Clients often tell me that they know exactly which keywords are most important for their business but more often than not with a bit of research and testing we discover that all is not as they thought!

A great example of this is a keyword like ’solicitors in birmingham’

On the surface it seems great, any solicitor in Birmingham would be happy to be ranked highly in Google for that keyword. However with a little research we can discover that it’s not as good as it seems.

To start with a search today on www.google.co.uk reveals that there are 2,700,000 web pages competing for that search term. That’s a fair bit of competition for any website to begin tackling.

The number one spot is held by a national directory of solicitors www.solicitors.co.uk, that’s not going to be an easy one to beat either.

More competition for a keyword means one thing in terms of search engine marketing, more cost and more time.

So if like www.anthonycollins.com you are willing to spend money and take time to get your website into the top three places what can you expect in return?

Well possibly not as much as you might have liked!

The google.co.uk search for ’solicitors in birmingham’ first of all displays a very generous helping of paid advertising, this occupies
the top third of the page displayed to the majority of users.

This means that all but the top three spots in the organic search results are already off the page!!

So maybe you can see that a search term is not always what it appears to be in terms of attracting new business?

Of course there is a solution. Diligent keyword research using the theme ’solicitors in birmingham’ turns up these results:

- legal aid solicitors in birmingham
- list of solicitors in birmingham
- solicitors in birmingham city centre
- family law solicitors in birmingham
- divorce solicitors in birmingham

Now these keywords become much easier to target and better still these keywords are more likely to convert to genuine business because they are more focussed.

Even these keywords are just the tip of a keyword iceberg! Good keyword research will turn up dozens of regularly used long keywords that can be used to attract niche visitors to a website.

You can try all this for yourself using the free Google Keyword Tool or for a slightly different take on the world of keywords you can take a free trial at Wordtracker.com

http://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

http://www.wordtracker.com/trial/

Just remember that the first keyword that you think is important to your business is probably the same keyword that your competitors think is important to! Strive to find more detail and look for keywords that really will bring you valuable new visitors!

There’s just one thing that you need to know before launching your new website!

Replacing an existing website with a shiny new one seems like a really simple job…

And it is, just delete your old site and put up your new one… and now watch your hard earned search engine traffic just slip away.

Yes, it may be easy to put up your new website but keeping any existing search engine love requires a bit of thought.

First… before you launch your new website make sure that you have recorded which pages of your website have already been indexed by Google, Yahoo and Bing, use this search method to find your indexed pages:

Open google.co.uk, yahoo.co.uk and bing.com in turn and type site:www.yourwebsite.co.uk then press search. The search engine will return every page that it has indexed for your old website.

Next… for each and every page indexed you need to decide where visitors to that OLD page should be sent to on your NEW site.

Then… here’s the real techie bit, you need to create a redirect for every indexed page and send it to the right place on your new website. If you don’t know how to create a 301 redirect then drop me a line and I’ll tell you how. A 301 Redirect tells the search engines that you have permanently moved a page to a new location.

Make sure all of this work is done BEFORE you launch your new site.

Now you can launch it happy in the knowledge that the search engines will still send your hard won visitors to the right place.

A great friend of mine and serial networker Lee Gill has launched his new website!

If you’re in the Midlands area and need a competitive quote on office furniture then Lee’s your man!

Check out the Midlands Office Furniture website…

The midweek series of 10k races are a must for any runner in the West Midlands/North Worcestershire area. The series is comprised of four races at Hagley, Redditch, Droitwich and Halesowen, distances are around 10k of road or all terrain surfaces.

Click here to read the whole article at MyRunningDiary.com

The Leukaemia Research Bromsgrove 10k and 5k Fun Run is organised by Bromsgrove & District Branch of the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Fund in conjunction with Bromsgrove & Redditch Athletic Club. If you live in North Worcestershire or the south end of the West Midlands then this run is a perfect addition to the beginning [...]

Click here to read the whole article at MyRunningDiary.com

The Leukaemia Research Bromsgrove 10k and 5k Fun Run is organised by Bromsgrove & District Branch of the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Fund in conjunction with Bromsgrove & Redditch Athletic Club. If you live in North Worcestershire or the south end of the West Midlands then this run is a perfect addition to the beginning [...]

Click here to read the whole article at MyRunningDiary.com

Here’s how to setup Google Merchant Center…

Open a web browser and go to www.google.com/merchants

This will take you to the Merchant Center login screen. You’ll need a Google account to login here, if you haven’t got one then create one using the link on the bottom right-hand side otherwise just login using your email address and password.

On the Terms of Service page select your country from the drop down list and then click on continue.

You’ll need to agree to the terms of service one you’ve read them, scroll to the bottom of the screen, check the radio button “Yes, I have read and accept the above terms of Service” and click on continue.

Now configure your account. Fill out all of the fields and then click on save updates at the bottom of the screen.

Your Google Merchant Center is now setup, now it’s time to add a product.

On the left-hand side click on data feeds

Now click one of the new data feed buttons

Here’s a quick way to create your first product

Click on the guidelines link in the middle of the page

Click on the link to sample(.xls)

Download and open the sample file in your spreadsheet software

Save the file onto your desktop, call it products.xls

We’re only going to list one product so remove the bottom three rows of product items..

Enter a Product Title, Product Description, Link to the product on your website, Link to a product image if you have one, Price and Condition

Save the file

Go back to the Google Merchant Centre

Select the target country from the drop down list

Enter the name of your data feed file products.xls and click save changes

Now click on the manual upload link and choose products.xls from your desktop

Click upload and process the file

Your Google Merchant Center will be ready really soon!

Google Merchant Center is another valuable, free service from Google. It’s designed to let you advertise your products on the biggest search engine on the Internet for absolutely nothing.  Good eh?

Try this out:

Open a web browser and go to www.google.co.uk

In the search box type “buy a pie maker”

Click search…

Look down the list of results for “Shopping results for buy a pie maker”

You should see a photo of an electric pie maker on the left and a list of three links to suppliers of pie makers on the right.

Interesting eh?

Well it really is more than interesting! The work that I did for one website got one of their products listed in the top three “Shopping Results”, sales rocketed over night as a result!

Do you have a product that you can sell in this way?

If you can get your product listed in the top three on Google Shopping Results it guarantees you a place on the first page in the Google search results for that product. Get this right and you will sell more products!

Listing products in Google Shopping Results is done through the Google Merchant Center. It’s easier to show you how to do it rather than tell you in the newsletter so I’ve created a short video called Sign Up For Google Merchant Center..

Make a comment on this article…  Let me know what you think…  Post a comment below…

Stratford-upon-Avon Marathon and Half-Marathon is organised by the Rotary club of Stratford-upon-Avon and this year it happened to coincide with London 2010. Seven members of Stourbridge RC ran in either the half of the full event.

Click here to read the whole article at MyRunningDiary.com

This was a new one on me!
I’ve heard tales told of the Sutton Park Road Relays at Stourbridge Running Club but 2010 was the first year that I’ve run in them.
I ran the fourth stage (5.3 miles) in a six man vets team, I was very fortunate that the weather held for the first four [...]

Click here to read the whole article at MyRunningDiary.com

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