Archive for November, 2017

High SEO Rankings But No Customers

High SEO Rankings But No Customers?

I use to obsess over my SEO rankings. When I finally got my rankings after painful months of optimizing my website. I had a lack of business sales. Can you imagine how frustrated I was after months and months of work into SEO?

I consulted my friend, who was an expert on copywriting.

He told me: who cares about your SEO rankings? What’s more important is your copy and your market positioning. Well, he’s half true. I don’t agree about the SEO rankings portion, however, I did agree about his thoughts of copywriting.

I wasn’t deterred. If I could educate myself on SEO, I could go on and learn about persuasive marketing. I then spent the next couple of months delving deep into the psychology of buying.

I found out that persuasive copywriting can also lead to positive SEO results, vice versa. Here’s the million-dollar idea: Good SEO = good copywriting = good branding and business strategy. When your content is persuasive and engaging, firstly, it helps your brand and marketing positioning, secondly, your users also spend more time on your site and come back to it. This in turns, helps with your SEO efforts.

No, SEO Isn’t Enough 

This is why I don’t position myself just as an SEO consultant, I’m also an entrepreneur and a marketer. High rankings aren’t the solution to your business woes, cash flow and sales are.

When you work with me or attend my SEO courses, you’re not only learning how to rank your keywords, you’re also learning marketing strategies, how to convert traffic into clients and how to build business systems.

So, what if you are currently already ranked on Google search engine results but have a lack of sales results? Is there anything you can do to improve it? Yes, you can. There are about 7 psychological triggers you can include in your copy to convert your traffic, into buyers and clients.

So, what are the psychological triggers that make people buy?

The 7 Psychological Triggers

  • Future Pacing 

Future pacing is painting the potential before and after picture customers will attain after purchasing your product or service. This is the art of showing your prospect what will it be like from a month, 6 months or 10 years from now. You can also then compare that to how their life might be if they decide NOT to buy.

It’s about creating a story that describes the future results of the benefits of your product.

  • Scarcity

Creating scarcity to your offer is a way to ethically nudge people to decide on your offer.

  • Keeping your product open for a limited period of time
  • Holding a limited number of spots for a product tier

The courses I conduct in my company are small grouped, personalized and have a limited number of spots.

  • Or giving a bonus if they act today

Risk Reversal

You can make it easy for someone to purchase from you if you understand every single risk your market has.

Some of the most common concerns your market has is:

  • Will this product work for me?
  • Will I get ripped off?
  • Will I waste my time?
  • How is this course different from anything else there?

Like I’ve mentioned, I don’t just focus on SEO rankings, I’m not just an SEO consultant, when you attend my course, you’ll learn about branding and positioning. You can also address these concerns by using a money back guarantee, testimonials, a free consultation, or anything else that can ease their fears and worries.

Social Proof

Social proof is one of the most powerful triggers you can use as a marketing strategy for your business.

Having social proof for your product or service can your audience the confidence to purchase for you. You use emails and testimonials that your customers have provided you, the press converge you’ve received, tweets made about you or high profile customers that has worked with you. 

Framing

This is the art of framing your product in the larger context of your prospect’s perceived choices, then show then why your product is the best choice possible.

For E.g. I can compare SEO services to other marketing options.

Well, firstly, SEO can be tracked, measured and you’re targeting already hungry buyers. Compare this to purchasing a spot on television commercial, where you’re investing thousands of dollars on something that can’t be measured and advertised to a mass audience that might not be interested in your product or service at all. 

Stories

I used to think that people want just technical SEO information and guides.

However, the majority of my clients and my students don’t want to hear me ramble on about on page SEO jargon, they want to hear me describe why I chose SEO as a marketing strategy, how I struggled with website traffic, how I spent a year writing content that nobody read and how I changed all of that.

When you use stories in your copy, you will be able to keep the reader’s attention to make your case to persuade them to purchase from you. Humans are incapable of stopping themselves from listening to an interesting story.

Trust  

Lastly, people tend to purchase from people or organizations they like and trust. The more you share your personality, success stories, and even failures in your content, the more likable you will become.

Closing Thoughts

You can include these elements not only in your sales copy, but also in the articles you publish on your website. If you’re just putting your product or service out there without telling them more about it, you’re only going to get lacklustre results.

It’s only right to assume that your reader is an educated buyer.

Last week, I came across a potential client that has researched all the other options in the market for SEO courses. He also told me he’ll normally get three quotations before making a decision. I asked him: why did you chose me over my competitors?

He said he liked my stories and my honesty. This is one of the psychological triggers that make people buy.

Remember, high SEO rankings don’t mean anything if you can’t convert the traffic to sales.

Poorly Written Email Examples 01

Poorly Written Email Examples – Indian SEO Firms Highlights

If you ever wondered how NOT to pitch to someone else, I’ll give you an example.

Over the couple of months, I got pitched by various SEO companies. If you’re an SEO company, using direct email as a form of your outbound marketing strategy, you SHOULD NOT be pitching to OTHER SEO companies (Duh). I am NOT part of your target market. This just goes to show that you’re just scrapping emails off the internet, and emailing them randomly.

How to Never Pitch – Cheap Indian SEO Firms Highlights

Here are some examples that came through my contact form:

How to Never Pitch

 

Some Pitches in Text

We can put your website on 1st page of Google to drive relevant traffic to your site.

I’m sure you can buddy.

HI Sir/Madam

Can you outsource some, Web design, Mobile apps and SEO business to us?

Tell me why I should? If you actually did a long form email, I might consider.

Hi,

We are a content marketing (media outreach) firm located in India and can help you get published at high authority blogs/websites.

The fact that you’re in India raises huge red flags. High authority websites? Give me an example and I might actually read on.

Hi,

We would like to put link to a piece of your content on our site: bloggingtitan.com

You don’t have to ask me. Just link it to me… unless you want a reciprocal link. Which is against Google rules.

Hi,

Hope you are fine and doing well!

I got your email id from Google search. I provide guest post services.

Obviously low quality guest posting/ article distribution services.

Hi
We can help your website to get on first page of Google and increase the number of leads and sales you are getting from your website

Not another one again. Come on, hit me something new.

Hello..pinkelephantconsultancy.com

Today, we’re opening the doors to you…

Looking for Guest Post/Contextual Links? If yes, I’m having Sites with best parameters –

* All are High Keyword rich domains.
* High Traffic
* High PA & DA
* Trust Follow
* All websites are hosted on Unique c – class IP’s.
* They are ranking very well in search engines.
* Strong Backlinks.
* Affordable Prices when compared to other companies.

Special Package –

1 Post – $5
3 Post – $10
50 Post – $100

You can buy 50 posts in 1 month (i.e. 1 March To 31 March) Time period.

Please let me know if you interested So, I can send you more details, sample sites list & best packages.

Selling backlinks? WRONG. Yes, it may work in the short run. However, you’re going against Google rules. I don’t intend to get penalized. You need to be educated. Check out my SEO course.

Dear Sir/Madam

Good afternoon, how are you? This is Ben from Mansion 88 Online Betting company. We are honored to have an opportunity of doing business with your prestigious organization. To further explore the possibility I would like to give a brief description of our field of happiness to register with us and enjoy more of our Partnership Privileges.

We are impressed of your ability, credentials and marketing capabilities to assist Mansion 88 as a global companies in facilitating and promoting international Traffic development, through sales representation using our marketing and business expertise, where we have particularly strong experience and an extensive network of business associates and contacts.

We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship, as we can help reap the benefits of the global economy and achieve success in partnerships and business synergy. Thank you very much for your kindly concerns, if you do have any question, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail or Skype (M88AFFMY).

What do you actually want? What partnership? Field of happiness? International traffic development? That’s a ton of red flags. No, I do not want your partnership privileges.

Closing Thoughts

Okay, I feel evil publishing these examples. I feel like I’m shitting on these people. However, screw it, the SEO industry is rife with spam and scams. I might just do a couple of these posts every half a year. It’s fun and it’s user generated content.

Just so you know, I do accept guest blog posts, you just need to learn how to pitch one.

True SEO is hard work, a long process that’s planned out over half a year. Good SEO isn’t cheap either. When cheap SEO firms come in and undercut the market.

It makes it hard for us SEO consultants and agencies. I may make fun of their strategies, however, I actually think they work to a certain extent. When you send out mass emails like this, a couple of them are going to land.  The business owners find themselves penalized by Google after couple of months, and they think SEO is a scam. SEO isn’t a scam. You just worked with a scammy company.

Note out to all spammy SEO firms: Please stop pitching me and stop emailing me. Unless you want to be featured on my blog (I’ll make fun of you).

How to Create a Successful Blog

The 5 Elements on How to Create a Successful Blog

Content marketing sucks in Singapore. Let’s be honest, the majority of blogs of companies ranging from big corporate companies to small medium enterprises suck. The content is thin, de-perzonalized and nobody really reads it. Currently, I am only a fan of one SEO writer in Singapore.

When I was an SEO freelancer, I got to know many other SEO freelancers. They mostly hated the writing and preferred to outsource it out. I actually once attempted outsourcing my content on this site, I hired someone from some third country, paid him peanuts to write it. The quality turned out to be poor, I hated the fact that I was doing it, I deleted everything and decided to write everything from scratch.

It was also a business decision.

This was how I was going to position myself differently from all other SEO consultants in Singapore. Whilst other companies focus on buying links (it’s obvious from your backlink profile), I focus on publishing useful content and creating a successful blog.

So, what are the elements of a successful blog?

How to Create a Successful Blog

How to Create a Successful Blog?

Writing What Your Audience Wants  

To launch a successful blog, you’ll need to write what your audience wants, and not what you want. You’ll need to meet where your audience is at, and not where you want them to be. Subtle difference, however, it makes a huge difference in your marketing results.

Here are a couple of tools you can use to figure out what your audience wants:

  • Google
  • Youtube
  • Uber suggest

Pop in a couple of keywords into the search bars of these tools, and refer to the drop down list of keywords they provide you with. This is also the root of successful SEO.

Provide Practicality and Utility

Your audience will want steps how to overcome to particular problem they are facing. Here are two frameworks to curate content.

  • Touching on your audience fears, hopes and dreams

The first way is to write about the fears of learning something. This can range from going to your first yoga class, starting a business, writing your first blog post etc. You can help your audience tackle their fears and address their worries.

This is something I personally enjoy writing about a lot. There’s just so many technical guides out there already. Yet, not much is written on the underlying fears and psychology of them.

When you flip through an SEO course brochure, what do you get? You get technical terms like Google panda, penguins, canonical element, analytics, blah blah blah.

How can you make these elements relatable to your audience?

  • Step by step tutorials

Next, you have step by step tutorials on how to do something. This can range from building backlinks, writing copy that sells, pitching a guest blog post and etc. You can include real life case studies and line by line scripts or techniques that you use in your own niche or industry.

SEO expert Brian Dean is a master of this one. He publishes 5000 worded step by step tutorials that’s beautifully crafted with images, videos and infographics. He then pushes them out to the market, and that way, he automatically get’s backlinks from the market because they use his step by step tutorials as a resource. 

Make it Personal

How many SEO or digital marketing blogs out there are dry and boring? Yes, 98% of them. I can only name a couple in Singapore that I actually read and take advice from.

One of the elements of a successful blog is making it personal. This means: not writing in corporate jargon. Nothing is more boring and dry than corporate speak.

Write like you would send an email to your friend, write like you are speaking to a friend at a bar. Even if you’re a huge corporate company, you can get some in house writers to personalize your content on your website, hence making it more human.

Get Your Readers to Respond: Make it a Two Way Conversation

When you write, you should want to hear responses! I know there’s not much of a blogging/ commenting culture on blogs in Singapore (except for Facebook), however, if you’re a reader reading this, feel free to reply to me and leave a comment. I actually installed a Disqus plugin for this solo purpose.

Secondly, some sites tend to get too technical, and they make their content seem like a University lecture. I know some personal finance blogs that are guilty of this. Reading them is akin to reading my notes from my finance modules in University.

Thirdly, you can showcase your reader’s answers (blurring out their names of course) and writing a response to them. This way, it’s a two-way conversation.

Stop thinking ‘internet marketing’, and start thinking: building an audience. Behind all the analytics, these are real human readers. Stop thinking ‘email marketing’, start thinking of building an actual relationship with your readers.

Be Unique 

Lastly, your blog has to stand out from the rest. I am the only one or two SEOs in Singapore that writes everything from scratch. I don’t purchase backlinks. I play by Google rules. I publish unique content.

What’s your voice?

From time to time, I make fun of bad advice and scammy ‘internet marketing’ gurus. I’m also quite sarcastic at some points. These are my personal ticks and I enjoy it to an extent. You can hate me for it (sue me motherfuckers), but these things make me unique and stand out, I’m also sure some of these articles can connect with some of my readers. I have friends that tell me: Marcus, you write what everybody is thinking about.

Done deal. That’s my go pass.

If you simply rehash content from the web, you’re never going to stand out, you’re never going to rank in Google and you’ll never position yourself well in the market.

I don’t think every post has to be a 5000 worded essay filled with practicality, in fact, I don’t do that. You can come up with various pieces ranging from short Seth Godin form of advice to long essays like Brian Dean’s. There are various ways to do it ranging from the methodical to the inspirational. The serious to the light hearted. The logical to the emotional.

I personally like a mix of different elements. I want to my content to practical, relatable and not too serious so it’s readable to my readers. This is the way I stand out.

So, what’s yours?

How to Promote Your Business on Facebook?

How to Promote Your Business on Facebook? – Stop Tagging

It’s common for entrepreneurs, real estate agents and financial planners to share their products and services on their Facebook wall, in attempt to sell to their friends. Is this a right strategy to go about it?

I personally refuse to spam on my Facebook wall. I don’t care. I don’t want my Facebook audience to be reading my blog. I don’t want my friends to be reading my SEO advice, I don’t want my friends in my SEO courses. They don’t really care anyway. In fact, I don’t even want my friends to be my customers.

You remember about that Jack Ma quote? He said ‘when selling to close friends and family, no matter how much you’re selling to them, they will always feel you’re earning their money, no matter how cheap you sell to them, they still wouldn’t appreciate it.’

This is why I got into SEO in the first place, so I didn’t need to sell to friends.

The Audience Behind a Facebook Page

What’s more important is the audience behind a Facebook page. You can have thousands of likes on your Facebook page, people who don’t essentially need or care about your products or services.

Look at my Facebook page: 43 likes.

How to Promote Your Business on Facebook

However, do I generate leads as an SEO consultant? You sure hell I do.

This is the same philosophy as your website traffic. You can have junk traffic, people that coming in from wrongly optimized keywords, people that aren’t interested in your product or service at all.

Facebook Fake Likes 

Secondly, it’s so easy to purchase fake Facebook likes. I did some research on my competitors in another niche and guess what I found out. He was marketing his services in Canada and Singapore, however, 28000 of his Facebook likes were from: Indonesia.

You can analyze someone’s Facebook page likes here.

If someone’s Facebook page barely gets commented on or likes, then you’ll know that it’s some what a fake page.

Ramit Sethi, popular blogger and entrepreneur with millions of viewers on his site monthly said that he didn’t even have a Facebook page for his first 3 years building his website and business.

When Can a Facebook Page be Useful?

I think Facebook is useful when it comes to popular, beautifully crafted out content. There’s more of entertainment factor when it comes to social media. Nobody wants to like a page dishing boring SEO advice such as: on page SEO, link building and etc. However, if you create a Facebook page sharing cutesy cat photos, your articles are going to get shared a lot more, hence generating more likes.

Is Facebook useful for running paid advertising? You bet. I haven’t done this before, however, I’ve heard many digital marketing agencies rely on their Facebook campaigns to drive traffic to their sites. I won’t be commenting on this just yet, since I’m on the topic of SEO, however, I might in the far future.

The Audience Mindset

Whenever you share something on a platform, you got to ask yourself: who are the audience behind the that platform? My friends on my Facebook page care about different things ranging from martial arts to business. They don’t really care about SEO or digital marketing. Even if I shared my articles or my services on my Facebook page, what’s the likely hood of acquiring a customer?

Furthermore, I don’t like selling to friends.

When you come from an audience mindset, all these short term and popular marketing strategies go out of the window. You’ll also stop worrying about pissing off all your friends by getting them to like your Facebook page.

Features and Benefits

Features and Benefits – What Clients Are Willing To Pay For

Okay, you’ve done your on page SEO, you’ve built your backlinks, you’re now driving traffic to your precious website. However, what’s next? How can you convert those traffic to paying clients?

Every product or service you sell contains both features and benefits. Features are the what of your product. They are factual descriptions of what your product contains. Benefits are the ‘WHY’, the actual result from your customers get from your product and its feature.

Not only this marketing strategy can be used to convert your exist traffic to clients, you should use it to improve what you publish on your site as well. Features are boring. Benefits are exciting. This way, your audience will be more engaged, hence spending more time on your site, leading to higher SEO rankings.

Features Versus Benefits

Here are some features of my SEO course:

  • On Page SEO
  • Off Page SEO
  • Business positioning
  • 2 days long
  • Personalized coaching

Compare this to the benefits of my SEO Courses:

  • Rank higher on Google
  • Get your best content optimized to increase traffic
  • Get paying clients with market position strategies
  • Get consistent leads through Google
  • Get personalized coaching so that you’re guaranteed success

Features is what your product is made up of and both are equally important. Your product or service is most likely to have multiple features and benefits, although some will be more relevant to your customers than others.

You can get ideas about features from services around you, such as Fed Ex delivery. Whilst features are important for clients to know what you product or service is about, benefits are what ultimately drive someone to purchase. Ultimately, prospects don’t care about you or your product. They care about: ‘what’s in it for me?’.

The benefit of hiring an SEO consultant isn’t to get higher traffic for your site, it’s to get consistent paying clients through Google. The benefit of a weight loss program isn’t the lose weight, it’s the fit into their jeans someone bought 2 years ago. The benefit of a financial literacy course isn’t to be smart handling money; it is to get rich.

This isn’t just limited to the services industry. People pay for luxury hotels and access to high end gyms to be pampered. People purchase high end luxury goods such as cars and Mercedes to impress others.

Having Both Features & Benefits in Your Copy

When you address both features and benefits in your articles and your sales page, you’ll be much more engaging to your readers. This philosophy can be applied across your titles, meta descriptions, sales copy and etc.

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’ve been using this marketing strategy for the recent articles I published on my site.

How to Zoom in on Benefits

This is why I love psychology when it comes to marketing and SEO. The majority of people think SEO is about buying links or technical optimization. However, SEO is about writing in depth content that addresses your audience psyche. There’s a good amount psychology involved.

Have you ever come across a weight loss article that just goes on and on and on about technical information without ever telling you how it’s going to help you? What if wrote a philosophical essay on the art of SEO describing the history of SEO and how Google was formed and etc.

Well, if you’re an SEO junkie, you might be interested.

However, the majority of people, my students and my clients are looking to resolve their primary desires. When I picked up SEO, I wasn’t looking to ‘improve my cognitive abilities or computing skillsets’, I was looking to increase traffic in my website so I can get clients… to get cash in my pocket and (hopefully) one day be rich.

This is a primary desire. 

Primary Desires Versus Secondary Desires

When a consumer purchases something, he’s purchasing an innate need that he desires day after day. These are primary desires

  • Relationship advice = get laid and have sex
  • Financial advice = Get rich and impress friends
  • SEO advice = Outsmart competitors, get more clients and impress others

If you looked at Maslow hierarchy of needs, our basic needs consist of food, security, money impressing others and sex. These forms our our primary desires day after day. If you didn’t have money, or shelter over your head, you wouldn’t be thinking about relationships. If you didn’t have food to eat, you wouldn’t be thinking about impressing others.

Now, what most marketers do wrong is they market secondary desires. I made this make early on in my entrepreneurial career.

  • Relationship advice = become your better self
  • Money advice = become more financially literate
  • SEO training = get visibility on Google

These are secondary desires that if your primary desires aren’t fulfilled, you wouldn’t be thinking about it day after day.

Something I learned along my entrepreneurial path is that you meet where the market is at, and you don’t meet them where you’re at. I once started a personal development project and genuinely wanted to help people become their best self. However, I realized I wasn’t speaking to their desires.

These people want better careers, better relationships and increase in their salary. They don’t really want to be their best selves. You got to give you audience what they want, and then what they need.  

No, this isn’t unethical marketing.

Unethical marketing is over promising and under delivering. You’re not doing that. You’re merely breaking down what works for marketing.

Unfortunately, the majority of ‘internet marketing gurus’ end up in that slate. I don’t intend to be one of them. This is why I don’t promise Google rankings, however, I’ll show you my portfolio, my accomplishments for myself and other clients.

If you know what you’re selling or providing is going to help a business or a client better than you competitors can, you should be attempting your best to market it to them.

People are going to buy because of your products benefits, you’ll also have to understand the difference between primary desires, and secondary desires.

How to Package Your Services and Sell Them for Profits

How to Package Your Services and Sell Them for Profits

You got your SEO down, you got your traffic, next, you need to learn how to package your services and sell them for profits.

When starting a business, the majority of people jump right into product creation. However, the best are always more methodical and deliberate. I learnt this the hard way in my previous entrepreneurial projects. If you created something with zero demand, no matter how good your product is, it’s never going to sell.

So, how do you package your services and sell them for profits?

Here are a list of step by step questions you’ll need to answer:

Your Target Audience: Who To Reach? 

These people are your target audience. They are your potential audience You should use delve deep into their demographics: occupation, lifestyle, job, hopes, fears and dreams. Secondly, think beyond their demographics, you should also dig into their mindset.

Where to Reach Them?  

Where can I find your potential audience? With social media, you can think which Youtube channel, Facebook page or Twitter profile. Since we’re on the topic of SEO, you can research actual search phrases that your audience use. Think about websites or forums your audience may frequent.

What Problems are They Facing?

There are burning pains your audience is facing. The key here is using real words and pharses. You can do research on reviews, Youtube comments and forums.

This is BS: ‘I want to be financially literate this weekend.’ I’ve actually said this: ‘Damn, I have some cash in my bank, and I feel like I need to do something with it.’

What Quick Solutions Can You Offer Them?

Now you know the who, what and where, how can you solve their problems?

You can research quick win solutions using the Google keyword planner. However, do note that there may be limited data to the country you’re targeting. To get a wider range of keyword data, you can target larger demographics such as the United States.

YouTube is a great place for researching potential solutions as well. 

Multiple Ways You Can Package Your Services and Sell Them 

Fast forward 6 months of an SEO campaign, now you have a thousand laser targeted visitors a day. You’ve built an audience, identified their pains, created your solutions and identified services and products your audience will gladly pay for.

Here are some ideas: 

  • One-time web development with complimentary on page SEO, $6000
  • Full 6 months SEO service, $1495 a month.
  • 2 days SEO course workshop with a life student support, one time fee of $1455
  • 3 months 10 lessons, $600 personal fitness training package, with one complimentary session
  • 3 month $500 spa package with one session free

The Mindset of Packaging and Selling

Some guys are great marketers, however, poor entrepreneurs. Eventually, you’ll need to package your services and products and sell them for a profit. Look, there’s no need to be ashamed of selling your services. I used to be shit scared of charging for my services as an SEO consultant. I mean, there are tons of cheap Indian SEO firms charging $1500 an hour.

You’re also not just selling a service. When you package your services/ coaching/ products, you’re selling a system, you’re selling accountability and you’re selling luxury. If you face the imposter syndrome like I did, you can always offer money back guarantees and life time support for your products and services.

Just ship it! People want to pay for value!

You’re not scamming anyone. You’re not breaking into anyone’s bank account. Business is not a zero sum game. They don’t lose if you win. If I helped a business get found on Google, along with their amazing product or service, it’s a win-win for consumers. If I helped a tip top personal fitness trainer market his services on Google, his future customers are going to benefit.

I remembered when I sold my first personal development course for $700 through a website that I built myself. I was elated!

Compare that to my first year in entrepreneurship where I basically blogged with no visitors and redesigned my website a million times. No surprises here, I cashed in a total of zero dollars for a year straight. That was depressing.

You’ll need cash flow to provide a better service for your clients, students or customers. There’s no way you can innovate on your product or service if you don’t charge for it, and take care of yourself and business first.

How to Choose Keywords for SEO 01

How to Choose Keywords for SEO to Get Your First Paying Client

For the un SEO educated, you may hear them spout ‘I want to rank for X keyword within a couple of months’. It’s not only difficult, it’s not possible. So, how do you ensure your business doesn’t go out of business whilst attempting to rank for shorter tailed keywords? How to choose your first couple of keywords to get your first paying client?

How should you go about publishing material on your website?

For the more SEO savvy, this means picking less competitive keywords to target and focus on, creating content around them. Through less competitive keywords, you’re able to get visibility from potential clients through Google search engine results.

How to Get Your First Paying Client: Targeting the Low Hanging Fruit 

One of the common strategies that are highly recommended is to target the low hanging fruit at the start of your SEO campaign. This means going for keywords that have lesser competition, so you’re able to outrank your competition and get clients as soon as possible.

For Eg. If you’re a Yoga instructor in Singapore, and you’re aiming to target the keyword: Yoga Singapore, you’re never going to get any visible results for the next half a year. However, if you narrow down to keywords like Yoga classes for beginners in Singapore, you’re highly likely to be able to rank higher and get in initial traffic for your site.

The strategy is simple: it’s simply targeting keywords that have lesser competition.

However, that does not mean that you don’t go for more competitive search terms over time, you can out muscle your competition in due time, however, that’s going to take some time and a more comprehensive SEO campaign.

When you’re doing going into business for the first couple of months, you want some quick results. You’ll need cash flow. If you aren’t, you’re going to feel like you’re going up against the wall by publishing high-quality content with no results.

So, how do you determine keywords with the lower competition?

How to Determine Keywords with Lower Competition

You can determine a keyword’s competition by Google that particular keyword and take a look at Google’s search results.

Here are the 3 key metrics:

  1. Quality of the content

Firstly, take a look at the content of your competitor’s page. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Can you write something that is better than that?
  • Is the content of the site researched?
  • Is it detailed, unique or long enough?
  • Can you write something more persuasive or compelling so that visitors spend more time on that particular page?

Content makes up 33% of Google ranking factor. If you can beat your competitor on content or on On page SEO, you might not even need that many backlinks at all.

  1. Page authority

We’re getting a little advanced here, however, bare with me. It’s said that Google ranks pages and not sites. If your competition has hideous looking backlinks, you’ll be able to beat them more easily.

How do you figure out this page authority thingy?

It’s simple. Simply Google your targeted keyword. Pop your competition’s results into MOZ open site explorer. You’ll be able to figure out at the quality and relevancy of backlinks.

Here are some important questions to ask yourself:

  • Are their links relevant to their site?
  • Are their links from quality sites?

Some red flags to look out for are links that aren’t relevant to that site’s topic at all. Hey, you’ll be surprised at how many sites rely on black hat SEO techniques.

Pro Tip: If the sites are relevant, it’s a future potential link building opportunity for you to reach out to.

  1. Domain authority

Lastly, domain authority can be verified by popping the site’s URL into MOZ site’s explorer. This concept is similar to researching page authority. Domain authority is the overall authority a site has.

This is a metric of the overall quality of links your competitor’s site is getting linked to.

How to Further Narrow Down Your Search for the Low Hanging Fruit: Case Study

The trick here is to get creative with your keyword ideas in your keyword research process. You can use alternate keyword research tools such as Soolve and Ubersuggest. Or you can pop your competitor’s URL into SEMrush and look at the less competitive search queries they are ranking for.

In the SEO niche itself, there are tons of high search demand keywords that I could be attempting to rank for. I could be optimizing for: ‘SEO Singapore’, ‘SEO company’ or ‘SEO agency’. Those are competitive keywords with loads of huge search demand.

However, I chose the keyword: SEO consultant and SEO Course to target for my the first 6 months. This is because this keyword has lesser competition.

Secondly, if you had not noticed, I’m not targeting the keyword: ‘Website Designers Singapore’ as a keyword.

I’m targeting the keyword: ‘Freelance Website Designer Singapore’. Why so? That’s because it’s a longer tail keyword and there’s much less competition. It has much less search demand, however, competition is much lesser as well.

For a keyword that generates 110 searches a month, I’m ranked on Google page 1 within just a month of targeting this keyword.

Closing Thoughts

You’re recommended to study and plan out your keyword strategy way before you start designing or publishing anything on your site.

When you target less competitive keyword queries, you’ll not only have the visibility that may generate more PR/ backlinks for you, you’ll also generate sales and clients that gives you cash flow to be able to reinvest back into your business.

How to Stop Worrying about Your Competitor’s Website?

How to Stop Worrying about Your Competitor’s Website?

You are new to the digital marketing game and you just caught wind of the SEO bug.

Now, you are introduced to a set of different worries: your user acquisition, the quality of traffic you are getting on your site, the quality of your copy, your KPIs, your keyword rankings, your bounce rate, the time spent on page and the list goes on.

You feel overwhelmed.

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when you’re new to the digital marketing space. There are just tons of marketing options out there. Create a Facebook page, publish an article on Linkedin, ‘do SEO’, create a Twitter account…

You may find yourself chasing after one tactic after another.

The Long Game of Traffic  

You see, despite all the other scammy SEO consultants tell you, high converting traffic doesn’t occur over night. Good copywriting doesn’t happen overnight as well.

Just to give you some insights, I spent multiple thousand of Singapore dollars on scammy courses before getting it right. I another spent 1 year writing low quality content, before understand that only quality content sells, I then spent another 1 year understanding the intricacies of SEO before spending another 6 months outranking all my competition in another niche in another project.

You need to understand this: Your site traffic isn’t going to be built over one article or one backlink. It’s going to take some time.

This way, you’ll relieve yourself of all the pressure that’s required for you to get sales and enquiries within a week or two.

Your SEO rankings aren’t going to change overnight. No, you’re not going to be page one or rank one tomorrow. You’re also recommended that you only check your SEO rankings twice every month. These days, I don’t even check them, I know that as low as I continue putting out engaging content with the right SEO strategy, the rankings will come.

Let’s put it this way as well: even if you have high SEO rankings, that does not mean that you’ll convert on the traffic that you’re getting.

Here are some questions to consider:

Is your copy engaging enough? Can you identify the pain points and address the fears of your target audience?

I can point to your tons of sites that has high SEO rankings however aren’t least bit engaging or interesting to me.

Whilst marketing another project of mine:

I once asked a client: Why did you pick me over me competition? I mean, I’m not ranked the highest on Google
He said: I took a look at your articles and I felt that you were a good fit for me.

This came to me at at point where I was worrying about my competition. I was bitter and jealous about their website design, they press coverage, their fanciful sales funnels that I didn’t have. They also had higher SEO rankings on multiple keywords that me.

How to Stop Worrying about the Competition?

You might find yourself looking at your competitors site, looking at their fanciful logos, their beautifully designed photos, their sophisticated E-Commerce functions… and your website is still an outdated Weebly site.

Some of them are really outstanding. No doubt. However, you got to understand that they spend years and years/ or heaps of money, just like how I did to get to where they are now.

I also hear people talking about complicated terms such as A/B testing and terms that I myself don’t fully understand. If your site isn’t generating at least a couple thousand visitors a day, A/B testing isn’t your problem. You don’t have enough data significance to test correctly. So stop worrying about the problems that you created yourself. Just stick to the basics and the results will slowly come.

How to Avoid Marketing Tactical Hell?

I used to go through a phase where I would rewrite my copy every couple of days without even asking for any feedback from my audience.

I would also incessantly click the refresh button on my keyword rankings position to see where my latest keyword rankings were. If they dropped, I would then proceed to write 10 low quality blog posts, slap them out on my website and hope that they’ll lead to higher rankings. Oh! So I don’t have enough backlinks. Now, time to get 100s of backlinks! I also once went on a pitch fest, pitching to sites that has no business featuring my type of content.

I call this marketing tactical hell.

Here’s the truth of it: You don’t have enough data to actually test yet.

For smaller sites, changes to your website isn’t going to be reflected by Google or your market immediately. To avoid marketing tactical hell, you should be patient when looking at data:

  • Check for rankings only ONCE every 2 weeks
  • Compare and contrast your Google analytics data only ONCE every 2 weeks
  • Listen to what your market tells you in person, over email, before making random guesses about your copy

No, changing your site’s color isn’t going to help your conversation rates. Including an email pop up isn’t going to improve your subscriber count. Don’t just slap on marketing strategies without asking measuring some metrics such as your quality and quantity of traffic.

Everyone Thinks Competition is Better Than Them

When you start off, I know for sure you’re going to take a look at your competitors and get all frustrated about it. There’s nothing wrong with observing your competitors. You can look at how they position themselves and how you can position yourself to differentiate from them. However, it doesn’t mean that they are better than you.

The majority of the time, they might not even know what they are doing.

Higher SEO rankings don’t mean anything. If you aren’t converting on the back end. High traffic doesn’t mean that your traffic is targeted. Targeted traffic doesn’t mean you are them to clients. Beautifully designed sites do not mean that they any SEO traffic.

Take note, however, don’t obsess.

There are a couple of SEO blogs in Singapore that I follow closely and I get envious from time to time about how technical their guides are. However, firstly, I don’t enjoy publish nerdy technical guides on SEO, it’s extremely boring, and secondly, I realized that I wasn’t writing for the SEO junkie, I was writing for business owners!

Now, don’t get me wrong, technical guides are great, however, they are great for DIY entrepreneurs and business owners with little or no budget looking for DIY SEO guides. They aren’t in my target market! I’m writing for small medium business owners in Singapore that have a willingness to pay either by engaging me as an SEO consultant or looking to send their staff for SEO courses.

So stop worrying about your competition and focus your own website.

Stand out From the Competition

Stand out From the Competition – The Power of Positioning

‘SEO SEO SEO! You need f*cking SEO!’

I used to go around screaming and ranting about how important SEO to business owners without understanding that SEO is just one part of the huge puzzle of marketing.

I attended world class SEO courses that I paid multiple thousands for and thought that business owners would trust me if I was certified. However, apparently not. I didn’t understand the concept of positioning. I was going up against hundreds of others of “SEO experts’ pitching $500 a month SEO deals, guaranteeing Google page one rankings within weeks or days.

Needless to say, it was an uphill battle.

When start a business or marketing a product, you need to understand the power of positioning.

The basic idea of positioning is to help you stand out and differentiate yourself from the competition.

When I got my first SEO certificate from a reputable SEO course in Singapore, I got overly excited and started pitching to business owners in my warm contacts. Here’s what I got: crickets.

Nobody seemed to care. Who cares about ‘SEO’ if they can hire some Indian firm to do it for $500 a month. I did manage to clinch a couple of deals, however, I was doing a lot of work and I felt constantly under paid. I was also getting constant objections: someone else was willing to do it cheaper. That was when I realized, I had to market myself and position myself differently from all competition that I face.

Furthermore, in their eyes, I was a young, brash 23-year-old. How can a young 23 year old help a 50 year old business owner market their business?

Here’s the big question: How can I win and earn the trust of these business owners who are well into their 30s, 40s and 50s?

What is Positioning?

Positioning isn’t just what you think of yourself, it’s also what the market thinks of you.

When I was pitching to these small business owners, I can’t help but notice that they viewed me as someone who was inexperienced, and trying to make a quick buck off them. I got discouraged initially. However, I was determined to prove them wrong with my own results.

Over the years:

I helped 3 companies increase their website traffic and generate leads through Google, you can view their testimonials here, here and here. I also am SEO certified by reputable SEO courses.

However, that I intuitively knew that isn’t enough. I had to build my own brand, and get my own SEO rankings for my own company. I also had other positoning ideas other than just branding myself as an SEO consultant.

Get Your Positioning Right from Day One

You may say, you can ‘work on your positioning’ along the way or you could get it right from day one. I rather you get your positioning right from day one. You should be asking yourself: How are you going to stand out and differentiate yourself from the competition?

Firstly, I figured out my target market. Here’s the target market I was going to serve: SME owners in Singapore with a services or products with a clear demand in Google. If you’re a first time entrepreneur, freelancers or dabbler, you’re not in my target market.  If you know who you going to serve and who you are going to exclude, you can tailor your services, products and content to fit your audience needs.

Secondly, there you can position yourself to how you want the market to perceive you.

Some Positioning Examples

  • Personalized or corporate
  • Professional certificates or results oriented
  • Detailed Tactics or simple nugget sized wisdom
  • Brash, impulsive and idealistic or methodical
  • Academically tested
  • Beginner or advanced
  • Technical or relatable
  • Affordable or luxurious

Your positioning will shift according to your target market and your own strengths and weaknesses.

Positioning Case Study 

Who are my target audience? These people are small medium enterprises business owners in Singapore. They want to be able to rank for keywords in Singapore and get leads and sales in Singapore.

I also know that I don’t have to be an international expert in SEO to be able to help a company in Singapore rank for Singapore keywords. I then tailored my content accordingly. I’m not writing for SEO junkies. I’m not writing for copywriting experts. I’m writing for business owners and entrepreneurs that want market their services on Google.

I also knew I was going to get undercharged as a SEO freelancer. I also knew I was going to fall short if I became just like any other SEO consultant or company. I decided, I was going to build a brand, and position as a business consultant.

So, I asked myself: how can a brash young 25-year-old stand out from everyone? Well, one of the key decisions was that I decided I would write everything myself.

Here are a couple of other position ideas that I use for my own site:

  • I write everything myself, how many SEO consultants or companies do that?
  • I give you free business and marketing advice like this, how many SEO consultants do that?
  • I don’t just focus on technical SEO, I focus on good copy and quality
  • I don’t guarantee rankings, even though I’ve achieved them
  • I write detailed case studies and strategies: including line by line scripts you can use
  • I publish case studies and testimonials

Positioning is Something You Work on in Progress

Finally, positioning is something you work on as you progress.

When I started writing for this SEO blog, I wrote boring generic blend SEO advice that every other SEO company is publishing. That resulted in a high bounce rate and I knew I wasn’t getting any return visitors. I deleted everything and started writing for my audience: established business owners and entrepreneurs.

What do these people care about? They care about sales. They care about cash flow. They don’t really want SEO, they don’t really want high Google rankings, they want sales. So, I started writing SEO advice that is tailored towards sales and business advice. That is my positioning. I’m not just your nerdy SEO consultant, I am a business consultant to my clients and students.

I also made a choice to not go down the technical SEO route. I don’t think it’s required for the small medium enterprise level. Unless you’re running a worldwide E Commerce store, then probably don’t require advance analytics or SEO analytics. However, I’m writing for the small medium enterprises companies in Singapore. They don’t require that advanced technology. The majority of them don’t even know how to operate Google analytics! This was something I figured out along the way.

Ultimately, when starting a business, you need to know your target audience, their hopes, fears and dreams, what the market thinks of you, your own strengths and weaknesses and how you can position yourself in your market.

SEO One Time Package 02

Is SEO a One Time Package? Or Is it an On Going Process?

Can you hire an SEO consultant for 6 months, rank a couple of keywords, get a little bit of sales, and call it a day? Or is SEO something that is a constant work in progress? I’d say: the latter. I’m not saying this because I’m providing SEO services or teaching SEO courses, I’m saying this because there’s always room for improvement in SEO.

I’ll give you an example of the SEO niche in Singapore.

SEO Niche Keywords:

Here are the keywords related to my niche and industry:

Is SEO a One and Done Deal, or Is It an On Going Process?  

Currently, I’m optimizing for the keyword: SEO consultant. However, when I’m done with that, I could be target keywords such as: local SEO Singapore, SEO agency, SEO company, SEO experts.

These are highly commercial keywords that has a high potential to bring in sales.

This applies to most businesses out there. There are always more keywords to target.

If you’re a small medium enterprise in Singapore, I’m sure your market has a lot more keywords than just a couple of keywords to target. If you’re not looking for more competitive keywords with higher search volume to rank for, then let’s just say you’re not interested in growing your business.

Competitors

Let’s not forget that you have competitors also chasing your tail, building more links, attempting to outrank you every single day. You may even suffer from link rot if you stop building quality links from quality sites.

I Invested in SEO 6 Months ago, It’s Not Working, ‘SEO is a Scam’

I know that a lot of business owners think that SEO is a scam. I get that a lot.

Okay, let’s say you hired some dingy Indian SEO company that charges you $500 per month and guarantees you page one rankings. You paid them for 6 months and aren’t seeing any results.

Here are some questions you should ask your SEO company:

  • What keywords am I targeting? Am I targeting the right keywords with the right search volume?
  • What are my actual keywords rankings? Can I track them?

There are so many business owners that aren’t educated in the area of SEO. They end up investing in some cheap SEO service that targets non-competitive keywords with low search volume. SEO isn’t a scam. There are tons of websites that use SEO and apply it correctly. If it’s not working for you, this is something you need to further educate yourself on.

High Rankings but Poor Conversions? 

Now, you may have higher rankings than you competitors, however, what if you aren’t converting as much as them?

Can you re-write your content in a more engaging manner. How about your bounce rates and time spent on page? These are metrics that can signal you if you’re putting quality content that fits your user’s needs or not.

Keeping up with the Times

Google is constantly updating their search algorithm. The basics still stay the same: high quality content and backlinks. However, if you’re not keeping up with their updates, you might end up losing your rankings positions by one or two to your competitors.

Some important Google updates:

The SEO agency you hired may be using outdated techniques to rank you in Google.

Your rankings aren’t going to stay there when your competitors start aligning their SEO practices with Google’s latest updates.

What Should You Do?

  • Look at your current SEO rankings

Look at the search queries you’re currently ranked for. Can you target new keywords with higher search demand and are more competitive?

If you don’t trust your SEO consultant, you can DIY this with Google keyword planner. It’s free.

Well, SEO should be a one and done deal when your SEO consultant is bullshitting you. This happens a lot because many business owners aren’t educated in the aspect of SEO. He may be showing you results that isn’t effective at all: easy to rank for keywords with little to no search volume.

  • Audit your content 

How are users behaving on your website? You can audit this with Google analytics.

Can you create content that increases time spent on page and lower your bounce rate? These are indicators of content that fits your audience needs. Can you better your on page SEO? Can you improve your click through rate on your SERP results by writing persuasively? 

  • Study the latest Google update

Here are the latest Google updates you need to take note of 1) making your site mobile friendly 2) installing SSL 3) increasing your site speed.

  • Diversify to other forms of digital marketing 

Can you build up your email sales funnels? Can you run Facebook ads? Have you tracked your pay per click results?

Long Term Solution: Training an In-House Team 

You see, SEO isn’t a one and done deal. It’s an on going process. You might think that Google changes it’s search algorithm rapidly. That’s utter rubbish that SEO companies tell you to keep you hiring them. They don’t. However, they do have updates that can affect your rankings.

Secondly, there are also more keywords to target. I haven’t met a single business that has all their keywords down. You should be optimizing for more competitive keywords to grow your business.

Thirdly, you can always micro in on your conversion rates, time spent on page and bounce rates. You can also write more persuasive copy, test if the number of enquiries increase, test for email subscription rates and etc.

Sounds too advanced?

Well, I one solution recommend most business owners to train an in house marketing team. It’s hard to coordinate these efforts with an outsourced SEO consultant. I’m sure most businesses has a marketing team. Your current marketing trainee might not be versed in SEO, however, if he or she is trained in SEO, he or she can synchronize your non digital marketing efforts with your SEO campaign.

Or if you’re a business owner yourself, you may want to be well versed in SEO, so that if your staff leaves, you can retrain your new employees.

SEO isn’t a one time and done deal, it is a constant work in progress.