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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Monitor Your Online Exposure with Google Alerts

by Dean Chafee
Would you like to be alerted daily about new sites, blogs or newsgroups that may have popped up that refer to you or your website?
Google has a feature called Google Alerts that can do just that. This is a great way to stay aware of your "internet footprint" and possibly protect your reputation and/or identity.
It's easy. If you have a Google account, sign in and click on the My Account link at the upper right. In your list of Services, click on the Alerts link. Here you can create a new Google Alert with the search terms, type (areas to search), how often including "as-it-happens", and your email address. Click the Create Alert button. That's it. Now every time new Google content matches your search terms you will receive an email about it.
If you don't currently have a Google Account, you will need to sign up for one to use this feature. Simply go to www.google.com and click the Sign In link in the upper right corner, then click the 'Create an account now' link. The sign up is quick and easy and you can take advantage of other Google account features like Personalized Home and Search History which are also very useful.
I suggest creating at least one alert for your full name, and make sure to enclose it in quotes for proper results, and another for each web site you own and/or operate. For example, I receive a daily search results for my name "Dean Chafee" and another for my primary website "www.howtofixyourstuff.com".
You can also use this feature for tracking news about your favorite sports figure or celebrity.
This is actually very informative to see who may have picked up one of my published articles or created a link to my website. The daily search gives you an incremental result that is, at least for my small footprint, very easy to manage.
Try it, you'll like it!
About the Author
Get your fix at www.HowToFixYourStuff.com. A community of People Helping People Fix Stuff.

13 Dos and 6 Don'ts of Article Marketing That Will Produce Better Results


by Mike Bradbury
Over the past year or two, every SEO, Blogger, and Website Promoter has heard about the wonders of article distribution and the positive results that articles can yield for an otherwise unknown website.

The purpose of article marketing is three fold:

1.) Get your name out there as an expert
2.) Get traffic from links within your article
3.) Increase your search engine link popularity
In all three cases, the more highly distributed your article, the higher the likelihood of your articles achieving each goal. In this article I examine the dos and don'ts of article marketing and reveal a few secrets that will land you more back links and higher traffic from your article submissions.

If this is your first time submitting articles, you may be bubbling over with anticipation. Calm down. Not to say that article marketing is without benefit, but for those of you who think you've found the Holy Grail of site visibility, you're in the wrong place.

Pertaining to the three goals mentioned above, here is what you can expect:
Making an Expert of Yourself - Don't expect to be getting calls from conference coordinators asking you to speak at their annual event in Las Vegas. But hey, it looks good on a resume, right?
Sending Traffic to Your Website -Sadly, the site traffic you receive directly from articles is pretty small. You can maximize it by tweaking the ways you submit, but don't buy a car with plans to pay it off using article-generated AdSense revenue. For that matter, don't buy a sandwich.
Link Popularity and Search Engine Rankings - Article marketing's saving grace. If you know how to optimize a page on your site as well as the links in your articles, you will see improvement in ranking.

Write something unique... but not too unique. Most experts will tell you that in order to achieve success in article marketing, you must write on a topic that hasn't been covered. However, if that means writing an article which is so specific that only 19 people in the world will find it relevant, like "24 Ways to Pet a Brittany Spaniel," you won't have success either. SO...
Put a new spin on an old subject. If you can't write something "unique," put your spin on something old.
Write something useful.
Make it scannable. You want people to make it to the end of your article and click on those precious signature links, right? Well then, make sure they can get to the end of the thing. Use sub-headers. Use bulleted lists. Use HTML. Increase the amount of traffic you're getting by making your article scannable.
Optimize your links. Whenever possible, optimize your links for the search engines. This means either placing important keywords in the anchor text of your signature links or placing them close to the URL in situations where anchor text is not permitted.
Deep link. I have found that links from articles usually don't yield site authority with the search engines, but they do help search engines define what term your page should be ranked for. A highly optimized page with highly optimized links from articles pointing to it can often find its way to the top, regardless of a site's authority.
Write conversationally. The Internet is like totally laid back, man. Use it to your advantage and connect with your audience by keeping things conversational.
Proof read. And then do it again. And then have someone else do it. And then one more time for good measure.
Make it 600 - 900 words long.
Use an automated form-filler. I use a program called Fireform. It cuts my submission time to seconds instead of minutes. Google it.
Submit a "How-To." And don't hold back. The more in-depth, the better.
Submit a list. If there is one thing I've learned from VH1, it's that people love lists.
Write your article to adhere to the submission guidelines of as many directories as possible. The less you have to go customize any individual submission for a specific directory, the more directories you'll submit to.

DON'T Use affiliate links. Most directories won't publish an article laced with affiliate links and most content publishers won't either. We've already established that articles don't drive traffic, so by placing affiliate links in your article, you're really just robbing yourself of search engine backlinks.
DON'T Sell your company. Don't sell your products either. In fact, try your best not to even mention who you work for in the body of your article. Writing an article to sell a product diminishes the credibility of that article as well as its chances of being republished.
DON'T Use an automated article submission service or program. There are far too many variations between article directories to effectively automate submissions. Your success rate will plummet if you use a service like this.
DON'T Use links in the article body. Many article directories don't allow links in the body of the article, making them one more piece to customize from directory to directory.
DON'T Re-word someone else's article. First, it's plagiarism, or, as they call it in the grown-up world, copyright infringement. Second, articles like these are easy to pick out and will have lower success rates.
DON'T Get discouraged. You probably won't see search engine improvements for a month, but they will come. Instead of checking the SERPs every 10 minutes for signs of improvement, write and distribute another article. Don't give up.

Remember, the idea is to manipulate the system in such a way that your articles are published and republished as often as possible. By following this simple guide, you'll be on your way to achieving that goal.

About the Author
This article was written by Mike Bradbury. Mike is an SEO Analyst for Objectware, Inc, an Atlanta SEO, Ecommerce Solution and Atlanta Web Design Company.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Attracting Visitors to your Profitable Home Based Business Using Links

Attracting Visitors to your Profitable Home Based Business Using Links
by Liane Bate
When you own a profitable home based business, one of the biggest things you need to consider is gathering up links from other sites, and posting your links on other websites. The main reasons for this are to get more traffic to your site, and to increase your link popularity, or "link pop".
Link popularity is a measure of the number of links that point from other sites back to your site. The more back-links you have, the greater your traffic and possibly sales may be.
Link popularity is not the same thing as Google Page Rank, or PR. Page Rank is more a reflection of the quality of links pointing back to your site. This can be important too, but many webmasters would say that PR is not as important as focusing on making your site easy to use, read, and navigate for the average visitor.
If link popularity creates traffic for you, and helps you build a profitable home based business, then you really want to focus on attracting visitors to your site by making sure the URL to your website is posted on many other sites.
First of all, there are websites that will calculate your link pop for you if you type in "Link popularity checker" into Google's search box. If you visit one of those sites, you will be asked to type in your URL and it will give you the number of links you have in Google, MSN, and Yahoo.
There are many ways to spread your links around the internet. One of the ways is by doing another Google search for blogs and guest-books related to your website's topics. For example, if you own a profitable home based business website, you could enter the terms "profitable home based business" and follow that by "blogs" or "guest-books".
This will bring up a list of sites for you to visit and post comments on their blogs or guest-books related to the content of their blog or site. You want the comment to be useful, helpful, and related so that you are not accused of spamming. You also want to be sure to add your URL if allowed. Adding your URL will increase your link pop.
You can also attract visitors to your website by spreading your links around discussion forums on your website's niche. The same concept applies to forums that you must be very careful not to spam them with useless comments like "Oh, very nice. Now visit my site". Comments like these can get you banned. Make useful posts and in the signature file at the end you may leave your URL, and again your link pop will go up.
Finally, one of the best ways to make yourself a profitable home based business using links is by writing original articles and posting them to article directories around the internet. It's best to use an article distribution service so that your articles get to thousands of publishers who may use your article in their newsletter or on their blog.
In the signature file, you can again leave a link to your site. You can easily get hundreds of quality one-way back-links by using this method alone. The key is quality here. Write a useful article with information that will help others. In the link box, you can say something about yourself, and your business, and use keywords to link back to your site that give the readers a compelling reason to click.
If you make a consistent effort to build your profitable home based business by posting your link on other's sites, especially quality sites, then you may literally be "in business"! Consistency is key. If you get into a routine of commenting on blogs, guest-books, forums, and writing articles on a daily or weekly basis, you will soon have a very high link pop that leads to more traffic and sales!

Advantages of Using CSS in SEO Campaigns

by Adriana Iordan
Nowadays, when everybody is interested in getting the highest rankings possible for their sites with the search engines, it seems that the era of tables-based web sites is getting closer and closer to its end. CSS programming appears to hold the upper hand in this race for SEO, and it gains more ground as its popularity increases. What is CSS? Cascading Style Sheet is a web tool that can be utterly necessary if you want to give a professional, qualitative look to your site. It is recommended by W3C, who manages the standards for the Internet, in order to add style (e.g. fonts, colors, spacing, padding, alignment, etc.) to web documents. The style sheet is more and more used presently due to its usefulness and its advantages that are far from minor: it mainly allows to dissociate the content and the presentation of web pages, which makes them compatible for various browsers, and also accessible to people with disabilities (who must use accessibility readers), to PDAs or to WAP. Benefits of Using CSS for SEO Among the most common examples of CSS usage there are the modification of the colors of hovered links, text placement, establishing the spacing between words, and the modification of border size and style. The style sheets can be inserted directly into the HTML code of each page, but they can also be written on a different page, in an external file (.css). This second solution is by far the best one, primarily because it holds undeniable advantages such as: • The HTML code on each page is much cleaner • The CSS file is cached from the very beginning, and this speeds up the load time for the next pages • The update process can be performed much faster: it suffices to modify a single file to change the entire site, no matter the number of its pages. It is quite easy to see the close connection between search engine optimization and CSS. Style sheets will help you decrease the file size of your web pages, and will give you the opportunity to use more text and links than regular HTML, without being constantly afraid of spamming the search engines. Here is what you can achieve with CSS: 1. Reduced file-size While "traditional" HTML is overcharged with tags that offer to search engine spiders both the content and the presentation on the same page, CSS actually allows you to clean up your code and separate these two. By including the styling of the text in a separate file, you can dramatically decrease the file-size of your pages. Also, the content-to-code ratio is far greater than with simple HTML pages, thus making the page structure easier to read for both the programmer and the spiders. It is also possible to avoid using JavaScript for rollovers and mouseovers. With CSS you can define the visual effect that you want to apply to images, instead of using images per say. The space you gain this way can be used for text that is relevant for spiders (i.e. keywords), and you will also lower the file-size of the page. 2. Less load time If you have a web site with lots of traffic, slow-loading pages will not make your life easier. The benefit of having low file-size pages translates into reduced bandwidth costs. CSS can help you save some money by offering you the following advantages: • If the presentation information is placed in an external CSS file, this will be accessed only once, when the homepage is loaded. The CSS file will be cached on the user's computer, and the other pages of the site, that use the same CSS file, will load much faster. • Images can be set as backgrounds. They will load faster than images placed between HTML tags. • As opposed to tables, CSS needs less code, which means that browsers will read and display page content faster than they would in the case of tables-based pages. 3. Faster update Since CSS brings forth a simplification of the code on each page, they are much faster to read and changes can be performed easier. HTML code that needs to be modified is easier to track, and a simple change in the presentation of an element in the CSS file will reflect in all the pages where that particular element is present, without being necessary to update each and every page separately. 4. Increased browser compatibility CSS-based web sites are compatible with PDA and mobile phone browsers. Also, people with various disabilities (mainly visual) use what are called "accessibility readers", that translate the HTML code into various formats that contain no HTML tags. When translated, traditional, pure HTML stands many chances of being turned into something that does not make much sense to the impaired visitor. CSS, on the other hand, properly combined with HTML, can render useless the elimination of the HTML tags, and therefore make the reorganization of the content for readability unnecessary. 5. Higher rankings with the search engines CSS improves the readability of your pages. Search engines spider will be able to index your pages much faster, as the important information can be placed higher in the HTML document. Also, the amount of relevant content will be greater than the amount of code on a page. The search engine will not have to look too far in your code to find the real content. You will be actually serving it to the spiders "on a platter". CSS will help you create highly readable pages, rich in content, which will prove extremely helpful in your SEO campaign. As you very well know, better site ranking means better visibility on the web, and this can translate into more visitors and, ultimately, into increased sales or number of contracts. The Caveat of CSS CSS and SEO make a good pair when it comes to potentially gaining more income, based on a clean, well-built web site. Nevertheless, there is a very important matter that you should consider when using CSS in order to optimize your web site: never use CSS in order to hide text. It is quite common practice to attempt to offer different versions of text on a web page: one that is harder to read - to spiders, and a friendlier one - to human web readers. Most of the times, search engines will perceive this as cloaking, and even if it's made with the best intentions in mind, it could actually pass as spamming. Consequently, your site can be penalized and even banned for such practices. Conclusions The bottom line would be that CSS is much easier to understand and to optimize than simple HTML. It simplifies both the work of the SEO professional, as well as that of the programmer. CSS programming means providing the site with the ability of faster updates in the future, of faster information transfer, and brings along the advantage of a simple code for search engines. If we think only about the fact that keywords can be highlighted on a page without negatively affecting its look, the page file-size decreases, the code becomes cleaner and more readable, and the bandwidth costs are diminished by lowering the page load time, then it would be safe to say that there is virtually no limit in the series of advantages of using CSS in SEO campaigns. Copyright © 2007, www.avangate.com all rights reserved. This article was written by Adriana Iordan, Web Marketing Manager at Avangate B.V. Avangate is a complete ecommerce provider for shareware sales incorporating an easy to use and secure online payment system plus additional software marketing services and sales tools.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

SEO Tips: Onpage and Offpage Optimizations

by Alan Liew

A website that has not been optimized for the purpose of search engine ranking will rank very far behind in search engines. If you want to see your website ranks high in major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN, search engine optimization is a must. Imagine what will happen if your website ranks 1st in Google for a popular search term. Well, most probably Google will bring a lot of free targeted traffic to your website every day which may skyrocket your product\'s sales, affiliate commission or Adsense earning. There are two types of search engine optimizations: 1) On-page Optimization 2) Off-page Optimization On-page Optimization On-page optimization is the process of structuring or changing the elements on your webpage so that it can be found by search engines for specific keyword(s). The on-page elements or factors that you need to change in order to improve your website\'s positions in search engines include title Tag, header tags, page content, alt tag, meta description tag and meta keywords tag. Title Tag/Page Title Title tag is the tag that defines the text in the top line of a web browser. The title tag is probably the most important on-page factor because search engines usually use the title tag to provide a link to the sites which match the query made by the user. Thus, Adding your main keywords to the title tag will definitely boost your website\'s rankings. Let\'s use the following keywords as an example: a) Make Money Online b) Make Extra Money The title tag for your webpage should look like this: Make Money Online Make Extra Money The \"\" character can be added by holding the shift key on your keyboard and pressing the backslash key above the enter key. You should limit your keywords to a maximum of 3 on each webpage because too many keywords in a title tag may be seen as spamming by search engines. Don\'t start off with highly popular keywords because these keywords usually in fierce competitions and it can take several years for your website to rank top in search engines. Try to start off with keywords that have less than 10,000 monthly searches. Header Tags The H1 header tag will be used as the title of the content on the webpage. As search engines read pages from top to bottom, so the H1 tag should contain your most important keyword and it should be placed at the top of the page which will be seen by your visitors. If you need to add a sub-heading for your webpage, you can create a H2 header tag and include your second most important keyword into the H2 tag. Page Content Use your keywords throughout the page content in natural ways. Try to include your primary keywords within the first or second sentence of your content. Do not over use your keywords in your content. One or two times for a big paragraph is more than enough. Alt Tag The alt tag of your images should contain your keywords. Don\'t add similar keywords to each image as search engines may see them as spam. Meta Description Tag Search engines will use your meta description tag as the short description of your website listed in their search result pages. Thus writing a keywords-rich description will surely help in improving your website\'s position. The length of your description should not be too long, 2 to 3 sentences will be enough and the description should be encouraging people to click the link to your website. Meta Keywords Tag Meta keywords tag may have been completely ignored by Google and other search engines but not Yahoo. Yahoo is still encouraging webmasters to use meta keywords tag for improving the rankings of their websites. You can visit http://help.yahoo.com/help/us/ysearch/ranking/ranking-02.htm to read more about Yahoo\'s webmaster guidelines. Add all your keywords to the tag in order of importance and don\'t repeat the same keyword. On-page optimization will improve your website\'s positions but you can\'t achieve top rankings with on-page optimization only. To get your website to the top, off-page optimization is needed. In fact it is the off-page optimization that can get your website to the top. But this does not mean that on-page optimization can be ignored because off-page optimization is far more effective when on-page optimization is in place. Off-page Optimization Off-page optimization concentrates on increasing the number of backlinks. Backlinks or inbound links mean the links to your website from other websites. The more websites linking to your site, the higher your website\'s positions will be. There are actually two types of backlinks: 1) One-way link - A relevant website links to your webpage without requiring a link back from you. 2) Reciprocal link - The owner of a relevant website agree to place a link to your website and in exchange you provide a link back to the owner. Search engines weight more heavily on one-way links than reciprocal links. Other important off-page factors you need to pay attention are: 1) Anchor text used in the link pointing to your website. 2) The Google page rank (PR) of the website linking to you. Anchor Text When you exchange link with another site, you will need to provide your website\'s title that will be placed on the link exchange partner\'s website. The website\'s title will be a clickable link to your website and the clickable link is called anchor text. You anchor text should contain your targeted keyword. Google Page Rank (PR) You can see the Google page rank of a website using Google toolbar. Here\'s the link to download and install Google toolbar. http://www.google.com/tools/firefox/toolbar/index.htm Page rank shouldn\'t be ignored when building backlinks. The more high page rank relevant websites (websites that have content related yours) linking to you the faster your website will reach top ranking in Google. In order to rank high, you need to build as many backlinks as possible. But don\'t grow your backlinks too fast as Google may de-index your website for this reason. There are no specified guidelines by Google of how many inbound links you can build daily. Based on my experience it is safe to have 5 to 10 backlinks per day. There are several ways to get backlinks to your site. Here\'s how...... Send Link Exchange Requests to Potential Links Partners Before starting a link exchange campaign. You need to create a link directory that will be used to provide a link back to your potential link partners. Your website is ready to exchange link with other webmasters once the directory created. You can find your potential link partners by searching on major search engines like Google and Yahoo for your targeted keywords and then visit each website in top 100 or top 200 listings. Make sure that the site you are requesting a link exchange related to yours. When a potential link partner has been found, you will want to go ahead and add your potential partner\'s link to the appropriate category in your site\'s link directory and then send an email to the potential link partner stating: a) That you have linking to your potential link partner. b) A direct link to the page where the potential link partner listing can be found. c) How it would benefit to the potential link partner\'s if linking to you. d) Your linking details. To achieve better result, you should not get backlinks to your home page only. Try to get links pointing to your other webpages too. Also use more than one keyword anchor text. Article Marketing Writing several articles and submitting them to article directories for publication is a great way to build one-way links. By including a link to your website in your articles resource box, you not only gain quality one-way links but also drive free targeted traffic to your site. Your articles may drive truckloads of traffic if they are impressive. There are hundreds of article directories if not thousands. You can find them by going to Google and entering the search term \'article directories\'. Directories Submitting your website\'s link to directories is another way of getting backlinks. Directories normally offer 3 types of listings: 1) Paid listing 2) Free listing 3) Free listing but require a link back from you. If you choose the first or third option and your website meets the submission guidelines and rules of the directories, your link will usually be listed within days. If you select the second option, you have to wait longer and your website\'s listings aren\'t guaranteed. Getting listed in quality directories with Google page rank 7 or higher such as DMOZ and Yahoo directory can be more beneficial for increasing your rankings than a lot of links from smaller and newer directories. But it is not easy to be accepted by these quality directories. Press Release Press release is simply an announcement of an important event for your business. Just like article marketing, you can gain one-way links by writing a press release with a link pointing to your site and submitting it to other websites. To find websites that accept press release, you can go to Google and enter the search term \'submit press release\'. Affiliate Program If you are selling a product or a membership service, launching an affiliate program is a good idea to increase both your inbound links and online sales. Webmasters that are interested to market your product will place your link on their websites and you get free one-way links.