>Lessons in SEO

>Joe Pulizzi, founder of Junta42, an online resource for marketers and publishers looking to grow their business through the use of expert content, is our first guest blogger in Adventures in Marketing. Please enjoy his lessons and guidance as he details his experience in SEO optimization.

One of the hardest lessons to learn in business is when to listen to yourself and when to not. For me, this lesson really hits home. When I first started my company, Junta42, I created a name so unique I thought optimizing SEO would be a walk in the park, I was wrong.

Honestly, there are so many areas to think of when creating a positive search engine presence, we overlooked the most obvious one…that users wouldn’t necessarily put together the fact that there was no space in our brand name. Since that time, we have also been looking at other misspellings such as junta24 (24 instead of 42). A number of reporters actually sent me a few emails transposing the 4 and 2.

Looking back, I think the biggest issue was that we didn’t put ourselves into our customers shoes and realize that search engine users don’t put in the words or phrases that “you” think they should. When people search for terms, they have their own vocabulary and view your company and your brand in a particular way. Understanding that a user looking for “Junta42” would put in a space between the Junta and the 42 seems pretty simple now, but we had a bit of tunnel vision.

During initial research, we surveyed approximately 50 publishers (60%) and marketers (40%), through online surveys and phone calls, to determine our core keyword areas. We are still working to refine these. We have also used services such as
wordtracker.com and websitegrader.com to continually help us in choosing the right key words.

Currently, we are in the process of tracking between 75 and 100 different search phrases, and will continue to grow that list as we launch our initial content vendor matching product, Junta42 Match (
www.junta42.com/match). We also continue to get excellent knowledge about search engine habits by analyzing our Google Analytics information.

To gain further ground we have began advertising through our key partnerships at the Custom Publishing Council, American Business Media and BtoB magazine. We will also step up our pay-per-click advertising once

Junta42 Match officially launches to marketers on June 24, 2008.

Overall, I guess the key points are to put yourself in your customers shoes, never take anything for granted, and that SEO and SEM are ongoing processes. SEO is something that needs to be continually monitored to achieve the best results. Along with your own site development, leveraging social media outlets such as Digg and SmallBusinessBrief.com are key, as well as guest blogging opportunities and commenting on other key blogs.

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Joe Pulizzi is founder of Junta42, an online resource for marketers and publishers looking to grow their business through the use of expert content. Junta42 Match is the industry’s only buyer/seller marketplace for custom content solutions. Find more of Joe at his blog (http://blog.junta42.com/)

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