Browsing articles in "SEO Blog"

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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Why You Should Blog Drunk

Aug 4, 2010   //   by Jennifer Van Iderstyne   //   blogging, Contests, SEO Blog  //  18 Comments

This blog post was originally part of a different contest, but since apparently someone got drunk and deleted it, we’re giving it a second chance in The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest. Enjoy!

So most people would tell you that blogging under the influence is like drunk texting everyone you know at 3am to tell them you’re at the IHOP to get your short stack on.  Not many people are gonna advocate topping off an evening of Irish car-bombs with an unbridled WordPress rant. Sure it SEEMS appropriate to explore your mommy issues or publish the tale of an ex who still won’t return your calls or your Weezer CD.  But the light of day is looming. And like any kind of drunken communication, you’re likely to wake up nauseous; half from your hangover and half from the realization that your cyber humiliation is irrevocable.

But, this post is called why you SHOULD blog drunk. Am I really about to encourage you all to engage in BWI? Well based on certain criteria, I say it’s not a bad idea. My inspiration comes from one of my favorite drinking jokes; the one that explains the various phases of drunkenness. Oh, you’ve probably hear it. It’s this one. According to this, there are 5 Stages of drunkenness. All together, they make for a pretty good night out and if used properly, they can also help make you a great blogger.

Stage 1: Smart.

The formula says that when you’re drunk you know everything. A person in the “smart” phase of drunk is confident in their mastery of every subject known to man. Well a good blogger doesn’t need to be omniscient, but a little mastery of your niche is helpful. This does not mean to blog like you know what you’re talking about if you’re actually an idiot. If what you are contributing to your subject area is as valuable as an arm pit noise, here’s a hint; people are going to catch on. Well, the people who aren’t dumber than you anyway.

That doesn’t mean that you are relegated to blogging on subjects you are already an expert on. There is something human, honest and even inspirational about following a blogger as they study, and learn something new.

What it does mean, is that the age-old writers credo “Write what you know” is true for bloggers too. Before you start writing about anything be smart on the subject first, and be smart in choosing your topic. Or if the first 2 ships have already sailed, well, then it’s never too late to get smart on your topic.

Stage 2: Good Looking

This isn’t about physical beauty, this is about a mentality. Someone in the Good Looking stage of drunk BELIEVES themselves to be the most attractive person in the room. Reality is not a factor in this belief.  Feeling attractive makes you believe that people are interested in you, and want to hear what you have to say. That assumption can even help you get the digits of a girl you thought was way out of your league two vodka tonics ago. In blog world, it can help you get a following you never believed you could have. Most people will tell you that hotness is 90% confidence. If you’re Smart on your blog topic then be confident that people are into you.

Stage 3: Rich

If you’re ACTUALLY rich you’re probably too busy picking out new rims for your Maserati to care about where you stand in Technorati. Being drunk Rich means betting Günter, the 300 pound biker, a Grand that you can take him in arm wrestling. Or buying that entire Bachelorette party a round of cosmos because you like their falic little straws.

Blogging like you’re Rich means blogging like you don’t care if it ever makes you rich. People who start a blog because they think it’s a quick route to early retirement are due for a reality check. Or a bitch slap. Or both.  According to these numbers, 72% of people report NO income from their blogs, but 61% of people report blogging to supplement their income. Um, I’m no good at math but that seems off. If only 28% of people are reporting an income from their blogs… then a lot of people are either liars…or screwed.

Even if you are making money with your blog in order to have a really good one, it’s most effective to write like you AREN’T. Huh? Listen, writing once a week about the virtues of Pay Day Loans or the dangers of Mesothelioma is a dead give away that your wallet is more engaged in the blog than your heart. Whether you are running ads, affiliate programs, writing reviews or however you are monetizing your blog, the key is to keep the content authentic. Writing like you don’t care about the money is the best way to ensure that everything you put out is high quality work that you can be proud of. Coincidentally, that’s the same kind of content that can help you make better money.

Stage 4: Invincible

This level of drunk is where you can easily break a toe kicking an insubordinate dartboard, or Günter, without noticing. Nothing hurts, and you can’t BE hurt. To apply this concept to blogging it means… well it means pretty much exactly the same thing. Courage is a part of blogging I’ve struggled with myself; fear is something that affects most bloggers at some time or another. Fear of backlash, fear of retribution, fear of mockery or hell just a fear of being called wrong. But in order to be truly successful as a blogger you have to get past the fear. No one achieves greatness by playing it safe.  If you blog long enough and build a big enough following as a blogger, then the fact is that, yes you will say something stupid, yes, you will piss someone off and yes, people will make fun of you and hate you. Once you accept that inevitability, once you can convince yourself that sticks and stones may break your bones, but trolls can never hurt you, you’ll be fine. When you are true to yourself, and write what you truly think and feel without that fear, you are blogging like you’re invincible.

Stage 5: Invisible

When you’re an invisible drunk, you have the freedom to do whatever you want because, what the hell, it’s not like anybody can see you! Or you’ve just has so many Long Island Iced Teas that the concept of “shame” eludes you at this point. Invisibility in blogging, at least to me, is two fold.

First an invisible blogger is transparent. Reputable bloggers have been talking about the importance of transparency in blogging for years. It’s not new. The idea is simply to be honest about who you are, your motivation for blogging and the intent of your blog. If you run ads and try to hide them you look super shady and people won’t feel like they can trust you. And in case you’ve been busy re-directing Ring Tone sites to Porn sites, let me fill you in; trust is a huge factor online. In cyber-world it’s way too easy to scam and be scammed. People worry about liars, hijackers and spam pretty much with every click. So everyone has grown increasingly wary and cautious online. For bloggers that translates to, be honest and you’re good; lie and get caught… yeah you’re pretty much done.

The second part of invisible blogging involves getting out of your own way. It’s really easy to develop an ego when you acquire a following. People start thinking “Wow, all these people are reading what I have to say, I must be awesome…and rich and smart AND good looking!  You know what, you may be… and even if the blog is about your personal stories and experiences, the blog really shouldn’t be about YOU. It should be about the message. And, of course the people who take the time to read and comment on it. That’s why it’s important to make yourself, and your ego, invisible on your blog. Take pride in your work but check that pride at the publish button. Learn to accept constructive criticism and for god’s sake, interact with the people who care enough about your point of view to weigh in on it. You are not the pied piper of subscribers so learn to become invisible on your blog so that the content can take center stage.

Buzzed Yet?

Ok so if you were hoping for a blog that endorsed doing keg stands before sitting down at your computer, I’m sorry to disappoint. But if you can manage apply the 5 stages of drunkenness to your blog, you might find yourself a little tipsy on the joy of blogging. And who knows, you might even be able to get away with a little pre-blog pre-gaming, I mean after all your Smart enough to know when you had too many…right?

Jennifer Van Iderstyne

Jennifer Van Iderstyne is the Online Marketing Director for Search Slingshot an Albany NY Internet Marketing Company.

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3 Tips for Effective ‘Link Luv’

Aug 3, 2010   //   by John Landells   //   link building, SEO Blog  //  47 Comments

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

As Internet Marketers, one of the things that we’re constantly looking for is how we can get targeted traffic for the lowest cost.  By now, I’m sure you realise that the single most effective way of doing this is by investing the time and effort in generating good organic search engine rankings.  In other words, you can get on page one of Google by paying a fortune through AdWords, or you can instead choose to invest the time and do it properly!

In this article, I’d like to share with you 3 tips that I’ve found to be extremely effective in getting ‘link luv’ (backlinks) to my site with only a small time investment.

Articles

You’re probably familiar with this already.  Articles are still an extremely effective method for getting link luv to your site and building your authority within the search engines.  However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.  The wrong way is to over-use your keywords throughout your whole article, making it difficult to read, then uploading that one piece to as many article sites as you can find.

In my opinion, a far better technique is to aim to use your primary keyword phrase just 5 times – once in the title, once in the opening sentence, once in the middle, once in the opening sentence of the last paragraph, and a final time in the resource box.  Additionally, I try to make the keywords in the resource box into a clickable link, if possible as well as providing a straight URL for my site as this really helps in SEO terms.

Once the article’s ready for submission, I like to use a quality service such as SubmitYourArticle as my distribution method, as it offers powerful technology that guides you through producing many variations of your original article, without the readability challenges that is normally inherent in traditional ‘spinning’ technology.  As a bonus, it’s also the only service that I’ve found that includes EzineArticles in its submission list!

Social Media

Social Media sites are becoming more and more powerful in terms of generating good quality backlinks to your sites.  I’m not just talking about Twitter and Facebook – I’m referring more to sites like Squidoo, HubPages, Scribd and SlideShare.  I link to build pages using all of these services which link back to my primary sites, then I use the micro-blogging platforms (Twitter, Facebook, etc) as well as the free blogging platforms (such as Blogger.com) to build links to social pages.  This creates significantly more depth which again, adds to the authority of your primary site.

On top of this, I use bookmarking services such as Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon to drive more traffic (and potentially backlinks) to both my main site and my social media pages.  However, when using this strategy it’s vitally important that you only add one or two of your own URL’s at a time and then add five to seven links to other good sites that you find in-between.  If you don’t do this, then people who look at your accounts will see that you’re only using them for self-promotion and may tend to discount the credibility of any links you post.

Video Marketing

Video is now becoming my preferred method of marketing online.  Not only is it more engaging to the people who watch them, videos are also loved by the search engines.  In fact, it’s common today to see clips of videos included in Googles search results on page one!

Many people are sadly put off from producing videos as they believe it’s a complicated process requiring expensive equipment.  This could not be further from the truth!  If you’re just starting out, you can use services such as Animoto to produce a great 30-second promotional video which looks awesome and has a great backing track for free.  Pay them just a few dollars and you can produce something much longer and really drive home your call to action.

Once you have your video, you need to distribute it.  I use a paid for service called Traffic Geyser, which can generate hundreds of backlinks for me for each video that I submit.  It’s not cheap, but I believe it to be a solid investment in my business.  However, if you’re on a budget, TubeMogul offers a video distribution service for free which is well worth checking out.

Whichever service you use, it’s important to use the service well.  The most important aspect from a search engine marketing perspective is to include your full site URL (including the http://) as the first thing in the video description.  On most video sharing sites, this will be automatically translated into a clickable link giving you valuable link luv back to your site.  Also make sure you include your keywords in both the video title and the video tags.

Of all the things that I do to develop my Internet Marketing business, these 3 strategies are the ones that I find most effective in building link luv.  Give them a try, see how they work for you and please share your experiences in the comments.

For more Internet Marketing tips, please check out my blog, Internet Marketing with John.

John Landells

Cut through the hype and find out what works and what doesn't at Internet Marketing with John.

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The Bad Ass SEO Guest Blogging Contest

Aug 2, 2010   //   by Gerald Weber   //   blogging, pay per click, SEO Blog, Social Media  //  36 Comments

Yes, you read correctly, it’s time for The Bad Ass SEO Guest Blogging Contest. For the next month, I’ll be accepting guest posts right here on my blog. As you can see below, the top guest bloggers are eligible to receive cash prizes (current pot is $2100.) cash and there are a couple non-cash prizes.

To clarify, you don’t have to actually be a bad ass SEO (although it wouldn’t hurt) to enter the contest. The general theme is SEO and the contest itself is bad ass since we have several generous sponsors that put up cash and a few other prizes.

What is the Bad Ass SEO Guest Blogging Contest? Blogging is always fun, but it’s even more fun when there is cold hard cash involved. Starting today (August 2nd) until September 2nd, you can submit guest posts to my blog. I’m pretty flexible as far as acceptable topics as long as they fit within the general theme of this blog. So, anything from SEO to blogging to social media will do.

How long does the contest last? The contest starts today August 2nd and ends September 2nd You must submit your post between these dates in order to be eligible to win. The winners will be announced 15 days after the contest ends. This will allow us ample time to publish any remaining posts and to judge all contest entries.

What can you win? Take a look at all the sponsors, cash and other prizes!

$200. Prize Sponsors

Daniel McGonagle Link Building

BestTravelWebsites.com Best Travel Sites

ArrangeYourVacation.com Vacation Rentals

$150 Prize Sponsors

Candy Store

$100 Prize Sponsors

Alisa Bowman Marriage Advice

Vertical measures

Internet Marketing Services

SEO Software

SEO Ottawa

Virtual Assistants

Hesham Zebida Thesis Skins

Gerald Weber Houston SEO

Toni J Young Network Marketing Training

Quillcards Distinctive Ecards by Quillcards

Ghostwriter Dad Ghostwriting services

$50 Prize Sponsors

Whitney Segura Whitney Segura’s Internet Marketing Blog

James Brown James Brown

Raxa Design Houston web design

Eric Brantner Freelance Copywriter

The Servant Media Houston Business Development

Ana Hoffman, Traffic Generation Cafe Increasing Targeted Website Traffic

The Lane Real Estate Team Kennewick Homes

Other prizes: Non-Cash Sponsors

Hostgator.com 1 year Business Hosting plan. Includes toll free phone number and SSL $179.40 value Business Web Hosting

David Harry A full years membership at SEO Dojo, a value of $250.SEO Training Dojo

Link-Assistant.Com SEO PowerSuite Enterprise (max. functionality license) $599 worth with a life-time Live! Plan subscription. SEO tools

Special thanks to the contest media partner: My Blog Guest. MyBlogGuest.com is the free guest post exchange community where users meet to exchange guest posts and network.

What are the rules?

  1. Register for a user account with SEM Group so you can submit your post for review. Please fill out all of your profile information and if you don’t have a Gravatar please get one. You may have up to 3 links in your bio.
  2. If you have already published a guest post here in the past there is no need to register. If this is the case and you aren’t sure about your login just send me an email and I’ll let you know your login credentials.

  3. You must submit your post by September 2nd 2010
  4. Your article must be original content, and it must be written by you.
  5. On the day your post is published, you must write a post on your blog about the contest that contains a link to the official contest post and links to all of the sponsors. A You can get the code to link to all of the sponsors here

    $200. Prize Sponsors

    Daniel McGonagle Link Building

    BestTravelWebsites.com Best Travel Sites

    ArrangeYourVacation.com Vacation Rentals

    $150 Prize Sponsors

    Candy Store

    $100 Prize Sponsors

    Alisa Bowman Marriage Advice

    Vertical measures

    Internet Marketing Services

    SEO Software

    SEO Ottawa

    Virtual Assistants

    Hesham Zebida Thesis Skins

    Gerald Weber Houston SEO

    Toni J Young Network Marketing Training

    Quillcards Distinctive Ecards by Quillcards

    Ghostwriter Dad Ghostwriting services

    $50 Prize Sponsors

    Whitney Segura Whitney Segura's Internet Marketing Blog

    James Brown James Brown

    Raxa Design Houston web design

    Eric Brantner Freelance Copywriter

    The Servant Media Houston Business Development

    Ana Hoffman, Traffic Generation Cafe Increasing Targeted Website Traffic

    The Lane Real Estate Team Kennewick Homes

    Other prizes: Non-Cash Sponsors

    Hostgator.com 1 year Business Hosting plan. Includes toll free phone number and SSL $179.40 value Business Web Hosting

    David Harry A full years membership at SEO Dojo, a value of $250.SEO Training Dojo

    Link-Assistant.Com SEO PowerSuite Enterprise (max. functionality license) $599 worth with a life-time Live! Plan subscription. SEO tools

    Special thanks to the contest media partner: My Blog Guest. MyBlogGuest.com is the free guest post exchange community where users meet to exchange guest posts and network.

  6. You can be either a sponsor for the contest or you can compete in the contest. Unfortunately you can’t do both.

Post Guidelines

  1. Guest posts must be at least 450 words, not to exceed 1000 words.
  2. You may have as many links as you wish in the body of the content. However, please limit links to your projects or websites to your bio. Absolutely no affiliate links allowed.
  3. Your bio must have a Gravatar. Please use a picture of yourself and not a logo.
  4. Keep your post relevant to the overall theme of this blog. SEO, link building, internet marketing, pay per click, social media, blogging tips are all acceptable topics.

How to win

  1. Write a post about the contest to help spread the word in the blogosphere. Your post (contest submission) will be judged First on quality of the content and style of the post.
  2. Add Sponsors links to your post using the correct anchor text and make sure the links are do-follow. This is extremely important and your post won’t be eligible to win if you haven’t fulfilled this requirement. The sponsors are the ones making the cash prizes possible, so show them some link love.
  3. A high value is placed on the number of and quality of comments received on your guest post. Also, be sure to interact with and respond to your commentators. This will help you win! Ambiguous and/or spammy comments will not help you.
  4. Spread the word about your post through all your social media channels: Twitter, Facebook, Sphinn, etc. A high value will be placed on number of Tweets and overall social media promotion.
  5. Keep in mind, the sooner you submit your post the more time you’ll have to promote it. So the early bird gets the worm!

Also feel free to use the donkey image in your post. You can get the code here

Also feel free to upload the image to your server if you like.

IF you have any questions feel free to contact me. Also you can contact me on Skype, I’m searchengineguy.

Let the blogging begin! Woot!

Gerald Weber

I founded Search Engine Marketing Group in December 2005. More recently I co-founded viralcontentbuzz.com. which is the free platform that helps bloggers generate REAL "social buzz" on their best content. Feel free to follow me on Google+

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11 Guidelines for Improved Website Usability

Jul 29, 2010   //   by Patsy Rivera   //   blogging, SEO Blog  //  10 Comments

What good is a website if visitors have trouble using it? An unusable website can kill your online presence and cost you customers. Here are 11 tips for improving the usability of your site.

  1. Use easy-to-understand navigation—I have a simple rule when it comes to web design: Don’t make site visitors think. Your navigation should clearly describe the pages so visitors can find what they’re looking for easily.
  2. Place navigation along the top or left— Web users are creatures of habit. They’ve come to expect to use the internet in a certain way. One of the things they’ve come to expect is that your site navigation will be placed either along the top of the page or down the left-hand side. Don’t change this up, as you’ll confuse them and cause them to abandon your site.
  3. Have a benefit-driven headline on each page—The headline is usually the first thing a new visitor sees when landing on your website. Each page needs to have a benefit-driven headline that hooks the reader and forces him to keep reading. It needs to let the reader know what’s in it for him, and it should also encapsulate the main message of the page.
  4. Ditch the huge banners—There’s a new trend in web design where websites have these huge banners along the top of the page. The banner takes up almost all of the space above the fold, making visitors scroll to get to the content. Banners are fine, but make sure they’re sized appropriately.
  5. Put the most important information above the fold—Web users spend about 80% of their time looking at information above the fold of the page…information they don’t have to scroll down to see. This means it’s important that you feature your most important information above the fold of your website so you can be sure your visitors see it.
  6. Get rid of the distractions—There’s something to be said for, “less is more.” Having too much on a page can overwhelm visitors, making it difficult for their eyes to focus on your main message. Take a step back and look at your website. Is there anything that can be eliminated?
  7. Limit or eliminate the use of Flash—Not only is Flash bad for SEO, but it also slows loading time and creates viewing issues for some users. If you insist on using Flash, do so sparingly. Don’t build your entire site in Flash.
  8. Optimize your website for the right keywords—Traffic isn’t your goal. Quality traffic is your goal. And to attract quality traffic, you have to make sure you’re targeting the right keywords that bring in buyers. Never guess what you think the right search phrases are. Do your research by using a good keyword suggestion tool.
  9. Use images that enhance the message—Another trend in web design is to use stock photos. We’ve all seen them: the smiling family, the businessmen shaking hands, etc. The problem with stock photos is they rarely enhance the message, and they mostly just take up space. Images should add to your message. They should be more than placeholders.
  10. Make sure your website loads quickly—Loading speed is important because web users are more impatient than ever before. If your site isn’t accessible as soon as they click your link, they’ll back out immediately.
  11. Format content so it’s easy to scan—Online users don’t actually read content word-for-word. Instead, they scan over it quickly, looking to get the gist of the page. To make your content easier to scan, you should format it with short paragraphs, subheads, bullet points, and bolded phrases throughout.

Does your website meet all 11 points on this list?

Patsy Rivera

Patsy works for Go-gulf.com, a Kuwait web design company that provides web design solutions in Qatar, Sharjah and Middle East.

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4 Grammatical Mistakes That Can Enhance Your Copy

Jun 30, 2010   //   by Eric Brantner   //   blogging, SEO Blog  //  30 Comments

I spent 5 years as an elementary school teacher before I became a commercial freelance writer. Along the way, I think it’s safe to say that I became a bit of a grammar snob. Besides making me pretty annoying, this also made my transition into freelance writing more difficult.

Since getting into the business, I’ve learned to drop my grammar pride. It’s all fine and dandy for writing research papers, but when you’re writing marketing materials, the rules don’t always apply. Sure, you don’t want punctuation mistakes or misspellings, but there are some academic no-no’s that work great when writing sales materials. Here’s a few of them.

  1. Fragments
    While complex sentences impress the scholar, they only hurt your conversion rates. Fragments offer a way to cut down your average sentence length. Making your copy more readable by setting a rhythm. By the way, that was a fragment.
  2. Starting with conjunctions
    I remember getting points off on papers for beginning sentences with conjunctions. Well guess some what? Sometimes it just makes the transition flow more smoothly. And frankly, I like beginning sentences with “and.”
  3. One sentence paragraphs
    — Nothing draws attention to a key point like a one sentence paragraph. Here let me show you:

    Often people define a paragraph as a block of text with a minimum of three sentences. Anything less and you need either need to expound on the paragraphs main idea or combine it with another paragraph. You wouldn’t want to break sacred grammar rules, would we?

    If you’re a copywriter, you betcha!

    So the main idea is set aside in its own paragraph, ensuring that the reader doesn’t miss it. Typically in copy, this one sentence paragraph will highlight a main benefit of the product or service.

  4. Slang—You want a conversational tone for your copy. The reader needs to feel like they could sit down and exchange some words with you over a few beers. That said, now’s not the time to sound like a professor. So those rules about slang—throw them out the window. That includes contractions.
  5. As always, remember your audience. You aren’t going to say “rock and roll, dude!” to someone looking to hire a lawyer. On the other hand, you might to a group of, well… rockers. And also, if you don’t know the correct slang, don’t use it. “Rock and roll, dude!” probably went out of style with the ninja turtles, so I wouldn’t really use it. If you can’t talk the talk, keep it simple and straight forward.
    Remember, these “mistakes” don’t always work. Use your best judgment and use them as you see fit.

    Eric Brantner

    Eric Brantner is a copywriter who is obsessed with getting conversions. His services are used by small and mid-sized businesses from a range of industries.

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Twitter Trifles: A Follower Conundrum

Jun 24, 2010   //   by Gina Stark   //   SEO Blog  //  37 Comments

So I’m thinking we need a secret code. Something to discretely notify someone that they’re not following you but they sure act like they think they are and engage with you!  OK, I know this is petty…am I forgiven if I admit that straight out of the gate? I wrote about similar Twitter trifles once before, but now I’d like to address the sweet oblivious tweeter. You all have at least a few of them…people who retweet you, mention you, recommend you as someone to follow, and even send you hugs and smooches! And yet…they’re not even following you. How embarrassing! How to cyber nudge them to correct what is likely an oversight whilst saving face for yourself and them?

The irony is that this is precisely the type of message that should be whispered in private…and on Twitter, that means a DM or direct message…but if they’re not following you…you CAN’T send such a message! Ugh! What to do? How to remedy this awkward social media situation?

*Special note to Alyssa Milano – If you would only follow me, I could answer all of your imploring inquiring direct messages about your career path. I mean, I would be happy to help you with that if you would only allow me to reply.

I think we need to put this up for a vote. I have come up with a few invaluable ideas:

  1. Tweet: *nudge nudge* Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon–I mean, would you like to follow me?
  2. Ask a friend to mention it to them in DM…is this high school, or what?
  3. Tweet: Hey, ummm, Gerald, can you follow me so I can DM you? I have a really good stock tip :}
  4. Unfollow and then follow them again. They’ll see you as a “new” follow and will see they don’t follow you. Whereas this would likely do the trick, it may initiate some head scratching…you know, get them wondering why you didn’t resort to option #1
  5. We could always come up with a really subtle, sophisticated code or hashtag to use to avoid any unpleasantries inherent in a virtual knock on the head. I’ve given it a lot of thought and consideration to capture the feel of the friendly and unimposing tone we’d like to convey. Something along the lines of: #HeyYouDopeYoureNotEvenFollowingMeDuh!

But then, in the whole scheme of things, does it really mater? I mean, they laugh with you, they share your posts and make comments, recommend you on Follow Friday, maybe even send you virtual hugs. It would be kind of funny if you left it status quo and one day they DM you a question or comment and you’re left resorting to posting on the stream, hat in hand… “ummm…errr…dearest friend, I would be happy to answer your DM if you were following me” :D So, what do you say…number 5 is the best one, right? Dare me to use it? (Please don’t!) Thanks to my new friend, fellow G, for inviting me to tarnish his pristine reputation for high standards in blogging with my guest post. And thank you for reading and not immediately unfollowing me :-) I encourage you to contribute your suggestions for follow nudging diplomacy: useful, useless and everywhere in between.

Also please cast your vote in the tweet poll below.


Gina Stark

Gina is a dabbler. She dabbled in college, she dabbled in public service and has dabbled in various businesses, including building up and selling an upscale retail boutique. This new-found freedom enabled her to "head for the hills" and settle in a lovely alpine town in Southern California where she now dives deeply into dance, hiking, travel and general socializing, including social media (as SuuperG on Twitter) and blogging about her dabbling.

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11 Sure-Fire Ways to Annoy Your Readers (Please Don’t Do This)

Jun 22, 2010   //   by Gloson   //   blogging, SEO Blog  //  88 Comments

This could be one of your blog readers.

Are you unknowingly annoying your readers? Well, if you are making these 11 mistakes, you might be turning them off. Keep on reading…

annoyed

Annoyed reader photo by Jonno Witts

1. Writing in gigantic blocks of text

Big text blogs are easy to get lost in. They also strain eyes and make reading difficult.

Because it’s hard to scan. Let alone read.

In fact, a study shows that only 16% of your readers read word-by-word. The rest mostly scan. So at least make it scannable.

I suggest keeping paragraphs 1 to 7 lines long. Then your readers would read your post relaxingly and enjoyably. Ahhhh… 8)

2. Eye-straining text

eye No matter how good your writing may be, if you write in teeny weeny text, people are going to be annoyed and read with squinty winty eyes.

Or scan abruptly. Or not read at all.

Also, make sure the lines are not squeezed too tightly together, like…

This paragraph is an example of hard-to-read text, hard-to-read text, hard-to-read text. This paragraph is an example of hard-to-read text, which readers can’t stand and move on to the next. So, make reading easy so the poor eye can rest.

5 easy steps to make your text easy to read

1. Go to your theme’s CSS in your admin area. For WP users, go to the theme editor. Then, on the right, there’s a list of files. Make sure you are on style.css.

2. Find #content (the part of the blog post).

3. Add this line to the code. Below are the settings I use for my blog Gloson Blog, but you can customize it. :-)

font: 15px/25px;

“15px” = text size.

“25px” = space between lines.

4. Customize the sizes (if you want). It’s important to consider the blog width, the blog post width, the sidebar width, and the design. Then update the code!

5. Clear-cache-reload (Ctrl + F5) your blog and check out your comfortable text. Aaaahhhh….. 8)

If you need any help, just leave a comment and I’ll help out :-) .

P.S. If you have the WP Super Cache plugin, go to another page to see the changes.

Photo by Daniel Y. Go

3. MR. ALLCAPS X. MARKS!!!!!!!!

To most people online, ALL CAPS IS SHOUTING and if used with exclamation marks, it’s EXTREMELY ANNOYING!!!!!! REALLY!!!!

It also looks unprofessional and is hard to read. So don’t write in all caps.

Of course, you can use it occasionally and appropriately if you want to emphasize a word. :-)

Photo by toddheft

4. Where’s the about-me page?

Your readers have read an ammmmmmmmmmmmmazing blog post on your blog!

And now, they are heading to your about me page – They want to know more about the awesome guy who wrote it!

But if they discover that you don’t have an about-me page, they are going to get confused, frustrated and annoyed, especially loyal readers.

So, make sure you have an about me page. It makes the blog more personal!

Don’t forget to put up an image of you too! It really helps the readers to get to know you better and also builds your name and brand on the Internet.

5. Writing like a robot with no personality

Readers don’t like to read writing without personality. It feels as if you’re reading from a robot! Or even a impersonal “professional” commercial site!

Instead, write with your style and personality–who you are. That’s blogging. Readers love to read posts that are written for them and by you.

In other words, don’t ever write like Wikipedia (We don’t read their articles, unless we badly want a certain information, right? Their long paragraphs strainnnn eyes too! Arrgh!). :P

The cat photo? mis. tuh.-..purr. suhn. al. it. ee

And it’s taken by swanky

6. Reading…reading…reading…GAHH! Music!

Imagine you sitting at your computer then BANG! Music bursts out your musicspeakers! Yikes! *Finds the stop button in panic!* Phew!

Music, especially autoplaying music, is extremely annoying to unsuspecting visitors.

I’ve read from many people that if they visit a blog with autoplaying music, they would leave immediately.

But if your blog really has to include music, just don’t set it to autoplay and you’ll be fine. :-)

Photo by greggoconnell

7. Here an ad, there an ad, everywhere an ad ad

Advertising is really a very good way to monetize your blog!…if it is not overdone.

Too many advertising distract and annoy readers a lot, and they’re going to be turned off very quickly.

So, don’t fill your blog with too many or distracting ads (animated ones). Making money the smart way is much better than the “quick and easy” way.

8. Complicated, sophisticated commenting system

Don’t ever require commentators to login. No reader wants to go through all the effort to create an account for one single comment!

Mind-exploding Captchas are not a very smart way to prevent spam either. It drives away potential commentators more than it prevents spam.

Instead, install Askimet the spam exterminator. Mostly no spam gets past it.

If a blog requires people to login or enter a Captcha to comment, then it’s missing a lot of potential commentators.

Photo by mag3737

9. Really, really bad design

Don’t judge a book by its cover,” they say, but that’s the problem. Most people judge a blog by its design.

If your blog has a poor design, it will give new visitors a bad impression and it isn’t very nice to look at, anyway.

So, make sure

  1. typography easy to read
  2. navigation easy to find
  3. design doesn’t distract reader from content
  4. design doesn’t look like a website from the 90’s
  5. colors look cool 8) .

And lastly, make sure your design never ever ever looks like this:

Designer’s nightmare

Caution before clicking: Autoplaying Music

Ouch… my eyes hurt.

For some inspiration, here are 50 Beautiful and Amazing Blog Designs compiled by Smashing Magazine.

10. Snail loading speed… dot dot dot… *Yawns*

If your page takes 10+ seconds to appear, visitors lose patience and will click away before your page has even appeared.

To improve loading speed,

  1. reduce the number of posts on homepage
  2. reduce the number of images
  3. reduce the size of images
  4. reduce your coding

In conclusion, to improve loading speed a lot, remember the 3 R’s.

Reduce, Reduce, and Reduce.

To test loading speed, head over to Pingdom Tools. It gives a detailed breakdown on the loading speed of certain elements, so you know which one slows down the loading.

Here is one popular plugin to help boost your loading speed a lot > W3 Total Cache.

Photo by jpockele

11. Turn off comments, turn off readers

The blog community is made out of 2 things:

1. the blogger

2. readers

So, if you turn off comments, you turn off readers.

Readers like to voice out their opinions on your blog. It’s where they can converse, discuss, and have their say.

So, don’t ever turn off comments! (Unless you have serious spam issues and have put your reason in the comments section.)

Photo by Marc Wathieu

__________

Phew! That’s quite a list!

Don’t forget to share the things on blogs that annoy you in the comments below! If I think the point you shared is really annoying, I’ll include it here! :-)

So, are you guilty of any of these? :-)

Cheers!

Great Tips from Commentators (Thank you guys!)

Kristi

Great tips! I would add that in addition to having an about me page, you should have some small blurb on your sidebar that describes you and your blog for new visitors so that people know what the overall gist of your site is.

Susan Cooper (BuzzEdition)

Great post Gloson! But may I add:

Please don’t load your blog with so many ads that you have to scroll a full webpage to see the content

Josh

Gloson,

Awesome post man, these are some great pointers for anyone getting a blog started or needing to ‘spruce’ things up a bit.

I can’t tell you how many times I hate going to a blog that has an interesting title that loads sooo slowly.

Another thing that really annoys me is widgit overload! Too many widgits makes for a very busy page. Great Job! :)

Gloson

Gloson is a talented 12 year old blogger from Malaysia. He also has written a poetry book, and is officially the youngest published poet in Malaysia. Be sure to follow him on Twitter!

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