SEO Article Writing Is Dead – Long Live SEO Article Writing

It’s Google’s world and for those of us with websites, we’re just living in it.  And while the various Panda  updates have proven to be a major thorn in the side of content providers and SEO experts, search engine optimization isn’t going away… and despite Google trying to kill it, SEO article writing will not die.

That doesn’t mean it hasn’t changed dramatically, however.  Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, those who write content with the intention of ranking well in the SERPs have had to make major changes in how they write.

I’ve put together this article to help you learn what’s working now and what you better avoid is you still want to achieve good search engine rankings for yourself or for your clients.

This guide will help you get long term results from your SEO article writing efforts.   

Unfortunately, this isn’t the most exciting of topics in the world and is a bit more technical than most of what you’ve read before.  Heck, the first draft didn’t have a single shit, damn, layin’ the smack down, cotton pickin’¸or hornswoggled in it.

Yeah, that means it’s pretty boring.  Skip the beer until you finish this one, it took me three cups of coffee to write it.  You’ll probably need at least one to read it.  But alas, if you do SEO for a living, or play an SEO expert on TV, you should probably read this article… or stay in a Holiday Inn Express – the choice is yours.

Ready to get started?   Take a deep breath – here we go.

The Old Formula For Articles That Rank Well

They say those who ignore the past are destined to repeat it (or something like that – I’m pretty sure I heard that when I was in school).  So let’s look at how things used to work.

The Old Formula

Links + SEO Shenanigans + Content = Rankings

… and in that order.

Heck, in the past I was able to get websites to rank in the top 10 on the power of links (and anchor text) alone.  I know this because there was no content on the page I was linking to.  If you’re an SEO trying to sell your services, showing that to a prospective client sure looks impressive.  I could honestly tell them,

“It really doesn’t matter what’s on your website,  I can get it to rank well in Google for you… so long as your check clears.”

Of course that goes against what Google wants.  Just like a fresh pint of milk, they want the cream to rise to the top, naturally.  Google has publicly said they don’t want the top ranking websites to be the ones who can afford to hire the best SEO guys.  They want the top ranking websites to actually be the best.

They’ve hired a not so small army of manual reviewers trying to get rid of the riff raff for years now.  However, in February of 2011, Google had finally figured out a way to get rid of low quality content algorithmically. If you’re not a tech geek, that means that it’s so easy a computer can do it – no human intervention required.

And they’ve continued to tighten the screws… creating low quality content just to rank in the search engines is now just a waste of time, money, and resources.

The New Formula For Articles That Rank Well

Expert Quality Content + Quality Links + Warm Fuzzy Factors = Rankings

Expert Quality Content

Newspapers are still a great place to go for quality writing... who knew?

One tip I’ll give you that works really well when you’re not an expert on the topic is to think like a reporter.  Pick up a newspaper and read it.  If it was written by a reporter, they probably interviewed someone to write it.  They may have done plenty of research to write the article, but there is also the story and personal experiences of one or two people interweaved into the article itself.

I’ll be honest, if you’ve never written like that, it’s a challenge and there’s a certain amount of skill required, but it’s easy to see why that kind of content ranks so well in Google – it has all those warm fuzzy factors we’re looking for.

Yes, there are plenty of classes you can take to learn how to do this – after all, journalists do go to college to learn their craft, but you can get a quick crash course just by googling “how to write like a journalist.”  Then it’s just a matter of practicing.

I’d also recommend subscribing to a newspaper.  Personally, I think it’s hard to find a newspaper that does it better than the New York Times (even if they are a bunch of liberal bastards… but I digress) , but what newspaper you subscribe to is up to you though I do recommend subscribing to the print edition and reading it somewhere away from your computer screen.  Just absorb the writing style and let it soak in.

Here’s a great list you can use – turn it into a checklist.  It’s was written by a Google employee and gives some insights into what Google wants to rank highly in their search engine.

Quality Links

When it comes to getting quality links to your website, I have good news and bad news.  Studies have shown that people respond better when you give them the good news first so here it is:

You don’t need very many quality links to rank well! 

Which is good because getting quality links is tough.

Here’s the thing.  Google wants you to create content that is so awesome and so compelling that other website owners, including the authority websites in your niche to link to your content out of the goodness of their hearts.

It happens on occasion when you do a good job but I’ve found one Google approved link building technique that can get you those oh so important quality links… Guest Blogging.

It’s a lot like the old days of article marketing but instead of your article being potentially syndicated across hundreds of websites, your article is only published on one website.  And while you have to work with each website owner individually, the highly relevant and contextual links you get from these websites is worth the extra work.

Plus it gets your message in front of that website’s audience… which is probably the people you want reading your message anyway.   So even if you get no SEO benefit from the article, you still get the people you really want reading your article anyway which is probably what you were going for in the first place.

Basically, you’re killing two birds with one stone.

The Warm Fuzzy Factors

puppy makes you feel warm and fuzzy

Doesn't he make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Remember only evil people like Bin Laden hate puppies.

Okay, so I could have called these “user behavior metrics” and could have thrown in the new buzz word “social signals” but I wanted to make sure you’re still awake and are still slogging on through this with me… plus warm fuzzy factors sounds so nicer.  J

Here’s the thing.  It used to be that those of us in the SEO world could do a pretty reasonable job of backwards engineering Google’s ranking algorithm using statistical analysis.

Without getting too much into it, we could look at what currently ranks well across thousands of keywords and find certain correlations.

For example, pages that rank on the first page of Google tend to have that keyword in their title tag.

If I want this article to rank well for “SEO Article Writing,” then I should make sure that keyword shows up in the title somewhere.

Make sense?

Of course, it’s not perfect.   Statistical analysis never is.

For example, if you were to conduct your own analysis, you’d find a positive confidence interval for domains names that are 9 characters long.  Does having a domain name that is exactly 9 characters long have anything to do with ranking well?  No – nothing – why would it?  However, Wikipedia happens to be precisely 9 letters long and with millions of top ten rankings, they can easily give you a false positive for ranking factors.

You’d find the same for domains that are 6 letters long because Amazon.com is that length and they get just as good of rankings but for products people want to buy.

Fortunately, there were plenty of rankings factors we could reverse engineer that did make sense.  So we used them, then abused them, and then abused them some more.

And now we’re at a point where Google uses several factors we can’t use good ole statistical analysis to backwards engineer anymore.  It’s a simple matter of Google having so much data we don’t have access to anymore.

Their ranking algorithm is getting closer and closer to having every page behave like articles submitted to a peer reviewed journal.  In case you’re not familiar, when you submit an article to one of these journals for publication, it goes out to three peers deemed to be experts on the subject and if they don’t like it, it doesn’t get published (they’ll typically ask you to make revisions).

Basically we now have a computer that is an expert on every subject on the planet and can tell if what your wrote is B.S. or if it’s actually worth reading.    Keep that in mind when you create content.   Focus on the people that will ultimately read it.  It’s what Google wants and Google’s been tweaking their search engine to behave the same way over the years.

Beyond Backlinks

Backlinks used to be the holy grail of rankings and was the basis for Google’s Pagerank algorithm.  When it was developed, Larry Page assumed (correctly) that you could gauge the importance of a website and a page on that website by the amount of links pointing to it.  The more links pointing to a particular page, the more important it must be and thus more deserving of a high ranking in Google.

Makes sense if you think about it, right?

And it worked great… until people figured out that was what was going on.   Then all hell broke loose.

Everybody and their brother starting concocting link building schemes that would artificially inflate the importance of their website.

The reason backlinks and nothing but more backlinks worked so well for so long was simple – a better solution didn’t exist.

Yes, backlinks still matter and still matter a lot.  But they are only effective as part of a larger overall strategy.  Google uses over 200 ranking factors (and no, they’re not sharing specifically what they are) to determine quality.

Here are a couple important ones you should be paying attention to… when combined I like to call them “warm fuzzy factors.”

Stickiness

Basically, this is a measure of how long someone stays on a page and how long someone stays on your website.

If everybody who clicks on your website and immediately clicks the back button on their browser, that’s a giant red flag and Google can track that by measuring the clickthrough rate and “dwell time.”

Bottom line: You want people to visit your website and stay around a while.    

Improving the stickiness of your website:

  • Make sure your articles are easy to read.  Yes, people will read long articles as long as they’re interesting, but it’s important to make sure you use short paragraphs and include white space between all paragraphs.  If your article looks like it’s going to be hard to read, people will leave.
  • Don’t autoplay music on your website.  I still see people doing this and it’s annoying.  I have my own music playing and don’t want yours (and statistics prove that most people agree with me).  Rather than finding the button to turn off the music, I’ll leave and do business with a competitor.
  • When in doubt, include a video.   Putting a video at the top of your article can significantly enhance the stickiness of a web page.  No, not everyone will watch it so make sure you include text too, but it provides a different modality for those who don’t want to read much.
  • Use pictures.  People like pictures so sprinkle them throughout long articles.  It keeps people around by breaking up the text a little bit.
  • Avoid having too many ads “above the fold” on your website.  First of all, Google is directly penalizing sites that it considers to have excessive ads but just as important is that too many ads can cause people to immediately leave your website, resulting in a low dwell time.

Social Signals

Social signals may sound like a fancypants term but it’s actually very easy to understand and describe.  When someone tweets about your article, likes it on Facebook, or shares it with their circles on Google + by giving it a “plus 1”, these are social signals that real people are reading and sharing what you wrote.

That’s one way a search engine like Google can tell what the people like and want.   It also means you want your best stuff to be shared on those sites as well.

Now don’t get carried away with social signals.  Remember that people probably aren’t going to share yours salespages with their friends.   But your best, most interesting, creative content should be.  The first step is to share it on your own networks.  If you’re not willing to publicy share what you’ve written with your friends and followers why would anyone else.

Of course it’s always best to let nature takes its course and let things happen organically but if you want to give your best content a little extra oomph, services like Synnd can help.   As always, be very careful about using services that aren’t natural.    I like them because they can provide that initial spark you need to get something started but once it’s started, let it stand on its own from there – if it crashes and burns, so be it.  Try again tomorrow.

SEO Article Writing Tips

something to write with

Drag one of these into Starbucks to write with... makes you look sophisticated... ladies love it too!

I’m going to give you a crash course on what it takes to write expert quality content that will get those warm fuzzy factors we’re looking for so buckle your seatbelts boys and girls… this could get a little rough.

First of all – I’m going to assume you already have some writing skills.  If you failed English in high school then you might want to consider a different line of work.

Sorry.

There are plenty of fantastic resources out there that can teach you how to write.  I think Copyblogger has a lot of solid tips for bloggers.  I recommend taking a couple days and perusing their vast archives.  It’s also a good place to see excellent writing in action.   I’m also a big fan of Cracked.com.  Many of their articles can legitimately make you laugh out loud.  There is so much personality in those articles, if you can conjure up a fraction of it for your own writing, you’ll be in good shape.

There are also books on the topic as well as classes… I’m sure there’s an online class or one being offered at your local community college if you’re serious about improving your writing skills.

What I can help you with is what should be included in your articles.

SEO Basics & Best Practices

  • Put your main keyword in the title or your article
  • Try to offer something in your article that nobody else offers even if it’s just a personal story or experience.  Case studies are great too!
  • Do give credit where credit is do.  Link to resources on the topic (basically, it’s like citing your research).  Contrary to popular belief it doesn’t hurt your rankings or cause you to leak Pagerank.  It actually helps!
  • Be detailed on your articles
  • Write for people, not machines.
  • Promote your writing.  Share it wherever appropriate whether its on Facebook, Twitter, Google+,  Pinterest, or wherever.
  • Proofread all your work.   It doesn’t have to be grammatically perfect but you should have spelling errors and silly little things fixed.
  • Ask yourself, “Would I consider this article to be one of the ten best on the topic?”  If the answer is no and your goal is for the article to rank in the top 10 of Google, then go back and edit the article until you can honestly answer, “yes.”
  • It’s okay to write a contrarian viewpoint or to agree with conventional wisdom but Google really wants to see some balance.   They consider the authority on the subject to be the one that mentions multiple points of view.

Practices to Avoid

  • Never publish anything that is comprised of “spun” content.    Same goes for PLR content.  
  • Avoid too much duplicate content.  Yes, it’s okay to reprint and occasional very well written article from an expert but for the most part you want to stick to unique and original content on your website.
  • Steer clear of blackhat linking practices including xrumer blasts, massive profile links, anything built by SENuke and it’s competitors, and excessive social bookmarking links.   

Keyword Density

I’ve been saying this for years – keyword density is dead.  That hasn’t stopped self appointed SEO experts from extolling its virtues from on high to make them sound smart.   Heck, I was just talking to a guy yesterday who was convinced that 4% keyword density was critical to his SEO success.  Here’s the truth.  At any given time you can figure out what appears to be an optimal keyword density for an article.  The problem is it changes.  Heck, for a while there were two sweet spots – 3% and 9%.   Fortunately, the correlation between a certain keyword density and rankings has dropped which in layman’s terms means don’t worry about it.  Your keyword will work itself into your article without you thinking about it much.  Make sure it’s in the title and put it in the first paragraph.  After that, it’ll probably show up here and there, but you don’t need to worry about it.

Plus, if you keyword density is deemed too high, you’ll get hit with Google’s new “over-optimized” penalty.  Google is on the prowl looking for websites whose content was clearly written to rank well in the search engines and they’re casting those pages asunder to troll the depths with other low quality and spammy content even if the information is quite good and useful.

What’s the keyword density of this article?   I have no idea.  I didn’t check because it really doesn’t matter.

Okay, So How Long Do My Articles Need To Be If I Want Them To Be Considered Expert Quality Content?

I’ve been asked about this many times and while I understand why you’re asking it’s the wrong question.

I’ve have pages that have ranked in the top 5 of Google for years that have less than 400 words on the page – heck I have a client who has less than 50 words on his homepage and still does well, albeit in a small market.  On the flip side, I have articles that are 2,000-3,000 words long.  Guess what?  They rank well too.

There is not one size fits all recommendation.

It all depends on the market.  But one easy way to find out is to check Wikipedia.  How long is their article on your topic (assuming they have it and it ranks in the top 10 of Google)?  If it’s 5,000 words long, your little 350 word blurb stands little chance.

Of course, you also need to deliver what the person is actually searching for.  If they want a map – show them a map.  If their search indicates they’re looking for a video, you probably want video embedded on the page.

I do understand that when you’re hiring writers you need to give them guidelines.  These days I’m thinking most articles should be at least 750 words long with much of it exceeding 1,000 words.  Keep in mind if it’s full of fluff and filler, length doesn’t matter.

That’s a lot of writing – what do I say?

Here’s what’d I’d recommend you do.  Go take a look at how long obscure little topics on Wikipedia end up.  When in doubt, you could cover historical aspects of what you’re writing about or do my personal favorite filler – tell a story.

People love stories!   I love stories, you love stories, we all love stories.

Heck, I still remember being in grade school when we’d go to the library and our librarian would read a book to us.   I remember being so excited to hear stories like The Wish Giver read and anxiously waited for the hour where she’d read to us every week.    And considering I still remember names of obscure books like the one I mentioned above proves that stories really can stick with us.

And you don’t have to be a world class writer to tell a good story… good stories do all the heavy lifting.

What About Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)?

I’m sure there are a few people thinking I must be smokin’ something (want some?) or just completely incompetent since I haven’t said anything about latent semantic indexing (LSI) yet.  Here’s why.  I already covered it.

If you stick to writing expert quality content or hiring those who are experts on the subject, you don’t need to worry about it… that stuff all shows up without having to think about it and that’s the whole point of LSI.  Latent semantic indexing was created to identify expert quality content, not the other way around.

Do you think I spent any time reading about which keywords I need to mention in this article to make sure it ranks well for “SEO article writing?”  No.  I’ve done SEO for a living since 2005, I know this stuff inside out and don’t need to read up on what other people are mentioning in their articles.  It may sound arrogant (and it is) but I don’t need to go read about what a bunch of amateurs are writing just so I can be sure to cover the right keywords.    You will notice that I have linked to a few noted authorities for further study of certain topics, however.

Besides, Google has a variance algorithm (I can’t think of the name of it and no, not Universal Search but it’s part of it) built into their rankings so they can show several different types of content on the first page… and to make it nearly impossible for one person to control all top 10 spots on Google for anything but the most obscure of key phrases.   Basically, it allows for several different pieces of authority level content to have a voice on the first page of Google despite the fact that they may all have contrary viewpoints or recommendations.

If you’ve never heard of LSI, ignore this section as it’s not important to you.  If you’re still focusing on LSI content, silo structure, and pagerank sculpting, I’d recommend following your rankings and analytics carefully in the coming months.  If it looks like something an expert SEO guy did, you might be exposing your clients to more risk than they’re willing to take and it might be time to back off.

Properly Outsourcing Content Creation

I remember when I first starting outsourcing content creation to freelance writers back in 2006.  I learned quickly that you could get a decent article for $10 and a pretty good one for $20 or so.  However, if you remember the old formula, the quality of the content wasn’t all that important as far as ranking well in the search engines were concerned.

That meant that more and more services popped up offering articles for $7, $5, and I’ve even seen people offering articles for as little as one dollar.  What does $1 get you?  Junk, drivel, and nothing quality minded webmaster should ever consider publishing on his or her blog.

If you’re going to hire someone to write for you, focus on people who know the topic you’re asking them to write about or find someone who will act like a reporter and get the real scoop from someone who does.

In the past, my best writers have read books on the topics they weren’t familiar with (I purchased and mailed them to my writers) or they’ve gone out and interviewed people who knew the topic.

Now that level of writing isn’t cheap but these days you get what you pay for and only quality writing is worth paying for.   Nobody wants to publish worthless drivel and Google certainly doesn’t want it ranking on the first page of their search engine so even if you manage to trick them into ranking your content for a short while, rest assured you’ll be exposed soon enough.

Great Content Can Rank For Years

Yes, I know that everything I’ve described is a lot of work.  It will drastically cut down on how much content you can produce and how many websites you can manage.

However, it can really pay off.

In competitive niches, it’s the only way to stay competitive and have a chance.

In less than competitive niches, you can create content that will rank at the top of Google for years.  I have articles I’ve written that have been ranking in the top 5 of Google for 5+ years now.  It has nothing to do with tricks – those articles are still the best on the topic… yes, they’ve even more comprehensive and helpful than what Wikipedia has to offer.

What’s Working For You?

So there you have it, my guide on SEO article writing.  No it’s not dead but it has transformed and for the better.

What are you doing that’s working for you to get your content ranked?

 

 

Advantages of a Sitemap – How To Submit A Sitemap To Search Engines

It seems like having an XML sitemap on your website has become standard advice, but are there any advantages of having a sitemap?

What is a Sitemap?

I like to think of a Sitemap like an office directory. When you walk into an office building, there’s usually one on the wall that lists who’s in what office so that you can find who you’re looking for.

A Sitemap is a directory of all the pages of your website. An XML Sitemap is a sitemap designed specifically for the search engines to read – i.e. they’re not designed or very useful for people. For your visitors, you could also build an HTML sitemap.

Do I Need One?

Here’s the important thing – not all websites need to have a sitemap.

For example, if your website is small then you probably don’t need one. Also, if you have an old and established website that has a lot of links already, especially to internal pages, then you probably won’t see much benefit in having one (though it can never hurt). And if you don’t give a hoot about search engine rankings, then there’s no point either.

However, they’re particularly helpful for getting a new website indexed by Google and they’ve been shown to give a definite boost in search engine rankings to new websites. They’re also excellent if you have large websites with a lot of content – it helps Google make sure is has found every page on your website.

Advantages of a Sitemap

There are two advantages to having a sitemap. One is that it can boost the search engine rankings of your website – something we’re all looking for. Now it’s not some super ninja secret that will catapult you from obscurity to #1 on Google, but it certainly seems to help a little based on our own tests.

The second advantage is that it also helps with getting all of your pages get indexed, even if they’re obscure.

And as you’ll see, they’re super simple to create so they’re well worth the little bit of extra effort they take to create.

How To Create A Sitemap

While writing the code yourself to build an XML sitemap that is automatically updated every time you update or add content to your website is a pain in the ass for anyone who isn’t a grizzled coder, you don’t need to worry – they’re super easy to build using 3rd party software and plugins.

If you’re using WordPress to manage your website (an excellent CMS choice) then all you need to do is download and install the Google XML Sitemaps plugin.

If you’re using Joomla, there’s an extension for you as well called Xmap.

If you’re not using a content management system or your the system you’re using doesn’t offer one, just use the XML Sitemaps Sitemap Generator to create one.

How To Submit A Sitemap To Search Engines

Getting your sitemap submitted to the search engines is a piece of cake – it’s mostly just clicking buttons – even a trained monkey can do it. Here’s how to do it for the major search engines (there’s no need to submit a sitemap to any other search engines than the ones I’ve listed below)

How To Submit A Sitemap To Google

Once your sitemap has been created (again, it MUST be in xml format), it’s time to submit your sitemap to Google since they may not actually find it if we don’t.

To do this you’ll need to go to google.com/webmasters

If you don’t already have a Google Account (you have one already if you have a Gmail, Youtube, Adwords, or Google + account), then you’ll need to sign up. These days most people have one so if that’s the case just click “sign in to Webmaster Tools.

If you get confused at any point, they have plenty of handy dandy videos to help you out – watch them.

Next just click the “Add A Site” Button.

Then enter the domain name of your website when prompted.

Now you’ll need to verify that you actually own the domain name. Google gives you a few ways to do this: HTML Verification, Meta Tag Verification, DNS Verification, and Google Analytics Verification.

If you are already using Google Analytics to keep track of the traffic on your website (and you should be using something), then just click on the tab that says alternate methods and click on that button.

If you’re not using Google Analytics, the HTML file is easy to do but pick whichever one you like best.

Once your website has been verified, then you can just click on the url of your website in Webmasters and you’ll see a section called “Sitemaps. Just click on the Add A Sitemap text and enter the path to your sitemap, usually all you need to do is enter sitemap.xml.

Then save it and you’re all set. Google will crawl your sitemap within a day or two.

How To Submit A Sitemap To Bing

To submit a sitemap to bing, you’ll need to navigate to Bing Webmaster Tools at http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster/

Then you’ll need to login with your Windows Live ID. If you already have a Hotmail, Messenger, or Xbox Live account, then you have a Windows Live ID. If not, then you need to create one.

First you’ll need to add a site. It’s just like the Google procedure – just enter your domain name and then follow the verification instructions.

Once verified you’ll be taken to a section called “Dashboard.” There won’t be any data available at first – don’t worry, that’s normal.

To get your sitemap submmitted, you’ll need to click on the “Crawl” tab right next to the “Dashboard” tab. Then click on the “Sitemaps (XML, Atom, RSS)” section.

Now click “Add Feed”

Then just fill in the details – the only thing you’ll likely need to do is enter sitemap.xml into the last box.

That’s it – your sitemap will be crawled soon by Bing.

How To Submit A Sitemap To Yahoo

Yahoo no longer has its own Webmasters section – it’s all integrated with Bing now so once you have your sitemap submitted to Bing, Yahoo will have it too.

Conclusion

Creating and submitting a sitemap only takes a few minutes to do and if you haven’t already done it, it’s probably one of the most productive things you can do to help you website get more traffic.  So get it done and cross it off your list :)

A Fresh New Look

Well…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog. That’s for sure.  Here’s what new ’round these parts.

I’ve moved… twice!  I’m now living in beautiful rural Wisconsin.  I might move back to the city, or I might not.  Not sure which direction I’ll go yet but I certainly like the view from my office – lots of wildlife to be seen from my windows.

As for this blog itself…

A New Look

It was really starting to look out of date around here. However, that’s all changed as of today. I’ve got a brand new design up.  My hope is that it’s still super simple to navigate and easy to find and read.  There still aren’t any flashy graphics.  This website is all about content, not pretty logos.  But if you think the design isn’t up to snuff, then post in the comment below with what you think needs to be improved.

A Faster Server

I never got much in the way of complaints about the content of this website – who doesn’t like free, actionable content that actually gets results when you use it?  However, I have had several people tell me that the website is slow as molasses.  That should be fixed now as I’ve moved this site over to a dedicated server… and it’s one of those fancypants cloud hybrid servers that can accommodate virtually unlimited traffic.    Bottom line – this website should be fast at all times.

A New Report… Now A Multimedia Course – Still FREE!

The first couple versions of the Ultimate Traffic Blueprint were simple PDF reports.  I’ve thrown that thing out and started over… it was dated anyway.  In its place is the Ultimate Traffic Blueprint 3.0 21 Part Course plus ongoing training.  I’ve taken the time to break down generating traffic into a 21 part course.  Each day has a video, a short page of instructions, and recommended resources.

Bottom line – if you can’t improve how much traffic your website is getting with this course, you’re not trying.

New Content

Last but certainly not least is new content.  The new content will be a lot like the old stuff… but even better!  I’ll still teach you about methods of getting traffic to your website and traffic generation and how to actually use them.  I’ll post case studies, do product reviews, record videos, and I might even start a podcast if there’s demand for it (if you’d like me to do a podcast, please post in the comments).

Now, let’s make 2012 the best year ever for your website, your business, and your bank account!

How To Build A Link Wheel

In this video I show you a cool way to boost your traffic and search engine rankings quickly.

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Let me know what you think – post a comment :-)

Also, I think we’ve still got a couple spots open in the traffic mentoring and coaching program – click here to learn more.

Magic Bullet Syndrome – Have You Caught It?

To Learn More About The One On One Coaching Program Mentioned In The Video, Please Click Here

Advanced Article Marketing Tutorial

Advanced Article Marketing – 13 Steps To Get Major Mileage From Your Articles

I’ve seen some people wondering if article marketing is still effective traffic generation strategy so I figured today would be an excellent time to revisit the topic of article marketing.

I was feeling a little lazy at the keyboard today, so the video or the accompanying podcast are both going to be a lot more illuminating and detailed than the straight up text. (Perhaps I’ll get the video transcribed for you at some point, but for now you’ll have to survive with what I’ve got for you here.)

File Downloads (right click to download)

The bottom line is that yes, it still works, but if you’re taking a “quantity over quality” approach, you’re doing it wrong.

These days if you really want to get your articles noticed, you need to create a high quality article. If you’re not going to write quality content, then you can skip the rest of this guide, you’ll find it to be entirely too much work.

Follow these 13 steps (yes, 13!) and you’ll find your articles getting major distribution, bringing in traffic, links, high search engine rankings to your website.

Step 1) Write your article.

Step 2)
Create two more versions of that article. Here’s a video on how to do just that since it’s much easier just to show you how to do it than try to write it out.

Step 3) Put whichever article version you feel is best on your blog. This needs to be your own domain name, by the way – not some blogger domains – get your own.

Step 4) Submit another version of your article to Ezine Articles. Ezine Articles doesn’t like spun content so just use one of the other two complete versions of your article.

Step 5) Record a video based on the article topic. The easiest way to do this is to simply fire up Powerpoint or some other slideshow software and essentially read the article while displaying bullet points. You won’t win any awards for your presentation skills, but if that’s what it takes to get your video done, then do it. You can use software like Camtasia, Camstudio and Screenflow (for mac users) to record your computer screen in video format.

Step 6) Distribute the video. Turning your videos into multimedia presentations is really going to enhance your text… even if it says the same thing! Now we’ll take these videos and put them on video sharing sites. Youtube can be all you ever need in terms of video sharing, but since there are a lot of video sharing sites out there, we may as well use them, right? Go on over to TubeMogul and get yourself a free account to distribute your videos. Personally, I use TrafficGeyser for video distribution, but it runs $97/month and really isn’t necessary until you start seeing money come in the door from your efforts.

Bonus: If you use Traffic Geyser, they now have an article distribution service built into their video service. It’s not the best article distribution service on the planet, but if you have an account, you may as well take advantage of it.

Step 7) Use Search Engine Nuker to distribute your video and text combination. Once you have your video uploaded, now you can take your combined three versions and the embed url for your video and put together a nice multimedia presentation to share on social networking sites.

Step 8) Distribute through Article Marketing Automation. Article Marketing Automation is an article distribution service that puts unique versions of your article on blogs.

Step 9) Distribute through Unique Article Wizard. Unique Article Wizard is a similar service to Article Marketing Automation but they have a completely different distribution network and again provide quality backlinks to your site.

Step 10) Create A Squidoo Lens On The Topic.

Step 11) Create A Hubpage on the Topic

Step 12) Social bookmark all this content you’ve been creating. If you used the Search Engine Nuker program I recommended in Step 7, they have a URL manager that makes this extremely simple. In fact, it’s about the only way to keep all these links organized. Social bookmarking will get all your content indexed a lot faster and since SEO and organic traffic generation takes long enough as it is, I recommend you take advantage of it.

Step 13) Submit Your RSS Feeds to RSS directories. Search Engine Nuker makes this really easy as well. Remember to manually add in your own blog’s RSS feed, your Youtube RSS feed, as wells as feeds from Ezine Articles, Squidoo, and Hubpages.

Note: Your Youtube RSS feed can be a big tricky to find so here’s what it looks like:

http://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/api/users/[YOURUSERNAMEHERE]/uploads

So for my Youtube account, it looks like this:

http://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/api/users/gravtex/uploads

Optional Advanced Tactic – I don’t do this on every article I create, but if I think it needs some extra help on ranking in the search engines, I’ll use Linksvana to get an additional 20 links to the post. It may not seem like a lot of links, but I’ve found these links really pack a punch compared to most other links you get. If you sign up through this link, they’ll give you 50 free credits for using their system (I’m jealous, because I never got that deal).

Professional Link Building Tools

Professional Link Building Tools

This question comes up quite a bit.

People want to know what I personally use to build links. And the answer is complex. I use a lot of tools, methods, and resources to do it… There’s no one tool I use that can do everything I need done so I use several.

Today, I’ll talk about my favorite tools that I’ve been using over the past year or two. By the way, these tools all cost money. They’re way better than any free alternative I’ve found so I’d rather pay the monthly subscription rather than use third rate software just to save a buck or two – the attitude I’d recommend for any true business owner.

Search Engine Nuker

This is a really cool tool that can help you get top 10 rankings in Google as little as 24 minutes (no joke, I’ve done it). Currently this program is the cornerstone to my traffic building efforts and for good reason. It is extremely powerful, and unlike some of it’s competitors, has outstanding support, is updated frequently, and it actually works (most programs like this are buggy… to say the least).

To say exactly what it does takes quite a while because it has so many different things it can do. For example, need to submit and article to article directories? It’ll do it for you. Need to get your site on social network sites – again, it’ll do it for you. Want to bookmark your sites? You guessed it, not a problem.

Rather than going into a long explanation of everything the software does, just go to SearchEngineNuker.com and give it a try yourself – the first 7 days are free and the trial is fully featured. I highly recommend it, though, and probably use it in some capacity almost every day.

Traffic Geyser

Traffic Geyser is a top of the line video distribution service. Look, these days you need to be doing something to rise above the noise and stand out from the competition, and one way to do it is to use video. Yes, a lot of people have started to use video, but most people still aren’t. Be one of the smart ones that use video to promote your websites.

Now if you’re on a tight budget, you can probably get away with not getting Traffic Geyser right away. You can get decent results just submitting your videos to Youtube or if you only make a few videos a month, the free version of Tubemogul is a good alternative.

However, when you really want to get the most mileage out of a video, it’s time to use Traffic Geyser. They not only submit to video sites (24 at the moment), they also submit to social bookmarking directories, podcasting directories, have a transcription service that you can use to create articles that can be automatically submitted to article directories. It’s a really sweet system.

If you’re interested, be sure to use this link to get the first 30 days of service for $1.

Article Marketing Automation

When it comes to article distribution, article directories are good and work, but you’re better off if you can get unique content on blogs, not article directories. That’s exactly what this program does. They’ve built and extremely large network of blogs looking for free, high quality content. And in return for the content, you get links to your sites.

I really like this program and it’s helped me get some pretty nice rankings in the health niche so I’m happy to give them a shout out for creating a great piece of software.

Linkvana

I really love this tool. I’ve been using for for almost two years now and it’s really a tool built by professionals for professionals.
I’ve read in forums people saying that they don’t use it because it costs too much. And to me, that’s music to my ears because I don’t want everybody and their brother using this tool. I’ve been using it to get high rankings for competitive keywords and haven’t found anything that does a better job yet.

Using the system is a little bit of work, but that’s why it works so well. Basically, what it does is uses a large private blog network to build one way links to your websites, and these links perform great.

The price tag for this software is $147/month and you still have to pay for the blog post writing or do it yourself, and most people don’t like it. However, that’s precisely why this software works so darn well.

If you’re really serious about increasing your rankings, you’ll give it a try. If you have several sites you do work on (or do work for clients – yes, I’m 100% comfortable using this program on a site for a client) then consider it essential.


Unique Article Wizard

I remember when I first heard about the program back in 2005 (it had a different name back then, though). I thought it was the coolest concept I’d heard of for article distribution. It’s no longer the only game in town, but it still gets me links I wouldn’t otherwise get and is still well worth the price of admission ($67/month).

Where I get articles written.

Obviously, I need A LOT of content to use the tools above, and I certainly don’t do it all myself. I don’t mind doing a little writing myself now and then, but I certainly wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a writer at this point so I outsource the vast majority of my content creation.

And it really depends on the project I need done. If I need high really quality articles written, I’ll seek out an expert on Elance or Rentacoder and pay a premium price to get someone who really knows the subject matter well (get authority level content from subject matter experts). Most of the time, however, I just need basic content written to get me links so I’ll use the bargain priced services of Need-An-Article.net ($5.52/article).

Is this all I do?

No, it isn’t. Honestly, there are a lot of methods I haven’t gone into here that I use to build links, but those are the major tools I use and they can give your site a major traffic boost if you use them (Please note they aren’t magic wands that make traffic magically appear – you have to USE them). If you really want to tackle high competition keywords, you’ll need to go above and beyond those tools, but for many people the above 5 resources will get the job done most of the time.

I’ll give you one more nugget of information in this post… none of the tools above does press releases (you can get them written for $17 at Need-An-Article.net) yet it’s an extremely powerful way to get traffic instantly AND to build high quality backlinks for the future. Use them. I really like PRweb.com if you can swing it in your budget, but have also gotten good results from the cheaper alternative, Webwire.com (The $20 option works fine).

How To Increase Search Engine Traffic

Let’s face it. Search engine traffic is valuable. If it wasn’t, Google wouldn’t be making billions of dollars and Microsoft wouldn’t be spending a fortune on building a quality search engine. It’s high quality targeted traffic that converts into buyers.

However, getting your share of search engine traffic isn’t always the easiest thing in the world to do especially in competitive markets.

So today, I’m going to talk about how to increase search engine traffic. I’m going to assume you’re looking for tips on how to get listings from the organic listings (free listings) instead of the paid listings (pay per click). If you don’t mind paying for every click you get to your website, then by all means, give it a try.

For the rest of us, however, let’s focus on getting more visitors from Google, Yahoo, and MSN (Google mostly since they are by far the most dominant player in search).

First of all, you can forget about most web traffic software. There are a few programs worth considering, but for the most part, most of them are pathetic and unnecessary.

Also, don’t bother paying for search engine submissions. Again, they’re not necessary and they’re not going to increase the amount of website traffic you see – not one iota.

So what does make a difference?

Only two things. Content and links. That’s it. Everything else is based on one of those two things.
Add more quality content to your website and get more links to that content and you will get more visitors to your website. It really is that simple.
For example, if you have a blog and you’re only writing one post a week, try writing two posts a week. Then get links to each of those posts you made.

The blog posts you write can even do double duty. You can write a blog post and then modify it a little bit and turn it into an article that can be submitted to article directories. You can use the article directory submissions to get links to those blog posts or to any page on your site you want to get more search engine traffic to.

If you have an ecommerce website, you could go in and enhance all of your product descriptions especially if you’re only using the stock descriptions provided to you. Add more content to those pages and again get more links to those newly updated pages.
The most important thing (and I’ve said this many times) is to simply take actions. That’s your magic bullet. It’s not the latest loophole or piece of automated web traffic software. It’s actually going out there and getting something done.

So go out there and create more content and get more links to your website and you’ll see an increase in search engine traffic (the free kind) in no time.

Why You Don’t Need Submit to Search Engine Programs or Services

A quick search of the results in Google will show more than 8 pages of companies advertising their services or programs to submit your website to the search engines.

The prices varied wildly, but the fact of the matter is that any site submitter or company offering search engine submissions is just taking your money. (It’s kind of like paying an ATM fee).

Here’s the honest truth. Unless you run a local business, there’s no point to submitting your website to Google, Yahoo, or MSN. If you do have a local business, then making sure your local listing is claimed on their maps and your proper information is included is a good idea.

Let me explain. This is one of those services designed to prey on the new and uninformed website owners. Let me explain how your website gets indexed by major search engines like Google. All search engines use programs called spiders to crawl the Internet. Basically, this is a program that hops from one website to another and reads everything on the page. It then looks for links and goes to those pages next. When it finds a link to a website that it hasn’t seen before, it reads that page and includes it in the search engine index pages (SERPS).

The time it takes your website to appear on the search engines varies wildly – I’ve seen anywhere from 22 minutes to 6 weeks.

The search engines all have a free “submit url search engine” page you can use to submit your website to them, but it’s rather pointless to use since I just explained their preferred way to rank a website. Heck, sometimes you don’t have to submit a website or get a link in an way, shape, or form, since they look at new newly registered domains and check those out once in a while. So, yes, it is even possible to get your website listed in the search engines for free without ever doing a thing (getting ranked well is another story, however).

So do yourself a favor and save your money on these programs and companies. If you ever see a company offering to submit your company to thousands of search engines, take a moment to think of how many search engines you can name off the top of your head. If you’re like most people, you might be able to list 4 or 5. I do this for a living and I was only able to come up with 10.
In fact, the top 5 search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN/Live, Ask, AOL) have a combined 99.7% market share! That means the other thousands of search engines out there are fighting for .3% of the market.

In other words, you’re not going to see any traffic from those search engines no matter how well you rank. And if those search engines are any good, you won’t need to submit your url to them since all search engines follow links and if you have links to your website, they’ll include you.

Linkvana Case Study – My Results Over 6 Months

Okay, so nobody ever said I was good about putting up blog posts on a regular basis, but this is ridiculous. I haven’t posted anything here since February. Sorry ’bout that.

Anyway,

I’ve had a few people email me and how Linksvana is working for me? I have a solid six months worth of data I can share with you about how its worked for me, so I figured I’d share the results with you and let you make up your own mind if its worth it.

You can read my old post about it if you need to catch up about what the heck Linksvana does, but if you don’t know anything about it, it’s a one way link building system.

Now a tool is only useful if you use it. So I’m only posting the traffic data for sites that I added 50 or more links to their network. For the most part we kept doing what we were doing on each site, but this wasn’t a perfect scientific study.

I found that if I only added a few links to a site, then there was no appreciable increase in traffic.

My Results:
Site 1 – 256 links added
January – 2133 visitors
July – 7319 visitors

Site 2 – 113 links added
January – 1502 visitors
July – 1602 visitors
(never saw much of a jump in traffic, but revenue is up about $120/month so I’ll take it)

Site 3 – 68 links added
January – 2063 visitors
July – 3067 visitors

Site 4 – 74 links added
January – 579 visitors
July – 999 visitors

Site 5 – 171 links added
January – 27597 visitors
July – 73947 visitors

Site 6 – 59 links added
January – 0 visitors (launched in May)
July – 445 visitors
With this site, I only used the Linksvana system to get links, nothing else. I did manage to get some top ten rankings in google despite the on page SEO sucking for this site, so as best I can tell, Google is definitely giving some weight to the links from their system.

One last thing I’ll add here is that while you can’t tell from the data, I got much better results from sites where I added links consistently over time instead of just doing one link building push. I’m sure you’re sick of hearing me say that you need to build links over time, so I’ll hop off my soapbox now.

If you want to check it out, it’s Linksvana.com – I’ve found it to be a worthwhile investment for me although it does take some time to actually use it (although it can all be outsourced pretty easily).

If you have any questions or would like to share your own results, post them in the comments below – I’d be interested to hear from you.