Top 10 Tips for Green Hat SEM in 2009
January 12, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park
This is a guest post by Falko Luedtke. Falko is a Strategic Internet Marketer and owner of Falko Inc, a trusted SEM/SEO company focused on quality service and up-to-date SEM knowledge.
The Falko Inc Blog provides the latest information on how to optimize businesses as well as Internet marketing strategies focused on proper utilization of technology to increase a company’s brand awareness and profitability.
Today I would like to talk to you about focusing all of your attention towards making more money with search marketing – something I call Green Hat Search Engine Marketing (SEM). The general idea of Green Hat SEM was formed inside the SEO Book Community and I described what Green Hat SEM is in more detail on my blog a few days ago. Below are 10 tips on how you can use Green Hat SEM to improve your earnings in 2009.
10. Use an optimized site structure that funnels to the most important pages
Many websites are still not tapping into their maximum potential by optimizing their site structure. Be sure to tackle duplicate content; make sure there is only one way to reach each page on your site. Create a hierarchical structure and use “push pages” to support the most important pages with the highest keyword value. Mix up the link anchor text from push pages to your important pages. Eliminate unnecessary pages and links (e.g. no, it is not necessary to link to “contact us” from every page on your site). Check out the Supplemental Results Detector Tool to analyze your site’s structure.
9. Localize your site using geotargeting
Before entering your website into the global market, make sure you are localizing your site directly for smaller more specific markets in your targeted area. This means using country-specific top-level domains and hosting and localized language and tone. By using technology like Content Delivery Network, you are then able to host your site globally in the most cost-effective way.
8. Be relevant in everything you do
Relevance is more important than anything else in the search engines. The more relevant the traffic that comes to your site, the higher your conversion rates will be. For example, if you are a dental supply store in Denver, then you should try to rank highly for “Denver dental supply store” and not just for “dental supply.” People searching for “dental supply” will probably not find what they are looking for on your site, so you waste energy and money trying to rank for it. Also, if you are running an e-commerce site, make sure that every product has a separate page. By this, I only mean totally different products; a different color doesn’t make a different product. Create useful and relevant pages and ask yourself, “Would I use this?” before you publish a page.
7. Create content that converts
Many of the experts will say that content is king and that you should have as much content as possible. This is not true. You will end up with poor content if you try to follow this strategy. The quality, not quantity, of your content is what’s important. The Internet is a one-on-one media, so you shouldn’t try to sell to the masses.
When you create content or when somebody creates content for you, make sure you have three important things in place. First, be unique – over 20% similarity with another document could count as duplicate content. Second, offer useful information – people can recognize when content is useful and when it is not. Finally, stay as close to the truth as possible and don’t talk negatively about others.
The Internet highlights many of our basic human instincts: we search for knowledge, we go to the people who have this knowledge, and then we take the knowledge we gained back to our community to share it with others. Creating useful content that actually helps people is one of the best ways to accumulate links and increase targeted traffic to your site.
6. Be trusted and create more trust
How does one create trust on the Internet? In the past, being trusted was simply based on how many links you could get pointing to your site. However, within the last year we clearly see a shift away from this. Google trusts quality links more than others, and a site with quality links and a relevant domain name can easily outrank sites with a crappy, unnatural link profile. Try to focus your attention on getting links from your own topical neighborhood or related communities that are relevant to your site. I also believe that the Trust Rank algorithm is gaining in popularity and will soon have a huge influence on the ranking of websites.
5. Use traditional marketing to stimulate more searches
Traditional marketing such as print media, radio and TV has gotten a lot cheaper these days. Due to the current economic crisis, many big spenders have cut their budgets. This presents a great opportunity for you. In addition, there are more opportunities to advertise on relevant websites. This is a great way to increase your visibility and to demonstrate that you are still in business and will continue to be in business even when the crisis is over. Advertising will have a positive effect on your branding and your brand related search terms as well.
4. Focus on conversions – conversion is king
It doesn’t matter how many links you get or how much traffic you have. What really matters is conversions and conversion rate. Many people believe that a user simply comes to a website, looks around for a few minutes, and then buys. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. People search for information first and then they compare various products for the best deal. Many people choose to buy from the retailer that provides the best value, rather than just the best price. With more and more review sites and social media sites springing up on the Internet, it’s easy to get a review from various sites and retailers.
Let’s be honest, there are at least 100 other people who sell the same product as you do. A lot of times it’s the service you offer that makes the biggest difference. Utilizing the right content can make a huge impact on your customer service. For example, a spam-free, well executed email marketing campaign can still be one of the best ways to get more returning visitors with higher conversion rates. Consult with a conversion optimizer when you are running an e-commerce site. Do a search for “landing page optimization” in Google, and you’ll find some very qualified companies.
3. Forget about rankings
Since the introduction of personalized search and the increasing number of Google data centers around the world, it’s clear that rankings in themselves are becoming less important. Your site could be ranked number one for your main keyword, but only for you. For example, if you search for your main keyword, click on your site from there and spend a long time surfing your site, Google personalized search may think you like the site and thus rank it higher for you (but not for others). So stop worrying about rankings and focus instead on driving relevant traffic to your site. By doing so, more people will like your site and visit often. If you rank highly in many “personalized searches”, your rankings will go up in general as well.
2. Do community work for crying out loud
Your best friend nowadays is the community that surrounds you in related news sites, forums or community sites, smaller retailers, related magazines, and even TV shows. When you present yourself as an expert within the community, or a company that cares about the community, you receive free support from the community in return. This creates brand awareness and increased trust for you. As a simple measure, you could provide quality content to related sites for free, or let owners and reporters try your product or services for free. For companies with less experience in Internet community work, I suggest hiring a young, dynamic person who can help you with this strategy.
1. Build a brand and be a brand
Not just big companies like Coca Cola and Nike can be brands. Everything and anything can be branded including a blog, a person, or even a dog. By branding yourself, you make sure that you stand out from the rest of the masses. The more community connections you have, the more visible and trusted your brand will be, which in turn means more business for you. But pay attention as to how you brand yourself. What’s the message you are trying to get across? You need to keep this consistent and not say anything that is untrue or goes against your message.
Be sure to use your target brand name and place it on everything you do. A corporate identity can be useful to everyone. Remember, the more brand-related terms you can accumulate, the higher your conversion rate will be. Make sure you rank for your branded terms and buy PPC ads for your brand name – you do not want to lose those clicks.
These 10 tips don’t just make your website more focused on making money. They also represent a roadmap for how you can give more value back to your customers. The Internet is changing and search engines are changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it. By putting the customer first and providing a valuable website, you will be able to overcome all the changes and still come out on top.
Google and all the other major search engines are looking for ways to understand social media better. They figured out that the best way to rank a website is by knowing whether or not customers like it. By focusing on customer satisfaction, you will reach a larger target audience and your return on investment will be higher. Good luck Green Hat SEO’s!If you like this post, subscribe to the RSS feed. Get the latest updates delivered straight to your email or news reader.