Long time lurker with a few questions

10 replies
I own an online office equipment company. We sell copy machines, fax machines, printers, etc. We've been in business for over 10 years selling exclusively online. Business started tanking in 2008. Our Rankings have slowly dropped but we still show up well. The products I sell are usually $1000 or more.

We occasionally send out emails to our past customers basically reminding them that we are here and try to sell them toner and stuff like that.

I have a list of around 1500-2000 email address. What would you guys suggest?

As far as SEO goes I'm looking to try to do a lot of it myself. I just don't have the money to spend on hiring someone. I have a blog on my site (mostly with technical information about copy machine error codes, how to fix certain problems. What would you suggest to increase my rankings?

We used to show up on page 1 for copy machine, now we are on page 3. Any advice you can help me with?

Frankly, I really don't know where to start. My site has been around for 12 years and we were doing great before the economy slowed. I've really had to to very little SEO in the past.

I can post my website address if that is allowed.
#long #lurker #questions #time
  • Profile picture of the author LexiB
    Most people here will probably disagree with me but SEO is a joke and a complete waste of time for the most part. Your story can be repeated hundreds of thousands of times.

    If I were you, I'd head over to linkedIn, offer a free webinar to any CEO/Owner that will sign up, teach them something about whatever you sell, then present them with an irresistible offer at the end.

    I'd do one a week for maybe 3 months or so and I'd also include some sort of referral or affiliate program. Those who buy from you can refer others to you and receive a commission. Personally I'd only open the program to people who buy from you though.

    Hope this helps.

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    • Profile picture of the author torrent
      I do disagree with LexiB about SEO. SEO is neither a joke, nor a waste of time.

      This does not negate the great suggestions about sourcing leads on LinkedIn and offering those leads a free webinar and an irresistible offer, it's simply a different method of marketing.

      In a commodity-based business, where price can sometimes be THE deciding factor, you need to make sure that the user experience on your website is top-notch and that you find a way to develop a reputation for your service, product recommendations, etc. Otherwise your potential customers will turn to the big box stores online and offline (Amazon, BestBuy, HHGregg, TigerDirect, NewEgg, etc.)

      Developing how-to repair videos and tools to assess office supply needs could boost your site optimization via improved on-page content, but you should still proactively develop a plan to acquire links to your improved content. Social signals are increasingly important. Think about utilizing testimonials, review sites, Twitter, and Facebook to round out your efforts and boost your results.
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      • Profile picture of the author sirfroggz
        The products that I offer cannot be found at big box stores.

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  • Profile picture of the author loutop
    Hi there, my site has $270 worth of free information just about your question. It may help you to focus on what you need to do first. Please help yourself

    Louise Topping
    Set up a fully automated,monetized blog quickly with "Finding Financial Freedom"

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  • Profile picture of the author Usdachoice
    I agree with torrent that SEO is only dead for those who don't know what they are doing. It is alive and well and your competitors on the first page are reaping the rewards. If you dropped recently you may want to check your google local placement. Maybe you don't have your local listing associated with your G+ profile and have not created a page for it yet. I have seen this happen to a lot of local businesses. You should also consider getting some good PPC campaigns going once your locals are ranking again. Social media is hot but people don't get on fb to buy anything. Don't invest tons of effort on these until after you are ranking well and have good ppc campaigns running. Once that is all set look at social media a work on building your brand and not trying sell. Use it to engage your customers but also beware of pitfalls lots of companies fall into. The other posters are 100% correct in creating engaging content for your customers. Give away as much information as you can so you will be seen as an authority on the subject matter. Keep your site fresh with good content and that 12 yo sinking ship will get new life and search engines will start showing it some love again. You have something really good to work with so make a plan and execute it.

    My Sig goes here

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    • Profile picture of the author torrent
      I would want to do some more market research, but it looks like you are using stock product descriptions, which means your product-based content is the same as dozens of others. This could be an area of huge opportunity to set your website apart. See how CNET.com does video and full-text reviews for one possible implementation of going beyond your competition.

      Technically, you seem right at first glance that your products are not sold in the big box stores, but many of your competitors are selling these products in Amazon's Marketplace, which means these products are available at Amazon.

      My reaction to your website is that you may have a branding problem, but that your bigger issues right now are just being found in the right places. Get into Amazon, and get in Google's sponsored product listings. Once you have established those two things, you can later determine if your competitor's names and websites inspire more confidence than yours. Some may argue that you should fix your branding problem first, but I can see both sides of that argument.

      In previewing this post, I see Usdachoice has offered up great suggestions, including addressing the design/branding issue. Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author sirfroggz
    I'm not a local seller and neither are my competitors. We sell high end office equipment nationwide. We provide onsite parts and labor warranties through our network of service dealers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Usdachoice
    Ok I just checked out your site and here are a few ideas.

    1. The site looks like a 12 yo site. It justifies to the left and has very little graphics, I suggest a complete site overhaul / update.
    2. Your blog content is too thin, try to get closer to 450 words per article with a min of 350.
    3. Adsense on your business site?? You do know you are sending traffic to competing businesses right? There are better ways to make a thin dime than losing visitors to your competitors. I would work on capturing emails from visitors and take all other monetization opportunities off. Have a nice give away like "10 things you must know before buying a copier" "5 ways to save money on toner" "The secrets the ink replacement people don't want you to know" you get my drift.

    I hope you take this criticism as constructive and not just negativity. Good luck to you and like I said earlier you have a 12 yo site so it just needs some love and it can start placing again.

    My Sig goes here

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  • Profile picture of the author MktCoach
    You posed a legitimate question and understanding the latest SEO principles can definitely help you break the impasse. This, in part, because 99% of people who do SEO don't know enough about what they're supposed to be doing and then go on to badmouth it.

    This said, LexiB gave you one good tip about LinkedIn. And there are hundreds of other tips like that where you can build on existing resources to generate incomes.

    But a web-based business like yours needs diversified sources of traffic AND income.

    * SEO is among the more complex ways of getting traffic (it's not too difficult, mind you) and, short of direct referrals or word of mouth, it results in the best quality of traffic, by a mile.

    * Paid traffic is another important component. You can target the HOTTEST items you sell and get in front of the thousands/millions who are looking for it.

    * Social interactions are also important (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc, etc, etc)

    * Interactivity on your site is also important. And cultivating and growing your members list.

    * A newsletter, monthly one-off's, weekly special offers, etc are also a great idea.

    You also need to integrate all these different sources.

    Sounds complicated? It isn't. But it IS complex. Meaning: there are a lot of small fiddly bits you need to do, but none of them are difficult.

    Start with SEO. The objective is to be found. Google's (and others') rule is: be relevant to the search query and you'll rank and don't break our other rules. lol

    - Start small. Pick 1 product. If you're in doubt which one's your HOTTEST, enter its brand and model into Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Select [exact] match. Look at trends as well.

    - Now that you know which is your HOTTEST item, ideally one with millions of EXACT searches (i.e. non-exact will be even bigger), find out a bunch of most popular search terms for it, again using Google Keyword Tool, by order of relevance.

    - Pick a couple of "hot" terms (meaning: LOADS of searches), ones which will be hard to compete on. Pick a couple of mid-level ones. And then pick 4-6 low-level ones with low search volumes.

    - Now go to Google.com and put EACH term in quotes to get an idea of how much competition you'll have for each. Chances are that the low-search ones will also have low competition (but NOT always).

    - In order from least competitive to most, plan a series of articles for your blog. Each needs to have a title which contains the keyword, on its own or extended.

    - Within each article, make sure you use the remaining keywords somewhere (once-or-so each). And make sure your primary keyword has a density of somewhere around the 2% mark. You can try a little more too, say 3%.

    - Use images and tag them.

    - Have AT LEAST 3 internal links. One of them with the exact primary keyword, two more using any of the companion keywords (also known as LSI keywords). Point those links to other related articles on your site. The FIRST article should point to something that already exists. The next one will point back to this article, and so on.

    - Have AT LEAST 3 external outgoing authority links. DO-follow and don't worry about sharing link juice with your competition. Pick non-competitive authority sites if you're really worried, say, Wikipedia or whatever.

    - In your meta tags, DO use the keyword tag and place there ONLY the keywords you actually have used in the article, STARTING with your primary one. Also, make sure you have a brief description which contains your primary keyword plus another LSI keyword or two.

    - Then write the next article with the next keyword, and do the rest as above.

    - Make sure each article is COOL and offers valuable info to the reader.

    - Now get ready to launch them. Post the first article, then using a service like OnlyWire or SocialMonkee post it to 30-50 most popular social sites and bookmarking sites.

    - Then go to a pinging service like pingoat.com or pingler.com or pingomatic.com or pingdevice.com and ... ping your article.

    - After a couple of days, check all the social links and the ones which have your article - ping them too. Use pingdevice.com if you have a bunch of links.

    - And then launch the next article.

    - Repeat until all articles have been launched. If you wrote 10 articles, it'll take you 10-20 days, depending on how you actually do it.

    - Now, WHILE you're doing all that, starting on the day of launch of the first article, MONITOR your ranks. Start with the first keyword that you're launching and write down your SERP rank in Google, Yahoo and Bing. You're interested in the top-100 only. ALSO monitor your organic traffic in your Google Analytics.

    - On the very next day, check again. From this point on, check DAILY, but with each launch add the next keyword, etc.

    - You will soon see that - if you did everything well - ALL of your keywords will start climbing. The easiest ones will rapidly reach top of page 1. The harder ones may take longer.

    - If a keyword gets "stuck", ie. it either doesn't rank or doesn't climb, NOW is the time to add some backlinks to it. But do this MANUALLY and ONLY do the highest quality links you're capable of. And do try to get those backlinks from high authority sites. This can include outside articles, guest posts, forum posts, blog comments, etc.

    - Under most circumstances, this method will get you to the first page for ALMOST all your keywords very quickly. At first, perhaps, slower, but later within hours or even minutes after launch. The toughest keywords will be your primary Trust Rank indicators, i.e. the more Google "trusts you" the better your ranks will be. You can measure that also by looking at the amount of traffic you ACTUALLY get from each keyword versus the traffic you "should" be getting basing on statistics for the given SERP position.

    I got ALL of these tips from a WSO I bought here called "SEOlater" many months ago. The sites I applied this technique to invariably outrank most other sites across hundreds and even thousands of keywords! It's a LOT of work, but once you get the hang of it, it's easy and you can outsource a lot of it. And best of all - you'll never need to buy bulk backlinks and you'll still rank with just these simple steps.

    Note, however, that Google continues to change and modify its algorithm. So the KEY to avoiding being trapped by those changes is to stick to the most basic rules (no spam, no BS content, real value, no pushiness and lots of on-site interaction and long on-site time by your visitors).

    Whew... lol

    Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author cwonsley
    You can advertise on classified sites such as Craigslist and backpage.com. There are a ton of those advertising sites that you can choose to do. Yellow pages as well. This strategy could cost you an hour of your time posting to 10-15 different sites. You can get some good quality leads with this strategy. They may not be banging down the door, so-to-speak, but you will get a steady stream of leads. Once you have those leads, you need to set up an email marketing campaign. Sending out 1-2 emails daily will keep you fresh in their minds. It works for me, it works for the people that I've learned it from, and it works for the people that I teach it to.
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