The Complete Idiot's Guide

Growing Your Business With Google
By Dave Taylor

"Inside The Book" Category Archives

Foreword, by Guy Kawasaki

One of Steve Jobs�s most quotable lines is, �There must be a better way.� He was, of course, referring to a better way of interacting with a personal computer.

Steve�s line is applicable time and again to the game-changing impact of Google:

• There must be a better way to advertise my goods and services.
• There must be a better way search for information.
• There must be a better way to use the Internet as a marketing weapon.
• There must be a better way to use Google to grow my business.

This book explains these better ways, and it does this in such an insanely great manner that I felt compelled to get off my complacent butt and write this foreword for Dave.

This book is not a simple compilation of tips and tricks. Instead, it provides two of the most important things you can get from a book:

• A conceptual framework that shows you how to holistically approach, analyze, and alter your business to increase sales. Call this �doing the right thing.�

• A down-and-dirty tactical approach to optimizing a dozen little things in your business and on your web site that differentiates you from your competition. Call this �doing it the right way.�

I disagree with only one aspect of the book: the title. The Complete Idiot�s Guide� is totally inaccurate because the idiot is the person who doesn�t read this book, not the one who does.

Guy Kawasaki
Managing director, Garage Technology Ventures
Author of The Art of the Start

Introduction to the Book

When you started to think about moving your business online, even if just as a digital billboard advertising your retail outlet or professional service, you were doubtless inundated with expert advice. Your site was likely built by one of these ostensible experts and today serves as a lonely outpost, producing the occasional customer.

Here's the unfortunate reality: Odds are very good that your web designer has led you astray. Not through any fault of their own, but because web designers and developers have a bad habit of being focused on how things look rather than how things actually work.

Worrying about pretty graphics was a fine strategy a few years ago, but as Google and other sophisticated search engines have grown in importance, the need for websites that are built around content, about what rather than how, has become critical. In a nutshell, your business website needs to be focused on what you're selling.

Increasing Your Business Visibility (chapter 1)

In This Chapter

• Why visibility is critically important
• How to identify the essence of your business
• How to gauge your current Internet strategy

As recently as a decade ago it was an unusual business that was accessible to customers online. Maybe if you were running a computer repair business or sold high-end HAM radio gear, but mostly there was the business world and the quite separate online world. Indeed, most of the online world was still corralled in tightly controlled and managed content offered by a few large companies like America Online, Compuserve, and the Microsoft Network.

The Benefits of Increasing Your Visibility (Chapter 2)

In This Chapter
• The critical difference between traffic and customers
• How to build buzz
• How to maximize your PR and marketing dollars

If you spend any time around Internet aficionados, you've probably heard again and again why having a website is cool, but "cool" doesn't easily translate into the bottom line. Often missing from books on the subject is an explanation of why it's a good idea for your business to be online.

Let me relate the story of a current client and her web woes. She has a successful conference business and seeks to supplement her income by selling recordings from the conferences. She'd hired a web developer to build a site and while it offered some rudimentary information on the conferences and a conference registration form, it wasn't helping her business. Worse, because of how the site had been designed, you could search for her conferences in Google and never find them, which meant that potential conference attendees weren't able to find out about the event and register.

What Is Google Anyway? (Chapter 3)

In This Chapter

• The many different sides of Google
• Paying for ads with Google AdWords
• Being paid to include ads on your site through Google AdSense
• How weblogs help you update your site frequently
• Froogle and catalog shopping with Google

With so many search engines on the web, why am I so obsessed with Google? There's MSN Search, Yahoo!, Alta Vista, and hundreds -- if not thousands -- of other search engines, all of which offer various capabilities and can help your business garner traffic and customers. So why be so intimately tied to Google?

Learning about Google Search (Chapter 4)

In This Chapter

• The secret world of Google search
• PageRank and why you need to care
• How your customers find you
• Advanced Google search techniques
• The surprising importance of word order

To compete effectively you need to know how your customers think, who your competitors are, and how they are courting and servicing those customers. Expanding into new business areas requires the same research, so it's no surprise that successful businesses spend millions of dollars on research and competitive intelligence.

Disassembling the Google Search Engine (Chapter 5)

In This Chapter

• Why you need to care how Google works
• The importance of PageRank
• Why you want spiders visiting your site
• Understanding relevance scoring
• Google versus Yahoo! Search and MSN Search

The previous chapters include many examples of Google searches that produce thousands or even millions of matches, but the question of how Google figures out which matches are relevant hasn't been addressed. There are actually two topics here, because Google uses a formula they call PageRank to calculate the relative importance of a site -- and the pages within the site -- to the overall web, and uses a different calculation that I call a Relevance Score to calculate the relevance of a page to a given search.

What's Your Core Business? (Chapter 6)

In This Chapter

• The importance of focus
• Differentiators and sustainable differentiators
• Surveying the competitive landscape
• Setting viable growth goals

To grow a business, it's critical to understand not only the business sector, but the strengths and weaknesses of the individual business. Whether you offer a service or product line, failure to grasp the core of your business inevitably leads to wasted development effort, ineffective marketing campaigns, an off-target web presence, and, ultimately, dissatisfied customers.

Living in an Online World (Chapter 7)

In This Chapter

• How the domain name system works
• Internet-friendly business names and slogans
• Search terms and keywords
• Domain names and how to get them

In the physical world, location is everything, whether you're opening a restaurant, bookstore, or auto shop. Translating the importance of location into the online world is a bit more tricky, because on the World Wide Web, every website, from the most elaborate to the most humble, is just a few mouse clicks away.

Your Business Website (Chapter 8)

In This Chapter

• The state of your existing site
• What content to include
• How often to update your information
• The value of multiple websites

Curb appeal is a new term that real estate sales people use to describe how a property appears from the street. Nothing about what it's like inside, nothing about whether the layout and configuration would match the needs of a prospective buyer, just how the property looks upon first glance.

Assessing Your Competitors (Chapter 9)

In This Chapter

• Identifying competitors
• Tracking new competitors
• Watching job listings
• Participating in discussion boards

Every business has competitors. That's a fact of business. What the web makes much easier is finding those competitors and analyzing how they're doing business, what successful strategies they're using, and how to leverage that knowledge to improve your own website and online presence.

Keeping Track of Customers (Chapter 10)

In This Chapter

• Understanding customers
• Knowing how customers look for you
• Finding out where customers are talking about you

One essential element of a modern business is to proactively learn about your customers by becoming a customer of your own business. You probably think you already know all there is to know about your customer, but think about this conundrum: how can you learn more about the potential customer that never opts to purchase your product or service?

The Basics of Building A Good Business Site (Chapter 11)

In This Chapter

• The key elements of a good website
• The importance of having a search engine-friendly site
• The do's and don'ts for online businesses
• Five tips for creating a better online presence

Looking at other websites and analyzing their design, identifying what on a site is likely to appeal to customers and what you don't like about the site, is easy. What's difficult is making your own site and being happy with the end results.

Developing Online and Offline Content (Chapter 12)

In This Chapter

• Tying your collateral and your website together
• Answer customer questions on your site
• What other content do you have?
• How can you serve your customers better?

Whether you work out of your house or have a storefront in the local mall, there's more to your business than a website. If you have a retail store or office, it's quite possible that the majority of your customers come from the physical world rather than the online world. That means all those online customers who are seeking your product or service haven't yet found you.

Stretching Your Marketing Dollars (Chapter 13)

In This Chapter

• Product-based websites
• Press material as additional content
• Newsletters and customer communications
• Sponsoring other newsletters and sites

If you have a marketing person on staff or work with a marketing agency, you�ve already learned that most marketers have a simple formula that looks like this: spending = results. The more you spend on your marketing efforts, from Superbowl ads to full-page solicitations in the Wall Street Journal, the more success you�ll have in attaining the desired sales goals.

Secrets of the Online Marketing Masters (Chapter 14)

In This Chapter

• Search engine-friendly page design
• The importance of page titles
• Improving your keyword density
• Naming links and pages effectively
• The pitfalls of link exchanges

When you need your car repaired, you don't pull out a spanner and overalls, and when your sink is backing up, your tool of choice is probably the telephone. In the same way, savvy businesspeople know that staying focused on their business is what produces success in the long term. When it comes time to building a website, it's time to hire someone who knows what they're doing.

Content, Content, Content! (Chapter 15)

In This Chapter

• Update Your Site Frequently
• Should you add a discussion forum?
• Considering games and surveys
• Finding additional content for your site
• Weblogs as content management systems

With billions of pages in its index, Google can't refine its relevance formula on a daily basis. Instead, every few months Google does what insiders call a Google dance, where it adjusts how relevance scores are calculated and essentially modifies the results list for every search on the site.

Becoming a More Popular Site (Chapter 16)

In this Chapter

• When to submit your site to search engines
• Search engines for weblogs: blog indices
• How to request inbound links
• Creating your own mini-stores

All of the website design and promotional techniques discussed to this point have been fairly insular, focused on how to tune your site for best results. The Zen of Growing Your Business, if you will.

Becoming an Online Expert (Chapter 17)

In This Chapter

• Learning to give information away
• How to be popular on mailing lists
• Learning from discussion boards
• The scoop on weblogs and weblog comments
• Figuring out what�s happening in Usenet groups

Instant messaging, "IM" for short, is a simple technology that lets you directly communicate with someone else on the Internet. Chatting happens by sending lines of text back and forth, so it hasn't taken long for shortcuts and cryptic acronyms to invade the world of IM. The most important of these for our purposes is TANSTAAFL, which stands for "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch."

Advertising Your Business with Google AdWords (Chapter 18)

In This Chapter

• Taking a closer look at AdWords
• Identifying great keywords
• Monitoring your campaign
• Writing ad copy that sells

The popularity of Google as a search engine has changed the entire advertising model on the web. Banners, pop-ups, and interstitials (ads shown between pages) are passe[as], bother viewers, produce poor results, and often cost much more than they're worth.

Making Money with Google AdSense (Chapter 19)

In This Chapter

• Taking a closer look at AdSense
• Where to incorporate AdSense on your site
• How to block ads from competitors
• Some additional thoughts about AdSense

Most of my recommendations for growing your business have involved spending money or time with the intent of driving new customers to your site and closing the sale. This is a traditional method of generating revenue and expanding a business, of course, but there's another way to attain your target revenue.

The Advantages of Affiliate Programs (Chapter 20)

In This Chapter

• Understanding affiliate programs
• What makes a good affiliate terms of service agreement
• Knowing what to cover in an affiliate application
• Adding affiliate products or services to your site

Would you pay a commission to someone who helps sell your product or service? Do you offer customers a merchandise credit or discount on their next bill if they refer new customers? If so, then you already have an affiliate program, and extending it into the online world is a logical next step. If you don't have an affiliate program then now is an excellent time to consider whether it would be profitable to create an extended sales force.

Avoiding Dumb Online Promotional Mistakes (Chapter 21)

In This Chapter

• How to recognize bad SEO consultants
• The optimization techniques you should avoid
• The optimization tools you should avoid
• The smart alternative to tricking the system

The difference between being the first and 12,503rd match for key search queries in your business segment can be significant for your business and revenue stream. It's no surprise that an entire industry has cropped up to try and trick the system, to improve your search ranking, and help you garner more traffic through any means possible.

Growing and Expanding Your Content (Chapter 22)

In This Chapter

• Copyright law and fighting content thieves
• Acquiring content for your site
• Syndicating your own content
• Publishing your own email newsletter
• Establishing content-based stores

Content should be the cornerstone of your website, but you don't have to create it all yourself. There's more than one way to identify and acquire quality articles, columns, Q&A, and other material. This chapter explores different ways to find content for your site, and also consider different ways that you can leverage your own unique content on other websites in a mutually beneficial manner.

The Future of Findability (Chapter 23)

In This Chapter

• Content matters
• The benefits of organic linking
• The future of Google

The history of technology has shown time and again that no one company can retain its monopoly hold on the industry. A cursory glance at the rise and fall of the Netscape Navigator browser, Yahoo! hierarchal website directory, VisiCalc, and Lotus 1-2-3 reveals that companies come and go with the whims and ever-changing needs of the user community.




Growing Your Business with Google
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Inside The Book
Reviews and Testimonials
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Archives by Category
Blogging News
Foreword, by Guy Kawasaki
Introduction to the Book
Increasing Your Business Visibility (chapter 1)
The Benefits of Increasing Your Visibility (Chapter 2)
What Is Google Anyway? (Chapter 3)
Learning about Google Search (Chapter 4)
Disassembling the Google Search Engine (Chapter 5)
What's Your Core Business? (Chapter 6)
Living in an Online World (Chapter 7)
Your Business Website (Chapter 8)
Assessing Your Competitors (Chapter 9)
Keeping Track of Customers (Chapter 10)
The Basics of Building A Good Business Site (Chapter 11)
Developing Online and Offline Content (Chapter 12)
Stretching Your Marketing Dollars (Chapter 13)
Secrets of the Online Marketing Masters (Chapter 14)
Content, Content, Content! (Chapter 15)
Becoming a More Popular Site (Chapter 16)
Becoming an Online Expert (Chapter 17)
Advertising Your Business with Google AdWords (Chapter 18)
Making Money with Google AdSense (Chapter 19)
The Advantages of Affiliate Programs (Chapter 20)
Avoiding Dumb Online Promotional Mistakes (Chapter 21)
Growing and Expanding Your Content (Chapter 22)
The Future of Findability (Chapter 23)

Google Q&A
Foreword, by Guy Kawasaki
Introduction to the Book
Increasing Your Business Visibility (chapter 1)
The Benefits of Increasing Your Visibility (Chapter 2)
What Is Google Anyway? (Chapter 3)
Learning about Google Search (Chapter 4)
Disassembling the Google Search Engine (Chapter 5)
What's Your Core Business? (Chapter 6)
Living in an Online World (Chapter 7)
Your Business Website (Chapter 8)
Assessing Your Competitors (Chapter 9)
Keeping Track of Customers (Chapter 10)
The Basics of Building A Good Business Site (Chapter 11)
Developing Online and Offline Content (Chapter 12)
Stretching Your Marketing Dollars (Chapter 13)
Secrets of the Online Marketing Masters (Chapter 14)
Content, Content, Content! (Chapter 15)
Becoming a More Popular Site (Chapter 16)
Becoming an Online Expert (Chapter 17)
Advertising Your Business with Google AdWords (Chapter 18)
Making Money with Google AdSense (Chapter 19)
The Advantages of Affiliate Programs (Chapter 20)
Avoiding Dumb Online Promotional Mistakes (Chapter 21)
Growing and Expanding Your Content (Chapter 22)
The Future of Findability (Chapter 23)

Growing Your Business
Foreword, by Guy Kawasaki
Introduction to the Book
Increasing Your Business Visibility (chapter 1)
The Benefits of Increasing Your Visibility (Chapter 2)
What Is Google Anyway? (Chapter 3)
Learning about Google Search (Chapter 4)
Disassembling the Google Search Engine (Chapter 5)
What's Your Core Business? (Chapter 6)
Living in an Online World (Chapter 7)
Your Business Website (Chapter 8)
Assessing Your Competitors (Chapter 9)
Keeping Track of Customers (Chapter 10)
The Basics of Building A Good Business Site (Chapter 11)
Developing Online and Offline Content (Chapter 12)
Stretching Your Marketing Dollars (Chapter 13)
Secrets of the Online Marketing Masters (Chapter 14)
Content, Content, Content! (Chapter 15)
Becoming a More Popular Site (Chapter 16)
Becoming an Online Expert (Chapter 17)
Advertising Your Business with Google AdWords (Chapter 18)
Making Money with Google AdSense (Chapter 19)
The Advantages of Affiliate Programs (Chapter 20)
Avoiding Dumb Online Promotional Mistakes (Chapter 21)
Growing and Expanding Your Content (Chapter 22)
The Future of Findability (Chapter 23)

Inside The Book
Foreword, by Guy Kawasaki
Introduction to the Book
Increasing Your Business Visibility (chapter 1)
The Benefits of Increasing Your Visibility (Chapter 2)
What Is Google Anyway? (Chapter 3)
Learning about Google Search (Chapter 4)
Disassembling the Google Search Engine (Chapter 5)
What's Your Core Business? (Chapter 6)
Living in an Online World (Chapter 7)
Your Business Website (Chapter 8)
Assessing Your Competitors (Chapter 9)
Keeping Track of Customers (Chapter 10)
The Basics of Building A Good Business Site (Chapter 11)
Developing Online and Offline Content (Chapter 12)
Stretching Your Marketing Dollars (Chapter 13)
Secrets of the Online Marketing Masters (Chapter 14)
Content, Content, Content! (Chapter 15)
Becoming a More Popular Site (Chapter 16)
Becoming an Online Expert (Chapter 17)
Advertising Your Business with Google AdWords (Chapter 18)
Making Money with Google AdSense (Chapter 19)
The Advantages of Affiliate Programs (Chapter 20)
Avoiding Dumb Online Promotional Mistakes (Chapter 21)
Growing and Expanding Your Content (Chapter 22)
The Future of Findability (Chapter 23)

Reviews and Testimonials
Foreword, by Guy Kawasaki
Introduction to the Book
Increasing Your Business Visibility (chapter 1)
The Benefits of Increasing Your Visibility (Chapter 2)
What Is Google Anyway? (Chapter 3)
Learning about Google Search (Chapter 4)
Disassembling the Google Search Engine (Chapter 5)
What's Your Core Business? (Chapter 6)
Living in an Online World (Chapter 7)
Your Business Website (Chapter 8)
Assessing Your Competitors (Chapter 9)
Keeping Track of Customers (Chapter 10)
The Basics of Building A Good Business Site (Chapter 11)
Developing Online and Offline Content (Chapter 12)
Stretching Your Marketing Dollars (Chapter 13)
Secrets of the Online Marketing Masters (Chapter 14)
Content, Content, Content! (Chapter 15)
Becoming a More Popular Site (Chapter 16)
Becoming an Online Expert (Chapter 17)
Advertising Your Business with Google AdWords (Chapter 18)
Making Money with Google AdSense (Chapter 19)
The Advantages of Affiliate Programs (Chapter 20)
Avoiding Dumb Online Promotional Mistakes (Chapter 21)
Growing and Expanding Your Content (Chapter 22)
The Future of Findability (Chapter 23)

Search Engine News
Foreword, by Guy Kawasaki
Introduction to the Book
Increasing Your Business Visibility (chapter 1)
The Benefits of Increasing Your Visibility (Chapter 2)
What Is Google Anyway? (Chapter 3)
Learning about Google Search (Chapter 4)
Disassembling the Google Search Engine (Chapter 5)
What's Your Core Business? (Chapter 6)
Living in an Online World (Chapter 7)
Your Business Website (Chapter 8)
Assessing Your Competitors (Chapter 9)
Keeping Track of Customers (Chapter 10)
The Basics of Building A Good Business Site (Chapter 11)
Developing Online and Offline Content (Chapter 12)
Stretching Your Marketing Dollars (Chapter 13)
Secrets of the Online Marketing Masters (Chapter 14)
Content, Content, Content! (Chapter 15)
Becoming a More Popular Site (Chapter 16)
Becoming an Online Expert (Chapter 17)
Advertising Your Business with Google AdWords (Chapter 18)
Making Money with Google AdSense (Chapter 19)
The Advantages of Affiliate Programs (Chapter 20)
Avoiding Dumb Online Promotional Mistakes (Chapter 21)
Growing and Expanding Your Content (Chapter 22)
The Future of Findability (Chapter 23)

Updates for Readers
Foreword, by Guy Kawasaki
Introduction to the Book
Increasing Your Business Visibility (chapter 1)
The Benefits of Increasing Your Visibility (Chapter 2)
What Is Google Anyway? (Chapter 3)
Learning about Google Search (Chapter 4)
Disassembling the Google Search Engine (Chapter 5)
What's Your Core Business? (Chapter 6)
Living in an Online World (Chapter 7)
Your Business Website (Chapter 8)
Assessing Your Competitors (Chapter 9)
Keeping Track of Customers (Chapter 10)
The Basics of Building A Good Business Site (Chapter 11)
Developing Online and Offline Content (Chapter 12)
Stretching Your Marketing Dollars (Chapter 13)
Secrets of the Online Marketing Masters (Chapter 14)
Content, Content, Content! (Chapter 15)
Becoming a More Popular Site (Chapter 16)
Becoming an Online Expert (Chapter 17)
Advertising Your Business with Google AdWords (Chapter 18)
Making Money with Google AdSense (Chapter 19)
The Advantages of Affiliate Programs (Chapter 20)
Avoiding Dumb Online Promotional Mistakes (Chapter 21)
Growing and Expanding Your Content (Chapter 22)
The Future of Findability (Chapter 23)

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