Browsing articles in "SEO Blog"

What’s More, MBG Now Offers an Awesome Infographics Gallery!

Feb 17, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   link bait, SEO Blog  //  10 Comments

Infographics (short for information graphics) have almost flooded the web in the recent years. I love infographics for their sheer capability to quickly translate complex ideas into a format that’s easy to scan and fun to look at. If you’ve adequate time and resources, you can definitely create your own infographics and publish them on your site while using them as part of a linkbait campaign. If you’re a blogger, you can use infographics to generate interest among users and attract their attention immediately by engaging them visually.

MBG (My Blog Guest) is already doing a great job bridging the gap between publishers and guest bloggers. I always recommend people who are looking for guest posts to visit MBG and experience how well it works.

This time, MBG has gone one step further. In addition to offering an ‘Articles Gallery’, MBG has now introduced an ‘Infographics Gallery’. That means you can now find both guest posts as well as guest infographics in one place. But before you head straight to MBG’s infographics gallery, you should make yourself clear on how it works.

Let’s have a look.

It’s a Win-Win Situation Again
The best part about MBG is its very pragmatic approach of thriving on their community members’ suggestions. The new feature – the Infographics Gallery – is also therefore a brainchild of user suggestions. And that leaves no doubt that leveraging this useful gallery can create a win-win situation for both the guest infographic author and the publisher. Publishing infographics on your blog, on one hand, diversifies the content. On the other hand, getting infographics published on someone else’s blog helps the content go viral quickly.

Bonus Tips on Creating Great Infographics
I would also want to use this opportunity to expand a little on how you can create infographics that look great and encourage more shareability. A lot of businesses (big and small), bloggers and internet marketing companies are already leveraging the exciting benefits that infographics have to offer. The dark side of the story is that there are still plenty of infographics that address trivial topics and ignore the most important principles of information design.

Here are a few quick tips that you can use –

Define your purpose of creating infographics
Identify the kind of audience you want to address
Gather insightful data that your target audience will be interested in
Synthesize the gathered data while cutting out the fat
Create an attractive design (consider data density, accuracy & Readability)

Yes, there are several free tools that you can utilize also to create visually impressive inforgraphics. For assistance, you can check out tools like Creately, Many Eyes, and StatPlanet.

Infographics carry high shareability as compared to images or text. If you’re planning to spruce up your blog, make it more interesting and engage readers quickly, publishing and sharing infographics is just the perfect way to go. With a resource like MBG’s Infographics Gallery, it’s not hard to find infographics belonging to a range of niche industries.

Thanks Ann for giving us one more great reason to use MBG !

Don’t forget to watch this video that provides a detailed explanation of how the main gallery at MBG functions.

Please feel free to share your views too.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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4 Tips for Content Promotion Success

Feb 15, 2012   //   by Kaila Strong   //   internet marketing, SEO Blog  //  15 Comments

A siloed promotion strategy is rarely successful. Variety is key in any promotion that has even a shred of hope at taking off. You want to attract a wide array of visitors within a short period of time, so coordination is key. If you’ve ever put together a content promotion strategy then you know that the details count – and they count from the very beginning.

The first step is to start making a plan. Think of the different channels in which you can share your message. Social media, SEO, guest blogging and e-mail in my experience are four of the best ways to promote your content. Different channels may perform better for you such as paid camapaigns/PPC, mailers, tv, radio, etc… Cater your content promotion to the channels in which your inbound marketing performs best.

Social Media
If you’ve done your job well on social media than it’ll be no problem to get eyeballs to whatever you’re trying to promote. Building a community requires brands to become experts, shed knowledge and provide answers. Every now and again it’s appropriate to have a self serving tweet or status message update. And some studies even show that asking for a RT or “Like” can increase the likelihood of it actually being done.

SEO
Optimize your promotional landing page or piece of content for search engines. This is one of the best things you can do to promote your content! Determine the terms that will yield the highest traffic with a bit of keyword research. During your brainstorming sessions when determining new promotions and content assets in the future think of these keywords to build a campaign around.

Long tail search terms certainly bode well for many industries so consider all keyword research tools to find the best variations. Searching Q&A sites and social sites, as well as polling your audience are great ways to get ideas.

Guest Blogging
Promote your content with a bit of guest blogging. Think about the type of guest post that would intrigue the audience but also allow you to slip in a little mention of your promotion. It will allow you to get your name in front of a new audience and help you build authority in your niche – if you do it right.

E-Mail
With a bit of research anyone can get their hands on the e-mails of awesome webmasters. Sure the research is hard, but once you get the hang of it you can be extremely successful. I always thank my lucky stars that I have had the chance in my past to be a link builder. I learned so many tricks and research skills to find awesome sites appropriate to literally any niche. Once you find the site and you if you can give a good enough, personalized enough, enticing enough pitch then you might just convince a blogger or webmaster to write about and link to your content.

These are just a few tips to help you along the way, as I stated before – it’s important to see which channel works best for you. Track your inbound marketing efforts with an analytics program and monitor data throughout any campaign.


Kaila Strong

Kaila Strong is an avid tweeter (@cliquekaila), and marketer in the Phoenix area.

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SEO, Google Algo Changes and Your Website’s Organic Results

Feb 13, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  25 Comments

Google is fast revolutionizing the face of SEO. It has almost vowed to take strict action against duplicate content and different types of web spam. The last year witnessed a range of Panda algorithmic updates, both major and minor. If your website gets its maximum share of traffic from Google, you should keep yourself abreast of the ongoing changes in the search ranking algorithm.

Most of the webmasters suffer from a feeling of apprehension, as to whether they would be able to survive the next algorithmic update by Google. They start shouting at even a slight indication of change in their website’s SEO, as an algorithmic update is announced.

Gear Up
Google only seems to expedite the process of algorithmic updates with the passage of time. If you paid some attention, you can easily remember the updates that Google launched last month. ‘Search Plus Your World’ rolled out on January 10. It updated its Panda algorithm with version 3.2 around January 18 while the ‘Page Layout Algorithm’ was announced on January 19. Such algorithmic changes show no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

All you need to do is pay careful attention to every announcement that Google makes about a new change in its ranking algorithm. Don’t forget to confirm an update by checking out official resources (Google blogs).

SEO isn’t Spam, and It’s Not Dying Either
Officially, Google has always claimed that SEO is not spam or bad. After Google started the socialization of its organic search results, webmasters thought it was the death of good-old-fashioned SEO. No, SEO is not dying! All it means is that you can’t limit your SEO efforts to previous traditional tactics or best practices alone. You’ll now need to focus on many other things. It’s just the beginning of an era where SEO and social media marketing are getting intertwined intrinsically. But, does that weaken the title of SEO or make it only broader?

What to Do
SEO is continuously evolving. Since Google won’t miss to update its ranking algorithm at least 500 times every year, it only makes sense to plan out an effective strategy so that you can shield your website against any kind of sudden algorithmic update or a Panda smack down. Here are a few quick tips you can follow.

Don’t Panic – If you start to get panicky at each ranking algorithmic update or announcement by Google, you won’t be able to focus on the big picture.

Live up to the Expectations of Google – Get a clear idea of what a high quality website should look like or include. For more guidance on how to enhance the overall quality of your website, you can go through this post (published on Google Webmaster Central Blog).

Analyze Organic Traffic Trends – Analyze the organic traffic on a month-to-month basis. Most importantly, check out those periods where Google didn’t roll out any algorithm update. If your website’s organic traffic was impacted during that no-algorithm-update period, you might have some usability or other technical issues to focus upon.

Think Before Taking an Action – Don’t rush, as it won’t help. Whenever you notice a change in your website’s SEO, give it some time. Relax. Take all possible aspects of your website (including on-page and off-page) into consideration before arriving at any significant SEO decision.

Do you love Google’s Panda or Fear it? Please feel free to share your views on the changing face of SEO and how it impacts a site’s search rankings.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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Get the Facts About Social Media

Feb 10, 2012   //   by Kristi Hines   //   SEO Blog, Social Media  //  18 Comments

If you write about social media often, you might find yourself needing a few statistics. The following sources will give you the most current data available about social networking usage.

Overall Stats

The following sites are a good place to start for statistics about most of your favorite social networks.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a good first stop to get the latest stats about social networks. Their pages usually have each social networks launch date, current number of users, founders, revenue, traffic, and other information as applicable. You can see what I mean on Wikipedia pages for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and so forth. Be sure to click on the number next to each stat to see the official source for more information.

Quantcast

If you’re looking for traffic and demographics, Quantcast is a great source. See some interesting information about Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, and so forth. Use the search box to find even more domains.

The Top 10

Want to know which social networks are the most popular now in the US? Find out on Hitwise. You can also see most popular search engines, search terms, and politicians.

All About Facebook

Facebook seems to have the most data out and about on the web. Here are some great sources.

Facebook Fact Sheet

Facebook itself offers some basic statistics about their network on their company info fact sheet. it includes the current number of employees, number of monthly and daily active users, board member names, and locations of Facebook offices worldwide.

Inside Facebook Gold

Need some in-depth statistics about Facebook? Inside Facebook has a gold membership that allows you access to the latest demographics about Facebook usage. While their membership is currently closed to new enrollment, you can still get some interesting stats for free on their membership page including the number of users in the top 25 countries on Facebook and global audience demographics.

Facebook Pages Leaderboard

Need to know what Facebook page has the most fans? AllFacebook has a Facebook Page Leaderboard with the answer. You can also see the pages with the fastest growth.

Facebook Apps

Want to know how many people are using Farmville and other popular Facebook apps? Check out the App Data Leaderboard, Top Developers, Top Gainers Today, and Top Gainers This Week.

All About Twitter

Not quite as detailed as the information on Facebook, but the following are stats about Twitter.

What is Twitter

There aren’t too many interesting stats on the What is Twitter page, but the ones that might catch your eye are the number of tweets per day and active users!

Top Twitter Users

TwitterCounter has a page for the most followed Twitter accounts. The top 20, with exception to Barack Obama, YouTube, and Twitter en espanol, are mostly celebrities.

Social Statistics

Want to see the top Google+ people, pages, and posts? Social Statistics has all of that information on their site.

All About LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s About Us page covers the latest LinkedIn facts including overall membership plus breakdowns of the number of members in 14 different countries.

YouTube Statistics

YouTube’s Statistic page has tons of neat information including how many hours of video content is uploaded every minute, how many videos are viewed per day, unique users per month, user demographics, and more. There is even a section about social usage of YouTube such as the number of people connecting their accounts to other services (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), how many people auto share, and more.

What sites do you use to check social media statistics? Please share your resources in the comments!

Kristi Hines

Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. Don't miss her Web Domination Review on Kikolani. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!

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Exit Popups – Can They Work for You?

Feb 9, 2012   //   by Ada   //   SEO Blog  //  8 Comments

Popups are certainly a very efficient way to communicate your message (and to nag your users, too) and almost any marketer knows this. Conventional popups that display when a user lands on a page (or after some delay, or at specified events, if you are using a more sophisticated tool, such as a WordPress popup plugin) might be the first thing that comes to your mind but since they are also the most used and many users will leave your site right after they see a popup, you might want to experiment with something different. How about exit popups?

What Are Exit Popups?

Exit popups, as the name implies, are those popups you show when the user is about to leave (i.e. exit) your site. Actually, exit popups aren’t that rare and I can bet that more or less every Web-savvy user has encountered them but you probably didn’t know them by name. Well, now you know how these popups that scream, “Wait! Don’t leave!” are called.

Depending on the tool you use, there are different varieties of exit popups and different options you can configure. For instance, if you use a WordPress popup plugin, such as Popup Domination, or Action Popup, you basically have JavaScript alert box and the lightbox opt-in popup at your disposal.

The JavaScript alert box is plain and simple. It could also be more annoying but still it does a great job. The lightbox opt-in popup is more artful. In fact it is a full-blown popup, like the ones you see when you land on a site but the difference is that you see this one when you are about to leave. A lightbox opt-in popup allows to include text, your logo, and almost everything else you can think of. This, of course, doesn’t mean you must include absolutely everything you can think of because this will make the popup fat and it might take some time to load in the user’s screen, especially on slow connections.

When Exit Popups Are the Better Option

The best thing about exit popups is that they are less annoying. Additionally, since you display them when the user is about to leave your site anyway, you are not losing visitors. With conventional popups displayed at startup, many users might get irritated and instead of reading what’s in the popup, they will leave your site altogether. This way you are losing a visitor and this is bad.

With exit popups this doesn’t happen – since the user has already made his or her mind he or she is leaving, you’ve got nothing to lose. What is more, if your message in the exit popup is convincing, you could even get the user back to your site to see more.

Well, with exit popups you have only one chance to show them. With standard popups in theory you can display them at every page refresh or every 30 secs or so but in practice this isn’t a good idea because such a high display frequency is very irritating to the user. Anyway, the fact you are using exit popups doesn’t mean you have to ditch standard popups completely, so in fact you can use on your site both standard and exit popups. You can make these popups with the same message, or use different messages – just decide what your needs are.

What is more, usually it is a question of quality not quantity, so don’t regret the fact you can show an exit plugin only once. Just make your farewell message convincing enough and you might be lucky to make a sale, get a new subscriber, or make the user do whatever you are asking him or her to do.

How to Use Exit Popups

As I already mentioned, WordPress popup plugins with an exit popup option are the best way to display an exit popup, especially if you are already using WordPress as your platform. The simplest way to display an exit popup is with some code you put in your theme (i.e. without a dedicated plugin) but this approach generally limits you a lot. For instance, you will be depriving yourself of all the configuration options that come with the plugin, which in turn will make your message less effective. This is why the best you can do is get a WordPress popup plugin, install it, and think of a cute message your readers will love.

Ada

To read more about exit popups, WordPress popups, such as Popup Domination, and WordPress plugins and themes in general, visit our site at WinkPress. There you will find detailed tips, howtos, and reviews on many WordPress related topics, which will help you take advantage of all the power that comes with WordPress.

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Find the Best Referral Traffic Sources and Focus (Before It’s Too Late)

Feb 7, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   SEO Blog, Social Media  //  28 Comments

Jeffrey Davis recently reported a 30%- 40% drop in his site’s referral traffic from StumbleUpon. There’s absolutely no doubt that SU is one of the most potential sources for getting a good amount of referral traffic. In fact, many blogs receive as much as 60%-80% of their overall traffic from SU.

After SU rolled out their redesign last year, users felt quite happy to know that the site was paying some careful attention to its on-topic features. But, as soon as, SU bid adieu to direct links recently, everyone was taken aback. Earlier, you could easily ‘x’ out a page and visit the original URL from inside the site. Now, while logged in, you can’t get out so easily.

There’s one way, though somewhat clumsy. If you want to visit the original source, you need to copy-paste the URL above, while leaving the SU part of the URL out.

Here’s what the URL looks like.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/5GclgU/www.mint.com/blog/trends/counterfeit-money-10042010

Well, SU is trying to confine users within its own eco-system. Funny, isn’t it?

On the other hand, Pinterest (a visual bookmarking site) is attracting eyeballs from many sides. Though it’s a new entrant in the social arena, it’s fast turning into a potential sources of traffic for a wide range of businesses. According to a recent report by Shareaholic, Pinterest is now rivaling Twitter in terms of driving referral traffic to a website or blog.

What’s more, Pinterest is generating more referral traffic than its elder social brothers like Google+, LinkedIn and Youtube are doing together. Though a lot of businesses are still quite unaware of the traffic opportunities that a social bookmarking site as young as Pinterest can bring, others are flocking to this Pinboard in large numbers.

Though Facebook still rules when it comes to driving referral traffic, Pinterest is fast picking up steam. The growth of this visual pinboard has been phenomenal over the last couple of months. Shareaholic recent findings (after analyzing data from as many as 200,000 publishers) reveal that Pinterest drove around 3.6% referral traffic in January this year, shooting up from merely 17% in July and 2.5% December last year.

Many have been reported to ditch SU as well.

So, Do You Need a Shift in Your Referral Traffic Strategy?
Absolutely! If you don’t evaluate your site’s referral traffic statistics now, it may be too late. You really need to know about the sources that drive the maximum traffic to your website or blog.

Log into your Google analytics account and click ‘Referring Sites’ under the Traffic Sources tab on the dashboard right away. Find out what those referring sources stats look like. When you know what sources work most in your favor, you can adjust your traffic generation strategy effectively.

Did you notice a sudden drop in your site’s referral traffic from SU? Which social platforms drive most of this traffic to your site? Please feel free to talk back in comments.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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Tips on Treating Clients Right (or Applying the Golden Rule to Your Online Business)

Feb 6, 2012   //   by Chris Help   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  11 Comments

Going one step further than the competition

I’ve heard some people say they got into their online business, be it SEO or copywriting, so they could work from home and not have to interact with people. And every time I hear that, I can’t help but take a step back and think, “That’s stupid.” I mean, sure you may not be dealing face to face with people on a daily basis, but a large part of what you do involves client interaction. You absolutely must know how to work with people in order to succeed in any sort of business venture.

Now having said that, I fully realize that some people who “retreats” to an online job in order to avoid social duties may require a little extra help in respect to client relations. If that describes you, here are a few tips to help you out. Follow them and you’ll be retaining clients and getting referrals in no time.

1. Go the extra mile to fix your mistakes—I’m writing this post today because quite frankly, it’s fresh on my mind. See, I did another post for this blog that I was supposed to schedule for 9 A.M. this morning. But I screwed up and it published overnight. Well, after thinking about it, I decided that it just wasn’t right for me to say “OOPS!” and move on. So instead, I decided to supply the blog with an extra post. And it just so happened to be fitting material. Would Gerald have let me keep posting to his blog if I had simply said “Sorry,” and moved on to next week? More than likely. But hey—I want to make sure I keep my business relationships moving in the right direction. I plan on working with him for a long time. So why not scratch his back?

Update: Gerald ended up not using this post last Monday so it’s getting used this week. That said, I’m still glad I went the extra step and I’m sure he took note. Make a habit of doing business the right way!

2. Deliver as promised (and don’t promise if you can’t deliver)—Sometimes I’m lucky and acquire a project that has a flexible deadline. But more often than not, if a client contacts me then they needed the piece written yesterday. So they ask when is the soonest I can finish for them. I’m always tempted to overcommit in order to secure the project. However, I’ve learned the hard way that it’s better to give them an honest answer than to promise and not deliver. Nothing makes a client unhappier than having to wait for work that should have already been completed.

3. Keep communication lines open—Again, sometimes you get the low maintenance client that just wants you to send them the finished product and shut the hell up. But always go into a new relationship assuming your client needs his hand held. In other words, give him frequent updates. And ask him if he has any questions (and be ready to answer them). Bottom line—make him feel important.

Have you run into client issues before? What have you done to go the extra mile?

Chris Help

Chris HELP started his own copywriting agency, HELP! Copy and Design, a few years back as a sort of side project to showcase his passions. But what ended up happening is it snowballed into full-fledged thriving business. So whether you need press releases, SEO articles, or good old fashioned high-conversion copy--he's ready, willing, and more than able.

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5 Things You Can Learn by Drilling Down on Traffic Sources in Google Analytics

Feb 3, 2012   //   by Kristi Hines   //   SEO Blog, SEO tools  //  26 Comments

Did you know there is more to the Referral Traffic Sources in your Google Analytics than just the referral domains themselves? Here are a few things you can learn by clicking on some of the domains listed under your Traffic Sources > Sources > Referrals.

What Twitter User Really Sends You Traffic & Your Most Popular Posts on Twitter

Want to find out who is really sending the most traffic to your website via Twitter? Look no further than the t.co domain in your Traffic Sources. When you click on this, you will see the specific t.co links that have led visitors to your website.

T.co Referral Paths

Copy the Referral Path listed, then paste it into your browser after http://t.co so you can go to the post or page that it references. In another tab (if you don’t have this already), install the Topsy Trackbacks bookmarklet on your bookmarks toolbar. Then go to the tab with your post and click on the Topsy bookmarklet. You will now see most of the tweets for your page in Topsy.

Topsy Trackbacks

When you get to the All posts about this link section, scroll to the bottom and click on the more link until you’ve pulled most of the tweets for your post (which could take a while, depending on how many times the page has been tweeted). Then use your browser’s Find on Page (CTRL + F) and paste in the Referral Path again. It should take you to one (or more) tweets with the t.co link that you pulled from Google Analytics. The first person who tweeted it is the source of your Twitter traffic!

Influential Retweets

In my case, it was Dave Larson of TweetSmarter that I had to thank for the most traffic from Twitter for my post on how to start a blog on WordPress.

Going back to your Referral Paths from t.co, you can also use this to see which posts on your site get the most Twitter traffic. Simply click on the Secondary dimension dropdown and select Landing Page under Traffic Sources.

Secondary Dimension Dropdown in Google Analytics

This will show you the posts each t.co link references.

Landing Pages

Pages with Traffic from Image Search

Curious what posts or pages on your website get the most traffic from Google Images search? Find out by clicking on the google.com domain in your traffic sources and then click on the /imgres Referral Path. Next, use the Secondary dimension dropdown and, again, select Landing Page under Traffic Sources.

Google Image Traffic

Be sure to check out the images on those pages to see if you can use similar images for future posts / pages on your site for more image related traffic!

Guest Posts, Comments, or Crowdsourcing

When you’re looking at your Traffic Sources, it’s easy to tell which source is related to your guest posting, commenting, or sites you contribute answers to for crowdsourced posts. If you do multiple activities on one site, then you need to click on that site’s domain and drill down to the Referral Paths to see which activity gets the best results from that site.

Referral Paths

By drilling down on my own referral traffic from Social Media Examiner, I could see that it comes from a variety of things, including one guest post, making their top blog list, a crowdsourced post, and a link left to one of my posts in the forums.

LinkedIn Shares, Groups, Answers, or Company Pages

If you are active on LinkedIn and take advantage of different things such as sharing your posts on your profile, LinkedIn groups, LinkedIn Answers, or on your company page, then you will probably want to know which of those activities bring the most traffic to your website. Click on linkedin.com in your Traffic Sources to see the following.

LinkedIn Traffic

Here, I can see that the most traffic comes from shares within groups (/news), followed by status updates (/home, /profile/view, and /share), more group shares (/groupItem), and Answers (/groupAnswers).

Most Popular Posts on StumbleUpon

It’s tough to find things on StumbleUpon sometimes, including which posts from your own sites are the most popular on their network. If you want to see which posts on your site get the most StumbleUpon traffic, click on stumbleupon.com in your Traffic Sources, then click on the refer.php Referral Path. Next, use the Secondary dimension dropdown and, again, select Landing Page under Traffic Sources.

StumbleUpon Traffic

Now you can see which posts have driven the most StumbleUpon traffic over the last year. This is great to reference when you are determining what new content you want to create and how it will fare on the SU network. Going forward, with the latest changes to the SU networks, you will just look at any links starting with /su/ in the Referral Paths.

If you enjoyed this post be sure to check out basic Google analytics tips.

Do you go deeper into your Google Analytics Traffic Sources? What other discoveries have you found about your referral traffic?

Kristi Hines

Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. Don't miss her Web Domination Review on Kikolani. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!

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Local Paid Inclusion – Get Up to Date

Feb 1, 2012   //   by Kaila Strong   //   internet marketing, SEO Blog  //  3 Comments

Have you heard the buzz in the SEO community? Bruce Clay announced on Facebook, later followed up by this Search Engine Watch post, the launch of a new service that guarantees top listings in local search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. The service works to promote your business listing for a nominal fee, guaranteeing a top position – in organic listings! It also boasts to be a cheaper option than PPC. UBL, the backend partner of Clay’s in this venture, verifies that they are still in the beta phase and are currently testing the system (now being vehemently denied).

When I first heard about this news I had to look at the calendar – April 1st? Seriously, this seems a bit far fetched. Within a very short time the SEO community reacted with amazement; it’s common sense that this type of service would be looked down upon. Miranda Miller’s Search Engine Watch post did a good job of sharing her investigative research and the comment section is a worthwhile read. Additionally, friend of SEM-Group.net, Dave Harry wrote a summary post with some good reactions in the comments as well.

Bruce announced on Twitter that they’d have a statement this morning regarding the local paid inclusion fiasco. Google, Bing and UBL all deny involvement in lpi as reported in Danny Sullivan’s post. More reactions include thoughts that this is just some clever marketing plan or package done by Clay’s team – but gone awry maybe? I was intrigued by a comment on the SEW post by Bob Bigellow, he stated:

“I bet I know exactly what this is. 

It probably requires each individual to install a plugin or extension or script or to otherwise implement some sort of service which will insert these “results” into the organic results area. Google has a service similar to this for a while where you could subscribe to certain feeds and, as a result, certain searches would trigger a special result on the page which was artificially put there by a third-party. 

So, this likely won’t be anything new and won’t be very significant in that it will require opt-in, which means it will never reach the full breadth of Google.”

So what’s your take on the whole thing? Hoax, bad PR fiasco for a new service, or an April Fools Day joke 2 months early? Who knows, the whole thing could just be a ploy to get links or some elaborate SEO experiment….

Kaila Strong

Kaila Strong is an avid tweeter (@cliquekaila), and marketer in the Phoenix area.

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How Do You See Blog Comments: ‘Bullshit’ or ‘Democratic’?

Jan 31, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   blogging, SEO Blog  //  26 Comments

I’ve written several articles on the benefits of blog commenting. And I couldn’t resist writing one more. Recently, a lot of debate has been going on as to whether it’s worthwhile to allow commenting on one’s blog.

There are some who think of comments as mere ‘bullshit’. There are others who support commenting as a ‘form of democracy’. Let’s have a look at what MG Siegler (a columnist for TechCrunch) has to say.

“Here’s the thing: while some try to paint comments as a form of democracy, that’s bullshit. 99.9% of comments are bile. I’ve heard the counter arguments about how you need to curate and manage your comments — okay, I’m doing that by not allowing any.”

From the readers’ point of view, commenting provides them with a great feeling of participation. It also creates a sense of belonging, around which the entire concept of blogosphere revolves. On the other hand, listening to people’s views via comments motivates the blogger to work even harder so as to deliver what the former are actually looking for. That’s exactly the reason blog comments are seen as a ‘form of democracy’.

Still, many people would call blog commenting to be nothing more than a waste of time. Let them have their own opinions. Supporters, however, don’t see comments as something worthless or vile. Though, at times, commenting tends to get noisy, you will certainly miss out on a rich experience by turning off comments or not allowing people to share those ‘little tendrils of thought’.

I think permitting readers to comment on your blog is as much democratic as it is for you to freely share your own views by publishing posts.

If Commenting is a ‘Form of Democracy’, It can be Misused
It’s obvious. ‘Power to People’ can be misused. But that’s what rules and policies are made for. Instead of shutting out people from commenting, a serious blogger should find ways to optimize the discourse so that it adds value to the conversation (which is the soul of a blog) that strikes up after a post is published.

It’s simply unacceptable or immoral to deny democratic freedom to others while you’re enjoying it yourself. If you’ve got the freedom to express your opinions publicly by publishing blog posts, you have no right to prevent others from sharing what they think about a particular topic. Not giving people the right to comment is like ‘ruling as a dictator’.

Not Allowing People to Comment is Highly ‘Unsocial’
How can you afford to be unsocial when the entire world is fast turning into a global village? Video chats are creating global classrooms. A new era of interactive advertising is about to begin. Searches are getting social. Regardless of their size, businesses are focusing more on the ‘listening’ part of the customer acquisition process. A blog is one of the best social media tools that you can use. You can never imagine to use a social media tool without being social yourself, can you?

Do you support or detest blog comments? Let us know by casting your vote in the tweet poll below and commenting.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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