Monthly Archives: July 2008

Ottawa Sales Leadership Initiative – the missing link?

I was interviewed recently for Ottawa Business Journal regarding newly formed local organization named Sales Leadership Initiative. The concept behind it is that Ottawa’s local Technology and R&D talent is lacking selling skills and expertise – and that’s what SLE will be attempting to fix. I do agree with that. “I have great idea -  let’s do it” syndrome was responsible for as many startups as many failures and tons of cash burned to ashes in relatively short periods of time. We all need extra sales and marketing education. How to find potential customer, how to approach potential customer, how to educate customer, how to establish lasting mutually beneficial relationships – those are the skills that greatly help to converts idea, product, service and technology to cash.
So I hope to see great sales, marketing and educational events, speakers and materials to be available to local tech companies soon.

The Missing Link?

Although there is one thing that I didn’t find anywhere on SLE website (at least at the time of writing this post) – anything about educating local techies on specifics of Internet Marketing.

I currently working for

[Epiphan Systems->] – company that markets their niche hardware products almost exclusively through the internet channels. We sell products to 70 countries all over the world. Only about half of our sales are from North America – so this made us somewhat resilient to US economic downturns and rollercoaster credit crunch rides. Without internet – we as technology company would have really hard time to do business and survive, even if we’d have the best local sales team at hands. Only about 1% of our sales coming from Ottawa and only 5% from Canada.

So, how about educating local technology companies on how to wisely use internet to propell their business and sales?{+++}

I’d love to see more Internet Marketing and Sales education available to local technology companies. This would make them stronger and make our local economy stronger.

Gleb Esman

How to get precise search volume for any keyword or phrase

Imagine knowing exact number of searches for your targeted keyword phrase (or it’s synonyms). This information would let you know instantly whether it’s worthwhile to target certain niche or pass it on for better ones. While it used to be closely guarded data behind Google’s corporate data centers – it is available now on first come – first serve basis.

Google just decided to offer more information about keywords and keyphrases search volume. In fact almost precise numbers as well as average monthly search volume numbers. Any paid subscibers to wordtracker around? Sorry guys, we just got an access to precise numbers from the king of kings. No more questionable guesswork at a premium fee is needed.

Here is goes:

  1. Go ahead to Google Keyword Tool
  2. Click on: How would you like to generate keyword ideas?
  3. Select “Descriptive words or phrases”
  4. In the field: “Enter one keyword or phrase per line:” enter your favorite keyphrase
  5. Press button “Get keyword ideas”. Wait a few seconds…

Together with suggested keywords and all of it’s possible variations – Google will return “Approximate Search Volume” numbers together with “Approx Average Search Volume” numbers for the current month.

Handy indeed.


Gleb Esman

Use Google Webmaster Tools to see through the walls …

Well, no quite through the wall – but Google Webmasters Tools allows you to see something that no other service, product or person could do.

It allows you to see top search queries in which your site appeared on google organic results (impressions – even though no one clicked on your link, you still know what people were searching for!) as well as top clicked queries that generated the most clicks (traffic). How cool is that?! This will allow you to see which phrases you started to rank for (even though people haven’t clicked on your site yet).

This cool feature will let you discover trends and niches on internet – something that people are searching for, even though no one clicked on your site. It’s like getting inside googleplex and peeking on their closely guarded databases.

To access these stats:

And it’s free of course!

Tips for Affiliate Marketers

Here are few tips to help you started with affiliate marketing.

    If you already up and running this direction – you might get a few gems out of this article.
  • Good idea is not necessarily a good business!
    Test the market before investing lots of time and money to create a product. To test the market:

    • Open Google Adwords account
    • Sign up for affiliate programs at ClickBank or Commission Junction programs for free.
    • Find existing products that targets the same (or closely related markets) to the product/service that you are planning to create.
    • Create simple landing page on your website promoting existing affiliate product or service. Alternatively, instead of trying to sell anything you can send visitors to fill-in your online survey about their needs and wants or simply offer them page full of useful information + ability to opt-in to receive more information. Aweber has all tools to manage your email and opt-in needs. Once people opted in – you will be able to market them your or other products repeatedly without paying anything to Google.
    • Spend $50 – $100 worth on Adwords sending targeted traffic to your landing page.
    • See how many visitors you got and how many converted to buyers/customers. If after spending $100 on ads you won’t get any customers – this might not be a good niche. This also could mean that approach to convert visitors to buyers might need to be changed.
  • If you create a useful (or so you think) informational product that no one seems to buy – offer it at no charge, but through an opt-in box on your site. This way you will grow database of people who are interested in this market and later on you can offer them other affiliate products and make your money worth and more.
  • When sending emails to your opt-in list approach them like a friend, not like salesman. This could increase trust and conversions.
  • Offering something cheaper than your competitors not necessarily will make you more successful. Opposite quite often is true – clever, innovative, agressive marketing with high price tag product could work wonders in the right niches.
  • Video sales letters converts better than regular online text salesletters.
  • Use competitive intelligence to help your business. Spy on your competition or other successful affiliate marketers with DomainTools. Domain tools paid account ($15/mo, $149/yr) allows you to list all domains hosted under same IP address. So if you know website name of successful affiliate marketer – you can see what other “cards he has under his sleeve” by peeking at his other domains. TIP: Alternatively you may use query to find all domain under IP address, type this at search box: ip:
  • Some internet marketing gurus are raving about service using which you can spy on other websites (presumably your competitors), see what keywords they are bidding on and what their daily ad budget. I checked their site against domains that I personally manage and have to say this:
    – They don’t get even close to the daily budget I am spending on Adwords. That’s understandable – only Google knows that – they obviously has no and cannot have any clue about it. This factor may or may not be important for your needs.
    – They do report organic rankings ok – anyone could get this just by Googling.
    – They do report pay per click competitors ok – same – anyone could get this just by Googling.
    – They does not report our most moneymaking keywords, although I don’t have paid account with them and haven’t seen all keywords that they could report.
    – They doing great job marketing their service! Something we all can learn from.
  • If you use Aweber to market to your list – do not leave “thank you” page as it’s default. You’re leaving money on the table. “Thank you” page could redirect opted-in visitor to another sales letter and/or be as simple as affiliate link itself for relevant products.
  • “Old” domain names are as good as old quality aged wine. If you own one or could afford to purchase one (especially rather generically looking name) – this will definitely help to quickly gain trust at Google, compare to brand new registered domains.
  • Every portal must have privacy policy, contact us and about us page. This is useful for visitors and good for search engines to see that you’re serious to do online business up to standards. Having sitemap is a must for quicker indexing and ranking. Having separate link to sitemap from your main page is a good idea.
  • Do you have the list? How often do you mail them? Marketing experts suggest to create at least 52 separate email messages (you may outsource their creation to rentacoder, elance or other outsourcing places). If you have account with Aweber or other email marketing service – upload these messages over there and let your messages to be sent to your list at least once a week. This way you’ll be set for the whole year, without touching anything else. Of course, if you discovered new product or service within affiliate space that is worth promoting to your list – just create one extra message and send it out to your list. Other 52 – will keep your list “in touch” with your business year round and will be your automated generator of residual income.

Good luck with your online ventures!

How to start your online affiliate business – in baby steps

How to start your own affiliate business, what to do, in which order, which mistakes to avoid

  1. Sign up for a few popular affiliate networks, such as Commission Junction (all kind of products, services) or ClickBank (electronic downloadable products or membership subscriptions).
  2. Sign up for Google Adwords.
  3. It is well known wisdom that good idea is not necessarily a good business, so first things first – TEST your idea or niche. Do not look for niche or market that has no competition. No competition – most often means no market. Lots of competition is good – more products to promote in the marketplace, more potential partnerships to create, more mutually beneficial joint ventures to found.
    Here are few online places you can check which products, services or markets are currently active:

    1. – there you can search and sort and see which products are active. Which ones are praised and receive lots of good comments. Visit vendor’s pages and see if these have affiliate programs attached to them.
    2. Type search queries on Google trends top see if they are active. Compare search queries to each other. Compare and see which countries, regions and even cities are actively (or not so) are searching. Have fun with Google Hot Trends to see which search queries are very active right now! Fun to object trends and get ideas.
    3. Check for entries that received the highest number of “diggs”. These should give you an ideas of what popular among opinionated geek crowd (in case you want to target this market). Blaming Bush, praising Obama, Apple and Firefox seems to be the hot topics.
    4. Find out the most expensive adwords, type them on Google, look at their ads and see what these portals are doing. They paying a lot of money for every single click (sometimes $50 and more) and they presumably very successful businesses. Great to observe and learn from.
    5. Check Ebay on what are the hottest selling items. This is the page not many people seems to know about – most popular items on Ebay. Great to observe and study current trends.
    6. Check Amazon also has a page of the most popular selling items, updating on a hourly basis. Great way to learn current market trends and employ information for your business.
  4. Once you figure out your area of marketing – create simple website with just one landing page promoting affiliate product. Be willing to spend $50-$100 to test the market, test how responsive are visitors and whether you see any conversions. Don’t expect to make money right away (although it’s perfectly possible) but if you don’t see any conversions after spending $100 on Adwords – this might be a sign of not-so-good niche to be at. If you see sales from this test campaign – you know that you have a chance to make money money and improve from now on.
    Alternatively to selling a product – create an opt-in page that gives some useful information to your target niche and inviting people to signup to your list. Aweber is a popular, flexible and reliable service to do email marketing. This way you ad dollars will be spent on generating a list to which you can market on forever.
    Remember – having mailing list of targeted interested people will allow you to make money instantly, sometimes by sending a single email promoting new affiliate product.
  5. If your list is growing, sales are happening – this will be a good time to grow. Start adding more contents to your site. Have capability for people to ask questions through your website. Make every effort to make it easy for people to join your list.
    Every time you add a new page to your page – use great free service OnlyWire to quickly notify many other social tagging, bookmaring and linking sites about your new pages.
    Use and to notify blogging engines about your new pages.
  6. Remember – affiliate programs are easy as they does not require one to create much of anything. People love to be lazy and make money fast without doing anything. As a result of it – approaching business from the “I wanna be affiliate” side has it’s limit. The real money on internet and beyond are in having your own product. After tests above you observed that niche is good an active.
    Start creating your own product targeting this niche and this will put you in command. Invite other people to become affiliates to market your product.
  7. Play with creating super simple products and “magnet” pages:
    1. Promotional Videos. Buy e-book or product or join membership site of your interest that has affiliate program with it. Create simple guidance video explanaing benefits of the product and guiding visitor on how to use it. Have video showing your website and sign up URL with your affiliate link for the product. Videos are great way to attract targeted converting traffic and make extra sales.
    2. Create Frequently Asked Questions about popular product or service and place your affiliate links around it. If page has useful rich contents – it will eventually attract free organic traffic of potential customers. You may speed up the process with the help of and

That’s it – you’re good to go. Good luck in your online business!

How to keep competitors away and keep search engines happy

The more one way organic incoming links your website has – the higher it ranks in google and other search engnies.
Problem 1: If you own 2 or more domains and link from to – this absolutely has no effect on ranking of Search engines knows that you own both domains soit will not grant more ranking “juice” to

Problem 2: If you into affiliate marketing – you do not want your competition to “spy” on your business, duplicate it and steal your profits. You don’t want others to know all your websites, you want to keep your businesses “under the radar” as much as possible.

Here are suggestions to solve these problems:

  1. Register domains under “pen” name.
  2. Use P.O.Box that only takes mail from that pen name.
  3. Get a dedicated server and have every domain, or group of domains, under their own IP addresses.
  4. Do not host your websites on a single IP address. It is easy to list all websites under single IP address by either using domaintools for a small fee, or running query on, such as: ip:
  5. It is not always a good idea to have “proxy” or “private” registration. Search engines suspicious of that and you may have problems missing important messages regarding your domains. See #1 + #2.

How to redirect old webpages to the new ones

How to redirect web pages, what is 301 redirect and how to do redirects in different technologies

Sometimes we move domains, rename pages, migrating to different hosting account and different content management systems. This all result in URL change (changing of address) of our old pages. With proper usage of redirects this move will be easy and as search engine friendly as we could make it.

What is a 301 redirect?

301 Redirect – tells Search Engines that your old page has “permanently moved” to the new location – new page. 301 Redirect could also affect group of pages or the whole site altogether. Your old site will be gradually removed from the Search Engine’ indexes and your new site will take its place. The advantage of using this approach is that the 301 Redirect will also transfer the link popularity gained by your old site, to the new one. The bad news is that some search engines might not recognize that you’ve simply changed domains and will subject your new domain to the aging delay as if it were a brand new site. The result is that your rankings might suffer, especially in more competitive markets. Regardless of that 301 redirect is the best recommended technique to do redirects. 301 redirect will work just fine  in most cases, such as:

  • ->
  • ->
  • ->

If Google and other search engines can access and as the same page – they would think that your site has 2 different pages with duplicate content. Duplicate content will cause your rankings (measure of “respect” from search engines) to be penalized. This is easy to avoid with the help of 301 redirect. In this case you need to forward all ‘non-www’ requests for your site to ‘www…’ requests. Here is the code to insert into .htaccess file in the root directory of your web hosting space:

########## Begin - prohibit usage of URLs without "www" ###########
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} .
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^ [NC]
RewriteRule (.*)$1 [R=301,L]
########### End - prohibit usage of URLs without "www" ##########

How to do redirects in PHP

<?php header("Location:"); ?>


header("HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently");

How to do redirect in JSP (Java)

response.setHeader( "Location", "" );
response.setHeader( "Connection", "close" );

How to do redirect in CGI PERL

$q = new CGI;
print $q->redirect("");

How to do redirect in Ruby on Rails

def old_action
headers["Status"] = "301 Moved Permanently"
redirect_to ""

How to do redirects in ASP

<%@ Language=VBScript %>
Response.Status="301 Moved Permanently"
Response.AddHeader "Location",""

How to do redirects in ASP .NET

<script runat="server">
private void Page_Load(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
Response.Status = "301 Moved Permanently";

More readings: Apache .htaccess tutorial
Credits: WebConfs

Learn from spammers, Use skills for good

I often type super high competitive keyphrases to see which sites are rank on top of Google and other search engines. This way I could learn what Google consider top ranking sites for the phrase, as well as it gives me an opportunity to reverse engineer  and discover “fresh” tips and tricks for top rankings that are active today.

For example during the last month or two “discount viagra” phrase seems to consistently pull page from among the top results. This is actual link thank ranks high for the above phrase:

While it seems that the guy used huge amount of backlinks from hijacked semi-abandoned blogs, the fact that he chosen to host his spammy page on tells me that this portal might be a great place to host your real blog or page.

That of course if will take care of cleaning up their properties from weeds.

Use ranking accelerator keywords to boost your organic ranking

From my constant SEO research across different industries I found that top ranking websites has certain keywords repeatedly occur in their Title tag, page URL, page description, top of page contents or anchor text of backlinks.
I name these keywords “ranking accelerators”. These are the keywords that Google love to see and it seems to give webmaster extra “brownie” points. The good thing is that it doesn’t matter what your website is about. What matters is that Google seems to give more trust to sites that are using them, as these keywords seems often to come together with the quality informative contents. So here is the list (constantly updating).

Ranking Accelerator Keywords. The ones in bold are more powerful.

  • review
  • overview
  • compare, comparison
  • rating, rates, rate
  • quote
  • how …,  how to
  • find, finder
  • research
  • guide
  • specification
  • information
  • Question keywords:  Want to…? Why …? Is … ?
  • ‘!’ sign at the end of title.
  • learn
  • article
  • list
  • resource
  • directory
  • service
  • idea
  • accessories
  • details
  • FAQ
  • free
  • cheap
  • best
  • education[al]
  • describes
  • tips, courses, schools, study, opportunity, comments, results, classifieds, club, design, mastermind
  • buy, supplier
  • tutorial

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