mission1There are many effective ways to drive traffic to your business today: social networking, guest blog posting, viral marketing strategies, referrals, affiliate programs, newsletter outreach programs — the internet has truly opened a world of possibilities.

However, one of the absolute essential components that has constantly driven a steady stream of business, often more than we can even take on at one time, is the fact the people find my site in the search engines.

Even when I was so unbelievably buried with building my businesses that I could not seem to find the time to post blogs or get in the amount of social networking I truly wanted, inquires continued to pour in.

Because of the way that I structure my business, one lead can mean thousands of dollars year after year after year. Multiply this by 4 years and you’ve got a nice set up. What started with ‘just me’ as a freelancer has now blossomed into me, a 50/50 business partner, 5 account managers, and a dedicated team of about 20 freelancers. I attribute about 75% of the company’s growth to the fact that the right people find us on search engines precisely when they need us.

SEO isn’t ideal for all businesses — but I think it is for the majority. If you have a product or service that solves a known problem to people, and they are out there searching for a solution, then optimizing your site for search engines can be an extremely profitable move.

Let’s Get This Show On The Road…

The very first mission — the first several in fact — revolve around strategically choosing keywords. I am a keyword evangelist. Starting an SEO campaign without keywords is like starting to build a house with no blueprint. You may get something, but it won’t often be what you wanted and you’ll waste a lot of time, effort, and energy on things that won’t help you achieve the end goal.

By starting with your SEO strategy solid, strategic, keyword research, you will be laying the foundation for highly targeted search engine visibility that can bring you a stream of leads and customers year after year after year.

Are you ready for your first mission?

Your First Mission: Analyze Your Site Through the “Eyes” of a Search Engine

Est. time to complete: 15-20 minutes

Step One

**The purpose of this step is to help you understand where you are now so that you can get to where you want to be.**

Your challenge today is to identify what your web pages are currently optimized for using the tool provided below. Your mission is to analyze your homepage and any key product or services pages on your site. For example, if you offer financial services, you likely have a page on your site dedicated to “will planning,” another that explains you “estate planning services,” etc.

Enter your URL in the tool below:

Keyword Density Checker
Enter a URL to analyze

(If you cannot view this tool in the post, click here).

What appears after you enter your URL is a keyword cloud. This is a visual representation of the dominant words on your page, i.e. the words and phrases that search engines would assume were the primary focus of the page.

I like the keyword cloud because most of us are visual creatures and we can “get it” right away without having to weed through a bunch of numbers and percentages. The terms that are most relevant to your page, from the eyes of a search engines, are displayed the largest. The most relevant terms on your page should be the largest and ideally, should be in the top left-hand corner of the box. If not, there is work to do — and that is something we will tackle in a future mission.

Take a look at the keyword clouds below. Both of these sites sell office chairs. One is ranking in the #1 position in Google for the terms “office chairs” — the other I found by doing an online yellow pages search and does not show up at least in the first 200 search results for the term “office chairs.” Which do you think is which?

keyword-cloud1

keyword-cloud2

Step Two

Part two of your mission is to document your findings. Follow the link provided below and download the optimization analysis form and complete the quick exercise for 5 to 10 of the most important revenue-driving pages on your site. <– 2016 NOTE! This document could use some updating in terms of process — if you find this page before I have gotten around to updated to doc (i.e. you are reading this note), please email me for an update!

Download your free keyword planning worksheet and complete the quick exercise for 5 to 10 of the most important pages you need to rank for.

This simple exercise can be a serious eye opener for you. In upcoming challenges, the knowledge gained from this challenge will become the foundation for a strategic, actionable, search engine optimization plan…

Now for the Tough Part…

It’s one thing to learn a concept by reading, but it’s another thing to dig in and do the work. I encourage you to accept this challenge — and even if it gets frustrating, seems ‘boring’ or seems like it doesn’t matter — follow through. I promise you that, although somewhat boiled down for ease of understanding, these are the exact same steps that I take when conducting SEO audits and action plans that I charge between $750 and $1000 for.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely a self-starter. You want to dig in and take a first hand approach to your marketing. Many of you are just starting out and don’t have the money to hire a search engine marketing firm — or don’t want to. And you don’t have to. You can do it yourself — if you are willing to invest the time into learning and the effort into doing. None of this is rocket science — but it can be quite complex and there are a lot of moving pieces involved.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely an overachiever – i.e. busy and juggling many ideas and tasks at once. My goal over the next several weeks is to break out some of the most absolutely critical pieces of the search engine optimization process into manageable, actionable chunks. Each week, I will publish a new mission for you — something that will take anywhere from 15 – 45 minutes to accomplish. Each step is published in a logical, systematic order. All steps will be published on the blog, so you can subscribe to post by RSS or by email to ensure that you don’t miss any essential pieces in the process.

Share Your Questions and Frustrations

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ marketing plan — but by sharing strategies with you at a fundamental level, I hope to address the needs of every different type of business, website, service, etc. However, there will certainly be questions for certain types of businesses. Please, feel free to ask those questions here in the comments section so that everyone can learn!

If you just have general questions — post them! I’ve been entrenched in SEO for the last 5 years of my life. It is likely that I’ve used some jargon or missed some logical steps between points A and C — ask away! My goal is to help you get a firm grasp on these concepts and dominate your niche on the search engines.

Ok, now get rockin!

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