Search Engine Marketing – Get an eBusiness Card

Search Engine Marketing can seem like a daunting task, especially when the traditional method of self-advertizing is so much easier: you just pass out a business card!  But while business cards are helpful in face-to-face environments, they have NO connection to the source most people use to search for businesses: Google. What if you could digitally “pass out your business card” to people searching for your name on Google?  With EarthLink, you CAN!

EarthLink’s eBiz Card makes it easy to be found in Google search results. Your “card” will let you establish a search engine presence based around your name while generating relevant business inquiries. It’s a great way to get started with Search Engine Marketing, and can help you generate more call and website traffic and make it easy for prospects to find, contact and buy from you!

How does it work?

When someone visits google to search for your name, your “eBusiness card” will appear as a sponsored link in the Google search results (see graphic, above!).  They will see you at the top of the results, along with the message you include “on your card” (which is actually a powerful Google ad).  Your Google ad can include a brief description of your services as well as a link to your business website (need help getting a website?  Click here). You can also include your phone number to make it easy for prospects to call you.

Why would you not want to have a sponsored ad promoting yourself on Google?  Get your eBusines card today!  (You can also call us to find out more: 1-800-201-8615)

SEO Basics: Using Keywords for Website SEO

Find popular keywords for SEO - Google Keyword ToolLast week, we started our SEO Basics series with a look at How to Use Title Tags on Your Website.

As a reminder, SEO stands for search engine optimization, and refers to all the techniques used to help your website and webpages rank well in search engine results.

When telling you how to optimize your Title tags last week, we talked about how it was important to feature the keywords that are most popular to describe your product or service.

The same is true for the content of your webpages: keywords matter.

Here’s what you need to know about keywords:

  • Ideally, each of the pages on our website should be focused on one keyword (with close variations).
  • “Keyword” often means multiple words: web hosting service and professional web design are multi-word keywords for EarthLink Web Hosting pages. High speed cable Internet is a keyword for our cable Internet access page.
  • Use tools such as the Google Keyword tool to find the right keywords.
  • Generally it’s recommended to shoot for the keywords with the highest volume, though you may decide you’re better able to compete for some more narrow, long-tail keywords with less traffic.
  • Keep in mind, your product name is typically not your keyword. Your keyword is the more generic term for what your product/service is. Think: what do people call products like mine, in general.
  • Ideally, keywords should be in the page’s Title tag, URL, page header (H1 tag), and used throughout the body of the page, especially near the top.
  • Do not stuff the page with keywords. This is a very old and now dangerous technique that is likely to backfire. Use your keyword (and variations) a natural number of times when covering your topic/product.
  • Vary your keyword on your webpage in natural ways: using singular and plural forms, different word orders for keyword phrases, close synonyms, and natural keyword modifiers.
  • Use your keywords as links on other pages in your website. Internal linking using keywords is another way that search engines determine what is most important about a page.

Using the simple keyword techniques above should help you get started with SEO and help you generate traffic to your website. Good luck.

SEO Basics: How to Use Title Tags on Your Website

So, you’ve built your business website. Now you want some traffic.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is one of the traffic-generating tools you have at your disposal.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of factors outside your control when it comes to SEO. Others can be controlled but take significant time or effort.

But here’s one that’s both fully within your control and super simple: optimizing the Title tags for your business website’s homepage and product pages.

The Title tag determines what appears at the top of your web browser window when visiting a webpage. The Title tag is also what Google, Bing, and other search engines use as the main link to your website in search results. The search engines also use the keywords in your Title tag to categorize your pages, which is why the tag is important for SEO.

One of the biggest, commonly missed SEO opportunities is a business homepage that says Welcome or Home.

Those generic Titles don’t brand your website at all. Nor do they give potential visitors (and search engines) any idea of what your website is about.

There are some different schools of thought when it comes to the perfect Title tag, but in general, the best practice advice is to lead with keywords that are the most popular for the products or services you offer and end with your website/brand name.

If branding is most important to you or you feel your brand name is strong and want to feature it more in search results, then flip the order and use your brand first, then keywords.

You should keep the Title under 70 characters (including spaces). Anything above that will get cut off in Google search results.

Because you don’t have much space, you really have to prioritize the keywords you use.

Here’s an example of our EarthLink Business website. The Title tag of 69 characters leads with the keywords for the main business service categories we offer: IT, Data, Voice & Internet Services for Business – EarthLink Business.

This is how the EarthLink Business homepage Title tag shows up at the top of a web browser (in this case Safari):

EarthLink Business - title tag for business services homepage

And this is how the Title tag looks in Google search results:

EarthLink Business in Google search resultsKeep in mind, you should have unique Title tags for each of your pages, so you need to plan out which keywords to use for which pages. Reusing the same Title tags on multiple (or all) pages is another one of the most common SEO mistakes.

Using the EarthLinkBusiness.com site as an example again, here are Title tags for some of our important business service pages:

Most content management systems (such as blogging software) let you update Title tags by simply typing in new text in the Title field and updating the page.

In the source code for your page, the Title tag is found in the <head> section and is whatever you put between the <title> </title> tags.

If you need help finding popular keywords related to your business website to use for your Title tag, try using this Google Keyword tool.

Good luck with your SEO.

AdWords Made Simple: Selecting Keywords and Billing Setup

To help you start the New Year with more traffic to your business website we’ve been showing you how to get started with Google AdWords. Last week’s AdWords blog post  covered:

  • Creating an Ad Group
  • Creating text ads

This week we’ll cover the last couple of steps in the process:

  • Selecting keywords
  • Entering your billing information

We’ve covered getting started with AdWords in 3 posts, but you may be setting AdWords up all at once. If so, the Keywords section is just below where you created your text ads. If you logged out before setting up your keywords, you can sign back in, click the Keywords tab, and then the green + Add Keywords button.

Adding keywords with different match types

Number of Keywords

The keywords you add determine which Google searches your ads show up for. Google says most businesses use 5 – 20 keywords per ad group, but there’s no one right number.

You want to cover the terms and phrases people would use to try to find the types of products or services you are promoting in your ad.

The more specific you are, the more likely your ads will show up to the right potential customers, but it will also limit your audience. Using more general or broad keywords will help you reach more people but that group may include people searching for things unrelated to your business.

Keywords Should Match Ad Groups and Ads

The keywords you use should be appropriate for the ad you are running. Using last week’s example, if you are selling 3D glasses and your ad is written to sell 3D glasses, your keywords should relate directly to 3D glasses, perhaps including active 3D glasses, passive 3d glasses, discount 3d glassesPanasonic 3d glasses. If you also sell 3D movies, you probably don’t want to include 3d movie related keywords in your 3D Glasses Ad Group. If you want to advertise using keywords that don’t apply to your ad, that probably means you need to create a new Ad Group with new ads that can match those keywords. But it’s up to you how specific you want your ad groups.

If you are, lets say, a general contractor, you may want to set up an Ad Group for your services in general, to capture people looking for a contractor in your area (you can either specify in setting that your campaign only run in a certain area or you can use geographic terms in your keywords). But you also may want to set up Ad Groups for the specific services you offer: room additions, kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, floor refinishing, window replacement, etc.

Keyword Match Types

By default, when you enter keywords without any specific match type specified, Google uses a Broad match to decide when to show your keywords. When set to Broad, your keywords will trigger your ad if someone types in any variation of the keyword, including misspellings, plurals, different word order, longer phrases containing your keyword, as well as synonyms of the keyword and related searches.

The Broad match type is the best to capture the most search traffic volume, but it is also most likely to trigger your ads for irrelevant searches. Using the general contractor example above, a Broad match on the term general contractor would trigger your ad when someone searches for best general contractor in Los Angeles but also how to sue your general contractor.

Other match types in addition to broad match are broad match modifier, phrase match, exact match, and negative match.

  • Broad match modifier: add a plus sign in front of your keywords to trigger this match type, e.g., +general +contractor. This type will trigger your ads for all the searches (misspellings, singular/plural, abbreviations, acronyms, stemmings, etc) that trigger the broad match except synonyms and related searches.
  • Phrase match: put quotes around your keywords to make them a phrase match, e.g., “tennis shoes”. This match type shows your ad only if the searcher uses your keywords (or close variants) in the order you specify. With a phrase match, there can be words before or after the terms you specify, as in buy tennis shoes or red tennis shoes for women but not variations such as shoes for tennis or tennis sneakers.
  • Exact match: Exact match gives you the most control but the least volume, since it only triggers your ads when someone searches using your keyword (or very close variants) without any other terms before or after. To specify exact match, put brackets around your keywords, such as [atlanta house painter].

Negative Match

Negative keywords are the exact opposite of your other keywords. All the other keyword types define they keywords that do trigger your ads. Negative keywords are what you specify should not trigger your ads. To create a negative match, use a minus sign (-) before the keywords you want to exclude. Using the tennis shoe example above, you would add the negative keyword  - nike if you didn’t sell Nike tennis shoes and didn’t want your ads to show up for searchers looking for that brand.

Negative match can help you filter out irrelevant searches and prevent unwanted clicks, especially if you are using broad match or if you know of totally different types of products that share the same keywords.

On one of our business high-speed internet access AdWords campaigns, we were promoting T1 and T3 internet access. Before we added negative keywords we found lots of irrelevant searches were triggering our ads. There was the Terminator 3 movie, a t3.com gadget website, a t3 spinal nerve, a t3 thyroid hormone, a t3 magazine, a t3 rapper, a t3 “personal transportation vehicle,” Tylenol 3, and others. So we added –movie, -terminator, -gadget, -thyroid, -magazine, etc. to filter out those irrelevant results.

The screenshot above shows an example of different match type keywords, including negatives, entered for one ad group.

When you are finished entering your keywords, click either the Save button or the Save and continue to billing button (depending on where you are in the process).

Set Up Billing

AdWords billing setup is very straightforward. Just follow the prompts to fill out your business information, how you want to pay, and accept the terms and conditions.

One caution: If you want to complete your AdWords setup but you aren’t ready for your ads to start running and generating costs, make sure you go back and pause your campaign. If you complete billing setup with automatic payments set up, your ads may start running immediately.

To pause your campaign, click back to the All online campaigns page and click the drop-down next to the green dot to the left of your campaign name. Green means the campaign is Enabled. Select Paused from the list until you are ready to start running your ads.

We hope this introduction to AdWords has been helpful to you. We encourage you to take advantage of all the additional help resources Google offers in AdWords. And remember to keep monitoring your campaign’s performance and adjusting it as necessary. You may need to change keyword match types, add more negatives, limit the geography your campaign runs in, modify you ads, etc. Google makes it fairly simple to refine your campaign to achieve better results.