Backlinks and the Article Junk Pile

Or How to Cut Off Your Own Nose to Spite Your Face?

There are rumblings and rumours scurrying around the place that a few of the MMO marketing set are aware of, but not too many, I believe. A few niche marketers such as myself are also getting wind of this, but its early days and would probably attract some unwelcome criticism from the SEO know it alls in any case, so I’m hedging my bets here.

Its all to do with the way a lot of marketers are going about getting those all important backlinks to their money making websites and blogs. With the new wave of article spinning software available at very affordable prices – MAR being one (yes, I’m unashamedly promoting it in my sidebar) and Ledger’s Best Article Spinner another – it has become way too easy to take a PLR or similar article on any subject you like, spin the crap out of it and the submit it to hundreds of article directories at the touch of a button. Voila! Instant backlinks, right?

Well, technically that is right. But that kind of technique is not what is known as “white hat”, or plainly speaking, legit. In fact it resembles the darker path that is otherwise known as “black hat” and that has always been how people get themselves into trouble. Okay, it works for now, but for how much longer?

Google are well known for tinkering with the way their algo counts those precious backlinks. The ones we all crave and desire to rank our sites in the index in order to get organic, targeted visitors who will, we hope, click our affiliate or PPC links and make us money. The thinkers and techies at Google like nothing more than to scope out where backlinks are being generated from and then taking a big stick to those places they view as black hat.

Don’t quote me on this, because it is purely my own opinion based on what I have seen happen historically and what I can see happening now. But I have a sneaky suspicion that Google will (if they haven’t already) figure out that they can alter their algo to discount links coming from article directories that are publishing “obviously” spun articles.

Now that’s not to say that originally written articles will get tarred with the same brush. I don’t see that happening because it takes time and effort as well as some research and knowledge on a subject to sit down and write a 500 word article that is worth reading and is informative. A backlink placed in that kind of article deserves to be counted, simply because the writer took the time and trouble to create a worthwhile addition to the web and provide a useful addition to Google’s index. After all, that is exactly what Google wants to see in its index – worthwhile, informative, readable, entertaining etc content that is original – and not that which is copied and spun into something that often closely resembles double dutch.

Ok, you don’t see too many spun articles littering the index, at least not in the high pages, but some get through and they are a major annoyance for anyone looking for something worthwhile to read. That’s not the issue here – but more for the fact that these spun articles do get indexed and that means the link(s) placed in them also count.

More annoying is the fact that legit sites are climbing the SERPs thanks to the ton of backlinks occupying tons of crap spun articles. How long do you think this will last before some bright spark at Google realizes that they can stop it happening by getting down and dirty with the algo – and we all know that the techies love to be able to work algorithmically rather than waste human resources checking all that badly spun bullshit. Shouldn’t be too hard to simply NOT index crap spun articles that are posted in the multitude of unregulated and clearly unedited article directories and the links in them would simply not be counted.

Hell, if I worked at Google and on their algo, I’d be laughing my ass off while I tweaked away until all those smug so-called SEO experts who have been dumping reams of worthless crap into article directories for months woke up one morning to find all their sites had taken a serious SERP hit because 90% of all their spin-generated backlinks had suddenly been ignored. The pleasure would be indescribable! Oh yeah!

What would that leave us with, I wonder?

It would leave us with those legit websites and blogs that got their backlinks the hard, but honest way! Yep, by writing good, original articles or by getting links from other site owners who liked what we wrote on our own sites so much, they thought it worthy of linking to. Which is how the algo and the SERPs ranking structure is supposed to work in an ideal world.

There will always be those who trade links and guest post in other people’s blogs. I don’t see anything wrong in that as a guest post must also be original and worthwhile – after all, who would accept crap spun articles on their personal, carefully tended and nurtured blogs? I certainly wouldn’t! Even more so if I believed it would be detrimental to my blog, in SERPs ranking or in visitor dissatisfaction, depending on what I expected from my blog. Yeah, I fully expect someone to come here and comment that I shouldn’t be so naive about the function of blogs. Sure I know what really goes on – I’ve been around long enough to know, so save your breath. This is mainly about my opinion on the probable future of spun articles and baclinks, in any case. Those of you that know me will know what I am really saying…

Also, such a change would pave the way for some more regulated and edited article directories such as ezinearticles.com – places where only legit, original content is welcome and there is a limit on the number and type of backlinks allowed. If its of any interest, ezinearticles.com make a fortune from the ads they place on your articles there, which is the trade-off for a backlink that is worth something. It could happen and I would welcome the change.

Pipe dream or wishful thinking? Both, but realities come from ideas and ideas come from wishful thinking that gets put into action.

Make Money The Honest Way Blog

How to Make Easy Money with SEO

Well, my last post here How to Make Money Online With Action, went into how to get off your backside and do the work in order to figure out how to make money online. This one takes it one stage further and explains exactly how to make easy money with SEO!

If you want to know how to make easy money with SEO, or Search Engine Optimization as its full name is, here’s are some very useful pointers that will help you if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty by doing some hard work. If the very thought of that is too much for you to bear, then you probably won’t get anything out of this and you might as well save yourself some time and not bother reading any more. This post is primarily for website owners whop want to know how to make money online from blogs, website etc but are struggling to attract the right kind of traffic.

I’m also going to add a disclaimer here: If you’re target niche is Make Money Online (MMO) then the methods I’m going to talk about will work, but you will have to amplify your workload a hundredfold to compete with the people who are holding onto the front page in the only search engine that really matters, Google. It may seem a little contrived to be writing about how to make money online with SEO on a site that doesn’t, but what this site does is immaterial to the information as it works best in other niches. This site unfortunately occupies the very same MMO niche and is nowhere for most of the keywords that matter. That’s because I learned early on that if I were to put the amount of work necessary into floating this site up to the top of MMO into a less competitive niche, I will not only dominate it much more quickly, I can rinse and repeat with several other niches and still have time to go out and spend the money I’m making from them.

Meaning that I don’t make money from the Make Money Online niche, but I certainly do from other niches that I have learned how to dominate using the SEO methods I’m going to talk about here. Why is that? Because other niches are much easier to dominate due to the sites that populate Google’s front page are generally not owned and run by Internet Marketers who are SEO savvy. Most of them are battling it out in MMO, which is good for me and the people who have figured it out, because while they’re all fighting and spending all their time in that niche, they’re not working other, more profitable niches, like the ones I’m working!

What niches am I working?

Are you kidding? If I revealed them, every person who read this post would suddenly become my competitors and I don’t want to have to fight to keep my top spots which make me money!

So you’ll just have to go find your own niches to work. Don’t worry, there are literally thousands of profitable niches out there that are easy to work and easy to dominate once you have done the groundwork. Which is where I’ll start in my explanation on how to make easy money with SEO.

First thing you’ll need is a website that you can use to put up Adsense, or a comparable PPC advertising medium. Failing that, you’ll need some affiliate products that you know will sell with enough traffic. But I’m going to concentrate on Adsense, because it is one of the easiest ways to make money I know of, once you know how to use it. Incidentally, this information is probably sitting in a dozen or so eBooks which you’d probably pay a pretty penny for, except here its for nothing, nada, zilch, zip, en gratis! I’m happy to give it away for the trade off with traffic.

Another thing you may notice is that I don’t use Adsense on this blog. That’s because it doesn’t get the organic search traffic needed to make it work. Most of the traffic to this site is social, which while is very nice to have people read my blog, its no good for converting into money simply because as I’ve said before, social traffic does not click ads and therefore don’t make money for me! No problem and I’m not going to sweat it. You’ll see why in a minute.

Your main site that you have set up for Adsense should be a site that is at least 3-6 months old already and been indexed for most of that. Better if its over a year old and already features in Google’s index maybe even in the high pages of the SERPs, but if not, you’ll just have a little longer to wait. You’ll need to SEO your site for your main keywords for several reasons. The main one is that’s the keywords you want to rank in the SERPs for and they should be keywords that have reasonably high monthly search figures for, preferably more than about 3000, but more is obviously better. Don’t try for really high search numbers as you’ll probably find they’re very competitive and you’ll struggle to break into them. Anything up to around 30k a month is good.

Remember a thing about your position in the SERPs is that if you are in number one spot, you will take the lion’s share of the traffic. In fact you’ll attract anything from 60% up to 90% of the monthly search figures in that place, although it varies from niche to niche. The lower down on the front page you are, the fewer visitors you will attract, so you need to aim for top spot. When you are researching the keywords, this is a factor you need to be aware of. If the current top site is a PR6 with hundreds of relevant keyword anchored backlinks (more of that in a minute), then you will struggle to usurp it. Obviously the weaker the competition, the easier it will be to overcome it.

So how to beat your competition using SEO and a little guile.

If you haven’t already got them you’ll need to build some more sites. Free ones are best and easiest, meaning they’re going to be blogs. They should be built on a mixture of platforms, such as Blogger, WordPress, Blinkweb, Geocities etc. The more the merrier. The subjects of the blogs will be relevant to your main site in more general terms, so try to get your main keywords in the URL even if it means creating blogs with long URLs.

The next part is the hard work part. You’ll need to get these blogs populated with several relevant posts each and indexed in Google. You can do this a number of ways, but the safest way is to write them yourself and make them original. Do not use PLR articles and do not scrape content from other sites. This will cause Google to either not index the blogs at all, or to not give them any authority, which is almost as bad. What you want is for these blogs to be legitimate and relevant so that they will also feature in the SERPs in their own right. They don’t need to sit high, just to be in the SERPs for your given keyword or long tail keywords is enough. Why?

Because these blogs are going to link to your main site and give it a lot of authority for its main and long tail keywords. This is what will make it rise to the top of the SERPs – not page rank, which is another thing that confuses people.

A PR0 site with lots of authority from relevant links will beat a PR5 with fewer links.

To do that, you need to use SEO. And this kind of search engine optimization is easy enough to do. Here’s how.

For each new post in each blog, you need to write about a subject that is highly relevant to one of your main keywords. The title of the post must contain the keyword. Then include a link to your main site from within the post using the keyword in the anchor text. Then go on to the next blog and do the same thing, only use a slightly different one for your main keywords.

You need to target several closely related keywords. Not only will it increase the SERPs authority for your main site for its main keyword, it also gives additional SERPs authority for the closely related keywords, meaning your site will feature in several different search pages, which all attract traffic. So you could end up sitting on top of the SERPs for several related keywords that all attract varying levels of traffic. The more traffic you attract from the search engines, in particular Google, the more money you will make from the Adsense ads that they will be more disposed to to click on.

Lastly, the layout of the main site itself needs to be optimized for Adsense. That means that while you’ll need plenty of relevant content for your keywords, you don’t really want anyone to read it. That may sound pretty crappy especially if you like the idea of attracting lots of readers top your site or blog, but if you want to make money from Adsense, you’re going to have to make your site less attractive to people so they’ll be more likely to want to click out and go someplace else. I know that hurts to hear, but its the truth. If your site is too good and the content too helpful and interesting to people, the less chance they’re going to want to go anywhere else and the less chance they’ll click your ads.

You also want to make sure the right ads trigger for your keywords. Here is where relevance comes into play. Your main keywords must feature in the title of your posts or the H1 headers on your page. The keywords also need to be in the post for good measure, but they don’t need to be there in any great quantity as long as your main headers tell Google what your page and your site is all about. If you are getting different sets of ads, then that is telling you your page is not optimized properly and the Google bots is seeing several different main keywords. Here it is best to only publish one article on your main page and make it as relevant as you can. That way the bots won’t be fooled with multiple titles and you’ll get the ads you want.

As for ad placement, this can vary from niche to niche, but a 250×250 ad block just above the title of your post is more often the best spot. Go for a plain white background and blue links, because this is what people are used to seeing. Your sit should match this – plain white background and dark grey or black text is best.

This will improve your CPC, but that is probably a topic all in itself and one for a future post as this one is already getting far too long!

On that note, I’m going to sign off, wishing all my readers a happy and prosperous 2009!

Terry Didcott
The Honest Way

Make Fast Money Keywords?

Ok, I’ve left this blog alone for quite long enough, so its time to post something useful. The last post Hacked!, said it all about what can happen when you let your guard drop. The consequences were bad enough for me in that it cost me a lot of valuable time cleaning out all the malware and dodgy links that whoever got into my sites inserted all over the place. They could have been a lot worse had they infiltrated some of my sites that actually make me some money by costing me a lot of traffic.

Which brings me onto a point I just posted about in one of my other blogs about how the unaware marketer can be fooled into thinking they are sitting high in Google’s SERPs and still not be getting any traffic. The post can be found at: Make Money Fast.

What it highlights is that most Internet Marketers, when doing their keyword research to find good, well searched long tail keywords with low competition, then put their site together and work hard with their SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and after a while they see it appear on page one of the SERPs.

That’s great and they then check their stats to see all the traffic flooding in – and… wait a minute… a mere trickle

How can this be?

Its a phenomenon I recently noticed on a couple of my own fairly new niche sites as well as the make money site I mentioned above. When I search on the keyword term “Fast Make Money”, which the site ranks well for, it actually sits in the top spot on Google. The keyword search program, Keyword Elite, shows that search term gets over 11k monthly searches, so I should be seeing a ton of traffic to that site.

But I’m only seeing a trickle. Why?

Because I, like most Internet Marketers use quotes around my keyword search terms in the search engines search box. Then it dawned on me that most people (who are not Internet Marketers) do NOT use quotes. The keyword search tools do not discriminate between searches done with or without quotes, they just report traffic stats for the keywords searched.

They can be in any order, by the way!

So when I do the search on the same keywords without the quotes, a very different picture appears. The first thing you’ll notice is where your keyword search tool has told you there are X amount of monthly searches and Y number of competing sites on Google, its telling it the way it sees it for the keywords in the order it displays them.

So for Make Money Fast, I see 11.5k monthly searches for only 106k competing sites. That, one would naturally believe, is an extremely good keyword competitor to get into the ring with.

Except its not the whole picture. In reality, take away the quotes and you get 11.8 million competing pages – not such a great bet after all. My own site actually manages to scrape in at the bottom of page two without the quotes, so that’s why it only sees a trickle of that search traffic.

But even that’s not the end of the story.

The keywords themselves are not necessarily in the order that the ordinary organic search traffic surfer keys in, so you then have to look again at different word orders for your keyword. Of course most people won’t search on Fast Make Money, because it doesn’t make sense. They’ll naturally search on Make Money Fast, or even Make Fast Money, as these terms are simply better English!

So you do another Google search on Make Money Fast, and whoa! The number of competing pages changes (9.8 million) and the sites displayed also change with different sites occupying the top places.

This phenomenon occurs with all keyword searches. Change the order of the words, use quotes or don’t use quotes, you get a different result every time.

So what does that mean for all the hard work you just put into trying to dominate your chosen keyword?

It means that you have more work to do. You not only have to rank for that great, high traffic, low competition long tail keyword you thought you’d found, but you also have to rank for different configurations of those keywords and without the quotes too. Makes it all a little more difficult, doesn’t it?

Another point here, which I’m sure will be obvious to you and you probably already thought about it and that is:

The fewer individual “words” that make up your long tail keyword, the better, because it means fewer combinations of the keyword phrase, so more chances for you to rank for the assorted word order alternative for your keyword term.

Of course, single word keywords are best, as in that case, all of the above does not apply – quotes or no quotes it won’t matter, as you’re only dealing with one word to be searched, like Money. Except you’d be going up against 933 million competing pages for that term.

Do you fancy your chances?

Most people, unless they have a very highly rated site simply cannot compete with that much competition, which is why we all work more with long tail keywords instead. It at least gives us a fighting chance. Of course, in niches other than money, politics, health and finance, there is less competition and fewer highly SEO’d sites making up that competition, so you have a much better chance of getting your site onto the front page of the SERPs and attracting that valuable organic search traffic, which will convert into dollars if you’re site is properly SEO’d and monetized. Take something simple, like Asia’h Epperson, for example. Much easier to compete when there are not so many pages to go up against!

Lastly, you might be thinking, “Who cares about the search engines when I get 1000 visits a day to my blog from social networking sites, like Stumbleupon, Digg, Del.icio.us etc.”

Well, if you like having a lot of readers, that’s fine.

But if you want to make money, you need targeted, organic search engine traffic, because they are the people who will click your PPC ads and affiliate banners.

Social traffic visitors to your site tend not to click ads or buy affiliate products. That’s simply because they are Internet Marketers themselves and for one, don’t click people’s PPC ads and two won’t buy your affiliate products. That’s because they most likely already have a Clickbank account themselves and will use their own affiliate id to buy any ebooks or software and have the discount themselves.

If you don’t believe me, and you’re relying solely on social traffic to fill your daily site stats, just have a look at your bank statement and see all the zeros where the Clickbank and Adsense cheques should be…

Ouch! Reality can be painful, can’t it?

Terry Didcott – Freedom Writer
The Honest Way

Still Researching Those Keywords?

Are you still researching those keywords for your new site or blog but don’t seem to be getting anywhere?

A lot of the time, you can come up with some really great ideas for keyword phrases, otherwise known as long-tailed keywords, but when you’ve done all your research and then go to look for a domain name that matches those keywords for the most powerful SEO options, you find that all the best ones have already been taken.

By the best domains, I mean all the .com domains. Let’s face it, when you’re serious about your business, only a .com will do as anything else just doesn’t have the same weight when you drop it into conversation. So you search like mad for all sorts of combinations of the great keywords you’ve stumbled upon but there simply is nothing available.

There is a way around this, if you think smart.

You need your own professional hosting that allows you to create subdomains. Personally, I’d recommend HostGator as they allow you to set up and host as many top level domains and subdomains as you want, ie unlimited, for the one monthly hosting fee. As long as you can do that and have the resources to create a complete new website (or blog) then this is what you can do.

Start with a good top level .com domain name. Then simply create a subdomain with the keywords that you’ve found for your next great business creation.

SEO the new site by using all the SEO techniques you have learned, or if you want to save yourself some time and effort, there is a simple to follow and fully loaded SEO eBook that I have personally put together that will show you exactly how to do it. It’s entitled The Secrets of SEO Revealed and there’s a link in my sidebar with a small graphic of the cover – or you can click HERE to go straight to the sales page, if you want.

Terry Didcott
THE HONEST WAY

PS: I’ve noticed a growing trend on a lot of blogs where they ask you for a donation to buy them a cafe latte or a beer or something similar – in other words they have their hands out for a donation. That’s all well and good, but I won’t be doing that because I feel it’s akin to begging in the street.

From my point of view I believe that if you want to be paid, you should at least give something in return. Ok, bloggers argue that their time writing their blogs and giving the reader something interesting to read is recompense enough, but I don’t buy it.

I feel that if a reader enjoyed visiting my blog they should feel free to come back and read some more – without being made to feel like they should pay for the privilege. Sure, I’d like to be paid for my time writing, but that monetization will come from advertising revenue as this site increases it’s readership, which is my job to continue to work at achieving.

PPS: If someone wants to donate to my cause, better they get something in return.

My eBook: The Secrets of SEO Revealed is on sale at only $9.97 which I feel is really good value for what you get.

So please do not donate money to buy me a beer or a coffee. Buy my eBook instead and benefit from the hard work and valuable information that went into that instead. That way you get your money’s worth and more when you put the book to use and start to make money from your fully SEO’d site!