Internet Marketing with Jonathan Leger

Why Keyword Competition Tools Are (Almost) Always Wrong

As the creator and designer of a number of popular Search Engine Optimization tools, I have used (and regularly test) a variety of SEO tools and services in order to compare them to my own and see where I can improve (and, to be honest, where I’m beating the pants off the competition). This includes not only direct competitors to my own products, but also the “Big Data” providers in the SEO industry.

Great data is only great if you understand what to do with it. If you’re a beginner to ranking your site in Google then you need guidance more than a bunch of stats and numbers. This is where most of the SEO tools fail miserably. While the individual data points provided by these tools are often pretty good, when it comes to using this data to give you practical advice they almost always fall flat.

Take estimating keyword competition for example. How difficult will it be to rank in Google for a specific set of keywords? With all of that data at these tools disposal, you would think they would be pretty good at estimating that difficulty.

They’re not. In fact, they’re usually pretty bad at it.

Let me back this up by giving you an example of some keywords where these tools get it wrong. This example is a “long tail” (that is, a set of keywords that don’t get searched very often and contain 4 or more words).

Keywords: online acoustic guitar lessons

Difficulty rating from popular tools (scale is 0 to 100):

Moz – 50

SEMRush – 69

SpyFu – 56

KWFinder – 49

Difficulty rating from my soon-to-be-released SEO system:

Keyword Titan – 28

Notice the difference? The four popular tools shown estimate it to be about twice as difficult to rank for “online acoustic guitar lessons” as Keyword Titan does.

The reason why their estimates are so (incorrectly) high is because those tools appear to be averaging the authority of Google’s top 10 ranking domains / pages for the keywords. That’s a mistake, a serious mistake, and it’s where pretty much every keyword tool goes wrong.

You see, the true estimation of how difficult it will be to rank for a set of keywords in Google isn’t found in the strength of the top 10 sites ranking for the keywords — it’s found in the weakness of the weakest ranking site in those top 10 results.

That is, if there are 9 very strong sites ranking for a set of keywords and one weak site mixed in among them, that weak site is the true indicator that ranking in the top 10 for those keywords is not so difficult. After all, if it was difficult to rank for then that weak result wouldn’t be there, right?

Almost no other keyword tool gets this right. They always average the strength of the top 10 Google results together to come up with their difficulty estimations.

I designed Keyword Titan to be different. When you analyze a single set of keywords in KT you get what I call a “Snap Analysis”. Here’s the snap analysis for online acoustic guitar lessons:

onlineacousticguitarlessons

Notice the site ranked #9, acousticguitarlessonsonline.net. The site was clearly created for the simple purpose of ranking for a number of keywords related to online acoustic guitar lessons. It has a keyword rich domain name (I’ll go into detail in a future blog post about why that’s helping this site rank).

The TrustFlow of the domain and of the page is somewhat low (in case you’re not aware, TrustFlow is a respected measure of how much “trust” the links coming into a domain or page give it — the higher the TrustFlow, the more likely the domain or page is to rank in Google).

But where that domain really shows its weakness in comparison to the rest of the ranking sites is in the number of other sites linking in to it (the refdomains (site) metric). While all of the other sites have hundreds or thousands or more external domains linking into them, acousticguitarlessonsonline.net only has 86. Getting 86 quality links takes a little bit of time, but hardly qualifies for the “hard” ratings being given to these keywords by the other tools.

The relatively low external linking domains combined with its marginal TrustFlow causes Keyword Titan to give it a difficulty rating of only 28 (which is on the low side of “moderate” in Keyword Titan).

This same scenario plays out again and again any time I run keywords through the popular keyword tools. Because those tools use the strength of the ranking sites to estimate difficulty rather than looking at the weakest site in the results, they are wrong much of the time. That means that SEO professionals and beginners alike are making poor decisions about which keywords to target.

It’s not that these tools don’t have access to the same data that Keyword Titan does — they do — they just interpret it incorrectly. So the next time you’re trying to figure out what keywords you should be trying to rank for in Google, keep that in mind.

I welcome your thoughts and responses in a comment below.

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248 Fall/Winter Seasonal Keywords to Target

Seasonal keywords can be extremely profitable. Many people ignore them because they attract so little traffic outside of the season, but for those marketers who take them seriously, there is a lot of money to be made!

seasonal nichesIf you want to profit sooner rather than later on seasonal niches you need to start at least one season before the busy season. So if you want to target a summer niche in the U.S., you’re probably not going to gain notable results this summer (summer is currently in full swing). But if you want to go after a fall or winter niche, now is the time to ramp things up!

Today I’d like to help you do just that! I’ve been in the lab for the past several months working day and night on a brand new SEO tool-set (I’ll be revealing this tool very soon). Using one of the powerful tools I quickly and easily generated 248 fall/winter keywords worth an estimated total of $478,000.00 to those ranking for them! These keywords have a combined 459,000 monthly searches!

Take a look for yourself:

KE

Click to enlarge

Click here to download the keywords

A smart marketer could grab one of these keywords, run with it, and be raking in good profits this fall! There are plenty to choose from and they’ve all been filtered. All of these keywords have at least 200 monthly searches and at least $0.10 cost per click (CPC). They also have a difficulty rating (based on my own in-house algorithm) of less than 40/100, so none of them should be very difficult to rank for!

Enjoy!

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How do you Know a Site is Authoritative?

Determining the level of authority, or “power”, a site has in regards to SEO is very important. You need to know how strong your competition is in order to determine what it’s going to take to outrank them. In the past you could look at the Google Toolbar PageRank that Google publicly disclosed. It provided a rough indicator of authority, but even that was often times determine site authorityway off. You would see sites with a PageRank of 0 outranking sites with a PageRank of 5 or more on a regular basis (for example). Google no longer updates their PageRank though.

The total number of backlinks to the ranking page was something that used to be focused on in a big way as well. The only problem with that was, and is, that quality was far more important than quantity. However, up until a few years ago the quantity of backlinks was much more important to Google in determining authority than it is today. So the overall backlink quantity to the ranking page has also been “thrown out the window” as an authority indicator.

That leads us to the present state of SEO. What is the most effective way to determine the authority of a website?

Since the beginning of search engines, the best way to determine the authority of a website is to analyze the sites that rank for any given keyword and determine what they have in common! When this is done you have a lot of BIG data to analyze. So the goal is to figure out the most simple metrics you can that are consistent with the top Search Engine results.

As you may know, I love SEO! I love data analysis too. So I’m always testing and comparing data to figure out what works and what doesn’t. What I have found to be the most effective way to determine the authority of a website for the average Internet Marketer, without getting too complicated and technical, is to look at the MOZ Domain Authority (DA) of the domain, and the total number of unique domains linking to the site (not just to the ranking page).

The DA of a domain is determined by multiple factors that MOZ looks at in order to determine how likely the site is to rank in Google’s search results. If I want to get a general idea of a site’s authority, this is what I look at.

The total number of unique domains linking to a site, in itself, is too raw to give any more than a rough idea of a sites authority. But when analyzing keyword competition, it is very powerful! Simply plug a keyword into Google and then find the total number of domains linking to each of the top 10 results. If you find a site that has 100 or less, great! If you find one with 50 or less, even better. If you find one with 15 or less, you’ve found GOLD (if the keyword has much search volume).

Keep in mind, the quality over quantity factor remains. The quality of the referring domains is a big factor to both the DA and the ability to rank with fewer referring domains. So if you find a keyword that has a top 10 competitor with 25 unique domains linking to it, 26 isn’t necessarily going to beat it. But if you get 26 solid links, you have a very good chance at it! (Reaching out to site owners in my niche and offering a unique article in exchange for a link at the end of the article to my site often results in mid to high-level links for me.)

This is how I do my own simple, quick and accurate keyword research and it works! I eventually achieve top-10 rankings for most of the keywords I choose to target as a result of using this method.

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Build a Brand Rather than an Income and You’ll End up with Both!

Imagine having a dream that one day you would be famous. Your goal is to be famous, so that is what you focus on. You brainstorm ideas on how to be famous. You buy books that provide ideas on how to become famous. You try everything you can think of that might make you famous, hoping that you’ll eventually come across the golden idea that will launch you into stardom! Then one day, after so many years and so much time and money spent trying to be famous, something happens that puts you in the headlines! You are seen by millions. People are talking about you. You are famous! You’d done it!!

success onlineThat is, until the next day when the next big headline has come and you are forgotten about.

Now, let’s consider some of the most famous people of all time. How did they get their fame? Was their goal to be famous? Is that how they became famous? No, of course not (at least not in most cases). Thomas Edison was a passionate inventor. Though he was also a businessman, his focus was not on making money, it was on invention! in the process, he became very rich (and famous). Michael Jordan’s primary passion was for the game of basketball. In the process he became a Billionaire. Michael Jackson’s passion was for music. The list goes on and on.

My passion lies in software development and helping others succeed. I love coding and I love helping others succeed. Both of those things truly satisfy me. As a result, I’ve made millions of dollars. Though it is true there are some exceptions, most people who are successful, get there with one or two specific passions that they focus their time and money on.

Today I want to ask you a question. What is your focus? Is it just on making money? If so, you may be building a house of cards as they say. You may be just like the proverbial fame seeker I mentioned above who finally got what he wanted, only to see it vanish the next day.

If you do not feel like you’re going in the right direction with your online business, do this: Forget about making money and resolve today that you will focus on building a brand!

What are you passionate about? What really motivates you? What can you really provide value in? Go with that and work to build yourself up in that niche, whether you make money or not. Do this and you’ll be building your business on solid ground. That money may not come quickly, but it will come!

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2 Things All Internet Marketers Need to Know (But Sadly Most Don’t)

how to succeed with internet marketingAfter more than a decade of running internet businesses, I’ve learned a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t work. I’ve also learned a thing or two about the average person who gets into Internet Marketing.

While I certainly respect the aspiration of all online marketers, the saddest thing that I’ve learned over the years is that a large number of those who set off to make money online, end up spending more money than they make. So ultimately they do the opposite of what they set out to do.

As a vendor in the Internet Marketing space itself, I have a unique opportunity to deal with other Internet Marketers on a daily basis. Some very successful, some moderately successful and some not successful at all. In my popular coaching program, Learn from Jon, I hear from people who fall into all three of these groups as well. Fortunately I am able to give them specific advice and help guide them in the right direction. However, for most others in that third, unsuccessful group, they will continue on spending more than they make until they finally quit and brand their entire experience a bust and a waste of money.

So why do these people fail? I believe they fail primarily as a result of three things:

1. Failure to have a plan: Look, you don’t need to build a business plan that a business professor would approve, but have a plan! Rather than seeing paid tools and services as pieces of the overall puzzle, many who fail see them as businesses in a box. They buy them, use them (often times not as intended), their bank account is not flooded with cash, so they move onto to another. It’s like buying lottery tickets. Hopefully some day you’ll get a winner. That’s not how it works though. It’s not the lottery, it’s a business.

Although it’s true, some products out there are simply a rip-off, most are not (whether or not the price matches the value is a different story). Most products out there offer some value, but they need to be used as intended! For example, Keyword Canine is an AWESOME tool (yes, I’m just a little biased, but it honestly is a powerful suite of tools). It finds killer keywords. It tracks search engine rankings. It monitors your site health, and much more. We have some high-end clients who see the incredible value in it because they don’t see it as a business in a box. They see it as a key piece of their overall business. But we have customers on a regular basis (as do all other keyword tool vendors) who buy it, use it without any creativity, expertise or plan, fail to get the pie in the sky results they hoped for (remember the lottery ticket metaphor?), so they refund and move on to the next shiny object.

Have you heard the saying, “Fail to plan – Plan to fail?” What is your first monetary goal per month? Maybe you start at an extra $500/m. OK, how are you going to achieve that? Maybe it’s getting five recurring customers to a $99/m. subscription. OK, what do you need to do in order to make that happen? Maybe your conversion rate is 1%. So out of every 100 people you get to the offer, one buys. That means you need to generate 500 site visitors. OK, how can you get 500 site visitors? Maybe you do that through a paid option like one of the Pintastic campaigns that I offer. Or maybe you do that through Facebook ads. Or maybe you work to get links to your site and get your site ranked, so you can not only drive 500 visitors, but you can do it every month!

See where I’m going with this? Have a plan!

2. Wasting time on little things: I could probably pull up hundreds, maybe thousands, of email threads with people who went on and on about minor, unprofitable things that ate up the time of the individual I was talking to. For instance, tinkering all day with a WordPress theme on a site that is designed to promote a product that you don’t even know is going to convert. That you don’t have a plan in place to market etc. I would tell that person, just throw up a basic landing page (there are loads of good options out there, many for free or very cheap) come up with a cheap marketing plan to test the offer, if it converts then move forward with it. If not, drop it and move on to something else.

Not only is it a waste of time to spend a great deal of time on things that can be found already done for you or which can be outsourced very cheaply (find yourself a low-wage hourly worker at UpWork.com who you can trust for on-going tasks like this, you’ll be glad you did), it’s also advisable to focus on getting more money from fewer sales than a little money from many sales. The obvious benefit to this is that it takes less traffic to hit your monetary goal, but high-end customers also tend to be easier to deal with. Fewer customers also require less customer support.

Are you one of the many Internet Marketers who spend more money than you make? If so, come up with a plan (if you need help coming up with one, or you already have but it has failed, consider my coaching program at LearnFromJon.com and I’ll help you with it), stick to it, only buy products that are a necessary part of your plan and focus on what’s important!

Do that and you’ll rise above a large percentage of the Internet Marketing crowd and you’ll find success!

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