SEO Services For Serious ROI. Blog Posts For Serious SEOs.

Monitor Twitter to Get Backlinks!

I am a self-obsessed Twitter fanatic. I spend way too much of my day on there, usually at a severe cost to my productivity. Which is why when I started to get into social media marketing, I jumped in with both feet. Being on Twitter for work? I was totally in!

Because I spend so much time there, I have discovered the benefit of using it for everything from promotion and customer service, to reputation monitoring and trend reviewing. But it is link building that I have recently been putting a lot of effort into. Or, as much effort as I can between retweeting funny pictures of pets and old Simpsons quotes.

What interested me when talking to fellow bloggers was that many don’t know about link building through Twitter. At least, outside of posting links to their own blogs on their Twitter feed, which is social media marketing 101. But not the focus of this article.

Twitter is about building contacts NOT links – False

Twitter is about building links through great opportunities – True

Link Building On Twitter

Monitor Twitter for links - Tweetdeck

You can also gather brand dedication along with a link when you follow search terms AND interact with other Twitter users. This all ties in to reputation management, which you should be practicing anyway. When you do this, you are increasing the likelihood of a mention on their feed, blog or other site. This is a great way to build links all over the web. Especially if you target popular tweeters.

HACK: Twitter search is your first *awesome* source of link building opportunities

Here are just a few awesome search ideas for you (pick a few!)

  • Target content curators: “iphone apps” list / roundup / best
  • Target local bloggers: #dallas (blog)
  • Target your competitors’ promoters / your own promoters: viprealty

PAIN: With the new Twitter API monitoring Twitter search has become a massive pain

There’s really only one way around this: Twitter API seems to work much better on their own app: new TweetDeck. You may hate Twitter’s dominence making other Twitter search apps such a pain, but at least there’s a known workaround :)

Participating and Hosting Twitter Chats

A Twitter chat is a new great way to enter the niche you target. If you have a social media manager, make sure there’s a list of Twitter chats in your niche for your manager to consistently participate. There’s a ton of opportunities there.

Here are some local Twitter chats for example:




Setting up a Twitter chat is easy as well. Here’s a good site for that: TwChat

It allows you to set up hushtag-driven room and will even let you archive and analyze all the tweets later. A good Twitter chat is always a link bait in itself: Besides, you can always become a niche celebrity by maintaining one!


Link building is a part of any online business. But you want to make sure you are getting high quality links, which can take a lot of time and effort. Both of which are hard to come by, at times.

Social media makes it so much easier. Especially Twitter, thanks to their live feed and potential for connecting with those interested in your brand. Start using it to, and you will be sure to see results.

Image Credits: 1

By Michelle Troy

Michelle Troy is the local blogger writing for VIP Realty Dallas blog. Michelle specializes in local journalism and community building.

Wikia’s Clean Cloaking An Interesting Technology

I recently happened to go to Wikia’s page on the 100 worst songs to sing at a funeral, and came across the following cloaked screen that takes up most of the page – none of the content is visible by scrolling or looking closely (i.e. it’s not transparent).

State of Search in 2012

Curious to get a summary of where we stand and what’s changed in the past year or two? Farky from Liquid Siler Marketing put together a detailed report that goes over this. Much of it you will know already, but it’s tied together in a way that you get a better holistic view of where things stand.

Check it out: State of Search 2012.

Ongoing Case Study: The Advanced SEO Book Put To The Test

Someone told me recently he’s skeptical about the value provided by The Advanced SEO Book. Notwithstanding the fact that it’s had great reviews and gotten me positive feedback from SEOs at serious online companies like Salesforce, I’ve decided to eat my own dog food and implement the tactics and prove their worth.

At least once a week, I’m going to write about what I’m doing to build the site, generate revenue and how it implements my book’s advice.

Here’s a quick preview of the game plan: (more…)

Win Prizes From SEOmoz, Conversion Conference & More – The Advanced SEO Blogging Contest

Want to win amazing prizes like a 1 Year Memberships to SEOmoz or a full Conversion Conference pass?

To Win, Share The Most Creative SEO Tactic You Can Think Of!

How To Enter The Contest

Email with your new tactic/idea (ideally with accompanying case study). Use the subject line CONTEST ENTRY (all caps please – makes it easy for me to pick through email and find entries).

Include links to all photos, videos, audio etc. and say where the content is meant to go in your post. Ex.: “Insert Youtube video: link—– here.”

To Win The Contest

You need to have your entry be a finalist (judged on non-bounced visitors), and then have the judges pick your entry to win.

Contest Prizes

First Place Grand Prize:

1 Full Ticket To A Conversion Conference – value: $1,995
1 Year of SEOmoz Pro membership – value: $1,188
1 Year of MixRank Professional – value: $1164
1 Year of CognitiveSEO Starter plan – value: $588
125 Credits at Feng-GUI’s predictive heatmapping tool – value: $250
1 Year of Website-Monitoring availability checking service for up to 5 URLs – value: $240

Second Place:

1 Single-Day Ticket To A Conversion Conference – value: $1,195
6 Months of SEOmoz Pro membership – value: $594
6 Months of MixRank Professional – value: $582
1 Year of Website-Monitoring service for up to 3 domains – value: $170
50 Credits at Feng-GUI – value: $100

Third Place:
1 Single-Day Ticket To A Conversion Conference – value: $1,195
3 Months of MixRank Professional – value: $291
1 Year of Website-Monitoring service for 1 domain – value: $72
25 Credits at Feng-GUI – value: $50

Finalist prizes:

1. Every finalist entry (includes grand prize, second and third) will be printed in The Advanced SEO Book’s second edition and included in the ebook version as well.
2. Every finalist (includes grand prize winners, second and third) will get mailed a copy of The Advanced SEO Book (second edition) and emailed an ebook copy (first and second editions).

Entrance prizes:

30% Discount at Website Monitoring
20% Lifetime discount at CognitiveSEO

How We’ll Determine The Contest Winners

1. Your entries are judged on two factors: the unique visitors your post attracts AND judges’ subjective opinions.

2. The top 10 entries (by unique, non-bounced visitors) will be the finalists. I (Gab Goldenberg, the contest organizer) will have veto power over posts judged to have manipulated their way into the top 10, so don’t bother with tricks or spam.

Unique non-bounced visitors are based upon Google Analytics numbers. The formula is Unique Visitors x (100% – Bounce Rate).

3. The judges and myself will review the top 10 entries and pick the winners.

Contest Rules

1. There are no minimum word counts. Cover all the details necessary for others to be able to implement your tactic, and leave it at that.

2. You’re encouraged to include pictures, but they must be royalty-free and you must have the legal right to use them.

In fact, your entire entry can be just an image (ex.: infographic, flow chart etc).

3. You can’t enter someone else’s work as your own.

4. You can’t enter previously published work.

5. Embedding content is fine, so long as it’s legal.

6. If you do a video or audio entry, please provide either a summary or transscription for ease of reference/usability. This is to your benefit as it will strongly increase your chances of winning since more people will enjoy and share your content.

7. The contest will publish entries from Monday, MixRank competitive ad tool logoober 8th, 2012 to Wednesday, November 7th, 2012, but submissions can be made from today (Sept 10). The traffic will be counted based on the whole period. For entries submitted in the last 7 days of the contest, the traffic will be calculated from the day the entry is published + 6 days (i.e. a 7 day period). Thus the traffic counting period will end at the latest November 13th (November 7th + 6 days).

Following this period, judges will pick the winners from the top-traffic getting posts.

I’ll go on to share some tips on winning the contest below, but first some thanks to our sponsors:


Conversion Conference - It's all about the conversion
Conversion Conference teaches attendees the latest techniques in A/B and multivariate testing, website data analysis, landing page design and layout, usability and optimization for mobile, tablets and paid search campaigns.

It’s lead by the author of the book, Landing Page Optimization, Tim Ash. Speaking personally, I’ve learnt a lot from Tim and can say definitely that this is a high-value show.

SEOmoz created Linkscape and Open Site Explorer, the SEO world’s first non-Yahoo powered link index and research tools.

They offer much more of course, including their advice via pro members’ Q&A, SEO app, social media monitoring, keyword difficulty/trifecta tool, FollowerWonk, rank tracking and still more beyond that!

Cognitive SEO

Cognitive SEO is a new SEO toolset that automates something many of us do manually – link analysis and classification (guest post, blog comment etc), besides for other link tools.

Their data is sourced from SEOmoz, Majestic, AHrefs and more – so it’s extremely high quality.

Feng-GUI offer designers, advertisers and creatives, a tool that uses a scientific algorithm to predict what people will most look at. This helps you find out if you have visual clutter or visual clarity, as well as what the dominant graphic elements are.

They report results in heatmap and gaze-plot format, which helps with visual hierarchy and conversion rate optimization. I personally have an account and find it quite useful. See the #1 tip for homepage design, for an example of the reports. logo Website-Monitoring by SiteImpulse constantly checks websites’ availability and validates their functions.

Each outage is reported instantly with email and SMS alerts and recorded in database for future analysis.

MixRank competitive ad tool logo MixRank offers a competitive intelligence tool for online display ads, so online marketers can find the most relevant traffic sources in their industry. SEOs can monitor what publishers your competitors are paying for clicks on and snap up that traffic for free by contacting the webmaster directly for link building.

Don’t forget that you can also plug these sites into free keyword tools to uncover new keyword ideas (based on those sites’ content) that will generate additional, relevant traffic.

Tips To Win The Contest

Content Suggestions:

+ Surprise people!

Challenge a common assumption or the “accepted” way of doing things. Can you even do the complete opposite?

+ Integrate more than one discipline.

Ex.: How can you use email to make search visitors convert higher? This post on integrating Facebook demographics into keyword research was extremely popular, partly for this reason and partly because it surprised people by showing that Facebook data could be useful for SEO.

+ Make it easy to implement.

Sharing a tactic as opposed to just an idea? The above Facebook + keyword research tactic was creative – but inaccessible for many. If your tactic requires custom-code, can you offer a standard script people can just download or copy? If it requires some particular server-side doodling, can you shoot a video showing how it’s done, step-by-step? Have you provided simple step-by-step instructions?

+ Appeal to different learning styles with audio / visual.

Some people learn best by reading, while others learn by watching or listening. If you can speak to more learning styles, then you can get more visitors.

+ Write 10 titles, then pick the best.

Have some friends rate them and give you feedback on which to use. Avoid “clever” titles since you’re probably the only one who’ll get it – speaking from my own experience as one who’s made this mistake several times.

Promotion Suggestions: Don’t just publish, promote!

+ Ask friends on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to read the entry and share the post and/or vote it up at or other relevant sites. Don’t make them feel obligated – acknowledge that they have their integrity and say that they should only promote it if they like it.

+ Write a blog post sharing the link to your entry and encourage your readers to go read it, and share it themselves.

+ Got an email list? Offer a teaser with a link to read the full thing.

+ Consider some ads:

Stumbleupon Ads start at 10 cents, and getting stumbleUpon thumbs up from paid visits will generate additional free visits. Similarly, Twitter ads start around 50 cents a click but can get retweets especially from influential Tweeters.

Terms & Conditions

1. All entrants give Gabriel Goldenberg the right to publish their entry in part or in its entirety online, in book and ebook format. This includes images and any screen captures of video. The right is transferrable.

2. The contest is open to people age 18+.

3. I reserve the right not to publish any entry for any reason whatsoever, or to delete any entry for any reason whatsoever. This is unlikely to happen if you use your judgment and follow the rules and guidelines.

4. The entry must not have been previously published elsewhere online or offline.

5. I reserve the right to change the rules as necessary, at my sole discretion. (I can’t predict if the prizes will incent misbehaviour, so I have to include this to allow me to remedy the situation if there’s a problem).

The above rules, terms etc were heavily inspired by JobMob’s guidelines. Thanks Jacob!

Why You Need This Poker Concept To Succeed At Online Marketing: The BankRoll

In poker, your bankroll refers to how much budget you’ve allotted to play, a concept that isn’t thought of in online marketing even though it’s value to online marketers is huge. (more…)

Announcing The Advanced SEO Contest & Its First Prize Sponsors

I’m organizing a contest for SEOs to share their most creative and powerful tactics, which I first announced to my advanced SEO newsletter / the people who get a free chapter from my book. Entrants can win a variety of prizes, discussed below, and the best entries will be included in the next edition of The Advanced SEO Book.

In my last email, I said that I was looking for feedback on how to run a contest seeking new SEO tactics and case studies. Many of you generously chimed in with prize and voting suggestions, in particular that you would prefer for the prizes to be memberships to tool sites and the like.

Well, you asked and I’m delivering. (more…)

No More Clients: SEO ROI Is Going To Be The Platform For Advanced Tactics & Case Studies

I’m going to transition out of client work over the next 12 months, and am transforming SEO ROI into a platform for the most creative and clever advanced SEOs to share their new tactics & case studies, and in exchange give them (and their clients) links and leads (both free). (more…)

Can You Tell Me If This Is A New Algo Loophole? Does Link Disavowal Enable Mafia-Style Link Laundering?

The new link disavowal tools seem to create a unique, certainly unintended opportunity for SEOs to get short term AND long term results via “link laundering.” This is a new algorithm loophole it seems, spam which resembles the mafia’s (and Russian and Iranian governments’) money laundering tactics. I’d love to hear your comments on this. (more…)

Learn SEO Campaign KPIs from Beginner To Advanced

This guest post is by , the VP of Client Services @, a leading search marketing agency located in Utah. For more information about their SEO services or to read other posts by Greg and other search marketing experts, please visit their site.

A few weeks back, I wrote a post on the blog which talks about the ten things that you need to do to get your business ready for SEO.

In my post I talked bout “being ready to set and work toward real online marketing goals”. Gone are the days when business should be working solely toward rankings alone, as a number one ranking may not produce much fruit at all. In this post, I’d like to talk about setting the right SEO goals and the difference between leading and lagging KPIs.

“When Google Torches Whitehats” – 9 Tactics To Survive & Rise Like A Phoenix From The Flames

Right after the Penguin update, I sent the following email to people who downloaded a <a href=””>free chapter</a> from my book.

It shares 9 concrete tactics to protect your business and grow beyond Google so that a Google ban would be the loss of A marketing channel, not The marketing channel.

There are tactics for ecommerce, ad publishers (CPM, CPC, CPA), lead generators and non profits who want to fire-proof themselves like the mythical phoenix.


“It’s spring and Google’s whacked another group of link buyers, and we in the SEO world again buzz about the winners, losers and what to do next.

But even whitehats who don’t buy their links MUST ask how to protect themselves from Google’s whims, as must every open-eyed SEO.

Q: Why worry if you’re whitehat? (more…)

5 Digital Trends Shaping the Consumer Experience

This is a guest post by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for pre shipment inspection companies around the globe, and who also consults for a business sign and custom neon sign store.

Digital marketing is a constantly evolving art and keeping current is key, so here are five trends shaping how consumers interact with brands. (more…)

“Is Your Site Defensible?”- The 10 Point Quiz Updated For 2012

Andy Hagans used to run, and I’ve reposted his popular quiz as to whether your site was defensible and updated it for 2012.

My updates and comments are in square brackets [ ].
Jerusalem old city walls


How To Mashup Your Data And Mutate Joe Blow Campaigns Into X-Men Campaigns: New SEO/Email/CRO Tactic

SEOs building email lists (and email retargeting subscribers) just got huge help in the form of data mashup artists Rapleaf and Rapportive, two tools for gaining data on your email contacts. The impact will mutate weak little campaigns into car-throwing raging hulks.

The Incredible Hulk (more…)

The Multi-Armed Bandit Of CRO Doesn’t Grab Higher Conversion Rates – It Grabs Lower Conversion Rates

Multi armed bandit
Steve Hanov recently suggested a thought-provoking idea: applying multi-armed bandit algorithms to A/B testing, and Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) did an interesting and accessible-to-non-statisticians statistical analysis and explanation of Steve’s method, to evaluate the accuracy of his claims. While I loved their analysis, VWO’s conclusion is a howler! (more…)

Advanced Link Building Idea: Should SEOs Automate Personalized Intro Emails To Check Webmaster Addresses?

How do you avoid wasting time contacting webmaters whose email addresses are dead?

If you’re contacting dozens or hundreds of webmasters, depending on your team’s size, this could mean hours of wasted time.

How about registering a throwaway email address and sending an innocuous ‘heya’ to all your prospects (in BCC). Then filter out the bounces and ‘recipient domain rejected’ addresses?

You can do that, but it’s annoying to people when people send you email spam. Especially to webmasters.

A more classy approach is to
-use Buzzstream or the like to auto grab their contact details,
-use a script to individually email each webmaster, auto-populating their firstname (or lastname or site address and name) in the subject line and greeting
-that email asks if they’re still updating the site and would like you to tell them about broken links you found. Don’t mention you want a link yet.

Love if someone can develop this tool…

Hat tip to SEOmoz’s dead link building guide for the idea on the ‘still updating’ time saver.

Chris Dyson On The Business of SEO Consulting: Learning, Prospecting, Partnering, Client Expectations and more!

Chris DysonI recently sat down with Chris Dyson over email and we got to chat about a topic many SEOs regularly ask about: how do you run an SEO consulting business?? Of course, our interview ranged wider and addressed topics such as, but even those essentially are tangents of our main discussion.

SEO Mythbusters: It’s Google vs Bing. SEO Truth: It’s Apple vs eBay vs Fiverr vs Google vs Bing vs …

As I shared recently in my post disspelling the myth of 3 query types, Mahalo recently pivoted to sell its content in the form of iPhone/iPad apps. They’ve gone from SEO spammers to App Store quality producers. (more…)

Your B2B Live Chat Lander Sounds Scratchy. Make Her Sing Like A Canary!

Passive or intrusive B2B Live Chat is sub-optimal – B2B Live Chat needs to actively and politely engage the prospect to understand their needs.

In B2B, your sales cycle is commonly longer and more education is required than with B2C products. For low-ticket B2C, the passive implementation of live chat described below is probably preferable (split test it) from both a costs-perspective and a “get out of their way and let ‘em shop” perspective. (more…)

Jim Bought The DevShed (SEOChat etc)! Holy Cow!

Since I started in SEO 6+ years ago, one forum always ranked for SEO – SEO Chat, a part of the Developer Shed network. Jim Boykin, he of the Internet Marketing Ninjas, just acquired the forum and the rest of the network.

I’m pleased by the news because to me, SEO Chat has long been a site with no personality, when personality is really a distinguishing feature in this industry.  (more…)

SEO MythBusters: There Are 2 Types Of Query Intent, Not 3

I want to put down the long-standing myth that there are three types of queries, namely navigational, informational, and commercial queries. 


Skip Display Retargeting / Remarketing: Start With Email ReMarketing

You can segment your email list by what page(s) they visited.

That means you can use your email marketing for “retargeting” aka “remarketing.”

Retargeting is an increasingly popular marketing tactic that targets prospects based on their having already visited your site (or a specific page, depending what pages include your retargeting-cookie-dropping code).

You know from the person’s previous visit that they’re interested in your product, so you use retargeting  to get a second chance at converting them. (more…)

Sort By Impressions To Find Worst Negative Keywords, Efficiently

Here’s how to increase your adwords CTR and drop CPCs in 30 seconds, by finding more negative keywords. Sort by impressions.

The reason this boosts CTR is because your CTR is determined by clicks across ALL keyword phrases people use – not just those you intended.

Use negative match to block your ads from showing up for irrelevant keywords, even those that are close misses. If you sell Ford F-150s but not their tires, phrase-matching “Ford F-150″ will get you tire-buyers viewing your dealership’s ads.

So you want to pay attention not just to know budget wasters like broad match, but even phrase match keywords.

Unfortunately, it’s sometimes a hassle to sort through the “actual search phrases” report in AdWords. That’s because the default sort is by spend, and that’s not optimal for showing underperforming keywords.

Step 1: View your campaign or adgroup’s actual search phrases.
Step 2: Sort the report by impressions.
Step 3: Look for the close-misses and irrelevant traffic that are causing your ads to appear most frequently but have low CTRs.

Voila – that’s how to find the bulk of your negative keyword list.

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Ecommerce SEO Is A NOT For Profit Activity

Google is cutting the ROI on ecommerce SEO and has been for 8+ years. If ecommerce merchants don’t understand the changes below, they’re going to lose market share to savvier competitors.

Read on for what you need to do to survive and thrive. (more…)

What’s A Soft 404 (404-Like Content)? + How To Fix Soft 404 Errors

Steve recently got a warning from Google that a number of pages were returning soft 404s, and the next week, his traffic dropped 10%.

The following week, another 30% was gone. What are these dramatically harsh “soft” 404 errors? How do you fix them?

What is a soft 404? (more…)

Why I Love The New Modified Phrase Match And Exact Match

In writing a report for an illuminea client, Traffix Diameter Systems , I wrote the following about the new Modified Phrase Match and Exact Match: (more…)

Quick Tip To Reduce Email Unsubscribes In Aweber

If you’re using both an autoresponder series of emails as well as “broadcast” messages that go out with no regard to sequence, you run the risk of annoying people with too-frequent emails. (more…)

How Even Established Sites Use Keyword Difficulty aka Efficiency Data

[Edit: I try to post original stuff but I realize here that I'm adapting "second page poaching." It only occurred to me after writing my post, but when you're done reading this, check out Virante's posts on second page poaching, relevant data collection and an API. ]

While working on a huge site with 1000s of pages and keywords, I realized that I needed to prioritize what keywords to build links for.

The situation was different from a brand new site, because for a new site, all keywords are equally hard to rank for (except perhaps those in the domain), in that you’re not in the top 100 for anything. In such a case, you typically prioritize keywords by absolute search volume, then keyword difficulty.

Unlike a brand new site, this site already has pages in the top 100 – and especially the top 20 – for dozens of terms. I sawthis when setting up the rank tracking (for reporting purposes) in Raven Tools. (Normally I prefer Authority Labs for rank tracking for their great historical graphs. These let you see what links boosted you, assuming the links are published on sites crawled regularly.)

 Check page 2 rankings with equivalent keyword search volume for their relative keyword difficulty, using SEOmoz’s keyword difficulty tool.

Accessible to SEOmoz Pro members only as of this writing.  

Anyways, Stephan Spencer and the boys at Virante shared a tip that you should look for pages ranking in positions 11-20, e.g. on the second page, since they’re easiest to rank.

The site already has loads of authority links from across the web, having been around since the 90s. So what’s needed at this point is deep links with a mix of anchor text. You’re only a few links away from page 1 and traffic in that case.

And as the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. A site doing 1 million visits/month didn’t get there from trying to rank for “insurance” straight away, but from getting 50 visits a month here and 230 visits a month there. It adds up and snowballs, because as more people get to know you and find you in search results, more people link to you.

(Mike Grehan described this phenomenon years ago as the [SEO] Rich Get Richer, in a piece called Filthy Linking Rich.)

What do you do when you have a few dozen pages on page 2? With similar keyword search volumes? Look at the keyword difficulty. 

So unless there’s a tool that gives me keyword difficulty scores in bulk, I’m going to go through the terms 5 at a time with SEOmoz’s keyword difficulty tool and see what ranks in positions 2-20 and is worth building links for to top up traffic.

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Fun Fact: Facebook Ad Review Teams Skew GA Stats & How To Fix It

I launched some Facebook ad campaigns in the past few days and saw traffic skyrocket in Google Analytics.

Problem is, the traffic was garbage – not the traffic I was paying for, which converted decently. It was Facebook’s ad reviewers, tasked with checking the 1000+ ads I uploaded, visiting my site once/ad.  (more…)

View Goals By UTM Campaign, Keyword, Ad Content In Google Analytics

Suppose you’re using Google’s URL building format to mass tag URLs with UTM_campaign, UTM_Keyword, UTM_content and other UTM settings – where do you see the data afterwards? (more…)

The Biggest Broken Link Building Opportunity In A Decade is dead. All the links going to it and its associated URLs are broken. (more…)

Negative SEO: How To Tear Down Competitors’ Links

Does your competitor have some sweet old links you wish they didn’t have?

Well, here are two sneaky ways – one’s even sly and nasty – to get your competition’s links dropped.

1) Run their site through your favourite backlink research tools.
2) Use something like Xenu Link Sleuth or your favourite link checker to look for 404 pages on your competitor’s site that have links.
3) Contact the webmasters linking to said 404s and use broken link building to get the link for yourself instead.

If the link is on a hub page that links to many pages in the field, you don’t even need the competitor’s page to 404.
1) Run the hub page through a broken link checker.
2) Write an email to the hub page’s webmaster with a large list of the broken links – but don’t send yet.
3) Add your competitor’s link into the list near the end.

Q: Why would the webmaster remove your competitor’s link if it’s not broken?
A: Laziness and trust – if the first dozen links were all broken, the next dozen are probably broken, too. Why keep checking all of them?

While I think it’s fine for you to do the first to competitors, the second approach isn’t ethical. It’s an approach to be aware of though, so if you have a link management software like Buzzstream , follow up with the appropriate webmaster if a link dissappears. And of course, monitor your 404 errors in Webmaster Tools and server logs.

How To Exclude Brand Search Terms & Keywords In Google Analytics’ Traffic Sources Reports

Recently a client came to me with a question about where to prioritize their content-writing efforts for the site redesign, and I offered her an answer based on Google Analytics’ keyword data.

The problem is that if you just export your top keywords, you’re going to see brand search terms near the top.

What can you do with branded keywords? They’re not actionable, because you rank for your brand terms and will continue to rank in the future.

You want to find out what are your top keywords to prioritize where you spend your time writing copy.

So how do you exclude brand search keywords from your Google Analytics traffic sources report?

1. Click the “advanced” link that is near the search-filter box.

Google analytics - click the advanced search link

You’ll see a screen like the following one:

advanced search to include or exclude keywords

2. Click on the Include drop-down and switch it to exclude. Then type in your core brand term. So if your company is called John’s Crazy Shoes, type “John” or “Crazy”. Finally, click apply, and voila – you’re done!

click exclude, type your brand name or phrase and apply

What about if your brand name has lots of alternative spellings and misspellings? Or what if one site has multiple brands, due to a rebranding or multiple child companies sharing a single site with the parent company?

In such a case, you can use regular expressions, or regex, to exclude all of the brands .

All you need to do is switch the matching parameter to be “Matching RegExp” and type each of the various spellings into the text field.

regular expression matching for traffic source report

regular expression for multiple brand terms

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(Related post: How To Build Your Company’s Brand Online)

New, Free WordPress Plugin For Advanced SEO: Content Marketing Cannon

Content Marketing Cannon is a new WordPress plugin.
It consolidates many ordinary posts on topic X into THE Authority Article on X, increasing longtail traffic possibilities, PageRank per post, and linkworthiness of your content.

Other benefits include easier browsing of archives (due to less pagination), time savings, and innumerable supermodels chasing after you.

To download this plugin, you can (i) “pay” with a tweet or Fb-share or (ii) download from within your RSS reader (or email) when you get my latest posts, free. (You need to wait for the weekly email to if you choose the email option.)

FYI: You can edit the tweet/Fb share or cancel before it appears in Twitter/Fb.

CMC solves three problems: Pagination, PageRank Dilution, and Content Division

Blogs can only include so many posts on a category page before you need to paginate. And if you paginate, posts on page 2 etc won’t get as much link juice. Sure, you can set posts to appear that to 100 posts, but then the category page will take a while to load which isn’t ideal either.

I offered a few solutions to this problem in my advanced SEO book, one of which was:

Consolidate posts on a specific topic into a single authority article.

1) You get an in-depth authority article that is more likely to attract links than smaller bits of info.
2) The link juice from those articles consolidates onto 1 page, making it more competitive (e.g. use 301 permanent redirects).
3) There are more possible longtail combinations to hit.
4) You reduce the number of posts and thus have more PageRank flowing from the categories into posts . Also, you reduce the need for pagination.

An example scenario: Roof repair blog

In one post you talk about wooden roof frames rotting and in another about wooden roof frames warping shape and a few others on wooden frame issues.

You consolidate your wooden roof posts into the authoritative article on wooden roof damage. You 301 the subarticles (e.g. the ordinary posts now part of the authority post), and remove the 301 posts from the homepage, category pages, tag pages, search pages and sitemaps.

Thus your authority article has more PageRank than any of the subarticle ones did – and it stands a better chance to rank. Meanwhile, all the site’s remaining articles have a greater share of your PageRank, too.

Plus you now get longtail traffic you couldn’t get before because the two articles were on separate pages, like “wood roof rotting because frame warped.”

You can see a case study of the plugin at work from SEO consultant Kieran Flanagan’s SearchBrat blog. He beta tested the plugin. Here’s a screencap of what the results look like:

Content Marketing Cannon in use

The problem is this demands a fair bit of manual work…

Unless you automate it.

Oh wait! That’s what Content Marketing Cannon does:

- Include any post in another with a simple shortcode that refers to the subarticle’s post ID: writing [ spid=123 ] in the article will include the post with ID #123. 123′s title will become an h2 in the authority article. (Don’t use spaces between the “[" and "]” .)

shortcodes in use in post editor

- Adds a column to the “edit all posts” page, which column displays posts’ IDs.
subarticle Post IDs
- Add a table of contents for the post Wikipedia style with another shortcode [ toc align=left ] or [ toc align=right ] (Don’t use spaces between the “[" and "]” .)

- Adds a box to the post editor page, below the main post area, which allows you to redirect the post to any article on your site. Delete the text and save again to undo. The plugin doesn’t assume you’ll redirect because sometimes, as on Wikipedia, content is included in more than one post. So you might want to use it differently.

- Removes redirected articles from the homepage, category archives and sitemaps.

- Adds a subarticles page to the WP Dashboard so you can find all redirected articles in one convenient spot.

- Adds a settings page for CMC where you can request tech support, new features etc. There will be more settings added to it with planned features.

So how do you get the plugin?

Either pay with a tweet, Fb-share, or get my latest posts sent to your email or RSS reader.

FYI: You can edit the tweet/Fb share or cancel before it appears in Twitter/Fb.

Sponsors we’d encourage you to patronize:

Sponsors of the plugin helped develop the current set of features. They’re also helping us add an auto-redirect feature for the next version, which will automate the process even more!

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Keep Clients Happy and Grow Your Business by Creating Actionable SEO Reports

This guest post is written by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for a company that provides a to do list application and, who also consults for a company that offers psd to html 5 service.

Google Analytics is great at collecting lots of data for your clients, but once you create a graph or a spreadsheet showing traffic and keyword trends, many customers will ask, “What’s next?” There is no shortage of website data available, but the hard part is figuring out how to create a useful SEO report that will help clients improve their return on investment and keep them happy. (more…)

Tricks To Personalize Link Requests: Whois + LinkedIn + Bing/Google + Company Data

Ever needed to send a link request but lacked anything better than “” as a contact address? I’ve been back to basics with a client recently, and of course this classic situation has come up. Here are a few tools/tricks I’m using to get more information to personalize the email/phone call and increase the success rate:

Awesome SEO, CRO and Aff Guest Posts Of 2011 – And 2012?

2011 was a beautiful year for guest posts on SEO ROI as more and more of the web’s top SEOs shared advanced ideas and original material, right here on this blog. I don’t publish rehash, and it shows in the unique tactics, case studies and tools reviewed.

If you want to guest post, read the guest posting guidelines then contact me. Benefits include links, the attention of 2600+ RSS subs, 1600+ emails subs and social love…

Guest Article Case Studies & Research (more…)

The Beginner’s Guide To Remote Usability Testing: Increase Conversion In 30 Days With No Experience

Want to learn usability testing? I promise that any complete beginner who applies the lessons in this guide thoroughly will see a higher conversion rate in 30 days, guaranteed!

Q: What is usability testing? What is remote usability testing?

A: Usability testing is the process of having people interact with a website and provide feedback on it. The purpose of this testing is to find out why users are using the site as they are.

The value in understanding why users behave a certain way is that you get actionable insight, which raw data on what users are doing doesn’t tell you. You can see what’s tripping up users and fix it!

Note: Usability testing is also used offline for testing products, but for our purposes we’ll stick to website usability testing.

Remote usability testing is a method of usability testing where the users testing the website are in a different location than the person giving the test. The test giver, known as the moderator, sets up the test and provides instructions on what to do.

For now, let’s see how usability testing works. Later we’ll address specific issues like remote vs in-person usability testing, moderated vs unmoderated testing, and what tools to use for specific tasks.

How Usability Testing Works

Photo credit sxc


There are 5 steps to running a usability test.

1. First, you decides on tasks you want people to do on your website, such as search for a product and add to cart.

2. You recruit users, ideally ones representative of the site’s audience for the test. Typically, 3-5 testers are used in each round of testing, after which changes are made and another round of testing begins.

(If you can’t recruit users, there are companies who do that and usability testing tools with panels of users you can recruit.)

3. Users attempt to do the tasks set by the site owner.

In the most popular and effective form of usability testing, test-takers record their screen and voice, while sharing their thoughts out loud as they use the site. In other types of usability testing, feedback may only be written afterwards.

A short questionnaire typically follows screen-and-audio-recording type tests. Questions focus on problems encountered using the site, possible solutions, and how the tester would have behaved had it not been a test.

4. You review the user feedback to understand what the users were trying to do and why. Make note of the most common difficulties.

5. The site owner makes changes to the website to solve the problems discovered from the recordings.

Note: For ease of reference, I’m going to use “the moderator,” “site owner” and “you” interchangeably, but the roles can be shared between team members as you see fit.

Let’s see each step of the testing process in more depth.

Step 1: Deciding On And Writing Tasks For Users

check list

The first step is figuring out and writing what you want your users to try to do. You need to describe outcomes for users to achieve, and avoid (to the extent possible) being too explicit in how to do a task, avoid mentioning the names of particular links to click (e.g. the task reads “learn pricing,” when the site has a “Pricing” link).

A good task description is, “Get in touch with us,” not “Click ‘contact’ and fill out the form.”

Photo credit sxc

Start by asking, what is the purpose of the site? Then work backwards and ask yourself what steps are needed to get a visitor to accomplish those steps.

The following example illustrates how this works at a coarse level, but you can go more granular and test sub-elements within each step.

Ecommerce example: Let’s imagine we’re usability testing a running shoe retailer.

6 – Purpose of the site: The site’s purpose is to sell running shoes.

5- Previous step: To sell merchandise, users need to checkout.

4 – Previous step: To checkout, they need to have added something to cart.

3 – Previous step: To have added something to cart, they need to have found a product that adequately meets their needs.

2 – Previous step: To find that product, the users must sort through the site’s products easily.

1 – First step: Before sorting, visitors need to be convinced not to bounce with a credible appearance that’s relevant to their intent in visiting.

For step 1, since users are coming to your site to do the test, they won’t bounce on their own. To find out if your site is credible and relevant, use a five second test task description:

Ask people to look at the page for five seconds, look away, then share what they remember. Does “what people remember” match the landing page’s traffic sources, such as search keywords and ad copy? Is the design credible or does it make people flee?

For steps 2-6, a regular usability test with screen and voice recording would work fine.

Task description

Good: “Find a pair of Reebok running shoes and buy them. Find answers to any questions that come to mind.” This leaves discretion to users to browse for Reebok running shoes the way they naturally would. This allows them the choice to browse with search or clicks, refine their options as usual… in sum, to be themselves, which is what we want to see.

Bad: “Click the Reebok running shoes button in the lower left sidebar, click on a pair of shoes, add them to cart, and fill out the checkout forms.”

Step 2: Recruiting Users

Army Recruiting Ad: Wanted: More Men Like Mike

(image credit Vintage Military Ads)

This is where most web pros aspiring to run usability tests give up. Frankly, recruiting testers is hard.

First, it’s not always obvious who your audience is. Who are these “representative users” anyways?

To answer that, build personas (easier), and seek keyword-level demographics (harder). If you’ve never worked in the field, you can always email the owners of existing sites and ask them; if they’re competitors, look at
people offering the service in a different city or language.

Second, how do you go about soliciting people to test the site? Why would they care or bother? Where do you find them? How do you approach them?

Commonly, usability testing will pay testers for their time. With remote usability testing, paypal payments or online gift certificates (ex.: are common. Others are interested in helping just to be helpful or because they’re friends.

Once you know who your representative users are, you need to find them. To do that, first try the free way and solicit amongst family, friends and contacts by email and phone.

After exhausting this pool or if your contacts just are too different from representative users (you’re starting a hispanic dating site without knowing anyone hispanic), you can run demographically or professionally targeted ads. Places to advertise include Facebook, PlentyOfFish, LinkedIn, MyAds (demographics powered by MySpace) and supposedly the Google Display Network (formerly the Content Network).

Another option that recruits directly from your users is Bolt|PetersEthnio recruiting service.

Originally, Ethnio was offered at a rate of a few hundred dollars per person because it was an offline, labour-intensive recruiting process. Today Ethnio is a software tool with a free trial that just requires you to copy-paste some code to get started. It intercepts visitors as they come to the site, asking them to participate in your test. The downside is that the test needs to consist of a survey or Usabilla click test, which helps but isn’t as useful as getting them to record their screen and voice.

Another easy way out of recruiting is buy a remote usability testing service with a panel of users.

TryMyUI logoTools in this category that will have users record their screen and spoken thoughts include TryMyUI , UserFeel -whose panel includes testers in the UK and Greece- and (UI means User Interface, such as the part of the website customers interact with by clicking and typing.)UserTesting logo

On a lower-tech level there is Feedback Army, which surveys visitors after they try using your site. While it doesn’t record audio or video, it’s also only $15 for 10 users to provide their feedback.

Note that these panels are only appropriate for sites geared towards a general audience. Sites requiring knowledge of particular jargon (e.g. SEO) won’t find representative users here, since user selection criteria are limited to demographics and tech-savvy (“technographics”), and don’t break down by vertical.

A word on “representative users”

Finally, while it’s ideal to get representative users, it’s also fine to get users who are less representative and grade on a curve, proportionately to how closely they match your audience. (Hattip Steve Krug)

Step 3: Running the Test

Once recruited, it’s up to users to follow instructions and do the test. This either happens at agreed-upon times (moderated testing), or at the user’s discretion (unmoderated usability testing).

Test Preparation

With moderated testing, the moderator either sets up a computer with screen and audio recording software before the test, or instructs users to use browser-based software to record their screens and voices.

With unmoderated testing, the user is responsible for ensuring the audio and video recording software is on and recording, at the right level.

Note: Both of these comments assume a regular usability test, as opposed to a limited or partial test aimed at discovering how users interact with particular aspects of the site. This includes mouse-movement tracking and click measurement tests, for example, as well as visual analysis tools like FiveSecondTest or predictive gazeplot-and-eye-tracking tool Feng-Gui.

A gazeplot generated on Amazon’s mobile homepage by Feng-Gui.

Tip: It’s important to make sure that both video and audio are recording at the start, and that the sound levels are high enough, to avoid wasting time and money.

What Your Instructions  Need To Cover

Once the audio and video are on and at the right level, there are three things your instructions must cover:

a. Asking the user to say what hes doing and why out loud, constantly. To quote TryMyUI:

“Clearly say exactly what you are thinking as you are thinking it. We are interested in your impressions, expectations, and the motivations for your actions. Don’t edit your thoughts as you navigate the website! Simply say exactly what you are thinking at each step.”

Steve Krug’s excellent book on usability testing, Rocket Surgery Made Easy, emphasizes that you should make clear it’s the website being tested, not the user. They can’t make mistakes here!

This serves the highly important purpose of preventing self-censorship, as alluded to in TryMyUI’s instructions.

Gab with Rocket Surgery Made Easy and Don't Make Me Think, by Steve Krug

b. Providing a starting URL for the user. With in-person testing, you’ll have this pre-loaded.

c. Provide a written list of tasks. Don’t just provide it orally, because you want to ensure the same phrasing each time.

If users get distracted and go off to do their own thing, the moderator gently encourages them back to the task at hand.

Step 4: Reviewing The Feedback

Once the tests have been run, what’s left is data – not actionable insight. To turn that information into actionable recommendations, the moderator needs to review the collected feedback.

His purpose is to look for patterns in what gave users difficulty.

By focusing on problems common to more than one user, you ensure that you get the most bang for your buck in making changes and fixing the site. This is also why running a test with one user is insufficient.

Conversely, to save time and money, you shouldn’t test with more than 5 users per round of testing. By the fourth or fifth user you’ll already know the main issues the site has and having the same problems highlighted another half dozen times isn’t productive.

The problems the moderator will discover can usually be categorized by WiderFunnel’s classic LIFT model of conversion optimization:

LIFT Model of CRO

  • Value Proposition: What’s in it for the user. This is the core which the other factors act upon.
  • Anxiety: How design -security reassurances, layout- and content -answering questions, social proof- affect trustworthiness. Reduce anxiety to lift the conversion plane.

  • Distraction: The page features too many eye-catching elements. Focus is drawn away from the page’s main purpose. Reduce distraction for more lift.

  • Relevance: The degree to which the page matches users’ expectations before arriving. Increase relevance for more lift.

  • Clarity: Do the design and content work in synergy to explain the value proposition?

  • Urgency: Do users have a reason to act now?

To return to our earlier example of the online running shoe retailer, here are some things you would look for in your analysis.

First, as mentioned earlier, is the landing page’s credibility and relevance to traffic sources. Is the site secure? Is the graphic design professional? For relevance, you can show the traffic source (ad, link or search listing) briefly before taking users to the landing page. Within the five second test, you can ask if the landing page matches the expectations the traffic source created.  – Relevance, Anxiety, Clarity -

Visitors need to drill down and find a product that suits their needs. Can they browse and search their way through your categories to find an adequate fit? How effective are your refinement options? When clicking through to a subcategory or product detail page, does the content there match expectations? – Relevance, Clarity -

Third, visitors need to get sufficient information from the product detail page. Does the information answer visitors’ questions? Does it convey benefits? How scannable is the information – bullet points or paragraphs? Where’s the refunds policy? Are the shoes in stock? How much is shipping? – Value Proposition, Urgency, Anxiety-

Users also need to be able to add to cart easily, and then modify the contents of the cart. Is the add to cart button noticeable and clearly a button? Are the cart buttons clearly labelled and laid out in a hierarchy reflecting their importance? Does the site need all this information the checkout requests? – Clarity, Distraction, Urgency, Anxiety -

Step 5: Implement The Changes

Again, follow Steve Krug’s excellent advice: Change the least possible to solve the problems.

For example, instead of redesigning a page’s graphics to reduce distraction, comment out some of the graphics. Test again and see if that solves things. To save time on such visual makeovers, you can just use a visual testing tool like Feng-Gui or Five Second Test, mentioned earlier.

And don’t wait for the “upcoming redesign”… 99% of the time it’ll go live months after promised. In the meantime, you’ve wasted loads of traffic.

Miscellaneous Testing Tips and FAQ

How do I test…

… information architecture (aka the organization of content on a site into logical groups)? Use card sorting. Do users look for content where you expected? Do they click the right links to drill down to the content you want them to find? (Image credit Revium.)

… where people would click next? Look at click based tools like CrazyEgg or Usabilla.

… how people make their way through a model of the site? Try wireframe creation software that (i) lets you interact with the wireframe by clicking the navigation and going to the wireframes for the relevant pages and (ii) allows you to share your wireframes online, so testers can access them. Some wireframe tools are designed to only be used in a desktop environment, so read carefully to avoid that.


Remote Testing vs In-Person Testing Pros and Cons

Remote testing is

- Cheaper: Don’t need to pay for travel, premises, computer equipment, food
- Less work to organize
- Easier to recruit for because there’s no geographic restriction
- Commonly paid for via Paypal or gift certificates

In-Person testing is

- More personal, you can get body language
- A more compelling opportunity for the whole team to witness the testing simultaneously and debrief, which can get things moving faster
- Commonly paid for in cash
- Instantaneous feedback; you view the data as it comes in, instead of waiting until later

“Moderated Testing” vs “Unmoderated Testing” Pros and Cons

Moderated testing:

- Is significantly less likely to encounter errors requiring retakes, such as setup issues with hardware or software, or testers veering off topic
- Yields richer, more useful data
- Tends to have representative users

Unmoderated testing:

- Sometimes yields obnoxious or useless responses, like FiveSecondTest and Feedback Army testers more interested in accumulating credits or micropayments than being helpful.
- Costs less on an individual test basis, because there is no moderator, or because it typically involves testing narrow interaction aspects such as click tests or visual feedback
- Is commonly associated with narrow aspects of interaction
- Tests of particular aspects may or may not have representative users
- Can save time when run through a service with a panel of testers, such that recruitment effort is negligible. This advantage makes it an easy entry-point/stepping stone for beginners to enter the world of usability testing.

Additional testing tools references:

There are many tools available for usability testing specific aspects of a website, or the whole shebang.

Kyle Soucy of Usable Interface put together a helpful, comprehensive overview of these varied tools.

Concluding Tip: Start as early in the web design process as possible

- Talk about the idea with friends and family and see what are the most common questions/objections raised, so you can answer them.

- Create user interface mockups in Photoshop and do the 5 second test (with or without the site): namely, ask people to look for a few seconds, then look away and ask what they recall.

- Put early design mockups through Feng-GUI as a sanity check – are there too many visually ‘loud’ areas?

- Imperfect testing is better than none. As the French say, “the best is the enemy of the good [enough].”

Further reading:

Review of testing service
Sensible – Steve Krug’s site
Usability Post

6 WP Plugins That Automate Your SEO

When it comes to the often-overlooked art of internal website optimization, too many people stick with the standard methods such as being mindful of keyword use within content and relevant tags. (more…)

How To Create Professional Video Blogs For Your Website

This guest post is by Andy Havard, a Marketing Executive at Skeleton Productions, a UK based Internet video production company that also does corporate vids.

You’ve no doubt seen the slick, professional video blogs Google and its representatives have churned out lately. Videos shot with pristine white backgrounds, inviting speakers and a whole lot of views. They’re impressive video blogs right? Well the following article explores how you can make the same professional looking corporate video blogs from the comfort of your own home. (more…)

4 Advanced eCommerce SEO tactics

The following is a guest post from James Agate, the SEO director at Skyrocket SEO, a leader in eCommerce SEO & Conversion Optimisation for small and medium sized online retailers.

eCommerce SEO is a unique beast. There are technical issues to consider, scalability challenges to think about and countless other opportunities and drawbacks that need to be taken into account. We work a great deal in the eCommerce space; here are some of the ways I know will take your or your client’s business to the next level.

Can You Retarget Offline?

Short tip for today, scratchpad style:

Retargeting ads are very successful … because they target an audience that already visited your site, and because they tend to offer deals to people who almost bought, but for whatever reason left before purchasing. These deals help push people across the threshold and get them to buy.

What if you did that offline? Someone comes into your car dealership and walks away with no keys… Call them back the next day with another offer based on what you think would close the deal. Don’t start chasing the next prospect [yet].

Have you guys ever done this? Or taken other online tactics offline?

How Buying Hosting Can Get You Free Code, Design, Logos etc

If you need web hosting, you can get a variety of other things, free! Hosting is a very competitive field, because companies can make $100+ / year from each user, and the reality is that most people don’t change hosts. As a result, hosting affiliate programs pay out commissions around $100 – even for new affiliates! (more…)

A/B Testing WP With Google Website Optimizer: The Easiest, Cheapest Method

Want to a/b test your WordPress (WP) website without the cranky, unreliable Google Website Optimizer (GWO) plugins?

Google Website Optimizer

The problem with using Google Website Optimizer with WordPress:

1. Google Website Optimizer was designed with static html pages in mind, as opposed to pages created by a content management system like WordPress.

Each post on a WordPress-powered website relies on multiple different files, such as header.php, sidebar.php, post.php etc. Google Website Optimizer requires you to place code on the page you’re going to test, which is made more difficult because of the dynamic inclusion of the header, sidebar, body of the post etc.

2. Various WP plugins supposedly resolve the difficulty. In fact, they don’t solve it for two reasons:

  • These plugins limit what you can test to the content of the post, and not the title, layout, navigation and other very important aspects of the page.
  • They don’t work with custom themes – which is likely your case if you’re putting money into A/B testing or multivariate (MVT) testing. I’ve failed to make GWO work on this WordPress site despite numerous efforts and following instructions to the letter.

In short, what you need is for your WordPress pages to be static html …

How to a/b test any WP page/post, free using Google Website Optimizer…

1) Navigate to the WordPress page you want to test, in your browser.

2) Click File -> Save File As and download the page. With Firefox, this downloads two things: i) a folder including all the graphics, CSS and backend voodoo that makes the page pretty and ii) the final html that is sent to the browser to display on your screen.

3) Upload the folder and html file from step 2 to your server. This is your control version of the page.

4) Create one or more copies of the folder and html file, and edit as needed for your test. This is your experimental version of the page.

5) Upload the copy/ies to your server. Important: Don’t upload to a folder in which WordPress is installed, because doing so will cause the newly uploaded page will take forever to load (in my case, 30 seconds+). This means that if WordPress powers your whole site (e.g. it’s installed in the root folder), you’ll need to test on a subdomain or another domain. I suspect this may also be true of trying to upload the file to a page where other CMSes are installed

Filezilla Upload

6) Edit both the control and experimental pages to include the Google Website Optimizer code.

7) Optional: Use a 302 Temporary Redirect on the existing page to send the traffic to your control page and let GWO split the traffic between the “A” (control) version and “B” (experimental) version of the test page. You want to use a temporary redirect because you’re only doing this until you find a better version of the page.

Alternately, you can use a 301 permanent redirect if you don’t want to be bothered keeping the WP version of the page later.

8) Optional: If you tested layout or something graphical besides content, have a dev create a special “page template” that you can select when creating a new WP page. That way you’ll be able to keep the new version within the control of WordPress, while getting the higher conversion rate of your new version.

A summary of this approach’s benefits:

- It’s easier than breaking your head trying to install GWO on a custom theme and never succeeding at having it validate.
- It provides more flexibility in what you can test than the existing plugins out there.
- You’re still using GWO, so it’s free.

Liked this workaround to a/b testing using GWO and WordPress? Add my rss feed to your reader for more tips on conversion and usability and advanced SEO.

How To Fight Web Scrapers Outranking You With Your Content

This is a guest post from Everett Sizemore, who is an eCommerce SEO consultant operating off his 38 acre farm in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia. He enjoys gardening, collecting eggs and tackling tough SEO problems.

Want to fight the scrapers outranking you with your own content post-Panda?

Google is losing the war against content scrapers and we’re the ones paying the price. It has gotten even worse since Panda, despite efforts to fix the problem. I know of several dozen websites that are being outranked by scrapers.

While Google might hope we’re going to do their job for them with tags like rel canonical, and rel author, this problem isn’g going away any time soon. You know things are bad when powerhouses like are outranked by sites like this.

Fortunately, there are many ways to keep sites from scraping your content, (more…)

How I’m Going To Market My Book

Here’s the gameplan to sell my advanced SEO book:

1) The main target is to get people to download a free chapter from the book. To drive traffic to that page, I’m going to focus on guest posting on SEO and search blogs, especially if they allow me to include my author bio or links at the start, instead of at the end. (more…)

Can SEOs Automatically Analyze Backlink Profiles?

In a thought-provoking article, Russ Virante of Virante SEO asks whether, instead of manually checking through competitors’ backlink profiles, it’s perhaps possible to automate the analysis, at least to dig for paid links. He suggests that by using SEOmoz’s link index, and comparing the numbers on some backlink profile metrics against those of Wikipedia [which has never manipulated its backlink profile], it’s possible to get an idea o how natural a site’s backlink profile is. (more…)

Developing Websites To Rent Them Out

Flipping websites is a common and popular practice, but you can make more money in the long term by renting websites out, instead of getting a one-time payment for them.

This technique only works in a few niches; one in particular is the local business niche. Many local businesses are still in the dinosaur age and this means one thing: It’s time to cash up on local businesses that have no Internet presence whatsoever or a very weak one if that.

One reason local Internet business marketing can be so lucrative is that while the keywords have low search volume, they are still worth an enormous amount of money to the right people, and they also tend to have weak competition. City-service keywords are some of the most unique type of keyword phrases in terms of SEO and ROI on the planet and cashing up on them all starts with owning the exact match domain name.

How to GamePlan Your Strategy

Getting into the local business market fast is all about owning the right domain names to begin with. The “May Day” Google algorithm update of about a year ago – hit people banking on exact match domain names pretty hard. But exact match domain names are still very effective in the local business niche because competition for the keywords is very low, and thus the exact match still holds a lot of weight in the Google algorithm.

Rural Regions vs Large Metropolitan Areas.

Keyword research is absolutely crucial for choosing your domain names.

You don’t want to choose a keyword that has no search volume – and that is the exact problem with areas low in population. The search volume is so low that it not measurable, thus it is a good idea to use this strategy is highly populated metropolitan areas only.

The problem with large metropolitan areas, on the other hand, is that in the last two years, a large percentage of exact match domains have been registered – so you can’t get a hold of one unless you pay a premium on the aftermarket. However, if you find the right niche (HINT: Dumpster Rental is one good one still available widely across America) you will be able to cash up.

Side Note: There is a workaround for keyword research in low populated areas: use Google AdWords.

Create A Funnel of Web Sites

A funnel is when you create multiple websites aimed at targeting multiple different keyword phrases that all funnel people to dialing up the same number and reaching the same company.

You want to take this strategy to the large metropolitan areas. The reason is that in many large metropolitan areas there are suburbs whose keyword data is measurable. Your goal should be to make 3-15 different websites that have exact match city/service domain names. Example: “Miami Bankprutcy Trustee” and its suburb “Grapeland Heights Bankruptcy Trustee.”

Finding Clients and How to Charge

Finding a client(s) will be the toughest part of the whole procedure. The best place to start is with friends, family, or friends of the family. If no one you know owns any sort of local business then it’s time to start cold calling or further networking within the area. The good part about not having a client right away however is that it will give you time to work on the SEO for your websites so that you can establish rankings and have something to show them when you pitch.

Another good idea is to get a phone number up and running on the website. is a pretty cheap way to get an (800) number up very quickly of which you can forward to any number you like (they provide numbers for around $5 a month).

It will automatically keep track of all your calls and how much time each conversation lasted and from who it was from. This is valuable information, especially when you are trying to make a sale. Any local business will tell you that there main goal is to get somebody one the phone – and if you can do that for them then you will have done your job in the marketing department. Some local businesses even have it down to how much money it is worth every single time the phone rings.

What you go about charging will depend on a lot of different things. You’ll need to price each niche differently mainly because a potential client is worth different amounts of money depending on what business you’re in. The higher amount of money a potential client is worth – the more likely that you will be able to charge that company on a monthly or annual rate.

The less a potential client is worth – the more likely you will have to charge your clients per lead. Although this is more frequently the case, each situation is different and you might be [doing the opposite:] charging a dentist per lead while you charge a dumpster rental company on a monthly or annual type deal.

When you design them you want to make sure that you use the triangle theory as part of your design. What do I mean by that?

The triangle theory was a study that Google did back in 2005 that shows that the first thing that a person looks at when entering a website is the top left corner, and that their eyes scope it in the shape of a triangle. You want to make sure that you get a logo, phone number, and any free estimate form you have in that triangle.

Side Note: Once you find a client that wants to run with you, this is when you will be plugging the logo and phone number in. A good way to do this is to order a number from and redirect it to the company. That way you can see just how many leads you are generating them – which is essential if you are going to charge by lead.

While your off-site SEO like link building and social networking won’t be as important (exact domain name helps that a lot in this niche) your on-site SEO must be flawless. You really want to stress proper placement of keywords. Your link building will consist of 10-50 links obtained through quality paid link directories or some sort of contextual links.

You should begin to see these sites ranking within 3 months given that you chose some quality keyword phrases. After that it’s on you to go out there and get clients!

This article was written by Anthony Benedict. Anthony helps to run and maintain This website is an entity of an Internet marketing company which provides many services, which includes a white label link building service as well as many other services that you may get a SEO Quote on at any time.

Advertising Lies: “Engaged Audience” In Advertising

The purpose of advertising is defeated by “engaged” audiences. I came across an old advertising saw in Vanessa Fox’s recent article about the Food Network vs AllRecipes traffic battle, namely that advertisers want an engaged audience. That’s idiotic.


Engaged audiences don't click.

Ask any AdSense publisher who clicks his ads most, and you'll hear that search engine traffic is great. Heck, Chiticka has an ad product exclusively dedicated to monetizing publishers' traffic earned from SEO.

Within blackhat SEO, it's also known that providing a poor user experience - where the item sought for in the search isn't present on the landing page - generates high AdSense clickthrough rates. The AdSense block is the most relevant thing on the page - it best matches the keywords searched for, and is the best next step for the visitor. So they click.

Compare that to direct traffic. People coming to read content are the MOST banner blind visitors within a website's audience. Engaged audiences don't give a damn about the ads. They ignore them the most - they're used to the ad slots, have seen them several times already...

Brand advertisers supposedly want these audiences because they're there for the content, therefore are the most likely to be interested in the topic. OK, fair enough - lots of search traffic is off topic to a site's core topic, in contrast to the direct traffic. But that doesn't help much if those people are ignoring the ads.

The best solution in such cases is social media - you're not ignored, because you're not broadcasting at your target [direct, engaged] audience, but speaking to them personally. Offering recipes, chatting with them on Twitter etc.

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