Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 5 Things That Helped Me Business Wise In 2008

3 comments
Well here we are on the doorstep of 2009. It has been one of the best years of my life by far. My earnings exploded and I have also expanded my knowledge on many levels and subjects as well. As far as my business side of things, below are my top 5 things that helped me business wise in 2008. These are in no order and each one is as important to me as the next.

1. This Blog - Yes, I have said it many times that my own blog opened my eyes and taught me the true power of how content and the SERPS interact. Dealing with the clunkiness of Blogger taught me a ton as far as some coding as well. Another thing it taught me was being more disciplined towards my sites and being dedicated to posting, even on days when I didn't feel like posting.

2. Understanding Wordpress - I had some bad experiences the first time around with Wordpress, mostly caused by myself. I forged through it and now can't imagine not using it now. Anything from a blog to a regular site content management system. There is a reason Matt Cutts from Google uses it and now I know why.

3. On Site SEO - Everything I thought I knew over the years with SEO was wrong. I literally retaught myself starting in 2007 and continuing on into 2008. A great ranking site starts with onsite SEO and can not be ignored. This is one of the few elements of ranking better that you have full control of.

4. Reading Other Blogs & Books - The sooner you accept that you do not know it all and that you never will, you can open mind and learn from those that know the things you do not know. Make sense? I turned 40 in 2008 and my thirst for knowledge went through the roof. I have read and written more in the past year then I had in my first 39 years on this planet. Open your mind and learn from those that have walked the path you are walking.

5. List & Goal Setting - I am full time in affiliate marketing and work from the time I get out of bed until the time I get back into bed on most days. There still is not enough hours in the day though and by setting goals and making list it ensures I get the things done that need to be done on a given day. Does it work out perfect every day? Absolutely not, but I can not imagine every getting the amount of things done this past year without list and goals. Regardless of the time you have to dedicate to your business, you need to know what you are going to do with that time so as to maximize it.

I look forward to the challenges, setbacks and successes 2009 has to offer. I wish all of you out there reading this much success and joy in this new year.

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pinging Wordpress Plugin

2 comments
I am enthralled with the BAN Wordpress setup. Even with older sites I have converted over that have nearly no backlinks worth mentioning, I can rank a post near the top of Google when I do proper keyword search. Pinging ping services with new post or pages, helps let them know when you have updated. While Wordpress even in the default mode pings pingomatic. I have found that using the free Ultimate Plugins Smart Update Pinger takes it to the next level of pinging and prevents you from ping spamming. Give it a go, you will be glad you did.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Top 10 Things To Master In 2009

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Well here comes 2009. Below is my list of things you should probable have a handle on internet marketing wise for the new year. While most are not earth shattering, these are things you will be behind the eight ball on if not up to speed on.

1. Wordpress - Wordpress is not new by any stretch, but it made even a further leap ahead in the content management market in 2008. New plugins come out daily to make task easier and more effective. It is still free as are most of the plugins that go along with it. More and more people are in tune with blog reading and Wordpress has it down pat. Make it a priority in early 2009, to use it and know the ins and outs of it.

2. Social Networking - Just looking at how Twitter forced itself to the forefront in 2008 alone should be all you need to see. Social Networking was king in 2008 and will explode times ten in 2009. Facebook, Myspace, Kaboodle and the list goes on and on. You can certainly funnel buying traffic through these networks.

3. Google Adwords - Adwords is another form of paid traffic generation which is very under used. It takes some work mastering and getting a good return on your money spent, but when done right will have your targeted customer sitting right in front of the product they are looking to buy. Start small budget wise and read everything you can get your hands on on developeing profitable campaigns. Do not under estimate the power of it.

4. Video - While video is not new, the biggest buzz coming out of PubCon is the future of video and integrating it into your site or generating traffic with it. The best part about it is you do not have to create the videos yourself. Most all the major media sites offer the ability to embed videos into content pages or blog post. Youtube has acres of videos that never see the light of day, because the poster does not know or care how to market it correctly. This is so wide open right now.

5. Product Feeds - All major eCommerce sites now see the need for affiliate marketers. Why? We do it better and get paid after the fact. Pepperjam forged ahead in putting eCommerce sites in touch with online marketers, but several are still scratching the surface and still will insist on using straight datafeeds. There are tons of paid and free pugins and applications available to help integrate several major and minor product lines into your website. It might take a little more effort, but will be well worth the work.

6. RSS Feed Marketing - Sure RSS feeds are not new, but effectively using them to capture sales through still is. Learn how to integrate ads into your RSS feeds and capture the buyer right at point of impact. If your site or blog does not have a RSS feed, get one and I mean yesterday.

7. Anything Attached To Google - While Yahoo and MSN Live made great strides in 2008, they are still way behind Google. Anything that Google usually touches, turns into a must have. Stay on top of them by following along with the Google webmaster blog. Know about new applications and features right when they happen and get a jump on everyone else.

8. Mobile - As prices drop on cell phones, PDAs and the like, more people will be using them to interact with the net. 2009 will be the year to start accomidating these devices. One might even consider developing a .mobi clone of their site to better accommodate the viewing for the surfer as the mobile browsers advance. By the end of 2009 it will be a must for your site to know what device a surfer is using to access your site and direct them to the most compatible version for them.

9. Surfer Generated Content - Unique content will always be king, and while this is not new news, letting the surfer create content is even better. Allowing comments, opening up a forum or product review section is the best way to get surfers interacting with your site and providing their own unique content. Just look at Squidoo and Hubpages. Look for anything that will let the surfer set up his own easy to use mini webspace in relation to your site and niche. Perhaps even reward them by profit sharing in what their content pulls in. Not everyone is tech savvy, but even a six year old can set up their own Myspace page.

10. Analyzation - Tracking of who what when and where has never been easier. As competition on the web increases, the better you will need to be at maximizing every visitor to your site. Get in tune with your server stats and analytics programs and learn how to convert EVERY surfer into some sort of revenue.

Not a Nostradamus post by any measure, but mastering these 10 things along with paying attention to whatever else pops it's head up in 2009 will get you well ahead of your fellow internet marketer.

What trends do you see for 2009?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Monetize Those Parked Domains With Adsense

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If you have some parked domains that you have yet to get to to develop, you might want to consider the Adsense for Domains program being offered by Google. Here is the AdSense for Domains Program Policies that are held to strict compliance. Adsense is also starting to crack down on new publishers as well. This is an effort to crack down on the spammers and the old Made for Adsense sites. I would not rely heavily on the program, but it may pick you up a couple of quarters along the way until you are ready to further develop the domain into a full fledged site.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

RSS Post Editor Plugin For Wordpress

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If you are looking to add a benefit for RSS feed subscribers to your Wordpress blog to see bonus content the the RSS Post Editor plugin may be for you. This will entice more subscribers to your RSS feed as well. The plugin allows you to add extra content to RSS feed articles so that readers have to subscribe to feeds to view the additional content. Lets say you wrote a post on Christmas decorating ideas that featured 20 decorating tips for Christmas. To increase engagement, you can include say five tips available for public viewing, but include the other 15 tips for subscribers of your blog exclusively. The plugin is very easy to use. Just write your post as you normally would, but wrap the extra content in the [rss][/rss] tags. Pretty simple and a great way to increase the number of blog RSS subscribers.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Start Getting Those 2009 Goals Down On Paper

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Well, Christmas is over and next up is the New Year. Now is the time to get those goals down on paper. Yes, pen and paper are required for this exercise. Something magical happens when you write it down, it etches it into your subconscious as well. Do not take goal setting lightly as it is very important in my honest opinion. Set short and long term goals for the year. Earnings goals. The amount of work you want to accomplish during a day and so on. Content goals such as, I will write 7 pages of content a week. Make sure your goals are semi realistic, but at the same time, force you to push yourself. It is more important to focus on task that you can control. Put your earnings down, put focus on the things that will lead to the earnings. Get these together now so as you can start working towards them even before the New Year arrives.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Engaging Like Site Owners For Link Trades

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Website owners are bombarded with automated and non automated link trade request all the time. Many just press delete. The best way to initiate a link trade is to first engage the site owner with an open ended question about their niche or site. Do not even mention trading links with your first contact. Try to create dialogue with a few back and forth post and then mention you own a similar site and have added their site to your resource or links section and if they feel up to it, could they possibly link to your site. The niche does not need to be exact put some how loosely related. Say you own a puzzle niche site, linking to a game or hobby site and getting a reciprocal link back still makes a lot of sense on both ends. Now if you have a puzzle niche site, it would not be natural to link to a site that has GPS electronics for sale. Use your head and engage the other webmaster with dialogue first and you will see your link trade rate of success increase.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Make A Wish Challenge

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Every Christmas Eve, my wife and I always make a donation to The Make A Wish Foundation to give back to a worthy cause. We have done this for countless years as it is a worth while cause. So on this Christmas Eve, I challenge you to make a donation to them or whatever other organization you feel worthy of making a difference with. Below is a list of other great charities.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

http://www.americanheart.org
http://www.redcross.org
http://www.childrensmiraclenetwork.org
http://www.lupus.org
http://www.cancer.org
http://www.marchofdimes.com
http://www.mda.org
http://www.diabetes.org
http://www.alz.org
http://www.hsus.org
http://www.aspca.org

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I Got Me Some Site Links

1 comments


Well, Google has trusted this blog enough now to give it site links. I linked you a bit of an explanation of what they are. Do we really still know why, how or how helpful it is to get site links? No, not really. Does it make this blog any more useful than other blogs? No, not really. In my eyes, I just consider it more of a trust factor and badge of certification or a at ta boy. A pat on the back, if you will.

I am often criticized by others for continuing to use blogger as the platform for this blog, but I use it because I have always been intrigued by it and the boundaries I can push it to. Has it needed to be modified quite a bit to perform better SERP wise? Yes a little, but not as much as one would think. There are a ton of other hacks I would like to integrate, but they are not high on my priority list. This blog is more of a toy and a tool for it's readers. This blog makes it's fair share of income, but is not my mainstay. I only market products I use and believe in. I might rotate ads out every quarter, but once again it is not high priority. The thing it does provide is a quick outlet for my thoughts. Plain and simple. I also use it as an example that ANYONE can use it to make money online. No matter what your economic status is, blogger is free and joining most affiliate programs is also free. There are limitless possibilities and no excuses to be made that you can't make money.

If you are a newbie or somehow through the magic of the internets, stumbled across this post and have no money to invest in hosting or a domain. Sign up for blogger and you are in business for free. Yes, you can make money with it, it is just up to what you want to do with it.

Will I update this blog to Wordpress one day? Perhaps, not high on the priority list right now. If it continues to perform well and gives others hope maybe not. Who knows, it might get hacked, accidentally deleted, who knows. Any ways, here is to you, blogger. I enjoy you thus far and continue to try to push you to your limits.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Concentrate More On The Cheese & Less On The Mouse Trap

1 comments
Human nature is for us to always look for better ways to build a better mouse trap, the only problem is the fact that no matter how well built the mouse trap is, it is nothing without the cheese to attract the mouse to it. Now on occasions a mouse will run over a trap with no cheese and get captured, but it does not happen a lot and one should chalk it up to just a stupid, lost or sick mouse. Both BANS and PHPBay are fantastic mouse traps, but do not work well if there is no cheese present. Your cheese is your original content, be it blog post, videos, product reviews or articles. The great Google mousetrap is free and works the best when you provide it the best cheese related to the exact type mouse you are trying to catch. The Google mouse trap does not capture the mouse, but merely sends the mouse to the trap best suited for taking care of the mouse that is looking for a certain type of cheese. So get out there and get to setting your mouse traps with a better quality cheese and you will have the mice lined up to get in your trap. You will also have cats chasing mice your way as well and the big dogs following after the cats.

Yes, this is a cheesy post, but often times the most effective in driving home a point.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

FLV Flash Video Wordpress Plugin

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As you get deeper into using Wordpress, you might want to embed FLV flash videos into your post. Often times after watching the video in Explorer, you can view your temporary files and can find the source of the video in there. Here is a FLV Wordpress plugin you can use to embed that video in your post. Just download and read the directions in the plugin to use. Very simple.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Proper SEO Setup For Wordpress

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I have been getting tons of Wordpress questions as of late as more and more people are switching to BANS Wordpress templates. The most common is the proper setup of how I set my Wordpress up as. Instead of regurgitating everything, I will send you to a guide I use.

http://yoast.com/articles/wordpress-seo/

Joost de Valk is the master in my opinion in using Wordpress. Bookmark that page for future reference. I differ on a few things, but you will not go wrong using his guide verbatim.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Google Claus

6 comments

During the October 31st update, I had a few BANS sites that either got penalized or did not fare well with the Google algorithm shift. I took a good hard look at the situation and concentrated on just one site to work on to see if I could get it back. The highest ranking page, the front page, dropped out of site from page 1 Google. Everything looked great on the site except for the fact I did have product listings on the front page and other pages still had 20 product listings as well. The site has it's fair share of unique content and has some good backlinks as well. The meta tags were fine as well. The changes I made, were to remove the product listings from the front page, changed to closed navigation and changed store pages to show only 9 product listings. That was it and I hurried up and waited. Google has since been back and updated rankings and the site reclaimed its spot in the rankings for quite a few of it's target phrases.

So was this Google Claus rewarding for not having product listings on the front page? Did Google just maybe clamp affiliate sites a bit harder during the Christmas buying phase? Well I do not believe the second question to be true as I have several BANS sites that held great rankings through the shopping season. Some have blogs, some do not. I do think that showing the eBay listings on the front page might have had something to do with it though. I am now running another more exact test on another site that was out of favor to see if indeed there may be a correlation. Remember too that the eBay product listings are ads and are nofollow links as well. Could it be that Google has a thing with nofollow on a home page or maybe a set amount of nofollow links per page. One thing I will be testing is just putting 20 nofollow links on a front page to other like sites, just to see if I can trigger something. The recommendation I feel I can make right now though is to to not show eBay listings on your front page, especially if they page was ranking well before the October 31st update.

Oh, and thank you Google Claus!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New Explorer & Firefox Browser Updates

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In case you have not heard, there were a few security flaws running around in both Firefox and more notable Internet Explorer. Both have updates now and I highly suggest you get both updated if indeed you use both.

http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/
http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Open Apology To Hostgator

1 comments
Just because you do a task quite a few times, still does not mean you can't mess it up one of the times. That was the case for me last night as I was working on beefing up security on one set of Hostgator accounts. I made an htaccess change on the master account that resonated to all of the add on domains. I failed to check my results and did not notice until right before bed time. When I found I had massive 404 pages across several sites, I clearly thought it was a Hostgator problem and not one I caused. Hell I even forgot I made changes, so i knew it was Hostgators fault. After a few nasty emails I went to bed and did not sleep well. When I woke up this morning I went over notes of what I wanted to get done yesterday and then found that I made htaccess changes. After looking deeper in to what I changed, I found my mistake. Hear that? My mistake. So let me just say publicly...

I AM SORRY HOSTGATOR!!!!

I use several host for all of my online marketing and Hostgator's up time is amazing and they are quick to fix any problems that happen to be on their end, which is few and far between. If you are looking for a new host or an additional host, give them a try.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Keep Your Momentum

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One of the biggest stumbling blocks to ANY online marketer is the ability to keep momentum. The web is instantaneous in some aspects, while the SERPS for the most part are not. Just because you are not able to see results of your daily work, does not mean that it is not working. Sometimes it can take 120 days to see results for what you do today. You have to keep blind faith in the fact that what you accomplish today is helping you. When you stop momentum, it is very hard to get back going again. It does not matter if you have one or one hundred sites, there is always something that needs to be done or improved on. Mix in a few task during a day or week that do indeed show you instant results, such as making a blog post, creating a video and posting to youtube or several other small task, such as social bookmarking. Internet marketing requires constant learning and improvement. Get yourself a daily schedule of task to accomplish in that day's time allotment and keep your self always moving. It takes less energy to keep a ball rolling than it does starting the ball rolling.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Block Access To Directories

2 comments
I wanted to address how to block access to directories or folder access on your site. Lets say you have images in a folder named images. You do not want others to be able to view the contents of that directory or folder. To block access to all directories on a site merely copy the code below and add it to your .htaccess file.

Options -Indexes

To double check if it works, merely type into your browser an open directory, take the images folder for example, the url you need to plugin assuming images was a directory under the root, would be...

http://www.yourdomain.com/images

If you can see the contents of that folder, you did it wrong.

Im off to close up a few holes myself while we are talking about it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Use PHPBay For Those Longer Tail Keyword Phrases

1 comments
If you have incorporated BANS into a Wordpress blog and haven't tried PHPBay, you might want to start. PHPBay is great for those quick and easy blog post centered around longer keyword tail phrases. I usually like to make a post of around 150-200 words with the long tail I am chasing in the blog post title and then display 3-5 product listings along with it. The click throughs are great on these and you usually can dominate those longer tail phrases very easily. Make sure to use a separate CAMP ID as well so you can track the effectiveness. Wade has done a great job on this plugin and I use it daily.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wordpress 2.7 Available - Upgrade Now

3 comments
There is an exploit on earlier versions of Wordpress and I highly suggest you get upgraded to the new Wordpress 2.7 version via the automatic upgrade plugin or manual upgrade yourself. You will notice an exciting new control panel that you will want to familiarize yourself with as well. Do not put this off and make sure you have not been exploited already.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pepperjam Site Builder Contest Finalists Posted

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In case you missed the email, Pepperjam has announced the finalist for the Store Builder Contest using the new Pepperjam Site Builder feature. Below are the links to the finalist and as you can see, several appear to have used the BANS software in addition to this. Some great work and kudos to all of the finalist. The winner receives $1000.00, just in time for Christmas.

A Taste Of Christmas
Our Grills Direct Store
Garden Accent Resources
LingerieXpert
Bulova Watches Online
Wireless Cell Accessories
Your Very Own Home

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Looking For Ad Placement Ideas? Check The News!

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Newspapers know one thing. Ad placement. Newspapers make their money in print and online by selling and showing ads. If the ads are not clicked, the advertiser will probably not advertise again with the paper. If you are looking for layouts or ad placement ideas for your Pepperjam affiliates you use, look no further than your local newspaper site to start with. While you are at the newspaper site of your choice, do a view source of the page as well and have a look around, look for what they nofollow and use for meta tags. Lots to snoop around and look at. Below are some of the major US newspapers to look at.

http://www.usatoday.com
http://www.nytimes.com
http://www.latimes.com
http://www.chicagotribune.com
http://www.miamiherald.com

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Youtube Videos For The Picking

2 comments
So many people post so many good videos on Youtube, but do not know proper SEO and tagging in order to get them seen. It is not uncommon to be able to take a video related to your niche, tell a short story or recap of it with a blog post or BANS content page and properly SEO the meta tags and get it out rank the original video. Often times finding them related to your niche is tough enough as the original person who posted it has failed at MAKING it easy to find. Be creative in your searches on Youtube and you will find some nuggets on there. watch the video and do some keyword research about the content of the video. It is like pulling low hanging fruit right off of the vine. Very easy to rank quickly, especially with Wordpress blog post.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Story Behind My Twitter Page Background

2 comments

I have gotten a few emails asking about the logo background on my twitter page, so I thought I would dedicate a post to it. In the summer of 2002 I lost my best friend to colon cancer. Other than my wife he was my only true friend I have had my entire life. I met him my freshmen year of high school and he was a grade ahead of me. Through my reckless teenage, early adult years and onward he was always there for me. I would always put him in tough spots in bars during my drinking years and he would always stand up with me. He was the best man in my wedding and I was his for his wedding. His battle with cancer was not very long. He was diagnosed on Valentines day 2001 and was gone in a year and half. During his eulogy the pastor described him with just one word, "Intense". That he was, always intense. The symbol is a hybrid version of the Kanji symbol for the word "Intense" that I designed. His favorite colors were blood red and black. On the first year anniversary of his death I had it tattooed on my left arm in memory of him as I was his right hand man and he was always on my left hand side. So it is indeed a very sacred symbol to me and I use it to draw intensity into my own life as well. Whenever I feel my self losing drive, all I have to do is look at that symbol and it fires me back up. So now you know the story behind it. One week from today would of been his 41st birthday.

Chris if you read this, I miss you buddy.

Yahoo & MSN Live Getting Their Acts Together

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I have noticed quite a few search enhancements over the last week or so with both Yahoo and MSN Live. For starters it seems the search results for a few queries I have done seem to be getting more relevant. Also it seems that both are getting quite a bit better with new site fresh content, especially Wordpress blogs. I posted a little while ago about Yahoo making improvements and indeed it seems they are getting on the right path as are MSN Live. Let us hope they both continue to prosper as much as I like Google, they definitely need competition to keep them honest and from being the Wal-Mart of the internets.

Have you seen improvements in both as well?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Don't Ignore Your Stats

1 comments
It is very easy to get caught up in the day to day operations of building niche sites, such as content creation, search engine optimization and traffic generation that the results of your work get ignored. Your stats for your sites can really give you a ton of info on what is pulling and from where. Often times I found myself uncovering more fruitful keyword phrase targets just by analyzing how surfers are entering various pages of my sites. Pages with unique content and articles are the big winners organic wise and just because a certain page might not have been targeted for a certain phrase or keyword it can be better sculpted by seeing how that user found that page. There are gems that can be found and often with little or no competition.

Stats can also let you know if you might have missed giving a changed content page URL a 301 redirect or if you are getting any other variety of errors. Just last week I encountered a problem that ended up being a host problem and caught it within a day. Just because your site may appear to be working fine on the outside does not mean that something unseen can be throwing errors.

Sure it does boil down to consuming time, especially for those that are time crunched as it is, but you need to schedule yourself some time at the very least once a week to examine your stats. It is crucial to your learning and good webmastering to boot.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Blogs I Like To Read

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I got a request via email the other day to give a list of blogs I read on a daily basis. Well being as I am a little under the weather tonight, I thought this would make for a great no thinking post on my end. So in no particular order from my bookmarks, here is a list of blogs I read on a daily basis.

http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/
http://www.seomoz.org/blog
http://www.wolf-howl.com/
http://www.problogger.net/blog/
http://www.searchengineguide.com/
http://www.seobook.com/blog
http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/
http://www.ninebyblue.com/blog/
http://yoast.com/
http://www.shoemoney.com/

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Head Terms & Tail Terms Explained

0 comments
Keywords and phrases are usually referred to in two different ways. Head terms and tail terms. Head terms are general short more common keywords such as "gourmet coffee" or just "coffee". Tail terms or long tail terms are of course longer in nature, such as "gourmet coffee gift basket" or "gourmet coffee whole beans". While head terms can generate more traffic if ranked well, tail terms will generate more engaged converting traffic.

Each page of content should be geared around only one or two tail terms and optimized to those searches. Days of trying to optimize around three or more keyword tail terms will get you lost in a bigger crowd as it will dilute your optimization. The Google keyword tool will help you locate these tail terms and do not be afraid to chase lower volume search words. If done in a natural way, these pages can rank and will be likely pages that create natural backlinks as well. Do not get in the trap of making a page try to rank for multiple head and tail terms. The SERPS are getting better at rewarding focused pages around one or two tail terms and doing so with out a ton of backlinks. Plain and simply, if your page promises "gourmet coffee whole beans", then deliver in the form of content and products and then direct off to even longer tail optimized pages such as "gourmet Sumatra coffee whole beans" or "gourmet Ethiopian coffee whole beans".

It has never been easier to give the SERPS and surfer exactly what they want and in turn be rewarded for it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Lots Of New Post On The Google Webmaster Blog

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In case you have not noticed as of late, their is some more great info posted on the Google Webmasters blog. First and foremost, Google Friend Connect beta is now ready. Friend connect gives you the ability to make your site more interactive. Next there have been some changes to Webmaster Tools as well. A new look to the Google Webmaster Help Group. Lastly part 2 of date with Google bot, which is both informative and entertaining as well. Make sure to watch the videos in all post as well as Google is great about breaking these new programs down

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Interesting Article With Perhaps Great Niche Ideas

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Came across an interesting article today on the the Worlds Oddest Collectibles and their are some interesting ideas as far as niches goes. Airline barf bags as collectibles? Who wudda thunk? Anyhow it is a great little read and may open your mind a bit more as far as niches goes. Just because there might not be a huge selection on eBay of something, does not mean people are still not hunting to purchase that item and as the popularity of that niche grows, so will the availability of those items. If you currently have an airline barf bag niche store built, I apologize for drawing attention to your niche in advance.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Could You Talk To Google Face To Face?

1 comments
As we close out 2008 and head into 2009 you ought to gear your site building in a manner that would let you answer Google face to face with anything you do to your site. Everything from meta tags to 301 redirects to page file names. You better be prepared to be above board on everything. All of the manipulation, grey hatting and over optimizing to rank better days are ending. Are there loopholes? Absolutely. Every system will have loopholes, but they are closed shut quicker than ever. You truly will be judged more than ever on your onsite building than ever before. You should be concentrating on things YOU can control. Start really looking at your sites now and ask yourself if you would be comfortable explaining every little aspect to Google and how they would react.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Is Google Throwing Your Baby Out With The Bath Water?

21 comments

BANS has finally hit the big time. Sadly for every great BANS site built that follows the rules of what Google wants, there are 100s that are simply web spam. Over the past few years the Google index has been inundated with crappy BANS sites. I have spent the last 30 days reviewing sites that readers have sent me to examine that have found themselves out of Google and while I still can't say what the exact trigger is, it does appear to be a footprint in certain store setups that is doing it.

Let me continue by saying again that this is conclusive in the fact that it is something in certain product store page set ups. What I can not exactly point out is what it EXACTLY is, I do have some data in test that do support it.

The good news is it is not the templates themselves in my testing. While I have not tested each and everyone, I have tested many of them, especially the older ones and it is not just related to BANS templates but also user built templates as well. What seems to be triggering a Google filter is what is being shown in the product displays. I have seen several instances of the wording "Time left:" in once indexed store pages causing the entire site to get removed. Is this conclusive to this wording? Absolutely not. If your site has or has had this wording in the product listing and is still an indexed page in Google, check and see what the date the page was cached on. I would be interested to hear if the page was cached after November 15th or not and still indexed.

Some things you can do to distance yourself would be to go through the BANS admin setup and show only the picture, price and title description of the item for sale for starters. Secondly you can edit what wording will display by editing the FrontControl.php and index.php files that come with the BANS script. The Time left: wording is on line 4044 of the frontcontrol file and 2430 of the index file. You can also poke around and change other wording as well. Simply do a search in that file for "producttext" and it should stick out like a sore thumb of the text you can change. Also on line 2061 and 1795 is the wording "View more items on eBay" if you feel the need to change that, but as of right now I am not seeing that wording as the trigger.

If your site is full of original content and recently dropped out of Google. Try making these changes and see if it comes back into the index in about 30-45 days. You have nothing to lose. The penalty filter may indeed have a time frame involved.

The biggest thing you want to accomplish, is to distance whatever setup you are using from whatever the default of it is. Amazingly it seems Layout Selection 1 is surviving this Google filter.

Let me close by saying once again my evidence points to it being in the product display of certain layouts. Not the templates, any templates. I still am finishing some testing on a few more layouts that are waiting for the Googlebot one more time. If you have sites that buck my earlier example and have been cached after November 15th, I would be interested in seeing them and more importantly what Layout Selection you are using in the setup.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Facebook And Myspace Pages Becoming A Must

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Social networking sites are not new by any means, but they are increasing in popularity daily. Industry leaders Myspace and Facebook lead the way. These sites can be highly configured to promote individual niches as well. Here are a few links to help you understand each a bit more.

Facebook For Newbies

How To Setup A Myspace Page Video

There are a ton of free tutorials and videos on Youtube and the internet if you just search around. Get use to using these social networking sites as they are here to stay and I will be dedicating more time to these in future post.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Page By Page Site Building

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The days of building a complete Build A Niche Site at a push of the button are gone. If you are not building page by page, you are only hurting yourself. If you insist on building a complete site and then coming back and filling in the blanks, you must block all the SERPS access before starting. It is better viewed by the SERPS to add pages as you go. This will also allow you to complete a page and properly SEO that page and fill with content before moving on to the next page. Indexed pages with nothing but product listings, run you a big risk, especially with Google. Proper niche site building can not be done in a day, I do not care who you are. You need to be laying out the structure on paper before hand and then put your plan in action page by page.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Free Htaccess Tool

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I was running through some bookmarks today and wanted to make sure everyone had this one listed. It is a free htaccess tool. This tool you will enable you to create .htaccess commands for hotlink protection, password protection, or blocking of hitbots. You can also generate error documents and block certain IPs as well with this tool. Make sure to bookmark this tool.

Friday, November 28, 2008

An Oldie But Goodie Matt Cutts Video

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It seems as if every once in a while I need to touch on some basics as it seems a new crop of newbies is coming in and only a few of the last batch remain. Right now definetaly seems like it is one of those times. I ran across an old bookmark video of the Anatomy of a Search Result done by Matt Cutts. This is an informative video that I suggest everyone watches. With the influx of new niche site builders, I may be forced to dedicate a post or two a week to rehash some things they may not know or have seen. Enjoy the video below.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

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I wanted to take this time to wish Happy Thanksgiving to everyone that reads this. Even to the Googlebot. May this be a very blessed begging to your holiday season. We all have several things to be thankful for. Enjoy your day wherever you may be.

Dave

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Final Push For Suzanne Franco For Blogging Idol 2

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Suzanne Franco has been really pushing hard for the Blogging Idol 2 title. I believe the voting ends in a few days. Suzanne truly is a good soul. Go here and vote for her. I really want to see her win this. Hopefully she will not forget the small time bloggers like me when she wins. One contest I hope to never see her on is Celebrity Blogger Rehab. If you want to read the Suzanne Franco interview I did, click the link.

I believe she is choice #7. Vote now and send an email to grandma and grandpa and tell them to vote as well.

Good luck Suzanne!!!

WordPress Version 2.6.5 Now Available

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If you are not using an automatic upgrade plugin, you will likely see that a new version of Wordpress is available now. I usually like to give about a weeks time so some kinks are worked out before upgrading. Upgrade is a breeze to do and it is always a security risk to use too outdated of a version of Wordpress.

Obsessing Over SERP Rankings Will Drive You Mad

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We all do it. We all easily fall back into the trap of chasing the SERPS around. I get guilty of it as well every now and again. I have noticed though the more I just follow what Google and other SERPS want from me, the better those sites rank and recover.

The Google algorithm changes constantly. Trying to change on the fly will hurt your site and waste precious time. I have said it time and time again. Great sites find the way to the top. Of course there are basics you need to follow, but even Google is letting you know what they expect. I see people get so freaked out from SERP drops, it stops them dead in their tracks.

Keep abreast of the changes and constantly be striving for a better site for the surfer with the SERPS in mind. Checking rankings 10 times a day does no good. Keep adding content and only modify a site when you are sure it is working towards both what the surfer and SERPS benefit and expectations. There are constantly new tricks introduced daily, but just make sure this isn't a temporary piece of gum in the dam crack. If there is one thing Google is good at, it is self healing itself and closing up weaknesses.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yahoo Finalizing Search Index Update

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If you are like me and watch your traffic logs, you are probably seeing either an increase or decrease in traffic from Yahoo. Yahoo announced late last week that they were in the process of rolling out some changes to their crawling, indexing and ranking algorithms over the next few days and expect that the update will be completed soon. You can keep track of all Yahoo search message board activity here as well.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Always Be Concerned About Site Security

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The web is always full of people wanting to hack into your website or account info. It seems as if there has been a resurgence in people hacking either EPN account or BANS sites as of late. It is always good practice to stay on top of your own security by constantly changing your login details for FTP access, admin sections of both Wordpress and BANS and yes even affiliate program details. If you have some upcoming free time over the holidays, I highly suggest you set aside some time to change your passwords and login information. You should never get into the habit of using the same username and password across several sites. As tempting as it is, you are just asking for problems. Keep a notebook if you must a write it down or create a secure file on your computer to house them all. Do not let yourself be an easy target. Security should always be first and foremost in your mind.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Getting Your First Site Approved By EPN

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EPN (eBay Partner Network) has been really tightening the ropes on new affiliates. This has been going on for probably two months or so. To ensure you get accepted, you really need to look at your site. I would highly recommend building the content first. At the very least a good 6-10 pages of unique content. Forgot about the store pages until you are approved. Plain and simple you must offer up an engaging site, not just a thin doorway site. This will only help you in the future with the SERPS and better engaging the surfer for the long run. This is the hardest lesson any new affiliate webmaster learns and you might as well accept it early. The SERPS and other affiliate programs as well are expecting more engaging sites. I have mentioned this litmus test several times in the past. If you removed all eBay listings and ads off your site, would you even have a site? Does it offer value to the surfer. I am willing to bet the answer from several new webmasters would be no. The quicker you accept the fact you will need to work and add content, the sooner you can get on your way learning other things with affiliate marketing and earning money.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Google Taking On Wiki And Digg Type Function

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Google has finally pulled back the curtain on a new feature that until now has been in restricted beta: the addition of wiki-style functions in standard search results. Once logged into a Google account, this allows you to click a small up or down arrow to move a specific result, click and delete it from your search entirely, or click on a small comment bubble and leave your comments on that result. Google will remember those settings the next time you search for the same keywords, and has said it may even work for similar or related searches. In many ways, Google is taking the same principles that power a site like Digg and applying them to search.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Keep It Simple Stupid

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I see a ton of newbies struggling with a bunch of different things. Sometimes it is better to step back for a little bit and keep things real simply on yourself so your head does not explode. As my old man always told me, "Keep it simple stupid!"

There are a ton of very simple ways to use the EPN program to create income as I just showed in the the EPN Blogger Store post. Some of you that are new to the web, tend to over think things as it is very easy to do. This weekend take a step back and look at things, sometimes no progress is made because we sit and stew over things and over think ourselves out of doing them.

I don't know about you, but I am as a stupid as they come. The more ways I can keep it simple, the more success I tend to have. Hopefully you are as stupid as I am, but I doubt it.

Have a great weekend!

eBay Ads Even In Blogger Post

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I have been playing with a few things for those people that are really technically challenged and still want them to earn money too. I will be addressing this in full soon, but wanted everyone to see how easy it is to even post eBay EPN items on a simple free blogger blogspot post. Total investment required to build a whole Blogger EPN store ...... zero, nada, not a dime, zilch. Start using your creative side and let the ideas go crazy in your head.

I can hear the doubters now, javascript can not be read by the SERPS. Well if you are relying on the product text to rely help in ranking, you have been missing the whole boat all along.

Anyhow look below.

Edited 7/19/09
Removed the listings until EPN makes a final determination on weather they will continue to allow Blogger blogs to show eBay listings or not. Bookmark this post and check back.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One Page A Day

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Several times over this week at the 2008 Pubcon, there were references to the timeless post by Brett Tabke, the CEO of Webmaster World (which by the way is well worth the subscription price). The post for the most part is still timeless and a great blue print for success. One thing he really likes to drive home is the original content point and adding one page of quality content per day. Timely, topical articles are always the best. I have seen the magic of this now myself, not only with this blog, but several of my other sites as well. Now let me say that I do not have the time to add one new page of content or blog post to EVERY site I have, but I try to rotate around through as many as I can. I do post one page a day on my sites that have jumped out as my heavy hitters though. It really will make a difference in your earnings. By adding a page of content everyday and staying closely tied to your niche, you are giving yourself more and more opportunities to rank for long tail and short tail keywords. In the beginning do not even worry about keyword research for the post or page, just get in the habit of adding it daily or every other day according to your time constraints. Keep checking stats and referrers and watch what and where the traffic surfaces. Start with your niche that most interest you first as it is easiest to write about what you REALLY know and understand and project authority on.

Here are some more great tidbits of information that is coming out of Pubcon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Google Unveils Beta Search-Based Keyword Tool

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The new beta Google search-based keyword tool helps generate keyword and landing page ideas that are relevant and specific to your website. The tool will help you find additional advertising opportunities that aren't currently being used in your current AdWords campaigns. Pretty cool little tool to play with for ideas.

I forgot to add that this tool will let you expand on existing keywords and export top 800 keywords for specific topics as well.

Don't Fear The Future, Ebrace It And Work Towards It

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Meet George Jetson! His boy, Elroy! Daughter, Judy! Jane ... His wife!

Ah, the Jetsons, what a great cartoon. The things they did in that cartoon do not seem so far off or unreal now, do they? I have gotten quite a few PMs and emails in regards to the 2 Pubcon video interviews I posted yesterday. Most of you are freaked out about it. Well you shouldn't be. There is still some uncertainty of what EXACTLY is and isn't on the way in regards to search and ranking. The general direction that is pointed out as a whole is definitely on the way and in some sorts already in place in Google. I see several rushing out and adding Youtube videos to their sites thinking that is the answer. Wholesale changes right now is not the best choice, but gradually working in the direction of a more interactive web is what you should be doing. The world is or should I say has been changing drastically already, right before our eyes. We are in a very interactive, engaging world as evidence of all the advances in cell phones and their addons, Youtube videos, social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace. Surfers want to and expect to be engaged, even when looking to buy.

Already being phased out are the full effectiveness use of link directories and blog comment spamming. It used to be that merely doing effective on and offsite SEO combined with a great backlink building campaign using keyword targeted anchor text could catapult you up the SERPS. What will be expected now is delivering what you are saying you are going to deliver a surfer and in the process engaging or interacting them with your site. Although video was mentioned, it is not just the preface to throw up 20 different related Youtube videos on some pages and you are ready to go. Your site might not even really constitute video. You can fully engage others through the use of allowing comments on blog post, having a forum, reviews of products, podcast and yes if justified, video. Of course videos made by you are even better and more personalized.

Rest assured, Google is already monitoring bounce rates with or without you using Google analytics, so you might as well get use to using it so you can see numbers they are seeing. Personalized search is already being used by Google and surfers as well.

In closing this is actually good news for dedicated niche site builders as the webmaster that is the most in touch with his or her niche and can provide what searches are looking for will rise to the top. Be looking to better your sites from a more interactive point of view and you will be right where you need to be. The days of the doorway affiliate sites are long gone. As I have said before, engage or be engaged. Do not fear it, embrace it and work on taking your sites in that direction.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Two Great PubCon Interview Videos

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The 2008 PubCon Search Marketing Conference is going on right now and there are a couple of great video interviews to come out of it. One is from Bruce Clay , who claims ranking is dead. The other is an interview with Matt Cutts and his rebuttal to the first video along with a few more SEO tidbits in relation to Google. Make sure to watch both.

Analysis of United States Google Patent Application: 0070094255

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This Google Patent summarizes the Google thinking on link development and how it rates to ranking in Google. The patent is entitled DOCUMENT SCORING BASED ON LINK-BASED CRITERIA. Google may analyze time-varying behavior of links pointing to a web page. We can also conclude that Google tracks both a start point and an end point for links and develops a rate of link acquisition from those points. This is why if your rate varies in link acquisition quite a bit from what Google believes is expected behavior, Google may penalize for it. Better link weight is now given to fresher links and could be “toned down” after the freshness period ends. It does seem on the surface that an influx of temporary backlinks, if it were heavy enough, could hurt you. This seems like an easy way for Google to combat co-operative advertising link type networks. To really sumarize this, you should be acquiring backlinks as natural as possible, but at a slow and steady rate. Links should be mostly from relative type sites as well. The best way of course is the creation of backlinks to your site because a surfer links to your site on his or her site because the content is very link worthy. Here is another breakdown on this patent.

Monday, November 17, 2008

When Google Attacks

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Yeah the title of this post is a little sensationalized, but that is what it feels like when a huge Google algorithm happens. I have been bombarded with emails and PMs since the beginning of November and try to answer as many as I can. Near about October 31st, there was a shift in the Google algorithm. Even a few of my own sites were affected. Many BANS owners seem to think it was aimed at BANS, but from my research it affected non EPN affiliates as well. If I could tell you exactly what it was, I would be the king of SEO. There are many theories, but I really have not seen anything concrete as of yet. Will it stay? Will Google correct it soon? Was it a mistake? I wish I could answer these questions, but they would merely be my guestimations.

What to do?

The worse thing is to make wholesale changes on a site that was ranking on page one, at least for now. If you make any changes, you should clearly notate them so they can easily be changed back. I do think this was aimed at affiliate type sites, not just BANS or EPN sites. One thing that should not be neglected regardless is still adding useful original content either through content pages on straight BANS sites or through the use of a blog if you have implemented one. Another thing is to still be slowly building backlinks. Acquiring links from like sites is still crucial and great traffic. I do forsee a need to shift more to landing pages and then directing traffic off to store pages from there. Google does things in their own time for their own reasons. If I find a reasoning that holds more water, I certainly will inform you. If your store seems like a mere doorway to EBAY, fix it! One thing I can assure you is that thin doorway affiliate sites are a thing of the past. Concentrate on building imformative sites for the surfer that emcompess the niche. You do not need 50 sites to earn a good living. Concentrate on building link worthy useful sites and the rest will fall into place.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

301 Redirect For URLs With Spaces

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A few post back I talked about proper URL structure with your BANS stores. If you do a site:yourdomain.com in Google, the bad URLS will stick out like a sore thumb because they will have %20 in the URL where a space normally is. If you go into edit the URL to take out the space and enter in a hyphen, undesrcore or anything without a space, you will have to do a 301 redirect in your .htaccess file so the SERPS now the page has moved.

Lets say the bad url looked like this below:

www.yourdomainname.com/Bad%20Link%20Structure

and you corrected your URL in BANS admin to the below:

www.yourdomainname.com/bad-link-structure

the line in the .htaccess file would look like below:

RewriteRule ^Bad\ Link\ Structure(.*) http://www.yourdomainname.com/bad-link-structure$1 [R=301,L]

Using the backslash escapes the space. Your old bad URL should redirect to the new URL in your browser.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Niche Ideas For The Lady Readers

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Wanted to give some niche ideas for the lady readers of my blog for next year. In earlier post I mentioned that my wife has already had me set up the Christmas tree. It gets earlier and earlier every year, but she enjoys having it up as long as possible. The picture to the left shows that she clearly likes white and gold themed decorations. The whole house is decorated white and gold. She collects gold Santas as well.

So next year you may want to niche out a store for gold and white ornaments and decorations or whatever niche theme. This niches you a little tighter than just a decoration site, think tighter. Several women love niched trees. Start now for next year as my wife shops year round and I am sure several other women do as well.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My First $1000 Day

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CLICK TO GO BACK TO BUILD A NICHE STORE
CLICK TO SEE THE BUILD A NICHE STORE GUIDE
I have been on cloud number 9 today as I celebrated Thursday being my first $1000.00 day in affiliate marketing. I am not ashamed to say that my high ACRU score and the ability to earn $40.00 an ACRU helped out a ton. Not all was EPN or Pepperjam related either as I had several Amazon, Commission Junction, Linkshare and Google Adsense earnings fall in perfectly as well. If you set your goals and keep working smart and learning, anything is attrainable. I was once a newbie myself and it seems so long ago. Dedication and the want to learn and try new things should be at the forefront. I am not one to really stop and smell the roses. I do not ever go through any type of burnout because I always have a list of things in front of that NEED to be done. I just do not have time to bleed. The internet opens up a world of limitless possibilities to anyone who wants to achieve something. Free and pay information is right at your fingertips. It is so hard for me to believe that I only use to thump this thing on the head every now and then. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Jump in feet first, live it breathe it, hunt it. It is their folks. If a redneck like me can figure this out, anyone can do it. Keep your heads up, keep striving.

BANS Store Landing Pages

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Tonight I wanted to discuss landing pages in relation to BANS stores. A landing page is just that, a place for a surfer to land, although in this example, and on most ecommerce stores, no products are listed for sale. A landing page directs surfers off to more niched out pages where products will indeed be shown. Once again I want to direct you to the example BANS store of Adam and Kelvin. Their NIKE golf clubs page is a perfect example of a landing page. This page gives the ability to list several models, brands, sizes etc. on it. It directs the surfer off to a direction they choose plus with different brands, model numbers etc and a brief description of each makes for a clean (no affiliate links) page for the SERPS to chew on organically. In addition, I have found that using landing page links in my article bios helps get past some article directory reviewers on article directory sites that do not like you linking to a traditional BANS store page. In addition, the landing pages anchor text links are good internal backlinks as well. You never know when one page on your site will get better page rank or authority over another one. Existing BANS stores that you have can easily be fitted with landing pages. It is never to late to add them in. You can really learn alot when crawling through that example store page by page.

Here is little more on landing pages in relation to other uses.

How do you use landing pages?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

eBay Product Listings Are Affiliate Ads

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Since my earlier post this morning about the number of items to show per BANS store page, I have received a number of PMs and emails. I wanted to clarify a few things.

Like it or not, eBay product listings are advertisements. They each carry an outgoing affiliate link. Plain and simple, it is no different than having 20 ad banners pointing 20 different directions.

I also believe there is a correlation to actual word count of content versus the number affiliate links a page should have. What that ratio is, I can not truly say as of yet.

This sample Nike Irons page from Adam and Kelvins demo site, is more in the mold you are probably looking for in my current research. Lots of content and only 8 products being shown. Add in the top ad banner and that makes 9 ads or affiliate links.

Imagine if you had a page with zero original content and 9 banner ads. What do you think Google would think of that page?

Does this clear things up a bit better of my previous post?

Lessen Number Items Being Shown On Pages?

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I am always testing and have even sacrificed some heavy hitting stores rank in the SERPS to carry out testing. As of late, I am finding store pages with 6 or less items being shown seem to rank better than those listing more. Is this scientific? Absolutely not, but I can see Google having a filter in place that would penalize for a certain amount of affiliate links on a page. Is there one in place now? No one really really knows right now for sure. Also I am no longer a fan of listing eBay listings on a front page of a site. It is not needed and I believe this too can affect the ranking as well. It is not only BANS specific, but advertiser affiliate wide as well from what I am seeing and reading. Google does not want 20 ads on a page. If using the search operators correctly, one should be able to show 6-9 solid results per page, enough to peek the surfers interest to click through and set the cookie. Also the PHPBay plugin and PHPZon Amazon plugin can make great use of 3-6 listings per blog post as well.

How many listings are you using per page?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Matt Cutts & Google Q&A Session Highlights

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Google top dogs and Matt Cutts very recently held a live Q&A session for webmasters, aimed at answering important questions from readers. This link offers a quick summation of some key questions of interest, including dedicated vs. shared IPs, article directories and 301 redirects. You can view the entire Goggle Q&A here.

Google Offers Up Free SEO Starter Guide

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The Google webmaster blog has been full of info as of late and their latest gem is a free SEO starter guide. It is a full walk through that encompasses pretty much all the basics you will need and what Google is looking for in proper SEO. I highly suggest downloading and printing this out for easy reference. Read in over and over again and put it into use on you niche stores. The Brandons Baseball Cards site is not live, www.BrandonsBaseballCards.com only redirects to Google right now.

;)

Confusion With BANS Page URL

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In doing some template conversions for some customers as of late, I am seeing some errors as far as BANS users and their Page URL setup. If you look at the image on the left, you see 3 settings. The first one is a drop down menu that lets you choose the parent category for the new store page or content page to fall under. I am not seeing too many errors with this. The second spot is the Link Name, this is what the link to the page you are creating will be named, also known as the anchor text. Make sure this targets a keyword or phrase you are targeting for the said page you are creating. Most people seem not to have a problem with this. The last are, Page URL, is where I see most of the problems. If you can help it, do not include spaces in this. If the page name in box 2 is Red Fury Widgets, the Page URL should look like one of the examples below:

redfurywidgets
red-fury-widgets
red_fury_widgets

Also get in the habit of using all lower case as it is just good basic webmastering. Leaving spaces in the Page URL is just asking for errors or 404 problems.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Surfers Can Easily Spot Junk When They See It

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NEWS FLASH: The Internet is not new!

With that being said, surfers are getting better and better and recognizing a useful site when they see it. If you are fluffing your site with automated content, merely for the search engines, the surfer will merely bounce back where they came from. Blogs that are on automation are usually the main culprit of this and are now a dime a dozen. There are many true losers here. Everyone. Not only to the SERPS get manipulated and lose, the webmaster and the surfer loses as well. Some afternoons I will be talking to my wife while she surfs with her not knowing I am watching her habits as well. She knows nothing about web mastering and only uses the web to find stuff she is looking for. She will bounce off of a site in 3 seconds flat if it does not engage her with the info, product or news she is looking for. Everyday surfers are no different. You would be better served to make one solid blog post a week, then you would be automating duplicate web spam 50 times a week. Soon the SERPS will penalize you anyway. Remember that the whole idea of creating a website or niche site is to give the surfer what they are looking for. Over time, the site that can continuously do this will rise to the top. The days of keyword stuffing, web spamming and throwing mud up on the wall are long behind us. Engagement is here to stay and will be awarded over the long haul. Remember the surfer going forward and the surfer will remember you.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Use Open Office For Easy PDF Creation

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There will be times when you will want to give away free PDF downloads. Perhaps free ebooks or checklist or even reviews of products. PDF files are very easy to make. A great free program is Open Office. I have used this for a long while to create downloadable PDF files. Simply use the Open Office writer program and when done hit the PDF button up top in the menu bar. This will easily convert your Word like document into PDF format to save to your hard drive. You can easily upload the PDF file to your server and link to it any where on your site. Always make sure to put the link to your site on every page as you never know where the document may circulate to and having a link on every page may be beneficial in getting traffic or even a few backlinks, should the document be uploaded elsewhere or shared on the web.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

PHPZon Plugin Producing Amazon Sales

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Amazon has always been hit or miss for me, but since installing the PHPZon Amazon Wordpress Plugin I mentioned a couple weeks back, I am seeing conversions on a more regular basis. Wade, who created the PHPBay plugin, is really progressing this plugin and it works great on BANS/Wordpress conversions and straight Wordpress blogs as well. The price will be raised soon, so I highly suggest buying this plugin ASAP, before that happens. Currently it is $30.00 for owners of PHPBay and will cost $49.00 once released to non PHPBay owners. You get free updates as well and it is more than work it's current price.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Using Blog Post To Emphasize Store Pages

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My latest student is catching on very fast to the world of utilizing blog post in addition to his BANS store. For example if you are going to blog about a certain product, model, series number, brand etc. and plan on linking to a store page with keyword anchor text to fortify the store page, make sure you stay on topic with what the user will find on the store page as well. Now not every blog post has to be written to filter to a store page, but fortifying store pages with other on site pages is powerful. You never now when a blog post will go viral or end up being a high ranking page, so use it to your advantage and as if it was a totally different site advertising your store page.

Friday, November 7, 2008

eBay Partner Network US Program Update

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Below is the latest release links from EPN concerning updates to the US Program concerning Value Based Pricing, New Category Reporting and Custom Banner Widgets and Holiday Promotions.

http://www.ebaypartnernetworkblog.com/en/news/new-custom-banner-widget-is-now-available/
http://www.ebaypartnernetworkblog.com/en/news/value-based-pricing-starting-november-1st-for-all-publishers/
http://www.ebaypartnernetworkblog.com/en/news/ebay-holiday-promotions-and-creative/

Complete One Store Before Starting Another

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This is hard for a niche store builder to stick to, me included. Your mind races with tons of thoughts and new ideas that you end up starting some stores before others are completely done. I am getting much better at this, but need to force myself. An unfinished store is just that, unfinished. SEO, content and promotion all MUST be done in uni some and a timely fashion. There are so many little things that go into a properly built store, many that are boring as hell. Several of my older stores are finally coming alive now that I have circled back and completed them. I do not build many new stores nowadays, merely because I do not need to. I still have a good 3 months left of straightening out past unfinished stores. Do not fall into the trap of constantly starting a new store before TRULY finishing your last one. A finished store is golden and can produce a healthy income with limited up keep. If time is a factor, concentrate on one page at a time. Meta tags, keyword research, onsite SEO, unique content, ads, etc. When done with one page, move on to the next one. It can become a drudge, but in a few days or weeks, it will be done and done right. A finished, properly built store produces, plain and simple. I would take one completed store over 20 uncompleted stores every day of the week. Fight through the urge to go and start a new store when you might possible are already sitting on a money niche, nearly ready to produce.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Block Internal Pages That Do Not Need To Be Indexed

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Privacy policies, contact pages and other pages that are deemed necessary, but not needed to be indexed can be blocked in the robots.txt file. A robots.txt file tells most of the search engines, what you would like and not like them to have access to or index. Most major SERPs follow it's commands and the ones that don't are likely spam crawlers anyways.

More reading on robots.txt

Why would you care if they are blocked or not? You want you link juice to flow to pages that need it and use it for ranking. The less you split the juice the better. While not overly crucial, every bit helps. There is no sense to pass PR or link juice to those type of pages as they are their mostly to keep advertisers and affiliate programs happy and for on site surfers to read if they choose to.

You can use this robots.txt generator, to generate a robots.txt file for pages you want blocked from the SERPS and save that link juice for pages that need it and need more of it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Utilize Your EPN Campaign IDs

3 comments
Tracking what does and does not work is one of the hardest things to measure as an affiliate. Knowing what sale or conversion came from where is helpful in letting an affiliate marketer know what is working for them. EPN gives the ability to let you set up a campaign ID for every occasion. If you are working with stores that utilize both BANS and PHPBay, it is a great idea to have a campaign ID set up for both. Same goes for stores that utilize different sub domains that they have integrated in. You also might be using some of the EPN creatives on site as well. Make sure you set them up with their own campaign ID as well. By doing this, you can see exactly what is producing results on each site and can make adjustments of adding more or less of something based on the results you are seeing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sometimes All You Have To Do Is Ask

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I was at an online newspaper site today that had a section dedicated to one of my niches. They also had a few blogs and feeds listed in the sidebar of blogs dedicated to this niche. They also had a "contact us" section on that page as well. I filled out the form and politely asked that they would kindly consider my blog for that section on the next review of that section. I provided a URL to the blog and also a URL to the rss blog feed. I thanked them for the consideration ahead of time and told them I understand if they are unable to accommodate my request. I then hit the send button. Merely 5 minutes later, I had a reply saying that they had added my blog and thanked me for my submission. The page is a PR4 and gets indexed quite regularly as it is a newspaper site. All links are dofollow as well. It just goes to show that you never know what you will get if you just merely ask. Keep your eyes open for every opportunity to promote your site or blog.

Asking For Build A Niche Store Help

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I help a ton of people throughout a weeks time and by tons, I mean a ton of people. Time consuming as it is, I try to help everyone. The biggest problem I run into with people asking for help is they do not clarify the problem they are having and they also do not send a link to the said problem site. I also help many of the same people more than once and they too do not send a link the second or third time. I can not possibly remember who owns what site, so please help save time by sending a full description of what is wrong and a full URL to the said site with every request. The same goes for asking for help from others on the BANS forum. The less time we have to devote trading private messages or emails just to find out what the problem is, the faster we can help and save more of our own time.

Also be prepared to send login info. We often times need access to the site and if you do not trust us to with the info, then please do not ask for help. You can always change your login info after we have straightened out your problem. Doing these little things are courteous habits to have as many of us do not get compensated any for our time.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Common Sense Is The Best Webmaster Tool Available

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The days of keyword stuffing and manipulating the major search engines are long gone. Some will still tell you that keyword density is key, others will tell you to stuff your meta tags, while others will tell you to only acquire dofollow backlinks. what a bunch of malarkey. Google is growing smarter by the day, as are the other SERPS. You harness one of the best webmaster tools known to man, your own common sense. If a page sells "shoes for pet frogs", what do you suppose the surfer would search for in the search engines? Frog shoes? Pet frog shoes? Designer frog shoes? Let us for the sake of this example assume these 3 searches were terms that surfers were using while doing keyword research with the Google keyword tool. What would the meta title tag look like? Maybe:

Designer pet frog shoes for sale

or even

Frog shoes | Pet frog shoes | Designer frog shoes

What would the description meta tag look like?

We carry designer pet frog shoes for all sizes of frogs. New and used frog shoes available here.

In the first 100-250 words on the page, what would we try to convey in the content?

Perhaps the different types of frog shoes we carry and the different brands of frog shoes that we have? Sizing instructions to fit your frog for the perfect shoe?

Get the picture? Sure is simply, but we make it so hard. Lets go to off site SEO.

What would a backlink and anchor text look like pointing to that particular page?

Perhaps Frog shoes or Pet frog shoes or Designer frog shoes or frog shoes for sale

Yes this is overly simple broadbrush look at SEO, but if you use common sense as a starting point, you can refine things from there SEO wise. Stop counting your keyword density and start worrying if the page makes sense to the surfer and the search engines.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Using Google To Find Niche Related News & Blog Post

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If you are searching for ideas to blog about in my 21 day blog post challenge, you can start with Google. Many newbies to niche store building do not know how to use these features, so I will cover them quickly.

Google news can be searched here.
http://news.google.com/
Simply put your niche in quotes to start with. We will try "red corvette" and then click the sort by date feature. Within the last 24 hours was this story:
http://ranchomurieta.com/node/7385

Now if red corvettes were our niche, I would just recap this article in my own words and link to the article as the source of info.

The same can be done with blog post, Google blog post can be searched here.
http://blogsearch.google.com

I think you now see the idea. If you find an interesting blog post, just recap it in your words and link to the post. Also see if there is a trackback link to the post so you can get a backlink in the process.

Be creative with your phrase searches related to your niche and you will surely find info to blog about.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The 21 Day Blog Post Challenge

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Sorry for the late post today as most of the morning was eaten up with charity work and the later part of the day getting the Christmas tree catastrophe out of the way. My wife bought a new tree and has it up already and I had to solve some world ending crises for her.

Speaking of Christmas, it is now right around the corner. If you have a blog attached to your site, I challenge you to make 21 post in 21 days to it. Even if it is only a paragraph or two and even if it just points to a news story or product review on another site. Be creative and on topic with your niche blog and stay dedicated to it for 21 straight days. You may be surprised at the results. Post like no one is watching. Live it, breath it, research your niche for 21 days. Play with your post titles and dedicate them to long tail keyword phrases. You can really make a difference between now and Christmas. Challenge yourself and get a head start now.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Marketing Experiment

2 comments
Let me start by saying, I hate Halloween. Perhaps because I grew up so poor, I always had to go as a ghost in a floral printed sheet. Not very cool or scary. I just do not get into it. Well tonight I am trying a fun idea. We always give out chocolate bars and this year I made 200 custom wrappers on the computer and put the web address to a very slow, all encompassed, BANS store. You know what I am talking about, it is the one you built after your iPod or xBox store. This one of mine is still one of the first versions of BANS. Ugly, but manages to get a sale every now and again and a negative 15 on the engagement scale. I thought it would be fun to see how much traffic I could drive to it, just by handing out candy bars. Should be fun to watch the stats tonight and Saturday.

Happy Halloween everyone, be safe and if you must drink, do not drive.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hostgator Upgrades To Apache2

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Let me start by saying that of all the host I use now and have used in the past, Hostgator is head and shoulders above the rest. They now have upgraded to Apache2 on all most all blocks of the servers. There is also a brand new cPanel look as well with great links to video tutorials included. Make sure to check ALL of your sites on Hostgator and be sure everything is running fine. Log into your cPanel and get acquainted with the changes so you will know your way around. If you are un happy with your current hosting, you should really look into giving Hostgator a try. You will absolutely love them.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Fun With LSI And Google

2 comments
I have made a few post related to LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) and wanted to take it a step further to give you better idea of what Google will be looking for in relation to your on page content, related to your target keywords or phrases. LSI really just a simply term for synonym. Google is understanding more and more, what words are related to other words and their use.

In the past I have shown by using the search operator ~yourkeyword to find what Google considers LSI related to it. Now we can take it one step further by typing in:
~yourkeyword -keyword into Google. This looks for LSI related to yourkeyword and then removes all instances of yourkeyword from the results.

So let us take a look at it in action. We will use mp3 as an example:

~mp3 -mp3

If you look at through the first 3 pages of results, we can compile a list of words Google deems LSI related.

CD
music
songs
audio

If we were building a site about mp3s it would then make sense to include these words in the content. DUH! Sure it seems obvious, but we are using a vanilla example. Instead of keyword stuffing, merely mixing in these LSI related words will without a doubt let Google know what the page is about.

Here is another example:

~antique -antique

rare
Victorian
reproduction
classic
furniture
vintage
old

Getting the LSI picture now?

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