The Zen of Search
the Image Freedom blog
The Zen of Search
the Image Freedom blog
Recently I reconnected with a friend I’d not spoken to in several years. She and I came from a similar background, parents that just weren’t there, didn’t care. We found ourselves both looking for love, filling that void, with the love or attention or affection of others. We are both extroverts, quick to jump into a crowd, quick to say hello, but at the same time constantly wearing this armor, this face that we think we need to wear.
This past Sunday I was listening to Josh Lopez and the band at Community Bible Church (Check out Josh on Twitter @JoshDLopez). What I was seeing in my mind while Josh and his band got the room hopping was this caricature of myself wearing this mask, this armor created by what I thought I should be. Who I thought I should seem like, or who I wanted to be perceived as. Going back to our Mr. Big Stuff post, the motivation from that comes from wanting to create a reality, instead of just letting reality happen.
I found what I needed within my faith.
I am truly blessed. Not just lately, but looking back, nothing bad has ever happened to me that didn’t also come coupled with opportunity for growth, or even advancement. Every trial was rewarded with knowledge or a new adventure. Why isn’t that enough?
“The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
I decided last Sunday to leave my armor at home, and to instead wear God’s armor. That isn’t to say I am going to become the next generation of missionary, or suddenly dedicate my life to prayer and seclude myself away like a monk. What that means is I’m going to let my heart guide me, and God protect me. I worry so much about the thoughts and opinions of others when at the end of the day unless those people are hurting me directly, I need to just let that negativity bounce off His armor.
After @AliciaSanera‘s boot camp today we talked about how many of a businesses problems, are really just the problems of the owner manifested through the business. If I have a flaw, if I have a weakness, that will become a weakness for my business. If I let these weaknesses diminish me, if I let them hold me back and stop me from getting up and putting myself out there, I’m letting the fear of that armor being penetrated stop me from achieving what I want to achieve.
I choose not to let fear hold me back. I choose to take that energy that I’m using to construct my own personal armor, and spend it on more worthwhile goals. I will use that energy to learn more about my SEO tactics, and remain a student of web development. I will use that energy to find those speaking engagements and follow up on those existing offers to share what I have learned.
I am where I am for a reason, and I now choose God’s protection before my own. My armor I leave at home, His armor is with me always.
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Often I hear from clients that they want a lot of web traffic, that if only they had the traffic, some random percentage would convert to sales. That is true to an extent but wouldn’t you rather have 50 customers, over 1,000 visitors? When optimizing for the search engines it is possible to evaluate which keywords are of most value, and through ongoing optimization of a site you can achieve fantastic conversion rates without needing huge traffic volume.
I am a small business SEO, so right off the bat I am at the disadvantage that a lot of the articles you read apply to much larger enterprise level businesses. I chose to be a small business SEO because I believe in the small businesses value to America, and because often the small business is in greater need than the larger business with a huge built in marketing budget. When I get your small business onto page one of Google, that is an accomplishment when you consider how many people are linking to these larger name brands. That one small local business stands out, and the hits they get from being there quickly turn into sales.
Let’s use the example of “san antonio medical text books”. I don’t have a client that sells medical texts, but let’s assume I did, and I optimized for phrases related to medical text books. I could target ‘book store’ I could target ‘text book’ I could target a pretty wide variety of subjects, but how likely is a person searching for ‘book store’ going to need my medical text books? The traffic may come, the site may get hits, but the conversion rate would hardly be noticeable because these terms are related, but not necessarily supportive of the goal of our site.
This is why Keyword Research is so important, and it pains me to see the web sites designed BEFORE any kind of SEO or Keyword Research has been done. When you put the SEO as an afterthought to the development of your site, you have to work backwords, and as any business owner can attest to, no one wants to pay for the same work twice.
So once again, our friend the Google Keyword Tool comes into play, and we sit down with the phrases we feel will generate sales. On average I try and build a list of 5 or 6 keywords that are related and can be worked into site content without much issue. For the most part, small businesses live or die by a single keyword and you start by making an educated guess about which keyword that is, and then follow the search volume over time to attach value to each keyword.
Ryan Kelly from @PearAnalytics makes a product called SiteJuice which we’ve talked about before. SiteJuice assigns value to each of your keywords, and Ryan tells me that in future versions of SiteJuice you’re going to be able to assign specific value based on your industry to those keywords. So just because you come up under “san antonio book store” doesn’t mean the value is there that you’d want targeting “san antonio medical text books”. I’m really excited to see the progress there as that will make tracking the value of these keywords that much easier.
What are your top performing keywords? Do you even know? Contact an optimizer near you and tell them you want an hour of their time to talk about your existing analytics. See what they can tell you about your best performing search terms and see if you can better target those phrases. At the end of the day, you don’t just want big numbers in the visitors column, you want a hige conversion rate, and targeting the RIGHT keywords is the way to get there.
What are your top performing keywords?
Was this helpful? SEO can be frustrating, so if you have any questions please post them in the comments below. Check out the Image Freedom homepage for the full SEO kick or contact Matthew directly for a free consultation.