If you didn't already know, Google now gives you keyword search figures to help you with your PPC campaigns.
Prior to this, it only gave away little green 'bars' - i.e. images representing estimated usages for keywords.
I'm not entirely sure why they decided to do this as Google like to keep things to themselves, although my guess is that people overspending on the daily budget that was estimated for them by Google could well be a deciding factor.
Anyway - it means of course you should use it - especially if you're using PPC.
And if you're not using PPC - then my suggestion is that you setup a Google account
anyway, just to get the benefit of this tool. (Personally I'd suggest that you try PPC anyway at this point)
Basically, Google shows you the popularity of keywords(& phrases) and their expected CPC. It lets you sort the columns by whichever field you like and export the data directly into your PPC campaigns.
But you can use this information in other ways. You can decide which key phrases are suitable to be targeted for natural SEO.
So, choosing keywords for your navigation, or page titles, alt tags, anchor links, product descriptions, meta tags, page content in fact all the usual stuff is now made easier and more 'scientific'.
As with before the update, you can still get a count for mis-spellings, synonyms and other suggested key phrases, together with predicted search volumes.
My suggestion is that the higher the volume of keywords being displayed, the more you'll need to use [Exact Match] or [Phrase Match] from the drop down list on the top right hand side. Otherwise, you can have a lot of irrelevant data.
You can 'seed' the keyword query either by directly typing in a keyphrase or entering a URL. If you enter a URL, Google scrapes the keywords out of it and lists these.
A good tip I read - don't use your own URL unless you are at the top of the natural rankings. Simply find your competitors' website address that always seems to be doing well and use theirs!
There's loads of interesting data that isn't displayed by default so have a play with the drop down list at the top where it says 'Choose columns to be displayed'
For example, if you're looking for fluctuations in search volume(for example you're selling stuff for Christmas) then have this field available and you can see the relative amounts over the last 12 months.
(It's my guess that this drop down list will have other stuff added to it over time)
Rather than giving you a blow by blow account of HOW to use it - I suggest that you simply have a play with it. If you DO want more help with using it, try joining the MKLINK Internet Marketing Masterclass - available below...
Here's a handy way to know you're on the right track.
Anyone who has listened to my seminars or followed my work will know about the importance of split testing.
To recap very briefly, it is a way to see which adverts are more attractive to your potential customers.
It's a practice of improving your sales results - a legacy from traditional direct marketing if you will.
You post a mailshot to ten thousands prospects with one headline and another ten thousand to another list of prospect - with a different headline.
You then pick the winner that produces the best results. This way, over time and with repeated testing, you are constantly improving your advertising.
But of course it can be applied to web pages, emails, PPC adverts, direct mail in fact almost all forms of advertising. It's a very simple tool. The good old fashioned A and B Split test.
However, one question I get asked all the time - especially when people are trying to optimise their Pay per Click advertising, is how many samples do I need to take to get a positive answer?
For example, if I have 10,000 impressions of advert A and 10,000 impressions of advert B and advert A converts at 2% whilst advert B converts at 5% then I am almost 100% sure that the statistics are meaningful and an extremely good indicator of future performance.
But of course if I'm running pay per click or mailshots or whatever - this could be expensive, so we need the minimum sample to be able to make valid predictions. The more often we get valid samples - the faster we optimise our advertising and the more money we make.
However, if our sample is too small - we can not be sure our data is valid and can make expensive, inaccurate predictions.
The solution? You need a tool that does the maths for you and gives you stats that you can be confident to work with.
Everyone likes a bargain and Ebay is a great place to get one.
When times are hard, it can be a great place to buy stuff and save money.
But a lot of people spend more money than they need to.
There are various strategies to buying items on Ebay and getting it cheaper.
Conversely, there are loads of ways of getting people to bid MORE on items that you're selling.
However, let's just assume that someone is selling something that you're interested in buying - cheap. Here's a tip. DON'T BID ON IT!
Many people simply see something they like and then put a bid on it and keep bidding until the end of the auction. Stupid!
This pushes the price up because of course other bidders will want the item too. Additionally, listings with more bids get more searches and consequently attract more
Plus, when you start in a bidding war, psychologically, you'll find it harder to let
go and very often bid more than you had intended - meaning you'll spend more.
What's the alternative?
Well, in my opinion, it is far better to evaluate the maximum price that you'd be prepared
to pay for the item at the outset and then simply bid once.
At the very end of the auction! Right at the very end - a few seconds before so that
other bidders will find it a lot harder to outbid you. It's called "sniping" and you can bet your competitors are doing it.
However, the disadvantage of this method is that it can be very time consuming to stay up all night looking at how the bids are progressing and then waiting till the last second to place the killing bid which can sometimes be late at night or early in the morning.
Additionally, other "Snipers" may have a better internet connection and pip you to the post.
So you can automate it with software. We use powersnipe - checkout my affiliates tools page at http://www.mklink.com/tools.php but of course there's loads of other software out there you could use - some are free and paid for by advertising. Anyway, It's saved me a fortune.
You don't even need to have your pc switched on as it all runs from a third party website.
Is it a Dirty trick? Maybe. Does it save money? Definitely! Your call...
I spend ages in front of My PC and I get a stiff back, legs etc.
Not only is it unhealthy, I need to lose weight as well.
If I know I'm going to be in front of the PC for half an hour or more reading something, I'll often stand up.
Trouble is of course, now I'm too far away from the screen.
No Problem - I've got used to changing the browser settings so I can stand up(and do a few simple excercices) and still be able to see the screen easily.
In Internet Explorer, Simply go into Tools>>Internet options>>Accessibility
Tick all the boxes market "Ignore font size" etc
Then close this box.
Afterwards, Select Page>>Text Size>>Largest
Voila - a page(looks horrible) that a bat could see at 20 feet!
A few newsletters back, I briefly covered how social networking sites can be a powerful boost to you business.
But when I wrote the article, it was from the viewpoint of joining one or some of the array of social networks and leveraging their user base to get links to your website and more traffic, recognition and a 'buzz'. Networks like Facebook or MySpace.
But not all networks have to be huge and cross-board. Some can be specialised.
Develop your own, specialsed and niche Social Network...
And think about this - how 'cool' would it be if you had you OWN social network site either directly on your website somewhere or on another domain that you manage?
Of course, you'll have different challenges such as getting people to join your network, but think of the benefits!
Skyrocketed Company Perception.
Huge Collaboration & Joint Venturing opportunities
Viral marketing opportunities.
Leveraged inbound links.
Boosted Search Engine Ranking.
Increased Cashflow(Using Google Adsense payments etc)
Raised corporate branding.
In short - there are loads of benefits of crating and maintaining your own social networking site.
The biggest one I can think of that I've not listed above is the fact that you can dynamically respond to market demand. i.e. by staying on top of what is the latest 'buzz' you can create products or services to meet a new niche or demand. (Or at least write benefits about how your existing products or services can be used)
Of course, there are issues that it raises as well...
Should you charge for membership?
Who can join your network?
Who is responsible for maintaining quality and content issues?
Who updates the social networking software?
Where is it hosted?
How much does it cost?
My suggestion is that as always, you start small and grow it organically. It's unlikely that your website will develop into the next Facebook but there's no reason why you can dominate an industry niche.
As usual, most people won't bother - meaning you should!
Most people people that I mention this to won't bother to take action because they're too confused or worried about how to set it all up. Which means they won't get the benefits of it.
A couple of weeks ago, I setup mklink.org which is a complete shambles really but at least I've started it and have got a plan to work on it on a regular basis and add more content, members, features etc. It's simply a matter of time. I'm not expecting to take over the world with it, just have somewhere that I can add value and build a community.
So my suggestion is that you start small and think of a niche to dominate. You might not be aware but there are people that let you run your own social network site for free. Take http://www.webjam.com/ for example.
Now admittedly, it's a hosted service so the social network won't be on your own website but so what?
You'll have non of the headache of software developments etc. There are also scripts available for you to download onto your server as well if you want to manage it all yourself, which I do.
(But that's why I don't make as much money as I should - because I'm always playing with code and things like that and taking my eye of the 'marketing' ball!)
Checkout download.com or tucows.com or hotcripts.com for example.
Anyway, it's just a suggestion that you can add a lot of value to your website for little or no cost.