Search for Customer Acquisitions

Filed Under (Google AdWords, Internet Marketing, Pay-Per-Click) by Steve Mertz on 30-10-2006

SearchRank Blog has an interesting article for startups and small businesses looking to acquire customers. The study was done by Piper Jaffray and they conclude that search is the most efficient marketing channel for acquiring new customers, more than twice as efficient as yellow pages (selling yellow pages advertising was my first job out of college)!

One potential issue that I’ve seen with small businesses using search is their failure to measure their results. You wouldn’t do this in other areas of your business so be sure that you have analytics set up on your site and do set a budget with a limit before you start any AdWords campaign. I’ve seen some AdWord advertisers get a nasty shock when they got their first bill!

USA Today also had an interesting piece today about a small business owner. Cosmo Buono calls himself a technology “dinosaur”. Buono is a New York City piano teacher and wanted to find contestants for an international piano competition he’s staging. A student recommended he advertise on Google-So he went online and gave it a shot. His budget: $50. His response: 35 new contestants, so far. “I was up and running in 15 minutes.”

I love it when something works so well! Do your homework before you spend your advertising budget and hopefully you will have as much success!

Via: SearchRank Blog 
Via: USA Today


Steve Mertz
Good Hunting!

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Yahoo Search Marketing Blog

Filed Under (Yahoo) by Steve Mertz on 26-10-2006

Yahoo.gifYahoo introduced their new blog yesterday. Yahoo hopes that their new platform will help you connect with more potential customers! “During the first few months they intend to use the blog primarily to inform and educate users about the many features and benefits of their new platform”.

They will also take a broader look at online marketing and the changes that you, as a business owner face. They even promise that their blog will be a two way street and their blog will give you a direct pipeline to Yahoo execs, and providing you an opportunity to shape future product offerings. This can only help Yahoo in the turf war with Google. Google is still the King Kong of search until you get to local search and then Google and Yahoo are virtually tied!

Steve Mertz
Welcome Yahoo Search Marketing Blog!

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Google’s Custom Search Engine

Filed Under (Custom Search Engines) by Steve Mertz on 26-10-2006

Earlier in the week Google announced their new custom search engine (CSE) program. Implementing their CSE should allow site owners to increase the value of searches as well as provide a new revenue resource for site owners. I love cash flow so I’m all for that!

Eric Enge, is a very bright guy that has a blog called Ramblings About SEO and has written a concise and insightful article on CSE so I’m going to suggest that you read his post on the Google custom search engine.

Steve Mertz
Denver Search Engine Optimization

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Will Great Keywords Get My Site Number One on Google?

Filed Under (Search Engine Optimization) by Steve Mertz on 25-10-2006

Depends on who you are talking with-The web developer will tell you the key is a well designed site. The copy writer swears by great copy and Lisa Stewart at Search Engine Guide would tell you…It’s the Keywords Stupid!

How can you argue with her-she is absolutely right. I’ve seen many professional speaker web sites that have somehow managed to have an entire page of their web site without a single keyword on it-But they had great copy and a heck of a web design!

Where to start? Lisa suggests you write down all the keywords you THINK people are using-include family and friends in this process just to get additional views-then do the research to find if anyone else shares your thought process! Great article on keywords and here is the link to : It’s the Keywords, stupid!

I’m always fond of reminding startups and young businesses that they have more time than money and time spent on keyword research will pay off in spades!

Steve Mertz
Great Keywords Student!

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Starting an SEO Campaign

Filed Under (SEO Jabberwocky) by Steve Mertz on 25-10-2006

starbucks.jpgI met with a client yesterday at Starbucks, my second office. His goal was to start a search engine marketing program for a part of his business which has very high margins and great demand. His current website has a page devoted to this business but the page has no page rank and is not optimized for keywords.

The first thing I did was do a Google search for his particular keyword phrase-I wanted to see what we were up against in the search engine result pages. I was ecstatic to see of the top 10 Google results-2 of the searches were nothing more than a PDF file-sometimes you get lucky. To make things better, there was a domain name available that contained critical keywords, which we immediately purchased. It was surprising to me that in this particular area there weren’t very many SEO savvy competitors-a fact that we will fully exploit!

As I was researching his competitors I was remembering the excellent interview that SEOmoz had done with Jeremy Schoemaker, of Shoemoney. He mentioned that he owned 10,000 domain names and that you could never own enough great domain names. I was happy that my client could purchase two new domain names that were keyword rich and in a very high margin area of business-Thanks for the timely reminder Shoemoney!

Our plan of attack will be include my favorite weapon of choice, a blog. The blog will allow us the opportunity to make good use of keywords and frequency of posting to compliment his web site efforts!

If you live in the Denver, Colorado area and would like to explore search engine optimization strategies, please drop me an email or call me to discuss your possibilities.

Steve Mertz
Denver Search Engine Optimization

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Write a Compelling Meta Description-For Potential Clients

Filed Under (SEO Jabberwocky) by Steve Mertz on 21-10-2006

Do a Google search for your domain name. The description that you see and more importantly, potential clients, comes from your meta description. Ideally, it incorporates, some keywords and a compelling reason for a potential client to click on your link for more information. The meta description allows a maximum of 286 characters-so. choose your words carefully!

Not sure where to create your meta description? Go to this blog in an Internet explorer and click on “view”. Go down to “source” and click. You will then see the code behind my page. If you go down 7 lines you see Meta name=”description” content=(Place your description here) This is not going to help you in Search Engine rankings but is essential for you enticing potential clients to your site! Spend some time on your description and realize that it will be a work in progress-so, expect to fine tune it periodically. This is one of my Denver search engine optimization clients first homework assignments.

Want to see a great example? Go over to SEO Black Hat blog and you will see their meta description on their front page: Tired of useless Top 10 lists for ranking in Google etc… They held a contest for some creative genius to write this for them. Never fear maybe you could hire her to write one for you. You can find  Natasha Robinson at That Girl From Marketing. 

Steve Mertz
I wish I had Natasha’s Creative Flair!

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Launching a Successful Blog

Filed Under (Blogging, Making Money On The Internet) by Steve Mertz on 17-10-2006

Neil Patel at Pronet Advertising has some great points to consider in your first 7 days of blogging:

1. Don’t Launch until the blog is properly setup.
2. Pick a topic and stick with it.
3. Be Consistent.
4. Don’t leave your readers stranded.
5. Get to the point.
6. Spice it up.
7. Don’t expect the world.

Guilty-On all charges! I’ve made all of these mistakes…and more. I have been particularly guilty of launching blogs before they were properly setup. My rationale was- who the hell is going to see this besides me and maybe dear old mom? You never know. Imagine my surprise when doing a Google search for “sales presentations training” and my blog came up number 5. I was absolutely stunned and not ready for the traffic and expectations of readers. If you have a blog that places well in a Google search-potential clients will have certain expectations as to content, references, audio and video clips and the sites overall “feel”.

Take it from me and do your homework before launching your blog and go over to Pronet Advertising to read Neil’s excellent article!

Steve Mertz

Building a Site for SEO and Customers

Filed Under (SEO Jabberwocky) by Steve Mertz on 05-10-2006

Todd over at Stuntdubl has a great post on 18 Questions Your CEO Forgot to Ask When Building Your Website. I’m going to give you a quick summary but you will need to go read his article to get the details!

1. Do we have a brandable domain?
2. Who should we host with that will be reliable?
3. Do we need pretty urls and will we use sub domains?
4. What is your websites business model and how are we unique?
5. Who is our target demographic and what will they search for?
6. What will the information architecture be like? What are the important top level keywords?
7. What platform should we use?
8. How do we create a professional design?
9. How do we prove high credibility?
10. What ideas can we use for linkbait?
11. If we can’t create great bait, how do we buy, barter, and beg for links?
12. Where else can we advertise?
13. What will we use for tracking and analysis?
14. What will help increase conversions and/or actions and how can we provide users incentives to stay or return?
15. How will we keep administration simple for the entire staff to use?
16. How can we manage our reputation?
17. How do we make the site “cluetrain friendly” and build a strong community environment?
18. How do we scale and specialize for effective use of time?

Todd really has given this a lot of thought and has some great resources in this post. You can read 18 Questions here. Since I work with a lot of startups who are trying to get traction on the web-I think this is a list that needs to be addressed before you spend one dime of that angel investors money! More comments to follow.

Steve Mertz
Before You Spend $$-Read This!

Search Engines Love Splash Pages-Competitors Please Use Them!

Filed Under (Google Search, Making Money On The Internet, Search Engine Marketing) by Steve Mertz on 04-10-2006

SEO DenverOK-search engines don’t really like splash pages and now the whole world will know thanks to Oatmeal over at SEOmoz Blog! Many of my professional speaker and consulting buddies have been convinced by a web designer that a flash page will really catch a persons attention and help their business-Wrong!

Oatmeal makes very specific comments, including:

1. Search engines will spider the splash page instead of the real content.
2. Search engines won’t be able to spider beyond the splash page.
3. Most users immediately click “skip intro.”
4. Slower connections will have to wait for the page to load.

He goes into more detail and I would urge you to read all of his article: How to Convince a Client They Don’t Need a Splash Page.

Do keep this in mind though-If you are offering SEO services in the Denver, Colorado area-You should completely disregard his advice and keep using those good looking flash pages 😉

Steve Mertz
Give Search Engines A Chance!
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How Long Will It Take Google To Find My Blog?

Filed Under (Search Engine Marketing) by Steve Mertz on 03-10-2006

starbuckscoffee.jpgI was in Starbucks yesterday talking to an entrepreneur. He is working on a book that will make math easy for even the worst of us. Naturally, my advice was to start a blog-even though he is not finished with his book.

He assured me he could not do that because his book won’t be ready until January of 2007-that’s when he would need a blog to help promote sells of his book…Really! Wouldn’t it be great if you could build your blog on January 1st and 30 days later your blog was completely indexed by Google, Yahoo and MSN?
Start-ups often feel that they can’t start building buzz via a blog until everything is ready-Get over that misconception. Like all good entrepreneurs he is operating on a shoe string budget so he won’t be able to buy AdWords to get the word out. Rather, he needs to start blogging now, giving a tease now and then about his revolutionary teaching method and sharing his journey with readers. He also needs to start cultivating incoming links from influential sites-this all takes time!

It’s never too early to start telling the world about your great idea and start hoping that the search engines find you. I’d say he would be lucky if he started blogging today and had any meaningful traffic by January-What are your thoughts?

Steve Mertz
A Startups Journey

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