Archives for 2012

3 Common Mistakes Using the Google Keyword Tool and How to Fix Them

#1: Not Realizing That The Default Search Is “Broad” Match Type

A common error goes like this: You search for a keyword, say themes for blogger, and see that it gets over 90,000 global monthly searches. Excited, you build a site targeting that phrase, and then are baffled when you only get a trickle of hits from that keyword, even when you start to rank highly. What happened?

By default, the Keyword tool searches by “Broad match.” This means that it includes all related searches that happen to contain those words.

In our example, hundreds of other keyword phrases, such as premium themes for blogger or best themes for blogger 2011 are all counted in the total number. And since they contain completely different words, your site likely won’t be ranking for them.

On the left sidebar of the screen, you will see “Match Types” part-way down. There you will see that “Broad” is checked. If you change it to “Exact,” for our example, you will see that the exact phrase gets only a couple hundred searches per month, which explains the small traffic. In other cases, there might actually be zero exact matches!

#2: Thinking that “Competition” Refers to Other Websites Targeting Your Keyword

Everyone wants to find keywords that only a few other websites are targeting, but using the “Competition” tab in the Google Keyword Tool for this purpose is a big mistake!

This little bar is referring to the number of advertisers who are bidding for that term; it has absolutely nothing to do with the number of competing websites in Google organic search. In fact, picking keywords with low advertiser competition will mean there aren’t many relevant companies purchasing ads, so if you use Google AdSense, you will likely get ads that aren’t very related to your website and a lower CTR.

It’s important to remember that the Google Keyword Tool was designed for advertisers, and we webmasters are repurposing it as a tool to help generate website ideas. To effectively assess website competitors for a keyword, you can use a free plugin SEO for Firefox or a paid tool such as Market Samurai.

#3: Neglecting to Consider the Implications of Different Keywords

This third and final mistake has less to do with the Google tool specifically but rather keyword research in general. Many webmasters get too wrapped up in the search volume and forget to consider the intent of the searcher as well as the general profitability of a niche.

If your goal is to promote affiliate products, for example, you might be able to find some related keywords that get thousands of searches per month, but if they are “informational” keywords and searchers won’t be interested in buying anything, a very low percentage of that traffic will convert.

Instead, it’s good to target keywords that users will search when they are actually interested in buying. Names of products and brands are typically “buying” keywords, and mixing in words such as reviews, buy, cheapest, online, and price comparisons” can provide great results.

Also, in certain niches, such as technology or blogging, most users are savvy and have become “ad-blind,” which will mean very few clicks. Other niches might not have many quality products or advertisers competing for the popular search terms, making monetization extremely difficult.

Keeping these ideas in mind will get you off to a good start in picking appropriate keywords and generating more traffic to your websites!

Article by Andrew Walsh

39 Cost-Cutting Tips for Your Small Business

39 Cost-Cutting Tips for Your Small Business

by Cathy Zimmerman

Summary: Think you’ve exhausted all the ways to save money in your business? Don’t be sure until you’ve taken a look at these 39 small business cost-cutting tips.

The beginning of a new year is a good time to re-examine your spending and look for ways to trim the fat and increase your bottom line. Here are some cost-cutting tips to get you started.

  1. Save on postage by delivering invoices and statements via email.
  2. Download free online forms instead of buying them at office supply stores.
  3. Offer catalogs and brochures as pdf downloads to save printing and shipping costs.
  4. Turn down the heat or turn up the A/C.
  5. Turn off unnecessary lights.
  6. Set your printer to draft mode to save ink.
  7. Re-fill your own printer cartridges.
  8. Switch your telephone land-line to VOIP or cable.
  9. Use free open source or cloud-based applications.
  10. Check every invoice and verify charges before paying.
  11. Pay bills on time to avoid fees.
  12. Consider telecommuting, virtual assistants, or shared office space.
  13. Review your cellular plan usage and compare rates elsewhere before renewing.
  14. DON’T cut marketing, but target your niche to get the most for your ad bucks.
  15. Cross-train your employees to help each other during crunch time instead of hiring temps.
  16. Use interns and freelancers for short-term projects.
  17. Take advantage of discounts: 2% for paying early, discount for cash, free shipping over $50, etc.
  18. “Fire” customers that waste more time and money than they’re worth.
  19. Follow purchase order requirements to be sure your invoices get paid on time.
  20. Stop selling to slow-paying accounts.
  21. Concentrate on customer service to keep return rates down.
  22. Double-check addresses before shipping to avoid costly mistakes.
  23. Include promotional material in outgoing packages: coupons, newsletters, fliers.
  24. Use email and social media instead of direct mail to test new offers and coupons for your customers.
  25. Shop around for better rates on printing, shipping, and office supplies.
  26. Use free shipping materials from USPS, UPS and FedEx.
  27. Sign up for free business directory listings online.
  28. Barter/partner for advertising – i.e. pizza delivery ads on hotel key cards.
  29. Buy used furniture and office equipment.
  30. Reuse, reduce, recycle.
  31. Share your expertise in newsgroups, public appearances, blogs and social media and get free exposure.
  32. Look for online firms that offer a free basic service (i.e. Skype) with paid upgrades when you need them.
  33. Join a networking group and find a mentor with more experience to advise you.
  34. Look for rebates/incentives to replace old equipment with newer more energy-efficient systems.
  35. When travelling, use free airport shuttles and eat lunch where there’s free wifi, but be sure to follow these wifi safety precautions.
  36. Don’t book at a convention hotel without comparing rates with your AAA, AARP or credit card discount.
  37. Meet clients between meals in a quiet upscale hotel lobby.
  38. Use free teleconference services.
  39. Participate in virtual trade shows to network without travel expenses.