Friday, July 10, 2009

The Four Pillars to Online Success

A friend and colleague forwarded an article from a fellow online marketer stating, "…Mega success on the Internet is all about copy alone. Unquestionably, it's also helpful to know about other things like search engine optimization, squeeze pages, twittering, teleseminars, order forms, testimonials, seminars etc. But without powerful copy to fuel the marketing engine you will not even be able to make a living online. Let alone become wealthy."

I agree…well, sort of.

I don’t think to be a success online an entrepreneur needs just copy alone, per se. Before good copy is developed, you need a few other things, which I’ll go into in a moment.

First, I’d like to clarify the difference between content and copy. Content is editorial…beneficial, value-oriented information that helps a consumer in some way, shape or form without a blatant sales pitch. Copy is creative writing…a promotion that is trying to get the consumer to take action (whether it’s to buy a product or give an email address). Great copy is engaging; tells a story; plays on emotion (i.e. greed, fear, vanity) and evokes response.

In my view, great copy undoubtedly will help seal the deal, but before you even start the "deal" you need:
1)a big idea
2)valuable content
3)strong copy
4)powerful multi-channel marketing

You see, there needs to be a foundation to any business model. And for online marketing, there first needs to be a big idea. The aforementioned may seem simplistic, or even outdated...but they truly are the staples to business growth (online and off).

You need to determine what is your idea’s "unique selling proposition" (USP)? What makes it unique from its competitors? Is there currently market demand for it? Is it solving a problem for the consumer in some way?

Once you have content, you can repurpose it into a variety of products for a variety of objectives, such as:
-For SEO (articles, back links)
-For PR (buzz, website traffic)
-For sales and leads (i.e. free whitepapers for lead generation, paid ebooks, DVDs, CDs, member websites, paid newsletters, instructional binders, webinars, teleseminars, conferences)
-and more!

To me, those are the four pillars to online success.

Could you make a go starting an online business without one of the four? Sure, but you wouldn’t be running on all cylinders, and quite frankly, you would leaving money on the table.

In my opinion, anything worthwhile should be worth doing right.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

SEO and Content Syndication: Debunking The Duplicate Content Myth

Oftentimes, real-life experiences with my clients influence my blog posts.

For instance, recently a consulting client of mine asked me if I agreed with a colleague of his about Google disliking duplicate content and to reduce or refrain the amount of content he syndicates (distributes) on the Web.

I think there’s a huge misunderstanding out there about how to distribute your content without hurting your website in the eyes of search engines.

If you publish content, you should have the first, original content on your website. No doubt. However, you can "repurpose" it and strategically distribute it on the Web, and this will not hurt your search engine/Google SEO efforts.

This is something I refer to in my SONAR Content Distribution Model TM and has helped my clients’ quantifiably increase traffic rank, traffic visits, leads and sales.

SONAR is a cost effective, yet powerful, method of repurposing and synchronizing content (albeit text, audio, video) distribution into various, targeted channels. And it allows companies, publishers, entrepreneurs … basically anyone with content on their website … the ability to ultimately turn traffic into sales.

SONAR represents the following online distribution platforms:
S Syndicate partners, content syndication networks, and user generate content sites
O Online press releases
N Network (social) communities
A Article directories
R Relevant posts to blogs, forums, and bulletin boards

SONAR Case study: My synchronized content distribution technique helped increase traffic ranking and visits to a alternative health website by 3,160% and 81.5% respectively in only three months. And in four months, traffic visits increased to an investment website by nearly 80% as well as an increase its traffic ranking by nearly 150 percent. Plus, the traffic to this investment site was monetized for an ROI of 221%.

So not only was the website’s SEO/SEM efforts NOT hut by content syndication, it actually improved exponentially with rank, visits and sales.

The key is to repurpose the content. To tweek an original article on your website with minor changes (for example to headline, intro paragraph, closing, etc.) and then syndicate on other different websites.

Google tries to look for the best version…where the content originated...the first, primary source (usually your website) and typically that site that gets the "search engine credit" so to speak via the higher ranking in the organic results listing.

In Google's view, duplicate content is more hurtful for a site if it's posted in more then one place on that SAME DOMAIN (not via syndication on other websites such as through online press releases, article directories, etc.) .

For example, if you may have two pages on your site with virtually the same content, in most cases, Google notices this and ignores one of those webpages. You will not get both of those listings in the search engine organic results…just one of them.

Keep in mind, Google will decide your pages are duplicate if ONLY your (page titles and meta descriptions) are the same. So make sure each webpage on your site has unique, relevant tags with targeted keywords.

Now if you’re concerned about webpages on your website and it’s text "printer friendly version" hurting your website’s SEO… simply block the search engines from spidering the print friendly version.

When you think about it...syndicating content is the SEO model of social sites (like Digg, Drop Jack, StumpleUpon, etc.) and article directories.

So make sure you understand the power of your content and how to syndicate it the right way before you hit the breaks on any SEO/SEM efforts ...

...Because that’s what will actually hurt your site … doing nothing and not leveraging your content.
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