Group coach or facilitating a mastermind online? Some trigger questions…

Are you a group coach or facilitator?

mastermind online groupIn recent years the tools around facilitating and teaching masterminds online have really taken a leap forward. Video streaming, Blab, Periscope, Hangouts and other platforms like Zoom and Skype have matured to the point where meaningful group coaching can easily be delivered on-line.

The emergence of the “Mastermind Online” format

It is not only the technology that has matured. One popular and collaborative modality of group coaching is the mastermind concept. In the age of the solo entrepreneur, collaborative support and group coaching from peers and like minded entrepreneurs has become not only popular, but almost a necessary ingredient to success. And from our “inbound design” perspective, this format is hugely attractive because focus on the actual participant needs and agendas are built in.

Add to this the fact that physical location is no longer a huge obstacle in our ever connected world, and the mastermind format is a perfect formula for on-line collaboration.

In a peer group environment, facilitation and leadership is still required

Masterminds online revolve around the concept that all participants are getting equal time to talk about what they are working on, and taking turns so that one person in the group may have the “hot seat” and benefit from the brainstorming of all participants in that session. But this does not mean that masterminds can self-organize.

In fact, the role of the facilitator or founder of the mastermind is very important, when it comes to ensuring that people show up in the first place, stick to the agenda, and also in providing facilitator notes and a space for resources.

Supporting masterminds beyond video conferencing apps

Assistive technologies are springing up, and having a mastermind membership site to support the group can be a big bonus. Consider the following possibilities:

mastermind online appsBenefits to the mastermind online participants

  • A central place for replays of each sessions
  • Transcripts of each session
  • Facilitator journals for each session
  • On-line courses and other resources like e-Books
  • Discussion forums and threads for members (instead of Facebook groups where topics are lost in a timeline)
  • Event calendars

Benefits to group coaches and mastermind online facilitators

  • A sales page for your mastermind group
  • Multiple payment options, one-time, recurring, free trials, renewals, credit card changes
  • Automated payment processing
  • An affiliate referral system to reward your friends and colleagues who refer someone into your mastermind group
  • Affiliate Discounts for members who bring someone else into your group
  • Automated book-keeping and payouts to affiliates

Some trigger questions for you

If these concepts are intriguing for you, I’d like to invite you to consider the below trigger questions. It will take less than 5 minutes of your time…

They will help you reflect on how well positioned you are to help your group and offer the best in mastermind online experience.

Let me know if you want to see the above results?

As people have been studying these trigger questions, let me know if you’d like to see the results, I’m happy to share them!

How to forget design and focus on courage for digital transformation

Canary in the coal mine: How often do you need to re-design your site?

We always ask our clients about what insights finally prompted them to take action to re-invent, re-launch or re-design.

The stories that emerge are often quite compelling, and a good indication of how rapidly things are changing in the online world.

In many cases the realization that their site was “out of date” is prompted by lower business performance, less traffic, lower site rank, fewer people signing up to email lists and so on.

Yet a common perception persists that a site upgrade is largely a cosmetic exercise.

This is just a canary in a coal mine, an indication of more important things that may be going amiss.

Unwelcome news – or digital transformation opportunity in disguise?

unwelcome news or digital transformation opportunitySo it comes as unwelcome news that more deep-rooted causes may be at play. Here you thought all you needed was a new theme, or a cosmetic site upgrade, and the next thing you hear is that online behavior and consumption patterns may have changed enough in the last few years to re-examine not only the type of content but even your existing business models on your site.

But “unwelcome news” can actually be re-framed as an opportunity in disguise

We live in an age or accelarating change, disruption and re-invention. Web sites are not immune, and the typical life-span of a site is now 2-3 years. The opportunity is to use the catalyst of re-designing a site to look more deeply at the health of your online business strategies, and to upgrade your content, product and list building strategies at the same time.

Age discrimination – or failing to address shifting demographics?

When we dig down into the causes of “outdated websites”, some folks understandably get defensive about their existing online presence.

  • People are proud of their older sites, even when they realize a change is needed
  • It worked well in the past
  • A lot of effort and expense went into the design

When I was a graphic design a photography student, this is the sign that hung above our darkroom:

The first line of defense is usually to blame the design or visual appeal of the site itself. And the last thing anyone wants to look at are more deeply rooted business decisions or product strategies. And there are usually other, deeper factors at play, as people’s online behavior, preferences and content consumption patterns are continually changing.

  • Attention spans have gotten shorter
  • Mobile devices may be a slight misnomer: it’s people who are in fact mobile, constantly connected and expectating to consume and engage with content on the go
  • User interface design has changed to accomodate mobile responsive screens
  • The rise of short form social media sharing has shaped our communication patterns
  • Email marketing and list building methods (as well as overall content strategy) have changed.
  • If a site is older than 5 years, there is a likely significant shift in the demographic of site visitors

So the term “age discrimination” is a bit harsh – it’s not that younger people are intentionally avoiding our content; we may simply be missing the opportunity to present our content in a way that honors evolving consumer preferences.

Evolving content preferences

I actually seem to see a big “age” related phenomena, in terms of long form emails and newsletters preferences still prevalent with Baby Boomer (50-64) and Greatest Generation (65+) consumers. It requires patience and a certain attention span to read long emails and newsletters. However for consumers below 40, super short skimmable content is increasingly necessary.

  • So from a persona perspective, list building and newsletter success these days may depend on nailing the age group persona being targeted, and being flexible enough to adjust to their preferences in the delivery format and perceived value of content.

I am constantly working with clients my age (in their 50s) that write hugely long form blog posts, lead magnets and emails, and somehow fail to connect with the younger audience that would like to attract and ultimately target.

Some tips to “Shorten Up”

  • Our recommendation is to write extremely short paragraphs, and to break paragraphs up with (H2) headlines frequently. This introduces white space into the copy, and makes content much more “skimmable”.
  • If you have an email newsletter, resist sending entire articles to your list. Instead offer short and concise headlines, a thumbnail image and teaser excerpts that encourage your newsletter readers to visit your blog for the rest of the story, earning you SEO credit in the process.
  • My theory is that writing for short attention span, skimmable content, design patterns with lots of white-space and emphasis on 1-3 minute videos are necessary to connect with a younger audience, and this is a skill that few of us older, “long form” and academic types are good at:)

Evolving pricing strategies for content owners and digital product creators

We work with a lot of content owners and digital product creators, and we often see pricing and overall product strategies for knowledge products lagging behind in a way similar to web design patterns.

The same dynamics of changing consumer preferences apply, and just as some content owners are resiting to shorter content formats, they also resist lower their digital product pricing to accomodate the market.

Of course there can not be a hard and fast rules for this, and I do not mean to imply that the overall value based pricing should be diminished.
But consumer perception on price points for knowledge products and what the market will bear for typical courses or coaching experiences change. The fact that 100s if not 1000s of online courses, universities and learning tools have sprung up in the last few years have, in my optioning, changed the perceived value and landscape of e-learning.

Some work-around tips and possible examples of alternative pricing approaches

  • I see a lot of people re-positioning and breaking up their existing mega-courses or mega digital products into bite sized components that can withstand the markets price expectation and preference for a la carte learning.
  • To launch a mega product or course as the first offering is considered my many to be a productization mistake
  • Modern courseware and digital product environments accommodate free content or courses as appetizers, and then very low cost bite sized courses as the core offering, and finally membership models and premium benefits of “in person” experiences being offered as part of a community site.
  • So in the end the same amount of content can be broken up and presented in smaller and more a la carte ways, while at the same time lowering price points and attracting a new audience.

Conclusion & Recommendations

  • Don’t just think of your site re-design project as a cosmetic excercise
  • Talk to a digital strategist, not just to web designers, and have a more wide-rangingconversation about hidden opportunities you may be overlooking
  • Too many people would rather be hurt by compliments than saved by criticism: Be open to wider ranging changes to your products, services, pricing and content
  • Download our “Ultimate Website Re-Design Checklist” and be honest with yourself.

How To Increase Your Traffic With Search Result Visualization

Lesson 5 of 5

THE SEO FOR PODCASTERS (AND BLOGGERS) COURSE


The SEO for Podcasters series is a step by step guide to all the techniques we use for our clients. We ensure their podcast show notes are driving traffic to their sites and are ranked highly on Google and other search engines.

In the previous 4 posts of this series we’ve talked about on-page SEO optimization. Today I’l like to focus on an often overlooked aspect of SEO.

If you’ve applied all the previous lessons of this series, then you will already have great content and a great headline for your post. And if you are promoting your content on social media, chances are that your post will organically appear in search result soon.

So what is the only remaining hurdle for people to actually click and visit your website to read your post?

The answer lies in your search result snippet, the way your content appears on Google. In other words, how click worthy is your search result snippet? And there is more to this that meets the eye…

Search Results Visualization

What is a search result snippet?

Search Result Snippet Explanation GraphicThe answer is closely tied to search engine results pages (SERP):

  • A search engine results page (SERP) is the listing of results returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query.
  • It consists of a list of items with titles, a reference to the full version, and a short description.
  • A “search result snippet” is how your post or podcast shownotes page shows up as a single item on this list.

How do you ensure a great search result snippet?

Once again, Yoast to the rescue. The Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress is useful because it displays a “Search Result Snippet Preview”.

  • This allows you to change and edit the way the title and description of the post is displayed in the SERP snippet.
  • It also lets you change the title and description you would like to display in the search results.
  • In short, it lets you design what people will experience as they find your content in search results.

Why should you optimize the Search Result Snippet?

It is important to optimize the way your post shows up in search results. Google rewards well designed search result snippets with increased ranking. Perhaps not by much, but it makes a slight difference. More important is this:

If your search result snippet looks unattractive, makes no sense, or the post title is too long, then users are much less likely to click. So a well designed search engine result snippet can increase clicks a lot.

Here is an example of a post before optimization, and the reasons it would be bad to leave it this way:

Search Result Snippet - A Bad Example

  • The post title is too long, and thus gets “cut off”, and Google had to add an ellipsis a the end.
  • The sentence below the title makes no sense, and does not help the searcher identify what this post is about. This is because the meta description was not entered on Yoast, and so Google just displays the first words appearing on this post.
  • Some premium themes have short codes that appear in the SERP snippet, and this can be confusing.

Here is an optimized example

Search Result Snippet - A Good Example

Google rewards you for optimizing the appearance of search results snippets. Here is the same example as above, but this time with the post title length fixed, and with the correct meta description added.

  • As you can see, the content makes sense and will result in a higher percentage of clicks.

Additional tips to design a successful SERP snippet

You might think of ways to tease people with a hint of what they will learn reading your post.

  • To my eye, keeping it super short with a teaser is most effective.
  • One line is better than two.
  • Asking a question can be inviting readers to click.
  • Of course your target keyword should still be present in the meta description.

What if you’re not using WordPress or Yoast SEO?

No problems, here are some great resources for you. They work with any blog platform.

Conclusion

Even if you are already writing great post and episode headlines, do not overlook the importance of designing your SERP snippets.

Given the time you spend writing content, it makes sense to dedicate a few extra minutes to this. And while WordPress plugins (like Yoast) make it easy, there are alternative snippet visualizers.

 


Podcast SEO Course Overview

Lesson 1Lesson 2Lesson 3Lesson 4You Are Here!
How To Make Podcast SEO Optimization Work for You6 Proven Keyword Strategies Podcasters And Bloggers Love4 Easy SEO Secrets To Powerful Podcast Episode Titles3 Practical SEO Image Optimization Tricks Podcasters Need To KnowHow To Increase Your Traffic With Search Result Visualization
An overview of the concepts covered in this SEO training series for podcasters and bloggersMisconceptions of keyword research, and how to do it rightThe importance of creating compelling episode titles, both for SEO and click-worthiness There are many ways in which images contribute to SEO of your siteTips on crafting a good search result snippets to increase traffic to your site

3 Practical SEO Image Optimization Tricks Podcasters Need To Know

Lesson 4 of 5

THE SEO FOR PODCASTERS (AND BLOGGERS) COURSE


The SEO for Podcasters series is a step by step guide to all the techniques we use for our clients. We ensure their podcast show notes are driving traffic to their sites and are ranked highly on Google and other search engines.

An often overlooked SEO factor for podcasters is that images in posts contribute to SEO rankings. Of course the images should be interesting and relevant in the first place, but technically the way images contribute to your SEO ranking has to do with “ALT” tags, as well as with their role in determining your site loading speed.

1.) Use ALT Text Tags For SEO Image Optimization

What are ALT text tags?

A WordPress example of Alt TextThe official definition of ALT text (alternative text) is a word or phrase that can be inserted as an attribute in an HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) document to tell Web site viewers the nature or contents of an image. The ALT text appears in a blank box that would normally contain the image. This is useful when an image link is not available because of a broken or changed URL or some other issue.

Why are they important for SEO?

Also, ALT tags serve as accessibility properties that provide the visually disabled, (who use screen reader software to read page content out loud), with information about each image. This has the additional side effect that search engines pick up these ALT tags as well and index your article based on the image ALT tag language used. So for SEO Image Optimization, if you can use your main article key-phrase in the ALT tag, it will add to your overall SEO post optimization and keyword density in a positive way.

Do’s and Dont’s

  • Do honor the intent of creating accessible sites that provide screen readers and search engines with context and recognition of what is going on in the image
  • Do not stuff indiscriminately keywords into the ALT tags in a way that makes screen readers annoying, inaccurate or not useful
  • Do use descriptions that describe the image in a meaningful way, while utilizing your key-phrase

To include an “ALT” tag, it is added to each image in the following ways:

  • In WordPress, you don’t need to know HTML to do this, you can add the ALT tag in the media library, or when you are adding the image to the post
  • If you want to know what this looks like in HTML, you would simply add alt=“Description of the image” to your image tag
  • For example, if you wanted to add an image with a podcasting microphone, that might look like so:
<img src=“microphone.jpg” alt=“Podcasting Microphone”/>
WordPress Tip

WordPress tip on using the same image several times:

Keep in mind that if you’ve already used an image and created an ALT Text tag for a previous posts, changing that image’s ALT text tag might negatively affect the SEO ranking of previous posts. A typical example of this are featured images in posts. If you have already used an image on a post once before, it is likely to already have an ALT tag assigned optimized for a previous SEO keyword.

  • Therefore if you would like to use it again it is better to upload a new version of the image, even if it already exists in your media library.

 

2.) Understand Your Site Load Speed

Site load speed has been a search rank factor for a long time, and the speed that your page loads is directly influenced by the size of the images present on your pages. WordPress and most themes process images into several sizes when you first upload them, so that thumbnails and several small to large size variations can be used. But WordPress compression algorithms are often not ideal.

Tools to help you understand your site load speed

We have tried to list some great SEO tools throughout this series, and image processing tools are often overlooked. We’ll get to these in a minute, but first of all it helps to you know if images on your site contribute to slow loading speeds, and by how much. Here are 2 tools that help you measure the loading speed of your site, and allow you to compare before and after optimization.

GTmetrix assists in SEO image optimizationGTmetrix

  • GTmetrix: A free service that gives you insight on how well your site loads and provides actionable recommendations on how to optimize it

Yslow

  • Yslow: Yahoo!’s Exceptional Performance team has identified 34 rules that affect web page performance. YSlow’YSlow Logos web page analysis tests your site against 34 rules that affect web page performance, and is based on the 23 of these 34 rules that are testable.

 

3.) Improve Your Site Speed By Optimizing Your Images

Once you decide you’d like to optimize your site images in order to improve load times, here are some tools that help you do it.

  • If you have an existing site with lots of images, a utility to help optimize these is great, but in general terms I would also recommend to pre-process and size images for use on your web site when you first upload these or create them in Photoshop or your favorite graphics program.
  • Uploading 12,000px wide images straight from your camera is lazy, and there is no use for these on your site without first optimizing them, and utilities like Snap-Converter mentioned below make this process very easy.

So in general terms I recommend optimizing images before they ever make it to your site.

That said, here are some great tools:

WP Smush

  • WP Smush Pro For SEO image optimizationWP Smush is the popular replacement of the Smush-It image optimization plugin based on a service once provided by Yahoo, but now discontinued
  • WP Smush Pro is a premium image optimization tool that uses advanced algorithms to compress your images while maintaining their quality and dramatically improving your website’s page speed.
  • It will go through your entire media library and replace your on-line images with optimized versions, while maintaining quality. This can significantly speed up your site. Run GTmetrix before and after, and you will be rewarded with a vastly improved site load speed, and Google rank.
  • It also processes every new image you upload, so you can be assured that all of your site images are compressed optimally.

Snap-Converter

  • Snap ConverterSnap Converter (for Mac) is a utility to help you resize as well as convert images from PNG to JPG
  • Convert images as well as Mac and Windows icon files. Supports standard bitmap types as well as digital Camera RAW types, Photoshop documents, and more. View the complete list of supported file types.

Resize SenseResize Sense

  • Resize Sense is a utility that helps crop and resize images to a variety of optimized sizes.
  • Very useful for when you need to convert a range of differently sized images into the same size and aspect ratio.
  • Helps to eliminate the hours of tedious work needed to resize, crop, straighten, rotate, flip, edit metadata, and rename many images one at a time.


Podcast SEO Course Overview

Lesson 1Lesson 2Lesson 3You Are HereLesson 5
How To Make Podcast SEO Optimization Work for You6 Proven Keyword Strategies Podcasters And Bloggers Love4 Easy SEO Secrets To Powerful Podcast Episode Titles3 Practical SEO Image Optimization Tricks Podcasters Need To KnowHow To Increase Your Traffic With Search Result Visualization
An overview of the concepts covered in this SEO training series for podcasters and bloggersMisconceptions of keyword research, and how to do it rightThe importance of creating compelling episode titles, both for SEO and click-worthiness There are many ways in which images contribute to SEO of your siteTips on crafting a good search result snippets to increase traffic to your site

4 Easy SEO Secrets To Powerful Podcast Episode Titles

Lesson 3 of 5

THE SEO FOR PODCASTERS (AND BLOGGERS) COURSE


The SEO for Podcasters course is a step by step guide to all the techniques we use for our clients. We ensure their podcast show notes are driving traffic to their sites and are ranked highly on Google and other search engines.

Your podcast episode title is likely something that will get shared on social media, and more importantly will show up in search results and on iTunes as well.

Given how much time you are putting into creating a podcast, it is worth spending a little extra effort on creating a good title that makes people want to click through and listen or read more.

Of course you should not write content or headlines for search engines, so keep it people friendly, avoid keyword stuffing and make sure the meaning of the content is not distorted by forcing a keyword or key-phrase into the content.

1.) Podcast Episode Title Do’s

  • The MFCEO Podcast Does Episode Titles WellTry to convey the essence of what the episode is about
  • Be sure to add a short description as well (see the gallery below on how this  impacts iTunes)
  • You can include the name of the guest and the episode number, but place this information at the end
  • If possible, try to include your SEO key-phrase in the episode title.
  • Include your SEO key-phrase in the post slug

Example: Check out the MFCEO Project for some examples of “well done” episode titles

2.) Podcast Episode Title Don’ts

Check out the gallery below of Podcast Episode Title Don’ts

  • Do not put the name of the podcast first, this wastes space and is redundant.
  • Do not use the date and time as your episode title. (Sorry, Dave Ramsey)
  • Do not put the episode number first, if you’d like to include it, place it last. The reason for this is the way that episode titles display on iTunes, there are only about a 25 visible characters that display in the list of episodes, so putting episode numbers first wastes this space.
  • For interview shows, do not just use the guest’s name as the title, unless they are a celebrity. Listeners who don’t know the guest will not know what the episode is about.

3.) Use these resources for writing great episode titles and post headlines

Pro bloggers have known this secret for a long time: Catchy, fun, unique and click-worthy titles help drive traffic to their blogs. Spending time to think of good episode titles will help drive traffic to your show notes page, as well as increase your listenership. Suffering from episode title writers-block? Don’t worry, there are tools out there to help you, my favorites are:

 

4.) 5 More Not So Secret SEO Tips for Titles and Content

Tip #1: Creating H2 Tags (or sub-titles)

From an SEO perspective, Google (and other search engines) love well organized and hierarchical content. This means your show notes post should be organized. The title of the post should have the H1 tag, paragraph headers should have an H2 tag and short paragraphs should consist of text and bullet points. This approach has the additional benefit of increasing the readability of your content.

Tip #2: Focus on Readability

Unless you are writing long form essay content, short paragraphs are more appropriate for podcast show notes and accommodate “skimmer” type readers.

  • Try to avoid densely spaced content of paragraph after paragraph of text, this will be hard to read and is too information dense.
  • Breaking up your show notes into smaller segments is a good practice, also the use of images to break up the content is a good idea and will make your posts look and read better.
  • Add a sub-headline (H2 tag) for every paragraph

Tip #3: Do not use H1 tags anywhere in your show notes post

  • Each page should only have one single H1 tag
  • H1 tags are reserved for your post headline, and this tag is usually built into your theme
  • So in practice this means you should only use H2 and H3 tags within your show notes post
  • When you publish your post, the post title will automatically be displayed as an H1 tag on your page

Tip #4: Include your key phrase in at least one H2 tag sub-headline

  • Just as it was important to include your key-phrase in the H1 tag (or post title), it is also important to include the key-phrase in at least one H2 tag sub-headline

Tip #5: Watch The Concept of Keyword Density

While this is not relevant to headlines, you can and should use the key-phrase several times in the body of your post text. Keyword density refers to the number of times you have included your key-phrase in your post content, as a percentage of overall word count. If you are using the recommended WordPress SEO plugin, watch for the keyword density recommendations it provides, you can find these on the advanced tab.

Some keyword density tools


Podcast SEO Course Overview

Lesson 1Lesson 2You Are Here…Lesson 4Lesson 5
How To Make Podcast SEO Optimization Work for You6 Proven Keyword Strategies Podcasters And Bloggers Love4 Easy SEO Secrets To Powerful Podcast Episode Titles3 Practical SEO Image Optimization Tricks Podcasters Need To KnowHow To Increase Your Traffic With Search Result Visualization
An overview of the concepts covered in this SEO training series for podcasters and bloggersMisconceptions of keyword research, and how to do it rightThe importance of creating compelling episode titles, both for SEO and click-worthiness There are many ways in which images contribute to SEO of your siteTips on crafting a good search result snippets to increase traffic to your site

6 Proven Keyword Strategies Podcasters And Bloggers Love

Lesson 2 of 5

THE SEO FOR PODCASTERS (AND BLOGGERS) COURSE


The SEO for Podcasters course is a series of posts and a step by step guide to all the techniques we use for our clients. We ensure their podcast show notes are driving traffic to their sites and are ranked highly on Google and other search engines.

The Fine Art of SEO Keyword Strategies

Keyword strategies fail if you select keyphrases that are too popularIn this post I’m covering some SEO tips and research strategies that have emerged from discussions we’ve had with many of our blogging, content marketing and podcast production clients. The good news, unlike in years past,  is that almost all of our clients consider SEO a “must have” component of running a podcast or blog.  And for many, their blog or podcast serves as the central inbound marketing component for their site, driving traffic and increasing their e-mail lists.

But understanding of SEO keywords strategies and finding good keyphrases often starts with this mis-conception:

I just need to find a popular keyword that lots of people are looking for, and then optimize my post for it.

 

1.) The dangers of being too popular

It might seem quite easy to imagine a popular keyword that you want to be found for. Why not try and optimize a podcast episode for the keyword “podcast” for example? A popular term, 350K searches a month. Would that not drive lots of traffic to your site?

The answer is yes, but only if your site can rank in the top 50 search results for this keyword.

An example of a futile keyword strategySuggestion: Click here to do a search for the word “podcast” on google right now, and look at the top 10 results. Who are the sites ranking in the top 10? That’s right, Wikipedia, Apple, NPR, The Atlantic, etc. In other words hugely popular sites.

Now ask yourself, on which page of the search results do you think your own post would show up?

That’s right, page 200+ or something like this, unless you have a massively popular site. And when was the last time you looked at or clicked on anything beyond page 2 of a google search result?

The lessons and implications are this:

  • Do not try to rank for hugely popular keywords. You will not be in the top 50 search results, and therefore your post will not generate any organic search traffic to your site.
  • You need to research keywords and keyphrases in order to know if they are in fact “too popular” for your post to rank for them.
  • You need to have an idea about how your site ranks, in other words who it can compete with. Without this information, you are flying blind

No worries though, we will cover all of these considerations in this blog series.

2.) Is there such a thing as being “too niche”?

OK, so in our previous example, the keyword “podcast” seems very generic, and we’ve realized it’s unlikely we can rank our post for it. So what about the other extreme? Maybe it will be easier to rank for a key-phrase that is very specific?

keyword strategies example using Google AdWordsAssume for a minute we optimize a post for the term “health tips for dads”. And a few days or weeks after we published the post, HOORAY, we are ranking on the top 1-2 pages for this post!

Mission accomplished? Well no, hang on…

How many people a month do you think are looking for this term? Oh, sorry, a quick peek at Google Adwords reveals that this term is searched for 0 times a month, which is exactly how much traffic this keyword choice will generate.

The lessons and implications are this:

  • You may rank in the top 10 search engine results, but that does not mean you will get traffic from a keyphrase that is too niche.

3.) So what’s the answer then?

Finding the right fit for your keyword strategies The answer is finding a fit: To identify keywords and key-phrases commensurate with the search engine power of your site overall.

Some rules of thumb we follow for keyword research success:

  • The rule of thumb we follow is that if you have a brand new site with little traffic (Under 2000 sessions a month), try and find key-phrases that have at least 70 searches a month, but stay under 300 searches a month.
  • If you have a popular site at least 1-2 years old with 5000+ month visitor sessions, perhaps you can rank for key-phrases with 300+ searches a month.
  • But to rank for content that has 1000+ searches a month, you need your site to have both a lot more traffic.

Ask yourself, is it better to be on page 100 for a keyword that is popular, or on page 1 or 2 for a keyword that is un-popular, but that people are still looking for 100 times a month?

4.) Some other ways to determine your overall site rank

Have a look at Alexa rankings, there you can look up your site’s rank for free. Keep in mind, these are my personal educated guesses based on our experience, I would love to hear from you if you manage to “break the ceiling” of these rather cautionary numbers.

Alexa is a great toolset, and if you sign up for the free version you can create charts and comparison graphs to track your site’s rank vs your competitors.

Our “educated guess” rules of thumb here are as follows:

  • New sites are typically ranked 5million or higher. If you are, stay with key-phrases that are searched for at most 70-100 times a month.
  • If your site is ranked above 1.5Million on Alexa, you can likely rank for key-phrases that have 300 monthly searches  and above.
  • If your site is ranked above 500K on Alexa, you can likely rank for more popular search terms and key-phrases that have 1000 monthly searches or more.

5.) How can you tell the number of searches a month for any given key-phrase?

Using Google AdWords for keyword strategiesNotice that earlier we mentioned checking up on how many times a month people search for a specific key-phrase. This is super valuable information, but how do you do this? The answer is Google AdWords. If you have not ever placed any pay-per-click ads with Google before, you may be unfamiliar with the platform, but it is free to use and has the best keyword research tools available for free.

Our advice on this one: sign up for an AdwWords account, even if you don’t intend to do paid advertising  

  • The sign-up process is a pain, as it requires a credit card and the only way you can sign up is to launch your own initial PPC ad, but you can simply pause the ad as soon as you launch it, and it won’t cost you a cent. The process may be scary, but it is definelty worth it.

6.) The Concept Of Keyword Difficulty

Keyword Difficulty
Keyword Difficulty shows you exactly how hard it’s going to be to rank in top 10 results for any given keyword in the search engine of your choice.

It does so by investigating the sites that show up in the top 10 results of google, and then comparing their SEO maturity and rank to your own. So a low keyword difficulty score is better, it means that you are more likely to be able to compete with the sites in the top 10 search results. A high score means that the top 10 search results are occupied by popular sites that you will have difficulty competing with.

Keyword difficulty tools we use provide a range of information about your competitor sites that currently occupy the top 10 search results. Domain age, # of incoming links, Alexa ranking and social signals are all able to pinpoint “weak competitors” currently showing up in the top 10 search results. Using these tools as part of our SEO services, and selecting “the right” keywords using the keyword strategies outlined above, we can often quickly accurately create a recipe that places a post or podcast episode into the top 10 search results on Google and other search engines.

Giving away all our secrets, but here are some of the keyword difficulty tools we use for this: 

All in one approach to keyword strategiesAre there any “All In One Solutions” ?

The KW platform is an all-in-one solution that allows you to conduct research for your keyword strategies. You get insights into keyword difficulty and competition all in one place. See a screenshot  in the image:

Conclusion

Spending just a little time on learning the above keyword research tips can have a major impact on your site traffic. It may seem overwhelming at first, but studying this for an hour or two a week is all it takes.

What are some keyword research approaches that are working well for you?

We would love to hear from you about what is and what isn’t working working for you.


SEO For Podcasters Course Overview

Lesson 1You Are Here…Lesson 3Lesson 4Lesson 5
How To Make Podcast SEO Optimization Work for You6 Proven Keyword Strategies Podcasters And Bloggers Love4 Easy SEO Secrets To Powerful Podcast Episode Titles3 Practical SEO Image Optimization Tricks Podcasters Need To KnowHow To Increase Your Traffic With Search Result Visualization
An overview of the concepts covered in this SEO training series for podcasters and bloggersMisconceptions of keyword research, and how to do it rightThe importance of creating compelling episode titles, both for SEO and click-worthiness There are many ways in which images contribute to SEO of your siteTips on crafting a good search result snippets to increase traffic to your site

How To Make Podcast SEO Optimization Work for You

Lesson 1 of 5

THE SEO FOR PODCASTERS (AND BLOGGERS) COURSE


This is the first post in a course about podcast SEO optimization. The series is a step by step guide to all the techniques we use to ensure our clients podcast show notes are driving traffic to their sites and are ranked highly on Google and other search engines.

About this Podcast SEO Optimization Course

One of my most popular posts of 2015 has been about starting a podcast as a content strategy, and since then podcasts have been getting even more popular. We produce podcasts for clients, and help them with the launch strategies to get their podcast into iTunes New and Noteworthy. But sometimes it’s not just about having visibility on iTunes, increasingly clients are interested in using their podcast show notes content as a passive traffic driver to their own primary web site or to their show’s website.

So I’ve been coaching a lot of solopreneurs and podcasters on SEO, to help them position their show’s site and show notes pages, and showing them the tricks in making sure that podcast episode show notes are SEO optimized in order to contribute to a site’s traffic and ranking. Of course optimizing a podcast episode is almost identical to optimizing a blog post, so even if you do not have a podcast, read on…

What this podcast SEO course focuses on

There are a lot of mis-conceptions about how SEO works, and how to set up podcast episodes in a way that contributes to a sites overall rank with search engines. For the purpose of this series, we will focus on keyword research techniques and “On-Page-SEO”, in other words the art of creating fully SEO optimized show notes posts for your podcast episodes.

WordPress vs other CMS systems

We will focus on how to do this with WordPress, although the techniques discussed here a true for any content other management system. Even though we may discuss certain plugins in this post, we will cover what the plugins actually do step by step so that you can use it on non-Wordpress based sites.

“Link Building”

Link building techniques are still all a huge part of a successful SEO strategy, and is a huge topic by itself. The idea is that that your podcast guests for a show will reciprocate for the links you are creating to their site, by writing their own short piece of content that links back to your podcast show notes page, thereby providing valuable “google juice” and increasing the rank for your site. We will cover this in detail in a different blog series.


Podcast SEO Course Overview

You Are Here…Lesson 2Lesson 3Lesson 4Lesson 5
How To Make Podcast SEO Optimization Work for You6 Proven Keyword Strategies Podcasters And Bloggers Love4 Easy SEO Secrets To Powerful Podcast Episode Titles3 Practical SEO Image Optimization Tricks Podcasters Need To KnowHow To Increase Your Traffic With Search Result Visualization
An overview of the concepts covered in this SEO training series for podcasters and bloggersMisconceptions of keyword research, and how to do it rightThe importance of creating compelling episode titles, both for SEO and click-worthiness There are many ways in which images contribute to SEO of your siteTips on crafting a good search result snippets to increase traffic to your site

Podcast SEO Concepts Overview

The high level topics of SEO optimizing podcast episode show notes we will discuss in this series are as follows:
Podcast SEO Concepts

  1. Keyword Research
    How to research and choose a good key-phrase or keyword that is aligned with your content. This key-phrase should be what you think people might look for on search engines, and your content should be the perfect answer and fit for their question. We will discuss SEO concepts keyword difficulty scores.
  2. Good Titles
    Once you have found a key-phrase you would like to optimize for, then the episode title, content and images of the show notes post will be subtly changed or “optimized” around this key-phrase. This is what we will go through step by step in this series of posts.
  3. Search Result Visualizations
    How to design the way your post looks in search results by selecting right SEO Titles and meta-description, and testing this with “preview snippet”. Creating a compelling episode title as well as a great short description that shows up in search results is not only key in being found, but also determines how many people will actually click through once they see your episode title and description in search results.
  4. Content Optimizations
    How to optimize paragraph headers (sometimes also known as H2 Tags), the main content text of your post ensuring the right “Keyword Density”, how to SEO optimize images, and why including them in your show notes is important.

A Note About Using SEO Plugins

Using Yoast SEO (Formerly known as WordPress SEO)

Yoast for Podcast SEOYoast SEO (Formerly WordPress SEO by Yoast ) is one of the most complete and easy to use SEO assistance plug-ins. While there are other solutions out there, (Premium SEO Pack & All in One SEO Pack receive honorable mentions), I can highly recommend using Yoast, because it teaches the techniques needed step by step as you go through the process of optimizing each post, and it provides easy to understand feedback on how well each technique is implemented. So if you have a WordPress based blog or site, do yourself a favor and install this plugin.

Of course the use of a plug-in alone does not guarantee SEO success

  • Plugins can assist, but there are certain fundamentals and principles that are key to understand in getting your podcast episodes to generate search traffic.
  • What we will cover in this series are these fundamental SEO optimization concepts and steps of optimizing you content. So you can succeed with these tips without ever installing a plugin like Yoast SEO. It’s just that this plugin makes it easier, provides feedback and additional insights, and automates some of the more complex background tasks like creating an XML sitemap and submitting this to search engines automatically.

So I won’t go into the specifics of how to use the Yoast SEO plugin here, but there are may great tutorials and videos out there. If you are installing Yoast for the first time, here is my favorite setup post by Yoast himself, and what I like best is that he has kept this article up to date since the plug-in was first introduced in 2008.


Podcast SEO Course Overview

You Are Here…Lesson 2Lesson 3Lesson 4Lesson 5
How To Make Podcast SEO Optimization Work for You6 Proven Keyword Strategies Podcasters And Bloggers Love4 Easy SEO Secrets To Powerful Podcast Episode Titles3 Practical SEO Image Optimization Tricks Podcasters Need To KnowHow To Increase Your Traffic With Search Result Visualization
An overview of the concepts covered in this SEO training series for podcasters and bloggersMisconceptions of keyword research, and how to do it rightThe importance of creating compelling episode titles, both for SEO and click-worthiness There are many ways in which images contribute to SEO of your siteTips on crafting a good search result snippets to increase traffic to your site

Digital Strategies: Rebranding, Reinventing as a Solopreneur

POST BY:

Robyn-StrattonRobyn Stratton of positivitystrategist.com

Remaining Relevant

As a solopreneur, this is a story about rebranding, reinventing, and realigning my online persona in the digital marketplace. It’s a journey about moving with the times.  After all, remaining relevant and essential in this increasingly complex, diverse and multifaceted world is an important issue for all of us and it takes investments.  Investments in our thinking, emotional and physical energies. It’s about identifying digital strategies, finding the right resources and talent to help make strategic choices and positive changes.

The term solopreneur began to be socialized from around 2010, yet in my research, I found a definition dating back to 2005.  That being said, today, it’s a well known term and there are increasing numbers of us out there making a living as one person businesses.

Transitioning to Solopreneurship

As a solopreneur, I used to be extra precious about my content, my services, my clients, my brand and hoped everyone who stumbled on my website would immediately love my content as much as I did.

digital strategies as a woman solopreneurBecoming comfortable as a solopreneur was a transition in identity for me, because when I had my first website, 16 years ago in 1999, I was shy about positioning myself as a solo act.  I had come from big consulting background.  It didn’t seem professional to talk about myself in the first person singular on my earlier websites. Instead the company was positioned as a consortium of consultants, a group of associates, so I wrote in the in the first person plural – “we” do this and that; “our clients” are xyz.  It felt too early to say I worked from home and I was alone.  I was nervous to admit, I did it all on my own.

Well, things have changed and with the employment scene as it has been for the last 10 years and with entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, solo practitioners being the norm, it’s no longer a stigma to say:

“I am my own company and it’s great!”

Website Evolutions

Since 1999, I’ve had 7 websites. It’s the last four websites, since 2006, that have evolved to ever higher performing platforms increasing strategic value with each evolution.

Until 6 years ago, I kept my “professional’  website separate from my newly created WordPress blog.  As my blogging site grew, it became increasingly clearer to me that the boundaries between my professional persona  and my personal persona were dissolving.  I was writing stories that spoke to my passion (in fact my first blog was called pursuingpassions.com) and my passion was my work, because I do work I love and it informs who I am.

Fast track to my most recent evolution, when I got really strategic. Ten months ago I had a BFO – a blinding flash of the obvious.  My website was tired looking, it was dated and even though it had been converted to be mobile optimized, it still wasn’t reflecting my own self-perception of being current, and a thought leader in my field.

Embracing Digital Strategies

It was time to reassess and update, and follow my own advice that I give to clients about the need to re-invent yourself and get clarity about your purpose, strengths, and potential legacy.

Inbound Marketing

I’m super excited about the results. For me, rebranding to Positivity Strategist from my former Positive Matrix identity has been very exciting because I was coached to follow an inbound marketing content strategy. It was a significant, and hugely valuable undertaking.

Juergen Berkessel, CEO of Polymash, has become my digital strategist, guiding me to understand how to begin to increase the visibility of my web presence in the  world.  He coached me in a workshop format to complete value proposition design and persona development activities that have helped me appreciate and segment my clients. This has shaped content and refined language on my website; and with that awareness, I now can write more targeted content that more specifically relates to their needs.

Podcasting as a Content Strategy

Polymash also recommended I start a podcast as a content strategy, and took over the production of it in order to grow my content offering, thereby positioning my leadership in my field and increasing traffic to my website. There are many search engine and traffic generating aspects to this as outlined in How to Start A Podcast As Content Strategy in 2015

Marketing Automation and SEO

Inbound Content Marketing DashboardI’ve begun to appreciate and follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices for producing all of my content, and am making use of marketing automation software that allows me to grow my email list. I can now better understand how anonymous site visitors or email subscribers behave on my site, and I can better respond to their behavior in order to engage and serve them. Ultimately many of these anonymous visitors are opting in specific service and content offers, and relationships are strengthening.

Expanding the Platform

On-line Courses as Content Strategy

Udemy Course as Content StrategyBecause I’m a writer, speaker, trainer and, therefore produce a lot of content, the next piece of advice my coach offered me to grow my content marketing capability was to create an online training course in my field of expertise.  I have just launched my first Udemy course Be an Agent for Positive Change: Positivity Strategies and accompanying that is the creation of a YouTube Channel, showcasing my course, and also Slideshare presentations.  The blogging continues and I’ve just started to produce regular posts on LinkedIn, and the Udemy course will result in dozens future posts.

Tracking Progress

Positivity Strategist Alexa RankIn less than 10 months, with the guidance of my digital strategies coach, my brand new domain name, Positivity Strategist with a zero Alexa ranking has grown organically to being the #1.5M most popular site world wide and #235,539 in the US,  outranking many well-known brands and established websites in my professional field, and an increasing amount of visitors and opt-ins are the result of my SEO optimized content being found on Google and other search engines .

Professional Growth is a Bonus Benefit

Not only has my website gone from non-existent to a viable presence on line, I have learnt and grown enormously in the last 10 months.  What I had absolutely no appreciation for in the the past, I now appreciate and practice.  I can perform many of these activities with greater ease and therefore I experience joy.  My professional development in the areas of speaking, interviewing, writing have improved because I’m using them all the time.

A huge discovery has been to accept that I can use automated tools and software. It’s not so complex; and, it is so rewarding! And for tasks I used to moan and groan about, I’m reaping the rewards.  Just one example is researching the right key words to improve the search ranking of every piece of content I write.  I hated doing that, as I just wanted to write fun titles for my posts.

It was tough to make the changes, yet I have now successfully habituated them and I am seeing huge benefits.  It’s been a great 10 month journey and I am truly grateful.

Design problems? 5 powerful ways to reframe them as opportunities!

Let’s face it, your web site design has a certain shelf life, and the time comes when even the most reticent business owners realize their site is due for a make-over. Being a visual design fanatic, graphic designer and photographer I sympathize with clients who think they have a design problem. Just recently a prospect stated something I hear a lot:

“My biggest problem has always been the design of things”

I think this comes from intuitively recognizing that “there is something wrong or missing” from their site, but failing to realize exactly what it might be. And so the focus falls on “design”, the “look and feel”, the “cool factor”, the latest font choices, video backgrounds and sliders. Thoughts turn to “mobile”, “responsive”, “more modern”.

UX Design Problems Are Hard to Spot At First Glance

hard to spot ux problemMarketers and app developers have embraced user experience as being a fundamental aspect of modern design. But for the average small business owner, blogger, solopreneur and for most lay people, UX is a difficult and mysterious concept to come to grips with, and the lack of a good user experience is hard to spot.
This means that very often site re-designs are based on visual decisions and look and feel only, ignoring the fundamentals of user behavior, research, and customer centric thinking. This also implies little research and planning.

But Digital Strategy Gaps Are Even Harder To Spot

For me, the coolest vanity site out there is useless (or at best a hobby only) if it fails to attract and convert visitors into leads. Or fails to engage consumers of our content. Visitors will come, say “wow this is cool”, and then leave, unless we have a way to capture them. Like being on a blind date with someone beautiful, without ever asking for a name. Now there’s a design problem for you.

Some examples of missed opportunities

We’ve seen carefully crafted corporate site re-designs launch, with no content other than myopic product catalogs, services and company history, all organized by internal departments, and navigable only by the initiated. Why was the site not converting?

Because that’s called an intranet.

So often the language is that of a first person narrative, it’s all me, me, me, or we, we, we.

Sorry, how are you helping your site visitors?

We see sites that advertise their products and services by shouting at a demographic, rather than starting to engage with their prospects.

If you want to start a conversation, don’t shout.

And often we see thoughtful and entertaining blog articles, marooned and hidden away in some far corner of a site without linking to other valuable pages, and without any accessible opt-ins chance to grow email lists for the content owners. Or we’ve seen famous authors book launch site giving away free preview chapters of their book, without a sign up form asking for an email in exchange. I get it, you’re being modest and are providing value, but trust me, it’s OK to have an occasional opt-in asking for a name and email address.

There is such a thing as being too humble.

So the question for me is always one of customer centricity: Who do you place at the center of your site’s experience? Yourself or your visitors?

So what should we focus on when considering a site re-design?

Let us adopt our customer’s point of view. What is our value proposition to them? How can we inform, delight and offer relevant content and experiences to them?

1.) Awareness: Start by realizing the opportunity for re-invention

It starts with simply realizing that each time a web site is re-designed, it is a huge strategic opportunity to re-invent not only the site, but also the way it contributes to your underlying business model.

2.) Education: Why and how content marketing works

Initially, spend more time researching. In my experience, most web design projects benefit from an 80/20 rule: 80% planning, 20% execution. Educate yourself about why content marketing and an inbound approach work so well for most companies that practice it. Here some quick stats and info to understand the opportunity better…

3.) Conversion: Going Inbound

There is no better way to start customer centric thinking than by implementing an inbound content strategy. It will help develop the muscle for customer centric philosophy and language. It will lead not only to a deeper understanding of your site visitors, but also to a better relationship with your prospects.

4.) Marketing Automation: The difference

For small businesses and solopreneurs, the potential of marketing automation cannot be overstated. Once accessible only to relatively large organizations and corporates, marketing automation platforms are now extremely affordable, and an excellent way to design and run sophisticated inbound content campaigns.

5.) Re-Frame the Opportunity: Converting visitors into prospects, prospects into leads

A re-design project is an ideal place to start, because it can provide you with a re-frame: Your site’s job is to convert site visitors into leads, by providing valuable content to your readership in exchange for contact info and email addresses.

Your site can become the central hub of a customer centric overall digital marketing strategy that supports your business goals (and reflects your brand of course).


I’d like to share the following FREE materials with you:

  • WebSite Re-design Checklist

    Optimized for inbound marketing, here is a check-list that you can use when first starting to plan a site-redesign

  • Marketing Automation Platform Price Comparison

    Each web re-design is an opportunity to consider how marketing automation can boost your site conversions and list generation. This price and platform comparison shows how affordable it is becoming.

  • Your Site Re-design Email Course

    Our completely free, completely non-technical site re-design email course. You will learn how to transform your site into a highly converting inbound content marketing hub.

design problems and solutions with our 3 part offer

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