Journey Into Internet Marketing – Part 5 Tutorial

Introduction To Search Engine Marketing

Overview

This is the fifth part of the tutorial series “Journey Into Internet Marketing”. If you have not done so, it is recommended you read over Part 4 – Clickbank & Affiliate Networks first.

This tutorial will introduce you to Search Engine Marketing and will cover its two primary fields (SEO & PPC). You will be taught how to find profitable keyword terms that receive real searches in the Google search engine, as well as how to analyze the keyword terms that your competition markets itself under.

1. The Google Keyword Tool

The Google Keyword tool is a free and very helpful tool that lets us establish the demand, competitiveness and profitability of a keyword. You can access the keyword tool by going to https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

The keyword tool is useful for determining the most suitable keywords to use for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns. We will discuss SEO, PPC and Keyword Research later on in this tutorial, but before we do so let’s familiarize ourselves with the keyword tool.

This is what the Google Keyword Tool looks like:

It is a pretty straightforward tool to use. Let’s go through some examples.

1. For most online businesses the target market is usually the entire world, so it is best to tailor results to ‘All Countries and Territories’.

2. Select the radio button that says ‘Descriptive words or phrases’

3. Enter the keyword that you want to research into the upper box on the right and then enter the characters from the picture into the lower box.

4. Click the ‘Get keyword ideas’ button.

You will see something similar to the screen below:

The results show the keyword you entered plus other keywords that Google thinks are relevant. Each row has four columns of data, and the results can be sorted by clicking on the column headers. The Advertiser Competition column gives a graphical impression of how many websites are advertising on Google’s PPC network for each listed keyword. The Local Search Volume column gives us the number of times each keyword was searched in the previous month in the country that you are based in. The Global Monthly Search is the average number of times the keyword was searched for world-wide over the previous 12 months.

The numbers shown in the two Search columns will change depending on which Match Type is selected in the drop down menu. When you select the ‘Broad’ Match Type the search columns will include any searches that contain all of the individual words in the keyword in any order. So the results for ‘vintage cars’ will include searches for ‘vintage cars’, ‘cars vintage’, ‘vintage old cars’, ‘old vintage cars’ etc.

When you select the ‘Phrase’ Match Type only the searches that contain the words in the order they appear in the keyword will be included in the results. So ‘vintage cars’ and ‘old vintage cars’ will be included but not ‘cars vintage’ and ‘vintage old cars’. As you can see in the image below, the results shown for the ‘Phrase’ Match Type are lower than those for ‘Broad’ Match Type.

For the ‘Exact’ Match Type only the searches that contain the words in the keywords in the same order they appear; and no other words will be included in the results. This means that for the keyword ‘vintage cars’ only searches for ‘vintage cars’ will be included. The screen below shows that the numbers of searches is even lower as is expected.


I think it is best to work with ‘Exact’ Match Type because the Google Keyword Tool is not very accurate and the numbers it gives tend to be on the high side.

There is a fourth Match Type – ‘Negative’ Match Type. This shows the number of searches for the keyword that do not include the words displayed in the first column.

If all that you are interested in is SEO data, then the only column of interest should be the Global Monthly Search Volume. For PPC, however, the columns we are most interested in are the Global Monthly Search Volume and Advertiser Competition. The graphic shown for advertiser competition is only relative, so you won’t be able to tell the exact number of competing advertisers.

We can also add additional columns for more information. I have added two more columns in the screenshot below.

The second column (Estimated Ad Position) shows you what positions your PPC ads can be expected to appear in for the Cost Per Click (CPC) in the third column (Estimated Avg. CPC). You can change the amount of the CPC by entering a new maximum CPC bid in the Calculate Estimates Box and then clicking the ‘Recalculate’ button.

A good rule of thumb is to target keywords that have more than 1,000 exact matches in the Global Monthly search Volume column. If you find a keyword that has more than 3,000 searches that is even better. Don’t forget, though, that the competition for the keyword is just as important as the demand. We’ll take a look at competition a bit later.

2. Search Engine Optimization

SEO is the popular term for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the practice of actively enhancing internal and external aspects of a web page so that it ranks higher in the Search Engines. The rankings are commonly called the Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs). A high Search Engine ranking is important because it enables you to get free organic traffic from the search engines. The screenshot below shows the organic listing enclosed by the red rectangle.

When people search for a term in a Search Engine such as Google, the Search Engine returns all the websites that it thinks are relevant to the search. The websites returned are ranked in decreasing order of relevance. So the No. 1 website returned for any search term is the website that Google thinks is most relevant for that term in the region where the search was made. The search results are region dependent, so the No. 1 website for the search term ‘vintage cars’ in the UK could be different from the No. 1 website in Australia.

It is worth noting that something like over 70% of the traffic generated from Google Searches click on one of the websites on the first page of Google. The implication of this is that if you are not on the first page of Google, you should not expect to get much organic traffic.

The objective of SEO is to help Google determine how relevant your website is for the keyword that you are optimizing it for. In actual fact, the objective of SEO is to give Google as much information as possible so that it can list your website as one of the most relevant websites for a particular search term.

Search Engine Optimization is a very vast subject, and entire books have been written about it. It will be impossible to do it justice in a few paragraphs, so I am only going to attempt a brief overview.

There are two main types of SEO that work in concert to boost rankings of a web page. The first one is On Page SEO and the second one is Off Page SEO.

On Page SEO consists of factors within a web page that can positively influence the ranking of that page in the Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPS). The idea with On Page SEO is to tell Google what your page is about, and to do that you make use of keywords. Keywords are the search phrases that people type into a Search Engine.

When Google scans a page on the web, it uses the density and positioning of words on the page to determine what the page is about. Google’s job is made easier and more accurate if you make your keyword prominent in density, and use it in strategic positions on the web page.

Density, in this instance, refers to the number of times a word appears per one hundred words in a document. So if you have a web page about ‘vintage cars’ that is 500 words long, and the keyword ‘vintage cars’ appears ten times in the document, we say that the keyword has a density of 2%. If, however, it appears only five times, then it has a density of 1%.

Ideally, keyword density should be between 0.5% and 3%. It is not a good idea to use a keyword too often (higher than 3% density) on a web page. In addition to the keyword density, good On Page SEO also involves using the keyword in strategic places such as:

The Page Title.
The Page Description meta tag.
The keywords meta tag.
The Page Heading.
The first paragraph.
The last paragraph.
The HTML file name e.g. vintage-cars.html
The domain name e.g. www.vintage-cars.com or www.vintagecars.org

The HTML code below shows a simple example of keyword positioning. The example is included for illustration purposes only and is not meant to be an HTML tutorial.

<html>
<head>
<title>This is the Page Title</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”This is the Page Description”/>
<meta name=”keywords” content=”main keyword,keyword2,keyword3,keywotd4″/>
</head>
<body>
<H1>This is the Page Heading</H1>
<p>
This is the first paragraph. This is the first paragraph. This is the first paragraph. This is the first paragraph. This is the first paragraph. This is the first paragraph. This is the first paragraph.
——————————-
——————————-
——————————-
This is the last paragraph. This is the last paragraph. This is the last paragraph. This is the last paragraph. This is the last paragraph. This is the last paragraph. This is the last paragraph.
</body>
</html>

These are certainly not the only factors that influence On Page SEO, but they are more than enough to start with.

Off Page SEO includes all the SEO elements that do not involve the page that you are trying to rank. It is more about external factors which help Google realise your web site is relevant to the keyword that is being searched for. The primary way to optimize a website externally is to build backlinks to the site, and preferably with anchor text containing the keywords.

Anchor text is the visible (human readable) part of a hyperlink. For instance, this phrase: Go to Google is actually a hyperlink to the Google Search Engine, and the phrase ‘Go to Google’ is the anchor text.

A backlink counts as a popularity vote for a website in the eyes of Google, while the anchor text tells Google what the vote is for. So for a web page that is about vintage cars, a backlink with the anchor text ‘click here’ will carry much less weight than a backlink with the anchor text ‘luxury vintage cars’.

There are lots of factors that Google considers when weighing backlinks, and we will look at some of them in the SEO tutorial. Suffice it to say that the key to Off Page SEO is to get as many links as possible from a wide variety of sources over a period of time. The more relevant the web page the backlink is from the better, also the more relevant the anchor text the better.

3. Pay Per Click Advertising

We have looked at SEO, which is the free and organic arm of Search Engine Marketing. It is now time to look at the paid arm. Paid Search Engine Marketing involves Pay Per Click (PPC). All the three major Search Engines (Google, Yahoo and MSN) have PPC opportunities for advertisers. Google is by far the largest of the three Search Engines, so we will focus on Adwords, which is Google’s PPC opportunity.

Pay Per Click is performance based advertising and means that you only pay for results. In this case the desired result is for a potential customer to click through to your website. When the click through happens, Google will debit your Adwords account for the Cost Per Click (CPC) at the time.

PPC listings are separate from the organic listings and they usually appear on the right side of the Google Search results, and some times at the very top in shaded boxes. Google identifies them as paid advertising by using the term ‘Sponsored Links’ at the top. The higher an advertiser bids for the CPC the more prominently his or her ad will be displayed. The best display spots are positions 1-3, but these also cost the most. The screen shot below shows the Adwords listings on the right of the screen (enclosed in the red rectangle).

The advertiser’s bid price determines how often an ad appears. If the bid is very low, the ad might not appear for every search that involves the desired keyword. If the advertiser wants to see an ad appear for every single search he or she will have to put in a higher bid.

The advertiser’s daily budget helps Google determine at what point to stop displaying your ads to keep your costs within your stipulated budget.

Google has a quality score that also plays a part in determining how well ads are placed for the maximum bid amount. A high quality score means that the advertiser has to bid less for a position than another advertiser who has a lower quality score. The quality score is based on how relevant Google thinks the ad is, as well as how relevant the web page is to the keyword being searched for.

The quality score can be improved by optimizing the ad and web page for the chosen keywords. The optimization for PPC is very similar to the optimization for SEO. This means using the keyword in strategic places such as:

The Page Title.
The Page Description meta tag.
The keywords meta tag.
The Page Heading.
The first paragraph.
The last paragraph.
The HTML file name e.g. vintage-cars.html
The domain name e.g. www.vintage-cars.com or www.vintagecars.org

Some Internet Marketers like PPC campaigns because results are immediate. You can setup an Adword campaign in less than fifteen minutes and five minutes later you can have traffic going to your website from Google. It is perfect for testing copy and conversion rates.

The downside is that PPC is not free, and can be very expensive for certain keywords. Some of the more expensive keywords like ‘insurance’ can cost up to $10 per click, so just ten clicks to a website can set the advertiser back by $100. For this reason, Adwords is only recommended for experienced Marketers who know what they are doing.

Organic listings achieved through SEO, on the other hand, are free but the traffic is not immediate. It can take several weeks if not months to get an organic listing on the first page of a Search Engine.

So what we have here is a play-off between time and money. If you have time but not money, then SEO is the best Search Engine Marketing strategy to use. However. if you have money to spare and are in a hurry to get traffic, you will be better off using PPC.

4. Keyword Research

In an earlier section we looked at the Google Keyword Tool. In this section we are going to consider how we can use this tool to do keyword research. Our aim is to determine a keyword that has reasonably high search volume. We need to be cautious here because if the volume is very high, it is almost a given that the competition will be high too. In the next section, we will look at competition in more detail.

Let us look at our ‘vintage cars’ example in a little more detail. The screenshot below shows the results for ‘vintage cars’ sorted by decreasing Global Monthly Search Volume:


The rows show the results for our seed keyword ‘vintage cars’ and other related keywords too. The additional keywords allow us to brainstorm and come up with more and even better keyword ideas. By looking at the results, I can see that the exact global monthly search for ‘vintage cars’ is 33,100. This is on the high side and I think the competition for this term will be excessive. The third keyword ‘vintage cars for sale’ has 5,400 searches a month and looks like it will be more manageable. The next five or so keywords also have reasonable search volume, and are worthy of consideration even if only as secondary keywords.

Another step I could take would be to add ‘vintage cars for sale’ as a seed keyword and check if Google suggests any more good keywords. Unfortunately, on this occasion there wasn’t any other viable keyword to consider.

If you keep on scrolling down, you will come to a second section of results titled: Additional keywords to be considered. The suggestions here are more like horizontal suggestions based on the seed keyword. Let’s see what we have for ‘vintage cars’.

As you can see, the first suggestion is classic car, which is a good match in my opinion. We can now use ‘classic cars’ as a seed keyword and see what we come up with;

This is looking much better than our original seed keyword, and now we have tons of suggested keywords that have search volume that is decent but not too high (more than 20,000). The odds of finding some pearls within this list are very high.

As you can see, keyword research is certainly not a straight forward process, it is an art as well as a science. Different people will have their own preferred ways of doing keyword research. The important thing is to realise what the important concepts are, and to let these concepts guide your research. At the end of the day, the end will justify the means.

Our keyword research won’t be complete until we have done some in-depth competition analysis. That is what we will consider in the next section.

5. Analyzing Competition

Knowing how competitive a keyword phrase is can be vital to success in Internet Marketing. Generally speaking, you will want to target keywords that have low competition but decent search volume as well. Competition is important for both organic Search Engine Marketing (SEO), as well as paid Search Engine Marketing (PPC).

For PPC, the competitiveness of a keyword is directly reflected in the Cost Per Click (CPC) for appearing in the top position. So, more competitive keywords will cost more than less competitive keywords. Another rule of thumb is that the more words a keyword has, the less competitive it will be. So ‘quality digital cameras’ should be a less competitive keyword than ‘cameras’. Since this is a rule of thumb, there will be many cases that will not follow the rule.

For SEO, there are many ways of assessing the level of competitiveness of a niche. Each method has its own merits. Lets look at a few of the methods. They all involve using the Google search engine

Type in the keyword without quotes and find out how many competing sites there are. This is the most inaccurate way of measuring competition because all you are doing is finding out how many websites contain the individual words in the keyword.

Type in the keyword with quotes and find out how many competing sites there are. This will tell you how many sites contain the keyword in the exact order that the words appear. It is more accurate than the previous method.

Type in allintitle: keyword. This tells you how many web pages have the keyword in the Page Title. As we saw in the SEO section, one of the main factors for On Page SEO is using the keyword in the Page Title. So this method gives an even more accurate picture of the number of sites that have been optimized (On Page) for the keyword phrase.

Type in allinanchor: keyword. This tells you how many web pages have backlinks pointing to them with the keywords in the anchor text. This shows how many web pages are benefiting from Off Page SEO. It is probably the most accurate measure of the true competitiveness of a keyword.

Check the first (and maybe second page) of Google for the keyword and see how many backlinks the sites there have. If the first page is full of pages with thousands of backlinks… then you’ll know that it will be very difficult to get to the first page of Google even if the other methods indicate that the keyword is not a very competitive one.

The bottom line is that analyzing competition needs to be done with common sense. There is no definitive way of determining the competitiveness of a keyword. With experience, though, you will get better at this, and you will find it easier to make good judgement calls.

Conclusion

This concludes the introductory tutorial to Search Engine Marketing.

It is now recommended you proceed on to Part 6 – Review Sites.