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Marketing Your User Group Using Search Engines - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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by Ash Nallawalla. Marketing Your User Group Using Search Engines . About the Presenter. Ash Nallawalla BCom (Hons), GradDipComp Certified Google Advertising Professional 26+ years in marketing, sales, product management, writing and editing, mainly in multinational Web-economy companies

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By ash nallawalla l.jpg

by Ash Nallawalla

Marketing Your User Group Using Search Engines

About the presenter l.jpg
About the Presenter

  • Ash Nallawalla

    • BCom (Hons), GradDipComp

    • Certified Google Advertising Professional

    • 26+ years in marketing, sales, product management, writing and editing, mainly in multinational Web-economy companies

    • Consulting and training delivery to small and big business on search marketing topics –

    • Blog:

Why use search engines l.jpg
Why Use Search Engines?

  • Easier for new members to find you – they already use search engines to find answers to computing problems.

  • Staying ahead of the competition (if any) – your competitors are usually online forums, not user groups.

  • Increasing the number of visitors

Main search engines l.jpg
Main Search Engines

  • Google

  • The Rest:

    • Yahoo

    • Live Search (was MSN)

    • Altavista (Yahoo)

    • AOL (powered by Google)

    • Alltheweb (Yahoo)

Main directories l.jpg
Main Directories

  • Open Directory Project (

  • Yahoo Directory(

  • Specialist Directoriese.g. APCUG list of usergroups, Ash’s List

Google pagerank pr l.jpg

A ranking system based on popularity:

Popularity = links:

More links are good

Links from topical pages are better, e.g. Ash’s list of PC User Groups, from APCUG, from vendor pages

Reciprocal links as not as good as one-way links, esp. From off-topic sites – don’t bother.

Links to “bad” sites are very bad

Use Google Toolbar to view PR

Don’t read too much into the rank # e.g. PR5

Google PageRank (PR)

Google toolbar l.jpg
Google Toolbar

  • Download free from and Add-Ons exist for Firefox

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How Search Engines Work: Spiders

  • Three stages of search engine visibility:

    • Get crawled by spider

    • Get indexed into the search index

    • Get positioned for a specific phrase (lots of phrases, in fact) – you must know what phrases a searcher will use to find you, even if they have never heard of the concept of a user group – e.g. “help with excel”.

  • Above takes 1-3 months if you do everything “right”

  • Search engines deploy spiders (crawlers) to jump from link to link and index the Web.

  • Frequently changing pages are visited more often.

Blogs l.jpg

  • Easiest way to set up a “web site” – you can build your first within minutes!

  • Encourage each SIG to set up their own blog!

  • Link to one another.

  • Invite members to subscribe.

  • Encourage members to promote URLs responsibly.

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Press Releases

  • Prepare regular press releases

  • Always have a human story angle:

    • Not “Podunk User Group Meeting” as a heading for the press release

    • “Local computer group saves the hospital!”

    • “12-year old genius wins scholarship”

    • “Never too old to learn, says 99-year-old Tulsa resident”

  • Include quotes from various people

  • Mention contact number and photo opportunity

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Press Releases (mostly free)

  • 1888


  • EcommWire:

  • Express Press Release:

  • Free News Release:

  • Free Press Release Center:

  • FreePressRelease:


  • Malebits:

  • Media Press Release:

  • MediaSyndicate:

  • PowerHomeBiz:


  • PR Leap:

  • PR Newswire:

  • PR9:

  • PressExposure:

  • Pressmethod:

  • PRLog:

  • PRweb:

  • PRZoom:

  • The Open Press:

  • Xtvworld.Com:

Apcug toolbar l.jpg
APCUG Toolbar

  • Free promotion tool

  • Get it from (not

  • Get your own UG toolbar from

  • Add your group’s RSSfeed to the APCUGtoolbar

Getting to the heart of seo l.jpg

…getting to the heart of SEO

Optimization of the Site

Seo factors l.jpg
SEO “Factors”

  • On-Page Factors:

    • Invisible (HTML, headers)

    • Visible (readable content) – the key is to have unique content.

  • Off-Page Factors

    • Backlinks (PR) from best (most relevant) sites, e.g. APCUG, ODP, Yahoo

    • Anchor text (actual words used to link to you)

    • Choice of web host – fast connection to the web, not too many others on shared server, more RAM, etc

Best on page factors l.jpg
Best On-Page Factors

  • <TITLE> - Keyword at starte.g. <title>Kentucky Macintosh User Group, Louisville, KY</title>

  • Anchor Text in linkse.g. <a href=“”>Atlanta PC User Group</a>better than <a href=“”>Click Here</a>

  • H1 tag – only one per page – use relevant texte.g. <h1>New Jersey PC User Group</h1>

  • Path/File namese.g. /training/excel-training-in-Dayton.html

  • Keyword prominenceJudicious use of important keywords at the top of the page, at the start of a sentence or heading, as long as it reads natural. Vary the words a little.

Less important factors l.jpg
Less Important Factors

  • Keywords at start of sentences

  • Bold/Italic text

  • Keywords in body text

  • Alt tags

  • Meta Description

  • Meta Keywords

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Keyword Research

  • Study log files

  • Try keywords on search engines to see who comes up on top and why

  • Keyword suggestion tools, e.g.

    • Wordtracker (paid)

    • Adwords tool (free)

    • Overture tool (free)

Directories easy links l.jpg
Directories = Easy Links

  • You submit to a category, e.g. Business > Computers > Organizations > User Groups

  • Link to only one of your pages, usually the home page

  • No crawling of whole site (other than to confirm that link is still alive)

  • Some are free e.g. ODP, Yahoo (free for noncommercial)

  • Some are specialist directories, e.g. APCUG, Ash’s List

  • Avoid “free for all” directories (test = no editorial control; all welcome)

Linking strategy l.jpg
Linking Strategy

  • Choose directories wisely – must be same niche, e.g. computers, user groups, else very little benefit

  • Give others keyword-rich, cut-and-paste HTML for their link to you e.g.

    <a href=“”>Cleveland PC User Group</a>

  • Don’t offer a link back to them unless you have to. Only do it if both of you are in the same niche.

Page architecture l.jpg
Page Architecture

  • Use clean, valid (W3C standards compliant) HTML

  • Keep page size down

    • Use CSS in an external file

    • Move JS to external files

  • Use text, not graphical text for headings

  • Spiders cannot easily index framed sites and those using JS links.

  • Don’t link every page to every other page.

Site architecture l.jpg
Site Architecture

  • Themed “pyramid” (inverted tree) design

Home Page

About Us





Course 1

Course 2


Main Meeting


Board of Directors



Hardware SIG

Other SIGs

Results l.jpg

  • Melb PC ranks #1 when someone searches for a user group in Melbourne.

Results 2 l.jpg
Results 2

  • Melb PC’s training courses needed more visibility.

  • Optimised pages made this happen.

Results 3 local search l.jpg
Results 3 – Local Search

  • Submit to Google Local Search.

  • You get a map reference.

Now the web visitor is on your doorstep l.jpg

…now the web visitor is on your doorstep


Converting browsers to buyers

Make them stay l.jpg
Make Them Stay

  • Once someone arrives at your user group website, grab their attention within the first five seconds!

  • They must know what the site is about – a user group

  • They must see something that will arouse their interest to explore the site. No stale info!

  • Display a call to action prominently – Join Now button

Melb pc home page l.jpg
Melb PC Home Page

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New Melb PC Website

Thank you l.jpg

URLs for links: (article on Google SEO)’s UG list) Newsletters) (APCUG List of UGs)

Thank You