This is a guest post from Gino Orlandi. It is part of The 2nd annual “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.
Today, ranking high in the search engines is all about trust. Now that may sound simple, but there are many signals that search engines look for to determine how trustworthy a website is.
The more good signals you send, the more authority you will have, and the easier it will be for you to dominate your target keywords. Here is a list of 20 things you can start doing right now to make your website a trusted authority in its niche. Read more >>
Awhile back I read the Four Hour Work Week. If you haven’t heard about it, it’s written by this guy named Tim Ferris who redefined his life in order to take a series of mini-retirements all year long rather than wait until he’s 60 and sick to enjoy life. He did so by placing himself on income autopilot.
Yes, it sounds way too good and too easy to be true. BUT, I learned a variety of lessons from the book. One of which is the power of the niche. He talks about developing a product designed specifically for a small group of people, then advertising it in various trade magazines.
Of course, he’s not the only person I’ve heard recommend this sort of thing.
But why niche? Well…
- The people who find your product are more likely to want it—Some people are concerned that if they market to an extremely specific niche, then they will cut down their sales possibilities to a small number. And while it’s true that less people out there will probably want your product overall, but we can assume that the people that DO find it will be more likely to want it. In other words, say you sell guitars. If people come to you searching for any old guitar, you may or may not get a sale. After all, what are the odds that you have the exact style and model they are looking for? But what if you marketed yourself as a seller of left handed guitars? They are much harder to come by and if someone is frustrated looking for one, by the time they find you they are more likely to buy. Now let’s take it a step up—what about left handed bass guitars? More niche, more high quality traffic. I’d venture to say your conversions would be higher.
- It’s more reasonable to assume you can hit top search rankings quicker—Say you’re a web designer and you’re looking at targeting that keyword (let’s assume you’ve already hit it locally). The term “web designer” gets about 4,090,000 global searches a month. Wow. Good luck getting on page 1 for that! On the other hand, let’s say you decided your specialty was the restaurant industry. If you build a niche website and hit it with a keyword like “restaurant web designer,” you are looking at closer to 2,900 global searches a month. Not very many, right? But I’d venture to say it would still pay to get the top spot for that keyword—and it would happen much quicker too.
I know what you’re wondering, have I put this to the test personally? No, not exactly. But I am in the process. I recently wrote an ebook directed specifically at new, first-year teachers. The plan was to have it go live this past summer, except I hit a snag. State governments everywhere started slashing the hell out of budgets and suddenly the steady inflow of new teachers shut off. So much for that product.
What I learned in this instance is that not only is finding the right niche important, but timing is almost everything too. So I’m holding onto it for whenever the hiring starts up again. Who knows, I may just go ahead and release it toward the end of this year and see what happens. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
So am I writing about something I really don’t know anything about? Nope. Because I have seen example after example of this line of reasoning working out. Car dealer website designers, MMA website designers, Civil War painting salesman, hospital wayfinding designers—you name it. It’s hard to argue with tangible results. So start to create niche sites today!
So my question for you is—what’s your niche?
September is here and that means two things for the Gulf Coast—hurricanes and football. And since hurricanes are so depressing, let’s talk football (although football has been quite depressing the last decade for Houstonians).
So I’m sitting here watching the 4th preseason game for the Houston Texans and suddenly I have this epiphany—football…SEO…they aren’t all that different. A successful football team shares quite a bit in common with a worthwhile SEO firm. Let me show you what I mean.
They have experienced management in place
Ever heard of a first year coach taking his team to the Super Bowl? Not likely. Coaching a team to the highest level of the game takes years of experience. It also takes being surrounded with the right people. Just look at Houston—Gary Kubiak seems to be a good enough coach, but his defensive coordinator sucked. Now he has Wade Phillips on his side and the preseason has looked pretty solid (besides tonight’s game).
Now let’s apply this to the world of SEO. As you probably know, rookie SEO “coaches” are popping up all over the place. But can they deliver the results of an SEO with years of experience? The fact is, you find the right guy with the right experience then you can rest assured he’s going to boost your rankings.
The underdog may be your best option
Look at the Packers last year. Who thought they’d win it all at the onset of the season? Not me. And even in the Super Bowl, most people thought Pittsburgh was going to hand their butts to them. Wrong again! It’s good business to go with the underdog (just ask Vegas).
Now let’s look at SEOs. You have the big marketing companies that you can go to for the supposed big results. And you can wind up with an even bigger hole in your wallet. Or you can choose an underdog, a smaller SEO organization, and take your chances. Hey I did it. And I’ve seen nothing but positive results.
They have multiple players producing outstanding stats
How often do you hear of a winning team only having one player putting up good stats? Not usually. Instead, the best teams usually have multiple pieces producing winning results. Compare this to SEO. The SEO company you really want isn’t going to push everything aside in hopes for a single high ranking keyword. Instead, they are going to produce results across the board. They’ll start with your highest ranking, produce quick results, and then move on to the next. And you can see proof of these reports through their free SEO report.
Here’s to a great season
I’m excited to watch some football this season. This is also my first year to play fantasy, so I have some added interest. I’m also excited to watch my SEO guy produce results and bring me more traffic.
Here’s to a great 2011 season!
Are you still struggling to regain your pre-Panda traffic levels? Then following these five steps may be just what you need to get back on track:
Understand That The Panda is a Different Kind of Animal
Many of Google’s big algorithmic changes are related to off-page elements. When a site is impacted by one of these changes, they can commonly fix it by attracting more quality links. From holding a blog contest to putting real effort into guest blogging, there are plenty of ways to tackle this challenge.
But the Panda update does not fit into this mold. This change is about the content and structure of your website. It’s also different because any changes you make may not have an immediate impact on your rankings. Although Google has rolled out at least 5 versions of Panda, it can take some time for any changes you make to be registered.
The good news is while you may have to wait for any changes you implement to sway Google’s opinion of your site, the improvements themselves don’t have to take a long time to make.
Find Where People are Leaving
Although there are shortcomings to using bounce rate as a metric, it can provide valuable insight into areas of your site that are falling short.
You should pull up your analytics data and sort your content by bounce rate. For your pages with the highest bounce rate, you need to ask yourself whether or not people should be leaving that page.
For example, a landing page that sends visitors to a third-party payment processor probably won’t have a low bounce rate. However, if it’s an article or blog post, you want people to engage with it and then continue exploring your site.
Bring in Visitors with the Right Headline
A strong headline is an extremely powerful tool. In addition to including your keyword phrase so Google knows what a page is about, you want to grab searchers’ attention when they see your listing on a SERP.
In addition to not being dull, you also want to ensure your page delivers what the headline promises. If you have a killer headline but lackluster content, people are going to hit the back button, which is not something Google wants to see.
By sharpening the headlines of your worst performers and adding any needed polish to the content of those pages, you can provide users with a top notch experience.
Add Related Links
Have you ever gone to Wikipedia to look up a single fact, only to then glance at your clock and realize you’ve been on the site for over half an hour?
The reason it’s so easy to get sucked into Wikipedia is the site does an excellent job of interlinking. You should do the same with your own content. One reason people may be quickly leaving your blog posts or articles is because you don’t give them anywhere interesting to go.
Look at your pages that are performing the worst and make them more interesting by adding relevant links in their body or at the end. If you’re using WordPress, the Related Posts plugin can help make this change extremely easy to implement.
Add Relevant Videos
There’s no value into pulling a bunch of random videos onto your site. However, a video that relates to the topic of a post or article can make that content much more engaging.
By browsing around YouTube for just a few minutes, you should be able to find at least a couple of videos that will increase visitors’ engagement with your content.
If you or your clients were impacted by Panda but have since recovered, let us know what change(s) were most effective!
On Friday, Search Engine Land confirmed that Google is testing frames for search options and results. If this becomes a permanent change, it will give searchers even more control over finding exactly what they want.
Because of Google’s push towards giving users even more control over searches and the fact that SERP CTR can influence your rankings, it’s more important than ever to ensure your SERP listings are as appealing as possible.
To accomplish this important goal, here are effective options you can implement today:
Have a page that includes reviews? What about dates? Since Google supports 5 different microformats, you should be able to incorporate this option on quite a few of your pages.
Because microformats can add rich details like stars or dates directly to your SERP listings, they can make your listings stand out from others and attract clicks from interested searchers.
SEO Effect did a study in June to determine the impact of the Google +1 button. In addition to their other findings, the study determined that “the Google +1 button saw a 20% increase in rankings which led to a corresponding lift in Clickthrough rate (CTR).”
Even though the exact measurements of this study are likely far from perfect, the bottom line is it’s well worth taking the time to install this Google feature on your blog or site.
Include a Price
While this won’t apply to every page of your website, it is relevant for listings tied to products or services. If a page is showcasing something that a visitor can purchase, include the price in your title or description tag.
Although including a price in your title tag can provide the biggest boost, there is a potential downside. According to RedFly Marketing, “if you’re not the cheapest, your CTR will suffer.” To minimize the potential for this problem, you probably want to stick with including the price in the description.
Entice Searchers to Click
Your title tag isn’t only for including a relevant keyword phrase. It’s also the perfect opportunity for you to entice searchers to click.
You should put the same amount of effort into writing a title for each page of your website as you would for writing a blog post or newspaper article title.
If you don’t have much experience writing persuasive titles, Copyblogger has a great crash course that will show you how to craft juicy ones for your SERP listings.
SEO link building is a very important part of any search engine optimization strategy. If you do it right your keywords will improve on the search engine result pages and the organic traffic to your website will increase. But what exactly do you need to do?
The golden rule of effective SEO link building is to diversify your link building methods. Think of it this way, if you are a boxer that can only throw a left hook you will most likely lose all of your fights. In the same way links that are built by using only one method will not be very effective.
There are plenty of SEO link building methods around and when you combine them the impact of your link building efforts will visibly improve. Two link building methods will be discussed in more detail in this article and you are welcome to use them to diversify your link building (Tip – make a list of the link building methods that you intend using and draw-up a weekly link building schedule with slots for all of the methods.)
Content traps and article marketing:
- One of the most effective link building methods available today is the use of original and unique content to build links and generate traffic.
- Start by researching popular search phrases for your website, product or service and choose keywords with a low level of competition.
- Write original articles using the keywords that you have chosen.
- Submit the articles to article directories and Blogs.
- Build new links by linking back to your website in the resource box of each article.
- In addition your articles should show-up in the search results for the low competition keywords that you have chosen thereby generating traffic to your website (content trap).
- This method has been abused but it is still very effective when used in combination with other link building methods.
- Search for Blogs that are relevant to your website, product or service and ensure that they allow you to enter your name and URL when posting a comment.
- Read the article and post a comment that is useful and informative (you need to give in order to receive.)
- Webmasters delete comments that they view as spam and it is important that you add value with your comment and not try and sell yourself.
- Post comments on both do-follow and no-follow Blogs to ensure that the search engines view the links as “natural”.
In addition to the two methods discussed above you can build new links to your website through the use of bookmarks on social sites, forum profiles and posts, submitting your website URL to link directories and the uploading of videos to popular video sites. SEO link building is very effective when you combine three or more of the available methods. Start improving your keyword search optimization today by becoming a boxer with more than just a left hook in your arsenal.
This is a guest post from John McElborough. It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.
One of the first things we do when building links for a new client is to identify their competitors, work out who’s linking to them using link research tools and try to copy as many of their links as possible. But if you’re an established site how do you stop SEO’s like me mining and cloning your links?
A while ago I wrote about a technique I use to throw competitors off the scent using a redirect. Its certainly not full proof but following some discussions I had with other SEO’s after writing that post its clear that there’s a concern about link data mining so below I’ve compiled a definitive guide to the methods you can use to keep your links private and prevent cloning of your backlink profile.
(If you read all the way to the end I’ll share the results of some recent testing I’ve done which may give you a new technique to try out)
Blocking crawlers and backlink analysis tools
The simplest way to stop link mining is to block your site from crawlers used by link research tools. There are 3 common data sources used to power most backlink analysis tools:
Majestic SEO uses data from the Majestic12 crawler. It adheres to robots protocol so you can block it using this line in your robots.txt file:
User-agent: MJ12bot Disallow: /
SEOMoz / Linkscape
SEOMoz’s linkscape index is used by an increasing number of SEO’s via their Open Site Explorer tool and the API. You can block SEOMoz from showing your links using a meta tag in the <head> of your pages.
<META NAME="SEOMOZ" CONTENT="NOINDEX" />
This one is subject to change when Yahoo moves fully over to Microsoft.
The only real way to block data from appearing in Yahoo Site Explorer and the multitude of 3rd party tools it serves like Linkdiagnosis and Market Samurai is to block the Yahoo crawler. This can be done in robots.txt:
User-agent: Slurp Disallow: /
This however will block you entirely from Yahoo search results. Most of my sites get less than 5% of search traffic from Yahoo these days but still, its hard to justify cutting this out entirely. I’ve got a better solution below for dealing with Yahoo data.
Obfuscate your link data
Even if you can’t block competitors from seeing your backlinks entirely you can take steps to make their life more difficult. Building high volumes of low quality links to your site is a good way to obfuscate your data, making it harder for competitors to locate and copy your best links.
Yahoo Site Explorer and data accessed via the API will only show the first 1000 links pointing to a page. While Yahoo does tend to show the most important links near the top of their data this isn’t limited to unique domains and doesn’t exclude nofollowed links. As such in order to render your sites backlink data useless to competitors you need to build a few sitewide links on big, well established sites. Blogroll links are good for this. These links are pretty easy to buy because you can use the nofollow tag to avoid penalties. Facebook pages and forum signatures are also good for this.
Build links which can’t be mined
Create an un-copyable profile
This is certainly the best practice approach. When building links you should be aiming to build links which are going to be hard or impossible for your competitors to replicate. Typically these will be the types of links which manifest from great content and personal relationships. Your competitors won’t be able to offer cash to replicate these links.
Run your own link hubs
The hardest links in the world to copy are links on sites which you own (you’re not going to link to your competitor now are you?!). If you’re part of a group of sites you might already be getting links this way. Beyond this you can look at everything from building a single microsite to developing a fully fledged distributed link network.
Build links downstream
One thing which no link analysis tool does is looks at the links which point at the pages which link to you. If you’ve got some good quality links on authoritative domains think about building links to those pages. You can bet your competitors aren’t thinking about who’s linking to your links.
Buy presell pages
If you’re in a competitive space and are buying links you should be thinking about how you can buy links which both minimise the paid link footprint and which are hard for competitors to replicate. The latter I feel lends itself to buying links on dedicated ‘presell pages‘. If you negotiate a presell page you can stipulate that the webmaster can’t add any extra links (to your competitors) on the page you’re renting. You can then build some links to the presell page. That way even if a competitor rents a page on the same site as you, they don’t get the same value from it as you do.
Place links on noindex pages
I’m planning on covering this in more detail on my blog soon but an idea I’ve been testing is building links on pages which aren’t indexed. A page which uses the noindex, follow robots meta tag will still flow PageRank and anchor text to sites it links to, but from the tests I’ve been playing around with at least, these pages won’t show up in any major link analysis tools.
This has huge potential for anyone concerned about competitors spying on their backlinks. Certainly it will stop competitors finding and copying links (and meaning they can’t report paid links) it also creates an opportunity to distribute content without duplicate content penalties. Here’s some possible applications:
- Buy presell pages which are noindex, followed
- Let webmasters republish your content on their sites (with links)
- Hide links on other sites you own to avoid network detection
Questions on any of these techniques or have your own methods? Please ask or share in the comments.
This is a guest post from Melvin Dichoso . It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.
Most people who have just got started in their online ventures usually focus too much on SEO. It’s no secret that its really one of the biggest misconceptions most beginners and even experienced guys run into as far as their online businesses are concern. Today in this blog post, I’m very much hoping I can address this by writing about SEO as well as its connection to SEM and Social Media.
First and foremost I’m not an SEO guru or whatsoever. Heck, my blog is even PR0 up to now, although I have managed to reap a lot as far as the blog’s traffic is concern. Just consider me as you’re typical online entrepreneur and blogger.
Setting up some Initial things
So what does these three things I mentioned above have something in connection? When building a website or any online-based project, you want to build SEO in it from the get-go. You want to optimize it for those key terms that you’re looking into from the start. I know you’re saying, “how can you do that, you don’t even have content yet?” Yes, you’re right but what I mean is that with every websites you can already set up things from the start that would give you a dramatic effect later on. Let me explain.
For example, if I’m building a site based on a WordPress platform, I can start fine-tuning the site’s search goals by doing the necessary things like adding an All in One SEO pack, canonicalizing the domain, setting up the meta descriptions properly and creating a robots.txt (and many more of course). You see, these are the things that you can already do from the start yet it doesn’t take that much to do those. On the flip side, it may not yield that much results for the first few months but its future benefits would be enormous for sure.
Search Engine Optimization isn’t a short-term goal in the first place right? Organic rankings is something that can be achieved over time and if you’re getting lots of traffic from search engines then you know what I’m talking about.
Before the SEO our site picks up
Now we all know that ranking in search engines does not happen overnight, but does that mean we’re going to wait that long before doing anything? No! That means we have to work on something that would alleviate the lack of traffic from our new site.
There are two things that you can do that would offset the need for SEO for short term. One is utilizing social media and the other one is via search engine marketing. Let’s tackle both of those things here.
Social Media is something that everyone these days wants to utilize but only few can do it well. With that my tip has always been to focus on one niche targeted network first and forget everybody else. If you’re into Stumbleupon then focus on it, work on it first.
The problem with people is that they try to get everything from each and every social media sites but the truth is its never gonna happen. These social sites have different audiences and you can only target the ones which is the most relevant to what your business is. Also social media has an effect to search rankings. Indirectly you can see that it can boosts links, search rankings and web traffic in particular.
Popular site Mashable has even written an article on how SEO and social media goes hand in hand together.
Unlike social media, search marketing does not have an effect with your search rankings. Instead this can be a quick way to boost your site’s traffic immediately from the start.
Let’s go back to our WordPress Site example. After we’re able to set up all the basic SEO-related stuff to our sites, we can immediately focus on running search campaigns for our sites via Pay Per Click. The way I do it is I focus on the top three networks, Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and MSN Ad Center. These three have the biggest market share and there’s no reason to go to other 2% of small search engines that can give you almost no traffic.
Running pay per click campaigns can be really tricky and hard. You need to focus on a lot of things like Ad copy, keywords, targeting different demographics, quality scores and a whole lot more. I had learned all of this for quite some time and to be honest, I spent a lot of money testing things but I could say it’s all worth it.
I know not all of us can run PPC campaigns so there’s always an option of hiring a search marketing person or a team to run your campaign for you. This can be an investment on your part but the way these guys could do the job for you could later on offset the cost.
The logic behind running search campaigns is to immediately drive traffic to your site, find the top markets and top demographics for what you’re business is about and penetrating that market. We could also experiment on our campaigns and as a return this could only give us the whole pie of what we’re trying to achieve. We could forever do these campaigns until our search traffic starts picking up. In short, SEM is for short term and SEO is for long term.
Driving traffic to our website, more generally our business is an unending cycle. We as business owners continue to tweak and test things and try to find more sources that could give us the maximum return for what we spend.
These three components that I mentioned namely SEM, SEO and social media play a key role for that. They have their own ideal time to get implemented and it’s all about connecting them and making them work harmoniously.What do you think?
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?
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.