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Keyword rich domain names have long been a source of debate in the SEO community. Just a few years ago, having the exact match keyword for a search term virtually guaranteed that you’d dominate the rankings. Keyword rich domains fetched incredibly high prices on the domain name market, because people knew they would easily translate into rankings and into money.
Then Google clamped down on keyword rich domains. Google (rightly) reasoned that just because someone was able to pick up the exact match domain for a search term did not necessarily mean that they were the best resource. Google devalued the way they looked at keyword rich domains and many of their rankings dropped.
Then more recently came the Panda and Penguin updates, both of which heavily clamped down on web spam. Because many of these keyword rich domains used spammy techniques or spammy content to get ranked, a huge number of them dropped right off the front page.
So do keyword rich domains still matter? Do they still give you an edge in the search engines, or have they completely lost their effectiveness? The answer is clear: They still matter. A lot.
Matt Cutts: “Diminished” But Still Carries Weight
Matt Cutts, Google’s head of web spam has already made a public statement about these keyword rich domains. Cutts’ statement basically said that they’ve diminished the power that keyword rich domains have in search engine rankings, but that they still carry some weight.
This makes a lot of sense. A lot of legitimate brands use exact match domains. Punishing these brands, which are extremely useful resources, would be counter productive to Google’s mission of trying to bring the best search results.
Exact match domains will most likely always carry some extra weight. In Google’s eyes, it’s just slightly diminished.
But Wait! There’s More …
But that’s not all there is to the story.
When people talk about the advantage of exact match domains, they think first of the algorithm edge that the domain has. But that’s not its only advantage.
Exact match domains also tend to get higher click through rates. There are two reasons for this.
First, people associate exact match domains with trust. If you typed in “eliminate back pain” and saw “eliminatebackpain.com”, there’s a very good chance you’d click on it. It’s not because you recognize a brand, but because your brain automatically assumes the exact match domain is credible.
Second, the exact match domain will be bolded in its entirety when someone conducts a search. This makes the listing more eye catching and gets more clickthroughs.
Though nobody can tell exactly how much of Google’s ranking algorithm depends on CTR, there’s little debate that it does play a significant role. In other words, if you have an exact match domain, you’re going to get more clicks because of a high CTR. That high CTR can then lead you to higher rankings, which will generate more clicks for you still.
This is why the exact match domain and the keyword rich domain are never going to fully die down. Yes, there’s an algorithmic advantage – But there’s also a psychological advantage.
“But My Traffic Dropped After Panda / Penguin”
What if you were one of the many thousands of webmasters who saw their site drop off the front page after the Panda or Penguin update? Why did this happen to you and what can you do about it?
Most likely the reason your ranking dropped wasn’t because of your domain. Instead, you got dropped because you had too many unnatural links coming in or your website appeared to be using the main keyword too many times.
The latter is a common problem with exact match domains. Since your domain is the keyword, you’re going to end up saying your keyword a lot of times in your text. That could look unnatural to Google.
The answer to this problem is to re-do your linking strategy from scratch. Get more authentic, natural links and re-do the text on your site so it doesn’t look like you’re keyword stuffing. Then either wait for your rankings to improve, or submit a reconsideration request.
Keyword rich domains used to be the end all be all in SEO. Today, they’re not as powerful, but they still hold a lot of influence. The power of keyword rich domains has not gone away and likely never will.Read More ...
With so much emphasis now being placed on good content and quality content by search engines, it’s become a catch phrase you see repeatedly across articles and blogs. “Be sure you write good content! The key is quality content.” Well, that’s all fine and dandy (and true, by the way), but just what is good content? Is there some magical formula that automatically makes content have quality like there is with keyword density?
Unfortunately, not really. Good content is just what it sounds like: the most beneficial, quality-driven material that there can possibly be; something that is extremely helpful to the reader and not filled in any way, shape or form with fluff. So, if there’s no formula, how do you go about writing quality content? That’s pretty simple and luckily, you’re in right smack in the middle of a quality content article that is going to show you!
What Is Good Content?
Put quite simply, quality content is a few things all at once, and can be achieved by something I like to call “dipping your pen into the ‘Wells’ of good content”:
- Well-organized and researched material that is displayed in a concise, easy-to-read manner
- Well-written content that is both engaging and free of spelling and/or grammatical errors
- Well-documented material that doesn’t make any outstanding or bogus claims without verifying their sources
- Well-intentioned content, meaning it is aimed at helping the reader find out information they are seeking, not selling them a product.
As you can see, there actually is a type of formula you can follow, but it is much more like the formula for writing a good research paper than the formula for making rocket fuel: while just as complex, it isn’t as static.
Quality content means that you have to write individually unique articles, blogs, posts or whatever it is you’re looking to write. The goal is the same: you want your writing to be found by search engines so it can funnel traffic onto your site.
So, how can we make sure that we have quality content?
Tips to Writing Quality Content on Your Website
Regardless of what form or medium you are writing for, the keys to writing good content are the same. Follow these tips and double check them against your ‘Well’ of good content above and you are guaranteed to go right each and every time:
- Be Original: A lot of content writers think its okay to just Google their keywords and rewrite the top articles. While this may give you a form of good content, it won’t be quality content for a few reasons. First, the wording will be awkward as you attempt to mix up sentences to avoid plagiarism. Second, the content won’t be original meaning the Google algorithms will rank your page lower for adding nothing to the table.
- Do Your Research: As paradoxical as it is to have this right under the previous tip, it is true that you need to do your research, especially if you don’t know a lot about your topic. A good method of getting the perfect mix of research and originality into your content is to write up everything you know about the subject, then go and find facts to back up your content. Chances are you’ll find new information in the process. When you integrate the two in your website, originality and outside perspective, you’ll find quality content is an automatic.
- Don’t Hard Sell: People are bombarded everyday with sales pitches; they don’t need it when they are looking for information online. Write your content and then at the very end, place a call-to-action. If you have quality content, the reader will be sure to click on whatever it is you want them to click on.
- Use LSI Keywords: Not only is this a great way to get ranked higher, but it also makes your article more interesting if you don’t keep repeating the same words over and over again.
More on Quality Content
Hopefully, you’re beginning to see exactly what constitutes good content. You’ll be amazed with how much more traffic you pull into your site with just these few simple tips.Read More ...
A lot of people who study the art of SEO are able to get their pages to the top of Google, even if their site isn’t actually the best site for that search phrase. Better content gets lost because of SEO, rather than because of content.
Google is aiming to change all of that. In the near future, they’ll be bringing out an algorithm change that’s designed to penalize websites that have “too much SEO.”
What exact does that mean? How can you avoid getting penalized?
In short, your site should appear as natural as possible – As if your site was just on the web to put out content. More specifically, here are some of the things you should pay attention to.
Don’t: Cause All Your Backlinks
If you’re the only person who’s causing backlinks to your site, you can bet Google can tell. If you’re doing things like blog commenting, profile submissions, Web 2.0 links and so on, Google knows those are all links that you can personally cause. It looks unnatural.
Don’t: Overly Optimize Anchor Text
The anchor text from links linking to you should look natural. That means some links will say things like “I love this site” or “click here to learn more” rather than having your keyword.
One big mistake a lot of marketers make is paying other people to link to them with specific anchor texts. This can actually hurt you. Let people link to you with whatever anchors they want. You should only have specific keyword anchors 20% to 30% of the time.
Don’t: Pay Attention to Keyword Density
If you go out of your way to use specific words a specific number of times in your text, you’re probably doing something wrong. Having a “6% keyword density” is not going to help you rank.
In fact, what it’ll really do is make your content sound weird while potentially hurting your rankings. Write your content for real people. That’s what Google wants. Keyword density hasn’t mattered for years now.
Don’t: Use Complex Linking Schemes
Are you using link wheels, link magnets, private link networks or other similar complex linking strategies?
The problem with many of these strategies is that they look similar and leave footprints. Google literally has a team of several hundred PhD’s with astronomical IQs creating algorithms to combat these kinds of link strategies.
If you’re thinking of using a complex link strategy, you’re probably better off just leaving it at the door. Especially with Google’s new anti-SEO slant.
Don’t: Use Too Much Aggregate Content
Are you using content scrapers like Caffeinated Content or scraping RSS feeds and using that as a source of content on your website? If so, you could probably kiss your rankings goodbye.
Google doesn’t want to rank websites that just re-wash other people’s content and post it up as their own. They want fresh, original content. Even if you can do SEO better than the original content creators, chances are you’re going to get penalized for it.
Don’t: Cloak or Keyword Stuff
If you’re using techniques like cloaking (showing search engines one page and people another page) or techniques like keyword stuffing, you can pretty much expect to get penalized.
Again, the rule of thumb is real high quality content. Anything that you do to deliberately try and fool the search engines is more likely than not going to backfire.
Don’t: Write Similar Content for Similar Keywords
A lot of people who create websites for search engines try to create a separate exact match title page for every keyword they’re targeting. For example, you might have these two keywords as two different pages:
How to Fix an Engine
Engine Fixing Tips
When in reality, both pages really contain the same content.
Don’t do this. Combine both pages and have one high quality page, rather than try to get an exact match title for every page you’re targeting.
These are some of the things that Google is looking out for in websites that are “too optimized.”Read More ...
For many companies that “try out social media,” it ends up being a bust. In other words, it’s common for companies to invest a lot of man hours only to see little return for their time and money. On the other hand, businesses that know how to work their social media platforms often see extremely high returns, sometimes propelling their businesses to completely different levels. Why is that?
Here are some of the main reasons why social media doesn’t work for a lot of companies and how you can avoid these pitfalls.
Poor Link Between Site & Social
Your #1 promotion avenue for your social media is your own website. Many businesses make the mistake of not properly advertising their social media platforms on their main site.
Place a Facebook widget that shows up many followers you have on your main site. Or come up with some sort of promotion that ties in to getting “Liked.” Find ways to directly advertise your social media to your visitors, rather than just promote it as a second thought.
The most powerful thing you could have going for your social media marketing is a bunch of raving fans who regularly share your materials and get their friends to like and share your materials as well.
Are you paying attention to your most loyal fans? When they @reply or @mention you, do you respond to them directly? Do you contact them first before you launch products? Do you have personal relationships with them?
Your big fans are what will make or break your social media efforts. With them, you’ll be able to launch just about any kind of initiative and succeed. Without them, you’ll be pushing a ball uphill.
Not Getting Adequate Web Traffic
Starting up a Facebook fan page won’t do you any good if you can’t drive web traffic to that page. If you’re not getting enough traffic, that’s a big area of your business you need to focus on before you can expect real results from social media marketing.
Do some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to try and get your website to the top of the search engines. Do joint projects with other businesses that have email lists to expose their audience to you materials. Spend some money on Pay Per Click traffic to give your brand a boost.
If you’re not building an email list yet, start building an email list. An email list allows you to get people who come to your website to come back time and again. It can also be a big source of traffic for your social media outlets.
Get more traffic first, then direct that traffic towards your social media.
So, you have 100,000 followers. But what does that actually mean in terms of bottom line?
One of the biggest mistakes and pitfalls social media marketers make is not having a clear monetization strategy. If you can’t monetize your fans and followers, then naturally you’re not going to so a return on investment.
Do you have clear call to actions in your posts and your tweets? A call to action is when you tell someone what to do – “Click this link,” “Watch this video,” “Buy this product” and so on.
One of the most effective ways to promote through social media is to use lead generation landing pages. Instead of trying to get people to buy a product right then and there, ask for people who’re interested. Then call them, mail them or email them.
Come up with some sort of sales funnel that’s geared specifically towards social media. This will help you turn your traction into real money.
These are the most common pitfalls companies make in social media. If you’re making any of these mistakes, it’s only natural that you won’t see the kind of return you’d hope for in a business initiative. Begin by funneling enough people into your funnel, then make sure you have a solid system for collecting leads and monetizing them. Once you do that, your ROI will quickly skyrocket.Read More ...
Google+ has over 90 million users. While some marketers consider Google+ small or inconsequential, marketers at the top of their game know that’s not the case. Google+ is one of the largest social networks on the planet. And with Google’s new “Search Plus” features, Google+ has truly become a force to reckon with.
Google+’s “Search Plus” feature essentially uses Google+’s data to help change how your search engine results are weighed. For example, if you’re in someone’s circle and you publish a piece of content, they’re more likely to see that piece of content ranked. If several of someone’s friends like a piece of content, that piece of content is more likely to rank higher.
What’s astounding about “Search Plus” is just how much weight is being placed on these ranking factors. A page that would otherwise never show up on the front page can beat out much more credible sources. As an SEO tool, Google+ now holds unprecedented power.
Now that Google+ is a significant player, how can you harmonize your Google+ efforts with your SEO, your Facebook and your Twitter strategies?
Start by Focusing on SEO Fundamentals
The best Google+ optimization in the world won’t make a difference if your website isn’t properly optimized. Google+ can get you a long way, but you still need to handle at least the basics first.
Start by carefully choosing what you’re targeting with your keywords. Use tools like the Google Keyword Tool to figure out the best keywords to target.
Optimize your title tags. This is by far the most important tag on your site. It tells Google what keywords you’re trying to rank for. It’s also your “headline” in the search engine listings.
Write a compelling meta description tag. This tag is what tells the search engines what to put below your title tag. It won’t help your rankings, but it’ll help you get clicks.
Tag all your alt tags in your images. This helps your images rank in Google Images, which in turn helps your rankings in organic Google. It also helps your Google SEO independently.
Develop a strong internal linking structure. Put copious links from your own content to other pages on your site.
Finally, make sure you link to your social media pages from your home page. This helps tell Google that these social media pages are legitimate. That they’re your official page.
Develop a Comprehensive Social Media Strategy
Assess both your own social media strategy and your competitors’. Look at:
- Where are your social media pages ranking right now?
- Where are your competitors’ social media pages ranking right now?
- How many fans do they have?
- How many Twitter followers do they have?
- How many people do they have in their Google+ circles?
- How many comments, likes and shares are they getting? What percentage of their followers actively engage with their posts?
This will help give you a sense for where your competitors stand in the social sphere right now. In addition to looking at your competitors, you should also spend a bit of time looking at your own in depth stats.
This will help pinpoint what’s working and what’s not working in your own social media strategy. Take a look at:
- What kind of content gets the highest virality rating in your posts?
- What kind of tweets get retweeted?
- Who’s in your audience? Is it different than the audience of your primary site? Do they vary from Facebook to Twitter to Google+?
Once you have all this information at your fingertips, it’s time to reformulate your strategy. Figure out a purpose for each and every social media platform you’re engaged in.
For example, Facebook may be used for virality and for having two-way conversations with your fans. You can also use Facebook ads’ connection targeting to remind your Facebook fans of your offers.
Twitter on the other hand may be used to answer questions and to build a connection with your audience with quick and fun tips.
Google+ on the other hand should be used with an eye towards SEO. Google+ doesn’t have the same kind of audience that Twitter and Facebook have, but has enormous power in terms of ranking. Take advantage of this power.
Making the Most of All Networks
Learning to merge your Google+ strategy with your Facebook and Twitter strategy is essential for your long term success in the social sphere.
In order to do this, you need to know how each network is performing for you. You also need to know the strengths and weaknesses that each network offers you. Then you can effectively form your own unique and tailored social media strategy.Read More ...
Social listening is the art and practice of regularly paying attention to social media. Using social listening, you can learn a lot about your audience, influence discussions and improve your search engine rankings.
Here are four ways you can use social listening to enhance SEO.
#1 – Learn the Slang
On websites, people tend to write in a very proper and formal tone while on Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites however, people tend to just write the first thing that comes to their heads.
One great thing about the spontaneous nature of their messages is that people tend to use casual language rather than carefully considered language. That can really help you pick up slang that you can use in your own messages and your own copy. You can also incorporate this slang to help you pick up longtail search traffic.
For example, in the marketing industry, marketers call email submits “subs.” On websites, most authors will just call them “email submits.” However, on Twitter and Facebook you’ll find people using “subs” more than “email submits,” as it’s shorter and more catchy.
#2 – Observe and Predict Trends
Twitter and Facebook are great ways to predict a trend. If you notice that all of a sudden people are talking about one subject, you can jump on that bandwagon early.
It takes time for webmasters, websites and even bloggers to catch up. However, social media websites like Twitter and Facebook are more or less instantaneous.
This moment a coherent thought is formed within a community, it’ll be visible on Twitter and Facebook. People will make offhand comments, people will share resources and the idea will take off like wildfire.
Pretty soon, hundreds of web pages will pop up talking about whatever topic is hot right now. However, if you can get in on the game early by noticing it first through social media, you’ll have a big leg up. Get there early and you can become a major player in the conversation.
#3 – Use it to Inform Keyword Research
Social media can inform your keyword research. A lot of people tend to treat social and search as two completely different marketing mediums. In reality, they have a lot of overlap.
Use social media to inform your search marketing keywords. Look on Twitter for new trends, new products, new ideas, new competitors and check out how the search volume is going.
Google Trends can give you a good idea of whether a search term is going up or down. The Google Keyword Tool can give you a good idea of how much traffic the term gets today, though it isn’t useful for predicting future traffic.
If you only use traditional tools to do keyword research, you’ll always be playing catch-up. You’ll only be optimizing for terms that others have already beat you to. When you use social media as well however, you can get ahead of the curve and be one of the early players.
#4 – Optimize for Blended Search
There’s a lot of traffic to be had in blended search. Blended search refers to Google’s practice of placing videos, images and local results within the search results itself.
Trying to rank on Google for a main keyword term can be very tough. It could take months, even years of work.
However, if nobody is targeting the blended search results, you can often skip all that work and jump all the way to the top.
Pay as much attention to optimizing your videos, your local results and your images as you do to your website. Make sure you have the right keywords, make sure you have a great title, a great description and get backlinks to your videos and other media.
These are four ways social listening can help improve your SEO.Read More ...
One seldom discussed aspect of running a successful blog is what happens to your blog if you pass away. Everyone passes away at some point. It could be today, it could be next year or it could be 20 years from now. You never know when it’ll happen. That’s why it makes sense to plan for it today.
Your blog is an asset, just like any other asset. If you had a stock portfolio or a couple pieces of cash producing real estate, you’d probably put some attention into making sure what happens to those investments after you pass away, right? If you have people you care about, that’s the only way you can ensure that the work you did when you were alive will still care for them after you pass. A blog is no different.
Will Your Blog Continue to Run?
One of the biggest questions to ask is: Will your blog continue to run even after you pass?
Generally, this only works if you have a blog that’s rather independent of you. In other words, it can’t be “Joe’s Personal Blog.” However, if you have a blog that’s run by multiple authors and is run more like a business and less like a personal website, then there’s a good chance you can keep it running.
As long as the blog produces enough revenue to keep paying writers, the blog can keep running even when you aren’t there. All it needs is an operator who understands the intricacies of the business.
This operator could be your business partner. It could be a manager you hired, or a senior employee that can be promoted to managerial status after you pass. It could also be an heir or family member who knew the business well.
Another option is to sell the website. If you have a blog that’s earning $5,000 a month, $60,000 a year, your heirs might be able to fetch as much as $120,000 to $200,000 for it. A lot of people don’t think of blogs as assets. In reality, that’s exactly what they are.
Selling a blog should be handled by someone who knows what they’re doing. First, you need to find a buyer. A buyer could be another website owner, it could be a larger corporation, it could be a competitor or it could be an investor. You need to handle the transaction using an escrow service that guarantees safety for both sides.
It’s slightly less complex than buying or selling a brick and mortar business, but not by much.
How to Direct the Switch
What you want to happen with your blog should absolutely be written in your will. Otherwise, how will people know?
The agreements about what should happen if you die should also be written into the operating agreement of your corporation, if you have partners. This is a separate discussion from who gets your shares in the company. Essentially, your business partners should know what rights and responsibilities they have if you pass away.
Use a service called “Dead Man’s Switch” online to help manage the transitions of sensitive passwords. This service allows you to store passwords and other valuable information and only give it to people upon passing away. It knows you’ve passed away if you stop replying to emails.
Will Your Blog’s Value Plummet When You Die?
If you’re worried about passing away without leaving anything to your family, now’s the time to start thinking about automation and about turning your blog into more of a real business.
Start hiring other writers. Start inviting guest authors. Disconnect the blog from your name. While this can be painful at first, it’s necessary if you want to create a real asset. Best of all, often time’s this shift will actually increase your revenues while giving you more time to live and enjoy your life.
What do you want to happen to your blog when you pass away? Should it keep running, or should it be sold? Who has authority – Your former partners or your family members? Discuss and plan for all of these questions today.Read More ...