Many people who do business online spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to rise to the top of Google. They often become so obsessed with this goal, in fact, all other goals, like actually making money and keeping existing clients/customers happy, fall by the wayside. They go to sleep thinking about SEO. They dream about SEO. And they wake up thinking about SEO.
These same SEO obsessed people often devote a large portion of their day reading forums, free ezines, blog posts, and so called “expert” articles. They take SEO webinars from “experts” and spend their dear money on SEO ebooks written by “experts.” While they are reading, listening, and taking notes, the latest and greatest internet strategies change constantly and they struggle to keep up. And in fact… the vast majority of them cannot keep up … not really. If they don’t drown, they are usually barely able to tread water in a sea of information overload.
When it becomes obvious they’re falling behind, they sometimes become so desperate they are willing to try almost anything to give them a boost in their Google rankings. Gray hat methods … black hat methods … they know these methods are just code words for search engine spam but they try them anyway, just hoping something will work. Acts of desperation are almost never logical or well thought out… and they almost never turn out good in the end!
Sometimes these desperate measures even produce fleeting moments of “success.” Perhaps they get their website into the top twenty results for their chosen keywords. They shout, “Hooray! I’ve finally made it … or I’m about to.” They’re on the second page which is only a stone’s throw from the top ten results. That’s when they start checking their Google rankings and their stats multiple times a day.
Every little twitch in the Google rankings evokes hours of extended hopeful discussion. Adrenalin is rushing through their veins. They’re about to get highly desirable top ten Google listing … or at least that’s what they envision … and they just know when that happens, their clients and or customers will be pounding down their virtual door!
That’s when it all of a sudden it happens … something quite amazing …
Google does a major update and changes their algorithm!
Their top twenty Google listing disappears and their ranking falls so low they may as well not be indexed.
They turn to their forum buddies and they all cry in unison… they whine, bitch, and bemoan to each other… this goes on for weeks…
How could Big Bad Google do this to them?
It’s Google’s fault they don’t have enough clients or customers, right?
It’s Google’s fault they didn’t keep their existing clients happy enough to gain their loyalty and want to work with them again, right?
It’s Google’s fault they didn’t have enough time (or money) to build up great content on their website and work on other important aspects of their business, right?
Meanwhile, back on Planet Real World, a few of their competitors didn’t spend all their time concentrating on getting a top ten Google listing! But…. believe it or not, their work slate is full… more than full… they’re actually having to turn down clients or hire some help because their products are selling so well!
How did this happen? They didn’t even work on SEO!
Instead of focusing so much of their effort on obtaining a top ten listing in Google, these competitors developed other methods that provide a nice steady stream of clients completely independent of how they rank in the search engines. Yes, these methods take a little work but they pay off big. Moreover, much of how these methods work can actually be automated!
Automation = “Work Smarter Not Harder” = Get More Clients/Customers Or Sell More Products
Have we got your attention yet?
If you will put aside your Google SEO habit for a while, or simply resist the temptation to go down that alluring yet all too often unproductive road, we will tell you exactly how to easily find new clients and or customers or sell more products.
In fact, we will tell you how to have a nice steady stream of new sales, new clients, or new customers without ever having to worry about your Google ranking again!
We are going to concentrate on using three exceptionally good tools to accomplish this:
- Google Alerts
- Website Change Detection Tools
You can also apply some of what you learn here to other internet tools like Facebook and LinkedIn. Now, let’s get into the meat of what we want to teach you. We’re going to give you some very specific examples. Use these to extrapolate your own specific ideas for your particular business or niche.
Of all the free Google tools available, Google Alerts is perhaps the most underutilized given the power it brings with so little effort! Basically, you put in some keywords and Google will send you links to news stories and other updated information pertaining to these keywords via email. It’s so simple, yet so effective! If you’ve never used Google Alerts before, once you try them, you’ll probably wonder how you ever lived without them.
You can have alerts sent to you as Google finds them (as they happen) or have them delivered to you in “digest form,” daily or weekly. You can specify that you only want the best results sent to you. This helps to not get overloaded if you are using popular keywords. If you put quotations around your keywords, this will narrow down potential alerts to exact matches. You can even eliminate matches that contain certain words.
Now, let’s look at several specific ways Google Alerts can help you get a steady stream of new sales, clients, or customers:
Find Independent Contractor Jobs
Suppose you are a programmer looking for new clients, or perhaps you just want to find a larger pool of clients so you can be more picky about the projects you take on. To have potential clients delivered right to your inbox, you could set up one or more of the following Google Alerts:
- Programmer wanted
- Website programmer wanted
- Wanted: programmer
- CGI programmer wanted
- Wanted: CGI programmer
- Java programmer wanted
- Wanted: java programmer
- php programmer wanted
- Looking to hire a programmer
- Looking to hire a php programmer
- Need a new programmer
- Need to hire a new programmer
- Does anyone know a good programmer
- Does anyone know a really good programmer
- Can anyone recommend a programmer
- Can anyone recommend a cgi programmer
- Can anyone recommend a website programmer
Note: Using quotes will generate fewer results but the results you do get will be more relevant. If you find you are getting too many results, you can always use modifiers to eliminate some results. For example, if you want only gigs that pay well, you can add the following to your alerts: “programmer wanted” -free -cheap -bono
These modifiers will eliminate most of the alerts for people looking for free or cheap programming work. The -bono is there to eliminate alerts on people searching for programmers willing to work pro bono.
Of course, you could also get more specific if you want to work for a specific type of company. For example, if a programmer wanted to find paid work with conservation groups, he or she could set the following alerts:
“programmer wanted” conservation -free -cheap -bono
If you want to monitor a specific conservation website (XYZ Conservation) for programming contract work, you could set the following alert: “programmer wanted” site:XYZconservation.org
Keep in mind though that this last alert will not pick up press releases or news articles about XYZ Conservation unless they are reprinted on the website.
We’ll explore a similar technique with Twitter too (see below).
Work With Who You Really Want To Work With
Let’s suppose you make your living as a talented SEO consultant but you also love to cook and bake. Perhaps you have a special interest in high end ingredients like dried chanterelle mushrooms or organic cardamon pods. Perhaps you believe that cooking insects will become the next gourmet food craze. You may enjoy working with clients who sell these types of products more than the current businesses that are contracting with you.
To find SEO clients who special in your niche of interest, you could set up Google alerts like:
- “organic spices”
- “organic spices” “new product”
- “organic cardamon”
- “dried chanterelles” -foraging -foray(to eliminate hits involving mushroom forays)
- “cricket flour”
- “meal worm flour”
You can set these for daily digest mode so you don’t fill your inbox with too many emails and simply scan your hits once a day. Google even lets you set the time your digest alerts arrive! You may need to experiment a bit to get the right blend of results that will send you potential new clients without overwhelming you with volume. Don’t worry, it is very easy to modify alerts.
If you want to concentrate on press releases containing these terms so you narrow down your alerts to businesses that may need your help right away, you could set up alerts like:
- “organic spices” “for immediate release”
- “organic spices” “press release”
Find Your Potential Customers’ Hangouts
By setting up Google Alerts using very specific keywords, you can discover forums, blogs, and other online places your potential customers go to discuss issues related to these specific keywords.
Consider the example of a genealogist who helps people put together their family tree. Suppose she has the extensive knowledge of the Basque people and wants to specialize in helping those with Basque heritage research these roots. She could set up Google alerts such as:
- “Basque heritage”
- “Basque genealogy”
- “Basque DNA”
- “Basque family tree”
Once you find these hang-outs, you can pick some of the better ones and start participating in the discussion. If the forum allows it (look for ones that do), you can add a link to your website in your signature that gets automatically attached to every message you post. If you are careful, and don’t overdo it, and inject genuinely useful information into the conversation, you will become a trusted member of the online hangout and people will follow your link. They may even directly ask you for advice when shopping for certain products or directly ask to hire you!
Remember too, people will read your messages and follow your link for months, even years, because it all gets archived! Sometimes this is behind the closed doors of a site that requires registration to participate, meaning Google may not be able to follow and index the discussion. In these cases, you can think of these hangouts as your own little “private” source of new sales, clients, or customers that your competitors don’t even know about!
Most forums have a private message feature too, and if you are smart about it, you can use this to directly or indirectly solicit new clients or customers. This does not mean you should privately message everyone who posts on a particular thread. In fact, this will likely get you banned and or shunned. However, if there is a person who is asking specific questions, you could ideally send general answers to the forum and follow this up with a private message to the original poster with an offer to help them or a link to a product page of your website if appropriate.
Find Potential Customers and Affiliates For Your New eBook
Many eBooks are written to help solve a particular problem, or set of related problems, because this is what people are willing to pay for. How to build a chicken coop, how to win back your ex, how to lower blood sugar naturally, and how to make money on the internet are all eBook topics that have sold very well in the past and continue to do so.
Suppose you have just launched a new eBook on effective natural treatments for acne. You could set up several Google Alerts such as those listed below to find people who are looking for the exact information you have put in your eBook (put them in quotes to get more specific results):
- How to cure acne.
- How to get rid of acne.
- How to get rid of acne scars.
- Best ache treatment.
- Essential oils for acne.
- How to prevent acne.
- Baking soda for acne.
- Acne and birth control.
- How to get rid of blackheads.
- How to cure acne naturally.
- How to cure acne at home.
- Natural remedies for acne.
- Home remedies for acne.
- Natural treatments for acne.
- How to treat acne at home.
- How to treat acne naturally.
- How to treat acne scars.
- how to treat acne fasts.
- How to cure acne with diet.
- Acne treatment during pregnancy.
- Acne treatment for sensitive skin.
- Acne treatment products.
- Acne on scalp.
- Help with acne.
Since there are likely going to be a lot of hits on these terms, you can set these alerts to be delivered in digest form on a daily basis. Then once a day, you can scan the results to find potential customers who are asking specific questions about their acne problems that are covered in your eBook! You can join in the discussion and demonstrate your expert knowledge. You can also demonstrate your compassion about the topic. Perhaps you used to have terrible acne scars that embarrassed you but you found a way of getting rid of those acne scars.
At the very least, you can put the URL to your sales page for your acne eBook in your signature so that every message you post will contain the link. If the forum is active, you will get new customers from this alone. You can also occasionally make specific mentions of your eBook. For example, you might say, “In Chapter 5 of my eBook, I give specific instructions on how to get rid of acne scars.”
Again, remember that people will see your comments and links for months, perhaps years, in the archives.
In your Google Alert messages, you will also find multiple websites, blogs, etc that are discussing natural treatment for acne. If you have your ebook set up to sell through an affiliate program like Click Bank, you can contact the owners of the larger websites and blogs and offer them a special affiliate rate (more money) to link to your eBook from their site though a specially coded affiliate link. It’s a win win and you’ll likely get many customers through these contacts that you would have never connected with had you not set up those Google Alerts!
Great Tool For Real Estate Agents To Find Clients — An Example
Each industry has its own signals. People who are planning to relocate often ask the same questions. Here are some examples:
- What is the best school district in XYZ city?
- Is XYZ neighborhood safe?
- What are the safest neighborhoods in XYZ city?
- What are the best neighborhoods in XYZ city?
- What is the average home price in XYZ city?
- Can I buy a house in XYZ city for under $300,000?
If you are a real estate agent, you can turn these questions into Google Alerts and you’ll be instantly emailed any time a potential new client is asking these common questions. This allows you to be the first person to give them a solid well-informed answer and you’ll have your foot in the door to make a home sell!
Plus, you can of course set the following Google Alert for each city you represent: “relocating to XYZ city”
This will cover a variety of questions that potential home buyers will be asking. Whatever your niche or industry, figure out what questions your potential clients are asking and set these up as Google Alerts. You’re almost certain to find new clients this way!
Get More Business From Previous Clients
Google Alerts can also help you obtain more work with clients you have worked with in the past. For each happy client you have worked with, you can set up alerts with all variations of their business name, product names, and any other terms specific to their business. Doing so will allow you to receive alerts any time they submit a press release or get mentioned in the news. This will help you keep abreast of what they are doing.
So, for example, if your old client launches a new product line or expands on a service they offer, you can be the first one to congratulate them and ask if they need any help. Perhaps they need more website design work, press releases written, PR work done, SEO work, or modification to a program on their website. They may need to modify their accounting system, build new office space, decorate a new office, have their grounds landscaped, plan a special event, or have their product presentations catered.
If your old client is involved with any community work, this will likely show up in the news which will then almost instantly show up as alerts in your inbox. You could send them a friendly congratulatory email and offer to do a blog post about their non-profit activities or highlight the effort in some other way.
Twitter is more powerful than many people realize. You can use all the techniques discussed above on the Twitter search engine.
Let’s look at some specific examples using Twitter.
Find People Searching For Your Services
Suppose you are a roving mechanic that makes house calls or will go to whatever destination is needed within a certain geographic range. People who use Twitter a lot will often ask their followers for recommendations. It’s a quick way to get feedback. You can use this to your advantage and search for their recommendation requests in the Twitter feed. Here are some suggested searches:
- Any recommendations for a mechanic
- Any recommendations for a good mechanic
- Any recommendations for an honest mechanic
- Any recommendations for a roving mechanic
- Any recommendations for a mobile mechanic
- Looking for a mechanic
- Need a mechanic
- Need a good mechanic
- Need an honest mechanic
- Need a roving mechanic
- Need a mobile mechanic
Of course, you’ll want to specify a specific geographic location too. There is a place on the advanced search page to put in a geographic region in the “Near this place” box. Most people will put in a specific city and state.
However, you may want to specify a more colloquial name for the region you cover because the “Near This Place” box takes data out of a user’s profile and many people don’t specify a specific place for privacy reasons. So, for example, you may want to add “inland empire” if you cover Riverside and San Bernardino counties in California.
If you happen to be based out of Port Angeles Washington, it may be good to search with the regional reference “Olympic Peninsula,” especially since you will likely serve areas outside of Port Angeles where the locals refer to it as the “Olympic Peninsula.”
If the “Near This Place” doesn’t narrow down your searches enough, you can try putting the geographic region in the search box too.
If you want to eliminate hits of other mechanics advertising, try putting -http in your search as this will eliminate all tweets that include a URL.
Hootsuite Can Put Twitter Searches On Auto-Pilot
Once you have determined your most productive Twitter searches by manually trying a variety of searches, there are a number of social media monitoring tools that can help you automate the process and speed things up for you.
Hootsuite is one of the best known and utilized of these tools and it may be a good idea to start with this one even if you end up using another similar tool. Using this software, you can easily set up automatic Twitter feed searches to be performed daily, or even hourly, and then have the results organized into columns or folders for super easy access and scanning.
This way you can spend more time scanning through the results than actually doing the searches.
Twilert Works Kind Of Like Google Alerts
As we discussed above, Google Alerts is a godsend to many people! You pick a topic and Google automatically sends links to your inbox on any new material their Googlebot spider finds on this topic.
Twilert is designed to do essentially the same for the Twitter feed! While this is a paid service, there is a free 30 day trial period. Look for similar services to come out that are free as well.
Find Freelance Work Searching For Twitter Hashtags
Twitter has a unique feature called “hashtags.” These are single words or codes proceeded by a number sign, like #programmer. They were originally intended to create special interest groups on Twitter but they rapidly evolved into much more. People now often use them to “categorize” information by designating that a tweet belongs to a certain category. You can use this to your advantage in searching for freelance assignments by searching for gigs using hashtags.
For an example, go to the Twitter search engine and type in #programmer. You will see lots of tweets listed that include this unique hashtag. Some are tweets by programmers looking for work or simply talking about some aspect of their work. You’ll also see some advertising for programming classes and educational materials. However, if you wade through all this, and consistently do this search every day, you will find programming freelance jobs advertised, giving you a nice steady stream of work.
Here are some other “freelance” hashtags that you can try for examples:
Find Customers Who Need To Buy a Gift
This is kind of a sneaky trick but also a very effective one. If you run an online store with a variety of items, or perhaps a themed store, search the TWitter feed for people looking for gifts! Here are some suggested search terms you can try:
- Looking for a gift
- Looking for a unique gift
- Looking for a gift for mom
- Searching for a gift for dad
- Need to find a gift for wife
- Can’t find a gift for my husband
- Gift for friend
- Gift for best friend
- Gift for dog
- Gift for cat
- Need a one of a kind gift
- Can anyone recommend a gift for
- Can anyone suggest a gift for
- Hard to shop for
Depending on what they need, you can direct them to a specific page of your web store! Simple!
This would work especially well if you sell unique items, personalized items, or handcrafted items as you will be offering something they can’t get anywhere else online!
Website Change Detection Tools
Website change detection tools have been around since the 1990s but very few people use them, and those that do, almost never use them to their full potential. ChangeDetection.com is one of the oldest of these services and is completely free to use. There are now many other similar services that you can test such as VisualPing and WatchThatPage. Each service has various nuances or add-on features such as refined keyword searching and different ways of filtering and sorting results.
Any B2B freelancer can benefit from website change detection tools, if for no other purpose than to keep track of old clients for the purpose of gaining new work from those old clients as they grow, expand, and prosper. However, if you are creative about it, there are many ways to find brand new customers and clients using these tools!
Suppose you are in the business of providing street banners and lighting displays. You can monitor certain city website pages, county website pages, and regional government pages for the planning stages of civic improvement projects and celebrations. The same is true for the webpages of ongoing festivals and other special events. Keeping abreast of any changes in these webpages may give you a heads up on when and where you can offer your services.
Suppose you sell high end optical equipment like Swarovski spotting scopes and digital cameras. You could monitor the websites of the local birding and wildlife guides in your area. Any time they give free presentations or take people on free field trips, this is your perfect opportunity to network with a concentrated pool of potential customers. You may even want to bring along some scopes, cameras, and scope camera adapters for people to try in person. Of course, you’ll also want a pocket full of business cards with your URL and store location!
Are you a specialty cake decorator? Why not monitor the special events webpages for a variety of local clubs! As you see changes to these pages, you can offer your specialty cake decorating services. Is the rock and mineral club having their annual open invitation meeting? Why not offer to bake them a cake decorated like a rock pick. Is the mushroom foray club planning a big potluck to celebrate the first fall harvest? Why not offer to cook up a truffle cake in the shape of a big porcini mushroom! Is the Friends of the XYZ Park hosting a fundraiser? Why not offer to make a cake representing the best features of the park?
Is there a non-profit you’ve been wishing you could work with? Monitor their webpages for updates and you may very well see the perfect opening to offer your products or services.
Do you want to offer your research skills to one or more of the local lawyer offices? Monitor their case profile pages for a few months before you approach them so you can demonstrate a true interest in the work they do. You may even want to offer to do a blog post for one of their recent cases.
If you are smart about it, you can ensure you get an automated stream of new sales, clients, or customers using these free and amazing tools! In fact, the possibilities are endless! In this way, you can cut the chord of utter dependence on Google search results! You simply don’t need to worry about a top ten Google listing if you develop alternative and very dependable ways to find new customers and or clients!