Thursday, November 29, 2007

Three Words About Spam

Don’t do it.
You can spam search engines by stuffing your site with keywords, submitting them numerous times or filling your pages with links. And they’ll just get you blacklisted.

Don’t do it. It’s just not worth it. It used be accepted practice to create doorway pages (duplicates of a home page filled with different keywords) but search engines won’t accept these anymore.

They will accept smart pages though. If you want to use more keywords than you can fit on your site, create a second page that is totally different from your homepage but which is still based upon your product or service. Here, you can expand upon a topic you merely touched on in your homepage. A great example of a smart page is to write articles on the benefits of your services using a different set of keywords to those on your home page. You can do that. To sum it up, this chapter gave you a detailed view of many of the proven and effective search engine optimization techniques. SEO is one of the most important traffic generating mechanisms, and when done correctly it can do wonders for your website and your profits. Click here to make money online with the .

Monitoring Your Progress

Okay, so you’ve decided on your keywords, inserted your links and submitted your sites. Now all you have to do is wait for the cash to start pouring in, right?

Well, not quite. You might get lucky with your first shot, but it has never happened to me that way. Once you’ve submitted all your links, you need to keep a close eye on them, and see which need improving and which can be dropped.

The crucial factor here is to keep track of your Search Engine Statistics. These will tell you how many people have come from the various search engines and how many of those become customers. But it’s not enough to know how much traffic you’re receiving. You also want to know how you’re doing in the rankings. There are two ways to do that:

Manual Searches

Dead easy, simply log on and look. First enter your URL to make sure your site has been approved and listed. That can take a little while. Once you can see that you’re online though, you want to see how you’re ranked in each keyword. To do that, you can simply enter each keyword into the search engine and browse the pages until you find your listing. This works, but it takes a while.

Computerized Searches

It’s been a long time since I did a manual search. If you’ve got ten sites and you want to check ten keywords for each once a week, you’re going to lose at least a day’s work a month. That’s too much for me. To automate this task, I suggest using a software program found at You tell the software all the keywords you want checked and it gives you an automated report.

When you look at your statistics, pay attention to which keywords are bringing in the most traffic. In general, the higher you are, the more traffic you’ll receive and the more sales you’ll make. But that isn’t always true. It might pay more to be fifteenth on a keyword that gets a million searches a month than first on a keyword that gets just a thousand. And if you’re fifteenth, you’ve still got room for improvement.

It’s the improvement that’s the key. If you see that your link is stuck at the bottom of a list somewhere, try adding more links, putting that keyword in more pages or adding keyword-rich content.

Optimizing Your Website

To get listed correctly in the search engines each page of your site that you want listed needs to be optimized to the best of your ability. Since the keywords that you decide to target will be used throughout the optimization process, choosing the right keywords is essential. If you choose the wrong keywords you will not be found in the search engines. Since the keywords you choose to optimize your pages with are so important I’ve put together a few tips to help you make sure that you make the right choices. You should utilize these tips when selecting keywords for each page that you want listed in the search engines.

Think "specific keyword phrases" not "keywords". Due to the extreme amount of competition for general terms in the search engines, if your keyword phrases are too general it is very unlikely you will rank well in the search engines. You stand a far better chance to rank well for specific phrases where there is less competition. The resulting traffic, since it is more highly targeted, should also be much higher quality too.

You should try to come up with as many keyword phrases as you can think of that relate to the page you are optimizing. Try asking a few friends and family what they would search for when searching for a site like yours. Check out your competition for ideas. Do a search using keywords that you already know you want to target and click through on the top sites that come up. Once on the site, view the source HTML code and view the keywords they have in their Meta tags. Searching competitive sites’ Meta tags will give you many more ideas. Make sure to only use keywords that relate to YOUR site or page. To view the HTML code, simply click the “View” at the top of your web browser then select “Source”, or “Page Source”. You should develop a list of keyword phrases, using these tips, for each page that you optimize for the search engines. Apart from these, there are certain aspects that should be avoided.

These are:
.. Dead Links - As search engines index your entire site by crawling through hypertext links, you must make sure you check for dead links before submitting.

.. Graphics and Image Maps - Search engines cannot read images; be sure to include Alternative Text tags.

.. Frames - Many Search engines aren't frames compatible. Meta tags are important in this instance.

.. Spamming - Avoid resubmitting your pages repeatedly to search engines if your site does not get listed in the first few weeks. Allow at least 6 weeks before resubmission.

Continual resubmission (such as those caused by automatic submission software) can cause your site to be penalized.

Inward Link Analysis

Like reciprocal linking, inward links to your website can be an effective strategy to increase your website’s visibility. Inward links are links pointing to your websites from other websites without providing a reciprocal link from your website.

There are many techniques to improve inward linking. Many of these have enjoyed success. The most proven technique for inward linking is writing and distributing free reprint articles. You simply write (or hire a ghostwriter) a few 500-700 word articles related to the theme of your website. You also include an “About the Author” resource box at the end of your article that includes a link back to your website. Then you visit article directories (websites that accept article submissions) and submit your article giving full permission for other websites to reprint your article on their site as long as they include your resource box and a link back to your website along with the article. This is a win-win scenario. Webmasters get needed content to make their sites “sticky” and useful to visitors and you get free inward links pointing back to your website.

Other techniques include posting free ebooks, newsletters, news stories and press releases at other websites, particularly industry specific and general portals. All of these would contain a free link pointing to your website, thus, promoting your website.

Picking Your Partner

Your link partners should be sites your target market will visit. Think about your product and its subject area and brainstorm to determine where people interested in your product might be looking online. For example, if you’re trying to sell a book about blackjack strategy, it makes sense that the people visiting online casinos would make great customers. Online casinos then could be good partners. Identify top-ranked, high quality casino sites and find the email address of their webmasters. You can also identify your competitors, see where they trade links and then follow suit.

Tips for Talking to Webmasters

Before you contact webmasters, place a link to their site on your home page or resource page to assure them that you will actually provide a high quality link.

Create a subject line that will encourage them to read your message rather than deleting it. You don’t want them to think you’re message is spam. (Something about their site or product is sure to capture their attention; they will probably open and read it, thinking that you’re a potential customer.)

Begin your message by talking about your visit to their site and what you found interesting about it. Detail your product or service in one line and ask them to exchange links with you.

Tell them in detail where you have placed their link and emphasize that it is only one click away from your homepage. Tell them that if you don’t hear back from them within 2 weeks, you will consider that to be a negative response and that you will remove their link from your site.

Link Popularity and Link Analysis

The majority of the major search engines use link popularity as an important factor in ranking relevancy. As search engines have become more sophisticated, so too has link popularity. Link popularity simply is the number of links from other websites that point to your website. This strategy has gained immense success due to the crawling nature of most search engines. Spiders crawl from link to link and store pages into their database. Link popularity is generally gained through reciprocal linking. Other websites would usually link to your website only if you have a link to their website from yours first. Years ago, the number of websites linking to your site gauged link popularity; little emphasis was placed on the "content relevancy" of the linking site. In an effort to gain more link popularity, "link farms" began sprouting up across the web. For a nominal fee, a website owner could join link farms and enjoy increased link popularity overnight.

Search engines caught onto this tactic and created better tools for detecting legitimate links. Websites that have links from websites with "similar" or "relevant" content score higher, thus earn better placement in search engines.

This being said, you should avoid joining "link farms" because most search engines consider them a form of spam. Many engines will actually penalize sites for maintaining an abundance of links from nonrelated websites. It is more important than ever to develop a solid "link-popularity" strategy. One excellent, although time consuming, method is to simply contact complimentary websites via email or telephone requesting a link exchange with the webmaster. Link analysis is somewhat different than measuring link popularity. While link popularity is generally used to measure the number of pages that link to a particular site, link analysis will go beyond this and analyze the popularity of the pages that link to your pages. In a way, link analysis is a chain analysis system that accords weighting to every page that links to the target site, with weights determined by the popularity of those pages. Search engines use link analysis in their page-ranking algorithm. Search engines also try to determine the context of those links, in other words, how closely those links relate to the search string. For example if the search string was “toys”, and if there were links from other sites that either had the word toys within the link or in close proximity of the link, the ranking algorithm determines that this is a higher priority link and ranks the page, that this is linked to, higher.

Reciprocal Links and Partner Sites

Keywords and AdWords aren’t the only way that search engines score relevancy; links to other similar sites are another important factor. Keywords have been so abused by some webmasters that links are winning much more relevancy points. Google is said to love them. It might sound strange to suggest that your users should check out your competitors, but they probably know about them anyway. If your competitors have a higher ranking than you, linking to them can often give you a higher relevancy score with the search engines and the subsequent increase in traffic will make it worth your while. Alternatively, you can link to your own site by creating a subdirectory. This is like building another web page, but the URL will include your keyword. So if you were selling stuffed toys, the new URL would be You
could then write a short paragraph on the home page, describing the new page and including a link. You’ll get big relevancy points for this

Reciprocal Links

Reciprocal linking means forming partnerships with other sites who place a link from their web pages to yours. You give them a similar link in return.

When you look for people to swap links with, make sure that you don’t reduce the quality or content of your own site. You don’t want users to click straight through without reading your content; you want them to buy first. One way to stop them from running away too quickly is to create a “Resources Page” and link to that page from your homepage. This doesn’t take away from the content on your homepage and the links are just one click away rather than being buried deep within the site, giving value to your partners. In any case, you want to be sure that your site is more than just a page full of links. If your site contains more links than content, it will not be attractive to webmasters, search engines or users.

Google AdWords

If you do a search at Google, you’ll notice that not only do you get a list of all the sites that return your keyword, you also get a list of other relevant ads on the right of the page and at the top of the listing. These are part of Google’s AdWords program. Advertising like this can certainly be an important part of your marketing plan. Well developed ads with clever wording can prompt an immediate response from the reader to visit your site. Google makes a lot of money with this kind of advertising, and if they’re making money, you can be sure their advertisers are too. You can learn more about Google’s AdWords program here: Buying AdWords advertising on Google is a relatively simple and cost-effective way to promote your website. In effect, Google has combined the Pay-per-Click system with their own relevancy calculations. To get started, you’ll need to select a keyword and write short description. You will also have to choose how much you wish to pay for each click, but that won’t guarantee your position.

Google advertisers enter a maximum bid per click and this is multiplied by the click-through rate (the percentage of users who click on the ad). That’s the score Google uses to allocate position. So for example, if you were prepared to pay a dollar per click, and one user in a hundred who saw your ad clicked on it, you would get a rank number of ($)1 x 1% = 0.01.

Let’s say that gives you top position. You might then get even more users and a higher click-through rate of 2%. That higher rate would reduce your price to 50 cents (0.01 divided by 2%). All very nice, and it’s always fun to pay less than you’ve said you can afford, but how it works is less important than the fact that it does work. All you have to do is figure out how much you’re prepared to pay for each click, how much you can afford to pay each month, and write a great description.

And once again, it’s the description that’s key. Like the PPC’s, your description has to persuade users that you’re relevant; it doesn’t have to play to the search engine’s software. By all means repeat the keyword, but also make sure you have good, call-toaction copy like “Grab a great deal on DVD’s today!” or “Buy now, while stocks last!” Remember, the more clicks you get, the more sales you’ll make and the less you’ll pay.

Always place your AdWords ad in the most appropriate category and track the responses you receive from it. Be proactive in redefining your strategy if you receive minimal response. You will probably need to experiment with the wording of your ads and your keyword selection for a while until you get the results you want.