Tag Archives: Content

Do It Yourself Website

If you are just starting out in your new business and you decide that a website could be a valuable addition to this business how do you go about getting one up and running? You have two basic options really. Do it yourself or employ an individual or company to do it for you. Which option you take depends upon your own confidence in acquiring the skills necessary and the amount of funds you can divert to hiring in a company. If you have sufficient funds then hire in a company as this will enable you to devout all your time to developing your core business. If you don’t then you will have to do it yourself. So how do you go about it?

You will require no or little knowledge of HTML as you can purchase a whole package from a web hosting company which should include some form of website developing software and your domain name plus the hosting of your website. Give some thought to your domain name. It should be easy for people to type in and remember. Not too long, succinct and preferably no hyphens. So you have chosen your domain name and your hosting service now you must develop your site. Again give some thought to this. How many pages you are likely to produce, how many links you will need. What sort of information is going on each page. If you are completely new to this then I would suggest that using your site editor software you produce a first draft and publish it. You can always modify everything later as you go along. This will give you your first website which you can then submit to the search engines albeit not exactly what you want or one that is going to attract visitors.

Now you need to do quite a lot of research on the internet as to how to make your site visitor friendly and search engine friendly. Here you will discover the importance of good content, changing content, appropriate keywords, backward links, article writing and good copy on the website. Taking this information on board will enable you to restructure and rewrite your site over a period of time, probably many times. However all the time this learning process is going on your site is actually published on the Web so is likely to start being trawled by search engines and getting indexed even if it doesn’t sky rocket through the rankings. The most important thing to do from the outset is to write good content that will be of interest to your visitors. If it holds the attention of your visitors and gets them to contact you then it will likely be of equal interest to the search engines. Do not produce a site that is written with the search engines in mind. It is your visitors who are important and by following a few simple rules that are published all over the Web your site can become very attractive to visitors and to search engines also. Keep the site textually based, there is no point in having very flashy graphics as these are not noticed by the search engines and often annoy visitors who want to get at the information they are after as quickly as possible and not have to wait for some animated introduction to finish before they can enter the actual site.

Having put into practice all the advice that is out there you should have put together a pleasing and appealing website that visitors and search engines like. Each day or week you add more content and develop more links and you will gradually climb up the rankings. The last piece of advice I would give is start writing and submitting articles. One or two a week would be excellent over a year or two. Once your articles start being published you will see an immediate leap in the number of links back to your site and a subsequent rise in the rankings if your content is also good. Aim to produce over time several hundred articles if possible. The more you write the more links back to your site you will develop and the more visitors you will get as well as boost your rankings in the search engines.

Market Your Dream Online: Internet Advertising Advice

You need to be advertising and marketing your home-based business, but what does it all mean? You need customers. You need sales! But where do you start?

  • FFA Pages
  • Banners
  • Traffic Exchange Programs
  • Reciprocal Linking

These are just some of the ways for your home-based business to be advertising and marketing online (meaning on the Internet). But, what do they mean?

FFA Pages — You submit your site to a FFA page (or network of pages) and agree to get one E-mail from every other website that is listed there. Definitely not a good idea (see our Advertising/Marketing page for more details).

Banners – These are ads shown at the top (usually) of many webpages and they sometimes rotate to show a different ad each time the page is loaded.

Traffic Exchange Programs – You submit your ad to be shown to other members of the program when they load the program start page.

Reciprocal Linking – You place a link to someone’s website on your site and they place a link to your website on theirs.

Other Internet Marketing Suggestions

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Keywords are placed throughout your website’s pages to tell the search engines what your page is about. Keywords are simply words (or combinations of words) that describe your business.

Content is king. Provide good content (basically, articles about your area of expertise) about your subject and sprinkle the keywords (and combos) through the page. This basic strategy will get you a higher ranking with the search engines and many more customers because you’re giving them something that they need — information!

PPC (Pay Per Click) Advertising – Instead of submitting your pages for inclusion in the search engine’s database, you bid on the keyword(s) that relate to your website. You can find out in advance what other sites have bid for a particular keyword and then decide if you want to outbid the number one spot or maybe bid a little less and get the number two, three, or four spot (or lower if the keyword is expensive).

Ezines/Newsletters – These are delivered through E-mail and can be either plain text or HTML with full graphics. Although they can sometimes be expensive, you can get free ads by writing articles about your subject area and contribute them to the ezines. Why would you want to give them away? Because you can put in a “Resource Box” at the end of each article. At the very least this box will contain your name, website address, and a brief one or two line “bio” about you (some ezines allow more room). See, free online advertising for your home-based business!

Characteristics of Highly Effective Advertising

Have you ever spent a small fortune on advertising that generated disappointment rather than sales?

Many small business owners have been down the road of flat advertising results and are at a loss when it comes to developing new ideas to improve the response to their ads.

Whether you run ads in your local newspaper, your industry’s top periodical or on-line, you need your investment in advertising to pay for itself, and then some, in order to justify its cost.

If your ads aren’t generating the interest you want in your products and services they may be suffering from one of the five common mistakes small business owners and professional service providers make when developing and delivering their advertising.

Here is a list of five qualities common to successful small business advertising campaigns.

Zero in on Your Best Prospects
Many small business owners make the mistake of thinking bigger is better when they choose a medium in which to run their ads and opt to spend their advertising dollars to reach a larger but less focused market.

For example, if your company specializes in helping law firms reduce the cost of long, ongoing cases and you choose to run a series of full page ads in the New York Times instead of the New York Law Journal you will likely be disappointed by the response to your campaign. Despite reaching the considerably larger audience of the New York Times your would be missing the focused attention of the legal minded readership of the New York Law Journal.

Be sure to zero in on your market. You will increase the likelihood that the readers who see your ad will actually have a need for your service.

Set Yourself Apart from the Crowd

Unless your business sells a product or service that is completely unique and faces no competition your ads need to set your products or services apart from the crowd of your competitors.

If you are the owner of a pet supply company and your ads simply say, “We Sell Pet Supplies” they will be passed over along with every other bland advertisement for Fido’s food.

On the other hand, your ads will stand out and attract much more attention to your shop if you state that you sell, “King Sized Bones and Bowls for the Royalty in Your Family.” By focusing your ads on the owners of large breed dogs you distinguish yourself from the crowd of pet shops that simply sell pet supplies and make it clear to the owners of large dogs that you sell what they need.

Be sure the copy of your ads has the effect of making what you offer unique. Your highly targeted prospects will reward you by noticing the difference in your ads and buying from you.

Demonstrate Value
Another property of a highly effective advertisement is that it demonstrates the value your products and services provide. By demonstrating value in your advertisements you give your prospects a clear idea of the benefits you provide and a clear reason to buy from you. Demonstrating value can also help you set yourself apart from you competitors.

How can you change your ads to demonstrate the value you provide? What special offers can you make to set yourself apart from the pack?

Focus on client problems
Consumers buy products and services because they fill a need or solve a problem. If your ad copy does not address your prospects’ problems they will never know that you provide the solution they need.

If you are recovering from knee surgery and need to work with a physical therapist to regain your full range of motion, would you be more likely to choose a therapist who advertises his new and modern equipment or the one who advertises that she will have your knee working and feeling like new again in just three weeks?

Be sure to focus your ads on your clients’ problems. You will win more business as more and more prospects come to see you as the solution to their problem.

Require Action
The final aspect of a highly effective ad is a call to action. If you’ve done your job up until this point, your prospect has read your ad. If your ad does not finish the job and inspire your prospect to contact you for more information or visit your store or your web site, it is not worth the money you spent to have it published.

Don’t assume that your prospects know what they should do next. You need to tell them to be sure they know.

If you’ve gotten their attention, demonstrated your value and shown them that you are the solution to their problem, don’t waste your good work by neglecting to instruct them to take the next step and contact you.

If all this seems like a lot to accomplish in one advertisement, you need not worry. A well-written marketing message will take care of most of the details of writing a highly effective ad.

Do you have a marketing message you can use to consistently deliver effective ads and position your business as the solution to your client’s problems? You should.

Google AdSense Rewards Content with Advertising Revenue

If you’ve been looking for an easy way to increase your website’s revenue, Google AdSense may be your answer.

Google AdSense is a phenomenal  advertising revenue program that is taking the Internet by storm. It was specifically designed to enable content rich sites to increase their advertising revenue simply by displaying Google AdWords ads.

Google AdSense makes selling advertising space easy, as they handle everything for you. With access to a database of million’s of advertisers, you’ll never have to worry about finding advertisers for your website again.

The concept is simple. If you have a quality site that provides content, such as articles, you may qualify to display Google AdWords text ads on your web pages. If your site is approved, you will receive a portion of the pay-per- click payment.

The great thing about Google’s sophisticated advertising system is that the ads that display on your web pages are relevant to your content. They scan each page to determine what your page is about and display the ads accordingly. This will increase your click-through rate considerably, as relevant text ads combined with quality content are highly effective.

Although the AdSense program is free to apply, your site will be reviewed and must be approved in order to begin displaying the ads.

As there have been many sites turned down, you’ll need to ensure your site meets Google’s criteria prior to applying. You can find the guidelines at the following web address: https://www.google.com/adsense/policies

They’re basically looking for quality sites offering content. The keywords here are “quality and content.” If your site is under construction, loaded with advertising and/or broken images and links, don’t even waste your time applying, as you won’t be accepted. However, if you have a quality site and provide your visitors with content, you will most-likely be accepted.

The more content pages you have, the more advertising revenue you can make. It’s really that simple. If you don’t have your own content, there is a wealth of content available on Internet completely free. Subscribe to any of the following article announcement groups to receive new article submissions each day:

Article Announce – All types of articles

AABusiness – Business oriented articles, including: Business, Ecommerce, Sales, Networking, Business Communication, Internet Marketing, Promotion, etc.

AAInternet – Internet oriented articles, including: Ebooks, Ezines, Search Engines, Web Design, Web Development, Web Sites, etc.

AAHome – Home and Family oriented articles, including: Parenting, Relationships, Cooking, Recipes, Crafts, Gardening, Home, etc.

AAHealth – Health and Fitness oriented articles, including both physical and emotional health.

AAGeneral – General Interest oriented articles.

With your subscription to any of the above groups, you’ll not only receive new article submissions delivered to your email, but you’ll also have access to the archives which contain thousands of quality articles.

Once you’ve located articles that are relevant to your website, simply create a page for each. For example, if you find ten appropriate articles, you can create ten new content pages in which you can display Google AdWords ads. Not only will you be adding valuable content for your visitors, but you’ll also increase your website’s traffic and revenue. It’s a win-win deal no matter how you look at it.

Once your site has been approved, you simply select the style of ads you’d like to display and paste the code into your web pages where you’d like the ads to display.

Although all of the ads are text ads, there are currently four layout options to select from:

• Standard 468 x 60 banner format (displays up to 2 ads)

• Vertical 120 x 600 skyscraper ad (displays up to 4 ads)

• Horizontal 728 x 90 Leaderboard (displays up to 4 ads)

• 300 x 250 Inline rectangle (displays up to 4 ads)

Although all four ad styles can be effective, the “skyscraper” ads placed toward the top right side of your page or the “Leaderboard” ads placed at the top of the page generally will provide a higher click-through rate than the other two styles.

However, each page is different and will produce different results. For this reason, you may want to test your pages and display the style that produces the highest click- through rate.

Once you begin displaying the ads on your website, you can visit Google and log in to your account to see how the ads are performing. You can view the number of impressions, clicks, click-through rate and your earnings.

If you’re concerned about displaying ads that may compete with products or services you’re promoting, Google offers an option to filter out unwanted ads. In addition, you can display the ads along with any affiliate programs you may be promoting, as long as the ads don’t look like Google ads.

Google AdSense is the hottest advertising revenue program on the Internet. Isn’t it about time you got paid for your content?

Visit Google AdSense for further information:
https://www.google.com/adsense

Integrating Advertising into Your Web Design

If you are going to be placing ads on your website, you’ll want to put some thought into how you’ll integrate them. Poor integration of ads into your website will cause visitors to click away fast. Successful integration of ads into your site can be highly profitable. Before I show you where to position ads, I want to mention a few important points about ads.

1. Ratio of ads to content

How many ads should you place on your website? There is an optimum ratio of ads to content. If your website has too high a proportion of advertising relative to content, the traffic on your website will suffer and you will lose money. If your website has too low a portion of advertising relative to content, the sales on your website will suffer and you will lose money.

What is the optimum ratio of ads to content? I can’t point to any studies, but I feel the optimum ratio is somewhere around 20 to 25 percent ads relative to content. Go much above that ratio and, despite more ads, the revenue from your site goes down. But, there are ways to exceed that ratio and still make more money.

Ads as a service

Advertisements can provide useful information, as well as content. In that case, the ads become content. Here’s an example. Rather than post ads that pay you the highest commission, post ads that provide the best value to the visitors to your website. These are ads where the value is so good you might respond to the ad yourself. This type of ad is more of a service than an advertisement.

Another example is ads for gifts around the holidays. People expect and are not turned off by an increase in ads around the holidays. Finding gifts for everyone on your list is difficult work, and people appreciate gift ideas. Again, this type of ad is more of a service than an advertisement.

You can safely exceed the normal ratio of ads to content if you hide the ads in the content. An example of this is product “reviews”. For example, computer magazines are almost 100 percent advertising posing as product reviews.

2. Repetition of ads and ad management

I have seen websites that display the exact same banner on every page. If I didn’t respond to the banner on the first page, what makes them think I will repond to it on the second, third … hundredth page?

Displaying the same banner on every page of your website is annoying to your website’s visitors, and a money losing propostion for you. Keep your ads fresh. Ads are boring enough without repeating the same ad over and over. Display a variety of ads, and use an ad management system. An example of an ad management system is a banner rotator.

3. Ad type relative to response rate

I have heard claims that text ads receive the highest reponse. I’m sure these results are not related to whether the ad is text or graphics, but more likely related to the fact that text ads are usually placed in the more responsive areas of a webpage. All thing being equal, a graphic ad will always get better response than a text ad.

A graphic ad will get higher response than a text ad, and an animated graphic ad will get higher response than a static graphic ad. But animation can be taken to an extreme. Some types of animation are annoying and not only does the ad get a low response, but it also causes visitors to click away from your website.

Examples of annoying animated ads are banners that flash or jiggle or do something else that distracts the visitor so they can’t read the webpage content. Those visitors that don’t click away will scroll the webpage so this type of ad goes off screen while they try to read the webpage.

A secret few advertising designers know is that the graphic that will get the most attention is a picture of a human face. People are genetically predisposed to look at a human face in their view area. Try it yourself while you’re browsing the web. If a webpage has a human face on it, that’s the first thing you will look at.

Where to position ads on your webpage

To discuss where to place ads on a webpage, we need to divide a page into five sections as listed below.

  1. Header
  2. Footer
  3. Left Margin
  4. Right Margin
  5. Center column

Note: There is a sixth area of the webpage which is the popup window. There are many forms of popup windows; pop-over, pop-under, delayed, and exit. The polite way to use popup windows is the self-closing popup window. Because of popup window blockers, popup windows are much less effective today, and, from my own experience, when I tried using popup windows, the page views on my website dropped by 50 percent.

The most common position to place advertising banners is in the header section of a webpage. Web users have programmed themselves to ignore banners in this position. The response rate of banners in the header section of webpages has dropped to something like .0001 percent. The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has tried to overcome this problem by defining giant (what I call “battleship size”) banners. I don’t know of any studies that show this works.

Using banners in the head section of your webpage is a waste of processor time, but most webpages still use them. Making a sale this way is a long shot. Banners in the footer section of a webpage are even less responsive.

Actually Web users have programmed themselves to ignore all advertising on the web. However, from my own experience, you can get some response from ads in the left and right margins of a webpage. Most websites are designed with the menu in the left margin and possibly ads in the right margin. This means if the user has a low resolution display, depending upon the width of the webpage, the advertising may be off the screen.

Place your menu in the right margin and use the left margin for advertising. This places the user with a low resolution display in the positon of having to scroll to view the menu. Too bad. They should get a bigger display. Website revenue comes first.

The most responsive position to put your ads is in the center column of the webpage along with the content. As visitors are reading the article on the webpage, they come upon the ad. It’s unavoidable.

If you imagine the center column of your webpage divided into three parts; top, middle, and bottom, the most responsive position for your ad will be right in the middle. As the visitors are reading the article on the webpage, they are forced to look at the ad as they continue to the lower part of the article. This might be a little annoying to the reader, but let’s hope your content is worth that slight annoyance.

I would recommend placing your ad at the bottom of the center column. As visitors read the article on the webpage, they end up looking at your ad. This is almost as effective as placing the ad in the middle of the column, and a lot less annoying to the reader.

As you can see, how you integrate advertising into your webpages has a major impact on your ability to produce revenue from your website. Poor ad integration will cause visitors to click away. Proper integration can make your website highly profitable. But, ad positon is not the only determining factor, don’t forget the ratio of ads to content, ad management, and ad type relative to response rate.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising & Search Engine Optimization

There are pro’s & con’s to both Pay-Per-Click advertising and optimizing for natural search engine traffic.

PPC advertising has many great benefits. First of all, you get your traffic going quickly. I have used this advantage many times. I test new products and even new websites through PPC advertising before making a decision to promote or scrap my new website or product idea.

I am a firm believer in testing new products before throwing large amounts of money into advertising. PPC advertising is a great way to do this. For example, with Google’s Adwords program, you can post your ad, pay a $5 sign-up fee and have highly targeted traffic to your website within an hour. How is that for efficiency?

Also, you can moniter your click charges and stop them before they get too expensive. By the time you have spent your budget on clicks, you should have a pretty good idea of how successful your product is going to be.

I think of PPC advertising as being the most useful when starting a new business or product. WIth PPC advertising, you can quickly and efficiently find out which keywords you need to target and which products are the most popular.

Once that testing period is over, however, it’s time to look into Search Engine Optimization. PPC advertising can be very expensive, costing hundreds, even thousands a month in advertising costs. Once you know what keywords to target, it’s time to put together a plan on how you are going to optimize your website. The drawbacks to search engine optimization is that it requires a lengthy amount of time to get your site to rank high with your keywords. That is why I suggest using this method after the testing period is over, when you already know your business will be profitable.

Search Engine Optimization is definately a slow way to get your website traffic if you plan on not using PPC traffic. It could be a long, expensive road before you even begin selling your product. Search engines can take months, even years to start pulling up high with the search engines. But, natural search engine traffic is definately the best long term way to get the majority of your traffic.

When getting your site to start pulling up in SE natural listings there are 2 main things that need to be done:

  1. Add Content
  2. Add Backlinks

Search engine traffic requires you to submit your site to many different search engines and wait, maybe even months for them to spider your website.

I have had much better luck with another route. You can pay a fee to have your website listed in a very high ranking directory like www.dmoz.com (free), www.yahoo.com‘s directory ($299) or another website where your link is on a page that has a page ranking of 4,5,6 or higher. The sites I mentioned above have rankings of 8 or 9. When you have your link on a site with that high of a ranking, the search engines are spidering those sites constantly and will find your website and spider it very quickly. Not only will they find it quickly but because you are linked to a high ranking site, you will also rank higher with the SE.

When looking for backlinks, focus on sites with content related to yours and high page rankings of 4 or higher.

As for content on your site, try to include about 200-500 words of content or text on most of the pages of your site. Text makes your site bulkier. Make sure to integrate all of the keywords you want to target within the content of your site. Don’t worry about cramming the same keywords in over and over. Search engines may possibly even blacklist your site for keyword stuffing, if you try to do that.

There is a lot to know about Search Engine Optimization but, those are the 2 main factors when getting started.

In summary, when starting out, I suggest using PPC advertising for testing products and keywords. Spend time optimizing your site for search engine traffic after you have tested your products and keywords.

Search Engine Optimization – Advice and Tactic

Unique content is King. Search engines love new, unique and updated content. If you produce new content at a rate of just one reasonably sized page per day and tied in with the other advice throughout the site, I can almost guarantee you will get good listings. Remember though, write for the visitors but cater for the search engines. If your field of expertise fits into a niche in the market, all the better for you but you must get unique content all you will fall behind.

Page Structure. Search engine bots can sometimes get confused with poorly coded html, javascript and other web languages. If the bot has to wait too long or cannot decipher the web language then it will just abandon your site and move on to the next, even if it manages to get through the code it usually leads to poor search engine indexing of your website. You should also keep to widely used file extensions like .htm, .html, .php, .asp for your pages.

Loading Speed. The loading speed of your website should be kept to a minimum, if it takes long than 5 seconds on 256kb+ connections then you lose visitors – both real and search engine bots. There are a variety of reasons why pages can load slowly, it may either be your web server, poorly coded server side code like php or client side code like javascript which can slow or even stop your page from loading.

Visitor Navigation. This is more an aesthetic feature of your website focused at real visitors but you need to have some sort of standard navigation that is the same throughout your whole site. People can be put off and leave your website if they find it difficult to browse easily, search engine bots may also miss links if they can only be found deep within your site. Try to make as many internal links as possible available on each page.

Site Hierarchy. Site hierachy can be great for adding keyword density to your web site. An example of site hierachy working effectively would be this page, seo-advice.php. The full link contains SEO seo-advice.php which is very beneficial in the way search engines determine your sites relevance to a particular subject. Use your domain, folders and file names to your advantage.

Avoid Blackhat SEO. Blackhat SEO is a vast topic that commands little respect from real webmasters as it means using underhand methods to gain search engine rankings, although the site is usually banned quickly. Blackhat SEO includes using link farms, search engine spamming, hidden or disguised text, fake meta tag data, using duplicate content and using doorway pages. I would recommend you stay away from tactics like this as you will end up losing out in the long run.

Targeted Linkswaps. Link swaps are great but you must make them work for you. It does little good for you when your going for top search engine positions when your link swaps are untargeted. You should choose some specific keywords for both the link text and the link title text then make sure before you link swap that the other webmaster adds those specific keywords with the link.

The Basics of SEO – Some FAQs

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a foreign field to a lot of people. Rarely does a day go by when I don’t get asked a few questions on the subject. So I’ve decided to post this FAQ article in the hopes that it will help people understand the basics, and make them a little more comfortable with the whole domain.

Q: Why are search engines important to me?

A: 85% of all website traffic is driven by search engines. The only online activity more popular than search is email. 79.2% of US users don’t go to page 2 of search results. 42% of users click on the no.1 result. For the under-40 age-group, the Internet will become the most used media in the next 2-3 years.

Q: How do search engines decide on their rankings?

A: IMPORTANT: You cannot pay a search engine in return for a high ranking in the natural results. You can only get a high ranking if your content is seen as relevant by the search engines.
Search engines identify relevant content for their search results by sending out ¡¥spiders¡¦ or ¡¥robots¡¦ which ¡¥crawl¡¦ (analyze) your site and ¡¥index¡¦ (record) its details. Complex algorithms are then employed to determine whether your site is useful and should be included in the search engine¡¦s search results.

Q: Can’t I just pay for a high ranking?

A: No. The biggest concern for search engine companies like Google and Yahoo is finding content that will bring them more traffic (and thus more advertising revenue). In other words, their results must be relevant. Relevant results makes for a good search engine; irrelevant results makes for a short-lived search engine.

Most search engines these days return two types of results whenever you click Search:

„X Natural/Organic ¡V The ¡¥real¡¦ search results. The results that most users are looking for and which take up most of the window. For most searches, the search engine displays a long list of links to sites with content which is related to the word you searched for. These results are ranked according to how relevant and important they are.
„X Paid ¡V Pure advertising. This is how the search engines make their money. Advertisers pay the search engines to display their ad whenever someone searches for a word which is related to their product or service. These ads look similar to the natural search results, but are normally labeled Sponsored Links, and normally take up a smaller portion of the window.

Q: How do I get a high ranking?

A: There are four main steps:
Step 1 – Use the right words on your website
Step 2 – Get lots of relevant sites to link to yours
Step 3 – Use the right words in those links
Step 4 – Have lots of content on your site & add more regularly

Q: What is search engine optimization (SEO)?

A: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art of creating a website which is search engine-friendly. This means:
„X using the right words in your copy
„X using the right words in your HTML code
„X structuring your site properly
„X designing your site properly

For more information on these 4 elements, download our free ‘SEO Secrets’ eBook from divinewrite.com/seosecrets.htm.

Many people use SEO to also describe the other ingredient in a high ranking, ‘Link Popularity’.

Q: What is link popularity?

A: Think of the search engines as a big election. All the websites in the world are candidates. The links to your website are votes. The more votes (links) a candidate (website) has, the more important it is, and the higher its ranking. Link popularity is all about how many links you have, and how you can get more.
Links to your site tell the search engines how important your site is. They assume that if it¡¦s important enough for a lot of other sites to link to, it¡¦s important enough for them to display at the top of the rankings. Links are the single most important factor in ranking. Generally speaking, the more links you have to your site from other sites, the better your ranking.

Q: Are some links better than others?

A: Yes! The ideal kind of links are those that:
„X come from relevant sites (sites which use the same keywords);
„X come from important sites (have a high ranking);
„X include your keyword as part of the visible link text;
„X include varying link text (not the same link text each time); and
„X come from a page that links to few other sites.

When a search engine sees a link which satisfies most or all of these conditions, it says, ¡§Hey, this site must be credible and important, because others in the same industry are pointing to it.¡¨

Q: How do I get lots of links back to my site?

A: There are many possible ways to generate links. Some are dubious (like auto-generation software, and sites set up by webmasters simply to host links to their other sites) and I won¡¦t be discussing them here. Others, like those discussed below, are legitimate.
„X Add your site to DMOZ & Yahoo Directories (and other free directories)
„X Check where your competitors¡¦ links are coming from
„X Article PR – Write and submit articles for Internet publication
„X Swap links
„X Partner websites
„X Pay for links

For more information on these methods, download our free ‘SEO Secrets’ eBook from divinewrite.com/seosecrets.htm.

Q: What do you think is the best way to get lots of links?

A: Article PR. Write helpful articles and let other webmasters publish them for free in exchange for a link in the byline. With article PR, you don’t have to pay for the link, you determine the content of the page containing the link, you determine the link text, and the link is more or less permanent. A single article can be reprinted hundreds of times, and each time is another link back to your site!
For more information, read divinewrite.com/seoarticles.htm or visit ArticlePR.com.

Q: How do I write a good article PR piece?

A: See divinewrite.com/seoarticles.htm.

Q: How do I get a high ranking using free reprint content?

A: See divinewrite.com/Top_Ranking_Free.htm.

Q: How long does it take to get a high search engine ranking?

A: A long time! It¡¦s impossible to say how much time you¡¦ll need to spend generating links, but you can be sure it¡¦ll be a while no matter which method of link generation you use. You just have to keep at it until you have achieved a high ranking. Even then, you¡¦ll still need to dedicate some ongoing time to the task, otherwise your ranking will drop.

Q: What is the Google Sandbox, and is it real?

A: The Google Sandbox theory suggest that whenever Google detects a new website, it withholds its rightful ranking for a period while it determines whether your site is a genuine, credible, long term site. It does this to discourage the creation of SPAM websites (sites which serve no useful purpose other than to boost the ranking of some other site).

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence supporting the theory, but there is also a lot discounting it. No one has categorically proven its existence.

Q: What is the Google Dampening Link Filter, and is it real?

A: The Google Dampening Link Filter theory suggests that if Google detects a sudden increase (i.e. many hundreds or thousands) in the number of links back to your site, it may sandbox them for a period (or in fact penalize you by lowering your ranking or blacklisting your site altogether).

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence supporting the theory, but there is also a lot discounting it. No one has categorically proven its existence.

Q: What SEO companies should I be wary of?

A: Be wary of SEO companies that promise or guarantee results in a given timeframe, especially if they won’t expand on their methods for generating links back to your site.

Q: What tools can you recommend?

A: There are many very useful tools to help with your SEO. The following are just selection. All tools are free unless otherwise indicated.
„X Backlink checker – http://www.webuildpages.com/neat-o/
„X Backlinks by IP address – http://www.webuildpages.com/cclass/index.php
„X Link Popularity Tool – http://www.marketleap.com/publinkpop/
„X Google Alert – http://www.google.com/alerts?hl=en
„X Google Sitemaps – http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps
„X Google Sitemap Generator – http://gsitecrawler.com/
„X Google Toolbar – http://toolbar.google.com/
„X Indexed Pages – http://www.webuildpages.com/cache/cachetoolpublic.pl
„X Keyword Analysis (Overture) – http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/
„X Keyword Analysis (WordTracker – Paid) – http://www.wordtracker.com/
„X Keyword Difficulty – http://www.seomoz.org/tools/keyword-difficulty-tool.php
„X Keyword Density Measurement (Simple) – http://www.live-keyword-analysis.com/
„X Keyword Density Measurement (Complex) – http://www.gorank.com/analyze.php
„X Traffic Rank – http://www.alexa.com/
„X Spider Simulator – http://tools.summitmedia.co.uk/spider/

Q: I’m confused about all the terms used in SEO, can you help?

A: See seo-glossary .

Q: What is keyword analysis?

A: The first thing you need to do when you begin chasing a good search engine ranking is decide which words you want to rank well for. This is called performing a keyword analysis. Keyword analysis involves a bit of research and a good knowledge of your business and the benefits you offer your customers.
For more information, download our free ‘SEO Secrets’ eBook from divinewrite.com/seosecrets.htm.

Q: Do I need to submit my site to the search engines?

A: Theoretically, no. But I wouldn’t risk not doing it – especially as it’s free. As soon as you register your domain name, submit it to Google! Even if you haven¡¦t built your site, or thought about your content, submit your domain name to Google. In fact, even if you haven¡¦t fully articulated your business plan and marketing plan, submit your domain name to Google.

For more information, download our free ‘SEO Secrets’ eBook from divinewrite.com/seosecrets.htm.

Q: Should I submit my site to the search engines more than once?

A: No need. Although some of the search engines allow you to do this, there’s really no need.

Q: What are directories and should I submit my site to them?

A: Directories are websites (or web pages) which simply list lots of website and give a quick description of the website. Some are free and some require you to pay for a listing. Free directories are useful because you get a free link. However, the links aren’t worth that much. Paid directories can be good if they’re relevant, but they can cost a lot in the long term, so choose wisely.

One essential directories for any website is the DMOZ Open Directory Project.

Driving your website through Google Sandbox

Google Sandbox is applied on new websites, it determines the timing of site inclusion as well as ranking in Google search engine results (SERPS).
This process could take up to 6-8 months, which could be against your plans causing frustration to webmasters.

The question is what is to be done during the time in which websites are in Google Sandbox?

Do not waste time on checking your website listings in results page instead emphasize on SEO methods to accelerate your listings & improve status of ranking results.
Also make efforts to appear on other major search engines such as MSN & Yahoo since they do not have sandbox like Google, this will help drive traffic to your website while waiting for Googlebot to index your pages.

Link building strategy is another important issue not only will it improve ranking but also it will help Googlebot spider to find your pages easier while it’s in the sandbox instead of repeatedly submitting your website every time.

Content is king

Main part for ongoing development of your website is to add new content on continuous basis since the most thing search engines are after is good quality websites with relevant content.

Conclusion at the end is that waiting for Google Sandbox is nothing but a waste of your precious time; instead do some useful efforts on developing your website with relevant content & adding inbound links as a part of your linking strategy to make Google happy with what it sees as well as your target visitor.

12 Things You Really Should Know About SEO

From the very beginning of the Internet, the number one challenge which all of us have faced is how to attract qualified visitors to our websites. Throughout the boom years, one of the most popular solutions was to get massive funding, relatively easy to get in those days, and “buy” traffic, by various means.

As an iconoclastic young developer, with ambitions of beating the “big boys” at their own game, more time than money or the connections to get it, I sought a less capital intensive methodology to achieve the same results. Years of study and rapt attention to the pertinent forums, trying everything that even seemed to make sense (making many mistakes along the way, and learning much from each one), then carefully monitoring the results, has lead to many highly workable tools in our SEO bag of tricks. The outcome of these trial and error methods, (lots of both) lays the foundation of our SEO services and the basis for the ongoing growth of traffic to your website and ours.

The simple fact of the matter is this: Expertise in any other form of writing in no way qualifies one for the type of writing required to optimize a website for the Internet. There are many sites which have less than correct punctuation, grammar, and even spelling which rank #1 in their optimized search phrases. This is not to say that I don’t think these things are important, only that to be found in the search engines, they are not the most important consideration.

The flip side of this argument is equally true. Just because someone knows all the ins and outs of all of the search engines, can write algorithms in their sleep, has lunches with Dr. Eric Schmidt and is on a first name basis with Larry Page and Sergey Brin, does not, in any way, make them a writer. All of the writing on this site was done as a collaborative venture between Susan K. Thompson, a professional writer with strong academic credentials and real world experience, in both business and marketing, and myself. Was there a lot of editing and re-write? Yes. Were there disagreements? You bet! Was it worth it? Look at the record.

Emerald Coast Entrepreneur was launched on May 1, 2005 with most site optimization in place and submission to the directories just beginning. With a total monetary investment of less than $100.00, and a time investment, I’d rather not think about, but which approached 300 hours, the site was given a PR5 ranking by Google on it’s first update, less than 2 months after our launch.

Studies show that over 90% of all online users use search engines to find what they are looking for, whether products/services, or just plain old information.

The following twelve points will, I hope, summarize a philosophy, approach and methodology to the SEO question which is both sound and effective, along with giving some helpful insight into the industry itself.

1. Content. Content. Content.
Effective, professional, optimized Copywriting is the single, most important factor in any SEO campaign. Search engines index websites based on the content found on each page of the site. With a thorough understanding of the language and grammatical conventions combined with intensive research, to find and exploit the market focus, one can move a website to the upper echelon of the “SERP’s” (Search Engine Results Page) in a methodical as well as ethical manner.

2. Analyze Web Logs.
Measure everything, at least twice, and then check again. While I would be the first to say that many of the procedures that make up website optimization are more art than science, one needs to take a very scientific approach to the results of the effort. This is done by methodically keeping a record of, and making an analysis of the sites web logs. There are a number of specialized software which make the job easier but at the bare minimum, one needs to keep a close eye on the site visitors and their activity while on the site. No matter how well planned the strategy, it is largely theoretical until proven by the results, which can only be measured by the logs, and a thorough analysis of their content.

3. No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google, or any other search engine.
Those who promise such feats will either optimize for such vague search term phrases (such as, “green stunted widgets with purple Polka-dots and icing”) that no one will ever likely look for, or they are making a false claim, which they have no intention of keeping, or they have an inside edge at Google, something which they will loose, quickly, when the honest folks at Google find out about it. The other option, that they will take the money and run, is worth mentioning here but I’ll be polite.

4. Some things are just plain silly.
You don’t need to submit your site to 50,000 search engines. Businesses which offer this service are suspect, at best. 85% of the search results on the Internet come from one search engine, which, if you have one link from an established website, or better yet, a directory, will find your site just fine, on it’s own. Four (4) search engines account for over 90% of the traffic on the web. As for any supposed benefit which may accrue from being listed in an obscure search engine in Botswana which specializes in safaris to the Kalahari Desert and receives 7 hits per day; well, you figure it out.

5. SEO is not Pay-per-Click.
While no one would argue the effectiveness of getting increased traffic and sales, through a well planned, pay-per-click campaign, the fact remains that the conversion rates are generally low and they cease the moment the “pay” stops. With a well planned and executed SEO campaign, while results may take a bit longer, they continue to produce, and in fact grow, long after the work is done and paid for. Quite often we have found that after a thorough optimization of a site, only minor adjustments are needed on an ongoing basis, primarily related to new content and/or new items of sale or service.

6. SEO is not witchcraft, Druidism, shamanism.
Neither does it require any special chants, ceremonial fires, or vestments, though some of us do like to howl at the full moon, on occasion. There are no “Top Secret” practices which a reputable SEO can not tell a client, a judge, or his mother, for that matter. The very nature of the Internet has always been cooperative and there is nothing about SEO that can’t be learned, with a heavy dose of time and money. A reputable SEO firm will give you an item per item breakdown of just where the money goes. Be wary if you sense a secretive atmosphere or any unwillingness to answer questions. While there are technical points which might take some background to fully understand, if one has a solid overview of the entire situation, a simple explanation should be easy enough to come up with.

7. Do-it-yourself SEO.
Yes, you can execute your own SEO campaign and find a reputable SEO firm to help plan and organize it for you. About one half of my own clientele do some part of the actual work themselves, or have their in-house dedicated personnel do it, after discussion of the goals and aims of the business/website, a thorough website analysis, comprehensive search phrase research, and focused instruction on the ways and means of achieving high SERPs. These preliminaries are followed up with a detailed program of suggestions and methods which the client can then implement themselves or hire others to perform. Average savings; 30-40%.

8. Phased Implementation.

While many companies spend thousands of dollars per month on Search Engine Optimization, an alternative is available which will pay dividends to you in increased sales and leads without the high initial investment. The most important consideration is to have a reputable firm handle the initial evaluation and suggested optimization planning first. The trial and error method will cost much more, in the long run, with or without the desired result. After studying the plan and establishing a workable budget you may implement the plan as finances allow.

9. Remember the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Never was this more true than in the realm of SEO. While concrete and measurable gains will always come from a well thought out and executed optimization strategy, the Internet is a competitive media and we all want to be number one. Accept that a steady upward movement, over time, will place you worlds ahead of a flash followed by a crash.

10. A thought to ponder.
At stake, in the race for the top, is the very existence of your website, your business, and quite possibly your reputation. Beware of any “shortcuts” or less than ethical schemes that anyone might suggest to further your business goals. When it’s all said and done it is you, the business owner, who bears the responsibility for any company or individual you hire. Insist on knowing exactly what the strategy is and what steps are being performed to implement it. If it seems, in the least, suspicious, ask for and get an explanation. In this case, not only is Ignorance not bliss, it could very well be the beginning of the end for your business.

11. All incoming links are not created equal.

Both the relevance to your line of business and website subject matter and the PR value of the incoming link determine how valuable they are to your own PR ranking. With Google starting the trend, nothing new there, and most of the others following close behind, the days of grabbing all the inbound links, in any way possible, are gone. Not only will low ranked and/or irrelevant inbound links not help, they will, in fact, cause a penalty. Link farms, free-for-all link schemes, automated link accumulation software, or any other fad that doesn’t carefully screen the links and websites they are coming from will, in the long run, do more harm than good.

12. It’s more than just facts and figures.
The relationship between an online business and SEO is, perhaps, one of the closest of business relationships. In order to be effective, a SEO must know not only the facts and figures pertaining to the endeavor, but s/he must know something of the dreams and aspirations of the business principals. Things which don’t normally come out in a prospectus are often invaluable information when searching for the “right fit” into the complex world of the Internet. My own clients sometimes ask, due to the frequency of my calls and email in the early phases, “Am I your only client?” I usually laugh and say something to the effect that until I know your business almost as well as you do, yes, you are the only one that counts.