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What Starbucks Taught Me About Search Engine Marketing

Nov 16, 2007
When it comes to having a lot of options for coffee you can't really beat Starbucks. It seems that there's virtually a store on every corner. Bad planning or an intentional marketing ploy? It's been statistically proven that the more Starbucks stores there are in a - mile radius the better each individual store will do. So what does this mean for your Internet marketing campaign? It means that the more 'stores' you own, the better your main store will do.

Here's a real-time illustration: if you have a main website and five incoming links, you'll get traffic to the main site from five places. Now this doesn't mean you need five additional sites along with your main one, these five incoming links are from other websites that often won't belong to you. Now if we're talking numbers let me say this: five is paltry compared to where you need to be. When we work with clients we like to double, triple, or quadruple their incoming links. What does this mean to sales? Well, let's go back to our Starbucks example. Let's say you're scouring the 'Net for a perfect cup of Joe. When someone Googles "perfect cup of Joe" the mentions of your site come up in excess of 5,000 times. Your competitors come in somewhere at 1,000 or less. So it stands to reason that someone searching on this topic will go to your site before they hit your competitor, right?

Ok, so now that we have the incoming links thing down, how in the world do you go about getting all of these links? Well, sometimes the build is slow but that's ok. What we're looking for are high-quality, high-traffic incoming links to your site. Let's break this down even further.

Going after incoming links can happen a variety of ways. Not the least of which is a link you get from a site after your book is reviewed. That's probably the most basic link you can get. Ideally you want links from sites that can drive readers (buyers) to your book. Links from other author sites might be a nice way to network but they don't often leverage anything in the way of ranking or sales potential.

Why? Well, readers shopping for similar titles often won't migrate from one author site to another via a link, they'll generally head over to Amazon and find a list of "similar titles" or the category: Readers who bought this also enjoyed this title. Which then refers you onto a list of their best-selling books in the same genre. Second, unless you're getting a link from a celebrity author site, you'll probably find that most author sites don't have great ranking. Google looks at the ranking of the site that's linked to you to determine how valuable this link is and in turn, how much it will matter to your overall site ranking.

The ideal incoming link is from a niche site, meaning that if you're pushing a WWII novel or a book on dieting, the link is coming from an authority site, i.e. a site that specializes in that topic.

The next option for getting more real estate is to start your own social networking page. There are a variety of sites that can benefit you including: Linkedin, MySpace, Squidoo, and my personal favorite: Facebook. These sites can all offer you a way to connect not just with other people in these social networking circles but also gain a valuable incoming link to your site.

Article syndication is another fantastic way to get more links. Most of us know and understand the article syndication process. You write an article of 500-2,000 words and send it (called syndicating) to sites like: EzineArticles, ArticleCity and many others. Remember to include your byline in the article with a link back to your site.

Commenting on blog postings is another way to drive links back to your site. Head on over to Technorati and dig up at least twenty of the top blogs in your market. Then get in the habit of commenting on the various posts with a link back to your site. The more you comment, the more links you'll get. The secondary benefit to this is virtual networking: getting to know bloggers in your market is never a bad thing.

Gaining valuable real estate and building your "stores" isn't as difficult as you might think. It takes time, persistence, and some keen research skills to find the appropriate sites. In the end, the benefits far outweigh the amount of work you'll do. Gaining exposure online will increase traffic, build platform, enhance exposure and grow your bottom line. So take a lesson from Starbucks and start building a store on every corner. You'll be glad you did.
About the Author
Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a book marketing and media relations expert whose company has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. Visit AME
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