This is the slide that I will have on when they enter the room to hopefully make them chuckle a bit and relax them and me.
My name is Heather Robertson and I have my own business in Digital Communications. Many of you will remember me as publisher of Boat for Sale Magazine. It was in 1999, that Boat for Sale launched www.boatforsale.net. It was one of first marine classified website in Canada. I used Boat for Sale has my personal playground to learn about the internet. But it wasn’t until November 2008, that I started really delving into internet marketing. The internet has changed considerably since 1999. It has evolved from being information only – to becoming an communication tool.
If you want to grow your business on line – you need two things. 1) A compelling website that addresses the needs of your customer. Remember that people search the internet because they have a problem and need information. Your website is there to provide the solution to their problem. 2) And you need traffic – people coming to your site. So in effect, your website as to be both visitor and search engine friendly.
This is going to be a very broad discussion. And we are going to lightly touch on several subjects. My goal is to familiarize you with how you can drive traffic to your site and what tools you can use. Ideally, at the end of this seminar you should have a better understanding of what your marketing person is talking about. What I want to cover today is: - How search engines find websites? - I know that many of your are being solicited by companies who speak of doing SEM/SEO, so I want to define it for you - some free tools that you can use to help you build your internet presencse - social media - and how to go about finding out if it all in fact works All my references will be from Google. Google owns 80% of the market, so it makes sense to start with them first. And the tools in Google are very similar to the tools in Yahoo and Bing. But don’t underestimate the value of Bing and Yahoo as search engines.
Basically it’s all about ‘findability’. Wikipedia defines Findability as the quality of being locateable and navigable. Pretty straightforward
So, how do you drive traffic to your site – or how do you get found? And when I am referring to driving traffic, I’m not speaking about people who know your web address and key it in. I’m speaking about people who are searching for a product and find your website through their search. There are basically three ways Unpaid Search – these are the results from search engines. There are several ways that you can optimize your site so the search engines can understand what your site is about. Paid Ads –I’m going to focus on Pay per Click Advertising through search engines, but of course you can always buy banner advertising from other websites Social Media – which is participating in internet discussions using such applications like Facebook.
Before I start into the different ways to get traffic, we need to step back and discuss– how do search engines find websites? Search Engines are all about content. Their business model is to match the most relevant site to the customer’s keyword search. Search Engines use a number of factors to determine how relevant a site is by using such things as tagging; linking; quantity of traffic. At the crux of the relevance quotient are ‘keywords’ . Once you understand the concept of keywords and why they are important – then it’s smooth sailing.
A keyword or keyword phrase is the word or a string of words that users type into their web browser to find what they are looking for. Keywords Research is the art of finding out just how many people use a major search engine everyday searching for your product. When you consider 85% of North Americans will use Google before any other medium of research, then it’s important to know and understand their search habits. And it’s through the effective use of keywords that the search engines are able to determine what your site is about.
So, how do you go about finding the right keywords for your website? Most you already know – after all you know your business best. And it’s always best to begin with yourself and your staff. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes – and I can’t stress this enough. When you are looking for a particular business – what are the words you use to find them? Brainstorm. Because remember – we want those customers that are searching for our business to find us.
This is the Google Ad Words Keyword Tool. There are lots of different keyword tools that can give you an enormous amount of information. It’s easy enough to use. You simply plug in the keywords that pertain to your site and... Anyone can use it. The purpose of this tool, is to identify keywords that you didn’t think about. And to see what Google sees as related keywords. These are real-time results – customers are actually using You can put your web address in and Google will give you keywords to your web address. Or you can put in a keyword string like I did.
And this is what came up. This is really interesting stuff – because you can find out what keywords people are using; how often they are searched globally and Canada wide – and the seasonality – which is quite fascinating. From here, you decide what keywords pertain to your business. And interesting enough people are searching for Bayliner Boats here – pretty often. So if you are a Bayliner dealer – this is something you need to keep in mind. So, once you have these keywords that most define your business – and then you start using them in all your internet activities. These keywords help you form what you want to write on your blog. Or how you create the pages on your website. It helps you build your branding. Using keywords effectively and strategically is the basis of Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing. Let’s look an example of how you can Optimize your web page using keywords.
Let’s look at an example of one Search Engine Optimization Technique that Boat for Sale used Let’s look at an example... This is a typical Search Engine Results Page. At the top – are the keywords that the customer has used to find what he is looking for. On the left are the unpaid search results. These are the results that search engines deliver. Google has identified these sites as being the most relevant to the customer’s keyword search. Search engine Optimization is about influencing where and how you appear on the Search Engine Results Page. You can see that Boat for Sale magazine comes up 2 different times at the beginning of the site. That’s because they had a brilliant internet marketer How did we do this?
Here’s an example of how Boat for Sale used keywords When search engines send out their spybot spiders to review websites – they don’t look at your site as you do. They look at the html coding that creates your site. At the very top of our html page, Boat for Sale placed some tagging that is directed at the search engines that tells them what this site is all about. At the very top, we put the Title Tag. Notice that this title also appears on the first line of the SERP results. And it gives people a really clear idea of what we are about. This Title Tag also appears on the blue stripe that runs on the top of your website. Then we put in a Meta Description: We made it easy to the search engines to figure out what our site was about. We told them. And then we put in Meta Keywords: These are the keywords that we identified were most relevant to our site. And we put these tags on every one of our web pages. By optimizing the BFS website through the use of Meta Tags, we were able to a) improve our positioning on the Search Engine Results Page and b) provide internet searchers with a detailed explanation of our site. Although, the search engines are pretty good, we didn’t leave it in their hands. This is just one of the search engine optimization techniques that you can use. Check out the html code for you website and see if you are taking advantage of this tagging. You can see it by putting your mouse over your website, righ clicking, and clicking view source.
And that’s just one tool you can use to make your site more visible to search engines. Tagging in the html code – which we just discussed earlier Web Directories: - Get your business listed here. Search Engines love web directories – because they are full of recent content. There are some good examples – there’s the Open Source Directory; Canadian Business Directory – Yellow Pages would be considered a web directory that you pay for. Links: - it’s great to have links in your site – and it’s better to have links from another site to your site. This makes the search engines think that you are important, and relevant. It stands to reason. So, it’s the number of links; and the quality of those links. You get more points if it’s a more prestigous website. You get demerit points if you are linked to a porn site. And in creating your site – make it search engine friendly. Remember, the search engine spiders are reading the code – not looking at the photos. So, avoid flash. If you use graphics – use ALT tags. If you identify your boat lines through logos – make sure that you have the name of the boat line in print as well They are all free – but don’t deliver instant results because it takes time.
Search Engine Marketing generally speaking refers to Paid Advertising There are two types – Paid Ads that appear on the Search Engine Results Page –
Shown here. Note that these can only be text ads. Because most internet users only spend about 5% of their time on searching – and the rest of time on other sites – the search engines created content advertising – which is advertising on other websites.
These are paid ads appearing on the content network. These are either websites owned by the search engine or in a contractual arrangement with the search engine. Generally speaking , they are high traffic sites like About.com; the New York Times; GMail. And there’s a wide variety of ads allowed on the content network – videos; banners; text; micro websites.
Do these ads actually work? Yup. And it all goes back to making sure that you are working with the right keywords. The best way to start is to identifying a particular part of your business that you want to advertise – let’s say renting of marina slips. From there, begin creating keywords or keyword strings that relate specifically to marina slips – like slips for rent; marina slips for rent. You create ads around your business theme using those keywords. For example Slips for rent – Best marina in Muskoka – Heather’s Marina – and then your website. The cost for these ads is based on how much you bid on the individual keywords. The search engines take your bid; compare it to other bidders; and then combines a number of other factors such as the quality of the ad that you have written; the relevance of the ad to your web page and then determines where you fall on the Search Engine Results Page. It’s as simple as that.... Content Advertising is the same. You begin with business themes; and make ads using those keywords within your business theme. But those ads appear on other websites. You can either choose particular websites with certain demographics or - you can let Google do it for you. Regardless of whether it is Content Advertising or Paid ads on the SERP – you only pay when the ad is clicked on. But a clicked ad doesn’t necessarily represent a customer. You could have just as easily paid for someone to come to your site and then instantly leave it.
With Google you manage your accounts through Google Ad Words. These ads are self-managed. But trust me it’s not for the feint of heart. Anyone who has managed a paid ad campaign has had a run-away account. What paid advertising does, very quickly, is help you evaluate and identify your keywords. It’s a great way to evaluate your current website. If your pay per click ad campaign is working well and you are getting click thrus but then when people are coming to your site – they are immediately leaving – well you aren’t turning them into a customer. And this could be an indication that something is a miss either with your keywords or your site. And on the internet – people are merciless – they don’t write and tell you that something is wrong – they simply leave.
So, quick review: Search Engines are about content – and they use keywords to determine content. So, websites should be created using the right keywords – making sure that they are meeting the customer’s queries. Optimize your Site: -- use Meta Tags -- make sure that your website is keyword rich -- make sure your website is linked internally and externally -- register with web directories -- use information rich tools such as FAQ. Or events calendars that are constantly updated. -- it takes time to get results from SEO Paid Ads – -- you can create and market your own ads through any search engine -- Pay per Click or Content Networks Ads -- Pay per Click appear on the Search Engine Results Page -- Content Ads appear on other high traffic web sites -- you pay when someone clicks the ad. -- you can get results rather quickly with paid advertising
Yikes – and this is just a fraction of the social medis sites there are! Social media is about conversation. It’s about the sharing of information and experiences. It’s a great way to engage your customers. And even better , find out what people are saying about you. I use social media to listen. I listen to the chatter. Do some people talk about what they are wearing? Yes, but there are a lot of businesses out there are that using social media really effectively. Yamaha is doing some really interesting things in social media. I follow them on Twitter. And if you haven’t yet seen Rick Layzell’s debut on You Tube advertising the new four stroke Yamaha – you are in for a treat. Just go to You Tube and search Yamaha. So, do I think all that all businesses should be involved in social media – Yes. But not everybody belongs on Facebook. Blogs are great. Submitting articles on Ezines. Delicious which is a bookmarking site. Twitter. You Tube. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Use the social media applications to meet your business goals. The search engines love social media – because it’s constantly changing and is loaded with content. And remember back to the original slide – the web is about content. If you are on social media sites regularly with relevant material then you have a greater chance of coming up on the search engine results page.
Does this social media stuff really work? Yeah it does This is a site that was inspired by the Canadian Safe Boating Council called Cold Water Boot Camp. It’s a really interesting site – filled with videos of what happens when you jump into cold water. They put these videos on You Tube – which is a social media site
So I went to search on Google – and I used the keyword string – Cold Water Immersion On the results page you can see the You Tube Video. Now what’s interesting is that the website didn’t come. Probably because it wasn’t optimized for cold water immersion. However, the You tube Video did was. So, what the Cold Water Boot Camp did – was increase their ‘findability’ by adding the You Tube video. They gave themselves another opportunity to being found by a user. Social media sites are free – but I caution you they take a lot of time, and you have to be dedicated to them. You can’t set up a Facebook page or a blog on an events page and then ignore it. If you are going to participate in the discussion, then you’ve really got participate.
The only true way to truly understand how successful your website really is – is through web analytics. We never had this kind of feedback in print. There are a variety of web analytics programs available, and I would invest the time and energy to be acquainted with the results from your site. You can learn all kinds of valuable information: referring sites; keywords; number of visits; length of time of site. You can also track the results form a banner that you are running on another site. It can be as detailed as you need. There are companies that are spending $50K on the net monthly – they have very sophisticated analytics programs. For a small business. Your analytics program will let you know if you are headed in the right direction.
If I can leave you with one last thought about how to grow your business on line – it’s this... Always put yourself in your customer’s shoes. When you are looking at your website - think like your customer. When we first created the Boat for Sale website, we designed it just like the magazine. On our home page and navigation panel, we referred to ‘Classifieds’ and ‘Order Form’. Made sense to us. Because in our minds, we were an online magazine with classifieds and if people wanted to take out a classified, then they filled out an order form. For years, we received phone calls from people asking us how to place an ad on our website. I was very patient and said – see where it says order form. And I used to shake my head... I mean how dumb can you be? It was when I really started to seriously study internet marketing that I learned who the dummy really was. Because people didn’t come to the Boat for Sale site to look at classifieds they came for two reasons Buy a Boat or Sell a Boat. And once we changed the navigation panel to reflect the customer’s view point– the phone calls stopped. Because it was easy to understand how to use the site. So think like your customer and listen to what your customer is telling you. And make good use of the tools and knowledge that is available to you on the web – and then sit back and watch your online business grow.
Thanks for listening. ( HR: Maybe delete this slide. Just put Thanks for listening and then go to the Resources slides)
Leave this up for people to take notes after the presentation.
<ul><li> Give a person a fish and you feed them for day. Teach that person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks! </li></ul>Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
GROW YOUR BUSINESS BY USING THE RIGHT WEB TOOLS Heather Robertson Digital Communications Consultant
Online Business needs... <ul><li>Compelling website </li></ul><ul><li>+ </li></ul><ul><li>Traffic </li></ul>Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
What we will cover.. <ul><li>How do search engines find websites? </li></ul><ul><li>What exactly is Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing? </li></ul><ul><li>Free tools/Important Things you should be aware of </li></ul><ul><li>How does Social Media fit in? </li></ul><ul><li>Analytics and Evaluation </li></ul>Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
<ul><li>It’s simply not enough to say ... </li></ul><ul><li>if we build it - they will come </li></ul><ul><li>If your customers can’t </li></ul><ul><li>find you on the internet – </li></ul><ul><li>then your business can’t grow. </li></ul>Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
How do get drive traffic? <ul><li>Unpaid Search </li></ul><ul><li>Paid Ads </li></ul><ul><li>Social Media </li></ul>Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
How do Search Engines Work? <ul><li>Search Engines are all about content </li></ul><ul><li>And they use ‘keywords’ to match the customer’s query to relevant websites </li></ul>Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
Keywords ... <ul><li>the words used by the visitor to identify a problem </li></ul><ul><li>define user search habits </li></ul><ul><li>By effectively using keywords, both users and search engines will know what your site is about. </li></ul>Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
Where are those keywords? <ul><li>Most come from your own business knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>But search engines also have tools </li></ul>Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
Google AdWords Keyword Tool Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant boats for sale
What are the keywords visitors are using? Real Time Results Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
Using keywords in SEO Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant Title Tag Description Tag Title Description
SEO Techniques <ul><li>Tagging </li></ul><ul><li>Web Directories </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Both free and paid </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Links from other sites </li></ul><ul><ul><li>And not just any site – avoid ‘spam’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>and ‘porn’ sites </li></ul><ul><li>Designing ‘Search Engine Friendly’ Sites – i.e.. no flash; H1&H2 tags </li></ul>Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
A Typical Pay-per-Click Ad <ul><li>Business theme </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rent out docks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keywords: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>marina slips; docks; rent docks; slips in Muskoka; close to Toronto; </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ad: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Spend the Summer on the Water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marina Slips for Rent. Great Rates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Great Location. 1 hour from GTA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Heathersmarina.com/marinaslips4rent </li></ul></ul>Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
Google Ad Words Account Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
Quick Re-cap <ul><li>Unpaid results – SEO </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Keywords </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Linking </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Web directories </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Web content </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Paid results – SEM </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ad Words – Content Ads </li></ul></ul></ul>Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
Social Media Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
Social Media Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
Social Media Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant Keywords
Are you getting results? Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
Lessons Learned <ul><li>Remember a visitor </li></ul><ul><li>becomes a user </li></ul><ul><li>and then a customer. </li></ul><ul><li>So, focus on your customer! </li></ul>Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
<ul><li>Thanks for listening </li></ul>Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant
Resources <ul><li>Google Tools: Ad Words – a dwordgoogle.com | Analytics – google.com/analytics | Keyword Search Tool – adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal | </li></ul><ul><li>Yahoo Tools: Paid Search – advertising.yahoo.com | Keyword – searchmarketing.yahoo.com </li></ul><ul><li>Bing Tools: Paid Search – advertising.microsoft.com | </li></ul><ul><li>Books: Search Engine Optimization for Dummies </li></ul><ul><li>Pay Per Click: Search Engine Marketing for Dummies </li></ul><ul><li>The Findability Formula – Heather Lutz </li></ul><ul><li>E-Zines: Internet Marketing for Business Owners – Jarom Adair </li></ul><ul><li>Rick Layzell : YouTube.com – Search Yamaha </li></ul>Heather Robertson - Digital Communications Consultant