• Use Long Tail Pro to Select Your SEO Keywords

    This is an excerpt from my ebook, How to List Your Business in The Online Economy.

    SEO keywords are an important part of your website tool kit. By basing your content around keywords that you know people are searching for, and then inserting those keywords in strategic places within your content, you increase your chance of getting discovered through search engines.

    Long Tail Pro is a product that can be used to generate, filter and assess the competitiveness of SEO keywords. I successfully used it to select keywords for websites that went on to receive high volumes of search traffic.

    If you need to generate ideas for content to add to your site, I encourage you to follow along with the process I used.

    Step 1: Select Your Seed Keywords

    This is the easy part. Select some seed keywords relevant to your industry. Don’t overthink it – just use whatever pops into your head.

    As an example, if you’re a landscape gardener, you might select gardener melbourne and home landscaping melbourne.

    Enter them into Long Tail Pro like so.

    Screenshot for an example campaign in Long Tail Pro

    If you were to click Generate Keywords right now, you’d get hundreds of keywords that you’d then need to process one by one in step 3. It’s better to apply some filters so that you don’t have so many to sort through. I recommend setting Average Local Searches to 200–10,000 for a deep page or 2,000–10,000 for a front page.

    If you don’t get enough keywords, consider lowering or scrapping the lower limit. If you get too many, consider setting a minimum CPC and/or a minimum phrase length.

    Step 2: Filter the Results

    You should aim for a few hundred keywords to be generated, because not all of them will be relevant. It’s up to you to discard the ones you don’t think are relevant by clicking the red X. For example, as a landscape gardener, you probably won’t be interested in these keywords to do with job seeking.

    Irrelevant keywords in Long Tail Pro

    Step 3: Assess the Competition

    For each of the keywords you’re happy with the relevance of, you need to assess the competition. Click on any keyword and you’ll get a table of the current top 10 results for it in Google.

    Screenshot of a competition analysis in Long Tail Pro

    Here are the criteria I recommend you use to identify a keyword that isn’t too competitive.

    1. No root domains
    2. No retailers or government sites (ideally lots of web 2.0)
    3. Five or fewer title matches
    4. Two or more Page Authorities below 30 (or Domain Authorities below 60 if P.A. unassigned)
    5. Two or more Juice Links below 30 and PR of 0 or unassigned

    Step 4: Write Your Content

    Out of the few hundred keywords Long Tail Pro would have generated in step 1, you should be left with a handful that passed the relevance and competitiveness tests. These are your good keywords.

    Turn each good keyword into a piece of useful, relevant content that you want to be listed when someone searches for that keyword. Make sure that your content addresses the keyword and gives the searcher the information they want, and include the keyword prominently in your title tag.

    Step 5: Recycle and Repeat

    Here’s an easy way to find more keywords. Repeat steps 1–4, taking the good keywords you found the first time around and recycling them as seed keywords for round 2. You can even repeat this process again and again.

    Need help?

    If you have any questions or need help with this highly specialised work, contact me and I’ll be glad to help.

    And if you haven’t already, go grab your copy of Long Tail Pro.

    Read the next chapter in the full edition of How to List Your Business in The Online Economy.


  • Use Genesis Functions in a Plugin

    Are you an advanced user of WordPress + Genesis and trying to use Genesis functions in a plugin?

    Usually, you put your custom code for Genesis into your theme functions, but there are arguments for creating a custom plugin instead.

    However, complications can arise from using Genesis code in a plugin. This is because plugin code is run before Genesis core code is run.

    Any code that uses Genesis hooks (i.e. add_action or add_filter), like the below example, is OK to go in a plugin.

    <?php
    //* Plugin Name: My Custom Plugin for WordPress + Genesis
    
    add_filter( 'genesis_search_text', 'cm_search_input_text' );
    function cm_search_input_text( $text ) {
    	return esc_attr( 'Search my website' );
    }

    This is because the way that hooks work is that the code doesn’t get run until later on, when Genesis has been setup.

    What you can’t do in a plugin is call up a Genesis function without a hook, because your code will be run immediately upon your plugin being processed, which is before Genesis has been setup.

    <?php
    //* Plugin Name: My Custom Plugin for WordPress + Genesis
    
    add_theme_support( 'genesis-footer-widgets', 3 );

    The solution is to wrap your function call in one of the appropriate actions or filters. The action after_setup_theme works well.

    Example:

    <?php
    //* Plugin Name: My Custom Plugin for WordPress + Genesis
    
    add_action( 'after_setup_theme', function() {
    	add_theme_support( 'genesis-footer-widgets', 3 );
    } );

    That way your code won’t be run immediately, but will be saved until after Genesis is setup.

    Still having trouble?

    Contact me and I’ll be glad to help you out.


  • Forward a Whole Domain to Another

    Do you own more than one domain for your business? For example, if you’re based in Australia, you might own ourbrand.com.au and also ourbrand.com.

    It’s a good idea to own multiple similar domains like this, for a few reasons:

    1. To ensure that any of your customers who try to go to the ‘wrong’ domain are able to still find you.
    2. To stop your competitors from nabbing domains similar to yours and taking advantage of your customers getting your domain ‘wrong’.

    Although you can only use one domain for your site, you can forward your other domains to the one you do use. For example, you might use ourbrand.com.au for your site, because it tells your customers (and search engines) that you’re based in Australia, but also forward ourbrand.com to ourbrand.com.au.

    This means that any customer who tries to visit http://ourbrand.com will automatically get escorted to http://ourbrand.com.au.

    Because you’re forwarding the whole domain, it also means that if they try to visit http://ourbrand.com/contact/, they’ll get taken to http://ourbrand.com.au/contact/, and if they try to visit http://ourbrand.com/about/our-team/, they’ll get taken to http://ourbrand.com.au/about/our-team/, and if they try to visit http://ourbrand.com/jkalsdfkghfsdg/, they’ll get taken to http://ourbrand.com.au/jkalsdfkghfsdg/.

    You get the idea.

    How to do it

    Whenever my client owns more than one domain, I always ensure that their alternative domains are successfully forwarded to their domain of choice. Here’s how I do it and how you can do it.

    1. Sign into your account with the company with which you registered the alternative domain you want to forward.
    2. Find the section to set up URL Forwarding.
    3. If you’re asked to enter a subdomain, leave the field blank.
    4. Where you’re asked to enter the domain to forward to, enter the domain you use for your site.
    5. If you’re asked to select between Redirect and Masked, select Redirect.
    6. Click on the save button.

    The process will vary between domain companies. Here’s a screenshot from Name.com, the domain company I use.

    Screenshot showing how to forward a whole domain with Name.com

    URL forwarding with Name.com

    The forwarding should take effect instantly. Test it out and you’re done.

    Having trouble?

    • Don’t know which company you registered your domain with?
    • Can’t find how to set up URL forwarding?
    • Your domain isn’t successfully forwarding?

    Contact me and I’ll help you out.


  • Add Tabular Content to Your Site

    If you look at your the content editor in your WordPress admin area, you will see buttons to format your content as bold, italic, struck through etc.

    • You can make lists.
    • Like this one.

    You can add quotations.

    There is no button that allows you to add a table – but that doesn’t mean you can’t add a table to your site. You just need to know how.

    How to do it

    1. Head over to truben.no/table/ (a free table generator)
    2. Click on Table Size to select the size of your table
    3. Click on the HTML tab and copy the code
    4. In your WordPress editor, click on the Text tab
    5. Paste the HTML code where you want your table
    6. Click on the Visual tab and add content to your table*

    *Note: For some reason, your WordPress editor will automatically insert a space character when you click on a table cell to add content, so make sure to press the Backspace or Delete key to remove it.

    1. Click on the Preview button to see how your table looks

    Your designer should have installed styles on your site to make your table look good – like the one below.

    Table Code Means
    <table> Contains the whole table
    <tr> Table row
    <th> Table heading
    <td> Table cell

    Here to help

    • You’re having trouble creating a table?
    • Your table looks ugly?
    • You’d like a button in your content editor to generate a table?

    Contact me and we can work together to get tabular content onto your site.


  • How to Edit WordPress Custom Fields in Bulk

    Recently, I made the decision to improve the title text of all pages of my website. The reason I did this was to make the text more enticing to click on in search results.

    As an example, plain old Brown Widgets was to become the much more appealing Beginner’s Guide to Selecting the Perfect Brown Widget. Increase in traffic ensues.

    One way to make this change – assuming your website runs on WordPress + Genesis – is to go into your WordPress dashboard and navigate to the editing panel for the page or post you want to edit. If you have Genesis installed, there should be a Theme SEO Settings section and a Custom Document Title field.

    Whatever text you enter into this field will now appear as the page’s title in Google search results. Easy.

    But what if you want to change the titles of over 50 pages? Do you…

    1. Repeat this tedious process 50 times?
    2. Pay your VA to repeat this tedious process 50 times?
    3. Give up?

    The correct answer is D. Edit them in bulk! Here’s how.

    Step 1: IDs

    Step 1 is to have handy the WordPress IDs of all the posts or pages you want to edit. Because I’m a smart website owner, I already had these entered into a spreadsheet.

    If you’re not as smart as I am, you’ll need to find the IDs by noting the post numbers in the editing URLs.

    Once you’ve got all your IDs, enter them into a spreadsheet. In the column beside, write the title text you want to assign to each post.

    Step 2: Writing the Code

    Copy the data from your spreadsheet and paste it into TextEdit or Notepad. Ensure you are working with plain text, not rich text. You should see your IDs and titles in a kind of table, with a tab separating each ID from its corresponding title.

    2540	Beginner's Guide to Selecting the Perfect Brown Widget
     2672 Beginner's Guide to Selecting the Perfect Pink Widget
     3468	Beginner's Guide to Selecting the Perfect Purple Widget
     
    

    Now, you need to use find and replace. Copy one of the tabs and paste it into the find field. In the replace field, enter the following text:

    , "_genesis_title", "
     
    

    Your text should now look like this:

    2540, "_genesis_title", "Beginner's Guide to Selecting the Perfect Brown Widget
     2672, "_genesis_title", "Beginner's Guide to Selecting the Perfect Pink Widget
     3468, "_genesis_title", "Beginner's Guide to Selecting the Perfect Purple Widget
     
    

    Clear both the find and the replace fields completely. Then, position your cursor at the end of one of the lines (it doesn’t matter which). Click and drag to the start of the next line. You have selected the line break between the lines. Copy it, and paste into the find field.

    Now, in the replace field, enter the following three lines of text exactly:

    ");
     INSERT INTO wp_postmeta (post_id, meta_key, meta_value)
     VALUES (
     
    

    Your text should now look something like this:

    2540, "_genesis_title", "Beginner's Guide to Selecting the Perfect Brown Widget");
     INSERT INTO wp_postmeta (post_id, meta_key, meta_value)
     VALUES (2672, "_genesis_title", "Beginner's Guide to Selecting the Perfect Pink Widget");
     INSERT INTO wp_postmeta (post_id, meta_key, meta_value)
     VALUES (3468, "_genesis_title", "Beginner's Guide to Selecting the Perfect Purple Widget
     
    

    The first and the last lines are not complete. There is code missing from the start of the first line, and from the end of the last line. Observe the pattern that’s happening on every other line, and edit the first and last lines to match the pattern. You want this:

    INSERT INTO wp_postmeta (post_id, meta_key, meta_value)
     VALUES (2540, "_genesis_title", "Beginner's Guide to Selecting the Perfect Brown Widget");
     INSERT INTO wp_postmeta (post_id, meta_key, meta_value)
     VALUES (2672, "_genesis_title", "Beginner's Guide to Selecting the Perfect Pink Widget");
     INSERT INTO wp_postmeta (post_id, meta_key, meta_value)
     VALUES (3468, "_genesis_title", "Beginner's Guide to Selecting the Perfect Purple Widget");
     
    

    If your code matches the above pattern, then congratulations. You’ve constructed an SQL script. When you run your script, all your pages will update their titles instantly.

    Step 3: Run Your Code

    To run your script, head over to your hosting account. In your control panel, locate phpMyAdmin. When you enter phpMyAdmin, there should be a list of databases on the left. Find the database that corresponds to your WordPress website – and make sure you have the right one.

    Then, click on the SQL tab at the top of the page. In the text box, enter your code and click Go. All done.

    Disclaimer: The above procedure is what worked for me. I assume no responsibility if you follow it and your site breaks.


  • Adventures in AdSense

    I know, it’s been a long time since my last post here. But I have a good excuse. I haven’t had time to blog because I’ve been working hard on my main website.

    One of the areas I’ve been focusing on is AdSense – and that’s the subject of this post.

    I love AdSense as an income source because your success isn’t about how well you can write, but it’s about how well you can test, track and crunch numbers.

    In this post I’m going to walk you through some of the things I’ve done on my mission to reach AdSense success.

    Testing Different Ad Units

    Before I implemented this strategy, my AdSense efforts consisted of throwing on the ads and hoping for the best. That made me about $3 per month – so I knew I had to start testing.

    I’ve learnt that the key to upping one’s AdSense earnings is to take a very organized approach. I decided that I would run each ad test for one week, switching every Saturday morning.

    I created a spreadsheet to plan out ahead of time which ad test I would run each week, and also to record the average CTR, CPC and RPM of each ad test.

    The ad tests I’ve run so far are as follows:

    1. 300 x 250 – top of sidebar, text and image ads
    2. 300 x 250 – main content area, text ads, custom colors with border
    3. 300 x 250 – main content area, text ads, custom colors without border
    4. 300 x 250 – main content area, text ads, default colors
    5. 300 x 250 – main content area, text and image ads, aligned left
    6. 300 x 250 – main content area, image ads
    7. 300 x 250 – main content area

    This may sound like a lot of work, but it only takes me 15 minutes each Saturday morning to switch my ads and record my stats. I know which ad unit I’m running because I’ve planned them all ahead of time.

    The rest of the week, I don’t even think about AdSense. I credit my organized approach for that.

    And it’s paying off too. In my first full month of tests (March 2013) I made $13.37 in finalized earnings. A big improvement from $3!

    A Quick Note About Which Ads Performed Best

    I am tracking CTR (click through rate), CPC (cost per click) and RPM (revenue per 1000 ad requests). I am not paying attention to earnings or number of clicks, because those depend on traffic and that’s not what I’m testing.

    The ad unit with the highest CTR so far was the text ads with default Google colors. This was a surprise to me, as Google advises that making your text ads blend in with your website color scheme will usually yield a higher CTR. Only way to find out for sure is to test.

    The ad unit with the highest average CPC so far was ad unit number 2. I took this with a grain of salt, because ad placement and color scheme has no effect on CPC. The only time you should pay attention to CPC is when comparing different ad sizes or when comparing text vs. image ads.

    The ad unit with the highest RPM so far was number 5, and this was due to a good CPC and good CTR working together.

    Note: I’m not disclosing exact CTR, CPC and RPM figures because it’s against AdSense terms.

    AdSense Academy

    The AdSense Academy is a great free resource that Google has created to help publishers run a successful AdSense account, step-by-step.

    There’s a checklist that you can follow through and check off steps as you complete them. Steps are arranged in categories from Implement your ad units through to Increase traffic and grow earnings.

    The Academy tells me I’m 40% of the way through the checklist. Still a long way to go!

    Google Analytics Integration

    Integrating my AdSense account into my Google Analytics account also helped me to stay on top of things.

    One benefit is easy access to data, since my AdSense account is under a different email address to my main Google account, so it saves me from having to sign out and in again.

    However, the real benefit is being able to get a page-by-page breakdown of your AdSense data, rather than just your whole site. Great for digging that little bit deeper.

    To integrate your AdSense account into your Google Analytics account, follow these instructions.