Keyword Discovery Tips

Find the Most Popular Keywords for E-Commerce SEO

Most e-commerce business owners understand that search engine optimization is one of the key components of a good online marketing program. However, many are unsure how to go about optimizing their web content, or don’t understand what is involved and may feel that paying an SEO management firm to run their campaign is the only option.

In truth, search engine optimization is a skill that can be learned by business owners. Optimizing a website is an ongoing process, and one that business owners can be actively involved in. The following tips help users discover and use keywords that are relevant, useful and popular.

Keyword Discovery Tips and Tools… the Secret? Google Zeitgeist

Google provides a number of helpful, free tools for keyword discovery and research:

  • Google Hot Trends- Allows users to view the most popular queries on any date.
  • Google Insights for Search- Web content writers can search by a number of criteria to see what people are looking for by geographical zone, seasonality and more.
  • Google AdWords Keyword Tool- Users can search keywords and phrases, with results displaying related terms, average cost per click, monthly search volume and more.

Links to all of the above mentioned services are found on the Google Zeitgeist web page, an excellent resource for e-commerce business owners ready to tackle their own SEO and keyword discovery tasks.

What are Search Engines Looking For on E-Commerce Websites?

No one knows the exact formula popular search engines, such as Google, use to rank websites. Web content writers used to employ tactics like keyword stuffing (trying to achieve a certain density of keywords in the article, measured as a percentage of overall content) to improve their ranking.

However, search engines quickly caught on to that tactic and others that were designed not to provide valuable information to website visitors, but to trick search engines into giving a higher page rank to undeserving websites.

Search engines are trying to provide more relevant information to online visitors. Take the new Microsoft search engine, Bing, as an example. It has been described by Microsoft as a “decision engine,” designed to help users make better decisions based on better information. They take into consideration how well the page content matches what the user is looking for, as well as how relevant the website is, measured by the number of links from other websites.

E-commerce businesses can use search engine optimized articles, blogs, newsletters and more to become established as the authority in their field. E-commerce websites must also be carefully designed for maximum usability and accessibility.

How to Write Search Engine Optimized Content

Rather than focusing on five to ten keywords, use a variety of keywords in key phrases. Don’t worry about how often specific words appear throughout the website. Instead, focus on making sure all content is relevant to the topic, and that article titles, page introductions, subheadings, and image or video captions contain words and phrases readers will use to find information on the topic.

Search engines are literal; they cannot tell what the writer wanted to say, or perhaps meant to say. The best way to get hits from people searching for information on any given topic is to ensure that the website content uses relevant keywords and phrases throughout. Instead of striving to be ranked first when people search for a few select keywords, e-commerce businesses should focus on appearing in search results for any query on the subject.

How to Earn Your Online MBA

Getting back into school to earn your MBA when you have kids and a full-time job is no easy feat. Read on to discover how to earn your MBA online.

A Master of Business Administration, or MBA, is a degree geared toward people in the field of business who are seeking credentials to advance their career. Many people with the desire to go back to school in order to earn their MBA are mid-career, and more often than not, they have families and obligations that prevent them from returning to school full-time. In light of this dilemma, online universities have emerged and are bridging the gap to provide the opportunity for these professionals to go back to school without compromising their workload.

What is an online MBA program like?

The MBA program generally lasts two years or four semesters. However, you can complete the degree in as little as 18 months by taking a full course load. Online MBA programs typically introduce students with many different subjects in the field of business during their first year, and students generally choose a concentration in one of these areas during their second year of the program. These subjects may include – but are not limited to – finance, international business studies, marketing, organizational management, accounting, and economics.

Is my online MBA program legitimate?

To make sure potential employers will take your MBA seriously after you graduate, it is best to check out the accreditation status of your online university to make sure you are enrolled in an accredited online MBA program. If the online university is accredited, make sure to check what entity has issued the accreditation.

The oldest and most highly regarded accrediting body is the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). If the online university you choose is not accredited by the AACSB, your best bet is to look for a school accredited by the regional board and is approved by a federal government.

According to Vicky Phillips, CEO of GetEducated.com, “There is no federal requirement that a school is accredited by an agency approved by the U.S. or a state government… It’s a very easy scam to perpetrate a fake college.” GetEducated.com also has a database on its website called the Diploma Mill Police, a feature that lists hundreds of illegitimate online colleges posing as the real thing.

What can I do with my MBA once I graduate?

Once you earn your online MBA, your job prospects and earning potential is exponentially greater. For instance, the finance courses in an MBA program are a great way to get top jobs in financial planning and strategy firms. The marketing skills learned while earning your MBA degree will enable you to go for a position as high as a product manager responsible for company marketing. Government agencies are changing their rules and increasingly on the lookout for people with MBA degrees for managerial positions in bureaucratic agencies

Tips for Creating a Job Resume That Will Impress Employers

In today’s economy, an impressive résumé is more important than ever and will greatly increase a job applicant’s likelihood of being offered employment.

When job-hunting, people normally submit résumés to prospective employers; but in today’s competitive job market, employers might receive hundreds of applications for the same position, especially if that position is highly desirable. There are, however, steps that applicants can take to ensure that their résumés will stand out from the rest and increase their chances of not only being invited for an interview but also being offered a job.

The Purpose and Importance of Having a Good Job Résumé

A résumé is an applicant’s introduction to a prospective employer, and as is the case with face-to-face introductions, this one will most assuredly make an immediate impression, one that can be either positive or negative. Therefore, in addition to providing an applicant’s name and contact information, a résumé should provide an overview of the applicant’s background and qualifications for the position for which he or she is applying; but do so with professionalism, correctness, and propriety.

Given the number of individuals who apply for the same position, any résumé that is poorly written, sloppy, and/or incomplete is usually immediately tossed into the nearest wastebasket or else consigned to the nearest paper shredder (Zimmer & Camp). So, with this in mind, if applicants would like to ensure that their résumés aren’t among those that are deemed unworthy, they will make every possible effort to create a résumé that is free of errors, neat, and complete.

The Correct Length for a Job Resume

Although some job seekers might think that longer is better when it comes to their résumés, unless an applicant possesses extensive job-related experience, just the opposite is true. In fact, ideally, a résumé should consist of only one page. That one page, however, provides prospective employers with all they need to know, at least for the time being, about an applicant while making them curious to learn more.

There are exceptions, though, depending upon the type of position for which someone is applying, so there is no one-size-fits-all pattern for résumés. Then again, according to Jane Wyrick, author of Steps to Writing Well, “There is one guiding principle,” which is that applicants need to select and arrange information in the way that most effectively highlights their strengths to prospective employers (p. 470).

How to Prepare a Job Résumé That Will Make a Good Impression

According to Dr. Kenneth Zimmer, Professor Emeritus at California State University’s School of Business and Economics, some people erroneously believe that preparing a résumé is easy; however, it isn’t easy, not if it’s done correctly. In fact, the process can be quite time-consuming, but if prepared correctly, a résumé is the “foot-in-the-door” that can ultimately result in a job offer.

A well-prepared résumé should be prepared on good quality paper (white, cream, light gray, or light blue, not some garish color), formatted in an easy to read font, arranged attractively on the page, and printed in black or dark blue ink. Moreover, the titles of the various sections should be in bold font.

How to Format a Job Résumé Correctly

The résumé sections include the following and in the order presented:

  1. Heading: Provide name, address, phone number (work and personal), and e-mail address.
  2. Career Objective: State the employment goal. This section, though, is not necessary if one has stated the career objective in the cover letter; yet, if included, it should be more specific for an advertised position than if the résumé is being sent to numerous companies.
  3. Education: List most recent education first, including degree earned, college or university, and major. If not yet a graduate but working toward a degree, state the degree title, anticipated date of graduation, and college or university, for example, Bachelor of Arts in English to be awarded June 2011, from the University of Georgia.
  4. Work Experience: List current or most recent experience first, working backward and including dates of employment and job responsibilities. (If one has had numerous previous jobs, one might title this section “Related Experience” or “Selected Experience,” which lets the employer know that the list does not include an entire employment history (Zimmer & Camp).
  5. Professional Skills: State any relevant skills one has to offer the company, for example, technical knowledge, language expertise, or special training, etc.
  6. Activities: List awards, scholarships, honors, and prizes that show recognition for performances and/or achievements. Do not, however, list things that are irrelevant, since doing so will “trivialize” this section; of course, neither should one undersell oneself. (Wyrick)
  7. References: Provide the names of people a prospective employer can contact for information. However, one can simply state, “References will be supplied upon request,” because, in most cases, applicants are not asked for references until the interview process; yet while preparing the résumé, one should also prepare the reference list as a “companion document,” using the same type paper and font style so the list will be ready (Zimmer & Camp).

In summary, a résumé, though normally short and concise, speaks volumes about a job applicant, not only through the information it provides but also through the professionalism demonstrated in its preparation.

How to Create a Professional Online Profile on a Networking Site

Newly self-employed can use social and business networking sites to find potential contacts. A well written online profile is key to attracting new custom.

On both business and personal networking sites (such as LinkedIn and Facebook), the user profile is the first thing any potential new contacts will read. Therefore, it has to be engaging and give them a reason to link in.

The following tips for creating an engaging business online profile will help any new entrepreneur draw the right type of attention to themselves and their business.

Language in a Professional Online Profile

Researching other user profiles, learning what others are doing and then imitating the best is well worth the time. However, the language of an online profile should be adjusted to the type of the networking site and to the target readers so it does not look out of place.

Jokes should be avoided on a serious business networking site such as LinkedIn. Wordiness and self-importance will look out of place on a personal networking site like Facebook, and it’s questionable whether they should be reserved for a business-focused site either. Offensive language is a complete no-no on any site.

In terms of the content itself, the best approach is to make the introduction to the readers as succinctly and clearly as possible, ideally in just two short sentences. Bold text and italics should be used strategically and sparingly.

Boring business profiles are abundant in cyberspace and they are instantly off-putting. Words are wasted on lengthy dissections of industry, detailed company history, minute details of products or services. These should or could be mentioned but only in passing. The readers want to be able to scan the profile and pick out critical information easily.

Personality in a Business Online Profile

Even on more serious networking sites such as LinkedIn, it should not be all about work. The readers will want to know about the person behind the profile, rather than how they make money. If shared, interests and hobbies can open doors. But it’s important to balance work and personal information, bearing in mind the target audience.

Photographs are more immediate than words in terms of making connections, but a picture must be right for the site and the target audience. On a business focused site such as LinkedIn, a good-quality, a business-like image of the entrepreneur should be used. On Facebook, almost anything goes, including holiday snaps and pets. But there is a fine line between letting some personality through and embarrassment.

Branding in a Professional Online Profile

People will want to know how credible the entrepreneur is and what their aspirations are when deciding whether to connect with them. Therefore, at least one professional achievement and one professional goal should be incorporated into a professional online profile to convey credibility.

Most networking sites allow changing colors or adding background images. Company colors or other attention-grabbing devices can be used to reinforce the connection to the business. Business logos are important but the aim should be to get the readers to connect with the person behind the business first and only then with the business itself. It is best to simply include a link to the company website instead.

An online profile should never be used to sell to the readers. They will leave immediately if they detect an agenda and there are other channels that can be used within every networking site to make offers or to promote the product or service. The aim of the online profile is to give people a reason to connect with the entrepreneur, rather than with their business.

Finally, it’s important to refresh the online profile regularly, with new or updated goals, success stories or even requests for help. If readers can see that the profile has been active recently, they will be more inclined to connect with the person behind.

Working with a Career Coach

Getting Maximum Benefit from the Coaching Experience

Make informed choices when deciding to work with a career coach so you can maximize the benefits and walk away with positive results that can last a lifetime.

The ultimate goal of career coaching is to help you evaluate and direct your goals, including providing insight into skills, work style, enhance your ability to overcome barriers and assist in translating your skills and experience into accomplishments that matter. You are embedded in a web of perceptions about yourself, your abilities and effectiveness.

How Coaching Can Help You Gain Insight

The essential tool for increasing self-awareness is feedback. Feedback can reveal your underlying style, beliefs patterns, preferences, and wants and needs. Feedback is also important to keep you on track with your goals. Most people’s self-esteem and sense of success are tied to satisfying others’ expectations. When this happens you often lose touch with what you value and want for yourself.

A coach can provide this type of honest and objective feedback assisting you in effectively articulating what you are looking for in your work life. This process then leads to identifying your niche and clarifying what makes you attractive to potential employers

How Coaching Can Clarify Your Goals

Identifying your goals means to reflect on what drives your decisions and actions. A coach can help you uncover your true passions and translate them into career goals. True reflection, however, requires you to make time for this process and for you be willing to put in the work and effort.

A coach can not tell you what to do but he or she can guide you to discover the path you are longing to be on by asking the right questions and providing you with the right tools and resources. Each person is different and each circumstance is unique, a good coach recognizes this and will tailor his or her approach accordingly.

How Coaching Can Help You Identify and Overcome Barriers

It is important to discuss roadblocks and challenges with your coach when you experience them. A coach can work with you to understand the issues and develop strategies for avoiding them in the future. Through effective coaching, you learn to internalize the ability to adapt and grow continuously by stepping back, identify your interests and choose actions that align with those interests, your values, and goals.

If career coaching is to have a positive impact, your active participation is essential and must be voluntary. Be open to accept feedback and be willing to test and revise your assumptions about your development needs. Lastly, be clear and realistic about your goals and set attainable timelines to achieve your goals

Negotiation Training

Sales Training and Executive Coaching Strategies

With proper negotiation training, a salesperson can double their sales numbers and learn how to most effectively communicate with others.

Learning proper negotiation techniques helps people properly mediate conflicts, reach compromises that are acceptable to all participating parties, and develop their own unique means of communication with others. It is important for people in all walks of life to have negotiation training; regardless of whether someone works as a salesperson or as a police officer, there will be some necessity for forms of conflict management and resolution in their line of work.

People are social animals, and with social relations comes the need for compromise and interpersonal conflict management. Negotiation training enables people to bring out their latent communication skills to facilitate the easiest possible relations between coworkers, prospective buyers, and other people.

What is Negotiation?

The simplest way to define negotiation is to say that it is the art of settling disputes or disagreements between two or more parties. When there is a problem between two people, or when two people have different goals or results in mind, a negotiation helps to ensure that a compromise can be reached that is acceptable to both parties. However, simple as the art of negotiation may sound, it is actually important to understand that problems are often reached during the negotiation process due to a lack of communication between parties.

There is a certain amount of giving and take that is necessary in order to resolve disputes, and negotiation training teaches workers the skills to coordinate different aims and reach appropriate compromises.

What is Negotiation Training?

Seminars and training programs come in a variety of forms. Some companies choose to hire outside trainers who come in to conduct seminars with their employees, while other groups have decided that the most effective means of negotiation training is to offer in house negotiation training with their own curriculum in order to make sure that those who go through the course are receiving a form of training that is specifically tailored to address the specific needs of the companies that are shelling out the money to pay for the negotiation seminars in the first place.

During the actual classes, teachers and instructors will go over the basics of the principles of negotiation, highlighting the necessity for compromise, and the importance of an eventual agreement between the two disparate parties.

Negotiation courses are offered through an organization such as Karass and Watershed Associates.

Where to Find Negotiation Training

When people are interested in getting negotiation training they have several options. If the person is employed, he or she should check with their boss or their human resources coordinator to see whether their company offers a form of negotiation training or gives their own negotiation training seminars. If they cannot get negotiation certified through their company, he or she may wish to see if they can find an independent form of negotiation training and have it paid for through their company.

All About Negotiation

The skills of negotiation will allow people to achieve greater success in interpersonal communications in all parts of their lives. Negotiation training can be found through organized seminars and negotiation courses, and employees may be able to access these privately or through their jobs.

Networking for Business and Social Success

Connecting and Exchanging Information as a Form of Advertising

Networking is a forum where people connect and exchange information for business or social purposes. Success depends on the person’s people and interactive skills.

Networking is an art and one of the best skills that a person can have for success in both business and social situations. There are events specifically designed for networking purposes. However, networking can happen at any event. Following some basic rules can lead to successful contacts. However, it should be remembered that it is not the number of contacts but the quality of the trust built up with the contacts that pay dividends.

Networking Events and Functions

First impressions are very important and dressing to suit the occasion or event is essential when meeting new people. If it is a purely business event then the clothing should project a professional image. It is not appropriate to be casually dressed even if it is an “after hours” function.

Apart from events or functions especially organized for networking, most other functions are networking opportunities. Attending as many events or functions as possible not only gives the opportunity to meet more and more new people it also helps to develop the necessary self-confidence and networking skills. Also meeting people more than once helps to be remembered.

Networking Tools

When attending any function or event, taking along a good supply of business cards is a must. The business card must be professional and have all the relevant information pertaining to the company and contact details.

If it is a business networking event, then it is also appropriate to take along brochures or flyers about the company, service or product that is being promoted. Most business networking events also provide a “promotional table” where participants can display relevant literature.

Enhancing and Developing Communication and Listening Skills

Communication is the key to networking. Speaking to as many people as possible is what networking is all about. Being able to introduce oneself and converse on many topics or subjects makes it easier to interact with different people. Inviting people to join in the conversation and introducing others to a group will also help to develop rapport.

Most people love to talk and a good listener can glean a lot of information that can be useful for business in the future. Being able to ask open-ended questions and listening to the responses is a valuable tool. After listening to what people are saying it may be possible to link it to one’s business. This gives the opportunity to tell the contacts about the product or service that is being offered by the company.

Post-Networking Action Plan

Attending and meeting a number of people at a function should be followed by some planned follow-up to keep the relationship. Some simple ways would be:

  • a phone call,
  • a “nice to meet you” card,
  • sending some information that the recipient might find useful.

It would also be helpful to keep a diary of the people and relevant information as a memory jogger. When meeting someone, referring to a previous meeting helps establish instant rapport.

Since networking is now a very common business practice, learning and mastering the various elements necessary for making and keeping successful contacts will be invaluable professionally and socially.