The Niche Marketing Blog

Tools for understanding and reaching your market

Google’s Keyword Planner Tool

Image via CrunchBase

By Scott Spooner

If you are a niche marketer, then, no doubt, one of the “must have” tools in your toolkit is the Google Keyword Tool. This tool is one of the bets fre resources on the Internet for researching keywords, from generating relevant keywords lists, to identifying long-tail keywords, and from assessing the level of compeition for a given keyword phrase, to budgeting the “cost-per-click” estimates for running an AdWords account.

This tool is a tried and true favorite of mine, as well as a “go-to” favorite for many of my clients. Google, however, has other ideas about the future of this tool. In fact, in the near future Google will be removing the keyword tool form its lineup. Not to worry, though. Google is planning on replacing their venerable keyword tool with a much expanded Keyword Planner Tool.

The nw Keyword Planner Tool is still in beta, but can be accessed via the Google AdWords link. While still free, you will have to have a Google account to access the tool once it goes live.

I have put together and posted on YouTube a short, 4-minute, video which provides an overview of the new keyword planner tool. You can watch the video here: Google Keyword Planner Tool.

Let me know what you think about this new keyword tool. Also, send me a note if you want a more in-depth set of videos explaining how to use this new tool.

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Google’s Game Changer

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Search Plus Your World

As reported on Blogspot, CNN, and elsewhere, Google announced on Tuesday that they were making a dramatic change in their search algorithm by adding contextual content from social media platforms (especially Google+ and Picasa) into the search results. I will leave it to others to explain the nuances, while I will point out the obstacles, and opportunities, cow confronting niche marketers.

Google feels that the inclusion on social media content will provide a richer experience for the user, and I agree with them. However, with the inclusion of such content, your previous SEO efforts will have to be re-examined. If your site was currently ranked in the top 5 of Google’s Page 1, you will likely be bumped down a few spaces. If you were ranked near the bottom of Page 1, you’ll likely now be residing somewhere on Page 2. The reason is that Google is now adding additional search results which will compete with your page ranking.

Fortunately, the solution should be  straight forward for those who are aware of this change.

First,  if you don’t already have one, set-up a Google+ account. While you’re at it, create a business page as well. With some analysts predicting a membership roster of 400 million by the end of this year, you’ll want to be actively posting quality content on Google+ anyway.

This is a good time to start thinking about increasing the size and scope of your circles as well. The more people you are following, and who are following you, on Google+, the better you’ll be positioned in the revamped search engine results.

Second, if you haven’t already done so, establish a Picasa account and start populating it with keyword optimized photos. Google has indicated that Picassa will be weighted in their new search rankings, so now is the time to get busy with a Picasa account.

Third, encourage your friends and followers from other social media platforms to join you on Google+, and comment on your photos over at Picasa.

Finally, review your on-page SEO efforts for title tags, keyword relevancy and density, and image alt tags. Despite the changes that Google is unveiling, these on-page factors are still important.

Being proactive with the above steps will help preserve your search engine rankings. Let me know what’s working for you and if you’ve noticed any changes in your search engine rankings as a result of Google’s latest changes. Feel free to leave me a comment below.

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Coming Soon: Google+ for Businesses

Google+ for business

Image via CrunchBase

Many niche marketers have found success setting-up and actively promoting a business page on Facebook. With the arrival of Google+, these same niche marketers are eagerly awaiting the arrival of a similar functionality on Google+.

The wait might be nearing an end. In a recent Search Engine Land blog post, Greg Sterling writes about Google’s apparent designs for incorporating businesses into their future evolutions of Google+.

This is significant in that Google is now going head-to-had with social media rival Facebook. If Google can score a hit with their Google+ features, then the increased competition will be a boon for both online and offline businesses.

What do you think? Leave me a comment below.

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Is Google Adsense Website Monetization A Good Business Model?

Google Adsense for niche marketing

Image via CrunchBase

[Editor’s note: Many niche marketers write and maintain blogs as a way to augment their income from within their niches. Today’s guest article focuses on Google’s AdSense program; what it is, and how to monetize your blog with it. Here’s to a prosperous 2011! ~Scott]

Today I look at a number of reasons why the Google Adsense program is frowned upon by many online blog owners, and why this is a monumental mistake.

Google Adsense is the advertising program whereby Google places contextual ads on your site or blog and for which you get paid per click by each visitor to your site.

Many website owners do not exploit its potential to its fullest citing the low payout per click as a reason and the understandable lure to the fatter, juicier commissions that can be earned by affiliate marketing, either of physical products or electronic products.

Here are 3 great reasons to reconsider your approach to making money online:

  1. Whatever income you manage to generate is paid directly into your bank account by one of the most successful and largest companies in the world. No need to deal with shady affiliate vendors, some of whom get up to all sorts of practices such as siphoning off the traffic that you drive to them to their own email list.
  2. No matter what niche or market your blog caters for, there are almost certainly going to be advertisers for it. And the power of a highly targeted advertisement on your blog showing say a great price for the product or service that your reader has just read an article on is incredibly effective.
  3. Passive income-Adsense income is truly passive income. There is no list building, no preselling for affiliate products and no refunds or queries from customers. They click, you get paid.

The key to building a good Adsense income is to create multiple blogs across a wide range of niches. These blogs may only contain a few pages but the opportunity to create blogs in obscure, uncompetitive markets means that you can obtain good search engine rankings easily and visitors.

Put simply, visitors mean clicks mean income for you. There are many smart entrepreneurs who are making great income online setting up small sites or blogs which cater for the most obscure, unsexy products who derive a nice income from each site.

But the key to a great income is to build a lot of sites and let each one be a silent money maker which individually wont amount to a hill of beans..but collectively will see you making a great passive income in a matter of months.

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Google and Groupon: The Road Forward?

Groupon logo.

Image via Wikipedia

Today Mashable, and several other blogs, reported on the rumor that Google has just purchased Groupon for $2.5 billion.The acquisition would allow Google to integrate Groupon’s deals with Google’s newly enhanced Google Places.

If the rumors are true, the deal would position Google well against rival Facebook, which recently announced Facebook Places.

The larger question, of course, is: where is all of this heading? As “location-based” marketing continues to merge with “promotion-based” marketing, the industry giants are signaling that the likely trend of the future will be the merging of traditional brick-and-mortar businesses with the technological savvy of the Internet business communities.

What effect will this have on the smaller, niche-oriented businesses? How about the corner bakery? Or the local nightclub?

How can the mom-and-pop business of the future successfully compete? What combination of check-ins, promotions, incentives, and merchandising will work tomorrow? What exactly is the road forward?

Tell me what you think.

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Facebook and Twitter as Search Engines

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25:  In this photo ill...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

By Scott Spooner

When you think of search engines, what names come to mind? if you are like most people, you’ll probably come up with some combination of Google, Yahoo, and Bing. If you’ve been on the Net for a while, you might also think of Alta Vista, Baidu, Ask, and dozens of others.

But let me ask you: did Facebook or Twitter come to mind?

Most netizens associate Facebook with social networking, and Twitter with micro-blogging. But few realize that both Facebook and Twitter are also up and coming search engines, as both offer searchable keyword databases.

With active Facebook members now exceeding 400 million, and active Twitter members now exceeding 100 million, the respective search databases are enormous.

Add to this Facebook’s pay-per-click ad network (with rumors that Twitter will be following suit with their own paid advertising), and you have a potent combination for both demographic/geographic keyword research and targeted advertising opportunities.

If you are an on-line marketer who is looking to build traffic and reach your target audience, then don’t overlook Facebook and Twitter when it comes to search.

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