Browsing articles in "SEO Blog"

9 Search Optimization Tips with Benefits for Your Visitors

Aug 30, 2010   //   by Kristi Hines   //   Contests, SEO Blog, SEO tools  //  42 Comments

This is a guest post from Kristi Hines . It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.

There are many SEO tips that are not only good for search engines but they are very helpful for people looking for and perusing through your website. Here are nine SEO tips you can do to help search engines and visitors love your site.

1. Keywords and Research

If you choose the right keywords for your homepage and your internal pages, blog posts, etc., you will be helping visitors find what they are searching for easier. The best way to do this is to think of a keyword that fits your page, then a 2 – 3 word phrase that fits including that keyword. It’s really as simple as that.

Keyword Resources

2. Titles

The title tag is important because it is the heading for search engine listings and it is usually the anchor text when people bookmark your homepage, blog post, or single page on your website. The easiest way to create a title for your page is to include the keyword phrase you thought of during keyword research and include it in the up to 70 character description of your page.

Title Resources

3. Meta Descriptions

The meta description is essentially your sales pitch for your page when it comes up in search engines. It is also usually the description that is picked up when people bookmark your site socially. To create a good meta description, create a short sentence or two under 155 characters that includes the main keyword phrase for your page.

Meta Descriptions Resources

4. Header Tags

Header tags break up your page into easily digestible sections to help readability. Think of your page’s content in outline form – the header tags break up each main section of your text. Header tags should include keyword phrases you would like your page to rank for.

Also, note that the text right after your header tag can play a significant role. For example, I had an H3 header in one of my recent posts that said Most Valuable Guides (not the best keywords, but bear with me). In search results, without any other optimization, link building, etc., search engines pick up that phrase as follows:

Meta Description After Header Tag

So needless to say, header tags are valuable and need to be optimized as well as careful consideration given to the first sentence after the header tag as well.

5. Images

<img src="seo-optimized-image.jpg" alt="A SEO Optimized Image" title="A SEO Optimized Image" />

To get the most out of your keywords and help break up text for visitors with something eye catching, be sure to include an image in your post with keywords in the filename, alt text, and title.

Seagull in Flight

Where does the alt tag come into play outside of SEO? If you were visually impaired and using a screen reader, the alt text would be read to you by your program.

Image Resources

6. Internal Linking

Once people get on your site, you want them to stick around and find more relevant content. Using internal linking will help them learn more about what your site has to offer, especially if you are using the right anchor text as a guide.

Internal Linking Resources

7. Link Building

So what benefit does link building have to offer potential visitors without mentioning any SEO benefits? When I am seeking out link building opportunities, I find that pages already offering their visitors resources for a particular topic. Link building is simply offering another site’s visitors more resources to choose from for more options.

Link Building Resources

8. Social Media

Social networking allows you to really connect with your website’s audience, which helps you learn more about their needs and create content, product, and services that will really appeal to them.

In link building, even though Twitter, for example, only gives you nofollow links, someone who sees your link through Twitter may like it so much that they link to it in their blog or elsewhere on their website, which essentially means that nofollow social media link turned into a dofollow one.

Also, it’s not just the social networking you do – it’s the social sharing you make possible. Installing buttons or widgets to make your site more socially sharable makes it easier for your visitors to tell the world about you!

Social Media Resources

9. Guest Blogging

Last but not least is the ever popular guest blogging. If you have expertise that others would benefit from, then guest blogging will help you share that knowledge with an even wider audience. If your visitors are also bloggers, you can even help them by guest blogging on their site, sending some of your visitors in their direction. The benefits to doing both of these (the right way) are really exponential in helping establish yourself as an authority in your industry.

Guest Blogging Resources

Your Thoughts on Search Optimization for Visitors

What ways do you optimize for SEO with your visitors in mind, and what tools and resources would you suggest to help other website and blog owners to do the same?

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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Regular Coffee or a Latte? Which Keywords Do You Want to Rank For?

Aug 24, 2010   //   by Kristin Page   //   Contests, SEO Blog  //  3 Comments

This is a guest post from Kristin Page . It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.

Choosing your keywords is like choosing what type of coffee you want for breakfast. Do you go for the latte, pay the extra $3 and get the extra boost of energy; or do you go with the regular coffee and save a few dimes know that it will at least get you through the day. In SEO terms, do you really want to go after a major keyword or should you go for the simpler ones first. Where would each type of keyword get your business?

What Is Your Goal?

The first thing you need to determine is “what is your goal?” By getting to the top for each of the specific keywords you’ve chosen, what do you really want to get out of it? Do you want new customers? Do you want to share new information? Why do you want to be number one?

Some people want to get to the top for a keyword, just to say they got to the top and prove that they can do it. They put all of their effort into this one keyword that may or may not send their business flying, but they had to give it a shot. Others want to rank for a lot of keywords that take less effort but will guarantee them their standard customer base.

What types of keywords are on your list?

What Are The Keywords?

What are the keywords that you want to rank for? The very first one should be the name of your company and a few variations of it. People won’t necessarily remember your company name offhand, so you’ll want to cover a few extra names as well. By having that top spot for your company name you can start to control what people see first about your company. If you have some prominent names in your company, you may want to expect to have them in this list as well.

Chances are you can go on all day about what keywords you want to rank number one for, but this is where you need to choose, latte or regular coffee?

Sometimes there are those keywords that you know potentially could really boost your business, but the chances of ranking for those keywords means dropping a lot of other keywords you know will help keep your business moving along. It also could involve a large time investment from members of your company or a large monetary investment if you decide to outsource the SEO work. The “latte” keywords are great to aim for and it never hurts to get that extra boost, but it isn’t always the way to go. There are days when the 15 “regular coffee” keywords will work just as well as that one great keyword.

Step back and take a look at the big picture, you’re website and its content. How much of it are you willing to redo?

What Does Your Content Look Like?

One of the biggest problems in writing content to promote a business or service is that it isn’t always filled with your keywords. A very common mistake is for a company to take a very generic keyword and decide that is the keyword they want to be ranked number one for, but never once mention it in their content. How is Google supposed to know that the keyword relates to you?

Sending your content through a keyword tool or an SEO tool can help you realize where you’re focus was at the time of writing it. You may have focused on a keyword that you didn’t even realize. It may also give you an idea of what keywords search engines are pulling out of it as well. Is that “latte” keyword inside of your content?

Content writing can be a tricky task. While you want to make sure your content is keyword rich and ready for search engines to read, you also need to make sure that your audience can understand that same content.

There is other content to consider too, content that is not on your website but will either hurt or benefit your keyword quest.

What Are Others Saying About You

In an ideal world your website will speak for itself and you won’t need to rely on anyone else to help that along.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in that ideal world (at least I don’t).

Link building will help your keyword rankings, hopefully. People link to your website and in that link the provide a title tag. Search engines use what is in that title tag and associate it with your website, so it can’t hurt to have a keyword in there. If someone links back to your website, give them a title tag to use. It can’t hurt to keep focusing on the keywords YOU want to rank for, leaving it up to them can result in a very different ranking.

It is Your Choice

Personally, I prefer the latte over the regular coffee, my wallet on the other hand prefers the regular coffee. Once a week I’ll treat myself to that latte and get that quick boost needed, the other 6 days I stick with the cheaper route.

At the end of the day it’s your choice in what keywords you want to rank for. You get to make the choice if you go for the “latte” keywords or if you stick with the “regular old coffee” keywords that keep your business going.

There isn’t a right or a wrong answer to the question, so which route would you decide to take? Latte or regular coffee? What are your thoughts?

Kristin Page

Kristin Page is a project manager for Golden Technologies with a special interest in social media and internet marketing. When not at work she can be found at www.kristypage.net or on Twitter @kristypage.

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Is it Time to Rethink Where You Have Your Social Time Invested?

Aug 23, 2010   //   by Kaila Strong   //   Social Media  //  3 Comments

This is a guest post from Kaila Strong . It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.

Of late, Facebook has made announcements to unveil changes to users profiles, business pages, and even Facebook’s version of a blog (the ‘notes’ section). It seems the social networking giant is constantly changing and evolving, giving us a change one spoonful at a time. I get it, that’s what has to happen to accommodate for growth, adjust functions for better usability, etc… But it got me thinking: How much time do I have invested into sites like these where- 1) I don’t have much say over the changes they make, 2) I don’t have true authority over my own content, and 3) someday, I might not have anything to show for my endless hours of activity, should something happen to the site.

Questioning how much time you have invested is not just a question for branded business profiles, it’s also an important question for the casual user looking to brand themselves, non-profit organizations, clubs, and groups too. If you are spending hours upon hours per week on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, niche sites, forums, review sites and commenting,  it’s worth it to look at your other options. With so much time being spent on social networking sites, some brands may be missing out on other opportunities.

What opportunities are you missing out on?

Other Social Sites

In some cases, branded profiles aren’t successful on big sites like Facebook and Twitter. If engagement levels are unexpectedly low, growth is slow, metrics aren’t in an upward trend, it may be worth a look at your demographic profile. Who is your audience? Is your messaging targeted to this specific audience, or is lack of participation because of functionality onsite?

You might be standing in the way of your own success by limiting your interaction to the wrong sites. Check out other leading sites like LinkedIn, niche sites like iCareCafe (for Medical niche), forums like Wet Canvas (Art niche), review sites like Yelp, or commenting on some of the best blogs in your industry. I like to check out the prospective sites stats on Quantcast.com, and use the info to make decisions on which sites to focus on.

If you want to delve deeper into research start using a new site, and compare the functionality. In some instances, however, building your own social site on your website can solve your problems. Driving traffic from large sites to your own site can give you more control over your information, not to mention the potential for higher conversions since all activity is onsite. The investment may be large to build your own customized site, so weighing out your options will be very important.

Onsite Social Components

There are many onsite components you can customize, which will give your website visitors the ability to interact, and socialize. Adding a forum to your site if you are say, an eCommerce provider is a great way to give users an area to engage, ask questions, find answers, and review products. Optimizing your efforts can help your search engine rankings, in addition to better managing the time you invest into your social networking.

Even just adding a blog to your site can drive traffic onsite, and still allows for some user generated content: comments, and reviews. Don’t forget about plugins, proper monitoring, and cross promotion on all social platforms.

You can see examples of larger brands already integrating more than just the usual social components to their websites. Checked out Skittles lately? They’ve created a very interactive homepage, that changes regularly, and captures their audiences attention. Think about what you can do that will equally engage your public.

Reviews

Ability to review or vote on products or services onsite: why add reviews? Increase sales and also for SEO. Not to mention the improvements to usability for your visitors. Make sure you monitor reviews, and respond appropriately.

Comments

Commenting enabled, and monitored as well. Take into consideration suggested pointers for monitoring comments, and interacting too.

Forums

Online forum to help users throughout the buying cycle. Write your own content to help answer most frequent questions, allow users to ask each other questions, and interact. Building a forum can be pretty time intensive, but think of the customization abilities.

Cross Promotion

Pulling in data from other social sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. You can use a widget, you can use a badge, or a plugin; whichever way you do it, give your users a way to interact using their own favorite social site on your website. Allowing users to sign up for your online community using their preferred site is a good idea.

Eye Catching

Games, graphics, and video onsite. Make sure you have the space available, and take into consideration the impact on users experience (slow browsing).

Profiles

User profiles are where ideas can be shared. Let users build their own space, share their own thoughts, find friends, and upload other information.

Other Marketing Types

On rare occasions, social media just isn’t for your brand. You’ve ran the numbers, talked to the experts, and it’s just not the best return on investment. Determine what your best advertising assets are, and utilize them appropriately. Stop investing a lot of your time in an area of advertising that isn’t proving to be the best use of your time. Don’t just get rid of your profiles: limit the amount of time you spend, and evaluate the tools you are using to manage the profiles. At the very least, you are utilizing the SEO benefits of social profiles, and ability to help with your promotions.

Have you looked at integrating more social components onto your website?

Kaila Strong

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

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5 Ways to Get Great Results from Your Social Media Efforts

Aug 19, 2010   //   by Onibalusi   //   Contests, SEO Blog, Social Media  //  38 Comments

This is a guest post from Onibalusi. It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.

One problem many people just starting out in the social media world face is that they find it difficult to get traffic and attention from all their efforts and they believe they have already done all they can to no avail. Social media is great and really effective and it is not meant for some specific type of people only. Everybody can get the best from social media.

Before I continue, I will like to tell you that getting the best from social media is not about having a gazillion followers but it is all about the impact you are making in the social media world, this post will be talking about some great ways to get the best from social media.

Have The Right Friends

This is the first and most important step you must consider when trying to get results from your social media efforts, it is of no effort to have fishermen as friends when you are a barber. The saying birds of the same feathers flock together is also very applicable in the social media world and you must make sure you get many valuable friends in your niche.

Your friends are the one who will promote and share your posts and it must make sense to them before they will share it, if you are writing what they can’t resonate with then they would not share your posts. It is also very important to have the right friends because they are the ones that will help spread the word about you and they will also be your customers.

One of the best ways to get the right friends is to make sure your friends are from your niche, for example, if you are trying to add more twitter followers to your account you can search using keywords related to your niche because this will make sure your friends are targeted.

Another great way to get the right type of friends is to make sure you build your follower base naturally, i.e. you allow people to follow you of their own interest without automating anything as this will make everything easy for you and you will be able to get the right results.

Don’t Introduce Your Business First

Another great mistake many people make when trying to get the best from their social media efforts is that they keep on pumping their business on other people without even thinking about what others will say about them. Take this as an example, if you meet a stranger on the streets who just told you to buy something or your trusted friend introduced the same thing to you, from whom would you buy first? It is very important to try your best to build strong relationship with people before trying to introduce your business to them, doing otherwise can be disastrous.

Help People Out

One of the best ways to get what you want is by helping others get what they want. Another great way to get the best from your social media efforts is by helping as many people who need your help. If you see people contacting you for one help or the other, feel free to help them and they will be willing to return the favor one day.

Another great reason you should help people is that they will also introduce their friends to you and they will also go about spreading the good news about you thereby leading to more social media influence and results on your path.

Share Great Content You Like

Another great way to make sure you are getting the best from your social media efforts is by helping people get what they want. Knowledge they say is power and the more people you help increase their knowledge the more they will be grateful to you.

It is always very important to always share great content on your favorite social media networks because this will make your readers value you the more and it will also give them an impression that you are not there for your interest. It is always very important not to just share just any content but to share what you know people will like and what you know can impact their lives.

Be Reciprocal

Another great way to get the best from your social media efforts is by being reciprocal, if someone tweets your posts, move over to the persons post and tweet any of his post you find interesting. Try as much to help your friends and those who help you because this will make the come to respect and trust you the more and it will also help you get more results.

Another great reason for you to be reciprocal is that you might need your social media friends to help you once in a while and if you have been reciprocal then you will have no problem with them but if not it might be difficult to confront them.

Social media is great and if you do the right things at the right time your efforts would not be wasted, the above are 5 great things to get more from your social media efforts.

Onibalusi

Onibalusi Bamidele is a young entrepreneur living the internet lifestyle, he believes in the importance of traffic to succeeding online and has a great report that explains how to get traffic in details, you can get his ultimate traffic formula at ultimatetrafficformula.com

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10 Ways to Speed Up Your Blog

Aug 18, 2010   //   by James Adams   //   blogging, SEO Blog  //  9 Comments

How much time do you expect it to take for a blog to load? Many users start to get impatient after waiting for five seconds. Others are more generous, allowing for ten seconds to reach that great content. There are many factors which affect loading time like pictures, your hosting services and your database. Here are ten ways which will help you optimize wordpress speed.

  1. Deactivate Post Revisions – If your blog has a single author, do you need to have your post revisions activated? Every time that you create or update a blog post, more lines are added to the wp_posts table. This is something which can be turned off in your wp-config.php file.
  2. Remove Unnecessary PHP tags – There are probably PHP tags which can be removed from your style sheets. Is there any site information which is static and can be ‘hardwired’ directly into your blog? Here is a great primer for taking out those tags.
  3. Get Quality Hosting – Free hosting services are not paying attention to the bandwidth that you are receiving. Servers will regularly fail and load times may suffer as a result. Fortunately, web hosting is not terribly expensive. At Hostgator, you can pay less than $10 per month for quality web hosting.
  4. Turn On Caching – Your site will take longer to load with each PHP script that is running on your site. Static HTML files take less time to load. See how much time that you can eliminate from your load time by using caching. Use the WP Super Cache plugin if you are a WordPress user.
  5. Optimize Your Database – Like defragging your hard drive, it is necessary to optimize your database. Occasionally, small fragments of posts and plugins are left behind and need to be removed. For those who have WordPress blogs, WP Database Optimizer is a great place to start.
  6. Crunch Images – Look at the images that are on your site. Is the coding doing all of the work to resize your pictures? Can the screen resolution be reduced? Take a moment to use an image editor to reduce the size of your pictures. There are free web services like Crunch 4 Free which will reduce the size of your images without reducing their readability.
  7. Store Images Elsewhere in the Cloud – You might want to store your pictures elsewhere to avoid the issues of hotlinking. Use somebody else’s bandwidth to serve optimized images to your site. You can choose from popular sites like Flickr or Photobucket to store your shots.
  8. Compress Your CSS and Javascript – Chances are, there are ways that you can compress and streamline your style sheets and coding. The faster that the server can see your instructions, the faster that it can follow them. For WordPress bloggers, take a look at CSS Shorthand to see where reductions can be made.
  9. Drop Unwanted Plugins – Take a look at the plugins that you are using for your blog. Are there any redundancies? Are there any which are obsolete? If you cannot find a good reason for the plugin or the plugin has served its purpose, eliminate it.
  10. Disable Hotlinking – Hotlinking is the process of allowing other users to put your images on their site. They are accessing your pictures directly instead of downloading them and hosting them directly on their own site. You can remove hotlinking by altering the code in your .htaccess file.

With each second of loading time, you are trying your blog reader’s patience. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to speed up the loading time of your site. Each little nudge of speed helps you to have happy visitors.

James Adams

James Adams works for an online ink supplies store based in England where he writes reviews of hardware such as the HP 364XL and posts on their blog.

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6 Kick-ass Ways To Market Your Blog

Aug 17, 2010   //   by Devesh   //   blogging, Contests, internet marketing, SEO Blog, Social Media  //  29 Comments

This is a guest post from Devesh. It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.

If you are trying to market your new blog, chances are you’ve already looked into search engine optimization then here are 6 Kick-ass ways to market your blog:

1. Building Mailing list

My single biggest mistake was not to build a list from beginning. I did not realize the power of list building until later on.
Building a list is an extremely popular aspect of the internet marketing industry. Everyone says repeatedly all the time, “the money is in the list!” And it is totally true.

Here are 5 reasons why you should build your list

  • Connect – Emails give you an opportunity to make your fans feel more closely connected with you.
  • Referrals – Put you in a position to receive regular referrals.
  • Easier – Make your sales process easier and more productive.
  • Sart conversations with people you are targeting.
  • This gives you a chance to build a good relationship with them and to show them that you will only provide them with quality products that can really help them

2. Blog Commenting

Blog commenting, one of the easiest and most effective way to market a new site/blog and get targeted traffic and backlinks. If people can see you being so active and commenting everywhere they end up, they will be more inclined to comment on yours, because you become memorable.  Take the time to leave a useful comment often enough, don’t just write “great post” or “thanks”. Don’t SPAM or self-promote when leaving blog comments. Another added benefit to blog commenting is that if you leave useful comments regularly, the blog owner will eventually notice. This greatly increases your chances of establishing a great new business relationship that could result in more links, traffic, and more subscribers to your list.

3. Guest posting

This is one of the best ways of getting website traffic to your squeeze page and/or blog. Make sure it is very high quality, and is something that provides genuine value and your chances of your request being accepted will increase.

Here are 5 Reasons why you should do Guest Posting.

  • Drive targeted traffic.
  • Build contact with other bloggers.
  • Increase your brand awareness? (How to Build a Great Brand for Your Blog).
  • Build high quality Backlinks to your blog.
  • Get new subscribers.

Read more >>

Devesh

Devesh is a content marketer and founder of WordPress Kube, a WordPress Marketing Blog which focuses on WordPress Themes, Plugins, News, Tutorials and Modifications. Follow him on Twitter @devesh.

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The Number One Keyword Metric: Profit

Aug 16, 2010   //   by Jason Capshaw   //   Contests, keyword research, SEO, SEO Blog  //  4 Comments

This is a guest post from Jason Capshaw. It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.

It is tempting to make SEO-related decisions simply based on search data, such as traffic volumes and competition. Yet, there is a far more important factor involved–profitability.

I have seen webmasters rank for ridiculously competitive keywords with tons of traffic, and have it bring very little value to their business. On the other hand, I know webmasters who rank for low-competitive keywords that convert better than their head keywords, and as a result, bring in much more profit.

There are a couple of factors that can cause this phenomenon:

  1. The site’s product offerings do not match the searchers’ intent
  2. The site offers good information, but does not brand itself well, so the viewers do not come back when they are ready to purchase

I have found that a large number of searchers type generalized keywords when they are conducting research in the early stages of the buying process. If you can provide that information and facilitate all the buying stages, you will do well with generalized keyword searches.

However, searches that are done in the later stages of the buying process are usually more specific, and these searches will include specific keywords that indicate their intentions, such as “buy,” “discount,” or “price.”

Identifying these keywords in your research and targeting them on your landing pages will help you cherry pick the best traffic from the search engines–traffic that converts well.

The Use of Brands in Searches

I have a close friend that runs a start-up ecommerce store that is a little over a year old that sells equipment to builders and construction workers. Let’s just call this equipment the standard “blue widget.”

He has good top ten rankings for both the head keyword “blue widget” as well as other mid-level keywords: specifically, “brand-blue widget”, where a specific brand or model number is used in the search. Originally, all he cared about and obsessed over was his head keywords. However, he didn’t see quick results for his new site, so he relegated himself to mid- level keywords.
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The Value of In-Content Keyword Links

Aug 9, 2010   //   by wilecar   //   Contests, link building, SEO, SEO Blog  //  3 Comments

This is a guest post from Carol Wiley. It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.

I get a lot of link requests from sites that want to exchange links and put my link on a long page full of links. I usually delete the requests without replying.

Why? How much credibility do you think search engines give to a link amid 50 or 100 other links? Here’s what Google has to say: “Some webmasters engage in link exchange schemes and build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. This is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines [emphasis mine] and can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results.”

What’s the option if you want to exchange links? Relevant in-content links – links from within a content page using a relevant keyword.

Taking this approach means you have to find relevant sites (that don’t directly compete with your site) related to content pages you already have on your site. You contact a site and offer to link from a content page using anchor text that includes a relevant keyword in exchange for an in-content link from a quality page on the other site.

This approach offers the opportunity for deep-linking (getting links to pages other than the homepage). For example, if you have a landscaping site, you could approach a rose-growing site and ask for a keyword link to one of your pages that complements, but does not compete, with the rose site. You also offer to link from one of your rose or flower pages to a page on the other site that contains information you don’t offer.

Or you have a beauty-related site with an article about pedicures. In your article, you can link to a site with more detailed information about sterilizing pedicure tools – as I just did here. In return, you might request a link to one of your pages about relaxation (with the anchor text ‘relaxation’) from the other site’s article Relaxation Benefits of Pedicures.

Two points to keep in mind when choosing link exchanges:

(1) Make sure all links on your site provide value to your reader. In other words, choose links to benefit your site’s visitors, not to artificially attempt to influence search engine rankings.

(2) Link only to quality sites, and generally only to sites with similar or related topics.

Although links are important for SEO, Google explicitly says that the best way to get links is by creating content to which people want to link. Using your time to create this content can provide a higher payoff than excessive time spent trying to set up link exchanges, especially because you have to educate many site owners about in-content keyword links.

6 Shocking Truths About Internet Marketing

Aug 6, 2010   //   by Mark Thompson   //   internet marketing, SEO, SEO Blog  //  26 Comments

This is a guest post from Mark Thompson. It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.

Expectations, Expectations, Expectations…I just can’t say it enough.  No matter how many times I try to provide realistic expectations to my clients or myself for that matter, I need to keep reinforcing those expectations.  For anyone who is managing Internet Marketing clients or is working on trying to market their website via the web, it is imperative that expectations are discussed on a regular basis.  Everything from expected goals/objectives, traffic growth, roles and responsibilities (client & agency), marketing budget, communication frequency…the list goes on.

So the following list is not meant to be a scare tactic to anyone, but I will say this, if you are able to communicate these crucial truths to your client/company, you will be trusted, respected, and be able to maintain your strategy for the long haul.

1.  Internet Marketing is Not a Silver Bullet

So many people, especially smaller business owners are under the impression that Internet Marketing is a silver bullet to increased traffic, viability, and sales.  There seems to be something about Internet Marketing that because its a new form of marketing and there is a lot of BUZZ words surrounding it, that is must be a magical source to sales.  Unfortunately that is not the case.  Yes, Internet Marketing is probably the best form of advertising you can do (little bias), has the best ROI if done properly, and can yield some outstanding results, however there are no guarantees.

2.  It Takes Two to Tango

I know many clients feel that because they don’t understand Internet Marketing that they can’t help or think they can hire an agency and they are completely hands-off. Yes, to some degree that is true, but to see the BEST results, you need both parties involved.

Here is Why:

  • Content Development: In order to create really valuable content, it really needs to come from someone within the company that has the knowledge and expertise.  If you are looking to outsource the content creation, I would strongly recommend finding someone in the industry that is an expert.  This will prove to be a big part in creating content that is not just the same re-written stuff that everybody does.  It will make your blog/site stand out!
  • Link Acquisition: The agency should definitely be the driving force behind the link building strategy, however with the help of the client you may be able to gain some high value links just by reaching out to their partners, organizations, and groups that they are affiliated with.
  • Off-Line Engagements: Yes, off-line marketing is still a great way to build your brand and credibility, so having the client attend conferences, local meetups, and other events can in-turn help your online strategy.  A plus would be if they are able to speak or sponsor certain industry events.
  • Specials/Offers: As an agency, they can provide suggestions and examples of specials/offers that they feel would entice more people to take action.  However, the client needs to have some input since ultimately it is there business.  Gaining some feedback on what has worked in the past, their margins on their products/services, and what are their “bread and butter” products/services will help to create a well crafted offer.
  • Industry News: Let’s face it, even if a client hires an agency to help with their marketing, the agency is not necessarily going to be keeping up with the industry on a daily basis.  Hopefully the client is already doing that, so it should be their responsibility to let the agency know of any upcoming events, industry news/buzz, or anything that could affect their marketing strategy.

3.  Your Company Has to Buy Into It

So this has happened a few times from my experiences.  Where you start working with a marketing department on an Internet Marketing strategy, then the CEO of the company comes in and is wondering what this charge is for 3rd party internet marketing services.  Not to stereotype older CEOs, but they are typically fans of “old school marketing”, so when they find out they are spending thousands of dollars on a Facebook Campaign, they freak out because its out of their comfort zone.
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Mark Thompson

Mark is the creator of the SEO Blog, StayOnSearch and president of Search Creatively, a full-service Internet Marketing Company located in Raleigh, North Carolina. He also contributes to many industry related blogs including Search Engine Journal and is active on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Mark on Twitter

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Little Things Bloggers Crave And Most Never Get

Aug 5, 2010   //   by Andrew Rondeau   //   blogging, SEO Blog  //  79 Comments

This is a guest post from Andrew Rondeau. It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.

There is a huge amount of blogging advice available to all of us if we are willing to search and put the effort into finding it but…

…When it comes to blogging, have you ever had the feeling that you are completely out of your depth?

Sometimes, running a blog can feel like swimming for the first time.

You start out all enthusiastic and then just as you think you’ve nailed the first few strokes, you start to sink.

Getting set up with WordPress and taking the plunge to write your first blog post is exhilarating. You get to pick your theme, your images  and you launch your very own voice out in the big wide world.

If you’re lucky you may even attract some comments.

You are on a roll (blog roll?!) and you are fired up with enthusiasm.

Then you have to do it again and again and again.

After a few weeks, the beauty of it fades.

You may have packed in your ‘real’ job and made the jump to full time blogging. The money isn’t coming in.

You are getting nagged by your spouse who doesn’t understand how much time you are putting in to your new business venture, and why you aren’t seeing immediate results.

You wake up early every day and spend up to twelve hours at your desk hammering away, developing your free product and writing posts, commenting on other blogs and joining forums.

You don’t know which way to turn.

You do some research to try and sort things out.

You find yourself wading through a myriad different offers.

Link optimization.

Keyword analysis.

Blog design.

SEO.

Plugins.

Getting Traffic.

List building.

Article writing.

Social Bookmarking.

Selling, relationship building, affiliates, joint ventures, squeeze pages, add-ons, widgets, backups, security, copywriting, gadgets, hard drives, online storage, software, hardware, shareware, malware, outsourcing, making videos, creating products, membership sites…

It’s tough, isn’t it?

You begin to wonder why you got in to this whole business of working for yourself.

People aren’t reading your blog. You haven’t made any money yet.

You’re tired.

Someone offers you the chance to go and visit them abroad, and you turn them down because you’re scared of leaving your new business venture for just a moment, in case the dream opportunity comes along and your services are finally acknowledged as the superb thing they are.

You’re fed up.

You’re working longer hours than you ever did when someone employed you.

You sleep less, because all the stress of what you are going through plays itself over and over in your mind, you get stomach upsets because you can’t chill out, and every minute you spend away from your business feels wasted, as if you are messing about relaxing instead of making your job work.

Those around you can’t understand your situation, they think that working for yourself should be easy, you’ve got what you always wanted, right?

You should be able to choose what you do, when. You should be sitting back and relaxing, watching the money pour in, because you are now your own boss and everything has changed.

Right? Riiiight!

You and I both know that this isn’t the case. You wonder what the answer is.

How do you reach the dream?

The one involving sun-loungers, lay-ins, leisurely checking of emails?

Is there a solution?

Is it better to go back to paid work for a company, or stick with your blogging business?

I believe there is a solution but it takes several months of hard work, determination AND following a plan of action that is proven to work:

1. Get your head right. Tell yourself this is going to take a few months of hard work as there is no ‘silver bullet’ to making money on-line but your hard work will be rewarded.

And you can only do a certain number of activities at one time – you can’t do it all!

2. Research. Spent time researching to choose a niche that sells on-line and perform some keyword research to ensure people are searching to overcome problems in the niche.

3. Set up your WordPress blog. Get the domain, install wordpress, optimize it for SEO, add all the ‘must- have’ plugins required and improve the security of your blog.

4. Blog design. Get a theme and design your blog with your customer in mind.

5. Learn how to write brilliant blog posts (for SEO and your customers) and publish them for maximum Google Luv!

6. Create a free product and start building your own customer list.

7. Drive traffic via commenting, back-linking, blog carnivals, guest posting, social bookmarking, article marketing

8. Start to build relationships with your customers.

9. Get into affiliate marketing.

10. Start creating and selling your own products.

11. Outsource.

You want to create daily, weekly and month plans of the tasks you want to complete. You will feel less overwhelmed and in control if you can see what you want to accomplish today, this week.

You aim is to make progress in your on-line business every day. Whether that’s by writing an incredible blog post or driving more traffic or developing your product.

What’s your plan for today, this week, this month?

Andrew Rondeau

Andrew Rondeau is the author of the free guide "The Income Blogging Blueprint". You can grab your complimentary copy of his blogging guide at http://www.webuildyourblog.com today. You can also connect with Andrew on Twitter

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