Recording of the Inaugural RankSense SEO Webinar Now Available

On Friday, we organized the very first RankSense SEO webinar entitled Searching for Results. If you missed the webinar you can access a recording of the live event here

During this inaugural webinar, Hamlet covered several key SEO topics including:

  • Solutions to Common SEO Problems
  • Creating successful content
  • How to attract successful traffic
  • How to use the “Brand Hijacker” technique to attract visitors
  • A look at the concept of link opportunity
  • Viral Link Building
  • How to scale your SEO efforts
  • Hamlet’s SEO mind map

Read more

Delayed Gratification: The key to untold riches down the line

You have probably heard about the two most important metrics for the success of a website: traffic and conversions. No one will dispute that the more traffic you receive, and the better that traffic converts, the more sales/profits you are going to make. Entire professions are dedicated to driving traffic to your website and to improving your landing pages’ conversion rates. The general wisdom is that these two important fields need to be treated separately. But in this post I am going to explain why the two are more tightly related than they initially seem.

Going Back to the Source

Certainly you can do all sorts of things to your site to “improve” the likelihood that the visitor will stay around longer and perhaps take action eventually. But I think that too much effort and thought is put into driving traffic from as many sources and keywords as possible and in trying to optimize everything that can be optimized on a website. Yet little thought is put into something as obvious as trying to understand clearly what each visitor is expecting when they see your landing page.

Think about it. Visitors land on your website all the time, but the path of clicks they followed to get there, and their expectations once they arrive, are often completely different from visitor to visitor. One visitor may arrive after reading a favorable review of your services from a reputable blog site or online magazine. Another may arrive directly from your Google AdWords ad that promised a discount on purchases “today only.” This is what I call the visitor’s frame of mind. It is a very important concept for conversion: the source of your traffic preconditions your visitor to take (or not to take) action on your content.

Read more

Yes, This Link-building Tip is Definitely White Hat!

A couple of months ago I found a really clever and easy way to build thousands of links to any site (with your choice of anchor text). In the spirit of sharing I try to promote in this blog, here it is…

PAD your link-building regimen

There are thousands of software developers that provide their solution as a software download (RankSense is one of those), but getting visibility for your solution is an uphill battle due to the large number of competing products in any software niche. One of the easiest ways to get a lot of visibility is to offer a free version of your product and syndicate it through free software download directories.

Now, there are thousands of such directories and submitting your software to each one manually is definitely a pain. Fortunately, there is already a solution for that. All of the software distribution sites support a standard syndication format for content similar to RSS. It’s called PAD (Portable Application Description). Essentially, it is an XML format with all the details about your software, your company, and so on. And most important of all for us marketers, it includes a space to provide our company/product URL and description. In most cases, both result in a link with the anchor text you specify. Read more

Us and Them: Why Smart SEOs Should Guarantee Results

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while—especially after following the contentious discussion in the comments of my last post. Rand Fishkin talks about why SEO firms should not guarantee rankings, and for the most part I agree with everything he says. But I am going to come down on the other side of the fence on this because it concerns a more profound issue that I feel most of us have been sweeping under the rug.

The problem is scammers who claim to be SEOs and who disrepute all of us with what they do. Wherever we draw the line between who is and who isn’t a “real SEO” is not important. There is no central authority or watchdog group that validates which SEO claims are true and which are false. But—and this is a big but—there is one way we can turn the tables. You guessed it: unlike scammers, we can guarantee our results.

Read more

Keep your eyes OFF the search engine rankings

There’s been an interesting debate on WebmasterWorld, Search Engine Roundtable, Sphinn, SitePoint and Search Engine Watch about Google’s recent block of popular rank-checking tools like WebPosition Gold and WebCEO. It appears that clients are very used to tracking their SEO consultants’ efforts and gauging their success by looking at the regular rankings report. But querying search engines is not the only way you can use to check rankings. Let me tell you a better way…

A better way to check search rankings

I definitely feel the pain of those that need to rely on tools that are constantly getting blocked by Google. But there is no need to get Google mad at you and block your IP. I learned early in life that there are always many different ways to achieve the same goals. You can get far more information about your rankings, for instance, directly from your traffic log files. You can determine all the keywords that you are ranking for, their relative positions, the number of visits each keyword is sending, and, with the IP address, you can also determine the physical locations where searchers are coming from. We’ve had this functionality built in to RankSense since we started developing it four years ago! Plus, you don’t need to query Google to get this information. (BTW, the new 2.0 version of RankSense is coming out, and the Discover Rankings tool can now detect conversions as well. That way, you’ll be ranking first for the keywords that actually bring in the money!)

The problem with fixation on ranking reports

Read more

The SEO feasibility report: When SEO is a good idea and when it isn’t

This is a guest post by Paul Burani from Clicksharp Marketing, a very sharp search marketer I met in NY

In the search engine world, it’s easy to think in terms of black and white.  Some traffic you pay for, some you don’t.  There’s page one, and there’s everything else.  And of course we use the terms “black hat” and “white hat” SEO to differentiate the practices which push (or exceed) the limits of what is deemed acceptable by each search engine’s terms of service.

This view often creates a temptation to pursue Search Engine Optimization at all costs, when in fact it may be an ill-advised strategy.  What would lead a CEO, marketing manager, publisher or webmaster to make a dubious investment in SEO?  In many cases, this is based on the simplistic notion that clicks from Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising come at a significant price, whereas in organic search, they cost nothing.

The idea that SEO is free is patently false. Read more

The Slow Sale: Getting conversions from ads outside the search world

I’ve been spending a little bit of time lately out of the search marketing world and into the broader Internet marketing space. I signed up for every “guru’s” newsletter, accepted all the free offers and I even signed up for a few paid ones. There are a lot of scams out there, but there are also those genuinely interested in providing quality information.

What I’ve come away with, and I’ve certainly talked about this before, is that conversions depend a lot on the traffic source. This becomes especially true when we move our ads away from the search page and onto social media sites or other places where users are browsing, not searching. Most people will say that in order to increase conversion you need to tweak the landing page, change what you say, how you say it, update the artwork, the offer, or work on other countless variables. What they don’t tell you is that you can also improve your conversion rate without making any changes to your landing page at all. How? Well it all goes back to the traffic source, so keep reading… Read more

Engage the Cloaking Device: My presentation at SMX Advanced (slides and comments, too)

I promised everybody that I’d be posting my presentation slides from my talk at the SMX Advanced Bot Herding panel, so here they are!

First, let me say that I was very excited to be speaking at a major search marketing conference, and I can say with confidence that all the traveling was definitely worth it. My only regret is that I did not get to finish my presentation. This is the first time I spoke publicly and as an inexperienced speaker I was not even looking at the timer. My apologies to all those in attendance. :-) Frankly, I do think speakers should be allowed a little bit more time for SMX Advanced, as you really do need time to lay the groundwork before delving deeply into these sorts of topics. Read more

Using pay-per-click guinea pigs: How to leverage PPC for more successful SEO campaigns

It happens to the best of us. You work on an SEO campaign with a few carefully chosen keywords for months. But when you finally get to the top of the search engine results…nothing. The traffic you expected doesn’t come in or, even worse, neither does the money. You start to wonder, “What went wrong? Is it that people don’t like the search snippet? Are they finding what they want on the website?”

It’s perhaps the most frustrating thing that can happen to an SEO. But it’s also something you can often avoid completely with a little planning. In this post I’m going to talk about a technique I like for using pay-per-click first to test out my SEO game plan. This way the next time you make it to the top of the search rankings, the traffic and money will start pouring in! Read more