can receive back links.  Their job is to make sure the database makes the most effective usage of Google’s algorithm as it currently stands.  As you can imagine, doing so is a full-time job in itself and ideally, would take many people researching links to determine what is most effective.

Devenia’s specialty is back-link building.  If you would like to learn how we can help your site grow its search engine rankings, contact us and let us know how we can help.

Dan StelterReasons Why Back-Link Building is Important (And How to do It)
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Why Does your Conversion Rate Stink? Part 2

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seo marketing design backlinks illustration Why Does your Conversion Rate Stink? Part 2In Why Does Your Conversion Rate Stink?: Part 1, you learned some of the first steps as to why your site might get high traffic, but somehow you still have a stinky conversion rate.  It’s really impossible to cover all the reasons your conversion rate stinks, but cover some of the major reasons, and you should notice a solid improvement in your conversion rate.  Here are some additional reason why your site may not be getting the conversion rate you want:

Slow load times.

People want it, and they want whatever is they want right now!  Everyone knows this is the case in modern society, yet many websites load slowly.  How do you know if yours loads too slowly?  A simple eyeball test is to click on a link, and if there’s more than a heartbeat between the time you click and the time the information your customer is looking for, then that’s too long.  If you want a more technical way of checking your site’s load time, then use the Google PageSpeed tool.  A score of 90 or better means your site is loading quickly enough, and a quick load time also helps with your rankings in Google.

Uninspiring content.

All the big companies have customer persona documents, which are incredibly detailed documents regarding the various customer types they market towards.  The reason they do this is because they can get higher conversion rates by marketing towards a researched persona, as opposed to smaller businesses who haven’t done the research.  You probably don’t have the budget or time to do the research, but you can examine bounce rates in your analytics tool.  Bounce rates, which are when people view one page on your site and then leave, should be somewhere between 40% to 60% in order to be considered “good.”  If your bounce rate is greater than 60%, your content doesn’t mean much to your audience.  Develop more content along the lines of that which sits in the 40% to 60% bounce rate range.

Lack of “trust signals.”

“Trust signals” are things such as testimonials, showing a physical address, displaying a phone number and answering it, and clear, simple, and prominently placed shipping and return policies.  Remember, everything about your site should communicate ease and professionalism.  If anything is difficult or less-than-obvious to do, it’s going to cause at least some visitors to question your credibility and leave for another site that does offer credibility.  The more real you can make your company seem, the better off you are.  If you blog, be sure to talk a little about your employees – people like to know who your company is.

Don’t ask for too much information.

after googling myself i feel happy again 199x300 Why Does your Conversion Rate Stink? Part 2

If a conversion for you means having someone sign up for a newsletter or register a new username, then make the process as easy as possible.  “Easy” literally can mean asking only for people’s first name and e-mail address for signing up.  For each field of information after that which follows, your conversion rates will dip.  The same goes for signing up for user names and passwords.  Make sure your password policy is easy to follow.  Yes, security is important, but users can create perfectly secure passwords with a mix of letters and numbers – there’s no more need to make it any more difficult than that.

An outside eye helps!

Let’s admit it – it’s always helpful to have people available to you who can see the mistakes you are making that you are unable to see.  Do search through your site for all of these problems yourself, but when you’re done, have a friend or professional help you.  It may be hard to admit your mistakes, but when you uncover and fix them, your business’s profitability will thank you!

Dan StelterWhy Does your Conversion Rate Stink? Part 2
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Why Does your Conversion Rate Stink? Part 1

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seo marketing design backlinks illustration Why Does your Conversion Rate Stink? Part 1So, you’ve reached the nightmare scenario for an online company:  you’ve had your SEO services performed, you’ve spent thousands of dollars on them, you rank highly for a number of your targeted key terms, you are getting a decent amount of traffic, BUT you still aren’t getting the number of sales you need to remain profitable!  While back-linking helps your customers find your site by increasing your ranking in the search engine results pages, the simple fact is there’s much more to actually getting people to take the action you want – purchasing your products, or making a phone call.  There are many reasons this could be happening.  Take a minute to read a few reasons why your site may not be converting highly:

Do you have a target market?  Who is your target market?

Bigger companies have what they call a “customer persona” document, which is the result of thousands of hours and dollars worth of research.  This document tells them everything about their ideal customer – what kind of job he or she has, whether they are married, how many children they have, what kinds of vehicles they own, religious and political views, and so much more.  The more you know about your customer and his or her preferences, the more effectively you can sell to him or her.

The challenge smaller businesses will encounter is not having a budget available for research.  If you can’t develop one, you can develop an “eyeball” approach to gauging who your customer is.  Listen to their complaints – that tells you their pain points.  You can also ask basic information on your site’s contact form, but don’t ask too much, because if the form’s too long, people don’t fill out.  You might also offer feedback surveys after people purchase your product or service.  To incentivize them to fill these out, offer a small reward, like a chance to win a $100 gift certificate towards future purchases at your company.  If you serve businesses, you can typically find owner information on sites like LinkedIn.  So, when you think about it, there are many ways to get customer information at low or no cost.

Boring titles/meta descriptions.

Once you have a good idea of who your customer is, you have to know what benefits you offer that sell to them.  Online, people examine and click on attractive headlines first.  Then, they read some of the meta description.  If your site’s title reads “Joe’s Company” and the description begins “We are a…,” you have put your prospects to sleep!  Instead, put a benefit in the title, such as “Find Affordably Priced Widgets at Joe’s Company,” and then a meta description along the lines of, “You can save time and money by purchasing the affordably priced widgets we make.”  This answers the prospect’s question:  “What’s in it for me?”  To himself, the customer says, “Oh I see.  I can save time and money by purchasing these widgets.”

It’s not clear what to do.

Your whole site should be designed with one goal in mind:  getting the prospect to make a purchase or give you a call.  To get the prospect to do what you want, you have to make it very clear and easy.  You also have to use calls to action.  Even though the point of most sites on the ‘net is to sell, people are much more likely to take the action you want if you tell them what action to take.  If you run an E-commerce site, be sure to put your most popular products on the front page.  It sounds simple, but many people don’t do it.  If you run a service-based site, put your strongest benefits on the home page and tell your prospect to give you a call to learn more.

There are many more reasons your site might not be converting, but these are some of the main reasons why.

Why do you think your site may not be converting?

Be sure also to stay tuned for part two, coming next week. In the meantime, you can make your comments or suggestions below.

Dan StelterWhy Does your Conversion Rate Stink? Part 1
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On-Page SEO Tricks You Can do on Your Own

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Many of our clients are ones who typically have enough money to pay for back linking services, and that’s about it.  And, this is understandable for the typical small business, which may be struggling just to stay afloat.  While back linking is the primary factor in driving your ranking up the search engines, it’s far from the only factor.  In fact, there are scores of techniques you can use, each providing varying levels of value, to help search engines find and rank your site for the keywords you are targeting.  In addition to back-linking (also called “off-page SEO”), there is also “on-page SEO.”  On-page SEO is just as it sounds – there are certain things you can do to increase your rankings by making changes on your website’s pages.

The challenge Devenia often runs into is that small company marketing budgets typically can only handle back linking costs.  When we start talking about on-page SEO, most clients just about fall over.  But, every little thing you can do makes a difference, so if you can’t afford on-page SEO, here are a few things you can do on your own:

Make sure your keyword appears in your URL.  If you haven’t designed your site, or if you are willing to make a move, ensure your primary keyword appears in your site’s URL.  Ideally, it is the only words in your URL, but that’s not always possible.

All titles should be keyword rich, but they have to make sense.  Don’t just stuff your title full of keywords.  Not only do people not click on such titles, but Google does not reward keyword-stuffing at any level.  Additionally, your title should use the language of your customer and highlight the benefits they will find on that page.  And, it must be no longer than 70 characters.

Ensure the primary keyword appears in the META description.  Putting your primary keyword in your META description tag doesn’t increase your ranking.  So, why do it?  When people search Google, the results displayed bold the keyword they searched.  If they don’t see their term in bold letters in your META description, they’re much more likely not to click on your link.  Make sure your META description tags also tell the user what benefits they can find on the page, and ensure each one is unique.  The META description and META title tags are particularly important for e-commerce sites.

Target at least 1-3 key phrases per page.  Don’t worry too much about where you place the phrase.  Don’t bold it on your own site.  Make sure your total density is less than 1.0%.  Also, ensure each key phrase makes as much sense as possible where it’s used.  As is the case everywhere else on your site, Google hates kiteyword-stuffing and so do internet searchers.

Good content.  Whatever you write on each page, make sure it provides value to your visitors.  You can add in a little bit about your business, but make sure most of it focuses on what you can do for the customer.  Value-added content inspires people to trust you, which builds long-term sales.  In addition, people may like it so much they link to it, giving you free off-page SEO.

Make your images’ ALT attribute the targeted keyword on the page.  Google also values diverse content types on various pages.  You can tell Google what that content is by modifying your images’ ALT attribute to be your targeted keyword.  For your information, the text in ALT tags is what is displayed if the browser viewing the page cannot display the image.

If you follow these tips, you are on the right track to maximizing your on-page SEO value.  You can do them yourself, but the trouble most people run into is time.  It just takes a ton of time that many don’t have.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy Performing Keyword Research 101: The Basics.

Dan StelterOn-Page SEO Tricks You Can do on Your Own
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Performing Keyword Research 101: The Basics

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3680078615 dfbf56e7b5 keyword research Performing Keyword Research 101:  The Basics

As we’ve talked with many clients, one common issue often encountered is keyword research.  Currently, Devenia does not offer this service.  Although no clients have expressed their frustration regarding this, it’s pretty reasonable to imagine some are somewhat irritated by this fact.  Right now, our resources are strapped, and we just cannot feasibly offer this service without charging a fee for it.  But, most companies offer this service for free, so charging a fee is not reasonable at this point.

So, that leads you to the most logical conclusion:  learning how to do it yourself.  It takes some time, maybe a couple hours or so, but not a ton.  Here is basically how we would recommend you perform your own keyword research:

Know the language of your customers

If you don’t already know the keywords which people are using to find your business, its products, and its services, then now’s the time to figure out!  Go to SEMRush and type in the URLs of your top 5 competitors.  You’ll learn about 10 of their top 50 keywords for free.  If you’re willing to pay $70 per month, you can see all 50.  But, the top 10 will do.  By researching the competition’s SEO efforts, you will learn some of the more important terms for your industry.  You could also go to their websites directly, and just browse a few pages to identify some other terms for which they might be trying to rank.

Generate additional ideas

The free version of SEMRush won’t give you a complete set of keyword ideas, but it will serve as a starting point.  Google Adwords, however, is also free and will give you a very thorough listing of keywords you can use.  But, only view it as an idea generation tool, and a rough gauge of how much traffic you might receive.  Be sure to use the “Keyword Tool.”  Ignore the “competition” column, as it does not provide an accurate idea of competition – we’ll explain that to you next.  The column to look at is “Local Monthly Searches,” which reflects the number of searches for the term in your country and language.  Be weary of the number of searches shown.  The number is not accurate, but rather it is inflated by Google, as the primary purpose of Adwords is to sell advertising.

What you will want to note, however, is large discrepancies in various terms.  For example, if the term you are considering has    100,000 or more local monthly searches, it’s going to be tough to rank for, and it’s hard to say how many of those searches will convert into sales for your company.  Are people who are searching for that term really looking for what you are offering?  It’s difficult to tell.  What you can say, however, is that a term with 2.5 million searches per month will very likely receive more traffic than a term with 2,500 searches per month.

Analyze the competition

Analyzing competition is done by simply plugging your term into Google and noting the number of results.  If you receive 207 million results, that’s 207 million pages you are competing against – that’s a ton of competition!  If you have 7 million competitors, that’s a little more doable.  When you type the keywords in, be sure to make a special note of the results that appear.  Do the 1st page results reflect product or service offerings similar to yours?  If so, you’ve probably found a high-converting keyword.  Are the 1st page results way different than what you are offering?  If so, this might be a keyword to pass up.

Should you use short-tail or long-tail keywords?

The answer to this is “yes.”  We get this question all the time.  The benefit of long-tail keywords (keywords with 3 or more words) is that they generally convert at a higher rate, and you can rank quickly for them.  If you don’t have a lot of money or time available at this point, these keywords are a great solution to your problems.  Short-tail keywords (keywords 2 words or less in length) generally convert at lower rates, although they receive more traffic and may lead to more total conversions.  But, they take more time to rank for, sometimes substantially more time.

When first starting SEO, the best way to do it is this:  80% of your keywords should be long-tail and should have less than 5,000 local monthly searches.  You can have a high level of confidence they will convert in excess of the fees you pay an internet marketing company.  20% of your keywords should be short-tail.  You can aim for keywords with greater than 10,000 local monthly searches and much higher.  View them as a “healthy risk.”  They might dramatically increase your business, but then again they might also not convert nearly as well as long-tail keywords

Hopefully this post helps shed a little insight onto the keyword research process.  It’s not easy, and nothing is for sure, but if you follow these steps, you can have a high degree of confidence your overall strategy will deliver you a net profit.

Dan StelterPerforming Keyword Research 101: The Basics
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What? How can You Justify $9,000 Per Month for SEO Services?

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This title sounds incredulous when you first read it, and when I was recently talking with a potential prospect interested in Devenia’s SEO services, she felt the same way.  I tried to explain to her that wasn’t a flat charge – that it was the potential maximum charge, but she just didn’t want to hear it.

For many companies, this reaction is completely understandable.  Heck, anything that costs $9,000 per month or more seems difficult to comprehend.  But, did you know some companies are happy to pay SEO consultants $5,000 per hour?  If you multiply this number by the average 2,000 hour work year, that comes out to $10 million!  Sounds absurd!

How Do You Justify that Charge and Get Companies to be Happy to Pay It?

The simple answer is, “By providing results in excess of the costs.”  While Devenia does service some larger clients, many of them are smaller.  For the smaller guys, $9,000 per month is in fact ridiculous because SEO simply doesn’t work fast enough to generate the results smaller businesses need as quickly as they need them.

Like many companies, Devenia doesn’t hit you with a flat monthly fee right away – that would clearly be unworkable for most.  Instead, however, you are charged per keyword, and you aren’t charged until you hit the first page of Google, which takes somewhere between 3 to 6 months to do.  So, if all you want is link building, which is the best place to start in order to attract traffic to your site, you won’t be paying $9,000 per month.  Rather, you’ll be paying much, much less than that, with the costs slowly increasing as the months go by.

A realistic rule to keep in mind is that within 1 year, 1/4 of your keywords will rank #1, 1/4 will rank 2 to 5, 1/4 will rank 6 to 10, and 1/4 won’t rank at all.  Having all of your keywords rank where you want them would be wonderful, but given the changing and complex nature of SEO, no one can possibly do that without first investing significant time.  It is possible to push those rankings so all keywords are on page one, but the real challenge is the time frame.  Basically, the best you can do is to ensure your marketing budget can handle the most realistic costs.

Then, what happens is, as you rank higher for your keywords, you generate additional leads and sales.  Those leads and sales will outpace your costs.  The real question is, “What is your business model?”  How many sales do you need to make to break even or exceed the costs of SEO?  This is a tricky balance to play, but Devenia works in your favor by not trapping you in a contract.  If something goes wrong, you can simply stop services, and you’re done.

But, the point is that if you targeted enough keywords to cost $9,000 per month, which is a ton of keywords, you will generate enough traffic, sales, and leads to more than outpace your costs.  The question then becomes,”Do my profits exceed my SEO costs enough to justify what I’m paying?”  If you’re making $10,000 gross per month, is that enough?  If you’re making $27,000 gross per month, is that enough?  That choice is up to you!

Dan StelterWhat? How can You Justify $9,000 Per Month for SEO Services?
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SEO Content Writing Reflections: A Personal Story

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Hi everyone!  A small handful of you might know my name, but most of you probably don’t have a clue who I am.  But, allow me to introduce myself.  I’m Dan Stelter, and right now I handle some of the client inquiries for Devenia and currently run my own SEO content writing business on the side.  I also handle the English content writing services for Devenia.

You’re probably thinking, “Wow!  He writes online content!  Amazing – tell me more!”  Just kidding there – you probably don’t care about that at all, but it helps provide some background so that the rest of this story makes a little more sense.

Anyway, our CEO and I were talking the other day and we happened to be discussing how our business relationship and the future of my content writing company might look in the future.  One story that happened to come up was that I was telling him some of the ridiculous things people say to you when you’re first starting out.

To find clients at first, I contacted many SEO companies by e-mail.  Most people didn’t respond.  Some responded very positively, even if they didn’t need the service.  Some responded very negatively, wondering why in the hell someone would dare spam them.  It happens, and it seems as though everyone has a different preference in this regard.

I happened to begin telling the story of one client who said, “Dan, we appreciate the samples you’ve provided (they were mostly college samples).  However, SEO writing is much different than academic writing.”  I just left it at that, as clearly they weren’t impressed.

However, about 6 months later…

It happened that I began working with a particular company.  This company happened to like the writing done for them, and then they happily passed my name on to another company.  This other company also happened to be the one that didn’t like the academic writing style.  Apparently, the SEO world is a small world.  I ended up doing work for them, and they liked what was done.

Crazy world, huh?  What I learned from the whole scenario is to not take rejection personally. People reject/decline for reasons of their own, and they may not necessarily understand the true value of what is being offered to them.  Perhaps that was my fault – to no communicate to them that I could do the job.

What is the True Value of Content?

As a content writer, it is my job to promote the benefits of content.  But of course, the only reason I promote it is because I believe in it and have seen it provide great value to businesses firsthand.  For example, one client I did work for tripled the number of visitors to his site and quadrupled the time people spent on his site three days after launching a new design, complete with new content.

The mantra to live by is, “SEO is what gets them there.  Content is what keeps them there.”  But, it can’t be just any old thing.  It has to carry value and meaning for the target audience and must be written in an interesting, clear, and easy-to-follow way.  Great content builds engagement, engagement builds sales, and sales builds…you guessed it…profits!

What role do you believe content plays in the SEO process?

Dan StelterSEO Content Writing Reflections: A Personal Story
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