December 18, 2008

EASY TIPS on Improving your Online Presence

How blogging can improve your online presence

I have encouraged a lot of my clients in the Cayman Islands to start blogging. I have even gone through the motion of showing some of them how to blog, where to blog and why. I am providing a bullet point outline of the importance of blogging and am hoping that even the lazy reader will find this interesting if not empowering.

Interesting NOTE: Blog is short for ‘Web logs’

Why YOU should blog

If you have a business; YOU should blog because:
  • -blogging is a formidable online marketing tool
  • -the search engines easily index blogs because it is text heavy versus websites that are sometimes more graphically intensive
  • -blogging is as easy as sending email, except in this case you are sending an email to many
  • -blogs can easily be integrated into your website so even if you don’t want to pay to maintain your website, it is still getting new content from your blog
  • -blogs enable your readers to connect with you on a more personal level
  • -blogging can help establish you as an industry leader in your field
  • -blogging can help grow your business
  • -blogging helps you share knowledge about your industry
  • -blogging can help protect and promote your ideas and concepts
  • -blogging can help maintain your reputation…(or it could destroy it too!)
  • -blogging can help connect you with market leaders
  • -blogs create a historical record of your content as well as gives you complete control of what you publish

Interesting NOTE: A CPA Lawyer estimates that the time he spends on his firms newsletter and blog is roughly equivalent to playing a round or two of golf. So while his partners may build relationships with clients on the course, he uses a comparable chunk of time to reach approximately 250 people who read his blog on a daily basis during tax season. Fore!
-an excerpt from www.journalofaccountancy.com


If you DON’T have a business; YOU should still blog because:
  • -it is a means of expression
  • -blogging can help improve your writing skills
  • -blogging is a wealth of knowledge

There are many other reasons why you should blog but let me end at these bullet points. Like you, I am a lazy reader and bullet points provide me with what I need without having to beat around the bush.

Where should YOU blog and why?

There are many free blogging services available. Here is a list of the more popular ones…

www.blogger.com
Free
Google owned and operated – it hosts the largest blog members. Whats nice about this is if you already have a gmail ID – you can use that for the blogger ID as well. I use blogger because I like things to be simple.

www.wordpress.com
Free but charges for extra storage and unlimited users but who needs more than 3GB?
Has more choice templates than blogger and some of their more famous bloggers include: CNN’s Political Ticker; Time Inc’s The Page; Om Malik; Robert Scoble…oh and flickr blogs!

www.livejournal.com
A friend of mine swears by this online blog. She says its easy and even a dummy can figure it out.

www.webs.com (formerly www.freewebs.com)
I started my first blog here and have committed it to my website although I am currently in the process of migrating my site to a joomla template.

www.typepad.com
US$ 4.95 monthly for a basic blog
Has more choice templates than, uh, wordpress. Interesting to note that you can make money from your blogs through their advertising program.

www.squarespace.com
US$ 8 monthly for a basic blog If you can afford this then this would be my pick. Watch the video and learn…

www.reallifelog.com
Free
Provides videoblogs (but again so do the others). I know nothing about this blog service…just putting it here to make this list longer…

www.odiogo.com
Free
Turn your blog into a podcast for Free! I just signed up for the service so I can’t say that I recommend it yet.

Industries that would benefit tremendously from blogging

There are many Cayman themed blogs online. Some are politically inclined, some are geared towards advertising, some are reviews – rants and raves, etc. And although some of these blogs are entertaining, to say the least, it is always best to write for a large online readership base.

You can predict your readership base from the amount of searches for a given keyword on a daily basis. Based on the keywords of the past month, December 2008, the top industries which would benefit most from an online blog would be the following:

  • -Offshore banking
  • -Real Estate
  • -Jobs and Recruitment
  • -Flights and Travel
  • -Tours
  • -Weather in the Cayman Islands
  • -Cayman Food

If you or anyone you know belong to any of these industries – tell them to blog and tell them to make their blog specifically about these industries. In that way they can increase online presence and increase their customer base without increasing advertising spend. In this present economy – we all need a little help and hopefully my informative ‘blog’ about the importance of blogging has made you realize that it’s time to start writing that blog.

If you are interested in learning out to optimize your blog for a specific keyword, hit me up and I will hit you back!

December 7, 2008

TOP Search Engine Keywords for the Cayman Islands, December 2008

December again and Merry Christmas to everyone who is reading this!

This month's keywords are seeing an increase in vacation related keywords. Even though the world economy is suffering, people will still take vacations, it seems.

Without further adieu, here are the top 20 keywords for the Cayman Islands this December 2008:

1. cayman islands
2. grand cayman
3. cayman islands guestbook
4. grand cayman island
5. porsche cayman
6. cayman
7. cayman airways
8. porsche cayman s
9. grand cayman islands
10. cayman island
11. cayman brac
12. cayman net news
13. cayman island map
14. cayman airlines
15. little cayman beach resort
16. cayman news
17. little cayman
18. cayman island vacation
19. car rental grand cayman
20. grand cayman tours

Disclaimer: Again before finalizing your keyword target, it would be wise to use atleast 3 keyword tools. The above keywords are from wordtracker and these search results are coming from the US.

October 4, 2008

Cayman Islands Keywords: Trends and Effects, October 2008

I haven't been uploading the wordtracker keywords for the Cayman Islands of late because, like everyone else, I have been preoccupied by the recent Credit Crisis. I am trying to also find out how the economic affairs of the US will affect my industry, if at all. I still have my fingers crossed.

As always, please remember: Do not just use one source when targeting your keywords. I specifically use wordtracker for my blog as it has no frills and simple enough for the average joe to understand. Not that i think anyone reading my blog is an idiot. Of course not - I am merely sticking to the KISS principle. Why make things complicated?

Here are the list of top keywords for the Cayman Islands as October 4, 2008 (unedited version)

1. cayman islands
2. grand cayman
3. cayman
4. porsche cayman s
5. grand cayman island
6. cayman airways
7. grand cayman islands
8. cayman islands guestbook
9. crocs cayman
10. porche cayman
11. cayman brac
12. grand cayman shore diving
13. grand cayman hell
14. cayman island
15. cayman airlines
16. cayman island map
17. grand cayman government
18. cayman news
19. cayman net news
20. cayman island vacation
21. little cayman beach resort
22. car rental grand cayman
23. cayman compass
24. cayman island jobs
25. westin grand cayman
26. cayman islands government
27. smith cayman polorized photochromic
28. grand cayman tours
29. cayman jobs
30. finance jobs cayman islands
31. grand cayman jobs
32. it jobs cayman
33. jobs in cayman islands
34. little cayman
35. insolvency jobs cayman
36. temp jobs cayman
37. ritz carlton grand cayman
38. cayman brac real estate
39. executive jobs cayman
40. cayman islands audit jobs
41. audit jobs cayman
42. cpa jobs cayman
43. cayman temp jobs
44. insolvency jobs cayman islands
45. hedge fund cayman islands
46. hedge fund accountant cayman islands
47. fund accountant jobs cayman
48. grand cayman hotels
49. paralegal jobs cayman
50 temp jobs cayman islands

I am going to end at 50 and also inform you that the lowest search based on the keywords is at 19 and highest at 515. Thats a lot! The top 51 to 100 keywords also contain mostly job related searches. That is how my industry - or search marketing is being affected.

All these searches are from the US mainland as this was the geographic data I requested for.

July 27, 2008

Keywords for the Cayman Islands, July 2008

The top keywords for the Cayman Islands are as follows:

1. grand cayman
2. cayman islands
3. cayman
4. grand cayman shore diving
5. grand cayman island
6. grand cayman islands
7. cayman airways
8. cayman brac
9. cayman island
10. grand cayman government
11. grand cayman hell
12. cayman airlines
13. cayman island map
14. cayman compass
15. ritz carlton grand cayman
16. westin grand cayman
17. little cayman
18. cayman island jobs
19. cayman island vacation
20. grand cayman hotels

Search Engine Friendly Web Development

Like most people, I have been searching online since search began. First on Yahoo then on Altavista and then finally on the Search Engine of all Search Engines, Google. I fell in love with Google because of its simplistic design and user interface that focused on one thing and one thing only – search.

Google is a prime example of a well thought out website design: Focused on one service, simple enough for anyone and everyone to understand, effective in getting users to search on it and service-oriented in that search results are supplied within seconds.

When creating /developing or even choosing a template for web design and specifically for commercial websites, it is imperative that you put yourself in your user’s shoes.

Here are a few questions you might want to consider:

• Will users be able to navigate seamlessly? (without thinking too much)
• Will users find what they are looking for in less than 2 clicks from a given landing page?
• Will users find relevant and timely information on your website?
• Will first time users come back and visit your website?
• Will your website be convincing enough for users to perform an action? (whether it be clicking on to another page, submission of an email inquiry, or other actions which clearly define the effectiveness of a given website) ie. On Google the action performed is when keywords are entered into the search field.

Below, are vital guidelines in Search Engine Friendly Web Development: Please note that these guidelines have been crossed-referenced from official web sources namely the W3C and other trusted bodies and Institutions.

21 Important guidelines for Coding a Search Engine Friendly Website:

1. CSS should be used for both appearance and layout.

2. Designs should be optimized for a screen resolution of 1024X768 but keep in mind that 20% of internet users still use the screen resolution of 800X600. Depending on your target market, your screen resolution should be optimized to meet your user’s needs.

3. Recommend to use XHTML version 1 transitional and validate it using the W3C online mark-up validator

4. Each page should include a doctype statement

5. Ensure that your website looks the same across all browsers (firefox, explorer, safari, etc.)

6. Frames should not be used

7. Allow Search Engines to index your site properly using appropriate keywords in your title, header, meta tags and body.

8. Webpage should be functional without using java, javascript, flash or browser specific tags. Use these elements for navigational purposes only, to enhance the website but users should be able to navigate seamlessly and access all information with Javascript turned off.

9. Include a meta description tag at all times to allow the search engines to do their jobs in indexing and presenting your website in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

10. All tags and attributes should be in lower case to comply with the doctype standard of XHTML version 1.

11. Quote all attributes to ensure that browsers render the code correctly

12. Filenames should be in lowercase with no spaces

13. Tables should be coded in proportional widths to accommodate all screen resolutions

14. Page design should employ a flexible layout

15. Check the majority of your users limitations using Analytics, which will inform you of your user’s capability and limitations when browsing.

16. Logical arrangement of files and folders for a sound site architecture.

17. Create an XML Sitemap and submit to Google sitemaps for faster indexing of additional pages, especially if website has over a thousand pages

18. Redirect pages accordingly and prevent error links or restricted URLs

19. Integrate consistent Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URLs for all web addresses

20. Follow the W3C’s guidelines in accordance with Fonts, Graphics, Color, Flash and Printing.

21. Speed should be relatively fast as a recent survey from akamai supports that a large percentage of users click off when the webpage does not load within the 4-second timeframe.

May 15, 2008

Why hire a local SEO Company?

I recently had a meeting with a senior manager for a recruitment company who had hired an SEO company based in the United States and although I have nothing against SEO companies based anywhere else. I do have a problem with the exorbitant amount of money they charge for an SEO campaign.

If you are a company located in the Cayman Islands and would like to be optimized for your industry keywords, please do yourself and your company a favor and contact us first. Not only are our campaigns cheaper but they are much more effective because we are located in the Cayman Islands - we know your industry and more specifically your industry ONLINE even before you ask us about it.

I am not saying that our services for an SEO campaign are cheap. I believe our rates are reasonable and because our service increases your bottom line, I am certain the costs involved are worth it.

Then there is that added bonus of us being here in that we will be spending that money locally for office rent, equipment and salaries. Yes the money you are paying us will benefit the economy of the Cayman Islands.

Also we do not accept all SEO jobs. Please note that depending on the search traffic of your industry, we will only accept an SEO job if we know that it is beneficial to your company and website - not just because you have the money to pay for it.

But discounting all other reasons like cost, location, proximity...The main reason to hire us is our SEO expertise:

From Robert & Jeanette Totten of www.caymanluxuryproperty.com

"Our company website has successfully been rescued from the depths of poor web designers. Fevi came to our aid with lightning resources and expertise in website SEO and PPC muscle. She quickly restructured our faltering five figured multi thousand dollar site and positioned us near the head of the pack on the search engines. With her continued involvement and professional guidance, our web site expenses have decreased while our web presence has excelled beyond our early expectations. Fevi is the true "white knight" of web SEO and web design guidance."

SERP Results for www.caymanluxuryproperty.com (first page)
"cayman real estate"
"grand cayman real estate"
"luxury property"
"luxury properties"
"cayman island real estate"
"real estate cayman islands"
"cayman brac real estate"
"real estate grand cayman"
"grand cayman realty"
"cayman islands property"
"grand cayman homes for sale"
"cayman islands property"
"cayman luxury real estate"
...and many more!

Lastly, hire us because we will walk you through the process. We won't just hand you a bunch of contracts to sign and email you the changes that need to be integrated. We will tell why and how and why not and why that and at the end of your SEO contract with us, we would have empowered you and your team with basic SEO knowhow.


Top Searches for the Cayman Islands

As usual here are the top search keywords for the Cayman Islands for this day of May 2008.

I have said this before: These results are from a keyword research tool called Wordtracker. It would not be wise to choose your desired and ideal keywords based on one keyword tool - the best thing to do is to cross reference your keywords across a fair number of keyword tools for accuracy.

cayman islands
grand cayman
cayman
grand cayman island
grand cayman islands
cayman island
cayman brac
cayman airways
cayman island map
cayman brac vacation
little cayman
grand cayman beach suites
cayman compass
cayman net news
cayman island and tourism
cayman airlines
ritz carlton grand cayman
physiotherapist job vacancies in cayman islands
grand cayman hotels
grand cayman weather
little cayman island
grand cayman map
cayman national bank
jobs in cayman islands
cayman map
grand cayman marriott beach resort
time share grand cayman
grand cayman diving
jobs in grand cayman
cayman island vacation rentals
grand cayman guesthouse
cayman island jobs
cayman forensic jobs

For any questions, clarifications or violent reaction please contact me: Fevi Yu 925-8188 or fevi@easywebsites.ky

April 18, 2008

Cayman Islands Top Keywords April 2008: Job Hunting in Grand Cayman

First let me begin this blog by going through the list of top keywords for the Cayman Islands...

1. cayman islands
2. grand cayman
3. grand cayman island
4. grand cayman islands
5. grand cayman hotels
6. grand cayman beach suites
7. marriage requirements in grand cayman
8. grand cayman weather
9. grand cayman tours
10.jobs in cayman islands
11.grand cayman jobs
13.hedge fund accountant cayman islands
14.jobs in grand cayman
15.cayman islands executive jobs

It is interesting to note that the top keyword list is dominated by job related searches. It must be that time of the year when people are thinking twice about their current jobs and relocation options.

The Job Industry in the Cayman Islands is interesting because the newspapers are littered with Job vacancies for the financial industry. I actually just finished browsing the Cayman Compass and saw vacancies for almost all the top financial companies like Maples Finance, RBC, Fidelity, UBS Global Asset Management, CIBC, Caledonian, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Scotia Bank, Rawlinson & Hunter and Butterfield Bank...and more.

Seeing all the job postings in the newspaper and seeing all the online searches for jobs means one thing - that people need jobs and companies have job openings. How do we tie in both mediums so that the people who are searching for jobs online can find the job postings by these companies in the local newspaper?

Its so easy to say that the Cayman Compass should post their classifieds online - which they should. But asking them to do it and getting them to actually do it are two different things.

Let me just insert a plug here: GoCayman.ky - the company I work for is no. 1 for job related searches for grand cayman. If a company is seriously interested in finding the right people and not having to spend regularly on a one-off printed ad then think about buying a business listing in GoCayman.ky - for only 75 dolars PER MONTH! (Can you believe this deal?) You are going to get maximum exposure online. There is no other website on the island that can compete with our deal.

Just search for "grand cayman jobs", "cayman islands jobs"

And for companies in the Jobs industry - think about posting your business onine in GoCayman.ky as well because thats the first listing for most job related searches. GoCayman.ky will definitely increase the number of job-related inquiries in your website, without a doubt.

Questions? Violent reactions? 345-925-8188 Leave a message if I don't pick up.

April 5, 2008

The fascinating world of SEARCH

Although this topic is not directly involving the Cayman Islands Online community. It is interesting for me, atleast on a professional level, to find out what people are searching for - on the general scheme of things. Most top valid searches are driven by events happening around us.

Most of the top searches are because of the events happening either globally or locally - tv, print and probably radio, too are the vehicles that trigger the interest. Oh and let me not forget the top headlines in News Portals.

At this very minute here are the top ten searches in Yahoo:
1. Pregnant Man - probably brought about by the Oprah Show
2. Brad Pitt Angelina Jolie - isn't she showing baby bumps?
3. American Idol - boooo Ramiele got voted off :(
4. Beyonce - this one, I dunno - maybe she was on the news today?
5. The Masters - of course, every other person is a golfer or knows one
6. Obama - yes, of course
7. WWe - Wrestling? Why?
8. Megan Fox - the girl from Transformers
9. Iran - !
10. Hillary Clinton - She should just have one name like Obama so its easier to type;)

For more up to the hour top searches just click here.

Wordtracker.com also offers the top searches but you would have to be a paid member to view them. Lucky for me, and now for you, my company is a member. Here are the top 20 long-term keywords according to Wordtracker.

Nos Keyword Count
1 sex 231143
2 youporn 195475
3 porn 183069
4 myspace 174739
5 google 152115
6 ebay 131672
7 yahoo 126282
8 youtube 120129
9 pussy 117180
10 redtube 116454
11 milf 101327
12 myspace.com 96515
13 boobs 96403
14 hentai 92551
15 yahoo.com 81247
16 free porn 79387
17 xnxx 72782
18 obituaries 71536
19 you tube 71199
20 craigslist 71187

I wonder why people are searching for obituaries... who died? I am not even going to ask why other search terms are so high. We are human and animals, anyway.

This brings up the title of this piece, "the fascinating world of Search" - it is fascinating because search enables all of us to understand a little more about each other. Search doesn't care if you are black or white, brown or yellow, tall or short, fat or slim. Search only cares about what you are searching for and delivering that information in split second. Ok, ok, maybe a couple of seconds.

Another interesting site that provides for real-time display of searches is Metaspy. I used the filtered version this time ;) No more PORN searches!

At this very second searches in metacrawler (a search engines that searches other search engines) are:

ottits.com
ottits
link:http://optiem.com
food recipes
bofh pictures
limewire free download
pfy pictures
limewire free download
phoenix costume
paris travel

I am not even going to try to figure out any of these searches except tell you that limewire is bad for your laptop!

And finally, here are the top keyword searches for the Cayman Islands according to Wordtracker. I have mentioned this before and I am going to mention it again. Cross-reference your keywords for accuracy and ensure that you are targeting keywords that will enable you to increase your conversion rates. More about conversions when I have more time. Meanwhile, here are your top 30 keywords, cut and pasted.

cayman islands
grand cayman
cayman
grand cayman island
porsche cayman s
porsche cayman
grand cayman islands
cayman island
cayman brac
cayman airways
cayman brac vacation
grand cayman hotels
cayman airlines
cayman net news
cayman island and tourism
little cayman
cayman island map
cayman compass
marriage requirements in grand cayman islands
grand cayman beach suites
grand cayman weather
cayman island vacation rental
king of convenience cayman island
grand cayman tours
windsor court cayman
physiotherapist job vacancies in cayman islands

Email me for any questions.

March 11, 2008

Pagerank and its (un) Importance

When I first started this some years ago. I use to think that PR or pagerank was the do all and end all of SEO. The first thing I would look at when deciding to link to a website was PR. After years of trial and error, I have personally experience just how much and how little PR really means.

Firstly, PR was named after some guy in google who created it. Larry Page. He decided to give websites a rank based on how many website are linking to it. Think of a incoming link to your website as a vote for your website. But again, its not that simple. These "votes" need to come from relevant and trusted sources.

If a gardening website linked to a sports supply shop - even if both websites already have high position in the SERPs. It would not be counted. You have to be smart with your links. I read on a blog some time back about job openings for Link Ninjas. I think that is a cool way of calling the job. Think of all the ohhs and ahhs when introducing yourself in a bar.

Girl: "So, what do you do?"

Boy: "I'm a link Ninja"

Girl smiles shyly.

Boy, modestly, "Well, yeah I have a samurai sword in my backpack next to my laptop."

Anyway.

Links essentially make up your page rank. But, you don't have to have a high page rank to have a high position in the SERPs.

SERPs = Search Engine Results Page

I am managing an accommodations website with a PR of 3 and its on the first page of around 6 major keywords. It also has the correct semantic structure and complies with almost every SEO parameter. Its a great site but its PR is only 3/10. Would I still pursue a link from it? A resounding YES from a Link Ninja!

PR is just one of the factors to consider when linking. Other factors include counting how many external links are leaving the page, making sure that its has content relating to yours (title, headers, text), considering where your link is actually going to come from, etc.

If your website is showing up in the first page of your major keyword, would it still be worth it to pursue links to increase your page rank?

Yes. Always. You need PR because Google uses it to determine the importance of your website in the food chain. And if Google uses it, you HAVE to use it. Also as more and more websites are getting optimized, its always good to stay ahead of the pack.

March 10, 2008

PPC vs SEO

I was in the middle of engaging in a PPC campaign when I had to jump into a conference call about SEO. Now, even though it might seem easy to switch hats, I found myself fumbling. PPC and SEO are synonymous to SEM and are like brother and sister. Most companies who know enough about the power of the Internet, engage in both programs. But still, they are as different as well, brother is to sister.

PPC or Pay-Per-Click is the when you pay the Search Engines a certain amount for every click that your website receives in the sponsored results. Of course its a little more technical than that - choosing the proper keywords, creating proper landing pages, bid management, stat tracking. If you are a newbie, I suggest you read up.

SEO or Seach Engine Optimization is when you develop your website to appear in the natural results of your industry keywords. Again this has many dimension to it and if you are a newbie, please go here.

What I like about PPC is that I worry more about conversions than I do about traffic. In natural results, I like worrying about traffic.

Traffic = no. of hits
Conversions = no. of clicks (in this case, when they submit an email)

Its much easier to get more traffic than it is to get a conversion for the simple reason that people will click on anything but will not just give their emails away without a good argument.

What is more effective? Depending on your industry and market competition, I have to say that working together, both PPC and SEO are more effective than just one - either PPC or SEO. I see this on all websites that I work on. As a result more and more companies are engaging in both lucrative online schemes.

If you had a limited budget, the way to go would be SEO. Its far cheaper and you will be able to maintain your position given that no one else starts optimizing their websites for your industry.

So I guess the title of today's blog should not be PPC vs SEO but instead be PPC & SEO.

March 9, 2008

What is SEO and why is it important?

SEO is a term that has evolved through the recent years of online marketing. It refers specifically to new-media or online marketing. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of developing your website so that it becomes Search Engine Friendly. Of course there are many facets to doing this but before I get into any of them please note that the objective of SEO is to increase your website's position in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for relevant keyword searches.

Why is it important? Easy - do you ever go online to search for something whether on Google, Yahoo, MSN or some other search engine? Well, you aren't the only person because every single individual with a computer and internet connection does the same thing. They search for what they need, want and are curious about.

Since the internet is relatively a newer medium than TV, Print or Radio, it is more cost effective for a number of reasons. Of course cost is relative to the SEO company and scope of service but generally that would be the case.

Why should you engage in SEO? Well, it depends... I think companies located in Cities should have some form of organic or even PPC campaign. Everyone in the city lives vicariously online and some form of presence would reaffirm your company's existence.

Being in the Cayman Islands is a different story. I will not recommend SEO for some business in the Cayman Islands and only because we are such a small island and everyone that lives here already knows what to do, where to go and what is happening at any given time of the day. But I strongly recommend SEO for the following industries:

1. Real Estate and property management
2. Tourism-Related (Scuba diving, accommodation, attractions, restaurants, hotels, activities, shopping, water sports, etc)
3. Banking and financial services

Everyday, GoCayman.ky receives an average of about 300 emails requesting for recommendations on the above industries and as much as we want to assist each and every inquiry, it is just impossible for us to get to all of them. We simply do not have the manpower or resources to do that. The reason for this is because we want to keep our costs down so that we can provide our services at a reasonable rate.

So, why should you engage in SEO? Well for one thing the internet is not a passing trend. The internet is here to stay and it has already changed the way we are living our lives. Instead of going shopping in stores, more and more people are shopping online. It doesnt end there.

You should engage in SEO because it is a proven method of increasing your bottom line. As more and more people are using the internet to find services, it is imperative that your website is visible to attract NEW customers. Aside from attracting new customers, having a great website that is user friendly is also a great way to maintain customer services quality and ensure that you are reaching your customer base with minimal expenses.

Increasing Online HITS through extensive Keyword Research

On the title line, I mentioned HITS instead of conversions and there is a reason for that. I'm not altogether certain that conversions will increase just because the number of HITS for any given website increases.

Definitions:
SEO - Search€ Engine Optimization
SEM - Search Engine Marketing
SERP - Search Engine Results Page
HITS - number of times your webpage is clicked
Conversion - depends on the type of industry. For ecommerce this would be the number of time you sell something and users enter their credit card numbers. For industries other than ecommerce, this could (but not necessarily) be the number of times users request for more information. Its always good to define conversions.

SEO is an interesting aspect of SEM because alot of it has no real information. The search algorithms haven't exactly been revealed to anyone in particular and most of the available information are experienced when you create your online marketing strategy and begin implementing through trial and error and by reading extensively into other experiences of other SEO websites. Some of the better SEO Guru's will provide better information than others. This include Aaron Wall's SEO Book, which I have, btw. I also read through Searh Engine Watch almost on a daily basis. I enjoy reading blogs from all over and sometimes wish I had more time to do so. On the other hand, I wish I had more time to write this blog.

One very important subject that I learned through the course of this journey is that you never really know what people are searching for until you start looking for it.

During the course of optimizing my real estate website, I did an extensive keyword search. Initially my job was only to optimize them for the real estate industry in the Cayman Islands and that is almost done. I just need to get them some relevant links to increase their SERP position. But during the course of my keyword search, I stumbled upon keyword after keyword all relating to real estate and because of this I suggested that they also optimize for these relevant keywords.

Choosing and targeting keywords



Again I am going to mention that I cannot say, with 100% certainty that their conversion rates will increase just because their SERP position for their keyword, or additional keywords will increase. Until they reach first page position for these multiple keywords and I see for myself that their conversion rates actually increase, that will be the only time that I will be able to say, Yes, it does works.

Targeting a keyword is tedious work because if you don't already have the landing page available specifically for that keyword, then creating it, from scratch will be alot of work. Thankfully I have content writers who can deliver. I just pretty much email them my requirements for keywords and how I want the content to be delivered and after about 3 days, they usually come through for me.

From the content, I ensure that the landing page is also technically relevant to the keyword search. I ensure that that landing page is similar to the other landing pages already present in the first page of the SERPs for those keywords. I also create short-list of relevant links that is easily visible to the user. Of course I insert rel=nofollow tags to external links and ensure that my semantic structure is correct.

So lesson of the day is to know and understand your keyword/s. Chances are that you will find alot more than the obvious and that when you do it is your decision to pursue or reject them. Currently I am going to pursue my newly discovered keywords and I will probably get more hits as an effect. Will I get more conversions? Probably, yes but I won't be jumping the gun here because personally, its much easier to get a hit than to get a conversion. Creating a website that enables those conversions should be a priority but that is another topic altogether.

I am a firm believer that websites should be able to draw the fine line between optimizing for the search engines and creating one for its users.

March 7, 2008

SEO for the Real Estate Industry in the Cayman Islands

For about 4 months now I have been working on a website for our client in the Real Estate industry in the Cayman Islands. The top keyword for that industry is, "cayman islands real estate" - they now appear on the second page of Google SERPs after only 4 months and I haven't done any extensive linking yet.

When I signed up for the webmaster tools on google, I was pleasantly surprised that they were also getting alot of traffic from the keyword, "luxury property". I was surprised because I was not targeting that keyword. Nor did I anticipate the additional traffic source. But it was all good. The only time, "luxury property" is mentioned in their site is on the domain name and title already they are no. 5 of that keyword.

Note: Most SEO Specialists say that domain name is not important, well, after this experience, I have to say that it does count for something. Having a similar domain name and title name for a keyword does help in achieving ranking for the SERPs. This project proves that.

Signing up for the Google Webmaster tools is about the best decision anyone can do - whether you are an expert or site owner. Knowing where your traffic is coming from, understanding your entry and exit pages, bounce rates and knowing how long they stay is imperative in SEO.

For me, SEO isn't just about increasing traffic - SEO should be part and partial of a holistic strategy that includes:

1. Ease of Site Navigation (user experience)
2. Understanding the online user's needs and being able to address it in the least possible amount of clicks
3. Should be part of a bigger marketing strategy that incorporates other mediums and marketing efforts
4. Defining strategies that work and don't work
5. Creating a website that has room to grow. Meaning your website should be able to accomodate the ever changing needs of your users without having to re-develop everything from scratch.
6. SEO as Sales Effectivity Optimization - who cares about all that traffic when your sales hasn't even increased. The two should go hand in hand.

I have tried to incorporate all these strategies in the real estate website that I am currrently optimizing but the best thing about this project (aside from the SERP the position) is how the owners of the website are working with us and supporting us in all our recommendations.

I am the lucky one.

January 20, 2008

Top Keyword Searches for the Cayman Islands

We can never really tell what people are exactly looking for in the Search Engines... lucky for us there are tools for these search terms called keywords. Here is a summary of the top keywords - per industry. For additional information or complete list of keywords all relating to the Cayman Islands - please request for it and contact us at GoCayman.ky - Tel. 345-943-4400 or 345-925-8188

Only wordtracker was used in these results and that should be taken into consideration. It is always better to cross reference your searches using multiple keyword searches. These results just give us a sampling...

Top 10 Keywords for the root word, "cayman" as of January 20, 2008
1. cayman islands
2. grand cayman
3. grand cayman island
4. cayman
5. cayman island
6. grand cayman islands
7. cayman airways
8. grand cayman diving
9. grand cayman golf
10. grand cayman snorkeling
Total number of searches for these top ten keywords: 2,316/day

Top Ten Keywords from rootwords all pertaining to the Real Estate industry of the Cayman Islands:
1. cayman islands real estate
2. cayman real estate
3. grand cayman real estate
4. cayman islands real estate brokers association
5. real estate license in cayman islands
6. colliers, cayman commercial real estate
7. cayman islands property
8. property insurance cayman islands
9. real estate in cayman brac
10. real estatte agent in cayman islands
Total Searches for Real Estate: 106/day

Top Ten keyword searches for banking, finance related searches for the Cayman Islands
1. cayman island bank accounts
2. cayman banks
3. cayman island bank account
4. banks cayman islands
5. vr global hedge funds
6. trust company cayman islands
7. foreigners opening bank accounts cayman islands
8. grand cayman bank
9. funds comiciled cayman islands
10. registration of trusts in cayman
Total number of searches: 98/day

Top ten keywords for the accommodations industry in the Cayman Islands
1. grand cayman hotels
2. grand cayman condos
3. cayman brac vacation
4. grand cayman vacation rentals
5. cayman island vacation rentals
6. cayman islands vacation homes
7. grand cayman villas
8. scuba diving vacation grand cayman
9. grand cayman 7 mile beach condo pool for rent
10. cayman brac accomodation
Total Searches: 190/day

For other industry keywords, email us if you are interested in receiving a monthly report for current keywords for your industry. For a comprehensive report and detailed analysis of your keywords (including historical and long-tail keywords) please contact us.

January 11, 2008

Website Search Engine Friendly Basics

I had a three meetings today and all of them were to discuss 3 websites that were not performing and even not showing up for their company names. I don't know how many times I have said just how much more difficult it is to inherit a website than to create one from the bottom up. And yet clients expect to pay less for services rendered for Website RE-development.

When creating a website for business purposes it would be wise to ask your webmaster if you can insert these very important parameters into EACH page of your website:

1. Page Title: If you have to do ONE thing right, it would be your page title. The page title is whats located on the very top of your browser. Keep your title to 65 characters. Ensure that the keyword or phrase that you are targeting fits nicely in the page title without making it unreadable.

2. Meta description tags: Have you ever wondered about where the displayed text right under your website address comes from? Hello? This is actually the text that users will click on or ignore. Keep your descriptions brief with as much sensible use of the keyword you are targeting. There are other directories that SE's (specifically google) use to describe your site - dmoz being "it"- either way, whichever description describes your websiteis what the SE's will use.

3. h1 to h6 tags: Ok so maybe you won't use all the h tags but use atleast one to give credence to your page title.

4. alt tags: the text here actually replaces the image when search engines read your content. Make sure each photo has a proper tag. Always. And YES - for every single photo. This also adds to your keyword density so make it smart.

5. Content: Make sure your pages can accommodate at the very minimum 300 words and that the Search Engines can read your text. If your website has too little, it will not help you in achieving much in the SERPs. Its ok if it has more than 300 words but don't bore your readers. There is a fine line between creating a site for SE's and your users. Make sure you don't cross it.

These parameters need to be readable by the Search Engine spiders - they cannot read javascript or flash.

If you create your website using a Joomla CMS then you are on the right track.

I am reminded by a the K.I.S.S. principle here.