Category Archives: SEO

SEO Content Distribution Linking For Newbies

The new buzz on the internet is all about getting one-way links by distributing content to other sites in exchange for back links. As with every other SEO or website promotion technique ever devised, there are plenty of newbie myths about it that can ruin your chance for success before you even start.

Newbie Myth 1: The “Duplicate content penalty.”

Some webmasters worry that if the content on their sites is suddenly on hundreds of other sites, search engines will inflict a “duplicate content penalty.” Why is this concern unjustified?

* If this were true, every major newspaper and news portal website would now be de-indexed from the search engines, since they all carry “duplicate content” from the news wires such as

Reuters and the Associated Press.

* Thousands of self-promoting internet gurus have proven that distributing content is an effective method of improving search engine rank.

* Even more thousands of content websites have proven that republishing this content does not carry any search engine penalty.

True, the first website to publish an article often seems to be favored by search engines, ranking higher for the same content in searches than higher-PageRank pages with the same content. But the “duplicate” pages do show up in the search engine results, even if lower than the original site. Meanwhile, the reprint content has no effect on the ranking of a site’s other pages.

The only duplicate content penalty is for duplication of content across pages of a single website. Meanwhile, there is a sort of “copyright theft” penalty, whereby someone who copies content without permission can be manually removed from search engine indexes out of respect for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. But that penalty is only for flagrant theft, not minor mistakes in attributing reprint content.

Newbie Myth 2: The goal is to get in article clearinghouse websites.

There are over 100 popular, high-traffic websites that act as clearinghouses for content made available for redistribution. These websites include isnare.com, ezines.com, and goarticles.com.

Many novice content-distributors are upset when the article clearinghouse websites, with tens of thousands of articles each with a back link, pass negligible Page Rank. But the point of distributing content to those websites is for other website owners to find your content and put it on their websites–not to get a back link directly from the clearinghouse website (though this is sometimes an unexpected bonus).

Plus, to maximize Page Rank-passing links, you also have to submit articles to website owners individually. It’s not a small amount of work. But there’s no substitute for a polite, individually crafted email recommending a website owner complement his or her existing articles with one you’ve written.

Myth 3: Any content will do.

Reality: It should be obvious that many website owners, jealous of their link popularity, will only republish exceptionally high – quality content. For articles, this means a unique point of view and solid information that cannot be found just anywhere, ideally presented in compelling language in a web-optimized format by a professional published writer. You can conduct a content distribution campaign with bad content, but you’ll be handicapping yourself from the start.

Myth 4: Distributing content is easy. Just hit “send.”

Reality: Content distribution campaign requires skillful planning to target publisher websites effectively.

This is essentially a four-step process.

1. You must identify the categories of websites most likely to republish your articles. These categories range from the very broad, such as internet, business, and family, and can go as narrow as family-friendly internet businesses.

It’s a careful balance: you need to make your target category narrowly relevant to maximize the value of the link and your chances of getting your article accepted for publication. But if you target too narrow a category, you’ll lower the maximum number of links you can hope to get.

For instance, a website on web content writing has to target its content distribution to more than just sites focusing on web content. There are only so many websites devoted to web content as a topic of interest, and besides, many such websites would be competitors. Distribution should target broadly relevant categories, such as web design, webmaster issues, writing, marketing, business, website promotion, and SEO. Yet some broadly related categories, such as internet or publishing, are not relevant enough to yield good results.

2. To maximize success, you must have articles custom-created for each major category you want to submit to. “Incorporating Content in Web Design” and “Marketing with Content” would be possible titles for a web content-writing website owner targeting web design and marketing websites, respectively. An article about web design won’t appeal as strongly to marketers, or vice versa, so simply submitting to websites having to do with “the web” would not be as effective.

3. For maximum success, articles custom-written for a category then often have to be refined for sub-categories. For instance, “Incorporating Content in Web Design” becomes “Incorporating Content into Flash Web Design,” or “Incorporating Content into Accessible Web Design.” Sometimes the refinement is just a “find and replace” of one keyword for another, sometimes just in the title. Sometimes, entire paragraphs have to reworded or removed.

4. Once you’ve identified sub-categories of websites, you still have to be able to meet the requirements of individual websites. Some sites only publish articles up to 500 words, some only do how-to articles. Owners of high-ranking websites can afford to be choosey. To really maximize results within a sub-category, you need at least three different articles of varying lengths and focus specifically geared toward that sub-category.

In the end, distributing content for website promotion and inbound links is a marvelously effective way of promoting a website. But it’s not magic beans. Like anything else having to do with achieving success on the web, it takes hard work and knowledge to be successful.

Why Google Indexing Requires A Complex Blend Of Skills

If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. Getting a company’s name and products, or services, onto the first page of a genuine Google search isn’t a trivial piece of work. In fact, there are four distinct skills that a search engine optimizer needs to possess. Most people possess one or maybe two of these skills, very rarely do people posses all four. In truth, to get to all four, people who are good at two of these need to actively develop the other skills. Now, if you are running your own business, do you really have the time to do this? Is this the best use of your time?

Specifically the four skills needed for SEO work are:
Web Design – producing a visually attractive page
HTML coding – developing Search Engine friendly coding that sits behind the web design
Copy writing – producing the actual readable text on the page
Marketing – what are the actual searches that are being used, what key words actually get more business for your company?

Many website designers produce more and more eye-catching designs with animations and clever rollover buttons hoping to entice the people onto their sites. This is the first big mistake; using designs like these will actually decrease your chances of a high Google rating. Yes, that’s right; all that money you have paid for the website design could be wasted because no-one will ever find your site.

The reason for this is that before you get people to your site you need to get the spider bots to like your site. Spider bots are pieces of software used by the search engine companies to trawl the Internet looking at all the websites, and then having reviewed the sites, they use complex algorithms to rank the sites. Some of the complex techniques used by web designers cannot be trawled by spider bots. They come to your site, look at the HTML code and exit stage right, without even bothering to rank your site. So, you will not be found on any meaningful search.

I am amazed how many times I look at websites and I immediately know they are a waste of money. The trouble is that both the web designers and the company that paid the money really do not want to know this. In fact, I have stopped playing the messenger of bad news (too many shootings!); I now work round the problem. So, optimizing a website to be Google friendly is often a compromise between a visually attractive site and an easy to find site.

The second skill is that of optimizing the actual HTML code to be spider bot friendly. I put this as different to the web design because you really do need to be “down and dirty” in the code rather than using an editor like dreamweaver, which is OK for website design. This skill takes lots of time and experience to develop, and just when you think you have cracked it, the search engine companies change the algorithms used to calculate how high your site will appear in the search results.

This is no place for even the most enthusiastic amateur. Results need to be constantly monitored, pieces of code added or removed, and a check kept on what the competition are doing. Many people who design their own website feel they will get searched because it looks good, and totally miss out this step. Without a strong technical understanding of how spider bots work, you will always struggle to get your company on the first results page in Google.

Thirdly, I suggested that copy writing is a skill in its own right. This is the writing of the actual text that people coming to your site will read. The Google bot and other spider bots like Inktomi, love text – but only when written well in proper English. Some people try to stuff their site with keywords, while others put white writing on white space (so spider bots can see it but humans cannot).

Spider bots are very sophisticated and not only will not fall for these tricks, they may actively penalize your site – in Google terms, this is sand boxing. Google takes new sites and “naughty” sites and effectively sin-bins them for 3-6 months, you can still be found but not until results page 14 – really useful! As well as good English, the spider bots are also reading the HTML code, so the copy writer also needs an appreciation of the interplay between the two. My recommendation for anyone copy writing their own site is to write normal, well-constructed English sentences that can be read by machine and human alike.

The final skill is marketing, after all this is what we are doing – marketing you site and hence company and products/services on the Web. The key here is to set the site up to be accessible to the searches that will provide most business to you. I have seen many sites that can be found as you key in the company name. Others that can be found by keying in “Accountant Manchester North-West England”, which is great, except no-one ever actually does that search. So the marketing skill requires knowledge of a company’s business, what they are really trying to sell and an understanding of what actual searches may provide dividends.

I hope you will see that professional Search Engine Optimization companies need more than a bit of web design to improve your business. Make sure anyone you choose for SEO work can cover all the bases.

Breaking the Myth about Page Rank (PR)

The most difficult challenge most web designers face is getting traffic to your site. There are plenty of companies who promise to send traffic your way. Sadly, most of this traffic is not qualified. Yes, your hit counter will move higher, however, if its not qualified, you may find you have unhappy visitors to your site. Unhappy visitors will not click on your ads or purchase your products.

Once you have optimized your site, consider submitting it to every search engine. If you want to get spidered quicker in Google, have a web page with a PR of 4 or higher point to your site. Your site will be spidered within a couple of days!

One myth I would like to bust is that PR is a measure of a web site. Its not. I receive countless emails offering a reciprocal link with their PR5 or PR6 site. Unless my link is appearing on the main page, or a page that has PR6, I am not getting a share of PR6. Most likely, my link will appear on a page that has a PR2!

Page rank is Google’s ranking of that specific page’s relevance. Just because the main page has a PR of 4, does not make every page on the site a PR4. Beware of sites who claim that they will exchange links with you and its to your benefit since they have a PR5 or PR6. Where is your link appearing? If its on a page that has a PR of 4 or 5 or 6, great!

Reciprocal linking, if done properly, will ensure that your keywords are at the top of the search engine. If you have a popular keyword, you’ll need to have more back links. Pick your link partners properly, and ensure that they are linking to your keyword.

For example: if your site is www.frenzilla.com, consider sending out requests to relevant higher ranking pages to start with, followed by lower ranking pages and ask web designers to link back in a manner so that your url is a hyperlink for your keyword, not your site url or site name.

Presuming their keyword is “best dining in new york”, having links pointing to your site with an anchor tag incorporating your keywords will improve your search engine rankings dramatically.

Once you have established a collection of sites pointing to your site using your keywords, you will start receiving reciprocal link exchanges from other sites. This is where you can start to be particular.

If you want to maintain an effective PR and attract better sites for linking, follow these tips:

a) Is it indexed?

While their site may be indexed, the page where they are placing your link, is it at least indexed by google? If you type in allinurl:www.sitename.com/links/right_here.html and there are no results, consider declining their offer. If the page your link appears on has not been indexed, there is no benefit whatsoever to you. If your pages have PR, they may consider placing your link on another page. If the page your link appears on is indexed, but does not have PR, consider accepting their offer. While the page today may not have PR, it will in time.

b) How many neighbors?
The value of the page rank is shared with each of the links on that page. If you are splitting that PR with several other sites, your share of PR will be small, which doesn’t help you. Reconsider accepting any link exchanges if your site is 1 of more than 30 – 40 sites that will appear on that page, unless its a very high PR. Further, if there are too many links on that page, Google may consider the page to be part of a link farm, which may end up penalizing your site.

c) Is it relevant?
Google is big on relevancy. Ensure your links pages are relevant. If you operate a site about golf, having links from cooking sites will not help you establish your page rank. It may cost you more than you get in return.

How to Find Good PR sites:

a) Do a search for them by typing in your keyword and start asking for reciprocal link exchanges. Take a look at their PR and go from there. Remember, its the number of sites that backlink to you that matters, not strictly the PR of the page. I would rather have 50 pages that have a PR1 pointing to my site, than to have 5 sites that have a PR5. Of course, if you can get 50 pages that have a PR5 pointing to your site, you are laughing!

b) Take a look at your existing link partners and check out their links pages. Its clear the people appearing on those links pages are interested in reciprocating.

c) Purchase software that will help find quality link partners.

It is important to attract higher PR sites when you are on a reciprocal link campaign. However, its not the most important thing when it comes to search engine rankings. Its the backlinks that point back at you that are key. The more of those, the better off you will be for your keyword.

Remember: every page starts off as a PR0. Just because its new doesn’t mean it wont get a higher PR once google gets around to assessing a score. If the page your site appears on is indexed, and its a relevant site of quality, consider exchanging links. You’ll grow a large list of link partners in a short period of time, and increase your search engine rankings in the process.

5 Ways to get your website noticed

Your website is just one of the billion sites parked on the World Wide Web. Chances are, you don’t think yours will ever get noticed.
We hear your cries for cyber attention. Here are five ways to get people clicking on to your site.

1.) Make sure it’s professional looking.
No one likes looking at website that reminds them of a book report they wrote back in school. Invest in learning a good web design program (Dreamweaver MX and Microsoft Frontpage are good picks), and let your creative juices flow. Make sure it’s compelling, well-designed, and organized. People don’t exactly find it fun to weed through haystacks of cyber files to get the information that they want.
On that note, don’t make it a heavy site. Putting up some flash intros may be great eye candy, but the average internet surfer only waits 10 seconds for a page to load, and then they’re off to the next.

2.) Put your URL on every search engine possible.
Putting your URL on business cards and bugging your family and friends to check out your site won’t exactly increase traffic. Submitting it to search engines will make it easier for people to find you, provided that your web page carries the topics they’re looking for. To understand how a search engine works, think of it as a “spider”: it crawls through your website, picking up words and information which would later be indexed in the search engine’s database. So make sure you pepper your site with keywords you think are relevant to what people are looking for. Web directories, like Yahoo!, are operated by humans who actually categorize the websites themselves.
If you don’t feel like submitting your website to numerous directories, consider subscribing to sites like www.submit-it.com, who, for a fee, will automatically submit your site to search engines and directories for you.

3.) Link everywhere.
Find other sites that carry similar content as yours and ask to exchange links. Create banners to be placed on other peoples’ websites, and offer to the same for them on your site. Add your URL on your e-mail signature. Join webrings if you must—there’s nothing like strength in numbers.

4.) Advertise offline.
The world of cyberspace isn’t enough to get you noticed. Write up press releases and send them to local newspapers and magazines. Print out fliers to be distributed. Just make sure that your site is already up and running to avoid giving people a bad impression (no one likes getting pumped up for something only to get disappointed).

5.) Interact with your readers.

Put up forums or message boards for your visitors to interact with each other. Chat rooms are often time-consuming for some, while message boards allows them to check back every so often for replies. Create an e-mail list so you can update your visitors about new developments, and always be open to feedback—that’s what will make your site even better.

10 Tips For Web Success

The webmaster’s biggest job is to get their traffic up and keep customers/visitors coming back. Building the site is one thing, but simply building and posting a website does not guarantee traffic. In fact, a website could be beautiful and an example of all the latest technology and still not attract a single visitor if not promoted correctly. Here are 10 tips to guide you to success with your website.

(1) The internet is a new medium.

At least compared to print, it is. A website is a waste if it simply re-hashes something which could easily be put into print. Don’t have the site be just an online brochure. Put up features which take advantage of the internet as a medium of communication. Filter information for them. Provide search capability. Provide interactivity with features like forums, quizzes and tools. Web visitors like to interact.

(2) Treat the Customer’s Time as Valuable.
When a person visits your website, you have their attention for that point in time. You either need to use it or you will lose it – fast. Most visitors have short attention spans, what you need to design your site homepage so that it grabs their attention and provides what they are looking for right away. Its like walking into a restaurant. If you walk in and just stand there and nobody comes to greet you, you might wonder what is happening. But, if the hostess comes and greets you right away and walks you to a table, then you will be there for awhile and eat. The same analogy goes for websites. Don’t over complicate your website homepage. Best results will be obtained if you make it very clear where to click to find what they need.

(3) Design the site for customers, not the company.
Your site needs to satisfy the needs of customers, not the company. So, don’t post content which is not really useful to the site’s customer. And avoid over-flattering marketing hype about the company. It inflates the ego of the company more than it helps your customer.

(4) Involve the Visitor.
Keep the visitor involved and make them feel like a valuable contributor. Actively ask for the feedback and suggestions. Ask for communication from your visitors and answer that communication swiftly. When getting that communication, capture their email address. This will allow you to communicate with them long after they have moved on and forgotten about you.

(5) Keep it Current.

You need to have content on your website which is timely and relevant to the customer’s life. Posting month-old news is not interesting. Posting dry product information which never changes is not interesting. Yes, you need to have product information and other information on your site that won’t change much, but you can also post more timely content. You can, for example, post content about how your products can be used in certain situations in life. Provide tips and techniques – things which are immediately applicable and solve a problem.

(6) Pay Attention to Form/Design.

Some sites simply over-do it on the eye-candy. Big graphics just for the sake of graphics often impress the site’s designer more than the visitor. Do not use graphics that are large and purposeless. Remember, some visitors may still be accessing your website via dial-up. Your site needs to load up quickly for all users. A slow website will cause your users to leave quickly. Also, pay attention to graphic and design size. Many web designers operate on fairly large screen resolutions and sometimes forget that even though a graphic looks great to you, it will appear enormous to somebody on a smaller resolution. On the flip side, don’t go too light on graphics. A site which is poorly designed and using the default font and no color is not very aesthetically pleasing. Any web visitor, whether they admit it or not, judges your company by your website unless they have something else to go on. A well-designed site communicates professionalism. A poor design makes the site seem like an afterthought.

(7) Promote.
When a visitor communicates to you via email, it is best to use a web form. not only will this keep your email address from being picked up by spammers, it will also allow you to ask your customers for their email address and then store that address for later use. Employ the “push/pull” marketing strategy. A visitor coming to your website is the pull, but later you want to push content back to them in the form of a newsletter or other promotional material. Start a mailing list and use it. Invite visitors to sign up. Promotion makes or breaks a business, and as long as you respect the ethical considerations of your mailing list, you should use it.

(8) Don’t Operate in a Cocoon.
The internet is a medium which is shared by millions. When you set up your website, don’t operate as if you are a self-contained island. Get out there and keep in tune with what is happening on other websites related to your own. Participate in forums. Post links to other websites and ask for a link in return. Form partnerships with other sites if it is appropriate. When it comes to communication, people like personal contacts. Hiding behind general email address like “sales” and “info” is OK as long as there is a way to also email you directly. A company site which allows email direct to the management is good. Just remember how much you hate calling a company and getting stuck in their phone system. Sometimes you just want to talk to somebody. Give your visitors that ability.

(9) Have a Plan to Attract Repeat Traffic.

Use newsletters, out-going email, contests, forums, clubs, auctions – anything that will cause people to return to your website. When posting links to other websites, don’t just send your visitors somewhere else. They may never return. Provide them an exit page. Give them a pop-up when they try to leave your site. Or at the very least make external links open in a new window.

(10) Track Your Visitors
Pay attention to your site’s statistics and react accordingly. What are people reading? How are they finding you? Do they just come and leave right from your homepage? How long as they are on your website? Do they return? This data is immensely valuable in fine-tuning your website based on customer needs and wants. Remember, the biggest mistake of any webmaster is designing the site for what THEY want. A successful website is designed for the target audience, not to impress the site’s owner.

Foreign Language SEO

Bob is from United States and speaks English, along with some Hebrew and Spanish. Alice is from Romania and speaks Romanian, English, and some French. Why does this matter? There are concerns— Both from a language angle, as well ad some interesting technical caveats— when one decides to target foreign users with search engine marketing. Here we will discuss about the most pertinent factors in foreign search engine optimization.

The internet is a globalized economy. Web sites can be hosted and contain anything that the author would like to publish. Users are free to peruse pages or order items from any country. There are some exceptions, but in general, to enhance user experience, a search engine may treat web sites from the same region in the same language as the user preferentially.

Foreign Language Optimization Tips

Needless to say, Internet marketing presents many opportunities; and nothing stops a search engine marketer from targeting customers from other countries and/or languages. However, he or she should be aware of a few things, and use all applicable cues to indicate properly tothe search engine which language and region a site is focused on. First of all, if you aim at a foreign market, it is essential to employ a competent copywriting service to author or translate your content to a particular foreign language. He or she should know how to translate for the specific market you are targeting. American Spanish, for example, is somewhat different than Argentine Spanish. Even proper translation may be riddled with problems. Foreign language search behavior often differs by dialect, and using the common terminology is key.

Indicating Language and Region

A webmaster should use the lang attribute in a meta tag, or inside an enclosing span or div tag in HTML. Search engines may be able to detect language reasonably accurately, but this tag also provides additional geographical information. The language codes es-mx, es-us, and es-es represent Spanish from Mexico, the United States, and Spain, respectively. This is helpful, because a language dialect and region cannot be detected easily, if at all, just by examining the actual copy. Here’s an example:

Use ‘<span lang=”es-us”>CONTENT</span>’ to indicate language in a particular text region.

Or:

Use ‘<meta lang=”es-us”> in the header (“<head>”) section of the page to indicate language of the entire page.

A few examples of languages and region modifiers.

English en-AU (Australia), en-CA (Canada), en-GB (UK), en-US (United States), en-HK (Hong Kong)
German de-AT (Austria), de-BE (Belgium), de-CH (Switzerland), de-DE (Germany)
French fr-CA (Canada), fr-CH (Switzerland), fr-FR (France), fr-MC (Monaco)
Spanish es-AR (Argentina), es-CU (Cuba), es-ES (Spain), es-MX (Mexico), es-US (United States)
Japanese ja (Japan)

5 Free Ways to Increase Your Website Traffic

I don’t know about you, but when I first entered the world of internet marketing I thought I could just submit my newly finished website to a few search engines, then sit back as the visitors flocked to my site. I imagined that people would arrive on my website, as if by magic, purchase goods, and perhaps come back again for more.

A week or so later I came down to earth with a big bump.

I realized that it would take a bit of time and effort to see the results that I was dreaming about!

Since my reality check, I have learned all about the weird and wonderful ways of internet marketing.

In this article I will tell you about my top 5 free ways of increasing website traffic.

All these methods are completely free and if you spend some time on them you will find that they work consistently.

(1)Writing Articles

Writing an article on a subject related to your website and getting that article published has two major benefits:

– People who are interested in your article will read it and often click on the URL in your resource box find out more. This gets you another free targeted visitor. Targeted, because that reader wants to find out more on the subject of your article, which is hopefully related to the subject of your website.

– Every publisher of your article must also publish your “resource box”. Adding a resource box with your URL to all of your articles will increase the number of links leading back to your website, which in turn helps to increase your search engine position

(2)Forum Networking

There are many discussion forums on the internet, on every topic you could possibly imagine.

Most discussion boards allow posters to attach a “Signature” with their post containing additional information about themselves, such as their name, URL and sometimes even an advertisement.

By visiting a few forums regularly and participating in the discussions, asking and answering questions, you can build up trust with other forum members, whilst at the same time getting free exposure for your website.

Just try to make a useful contribution to the forum – be sure to read the forum rules and don’t spam!

(3)Reciprocal Linking

Reciprocal linking has two main benefits for you.

Firstly, the more links that you exchange, the more chance there is that someone will follow a link from another site and land on your website.

Secondly, your website will be perceived more importantly by search engines.

The more links you have from other sites, the greater your chance of getter ranked more highly by all the search engines.

Here are some Dos and Don’ts to help you get more out of your link exchanges.

– Do link with sites that will be of interest to your visitors.

– Don’t link with pages that have unorganised link directories with hundreds of links on each page. This won’t benefit you with increased traffic or search engine rankings.

– Do link with sites that have a clearly labelled “Link Directory” from their main page. You aren’t likely to get much traffic from a hidden or hard to find link directory.

– Don’t use link farms or FFA pages. You are unlikely to get extra traffic using these methods and the search engines may penalise you.

– Do use link directories to help you find link partners.

– Do stay organised. Use link exchange software, or a spreadsheet to keep track of the link exchanges you have requested and the contact details of the webmasters.

(4) Email Signatures

This is a very simple, but often forgotten way of increasing your website visitors.

Most of us are sending lots of emails a day, but many of us just sign them with just our name, or perhaps nothing at all.

Instead, why not end your emails with a short signature containing your name, a bit about your website along with the URL?

Keep the signature short (4 lines), to the point and avoid hype or SHOUTING.

You may be surprised at the extra visitors you receive through doing this. It’s amazing how curiosity will lead the recipients of your email to click on your link!

(5)Using Traffic Exchanges

Finally, this is one easy way to guarantee instant hits to your website. You can build up credits for free by surfing or building up a downline to surf for you.

The downside of this method is that the visitors you receive from traffic exchanges are not as targeted as the visitors that you will receive via the other methods that I have described.

The reason for this is that people surf traffic exchanges for one reason – to earn as many credits as possible in as short a space of time as possible!

This gives you a challenge – how do you attract the attention of someone who is looking at your web page for 20 seconds or less?

Here are two tips –

– Know your market – spend some time surfing on the exchange that you are advertising on and pay attention to the types of web pages being advertised. Make sure that the pages you advertise are going to interest your target market.

– Use a short, simple attention grabbing page that can be read in a few seconds – there is no point advertising a huge page of text that takes 5 minutes to read. The chances are, your visitor will get bored and click on the “next” button without giving your page a fair chance.

Regularly invest some time in each of these 5 traffic generating methods and you will see your web statistics moving in the upwards direction before you know it.

4 Ways In Which You Can Achieve Critical Mass

Critical Mass Website Promotion is the elite goal rarely attained by website marketers in any industry. Reaching critical mass and getting targeted website traffic on autopilot (meaning you don’t have to promote your site for 6 months and the traffic NEVER declines) is the Holy Grail of internet marketing.

When you hit critical mass in your market, things change drastically for you and your business. Your marketing efforts go down in direct proportion to your customer support and sales going up. It sounds awesome. It IS awesome. But only a tiny fraction of websites on the net every achieve critical mass. Here’s a nutshell version of what it takes.

1. Work Hard

Internet marketing is no game to be manipulated by using software and quick fixes to a very large problem, which is long-term, steady traffic coming to your site.

There is no magic pill, silver bullet, or guru secret that will help you to achieve critical mass in your market. Hard work and intense study of the internet and how people surf, what they want, and how you get in front of them while they are surfing is the only answer.

The internet marketing game is for professionals and you MUST make yourself a professional marketer of your “shop” just as you would in the real world.

2. Understand Your Market

Understanding exactly who you are selling your products or services to is the crucial first step in achieving critical mass.

The worst thing you could ever do is put the hard work in and achieve critical mass in the wrong market for your products and services!

Know your market. Know your best, ideal customer inside and out. Get your links in front of them, ideally, everywhere they surf for related information to your site.

3. Be Vigilant

Over the years I have watched people listen to what I have to say about website promotion and then take one of two paths:

1) They work their tails off and do what I tell them, with great results and rewards for their efforts (more sales, more traffic, more branding and recognition).

2) They buy my book, take a half-hearted shot at the easiest things in the book, get bored, tired, or impatient, and then they go back to chasing down quick fixes.

I have watched people who had the answers they needed in their hands, and drop them for more glamorous-sounding, fast solutions. Which we all know don’t work.

I will say this again – THERE IS NO WAY TO TO QUICKLY OR INSTANTLY ACHIEVE CRITICAL MASS IN YOUR MARKET!

You must work like anyone in business who is in it to succeed works. If you do not know everything about your business and how to market it, your competition will eat you alive because they WILL know everything, I guarantee it.

Just like in the real world, the one who works harder, smarter, and is vigilant about his or her business is going to come out on top every time.

You owe it to yourself and your family to learn your craft and do it better than most people in your market if you want to succeed.

4. Achieve Critical Mass

In order to hit critical mass, you must be everywhere, or nearly everywhere your best customers surf.

This means linking back to your site from reciprocal links, articles, press releases, joint ventures, forum participation, and good search engine positioning for your best keywords.

In order to have literally thousands of links pointing to your site in high-profitable areas where human beings actually go and read/surf, it takes pure time and effort.

You must submit your articles to the best free content directories. Over and over until you have published everywhere you can that is relevant to your market.

You must secure deals with high-profitable sites in your market to swap QUALITY links. I am talking about links that people will click on, not just links that only search engines will see.

You must be everywhere that is a good place to be on the net in your market. This takes time. This takes hard work. This is what it takes to have a viable, long term website traffic solution for your business.

Reaching critical mass, or even sitting down and deciding a plan of action to pursue critical mass in your market takes maturity and a final realization that you can have anything you want in the world if you want to work for it. The day you stop chasing quick fixes to drive spurts of unqualified, un-targeted traffic to your site is the first step in achieving your goals as a professional internet marketer.

After all the debate over website design, shopping carts and credit card processors,
every website owner eventually comes to the startling realization that they need one
more thing to survive – website traffic!

Without website traffic it’s the same as building an expensive billboard and, instead
of placing it alongside a busy highway, you hide it in your basement where nobody can
see it.

Upon realizing they need traffic, most website owners run out and start blowing chunks
of money and time trying to get “hits” to their sites, but they fail to realize that
all “hits” are not created equal.

In their quest to get eyeballs to their websites, most online operators don’t realize
there’s a big difference between driving “general” traffic to your website and driving
“targeted” traffic.

Just getting any traffic is the same technique TV advertisers use. They flash ads on
the screen in front of people who can’t afford or don’t need the advertised product.

Since general advertising can’t hit specific targets, they hit everyone and hope that
someone in their target audience is actually watching at that moment. Spam, banner
ads, “safe-lists” and similar traffic techniques fall into this “general” category.

“Targeted” traffic is made up of people who are genuinely interested in what you have
to say or sell online. These people either share the same interests or have an
immediate need or problem they are trying to solve.

“Targeted” traffic is best because the people hitting your website have a much higher
likelihood of actually making a purchase.

Targeted traffic comes from people following recommended links on other sites, typing
in relevant keywords into the search engines, or even reading articles you’ve written
on a particular subject and then clicking over to your site for more information.

If you don’t already know where to find the best sources of targeted traffic for your
website, you will need to experiment with lots of different sources to find the ones
that bring visitors who give you the most “bang for your buck.”

The fastest way to determine which avenues provide the most targeted traffic is by
using an “ad tracker”. An “ad tracker” is a simple program, residing on your web
server, that tracks how many visitors your site gets from a particular source and how
many of them purchased.

Though it sounds simple, most businesses don’t do this! Most businesses can’t tell you
their visitor to buyer conversion percentage and, therefore, don’t know exactly how
much they can invest in traffic generation and remain profitable.

Whether you pay for your website traffic with cash (pay-per-click search engines,
ezine ads), or you pay for it with the sweat of your brow (article distribution, free
search engines), you must identify your best and most profitable sources of targeted
traffic that convert into buyers, subscribers, or leads.

Failure to identify and track where your buyers come from and then calculate how much
they really cost you ultimately translates into failure for your online business.

Website visitors for your business – Building strong website traffic.

It is worth looking at some values and strengths of a few technical and promotional elements of your website that will help you to lay a foundation in building profitable online success. Once you have decided on your market and have chosen a relevant domain name for your online business, you need simple and effective tools and methods to put and keep your business on a profitable track. Ideally you will want to make use of easy-to-use methods that keeps visitors coming to your website. Lets look at a few practical ideas.

When a visitor comes to your website you have to get their follow-up information by collecting their email address. It is important to ‘enable’ your web site to automatically deliver quality content such as a newsletter to visitors and allow you to follow up with extra information when necessary. Top marketers agree that this forms a large percentage of their online success. How do you do this? You create forms on your web pages, giving visitors the chance to subscribe to your opt-in list, newsletter or report. This allows you to introduce your service and offer something valuable in order to build relationship. Email follow-up through auto responders is totally free and an absolute necessity for implementing. All you need to do is integrate the auto responder into your web site via a form so that you can pre-load it with your newsletters. You may say that you’re not a writer, but what do you know about your industry? Write it down and put it into an informative newsletter. Subscribers can now begin to see you as an expert on the subject and look to you for the solutions that your business is already offering.

Once your newsletter is up and running, you can use these very same tips and ideas you share with your subscribers and also write a weekly article about your product or service, and then submit it to ezines online. This is very easy to do and will have great response for your business. There are tens of thousands of ezine publishers online that needs good content, and will give you valuable exposure for your business. You will have many sites linking to your site and people will be able to read what your business is about and visit your website. Then they will also be able to subscribe to your newsletter which provides even more information about your product or service. Each article has got a resource box at the bottom which allows visitors to visit your web site. Write your 4 to 6 line resource box by viewing some samples online and making up your own. Finding details of ezine publishers can quite easily be done through looking up in search engines.

Let’s go a step further and look at newspaper classifieds. By using little snippets of ideas from your newsletters and articles, you can come up with short eye catching promotional messages to use in newspaper classifieds. There are newspaper companies that offer state wide and nation wide advertising in their papers, often covering readership in excess of 2 to 3 million. By placing 10-15 word tiny classified ads all over the globe can dramatically increase your website traffic. A big mistake people make when doing this is to try and make sales directly from their ads instead of just generating leads for later follow-up. You would want to get your leads to your web site first from where they can subscribe to your automated content.

Lastly lets consider the eye opener an affiliate program can have for your business. With the right product or service it is by far the hottest way of building your business and customer base. Submit your program to affiliate directories across the web. You’ll have affiliates making sales for you and not paying a cent in advertising until you’ve made the sale! Your advertising will be covered by your affiliates, and you can concentrate on providing customer service and continue follow-up with your increasing customer base through newsletter delivery and other product offers. By becoming familiar with how important it is to stay relevant in implementing these factors will benefit your business and you will find that you’ll be achieving better results.

What Should You Know About Search Engines and Pay-Per-Click?

Here’s a fact for you, 85 to 95% of websites are found through a search engine.  You may have the most incredible website on the Internet, but it will receive little or no traffic without search engine visibility and ranking.  Can you imagine a billboard in the Sahara desert?  Who sees it?

So, how will searchers find your website? What types of search engines could they use?

Search engines fall into two categories.  The first is referred to as natural, organic or standard.  The second is called pay-per-click, paid inclusion or paid placement.

Natural, organic and standard are interchangeable terms describing a search engine that bases its search rankings on a ranking algorithm.  The algorithms involve a number of criteria and parameters, all relating to the content of the website, the website’s size, the number of incoming links to the website, and the content’s relevancy.  You will hear terms such as keyword relevancy and keyword density to describe various components of the algorithms.

For the standard search engines, you, your webmaster or hired search engine optimization specialist could spend considerable time optimizing your website to achieve top rankings. The goal is for your website to appear on the first or second page of the search engines’ results when your target user searches keywords or keyword phrases.

The good news is rankings on standard search engines are free.  The downside is the tremendous amount of time and effort required to achieve exceptional search engine rankings.   Let’s confess to each other that top rankings on standard search engines can be tough and timely to achieve!

The interchangeable terms pay-per-click, paid inclusion or paid placement describe a search engine that bases its search rankings on a “bid for position” basis.  Simply stated, you “bid” a price to be in a specific position of the search rankings for a particular search keyword or keyword phrase.  For example, the #1 position on the search phrase “pay per click” recently required a bid of $3.55 per click, whereas the 15th position required only a bid of 55 cents.  As a result, your differential website advertising costs between position #1 and #15 can be considerable.

With pay-per-click search engines, your ability to bid high can dramatically impact your website’s search engine ranking when the search results display website domain names or URL’s for the search keyword or keyword phrase.  The benefit is your website gains visibility with the searcher, but you are not charged the pay-per-click “bid” until a searcher actually clicks on your website domain name or URL displayed in the search engine results. The selection of your website in the search engine results is called a click-through.

In general, click-through rates range from 1% to 5% of the number of impressions.  What is all of this?  A click is when a searcher selects or “clicks” your pay-per-click ad.  An impression is one display of your pay-per-click ad on the search engine results.  So, the click-through rate is a measure of the total number of ad clicks versus the total number of impressions in a period of time:

Click-Through Rate % = Total Number of Ad Clicks / Total Number of Ad Impressions * 100

Let’s do the math for our #1 position bid of $3.55 per click.  In September, 2004 there were 21,535 searches for “pay per click.”  First, let’s assume a 1% click-through rate. The top bidder spent $764.49 (21,535 * 1% * $3.55).  Now, at a 5% click-through rate the top bidder spent $3,822.45 (21,535 * 5% * $3.55).  Budgeting and controlling marketing expenses with such a broad range of potential costs could be tough.  Plus, such costs could be the tip of the iceberg. We still must consider derivatives of the keyword or keyword phrase. So, was being #1 worthwhile?  That depends on your website’s cost per visitor, conversion rate and profit margin of your product or service.

From what we’ve covered so far, you should realize you can achieve a top or high ranking through the pay-per-click search engine. But, a high ranking will cost money and these costs can be volatile. Meanwhile, the standard search engine remains free.

However, pay-per-click offers one significant advantage.  It enables you to achieve website visibility with a high ranking instantaneously or overnight.  If you want to draw traffic to your website fast for any reason, pay-per-click can make that happen. Remember, maximizing the standard search engine process takes time!

Let’s summarize the pros and cons of pay-per-click marketing:

Pros

* Improves your website’s ranking and traffic quickly.
* Tests the marketability of your product or service swiftly.
* Determines the ability of your web site to convert visitors to a call to action or make a purchase promptly.
* Identifies which keyword phrases will provide the best conversion rate rapidly.
* Provides complete control of the search engine campaign, both position and cost.

Cons

* Cost

Many individuals criticize pay-per-click because of the costs involved. But, have you really thought about the cost issue?  Unless you or someone in your organization has expertise in search engine optimization, you’ll probably pay several thousand dollars in fees to a search engine optimization specialist to improve and optimize your website to achieve higher rankings in the standard search engines.  So, my question to you is.  Are the standard search engine rankings really free?

At the end of the standard versus pay-per-click search engine debate, it’s like the old saying, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Or, it’s like the old commercial, “You can pay me now or you can pay me later.” The reality of the debate is you must evaluate your specific website situation and utilize the search engine approach that maximizes your website promotion goals and investment.