Making an update work in your favour

Site TrafficI have has a site that was sitting around in the bottom half of page one for a number of terms. And during this summer it really took off. There have been a number of changes made to the site and I just quickly wanted to highlight a few actionable steps that you can do now to increase your site traffic

1. Deep linking, this does not only apply to building backlinks to deep pages, but also applies to making sure that your site does not contain orphan pages, and there is a breadcrumb trail for the spiders to follow. For reasonable sized websites I would highly recommend http://www.screamingfrog.co.uk.

2. Anchor text variation. I have now stuck with a 25% EMD variation, it used to be a lot lower, however I am finding that 20-25% seems to be the optimum.

3. 301 redirects. Its simple they work, even doing a redirect from a completely irrelevant domain, works. Especially if that domain has natural backlink and AGE. 301 redirects to money site or internal pages of money sites is one of the quickest ways to rank. You can use drivers also and, this is achieved by doing a 301 redirect and then building 300 to 400 webs 2.0 tiers to the sited being redirected. This seems to add an extra umph (though its short lived)

4. image links, yeah you heard me get image links!! they are HOT they seem to be really helping this particular site rank.

5. Relevent Tiers, Tiers are here to stay. But relevant tiers are harder to detect and better for SEO of the future!

let me know your thoughts

Mansoor

Effective Link Building Techniques for 2013

Link Building

Link Building in 2013

Building links along with increasing conversion rates are two of the biggest problems that webmasters have to overcome. Though most techniques are well known, there are certain simple additions that you can do in order to get better rankings quickly and safely, I did one of these posts last year, and though it would be useful to do an update.

Web 2.0 Sites

We all know the craze of Web 2.0 sites, with advent of few popular automation tools Web 2.0 sites have now become a prime source of spam. After careful study, my research has shown that given few actionable steps the stick rate, and subsequent reuse of these properties can be greatly improved.

  1. Create Promotional Themed content, these are not articles but written more in press release format. Containing some new or promotion that you website may be doing
  2. Used AGED accounts. This can be easily achieved by creating accounts in relevant Web 2.0s and adding sections such as About me and Privacy policy and letting it sit there for a week, before adding some content.
  3. Add at least 3 pages of content, spaced over time. 
  4. Only use one of those pages to drive links to your site/page. 
  5. Add relevant videos and Pictures

Press Releases

Press releases have been around for a very long time, and typically they have done fantastically well for promotion and link building/bait purposes. They have lost a bit of lustre in the last year, however if used correctly they are still a formidable weapon for mass link building.

Unfortunately there are Press releases and there are PRESS RELEASES. The latter compromises of very high end services, which have an exceptional distribution power and quality of sites accepting the content is superb. This distribution network is what makes good press release services like PRWeb very effective and expensive.

With high domain strength and authority, the sites that host these releases are often trusted and indexed. Typically a good press release will give you at least few hundred GOOD links, that can be made even more powerful if a webmaster then adds bookmarks to those urls and mentions these in their web 2.0 properties.

Relevant Links

These are probably the least understood links, after all what is deemed relevant? Is it the contextual link, surrounded by paragraphs of relevant content? Or do page Mark-up play a role, so does H1 tag Title Tag also have to be Relevant. Or does Relevance means that the domain and all related content has to be relevant?

Then there are factors like, domain traffic and visibility? Do these play an important role? The answer to these question is two folds.

  1. At the moment relevant content is determined by the content that is on the entire page. That page theme is what defines relevant content, and not the Domain theme.
  2. Will above be the future? Probably not. It does not make sense algorithmically for a domain selling Cooking Utensils to have links to Mobile Phones. Thematic relevance, I believe will become more and more important as Search engines evolves. Already major scrapers are able to determine a Site them judging by its content. Are we to believe the major search engines do not have that capability?

Good guest posting, is a great example. There is a recent move by Google to get webmasters to clearly label “sponsored” links. But by labelling Editorial links are they going to be later seen as just another version of paid links?

A quick sanity check must be performed for any potential guest blogging partner

  1. Their natural rankings
  2. The content update frequency
  3. Number of Editorial post vs original posts
  4. Interaction with communities
  5.  Social standing

Authority Links

The term authority gets thrown around a lot when it comes to link building to different people it means different things. What makes matter more confusing is that there is a degree of overlap.
To most people authority links means the following:-

  1. Government or educational domains
  2. High PR links
  3. Aged Domains

Though the above is true, and an ideal will contain some or all of those factors. There are however some key ingredients that all authoritative links have in common. They include links to Other authority sites, link government sites Wikipedia etc. All links on the pages are relevant to the theme of the page, and overall theme of the domain (though not strictly true). To replicate authority apart from having the normal link juice argument. It is also essential to have links to other relevant sites, links to some of your competitors (they don’t have to be ranking very highly)

301 Redirects

It’s something that is not about to change, and can’t change. Business change all the time, and websites and business evolve overtime. 301 is meant to facilitate that change, however 301 is also used effectively to quickly add authority and age to a domain. We all also know that 301 also passes link juice. Here are some facts that are less commonly known

  1. 301 Redirect loses 25% of potential link juice after a redirect
  2. 301 redirect also passes manual penalties
  3. 301 redirects are the first thing you should try after going down through an algorithmic update.

As always if you like this post please do share it, it is a good motivator for me to try and give you guys better and more useful content!!

Life in 2013

i_am_aliveIt has been a few months, since I have been done an update. I have been getting regular e-mails form various readers, just to make sure I am alive. Well I am and thank you for taking the time to find out.  I initially decided to take a bit of a break from blogging and affiliate marketing in general.

The main reason behind this hiatus was my desire to focus on family issues as well as investing a lot of energy and resources in consolidating my positions/rankings and developing tools and practices for my SEO company. Two month ago, my hunger to develop sites returned. I started to take on more clients and continue with working on some big projects that have been ongoing for last 3 -4 years.

Manual Penalty..

manual spam action

You may also recall, that My blog picked up a manual penalty. It initially came about with me and a friend testing various services and to see how and what triggered a penalty.  But good news is that the Penalty is now removed. What did I do to remove my Manual Penalty (which was about unnatural link building) will be something I intend to describe in the upcoming posts.

Internet Marketing Today

internet-marketingI am a big fan of  The Oat Meal. I saw a while back a sketch that really resonated with me, it really is the way internet is heading now, you can find this here:- How to get more facebook likes . There have always been people who claim to know the answer and have sold services that work/semi work etc. But what annoys me most if why people dont actually analyse and think exactly why they are doing what they are doing!

During my break I got the chance to read, and really take time to know what is going on in the world of internet marketing today. With every update more and more people are dropping internet marketing as a way to make full time living. The influx of new people joining is steady, however the bar for making internet marketing a full time success is so high that it is next to impossible if you dont have the right skill set, and finances.

Services

I decided to look at my Paypal accounts and go through everything for the last 2 years. I wanted to figure out what I had invested and what the outcome of that investment was.

Being a strong believer in testing, I wanted to see how much of my investment on testing has actually yielded results. In the last 2 years I have tried exactly 1124 different services, from various forums and internet. From those I subscribe to 11 on a monthly basis. After ordering each package/work/promise of unheard of riches , I usually give two weeks after the order is delivered to see if there has been an impact. If the impact is positive (position movement of +5 or more) then its assigned a weighting. Weighting scales reflect the ranking position. So a movement of 5 to 4 carries more weight then 30 to 25.

From the 1124 services, I found 21 services that worked!  21!!! that is a pitiful figure. Especially considering the amount invested, I have less then 1.86% return on my investment. Though sometimes it is more important to figure out what is NOT working.

Plans on 2013 and beyond

plans for 2013One of the biggest changes has been me opening and closing offices around the world. I opened an office in Manila (Philippines) a while ago and was very excited, but in all honesty it was the single biggest mistake of my internet marketing career. I found that the skill force on offer there was mainly geared toward Data Entry, and robotic tasks. The development and coding skills were not to my level. It made running an office very expensive, and I made the tough decision to close it down in Nov 2012.

Since then, with the expansion of my SEO agency I am in the process of opening offices in Dubai, Morocco and New York. At the moment lease papers for the offices in Dubai are signed Staff has been hired and work begun. These are mainly sales offices, to give me a presence in the sector. Manned by local project managers and few workers. Dubai office has space for 30 employees, right not I only have 10. More importantly I can only afford 10 at the moment.

Finding enough new clients will be a bigger challenge, especially as the Dubai office is intended to attach the Chinese and Indian Markets. The Scope for any good SEO is immense especially in these countries, as they are just used to spammy techniques that semi work. My agency is not and will never be the cheapest one on the market, however we certainly are one of the most effective ones.

For anyone thinking of doing the same, the process is really really arduous. Aspects like:-

1. IT Equipment (spare laptops etc)

2. Mobile Islands for your nomad workers

3. Really nice Conference rooms

4. Amazing Reception Area, fully stocked!

There just is sooo much, in a business where appearance is everything. I was approached by a prospective client who is extremely well known in Travel and Tourism Sector, they had just done a relaunch of their new site and paid few companies to do SEO reports/proposals for them. Since the launch they have also tried a few of these companies and they came to be desperate, as their ranking were more or less the same.

They hired me as an independent consultant, and one thing that was extremely obvious was the lack of knowledge! This company SEO monthly budge is high 5 figures, and as a competitor analysis they were given yahoo explore links (back when it was live!!) 75 page report was misinformed at best and at mostly worst completely wrong!! The keyword research was done using padded numbers, from broad match. So the company was thinking one keyword will bring them 630K Visitors a month, in reality it would only be 12K maximum!!

I always until recently believed in the quality of work speaking for itself, but after my consultancy was also snubbed by another prospective client. I realized that there is a place for flashy graphics and little things like watermarked paper with embossed logos. Mainly because this kind of stuff impresses the managerial types, who need to see pretty pictures. So I will now be getting those done!

As with anything, learning from what failed is what will define a good business model (especially true if you have the luxury to take a few hits and walk away).

Mansoor-siddique-personal-developmentPersonal Development

Personally, apart from reading and coding I have not really don’t much. Though this year I have set myself a target for getting a  few certifications under my belt. Things like Adwords Certifications, are on top of my list. I will also be splitting this blog into few separate heading, the architecture will look similar to the following:-

SEO

PPC

Conversation Rate Optimization (what is the Acronym for this??)

I have in the past week or so done the number and thought heavily about moving into APPS (both iphone and Android). I have about 4 great ideas for APPS that seem to fill a market, and at least two of these will allow me to establish sites as a brand even further. This is also my Challenge for this year, to make 10K (PROFIT) from APPS and digital media.

Quick notes

Though this blog has never really been about making money from you lot. I have been blessed to be in a situation where I make a comfortable living online, I want to help. So if you have any thought and direction please let me know, either via comments section or through contact me page.

Algorithmic Updates and Culling the Herd..

Its been a long while, since I actually blogged.  I have been extremely busy off late, especially with Christmas rush and the need to rank my sites and that of clients sites in time. There has also been a phase where I almost gave up. This was primarily because I was working very hard, earning relatively good money. BUT this level of work is sooo much more then I had anticipated.

I have also find that my inability to let go, and trying to micro mange everything is directly promotional to my stress level. I try and check everything that my employees do. However i found initially this was OK, but now not soo much.

This was bound to happen right, these algorithmic updates seem to be more and more heavily biased towards “brands” and it seems that Google is heavily modifying the playing filed so only with the deepest pockets and through knowledge of SEO survive.

Can Internet Marketing Earn Sustainable Cash?

Short answer yes, and long one is one where careful analysis is needed to actually determine if the effort is worth the reward, and the risks are involved. no longer is it true that an authority site wont be hit. They do get hit and are getting hit. I had one wonderful authority site, with over 1000 pages of content each atleast over 800 words, brought down with the latest updates, the site was a affiliate site moving slowly toward being a brand. going from just over 1500 visitors a day to 85 visitors a day leaves a bitter taste to say the least. This particular site has  has 119 number one spots in Google UK 85 number one spots in Google USA and many more like this. All places being dropped min of 5 but maximum of 10 places (with no message in the WMT, is something that is not acceptable)

What is an affiliate to do?

Not much at the moment, there are black hat techniques that are working at the moment, and with black hat you are always having to stay one step ahead of the game, it very tiresome, also constant investment is needed. In my opinion Black hat only works in extremely profitable sectors like loans, insurance, pron, and gambling. The site lifespan will be in the region of 3 months. These are the only sectors where a 3 months tint at number one in google will pay/be worth the effort of going balck hat and working.

One thing that is DEFINITELY working

Gust post, these are great. Especially when they are on worthwhile and long established blogs. Blogs that are an authority in your area, and are there to help the user. Place where there is natural traffic. I firmly believe that Google is now  also looking at the rankings of the page that is giving out the link, how visible is it in search engine. Do people read it? If its going on an obscure article directory, is anyone actually going to read this article.

Other Key Points to Take away from the October Updates

  • Pr (page rank) is actually now getting a bit (note i said a bit) more inline with the strength of the links.
  • Number of links is NOT the deciding factor (it was not so, for the last year anyway)
  • Traffic of the Page is more important
  • Relevance of the Page is very important
  • Relevance of the domain, or domain intent is also worth while factor. Its not a deciding factor in my opinion but an every growing one. For example i am seeing that sites that scrape material. Say that the domains is bout pharma goods, but publishes articles about kids toys. There is no correlation, and hence i have notice these links are producing less and less value. More over, this “worth” is not changing even if a lot of relevant links is point to the pharma site, or page on the pharma site that contain links to your site.

All the above changes have meant in concept at least only authority sites are getting promoted. However as its an algorithm the triggering filter for each of these is very arbitrary. This is the reason why I am convinced with enough care and money invested that I can still continue to make 5 figures or more a month from Marketing.

Diversifying

Regular readers know that I am all about diversification.  It has been this diversification that has helped me stay kind of ahead for the last 4 years. Most are aware that I now have my own SEO agency, and this has taken off quiet well.  This agency has now I am very proud to announce a full media department (consisting of two people lol)  where we use online news as leverage to get our selves or our client news into “main stream” printed news.

I am also busy building relationship with clients, however this month I am culling the client portfolio mainly due to funding issues. I think by January I will cut my client load to half.  As bad as it sounds I will only work with clients with adequate funding and willingness to do the work.  I am keeping my very old clients, though they pay little but they were my first clients and I am not ready to let them go just yet.  Besides ranking locally is soooo very easy.

My diversification has been especially focused on new areas/sectors to sink my teeth into, especially keen to try areas which have a online and offline physical flavor to it as well.  I have also notice that taking a dedicated effort to rank in Bing is also really worthwhile, though its harder as it takes a lot to push into Bing, however good thing is once there it does not go away..

Google Disavow Tool

Are you getting on board? NO for me, I don’t see why we should tell google what we think are spammy links. Very hard to do with sites that have over 100K links!! To be honest i don’t even know how the mechanics and impact of this is? For example Webmaster A files a complaint/reports a link on an article directory (which he was responsible and worked hard to place) on that page are three other links to other sites. Does the page in its entirety gets devalued? Is it link specific? Is it algorithm dependent (got to be right)?  There are just too many variables for this.

To top this off good will is in short supply towards google, especially after the recent traps set by Google , after they blanket sent mass link warnings to thousands of webmasters. People who panicked and replied were whacked, those who kept quiet were ok after one or two months!!

 

A Big Thank you and

I was juts looking over the Stats for this blog and wanted to really thank everyone for their continued support. This blog (though not so readily updated) attracted 4800+ people (regular readers alone), which is fantastic, especially considering there is an unnatural linking penalty on this blog (thankfully at a page level, one which i am hoping will be lifted).

I have also seen a distinct shift, from my marketing efforts. Moving away from affiliate marketing to “advertisements” and Strategic medial placements and Social media drivers. This focus has been brought about largely because of the need from my clients. Also because I am now increasingly responsible for Larger Budget clients, where requirements are tougher and lot more of jumping the hoops are necessary.

Its been a wonderful yet hectic experience so far, and really drives home “how the big boys play” and the importance of being connected. I would love to bring this advice, and view here on this blog. Something which I now intend on doing.

Between spending time with my almost 4 year old and, managing clients (which are now more then my personal sites!!), and starting a battle with Newham for statementing of my son (more on that later). I have been left exhausted. Hence the sporadic update of this blog. I will be updating the about me section shortly as well.

I will be starting one new site in the next 3 months, this site will be for help and advice for parents of “special” kids. For those of you who are not aware I have a son, who is deaf, degrading eye sight loss and amongst his many other conditions has been diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder. This has been extremely testing for me and my family.

Newham Council and The Way forward..

In UK when a child reaches a age of 5 he has to go to school, and where you live (the council) is obliged to give you a place. Where waters become a bit muddier is when a child has special needs (like my son). Then the parents can ask a child to have a “statement”, this is a legal document which outlines EXACTLY what provisions a child will receive. Without this document any help given to the child is really not governed by law and local schools can cut or change this at any point in time.

Obviously implementing this, and providing exactly what a child needs is more expensive hence the reason why many councils reject it outright. This has been with my son, Newham have rejected to even acknowledge that my son needs a statement. This has meant that we have written an appeal,and failing that (Monday 16th of July 2012 is when I should know) I will be taking Newham to court. I have every expert evidence that tells me that my sons needs will not be met locally.

Newham has cited that this is because my son has made progress, any progress that he has made is completely subjective as its due to the provisions placed by myself (we send him to a private specialist facility, we gave him access to all therapies that newham did not).

And at the time of Newham, Olympics I find it extremely surprising that they simply can not even provide adequate education for all thier kids. I was clear I did not want special treatment for my son, just treatment that allows him to have equal opportunity and equal shot at progressing. He simply can not do that without a SEN (Special Educational Needs) Statement I will be implementing and using this blog and users asking you to spread the word.

I am not asking for any action from my readers, I do NOT want Newham to get hate mails or anything that goes even against bad manners. I do want to gain some momentum and raise awareness around this issue. I do want you help!

I feel that I am the right man to raise awareness for this, after all building on-line reputations getting people to decide between A and B is what I do for a living.

Lets talk industry:-

The Reviews that I mentioned have been scrapped, due to penguin algorithm. I am no longer a member of SEO Content network, I still have and use LWB but at this moment there is only a handful of unique way in which LWB is working and I am testing this out, I do info graphics quiet heavily for work and clients and really am looking forward to bringing some info graphics to my blog.

I would like to ask Google to remove the page level algorithmic penalty.. I am a nice guy though don’t make any money off this blog but do generally advice people how to play with you guys rather then against :D

All of you are aware that I ran a survey for a while. Few interesting responses that I got included asking me to run a webinar, this is not going to happen I am afraid.  I do promote things that I feel are useful on this blog, however webinars usually follow the protocol of offering some half way relevant advice and then pushing a product. This is not my style

Other comments is about spelling and grammar of this blog. Only thing I can honestly say is that I am Dyslexic and spelling and grammar are the two most hardest things for me. I will try and do proof readings, to make this more enjoyable experience for you. Please forgive me when I fail.

Link Request Removal

This is a public request, as my blog seems to have picked a unnatural links penalty ha! Can anyone who is linking to my site please remove this link. I would like the person doing the manual review to know that I ahve made all resonable effort to remove any “unnatural” links..

 

Thanks!!! (now go an read my new article below!!!)

SEO is getting harder

Wordle: SEO is gettig harder

One of the highlighting areas that I gathered from the survey was that a huge majority of you wanted this blog to be updated more regularly. And this is an extremely fair point, so here goes:-

SEO is Getting harder…

Unless you have been living under a rock you know this already, SEO is harder but what things do webmaster have to do differently now vs to “the good old days”. Not only that what aspects are not working now? I have been doing a LOT of research and trying desperately to keep up with a lot of these developments, and the following is an synopses (and yes though its long it’s only the summary believe it or not!!) of that research.

The good Old Days

Here is a list of things that are now out of fashion, due to them either being directly penalized or with the threat of it looming much like the threat of the blog networks was looming.

-Keyword stuffing content
-site wide footer links (I know you are going to give examples of it still working but this is definitely on its way down)
-Embedding links in Widgets (damn this used to be one of my primary methods!!)
-Huge scale article spinning (WP robot anyone)
-Comment Spam (when was the last time you ranked a new site with comment spam, Scrape box anyone?)
-Mass Directory listings (depends on what you mean by mass, and depends on what purpose you use it for so put this in a maybe pile)
-Paid networks..(will duh….)

All the above were designed to be workarounds for google ranking algorithms, as the algorithms get smarter so should you..
SEO Task List (Encore)

Site Speed..

Regular reader/s know that I have been harping on about site speed for a long time, please read (http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/04/using-site-speed-in-web-search-ranking.html) and section where they now categorically say site speed is a factor in search engine rankings, is it a huge ranking factor then my research shows no, but is it a factor definitely.

I also happen to think there is some for of varying scale here if you have a site that is built for content and not a scraper site then you will invest in its speed and hosting especially if you go over 1000 pages etc, so I think site speed becomes more critical with more pages you have (just my gut feeling really). Consider site speed now, especially if you are thinking along the lines of authority sites. Some of the non Google alternatives in site speed are:-

• YSlow by Yahoo (plugin or command line)
• WebPageTest.org (visual graph of load times by element)

Brand anyone?

Smaller sites are out….really, well no but to make a smaller site “algorithm proof” you will have to invest in a lot of content and a lot of work more specifically lot of money. Building a brand brings with it some recognized authority, and feeling of familiarity with our prospective clients (something that just can not be underestimated) .

Obviously the bad part is that if you have done poor link building or you think that creating a press release (of I have a press release service now don’t you know!!) is the only things you need to do to create a brand, then this is a losing battle anyway.

As my Seo consultancy has evolved I am exposed to bigger clients with bigger budgets and few with entire departments of PR people (and by department I don’t mean the owner or his cousin sitting around and calling themselves head of pr! )

At this moment I would say if I had an EMD vs a Brand I will go after the Brand EVERYTIME, its just gives me more flexibility, period. The above task is so easy to say “go and build a brand” but how difficult is it to achieve? And more importantly how difficult is it to achieve based on a small budget!! The answer un surprisingly is very and almost impossible.

If you are thinking about brands then read the following:-

http://www.seobook.com/potential-brand-signals
http://www.seobook.com/learn-seo/infographics/brand-branding-brands.php
http://www.cision.com/ (if you have the money and resources!!)
VOCUS (PRweb owners..)

If you are in the brand business, or thinking of taking the leap then I can not stress enough how important it really is to be media savy, to understand really what it takes to get your news and make it go viral. If you can make one story go viral, and repeat the process then you have done most of the hard work. Unsurprisingly media relations and PR executives are the highest paid individuals in a given company, I am now working with several firms with their own Pr Executives and I a gaining new appreciation of what they do and how much time it really takes to make one story go viral. A good Pr executive is worth their weight in goal, and learning what they do and how they do it will help anyone market any site GURANTEED.

Not everything is news worthy, and if you are selling motor oil, then having a facebook page on the stuff does not really make sense. I could do ahead and populate it with 15K face book likes and 4K followers, but is there any need? NO

There are two ways to be a brand, one is to go viral which is the most difficult and time consuming to achieve, and this produces the most long term effects. The other is of course link building lol.. and I laugh because though its easier of the two so many people (including myself) fuck it up..

Primarily this is because of the content, and so much that actually goes on the site is regurgitated rubbish, and falls in the section of “fit for purpose” however this is no longer acceptable. Content on sites now MUST be prestine.. it MUST be of the highest quality and MUST tick atleast one box of the below:-

- Be memorable (by wit, or by scandle)
- Be Relevant and informative


There is a reason why so many e-commerce site fail, actually its reasonS but one of the primary is content, how its presented and what needs to be done with it. Branding is difficult and please don’t think I am boasting but I have a client with a monthly budget of $25K for SEO and PR and though I priced him (pre panda) I am struggling to not go on a loss every month due the effort and man power it needs to launch a brand (effectively).

Incidentally we just had one of his stories go viral a month ago, and I noticed his backlinks yesterday he gained 13K links in one month with over 112 varying anchor text all completely natural. His rankings have shot up as a result and he is sitting on bottom of page one for the major term we wanted to rank for. This is after working my company’s collective asses off for a very long time promoting ONE content!! Lol.. It is possible.. and it can happen just believe..

Content

I eluded to this earlier but it really is something that I wanted to address separately. Quality is important, but crap content is still ranking. So why bother? Firstly line algorithmically speaking between crap content and useful content is blurred (remember not talking about manual inspections here). If a content is crap enough it will trigger a filter, trigger enough of these filters and your entire domain could go down.

This is not meant to be a scare you out of your pants tactics, but a fact. I have seen some competitors go into oblivion because of this. Their link profile was ok only think I know was bad was the crap badly spun unoriginal content. I would always advice on DONOT take the risk, as doing it now will affect you down the road and at that point it will be extremely hard to remember why it’s happening! This is especially true for ecommerce sites. There are tricks as to how to rank an ecommerce site effectively, however it probably goes beyond the remit of this article I feel.

Social Integration

I have to mention this really, as the importance of this just simply cannot be stressed enough. Bing and Google have openely stated that they consider social signals as ranking factors. Certainly true for Facebook and twitter, jury is out on Google +. Does this mean to ignore G+ Nope most definitely not, sad reality is that Google have enough resources to really hype G+ and I see no reasons why they won’t do that.

As they have stated the importance of social signals and then released their own signal it stands to reason they are in it for the long haul. Correctly targeting content and engaging users to promote your content is the way to go (remember to like and tweet this damn it!!)

Happy users?

This is one of my pet peeves to be honest. I have been after learning this and more importantly click though optimization for some time, so much so that I personally offered to work for free for a well known company, and do any donkey work in an attempt to learn from the best (I was rejected by the way lol…)

I have spend a lot of my time, money and energy on this in hopes to become better at User experience and click through optimization techniques. I really feel books can be written on this topic and to be honest they have been written. If you are not looking at wasy of reducing your bounce rate or improving your CTR’s then you are already dying a slow painful death. After traffic it is the biggest factor in profits, and it even over takes traffic in certain cases.

Happy users are created for few reasons

They trust you

They found what they were looking for

They are “like” you

Notice I said like and trust as two different things, I don’t have to like a few sites to trust them, I LIKE amazon AND I trust them, in the middle of this sandwich is navigation. I pull my hair our (and I don’t have much ahir anyway) when it comes to navigation. Pretty navigation is always good.. but pretty navigation that gets in the way of a user experience is well flawed.

A navigation serves two purpose tell you where you are and assures you that you will get to where you want to go in a very short time. That is it.. Design sites with that in mind and you will be happy, your users will be less frustrated and you will have a direct decrease in bounce rate. I just rank a Kissinsights on one of my more successful sites and this site has bounce rate of 35% which I consider to be good.

The my surprize when i asked the question from my consumers “did you find what you were looking for” a whopping 50% said no..yet they stayed on the site and ploughed along in hopes of finding the right information, because they trusted the authority of the site!

I now ask this question on most of my sites and client sites.. I spent one week going over the navigation architecture of the site, the results were amazing my very large affiliate site conversions went up 5% (not a lot but it’s a lot lol..) and my customer satisfaction went up by a whopping 75% and very few percentage actually complained about not finding the right information.

Navigation really comes not its own on a large ecommerce site and something that needs a lot of time an attention to get right.

I think is there is enough demand I will include bit about e commerce seo, however as I keep saying seo is stilla round, we need to be in teams really to do that. Time of sititng in a bedroom and working way on your seo is gone. There are far too many factors to think about to get any kind of real money from seo and internet in general. Personally I still have no idea when I made the switch to a guy trying to make money online, to a guy with a few staff to a company with clients and “media experts” lol.. oh well onwards and upwards eh…

If you like then talk about it.. it will make me very happy indeed…

Looking for AMAZING WordPress Designer

I have been racking my brain trying to find a few great designers and I though why not use this blog so here it goes:- I am due to launch a few sites, and I am looking for some GREAT wordpress designers to work with, they must be able to create world class designs, and break the mould. I would like the two sites i ahve in mind to be totally different. One will be a complete site redesign + datafeeds from about 20 merchants, the other will be a site design only.

There is potential for long term work here, so if you are someone who can produce results you will get work and lots of it.  Any recommendations and ideas will be fantastic

Thank you all

Launch of WordPress Plugin Affiliate Hoover

Affiliate Hoover is a new free WordPress plugin released this week for affiliate marketing publishers.

It allows the user to convert CSV and XML data into individual posts with the ability to add categories, tags, specify whether comments and trackbacks are allowed; and to filter items based on individual keywords. It was created by web developer Andy Walpole.

He said:

“Last year I had a client whose previous developer had integrated a commercial script into her build. It was nightmare to deal with, not just in trying to understand the backend code, but also the user interface was alarmingly unfriendly and resembled a software product from the 90s. “This year I set myself the task of creating an addon that affiliate marketing publishers could use.

“It’s a tricky challenge because, unfortunately, there is no data standard between companies so that while they all use the CSV or XML format, the structure differs from one company to another. “This is the first release and in the coming weeks and months I plan to expand its features. “Hopefully those involved in the industry will give me feedback so that these new features fit the needs of the users.”

The plugin is released for free under the GPL license and can be downloaded from the main Wordpress repository: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/affiliate-hoover/. Alternatively, it can be installed via any WordPress plugin administration section through the usual process.

Andy Walpole is a London-based freelance WordPress coder. He’s previously been involved with a number of WordPress-based projects in the past, big and small, but this is his first addon released to the public under license.

You can contact him on at this email is hidden

The Penguin update moving forwards

Unless you have been living under the rock for the past few weeks you would have at least heard about the google algorithmic update that is being called Penguin update. Reading by most forums and This update was one of the most devastating updates to affect people who make their living off websites to begin with.

I certainly won’t stand here and say that I am not affected, as I was. Two of my money making sites went from number one spots for very very good terms to number 2 and number 3. The result has been significant interns of money that they earned. I had noticed that three sites that I had and long forgotten were also gone into the wilderness. These are aged sites with decent on page content.

After getting over the initial shock and feeling of going on a murdering rampage, I spent most of Tuesday evening all the way through to Wednesday morning analysing all my and client sites. And with an estimated 35% loss in rankings over all.

Luckily this loss was mainly absorbed by my sites, though had two clients that took a sizeable hit. Ad had to send most of Thursday explaining to them that it will be ok, and all of you IT WILL BE OK.

Algorithmic penalties, or devaluations are nothing major to worry about as long as you determine what part of the algorithmic penalty you have triggered. You can be on your way to rectifying the problem. Some sites/pages I could see what was the problem, other it’s just completely ridiculous. I have a 3 year old page, hat ranked very well for a term with correct everything just dropped with no where to be seen. This blog also got a message saying it was doing unnatural linking, however I have not taken part in any such thing, and all links I have acquired are just through readers, I was ranking for all sorts of terms though. I was ranking for negative SEO, and how to do negative SEO as an example. Not intentionally mind you but hey!!

What I intend on doing on this post, is to go through a small list of what I think has caused this loss of rankings, I am sure many people would have been effected, and since last Wednesday I have received over 185 emails regarding thoughts on penguin update alone.

I am a bit sad as this blog probably won’t be ranking for many terms, but am hoping it will pass manual reviews!!

Moving Forwards

So like me I am guessing most people have been hit, and hopefully you have not suffered too badly, but what are the ways to move forward, are there any practical steps that can be taken?

I am certainly no expert and will only try and report what my thoughts and findings shows. As it is too early to see any effect these variables have I have highlighted everything that the sites have in common. Before I continue, I would really like to stress, I love promoting websites, but do so cautiously. If you have a website with spun content, or auto generated content and let’s of web 2.0 type it should be no surprise that we are at this stage.

Without sounding preachy if you have an original website, with useful content that does MORE then just selling/promoting, and your link building has been more varied then just web 2.0 and building ties, then you may well have a case of genuine grip as to why you are not ranking any more.

In my short study I have found all of my sites that were hit had the following things in common:-

1. The main keyword that I aimed to rank for was in anchor text for 60% or more. I strongly suspect that the over optimisation penalty strongly figures anchor text diversity. As of now the mandate I am setting myself and my clients is that the main keyword must not exceed 40%. This single factor will now mean that link building and promotion is now exceeding, expensive. As simply out I need to acquire more quality links to rank for the same term.

2. Over Optimisation WTF????? Yeah this little nugget seems t target the traditional way SEO was done, as in place your keyword in h1 tag and also in h2 tags etc.. Now I have found that sites hat did well were ones that contained h1 tag with keyboard in and h2 and hi3 tags targeted other keywords or generic terms. In short under Optmization is now the over optimisation.

3. Keyword density, there is a lot of talk about this all I can save for sure is hat sites that did extremely well were the ones with keyword density of under 1% or just at 1%.

4. Devaluation of links, I definitely think this effect has clouded the issue, of course if an update happened on its own which just targeted spun content then it would be easier to determine what type of spun content is being targeted and if there is others relevancy issues. I happen to think google algorithms are at a stage where if a statement does not make since and link placement seems to there just for SEO then that links get devalued.

Lot of us have been guilty of the above, especially in the early days where lets face it this kind of shit worked, so we did it. But is it natural, is this how a natural website develop?.. I doubt it.

Final Thoughts

It is bad especially if you don’t have much interns of financial backup, and you need money that or lots more then 24 hours a day. Also I have to say the way google have reacted, it really leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. It completely stinks of throwing SEO on its head, with simple aim of getting more money from Adwords from people who are now effected.

With this massacre (and it is a massacre) there has to be side casualties, and my advice would be to wait a while see remains once the dust settles. See if there is a roll back, indeed one of my site that was effected last Tuesday was now up and running by Sunday back to is normal self.

It’s is easy to say but soo soo difficult to implement, diversify your traffic source engage in long lasting relationship with your customers so that you are not reliant on another company to determine your livelihood.

I started full time affiliate marketing to make sure my income is not dependant on one company or man. Though I now work on my own, enjoy a reasonably successful lifestyle and am happy I am still painfully aware that I am still reliant on google. TIME TO CHANGE…

P.S. This is the first post written on my brand new iPad