keywords internet marketing

Keyword Research Training Workshop in Denver

Keywords are still vital to the success of just about any online or “digital” marketing campaign.keywords internet marketing

If you don’t know how people are searching for your products or services, your online marketing could be on heading in the wrong direction. Keywords are used in front-end and back-end website content, Adwords, social media, blog writing, off-site content distribution and even programmatic. Before you start any digital marketing campaign you need to know your best target keywords, and it is something you need to research at least quarterly to make adjustments and make sure you stay on the right path.

Learn from industry expert Dan Stratford in his upcoming keyword research workshop at The Commons on Champa. You can learn more about the training and RSVP on our Meetup page: Digital Marketing Workshops

SEO is More Than Just Keywords and Technical SEO

what-is-seoRegarding our “Digital Marketing Setup and Strategy Service”:

I received two excellent questions today about our Setup and Strategy Service:

  • What do we mean by site optimization?
  • What do we mean by “messaging”?

These are basic, but the best questions are often basic. In addition, many people mean different things by “messaging” I am going to try to answer as concisely as I can, and you can download the PowerPoint (in PDF form) we use to describe our Setup and Strategy Services here: Digital Marketing Setup and Strategy Services and Presentation

First of all, I have been optimizing websites for nearly 20 years (19 years as of September, 2016), and me and my team spend over $20,000/month on research and development where we constantly test the Google Algorithm ourselves rather than relying on articles and publications in the industry. We would consider that equivalent to buying information “retail” rather than “wholesale” or “manufacturing it ourselves” (to put it into analogous terms).

In my experience, 99% of the websites built are not built with holistic SEO in mind. Many web designers and web developers “say” they do SEO, and many of them do some of the basics well, but since it is not their expertise they are lucky if they would get a “B” when the site is graded from every SEO perspective.

It is also important to note that SEO is no longer separate from “user experience”, because if your website falls short in any of these categories it has a negative impact on your rankings.

What is Messaging?

(You can find our messaging worksheets on our digital marketing resources page)

Messaging helps ensure that all of the content and marketing strategies for your business target your ideal clients and increase conversions by driving interactions and engagement with your ideal target audience. Along with branding it is the foundation of every business from a marketing perspective, and it has implications on all aspects of your business including sales and operations. Large organizations spend tens of thousands of dollars and dozens of hours on messaging to ensure they are doing their best to find, engage and attract their best clients.

Our Messaging Methodology

We have a system we have used for over 5 years that is cost-effective for small businesses and accomplishes just about everything they need to accomplish from a messaging perspective that they can use online and in other media such as print, tv and radio. Additional messaging tools you could do that would cost extra would be market research where your current clients are interviewed to dig a bit deeper into their pain points and hot buttons. That can add $2,000 to $10,000 to the cost of messaging, depending on the size and scope of the project. To save time and money, we find we can rely solely on your ability and experience to help us discover your customers pain points, desired solutions and your value proposition, unless you want to spend the extra on market research.

Some Important User Experience Factors

Click Through Rates

When people see your website in the search results and they are more likely to click on your competitors sites than your site,


this will have a negative impact on your rankings. Higher click-through rates can improve your rankings.

How do we improve click-through rates? By writing title tags and description tags that target your audience.

How do we do this?

By making sure we understanding your target buyer personas pain points, hot buttons and the search terms they use. Title tags with your business name at the front do very little to encourage new prospects to visit your site, so we put those at the end to anchor your referrals and make sure your current customers find your site easily. However, we put keywords towards the front and language that engages with your target buyers in the description so they are more likely to visit your site.

Site-Speed, Site Engagement, Bounce Rates, Time on Site, etc.

If your site takes significantly longer to load than your competitors sites, it will have a negative impact on user experience, your rankings, and ultimately, your traffic.

Once people get on your site, Google takes note of their engagement. If they land on a site that relates to them, is easy to navigate, offers the solutions for which they are searching, and they are more likely to take action by filling out a form, calling you or visiting your contact us page, it will have a positive impact on your rankings. If they land on your site and have a difficult time finding what they want, or don’t see how you are the right choice to meet their needs they will leave the site much sooner and not engage, which will have a negative impact.

Messaging and Optimization (SEO) Are No Longer Separate Strategies

We start with developing the right messaging to engage with your target buyers, show and tell them why you are the right choice for them, which goes hand in hand with…

  • …the language on your site…
  • …the pictures on your site…
  • …the calls to action on your site
  • …trust signals on your site that give you credibility, such as
    • Testimonials
    • Awards
    • Industry Organizations you are members of that lend to your credibility (BBB, Chambers of Commerce, and ones more specific to your industry)
    • Case studies and design portfolios

The search engines look for engagement/positive user experience and these trust signals when deciding who is the “authority” in serving your target market. These factors also improve click through rates, bounce rates, time on site, and conversions to leads from your site.

Technical SEO

Of course your site needs to address technical SEO:

The right amount and the right content on your site so Google knows what your site is about and for what content/keywords you want to be considered the authority.
Proper coding and site architecture so the search engines can easily crawl your site and understand what your site is about, again, so they can determine for what you should be considered an authority.

  • Site Markup, Local Schema,  Structured Data that matches your site goals
  • Title Tags and Meta-Data
  • Strategic Internal Linking (Addressing user experience AND search engines)
  • Properly names pictures with keywords where it makes sense
  • Mobile friendliness
  • Site speed optimization

Important Note

All of this is relative to how well your competitors’ site quality, and it does not take into account “off page” or “off-site” SEO.

You often see very bad sites ranking at the top of Google, and this usually for one of two reasons:

  1. The industry is not very competitive, so Google is bringing back the “least worst” site.
  2. The business has invested more in getting other sites to mention or link to their site more and in better ways than their competitors, and even though they have not fully addressed their on-site factors they are able to win an uphill battle by “pushing” it up to the top with links.

Both of these strategies are short sited, and usually short lived once their competitors do a better job of on-site SEO AND invest the right amount in off-site SEO.

The bottom line is that Off-Site SEO can be an even bigger factor in competitive markets than on-site SEO, but if you don’t address all of the “on-site” factors (engaging content and technical aspects) you will always be fighting an uphill battle trying to get more links and off-site efforts to make up for your short comings on your website.

Our strategy is to make sure we address all of the on-site quality factors with engaging site content and a near perfectly structured site (no site is 100% perfect) so we don’t have to over invest in off-site SEO. When we do this, most often a site will begin to rank better right away, and once we see where the “gaps” are we can address them with more on-site content and an off-site strategy that will boost rankings as needed.

  • We provide initial off-site SEO with our setup and strategy package, which includes:
  • High quality local directory placement and directory content optimization
  • A few original articles written and published on quality sites that will link back to your site in the articles.

I would love to hear your feedback and have your engagement, so contact us with your comments and questions, share and discuss on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter.

-Dan Stratford

Digital Marketing Consultant, Trainer and Public Speaker

The Truth and Lies in Internet Marketing

Ending the Confusion in Internet (Digital)internet marketing truths lies Marketing

I am incredibly excited to launch this series. One of my passions is helping people figure out the best way to market their businesses online. Sadly, this usually means uncovering the lies or misleading information we all receive every day from salespeople and so called “consultants” who are more focused on selling their solutions, rather than helping business owners succeed with the best solutions for their businesses.

Of course, there are many “truths” out there as well, and if we focus on discovering and implementing the “truths” about Internet marketing and avoiding the “lies” we can find the right solution for any specific business to ensure success.

There will be some provocative posts and topics that will get some people a bit riled up, but it will be fun and informative.

The “Digital Marketing” Manipulation

One of my pet peeves is that around 12 years ago marketers started referring to “Internet Marketing” as “Digital Marketing”. From what I can tell, this was a decision made by marketers forced upon the lay person and causes some confusion among business owners. The truth is that the terms Digital Marketing and Internet Marketing are interchangeable.

Regularly people ask me “What is digital’ marketing.” I have to explain that it is simply “Internet Marketing”, and this usually ends the confusion. Unfortunately,  because marketers thought “Digital” was cooler than “Internet” we have to accommodate both in how we communicate to people. There may be some benefits to changing the name, but it more about perception than reality.

Regularly people ask me “What is digital’ marketing.” I have to explain that it is simply “Internet Marketing”, and this usually ends the confusion. Unfortunately,  because marketers thought “Digital” was cooler than “Internet” we have to accommodate both in how we communicate to people. There may be some benefits to changing the name, but it more about perception than reality.

Marketers did the same thing by getting us all to use the term “cloud” a few years ago. When I first heard cloud computing, I thought, “You mean ‘Internet’ computing?”. Of course, there were other reasons for using the term “cloud”, but most of them have to do with marketing and perception, rather than the development of a new technology. Some may disagree with me on this, and that’s OK, but I think there is much more truth in what I am saying than not. Cloud is an excellent way of describing the Internet, and using “cloud” vs. “Internet” may have  encouraged many of us to use

Some may disagree with me on this, and that’s OK, but I think there is much more truth in what I am saying than not. Cloud is an excellent way of describing the Internet, and using “cloud” vs. “Internet” may have  encouraged many of us to use Internet-based or cloud-based computing we would not have considered otherwise and in ways that simplify our lives, but it doesn’t mean there was some sort of new technology.

What “Internet” or “Digital” Marketing Topics Will We be Addressing?

In this series, we will be addressing the truths and lies on all of these topics:

  • Website Design and Development
  • SEO
  • Paid Search (Adwords & Bing)
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Do It Yourself vs. Hiring Vendors (You probably need to do a bit of both)
  • Email Marketing
  • Display, Programmatic, Retargeting/Remarketing
  • Couponing (Groupon, etc.)
seo dan stratford

Video Training: Quick SEO Analysis, Keyword Research and Strategy Development With SEMRush


Hello. This is Dan Stratford. I am a digital marketing consultant. I always hesitate to call myself an expert because as we all know, you are an expert in this industry today. You may be nobody tomorrow if you don’t keep up on the latest and greatest. I do own a consulting and training company called Stratex Digital Marketing. One of my partners is Peter Kent who’s the author of SEO for Dummies and one of the leaders in the industry. Today, what I’m going to be doing is going through how I quickly begin to analyze the current status of a business from a search engine optimization perspective, specifically start to analyze where they are now, where their opportunities are and begin to develop a little bit of a strategy.

This first piece though is going to be mostly about where they are and where the opportunities are before we get in to developing strategy. In this example, I’m going to use a company called Optic Nerve. Now, Optic Nerve is a competitor to Oakley and Smith and Rudy Project and those types of companies. They may need some help with their search engine optimization and we’re going to find out how they’re doing and how we can improve it. The first thing I’m going to do is search for them by name. One of the reasons that this is important is because if your website is not ranked for your branded search terms, your branded name, you’re not likely to be able to rank it for other more competitive search terms. The foundation of any SEO strategy is ranking for your branded searches and specifically, your business name in the case.

Good news for them. Outside of this definition of optic nerve that Google has provided at the top of the search engine, we have a number one position for optic nerve. Optic is right here at the top. I’m using Mozilla Firefox browser and I have a bunch of plugins which is why you see this extra information here, but the tool we’re going to highlight today is SEMrush, which we’re going to use, again, SEO analysis, as well as keyword analysis. I find this to be a good tool. In some situations and in many situations to start to begin a keyword research. You could just go to, but if you have the SEO book plugin on your Firefox browser, you’ll see this icon here and you can just, after going to the website that you’re going to be analyzing, you can just click on this icon.

First, we’ll go to the website and we’re not going to talk too much here about onsite optimization. There certainly looks to be some reason for updating or upgrading this website, but we’re not going to talk too much about it. I will say that onsite SEO is a vital component of any search engine optimization, digital marketing strategy and having a website that converts. That is, engaging is vital to market success in general, but is becoming more and more, has become more and more important to success in SEO, but we’re not going to talk about that now. Let’s look at how these guys rank currently. If I click this little icon, it’ll pop up another browser here that is SEMrush and probably stands for search engine marketing rush for the uninitiated.

The first thing that SEMrush presents is what they would predict this business’s historical search engine, organic search engine traffic to be. One thing I’ve noticed with this tool is it may or may not be accurate when you’re dealing with local search because they don’t always seem to give a business credit for showing up in the local map section of the Google Search that appears, that puts them at the top of the page, but for general search engine optimization, it’s usually a good indicator and it tells me some trends of this website over time. This website was established or at least crawled, according to SEMrush, as early as December of 2009. They spent a little bit of money on Google AdWords as this yellow orange line would indicate. This blue line indicates their estimated search engine traffic based on some factors that we’ll discuss in a moment.

You can see, over time in general, this website’s credit or equity with Google has improved, had some ups and downs and one thing I might ask this business or business owner or marketing person, whoever is marketing this business is, have they engaged in any proactive search engine optimization strategies over the years and during these specific time frames where they seem to have gained a significant amount of traffic or lost a significant amount of traffic? Back in May of 2012, it looks like they took a … had some significant increase to their traffic, although it dropped down a bit. Went up from 90 searches or 90 visits a day or a month from organic searches to over 1,300 visits a month from organic searches and then dropped back down to 700 or so, and then again, took another bump here in December of 2013. A little bit of a bump in February. Even a positive large bump, probably their most significant increase since 2012, they experienced in August of 2014.

One thing this may indicate is they have engaged in some proactive search engine optimization strategies or maybe they haven’t. Maybe it’s just dumb luck. Over time, they’ve been adding content to their site. They’ve been gaining links because of their reputation in the marketplace or doing press releases and maybe those things. Maybe engaging in social media have had a positive impact on their rankings. We’ll talk a little bit more about traffic with this tool here in a moment, but let’s go ahead and page down a bit. The most useful information for me in this conversation is looking at really their organic keywords. One thing that SEMrush tries to do is show you who their competitors are in organic search, but I don’t think they necessarily do a great job of this. Unless the site is already really, really well-optimized and targeting the right terms for the business.

As you can see, this is telling me here that they’re ranked number three nationwide for the search term “optic nerve” which is probably not that relevant to their business. Let’s look at this full keyword list. I’m going to click on “full report.” Let’s talk about this and how we can use this data here constructively. What SEMrush does by default, at least they did on this search is they sorted the keywords in the order that they believe is driving the most traffic to the website. They determine that by looking at, first of all, they only look at search terms that they have deemed to have some kind of search volumes. Sometimes, the search term may only have ten searches a month. Here’s some with only 40 or 70. This search term, “optic nerve” has over 14,800 searches a month. If a search term out there that maybe only get searched once a month or maybe five times a month, it may not even show up in this list. That’s one of the caveats.

This is telling me that these guys rank somewhere in Google for 1,155 different keywords, but that by no means is all the search terms for which they rank. In fact, if you were to look in Google Webmaster Tools, which is now called Google Search Console, you would probably see that they actually have a presence or some kind of equity for two to three to five to ten times more than this number of keywords, but a lot of those may only have one search a month. Let’s look at this. How they determine that “optic nerve” drives the most amount of traffic to the website is they say, “Okay. They’re in position three.” If I’m position three, I probably have a fairly high click through rate. That is for every 100 searches on that term, I’m probably getting somewhere between five and maybe twenty visits where people page down just a bit and click and go to my website, so 5 to maybe say 15% of the time if I’m on position three, people are going to click on my website.

Since it has a search volume of 14,800 searches a month, that could drive a lot of traffic as you can imagine. If you look at the second term here, “optic nerve sunglasses” which brings 24% of traffic extensively according to SEMrush versus 46, 47% of traffic of “optic nerve,” you’ll see that they’re in position one. Position one can have as high as say, 30 to 35% click through rates, depending of course. All relative type of search and many other factors, but it can have a very high click through rate. We’re estimating that even though this only has 880 searches a month, currently ranked number one. This is their second leading driver of traffic, organic traffic to the website. You can see this term here which is another branded term for them, if you will. They’re also ranked number one, but it only has 210 searches a month. You can see, it dropped down significantly to only 3 or 4%, between 3 and 4% of traffic.

“Optic” on the other hand, the word “optic” has over 12,000 searches, but since they’re on the second page of Google, it’s not driving a lot of traffic for them and to be frank, they probably don’t care for a lot of traffic from that kind of less relevant search term, but because it has such a high search volume, even though it has a relatively low ranking being on the second page of the 14th position in the search results, they only have about a 3% to their … 3% of their traffic is coming from this search term. “Optic nerve glasses,” which is again, branded term and by the way, we call these branded when they have the business name on them or the product name on them. Optic Nerve sells ONE sunglasses, so you could argue that’s a branded term. They’re ranking really well for branded terms.

“Optic nerve sunglasses” only has 70 searches a month, but they’re ranking number one, so they’re likely to get a significant number of searches from it. A little bit of an anomaly here for some reason, even though there’s more searches for this and they’re position one for both of these terms. They’re positioning “optic nerve glasses” above “optic nerve goggles.” Again, that’s why we look at this data and we don’t look at it as the gospel, but as things that we can look at and discover trends and help us research current statuses of a website and a business online and look for opportunities. If you consider this data here and then go over here again to this traffic tool. I’m going to change this to …

Remember, we clicked on “traffic” and I opened it up in a back … When I opened it up on a different tab and we can change this from “traffic” to “traffic price,” or from “organic searches” and “traffic price” that the value of the traffic essentially from paid traffic and I can plot this data and I can look at it historically from an all time perspective. Again, it looks like they may have spent some money on Google AdWords back in December 2012 to January of ’13, but kind of the same trends. The difference in traffic price is, this factors in a couple of things here. First of all, how they’re ranking on the search terms, for the terms that they’re ranking, what’s the search volume and then what is the cost per click that Google would charge if they were to be up 24-7 in Google AdWords?

Again, their click through rate is going to be a factor of maybe 5 to 10% because they’re in position three, times 14,000 times .76, so you could see that the value of that is going to be pretty high. It’s going to be lower for this one. Even though they’re in position one, there’s only 880 searches and so they go to this whole list and they’d look at what’s the cost per click, what’s the ranking and what is the search volume? They take that data and they put it here and they estimate what the organic traffic value is. I personally don’t find this incredibly useful for me to really say, “Hey, your website has $3,000 worth of traffic every month for organic.” Or, “Your website has,” in this case, “$1,100 a month in traffic from organic.”

What I do find it helpful for is trends and then if I do a competitive comparison. I might put in, who is one of their competitors for example and discover that Oakley has, from an organic perspective, how they’re doing versus how they’re doing from a paid perspective and I may be able to compare to Optic I’m using this tool to identify trends. Here’s a little bit of a deep for example in their rankings, as if something bad happened here, maybe, maybe not, but here, I can use it for a competitive comparison. I can see that Oakley has relatively much, not only do they have higher site value organically, but they’ve actually spent more on paid search and then Optic Nerve has gotten, according to this tool, in organic search month over month.

It’s a useful tool for relative comparisons and it also tells me that, well, I can’t depend on knowing that Oakley has spent 700 … I’m sorry. How much is that? $53,000 a month in Google AdWords. I do know that they’re investing something likely in Google AdWords. One way to use this tool, compare yourself to your competitors, identify trends, great for that. Let’s go back to the keyword analysis. I find it much easier to do keyword analysis in an Excel document, so I’m going to open up here an Excel document. I’m going to export this data from SEMrush into Excel and then I have already started to develop a workbook for my analysis of this company. I’m going to take this data. I’m going to paste it into page one of the workbook and I’m going to name this worksheet “All SEMrush keyword data for Optic N.”

Now, I’m also going to just get rid of this extra spreadsheet. I could have just started out with this in my basic spreadsheet, but I’ve already saved this into a folder for this analysis so it’d be handier there. I’m going to make this look a little bit bigger so you can see it much more clearly. Now, one thing I’m going to do is let’s review this data a little bit more in depth. It tells me their current position, their previous position which may have just been a few weeks back. The search volume of the keyword, the estimated cost per click and that’s what makes that look like dollars. Dress this up a little bit if I wanted to, but the other thing it tells me is what page is Google bringing back in the search results when people search on this term? We’ll get a little bit more into why that’s important later.

Looking at traffic percentage there, of course, and then traffic cost percentage, competition and trends and all that stuff which we won’t get into for what we’re doing today. One thing that I want to do now is start to look at the keywords that are not branded, because most of these at the top are branded keywords and I want to start to look at keywords that are going to drive new business for this prospect. First thing I’m going to do in this case is I’m going to sort this data by search volume, largest to smallest. Now, I have these keywords organized from most searched to least searched regardless of their rankings for the search term and I would look at this first term here, and that would lead me to believe that somewhere on the Optic Nerve site, they mentioned Cabelas. Maybe they sell their products through Cabelas, but in fact, if you look at this URL, we’d probably go to this URL and see that the Optic Nerve website is referring to Cabelas, obviously.

That’s not a branded term and it’s not really doing much for their business because they’re in position thirty seven. It might drive a little bit of traffic as you can see here. Now this term, “polarized sunglasses,” that looks like a very valuable term for this business as they sell polarized sunglasses and polarized sunglasses are relatively expensive. I was buying a pair of Oakley sunglasses a few weeks ago and the non-polarized lens version of the sunglasses was $100 less than the polarize lens version of the sunglasses. These are high value keyword for a good product. What I would like to do is start to have a list of keywords that are around polarized sunglasses. What I’m going to do is I’m going to add a filter here to just this column.

I work on a Mac so how you add a filter might be different on the Mac version of Excel than a PC, but you’ve got to be a little bit familiar with excel to do a great job of keyword research. Now, I’m going to type in, I’m going to filter out SUNG, short for sunglasses and I’m starting to see that, okay, now I’ve got a bunch of keywords that many of which are going to be targeted. I’m going to take this list and I’m just about to. I’m going to grab it all. Again, this is filtering just the sunglass list and I’m going to copy it. Copy, and I’m going to open up another tab here and I’m going to paste it by hitting Command+V on my keyboard. Now, I’ve got a list of the keywords that just have the word “sunglasses” in them and they’re already ranked from most searched to least searched, because I just copied it right over, but let’s get a little more specific. Let’s look at polarized.

I’m going to do POL. Some people spell polarized P-O-L-A-R, which is correct, but some people might put a different vowel in there, so I want to get all of these here and maybe catch misspellings if there are any. Now, I’m getting to very, very targeted keywords for this business. When I look at this, as I start to think about a strategy for this business, I look at, this is a great buying signal keyword. This right here, probably a good buy and to know, right here, “polarized women sunglasses,” a great buy and to know keyword. “Polarized sunglasses,” buying signal keywords. These are great keywords that I might want to target as part of my SEO campaign for my most aggressive, what I would call my head terms, “polarized sunglasses for kids,” “polarized sunglasses,” but I see some really helpful information here as well which is, there is a search for what are polarized sunglasses? What is polarized sunglasses? Why polarized sunglasses?

I look at these as very good blog topics. In other words, if I ranked a website for this term and this term and this term, put a lot of effort into the and then I write blog post on these types of questions, what I’d like to find is that I’m not only ranking for these terms, but I very quickly rank for these blog posts and drive some excellent traffic to my website where I am establishing my business as the authority in the market and giving a reason why people would want to buy my polarized sunglasses versus someone else’s. Very good search data here, and I colored these for a couple of reasons. If we clear this filter out, we can sort this further. I like to sort things and go, “Okay. We’re going to maintain a search volume, but first, let’s sort these by color.”

I’m going to put my most valuable ones there highlighted in green at the top. I’m going to put the blog questions that I liked in yellow just below that and then I still want to maintain search volume as the order that I put these in because I probably don’t want to look through 500. I want to identify some quick opportunities. Again, now we have blog topic, keyword research combined with some really solid beginnings of keyword research. These are good targeted terms with a lot of search volume. If we could get their website ranked via a solid search engine optimization strategy on the first page of Google on a term that has 27,000 searches a month, they can have a huge impact on their business or [inaudible 00:23:35] to drive revenue, quality traffic to their website and revenue for their business provided that the website does a good job of converting and capturing leads and sales.

The other thing that’s good here is that these guys already have some equity with Google. Meaning that Google already brings them back on the fifth page of Google and the third page of Google and the sixth page of Google and the seventh page of Google for these search terms. Which isn’t great and that it’s not driving a whole lot of traffic for them right now, but it tells me that they’ve already been identified as relevant for these search terms and with the right strategy and the right amount of work, we have a good opportunity to get them ranked for this over the next probably six to twelve months. It does take some time, but it could happen and maybe this keyword, maybe we can make some ground on that in the next three to six months if we have a good strategy.

It also helps me out by showing me what keywords are targeting what pages. Google seems to like these two keywords for this page, which makes sense. Google seems to like this keyword, this page rather for this keyword search. It makes sense. It’s got … Definitely went to this page, it talked about women’s polarized sunglasses. Then I might at some point want to start creating individual pages for some of these other keywords if I deemed them valuable. Like a “ski sunglasses” for example, that’s a valuable … If we sell ski sunglasses and we want to rank for ski sunglasses and we may want to build some content because the homepage is probably not the best place for people to land on when they’re looking for ski sunglasses. It becomes a quality experience for the user, which is very important for SEO.

I mean, I did this one more time because we have found one keyword for this business which is the “polarized sunglasses” and maybe, we just target sunglasses, but I would argue that polarized sunglasses are more valuable targeted term for a high end company that produces high end sunglasses. Let’s look at another one. As I went down this list earlier, I saw “snowboarding goggles.” I will bet that these guys sells goggles. I am going to filter out the goggle search phrases, the keyword phrases that contain the word “goggle” and I’m going to copy these and I am going to paste these now on a different sheet. I’m accomplishing a number of things there. First of all, I am identifying how they’re ranked on current terms, identifying keywords that could be really good opportunities for them. I’m also starting to develop a strategy of maybe bucketing keywords.

I have a bucket of keywords they want to target to certain pages. Another bucket of keywords that I want to build content for on different pages. We’ve got snowboarding is one type of goggle that they sell so we could, if we wanted to quickly to do this is maybe I just want to move all the snowboarding keywords to the top. Maybe I want to take this keyword list and I want to add it over here so we have snowboarding goggles on this page. Then from an SEO perspective, again, I want to look for different opportunities to rank the website, drive traffic, drive revenue, drive business for these guys. Maybe I’ll look at ski goggles. Those could arguably be two different types of content that we want to develop and at the very least, could be a lot more or even subsets of ski and snowboard goggles for it and since we might have polarized here, snowboard goggles.

Now, we have ski goggles. We see that even for goggles, they have some equity on a bunch of search terms and they have equity for snowboarding goggles as well. It could be a tougher hill to climb for goggles as they … Well, they’re in the fifth page, the fourth page where there’s still some good opportunities for them. As I begin to the, A, develop keywords, this is a great tool with SEMrush to look for keywords for this business and look for opportunities and I have reason to be optimistic with this website that given the right strategy in relatively short order within the next year could be a realistic goal to start ranking and dominating even the market for these search terms.

Hope this has been helpful. If you would like any more information on keyword research and you need help learning how to do search engine optimization or any kind of digital marketing, don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Dan Stratford at Stratex Digital Marketing. Thank you and have a great day.

seo dan stratford

How to Find More Recent Results in Google Searches


I just discovered a really handy tool on Google Search. Maybe I’ve been naïve up to this point. I’ve been doing digital marketing and SEO for almost 20 years. I’ve owned my own agency, grew it and sold it. I’ve built digital marketing departments for Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies, and learn something new every day. That’s why I always hesitate to call myself any kind of internet expert because things change.

I’m always looking for the latest and greatest for digital marketing in general. I still am a huge believer in SEO. I see how it transforms businesses as a strategic part of digital marketing. What I discovered today, I was kind of messing around with the search tools in Google and, I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but you do a search on a topic, here’s an example. I did a search on how to design a landing page. The number one result on Google is an article from January 15, 2015. That’s not too bad but, in our world, quite frankly that’s a year old which in a lot of worlds that is equivalent to being two, three, five years old news, right? Then, if you look below that, it says September 4, 2013. If you go a little bit further down, who knows how … I’m starting to lose confidence in the relevancy and timeliness of this article.

However, if I use the search tool here and say I want to see articles written in the last, say, week, now I’ve got something that seems really cool and relevant and much more cutting-edge. This article on landing page and conversion optimization was written, literally, six hours ago. This one six days ago. This one four days ago and this one seven days ago. You can imagine, if you’re looking for up-to-date product reviews or up-to-date technologies and you want to avoid the frustration of having to sift through articles that might be a year or two years or three years or more old, this could save you a lot of time and make your search much more relevant.

To go back to a regular search, you just hit clear. I hope you find this helpful and enjoyed this post. Thank you very much.

seo dan stratford

Why website designers and website developers need to invest in digital marketing training.

As a website designer or website development professional, why do you need to invest in online training?

  • Your expertise is in website design and/or development, not keeping up with all the changes that happen in the digital marketing world. A good training class can help you get caught up in one day.
  • You may likely be at risk of losing prospects and customers to your competitors who are up to speed on digital marketing.
  • You don’t need to be an expert, but you need to have resources for your customers so the website services you provide enhance your customers digital marketing efforts rather than hinder them.
  • If you are really good at what you do, then you probably realize you don’t know what you don’t know in the digital marketing world.

Our Digital Marketing Trainers and Consultants Can Help You in 3 Ways

  1. Training for you and/or your team in a custom setting at your place of business or via one of our workshops.
  2. Hire a consultant to help your prospects and clients.
  3. Help you build your own white-label digital marketing services department.

Our consultants are seasoned, but they are still very hands-on. They have built digital marketing companies, digital marketing divisions, worked for and with fortune 500 companies as well as small businesses.

Feel free to call us, submit a contact form, or even schedule an initial free consultation via the widget at the bottom right of your screen or this link: Schedule a Meeting


seo dan stratford

Why marketers need to invest digital marketing training…

As a marketing professional, why do you need to invest in digital marketing training?

  • You cannot possibly keep up with all of the changes going on in the digital marketing world on you own, in fact NONE of us can.
  • If you are looking to develop the best digital marketing strategy for your customers (or the company for which you work), you need to have resources you can trust to help guide you with Integrity and cutting edge experience.

In fact, none of our experts are “experts” at everything. We have specialists for messaging, social media, programmatic, SEO, Paid search, and web development. Dan Stratford and Peter Kent are two of our most knowledgeable and experienced experts overall, but our specialists are available for deep dives into specific technologies and strategies.

Like most marketing professionals, you probably realize you don’t know what you don’t know.

Our consultants and teachers are hands-on in the trenches working on these digital marketing strategies every day, so we can help you integrate one specific strategy with your current programs, help you prioritize your efforts and help you develop an overall strategy that is integrated from the start. We have built digital marketing companies, digital marketing divisions, worked for and with fortune 500 companies as well as small businesses.

You can hire our consultants hourly, as a “Setup and Strategy” service, or take one of our training classes. We are here to help you develop, implement, manage and optimize your very own custom digital marketing strategy.

Feel free to call us, submit a contact form, or even schedule an initial free consultation via the widget at the bottom right of your screen or this link: Schedule a Meeting


seo dan stratford

Why business owners need digital marketing training…

As a business owner, why do you need to invest in digital marketing training?

There are two main reasons:

  1. You are a do it yourself owner with more time than a marketing budget.
  2. You have a budget, but you need to make certain it is spent wisely.

Do it Yourselfer

If you are an Internet savvy business owner with some amount of technical savvy, you can most certainly learn how to establish a strong web presence for your business.

These are going to be your biggest challenges:

  • Of all the choices available to you, how do you assess where you should begin?
  • There are so many people out there claiming to be “digital marketing specialists” or “Internet marketing consultants”, who can you trust?

A good training program or consultant will help you get started in the right direction, and provide guidance along the way. If they are really good they will be able to “teach you to fish” so they don’t have to “fish for you”, but will be available as needed.

You Have a Budget

If you have a budget, your biggest challenge is going to be finding someone who can help you figure out what is best for your business, rather than try to sell you a solution.

By taking the time to self educate, either by attending a class or hiring a consultant, you will be able to oversee the development, implementation, management and optimization of your digital marketing campaigns. You will be able to ask the right questions to make certain your service providers are looking out for your best interests, and utilizing as many tools as they can to help you be successful.

Our experts can help you with initial training or consulting, as well as provide on going training in person or through our online courses.

Feel free to call us, submit a contact form, or even schedule an initial consultation via the widget at the bottom right of your screen or this link: Schedule a Meeting


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Top SEO Educators in the Industry

The Big Names in SEO Education

The big names in SEO to me, whom I trust to remain objective, ask challenging questions, and who are not afraid to tell you how they really feel, are the following:

Peter Kent

Peter is more than just another smart guy with an English accent. He was one of the early Internet adapters. He is the one who explained to the “For Dummies” people why a “SEO for Dummies” book was a good idea.

I am not subjective in my vote, because he has been one of my mentors and friends for over a decade, but I believe I am subjective in my choice, and here is why:

  1. Peter is never afraid to ask the tough questions and challenge anyone on their beliefs. I have heard him on many occasions in front of many people fearlessly express his beliefs even when they were unpopular and against the status quo of what we were supposed to say about SEO.
  2. He describes things simply, humbly yet with a bit of English swagger. Some of my favorite Peter Kent quotes:
    • When asked, “How much work do I have to do to optimize my website?”, Peter responds, “How long is a string?”. Apparently, this is a fairly common English phrase, but it is a simple way of saying “I cannot answer that question without first asking you a lot of questions.”
    • “If you want to learn how to get your site to the top of Google, all you have to do is think like the MIT graduates who are working on the algorithm for Google.” This is one of the truest statements, and one that should guide a significant portion of everything we do, even if it is an impossible thing to do.
      (Peter may deny having said any of what was quoted above, which means I mis-remembered it or he doesn’t remember saying it. Either way, it’s true enough.}
  3. Peter has developed implemented strategies that have resulted in websites ranking at the top of Google in very competitive markets. If you haven’t actually done this, how can you call yourself an SEO? You are simply studying to be an SEO. And guess what? After you have accomplished this, if you can’t continue to rank websites then you may no longer “be an SEO”.

You can learn more about Peter on our Stratex Team page or via Peter Kent Consulting

Rand Fishkin

I have never met Rand, but thanks to his “white board Friday” vodcast, I believe I have a sense of who he is in the SEO world.

Rand is not one to tow the line on SEO either. If some SEO idea is trending like “links are dead”, “SEO is dead”, or “All you need is content”, Rand responds honestly, with integrity and with wise guidance to keep us focused on the truth rather than what is trendy (he’s not afraid to be “cool” though, which you will see if you watch his vodcasts). He backs it up with a kickass company that has a strong R & D department to actually test to see what is working and what is not. I have heard him admit to mistakes and to “not knowing” something, In our industry, if you have not made mistakes or are not willing to admit “not knowing” something you cannot call yourself an SEO.

I highly recommend his blog and especially his White Board Fridays.

Matt Cutts

..but only if you can read between the lines he constantly speaks through. If you are able to do this, then you may watch his videos and read his articles so you can learn in many cases what NOT to do to rank a site. If you are easily manipulated, then you should not try to learn from Matt Cutts. Matt works for Google and communicates via his blog and videos. I respect you Matt, and you are a very smart man, but I probably don’t appreciate you the way I should.

You can read more about what he has to say via the Matt Cutts blog, or sometimes he appears in your Google Search Console.

Bruce Clay

Bruce is a dry speaker, but he is as well informed as Rand Fishkin if not more so in the SEO world. From what I can tell he not only invests in R & D, he advocates, and he is a leader. Check out is podcast and follow his blog if you want to learn from one of the experts.

You should search for his Podcast call SEM Synergy, or read the Bruce Clay Blog

Others “too small” to Mention

There are dozens of others I have met over the years that I have learned from, and they have learned from me.

One thing all of these guys have in common is that they know are also learning every day that even though they are the established leaders, they have teams of people they work with and turn to for consulting. They do not pretend to know it all. Humility and a desire for more knowledge drives these guys to do what they do. This is why you can learn from them. Whether it is through their books, videos, blogs, podcasts or public speaking, you will learn something from each of them. Even if sometimes you are learning what not to do.

Please reach out to us if you are in any need of in-person or online training via (303) 945-7400 or our contact us page.

You can also view our Training Calendar to see our class schedules.


digital marketing strategy

Top 3 Reasons You Must Learn About Digital Marketing

Top 3 Reasons You Must Learn About Digital Marketing

1. Avoid Getting Ripped Off

You don’t need to learn how to become a digital marketer to lead the development, implementation, management and optimization of your digital marketing strategy, but the more you learn, the safer you will be from scams.

Most of the people who you reach out to or contact you about SEO, PPC, social media marketing, programmatic or other strategies will be salespeople. They will have varying levels of knowledge, but they will at the very least have been trained to sell you on their services. If you are lucky, you might have one call you who is very well educated, but that can work against you as well because while they may make the most sense, and they are going to be most interested in selling their services rather than looking out for your best needs.

The more you can educate yourself or get people you trust on your side, the better off you will be.

The biggest challenge for you will be figuring out who you can learn from.  Here are some excellent options:

Check out the post “Top SEO Educators in The Industry”, give us a call at (303) 945-7400, contact us via our contact us page, or request a free consultation.

2. You Will Learn How to Prioritize Your Efforts, or “Where to start”

One frustration I often hear from people is that with all of the options available for marketing, including online and offline marketing, they are unsure where to start. Here are some of the other common frustrations:

  • Should you begin with a website?
  • Is social media your answer?
  • Is SEO going to be easy or hard for my industry?
  • Can paid traffic be profitable?
  • On my budget, where will I be able to get a good return on my investment?
  • How can email marketing help me grow my

Our experts can help you prioritize the right strategies that will fit within your budget and still be effective. One of the best classes for this is our Digital Marketing Setup and …., or you can hire us to work with you one on one to develop your strategy and setup everything for your business with our Setup and Strategy Services.

3. There Are Many Do It Yourself Opportunities

If you are in the stage of your business when you have more time than money, you may find it is advantageous to learn how to do much of this yourself. If you are working hard on your business and don’t have many hours to put aside each week to learn and then implement some of your strategy, you are probably best off hiring someone. They will be able to the same work for a fraction of the time it would take you to do it. Even if you pay a top expert $100 to $250 an hour, they can usually do in one hour what would take you ten hours, especially when you consider you have to learn how to do it before you actually do it!

That said, here are some things you can setup yourself to get started:

“Non” Technical Tasks

  • Develop your professional messaging: buyer personas, your value proposition, engagement message, etc.
  • Google Plus (local) and other business pages
  • Create a YouTube channel
  • LinkedIn business page
  • Facebook page
  • Twitter page
  • MOZLocal Setup
  • Keyword research (can get pretty technical)
  • Develop an editorial calendar

More Technical Tasks

Many of these tasks can be completed by a business owner if you take the time to learn how to do it.

  • Develop your site architecture and internal linking strategy
  • Build your own website with WordPress, GoDaddy or some other “do it yourself” website builder (make sure you confirm it is a SEO friendly platform)
  • Setup Google Analytics, Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools)
  • Build your sitemap and submit your sitemap to Google Search Console
  • Setup your blog
  • Write your title and meta data
  • Map your keywords to the proper pages, and add the pages if needed
  • Ad schema to your site
  • Setup and manage Google Adwords (not recommended)
  • Create videos

You can learn how to do all of this at our Digital Marketing Setup and Strategy  2 day workshop/training course, or you hire us to do all of this for you with our Digital Marketing Setup and Strategy Services.