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Category: Search Engine Optimization

Thinking Rich And The True Meaning of Affordable SEO

There’s a reason why most Internet Marketing forums and websites have just as much time devoted to financial or business self-help as they do to details like mobile website design — it’s because getting started in an online business takes a particular kind of attitude. Or rather, it takes a specific kind of attitude to succeed.

The chief attribute of people who succeed online is that they think ‘rich’. In other words, they know the value of their money, and they don’t waste it. They know the difference between an asset (something that creates more money) and a liability (something that costs money.) The famous example is a car — many people think of a car as an asset, but it’s a liability, because it costs money (gas, repairs, etc.) without making money (except when you sell it, but even then it won’t make nearly as much as it cost.)

SEO can be either an asset or a liability, depending on a lot of circumstances. You can pay a company to get you ranked for the wrong keywords, or you can pay them to get you ranked and then not have a website that converts traffic into sales. On the other hand, you could turn over a small fortune and find that you’ve earned it back at the end of the month because you got a flood of visitors and turned it to a continuous stream of sales.

What does it mean, then, to have affordable SEO? It certainly doesn’t mean the absolute cost of the operation, because if the work fails, it doesn’t matter if you spent $5 or $5000 — your RoI is zero. When it comes to SEO, affordability is answered by one simple question: did it make you more money than it cost?

The question is harder to answer than it seems, because SEO is cumulative. Your first few months of SEO might seem like total flops, but then in the third month it picks up and by the seventh month you’ve made quadruple your total investment and you’re still building on that.

People who think rich look for a company who can do SEO right — who has a reputation for doing SEO right — and then they commit with the understanding that in the end, their expenses will be more than paid back. In the end, they are the ones who succeed.

The Latest Changes to the Rules of Organic SEO

Organic SEO is changing even as we sit back and try to keep up. Google released a new algorithm called Panda in March, and has updated it several times since then — and Panda has changed everything. Until Panda, it was enough to follow a complex but definable set of rules regarding everything from keyword placement and density to creating a natural link profile.

Today, however, there is an art to SEO that simply didn’t exist before. That’s because Panda suddenly put rules in place that takes the “user experience” into account. For example,

EzineArticles.com used to look like this:

And now, it looks like this:

See the difference? The largest and most profitable article directory on the Internet did away with two navbars, and 3 different blocks of AdWords because Panda slapped them downward in the rankings until they complied. Their profitability is down because the AdWords are gone, but the other choice was to have it tanked completely because their pages simply wouldn’t show up on any search engine results pages.

Why did this happen? Simple: because according to Panda, your user experience sucks if you have a bunch of crap interrupting or distracting from your main content. There exceptions; Panda loves social bookmarking buttons and other ‘share-me’ stuff and won’t penalize you if you’ve got it alongside your content, for example. But by and large, modern SEO means creating clean, easy-to-use pages just as much as it means creating keyword-dense, heavily-backlinked pages.

But wait — there’s more. Panda doesn’t just check your content pages for user experience. It checks every single page on your site and gives your entire site a weighted ‘usability score’ — which means that your entire site can get penalized if just one or two heavily-visited pages have a poor user experience.

What that means for SEO in the modern world is profound, because Google is now forcing us to juggle between satisfying the demands of Panda and being able to effectively monetize our sites — how easy that ends up being has yet to be seen.

First Page Placement is Within Your Grasp

When you just start to get a website off the ground, the notion of getting your site first page placement for even a few keywords can sound like pie in the sky. Truth be told, however, it’s both easier — and harder — than you might think. That’s because there are multiple ways to get that first page placement, but none of them are entirely without complexity.

Organic SEO
The first route is your standard organic SEO magic: you build a vast array of backlinks. You make sure you present a natural backlink profile from a wide variety of websites, including directories, articles, blog comments, social bookmarks, web 2.0 properties, and more. The process takes an immense investment in time, not just in terms of man-hours, but in terms of allowing months to pass in order to convince the search engines that your site isn’t just a fad.

Organic SEO is complicated because there are a lot of ways to screw it up. You have to know the basic process of building backlinks, but that’s just the beginning. An artificial link profile (i.e. all of your links traceable to the same IP address; all of your links appearing around the same time of day/days of week; etc.) is a surefire way to get all of your work undone in a hurry, and it’s hardly the only one. With Google’s new Panda update, you have to worry about details like how your page looks to incoming visitors as well.

Pay Per Click Marketing
Pay per click marketing — also known euphemistically as ‘sponsored placement’ — are the ads you see at the top of each SERPs page that aren’t the natural results. Every search engine has them, and anyone willing to bid on the keywords can get their site listed in them. Of course, it’s not an easy process to wrap your mind around, much less explain in a few words.

The key to doing PPC correctly is to not do it at all. If you’re going to rely on PPC marketing to get your traffic flowing to your site, just bite the bullet and hire a qualified PPC management firm. These people know the pay-per-click game inside and out, and the fees they charge are nothing compared to the money you’ll lose if you try to get into the PPC game unaided.

In short, first page placement is right there for you to have — but be prepared to work with the experts to get there, plain and simple.

Small Business SEO Doesn’t Have To Be Small Time SEO

Small business SEO has a strange reputation among the SEO elite — a lot of the gurus out there seem to believe that if you can’t drop thousands of dollars on an overwhelming SEO campaign right out of the gates, you simply aren’t ever going to hit it big. Fortunately for small business owners everywhere, they are profoundly mistaken.

It’s true that if you can afford to spend a boatload of money on SEO, you will get results faster. But that hardly means that buying a long-term SEO campaign that only costs in the low triple digits each month is something to be scoffed at. In fact, there is an upper limit to how much SEO is actually helpful at once.

organic SEOThat’s because the search engines look for unnatural patterns in backlinking. If a newbie website suddenly sprouts a thousand backlinks overnight, it’s not likely that that website is legit — it’s more likely someone dropped a pile of cash into a backlinking campaign. That’s not what the search engines want to support — they want to support websites that are actually awesome. To that regard, you have to build backlinks slowly, at least at first, the way that any website that was just starting to get attention might naturally earn them.

Granted, there does eventually come a ‘tipping point’ at which it’s reasonable for a website to have gone viral and suddenly actually get thousands of backlinks, but that doesn’t come for a long time — during which there is really no such thing as ‘small time’ SEO. There is only good SEO, which takes time and laborious effort no matter how much money you have to spend on it.

If you happen to have a decent budget, you’re far better off starting out with a combination between organic SEO and managed pay-per-click advertising. The PPC will drive traffic and make a profit while the SEO will do what SEO does best — have long-term, high-yield dividends. But even then, you don’t have to have a mountain of cash in order to get that plan off the ground. There’s just no excuse for anyone to say that small business SEO is small time — it’s plain wrong.

Social Bookmarking: Is It Still Worth It?

Social bookmarking was once the rage of the SEO community — sites like del.ici.ous, Digg, and Reddit attracted a considerable amount of attention because they combined the three things that linkbuilders love: dofollow links, controllable anchor text, and the ability to share your links with others.

Then, as the social bookmarking sites realized that they were getting abused by internet markers looking to give their own sites some love, the vast majority of them switched to nofollow links, and the party pretty much died off. Or did it?

(For those of you who aren’t following — forgive the pun — the difference between a dofollow link and a nofollow link is that the Google spiders that crawl the web looking at pages won’t acknowledge a nofollow link, meaning that even if you get a link from a PR 8 webpage, if it’s nofollow, the Google spider won’t give your website the credit for that banklink.)

There are three big reasons why social bookmarking is still a critical part of every organic SEO campaign. First of all, the nofollow/dofollow distinction only applies to Google. If you want to rank on Bing, Yahoo, AllTheWeb, Blekko, or other up-and-coming search engines, each and every social bookmark you post has value.

social bookmarkingSecondly, there are still social bookmarking sites that retain their dofollow nature. The two biggest are Digg and, perhaps ironically, Google Buzz — but there are several dozen others that are worth your time. Even if Google is your sole target, social bookmarking on these sites will still have profound SEO benefits.

Finally, there is the simple fact that the third factor that made social bookmarks so amazing in the first place is still firmly in place — perhaps moreso now than ever. Social bookmarking pages have become communities, much like forums, and participating regularly on these community pages will get you the same kind of benefits in terms of readership and authority.

There is an easy way to prove this: grab a PR-checker and go to the profile pages of some of the most profligate posters on Digg and Reddit — and you’ll find that their profile page is often, by itself, a PR 4 or 5 page. That’s huge, and if you can get there, you can easily drop a high-PR backlink on any page you desire at any time. That is worth it.

Good Forum Posting Habits Take Time To Develop

When you start down the path of forum posting, there are distinctly two different paths you can take toward success. You can go for the short-term, high-volume approach, or you can take a longer-term perspective that will result in the same high volumes that continue to flow each day, indefinitely. Too many erstwhile SEO experts who advocate the forum posting and, to a lesser degree, the blog posting tactics — blog comments, that is, not creating an actual blog — take the short-term perspective, and it ruins the real value inherent in these highly effective techniques.

That value is obvious when you stop to think about it — a forum is a very powerful thing. A large community of more-or-less dedicated readers will naturally build up quite an authority in the eyes of the websites as time goes on. Equally importantly, someone that has respect within that community — even if they’re not a pillar of it, but just someone that’s known for making meaningful contributions — will get his posts and thoughts read by scores if not hundreds of people.

blog postingOn the opposite note, someone that’s a complete newbie to the forum might get his posts read if he’s inflammatory or provocative enough, but the chances are good that the denizens will simply ignore him. Or worse, that the forum moderator will detect that he has a backlinking agenda, and simply delete his account and all of his posts along with it.

Either way, the net effect of all of his effort is squandered in whole or in part. But it’s easy to register for a forum, throw away a lame post or two, and then vanish never to be seen again — that’s why most people do it.

The other end of the spectrum involves time. Time to find a forum relevant to your subject matter, that doesn’t disallow personal links, that also happens to be big enough to be worth your attention. Time to learn the rules, time to post meaningful contributions that bring value to the community. But if you DO put in the time, the results speak for themselves: high-value backlinks coupled with an instant customer base for whatever relevant product or service you happen to be releasing. It’s golden — if you take the time.

Four Reasons Why Custom Blog Creation Is An SEO Tool You Can’t Afford to Miss

There are a lot of gurus — the vast majority, in fact — who hawk custom blog creation as a powerful and absolutely necessary tool for SEO. But very few of them take the time to explain exactly why a blog is so gosh darn important for good search engine results. We’re going to take a moment today to explain all of that to you in as much detail as we can fit into 400 words or less.

First Page PlacementBlogs are websites. They’re websites with specific functions like comments, trackbacks, and RSS feeds, but at heart, they get indexed, categorized, and ranked by the search engines just like every other website. Like every other website, they can be optimized so that the search engines see them more clearly and like them better. Unlike every other website, blogs have specific elements that give them strong SEO advantages.

Structured Content.
Blogs offer categories that allow you to compile your content according to theme or subject. That makes the search engines’ sorting job much easier, and makes sure that your content will rank for the right topic.

Straightforward URLs
Most blogs tend to have very uncomplicated URLs that follow an easy-to-determine pattern. As intelligent as the search engines’ spiders are, they do get confused from time to time by some of the more creative URL structures that humans come up with, but they always get the blog software’s links.

Deep Links
Blogs tend — quite naturally — to get into specifics about a product or service they’re talking about, which means they tend to produce very natural deep links. (A deep link is a link to a page ‘deep’ within a site, as opposed to the homepage of the same site. Deep links are great for long-tail keyphrases — think “Article Writing and Distribution” as opposed to “Organic SEO.

Really Simple Syndication
RSS feeds and blogs were literally made for each other. RSS content allows subscribers to get every new post without having to remember to check back with your blog — and any such content syndicated or cited by other blogs is simply more traffic for you!

All of this doesn’t cover the biggest ‘benefit’ of all — constant, fresh, unique content. Search engines love that more than anything else. With all of the unique SEO facets that blogs bring with them just based on their structure and software, it’s small wonder that custom blog creation is so loudly supported by SEO experts of all levels!

Affordable SEO, Not Amateur SEO

Affordable SEO is the heart and soul of any startup web-based business. Small businesses don’t have the budget to drop vast quantities of money on pay-per-click marketing — though it is usually smart to spend a bit on it, just to get your income kick-started. In many ways, smart PPC management is the perfect compliment to affordable SEO — you get the income fast from your PPC campaign, you spend it maintaining that campaign and investing in some inexpensive but effective SEO, and eventually, the SEO will take over and the PPC campaign can be dropped.

That’s the fundamental essence of an expert route to success online, actually — find a way to make some consistent money up front, often with pay-per-click marketing or some other method of expensive but high-volume traffic generation, and then use the money you make to create backlinks and other SEO substructure to get your website on the stop of the search engine results pages.

The problem that many webmasters have is that they hire an SEO freelancer for pennies per hour on ODesk or Elance, and then they wonder why it’s been seven months that they’ve been paying for a service and haven’t gotten anything out of it. The answer is that they hired an amateur. It’s possible — and common — for amateurs to spend hundreds of hours doing what seems like valuable SEO work, building backlinks, posting on forums, commenting on blogs, and writing articles, only to get no results at all.

Professional but affordable SEO services might charge a bit more than a freelancer, but the results will be evident from the first week. Professionals know how to perform proper SEO, often utilizing ‘tricks’ that make every effort they put forth perform multiple functions at once — like giving your site a high-quality backlink while also driving traffic to the site to create sales, or writing an article and submitting variations of it in different places that all link back to the main article, driving the article itself up in the search engine results and making it’s effect on your website that much stronger.

The lesson here is simple: when it comes to search engine optimization, not everyone can afford to hire a huge company to work for them and make them king of the hill overnight — but everyone can afford professional SEO services if they know where to look, and anything less is just a waste of time and money.

How can you increase the traffic to your website using Website SEO?

Website Search Engine Optimization is the collective term that involves the various attempts made to improve the ranking of a website on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). While search engines like Yahoo! recognize sites that contain key search terms and keyword phrases, keywords metatags and description metatags, Google assigns each and every website a definite PageRank that decides the position of the website in response to user-generated search queries. Google stresses more on link prominence and link density. The more recent search engine from Microsoft called Bing works on completely different signals. It likes sites that has capitalized search terms and queries in the URLs. It also relies on very strong URL matching signals. It is the only search engine that is solely based on website branding which means it prefers web pages from relatively larger and popular websites. So, in order to ensure a good website ranking on all these major search engines, a few important tips are:
Your website must have well-written, unique and clear text that draws the attention of online visitors within a time span of a few seconds.

The images , videos, advertisements, etc that are primarily used to promote the website must be integrated seamlessly in the website, so they flow with the existing theme of the online business and are representative of the offered products and services.

The layout and design of the website should be appealing enough to draw the attention of the users. The website should look professional, but at the same website navigation must appear to be easy, even to a layman. They must find exactly what they’re looking for.

The content must be divided into suitable categories to create highly relevant and suitable titles and sub-titles which is exactly what the web crawler is looking for.

At the end of the day, it’s not just keyword research and analysis or backlinking that helps improve the ranking of a website. A website can also move up the search engine rankings if it has a well-established and large client base. So, even the popularity of the website can greatly improve its visibility.

Tips to get your website a First page placement on search engines

The online marketplace is a hub of constant activity and intense competition. Each and every website has to compete against millions of other sites that offer similar products and services. So, it becomes extremely important not only to get your business noticed by the online audience but more also ensure that your website gets traffic that is legitimate and not spam.

Search engines have inbuilt algorithms that constantly scan the web for relevant and good pages to index them in order to include them in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). A good understanding of the principle based on which these crawlers or bots work will help you increase the visibility of your website and in turn enhance your Return On Investment (ROI). A visitor will choose to become a returning visitor and eventually a potential client only if they like the site. In Search Engine Optimization, this defines the process of ‘Conversion.’

A few important things to keep in mind to get your website a first page placement include:

A good landing page: The home page of the website is the first page a visitor sees. Importance must be given to both, the written text as well as the images that together constitute the overall content of the landing page. The text content of the website must be well-written and the chosen images, embedded videos, etc should give the page a very professional look and feel.

User navigation: The primary and secondary user navigation should be easy. This can be accomplished by integrating the website with dropdown menus, radio buttons, navigation and search bars, sitemaps, well-defined tabs and easy-to-read content categories.

Backlinks: Incorporating high-quality and relevant Incoming links from external websites that have a good PageRank into your website increase the popularity and ranking of your website.