People often misjudge the difficulty of starting and managing their own business. There are some exceptions to the rule but on average the 1st year of any new business is a make-or-break period and the accompanying stress can be very difficult to handle. Decisions that are made in the first year of a new business can have far reaching implications on the success and future growth potential of that business.
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs of today have failed to succeed on the first try and some even failed consistently before breaking through. The autobiographies of successful entrepreneurs are a good investment and the information and advice contained within is priceless. In this article we will be taking a closer look at 7 tips that could help you survive the first year.
1. What Do You Want to Achieve?
It is very important that you make sure of the reasons why you started (or want to start) your own business. If your aim is to become the richest man on earth, starting a second hand globe dealership might not be the best idea that you have ever had. If your goal is not compatible with your business model success will be impossible to achieve (e.g. wanting to spend more time at home with your family by starting a 24/7 video store might not be advisable.)
2. Never Give Up and Never Surrender
There will be times when you will want to throw in the towel and give-up. It is important to push through and not surrender. Tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities that could just be the breakthrough that you have been waiting for. Look back at what you have already achieved and think things through carefully. Taking a break from work for a day or two might just be what the doctor ordered and could help you to regain your focus and inspiration. The difference between success and failure could be as small as one more day of effort.
3. Surround Yourself with Competent People
This is one of the most important factors that could determine the success or failure of your business. Never be willing to settle for second best when you hire people. Be on the lookout for talent and crab it when you see it. Good staff is hard to come by and incompetent staff have the ability to destroy your business.
4. Do Not Be Too Proud to Ask for Advice
Get into the habit of discussing your business with people within the industry or people close to you. When you manage your own business you can become so involved with the day-to-day issues that you start to lose focus. People that are not involved with your business might be able to highlight obvious solutions or provide valuable insight. Even Superman needs Louis Lane.
5. Set Achievable Goals and Deadlines
Be realistic when you set goals, targets and deadlines. Nothing is as demoralising as not meeting deadlines and targets. Use a daily “to do” list and a weekly schedule in order to keep track of your targets and deadlines.
6. Monitor, Measure and Adapt
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Analyze the key performance areas of your business and be willing to change or adapt your business if needed. Performance that is monitored effectively will provide you with an early warning system that could help you to make the right business decisions at the right time.
7. Cherish your Customers
Without loyal customers your business will not succeed. Focus on building a lasting relationship with your customers and always respond as quickly as possible to customer queries. The use of social media to interact with your customer base is very effective and should be explored.
The satisfaction of creating and managing a successful business makes all of the effort worthwhile. In order to handle the stress of managing your own business it is important to exercise regularly and to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Do not forget to have fun and to spend time with your family and the people that you love. Success only has meaning when you are able to share it with someone else!
SEO link building is a very important part of any search engine optimization strategy. If you do it right your keywords will improve on the search engine result pages and the organic traffic to your website will increase. But what exactly do you need to do?
The golden rule of effective SEO link building is to diversify your link building methods. Think of it this way, if you are a boxer that can only throw a left hook you will most likely lose all of your fights. In the same way links that are built by using only one method will not be very effective.
There are plenty of SEO link building methods around and when you combine them the impact of your link building efforts will visibly improve. Two link building methods will be discussed in more detail in this article and you are welcome to use them to diversify your link building (Tip – make a list of the link building methods that you intend using and draw-up a weekly link building schedule with slots for all of the methods.)
Content traps and article marketing:
- One of the most effective link building methods available today is the use of original and unique content to build links and generate traffic.
- Start by researching popular search phrases for your website, product or service and choose keywords with a low level of competition.
- Write original articles using the keywords that you have chosen.
- Submit the articles to article directories and Blogs.
- Build new links by linking back to your website in the resource box of each article.
- In addition your articles should show-up in the search results for the low competition keywords that you have chosen thereby generating traffic to your website (content trap).
- This method has been abused but it is still very effective when used in combination with other link building methods.
- Search for Blogs that are relevant to your website, product or service and ensure that they allow you to enter your name and URL when posting a comment.
- Read the article and post a comment that is useful and informative (you need to give in order to receive.)
- Webmasters delete comments that they view as spam and it is important that you add value with your comment and not try and sell yourself.
- Post comments on both do-follow and no-follow Blogs to ensure that the search engines view the links as “natural”.
In addition to the two methods discussed above you can build new links to your website through the use of bookmarks on social sites, forum profiles and posts, submitting your website URL to link directories and the uploading of videos to popular video sites. SEO link building is very effective when you combine three or more of the available methods. Start improving your keyword search optimization today by becoming a boxer with more than just a left hook in your arsenal.
Wow…I have to say this contest has lived up to its “Bad Ass” name. I am honored to have so much awesome talent on my blog. And I’d like to really thank each and every bloggers that took the time to write their “Bad Ass” posts.
I’d also like to thank all of the Kick-Ass Sponsors that made the cash (and some non-cash) prizes possible. You can check out the full list of sponsors by clicking here.
Let me briefly explain how we came up with the winners. I had several independent judges (some of which are professional writers) that were asked to rate each post on a scale of 1 to 10 based its overall quality and creativity. I averaged all of these scores to determine the winners. Number of comments, amount of ReTweets and general social engagement was also looked at as a secondary metric that we used to determine the tie breakers (which there were several)
The Winners Are…:
1st place Reasons You Should Blog Drunk by Jennifer Van Iderstyne $325.
2nd place 9 Search Optimization Tips with Benefits for Your Visitors by Kristi Hines $300.
3rd place 6 Shocking Truths About Internet Marketing by Mark Thompson $275
4th place Little Things Bloggers Crave And Most Never Get by Andrew Rondeau $225.
5th place How to Stop Competitors Copying Your Links by John McElborough $200.
6th place The Number One Keyword Metric: Profit by Jason Capshaw $175.
7th place 5 Ways to Get Great Results from Your Social Media Efforts by Onibalusi $150.
8th place Is it Time to Rethink Where You Have Your Social Time Invested? by Kaila Strong $125.
9th place SEM, SEO, Social Media and their Connection to Each Other by Melvin Dichoso $100.
10th place How to Get Blog Ideas – A very effective way to conquer blogger’s block! by Gloson $75.
11th place 6 Kick-ass Ways To Market Your Blog by Devesh $75.
12th place Regular Coffee or a Latte? Which Keywords Do You Want to Rank For? by Kristin Page $75.
13th place 3 Tips for Effective ‘Link Luv’ by John Landells Prize, Link-Assistant.Com SEO PowerSuite Enterprise (max. functionality license) life-time subscription.
14th place The Value of In-Content Keyword Links by Carol Wiley. Prize, A full years membership at David Harry’s SEO Training Dojo
15th place Email marketing that works by Denise Gabbard 1 year Business Hosting plan from Hostgator.com
If you were a cash winner, please send me your Paypal address to htownseo at gmail dot com, immediately so I can hook you up with your loot!
Congratulations to all who participated. Everyone did a wonderful job!
I’m sure we will have another one of these contest the next time the donkey misbehaves
I wanted to tell the SEM Group blog readers about a free marketing training course that I am launching today that offers beginner and advanced Internet Marketers the most up-to-date tips and tactics to assist you with your marketing strategy. This course was designed to cover all of the different ways that you can drive traffic, build brand awareness and generate revenue via the web.
Each week you will receive a new module of the course that focuses on one area of Internet Marketing. Within each module, I cover the fundamentals, concepts and tools you can use to help with each particular area of the course. Normally a course like this sells for $100s of dollars, but I want to give this to you guys for free!
What’s Included in the Course
- Week 1 – Strategy: Understanding Your Goals and Setting Expectations
- Week 2 – Market Research & Analysis: Know Your Target Market Before Spending Marketing Dollars
- Week 3 – Paid Search: Using Pay-Per-Click Strategies to Drive Relevant Traffic that Converts
- Week 4 – Search Engine Optimization: How to Gain Free Exposure and Traffic Through SEO
- Week 5 – Content Creation: Creating Compelling, Valuable, and Viral Content
- Week 6 – Link Building: How to Find Quality Link Building Opportunities
- Week 7 – Local Search: Capturing Localized Traffic to Your Website
- Week 8 – Social Media: Build Your Brand, Drive Traffic and Form Relationships Using Social Media
- Week 9 – Making Money: How to Monetize for Your Website or Blog
- Week 10 – Website Analytics/Testing: Understanding Your Audience and Increase Conversions Using Web Analytics
- Bonus – Tools of the Trade: The Internet Marketers Toolbox
On top of this awesome FREE course, I have a few added bonuses to give away. So make sure you sign-up and get access to all of this great content! I am looking forward to having you guys sign-up and get your feedback on the course.
We are all more than aware that in the world of search engine optimization, it is an ever-changing industry. With that being said, it is more important than ever to stay ahead of the game with your link building tactics, especially since many companies are continuing to rely upon outdated tactics that no longer work. I think that we can all agree that spamming is becoming more and more obvious to Google, even resulting in penalization.
To avoid this type of outcome altogether and continue to create genuine back links to your website that will last for years to come, here are some of the best lesser used techniques to get you started:
Article Marketing: How is this a lesser known technique, you may ask? Anyone and everyone out there have already submitted an article to Ezine at this point, but the important thing to keep in mind is that you must provide quality content. This is advantageous because quality and hot content submitted to article directories will most likely be picked up by other websites seeking content. In many cases, your article may be picked up by a website of a higher page rank, automatically offering a link back to you as an added bonus. You can also take this one step further, if you see websites using your article in accordance to ezine terms then you can approach those websites with an offer for unique article with your links in it.
So how do you create this hot content for the article directories? Instead of writing generic filler content related to your niche market, search for your keywords on popular sites like Digg and even Twitter for inspiration. These are sites run by and for the people, and you will find a slew of resources linking to the hottest news articles related to your keywords. From there, you can see what the people are really after and write a corresponding article that will be more prone to being picked up by a popular website for reposting. It’s as simple as that.
Yahoo Answers: Again, Yahoo Answers is not a venue where you can spam to get easy back links. In fact, that practice is adamantly discouraged. Instead, you can use Yahoo Answers for the Holy Grail of link building, which is setting yourself up as an expert in your field. Once you have achieved this task, people will start to turn to you and your company for information, and they will also link back to blogs, articles, and answers that you have already posted. After all, you are the expert, so why wouldn’t people trust you?Yahoo Answers does not offer Do Follow links, but they do have a section within each Yahoo Answers forum to list websites as references for an answer. These links alone will often draw traffic back to the original website if you have provided a relevant answer. Of course, you do not necessarily need to only promote your website but instead, become a well-rounded expert in your niche market who provides valuable answers, and people will automatically be attracted to visit your website because of the authority you have created.
Feature guest blogs. If you have a blog for your website or online store, this is the perfect way to continue to update it with unique content and to also offer interesting posts for your customers and readers. Beyond just updating your blog regularly with content, it is also a brilliant idea to incorporate guest blogging. Guest blogging will help bring inbound links to your site, and it will also build your reputation as a brand.
Start by reaching out to other blogs within your niche market, or use guest blogging resources, like Blogger Linkup. You can offer to do an exchange of guest blog posts with many companies, which will give a link back to your website as a bonus. Even better, the longer that your guest blog stays on a company’s website, the more valuable it becomes as a link back to your website. There is also a benefit in posting guest blogs on your own website because a blogger will normally promote his or her guest blog to their reader base. This means that all of the regular readers of a specific blog will take a swing by your blog to see the guest blog post, and they may potentially return if you have good content related to that niche. This means an instant spike in traffic for you if done successfully!
These three little known link building tips may seem complicated, but when you invest time in them on a weekly basis within your marketing plan, you are guaranteed to see serious results in new visitors and valuable links back to your website.
This is a guest post from Denise Gabbard. It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.
Most people think that spam, Facebook, blogs, and other social media like Twitter killed email marketing as a means to communicate online. However, most people are wrong. Businesses today engage in email marketing because it gives them a return on investment hovering over $40 per $1 spent, and outperforms all direct marketing channels. In a Forbes Media survey in the February/March 2009 issues, it was reported that business owners and executives say email marketing is second overall to SEO when it comes to converting lookers into buyers. Impressive, and tells you why businesses use it—it just works!
An email campaign is an ongoing marketing venture whereby you send out regular communications to customers and potential customers. The traditional email marketing approach was to build a huge list and push lots of messages out to the masses. This doesn’t work anymore, as it brands your company spammers, and can get you booted from your domain, and facing government sanctions.
The new way of doing things is targeting those who want to hear from you. Put together your list by asking your customers if they’d like to receive ‘newsletters’ from you on a periodic basis. You can ask them in person, over the phone, or on your website by embedding a “Sign Up” button for convenience. When you invoice a customer for a project or product sale, always include a CTA (call to action) for them to sign up for your newsletter, and even put a sign up link in your email signature. You can convert that happy customer into a lifetime customer if you keep in touch regularly. The point is making the effort to create a targeted, personalized list for your company will pay big dividends.
There are a number of online business tools that are useful for your email campaigns. Sites like Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, and Campaigner can help you set up your campaigns quickly and easily, and most offer a free trial so you can compare functionality.
When designing your email templates, readability should be your priority. Keep your paragraphs concise, with just a few sentences for each, and write compelling contact to encourage them to finish reading. Another great idea is to keep your design less than 620 pixels, so that it can be viewed in email preview windows. (Also, large images take too long to load and can be abandoned easily.) An important step is validating your code before mass mailing it. Email types interpret code differently, and you want to be certain there will be no glitches on their end and they can open and read your message.
Clearly, increased sales, brand loyalty, and reputation are the goals of email marketing campaigns. Your aim is to have a high percentage of recipients open your email and click-through any links that you placed in the email. Average rates of opening marketing emails have been shown to float around the 20-30% range, so do not expect everyone to open your mail. However, do continue tweaking your messages to appeal to more people and get a higher open rate. For instance, a great graphic and web design company can create and execute a stunning email campaign that will make people take notice.
This is a guest post from Onibalusi Bamidele. It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.
Getting traffic to a blog has been one of the utmost fears every blogger and webmasters face. We all want traffic and a lot of it.
Traffic is really very important to the success of any blog and it doesn’t matter what you do online, it is traffic that brings the sales. There are several ways to increase blog traffic but this post will be talking about 7 sure-fire ways to get traffic to your blog, these are the strategies I have used and is working for me.
1. Guest Blogging
I know this has been oversaid, nevertheless it works. You surely have heard about guest blogging to get traffic before but I doubt you have tried it.
This is my number one traffic formula for many reasons and one of the most important reasons I so much love this formula is its effectiveness. Guest posting for traffic is an effective way to get traffic to your blog and it can also help improve your search engine rankings if done properly. Another importance of guest posting is that it helps you build your reputation online. I once wrote a guest post for a blog which brought me almost no traffic, I thought my efforts has been wasted only to see one of the readers of that blog who read my guest post link to me from his blog (months after I wrote the post) which in turn brought some readers.
Guest posting helps in so many ways but it is always very important to keep the quality of your blog so that those who came to your blog through your guest posts will not be disappointed.
2. Blog Commenting
Another great and effective way to increase web traffic is through blog commenting. One mistake I see people make in this aspect is that they only comment for traffic and this makes them just make any comment which in turn destroys their online reputation.
Everything you say online is being archived and can eventually stand against you, if you tell me you will help me optimize my blog for search engines and I once saw you commenting on a blog using your keyword as name I will most likely tell you not to worry.
Blog commenting brings traffic but it must be done wisely.
3. Forum Marketing
So that you will know how effective this is I will give you a little background of myself. I started online as a forum spammer (then I didn’t know I was spamming ;)). I got over 150 unique visitors to my website the first day after creating over 30 forum accounts. I created over 120 forum accounts in my first month and the end result is that my posts on the forums got deleted minutes after I posted them and all my accounts were banned.
It is very important to make effective use of forums and not to spam. I recently started using the warrior forums and after replying to less than 50 threads I have gotten over 100 visitors to my blog from there. Marketing your blogs on forums is really effective if properly done.
4. Blog Carnivals
This probably hasn’t been oversaid but it is very effective. When trying to get traffic to your blog using blog carnivals, what you will have to strive for is making sure others link to your blogs which in turn brings more traffic.
Blog carnivals are a great way to get traffic to your blog and what you will do is submit your best (only your best) post to blog carnivals, if other bloggers love your post they will link to it from their blogs. A great place to get started is blogcarnival.com
5. Video Marketing
Another great way to get traffic to your blog is by making videos to promote your blog. While this might be effective in other niches it isn’t as effective in the MMO niche but can still bring great results if you put a lot of efforts into it.
There are several ways to get the best from video marketing and one great way to get more results from your efforts is by effectively researching before you come up with your videos. What do you think has a huge demand and has rarely been touched? Begin to create videos on this and it will go viral and eventually bring more traffic to your blog. Your vidoes won’t bring traffic automatically even if they go viral, what you need to do is to make sure you link to your blog in the description space and also in your video.
6. Blogging Communities
Another great way to get more traffic to your blog is by making effective use of blogging communitites.
Blogging communities such as BlogEngage and MMO Social Network are great ways to get more traffic to your blog because they are more established and consist more of bloggers. Another great advantage of these communitites is that people visiting your blog from there are most likely going to comment and subscribe to your blog because they are relevant to your niche and they are prepared to read, unlike people from digg and many other big social bookmarking sites.
When trying to get more from submitting your blog posts to blogging communities it is very important to make sure you use attractive titles (even if it means modifying your original blog title) because this will make sure you get more votes and traffic to your submissions.
Yeah, this sounds dumb? But believe me, it is not. I have gotten over 40 visitors from copyblogger using this method and I only linked to a post or two.
One great way to get traffic to your blog by making effective use of trackbacks is by linking to posts on other blogs, this will help you get traffic in many ways. First, it will help you get more traffic from the reader of the blog (especially if you have an attractive title) and second, it can help you get on the radar of the blogger who might in turn return the favor one day.
What has been your best way to get traffic to your blog? Is your traffic increasing or decreasing? Which other tip do you want to add to this post? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!
This is a guest post from Gloson. It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.
Most of us have been trapped in blogger’s block before – very determined to write the next high-quality blog post to benefit your beloved readers! Woohoo!
Searching for ideas
Photo by Stephen Poff
So you sit down and your fingers are ready to type! But after several minutes, you are still stuck on a blank page – you haven’t wrote anything at all. You can’t think of even a single idea! Aww man!
But your problem is now over! Here’s a very effective and little-known method to help you get blog post ideas in no time!
Step 1 – Visit other blogs in your niche
If your blog is about entrepreneurship, visit other blogs about entrepreneurship, business, marketing, blogging, social media, and those kinds of stuffs.
Step 2 – Look for list posts
Some examples of list posts are ‘10 Ways to Become a Successful Blogger’, ‘50 Ways to Become Super Productive’, ‘12 Ways to Maximize Your Influence on Twitter’, and other posts like those.
Photo by Éole
Step 3 – Read the list posts, and get ideas from the points!
Next step is to read the post and get the goodies.
Most blog posts about overcoming blogger’s block mention that reading other blogs helps you get ideas for your next post.
However, they didn’t mention that you should read list posts, which are a much easier and faster way for getting ideas!
Here is how to get blog post ideas from list posts!
Here are the first 2 points from one of my blog posts, 22 Reasons to Blog.
1. Writing skills
One thing blogging has improved a lot in my life is my writing skills.
I have noticed that my writing skills started to improve rapidly during the first few months I started blogging. And soon, I realized that my writing was becoming more professional.
2. Communication skills
When you blog, you get feedbacks. And when it comes to feeding back the feedbacks, you have to communicate. And when you learn to communicate, you improve your communication skills and learn to communicate better.
So, what blog post ideas can we get from these two points?
- How Blogging Improves Your Writing Skills
- How Blogging Makes You a Better Communicator
And then you can write blog posts about those two topics! Isn’t that easy?
So basically you are just expanding the points into a detailed blog post.
Here’s another example, from Mashable – FOLLOW FAIL: The Top 10 Reasons I Will Not Follow You in Return on Twitter. Here are 2 of the fails.
1. You have no user avatar
…or your user avatar is neither a personalized photograph nor reflective of a brand.
More important than whether or not your Twitter profile background is “designed” is how you choose to present yourself in that seemingly insignificant 48×48 pixel square. If that square is empty, impersonal, or otherwise lacking any qualities that will immediately allow me to visually associate it with you, that is an immediate Follow Fail. If I am going to build a Twitter relationship with you, I want to see you, or your brand, and not, however humorous I may find it, a screen capture of a magical leoplurodon.
10. You do not engage your Twitter followers
Probably the most important reason why I will not return your follow, though, is if it is glaringly obvious that you do not engage your Twitter followers. Here I suppose I need to make a distinction between those Twitter users who use Twitter to broadcast their content, as opposed to everyone else; these broadcasters, in my experience, are generally the ones who are followed, not those who are following.
Obviously, engaging their followers is not a priority. Twitter is a major platform in social networking and social media, and they aren’t called “social” networking and “social” media for nothing. There are other people out there, and if you are not engaging or interacting with those users who take the time to follow you for whatever reason, that is a huge follow fail in my book.
So, what ideas can we get?
- How to take a great photo for your profile picture
- 12 Ways to Engage Your Twitter Followers
Let’s take another example, this time in the Personal Development niche. What blog post ideas can we get from 6 Traits that Separate Winners from Whiners?
1) Whiners Focus on the Past, Winners Focus on the Present and Future
Whiners love to dwell on the past. “I wish this never happened!” or, “if you had just done what I said we wouldn’t have this problem,” or everyone’s favorite, “I told you this would happen!” The past is done and over and can not be changed. For some reason this simple concept eludes Whiners.
Winners understand that we live in the here and now. Rather than dwelling on the past, Winners focus on the future they want to create and think of actions they can take in the present to make that future happen.
2) Whiners Cast Blame, Winners Take Responsibility
When something goes wrong, the Whiner’s “blame radar” kicks into full gear and they start a CSI style investigation to find the guilty party. This hurts morale and takes away energy from the most important task: fixing the problem! Winners take responsibility for your actions and simply say, “what can I do to solve this now?”
There is a time and place to identify what went wrong, why it happened, and what can be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again. That time and place is after the crisis is resolved, not before.
By the way, that post is really interesting and inspiring. You should really read it.
So, what blog posts ideas can we obtain?
- How To Let Go of Your Past
- How to Plan Well for the Future
- How to Stop Blaming Others
- How and Why You Should Take Responsibility
There! I hope this article helps you to to eliminate blogger’s block and lack of ideas! Now the only problem is that you have too many ideas and no time to write them all . Haha
Hmmm… maybe you can write a blog post about that! – How To Find Time to Write Blog Posts!
So, is this method for getting blog ideas working for you? I would love to hear your comments below!
This is a guest post from Sarah Nelson. It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.
While many brands are taking advantage of Facebook pages for online marketing campaigns and customer service, many people question of how to create real engagement as well as what metrics to measure.
Each brand may have their own ideas about Facebook optimization (FBO) but here are three social metrics to help you plan your strategy.
1. Production Metrics
Tracking the number of posts and types of content you put on your page is critical because it allows you to see how often you should be posting and the types of content that resonates with your fans and prospects. For production metrics, I track the following each week:
- The number and types of photos that I upload
- The number and types of videos that I upload
- The number and types of status updates that I publish on the brand page
Keep your posts fresh. For example, you may write a status update about an upcoming event in the morning, and in the afternoon, you could post a picture or give a valued customer some special attention. I try to follow the 80/20 rule for creating Facebook content. 80% is value added content for the fans and 20% is promotional content for the brand. If you aren’t posting often, you are not building and nurturing relationships. I recommend creating a Facebook content calendar to help you plan some of your posts and events in advance.
2. Engagement Metrics
Measuring your engagement metrics will help you get to know your community and have a better understanding of how to attract more likeminded people to your page. I recommend testing dozens of variations of content to see what ranks the best. The engagement metrics I frequently track are:
- Comments made by fans
- How many people “Like” your posts
- The number of new Facebook Fans
- The number of weekly page visits
- The number of active users
The bottom line for FBO is whether you are fully engaged with your community. If your fans are writing updates on your page, write back to them to show you are listening. You should be able to analyze your engagement metrics and use this as a forecasting tool for creating more meaningful interactions.
3. Brand Building Metrics:
Using brand building metrics, you can understand how Facebook users feel about your brand and how to manage your brand presence in relation to your competition. I analyze how often people talk about the brand, what people are saying about the brand, as well as what is being said about other brands in the industry. The metrics I use are as follows:
- Brand Mentions
- Sentiment Analysis (track positive and negative)
- Share of Conversation (how many times does your brand name appear vs. your competition)
- Content reputation
You can see from the above lists that there are a variety of easy to track metrics that you’ll probably want to monitor and analyze, depending on your brand’s Facebook objectives.
Remember, monitoring data is only valuable if you track and analyze your metrics and apply what you learn toward improving your brand’s content, engagement, and overall Facebook strategy.
Have some favorite Facebook Optimization metrics of your own? Let me know in the comments.
This is a guest post from John McElborough. It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.
One of the first things we do when building links for a new client is to identify their competitors, work out who’s linking to them using link research tools and try to copy as many of their links as possible. But if you’re an established site how do you stop SEO’s like me mining and cloning your links?
A while ago I wrote about a technique I use to throw competitors off the scent using a redirect. Its certainly not full proof but following some discussions I had with other SEO’s after writing that post its clear that there’s a concern about link data mining so below I’ve compiled a definitive guide to the methods you can use to keep your links private and prevent cloning of your backlink profile.
(If you read all the way to the end I’ll share the results of some recent testing I’ve done which may give you a new technique to try out)
Blocking crawlers and backlink analysis tools
The simplest way to stop link mining is to block your site from crawlers used by link research tools. There are 3 common data sources used to power most backlink analysis tools:
Majestic SEO uses data from the Majestic12 crawler. It adheres to robots protocol so you can block it using this line in your robots.txt file:
User-agent: MJ12bot Disallow: /
SEOMoz / Linkscape
SEOMoz’s linkscape index is used by an increasing number of SEO’s via their Open Site Explorer tool and the API. You can block SEOMoz from showing your links using a meta tag in the <head> of your pages.
<META NAME="SEOMOZ" CONTENT="NOINDEX" />
This one is subject to change when Yahoo moves fully over to Microsoft.
The only real way to block data from appearing in Yahoo Site Explorer and the multitude of 3rd party tools it serves like Linkdiagnosis and Market Samurai is to block the Yahoo crawler. This can be done in robots.txt:
User-agent: Slurp Disallow: /
This however will block you entirely from Yahoo search results. Most of my sites get less than 5% of search traffic from Yahoo these days but still, its hard to justify cutting this out entirely. I’ve got a better solution below for dealing with Yahoo data.
Obfuscate your link data
Even if you can’t block competitors from seeing your backlinks entirely you can take steps to make their life more difficult. Building high volumes of low quality links to your site is a good way to obfuscate your data, making it harder for competitors to locate and copy your best links.
Yahoo Site Explorer and data accessed via the API will only show the first 1000 links pointing to a page. While Yahoo does tend to show the most important links near the top of their data this isn’t limited to unique domains and doesn’t exclude nofollowed links. As such in order to render your sites backlink data useless to competitors you need to build a few sitewide links on big, well established sites. Blogroll links are good for this. These links are pretty easy to buy because you can use the nofollow tag to avoid penalties. Facebook pages and forum signatures are also good for this.
Build links which can’t be mined
Create an un-copyable profile
This is certainly the best practice approach. When building links you should be aiming to build links which are going to be hard or impossible for your competitors to replicate. Typically these will be the types of links which manifest from great content and personal relationships. Your competitors won’t be able to offer cash to replicate these links.
Run your own link hubs
The hardest links in the world to copy are links on sites which you own (you’re not going to link to your competitor now are you?!). If you’re part of a group of sites you might already be getting links this way. Beyond this you can look at everything from building a single microsite to developing a fully fledged distributed link network.
Build links downstream
One thing which no link analysis tool does is looks at the links which point at the pages which link to you. If you’ve got some good quality links on authoritative domains think about building links to those pages. You can bet your competitors aren’t thinking about who’s linking to your links.
Buy presell pages
If you’re in a competitive space and are buying links you should be thinking about how you can buy links which both minimise the paid link footprint and which are hard for competitors to replicate. The latter I feel lends itself to buying links on dedicated ‘presell pages‘. If you negotiate a presell page you can stipulate that the webmaster can’t add any extra links (to your competitors) on the page you’re renting. You can then build some links to the presell page. That way even if a competitor rents a page on the same site as you, they don’t get the same value from it as you do.
Place links on noindex pages
I’m planning on covering this in more detail on my blog soon but an idea I’ve been testing is building links on pages which aren’t indexed. A page which uses the noindex, follow robots meta tag will still flow PageRank and anchor text to sites it links to, but from the tests I’ve been playing around with at least, these pages won’t show up in any major link analysis tools.
This has huge potential for anyone concerned about competitors spying on their backlinks. Certainly it will stop competitors finding and copying links (and meaning they can’t report paid links) it also creates an opportunity to distribute content without duplicate content penalties. Here’s some possible applications:
- Buy presell pages which are noindex, followed
- Let webmasters republish your content on their sites (with links)
- Hide links on other sites you own to avoid network detection
Questions on any of these techniques or have your own methods? Please ask or share in the comments.