Basic Search Engine Optimization Principles for Entrepreneurs

How Keyword Rich Content is Directly Related to SEO for your Business

Ever wonder what SEO really is but were afraid to ask?

SEO is an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization”. It’s the umbrella term for all the methods you can use to ensure your website is found by various search engine result pages (SERPs).

Google is the most widely used search engine but it’s certainly not the only one. There’s Bing, Yahoo!, AOL and others.

If your website does not appear higher up in their search rankings, then you are missing out on a huge opportunity.

The goal of SEO is to get qualified leads and prospects to discover your business when they are searching for products or services that you offer in the search engines.

SEO isn’t Rocket Science but it can be Complicated

When it comes to SEO, a few important tactics can greatly improve your presence in the increasingly crowded online space.

If you’re attempting search optimization on your own or more wisely hiring an SEO expert, it’s important to be informed with certain SEO fundamentals before proceeding.

Search engines try to provide the most relevant results to a searcher’s query. Whether it’s an answer to a simple question like, “how many ounces are in a gallon?” to more complicated queries such as, “what is the best Chinese restaurant nearest to me?”

After reading this article, you will gain a better understanding of what you need to know before beginning an SEO campaign and what your role is if you decide to outsource this valuable marketing strategy.

Know Your Audience and What Content They’re Looking For

Why Content Marketing Plays a Big Role in SEO

First let’s look at what SEO feeds on. And that is content (text, images, videos etc) found on your website.

Since great SEO relies on how well your content is ranked, as well as factoring in your social media and local engagements, you want to keep fluff content to a minimum and focus on quality.

While it sounds time-consuming, quality content has benefits that reach beyond SEO.

Good content is useful across all marketing mediums and forces you to think through your message from a topic and keyword perspective.

The key is to ensure you are honing in on what actually matters to your audience.

It’s imperative you know who would want to buy your products or services and what they’re searching for in the search engines in order for them to find your website as the solution to their needs.

Your initial instincts may be correct, but you might be missing things that could gain additional website traffic, potential relationship opportunities, or new market segments to your business.

Therefore, proper due diligence is paramount in order to map your target audience to the keywords, topics, and phrases they’re using in and around your industry.

Create SEO-Driven Content

Writing only for search engines usually makes your content boring. Typically that strategy won’t help to convert your visitors into customers.

It’s far better to focus on people first. Make your content as value-driven as possible and then optimize it for search engine bots without sacrificing the quality of your content.

The underlying content is extremely important. Too many people skimp on content but it’s one of the major anchors that tether you to Google’s relevancy algorithms.

The problem we see a lot of entrepreneurs run into is them creating content “they” think is perfect and sounds great to them but SEO wise, can at times be utterly worthless.

Being authentic is important but do so while factoring in the reason why you’re creating the content in the first place with marketing, branding, lead generation and of course SEO in mind.

Thin content with errors, or duplicate content and spun or spam content can really hurt you.

Instead, the content not only has to be lengthy, but it has to be well-written, keyword rich and highly engaging where readers are spending a good amount of time digesting and consuming that content.

Content Creation for SEO Success

As you create content, you’ll want to make sure each page is optimized for:

• Page speed,

• bot crawling,

• responsive friendliness, and

• overall findability.

An Initial investment in a site audit or recommendations for establishing a few initial best practices will save you much time and money in the long run.

Ideas for new content can be gathered from questions your own clients often ask or visit online forums and social media to find questions around your industry, products, and marketplace for more inspiration.

Check the competition with content ideas to ensure you’re on par with your competitors when it comes to covering topics and questions in the industry concerning your company.

Manage Your Keywords Wisely

The key to pleasing both search engines and visitors is to have quality content on our website that includes keywords your target market would be using in the search engines when looking for a solution to a problem your business can solve.

To do this, you want to run your keywords and topics through a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to make sure the topics and keywords you have chosen have enough search volume and potential traffic to make them worthwhile.

Be sure to take into account the relevance of the search to your audience.

The narrower the topic focus, the lower the traffic typically. This is often offset by the accuracy and interest of the audience.

Do not Spam the keywords!

This also means using different connotations of the same words over and over again within your content.

Google loves NEW content. Keep in mind that websites are liquid so this is where your blog plays a major role in effective SEO.

What Search Engines Are NOT Looking For

Search engine spiders only have a certain amount of data storage. If you’re performing shady tactics or trying to trick them, chances are you’re going to hurt yourself and your business reputation in the long run.

At the end of the day, focusing on quality content that can be easily found by your target audience will benefit all of your marketing and sales efforts. Spend a lot of time on the things above and the rest will fall into place.

Is SEO Jeopardizing Your Content Marketing?

You should know by now the importance of having an SEO strategy for your company or brand. It’s key for boosting organic traffic, which is great because it brings more prospects who are actually looking for your products or services. It’s the bees knees in the Internet marketing industry, but if you’re not using it correctly, it could be ruining your content marketing efforts. Having an ineffective search engine optimization strategy is just as bad as not having one at all. It’s important to have an agency offers professional SEO services analyze your Search Engine Optimization plan to ensure it’s utilizing up-to-date methods.

Your content marketing and your Search Engine Optimization techniques should work harmoniously together. The following are common reasons why this isn’t a reality for most businesses.

Your Focus is On Short-Tail Keywords

Doing this oftentimes leads to thin content. Just a few years ago, it was simpler. You could focus your content around key phrases or words and actually gain higher rankings with no problem. But this often resorted to low-quality content that wasn’t desirable to human audiences.

Google Panda changed the game, rendering this old tactic ineffective. If you’re still using it, then this could be the reason why your content marketing plan is failing you. What you should be doing instead is focusing on long-form content and place less attention on individual keywords and more on search phrases that are relevant to your industry and topic. Your top priority is to please readers, so make your Internet marketing strategy is sound with content that is valuable, while still getting in a decent amount of keywords. An SEO agency with keyword research.

You’re Guest Writing for Low-End Sites

The quality of the websites you guest write for is very important. Think of it this way, would you read about running a business from a site that is spammy and shady looking? Likely not. No one will take your content seriously if it’s posted on a site that is low quality. Be more selective about where you have your content posted.

You’re Not Focusing on the Mobile User

Mobile SEO is very important and shouldn’t be overlooked, but what also gets little to no burn is the content marketing strategy. Having a mobile-friendly, responsive website design is only one part of it. You should also focus on writing headlines that are designed to attract users who are on the go and are uploaded in a format that is easily viewable on mobile devices.

If your content marketing is guilty of these mistakes, then it’s time to revamp the internet marketing strategy of your company. Consider working with an SEO agency to work out the kinks.

Control the Investment Market

The act of investment is at its cornerstone, gambling. I might add so is life! We make choices, whether to smoke or not, engage in dangerous sports, gamble on marriage, even choosing friends. Investing for gain, is a parallel. A best guess of the future. What criterion should we use to tip the scales in our favor?

The people are important! The issuers or advisors of the offering, as well as the management personnel of the business we are investing in. Usually, we are advised by a person we went to school with, maybe a trusted family friend or contact we have known who is reliable. In this “new investment” market we are somewhat vulnerable. With internet and high-speed communication opportunities are here now, but gone tomorrow, the pace is frightening. The new investment market is world-wide, making investment friends needs be almost a “warlike” exercise. We have to make fast friends to survive, and prosper. When everybody says “do it now”, instead slow down! Make your first determination based on the people involved. No right-minded advisor should assume you are going to invest immediately. I would like you to have conversations, see some correspondence, understand the mindset and goals, before investing.

Understand the investment. Do not take assurances from those who proposed to be competent. Make sure you understand. Ask questions specifically and repeatedly. Will all questions be answered affirmatively? Probably not. There are certain generic risks, both in time frame and yield spread, everyone in an investment should be conscience of. Inability to satisfy questions will not necessarily dis-qualify the investment opportunity. Personal determination, sometimes a forgotten item these days, will benefit you.

Controlling your investments means knowing your investment pace. How long is your investment time frame? Are we seeking the long-term accrual retirement income or short-term monthly income stream? Anything over 10 years is long-term investment. We should be conscience of interest rate variables, time vs. money decay should be adjusted and thought out. As we sort out our personal investment agenda, we turn our thought to the prospects which we can invest in. Not all good or great investments are suitable to each investor. If you have college tuition to be prepared for in two years, a five-year investment overlapping this event will not be advantageous. I would not assume I could borrow or sell this investment on suitable terms to accomplish this. With work, wide variety of investments can mitigate these issues. This can be long-term growth stocks, bonds, short-term equities, or C.D.’s, or whatever tickles your fancy. Unfortunately, investing in the right securities is just like work, It might be tedious. Your money will go out and reproduce itself, but it will need guidance from you!

3 Steps for Finding a Real Trading Edge

In his excellent “Market Wizards” book series, Jack Schwager said, “There are a million ways to make money in the markets. The irony is that they are all very difficult to find.”

That’s true. If it wasn’t, we traders would all be multi-gazillionaires, wouldn’t we? Finding a trading edge is a lot of work, so it’s important to have an overall plan. In this first article of my series on finding an edge, we’ll look at an overview of the process. Future articles will delve into the details and different techniques that you can use in the search for your next profitable trading strategy.

Currently I’m primarily a Forex trader, but I’ve traded stocks, bonds and options as well. The procedure that I outline here can be useful to any trader, no matter the market.

What is an edge?

Before getting into our 3-step course of action, let’s first define what a trading edge is. We need to start with some basic trading math. This is a whole subject in its own right, so I’ll discuss trading math more fully in future articles. For now, let’s just concentrate on the ideas of risk, reward, and expectancy.

If I buy XYZ stock at 35 with a stop loss at 30, then my risk is 5 points. Let’s say I decide to sell if it reaches 50. Then my goal is a reward of 15 points. Of course I might not set a specific profit goal, waiting instead to see what the market gives me. If the stock rises to 44, and then stalls, I might sell there for a reward of 9 points. In the first example, my reward to risk ratio was 15 to 5, or 3:1, while in the second example it was 9:5.

Some newer traders naively think that they’ll automatically make money on average if they always set their profit targets higher than their risk. What actually happens is that they just get stopped out more often. This is because it’s more likely that the price will hit the stop before it reaches the target. So out of four trades, they may lose 5 points on three and earn 15 on the fourth, for a total “expectancy” of exactly zero (minus commissions and spreads).

The formula for expectancy is:

(Win Rate)(Average Win Amount) – (1-Win Rate)(Average Loss Amount)

Suppose I do 100 trades using some specific strategy, and that my win rate is 40%. My loss rate (or 1-WR) is 60%. If I have an average win of 8 points and an average loss of 5 points, then my historical expectancy for this strategy is:

(0.40)(8) – (0.60)(5) = 3.2 – 3 = 0.2 points/trade

The “edge” is the expectancy expressed as a percentage of my risk per trade, which in this case is 5 points. So the edge is just 0.2 points per trade divided by the 5 points I risk per trade, or 4% of amount risked. So for every $100 I risk with this method, I expect to gain $4. We say that my strategy has a 4% edge.

Gather and explore the data

The first step in finding a trading edge is to gather and explore historical price data. A simple internet search should yield several sources for this, ranging from tick by tick data to daily, weekly, or even monthly bars. In any case, you’ll want to get this data into a spreadsheet. Some data sources provide you with a quick way to do this, while others may require some copying and pasting.

If you’re not familiar with spreadsheets, then now is the time to learn. Using the powerful tools in MS Excel or Open Office, you can answer just about any quantifiable question you have about the data. What’s the frequency of inside bars vs. outside bars? If a bar breaks the previous bar’s high, what’s the probability that the next bar will do the same? And so on. If your creativity needs an initial kick-start, check out my blog site. It has oodles of free archived research notes, filled with examples of data explorations.

This is the stage that statisticians call “Exploratory Data Analysis” or EDA. You’ll want to look at overall features of the data such as bullish or bearish biases, the average price move per bar, and so on. This provides you with realistic profit expectations, and can lead you to further ideas for exploration.

Develop a trading idea

Great. So now you’ve got thousands of price bars in a spreadsheet, and you’re slicing and dicing the data to uncover its secrets. At this point, you’re bound to have a few “aha! moments.”

As an example, just a week or so before writing this, I was examining hourly bar data for the EUR/JPY currency pair, concentrating on just the 4-hour period during the London and New York session overlap. “Aha!” I said. I had just found that 72% of the time, the high or low for that overlap period occurred during the first hour, as opposed to the other three hours. Could I exploit this knowledge to create an edge? Well, I’m still working on that one, so you’ll have to stay tuned.

So the second step is to use what you’ve found in the exploratory stage to develop a specific trading idea. When developing your trading idea, be careful that you’re not just “data mining” and concentrating on some meaningless statistical artifact.

As a non-trading example of this, suppose I gathered data on the amount of rainfall in Boston over the past year, and organized it by the day of the week. It’s extremely improbable that any two days would have exactly the same average rainfall, so I could rank the amount of rain by day of the week. There’s clearly going to be a day, say Tuesday, that had the highest rainfall, and another day, say Friday, that had the lowest. But is this meaningful? Should I plan to have picnics only on Fridays, but never on Tuesdays? Of course not. The storm clouds don’t know what day it is. This is what I mean by a statistical artifact found through data mining. There’s an old saying in statistics that if you torture the data long enough, it’s bound to tell you something.

So when you develop your trading idea, it’s important to have some theory or model, grounded in the real world, which explains why the idea should work.

For example, if you notice that price often makes big moves when it crosses the 50-bar moving average as opposed to other moving averages, what could be causing this? Could it be that this MA is often a favorite among speculators? If so, then this isn’t just a statistical artifact, it’s the result of prevailing trader psychology.

If you notice that currencies often make large moves after three consecutive positive trade balance reports, is this just a statistical artifact? Probably not, as there is a clear fundamental connection between a country’s trade balance and the demand for its currency. Maybe some big bank out there has a strategy of accumulating currencies with good trade numbers. This is a model grounded in reality, and supported by your data.

Test it rigorously

Now that you’ve developed a trading idea supported by your data and a logical model grounded in reality, it’s time to test it. This last stage can often be disappointing, and consequently is sometimes ignored by traders, to the peril of their account balances.

During this stage, you’ll be using basic concepts from probability and statistics, so it’s a good idea to brush up on those subjects. You’ll want to be familiar with such ideas as statistical power and significance, sensitivity and selectivity, type-1 and type-2 errors, and a few others. Again, I’ll explore many of these tools in future articles.

Not only do we want to know how often a signal correctly predicts some behavior, we also want to know how often the signal fails, and how often the lack of a signal correctly or incorrectly predicts absence of the behavior. It’s these latter three statistics that traders often overlook.

In the case of a purely mechanical method with a well defined signal, traders will usually back-test the signal with historical data. In this case, it’s often a good idea to do “out of sample” testing. This avoids the self-fulfilling practice of confirming your hypothesis using the same data you used to come up with it.

In cases where the trading method is a bit more qualitative and difficult to define for back-testing, you may want to forward-test the method in a live account. It’s best to use either a demo account or a small amount of money at first. In this way, you can gather actual expectancy data before committing more funds.


So now you’ve seen the 80,000 foot overview of the 3-step process for finding a trading edge. Gather and explore your data. Develop a trading idea. And finally, test it rigorously. If, during this last step, you find that your brilliant trading idea turns out to be a dud, don’t get discouraged. And above all, don’t ignore your results and trade the idea anyway! That’s a sure path to emptying out your trading account. Instead, go back to your data and keep looking for ideas.

Remember, there are a million ways to make money in the markets. The trick is finding them. And now you’re on your way to knowing how to do that. Good luck, and keep pipping up!