Monday, August 31, 2009

The Death Of Reciprocal Link Trading

It has long been somewhat of a practice of finding sites related to yours and exchanging links with the other site owners to increase ranking and build traffic. It has gone on forever, but now I am afraid that is coming to an end. As Google gets smarter on tracking unnatural backlink building strategies, related sites or not, that practice is officially in the gray hat area of link building. Look at from what Google sees. If two sites in a small window of time have backlinks pop up on site linking to each other, what are they to believe? Especially if it were to happen on a link partner page and not in the course of content page or blog post. Does this mean you should not link to someone who links to you naturally? Of course not, but it should happen in a course that is natural and make damn sure that the site or page you are linking to passes the mustard. Remember that you are who you link to. You may find something on the site that is useful after discovering that the site is indeed linking to you, but use your common sense in doing so.

Google holds you 100% responsible for everything on your site and the places you link to. If your site is filling a need, has great content and is engaging, it will develop backlinks on it's own from the right places. If your site is freshly built and acquiring backlinks fastly in a method of reciprocal link trading, it will be sniffed out in a heart beat. Once again, you should not be afraid to link out, but know who and what you are linking to. Not all reciprocal links are bad as well. To get a little more clarity on the continuum of link exchange riskiness, check out the most recent offering by Ranf Fishkin. he breaks down from white hat to black hat.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Ever Changing Affiliate World

I have received quite a few emails from readers that are disenchanted with the new EPN QCP structure. What I most want to get across in this post is that the world of affiliate marketing is always changing. Rankings change, affiliate programs change, payout structures change and on and on. If you do not stay on top of things happening in the industry and stand by unprepared, you will always be behind the eight ball. You should always be looking at different places to send your targeted traffic. Relying on just one affiliate program can be detrimental to your bottom line. Hopefully many of you are already using multiple sources of income, if you are not, you should be. Thus far it is too early for me to make a judgment on how EPN will effect me. On the surface things look good, but also the small range of dates is not enough for me to make an informed decision. That said, many many of my sites employ alternate means of places I can send my traffic and I am ALWAYS looking for more places. This will not be the last thing that changes in the affiliate world, I promise. The more prepared you are, the easier it is to continue plowing ahead.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Around The Web August 29th

Another week has come and gone and Saturday is here. I like you am still plowing through the new EPC QCP reports. I have taken my shoes off to help decipher the numbers and am close to taking my wifes shoes off as well. I am starting to pick up on a few patterns, but am a long way from breaking the EPN Divinci Code.

On to the things I read on the internet this week:

Rand Fishkin breaks down the three major content classifications of a site - editorial, machine-built, and user-generated in his weekly Whiteboard Friday segment.

Shari Thurow has a look at Commercial Intent & Web Search Behaviors on Search Engine Land.

In a further continuation of a quick social media tips series, John Jantsch has 5 Tips for getting more from social media marketing.

Peter Da Vanzo has a post up on the SEO Book blog addressing the fact that there is more to optimization than SEO.

Website Magazine has the low down on the opening of AdSense to Third-Party Ad Networks and also details on the new Wordpress Facebook plugin.

Chris Boggs of Search Engine Watch has an article on the common SEO problems of E-commerce sites. Frank Watson fires back as usual at the end.

Another great feature by Ezine Articles to integrate in your Facebook account to Ezine Articles.

Some EPN alternatives for those freaking out over QCP and EPC. Pay close attention to Popshops, it is extremely underrated and they have a Wordpress plugin as well.

Friday, August 28, 2009

EPN EPC Quality Click Pricing Preview Report Released

As promised, EPN (eBay Partner Network) has now made available the Quality Click Pricing Preview Report from August 18th on. You can read the blog post on it here along with some tips. Also I found that paging through the multitude of pages tough, I suggest you export the data via the Export All Data section on the right to Excel. You can then hit the Data drop-down in Excel and then sort in a various number of ways, starting with the campaign name or number. I suspect in the near future they will give a better sort function in the report admin. You can view your current Current EPC versus the new QCP EPC number. Hopefully your new number is higher than your Current EPC. If you not, you have some work to do, to improve your quality of traffic you are sending to eBay.

Following the announcement of Quality Click Pricing last week, we are pleased to tell you that your Quality Click Pricing Preview Report is now available in the eBay Partner Network interface.

The report will enable you to see how your new payouts compare with the current CPA payment structure and will be available until 1st October, when all existing publishers move onto the Quality Click Pricing payment model. We recommend you use the reports to assess the impact the change will have on you and to identify ways to optimize your EPC amount.

Please visit our blog for more information on Quality Click Pricing and the Preview Report, including where to find it and how to use it.


The eBay Partner Network Team

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Last Friday EPN Webinar Available - New One September 1st

In case you missed the announcement, the eBay Partner Network Webinar addressing the new Quality Click Pricing and EPC questions that was held last Friday, is now available online. You can hear and view it at:

Also EPN sent a reminder of the second Webinar that will take place on September 1st. I highly suggest you tune in if you can.

Below is a copy of the notice:

August 27th, 2009

Hello all,

Last Friday we conducted a live webinar that many publishers attended where we went into more detail surrounding our Quality Click Pricing announcement. We also gave publishers the opportunity to ask questions that Steve and Will responded directly to. In case you were not able to attend the event, or would just like a replay, here is a link to the video recording:

Because this proved to be a successful way to communicate with publishers we plan to hold another webinar on Tuesday September 1st at 8:30am Pacific Time. We realize that publishers will have more questions on the Quality Click Pricing Preview EPCs and this will be a great opportunity to join in the discussion.

Here are the details, and we plan to send this out via email as well:

Attendee Direct URL:

Alternate Web Login
Conference Site URL:
Meeting ID: Sep01
Attendee Entry Code: Attend
U.S. Attendee Phone: US/Canada Dial-in #: (877) 252-8217
Int’l/Local Dial-In #: (660) 422-4755
Conference ID: 26202103

We look forward to having you attend and answering any questions you might have next Tuesday.

eBay Partner Network Team

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2009 Ranking Factors From SEOMoz

SEOMoz just released it's newest 2009 Ranking Factors a few days ago. I was going to include this in my weekly Saturday post, but thought it deserved it's own post instead. They survey the top SEO experts and compile answers to questions on each of the factors and the importance each play in the search engine optimization area. Here is a shortcut to the entire list. Pay close attention to the comments below each section to see how certain individuals view that particular ranking factor.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Best Traffic Usually Never Comes Through The Front Door

This statement is hard to understand unless you see it in action. Unless you have an established brand or several bookmarking home page surfers, you best traffic will arrive to your site via an interior page from the SERPS or a naturally given backlink from a related or semi related site. We all know the brand meaning. When I buy from Amazon, I go straight to the home page usually and start there unless I have an item bookmarked from a previous session. With niche site building, especially in the early age stages, your organic traffic will be the source of income. Once again, until you see it in action and track it statistically, it may be hard to understand. To better attract solid organic traffic, make sure you are focusing on features, specifications and benefits an item has on your product pages. It is not enough to merely target the product name in long tail. In your content, merely adding color, weight, speed, size and other features that would be closely associated with the item speaks even loader organically. Even in 200-250 words, you can encompass an item that will garner more organic traffic in ways you didn't even initially research or target. Simply drilling down in your product keyword research via Google Keyword Tool or Micro Niche Finder will reveal single words that surfers deem associated.

In the early days of niche site building, webmasters would merely target one or two phrases and repeat and bold them several times surrounded by fluff text. Now Google expects to see certain related LSI terms or words used in association with the item. Merely stating: "Flux Capacitor Model XYZ" is good and you have the best and cheapest prices on "Flux Capacitor Model XYZ" is garbage and leaving a ton on the table from an organic standpoint. Tell the surfer the size, speed and benefits of using it. You will still be targeting the main phrase, but also will encompass a slew of closely related searches you never dreamed of. Each and every page is a door in, a website all to itself so to speak. Sure it relies on the rest of the website for juice and navigation, but often times it is the only page the surfer sees if done right. Encompass the product and you will see the best traffic come through that door, not the front door.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lordy, Lordy Look Who's...

Just wanted to take a moment to wish my wife, friend, business partner and mother of my dog: Happy Birthday, today. I know she reads my post to correct my grammar, punctuation, run on sentences and incoherent thoughts, so I know she will get a kick out of it. I will not tell you how old she is, as that would cause a ruckus. I worked only a partial day, today and am way behind, but it was well worth it. I enjoyed the break and took her to lunch and shopping. Her present you ask? Well, we really quit the gift giving years ago as we normally just buy what we want when we want it. It was time for a new vehicle though, so we drove down and picked her one out. It was time as we are not ones that buy vehicles every couple of years. We drive them until the wheels fall off. We are just practical people. Any how, she deserves it. Thank you honey, for putting up with my many bad habits, my newer obsessive compulsive disorders and need to always work online all of the time. I hope you enjoyed the day and hope many many many more birthdays are to come. Happy Birthday and I love you!

Is Your Site Suffering From Keyword Cannibalization?

I looked at a site yesterday of a reader that was asking why some of his pages were not ranking better. The site had good backlinks, fairly good SEO, nice link juice flow and the home page was ranking very well for it's term. Taking a closer look at the structure and keyword focus, including the meta tags. It was clear that the site was suffering from keyword cannibalization.

For those that need a better understanding, I will point you to 2 articles that will better desrcibe it:

Some of the sites internal pages were clearly focusing on some of the same keywords and thus Google was confused and deemed the pages not relevant. Do not feel bad, as some of my older sites, even high ranking ones, suffer from it as well. I just need to get back to them and tightly focus them. Usually the structure of the sites need to be changed as well. This involves going from broad to specific. If you need to change the url structure as part of the process, you can merely do a 301 redirect from the old to new page. It will take some work if the entire site needs to be restructured, but you should see some near instant results if you take the time to properly reorganize the site. Have a look at a few of your own sites. Do they suffer from keyword cannibalization, now that you know what to look for?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Great Landing Pages Make Great Filters

One of the biggest overlooked things, especially in the new N1WAY BANS Guide is the the landing page. The landing page can act as a filter to better guide the surfer to EXACTLY where they want to go. Obviously we all want the surfer to come from the SERPS to the exact page of the item they want to buy, but depending on the search they use, that may not always be the case. By building a great landing page such as this one, the surfer now has 3 main choices, 16 choices to other filter landing pages and 2 escape links to other sites with your affiliate code. If you build these landing pages the correct way, you will also increase your chances on product items clicked being exactly what the surfer MIGHT buy and thus scoring better in the new EPN payment structure. I have seen a few sites by readers that try to bypass this page and I think they truly do not understand their usefulness as not only another page that can garner organic traffic, but a page that can filter broad searches that arrive to your site.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday Around The Web August 22nd

Happy Saturday to everyone. What an interesting week it has been. Thanks to all of my loyal and new readers as this blog broke traffic records last week. Below are some interesting things from around the web this week. I hope you enjoy them.

I wanted to start with an oldie but goodie by Rae Hoffman entitled: How to Survive the Affiliate Evolution. In light of the new Quality Click Pricing, EPN has rolled out has caused most affiliates to freak out. The affiliate world is always changing, get use to it.

Chris Cemper has a great link building case study and video on natural anchor text using PR0 vs. PR4 strength backlinks. Very informative.

A few post back I mentioned about links in the footer. After that post Matts Cutts actually dedicated a video on the subject.

John Sparks has an interesting look at US .com websites breaking into the UK Google market. While his views are not endorsed by SEOMoz yet, it is an interesting read.

The great Aaron Wall has a look at Source Code Validation versus SEO. Wall breaks it down like no one else can.

I have been seeing quite an influx of traffic as of late and if you are new to the blog, I invite you to subscribe to the RSS feed and also my Twitter feed.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Notes From Today's EPN Webinar On Quality Click Pricing

I jotted down a few notes from the EPN Webinar just held, but pretty much believe my post a few days ago is right on track.

Campaigns With Low EPC - If you are seeing some low performing EPC numbers on a certain campaign, you might want to archive and temporarily delete the links until you can better target the niche or traffic. I believe they said they are working on the ability for a publisher to actually delete the campaign in the future. You will want to really look at the type traffic you have coming into that campaign and just how targeted the niche is to improve it, before reconnecting the campaign.

7 Day Cookie - EPN fully understand the seven day cookie in relation to auction length. If the click in from your campaign results in a purchase of the targeted item seven days down the road, you will be rewarded at a high level. You will not be penalized for the length of the auction.

Ebay Transparency - As I mentioned yesterday, you fully want to disclose to your surfers where they are going. Tricking them into going to ebay could indeed lower your EPC.

Original Unique Content - In the beta testing of the EPC, sites that had targeted rich unique content integrated in with the targeted items fared very well with the new algorithm. This should be a no brainer, but bares mentioning.

Case Studies Forthcoming - It was mentioned that case studies will be forthcoming, but the best examples of a site you should be trying to build are very well covered in the new N1WAY BANS guide. It is the perfect model for the new EPC payment structure.

EPC Now & Future - The EPC becomes a new value in the new structure. The EPC number you see right now is just a report value.

Long Term Value - The long term value is counted as far as the life of the user. You can stand to earn throughout from classifieds and the onsite ads on ebay itself.

Store Feeds - This is something they are working to integrate as well. More to come on it as they see the importance.

In closing, it is all about targeting better and engagement. If your sites are attracting visitors that may not have gone to eBay first, and their purchase was a direct action of the interaction with your site, you stand to fair very well in the new payout structure. If your site is very broad or thin in nature and is merely a link farm into eBay, expect the worse. Your transaction report and web traffic stats, should tell you everything you need to know. You can look at when the click initiated, when the purchase occurred and what the item sold was. That matched with looking at the source of where your surfer came from will let you know how to improve your earnings per click as it relates to Quality Click Pricing. This is very exciting as this will not only help you in the EPN program, but in other affiliate programs as well as you will be sending a more targeted, pre qualified surfer.

ETA: My buddy Hank from Money Code, has his notes now posted as well.

EPN Quality Click Pricing Webinar Today

I wanted to remind everyone that today there is a free webinar offered by the eBay partner network concerning the new Quality Click Pricing structure. I highly highly recommend you tune in if you are serious about learning more about it. The webinar is free and starts at 9am Pacific Time, 11am Central Time, 12pm Eastern Time. Depending on how you want to connect, you may want to download and install the free Microsoft Office Live Meeting software. I would make sure you try to connect around 10 minutes prior, as I believe it will be heavily accessed.

Below is the important info and links:

Attendee Direct URL:
U.S. Attendee Phone: US/Canada Dial-in #: (866) 478-6394

Alternate Web Login
Conference Site URL:
Meeting ID: Aug21
Attendee Entry Code: Attend
Int’l/Local Dial-In #: (660) 422-4755 – Session will be in English only
Conference ID: 24785491

If you do miss this live, EPN has promised to offer a recording of the webinar next week.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Let Them Eat Cookies - But Only Cookies They Buy

I have received several emails and private messages asking my thoughts about the new Quality Click Pricing payment structure that EPN (eBay Partner Network) announced yesterday. While the details will really not be fully absorbed until we actually see the stats to compare, I will share my initial speculation of reading between the lines.

EPN is wanting a more "call to action" type surfer. If they visit your site and travel through to eBay, they want them to buy either the item they clicked, or something comparable and in the shortest time frame possible. It is no longer from an EPC (earnings per click) standpoint to merely hand out a cookie and lodge it their computer. You want them to buy the cookie. If you have sites that are earning money, but the surfers are mostly buying items non related to what you are trying to sell to them or they are merely carrying the cookie for longer than a few days, your quality of surfer will be considered lower.

If you have not read the tips for improving the quality of your traffic, it is a good start. Also the new BANS guide is a must if you have not yet invested in it. In the guide you will see how to build a site that will indeed match the model EPN is looking for. Does not matter if you are using the BANS platform, Wordpress with PHPBay or Joomla. The model of the site is what you are looking at.

It is just not good enough to list Spider man comics now, you want the surfer to be able to shop by year and even the issue number if applicable. It has never been a secret that you want to put the surfer in front of the exact product they are wanting to purchase, it is Marketing 101. If they arrive at your site through the front door, you want to provide an easy navigation to get them to the page that shows exactly what they are looking for in the fewest amount of clicks. Although you can not control whether or not they buy, you can increase your chances greatly by drilling deeper and better organizing the selection by make, model number, year, etc.

I would highly advise letting the surfer know where they are going as well. Hiding the fact that you are sending them to eBay may cause confusion and a click not worth a damn. Be transparent with your surfer. Also I personally feel items listed on the front page is a no-no now unless it is hugely targeted. I want them clicking on something they want, not something they just want to look at.

As far as the time factor, if you look at the Click Timestamp in row L of your Transaction Download, you can compare it to row A called the Event Date. Hopefully your Click Timestamp is close to the Event Date, even same day. Also you need to pay close attention to the eBay Item ID in row M. You can research the item number and make sure it was a purchase close related to what you were trying to sell. If you are getting a high percentage of irrelevant items being purchased, you may want to rethink the niche and structure of the website.

EPN pinks have said that the Buy It Now STORE feeds will likely be available soon, this will allow for listings that require an instant "call to action". It should be looked at strongly when available. Also listing products on your sites that end sooner than later, may be a good initial strategy as well.

Remember that there is still more that we do not know than we do know about the new Quality Click Pricing, take this post as more of my initial thoughts and speculation until we see it first hand. The numbers and reports should reveal everything we need to know, to make more money and build better sites in the process.

EDITED TO ADD: I wanted everyone to know I approached this more on the Short term value, instead of the Long term value. Several have asked about the Long term value and I am still wrapping my thoughts around it. The better focused traffic and quality of the traffic is paramount in short. Let that be your main goal first. Just because you sell an item on the seventh day of the cookie, is not totally bad, keep quality and targeted traffic at the forefront and the rest should take care of itself.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

EPN (eBay Partner Network) Announces Quality Click Pricing

As I announced yesterday, ebay Partner Network is now changing their commission structure. The new structure is called Quality Click Pricing. New affiliates that sign up after September 1st, will automatically be assigned this structure. If you are an existing EPN affiliate, the new click pricing will be implemented to you on October 1st.

The great news for existing affiliates is that starting the last week of August, you will be able to compare the new and old commission structure until October 1st to see where you stack up. Also if you are driving quality engaged traffic to eBay, you stand to earn more money. I for one initially welcome this change as I drive a ton of targeted traffic and do earn quite a bit with EPN, so I expect to actually earn even more. The higher the traffic quality the better you should do as well.

In short, what does this mean? It means you need to make every click count as much as possible. Better targeted organic traffic and full disclosure of where the surfer is going is paramount. Over the last month, I personally have seen EPN reel in the false clicks, this was important before releasing the new structure.

I am very excited about this change and if you are driving quality traffic to eBay, you should to.

If you have specific questions, I would contact EPN for clarification. You will read many interpretations on blogs and message boards, but I advise you to take them under advisement, not as law. As always, with previous changes to the eBay Partner Network, it will likely take 60-90 days for them to fully work the kinks out, so be patient. Also as I always suggest, you should not be carrying all of your eggs in one basket. Make sure you are constantly looking for other sources of income to drive your traffic to.

Below are some useful links for you to better form your own opinion and a copy of the email sent out.


Today we're announcing Quality Click Pricing, a new payout structure designed to further reward the affiliates who drive incremental transactions on eBay and who send valued buyers to our sites.

What's Quality Click Pricing?

Until now, eBay Partner Network has paid for sales and leads. With Quality Click Pricing, we will now instead pay affiliates for each click sent to an eBay site. The price paid per click will still depend on the short-term and long-term revenue of the traffic that the publisher drives to eBay, but will now also take into account the incremental value of that traffic to eBay, i.e., whether a sale happened as a direct result of the publisher's actions. The greater the incremental revenue and the higher the expected lifetime value of the customers an affiliate sends, the higher the EPC and total earnings the affiliate will receive. Earnings Per Click (EPC) will be set daily for the previous day's traffic.

When will this change take place?

We plan to phase the introduction of Quality Click Pricing to ensure existing publishers have enough time to understand how this affects them.

* New publishers that join the eBay Partner Network as of September 1st will be paid out under the new system. This includes all publishers joining as they transition from TradeDoubler and affilinet.
* Publishers that joined eBay Partner Network prior to September 1st will remain on the current pricing system until October 1st, when they will begin to be paid under the new Quality Click Pricing payment structure. Before October 1st, and starting the last week in August, existing publishers will have access to a preview report to see how their new payouts compare with the existing payment structure for them.

How can I find out more about this change?

We know that you may have questions about Quality Click Pricing, so we have put together several resources to give you more information about it:

* Read more about this change and some of the reasons behind it on our blog, including a FAQs document.
* A new set of pages on the eBay Partner Network site that explain how Quality Click Pricing works in more detail will be available later today.
* Two new videos that explain the concept of Quality Click Pricing (one available today and a second that will explain new reports on September 1st).
* In addition, we will hold two live webinars to explain the change and give publishers the opportunity to ask questions. Find out more about the webinars.

We will also be on the boards more frequently over the next few days to answer publishers' questions.

We are very excited about the launch of Quality Click Pricing, as it will allow us to reward publishers who are driving high quality, engaged and incremental traffic to eBay. We are also committed to continuing to invest in helping our publishers succeed with eBay Partner Network, and to ensuring that everyone is rewarded fairly for the value they generate for eBay.

We look forward to working with you on this new endeavor. Thanks for your continued support!


Steve Hartman,

The eBay Partner Network


EPN Quality Click Pricing FAQs

Tips for improving the quality of your traffic

Announcing Quality Click Pricing

Details of Quality Click Pricing Webinars

The Coming Evolution in Affiliate Marketing: A Focus on Quality

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Interview With Will Martin-Gill From EPN - New Changes Coming

Below is a recent interview done with eBay’s Director of Internet Marketing, Will Martin-Gill. The interview was done by Murray Newlands at the 2009 Affiliate Summit East. Will talks about various topics including a new custom banner widget it sounds like that is in the works.

EDITED TO ADD: In a webinar this morning, there are a few big changes coming from EPN. So stay tuned as they will likely be addressed in the next few days. Pay per click is the early buzz.

Landing Page For Less Important Pages

Now that page rank sculpting is all but dead, we need to concentrate more on where exactly to flow the juice of the site. Let me again reiterate, that I am more concerned about a page getting the most juice possible than I am about page rank itself. Often times we put our Privacy Policy, About Us and Contact pages all linked off of the front page of the site. These are pages that we really do not care so much about ranking for or getting maximum juice. If you you have 10 links to internal pages on your home page and 3 are the type pages I listed, you are only getting 1/10th of the juice sent to the more important pages of the site.

Now lets say we only had an About Us page linked from the home page navigation and on the About Us page we used it as a landing page to link to our Contact Us and Privacy Policy pages. This would remove 2 links from the original 10 and thus you would be driving down 1/8th of the juice to the more important pages. Also by not having those 3 pages linked from EVERY page of the site, should an internal page develop good backlinks and juice, it would not be wasted on the lesser important pages.

In the past, we would just tried to nofollow the unimportant pages links to drive the juice elsewhere, but now that it has been announced that nofollow still takes it's portion of the link juice regardless, it makes more sense to better structure the site by having less links to unimportant pages on the site. You can call the landing page anchor text whatever you want really so the surfer knows where they are going. Instead of just "About Us" you could title it, "About Us/Privacy Policy/Contact", it really is up to you.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Best Blog Post Ever?

OK, to say the best blog post ever is a little strong, but the latest offering by Rand Fishkin from SEOMoz, certainly ranks right up there. The post is entitled, Perfecting Keyword Targeting & On-Page Optimization and it clearly is one that should be bookmarked by veteran and newbie alike.

Before you jump on over there, I wanted to point out a few things I believe you should make strong note of.

Meta Keywords - I have still been filling this tag out myself by habit, but Rand makes a strong point on why one should not even bother with it any more. This is great because it is one less thing to deal with and the competition view point is a valid one.

Keyword Location in URL - Although not a huge rankings benefit as Rand notates, it is often overlooked, especially in top line navigation. Rand can test like nobody I have seen before and even if it is a slight ranking advantage, it is one nonetheless.

Word Separators - Do not bother with underscores, just not worth it. Wordpress defaults to hyphens, so if using BANS, make sure to use them there as well.

Alt Attribute & Image Filename - I have been a proponent of this for years although I do not use images as much as I should. Personally I will start trying to incorporate more of them myself.

Links in Content vs. Permanent Navigation - This notion is backed up in the new BANS Guide as well with the landing pages. The links to deeper review/product pages are in the content, not the navigation.

Link Location Footers - I recently mentioned this myself. If it does not belong in the footer, remove it. If your navigation is in the footer, move it up top.

Keyword Location - While pretty much an always understood, Rand stamps it with approval.

Components of Google's Ranking Algorithm Graph - I do not know about you, but I printed it out and hung it on my wall. If it was the only item of the post, it still would be a great blog post.

Content - You know me and content. Rands' statement on the virality of content is one everyone of us could do a better job of. I will be address this soon in a separate blog post.

In closing, you can see why someone like myself would question if this is the best blog post ever. I would bookmark it and print it, just in case it was meant for his pay customers only. It is that good.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Taking Sunday Evening Off

Well it is finally hurricane season on the Gulf Coast and my day has been interrupted several times. I now have some elderly neighbors that need me to move in some heavy patio furniture in side for them, so it will not blow around tonight. Also need to go help the old man as well. I may or may not lose power so I have to make sure the generator fires up fine as well. All in all, I think I will take an unprecedented night off. Perfect time to do it. Should hopefully be back on Monday. Have a great Sunday evening everyone.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday Around The Web August 15th

How is everyone? Happy Saturday evening. I thought I posted this earlier, but Blogger ate it. Do not know where the post went. Anyways, here is some interesting stuff located on the EnterWebs this week.

The new Google Caffeine is all the buzz right now. If you have not read about it yet, you can do so on the Webmaster blog and on the Matt Cutts blog.

There is also a new tool called Compare Google Caffeine that lets you compare the results of Google and Caffeine for a search term.

Aaron Wall of has released a new SEO Toolbar for Firefox. You have to sign up for free to get it and be using Firefox, but thus far it looks cool. video explains below.

Matt Cutts sat down with the Jenn Lopez from SEOMoz for an interview and addressed some nofollow questions.

Mashable has a great article on How To Use Facebook for Professional Networking.

I received an email from the owner of saying that he has actually made a few enhancements to it since I first posted about it. Give him some feedback on the tool.

ReviewAZON 20% Off Amazon Review Wordpress Plugin


Wanted to make sure several were aware of the deal going on right now for the Amazon Review Wordpress Plugin, called ReviewAZON. I own it and it is a fantastic plugin.

Amazon has changed the rules yet again and is requiring all applications that use their Advertising API to send "signed" requests.

This new rule goes into effect today and will break those Amazon applications that have not yet upgraded to support these new rules.

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As a ReviewAZON customer, you also get added benefits such as a reduced price off StudioPress themes and the all popular FlexSqueeze theme.

If you are serious about making money with the Amazon Affiliate Program, ReviewAZON is the tool to help you realize your goals of making money online.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Spot Check Product Filtering

Since the release of the new BANS guide, I have been asked to look at some new sites of a few of my readers. You can really tell those that finally GET IT. One common thing I have been seeing though is listings of products that do not match what the page is offering. This does indeed take some tweaking to filter out the items that you do not want. Most are properly showing 4-6 items, so you want to make good and well sure those items match what you are promising the surfer.

As thorough as I try to be in filtering out items that do not match or are not relative, they always sneak in. When I build a new site, I constantly spot check for 6-7 days in a row and multiple times throughout the day. I sort them in all types of ways from ending soonest to highest/lowest price to see if I can get an unwanted listing. Once I am satisfied, I will continue to spot check at least once a month, but for the most part they are filtered properly. For BANS you will want to of course use the eBay operators and for PHPBay, you can just use the words you want to filter out in the third spot. It really is quite simple.

Take the time to properly filter and spot check, you will be glad you did as most are missing this crucial step. Keep up the good work as well, I am seeing some fantastic looking sites that I am sure will produce.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Google On Crawling & Indexing

It has been a while since I pointed to the Google Webmaster blog, but recently they did a post on optimizing your crawling and indexing. The presentation below shows the best practices for crawling and indexing. In the slides you will see some real time examples of what not to do. You will see how you can help the crawlers find more of your content faster. Most of it is based for a newbie, but even more experienced niche site builders can learn from it. It really is great primer.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More On The Long Tail

A few days ago I dedicated a post to the Long Tail. Today on SEOMoz, Dr. Pete takes it farther in a case study entitled How Much Do Rankings Matter? It really is an easy read and he has stats to back it up. I was going to save this link for my Saturday around the web feature, but wanted to make sure I indeed did not forget it. So instead of me posting today, I refer you to that post instead.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stop Fixing Things That Are Not Broken

I can vividly remember these words time and time again being uttered by my grandfather. It applies to this business as well. I received a few emails from two readers wanting my advice on some tips they recently had read. The sites were both ranking well and built in what I consider an acceptable fashion. They really had no real reason to make some site structure changes, so I advised not to do it. The same goes with what I suggested on Monday in regards to duplicate navigation links. If you are currently ranking and earning money, leave it alone.

If you go to make any significant changes to an already well ranking site, have a solid reason. Sure, EVERY site can be improved, but to make changes just to make changes with no solid reason is risky. Adding more content or optimizing pages for the better is one thing, but with any change, I highly suggest you note the change and the date it was made in case you need to go back to it. Even over optimizing can have adverse effects, so do so knowing that you can hurt yourself. The only thing I do to well ranking sites of mine is to add more content unless I come across an obvious error that I know for certain will not hurt by fixing.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Things That Make You Go Hmm - Duplicate Navigation Links

I get some great questions from time to time via email from readers. One really made me go hmm this morning. The email asked if duplicate navigation links took away from page rank flow. Let me show you want he meant. There are sites that will have a logo in the header linked to the home page, a navigation text link that might say "Home" that links to the home page and perhaps even the site name in the footer linked to the home page. In essence this is three links on one page linking to the same page. The question was, say there are 7 links to other internal pages on a page and in essence 10 total links on the page, would this mean that each link gets 1/10th of the juice or 1/8th being as 3 of the links are duplicate. The closest I can really find to an answer is here from SEO Moz.

Quoted from link:
p.s. Two good questions were asked in the comments that deserve addressing in the post. First, this would appear to apply to the position in the code, not on the actual visual representation of the page, as Google isn't currently running 30+ billion documents through visual page analysis. Second, as far as PR "leaks" go, ideally you'd only want one link from any page to any other, but the original PR formula appears to do this for you, as they don't consider multiple votes for a URL by a single page to provide benefit (each page can only vote for another once).
Also if you search Google website itself, you will come across pages that have more than one link to the same page. So if they do it, you should be fine without leaking juice passed. Now let me say, I am not so concerned about page rank as I am just link juice. Page rank is just a number in my eyes. I want the most juice passed from page to page.

Now another interesting thing I did come across in my research is that by trying to use the site name in the footer as anchor text linking to your home page, COULD cause a Google penalty. Read more here from Rand.

Ok, now for my own recommendations. If your logo is linked to your homepage, I would at the very least make sure you have the ALT text value of the image filled out as you should do with EVERY image regardless. In my opinion by looking at my own stats on various sites, I see very very few people actually click the image anyway. So in my opinion I would un-link it. Secondly if you have a few links to the home page with the anchor text "Home", I do not see it as a problem. Thirdly though if you are using the site name text in the footer linked to the home page in addition to an anchor driven "home" link, I would un-link as well. Let me say though that if it is a brandable name, I do not see a problem, but if it is targeted spammy keyword phrase, I would un-link it. Normally this is just a copyright notice of the site and to avoid trouble I would un-link it. The same goes for a site that may have the site name in the header as an h1 header tag. I am going to even un-link it on this very blog to see if it hurts anything.

If you make ANY of these changes, I would notate them in your journal of the changes you made and when you changed them. Watch your rankings on some of your highest ranking keywords and see if it makes ANY difference good or bad. You can always go back and undo the changes, but I really think my suggestions hold water based on the research.

Keep up the great questions as well. I lost an hours worth of production, but did enjoy it. If something else makes you go hmm, let me know.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Gold In The Long Tail

I was always horrible in math, but always loved stats. Growing up I could figure a baseball players batting average in a heart beat and recite statistics from my favorite teams players at a drop of the hat. This has led to my love affair with web stats and Google analytics. Once you learn the ends and outs of it, it will tell you more than you can imagine about your site. I watch for where surfers come from and what links they exit on in particular and then match up items purchased on eBay that match terms of the exit link from the site. On my best well structured and content laden sites, the long tail search terms convert the best from the search engines. These surfers general use 4-7 keywords in their search from the engine, land on my site and exit through an eBay product link on the page. The longer the keyword the surfer uses, the higher the ratio of out-clicks to an eBay product.

Focusing on longer tail keywords is simple to implement into a relative content page. Just drill down in MNF, Google Keyword tool or whatever tool you are using and these will pop right out at you. Do not get caught up in the low search for count as you can integrate a lot of long tail phrases into one parent page of a shorter keyword focused targeted page. These low searched for terms add up the more you integrate them into your site and have a ton less competition as well. People tend to get too hung up on search numbers of primary keywords, that they neglect to pay any attention to adding longer tail phrases. The article will usually be only driven around a 2-3 word keyword phrase, thus leaving the big money surfer on the table. If you buy content from Need An Article or Text Broker, you may want to instruct the writer to integrate in a couple of the longer tail phrases you research out into the article. Remember while most of these writers are great writers, they are not SEO or keyword specialist. The article you might purchase might be great on the surface and actually solve a problem or need, but can truly gather more money from the table with longer tail phrases added.

If you have already purchased and posted your article, you can easily go in and weave in some long tail phrases into it without any problems. There is no penalty for improving your content on the page. You will be at the mercy of waiting for the search engines to re-index, but this normally only takes a few weeks at most.

If you are not using some sort of analytics program, I suggest you start. There are several out there besides Google as many have been lead to believe that the less you give Google the better. I am not one who wears a tin foil hat, but if you are, just use a different analytics. You will see that the big money is indeed in the long tail and will better learn how to attack it.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday Around The Web August 8th

It's Saturday, it's Saturday!!! Hope everyone had a great week. I myself was able to get 5 solid days of work in this week instead of my usual 7. Thursday and Friday was full of "Sh!t Happens gremlins" for me! See, they even find me as well and I stay locked in my house. LOL.

Anyways here is the weekly segment of great reads I found across Internets this week. Now back to post gremlin work for me.

A great read I came across this week is a site by Brian Clark, the owner of Copyblogger. He has a great lesson on The 10 Rock Solid Elements of Effective Online Marketing. If you read my post and forum comments, I am a big fan of authority in relation to your site.

For the Twitter users, Rand Fishkin has a good video on How to Get Re-Tweeted. As always he is very thorough.

Chris Garrett has a free PDF that contains 102 fill-in-the-blanks, tried and tested headline formulas.

Chris Boggs released a couple of great articles I bookmarked but forgot to mention. The first about Building Directory Links and the second on How Long Should It Take for SEO to Show Results.

A free fun eBay Watch Count Tool.

This always needs to be rementioned: Google on Little or no original content.

Finally, Daily SEO blog has listed the Top 20 SEO Blog feeds you should subscribe to. I whole heartedly agree with this list.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Anchor Text Density

Sometimes I really need to bookmark my bookmarks, I bookmark so many great things, I forget what I bookmarked. Anyways I wanted to post about anchor text density today. This article on Linking Strategy jogged my memory. While anchor text density is not too widely delved into or talked about, it does make sense from a "natural" look of link building. I have mentioned many times that one should rotate the anchor text of backlinks to the sites home page with the majority being the branded name if your site is developing one. Also you should in my opinion really rotate heavily your internal pages anchor text as well. We do not live in a perfect linking society of gaining natural backlinks of the EXACT anchor text we want. Google knows this too. If every backlink and internal backlink used the SAME anchor text, how do you suppose that would look to an algorithm? It would look unnatural for sure. When you are building your own backlinks through articles, web 2.0 sites or any other source, I would make sure around 15%-20% of the anchor text is un perfect, but still LSI related. This will make you look a ton better, if indeed there is an anchor text density filter, which I bet there is. as I always preach, the more natural everything about your on and off site SEO is, the better results you will have. I am not sure if anchor text density will be a more talked about topic over the next couple of months, but it makes sense. SEO's are getting smarter and smarter about learning how to dance with Google, so more may be forthcoming on this.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lower Priced Trusted Directories

I was asked by email what low priced paid directories I use, so I thought it would make a good blog post. I do not submit to these until around the 2 month mark or so of launching a site as I want to first get a good read on the profitability of the site. Also I will not use them if I have been able to pick up good solid backlinks from like sites along the way for free. It is judged on a site by site basis. The lower priced ones I use are below. I would suggest BOTW and the Yahoo Directory if you can indeed justify it, but I understand most of you are on tight budgets. If you do decide to submit to any of these, make sure your site is solid. If it is thin, beef it before spending your money. Throwing good links at crap sites is worthless in my opinion. Like most directories free or paid, the traffic is very sporadic, if any, but the higher trusted the directory, the better quality the backlink.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My New Site Initial Backlink Campaign

It is not too often that a launch a new niche site these days as I have plenty of older sites to choose from that I am going through and redoing. Last week however, I turned out a new site that I spent 2 weeks building and put it through it's initial backlink push. This is a standard process for me as I have it down to a science. The initial push is to mainly get the spiders rolling and get a few a medium quality backlinks coming in. I start with submitting 200 link directory submissions with Submit Edge. Now link directories are not high quality by any means, but they still seem to be respected by Yahoo and Bing for now. Another good thing is they all do not show up at one time. They trickle in over the months. I use 3 different anchor text titles and 4-5 site descriptions in these submissions to mix it up a bit. This makes it appear a bit more natural in nature, even though it really isn't. Next I write 3 plain, generic articles. The two best ones get submitted to EzineArticles and GoArticles with a solid anchor text driven backlink in the bio section. The worse of the three gets spun thoroughly using Crewriter and submitted to Free Traffic System. Next I write a 300 word press release anouncing my new site launch and submit it to PRLog for free. Lastly I social bookmark a few of the sites onsite articles to 5 or 6 social bookmarking sites. That is it for my initial backlink push. From there I slowly start my push for much higher quality backlinks with semi-related sites and better targeted articles for the article directories.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Cleaner The Better

I am not good with drawing or painting. I am above average when it comes to graphic design, but not a professional by any means. Often times in the past I have tried to over compensate my sites with flashy headers and colors. Let me tell you from experience, the cleaner the site, the more professional it looks. If you are not good at design, stick to the more basic looking Wordpress themes like the Arthemia or any other magazine type theme. If you are working with BANS, the free template in the new BANS guide is excellent as well. Any of these templates can easily have the colors changed and a nice clean small logo at the top will suffice. Make sure your logo is professional looking as well, it helps establish the brand. A great free program I have mentioned before, is Xheader. You can find free tutorials on using it all over the web. Just start with Youtube to be exact. Your content on site will lend the most credibility to your site, not a flashy logo. It is all too common to want to over design a site. When in doubt the more white space the better and two to three colors are plenty. Look at the website for Target, nice and clean. This blog is testament as well. Every template change has made this ordinary blogger blog look better and more professional. It continues to rise in traffic and earnings as well. The look is not the only reason mind you, but it sure does not hurt.

Editor Note: Thanks for the few emails concerning my not feeling well. Just a nasty headache was all. Back in the saddle fully today.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Site Relaunching Tips

I was going to do a post on relaunching a site today and came across a post on SEOMoz discussing the same thing. I just relaunched a few sites myself recently and while it is a pain, here are a few things to pay attention to. I will discuss this more in depth in a later post as I am a bit under the weather this evening.

10 Things You Must Check When You Re-launch Your Website

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Why @IJustine Does Not Go Backlink Hunting

If you do not know who IJustine is, you have not been in tune with the web. Justine is the queen of social media. Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, you name it. She knows how to promote herself. Do you think she goes hunting at link directories, article directories or other places for backlinks? I think not. She produces content that people want to link to and she is damn good at it. Now not everyone is a video guru like she is, but you can learn a bunch about HOW she promotes herself by just watching her work. If there is an avenue to promote her site, she uses it. If you can apply a third of how she promotes to your great content, you will pick up natural backlinks as well. If you are just promoting a thin affiliate store, do not expect results, but if you have great useful content, you WILL see results. You can see Justine on the web at and on Twitter at See, I just gave her backlinks. Oh, she is not hard on the eyes either. If I looked that appealing, I would make more videos. LOL!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday Around The Web August 1st

Wow another week and month has come and gone. I hope everyone had a profitable month of July. I am very satisfied with my month and look forward to a great August as well. Below are some great items I bookmarked across the web this week. I hope you enjoy them.

Sonia Simone has an interseting take on creating better content by Treating Your Readers Like Dogs.

Darren Rowse from Pro Blogger explains by video: How to Use Google’s Wonder Wheel to Find Topics to Write about. also if you have not read his new EBOOK, you should. it is a must have.

Interesting guest post on SEOMoz about The Effect of Site Structure on Organic Traffic.

Website Magazine has listed the Twenty-Five Essential Reads for Web Pro’s. I own a few of these myself. Also Website Magazine is a great FREE magazine.

LinkShare has now partnered with Widgetbox to enable publishers to create money-making product widgets. These are fantastic.


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