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How to Get Googlebot to “Teach You” Advanced SEO

I recently worked on an enterprise-level client’s non-SEO related project where the goal was to confirm or deny that their new product:

1)  Was not doing anything that could be considered black hat.

2)  Was providing any SEO benefit for their clients.

The problems you face with projects like this is that Google doesn’t provide enough information, and you cannot post corner-case questions like this in public Webmaster forums. To do so would violate your NDA, and potentially reveal your client’s intellectual property. So, what option do you have left? Well, you set up a honeypot!

A honeypot is a term that comes from the information security industry. Honeypots are a set of files that, to an automated program, appear like regular files, but they allow for the monitoring and “capturing” of specific viruses, e-mail harvesters, etc. In our case, we set up a honeypot with the purpose of detecting and tracking search engine bot behavior in specific circumstances. We also wanted to track the outcome (positive, neutral or negative) in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Let me walk you trough a few ways you can learn advanced SEO by using a honeypot. Read more

Are You Ready To Join The Evolution Of Affiliate Marketing?

Last December, while speaking at an affiliate convention in LA, I had the opportunity to share a panel with Dush Ramachandran, the vice president of sales, marketing, and business development for ClickBank. We talked about some of the challenges facing his organization. One of those challenges is the fact that after years of success, many affiliates lose their excitement for ClickBank, often feeling that they need to “graduate” to more challenging platforms.

I did not get started as an affiliate marketer by promoting information products on Clickbank, but I’m pretty sure the vast majority of affiliates got started this way. Clickbank accepts almost anybody, and their system is the simplest and most straight forward there is. When you notice that many of the “guru” affiliates who are teaching everyone how to get rich online often promote Clickbank products, you can see how so many people become Clickbank affiliates.

The more experience and success you get, the more sophisticated your marketing becomes. Your need for more powerful tools, more intelligence data, and more control grows as your business grows.

While sophisticated affiliate networks like MediaTrust, NeverBlue, and Clickbooth all provide advanced tools that can help you run very complex campaigns, their barrier to entry is very high.  CPA networks won’t accept you unless you are a proven and ethical marketer. They don’t have time for newbies. I believe CPA networks are where most experienced affiliates go once they learn the ropes on sites like ClickBank and Commission Junction.

But there is a new alternative for experienced affiliates. I was lucky enough to be invited to see it in person, and I can confidently say it is the next step in the evolution of affiliate marketing. It is the new and highly innovative network known as TrendRevenue.

The People Behind Trend Revenue Are The Reason It Is So Unique And Exciting!

I worked with many TrendRevenue members back in my glorious pharmacy days. We made a LOT of money, money we didn’t even think it was possible to make (I talked about it in more detail in this interview). In fact, back in the day, they flew me and my beautiful wife to Maui for a week with all expenses paid just to convince me to drop my current affiliate relationship and work with them. They did a great job persuading me, and I am really glad I made the switch.

I managed to get top rankings in Google not only for hot pharmaceutical products, but also for other industries like mortgages, and life insurance. They all paid decently, but only the pharmacy marketing made a huge amount of money. Now that I think about it, the real reason for this is blatantly obvious. Read more

Here is Why Now Is The Best Time To Be In The SEO Business

It seems like every time I check up on blogs someone is decrying the bygone days of search engine optimization as if it has been dead for years. This strikes me as more than strange. Granted, many of the old black hat techniques are certainly no longer viable. Google continues to create better and better algorithms to stop search engine spammers from ruining the web, and because of continual failure, many old school SEOs (myself included :-)) have hung up those black hats and decided to pursue something else.

But here is the reality. SEO is thriving! I might even go so far as to say it is in its prime. A number of key factors have come together very recently to cause a dramatic uptick in demand for SEO services. Among them are the following:

  • Paid search is becoming more and more popular and very expensive as an advertising method
  • Google is no longer shunning most SEO as black hat. The company is embracing it with guides, videos, and search engineers who now act as SEO evangelists
  • The complexity of paid search is almost on par with SEO
  • Serious investors are getting involved in SEO

 

Paid search is becoming more and more popular and very expensive as an advertising method Read more

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.

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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

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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