Get a free SEO report for your website

When promoting your website online it is important to target keywords specific to the people looking for your website.  However, it is also important that you get feedback on how well your site ranks for the keywords you are targeting, how you compare to your competition, and what you can do to improve your ranking.

Jeremy Schoemaker recently launched a website that will analyze a webpage for a given keyword and produce an SEO report.  This report provides a highly detailed analysis about how you rank and how you compare against your competition.  You also get tips on how to improve your ranking.

While the service costs money you can get one free report.  Even though you can find free tools to give you all this information found in the report this site makes it easy and saves a ton of time as all the information is collected and put in one place in one step.  I can’t imagine how long it would take me to analyze the top ten Google results using manual tools.

What you get

I ran a report on the homepage of this site for the keyword ‘affiliate marketing’.  Of course I don’t expect to rank anywhere for this term but I thought I’d see what the competition is like anyway.  As you can expect, the competition is pretty stiff.

The competition is considered to be the top 10 results on the search engine of your choice: Google, Yahoo, and Bing (I chose Google).  You can also select the country of your choice.  When I tried it there were 16 countries listed (I chose the United States).

The report length was 20 pages and contained the following sections:

Overview: how you compare to the competition in terms of yahoo linkdomain, yahoo links, alexa page rank, and domain age (no units were given but I assume years).

Document Title: One of the most important on page SEO techniques is to make sure your page title contains your keyword.  This section presents an analysis of how your keyword appears in your document title (i.e. the <title> tag) as compared to the competition.  This includes keyword quantity, keyword position, and number of words and characters in the title.

Headings: It is important for SEO purposes to have your keyword appear in your headings.  This section of the report analyzes the number of occurrences of your keyword in the H1, H2, and H3 headings of your page as well as the competition.

Body text: This section shows the keyword density of your page text and how it compares to your competition.  Managing your keyword density is important – it should be high enough so that Google knows what keyword you are targeting but not too high or Google will think you are trying too hard and your visitors will think you can’t write coherently.

URL: Here you can find an analysis of your keyword in your URL and how you compare to your competition.  The report generator attempts to parse out the words in your URL and looks for your keywords among the words it finds.  It didn’t work for my URL despite the fact that I have a ton of words in my domain name.

Sitemap and robots files: This section gives some basic information about what it found in your sitemap and robots files.  Unless you are running a sophisticated website these files generally don’t contain too much information but it is still good to have them.

Meta description: Having a unique meta description on each page of your site is a good idea.  As it turns out I had forgot to add one to my homepage so it was useful that this report told me about it.  On the other hand, my primary competitor, wikipedia, also doesn’t have a meta description.

Links: This section provides information about internal links and anchor text on the given page.  I don’t have any links on my homepage (at least not in the page body) so I didn’t get any information here.

HTML code and page load times: This section provides information to help you improve the page load times of your website.  This can be useful as Google can penalize you if your site is slow.

Images: This section contains information about images on your page.  Even though I have two small images on my homepage it didn’t report anything.  I’m not sure if this is a bug or not.  Also, I have an image in my sidebar that it didn’t say anything about.

Meta keywords: Even though meta keywords have no value for SEO purposes, if your competitor provides some you can use them to find related keywords to target – and this section of the report shows all of your competitors keywords.

For each of the sections listed above you also get several pointers on what improvements you can make.  While a lot of the information is basic onsite SEO (much of which can be found in the Google SEO guide) it was still useful to have the tips beside the relevant information to provide a bit of context.  Presenting the information in this way can help you to think ways to improve your page SEO.

I found this report to be quite useful when optimizing a page for onsite SEO.  Apart from inbound link counts there was no information about offsite SEO or suggestions on what to do in this area. This isn’t a problem for me because I get all I need from my Wealthy Affiliate membership but others may stumble over this.

How to get your free report

If you want to run a free report on your site just follow this link:

Free SEO Report

You will be taken through the free account setup process and receive one report.  Once your account is set up you can run as many reports as you want but you have to pay $10 each to view them.  You can also pay a monthly subscription ($19.95 at the time of writing this) and run as many reports as you want.

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Choosing the best keywords

Online marketing is a necessary part of any business promotion strategy.  The most important aspect of online marketing is getting your message in front of your target market.  In order to do this you need to have your website show up for the search terms your potential customers use.  This is why you need to have a good understanding of how to do proper keyword research.  This post will give you a good idea of the kinds of keywords you should be targeting with your marketing efforts.

Broad vs. Specific

Many people who start out with online marketing make the mistake of marketing to their most general audience.  For example, if they are selling a specific brand of golf clubs they will target keywords such as ‘golfing’ or even ‘golf clubs’.  These broad search terms are not profitable to target for these reasons:

  • They are used by people doing research, not looking to actually buy a product
  • Similarly, people searching for broad terms don’t necessarily know what they want to buy so they are less likely to convert to sales on your website
  • There is often a lot of competition for these broad terms so they are expensive and hard to rank for

The keywords that you need to consider should be much more specific.  These are generally search terms that contain three or more words.  For example, instead of ‘golf club’ you want to use a term like ‘Lee Miller signature series – satin wedge’.  These ‘long tail’ keywords allow you to:

  • Have a more focused marketing campaign that is more relevant to the searcher
  • Attract people late in the buying stage
  • Target people that are more likely to make a purchase and hence make your advertising dollar go farther
  • Rank for keywords that have less competition

Features vs. Benefits

When customers are looking for a product they are more interested in what benefits a product has to offer them than what features it has.  This is an important point to keep in mind both when writing your web copy as well as in what keywords you choose.  People looking for a product are looking for something that will solve a problem they have.  Unless you are targeting a highly technical market focus on benefits in all aspects of your marketing efforts.

By keeping in mind these concepts when choosing keywords for your marketing campaign you can greatly increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts as well as your marketing budget.  There is more to learn about choosing and using keywords and I have more posts in the pipeline to address these issues.  In the meantime, if you want an excellent resource for not only learning how to find and use keywords but also gain access to several excellent keyword tools I recommend checking out Wealthy Affiliate.  They are by far the best resource I have found to date for performing keyword research.

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Google Editions – Google’s digital book affiliate program

Google EditionsFor affiliate marketers, promoting a reputable supplier is always a plus.  This is why the soon-to-be-available Google Editions online bookstore is good news.  The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is set to launch its online store that makes digital books available from Google as well as other independent suppliers.  This service will be competing directly with the likes of Amazon.com and Apple’s iBookStore.

Details are still sketchy about the affiliate program and what percentages they will be offering.  It also isn’t clear if Google will be offering this through the Google Affiliate Network or not.  If so, you may have to first qualify before you can participate.

While books generally have lower commissions relative to other affiliate products, their affordable price makes them an easy buy for many.  Furthermore, digital book sales are increasing year over year and are expected to reach $966 million this year (an increasing part of the ever expanding online market).  This represents a huge opportunity for affiliate marketers who promote books.

With the initial launch Google Editions will only be available in the US.  However, they intend to go international shortly thereafter – sometime in the beginning of 2011.  With a worldwide market, digital delivery, and reading device independence this will make Google Editions the most accessible book affiliate program available.

This can be good news for those who publish their own book as well.  If you sell your own e-book on your website you will be able to make this available through Google Editions.  This will provide a more secure and trusted purchasing process as well as make your book available for others to promote and sell.

With the launch date likely being later this month I will be keeping an eye on this.  When Google Editions launches I will report all the details here.  Be sure to subscribe to my feed and check back for more information.

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Making money online – an honest, realistic perspective

There are many (many, many!) websites out there which have promises of making big money online.  They make it sound like if you buy their product, subscribe to their newsletter, take their training, or do whatever they are asking you to do then you will have money pouring into your bank account.

The truth is, making money online is not a walk in the park.  At least not if you want to make lots of money.  Yes, there are many quick, easy, low paying things you can do online to earn money but this isn’t really the stuff dreams are made of.  People want an online cash machine.  I want an online cash machine.  I want to wake up in the morning (late morning), sit down in front of my computer (after a relaxed leisurely breakfast), and see just how much money I made over night as I slept.

The truth is, and I’m sorry to say it, but it doesn’t work this way.  At least not for most people.  I’m not saying that people don’t make money online, they do.  I’m not saying people don’t make a lot of money online.  Again, some people do.  What I’m saying is that most people don’t.  And those that do worked hard for a long time for it.

I recently stumbled across a website which illustrates this point very well.  In fact it was the inspiration for this post.  How this website makes money is an excellent example of the kind of attitude and expectations one should have when building your money making website.  (In case that website has suddenly started making money, his income was $762.09 in 690 days when I visited).

I don’t want to be too much of a downer so I will end on an optimistic note.  Here are a few points to keep in mind if you still want to make an attempt at a profitable website.

If you are trying to make money in anything you will make it easy on yourself if you go where there is no competition.  The ‘make money online’ marketplace is probably the most overcrowded, competitive market out there.  Learning how to make money online buy making a ‘learn how to make money online’ website is a good learning experience but generally not a profitable one.  When you start working on your money making website, make sure you pick a niche that is interesting for you.  If that happens to be the ‘make money online’ marketplace then expect a long hard struggle.

Persistence is key.  Making a profitable website requires a lot of effort over a long time with little initial reward.  Little initial financial reward anyway.  Creating a good website can be rewarding in itself as well as an excellent learning experience.  If you persist you will likely achieve your goal and it is much easier to persist doing something you enjoy and are interested in.  So make sure your website is on a topic that is interesting for you.

Sometimes people jump into the online marketing world and hit a vein of gold.  Within months they are making tons of money and are able to quit their job.  I don’t know any of these people but I’ve “heard stories”.  As such, you should be wary of this.  I’m sure it happens but only to a lucky few.  I mention this for two reasons.  One, to point out that there are still untapped markets out there.  Two, other people use this tactic to entice visitors to buy their product (“Julie bought our product and two months later she was making three times her salary”, etc. etc.)

You can save yourself a lot of time and effort by receiving the proper training and support (both of which you can get here).  It still takes a lot of effort but at least you can do it with the confidence that you are moving in the right direction.

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Onsite SEO – How to optimize your titles

There are many things you can do on your website to help you improve your rank in the search engines.  Ideally, every page on your site should be properly SEO optimized.  If you keep in mind the following techniques when creating content for your website you will greatly improve your ranking.

Interesting

Having good titles is important for many reasons.  First and foremost your titles should catch people’s attention.  While this technically is not SEO it is still important for attracting readers.  Typically the first thing a person sees on your page is your title.  If it isn’t interesting they won’t stay on your website.  Also, your title is what is shown in the search engines.  If it doesn’t contain what the person is searching for they won’t even bother clicking on your link to come to your website.

Keyword targeted

In addition to having an interesting catchy title it should also contain the keywords you are targeting with that specific page.  The page title is one of the most important places you can have your keyword for onsite SEO purposes.  Search engines give extra importance to the words found in your page title which leads to higher ranking for those specific words.

It is also important to not stuff your title with keywords.  Always keep in mind the first point – your titles are for people first.  Awkward keyword stuffed titles will just turn people away.

Unique

The titles of your pages should be unique across your website.  This helps people, and search engines, distinguish your site’s pages.  This practice is also recommended in the Google SEO starter guide.

Having unique titles helps improve the user experience.  Have you ever looked through your search history to find a page you visited?  If you have unique, descriptive titles then your users are much more likely to find you.

Ideal title length for SEO

While it is important to have interesting and descriptive titles you should try and keep them below 65 characters.  This is because this is all that will be shown in the search results.

In fact, if you go to Google right now and search for something you will notice that the longer titles get cut off and have ellipses (…) at the end.  This is undesirable as some of your message will be missing and this could reduce the number of clicks you get.

Tools

If you are using WordPress then I recommend the free plugin called All in one SEO Pack.  This is one of the most popular WordPress plugins for on site SEO.  It allows you to work with many SEO elements including optimizing your page title.

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