Sunday, February 24, 2013

SEO for Idiots

How long do you think it would take to teach a person who knows nothing about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to become competent starting from total ignorance?  A few months? A year? Years?

First, let's start with the obvious. Assuming you already have a site built, you need to submit your site to the search engines. You can go to the following links and submit your site manually: DMOZ | Google | Bing | etc., or you can buy access to a suite of cloud-based SEO tools. offers tools to jump-start your submission process. I recommend getting a pre-paid credit card and loading it up with $50 and use that to buy a recurring subscription to the site. After one month, your card will be empty and you will not be billed again. I personally think the submission tools are worth it.

The easiest way for a neophyte to become competent at SEO is to have a software program coach them. If you have developed a site inside Wordpress, I recommend Yoast WordPress SEO.  Once the plugin is installed, it shows you what you need to do to improve your SEO score. It's like having an expert sitting with you with unlimited patience. I also use another plugin called WP Social SEO Booster which helps page rank by installing Facebook Open Graph and other forms of arcane microdata that Google looks for.

Another Wordpress plugin that has been getting a lot of buzz is one by George Katsoudas called SEO Scorer. This plugin costs around $23.

If your site is outside of Wordpress, here's a good page to visit that reviews and ranks SEO software. If you're on a Mac, check out this page for the top five SEO tools for anyone working on a Mac.

I've just finished working with a trial version of  Web CEO and although I hate recurring subscriptions, it is the only way for a Mac person to access this well reviewed software. For $50/month, it's not cheap, but could be worth every penny if used aggressively for one month. I recommend taking the free, cloud-based version out for a spin.

The point is that it's a lot easier to have a utility walk you through SEO than to learn it and do it manually. Having said that, SEO is not a simple process like mowing the lawn. It requires a broad range or approaches and can be very time consuming. Usually, the process also includes the following tasks:
  • Buying old websites and blogs for back links
  • Building legitimate looking landing pages to funnel traffic
  • Buying strong domain names
  • Selectively buying links or building them manually on forums and blogs
  • Providing guides for coverage of new 1 page sites
  • Cross linking sites
  • Launching top 100 linkbait lists about trending popular topics
  • Building social media accounts to promote those lists


James Steidl

Thursday, February 21, 2013


I am a very risk adverse person and really hate spending money unless I absolutely know what the outcome will be.  After a long time of deliberation, I finally hit the "approve" button to launch my first Facebook ad campaign just a few hours ago. I specified the campaign to be a pay-per-click optimized run at approximately 60¢/click with a budget not to exceed $300 for 30 days.

Well, the results are overwhelming. As soon as my ad was approved, just about an hour ago, the page likes have been pouring in. It's 10:45pm Pacific Time (at the time of this post), which means most of my targeted demographic is sleeping. Even still, I'm watching my inbox load up with notifications that my audience (people who like Cinema 4D) are liking my page with about 2% opting in for the free give-away.

If this is the first hour of my ad campaign, I can say emphatically, that this will be the best $300 I've ever spent on self promotion in my life. The page likes should peak at around 470 as my ad budget will have been depleted by then. The next step will be to get more of those likes to convert into a legitimate opt-ins and then a sale. Nevertheless, the task should get easier as my list starts to develop.

Three Days Later...

It's now been a few days since I launched my campaign and my likes are over 300, up from about 70 before I launched the campaign. I received my first invoice from Facebook and it was $30. So, for that $30, we've received about $167 in sales and a boat load of names. Not too shabby really. If the results were scalable, and I had spent $3,000 instead of $30, I would be ahead $6,000 in net profit. This stuff is a little scary though, I'm not sure if my audience is large enough to make that work. We'll see.

One Week Later...

Facebook page likes are up to 448 and I have paid Facebook a total of $60. We have sold about $330 in product which costs nothing to reproduce or ship and our auto-responder now has 120 legitimate opt-ins. We are getting a new product to promote as soon as we can so we can strike while the iron is still hot.

One Month Later...

We have two days left of our FB ad campaign and we're going to end with about 850 total page likes.  The click-through effectiveness of the ad has diminished appreciably over time. See below.

Nevertheless, I'm pleased with the results. Our sales to date have been $788.51 and our opt-in list has grown to approximately 150 members. Not bad for a beginner and $300.  Granted, the products we have promoted are downloadable and only cost $15 and $30 respectively.

My conclusion is that we should launch the same ad overseas in the UK before switching gears to a new product.
Just thought I'd let y'all know.


James Steidl

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Think Virally

When you're creating your sales funnel, it's important to do everything in your power to not let your visitor dead-end at your site. You need to implement a strategy to get them to refer others they know in order to receive an incentive. There may be a number of widgets for this, but here's a free one I found today. The video is interesting too, so you may want to watch it here. Scott Boulch

You can download a free script that requires your visitors to make three referrals before they can advance through your site or download your incentive. This strategy will not work for everyone, but people who are selling non-niche products will find adding a viral component to their web strategy essential.



Monday, February 18, 2013

Is Twitter for Twits?

I just to think nothing could possibly be more stupid than Twitter. (I also used to think that about Facebook). It seemed like it was just another way for technology to annoy us with shallow drivel about nothing important.

I was wrong — sort of.

Twitter actually is all of that, but for marketers, it is another way to easily build traffic. You build traffic buy dropping backlinks to your site. A quality backlink consists of a link that has anchor text which matches your focus keywords.  For example, a really poor backlink would be A much better backlink would be Cinema 4D Models and Plugins.  This strategy also applies to Facebook and forums, so it's always good to have your backlinks  ready to cut and paste when and where it is appropriate.

To get going with Twitter, you need to build a list. This is done manually and can be a pain, but if you want to find people with an interest, this is a great way to find them. You just type in your keyword, and everyone with a particular interest will show up. Build your list by manually by adding each person with your target interest into your list.

Next, you need to get those people to follow you. The only way I know of doing this is to follow other people first.  When someone from your target audience tweets something, their tweet will show up on your Twitter page.  You don't have to worry about getting inundated with mail unless you switch that feature on in your notification settings.

You can also manually open up each of those member names and send a direct message to them. If you try to build up your list overnight you'll have your account suspended. I found this out first-hand. So, you'll need to do this slowly. Send people something nice, and they'll probably be grateful and follow you. Once they take the candy and start following you, you can then send them your marketing stuff.

Keep in mind that spamming is really annoying for everyone, so build content your followers will like. For my particular site, I was able to find a couple hundred additional people to tweet and send relevant messages with links to.

I'll keep you posted with the results.



Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Really Amazing Story About ebay

Woody Allen once said about the correct way to write a story: "Start with the ending and write backwards."  This is also true in marketing.  Rather than building something and then looking for people to buy it, first find a group you can reach, then make your product to fit that group.

I just got off the phone with a friend of mine who told me a pretty amazing story. My friend's neighbor is a dentist who developed a dental tool that sold for about $200.  He put the tool on e-bay and only sold a few every month. Then he got in touch with his brother-in-law who is an e-bay SEO guy. After his brother-in-law finished juicing the product on e-bay, he sold 5,000 units in 90 days which grossed him over $100,000 in sales.

This puts e-bay in a totally new light. It demonstrates that SEO strategies actually work and do make a difference.  What I've learned about Ebay SEO from the above anecdote is included below.

I'm going to take a risk and develop a product to test on e-bay. I won't disclose what it is, but let me just say that  there are more people who would want to buy my product than there are dentists looking for a new tool. If you want to risk losing some of your hard earned cash on a crazy e-bay scheme, drop me a line and we'll figure out a prudent way to spend it in exchange for equity. If I stop blogging altogether, you'll know that it worked and I have retired to the tropics.

E-bay SEO:

Ebay no longer offers sponsored ads to place your listing at top of search category,  but now promotes listings higher and higher to the top based on the number of good product reviews from buyers. This changes the color of your star rating to silver, gold, platinum, etc.

The people in my story were very aggressive in getting ratings.  They emailed each buyer immediately and thanked them for buying and asked them for a positive review.  They made offers such as 50% off a second unit if they posted positive buyer feedback on Ebay and offered even sweeter incentives like 2-for-one coupon for a Youtube review, Facebook Like and Ebay review.  All listings had a 1 minute video demo of product (this might be perfect for Al's nail product you did the 3D model for).

The other important ingredients of the secret sauce recipe were:

  1. Search for narrow niche products on Ebay with $100+ unit cost and few competitors 910 or less is ideal. (See Niche Market Finder below)
  2. Among those, identify the top 2 or three.  In keywording the listing, include the competition's names and keywords so your listing comes up with the competition.
  3. Place 4 simultaneous listings at all times with different headlines and views of the product.  Track which sells best.
  4. Constantly monitor competitor's listings and undercut their price by $10-$20.
It only took about 8 weeks to starting getting $8,000-$10,000 a month in sales consistently. 

Niche Market Finder

Niche Finder identifies those little known items that sell extremely well but may be in short supply on the site. The identified niche items suggest opportunities to sellers or can be used by buyers to promote or discover interesting products. 

Visit Niche Market Finder to uncover little known and most wanted items on eBay
  • Identify new products you could sell
  • Find out about hidden treasures in your garage
  • Discover interesting products and good deals
A niche is a group of items with the following characteristics, estimated over a time period. 
  • A set of representative keywords- you can use them as a query to see niche items in the corresponding category
  • The maximum, average, or median selling prices for the period
  • An estimate of the number of distinct users who issued queries on the niche items
  • The number of available listings for the period
  • The number and percent items sold (conversion ratio)
Be sure to visit Niche Market Finder   for more detailed information.



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Reputation Promotion Goes Live!

Another great example of how I spend my money. After six months, our new site for online reputation management is live. This site helps people monitor and improve their online reputation.

Online Reputation Management is the foundation of any and all web marketing.  If you don't have a reputation, or do have one but with derogatory snippets about yourself or your company online, you can't go forward until you address this fundamental issue.

Imagine spending millions of dollars on a fabulous web presence and marketing only to have real people saying terrible things about you or your company. Real people believe other real people more than they believe what marketers concoct and dish up for public consumption. For this reason, you must have a well established online identity that looks presentable for any of your web marketing to work. That means professional review sites, Yelp, Google+, Facebook, Linkedin, post on forums, and of course, your own web site. But it doesn't stop there.

Countless times I've nearly been sucked in by a smooth and well engineered marketing pitch. At the very last second, I've Googled the product to see if it is legit, only to find a host of horrible reviews warning other potential victims to stay away. So you see, it pays to manage your reputation online. is a site which provides tools to manage your reputation. Our goal is to expand this site with a toolbox of do-it-yourself utilities to do more of this yourself, but at this stage, it's best to have an experienced human being manage this task for you. 

Check out the site and the video below which gives you an introduction to building your online foundation.


James Steidl

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Facebook Results are Coming In

Late this morning I wrote the post outlining the steps to implement a Facebook marketing campaign. That was roughly noon after I advertised my fanpage on both Linkedin and Facebook. The Linkedin post directed people to my Facebook fanpage as well because I wanted to keep the social media results together.

At around 8pm, the responses started pouring in. In only a few hours, our page went from zero "likes" to 40 and the following morning the count was up to 70 and still counting with one cash sale. I'm not discouraged about the 2% conversion rate so far, as I'm sure we can entice our visitors with something eventually. As it's been said, "it's all in the list."

I've noticed from my experience and that of others who have deployed Facebook campaigns is that page likes are easier to collect that legitimate opt-ins.  People who download a free product are also inclined to use a junk e-mail account or withhold their real name. The actual ratio of real opt-ins to page likes is probably 1in 5 or less. To overcome this, a single button that uses a person's Facebook login information is preferable to an opt-in form that requires fields to be filled out. I'm currently looking at some of these scripts as an alternative to your typical Aweber opt-in form as word has it they increase your opt-in success rate.

More on this later.



How to Implement a Facebook Marketing Campaign

I've just completed my second big milestone which is to integrate Facebook into my marketing plan. The steps for doing this are as follows;
  1. Start with a "Like" campaign. Create an ad that will attract your specific demographic. You market to people who are as close as possible locally with an ad which says:  "Click if You Like Pizza" or whatever is generically relevant to your product. If you're running a weight loss plan, people who like pizza may be overweight. Run the ad until you collect your desired quota of likes. Each click harvests the Facebook info of the one who clicked on your ad.

    I personally skipped this step because I wanted to post in the special interest groups first because it was cheaper and I wanted to test that method out before spending money on ads.

  2. Create your Facebook pages (most people already have a personal Facebook page) followed by your business page. Note: Your business page must be a child of your personal Facebook page, you cannot directly create a business page that is not linked to either your personal Facebook page or someone else's.

    After creating both your personal Facebook page and business page, you must create your fanpage which is a classic "squeeze page containing a commercial offering to give the visitor something they want. Your fanpage will be a child of your business page and consists of two parts: the "fangate" which is the first page your visitors see. This page should have your video commercial to incentivize people to "like" your page. When your visitors "like" your fangate page, it will send them to your "content" page which is essentially a redemption page where your visitors can get your free offer.  It is also the page where you will hopefully up-sell them to a paid product. 

  3. Create your multimedia commercial which your visitors will see when they land on your fangate page. You'll probably need to create a custom webpage to host your fangate page content which can then be linked to your Facebook page. You can also code directly inside Facebook, but if you have a lot of elements, I feel this is more cumbersome. Be sure to plan your script according to the guidelines established in my earlier post.

  4. If you haven't done so already, you'll need to create an Aweber account so when your visitors go to your final content or redemption page, they'll be able to opt-in with their real name and e-mail and become part of your official marketing list.

  5. This is the video I produced for my fangate page.

If you'd like to see the whole Facebook integration, here's the link:
  1. Create the redemption page. This is the page your visitor goes to when they "Like" your landing page and is where they can redeem the offer you have told them about on the landing page.

  2. Integrate the content / redemption page with an auto responder such as Aweber which keeps track of your list and manages your periodic marketing e-blasts.

  3. Run your second ad which is more specifically targeted to the list you generated from you "like" campaign. This ad can be branded with your product or offer an incentive which will be explained on your landing page.
That's it in a nutshell.


James Steidl