The best Online Promotion method has never changed over the years, and it’s still free.
There are plenty of greedy people who want to sell the “secrets” or their super special “services” for gaining more traffic to your site. Well, screw all that. Don’t fall for it. It hasn’t gotten harder over time, either. In fact, technology has made it easier and it’s all accessible, so why throw your money at crooks for online promotion help when you can do it all yourself? It’s one of those things that sounds complex at first, but after you’ve done it a few times, it’s a piece of cake. I’ll gladly share what I know.
But first, I’m going to talk a lot. My bad.
When it comes to online promotion, social media will and always will be a fantastic way to advertise your products or services, but it will never top SEO at your home base (website). SEO, by the way, stands for Search Engine Optimization. When someone “Googles” something related to your site, you can show up on the first page or within the first few, so your chances of being clicked on are much higher. That is, if you optimize your pages and articles better.
Since I’m rooted in the publishing industry, I’ll be discussing this from the angle of book online promotion, but readers can easily fit the article to their own needs.
To be clear, I’m no expert, techie, or online promotion guru, which may or may not be a good thing because I’m certainly not looking for your money. I’m merely sharing information and ideas. Why should you listen to me? I don’t know. There certainly won’t be cookies served later, but at least I’m not trying to force grape Kool-Aid on you.
If you’re still here, I’ll begin with why some things don’t work so well.
There was a time when a person could pick up a five-year-old book on promotion and find it still relevant. These days, not so much. Everything is changing too quickly. If an online promotion gimmick is found that works well, there is this huge pile-on as everyone tries to get a piece of it for themselves, and then it no longer works because the Internet was suddenly over-saturated with it (customers caught on to it or grew weary of it), so people search for the next big gimmick.
That is the general pattern of online promotion. A few people get a great idea and everyone else scrambles to cash in behind them. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Some, however, are hanging back, convinced that what worked a decade ago still works, such as book reviews from review sites or rubbing elbows on message boards. They haven’t figured out that people rarely read blog reviews these days, or frequent genre-related community boards/sites, and yet they keep putting their energy into that. Worse yet, many of these sites are used by a close circle of friends and so the author then wonders why it’s the same group of people buying their books. It’s great to have friends, naturally, but we’re talking business. There is a larger audience out there, and online promotion is wasted if you don’t focus on that.
I’d like to note that a big exception to book reviewers are those who also put their reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. This is where they are read the most, plus positive reviews bump up a book’s exposure on Amazon.
All review sites in general would attract more traffic if they put more care into SEO. Then re-post the reviews on Amazon with a mention of the source site and you have excellent online promotion that helps both the reviewed and the reviewer.
I can understand why so many of the seasoned authors insist on the older methods of online promotion. It’s the classic old dog and new tricks scenario. However, what about the newer authors who think this is the way to go? Remember what I said about picking up years-old promotion tips? They listen to old advice, either from the old authors or by searching and finding old articles. I can’t stress this enough when it comes to online promotion:
When researching advice, look at the articles’ dates!
What was helpful years ago may not do anything for you now. They might recommend outdated software or websites. They may be teaching about an online promotion gimmick that is all used up and trampled on. It’s like you’re picking at a dead bunny carcass weeks after the stampede passed.
You see this in other ways, too. Have you ever noticed how a bit of news or a video will suddenly go viral with all these people outraged at whatever it’s about, and anyone who bothers to look at it closer sees that it’s four years old? People tend to react without thinking. Don’t do that with your business plan.
If it’s a page rather than an blog post, it may not have a date. In those cases, check for comments with dates or any other clues. So you know, this is written in late June of 2014. Much of what I say is generalized for online promotion, and SEO has aced the test of time, so it should last, but when I get to details and talk of plugins, that could very well change in a year or so. Do your research!
Moving on with online promotion, we have social media. However, the moment an author says “Buy my book!” on Facebook, Twitter, etc, it’s already drowned out by the thousands upon thousands of other authors saying the same thing. Once again, it was a good idea for a while, but now it’s lost in the crowd. And instead of trying to think of better ways to do it, they simply wash, rinse, and repeat, hoping someone else will think of that next gimmick to jump on, hopefully before too many others beat them to it.
Many authors have already figured out that Facebook has become useless unless you already have a large following. In order for your friends to see your posts, they have to interact with you on a steady basis to keep you in their feed. So if someone steps away from Facebook for a week, they’re most likely gone. Also, Facebook pages have lost their business value re: online promotion because the FB company has become too greedy. Posts made on pages are only seen in people’s feed if they interact daily. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how many “Likes” the page has because nobody sees it. It’s why Facebook charges page owners to “boost” posts. They cut your throat so you would want to pay to let people see them.
And yet, authors are still making pages, adding strangers to promote to and begging them to “Like” the pages, which only succeed in annoying everyone. Meanwhile, they make nothing but online promotion posts and no one sees them. But wait, this article they read, with a date from years ago, says this is the way to go if you want exposure!
See what I mean?
Anyway, what’s the point of it all? Attention. Traffic toward the book or the author. Establishing an online presence. Well, there is the one thing that worked in the beginning for online promotion, and still works today. People go around looking for something better, and it never hurts to try, but at some point, you’ve gotta come home to Mamma. And while you were away, SEO not only left the light on for you, but it made things easier than ever. It’s just that, because Spambots have also improved out there, rules are pretty tight so you don’t look like one.
Enough, already! Let’s get to it!
For my sites, I install WordPress on them because I love it so much, but also because the SEO abilities are so simple and accessible. However, you should be able to take what I discuss and apply them to anything you’re using, even to basic free blogging. You put all that energy into all online promotion everywhere else until your hair falls out, right? A little energy on your own site is what counts the most. You can do it.
If you want to know exactly how I go about making my site, I use a hosting plan through Hostgator, which I highly recommend, and use their cPanel to install the WordPress software.
On owned sites, one of the first big mistakes is installing way too many plugins. This slows down your site and causes a lot of conflicts so that things won’t work properly. It basically kills all of your chances for online promotion even though you installed them to help it all. Clean out what you don’t need and delete SEO related plugins, save for the following (And while I’m giving you the links to the plugins, it’s easier to go to your Dashboard and click Plugins, then Add New, and search for them there and install/activate):
Premium SEO Pack – Light Version: A free, awesome plugin powerhouse that will tell you if you’re 100% optimized. If you own your site and use WP, this is a must for online promotion.
Google XML Sitemap: This builds a sitemap and submits it to Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. so that search engines can navigate your site easier. It’s vital for great SEO.
SEO Friendly Images: Just like the title says, it makes your images more SEO friendly.
Use Google Libraries: Again, like the title says, by using Google libraries to index certain files, your site will run faster. Faster=good.
Meta, Meta, META!
Meta data is what the search engines use to index things. If your site, pages, and posts were a stack of library books, the search engines would be the librarians, trying to figure out what shelves to put them on. With no meta, you take the back seat to everything else, sooo yeah, it’s kind of important for online promotion. And it’s easy.
Pick one of your posts as an example.
The most important piece of meta is the focus keyword. Even though the word “keyword” is singular, it can be more than one. For instance, the focus keyword for this article is: online promotion.
It needs to be the absolute best way to describe what your post is discussing. In the theoretical library, this determines the article’s shelf. This will be your favorite word, or set of words, while optimizing the post.
Note: when useing the focus keyword, it needs to be typed just as it looks. Capitalization can be different and it can have punctuation around it like quotes and commas, but it won’t be counted if it contains two or more words and they’re separated. You see how I’m using “online promotion” here.
If you have the ability in your site setup, or if you have the Premium SEO Pack – Light Version plugin mentioned above, it has a place to insert the SEO Title. This is how your title will appear when it comes up in searches.
This is the same as your actual title, so simply copy/paste. Your focus keyword should be included in the title, along with at least two other words to keep it from looking like spam to search engines. For instance, calling this article “Online Promotion” would be a bad idea. It’s also too vague. More words were added so you would have a better idea of what I was discussing.
Two quick rules of thumb: keep your title between 5 and 70 characters, and make sure your permalinks are set up to show your title instead of a number. Your focus keyword should be in the permalink. If you’re typing a draft and the plugin says you don’t have the keyword in the permalink when you know you do, then don’t sweat it. It should accept it once the article is published. If it contains more than one word, the hyphen between words is okay because it’s permalink structure like so: online promotion is online-promotion in the page’s url.
Like the title, this description will appear with your link when it comes up in search engines, so it is very important. It gives people that extra nudge to convince them to click through. Think of it as your no-cost ad in Google. That’s some pretty sweet online promotion, eh? And yet, a lot of people ignore it, allowing jumbled messes or half-sentences clutter up these rich snippets.
You need to type an enticing description with 160 characters or less, and include your focus keyword.
This is your back-up to the focus keyword. Make a list of word or word combinations that will help it stand out in searches, but don’t be too vague or repetitious. Google will think you’re spam. Also, keep it under 160 characters or that could also flag you as spam. There are a lot of numbers with online promotion, and it’s yet another reason I love the plugins. They count for you.
This is similar to post tags, which should follow the same rules for maximum effect. Separate the keywords with commas and yes, the commas count as characters.
Now for the content!
Okay, check this out, because I find it amusing. There is this SEO and Online Promotion plugin that looked promising, but they charged twenty dollars a month for a subscription. Yikes! I’m not saying a hard-working team didn’t deserve it, but I didn’t have that kind of money to spare each month. However, curiosity had me, so I did bite for the first month.
They came right out and admitted (my interpretation, anyway) they had learned everything from some other money-hungry SEO online promotion guru, then tweaked everything so they could make money off of you. Their plugin really did nothing more than other plugins except it was flashier.
In fact, the free Premium SEO Pack – Light Version is more accurate! The only problem was I found it to be confusing, which was why I was looking around for something else to help with either SEO or online promotion. I just couldn’t figure out how to get 100% optimization with the jargon it was feeding me.
This expensive plugin, though, explained things clearer, which grabbed my interest. Well, they began sending me coaching lessons to help with SEO and online promotion. They were repetitive and pretentious, but I had already learned everything from their plugin.
You see, this team had made the mistake of demanding an overpriced subscription for something that teaches you everything you need to know in the first few days! Beyond that, they’re just another group of people (in my opinion) trying to tell you how stupid you are but keep paying them because only through them will you be successful with online promotion and SEO (YANK!)
Same story. Different faces.
I ditched them and went back to the better – free – plugin with a clearer understanding, and now I get 100% optimization. Traffic is increasing and that’s the ultimate goal! My purpose for this article is to share with my friends, offer a quick checklist for my poor memory, and to help others in general.
With proper online promotion via SEO, it’s possible to increase website traffic 285% to 500%
I don’t recall where I saw the figures for those percentages, but it only makes sense. If search engines are finding you better, people can find you better. Your traffic, therefore, has the chance to skyrocket! I just don’t see how other online promotion such as shouting blindly to Twitter or getting a review on a blog that gets 7 visits a day can beat that. Again, people are repeating old gimmicks because they don’t know what else to say, and it’s the oldest that still beats them all!
LOL, I’ll say this and then keep going: what is most shared on Twitter? Links to sites. How were those sites found? Exactly.
And you know what they say when it comes to great SEO, online promotion, or any of that: there is never a straight-up formula for these things… Wait, yes there is!
In fact, that’s all there is left: follow the formula!
So you have your focus keyword set up and it’s in the title, right? Good. Let’s get started:
- Put your focus keyword in the first sentence or paragraph of your article.
Embed at least one image in your article and include your focus keyword in the Alternate Text field.
Have at least one sentence with a Heading format. I like “Heading 2” as you see throughout this article. Include the focus keyword in at least one of these.
Put at least one mention of your focus keyword in bold. I try to put all of them in bold, like so: online promotion.
5. Italicize one of your focus keywords at least once: online promotion
- Content should be a minimum of 250 words. One method that you may have seen around is to break an article down to several pages with 80 words minimum. A lot of top 10 articles are like this. The idea behind it is that people have such short attention spans, if they see a very long article, they’ll leave without reading. The shorter articles keep their attention and they move on from page to page.
Another reason is if there are a lot of images used, it cuts down on load time for the user. However, have you seen some of these sites? They’re nothing but images and ads everywhere, including pop-ups and video ads that automatically play.
Personally, I think it’s so they can display more ads on each page of the article. I can’t stand those things. If it’s a long, informative article that spans several pages, I’m fine with that. But as you see with this, I prefer to take advantage of the scroll ability.
Otherwise, I figure with something like this, if it’s too long, you’re too lazy. Or I ramble too much. Maybe both. And the last one…
- Put your focus keyword in the conclusion of your article. It should be in at least the last or next-to-last sentence.
BAM! And you’re almost home free.
This can be tricky, but it’s also why I love the Premium SEO Pack – Light Version Plugin. If you have it installed, you can click Update and it will let you know how your density is, and how close you are to fixing it with near-perfect online promotion using 100% SEO.
As you can see from the checklist above, having your focus keyword throughout your content is important, but you can’t have too much of it or too little. That’s what it means by the “density” of it. It’s speaking about that particular keyword, and how often it’s used. If you stuff it in the content too many times, search engines will flag it all as spam. If it’s not in there enough, it won’t index properly. Either way, this is not good. Do you know what is good? Online promotion. And you’re probably figuring out why I’m saying it often.
You have it in the beginning and the end of the sentence, so try no more than every other paragraph, or every third, depending on how large your paragraphs are. There are some keyword density tools on the Internet, but again, the plugin I use spells it all out for you.
It’s why, since I’ve written a long article here, I have to write “online promotion” enough times that you could make a drinking game with it. I need to keep up with the density. The number of times your focus keyword is used, by the way, should be between 2% and 4.5% of the entire article. It needs to be spread out and naturally, the shorter your article, the fewer the mentions.
Once you’re finished, you could be 100% optimized!
Depending on your particular article, you may need to tweak here or there for an exact 100%. If you’re unable to use the plugin I mentioned, you can find other methods to analyze it easy enough, but if you use the tips discussed here, you should see an increase in traffic, even if you wing it. Yay, online promotion! (I still need to get more focus keywords used).
One more, teensy thing is necessary.
You need to blog at least three times a week. I know, right? Who has the time for that? You have time to watch YouTube, post on Twitter and Facebook and wherever else. You have time to text all day. You have time to do all sorts of unproductive crap on the Internet but not three blog posts a week that are a minimum of 250 words each and a picture.
That’s not quite five and a half tweets and three pictures. So don’t bullshit me. Just… don’t. Online promotion (keyword mention). I’m serious.
To make it easier yet, you can whip up three blog drafts and schedule them to post throughout the week. The activity is important to search engines. When you post new content, they pick up on that and send their bots to crawl all over your site. This keeps the indexing fresh and your traffic higher. It also helps you maintain the traffic you’re gaining by offering fresh material. Each time they come back to see what you’re typing, they’re looking at your books, etc, and thus… wait for it… online promotion!
When you have the time…
In addition to a well-optimized site, you’ll also want to set yourself up at the heart of some of these search engine places. Create a free account for Webmaster Tools at Google, Bing, and Alexa, and follow their instructions for verifying their Meta codes on your website. Sometimes you have to go to them for your online promotion needs.
Finally, here’s a neat trick for connecting Google Plus to your site in searches: CLICKY
Now, gimme all your money!
LOL! Just kidding, of course. I hope this has proven to be valuable for your own online promotion (Whoot! 2% density!), and good luck with your future endeavors! If you have a ton of questions, I may not have many answers since I pretty much spilled it out here, but I can try. Otherwise, Google is your friend when you need more details. While you’re searching, I’m hoping you at least see it all in a different perspective. And perhaps you’ll see some of the behavior on social media, etc, with a bit less fog.
Bottom line: the closer you can get to page one of a search, the higher the chances that your website will be visited. It takes indexing to achieving that, which requires good SEO on your part. That’s the best online promotion you could ask for.