First, let’s define a search engine. Google defines it as a program that searches for and identifies items in a database that correspond to keywords or characters specified by the user, used especially for finding particular sites on the World Wide Web. In this article, we will cover the basics of SEO where it relates specifically to content marketing rather than behind the scene mechanics of a website maintenance and SEO. You’ll find links to additional learning if you want to dive in deeper. You’ll also notice that I use real estate as an example in this course. That’s because I own a real estate business, and today, my audience is heavily real estate based. Whatever your business, just replace the examples with your services, products and “widgets”. I have applied my methods to catering, retail, education, and real estate and dominated the search engines for all. Real Estate is simply the best examples I have today. I look forward to using more businesses as examples as you share your success stories with me.
Let’s make YOU a case study!
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In essence, this is what The Ballen Method is all about. It took many years of testing and measuring before The Ballen Method resulted in the desired outcome: dominating Page One of the search engines (for long-tail keyword and niche targeted) – specifically Google.
Although there are many search engines from Yahoo to Bing, and now from Facebook to YouTube, Google still dominates the world of search. What we know is that when we focus on ranking with Google, in most cases we will do well with the other search engines like Yahoo and Bing all though they do have their own algorithms.
Google is processing more than 40,000 search queries for each second which is over 3.5 billion searches each day and 1.2 trillion searches every year throughout the world.
So how does SEO work?
- When a person types a search term into the search bar on a search engine, it’s a called a Query.
- The page that appears after the search that contains the listings believed to match the query is called a SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
The Ballen Method avoids diving into to the old tips and tricks that are often circulated when you read something about SEO. With The Ballen Method we are presenting proven ways, those that we have personally seen work year after year, and with NO penalty when Google changes it’s algorithms. Yes, algorithms. Sounds very mathematical and honestly – math always leaves me a little dry. But, it’s not that bad. It actually means something important.
Having your web page or web site show at the top of the search engines benefits you in many ways.
- It brings more attention to your brand. Brand searches are proving to be strong factors in search engine rankings.
- It brings in traffic from visitors who probably want what you are selling. Especially true on Google, who is fighting desperately to keep market share, search algorithms are tough focusing on providing quality results that match the searchers desires.
- Strong SEO will bring in people that want to spend money with you! This will increase your revenue of course.
So, for those of you who cringe each time you hear words like “algorithm” or “analytics”, I’ll explain:
Just like in life, and especially in Cyberspace, everything is constantly changing. This constant change includes Google, which is constantly changing at an even faster pace. However, it actually has a “rhythm” in how it chooses which results to feature and where to feature those results. To understand this better, you can actually see samples of Google’s Algorithms that have evolved over the years by doing a Google search for “Google algorithms.” An Algorithm is a search engines process or set of rules and calculations to determine rankings.
To do this, Google creates scientific patterns that deem sites page ONE worthy or not worthy. These patterns change several hundred times a year. Google is determined to not allow it’s systems to be manipulated, because if it’s protocol remained the same, it could easily become misused. And even with such changes, there are some who “load” the search engine results, usually by manipulating “meta tags”, or other “secret” codes for which the Google algorithm is looking when ranking sites. But Google is wise to this, and in the most recent changes, abusers were severely punished.
At one time people manipulated Google by systematizing excessive building of backlinks (an incoming hyperlink from one web page to another website) and stuffed their web sites full of keywords. This worked at one time, but now Google is focused heavily on the actual content. The search engines want to see content that is relevant and focused on what the web site is claiming to be about. The search engines want to be valuable to a “searcher” so that they keep coming back to that specific search engine. To be sure this happens, they work diligently to provide a quality user experience working to provide valuable results to the user.
When building a website, you will want it to be as focused as possible. I often suggest to build for LOCAL or to NICHES. If your web site is about Real Estate on the east coast, for example, the search engines are going to be expecting lots of information about real estate on the east coast. Anything NOT related to real estate on the east coast will be considered irrelevant and could cause your web site to not rank as well. At one time, this happened when people were filling their web sites full of advertisements in an incorrect fashion.
If you are a mortgage lender, your website should be heavily focused on content related to housing, loans, and finances in general.
At one time, Google was looking for fresh content, meaning that your web site must have been updated constantly. Now, quality matters more than quantity. One post a month that ranks well individually can be enough to keep your entire site doing well in the search engines.
In reality, the honest truth is there is no “right” way to implement SEO, because even Google doesn’t have a “right” way, which they prove by changing how they index sites all year long. Consequently, what works today, may not work tomorrow. You could learn everything inside such systems, and implement them at the highest level, only to find out that it doesn’t work anymore. This does happen, and usually to those who rest on their Laurels and don’t adapt to the ever-changing world of the Internet.
This is not so with The Ballen Method. This method has been in full effect since AOL first said “You’ve Got Mail,” and so far has been rewarded with every Google change, and never punished for providing the proper, correct, and successful method to SEO.
SEO Is Increasingly a Challenge
Algorithmic changes and filters are things that always challenge search engine optimization. SEO professionals, webmasters and Internet marketers wage a silent resistance movement against search engine giant Google’s moves to improve user experience and deliver genuine results. Google cannot be wholly blamed for that since paid links and spam methods have been employed by many, often making the search engine result pages a disorienting place for the genuine web searcher.
Not all website owners have knowingly or voluntarily signed up for such practices, but Google’s algorithms are not designed to figure that out. It’s often such webmasters who are dumbstruck by the sudden traffic loss and rankings downturn resulting from such an algorithmic change. This loss is an indication that they should have done a better job. They needed to monitor their site effectively and should have been on the lookout for possible and predictable changes in the SEO landscape. If website owners could not do that themselves, they should have sought professional help for that.
Getting Traffic the Right Way
That being said, there is often a way out. The key to stay clear of the shocks and jolts arising from the developments by Google and other search engines (Google is the unquestioned leader in search, obviously) is to ensure that focus is not confined to rankings alone, but on genuine means to draw traffic to the site. Only genuine traffic brings about the greatest chance of conversions. Traffic comes through organic listings from the search engine ranking pages (SERPs) and often such traffic is genuine. They are genuine seekers of some product or service, and if the site is placed favorably in the SERPs for the related keywords which form the basis for search queries, the site gets clicks and thereby, conversions.
Instead of optimizing content for the search engines, optimize content for the visitor (Click to Tweet).
Become obsessed with value.
When you provide a quality user experience, you are rewarded in the search engines. We discuss that more in the behavior factors in this course.
This isn’t the only way genuine visitors can get to the site. In this age of social media and online communities there are umpteen opportunities out there for businesses and websites to build themselves an online presence, which could bring in the traffic they need. Even this must be done the natural and right way. The basis of what we’ve said all along is that those paid links don’t work – they are what Google targets. Links built up in a natural manner through the following means can help establish a strong presence:
- A business’s active profile in the social media through social media posts
- It’s activity in reputable forums
- Videos posted in YouTube and other social networks
- Useful and newsworthy content submitted to press release sites (although there are changes happening here too.. stay tuned)
- Informative and quality articles submitted to article directories
- Exciting and useful blog posts and pages that develop a following
- Striking but regulated comments to other blogs posts or social media posts
Links get built up naturally through these activities, and traffic genuinely keeps coming in since these sites enjoy high rankings in the major search engines, and they’ve got a reputation. That does work! We cover backlinks and content marketing (inbound marketing) in other courses in the Academy.
The search engine results page is divided into two columns. Generally, you’ll see pay per click, sponsored results in the top few of the left column and all the way down the right column sometimes under a map. These are part of Google Adwords campaigns. They are marked as ads and are, therefore, non-organic rankings.
How Ranking is Determined
As a user types in his keywords or phrase into a search engine like Google (performing a query), he is presented with a list of results (on the SERP). You are hoping to be on this list. You want to appear on page one. The closer to the top you are, the more likely you are to receive traffic from that ranking.
Remember when you would go to the library and want to find a specific book? It was simple, as each book was categorized in a card file system (now computerized). No matter how massive the library was, the book was easily abstracted from the shelves using the library’s algorithms for indexing these books.
Imagine the job the search engines have of determining where to categorize each website that is indexed.
The search engines have to somehow interpret what the user typed in and work diligently to return information that would fit the search. This is an immense challenge and it is the ultimate goal to provide the user with exactly what they are searching for, as to not have them return to the search engine to provide a new query.
This is essentially a sign of failure for the search engine if they did not determine a page of results that appealed to the searcher.
The user has learned over time that the desired results are probably on page one. Because of this, most will not continue on to page two, but instead will choose to return to the search engine creating a new query based on a more specific question or set of words.
The first step in ranking on the search engines is to have your site crawled (scanned) by the search engines. Googlebot is Google’s “crawler” which finds new and updated pages to index on Google. Web crawlers are often referred to as spiders, sent to fetch the information and bring it back to the search engine.
Websites have a map called a sitemap that show where and how the pages exist on your website. At one time, people would submit their sitemap to Google, but today it’s neither as common nor as necessary. Google will crawl the entire site sorting through the list of URL’s. There’s no reason to chase Google to crawl your site. Create great content, and they will come back again and again.
Googlebot will process every page and works to compile the “library” of websites based on the words on the page and many other factors such as links, tags, attributes, titles and so on. In prior years, a Webmaster could manipulate the search engines by repeating words on a page or by stuffing them into tags and titles, but today, this practice will hurt your SEO, rather than help it.
Dynamic pages (which are pages that can change for each user) and some rich media files (a form of web advertisement containing images or video and generally invites some kind of user interaction) can be a challenge for the search engines to index.
Relevancy is today’s leading focus and measure for the search engines, especially Google. There are more than 200 factors for Google with relevancy. One of these factors is PageRank, which is basically how “important” a page is based on qualifying, authorative links from other sites. When another website that is viewed as authorative and reputable in the eyes of Google sends traffic to your site from a link they have listed, it can boost your rankings.
Remember this: Google is not out to punish people. Their goal is to remain the search engine of choice. Their goal is to provide quality results that match the user’s query. They must do away with spammy measures and sites to achieve their goal.
Our goal is to land in the top three results of the search engine, which obtain most of the traffic. We are not going to do this through a one or two word search phrase, however. We are going to do this by creating content that would probably show in the search results page for a more specific long-tail phrase or question.
A Long-tail Keyword is a specific set of keywords (3 or more) used together to create a more focused search. Most searches are actually long-tails.
We are a real estate team and our user is searching for horse properties in Las Vegas.
If this person typed in Las Vegas, she would see results that are very broad. Most of those results are news and weather and not all what she wanted. As someone working diligently to search engine optimize my website, I’m not going to focus on the phrase “Las Vegas” as a top result if I’m working as a real estate agent to provide listings for horse or equestrian properties.
Now, the user Bounces (returns to the search engine without taking any action on the page they landed on) back to the search engine. She probably went back to the search engine and began a new search query.
This time she types in “Las Vegas Homes” and finds some new home builders and real estate portals. She used three words this time in her query and got closer. She may choose the Trulia result if she knows that it is a real estate portal. If she doesn’t, she is probably not likely to choose any of these results, as there is nothing specific to horse properties here.
Next, she types in “Horse Properties in Las Vegas” providing a 5-word search query that is quite specific. This example makes up the majority of search queries. They are unique, long-tail searches.
She now finds a list of local real estate agents who specifically are offering properties and information about horse properties in Las Vegas.
She is now incredibly likely to click on one of these results. This is where someone who is focused on content marketing for search engine optimization will spend a large amount of his or her time. They study and learn keywords and phrases and begin to understand the searcher. They create content focused on the specific searches rather than the larger, non-specific term such as “Las Vegas homes”. They know their product, the message, and their audience and build their web content around that consumer. When it’s high quality content, they are typically rewarded in the search engines as shown in the example above.
These results will vary for each search engine based on their algorithms. Therefore, if you want to rank well on a variety of search engines, you’ll need to study the different engines and how they respond to keyword queries.
The search engines are focused on the “intent” of the searcher. They read the keywords, and the way the phrase or question is formed, and work to understand the visitor’s problem and what they need solved. This study of intent directly changes the way websites will show in the results pages. They will want to understand your phrase “how to play ball”. Were you discussing sports or were you making a reference to being a better team member? They will focus on your intent and work to show results that accomplish your goal: to Go, Learn, or Find something.
You’ll find more lessons on content Marketing in The Ballen Method.
The Ballen Method Curriculum
The Ballen Method Curriculum
The Ballen Method Curriculum is a compilation of Lesson Plans – Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Blogging, Classified Ads, Press Releases, Video, Social Media, Lead Cultivation, Analytics, and more.
Each of these lesson plans include ebooks, videos, resources such as templates, samples, and worksheets, and an action plan that gives you the step by step HOW-TO for each lesson.
This System is your guide to help you apply effective internet marketing practices in a step-by-step action plan that is easy to follow. You will now be able to read all of the materials, watch all of the videos, practice through the resource packs, and apply this method so that you can be more purposeful and see results quicker.
This is an aggressive system designed to take you on a ride through the world wide web. The plan, if done with disciplined consistency and time on task through a NICHE with the right message and product is proven to result in page 1 search engine domination.
If YOU work, IT will work.
From The Creator:
“Do you have any idea how vulnerable it makes one to POUR their life’s work out onto paper and video?? I hope you guys know, whoever buys The Ballen Method System or takes a class, that my blood, sweat, and tears are there for you. I have given you everything I know how to give you in these pages. It feels so weird to see my thoughts and strategies on paper. These aren’t just lesson plans. They are magic for those that choose to be disciplined enough to make them work. I can’t wait to hear the success stories. I can’t wait. ♥” – Lori Ballen
When you purchase The Ballen Method System, you receive instant access to:
√ Past webinars pertaining to online lead generation – Instantly download over 20 hours of webinars. ($1197 Value)
√ A plethora of recorded Videos from live trainings, tutorials, and examples for EACH of the lesson plans included in The Ballen Method System ($297 Value)
√ Training Site – Step by Step tutorials and packed resources kit with templates, samples, how to papers, interviews on the topics and more ($497 Value)
√ Facebook Mastermind monitored by Lori Ballen, her team of Ballen Method implementers, and a group of system owners sharing their experience and success using the system for lead generation (Priceless)
√ Follow up emails with video messages from Lori Ballen herself to offer support (Priceless)
√ Everything you need to learn the easy way to dominate the web starting with branding and then using website content and search engine optimization, blogging, press releases, video, classified ads, social media, facebook ads, and lead cultivation.
√ An Editorial Calendar with an entire year’s worth of scheduled blog posts, press releases, videos, and more.
When you are a Ballen Method System Member, you will receive any new content, relevant webinars, tutorials, and more. We are constantly updating the system with new information so that you can be up-to-date on all of the latest internet marketing tools and trends.
“I have been an average agent my entire career (since 2007), maybe even slightly below average. After my daughter was born in 2010, I began to really pick up the pace, but struggled with finding leads that were not friends, family, networking buddies, etc. Shortly after my son was born (2012), I began following you on Facebook and ‘copying a successful person’. Then I came to see you in Orlando and picked up even MORE! You see, I was working from home, so I needed a way to generate leads on my days at home, and I would work the leads when my family would agree to watch my kids, or on the weekends when my husband was home. I quickly went from an inventory of 4 low quality listings to 12, to 15, to 18, to 20 high quality listings in a short amount of time. I had so many buyers calling, I was handing off buyer leads to another team on referral basis. I started hiring. Within a few months, I hired an assistant, then I hired a Buyer’s agent, then I hired another assistant and 2 more buyer’s agents, and we are still ALL working full time handling the leads The Ballen Method creates for us.
If I can do it being a work from home mom, anyone can. Thank you for what you have done for me personally and professionally.”
– Brittany Purcell
“I want your antenna on high alert and your mind set to wide-open. Put aside everything else and give this message (and all its techniques, wisdom, and guidance) your full attention. You will thank me for getting you ready to immerse yourself, to fully absorb and to positively activate some real life magic: The Ballen Method.”
– Dave Jenks
“You inspire me. I did it. I have been working on this like crazy. Amazing stuff! I Just came up on Google pg 1 – 2 times on pg 1, beating Zillow and Homes.com for best realtor in Fredericksburg. I got 2 listings last week. I asked, “How did you find me?” and they said ‘Google. We typed in best realtor in Fredericksburg!” Thank You.”
– Pam Martin
“I’m a believer! I started over in my business 12 months ago in March and happened to come across your trainings. I took 4 pages of notes and began implementing some of the teachings. I ended the year at 7 mil production and over a third of that came from your teaching. If I am consistent and track what I have on the pipeline so far, I’ll double that this year.”
– Andy Green
“I just wanted to thank you for The Ballen Method. It has already helped our team generate more exposure and leads in just the first few days. Just wanted to give you an early out-of-the-gate thank you! It is having a significant impact. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your life’s work!”
– Seth Campbell
“THE GOOD NEWS. KW.com referrals way up, bounce rate declining, views per visit up, return visitors over 20%, unique visitors astronomically higher, database growing, quality of leads much improved, and international visitors up 1000% or more. All thanks to you.”
– Richard Hebert Jr.
“The system works GREAT. Follow the steps, do the work, and watch your web presence take off. Lori explains everything in an easy to understand way, even if you are not ‘techie’ you can do this. It does take a commitment of time and some work, especially in the beginning to set up everything, plan your message and market. Then watch the magic happen.”
– Kris Coutant