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3-Hour Internet Marketing Tune-Up

You can improve your web site as a business asset if you’ve got 3 hours a month for some basic internet marketing.
“But Iaaannnnnnnnnn I just don’t have any tiiimmmmmeeeee….”
It’s true. You’re busy. You’ve got stuff to do like answering e-mails, answering phone calls, checking out that YouTube video someone just sent you or otherwise giving in to the information tsunami.
Or, you can unplug your phone.
Close your e-mail software.
Put a little egg timer on your desk.
And do this 3-hour internet marketing tune-up. If it doesn’t improve your results, I’ll quit eating Kit Kats for a whole day.

  • Web analytics software, like Google Analytics.
  • A 3-digit IQ is very helpful.
  • Access to your site, or someone who can make small changes for you. Just schedule a 3-hour block of time with them and get them to sit down at your desk or at least on the phone with you. They can do all this work in 3 hours, no problem.. If they can’t, fire their lame, sorry, under-performing butts and hire someone with intelligence and the ambition to use it.

0:00 to 0:15: Where’s Your Traffic Coming From?

First, log into your analytics software.
Find your top keywords report, and see what unpaid (also know as ‘organic’) key phrases are driving traffic to your site:
These key phrases are your primary traffic drivers (at least from search). They’re what folks want to see when they land on your site.
Stands to reason that, if you can give them what they’re looking for, they’re more likely to take action.

0:16 to 1:00: Where’s that Traffic Going? Finding the Target and ‘Hot’ Pages

For each key phrase, do the following:

  1. Go to Google, Yahoo! and Live.
  2. Search for the phrase.
  3. Find your site listing:google-listing-gatutorial.png
  4. Click it, and note the page to which that listing leads:

Those ten pages are your target pages. Write them down.
One more thing: In your analytics software, find the top 5-10 most-visited pages on your site. Those are your hot pages. Write them down, too. You’ll need them later.
Now you know what folks are looking for, and where they’re going on your site to find it.
It’s time to give them what they want.

1:00 to 2:00: Optimize Target Pages

Go to each target page and make sure that you have:

  1. The key phrase in the title tag of the page. Yes, I know this may mess up your SEO plans. But you want more clicks, right? Chances are there’s a way to work it into the title tag that keeps your SEO strategy intact.
  2. The key phrase in the heading of the page. See number 1 if your SEO person starts to freak out.
  3. The key phrase in the first paragraph of the page. You may want it in bold, too, or emphasized.
  4. A clear call to action to do something that you want them to do. It could be ‘buy now’ or ‘subscribe to this blog’ or just ‘click here to read more’. But there is something you want them to do. Make sure you tell them.
  5. No silly errors. See those weird characters on my tutorial page? Those gotta go.
  6. The page must load in 5-10 seconds on a broadband connection. If it doesn’t, I guarantee you’re shedding visitors my guinea pigs shed fur. Compress images, remove images, dump the video. Do whatever you have to do to improve the load time.

Here’s my page after I did some of this tweaking:
Simple stuff. You can, of course, do more. I just added a few words, and a call to action at the bottom of the page:


I also fixed the weird characters.
If this part takes more than an hour, don’t worry about it. I left a lot of extra time at the end, just in case.

2:01 to 3:00: Spread the Word – Optimize the Hot Pages

Now your target pages are much improved. Next step: Get the same phrases represented on your home page and other hot pages.

This step’s easy in theory, but can be hard if someone’s got a stick up their rear end about having top billing on the home page or some such. If that’s a problem, take a deep breath, get out your analytics data and show them why you want to make the change. If that doesn’t work, take a deep breath, pick up a chair and hit them with it. While they’re recuperating in the hospital you can make your change and show them how well it worked.

You’ve got a few options here, and I can’t really give you specific steps, but here are some ideas:

  • Add a ‘popular’ or ‘featured’ list to every page, and include the target pages for the top 10 phrases there. This works well on blogs and in stores.
  • Create a single ‘hub’ page for all 10 featured phrases. That’s what I did.
  • Place the top 1 or 2 front-and-center on the home page. Many stores do this with a ‘featured products’ section.
  • Do some cross-linking with other relevant information or products. If you have a store, link to the featured products from the top 10-20 items. If you have an informational site, or you’re getting leads, link to the featured information from other relevant pages.

Hopefully you get the idea. If not, leave a comment below and I’ll try to provide more examples.


OK. Chances are your timer’s gone off, and you’re done. Nice job! Go get a latte.

You Just Did Some Internet Marketing! Woo hoo!

You found out what folks want. You found out where they go on your site trying to find it. Then you made it easier for them to act.
If every business owner who had a website did this 3-hour exercise once a month, I’d be out of business.
Fortunately, that seems pretty unlikely.

Some folks have told me they can’t find 3 hours a month to do this exercise. Possible ways to free up 3 hours per month include: Sleeping 6 fewer minutes a day; fast forwarding through the first 10 minutes of a few shows; skipping Starbucks once a week…

CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/ianlurie.

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  1. In many cases, its not that they don’t have the time. They are afraid of the green monster which will come out of nowhere and chew them up whole.
    Or they are afraid that *gasp! god Forbid* you might successful get them to part with their money on a Internet Marketing package. Protect the bank account at all cost!
    They are lazy! Lazy to explore new possibilities! or contented folks who are happy to be where they are.

  2. Cheers, Ian. These are some great strategies. I’m trying to keep up my reading on internet marketing and some of your tips I haven’t come by before.
    I’ll try to figure out how I can incorporate them into our website.

  3. Thanks Jo. Love the name – ‘ya ya’ teahouse. Referencing the Ya Ya Sisterhood?
    My wife and her friends started one of the first ya ya troops, I think…

  4. @Mario Yes! Please! Hire me, in fact.
    This post is more aimed at folks with very limited budgets who need to get started.
    But obviously getting a professional to dedicate 30 hours a month will bear more, and bigger, fruit.

  5. If you don’t have 3 hours a month to do this then you need to make 3 hours. I’ve been doing some of this already, but I’ve now got a few more things to look at and a good outline to follow.
    Thanks Ian!

  6. Hey Ian (and Jo),
    This is a great article, but I just have to comment on a small-world coincidence. I’m not sure how I stumbled across this piece (Google Alerts, most likely), but I live just minutes from the YaYa Teahouse in Christchurch… what are the chances?
    And it’s wonderful…
    All the best,

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