Is there a correlation between a price of a product or service and its CPC? Do keywords associated with high-priced products cost more? Use these break-even points to help determine the favorability of a successful investment in paid search.
Pharmacies made impressive use of the flu outbreak, the public attempted to diagnose themselves whether it was for the flu or otherwise, and 12 months made a huge difference in the amount of results encompassing winter-related illnesses.
You will find more statistics at Statista
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Does this sound familiar? You spend weeks or months creating an eBook. You organize, you categorize, you summarize. Finally, the book is converted and ready to upload to Amazon. With fingers crossed, you anxiously press the “publish” button. You’ve done it. You’ve just released the next No. 1 bestseller to the world. Or so you thought.
After a week, you have two sales. After a month… six. What’s the problem?
The information in your book is awesome. It’s well written and spot on. The topic is hot and gets a lot of searches on Amazon every day. You show readers the specifics of how to fix common problems that drive people crazy. You outline the five steps to overcoming the most annoying things life throws your way. You even give them the age-old secret to developing a life others will envy.
So why aren’t people buying? Chances are good that it’s because readers don’t have a clue what they will gain from your book.
How People Shop for Kindle Books
Think about your own experiences when buying Kindle books. If you’re like most people, you go to Amazon with a particular topic/problem/curiosity in mind. Since you’re shopping specifically for Kindle books, you type your search query into the box, select “Kindle Store” from the dropdown menu and click “Go.”
For our example, let’s use “Internet marketing for beginners” as our search. Here’s what I’m seeing when I type in that phrase.
While the title catches the eye and builds interest, it isn’t likely to make sales for you all by itself. The title will get people to click, but what they find afterward is the determining factor in if your book sells or not.
What do you do next when you’re shopping? See if the book will give you what you want. And that’s where the most important sales tool at your disposal comes into play: your Amazon book/product description. (It is called both interchangeably, depending on where in the Amazon system you look.)
Most people click the title then immediately scroll down to read the book description. They want to know what the book offers before they spend their money and time to purchase and read the work.
Yes, at some point they will probably look at the total number of reviews and how the book ranks. They may even take time to read a few of the reviews. But none of that will matter if they first aren’t satisfied with what is written in the book description.
Bringing the Back to the Front
You’re writing essentially what would be the back cover copy of a traditional, paper book. Go to your bookshelf and pick up any book. Flip it over to the back cover and you’ll most likely see what I’m talking about.
These days, almost every paper book has back cover copy and/or testimonials/endorsements for the book. This is precisely what you want as your product/book description in Amazon.
The Formula for Writing Great Kindle Book Descriptions
Regardless of genre, a few things hold true when writing Kindle book descriptions. They must be enticing. They should make as much use of formatting as they do words. They need to leave the reader wanting more.
Here’s my formula for writing Kindle book descriptions for fiction and nonfiction books.
1. Create a “headline.”
Why a headline? A couple of reasons. First, jumping straight into the description leaves something lacking, in my opinion. For business-related books, your best bets will be “how to” or benefit-related statements. There are hundreds of ways you could go when writing a headline for your product description, but these two are very powerful options.
Here are a few of the headlines from the back covers of some books on my physical bookshelf. (Almost all of the books I own are business books.)
• More than 3,500 words, phrases, and slogans guaranteed to hit your target with power and precision every time.
• Attract Interest then Nail the Sale!
• Build an Internet Marketing Strategy that Delivers
• Run a Profitable Google AdWords Campaign!
Do you see how they instantly pique interest? I find using a headline with your book description works much better than a description alone.
2. Open with accolades.
When you state that your book is an Amazon bestseller (better yet, a No. 1 Amazon bestseller (if that is true)), is a New York Times bestseller, has sold more than _____ copies, is newly revised, etc., then shoppers feel more confident about their purchases.
These are distinctions not every book can make. Stating these accolades offers an invitation for your readers to join an exclusive club of those who have made your book so popular.
I usually begin with the simple statement in the headline such as:
• “No. 1 Amazon Bestseller”
• “No. 1 Amazon Bestseller Unlocks the Secrets to….”
• “Amazon Bestseller for 16 Weeks Straight,” etc.
If you have no accolades (yet), create a headline like the examples I showed from the books I own.
3. Be elusive and mysterious.
The point of your Kindle book description isn’t to reveal everything about your book. The purpose is to engage readers and entice them into buying the book to answer a few questions. The words “this,” “these,” “it,” “that” and “here” can be vital tools in writing mysterious copy that begs shoppers to click that “buy” button.
As you write the summary of your book, structure your copy as incomplete sentences. (Yes, I know your high school English teacher will be mad, but she’s not trying to sell books!) Here’s what I mean.
Instead of writing, “The night Angie’s father died after a long battle with cancer caused her to finally grow up and turn her life around,” say, “What happens on this night will be a pivotal point that changes Angie’s life forever.” Your reader is left asking him/herself, “What night? What happens? How does Angie’s life change?”
By leaving out key elements in your book description, you force a sense of (good) frustration in your customers. They almost need to know the information you’ve left out to answer the questions swimming around in their heads.
You can also write direct questions. “Will Angie’s father survive his year-long health battle? Can she overcome the demons of her past or will she be tormented forever?” These also instill that same sense of frustration that drives people to buy.
You do not want to take the open-handed approach to a product/book description and lay everything out on the line like this… “After a yearlong battle with brain cancer, Angie’s father dies, leaving her to struggle with the demons of her past alone. She triumphs over her anxiety attacks and alcoholism, lands the guy of her dreams, finds a steady job she loves and lives happily ever after.”
Too much information. You’ve basically given readers the answer to every question. You’ve fully satisfied their frustration about what happens next. Now they have no reason to buy.
In part two of this series, I’ll give you the remainder of the tips including how to use formatting as well as social proof to your advantage.
Article By Karon Thackston. If you didn’t realize there was this much to PPC copywriting, you’ll be amazed at the tips and tricks you’ll find in my Profit-Pulling PPC Ads: How to Write Facebook & AdWords Ads That Get Clicked. It’s new and it’s on sale now!
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SEO and a strong marketing campaign are the two cornerstones of your online brand presence. Without both of these, you will be working with much simpler and less effective tactics of advertising yourself. And, while there is nothing wrong with advertising, its importance should not be overestimated — usually, it only succeeds while it is being actively used and this costs a lot of money to maintain long-term.
On the other hand, marketing and, even more so, SEO, are both cumulative strategies that slowly, incrementally raise your profile and your brand’s presence in the minds of your target audience, potential fans and potential buyers.
Why is this so? The simple fact is, while advertising is mostly an active way of pushing a product at someone so they will be convinced to buy it, marketing and optimization are both more geared toward creating a sticky perception of trust and familiarity in the minds of customers.
Because of this, they create a lasting impact through all the forms in which they are manifested. In many ways, the different tactics around marketing overlap with those of SEO and sometimes, are the same, applying to both campaigns.
An Overview of Marketing and SEO Strategy
In the case of both marketing and SEO, your main aim is to create a lasting impression around your brand in the minds of your consumers. While this is the same thing you’re aiming for in advertising, the method by which you do it with the first two is more subtle and expansive at the same time.
SEO is, in essence, a form of marketing and marketing itself is the creation of a strong image around you brand, or more pointedly, the creation of an entire concept and conversation around it. What you want to do with both strategies is create content, videos, images and general concepts that generate interest, are shared socially and catch the notice of people in a way that leads them to keep these creations in mind. This is much more complex than simple advertising tactics and it requires a lot more long-term effort.
Now that we’ve defined these textured concepts, let’s delve into the ingredient that will make them most effectively possible: market research.
Market Research for your Marketing, SEO and Brand Impression
To create vital interest like that described above in your potential customers and fans, you first need to know as much as possible what it is they’re really interested in; what plays to their emotions and needs.
Doing this is tricky and you’ll almost never nail it down perfectly but, through strategic and very careful market research, you’ll come fairly close — as close as possible when trying to push the buttons of thousands of strangers.
This is exactly why market research is so vital to effective marketing/SEO.
Knowing Your Niche
As a starting strategy, get to know your niche intimately. This means taking an active role within your research and adapting as you go to create your marketing image. Participate in online conversations with those that constitute your target audience, read what they have to say in any place where they’re saying it be it online forums, social media pages or blog comment posts. Through these things, get a feel for what you yourself can start saying and promoting for best results in feeding their curiosity and meeting their information needs.
Once you’ve done that, you can start creating your own content and your own conversations that attract interest in a way that your niche audience will listen to and feel satisfied by.
Feedback and Interaction
It doesn’t end there, however. Having started your own conversations — through content, blog posts, essays, articles, videos and service or product offers — you need to keep listening, because the process of knowing your targets is never ending. Thus, as you create materials that make people pay attention, start talking and start sharing; listen to their continuing opinions, questions and criticisms. Address them, answer them and, in doing so, build a steadily growing trust that leads to the creation of loyal fans who want to work with you and recognize, instinctively, as good and useful the brand behind all your content and information.
If these fans do this, they will really start spreading the word on your behalf, in essence creating “buzz” around your brand and the products or services behind it. This in turn will cause more connections to grow to other, newer followers and interest to start flowing in from other websites.
The optimization impact of these things is absolutely vital, especially today, with the more organic human-interested ranking metrics the major search engines pay attention to.
Additional Practical Strategies
While the overall strategy of creating interest through constant immersive interaction with your target audience is your single best weapon to long-term fan building, there are also more classical market research tools that you need to take advantage of to help things along.
For one, keyword research tools are some of your best friends and will give you an enormous amount of valuable information about the basic search habits of your niche audience, in turn leading you to starting points of content and conversation that you can begin with. These will show themselves in the form of all the keyword and phrase combinations your viewers are searching for.
Some excellent tools include the Google Adwords Keyword tool, which is free to use for the most part and also includes a monthly membership fee based on the tools you use at www.wordtracker.com.
One final consideration: because sales are what we’re really ultimately focusing on here, keep in mind just how willing your audience is to spend money. While it is possible to create a product for almost any niche imaginable, it’s a lot easier for some niches than for others.
In particular, focus on finding practical, effective solutions to the pressing problems of your audience, using everything described above, particularly the art of immersive engagement to build trust and learn what kinds of problems you can solve or offer solutions to.
Ray Nelson enjoys writing about market research and other marketing topics for small business owners.
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On March 7th, the entrepreneurial-focused site BusinessBolts.com released a fascinating Google algorithms study dispelling a few myths about actual SEO trends. Focusing solely on Google’s algorithms, the study has uncovered critical data for business owners looking to maximize their placement on Google search engine results pages (SERPs).
To drill down into the current landscape, the study randomly selected 100 key phrases ranging from two to six words. Next, they analyzed only the first five results in each Google search, creating a test pool of 500 different web pages from which to gather data. Google Adwords ads, images, shopping sets and news site sets were eliminated from the analyzed test cases, ensuring actual web pages alone were studied.
Keywords, Title Tags and Content Length
The study analyzed factors such as the full URL, title tags, headlines, subheadings, word count for body text, images, videos and, of course, backlinks. Only 50% of the top five pages featured the key phrase in their title tag, and only 43% had it in their header. It turns out that, despite the advice of many top SEO firms, less is actually more. Key phrases are obviously critical to set the tone and inform search engines of your content’s theme, but overuse of key phrases does not gain sites any additional ranking mojo. The study states, “If you’re going to include exact key phrases, you really only need to include them one time.” The first main takeaway is therefore a straightforward one: don’t over-optimize.
There’s also a heavy emphasis on the importance of including your key phrase in either your title or headline (or both, but that’s not absolutely necessary). Knowing that overuse of key words doesn’t garner higher rankings, remember that using the same words repeatedly makes for awkward reading, and is a surefire way to turn off visitors. The message here is simple: highlight your key words, but write your content in a way that sounds natural. While a search engine might not appreciate copy that flows well, your visitors will.
How much you write also seems to play a role. Web pages ranking in the #1 spot often had a much higher word count than those in the #5 spot, by about 120 words. The study shows that an excellent word count for your body text is about 900. Bear in mind that this particular statistic showed a vast amount of variety. Overall, however, a higher word count does seem to positively impact your SERP rankings.
Images and Video
Does a picture say a thousand words to Google? The answer: not really. Of the 500 ranking pages, the average number of images was seven – but many featured none at all. Videos fared even worse, with a less than one per page average. The findings showed almost no connection to images or rich media in the Google algorithm. Whether examining the #1 or #5 ranked page, the findings were consistent.
Backlinks and Home Pages vs. Internal Pages
Many business owners struggle with obtaining dozens and dozens of qualified backlinks, but is all this networking still super crucial to Google rankings? At first glance, the study seems to indicate the answer is no. Many of the top pages had zero backlinks. But before you abandon all outreach efforts, know that further inspection showed that high ranking pages without backlinks actually had significant links to the domain’s homepage. Overall, this is great news for business owners. It means that you don’t need to have significant links across the web for all the major pages on your site. As long as you have a nice flow of backlinks to even one core page, your entire site will reap the benefits. But you can’t be lazy in this aspect of site building – backlinks are still king.
Although the stats were all over the map, it’s clear a significant number of backlinks are needed for a stellar ranking. On average, the #1 ranking site for each key phrase had 662 backlinks, whereas the #5 page for each had just 142. That means the Google’s top pages have five times more backlinks than those just a few results down. When it comes to backlinks, as with actual word count, more is still more.
Another surprising reveal from the study is that only 12% of all top ranking pages were homepages. This tells us there is truly an equal playing field for internal pages to rank well too – another burst of good news if perhaps your homepage isn’t your strongest landing page. Google doesn’t seem to mind.
The Importance of the Social Scene
As expected, one should never underestimate the power of the social stratosphere. Of the pages studied, the highest ranking performers were tweeted on average 371 times. Facebook stats for the top dogs showed an average of 1512 Facebook likes and 988 shares. These are fairly epic numbers. As with backlinks, the difference between the #1 and #5 ranking pages showed a vast gap in the level of sharing. While it’s unclear if Google truly tracks social signals in their algorithms, it is abundantly clear that more social sharing means a higher likelihood of an awesome ranking.
While the BusinessBolts study is not enough to bank your business on, they did put significant time and thought into the process, and produced some actual data revealing valuable trends and information. It’s critical to analyze cold hard data over the speculation of SEO firms, no matter how brilliant or instinctive their executives may be. Google’s algorithms are dynamic and mysterious, but seeing raw facts helps to better shape your successful ranking strategy. The takeaways here are pretty easy to ascertain: write valuable and keyword rich copy without going overboard, use images as appropriate but without pressure to meet any quota, and continue your efforts to gain credible links en masse. Lastly, it’s obvious social networking is completely integral to a respectable ranking, so don’t skimp on your social strategy. Most of all, remember that SEO is an ever-changing landscape, so keep your eye out for more factual studies, and never get too comfortable that you know all there is to know.
Producer, game designer and freelance writer, Tina Courtney-Brown has been a bona fide web fiend since she discovered Poetry.com in 1994. Tina’s fortés include all aspects of online business, social media, marketing trends, alternative health, digital production and many more. She’s a passionate truth-teller, a sincere advocate for the environment, and an obsessive dessert creator. Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook.
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If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines expecting Google+ to fade away, forget it. No serious marketer can afford to ignore the implications of Google+ and authorship. This guide will help you navigate the often confusing landscape that is Google+.
Google is wishing users a happy St. Patrick’s Day today with a cute animated Google Doodle featuring a group of six Irish step dancers (five girls and a boy) all dressed in green, with each bearing one of the letters making up Google’s name.