Archive for August, 2008

The Green Office: Give for Free, Get for Free with FreeCycle

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freecyclingNo, it’s not “spring cleaning” time, but if you’re like me, you’re constantly looking for ways of de-cluttering your office. Do you have an old filing cabinet or computer you want to get rid of? Consider giving it away for free.

The FreeCycle Network is a group of people assisting each other to give away any item for free (instead of it ending up in a landfill). Here’s the FreeCycle description from their website:

The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,581 groups with 5,690,000 members across the globe. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them’s good people). Membership is free.

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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How to Choose the Right Keywords

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man drowing in keyword choicesI was emailing with a colleague the other day, and she asked, “How do you pick keywords that will help, without drowning against the 40 billion other people who are using those same keywords? And, if you pick ones with less competition, then no one is actually searching them, right?”

Great questions! Here’s how I answered her:

When I teach my 16-hour SEO workshop, we spend about 4 hours on this very topic. It’s an art and a science.

Using some of the SEO tools is helpful, and deeply dissecting your competition’s website is helpful as well (it will tell you whether they’re an “accidental SEO success” or if they’re really skilled at it). Many websites will rank well for a short time, but if they don’t do SEO as a long-term maintenance task, you can jump ahead of them after their rankings start to slip. Learning all the SEO techniques helps you to determine if your arsenal will get you anywhere. Then it’s a stab in the dark.  🙂

I rarely go after “long tail” keywords on my main selling pages. But if the keyword is long tail AND somewhat popular, I’ve been known to write a specific page about that specific topic to draw attention. For instance, if you type in “mastermind group” in Google, my one-page article comes up #1.

But since my main service is small business coaching, I really go after that phrase with wild abandon on my main selling pages. When you type “small business coach” into Google, I come up #1 for that. (I’ve been #1 for that phrase for several years now.)

When we do SEO work for clients, the vast majority of our billable hours is in picking the right keywords. I’d say we typically spend 6-8 hours just picking the correct keywords.

If you ever have a grand passion for learning SEO in a hands-on class, I do teach a 4-week teleclass called SEO For Everyone.

There are so many great SEO techniques, when you use the right combination of them, you can rank high for nearly any keyword except the really, really competitive ones. And even for those, with the right domain name (and other factors that you can’t control…nice to know it’s not 100% in your control, eh?), you can still rank on the first page of results. Part of the problem is knowing whether your competition is beatable or not. Some sites, like the Wall Street Journal, you will never rank above, no matter how hard you try.

Do you use WordTracker or Keyword Discovery (the paid versions) when picking keywords? WT is a dog to use, but both tools can help you wade through a stack of keywords to find out which ones have the best chance of success.

I’d love to tell you there is one, perfect, tried-and-true method for getting it right every single time, but there’s not. There are just a bunch of tools and a bunch of techniques to help sift through the massive information…and then you have to trust your gut instinct, your experience, and your intellect to make final choices and implement them correctly. It’s interesting to note that I find that small business owners usually do quite well in choosing keywords; it’s the implementation part they fail at.

A lot of the skill comes with practice, over and over again, picking keywords. With more experience you get better at the “pattern matching” necessary to make it all work. Consider doing an SEO experiment on a topic that you aren’t emotionally connected with, just to practice without needing to get it perfect. If you like detective work and putting together puzzles, you’ll love SEO!

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing
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Goodbye Susan Race

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Susan RaceSad news has reached me that my long-time coaching colleague and friend, Susan Race, died suddenly last week.

Suze was a “bright light,” constantly optimistic and smiling. Her huge smile could light up a room and she had a way of encouraging you to follow your dream that left you feeling empowered and supported. I did an interview with Susan several years ago and she said, “The trusting is that, when we are clear, and when we are confident, the resources always manifest.”

She was a consummate coach and her “coaching door” was always open. She loved helping people to create the life of their dreams, and through coaching, she also helped herself. She said, “The beauty of our profession,the coaching profession, is that the same work I do with clients I’ve learned to ask myself the same questions [that I ask my clients]. And that keeps me focused on what I need to do in order to have the things I want.”

She was self-employed for many years and had much wisdom to share with other self-employed people about the lessons she had learned over the years.You can listen to that interview here.

Bon voyage, Susan, safe journeys. We will miss you greatly. You remind us of the true purpose of why we’re here on Earth.

(Please post your remembrances and comments here so that we can all share in the beauty that was Susan Race. Sorry, but I don’t have any further information about the cause of her death or how to contact her family.)


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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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