SEO Lessons – Lesson 6 – Anchor Text

Sorry about the long layoff in between videos here. I’ve had this one sitting on my hard drive for the last month but haven’t posted it. Oops.

Anyway, this video covers the topic of anchor text and how to use it to dramatically improve your search engine rankings.

So what is anchor text? Anchor text is the text you see on a webpage that you can click on that will take you from the page you’re on to a new page or website. For example, on the text that’s on your screen, Traffic Generation Techniques, is the anchor text.  (note:  if you’re confused, this is a transcript from the video… this is a not so subtle hint to remind you to actually watch the video if you’re confused – it’ll help clear things up lickity split.)

And if we look at the code for the page, we see that the anchor text is simply the code for a link with the text showing up in place of the url for the link. I’ve made the exact syntax blue – hopefully it’s big enough for you to read.

So why is anchor text important. This is one of the ways that search engines like google figure out what your site is about. Now you might be thinking that Google should just be able to read your page to figure that out, but the way Google sees is, that part is easy to manipulate.

For example, if a restaurant tells you that they’re the best restaurant in town, are you going to believe them? Maybe, maybe not. However, if ten friends of yours tell you that restaurant is the best restaurant in town, you’re probably far more likely to believe that it really is the best restaurant in town.

Basically, that’s what links using anchor text do for your website. They’re your third party endorsement for what your site is really about.

So when you’re out getting links, you want to be actively seeking links that will use anchor text that describes your site. So if your site is about horse racing, you want links that say “horse racing” in their anchor text instead of “click here for Bob’s site”.  Ya savvy?

When the search engines read horse racing in the link and they visit your site and the text on the site also says it’s about horse racing, then the search engines are far more likely to believe you than if you didn’t have links with anchor text, which will result in much higher search engine rankings.

Now not everyone who links to you will use the anchor text you want, and that’s okay, you don’t want everyone to say the exact same thing anyway.

If you want to go out and get some links pointing to your site that will allow you to choose the anchor text, then submit some articles to article directories or submit your website to regular directories. Both will allow you to choose the anchor text that points back to your site.

That covers this lesson on anchor text. If you have any questions, just post them in the comments.

Need more SEO knowledge delivered straight into your brain?  Get the FREE Ultimate Traffic Blueprint 3.0 course.

 

SEO Lessons – Lesson 5 – The Link Building Process

In this lesson, I talk about the link building process.

Now that we understand the need for quality content, let’s talk about the link building process, but before I do, I want to mention this again – if you’re not going to put time into putting quality content on your site, you’re wasting your time. You can only fool people for so long before you have to deliver. So just save yourself the trouble, and start with quality content – it’ll make this whole process a whole lot easier.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s jump right in. I’ve already mentioned in my first lesson how links are the most important aspect to a site ranking well. So let’s talk about the process of building links. Just remember that this an ongoing process – it doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s not something you do just once. You need to take consistent action to building links over time.

Just like moving up the corporate ladder, you typically start at the bottom and work your way to the top. When you start a job and you’re just out of college, do you start out as the CEO? Probably not. You start somewhere towards the bottom, maybe in management, but there are a lot of people above you, and over a period of years you start working your way up. And just like in the corporate world, there are ways to accelerate your ascension to the top, and there are plenty of things you can do to stay just where you are.

There are some idealists out there who claim that search engine optimization is bull, and that all anyone who claims to do seo is a scammer or a snake oil salesman. They boldly proclaim that all you need to do is focus on providing quality content and the traffic will come to you. Yeah they’re full of it.

The thing that I find most interesting about these so called idealists is that they’re usually already in a pretty good position. They’re sites are already getting tons of traffic, and have tons of links. It’s easy to say only focus on content when you’ve already got traffic and links.

Well, as far as I’m concerned, I’m not willing to just sit around and hope I get lucky. I want a system that I know will get results instead of just sitting around buying lottery tickets and hoping I hit the big one.

You see when it comes right down to it, you need to be willing to promote your website if you want traffic – it’s that simple.

Now there’s a lot of ways to promote your site. And since this is a search engine optimization video, let’s look at it from a search engine point of view – in this case promoting your site means getting links. There are a lot of ways to get links, and I’ll be covering my methods for getting them in greater detail in the future. I’ve also written an ebook called the Ultimate Traffic Blueprint on this very topic of getting links and the entire system I’ve developed for getting them – so if you don’t want to wait, I’d recommend giving it a read – it’s available at the ultimatetrafficblueprint.com homepage.

Before I continue, I want to mention that while the links I’m going to show you how to get can be very beneficial to your rankings in the SERPs (that’s Search Engine Results Pages) just getting these links shouldn’t be your ultimate goal. You should instead look at them as middlemen.

Say, for example, that I want to get a link from cnn. Well, if I just call them up and say, “Hey, can I get a link from you?” They’ll either say no, or they’ll direct me to their advertising department and those aren’t the kind of links I want. So getting a link directly from cnn isn’t going to work, however, by using a press release, I just might be able to get my site featured on cnn and a link back. The methods I use to get links, and the press release is one of my favorites, are to act as the middlemen to helping us get the links that we really want. While the links that we get directly from these middlemen are okay, we’re really just looking to attract the attention of those really high quality sites that we couldn’t have done on our own.

Now that that’s out of the way. Let’s talk about this system. I have five methods that I like to call the cornerstones to building links.

Article Distribution, Directories, Press Releases, Social Media, and Linkbait

Article Distribution is simple the process of writing an article, preferably on a topic related to your website, and submitting it to article directories. If these article directories decide to use your article, they’ll give you one to three links to your website for allowing them to use your article. Not only that, but when you submit to these directories, you also allow anyone who wants to the right to reprint your article the ability to do so as long as they also provide a link back to your website. A single good article can result in hundreds of links pointing to your site. And because of the ability to get so many links from a single article – a lot of people use article distribution as a cornerstone to their link building efforts.

Next is the directory, probably one of the oldest method for getting links. Directories are simply sites that provide listings of other peoples’ sites, much like the yellow pages in a phone book. There are literally thousands of directories out there that you can submit your site too, and provided they like your site, they’ll link to you. A lot of directories are free, but some of them require a payment to get them to consider listing your site. I think directory submission is one of those techniques that people tend to forget about and instead favor of newer, sexier methods. But keep this one in mind, it may be an oldie, but it’s a goodie.

Now let’s talk about the press release. Never have I seen a method for promoting a site strike fear in the hearts of webmasters quite like the press release. I mean for some people, including clients I’ve worked with, that when you bring up a press release, they practically run out of the room terrified, lock themselves in their bedrooms, and refuse to come out until you promise them they’re not going to have to do press releases. A press release is nothing to be afraid of. And if you think that when you write a press release and send it out that the next day you’ll have a flood of reporters calling you up and knocking down your door, you’re probably giving yourself too much credit. Once you get good at them, maybe, but probably not at first, so don’t be scared – give them a try. And remember, a press release doesn’t need to be earth shattering news. If you launch a new site, write a press release, have a new product, another press release, have a creative or interesting article, another press release. Press releases can generate a ton of traffic to a site, so don’t dismiss this one just because you’re scared of it or you don’t know how to do it.

Next up is Social Media – Web 2.0 – ye ole Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and now even Pinterest. There’s a new trend on the Internet that’s moving away from traditional news outlets and search engines when seeking out information. Instead, they’re relying on sites where what’s new, interesting, and newsworthy, comes from regular people rather than what the newspaper or television tell us. And with this new trend, of course, comes a lot of opportunity to not just get links, but to get a lot of traffic. So don’t be afraid to venture into the world of sites like squidoo, myspace, digg.com, del.icio.us and others.

And my final cornerstone is the topic of Linkbait, probably the most effective long term method of building links. Linkbait can be defined simply as have some type of content on your site that people will find interesting enough to link to. So what do people find interesting enough to link to? Well, just about anything, really. Controversial articles – free software – free tools – how to guides – mashups – videos – infographics – podcasts. Be creative here. Just remember, if your website is boring, you’re going to have a harder time getting links. So try brainstorming things you can do that will get attention and get links.

That’s the gist of my five methods for building links. I know I covered them pretty fast, but I’ll be diving into each of them in more detail later. For now I just wanted to go over them quickly to let you know what methods you’ll be wanting to implement for your website.

One question I get asked a lot is, “Gary, which method should I be focusing on?” To Which I say – all of them.

Have you ever seen the cartoon, Captain Planet? It ran from early to mid 90s in the U.S. And it was a show about these five kids, and each of them had this ring that gave them a special power. I loved this show – to this day I can still sing the theme song.

But anyway on their own, they were effective, but when they really ran into trouble, they had to combine their powers to form Captain Planet. And then Captain Planet would defeat the bad guy.

Same goes for these five methods. Each on their own can be effective, but when you put them all together – watch out.

I know I know – it sounds like a lot of work . And To be honest, a lot of search engine optimization is just that – some hard work .

For more in depth teaching, get my Ultimate Traffic Blueprint 3.0 course – it’s free and comes with videos and step by step instructions on this whole link building process, all it’ll cost ya is your email address.  (and don’t worry, I promise never to spam you).

Need it done for you, you can get on the waiting list.

 

SEO Lessons – Lesson 4 – The Importance Of Quality Content

This lesson covers why you need high quality content on your website if you want to succeed at having good long term search engine rankings.


In today’s lesson, I want to cover something that’s going to be vital to your long term search engine rankings.

Content.

What is content? Well, it’s the actual stuff that makes up your website. The articles, blogs, forums, saleletters, opt-in pages, videos, cute little pictures of cats with funny sayings…  all that stuff.

I’ll admit that I used to be a fan of using as much automation as possible to build a website. Today, however, I sing a very different tune, and for a very good reason – that crap doesn’t work anymore. When you build crappy sites with automated software, or something that you just quickly threw together, you’re severly limiting your websites potential. You may be able to fool people and the search engines for a little bit, but sooner or later, you’re going to be found out, and at that point, you’re going to need to start over from scratch.

To help illustrate this point, lets pretend you’re opening a shoe store. To get people to visit your store for its grand opening, you decide you’re going to visit everywhere. You advertise on the TV, the radio, the newspaper, heck you’re even putting flyers on peoples’ doors. You’re going all out because you want people to visit your store.

So the big day comes, and you did your job – you’ve even got people waiting outside for you to open. So you open the doors, and the people start pouring in.

However, there’s a problem. There’s no shoes in your shoe store. Instead you’re trying to pitch everyone who comes in on why they need to buy a timeshare. Do you think people are going to stick around? Heck no. People are gonna be pissed off.

And some of these angry folks aren’t just going to leave. Nope, they’re going to call up and report you to the FCC for false advertising, and if you don’t clean up your act in a hurry, you’re going to be out of business.

So let’s move back to the Internet world. But instead of all that advertising, let’s say you went out and used the methods in my Ultimate Traffic Blueprint to build yourself a ton of links because you want to rank well in the search engines. And as a result of those links, you’ve gotten yourself traffic to your website. Let’s just use the example that you’ve built a shoe site. And you’re advertising your site as a place to get shoe reviews and buying guides.

However, when people visit, all they see are a bunch of advertisements, an no shoe reviews. Do you think people are going to stick around?

No.

Do you think any of those people are going to recommend your site to anyone else?

No again.

And just like our shoe store example, some of these people are going to report you, but not to the FCC, to the search engines for being a spam site. And once the search engines deem your site to be crap, all those links you’ve gotten aren’t going to do jack for your search engine rankings because you’re going to be heavily penalized or banned outright. And once that happens, you need to start over. Any time, effort, and money you put into that start is pretty much going to be wasted.

I’ll be covering several methods for getting links in future videos, but I wanted to talk about content first, because you’re linking efforts are going to be less effective, if not wasted, if you’re not focused on quality content for your website.

Hopefully, I’ve persuaded you that quality content is important. So now let’s move on to what makes up good content?

Good content really isn’t that hard. It can be a lot of things. Educational, interesting, opinionated, controversial, news, a review, entertaining, funny, commentary, accusational, and the list goes on. It is usually an article or blog post, but it could be video, audio, a series of pictures.

When you’re writing your content, don’t concern yourself with things like keyword density or optimizing your article for certain keywords or phrases – just write. When you start trying to incorporate that search engine optimization stuff, you typically sacrifice the flow and readability or what you’re writing.

And one last thing about content, you always need to have a steady stream of new stuff to add. Search engines like sites that are updated frequently. So give them what they want. Update your site regularily, if you have a blog on your site, that’s the easiest way to keep adding fresh content, but that’s certainly not the only way.

Well, that covers my lesson on content. Remember, quality first. In my next lesson I’ll start covering the link building process – I just wanted to make sure you understand that a quality site is important.

Obsolete Search Engine Optimization Techniques – SEO Basics – Lesson 3

Outdated And Obsolete Search Engine Optimization Techniques

In the world of search engine optimization, there tends to be a lot of misinformation out there as well as a lot of outdated info. Part of the reason is because things tend to change quickly in the world of SEO, and people don’t take the time to update what they wrote.

Today, I want to cover some of those outdated techniques that used be important when optimizing your website but are nearly obsolete today. So if you run across this info somewhere, you know that what you’re reading is out of date or the author is misinformed.

The first thing I want to cover is meta tags. Meta tags go in the head of your web page and they’re used to provide information about your web page to the search engines. Now the two that are most commonly associated with search engine optimization are the keyword tag and the description tag. You’d place the keywords you want to rank highly for in the keywords tag, and you’d write what your web page was about in the description tag. And back in the old days, this had a strong correlation to your search engine ranking. However, it didn’t take too long before search engines realized how easy it was to abuse meta tags by stuffing them full of keywords, sometimes unrelated keywords just to get good search engine rankings.

Nowadays, search engines tend to ignore the keywords tag or give it minimal weight. The description tag can still be useful because some search engines will use your description as their description of your site when you show up in the search engine results pages – also called SERPs. But from a search engine optimization point of view, they’re not important, so don’t expect a big boost in ranking just by including meta tags, and ignore anyone who tells you otherwise.

Next up, I want to cover search engine submissions. This one I never really understood in the first place. But several years ago, there was a lot of software and services out there that would submit your website to thousands of search engines and thousands of free for all pages on a weekly or monthly basis. Apparently, they thought that if you submitted your website to a search engine often enough, they’d not only index you, but rank you higher. These days, submitting your site to search engines is not necessary. All the major search engines will find you by finding a link to your website from another site. So if you really want to get your website in the search engines, just get links from websites already indexed by that search engine. It’s that simple. And there’s no reason to ever pay anyone for search engine submission. You’re just getting ripped off if you do.

Note:  You may want to submit a sitemap to Google and Bing.  You could also submit your business to Google’s business directory if you’ve opened up a real brick ‘n mortar business.   Those are smart things to do, but don’t let anyone charge you for submitting your website to Google, Bing, and Yahoo so that they list your website.

Okay, and finally I want to cover keyword density. This one is a bit more controversial, since for years, there’s been a magic keyword density that will help you website rank best with the search engines. The only problem is that its varied by each search engine, and the search engines kept adjusting it too, so it was really hard to keep up with. Now keyword density isn’t as dead meta tags or search engine submissions, there is still some evidence that it matters to Yahoo & Bing. However, it’s unimportant as far as Google is concerned. And even with Yahoo & Bing, keyword density is likely to be less important in the future.

You see, rather than keyword density, the search engines, especially Google, are using Latent Semantic Analysis. Basically, it is a way for software to do what humans do without even thinking about it – it allows the search engines to figure out what the theme of a website is. So if your site is about dogs, a search engine using latent semantic indexing would expect to find words like pets, canine, and breeders. And the better you cover the theme of your website, in this case dogs, the better you’ll rank in the search engines.

So forget about keyword density, just write your site’s naturally, and you’ll likely get better rankings from the search engines, not to mention your site will sound a heck of a lot better to your visitors, which is what you want anyway, right.

That covers todays’ SEO lesson on obsolete search engine optimization techniques.

Ready to really rock and roll with all this traffic stuff.  Then let’s crank it to 11 and take the Ultimate Traffic Bluerprint course – 21 hard hitting videos about all that stuff that helps you get traffic to your website… and it’s free. (not sure how I got talked into that – better sign up before my accountant finds out)  :)

SEO Basics – Lesson 2 – The Title Tag

A lesson on the title tag and its importance to your search engine optimization efforts.

Here’s the text version and probably a typo or two… for your reading pleasure, of course :)

Welcome to another SEO lesson. Last time, I covered the the importance of building quality links and how links are the most important aspect to getting high rankings.

Today, I’m going to cover one of the most important on site ranking factors, and one that’s really simple to use, The Title tag.

First, let’s cover what the title tag is and where to find it.

Let’s take a look at a sample piece of code for a website. I’ll use the code from UltimateTrafficBlueprint.com. If you want to follow along and you can’t read what’s on the screen here, in a new window go to UltimateTrafficBlueprint.com (pause this video if you have to) click on the view button and then click on source. It’ll bring up a notepad file that will show you the code for my site.

So let me just give you a quick explanation of what we’re looking at – at the very top you’ll see my document type declaration.

Below that you’ll see the head of the document. This is where we put our title tag and our meta tags.

Okay, so what do we put in our title tag – easy – the words we want to that particular page to rank highly for. In this case I want to rank highly for the phrase free search engine optimization report so that’s what I put in my title tag. I’ve also found that it helps to include more words – perhaps another keyword phrase – just don’t go crazy with this.

And since we’re here let me cover meta tags since this is a topic that comes up frequently if you read any seo books. Now you’ll see that have a meta description tag and a meta keyword tag. These used to be important from a search engine optimization standpoint. That’s no longer the case. If you don’t include them, don’t worry, the benefit you get from having them is minimal at best and they tend to be ignored by some of the major search engines. So you realy don’t need them.

Getting back to the title tag. Here’s where it shows up, whenever you look at search engine results, the part that you see in blue is the title tag for that site. It not only tells the search engines the topic of your page, it also tells your potential visitor, which is ultimately our goal, right, to get visitors.

So that pretty much covers title tags. Remember, good titles include the keywords you want to rank highly for and leave out words like homepage or website.

SEO Basics – Video Lesson 1 – Link Building

Here’s my first video in my SEO video series. This video covers the importance of link building.

For those of you who don’t have broadband or prefer to read, here’s what the video says:

In the world of search engine optimization, there are a lot of myths floating around, so I’ve decided to record a series of videos to help you understand what Search engine optimization is all about. Today I’m going to cover link building.

Links are the MOST important aspect of any search engine optmization campaign.

Yes, the most important thing you can do to get your site ranked highly in the search engines doesn’t involve doing anything to your site. It depends on what are called “offsite factors.”

In general, the more links you have, the better.

So if everything was equal, a site with 100 links would perform better in the search engines than a site with 10 links.

But in the real world, all links are not equal. You need to focus on getting quality links to your site. getting mostly one way links instead of reciprocal links. getting links from sites that are related to yours instead of random websites. For example, if you have a site about horses, you want links from other sites about horses, or horse racing, or equestrian, not links from sites about computers and video games.

Now this lesson oversimplifies things a little, but this is just the first video. I’ll cover this in more depth in a later video.

I’d also encourage you to read the Ultimate Traffic Blueprint (available on the homepage), which is a free guide that to helping you build links.