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How “The Sound of Music” Relates to 7 Sins of Search Engine Optimization

In the Sound of Music, the governess sings: “Let’s start at the very beginning/a very good place to start.”

The same holds true in using effective search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, except you might want to start before the beginning by researching key phrases as you develop your SEO strategy or before you begin to implement optimization techniques.
In the old days, one had to pick key phrases, spend months ranking for them using SEO techniques, and test whether anyone bought. The ability to research key phrases has become more sophisticated, so that we can now assess competition and number of potential searches to discover the ideal low-competition, high-traffic key phrases to aim for in a successful search engine optimization strategy.

Here are some ‘wrong turns’ or for the sake of this post – SEO sins – that people make in their SEO planning.

1. They fail to research keywords:
Use keyword research software such as Google’s Keyword Research Tool to find high-traffic keywords. This is one of the least glamorous and most important steps in developing a successful SEO campaign.

2. They don’t check the competition:
Check the competition of key phrases by typing the phrase in quotes in Google and look at the number at the top right of the page. This number lets you know the competition for the key phrase. For a small to mid-size business, aim for less than 100K in competition [image Seasons Are Competing by Scott M Duncan Creative Commons]. Generally, it takes less time to rank for a low competition key phrase than for a highly competitive one. An option, if you have the budget, is to test key words in a pay-per-click campaign to find out if people will buy.

3. They don’t use keywords in copy:
My previous post here on Women Grow Business discusses this and other steps you can take to improve your rankings. In short, use your key phrases in the headline, first paragraph, and as a link to other related pages on your site.

4. They fail to blog:
Search engines love blogs. If possible, use software such as WordPress for your content management system for the entire site. At the very least, use WordPress for your blog. Many programs – called plugins – are available for installation with WordPress. When installed and used correctly, these plugins can help you improve your traffic and your rankings.

5. They don’t use a site map:
A site map helps search engines find all of the content on your website. Sign up for Google Webmaster tools, which will let you add a XML site map to your website.

6. They fail to use images:
Include an image with your blog post and tag the image with descriptive keywords. You can find images on Flickr to use for free or buy the rights to use low-cost images at
a photo-sharing site such as iphoto.com.

7. They do not participate in their community:
Comment on related blogs and leave a link to your site. Some of these links are “follow” as opposed to “no-follow.” A follow link is a link that a search engine will follow.

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Guest contributor Deborah Ager is an online marketer, consultant, and speaker. Visit her blog and sign up to get free online marketing tips at http//:www.clickwisdom.com. Follow her on Twitter, too!


    1. Amy said on June 12, 2009

      I think this is really good advice but I am not sure it is completely applicable to promoting a book on the Web. That is my business and I think if you use these tips literally it would mean I would have picked the title of my book which became the title of my website -along with my name- by a keyword search. When I first had my website I worried a lot about SEO and how to improve it. Now I am a little more relaxed because I feel that the Web is actually a fairly old-fashioned community; business and a greater presence grows slowly over time and by word of mouth. I realize if I had a product I was directly selling , rather than just promoting, I would have a greater sense of urgency and have to be more aggressive.

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    2. Nice post Deb! I used most of the ideas you mentioned here, and am now showing up on the 1st page of google – and even the 1st listing for some of my keywords! It really works.
      Nick

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    3. Hi Nick,

      That's great news! I'm glad these ideas helped you achieve the rankings you want.

      All the best,
      Deborah

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    4. Hi Amy,

      Thank you for your comment! I appreciate you taking the time to write one.

      You can use other methods to promote a book such as Facebook, Twitter, other social networking, speaking, newspaper interviews, teaching, college class visits and giving readings or presentations. I've done all of the above to promote my own book.

      I've never used SEO for my book, because that technique doesn't apply for me. SEO doesn't apply to every kind of product. It's a tool just like any other marketing tool, and — as you probably know — we don't always use every tool to solve every problem.

      All best,
      Deborah Ager

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    5. Very much agree with your post. Thanks for sharing them to us specially to those who are optimizing websites in search engines. good blog.

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    6. I watched Sound of Music and I can see that the list really match…
      Thanks for posting this.. Great post..

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    7. Hi thanks for a great post ,im new to seo etc and finding articles and blogs like this are a Godsend :)
      will implement the ideas -thanks Deborah

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    8. You can use other methods to promote a book such as Facebook, Twitter, other social networking, speaking, newspaper interviews, teaching, college class visits and giving readings or presentations. I've done all of the above to promote my own book.

      I've never used SEO for my book, because that technique doesn't apply for me. SEO doesn't apply to every kind of product. It's a tool just like any other marketing tool, and — as you probably know — we don't always use every tool to solve every problem.

      8
    9. Hi Nick,

      That's great news! I'm glad these ideas helped you achieve the rankings you want.

      All the best,
      Deborah

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    10. That was really an eye opener. Nice post Deb, keep it coming..

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    11. You can use other methods to promote a book such as Facebook, Twitter, other social networking, speaking, newspaper interviews, teaching, college class visits and giving readings or presentations. I've done all of the above to promote my own book

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    12. Very much agree with your post. Thanks for sharing them to us specially to those who are optimizing websites in search engines. good blog.

      12
    13. Very much agree with your post. Thanks for sharing them to us specially to those who are optimizing websites in search engines. good blog.

      13
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