How Links Can Build Value & Profits

Jan 24th

This is a somewhat basic video about how links can drive value. Props to Stunty for his 12 Different Types of Links and How To Get Them.

Video Gary Round 2?

Jan 23rd

Found this video ranking #19 in Yahoo! for SEO...

And it is only going to get worse with guys like John Reese recommending everyone become an internet marketer selling to internet marketers just so he can prime the pump to sell his latest product and build a downstream of affiliates. Stake your claim before the fake experts turn your market into snake-oil:

And by creating a lot of fake value (encouraging everyone to pose as experts) you actually ruin chances of all new commers as customers will grow more and more skeptic and will tend to go for proven marketers (avoiding the anonymous which might also have a lot to offer)

[Video] How Aggressive Ad Placement Kills Websites

Nov 30th

When I did a recent Q&A thread one of the recurring themes with sites that were struggling was AdSense ads positioned above their content. Many websites are never given the chance to grow because they monetize too aggressively and look to spammy to enjoy the benefits of organic growth and community building.

Mentioned in this video:

[Video] Planning & Preparing for Success Online

Nov 6th

I am by no means a standard for success (I have many flaws that need fixed), but this 5 minute and 25 second video highlights some of the things I did right that helped me do well on the web.

I am off to the blogging conference tomorrow, so no videos for a few days, but please let me know what you think of this one. If you will be at the Blog World Expo I am speaking there Tuesday about SEO. Feel free to stop by and say hi. :)

  • Register Domains Early & Often: As soon as you have a good idea go register the related domain. The registration and re-registration fee is negligible compared to the potential rewards of executing on a good idea.
  • Built At Least a Few Links: Search engines and web users have a limited number of ways to gauge trust and credibility. Setting up at least a basic site and building a few links for it costs next to nothing compared to the potential rewards of owning a good idea. Throw out a shingle, get it a few links, sit on it for a year and come back to it.
  • Ride Successful Trends: You don't have to be first, but it doesn't hurt to be. Also look to duplicate some of the best ideas from the past, while looking for ways to modernize them.
  • Reinvest in Your Best Channels: If something is a success reinvest in improving the design, the layout, and the offering. If you are beyond self sustaining you are not far from making relatively large profits. A few months of learning, testing, and tracking can lead to a ten fold increase in income.
  • Don't Wait Until Tomorrow: Google is mapping out your psychological flaws. Tomorrow the web is going to be dirtier and more competitive. Skipping one hour of work today might mean 3 hours of work next year or 12 hours of work the following year.

New SEO Tool: Website Health Check Tool

Nov 6th

The Website Health Check tool aims to provide a simple and intuitive interface to seeing if your site has any major SEO issues. The site queries Google to grab pages you have indexed in Google, and looks for issues amongst the first 1,000 results.

If your site is exceptionally large, you can use the date based filters to view a sample of recently indexed pages in Google to see if there are any duplication issues amongst those pages.

Questions Answered by the Website Health Check Tool

  • Is Google indexing your site? Are they quickly indexing your new pages?
  • Do you have duplicate content pages getting indexed in Google?
  • Do you have canonical URL issues?
  • Are any of your pages in Google missing page titles?
  • Does your server send correct error messages?

Feedback Needed

This tool is in beta. Please leave feedback below.

I sent the programmer this URL and he would love to get your feedback on what you think of it. We are looking to have version two out before the end of the month.

Features We Are Looking to Add

  • Allow you to search for not just a site, but a site and a keyword, like [seobook.com seo]
  • Add indexed page counts from all major global search engines (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Ask)
  • Allow webmasters to grab results from any of the above 4 engines, or mix and match
  • Make each data point we collect link to the source

What other features would you like to see?

Video About How to Use the Website Health Check Tool

Try the Website Health Check tool today.

[Video] Intro. to PPC Marketing Using Google AdWords, Yahoo & Microsoft

Nov 5th

This 9 minute and 37 second video offers basic tips for starting with pay per click marketing.

General Tips for Starting With PPC Advertising

  • Start advertising on the major search engines. Google, Yahoo, and MSN give you faster feedback and better traffic quality than smaller search engines typically do. The size and scope of the large ad networks means that the #5 market is going to have almost no clean syndication partners because 60% of Google is more than 90% of smaller networks. Yahoo and MSN often have cheaper clicks than Google due to fewer competitors and less sophisticated price gouging ad quality algorithms.
  • Use different match types. Understand the differences between broad, phrase, and exact match. If you use broad or phrase match, make sure to use search query performance reports to find more keywords you should be advertising on and keywords you should be blocking via negative keywords tools.
  • Should you use ad syndication? Off the start, opt out of contextual ad syndication and test your campaigns via Google search ads, such that you can get a clean signal of click value, ad position, and ad CTR. After you know what it takes to compete in search you may want to re-enable ad syndication. If you enable ad syndication, set it up with its own ad groups or bid differently for contextual ads than you do for search.
  • Track conversion. This will teach you what keywords actually lead to commercial events. Sometimes if you are priced out of common market related keywords you can still find some high value lower search volume keywords that other competitors have not yet found. If you are managing large and complex campaigns you may want to use a third party conversion tracking tool, but if you only sell one product and/or run smaller accounts then you can use the free conversion tracking tools built into the search ad networks.
  • Use PPC to guide SEO. It is cheaper to use keyword research tools and use PPC to find out what terms convert right when you start an SEO campaign than it is to spend months targeting the wrong keywords.
  • A/B split test. Use the built in Google AdWords a/b split test tool to test different ad copy, and use their Website Optimizer tool to test different landing pages.
  • Be relevant. Use tight ad groups and send traffic to a landing page catered toward that basket of keywords. These tips increase ad clickthrough rate, ad quality scores, and conversion rates while lowering cost per click. Set brand related keywords in their own ad group. Dynamic keyword insertion can help improve your perceived ad relevancy by matching the ads up against keywords from the search query. Google's offline AdWords editor can help you create tight ad groups.
  • Set advertising goals. Some advertisers are looking for direct ROI, while others are looking to build their brand while making meager profits. If your brand related keywords are highly profitable, you might want to use those profits to help subsidize the cost of keywords earlier in the sales cycle or keywords that help increase brand awareness. If you have no search advertising experience and no brand awareness you can't be afraid of losing money off the start.
  • Use PPC to build links. If you create linkworthy content and buy the related keywords you can get mainstream media exposure for next to nothing.
  • Learn from the search engines. Google AdWords offers free online training videos which teach you how to use their ad network. One note of caution is that when they talk about Google tools that optimize something, many of those tools optimize eating your ad budget and increasing Google's revenues at your expense.

[Video] How to Spam Google Without Being Viewed as a Spammer

Nov 4th

This 7 minute and 50 second video is one of the first SEO videos I made. After reviewing it I realize I could have moved the screen around to show a few more examples of the stuff I was talking about. Rather than discussing one topic this video moves around to offer a wide array of marketing optimization ideas.

  • Domain name & site design: using a strong domain name helps you look more credible and helps you rank better. An original high quality site design also makes content appear more trustworthy.
  • Logo & homepage page title: place your keywords in your logo. Instead of using Paypal as your logo, use something like Paypal payment solutions or Paypal online payments. You can still emphasize the Paypal name while benefiting from enhanced inbound anchor text due to keyword proximity, and some people perceiving your official name as containing the associated keywords.
  • Title of articles & filenames: use at least one keyword phrase in your page title and make your filenames descriptive. Doing so will help you build descriptive inbound links. Some people link using your page title as the anchor text, this is especially true if your page title is short and memorable. Many authoritative websites cite sources using the full URL with filename in the anchor text.
  • Minimize duplication: mixing up your on page seo, page titles, and meta descriptions helps you rank for a wider net of keywords and makes your rankings more stable
  • Leverage your authority: add useful descriptive background text below the fold on high authority pages. Also consider adding more internal links on high authority pages.
  • Buying links: when buying them, consider buying links indirectly through payment schemes involving community participation and discussion, such as contests and affiliate programs.
  • Syndication: if your content is published on other sites, make sure to reference older posts on your site to drive that traffic stream and link equity back to your site.
  • Drunken spelling: if you have a community aspect to your site, don't correct misspellings. In fact, some publishers might even place fake reviews and comments on their sites to help capture misspelled keywords without raising their risk profiles.
  • Spammy examples: find reasons to discuss spammy high margin topics on high authority websites by relating them to your core business. If your relation is a bit of a stretch, consider backdating it or finding another way to place the story on a part of your site that does not have thousands of people reading every word.

[Video] An Example of What Not to do if Your Site Ranks Well

Nov 3rd

This 3 minutes and 29 second video was one of my first. It is not as clear and fluid as some of the more recent videos. It talks about how many websites ranking for years got killed by a Google engineer within days of being mentioned on a popular SEO blog.

The Role of Editorial Decisions at Google in Determining Relevancy

  • Almost every commercial site ranking for a wide array of commercial terms is doing something outside Google's ever-changing webmaster guidelines. SEO guidelines are set up such that you are not allowed to rank for anything worth ranking for.
  • Dictating search relevancy is as much about mind control as it is about determining what is considered relevant.
  • Some really spammy stuff gets a free pass because it is owned by a major corporation, or an expert that is actually misleading people and giving advice that sets up obvious footprints that are easy to detect and discount. Relevancy and hand edits are not applied justly or evenly.
  • When sites are new they tend to have less natural link profiles because push marketing is not as clean as pull marketing. After sites get significant exposure they can rely more on pull marketing and pretend that they were always clean. If a search engineer wants to they can start your site at 0 because years ago you did something they did not like, or simply because the site is associated with you. Relevancy and hand edits are not applied justly or evenly.
  • If an SEO blog provides information that is too good with specific examples of how to apply the techniques someone at a search engine might hand edit the site on principal.

[Video] Creating Your Site's Internal Link Structure for Google and Searchers

Nov 2nd

This video is a bit longer than some of the earlier videos, clocking in at 9 minutes and 39 seconds.

  • The Dual Roles of Navigation: Navigation needs to be user friendly and search engine friendly. If you want a user to pay attention to an offer you have to link to it with a call to action in the content area of the page. If you want search engines to pay attention to a page you have to link to it on important pages and/or from many pages. In general it is also better usability and better for your rankings to use descriptive (or keyword rich) text links over image links for your primary navigation, and in most in content links on your site.
  • Navigation Should Parallel Keyword Strategy: Your primary site navigation should be aligned with keyword categories, structured in related groups that capture keywords along the entire purchase cycle. If you have navigation that is not aligned with your keywords (like date based archives or an about page) you can use nofollow on it to prevent passing link equity through that portion of your site. You may also want to demote sections of your site that convert exceptionally poor relative to the better performing options.
  • Examples of Channeling Link Equity: Some websites, such as Target.com, show Google more navigation than they show end users to promote seasonally hot items. Other sites, like Chocolate.com, chose to use nofollow on unimportant internal links to de-emphasize unimportant options. You can view the nofollowed links on Chocolate.com by viewing their site with SEO for Firefox turned on. In some cases it also makes sense to use nofollow on user generated content to lessen the incentive for driveby spamming.
  • Clean & Clear Structure: If you author many pages about the same topic it is important to link to the most important articles in order to emphasize them, and use breadcrumb navigation to help structure the site and show what pages are most important.
  • Duplicate content: Google likes webmasters to believe that Google has duplicate content figured out, but if they have multiple similar pages indexed you are splitting your PageRank and they may rank the wrong version. Make sure you do not place the same (or exceptionally similar) content on multiple pages. Stuntdubl has a good list of resources for dealing with duplicate content.
  • Subdomains: If you have logical breaks in your content you may want to use subdomains to create smaller focused mini sites. If you have a strong brand you can get a bit more aggressive with subdomains, like eBay is.
  • More: Here are some more internal linking tips from a prior post on the topic.

[Video] Keyword Research 101: Basic Keyword Strategy & Tips

Nov 1st

Keyword Research Tips

  • If you have an old site you should use analytics to track what keywords you are getting traffic for. For most webmasters it is easier to rank for more related keywords than it is to discover and dominate new areas.
  • When you start a new site make sure you use keyword modifiers in your page titles, meta descriptions, and page copy. It is easier to rank for long tail terms than shorter search queries.
  • You can find many keyword modifier types in this free XLS spreadsheet.
  • When you start doing keyword research, you can start with a seed list of broad keywords to power a keyword tool and keep digging deeper. Then repeat the process with related keywords and other keyword tools. No tool is perfect. Think of them more as qualitative than quantitative. I like Wordtracker and my keyword tool.
  • Organize your keywords into relevant baskets of keywords and modifiers that should be covered in different sections of your site and on different pages from your site.
  • I listed many bonus keyword research ideas in a recent Wordtracker article.
  • Some of my favorite follow up keyword tools to use when optimizing a page are

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