Browsing articles in "SEO Blog"

Top Google Rankings: How I Got Google to Say Yes

Dec 6, 2011   //   by Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe   //   Google, SEO Blog  //  29 Comments
top google rankings

And this is how top SEO guns do it...

I am sure Gerald is sick and tired of hearing about this, but since it’s my post (never mind that it’s on his blog), he’ll have to bear with me one more time.

Allow me to give you some background on the issue.

One of my favorite product releases of the year was CommentLuv Premium by Andy Bailey.

The free version of the plugin has been floating around the blogosphere for years and loved by both blog owners and commentators (aka “link builders”) alike.

Don’t ask me why, but the minute I heard Andy was working on the premium version of the plugin and all the features he was adding to it, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.

Anyway, this post is not about how great this plugin is, but about Google rankings.

Or how I felt like I was beating against the brick wall trying to rank my CommentLuv Premium review post on the first page of Google for “CommentLuv Premium“, to be more precise.

I am pretty good with SEO. Not great, but good enough. Plus, I’d like to think of myself as a creative link builder – I have to be since I don’t have much time for it.

So I wrote the review post, optimized it to the “T”, built a few links to it, and then ran a giveaway for a free copy of the plugin in exchange for an in-content dofollow backlink with exact anchor text back to my review post.

I told you I was creative, right?

So I got about 50 links from other blogs and, considering that my competitors for “CommentLuv Premium” keyword didn’t have many backlinks to speak of, I sat back and waited for the SEO traffic to start pouring in.

Only it never happened.

My post showed up on the first page for a brisk day or two and then disappeared into the neverland of page 4.

You can imagine my frustration. Poor Gerald heard all about it…

Assumptions and Observations

1. My post was very well optimized for the keyword.

2. It had a good amount of quality in-content links coming in, as well as some low-quality links like social media, social bookmarking, etc.

3. Thus, as far as Google is concerned, it should’ve been found extremely relevant to the keyword.

Side note: the way Google determines relevancy is by the keyword usage on the page, including your title, description, etc, and the anchor text of the links pointing to the page. Of course, this is a very simplistic explanation; take a look at how Google works, if you’d like to go more in-depth on this one.

4. The posts ranked on the first page for the keyword at the time had but a handful of low-quality links.

5. On the upside, thanks to Google+ and all the connections I made there, most of my readers saw my post on the first page because of Google personalized search, even though I wasn’t technically ranking for it.

6. Then Google Fresh came out. It was about that time that I wrote yet another post, talking about CommentLuv Premium settings this time AND posting a video on YouTube on the topic.

Considering my existing domain authority and a few quick links, they both showed up on the first page that very day (I didn’t take a snapshot of the video rankings, but the post was in position 7 in 4 hours).

commentluv premium rankings

Both stayed on the first page for a while, but left without much link building, my CommentLuv Premium YouTube video eventually moved to page 2 and the post to page 3.

HOWEVER, guess which post finally showed up (and is staying there so far) on the first page position 5?

Besides being brilliant (I need to keep saying it to believe it – you should try it sometime), I am also very stubborn and never gave up on ranking that very first CommentLuv Premium post of mine.

So How Did I Do It?

I made one big change to the post, which I believe did the trick.

Of course, one could argue that Google simply came to its senses, saw all those links, and decided to give credit where credit was due (huh!)…

However, the ranking came about very shortly after I decided to turn my post into a page.

What’s the difference, you might ask?

  • Pages are static; posts are dynamic.
  • Posts are displayed in chronological order on your home page, archives, category and tag pages, etc.
  • Pages  are not sorted by date; they are not classified by categories or tags.

Don’t remember where I read it at this point, but someone somewhere once said that the way pages and posts are coded in WordPress is different enough to make the pages more SEO-friendly.

Since I don’t know much about coding, I can’t support or disprove this statement.

The following factor does seem to support it though: most of the higher PR URLs on any given blog are not posts at all – rather, they are pages.

Let’s for instance take this blog and check the PR for inner pages using SEOQuake Firefox Addon.

semgroup rankings for pages

All of those results are pages. And this tends to be true for most blogs.

To learn more about using pages to increase your rankings, take a look at my post on blog structure.

How to Turn a Post into a Page

Here are the step-by-step instructions (I’d recommend you open 2 tabs since you’ll have to go back and forth between the post and the page):

1. Create a new page.

Copy and paste the content from the post to the page; save.

2. Change post permalink.

Since you’ve already built links to the post permalink, you’d want to keep it for your page. Of course, WP won’t let you have the same permalink for more than one page, so you’ll need to change the permalink on the original post first.

Usually, I simply add something like “original” or “part-1″ or “2″ to the end of the original post permalink; that’s plenty enough for our purpose.

Save.

3. Use the original permalink for the page.

Now go back to the page and use the original permalink for the new page. Save.

4. Avoid duplicate content issue.

Now I would edit the original post SEO title, description, and change the post content – usually by simply cutting out most of the post and placing the link to the new page with “To read more, click here” type link.

Using keyword-rich anchor text is even better, of course.

5. Optional: close comments on the page.

This one is arguable; however, I’ll use any trick up my sleeve if I can.

The original post will retain all the comments that were made on the post before you “transferred” the content to the page. It’s only fair to make sure that your commentators keep their links, right?

I tend to close comments on my pages though.

As I said, this one is entirely optional.

Marketing Takeway

Was it my newly created page that did the trick and pushed me to the first page of Google?

Argumentative, but logical.

This wasn’t the first time I did this either. Each time I turned posts into pages, they tended to rank higher and have better “sticking power” – most of them are currently ranked at the top of page one, if not in position one.

Thoughts? Ideas? “I have nothing solid to support my opinion, but I’ll say you are wrong just for the heck of it”s? Comment below!

 

Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe

Traffic, traffic, traffic... Can't do without it, but don't know how to get it? Ana does, and she freely shares her best advice on how to increase web traffic on her Traffic Generation Cafe blog. And don't forget to pick up Ana's 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination free SEO report while you are at it - stop hoping for more search engine traffic and go get it!

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The Mystery of SEO; What Are You Really Paying For?

Dec 5, 2011   //   by Anthony Kirlew   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  8 Comments

Recently I spoke with a partner in an insurance agency about his needs for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Services. It was a referral, which is how I prefer to do business, because I never want anyone to think I am just trying to sell them something. We had a brief chat and he shared that he was paying $500 every month for SEO and that he wasn’t happy with the results. I asked him what exactly the SEO company was doing for the $500 per month, knowing that for an insurance agency in his city that really wasn’t a reasonable budget to see success.  He said “they do SEO stuff” at which point, I realized we had another victim. A victim of the smoke and mirrors often associated with SEO, where the company doesn’t really tell you what they do for you.

I told him flat out, “if you don’t know what the company is doing for you AND it’s not working, you would be foolish to keep paying.” He asked me what I would charge and I told him I couldn’t tell him until I did an analysis and took a look at everything. The funny part was that he seemed to have a problem paying for something tangible (an analysis which would be followed by a road map) yet he seemed ok to pay someone and not get any results.

Let me take the mystery out of SEO; there are a handful of factors that make up good SEO, but for the most part it’s about good site architecture with good content that has good links to it. The architecture part is fairly straightforward; use static pages with WordPress CMS being a preferred platform.  Good content means that it is unique (not stolen), reads well (not stuffed with keywords), optimized (it has a theme and does target specific keywords), and the pages are of reasonable length. That leave us with the link building aspect which is where you find out who really knows there stuff. Links can come from a variety of sources including web directories, social media sites, blogs, trusted industry websites, press sites, and the list goes on.

Now that you know what is involved, the real question is “what do you need to move your website from where it is to where you want it?” And I assume that it is ranking in the top 3 positions of Google for your keywords. The only way to know what you specifically need is to do some checking, otherwise known as an SEO Analysis.  Some items will be glaringly obvious, but others should involve some analysis to see what types of links the site has, what kind of rankings the sites has, where the site is already listed, and the list goes on.

I met a local web designer who impressed me because he said he would not do any work for a company unless they allowed him to do an SEO analysis. I’d say that’s pretty impressive coming from a web designer; it says they have a holistic understanding of their craft and don’t just see it as “making a pretty digital brochure” which no one is likely to find.

Anthony Kirlew

Anthony Kirlew is a veteran of the Internet Marketing field and the Founder of AKA Internet Marketing, a full service Digital Media Agency that offers a generous SEO Partner Program. Additionally, Anthony is a noted blogger, author, speaker and trainer on topics relating to Internet Marketing & Social Media Marketing.

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Why Are People Following You on Twitter

Dec 2, 2011   //   by Kristi Hines   //   Social Media  //  2 Comments

In a post by Christina Reed entitled Thoughts of a Concerned Tweeter over on Smart Boy Designs, the author raised the point of “Why aren’t more people on Twitter asking the question, ‘what made you follow me?’ This is crucial information.”

This led me to remember some steps I had seen on how to find out the answer to this question by analyzing Twitter lists you have been added to using Excel and Wordle by both Rick Galan and Ari Herzog.

The following are updated directions for creating a Wordle using Excel 2010 and Open Office Calc 3.3.

Copying Your Twitter Lists

Twitter Lists Listed Count

  1. Go to your Twitter profile and click on the number Listed to see the Twitter lists in which people have added you.
  2. Keep scrolling to the bottom until you can either get them all to display. This might take awhile if you’re on a lot of lists, and you might run into a message that “loading seems to be taking awhile” – when you click Try Again, it will start loading more lists. When you reach the end, you’ll see a Back to Top link.
  3. Once you have all of your lists loaded, highlight them all and copy.

Highlighted Twitter Lists

Compiling Your Twitter Lists in Microsoft Office Excel 2010

Twitter Lists Pasted in Excel

  1. Create a new Excel document.
  2. Go to Paste > Paste Special > Text to paste the information without any formatting, pictures, etc.
  3. Go to the Data tab > Text to Columns. In the Convert to Text Columns Wizard, choose Delimited as the file type then click Next. Check Other under Delimiters and enter a / in the box then click Next. Then on the next screen, check Finish.
  4. Delete Column A.
  5. Delete Columns B through E.
  6. Scroll through and make sure there is at least 1 – 2 blank rows between each list name. Sometimes people will include a / in their list description and anything after that will still be in the spreadsheet – just delete those when you come across them (I had about 15 out of 2,000+ lists).
  7. Save your spreadsheet.
  8. Scroll down to the last item in Column A and highlight everything in Column A from the first row to the last. Press F5 and in the Go To screen, click the Special button. Under Select, choose Blanks and click Ok. Once the blanks are highlighted, go to the Home tab > Delete > Delete Cells and Shift Cells Up.
  9. Now you should have approximately the same number of rows as you do Twitter lists (I ended up with 2,035 rows for my 2,071 lists).
  10. Use the Find & Replace option to replace dashes (-) with a blank space ( ). This will take the Twitter default of adding dashes between words out to make a better keyword phrase (social media instead of social-media).

Twitter Lists Edited in Excel

Compiling Your Twitter Lists in Open Office Calc 3.3

  1. Create a new Calc document.
  2. Go to Paste Special > Unformatted Text.
  3. In the Text Import screen under Separator Options > Separated By, check Other, enter a / in the box, and click Ok.
  4. Delete Column A.
  5. Delete Columns B through E.
  6. Scroll through and make sure there is at least 1 – 2 blank rows between each list name. Sometimes people will include a / in their list description and anything after that will still be in the spreadsheet – just delete those when you come across them (I had about 15 out of 1,900+ lists).
  7. Save your spreadsheet.
  8. Scroll down to the last item in Column A and highlight everything in Column A from the first row to the last. Under the Data menu, select Sort > and then Sort by the first item in Column A and Ascending then click Ok.
  9. Now you should have approximately the same number of rows as you do Twitter lists.
  10. Use the Find & Replace option to replace dashes (-) with a blank space ( ). This will take the Twitter default of adding dashes between words out to make a better keyword phrase (social media instead of social-media).

Creating Your Wordle

Creating a Wordle

  1. Copy all of your keywords into the Wordle.net “Paste in a bunch of text” box and click Go.
  2. Allow Java to run if your browser gives you the prompt.
  3. Under Layout, change the Maximum Words to 50 and use the Mostly Horizontal layout.
  4. Under Color, change the color palette to something easy to read (I’m a fan of Shooting Star).
  5. under Font, change the font to something easy to read (I’m a fan of Coolvetica).
  6. From here, you will need to take a screenshot of your Wordle, then edit that screenshot to just show the actual Wordle. I use the free version of Jing (Mac or Windows), but you can use whatever method you normally do to take screenshots and size them appropriately. You can also zoom in using your browser to get a bigger shot than the default displayed size at 100%.

Why People Follow @kikolani

Here’s the Wordle result from my Twitter lists! Click on it to see the full size.

Wordle Results for Twitter Lists

Now I can see that people add me to their Twitter lists for blogging, social media, marketing, SEO, business, tech, experts, writers, influencers, and friends.

Once you’ve created your Wordle, you can use it in any way you please – on your blog, business cards, t-shirts, etc. as per Wordle’s terms of use for images produced by their applet.

Have you tried this out? What were your top keywords in Twitter lists? Be sure to share 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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Is Blogging a Waste of Content?

Dec 1, 2011   //   by Ty Banfield   //   SEO Blog  //  12 Comments

Trashcan

A lot of people in the mainstream view blogging as a really easy activity. The reason is because of the stereotype of a blogger as someone who rolls out of bed at noon and sits in front of their computer with pajamas on.

In reality, blogging is actually very hard to do well. Whether you’re blogging to promote a business or as a primary source of income, it takes quite a bit of discipline to do well. Because developing an audience requires you to deliver content on an ongoing basis, you have to consistently come up with good ideas. If you’re having trouble writing, the pressure is still on for you to deliver.

Regularly delivering quality content will help you build an audience who’s excited to see what you’re going to publish next. However, if you’re publishing 2, 3 or 4 posts a week, this adds up to between 100 and 200 a year. Since your audience is always looking forward to your next post, what happens to all that old content?

Some people argue that because blogs only feature the latest posts that have been published, they’re actually a waste of content and very inefficient. While it is true that the standard blogging format does have this weakness, that doesn’t mean that your posts have to be irrelevant after a few weeks.

If you want to get the most mileage out of every post you publish, there’s just one thing you need to do to make this happen:

Create Resource Pages

After you’ve been blogging for a few months, you will have likely covered some topics throughout multiple posts. While your first post on a topic may have just been an introduction to it, there’s a good chance you’ll dive deeper into it with subsequent posts.

Once you’ve written 3 to 5 posts on a topic, you’re going to have a very nice guide to it. The only problem is all the information is spread out among multiple posts. Luckily, there is a very easy way to solve this issue.

While you’ve probably noticed this trend on quite a few blogs, Derek from Social Triggers has explained his strategy in detail. As you can see from his Building an Email List 101 page, all Derek did was pull together three links to posts where he had covered the basics of building an email list.

He then wrote a few paragraphs of introductory copy, and put all of this on a nicely formatted WordPress page. When you visit the page, you’ll notice that it looks quite a bit like a landing page. If you’ve read any of his posts, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that this wasn’t an accident.

After he pulled together this simple but valuable page, he sent it out to his email list. From there, his subscribers tweeted it out to others. Then when new visitors discovered this page, they are presented with a signup box for his email newsletter. Because of the quality of the page, Derek has stated that he’s seen great results from it converting new visitors into subscribers.

Have you tried adding one or more resource pages to your blog?

Ty Banfield

Ty Banfield is a freelance writer. Over the past five years, he's written on almost every topic under the sun. While variety is the spice of writing life, marketing and fitness are the two topics he never grows tired of exploring. He also provides business website development, marketing and conversion consulting that helps businesses attract more customers.

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Whitehat Link Building at Its Finest

Nov 30, 2011   //   by Kaila Strong   //   link building, SEO Blog  //  15 Comments

white hat SEOMany tout link building as a laborious and often unsuccessful venture. Sure it’s hard work that requires manual research, networking and a bit of schmoozing – but it’s not impossible. There are some really easy ways to do the research and compile lists of sites to reach out to…and you don’t even have to spend much time doing it!

Consider the below tips before you start on your next whitehat link building adventure.

Personal Websites

These days just about everyone and their mom has a blog. That means your employees and your customers do too! Check through your list of employees and clients and think about opportunities to garner a link on their sites. Sure not every one of your clients or employees sites will be exactly what you want, but pick out the ones that are applicable. Think about a value proposition before you approach the employee or client. Why should they link to you? For clients you might offer to add them to your own website in return or offer a discount on their next purchase.

For link builders who might not have direct access to a client’s employee list or client list – try some research. Check through LinkedIn search, Twitter search and even Facebook search. Many employees will list employers on Facebook. Then add your findings to a list and approach your link building client with this opportunity as a way to garner some good “low hanging fruit” type links. Have them do the dirty work of reaching out to make it more personal and it’ll likely improve the success rate.

Brand Mentions

Working with large brands I’ve seen this many times – websites large and small write about their brand but don’t link! If they are willing to write about the brand don’t you think they’d be willing to link too? Okay, maybe not all the time … but sometimes certainly!

Set up a Google alert for your brand name. Also set up Google alerts for misspellings of your brand name. As brand mentions roll into your e-mail compile a list and prioritize the opportunities. Every month make it a goal to reach out to at least some of these sites and ask for a link back to your site.  Every now and again, as applicable, let the writer/webmaster know about news or information about your products, services, awards, etc… Since they were willing to write about you without you knowing, they might be willing to write about you again – so give them the information to do so. It might garner some good links to internal product pages.

Industry Resource List

Between library sites, government sites, and even education websites – there are many resource lists that I like to call industry lists. You’ve seen them, a list of a large number of resources for the casual web visitor to peruse at their leisure. In my experience there are industry lists for just about every single industry out there.

Using advanced search commands look for these industry lists. Use search commands looking for a number of your competitors brand names mentioned on a site. Say you’re Alltel. You have quite a few big name competitors: Verizon, Virgin Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, etc… Do a search like this: “Verizon” “virgin mobile” “sprint” “AT&T” “list”. Dig through the list and find an industry list where Alltel isn’t listed but should be and reach out to that webmaster. Another option is to have your client reach out directly (or you – from a branded e-mail address), which may increase the likelihood of being listed on a .edu, .gov, or library site.

Charities

Especially true this time of year, businesses donate to charity. Talk about a pretty juicy link! Most non-profit websites are .orgs, have a lot of incoming links and many have a lot of traffic. If you’re a partner, sponsor, on the board, or otherwise involved with a charity look for link building opportunities. Almost all charities should have sponsors and/or an acknowledgement page on their site.

As link builders you should look at a client’s newsroom and press releases for charities they are donating to if your client isn’t a constant source of information (which is 99% the case in my experience). Then do a bit of research to find those sites and if they have a place for a link. Present your client with a list of opportunities and have their PR team do the dirty work for you to ask for links or logos on the site. Remember – if they opt for logos, don’t forget to customize that alt text!

These are just a few ways you can use some whitehat techniques to help improve the number of unique domains linking to your site. Feel free to share additional ideas in the comments below!

Kaila Strong

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

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Should You Optimize Your Website for Mobile?

Nov 28, 2011   //   by Kaila Strong   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  17 Comments

The trend of accessing the internet via mobile devices only continues to grow. From iPhones and Android phones to iPads and Kindle Fires, more and more mobile devices are used to access the Internet. The IDC reported in September that by 2015 “more U.S. Internet users will access the Internet through mobile devices than through PCs or other wireline devices”. Amazingly, an estimated 79% of websites today aren’t optimized for mobile devices.

I recently had a conversation with a client about this very topic, and why they should optimize their site for mobile. They’re an online retailer receiving a significant amount of traffic and as you’d expect many visitors are using mobile devices to access their site. Since their site wasn’t optimized for mobile it was no surprise that mobile performed significantly worse – bounce rates, conversion rates, returning visits, etc… In the end we came to the conclusion that it was completely essential that they optimize their site for mobile and we had enough proof to get higher ups to take into consideration this additional expense in their budget.

After my experience with this client I thought I’d share some of the areas I suggest you examine to determine if you should optimize your site for mobile. You might just be leaving money on the table!

Bounce Rate

Savvy mobile and online users absolutely hate a site that isn’t optimized for mobile, which can result in increased bounce rates. Examine how your mobile traffic performs on your site and pay particular attention to bounce rate. How does it compare to site averages? How about year over year? In Google Analytics this information can be found by selecting the advanced segment “mobile traffic”. If you were able to improve bounce rates how much more traffic would that equate to?

Conversion Rate

Does your mobile traffic convert better or worse than other traffic? If your site isn’t optimized for mobile it’s very likely that mobile conversion rates are much lower than site averages. A large difference between mobile traffic conversion rates and site wide average is a sign you should optimize your site for mobile. Using site average conversion rate and average traffic numbers determine how much potential profit your site is losing by not optimizing for mobile. In my client’s case it turned out to be tens of thousands of dollars per month!

Returning Visits

Visitor loyalty can be very important to keeping your online doors open. Examine visitor loyalty of mobile traffic – if visitors aren’t coming back as often (or at all) then having a site that isn’t optimized for mobile may be to blame.

Time on Site and Pages Per Visit

Other important factors to consider are time on site and pages per visit. If mobile visitors aren’t staying on the site as long as site wide averages, and if they aren’t visiting as many pages on your site then your unoptimized site may be to blame.

These are just a few areas you can examine in the analytics program you’re using to determine if you should optimize your website for mobile.

What areas do you examine to determine whether a site should be optimized for mobile?

Kaila Strong

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

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Tracking Affiliate Clicks in Google Analytics 5

Nov 25, 2011   //   by Kristi Hines   //   SEO Blog  //  5 Comments

Have you ever wondered what traffic sources, content, or visitor demographic resulted in the most affiliate sales? Knowing this kind of information is key if you want to increase your earnings as an affiliate marketer. This post will take you through setting up Google Analytics to track your affiliate link clicks.

What You Can Learn from Offsite Event Goals

Because affiliate sales take place off of your site, you have to set up an event goal type in Google Analytics. This will simply track the clicks on your affiliate links. The downside is that Google Analytics will never know if someone actually made the purchase once the visitor has left your site, but you can at least get a good idea of the following:

  • Which traffic sources, content, and visitor demographics generate the most affiliate link clicks.
  • Which affiliate products convert the best with your audience. If you get ten affiliate links clicks in a day that result in one sale for Product A, and ten affiliate link clicks in a day that result in six sales for Product B, then you’ll know that focusing your efforts on Product B is a more lucrative option.
  • Which banner ad on your website (sidebar, header image, footer image, etc.) results in the most affiliate clicks.

So while it may not be 100% accurate, you can still learn a lot from setting up this goal type to track your affiliate clicks. Note that you can only have a total of 20 goals in your Google Analytics – keep in mind that you might want to setup ones for things like mailing list conversions, your own product sales, or other important conversions on your site.

Setting Up an Event Goal in Google Analytics

To use the Event goal type, you must:

  • Have your Google Analytics installed before your tag on your website.
  • Add onClick=”_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Category', 'Action', 'Label']);” to your event.
  • Configure the Goal Details to match your event tracking code.

For example, if you want to track a click on your sidebar banner for Product A, then you would have a link that looked like the following:

You would then enter the following into your Goal Details in Google Analytics under 1. Configure a combination of one or more event conditions from the list below using the following information:

  • Category > that is equal to > Affiliate
  • Action > that is equal to > ProductA
  • Label > that is equal to > Sidebar125

You can also associate a Goal Value to be the average amount of the common sale. If you think that out of every ten clicks, you will get one affiliate sale of Product A, and Product A has an affiliate commission of $100, then your Goal Value would be $10. You can either leave the Goal Value blank or adjust it if you find, at the end of the month, the affiliate commission for Product A doesn’t match up to your Goal value.

Your final goal setup would look like this:

Google Analytics 5 Goal Setup

Reviewing Your Goal Conversions

Once you have set up your event goal, you just need to wait for the data to start coming in, and then you can start reviewing your goal conversions. You can do so from the following areas in Google Analytics:

  • Visitor Demographics: Under Visitors > Demographics, you can view the location visitors to your website come from and how they relate to your goal completions by click on the Goal Set corresponding to your affiliate links under Explorer. If you see that a particular country converts better than another for your affiliate links, you might want to consider refining your advertising efforts (if you use PPC) for that product in that country.
  • Traffic Sources: If you are curious which traffic sources lead to the most goal completions, simply go to Traffic Sources > All Traffic, and click on the Goal Set corresponding to your affiliate links under Explorer. Then you will see a goal conversion rate percentage for each of your individual goals next to your top traffic sources. You can drill down and see this data for referring URLs and keywords that people used to find you in search results under Search > Organic.
  • Events: Under Content > Events, you can see detailed click information for each of the event types you create (the event type is the event category you set up earlier). Once you click on an event type, you can see the number of clicks based on the event actions and event labels. Using the dropdown for Secondary Dimension, you can also see these event details next to traffic sources, visitor demographics (continent, city, state, etc.), and technology (browser type, screen resolution, etc.).
  • Conversions: This is the main area for data related to your goals. Clicking on your Conversiosn > Goals > Overview will show you an overview of all of your goal completions in the last 30 days. You can use the dropdown to narrow the data down to one specific goal. From here, you can see the top goal completion URL’s (or the pages that the goal was completed upon).

Your Method of Tracking Affiliate Sales

How do you find out what banners, links, reviews, and traffic sources convert to the best affiliate sales? Please share your strategies in the comments below!

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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Easy Ways to Improve Your Freelance Website

Nov 24, 2011   //   by Ty Banfield   //   SEO Blog  //  4 Comments

Freelance Photographer

Whether you’re a designer, writer, coder or any other type of freelancer, your website can be a prime source for leads. If you’re ranking well for terms that are related to the types of services you offer, those visitors are going to be very interested in what you can do for them.

While your website can play an integral role in building and expanding your freelance business, there are many common mistakes that limit the effectiveness of people’s freelance websites. Fortunately, most of these mistakes are quite easy to fix.

If you want to convert more visitors into actual leads, here are some easy ways to improve your freelance website:

Add a Photo: When someone is hiring a freelancer, they want to hire a real person. Many freelance websites make the mistake of trying to act “bigger” or “more corporate” than they actually are. Instead of trying to be dry and formal, embrace the fact that you’re one person with a valuable service to offer.

One of the most effective ways to do this is by adding a nice picture of yourself to your website. Depending on the design of your website, it’s usually best to put your picture in either your site’s header or the top of its right sidebar. By adding a picture of you smiling, potential clients will feel a connection with you as soon as they pull up your website.

Put Your Contact Information Above the Fold: The purpose of your website is to get visitors to contact you. Getting in touch with you is the only way they’re going to become clients.

While this seems simple enough, countless freelance websites bury their contact information or don’t even put it on their homepage. There are also plenty that have an overwhelming contact form with eight or more fields.

Because you want to eliminate any reasons for visitors not to contact you, prominently display your contact information. If you do business over the phone, make sure to include your number. While you can simply display your email address with a mailto: link, if you do want to use a contact form, keep it to as few fields as possible.

Get Rid of Clutter
: Although it’s usually not a problem for designers or coders, other types of freelancers may not be used to building a website. As a result, it’s common to see designs that feature way too many elements. From sliding headers to tons of social media buttons, all of these elements are actually just clutter that take away from the primary purpose of your website.

When you pull up your website, look at each element that’s on it. Ask yourself if that element plays a central role in getting visitors to contact you. If the answer is no, you should remove that element.

If you’re a freelancer, has your website played an important role in bringing you new clients?

Ty Banfield

Ty Banfield is a freelance writer. Over the past five years, he's written on almost every topic under the sun. While variety is the spice of writing life, marketing and fitness are the two topics he never grows tired of exploring. He also provides business website development, marketing and conversion consulting that helps businesses attract more customers.

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Guide to Writing Great Web Copy

Nov 23, 2011   //   by John Britsios   //   Copywriting, Press Releases, SEO Blog  //  9 Comments

Writing great web copy is no less a skill than an art form.  The main theme to keep in mind is “write with the reader in mind first.”  People online are looking for information, and they want it yesterday.

If your document is even just a little too complex, your readers have one more reason to visit another site.  Therefore, writing with the idea of keeping things simple is important as well.

Aside from those two general guidelines, there are a few more specific rules to closely follow.  Following these rules will maximize the appeal of your content to your readers:

1. Ensure your articles are easy to read.

Web readers have short attention spans and little patience.  If your article is too complex or dense, they’ll quickly move on to another site.  On the web, “easy to read” generally means the following:

  1. Headlines are 45-64 characters and contain one of your keywords;
  2. Your keywords seamlessly blend in with the surrounding text;
  3. Sentences are 60-70 characters each;
  4. Paragraphs are 135-210 characters (including spaces), but ideally are 180-210 characters;
  5. Paragraphs are a maximum of three sentences long.

Effective online writing is all about making your idea as simple to understand as is possible for your readers.  Also, be sure to always avoid fancy words and unnecessary adjectives and phrases.

2.  Use headlines with a logical flow to keep your reader’s attention.

The title of your article should be attention grabbing and unique.  “How To” and “Top Ten” type titles are currently popular, but don’t be afraid to experiment.

Additionally, most online readers do not read every word of an article.  The reader should be able to understand your entire article by only reading its’ sub-headings.

By answering the question, “What’s in it for me?” for your reader, you are making your article appealing to your audience.

3.  Ensure your content contains calls to action.

All online content is ultimately about selling.  The content may not be selling a product or service, but every site wants visitors to return.

In order to grow your traffic, place a call to action on every page.  Here are a few quick tips for effective calls to action:

  • Place them on the front and center of your page if possible;
  • If not, make them very noticeable;
  • Develop an emotional connection with your visitors;
  • Make sure to use urgent language;
  • Make them easy, requiring as few steps as is possible;
  • Add in a free offer;
  • Use statistics to increase your authority.

4.  Ensure your content is completely error-free.

If you’re not a great proofreader, find someone who is.  Readers may forgive one or two mistakes, but even these can distract attention from your primary message.

Google’s algorithm is also becoming increasingly sensitive to spelling and grammar errors.  This trend will probably only increase in the future.  Therefore, it’s important to start following this rule now.

5.  Always answer the visitor’s main question:  “What’s in it for me?”

If you don’t make the answer to this question obvious, your readers will leave in a hurry.  The first few words of your web copy must engage your readers.

A great way to scare away readers is by saying, “Hello and welcome to Company X!”  Does this introduction capture your attention?  Instead, try,“What if you could lose weight and eat any food you want?”

By answering, “What’s in it for me?” as quickly and simply as possible, you’ll catch your readers’ attention.  Once you’ve gained their attention, then you can start telling them information about your company.

By Following These Tips, You’re on Your way to Copywriting Success! 

The preceding tips were not all of the tips required to write great copy.  But, they are a great starting point.

By following these basic starting points, you’re well on your way to successfully writing copy that stands out on the web.

John Britsios

John S. Britsios (aka Webnauts), founder and CEO of SEO Workers and Webnauts Net, is an Information Retrieval & Social Semantic Web Consultant, specializing in oblique search engine optimization, social media marketing, conversion rate optimization, web content accessibility and usability testing.Feel free to follow him on Twitter.

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Domain Authority vs Keyword.com: Which One Carries More Weight?

Nov 22, 2011   //   by Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe   //   SEO Blog  //  19 Comments

what makes domain authorityA lot has been said about domain authority and its influence on your search engine rankings – whatever the keyword.

The topic of domain authority has been of interest to me for a while now for two reasons:

  1. I want higher rankings with less work for everything I publish on Traffic Generation Cafe.
  2. As an affiliate marketer, I want for my reviews of products to be ranked above all others.

And who doesn’t, right?

That’s exactly what we’ll be talking about today and it’s not because I have the answers, by the way; rather, I want to see what you think and if you agree with my conclusions on the importance of domain authority.

What is Domain Authority?

Domain authority represents the overall “strength” of your website over time.

What Influences Domain Authority?

  • Time
  • Links from established authority sites
  • Social media presence (tweets, likes, plus ones, etc.)

It’s extremely important to note that authority affects the ENTIRE domain.

Any newly-published page on an authority domain has the potential to rank from day one without much link building effort.

And that’s exactly what brings me to the core thought of this post…

Trusted Domain Authority vs New Keyword.com

Let’s say you are about to start a marketing campaign for a new product you’d like to promote.

Do you set up a brand new keyword-rich (most likely product name) domain or do you set up a page within your existing authority domain with the same keyword-rich permalink?

Ranking in Google organic results for a new domain within a short period of time is just about impossible.

However, leaning on the existing authority of an established site just might give you the edge to show up on that first page very quickly.

Here’s where it gets tricky though: I’ve seen it go both ways.

Allow me to give you a couple of examples.

EXAMPLE #1:

Keyword “list building tips

ranking for list building tips

When performing a search with Google Incognito (the best way I found to get the least “biased” results from Google), my post on list building tips ranks #2 out of some 137M results.

Interesting thing though is that I never intended for this post to rank for this keyword.

As a matter of fact, I tried to get it ranked for a different keyword quite persistently, targeting all my on-page optimization for that keyword, as well as building some strong links with keyword-rich anchor text.

And yet, the post quickly ranked for “list building tips” and not really for my targeted keyword.

Reason?

The only thing that connected my blog post to “list building tips” was the slug: http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/list-building-tips/

Of course, I since then reoptimized my post for the new keyword, making sure I kept my accidental rankings and my post still remains at the top of Google.

EXAMPLE #2:

Keyword “traffic generation

ranking for traffic generation

Click on image to enlarge

This is a screenshot from my trusted Market Samurai, which shows my blog currently ranking in spot #2 for “traffic generation”.

Which site is ranking #1?

TrafficGeneration.com. Exact match domain.

If you take a look at the stats in the screenshot, the only thing that site has on me is age; my blog looks a lot stronger for all other indicators like link building, on-page optimization, etc.

So does it mean that they have domain authority purely because it’s an older domain or because of the keywords in the domain?

You tell me.

By the way, it’s nice to see Wikipedia trailing behind in spot #3 for a change. I wouldn’t be surprised if they push me down though.

Marketing Takeaway

As I said in the beginning of this post: I didn’t write it because I knew, rather because I didn’t.

Do you?

In your experience, is it easier to rank a page on an existing authority site or a brand new keyword-rich (or even better, exact match) domain?

Your best guess will be fine as well.

Image source: Don Moyer on Flickr

Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe

Traffic, traffic, traffic... Can't do without it, but don't know how to get it? Ana does, and she freely shares her best advice on how to increase web traffic on her Traffic Generation Cafe blog. And don't forget to pick up Ana's 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination free SEO report while you are at it - stop hoping for more search engine traffic and go get it!

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