The art of Good Link Building

Incoming Links are one of the most important factors for high search engine
rankings. If your website doesn’t have enough incoming links then it will be very
difficult to get high rankings for a competitive search term.

It’s also important that you get the right kind of links. 20 “good
” incoming links will get you much better rankings than than 100 bad incoming
links.

OK, so what makes a good incoming link? There are a number of points that can make
a link better than other links:

1. Use your keyword in the anchor text

Make sure that the texts that are used to link to your website contain
words for which you want to get high rankings on search engines.

2. Relevancy

Links from related web pages almost always work better than links from unrelated
pages. Links from unrelated pages may not hurt your rankings (although they are unlikely to help) but Google
likes links from websites that cover topics that are related to yours better.

3. Relevant landing page on your site

While it’s okay to get links to your home page it is better to get links
to the page that is most relevant to the chosen anchor text. If the link text matches the content of the linked pages then it’s more
likely that your web page is really relevant to that term and it’s more
likely that you’ll get high rankings for that search term.

4. Authority Links

Links from pages with high “authority” will help to increase the TrustRank
of your website. Links from websites with high PageRank have a positive
effect on the rankings of your own site.

If a website
is well known and if the site has good search engine rankings then it’s
likely that it is also an authority website.

5. No nofollows

The nofollow attribute tells search engines that they should not follow
a link. Links with that attribute will not help your search engine rankings.

You will probably have to check the HTML code of your link partners
to find out if they use a nofollow attribute to link to your site (do this by viewing the source, finding you link, and looking to see if “nofollow” is present)

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Include Google Maps in your website (Easily)

Google has announced  a new feature on Google Maps that will allow you to very easily embed your Google Maps into your web pages (and blogs !!) simply by copying and pasting a snippet of HTML.  Once you embed the map, it has all the same functionality of the Google Maps you know and love; it’s clickable, draggable, and zoomable.

Just go to the map you like, click on “link to this page” at the top right corner of the map and select the code within the “Paste HTML to embed in website” box.

Here is an example of a Google Map embedded into this page, of Sydney Harbour…. How cool is that !!!

View Larger Map

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List you Business for FREE with Google Maps

How would you like to advertise the physical location of your business for free abd get extra Google exposure ?  Thanks to Google Maps, this is relatively easy to do, and with the new “Universal Search” implemented by Google a couple of months ago, it also presents a great chance to capture #1 rankings.

Why Should You Bother With Google Maps?

Here are some of the benefits offered by Google Maps : 

  1. Get more exposure for your business (via a relatively new Google tool)

  2. Google allows you to offer coupons to visitors of your map listing. These coupons are touted as a way to reward loyal customers and attract new ones. 

  3. Once your address is fully verified you have full control over your listing. You can add or delete non-address information as you like.

  4. You can add all of your business locations from a single account.

  5. All that your client or prospective client has to do to find your office is click on a link on your website and, they are taken to an accurate road map with directions.

Heres How :

Here is the process for you to get your site added to Google Maps.

Step 1: Add Your Business
Visit Google Locals Add/Edit Your Business page. There you will be asked to enter your Google account login and password (or you can quickly create one) before entering the submission area. Once in, you need to provide standard business address and contact information, a 200-character description of your business, the forms of payment you accept from consumers and your operating hours.

Step 2: Choose a Category
Next you will be asked to provide a category that best describes your business. You can enter a phrase here and Google will try to find a related category to make this process simpler for you. You have the option to appear in up to 5 separate categories.

Step 3: Preview and Select Verification Method
Your business listing along with a proof of your businesss mapped location is shown for your approval. Here you can make any necessary final tweaks to your listing. After that, you have to choose which verification method that Google will use to confirm your address.

Step 4: Verify
Follow the instructions provided to you by either the postcard or the phone and your listing will be active within 6 weeks.

Adding Your Google Maps Listing

The simplest option for using you listing is to link directly to it from your website. Start by visiting http://maps.google.com and
type in your business name into the search window. If
your listing is active, it should come up within the
results. Click on this listing and you will see your
location appear
on the
map along with your companys information balloon. Click
the title within the balloon and your detailed Google Maps page
will appear. Now you can simply copy the URL in your browser
and paste that into your website so that your users can find
your location.

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How Can a Small Business Succeed Online ?

More and more small business owners are feeling the lure of the internet to promote and sell their products and services.  In fact these days, the Internet is often the first place  budding entrepreneurs set up their fledgling businesses. Why ?  Because it is relatively cheap… cheap to setup and cheap to market.

The great thing about the internet is that it is usually very cheap to reach your target market. The problem is, that it is also cheap for everyone else as well.

So how does a small business hope to compete online, when there are some many other businesses – small, large and very large – already competing for their customers.  The answer is remarkably simple – Focus !

How do you sell plasma televisions if everyone sells them? How do you attract searchers for that broad a term? If you need to appear on the first page of search results to get sales, how do you do that as a small business?

The small businesses that are succeeding online are marketing very targeted offeringsextremely specialised products and services. That way, they take advantage of the “Long Tail” effect to get on the first page of search results for something (even if it is somewhat obscure) and they have a good chance of satisfying
the customer with what they do best.

But it means that you must specialise, you must focus on a niche. What is unique about your products? Or your business? Or the way you sell them? What is it that makes you better than everyone else for a certain specific target segment? When you answer that question, you’ll know how to market yourself on the Web. You’ll know what that segment is looking for and you’ll know how to attract them with the right message.

A small business must specialise to succeed on the Web. What’s your specialty?

Increase your Online Sales with Customer Reviews

A recent social commerce report on online retailers shows that the use of customer reviews will increase the overall sales for your website.  Customer product reviews are increasing retail e-commerce conversion rates, site traffic and average order values, according to e-consultancy and Bazaarvoice‘s “Social Commerce Report 2007” report.

It was found that 28% of online sellers were using customer ratings and reviews. More than half said they were considering it.

Asked about the effects of customer ratings on their Web sites, over half of online retailers in the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe said their overall conversion rates had gone up in the past year, compared with only 9% who said they fell.

Nearly eight in 10 online sellers thought a major benefit of such reviews was to increase conversions, while 73% thought improved customer retention and loyalty were major benefits. Nearly six in 10 thought the fact that customer reviews improved search engine optimisation was a significant benefit.

“Tapping into social commerce can be a great way of gaining a competitive advantage, for example through ratings and reviews,” Linus Gregoriadis, E-consultancy’s head of research, said in a statement. “But apart from the early adopters, this is something a large proportion of online retailers are only just starting to think seriously about.”

Ireckon it’s a Dogs Life

Ireckon… a Brisbane based web design company, is a rapidly growing business that practices what they preach.  Ireckon, live and breath the web, using web based technologies not only for their clients, but also as a core part of their day to day business operations…. or as their CEO, Darryl King says – they “Eat their own Dog Food“.

Because Ireckon have tried and tested their own web based processes over an extended period, they have a pretty good idea about what works – and more importantly, what doesn’t… This is a practice that many others in the web design industry should take a much closer look at, rather than just repackaging and /or reselling third party products that they don’t fully understand or in many cases have not even used.

Good on you Ireckon…  

Matt Cutts on Paid Links and Google Ranking

Matt Cutts of Google has recently updated his blog post on How to report paid links. The update has more detail on Google’s view of paid links. Here’s a quick summary of some of the new additions :.

  • Sites with paid links may lose their ability to pass link value to other pages
  • Google may use “semi-automatic approaches to ignore paid links,” such as manual reviews, spam reports
  • Not all paid links are necessarily bad, only those that “flow PageRank and attempt to game Googles rankings”
  • Examples of bad paid links include those that have links to pages that are not related and pages disguising the fact that they are paid links
  • Google wants spam reports on paid links to better test, confirm and improve their algorithms
  • Directory links from directories that reject submissions, charge a fee and have quality listings in the directory should be OK

Kicking Off a NEW Link Building Campaign

When starting up a new link building campaign, there are two basic questions you should be considering :

1. What is unique about your site that others might want to link to?
2. Who might be interested in linking to you, and what information would be of use to them?

Gaining a good understanding of the answers to these questions is a fundamental starting point . It helps you gain an insite into the types of information that you may be able to offer the people in your space, or related spaces. It will very likely also highlight, extra contenmt that you may be able to provide, which will offer added value to your customers and potential customers.

Here are the five things that you should also think about when kicking off a new link campaign:

1. Start by identifying who the major media people are in the same space as you. At this stage dont’ be too concerned about their potential to link to you. This should form a complete list of traditional media, bloggers, government, school, and hobbyist sites that are related to your products/services.

2. Next prioritise the list ranging from top tier players to lower tier players. Links from from any of them will help, but getting a link from a top tier player is worth more effort.

3. Re-examine the current and potential content of your site to see how it matches up with the needs and interests of the top tier targets.

4. If necessary (and it usually is), put in place a content development plan to implement the right types of content to match up with the best targets. Several new articles may need to be written.

5. Begin the process of contacting your targets, and getting them interested in the unique cool content that you have.

Remember, good link building should always starts in the same place – Identifying the targets… Good Luck !

Buying Text Links – Good or Bad?

I am sure anyone involved with SEO has either bought text links or has at least considered doing it before. There are many methods of buying links online and some methods safer than others. Find out how to buy links safely and which methods to stay away from.

Link Building
Building links is probably one of the most difficult aspects of SEO simply because of a lack of control. You have total control over your website, the content, and HTML structure; however you usualy have little or control of incoming links to your website.

Link Building Methods
Obviously there are many types of incoming links, but the following are some of the most common.

1. Someone just naturally linked to your website for various different reasons.
having someone naturally link to your website, usually provides the highest quality links however it is one of the most difficult methods of gaining links. The chance of this can be improved by providing useful content or information

2. You paid someone for a link going to your website. – see below for details

3. You submitted your website to an online directory or similar-type website.
this is one of the easier methods of obtaining links quilckly and is often useful for new websites, however the quality of the links may not be great, so it’s important to be selective on the dierctorties you chosse to be linked from.

4. You own another website and placed your link on it.
This option is good if you have a number of websites – partocularly if they cover similar topics.

5. You posted comments or an article with a link back to your website.
Is OK and cab provide some decenmt links, but onec again be careful whre you submit to

6. You had a reciprocal link agreement with another website.
his should probably be avoided in most cases as search engines don’t tend to put as much value on reciprocal links as they do one-way links.

Link Buying Overview
It has long been debated within the SEO industry about whether you should buy links or not. The main reason for not buying links is that Google could recognise those links and may not give you any credit, or could even penalise you for it. The other reason is that overall the quality of links that you can buy are not as good as links obtained using other methods.
There doesn’t appear to be a clear answer on this subject overall, however you can often find an answer to specific link buying situations. There are three questions you need to ask yourself for every link buying situation:

a. Can a search engine determine if I bought this link?
b. Do I know exactly what I will receive once I pay?
c. Is the link I am buying going to help with my SEO campaign?

Examples of Good Link Buys
Yes, these questions are basically the questions that address the concerns for not buying a link and some may think you can not find the true answer but in most cases it is possible. Here are two good link buying situations, our examples will be for an ‘SEO company’:

1. You find a blogger in your area that blogs only about SEO, you send an email to the owner and offer to pay him $100 a month in exchange for posting a link on his blog in the right hand column with the text ‘brisbane search engine optimisation’.
a. Can a search engine determine if the link was bought? Probably not; since it is a custom website and the owner has other links going to his friend’s blogs and other SEO resources a search engine would have a very difficult time knowing the link was paid for.
b. You were clear on where you wanted to have your link placed and the text, you should be fine.
c. Yes, since the blog is about SEO and not dog breeding or some other un-related topic this should help your SEO campaign.

Overall: This is a very good scenario for buying a link and probably the best method. Contacting individual websites on your own that you know are related to your industry can be very profitable. The drawbacks are it is more time consuming and you may have to make several offers before someone agrees; however you will probably be suprised at how many people will accept money for a link.

2. You find a text link broker that has an inventory of websites related to yours. You find a few websites and purchase links through their system.
a. This will depend on the link broker’s programming methods. If the links are delivered via javascript, php, etc. you may run into the possibility that the links can be recognised by a search engine as a purchased link. If the link is strictly HTML you may have a better chance of the search engine not knowing it was paid for.
b. Again this depends on the system; however usually you know what you are getting, but not the exact website in some situation. You may know it is a ‘PR 5’ website, with one link on the homepage and 40 links on subpage and the topic of the website is ‘seo copyrwriting’. However usually you have enough information to make an informed decision on whether to place the link; as long as the information is reliable.
c. As long as you place links only on websites that are related to yours, are not ‘spammy’ and full of garbage links, and are strictly in HTML format you should be good to go.

Overall: This is an easy and quick method as you can sort through hundreds or thousands of potential websites that you know are willing to accept paid links. The main drawbacks are the quality of the links (which you may never really know until you try one for a few months) and the lack of information in some cases (not being able to see the exact website until after you purchase a link). You may also run the risk that the search engines have picked up on certain link text brokers and knows which links are purchased through them.

Link Buying Cautions!
Although the two above examples are fairly safe and effective depending on several factors there are certain situation and conditions you will want to avoid:

1. Never buy a link on a website that is not related to yours.
2. Don’t buy a link that you have to ask yourself if it will be worth it or not and you are left to wonder at exactly what you will get.
3. Do not buy links that are non-HTML based.
5. Avoid ‘link farm’ type situations.
6. Carefully consider the value of the link and don’t overpay.
7. Monitor your results for 2-3 months to determine if you should continue to pay for the link. Is it generating useful traffic (check your usage logs)
8. If possible buy links that include a link on every page of the website, not just one.
9. Buy links on websites that have few outgoing links and have valuable and useful content.
10. Try to keep links for a minimum of 3 months, don’t keep changing websites that you buy links from as it takes a while for the search engine’s to pick them up and add value to your SEO campaign.

4 Benefits of Social Marketing

There are basically four different types of benefits that you can expect to achieve from a successful social media marketing campaign: links, branding, sales and interaction.

Below, a look at each of these potential benefits and some ideas on how you can make maximise them for your specific needs.

Links

Making use of social media for link building is relatively popular within the SEO community, and for good reason. Using social news sites as a platform to spread your content (linkbait) can relatively easily produce thousands of new inbound links to your site. Compare that with traditional methods of paying or begging for links, and you can quickly see why linkbaiting is so popular.

The of linkbaiting is to produce a piece of remarkable content that will spread virally and naturally collect links. The big social news sites already have millions of users, so the concept is to leverage these sites to get your story popular enough so that it’s exposed to their user community. A popular piece of content on these sites is seen by tens of thousands of hungry bloggers looking for stories to blog about.

Sites that are best for link building are probably Digg, Delicious, Netscape, and Reddit.

Branding

Social media marketing goes further than just traffic and links. It is also great for improving brand awareness. It doesnt matter if you have a new brand or one that is well established, using social media can help build or strengthen it.

Social media is also part of a brand experience when users interact in these channels. If the experience is positive, high-energy, interesting or funny, all of these elements will support a unique brand experience and support ongoing initiatives in this area. Positive or negative experiences here can really have an impact on a brand.

A few examples of positive experiences include funny videos, useful content, flash games, and contests based on user participation. Each of these methods help engage a deeper dialogue or interaction with the consumer and can help get closer to the customer.

Best sites for creating branding are YouTube and MySpace.

Sales

The primary aim for many marketing campaigns is to bring an increase in sales. Sometimes this is done directly and sometimes it can be a very indirect process. It can be hard to create a social media marketing campaign that will result in direct sales. This is because you’re reaching consumers in a non-purchasing stage of the cycle. It contrasts from standard SEO where consumers are looking for what you’re selling and at the point of purchase already. Social media is less intrusive, and part of the reason people engage is because there’s more there than just a selling message. Any content with a strong selling message will generally not be received well.

The best way to generate sales through social media is to show how good your product is in a creative way and compelling way.
Sites that are best for direct sales are YouTube, MySpace or any highly targeted social site.

Interaction

There are a lot of benefits to interacting with your customers through social media. Some of these include improving products or services, establishing trust, being viewed as the authority in your space and creating evangelists.

The most common form of customer interaction in social media is done through blogging. With a blog, your goal should be to establish an open dialogue with your customers. This means that should allow comments on the blog, and you should also be participating on other relevant blogs.

Blogging is not the only way to interact with your customers in social media. Consider reaching out to them in the communities where they hang out but be sure tread lightly as they can very easily have the opposite effect you are hoping for. Remember, social media is somewhere that consumers feel safe from marketers, so you need to have the right approach.

The above are examples for some of the ways social media marketing can be effective today. The environment is still evolving and growing. As we see more participation in different ways, the landscape will pose even more opportunity for marketing.