Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

The Daily Feed Issue #20: Attracting targeted visitors

September 3, 2010  |  The Daily Feed  |  Comments Off

Welcome to Issue #20 of The Daily Feed. If this email was forwarded to you by a friend, you can subscribe on this page. You can read previous editions of The Daily Feed on our blog but note that posts to our blog are delayed 24 hours or more.

Danette, one of my readers, sent me a question asking: “I make a living from my online business. How can I attract the right kind of people to my blog who are interested in buying from my online stores. It is a fairly exact niche of people and I don’t want to hire anyone.”
There are three ways to get people to visit your site:
  • Via search engines
  • When they click a link on another website that brings them to your site.
  • When they see an ad for your site offline or hear about it from a friend and type in the URL.
Remembering URL’s in the offline world is very hard for most people and that kind of brand marketing doesn’t work very well for small businesses so I would strongly recommend that you focus your efforts on the online world. 
Lets pretend you sell booties online for Huskies so that their feet don’t get cold in the snow. You only ship to the USA and Canada. That’s a fairly niche market. Start by defining who it is you’re trying to attract:
  • People who own Huskies 
  • People who live in the USA and Canada.
  • People who live in areas that get snow each winter.
  • People who spoil their dogs enough to buy something as specific as booties.
  • People who buy online.
These bullets are criteria that define your target market. If any one of them is missing, it disqualifies the person as a buyer. If it doesn’t snow where they live, they won’t buy. If they’re outside the USA and Canada, they won’t buy. If they don’t buy online, they’re not your target market. 

Print out the bullets that define your target market and as you go about your marketing efforts, test what you’re doing against each one of them. Before approaching a blog to do a guest post or a website to get a link, test that site’s audience against your bullets to see if the site’s visitors are your target market. 

Now that you’ve defined your target market, here are a few ideas to help you get your website link in front of them:
  1. Get links from websites where your target market hangs out. You’ll benefit directly from a few clicks and indirectly via SEO. Google’s blog search is a great way to find blogs that your target market reads. 
  2. Do guest posts on blogs that your target market reads and be sure to include several links to your site.
  3. Write a feature article for an online magazine that your target market reads. Don’t bother with offline magazines because few people will remember your website name.
  4. Find people on Twitter who have a lot of followers who are your target market and get them to tweet about your site. Use Twitter’s own search engine to help.
  5. Network your way to people on Facebook who have friends who are your target market and get them to post a link on Facebook. Trade shows and other industry events are great places to make friends that might be able to help you later. 

If you have a niche website, your marketing efforts will be similar to most website’s with the difference that your efforts need to be laser focused. Defining your target market gives you a way to constantly evaluate if your efforts are focused correctly.

Regards,

Mark Maunder
Feedjit Founder & CEO.

The Daily Feed Issue #19: How long does SEO take? (part 2)

September 2, 2010  |  The Daily Feed  |  Comments Off

Welcome to Issue #19 of The Daily Feed. If this email was forwarded to you by a friend, you can subscribe on this page. You can read previous editions of The Daily Feed on our blog but note that posts to our blog are delayed 24 hours or more. Send suggestions for future editions to my personal address at mark@feedjit.com.


As always this edition is brought to you by the team at Feedjit.comKnow when your friends and clients visit you with Feedjit!

Today I’m concluding my series on how long SEO takes to kick in with a few examples. 

The most effective thing you can do to get your site listed in Google fast and to get a good ranking is to get very high quality back-links. In my experience the best strategy to get back-links is to get main-stream press coverage and by publishing link-bait. See issue #11 for more on link bait

If you have a site that’s been around for a while, you have an advantage. If an established site suddenly gets a few high quality back-links it will generally ramp up it’s search traffic faster than a new site.

Lets look at a hypothetical example. This is based on anecdotal evidence that I’ve seen. There is no scientific basis behind this and your mileage my vary wildly from these numbers. It’s simply what I’d expect to see.

Example: You have a new domain name and a new website. 1000 pages of new, unique and useful content that generally is searched for by many people in a not-too-competitive category. As you launch you get covered in The New York Times. A few hundred bloggers and B-level news outlets pick up your story and either republish it verbatim or add their own 2 cents – all with back-links to you. Here’s what I’d expect to see:

Within a few days you have a few hundred visitors from search engines arriving via keywords that are on-target within your category. In other words, if you have a jewelry store your visitors will arrive by Googleing things related to jewelry. Within a few weeks you’re getting 1,000 to 3,000 unique visitors per day from Google and the other SE’s. 

Now lets look at a few variables:

If your site’s domain is already established and has already been getting some search traffic when you get your big NYTimes coverage, then I’d expect to see your traffic ramp up faster and peak at a higher number.

If your established links are “deep links”, meaning that they link not just to your home page but to pages deep in your site then you’ll also see a better result. If the links you get after your launch from bloggers and websites are also deep links, then you should also expect to see an ongoing boost in ranking and indexing. 

If your site continues to get medium to high quality links over time, then you’ll see a much better result over the first few months and ongoing. 

If you have a history of adding a page or three of new content per day before your big launch and you continue to add new content each day after your big launch, then you’ll also get better results. Google loves new content.

It’s rare to get good coverage in a main stream news publication. But this should give you a good idea of the kinds of things that accelerate getting indexed and that boost your ranking. Links from a second or third tier publication are also great and have a similar, if less pronounced effect on getting indexed and your ranking. 

The best advice I can give you on getting indexed fast is to pretend you’re a search engine. If you see a site that’s new, has lots of unique content and is newly popular with high ranking websites, you’re going to want to tell your searchers about it fast!

Regards,

Mark Maunder.
Feedjit Founder & CEO.

The Daily Feed Issue #18: How long does SEO take? (and your feedback)

September 1, 2010  |  The Daily Feed  |  Comments Off
Welcome to Issue #18 of The Daily Feed. If this email was forwarded to you by a friend, you can subscribe on this page. You can read previous editions of The Daily Feed on our blog but note that posts to our blog are delayed 24 hours or more.

I’ve been getting great suggestions all day for upcoming editions of The Daily Feed. Special thanks to Kevin, Diana, Saira, Danette, Jenny and Donna for your feedback and ideas. Please keep sending your suggestions to mark@feedjit.com

These are questions we’ve chosen from today’s feedback that I’ll be answering in upcoming editions:

K.S. After you’ve done the SEO magic you need to do, how long does it take for your site to start climbing in rankings?
K.S. Why has Google ranked some plain-jane commercial and non-information websites higher than others?
K.S. If your blog is a niche blog that focuses on something very specific, how can you turn it into a great resource where experts want to go and also attract thousands of hits?
K.S. What if you started your blog way back with a not-so-strategic name – like I did – but now when someone plugs in a search term I come up first or so on Google – so I am afraid to change the blogs name now. What should I do?
K.S. Do you seriously think I’ll ever get up to hundred hits or so a day with a topic like …?
S.F. How important is it to be specific on your blog? Being specific may define and facilitate getting hits from your target market, but sometimes it restricts you from sharing on your blog what you want to.
D.D. I make a living from my online business. How can I attract the right kind of people to my blog who are interested in buying from my online stores. It is a fairly exact niche of people and I don’t want to hire anyone.
D.T. asked me to include a few war stories on the struggles I’ve encountered doing business online, things that inspired me and helped me overcome them. 

Today’s edition covers a question from Kevin S on how long SEO takes to give you a return on your time investment.

Between 2004 and 2005 it took us 10 months to grow a site from zero to 3,000 unique visitors per day from the search engines. In month 10 the traffic went from almost zero to 3000 visitors overnight and then up to 10,000 visits per day 3 months later.

Back in 2004 and 2005 Google would only update their search index every 1 to 3 months. We (and other SEO’s) would call this the “Google Dance”. For a few days search results would bounce around wildly as Google pushed out their new index to their data centers all over the world, and then things would stabilize for another few months. 

Today Google updates almost in real-time. They will do a major index update once every month or two, but they are constantly adding new sites and new pages. Your newest blog entry will usually appear in the search results a few hours after you post it. A popular website can have reasonable SEO traffic a few days after launch if they have the right content and the right kind of launch.

Tomorrow I’ll chat about strategies that will get you indexed fast and what “the right kind of launch” means.

Just an FYI: I’m still working on the eBook. It will be ready asap and will be announced here first. The Daily Feed subscriber discount still applies!

Regards,

Mark Maunder.
Feedjit Founder & CEO.

The Daily Feed Issue #17: Curing writer’s block

August 31, 2010  |  The Daily Feed  |  Comments Off

Welcome to Issue #17 of The Daily Feed. If this email was forwarded to you by a friend, you can subscribe on this page. You can read previous editions of The Daily Feed on our blog.

Today I have writer’s block so what better subject to write about than finding the cure. In previous editions of The Daily Feed I’ve written about the importance of creating new, unique and useful content to get traffic from search engines. It’s tough to come up with an on-topic page of great content every day for your blog or website, so here are a few tips to overcome writer’s block. 
CopyBlogger says the best way to overcome writer’s block is to start digging through famous quotes and draw inspiration from them. Many quotes can be the seed for an entire blog entry. Wikiquote is a great resource for finding quotes. In fact the quote on the home page today would make a fine blog entry:  ”The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.” ~ Eldridge Cleaver ~
Hemingway, one of my favorite authors, wrote a lot about his own life experiences. If you’re run out of things to write about, one approach is to go and have some fun or go out and have an adventure. Clamber down into a canyon you’ve never been in to go fishing. Or walk up to 3 random strangers in the mall and ask them a question. That should quickly fill your literary fuel tank. 

There are the usual cliche’s of “Carry a notebook with you” or “go and get some excercise – the blood flow to your brain will increase creativity”. Well what if you weren’t carrying the darn notebook with you and now you’re working to a deadline? Or it’s 2am and the neighbors might call the cops if they see you out running right now. That’s the situation I find myself in on this Tuesday morning at 2:22am pacific standard time.

The very best advice I’ve ever read on overcoming writer’s block is the following from Gary Bencivenga, a former Madison Avenue ad exec:

“I discovered that “writer’s block” is just a symptom of a rather easily cured malady—”LRS,” or Lazy Research Syndrome. It took me a while to realize that the best copywriters are the most tenacious researchers. Like miners, they dig, drill, dynamite, and chip until they have carloads of valuable ore. John Caples advised me once to gather seven times more interesting information than I could possibly use.”

That’s all for today’s edition. Click here to send an email to my personal email address and tell me what you would like to read about in upcoming editions of The Daily Feed.

Regards,

Mark Maunder
Feedjit Founder & CEO

The Daily Feed Issue #16: Evaluating link exchange proposals

August 30, 2010  |  The Daily Feed  |  Comments Off

Welcome to Issue #16 of The Daily Feed. If this email was forwarded to you by a friend, you can subscribe on this page. You can read previous editions of The Daily Feed on our blog.

In previous editions of The Daily Feed I’ve chatted about the importance of link development. If you run a blog or website that gets a reasonable amount of traffic you’ve probably been approached a lot by people wanting to exchange links with you. Should you do it? That’s the subject of today’s Daily Feed.

I’ll cut right to the chase: Google doesn’t like link exchange programs. They have a page talking about link schemes and it says you’ll be penalized if you engage in “excessive” link exchanges. They don’t define what excessive is. But here’s some interesting gossip. When this page first came out in 2007 the paragraph that deals with link exchanges read as follows:

Examples of link schemes can include:
link exchange and reciprocal links schemes (“link to me and I’ll link to you.”) 
After receiving some backlash from the webmaster community they changed it to read:
Examples of link schemes can include:
Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging (“link to me and I’ll link to you.”)

Notice the change? Clearly they don’t like link exchanges and they’ll tolerate some exchanging of links between websites but they aren’t clear on how much that is. 
My advice to you is the following:
  1. Only exchange links with 2 or 3 websites that are VERY relevant. If you have a website about coffee, then only exchange links with other websites that talk about coffee, and the same brand of coffee that you talk about. 
  2. Don’t exchange links with a site that has exchanged links with many other sites. They may be penalized by Google and best case they won’t give you any boost in ranking and worst case they’ll cause you to be penalized too.
  3. Install Google’s toolbar and check what the site’s pagerank is. If it’s less than 3 then I wouldn’t bother. 
  4. Visit the site and click “view source” in your browser’s view menu. Check if the links to other sites have a “nofollow” attribute and don’t link to the site if they do. You can read about nofollow here
In general I don’t exchange links with anyone, but when you’re starting out it’s tough to get those first few links that help Google find your site. So exchange a few links with relevant sites but evaluate each of them carefully and limit the amount of exchanging you do. 
Regards,
Mark Maunder
Feedjit Founder & CEO

The Daily Feed Issue #15: Nice guys finish first

August 27, 2010  |  The Daily Feed  |  Comments Off

Welcome to Issue #15 of The Daily Feed. If this email was forwarded to you by a friend, you can subscribe on this page.

We’ve put our Daily Feed archive online on our blog: http://feedjit.com/blog/ In general I’ll be emailing the newsletter around 3am pacific standard time and we’ll post it later each day or the following day on the archive. There was no issue 4 (a silly mistake of mine) and there was no issue 13 (superstition).

Yesterday I mentioned that the reason I write The Daily Feed and place it carefully in your inbox each morning is because I hope to give you the kind of strong kung-fu that you need to compete in this tough economy. By compete I mean sell online. Whether you’re selling yourself, your services, a product or an idea – knowing how to market online has become a basic life skill.

Yesterday we chatted about how incredibly effective lists are for creating link bait headlines and how they create a click-whirr response to bring the kinds of people you want to your website: People who are buyers of what you’re selling.

There is a lot of advice on writing good headlines and some of it is not good advice. For many writers of headlines the definition of success is a high click through rate. But a lot of traffic is not a good thing unless those visitors are potential buyers – buyers of your ideas or buyers of your products or services.

I recently ran across an article with the headline “15 linkbait techniques for SEO and social media”. The article’s own headline is great link bait.

Number 3 on the article’s list was “Have an argument”. Number 4: “Say something controversial or stupid.”. Number 5: “Be a contrarian”.

The article isn’t wrong. You will get a lot of people linking to you and you will get a lot of clicks. But the visitors arriving on your site aren’t going to be in the mood to buy your ideas, products or services.

Remember: Your headline and link bait should bring people to your site who are potential buyers of what you are selling. First prize is that your headline actually puts them in a buying mood.

Saying something positive will make them like you. Providing a helpful resource creates a sense of reciprocity. Posting a news item that you published first shows how well you know your subject.

That’s what I love about the list strategy mentioned yesterday: It’s hard to get it wrong. By providing a list you’re automatically providing something helpful and positive. Don’t make the mistake of creating a negative list. For example: “10 things I hate about…”. Instead create something positive, funny or useful. It will put your audience in a buying mood. Ready to buy your ideas, hire you, buy your product, subscribe to your service.

Regards,

Mark Maunder
Feedjit Founder & CEO.

The Daily Feed Issue #14: To men and women who want to prosper.

August 26, 2010  |  The Daily Feed  |  Comments Off
Welcome to Issue #14 of The Daily Feed. There was no issue #13. If this email was forwarded to you by a friend, you can subscribe on this page.

This issue is about headlines. Creating effective headlines that will inspire bloggers and webmasters to link to you and cause social networkers and news sites to shout your name from the hilltops.
The subject of this email is inspired by a great headline that was written by John Caples, an ad man at BBDO [One of the largest ad agencies in the world]. The original headline is: “To Men Who Want to Quit Work Someday.” This headline was written for a retirement income plan sold by the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company and it produced 3 times more sales than 25 other headlines that preceded it. [Source: Gary Bencivenga]
Why should you care about headlines that sell things if you’re not selling anything? To answer that question I need to digress from our discussion of headlines for a moment…

Every one of you is out there competing fiercely in a tough and bloodthirsty market. You need every competitive advantage you can get. The ability to market yourself, your company, your product or your service online is now more than just an essential business skill. Marketing online has become a basic life skill. If you don’t know how to market yourself or your business online, you are at a huge competitive disadvantage. That is why I take the time each day to write The Daily Feed. It is my sincere hope that I will help you be more competitive in business and in life.

Most articles or blog posts on creating headlines focus on creating headlines that get clicks. But truly effective headlines attract not only clicks, but the kind of people who buy what you are selling and put them in a buying mood. If you don’t think you’re selling anything, let me remind you (as I’ve said before) that:

All money is made by someone selling something to someone else.
  • If you run a concrete business in Seattle you’re selling your services to people interested in construction who live in King County, Washington.
  • If you’re a traffic engineer working for the city of Redmond then you’re selling your ability as a competent and highly skilled engineer and the reason you’re selling this is to ensure your job security and to create new job opportunities for yourself.
  • If you are a mom who is trying to supplement your income with your photography hobby, then you are selling your photography services.
  • If you’re a recent college graduate applying to Harvard Business School, then you’re selling the fact that you are a future business leader to Harvard admissions officers and your peers in order to secure your long term financial future.
So when you write a headline, it’s important that you attract the people you are selling to and that the headline and content actually helps to sell them. That is how you’ll get ahead in these uncertain times and that is why you need to write headlines that not only get links and clicks but the right clicks. Clicks by people who buy what you’re selling.

So before you start writing your headline, figure out who you’re selling to. Got a clear picture in your head? Great!

I’m going to give you a technique that simply works. It is a secret that is well known by pro bloggers and is used effectively almost daily on social media sites. It is less well known among amateurs and it is surprisingly under-utilized in the world of traditional media. Ready? Here it is:

People love lists.

It’s that simple. There is something about lists that create, as Robert Cialdini the author of Influence would call it, a “click-whirr” response in our brains. We absolutely have to click on the headline because it’s a list. Don’t ask my why it works – I’m sure there is someone at Stanford medical school right now playing with an fMRI machine figuring out why this response works – but trust me that it does work.

Here are a few examples of list headlines that get clicks. I’ve left blanks for the subject:

10 Secrets that …

7 Amazing … videos

8 Things you didn’t know about …

9 … myths exposed

10 Hilarious …

Can you feel it? I haven’t even filled in the blanks and you already want to click a few of those headlines. That’s the response I’m talking about. Even though it’s well known in pro circles it continues to be effective.

Using lists you can easily craft a headline that will attract the exact people you’re selling to and get them interested in you, your product, your service or in learning more about your ideas.

Tomorrow I’m going to give you a few more tips for effective headlines and I’ll give you a few important things to beware of.

Regards,

Mark Maunder
Feedjit Founder & CEO.

The Daily Feed Issue #12: Ideas for creating link bait

August 25, 2010  |  The Daily Feed  |  Comments Off

Welcome to Issue #12 of The Daily Feed. If this email was forwarded to you by a friend, you can subscribe on this page.


This week I’m continuing my focus on SEO and how to get quality links to your blog or website to boost your ranking in the search engines. On Monday I chatted about the 5 rules of linking, yesterday we covered the basics of link bait – what it is and I gave you a few examples of successful link bait.

Today I’m going to give you a few ideas and strategies to get high quality sites to link to you. A reminder: Link bait is a web page that is specifically designed to get other websites to link to it.

Why does link bait work?

One of the reasons link bait is so powerful is because it’s viral. If you come up with a truly killer headline and web page, people will scramble to tweet about it and post it on their blog. Social media users will rush to post it on their favorite social media site so that they can get the karma, points or votes that come with posting a popular link. Other’s will see your link posted and repost again and again.

Just to illustrate: If every time someone posts your link, two other people see it and re-post it, the cycle will look as follows: 1 person posts it. 2 people see it and re-post. 4 people see the 2 links posted and repost. Then 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512… So after just 9 cycles of re-posting you have 1+2+4+8+16+32+64+128+256+512 which equals 1023 people linking to your site.

I’m going to spend a lot more time on The Daily Feed discussing virality, viral co-efficients, viral loops and viral growth. But for now just take my word for it that viral growth is very powerful and very good provided it is growth in a desirable target market.

The other reason link bait is so powerful is because of the high quality links it provides. A single link from a major news outlet like CNN or BBC or a single link from a major government or university website is worth pure gold. If you’re able to consistently get very high quality links like this every month or 3, you’re pretty much guaranteed page 1 for several categories in your sector.

So how the heck do you write a page that everyone loves and wants to tell their friends about? Here are a few ideas:

    • Write or do something funny. Matt Inman, a designer from Seattle is a genius at funny linkbait. Check out this take on Twighlight. Linked to from The Huffington Post and many other high profile sites.
    • Write an article praising a blogger. See Jason Calcanis post on link baiting him.
    • Build a useful web tool or application
    • Make a valuable resource. Lists are always popular. Write a how-to guide or a well researched historical article.
    • Interview someone famous
    • Be the first in doing something on the Internet
    • Expose a scam, a scammer or rant about bad service or a bad product
    • Disagree with an authority. I mentioned BoingBoing taking on Wired yesterday – great example.
    • Be controversial.
    • Get a scoop on a story in your niche
    • Make a tool that others put on their sites and link to you.
    • Write an outrageous theory and back it up with logic. A recent computer science paper got over 700 votes on the popular geek website Hacker News and many other sites including Digg.com and Reddit.com. Turns out the publication may be incorrect, but it received a huge amount of publicity.

Tomorrow we’ll chat about the most important part of creating link bait: Writing a killer headline.

Regards,

Mark Maunder.
Feedjit Founder & CEO

The Daily Feed Issue #11: How to get high quality links

August 24, 2010  |  The Daily Feed  |  Comments Off

Welcome to Issue #11 of The Daily Feed. If this email was forwarded to you by a friend, you can subscribe on this page.

Yesterday I covered the 5 rules of linking. Today I’m going to give you a few tips on how to get links to your blog or website from high quality sites to give your search engine traffic a serious kick in the tail.
In case you’re a new subscriber, at the beginning of last week I introduced my basic SEO philosophy: “Create new, unique and useful web pages, host them on a user-friendly website that Google can understand and make sure the right people know about them.”

Link bait is the “make sure the right people know about your pages” part of this philosophy.

Link bait is an essential strategy for any blog or website. I tend to quote Matt Cutts a lot, but there’s a reason: He’s on the search quality team at Google and they’re the guys who decide what the definition of web spam is. Here is Matt on the subject of Link bait. Clearly Google wants high quality websites to let them know where the other high quality websites are on the web. So link bait is good for Google and good for us.

So what is link bait? Link bait is any page on a blog or website that is designed specifically to get others to link to that page or the website in general. The goal is to get high quality “backlinks”  - which are other websites that link to your site.

A great example of link bait is BoingBoing’s recent blog entry refuting Wired Magazine’s article claiming the web is dead. How successful was it? Less than a week after hitting the publish button Google has indexed 235 new inbound links to that BoingBoing URL alone. Many of the links are very high quality and include GigaOm and Wired themselves. Bingo!!

A few of things that made BoingBoing’s linkbait successful are:
  • The headline: “Is the Web really dead?” The headline is the most critical part of link-bait. More below.
  • It’s informational – BoingBoing actually did some research to put this article together and they present useful data.
  • It’s current. Wired’s article is on this month’s cover of the dead-tree version of their magazine. It’s being talked about all over the web and offline including on NPR (national public radio which is very popular in the USA)
  • It’s emotional and taps into something controversial.
BoingBoing is already a successful blog but the reality is that anyone could have done this research, turned Wired’s story against them and gotten a flood of traffic.

Some of the blog entries I’ve posted on my personal blog have either intentionally or inadvertently become link-bait. (sorry, no links as I’d rather not promote my personal site here):
  • A blog entry titled “If your bank doesn’t like your startup’s blog, they may freeze your funds”. I broke this story about a friend’s business who was being discriminated against by their bank. It ended up on the Financial Times, ValleyWag, GigaOm and many other A-list blogs and newspaper sites with back-links.
  • A blog entry complaining about a large company’s unresponsive sales team. It was picked up on a very popular social media website and got over 10,000 uniques in 24 hours with lots of new inbound links. A day later a senior manage from Dell called me to repair the relationship.
  • A blog entry on how to launch a startup in 10.5 hours. This actually was the start of Feedjit. Also was very popular on several social media sites, got a ton of new links and is still my most popular blog entry to this day. As a footnote: The blog entry is of course a bit of hyperbole. No one creates a business in 10.5 hours. But it makes for a great headline! :-)
  • “Think you work hard? Think again”. I created this headline and blog entry to help promote a friend’s business and it worked. Over 8,000 uniques in a day to this page alone. It’s still my 4th most popular page on the site. The slightly controversial or challenging headline is what made it work.
Tomorrow I’ll give you strategies to help you create link-bait that will get you the high quality links you need to boost your search ranking.

Regards,

Mark Maunder
Feedjit Founder & CEO.

The Daily Feed Issue #10: The rules of linking

August 23, 2010  |  The Daily Feed  |  Comments Off

Welcome to Issue #10 of The Daily Feed. If this email was forwarded to you by a friend, you can subscribe on this page.


Just a quick note on our book due this week titled “The little black book of free online marketing. From launch to your first 5,000 visitors per day and beyond”. After a long weekend of work we’ve made the call to delay it an additional week. We’re going to be adding more material including a bonus section and we also want to allow more time for editing.
I did promise you something special this week, so Tuesday (tomorrow) morning’s edition will have a surprise and you’re going to have to wait until then to find out what it is.

This week I’m covering the last and most powerful part of the SEO philosophy I introduced you to last week. My SEO philosophy in case you are one of the 3049 new subscribers we’ve gotten since Friday’s issue went out is:

“Create new, unique and useful web pages, host them on a user-friendly website that Google can understand and make sure the right people know about them.”

Today I’m covering “make sure the right people know about them”. Having valuable content that is new, unique, useful, user-friendly and that a search engine can understand is great. But there are millions of websites out there that have all these basic ingredients. So how does Google, Yahoo, Bing and friends determine which websites should rank higher than others, assuming all on-site factors are equal? By using a kind of reputation system.

Each search engine has it’s own algorithm for figuring out your reputation. I’m going to focus on Google exclusively because 80% to 90% of your search engine traffic will come from Google.

In the beginning – meaning 1996 when Google launched as “Backrub” at Stanford, Larry And Sergey used an algorithm called Pagerank to rank web pages. Previously search engines had relied mostly on the text on individual websites to figure out which site would rank higher. Larry and Sergey introduced a reputation system that was a huge breakthrough. It gave search engines a way to take two pages that both look useful and determine which page people on the web like more or find more useful.

Pagerank is a simple reputation system. It starts off by giving everyone a score of (lets say) one. Then it starts walking through the link structure of the web (or the link graph as it’s called in geek speak) calculating who is linking to whom. It figures out your score by looking at who is linking to you and who links to them.

An exhaustive explanation of pagerank is more than you want to read. So I’m going to give you a few simple rules to follow to get Google to like you:

Rule #1: Never get someone with a low quality or spammy site to link to you. Ever.
This will hurt your ranking in Google and it’s tough to recover once you’ve been flagged as a spam site or part of a “bad neighborhood”.

Rule #2: All links are good provided they are from good quality websites.
The site that links to you doesn’t have to get a huge amount of traffic or even have a super high pagerank. Just make sure they have good quality content that isn’t spammy and that the people who link to them are good quality sites too.

Rule #3: Focus on getting links from sites that are related to yours.
About 70% or more of the sites that link to you should be related to your content. If a high quality site wants to link to you and they’re unrelated, say yes! But focus your link building on sites that are related to yours. That will ensure that you rank highly for the correct keywords and that you’ll get the kinds of visitors you want.

Rule #4: Only link to high quality sites no matter how badly someone begs or pleads that you link to them.
Linking to a spam or low quality site will hurt your ranking.

Rule #5: Link text is very important.
Link text is the text that appears as (usually blue) underlined text that surfers click on. With images that are linked, the link text is the text contained in the “ALT” attribute of the image. If someone links to you and the link text is “holiday accommodation website” then Google will assume that you should rank a little higher for anything related to holiday accommodation. When you ask a website for a link, be very specific about what link text they use. Some bloggers and site owners will want to put their own text in the link, but try to influence them into having link text that is targeted and will attract the kinds of Google users that you want.

One last note: If someone links to you, make sure they’re not including a nofollow attribute. That will cause the link to not pass any pagerank to your site. You can learn more about nofollow on this wikipedia entry.

Tomorrow I’m going to chat about a few strategies to get sites to link to you. Have a spectacular Monday!

Mark Maunder
Feedjit Founder & CEO.