turnkey business blog

Posts Tagged ‘seo’

Secret to Getting High Quality Inbound Links

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

We’ve recently improved ALL of our search engine rankings on our business domains and blogs. It’s a little gray-hat secret that we are using exclusively now, and I can explain more at the bottom of this post. But first, I should do a little catching up.

Well it’s been awhile and “no posting” here at Zulit.com as I have been working hard buying content, writing content, creating offers, etc. Business is booming this month as we are heading into the busy season for many of our niche sites and blogs.

Total Adsense income growing every week it seems so perhaps Google is getting generous again. Seen some other webmaster saying the same thing as well.

So the autoblogs are still ticking along, the authority blogs are doing really well of course, and we have had a real uptick on Commissions made through CJ merchants. Never thought I would see the day when we would be making more money from affiliate commissions then Adsense, but that day is now upon us.

It’s been a real wild ride since we lost our PPC traffic from Yahoo! and Bing last November, but with some hard work we have managed to get our traffic levels up almost as high with natural organic search engine traffic. A TON OF writing and buying content from good writers too. It’s really paid off.

We have another little secret we have been using for getting high quality inbound links too. It’s a little trick that our biggest competitors are using, and if you want to know more about it just email me at terryzulit@gmail.com – we are offering the same service for others now too.

SEO in 2011 – Artificial Linking Is Dead

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

I can hear the chorus of the SEO specialists now. First of all, natural, REAL linking is never going to be dead and I’ll explain why in this post, but “linking for the sake of linking” is very much deceased in my opinion.

Here is a rather long post explaining why I believe this. This post got a little out of control at over 7100 words, so if you want to read the entire piece, you may want to print it for later.

The theories on SEO in 2011 (primarily linking) are shared by many bloggers and SEO specialists that reign supreme, but would not want to share some of these theories with their clients (or risk going out of business).

Nevertheless, a new Internet is upon us and we will sink or swim by the new algorithms and by the choices we make going forward. I hope you enjoy the read.

This is the index of this post as follows (please add the word “my theory” to precede each of these bullet points) :-);

  1. Why reciprocal linking is dead.
  2. Why reciprocal linking software is a waste of time and money.
  3. Why 3-way linking is dead.
  4. Why article marketing is dead.
  5. Why link wheels are dead.
  6. Why link spamming is dead.
  7. Why blog commenting is dead.
  8. The nofollow tag attribute.
  9. Why trackback links are dead.
  10. How link aging effects your web site.
  11. Stop listening to Matt Cutts.
  12. What is the safest method of linking?
  13. One more on the old SEO methods.
  14. Examples of successful web sites.
  15. Our site blog niches.
  16. What you should do to succeed.
  17. Final comment.

Why Reciprocal Linking is Dead

Old school reciprocal linking is certainly passe because simply swapping links is so readily and easily discounted by Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and all other major search engines. This old style of linking was very effective for a very long time, because webmasters were creating many hundreds of links from different websites, convincing the search engines their domains were popular.

Well over a decade ago the Google algorithm began discounting many of these kinds of links. Basically, this kind of old-school reciprocal linking only showed Google that you had a lot of man hours put into link requests, and you were a hard worker.

Now I know that many people who are in the Internet business find this to be the most frustrating thing about Google and all other search engines these days. The very fact that you can work, and invest in, creating links to your website by doing trades is not rewarded. You would think that Google would reward those who work the hardest, which is what everybody has been led to believe since we were born.

The simple fact is that just working hard, and investing hard, doesn’t mean Google gives you any benefit in their search engine results. What Google cares about the most is ideas – the modern search engines don’t care how hard you work, but more about the unique ideas and compelling content you have on your website. By discounting most of the linking strategies webmasters and companies/corporations are using, the search engines are making sure that a particular page on your domain is truly, and absolutely, popular because of the natural inbound links going to it. If your domain has thousands of inbound links that were created in the most natural way (from other webmasters linking to you) then the search engines can tell the page is truly compelling. This is “old hat” to experienced webmasters.

Furthermore, the search engines are sophisticated enough to recognize any kind of link strategy and scheme using any kind of modern linking software. Even three-way linking, which I will get into next.

Google can see that there is a relationship between different domain names, hosting IP’s (or Class C-Blocksif you prefer). There are only so many IP’s out there that you can manipulate as you create artificial inbound links, and this is why the traditional link exchange software applications worked for so long. The requirement now, if you want to create any meaningful inbound links to your domain, is to let go of the idea all together.

Search engines can tell (especially Google) what kind of links you have coming in, and if those links were created because the webmasters who linked to you were genuinely interested and compelled by your page. I know that many so-called SEO experts and software gurus will disagree vehemently, because they base their entire SEO strategy (or Company/Business) on creating artificial inbound links between web sites. In the long run, we will see who is right and who is wrong. (OK, I’ll just come out and say it…..I’m right)

Reciprocal Linking Software

We (well most of us webmasters) would spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on reciprocal linking software and then hunker down for many hours a week requesting links, approving links, submitting links, and checking links. Most of us hated it (I know I really hated it), wondering if it was just a waste of time. In the back of my mind I always thought the link swapping game was going to be a dead end endeavour some day.

The major search engines can see these scripts in action, and they discount most of these kinds of links. Most of the links to your site are placed on pages that are not even cached, or have very little PR value. The end state of all these hundreds of hours of linking is not good – it truly is a waste of time these days.

This kind of artificial linking will get your site “found” by the search engines, so for the very short term you could call this a positive thing. However, if you are using blogging software or some kind of content management system, you never need this in the early stages of a domain. Blogging software Pings, so you will “get found” very quickly. With a WordPress blog, you will be found after half a dozen posts, and that is right out of the box before adding extra pinging services to the list in your WordPress Dashboard.

The next phase of reciprocal linking was Three-Way Linking.

Three-Way Linking Is Dead

Many so-called smart SEO specialists and webmasters soon discovered that simple link trading wasn’t really that effective anymore. They put their heads together and discovered an ingenious way of creating artificial links that Google (and competing search engines) would see as unique and natural. They came up with three-way linking, which means that you have Website A, linking to another webmaster’s domain or page, and that webmaster returns a link to your Website B. It is as simple as that.

Webmasters who had the means, and were fairly highly ranked (with enough green bar showing in the Google page rank information tool) were in a position to leverage one highly ranked website for the purposes of three-way linking. The problem is that Google has figured that one out too. Google’s algorithm engineers and coders simply added a plug-in (if you will) that recognized three-way linking based on IP’s, and relative patterns.

Even further, if you are using any Google application (such as Gmail, Adsense, Adwords, etc.) Google can see what IP you are working from. Once again, I can hear the skeptics of my theories here screaming that there is no way Google can see what IP you’re working from, uploading files from, and blogging from. Their algorithm obviously sees this information, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put this kind of tweak into their algorithm(s).

So now Google can see what you’re up to and what is going on in your little Internet business. Of course these technologies are not perfect and they can’t be absolutely accurate in regards to what you are doing, especially if you are using proxy IP’s when working online. Still though, they can see the activities of the IP’s and the domains in play, and even that is enough for them to make a judgment call on the kind of a web property you are running.

Like all artificial link strategies, the three-way linking scheme works for a short time, and maybe even for months, but that is not good enough when it comes to the Internet. Everybody wants a piece of the ultimate income, and the competition is coming at you fast and furious. You are up against corporations and large, small, medium businesses who are outsourcing their SEO and I’m sure you sometimes think that “little ‘ol you” is never going to compete. But don’t get discouraged, there is a sparkling silver lining in this cloud.

So what do you do if reciprocal linking, and three-way linking, is a waste of your time and money? Many of us turned to Article Marketing.

Article Marketing Is Dead

Article marketing has two basic schemes that come into play. One scheme is that you have other webmasters put up a piece of content in the form of an article on their site, and create a quality link in the article back to one of your domains. As of March 2011, I still believe this is a viable linking strategy, but I rarely even go there.

The second way of article marketing, which is very popular, is when you submit articles to article directories such as Ezine Articles, with an inbound link to your web site in the article. Both article planting schemes must be done in such a way that the link created in the article uses your target keyword(s) as the anchor text. Update: as of March 2011 EZA may be going to nofollow.

It doesn’t work very well unless every article you write is perfectly 100% unique, original content. That is the first problem, and using content spinners and article re-writers doesn’t work either. I will get into why content spinners and re-writers don’t work on a another post, but you can take my word for it (or not at your peril) for the time being. So basically, just putting your articles up on article directories (spinning them or rewriting them if you wish) doesn’t do much at all for your web property anymore. Google knows what is going on and discounts almost all of the links you are getting from these directories.

When the search engines see hundreds of links going to your website from one directory, which is running on one hosting IP, they begin discounting links. It’s a simple case of diminishing returns. Just the IP aspect of the Google algorithm discounts these links, let alone the fact that the search engines are now discounting links from article directories – period.

The best way to do article marketing is by writing unique, fresh, 100% original content, and having it put on thousands of different domains with different links, using different text anchors. This could work if all criteria were put into play, but now you are in a Catch-22 situation. If you are going to create 100% pure original content on other websites and blogs, would you not be better off putting it on your own domain(s)? My belief is yes, you are better off putting this kind of content on your own domains and letting other webmasters link to you over time.

So what do you do when traditional link exchanges have gone by the wayside, and three-way link exchanges have gone by the wayside, and article marketing has gone by the wayside? I guess the answer that most webmasters have these days is Link Wheels.

Link Wheels Are Dead

I know that my opinion on link wheels will perturb many webmasters, because thousands of SEO gurus think that link wheels are the modern answer to search engine ranking. Sorry – Link Wheels were dead coming out of the gate, and I would have to say that if we want to keep using the life and death metaphor, Link Wheels were stillborn.

Why are Link Wheels fairly useless in the long-term? Because once again, when you create artificial inbound links using blog farms and other third party sites, you are getting your links from a small pool of IP’s. The same problem you have with Article Marketing essentially. Blog farms, and their usual counterparts (Link Wheels) use third-party domains such as Blogspot, Hub Pages, and Lenses on Squidoo are all part of the same animal, and I can guarantee you are wasting your time in the long run. How do I know this, because I’ve tried every black hat technique known, and I was a damn good link spammer too. Oh….I walked hand in hand on the dark side for a few years. I am in the business of making a profit online – NOT being a saint.

Link Spamming Is Dead

Link spamming is dead and I don’t say this because I fancy myself as some kind of “purist” expert (I just established that right) – I say this because all my tests showed one outcome – limited and temporary gains with the possibility of huge losses.

You may as well be a bank robber I suppose. If your market niche is something like pornography, gambling, or drugs, then I can see why link spamming is you’re only option for getting inbound links to your domains, but get ready for a long hard battle spamming forums and blogs everyday of your business. Get ready to spend a stupid amount time changing IPs, and IP locations, as your sites will soon enough be banned.

Link spamming has reached new heights because of some fairly clever software developers around the world who create scripts that entice competitive webmasters into investing hundreds of dollars on applications that spam forums, blogs, etc., creating hundreds and thousands of inbound one-way links to their domains. All in the hopes of wiping out their competition and rocketing to the top of the search engines.

These software developers, and black-hat tool creators, will swear up and down how wrong I am about the futility of this activity, but go ahead and try it for yourself – you’ll find out how temporary this kind of linking is. Sure, you can temporarily get a domain ranked high for competitive keywords, and make a quick buck because of the traffic you get, but that buck is getting smaller every year, and these domains are getting banned quicker than ever before. The gig is up when it comes to black-hat techniques and a new day is now upon us.

Not only are the search engines becoming more sophisticated and wary of these kinds of links, and this kind of IP activity, the platforms for managing and running blogs and running forums and directories are more sophisticated, and are managing to block these kinds of spam linking tools in their tracks. Furthermore, users such as you and I are learning to use our scripts and software on our platforms more effectively and we manually check for spam on a daily basis. In the time that I wrote this post, Askimet snagged over 2 dozen inbound spam comments.

With the more advanced technologies for stopping spam, and the change in behavior as far as webmaster vigilance goes, it’s making the ROI (return on investment) for spammings a dwindling effort, and the point of diminishing returns comes “quick like” – yonder she comes.

The very fact remains that the world is recognizing the ultimate income is made on the Internet. When you have a web property that makes money around the clock 24/7/365, it is much too valuable an asset to be risking with outdated linking techniques and SEO schemes. Even if using black-hat techniques guaranteed your website had a three year run ranking high in the search engines, it still isn’t really worth it, when you consider having a real white hat quality web property, running safely and indefinitely, is by far the more prudent endeavor.

All of the SEO specialists and so-called black-hat artists are understanding this, even if they won’t admit it to you, and fiercely argue that their techniques will always be around for manipulating the weaknesses of search engine algorithms.

So if traditional reciprocal linking is dead, 3-way linking is dead, article marketing is dead, blog farms and link wheels are dead, and link spamming is dead; what works now? I guess the old commenting on blogs is OK still right?

Commenting on Blogs for Google PR is Dead?

Commenting on other blogs was a fantastic way to create high quality inbound links to your web site or blog, but that too is going by the wayside thanks to the Google invented “NOFOLLOW” tag attribute. Google soon realized that we (us webmasters) could created PR on our domains by commenting on related blogs and creating inbound links of quality. The blogging platforms soon added the nofollow attribute to all commenter domain addresses (URLS) and that put an end to that game.

Major web properties such as Wikipedia soon followed with the nofollow tag attribute as well, and the rest joined in to stop link spammers from using them for easy links. This includes ALL major sites like Facebook, Myspace, Youtube, etc. etc. There is of course the exceptions like Squidoo, Hubpages, and Ezine articles, but these “true links” (without the nofollow tag) don’t really help your domain much more than just letting the search engine robots know your web site exists. A great way to get your site or blog found of course. Nothing wrong with that, and I have a short list of place to drop links for that purpose.

If you want to know more about nofollow tags and structure, read here. (you’re welcome Yaro)

So this commenting game was over on all user-hosted blog platforms (listed below), and 3rd party hosted platforms as well;

List of User Hosted Blog Platforms

  • b2evolution
  • blosxom
  • Django
  • Dotclear
  • DotNetNuke
  • Drupal
  • Frog CMS
  • Elgg
  • Habari
  • HelixBlog
  • Jaws
  • Joomla!
  • Livejournal
  • LifeType
  • Movable Type
  • Nooto
  • Nucleus CMS
  • PivotX
  • Serendipity
  • SimpleLog
  • Slash
  • Subtext
  • Textpattern
  • Thingamablog
  • Typo
  • WordPress

So now what does the savvy webmaster and so-called SEO expert do to artificially create inbound links that pass page rank to a domain? We’re quickly running out of ways to game the search engines here and it feels like we might as well pack up our laptops and throw them in the river right? Nope – this story gets better, so hang in there.

The Nofollow Tag From Deep Inside Blog Posts (OUCH!)

Even some blogs are not passing PR to your domain anymore when they give you a REAL and NATURAL link. Why? Because they may have a plugin running on their blog platform that adds the infamous “NOFOLLOW” tag to the link going to your site. These bloggers don’t do this to be stingy or anything, it’s just that some plugins for WordPress (like SEO Smart Links) gives the blogger an option to add the nofollow tag to ALL outbound links. Many platforms enable bloggers to do this now.

BUT, if you have a web page that has some very compelling content, you will still have hundreds of other webmasters linking to it that don’t use the nofollow tag. You will still be golden.

TrackBack Spamming (Linking) is Certainly Dead

TrackBack linking, or spamming, no longer works and never really did for very long. About the same time that the nofollow attribute was added to blog platforms in the comment sections, the same thing happened with TrackBack links. TrackBacks used to be a great way to show that one blog was referencing another blog, and would link them up accordingly.

The WordPress system is really simple for creating TrackBacks because all you have to do is link to another WordPress user’s blog page and the TrackBack was automatically created. Of course, the spammers ruined this too because this became nothing more than a tool used by manipulators of the system to create powerful inbound links to their websites, and the websites of their clients who they were performing “SEO services” for.

Even with the new spam protections that blogs have incorporated as per the norm, you don’t see very many serious bloggers with high-quality web properties approving TrackBacks anymore. When I link to another blog or website it is because I believe that their particular page has perfect relevance to the posts I am writing (or I just like them or they are a friend of mine). I believe this to be true for all serious bloggers.

If the blogger allows the TrackBack, that is just great, but I know that the TrackBack link has a nofollow tag applied so there is no sense in trying to link to another blog just for the sake of a link. Google’s idea of the nofollow attribute was brilliant in that it stopped people from linking just for the sake of linking. So that was it for TrackBack spamming.

Thank god that all the work we did getting high quality links in the past will help our web sites indefinitely. Hmmmm……you guessed it.

How Link Aging Effects Your Web Site

Here is the really big ugly that drives home my theory later in this post. This makes any webmaster want to throw up after all the work they have done over the years begging for links and investing countless hours learning how to use link exchange software. There is a time limit on the value of inbound links to your domain. Once again, we will hear all of the naysayers scoff at such a theory, but in my opinion, this is exactly what is going on.

The search engines are now looking at how old the inbound links to your domain are, as well as the value of where they are coming from. Basically, the websites that have the most recent inbound links and the most valuable inbound links, will win the rankings game. This may not seem fair if you consider the work aspect that I described above, but if you really think about it – this makes sense.

If a URL address has a consistent flow of new high quality inbound links pointing at it, it’s obviously the “latest and the greatest” as far as the search engines evaluate page rank. Just because some domain has thousands of inbound links pointing at deep pages within the site from years ago, doesn’t necessarily mean it is still the authority website anymore.

This one aspect of the page rank algorithm will makes most webmasters shudder at the thought, but it is something we have to deal with. Even though this will greatly affect web properties everywhere, there is still a way to make things work for you and beat the competition any time, and any day of the week. We will get to that soon enough here if we just listen to Matt Cutts — right?

Stop Listening To People Like Matt Cutts

Webmasters have been listening to people like Matt Cutts for a long time now, as they try to decipher what he is saying and it’s getting to be ridiculous (and pathetic) over the last few years. The truth is that the Google algorithm has so many sets of criteria involved that no Google employee can truthfully tell you what effect their algorithm is going to have on your website, except to say “if you build a quality website you will do well”.

As far as the way the Google algorithm ranks the pages of your website’s and blogs – Matt Cutts might as well be speaking in parables. He says something vague regarding the Google algorithm and all of his minions instantaneously begin analyzing his every word hoping it will give them a window into how the Big G is ranking pages. It is a complete waste of time.

And on top of this, there are thousands of self titled SEO experts that claim to understand what Matt Cutts is “really saying”, and what Matt Cutts “really means”, and they will usually have so-called test sites to prove the new theories they have about the Google algorithm. Webmasters like myself used to spend hours each week hanging on every word that Matt uttered in the hope that he could shed some light on what direction we should be taking with our search engine optimization strategies.

The whole term “search engine optimization” (or SEO) is misleading to the newcomer. Suggesting that you can optimize your site, is synonymous with saying that you can manipulate search engine results. This is why Larry Page is famous for creating his Pagerank model.

No matter how you try to optimize your website with artificial linking, and internal linking, you still have to deal with the fact that you have to have hundreds (thousands usually) of inbound links to the pages of your domain that were created naturally, and you have to have enough of these inbound links coming from “good” sources to eliminate the possibility (in Google’s eyes) that the links are not artificially created for search engine manipulation. If you take into account the way Google judges incoming links from different IP’s, you can see how futile it is to create simple Blog Farms and Link Wheels to get around their algorithm.

So do yourself a favor and remove Matt Cutts’ blog from your favorites and move on to the only safe and sound method of maintaining your domains. Let us now discuss what successful web property owners have done to succeed beyond their wildest dreams without using any of the old and new search engine optimization schemes we have been discussing.

So What Is The Safest and Most Powerful Way of Linking?

Their really is only one method left if you want to rank high in the search engines indefinitely and enjoy the traffic and the income that traffic creates. The smart webmasters have understood this from the time they launched their very first website and/or blog.

They wrote compelling content (articles and posts) that were irresistible to search engines and human readers. They wrote content that was compelling enough that other people wanted to link to it. Even if you had only one stellar article (bloggers often call them Pillar Articles) on your website or blog, but enticed thousands of other webmasters to link to it, that would make your website a high value domain in the eyes of the search engines and real people.

So some so-called white-hat webmasters and domain managers who understood this, only published unique and original content on their domains and it paid off.

However, you can imagine a webmaster’s disappointment when even writing big, fat, juicy posts this didn’t put them ahead of their competition. Even if they have a decent number of inbound links from reputable IP’s, and their content was 100% original, they stopped ranking for most of their competitive keywords. So what could that be? The answer is simple – quality content that is in definition 100% original and unique is still not enough to beat all the competition.

You have to have all of these factors and your articles have to be so compelling that other webmasters are linking to them in a flurry. Of course this is very difficult to do unless you have something special to say on your blog and/or websites. I hope that by now in this article you don’t feel like throwing your laptop or desktop into the river, off a cliff, or into the ocean, because there is hope.

Hope is Dead

Just kidding 😉

Yet More Of The Old Linking Theories and Strategies

When I was taught how to build websites I was told to create (or have somebody create) 300 to 500 word articles and publish them on my domain over time, covering most of the keywords you are targeting for traffic and search engine attention. Then it became 500 to 700 words, and now some believe you need to have 800 words to win with the search engines. There is some validity to this theory in my opinion. I do believe that if you have a longer article, or longer piece of content,  due to visiting commenter submissions, and visiting trackbacks, you will do better than much of your competition that has a smaller and less significant post as their piece of content. But even this is no guarantee of winning the battle for search engine superiority.

You must have an article that is extremely detailed and complete, which shows the search engines that you are really covering the subject and providing more information than any competing page on the Internet. Most importantly, this content must be so compelling that others will link to it eagerly to show the interesting slant you have on the subject. The combination of these two factors is what works on the Internet and always has. I seriously doubt that if you cover these two critical factors you will ever see your traffic disappear and your online business model fade into oblivion.

Examples of Successful Web Site Owners

You can see my theory on this for yourself any time you go on the Internet and see the most successful websites and domain properties that are succeeding in demolishing the competition every day, week, month, and year. No linking software or scheme will ever make your domain name appear above theirs for long. These kinds of blogs and websites have extremely useful information and they have inbound links from hundreds and thousands of different hosting IP’s, which no linking software will ever imitate in the long run and for the duration.

So in 2011 I see the only way to succeed in the long-term is by writing substantial pieces of valuable and compelling content on a well designed blogging platform such as WordPress (or any other dynamic content management system). If you are working alone you are going to be maxed out at two blogs/domains – maybe three of the most. If you have a writing team and financial resources to exhaust, you could manage more blogs, but you are always limited by your manpower.

You can use some helpful tools if you can’t type very fast, such as speech recognition software which I’m using right now to create this post. This will help you maintain a couple of good blogs, if you can’t type very fast and don’t have the money to hire good writers to write your content. Furthermore you can use automation to create blogs that run on their own. In early 2010 I finally finished coding, tweaking, and testing a functioning autoblog system/formula. I made the system available for purchase in late December, after I had thoroughly tested it out on over a dozen domains and niches.

The corporations and the large companies can afford to have a budget for writers and webmasters to create compelling content on a frequent basis, and they will always be difficult to compete against, but if you write articles that are extremely compelling then you can beat a complete team of writers any time you want. You can throw all the money you want at writers, but if they don’t have the unique ability to write compelling articles you won’t be getting the flood of inbound links to your domain. This is why the Lone Wolf bloggers out there can succeed where corporations don’t. They have the time, freedom, passion, drive (like succeed or don’t eat), experience and the know-how to write such powerful pieces of content that they wipe out Fortune 500 companies on a regular basis.

If you want to be in this business for the long haul, you better learn how to do this. Of course this means you will have to be writing about something you know fairly well and have some kind of passion for. (How many times have you heard that one?)

Our Market Niches and Strategies

Our money making blogs are on subjects we never “rarely tell the world about”, and cannot be found using Whois or any other reporting system to track the domains we manage. We see visitors to Zulit browsing through all of our different domains that are hosted from this particular hosting company’s Class C Block, but the truth is that the blogs we make the most money from are with different hosting company servers in different areas of the United States, using private domain hosting.

The sites that we share in the blogs that we talk about making money, make an extremely small percentage of our overall income. Quite simply put, we like to have some sort of example to point at to show visitors how to make money online, but we can’t take the chance of advertising our main money making domains. We learned this the hard way about 4 years ago.

These real money making blogs make 90% of our income, and they are on varying subjects, some of which are very lucrative, some of which are moderately lucrative, and some of which are modestly lucrative. They all have one thing in common though – they have over 1500 words added to them every second day, every week, every month of every year, whether it be manually created or autoblog created.

This content is researched and written on in length, and the subject matter is highly searched for online. I can’t stress enough how important using your own keyword research methods are (I detail our “little tricks” on this in our autoblog package). You just simply have to imagine what people would be looking for on the Internet to find the lucrative niches out there. Most of our niche blogs have a high demand for traffic and an extremely low competition level. 

What Should You Do To Succeed Online

There is one particular way you can succeed online and will never fail over the long run. You will never see your hard work get flushed down the drain by the latest search engine algorithms that are designed to filter out manipulative webmasters and domain managers. There is only two aspects to this proven method of working online.

a) The first thing you need to do is use a content management system that is advanced – preferably free and open source coding . I suggest using the WordPress blogging platform on your own domain, but you may want to use a hosted blog like Blogspot. You can use different content management systems, but make sure that all of the spam protections, updating systems, and plug-ins work seamlessly. The only reason I suggest WordPress is because that is what I know, and I can tell you that they have come a long way, making it easy to manage your web property.

b) The second thing you need to do after you’ve chosen a content management system, is work in the right way. Completely disregard everything you have ever heard about so-called SEO techniques, and put an end to using linking strategies, reciprocal linking schemes, and black-hat SEO traps. Even better, just quit thinking about linking altogether. All you want to do is write compelling content. The old days of just throwing up quick posts into your blog for the sake of pinging servers is over. That just won’t do it anymore. Take a look at any good article, on any subject, and you’ll notice that it’s always a lot more than 500 to 600 words.

The search engines have taken this into account as well. They know that generally speaking a short little snippet of content is not really doing itfor the visitor. This is why writing long and in-depth articles will put you in a better position with the search engines when compared to article directories, and other bloggers who write small little trifles just for the sake of putting something up.

But keep in mind, even if the article is extremely lengthy (like this one is becoming) this doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to win the search engine war against your competitors. You still have to have others linking to the article on a regular basis if you hope to keep your position in the search results.

If you look closely at the search engine results, you’ll notice that the pages that rank high have a few things in common;

  1. the page is on a highly ranked domain with a good reputation, or;
  2. the page has more inbound links to it than other competing pages focusing on the target keywords (or subject), or;
  3. the page is on a domain which has some directly related inbound links to the actual keyword(s) and the domain is extremely narrow in scope (niche), or;
  4. the page has more content on it regarding the requested search query

So what you want to have on your websites are pages that have a great amount of content on a particular subject (obviously longer than five hundred words) that are compelling and add another slant to the subject matter. Even if you have a brand-new domain and the search engines are just beginning to spider your site, and the search engine robots are beginning to index pages, and you have no inbound links from other web property managers, your end state goal should be in play already – making sure your articles are interesting and compelling enough that others will want to link to them. This ensures that your website or blog is covering all of the above criteria listed.

  1. the search engines will notice that your content is in depth, 100% original (not spinner or a re-writer content), and that your article is lengthier than most all of your competition.
  2. the search engine will notice that your domain is new and they will be excited (well as excited as an algorithm can get) to see this new domain and this new content for themselves.
  3. if all the content you load to your website or blog is of high quality, the search engines will notice and this goes to creating a good reputation with them.
  4. the next thing that will happen is that the search engines will give you that chance to be seen (and believe me if you write decent content they will give you that chance) and you will be found for particular search engine queries made from real people – the all-important users, and webmasters.

If your content is adding something, to the ongoing discourse on the Internet, that is unique in approach, and other webmasters see it as compelling, you will slowly begin to gain real and valid inbound votes (links). The search engine algorithms will see this slow building inbound link pattern, and you will gain even more ranking with the search engines, solidifying your so-called “good reputation”.

So as you can see above, all of these most important attributes of a successful web property automatically come to pass if you follow one simple rule – write in-depth content that just has to be taken seriously.

More Tips

From what I have seen watching my competitors blogs, and my blogs in action, you are better off writing longer, in-depth articles of discussion, then simply out doing your competition in frequency. You can see this if you look at the other high ranked web properties out there.

I usually don’t waste my time looking at blog posts that are only 200 words long, unless there is an important nugget enclosed. I will only link to an article that I believe covers a subject in depth. Even if I don’t agree with the blogger in question I will still link to their post because it covers an in-depth idea and opinion. Often, I will try and link to two diametrically opposed blog posts that completely contradict each other, showing the diversity of the subject in question.

So don’t worry about the old adage of creating three articles a day on your blog. Take the time to think about a subject you want to sink your teeth into and write about it in-depth. Surely you will spark the imaginations, the minds, and maybe the hearts (hmmm) of other bloggers who either strongly disagree with you, strongly agree with you, or at least see the value in your thought processes. Either way you slice it – they will begin to link to you. You will begin to get a good reputation with real humans and real algorithms 😉

Patience becomes the all important factor if you are a simple Lone Wolf webmaster. Perhaps you and your spouse working (this describes my online business). You have to realize that you can’t compete in multiple markets and subjects ALL the time, unless you are using quality automation.

In the beginning you have to focus on one particular subject and stick to it for a couple of years, so it had better be on a subject that has a fair amount of interest, and it better be a subject matter that isn’t over-the-top too competitive (like gambling for instance). This is not to say that you can’t compete in the long run with the most competitive websites on the Internet – it just means that you have to be that much more patient, diligent, hard-working, and creative.

The days of going from 0 to 60 in six months time are over. Big time over. You will have to learn to enjoy creating content, whether that be by typing, or using some sort of speech recognition software to lavish your blog with heaps of original content that you feel passionate about. Of course, you can become passionate about a subject if you start to research it and find the beauty in that topic of interest.

For instance if you found a great subject that had a lot of traffic from real users searching it on the search engines, you could read up on the subject until you were well versed and could add to the discussion online. There is only so much to know about any topic, and you would be surprised at how quickly you can become an expert. I go to this extent when I create new niche blogs. I order books online, videos, etc., to learn all about the subject so that I can write about it in my own words and then dominate that niche with a blog.

Even the people who have been studying that topic for years will respect your website and link to it because you have done your homework and you know what you are talking about.

In Closing

If you are like me, and have been in the Internet income business for awhile now (8 years), I suggest you consider these theories I am writing about today. The time that we spend using linking software, and scripts, designed to trick the search engines, could be used to simply write compelling content for our visitors, and the visiting search engine robots.

You can see clearly now how this theory is true with some of the big money making blogs on the Internet these days. If you focused on writing one 3000 word article, with unique and compelling content, once a week, you will be further ahead than any linking, article marketing, or auto blogging scheme can get you. This is why concentrating on one or two blogs is so important when you start out.

Please take a look at these blogs to see what I mean by this;

http://www.stevepavlina.com/

http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/

http://www.problogger.net/

Confessions of a Webmaster

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Every time, at this time of year, I look at our business model(s) to see if I can make some major improvements in our income. I look at the pay per click models, the organic natural traffic models, and I weigh out all of our options for the new year.

I know that for some of the visitors to this blog, it may be confusing in regards to what I believe is the best way to make money online, and which methods we really use to make money online. I know that many visitors see the earnings reports that I have at the top of every page, and the first thing they wonder is;

“How is he making that much money, and he can’t be telling us the whole truth”.

Some will believe that it is all from using a pay per click model, and that there is no way we could be making any substantial money from natural traffic. I want to clear up, once and for all, any kind of confusion in this regard, because without clarity there is no way my readers will feel that they are being told the truth.

As of 2009, 30% of our income comes from natural organic traffic. 70% of our income comes from using the pay per click model. Most of these sites that earn our income are on private hosting accounts (or I should say private domains) so as to avoid what has happened in the past with people simply copying our ideas and our niche models.

When we first started I was an open book in regards to what my niche websites were, because I really didn’t believe people would waste so many hours of their time simply copying somebody else’s niche ideas. I was extremely naïve in this respect, and to be fair to myself I have seen this happen to too many of my mentors. One thing I can assure you, is that there is nothing fancy about our websites, and there are no big secrets on how we get our traffic.

One thing I want to clarify, in a crystal-clear fashion, is the use of black hat techniques. SEO is something that I talk about allot here, and all of my comments are simply my beliefs from my own testing, and of course you can take it for what it’s worth. One thing I firmly believe now; is that black hat search engine optimization is dying quickly, and it is not a very good way to secure your online income going forward. Now I would like to talk about some of the techniques I have tried in the past. Some of these techniques are what you would call “gray hat” techniques, such as the use of particular website builders which I will discuss.

HyperVRE Website Creation Software

HyperVRE has been very successful for us in the last few years, and we are still making money from the domains that are using HyperVRE mini-sites. Unfortunately, these mini-sites get hit by the search engines (Google) every so often, and it is like you have a few weeks (or a month) of downtime. Is that really the kind of business you want to have?

It is like the search engines (Google I mean) see this content as suspicious, and they de-index hundreds of pages every once in a while, just to have those pages return into the Google index, and search results again. Basically, Google can’t make up its mind what to do with these mini-sites. For those HyperVRE users, keep in mind that I use custom templates that nobody else is using on the Internet, and I use random descriptions and definitions (A TON!) to make my pages appear fresh and updated all the time. I create my content from other web pages, and I use macros and scripts that I have had coded for me (custom Perl applications) that parse down, cleanup, and organize the content in a neat fashion for use in the websites that I build with HyperVRE. It takes approximately 4 hours to build one of these mini sites, and yes, they make residual income for years. So why would I stop doing this? Because in the long run, I am not so sure about the health of these pages in Google and Bing.

So what I am saying, is that I don’t recommend going the route of website builders in 2010 and forward. This does not mean you should abandon the HyperVRE websites you have – because if they are making money, then great. Just update those domains every once in a while to keep them alive in the search engines so you can continue to make money with this model as long as it lasts.

This gray-hat model works very well in all search engines (right now) so I can’t completely dismiss it. We will continue to update our domains that are using this model, but; I will not be creating any more new sites using this method, and I am moving on to a more white-hat SEO models.

Extreme Black-Hat SEO Techniques – I.E., Xrumer

Using software applications like Xrumer is obviously the blackest form of SEO you can employ. You are simply spamming forums and blogs on a large scale, and it is very risky for your domains (and your business altogether). As I have mentioned before, and will mention again, this kind of optimization is extremely short-term. Your short-term gains, are always followed by a complete loss of traffic, and if you don’t know how to use a proxy (or proxies more like), you could really mess up your business. I purchased the Xrumer software, and as I have spoken here before, tested it thoroughly.

I have to say that it gave me an uneasy feeling using the Xrumer software application, subjecting other website owners to spam and being “one of those guys. I suppose the reason I did it is because I just had to know how well that worked. It works – like I said – temporarily, but it is not worthy of future consideration. So much for that $540 USD I flushed down the toilet.

Using Synonyms and Content Spinners

Using synonym generators, and content spinners is a complete waste of time as well. I have used some of these applications server-side and on my own machines. The time you spent spinning a small 500 word article, which has diminishing returns, you could have easily created over 5000 words of fresh content – if you were using speech recognition software like I am right now for this post. Once again, trying to cheat the search engines, and their users, takes a lot of hard work for short-term gains. Especially now with the new SE algorithms that are in play. These content spinners and synonym scripts cost money, and using them requires a lot of work to get an article to pass a Copyscape test. I also believe that the Copyscape bar is not good enough. I believe the search engine algorithms of today have a higher bar set for duplicate content. All conjecture, I know, but I believe this to be true from testing pages.

I know how tempting it is to try some of these techniques to improve your website traffic. I look back at the last five years now, and I will be in the next couple of posts, with regret that I didn’t just simply close my eyes and learn how to create a ton of compelling content for my readers. Why did I take the path that I took? Simple – I was desperate for success and wanted to work from home without ever having to have a job again. Plain and simple and for what it’s worth, this post IS entitled, “The Confessions of a Webmaster”.

If I knew then what I know now, I never would have dabbled on the dark side of SEO. Obviously, I was smart enough to make sure 80% of my work went into legitimate business models, and that is why we make a good earning online, but if I had spent that other 20% of my time working on proven techniques, we would be making much more money today.

The whole reason for this post is to present to the absolute beginners what not to do. All you want to do is choose one subject (or market), install a content management system (i.e., WordPress) and start writing fluidly.

When I look at the webmasters who did exactly that, it’s amazing to see how successful they have been. They have surpassed all of their expectations, and many of them have so much traffic (millions of unique visitors a month) that they remove the typical advertising links from there blogs and websites. They began selling their own products and end up making more money than they had ever made before. It is not unusual to have a successful blogger make more than $30,000 a month. When you hear a number that big it makes most people shake their heads in disbelief.

For all of you who have been gaming the system to some degree, try not to beat yourself up about it. Let’s face it – it’s just too tempting an idea to find some simple little bit of software that can create free money. Besides, I have to admit it has been a lot of fun playing with the search engines over the last five years. I guess I would have to say that it taught me a lot about how search engines work, and I guess this would be an education in understanding what to do, and what not to do.

SEO and The Cheating Husband Metaphor

I guess I could use a metaphor for the black-hat/white-hat SEO dilemma. How about the difference between a loyal middle-aged husband and the cheating middle-aged husband? One middle-aged man spends all of his 20s and 30s sowing his wild oats, and having many different sexual experiences, while the other man didn’t because he was married at a very young age. The experience of being single for that many years makes the single man realize that it’s a lonely existence, and finds out for himself that one night stands can leave you feeling empty, cold, and very alone. He makes a good choice in a woman, because he has lots of experience recognizing a good woman from a troublesome woman, and gets married – never to cheat because he knows what he is missing.

Meanwhile, the second middle-aged man, who gets married at 20 years of age never has these experiences of sowing his wild oats, and the rest of his life he wonders what it would have been like, and has fantasies of free-wheeling sexual escapades. He wonders what it would be like to meet that pretty stranger and sleep with her that same night.

The man who has experienced this will tell you that it is not what it is cracked up to be – the point is that sometimes it’s better to learn the hard way (from your mistakes). So webmasters can learn something from walking on the dark side for awhile – they can learn never to be tempted by the so-called easy and sexy fruit.

Black-Hat SEO Takes More Work Than White-Hat Seo (and the Organized Crime Metaphor)

I can say that when it comes to SEO (search engine optimization) I have certainly sowed my wild oats. I have used the software, gamed the system, and now realize how futile it is going to be in the future. The most glaring thing I have noticed with these black-hat techniques, is how much work it takes. Just because you get some fancy piece of software, written by some pretty clever people, doesn’t mean it’s easy. When you get right down to it, and involved in the actual details, it is a tremendous amount of work. If I could use another metaphor – we always hear the same thing said about organized crime.

With all of their smarts (SOME criminals) and all of their cleverness, along with their hard work, they could succeed in a legitimate business instead of being in the business of organized crime. They would be safer, and would feel better about their business in the long run.

I would even go one step further for this example with search engine optimization. It is far easier to do it the right way! Far easier! If you just create a simple blog on one domain, and work it for two solid years, all you have to do is use your imagination and your typing skills. No complicated scripts to figure out and configure, or software to figure out. No question marks in the back of your head whether or not you are going to succeed making money. Once more, all of those years you spent trying to game the system with software, could have been years of learning how to produce a lot of good content. It takes time to learn the process, as far as creating oodles of content for your blog, and it takes practice.

What I Tell Beginners Now

I used to speak to beginners about the amazing world of online income, and how it was the ultimate income. I still believe with every ounce of my being that online income is the ultimate income, but what I don’t believe anymore is that it’s easy or even attainable for the light of heart. To many millions of people want this ultimate income, and this ultimate lifestyle, which my wife and I have become accustomed to. Because of this competition, there may be a day when we can’t do it either. Believe me, I will be working my backside off in an attempt to keep the lifestyle we have.

The reality is that if you are a beginner, and you have dreams of having the ultimate Internet income, get ready to work your ass off. Get ready to make critical decisions early, like whether or not to dabble on the dark side, or whether to do it the right way straight out of the gates. I hope you make the right decision.

What is relative in all of this, when I discuss the ultimate Internet income, is the question marks surrounding what is ultimate. I suppose the ultimate Internet income would be tens of thousands of dollars made every month without ever having to lift a finger again the rest of your life. That is not likely to happen my friend.

What is likely to happen is that with a lot of hard work you can create a wonderful income which is more than what you make as a employee right now, and you can maintain it the rest of your life with some smart work. If you have dreams of making over $30,000 a month for the rest of your life, get ready to work very very hard. I have said it many times before, the ultimate Internet income is a work at home job, and the key word in that phrase is work. But it doesn’t mean you should work hard and stupid. It means you have to work smartly (work smarter not harder).

Pace Yourself On Your Quest to Create The Ultimate Internet Income

One of the things that has struck my wife and I over the last five years is how hard we have worked. I have worked ridiculous hours (up to 16 hours a day) and many of those hours were a waste of time. If I knew then what I know now I would not have spent that many hours, and I would have learned to pace myself sooner. I am still having trouble learning how to pace myself, because I love the work so much, and I love the lifestyle so much.

You can learn to pace yourself very easily, and put yourself on the track towards making a fantastic income. This is what I would do if I was you (I am talking to the beginners right now).

Choose two different subjects (markets) and find two short domain names (no dashes in the address, and one for each of your markets). Create a WordPress blog on both of these domains, and begin your journey. Don’t worry about any fancy software to manipulate the search engines, or any linking schemes. As a matter of fact, completely disregard any linking schemes altogether. Simply research different ideas for articles on your two blogs, and write something substantial every couple of days. If you can’t type fast, then try speech recognition – or you can simply teach yourself to type quickly. Either way – find out a way of creating gobs of content quickly. You’ll figure this out, so don’t worry about it. You can do this!

Once you are up and going and adding content in the form of articles, posts, and pages, you are on your way. Don’t worry about keyword density and all of that crap. Just write compelling information that your eventual users will find useful. Everything else will come to you. Because you are using a WordPress blog, search engines are going to see your content, so don’t be worrying about that. Don’t bother with stat counters at first, because you won’t be seeing a lot of traffic in the early days. Just keep writing and watch what happens.

The reason I tell you you should create two blogs, is because you will be able to create enough content for both sites. As well as that, it is easy to get bored with one blog and it’s subject material, and you will need a change to keep yourself from getting bored.

Don’t worry about frequency (how many posts a day or week you publish). Just write when you have a good idea, that you know your visitors will appreciate, or at least find interesting. Save your breath in other words. Publishing a post just for the sake of publishing a post in an attempt to keep the search engines happy is no longer a valid strategy. If you don’t believe me, you can research this using Google (or your favorite search engine) to see this for yourself. The most successful bloggers and online money makers only post content that they know will have some sort of value for their visitors and readers.

On the 27th of this month I have a rather large post that discusses the different ways that linking is dead. I am sure that many will agree with some of these ideas, and many of you will disagree, but the fact remains that I am adding something of value to the ongoing conversation in regards to search engine optimization. It doesn’t mean that the post will have more people linking to it than other posts, because it’s really just a hit and miss thing if the truth be told.

This is why it is so important to have a passion for what you are writing about. Even if you aren’t making any money off of the blog, but you are passionately involved in the subject matter, it won’t be long before you ARE making money. The Google algorithm has been designed in such a way (in an ingenious way) so that the truly passionate people with the ideas succeed. I know that my old friends in the black-hat world would scoff at such a notion, and they like to think that they can outsmart the search engine algorithms, but you can see examples of successful bloggers for yourself, and it is painfully obvious who is right and who is wrong on this matter.

Example of a Old Niche Site That is Really Really Ugly (but successful)

I am going to give you one example of a particular niche site that has always succeeded (we have hundreds of these) over the long run. It is a nasty, ugly little website with about 20 pages of 500 word articles in the site map. It is called http://www.bridesmaid-dress-only.com and I don’t mind giving up this little niche, because it generally only makes about $30 a month, and these days it’s not so easy to copy something. The funny thing is that I just checked out the site and the home page index file is not even there!!! I have no idea how long it’s been broken, but it still gets traffic every day on the other pages.

This simple little website makes about a dollar a day, and there is nothing fancy about it as you can tell. It was built with a chaotic old website builder that I haven’t used for years. What is good about this little website though, is that all of the content was written by me, and it is not using any content from any other source on the Internet. Because it is just fresh unique content, the search engines have rewarded it with it with traffic and an average of a dollar a day for over four years. I used some link machine software to do a little bit of reciprocal linking in the beginning, but that is not why it is where it’s at. The search engines are able to see fresh unique content for what it is, and whether or not you do any aggressive linking isn’t coming into play as much. If you create a simple little niche website, with 100% original content, you are going to make something. You have a choice – build hundreds of these little niche websites with 100% original content, or build two major blogs with tons of content. I suggest to you that the latter is the most prudent way to build your business.

Closing Up

Well, I have been talking into this little digital voice recorder for 58 minutes and 20 seconds, not that anybody’s counting. I think I have made my point as far as the confessions of this webmaster. From this day forward, things will be different with our business model. No longer will I be wasting one precious moment trying to gain the search engines. My focus will be only on content, and lots of it, going forward. I don’t really care how long it takes for my new blogs and ideas to take off, because at least I know that they will indeed make money one day. Like my first mentor told me a long time ago (James Martell) – “we are in the business of creating content”.

It’s not over! The dream of the ultimate income is still very much alive, and there are many different ways to create an online income. As you can see, all of my income methods are built on search engine optimization. That is the only pony your humble narrator knows how to ride. There are many, many, MANY different ways to make an online income, and I hope that you find the one that works best for you.

As one webmaster to another webmaster, I encourage you to take the same path going forward in 2010 and furthermore. I encourage you to stop wasting money on short-term gains, and wasting time on futile efforts. If you are using the HyperVRE software, I would encourage you to leave those websites alone and maybe just update them once in a while if they are still creating a profit. I believe that it won’t be long before they stop working altogether. Spend your time and money putting up original content on your niche websites and blogs, and you will be much further ahead in the long run.

Sincerely,

Terry

The State of Web 2009 SEO

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

The state of to the Internet in 2009 is much much different than even two years ago, and perhaps only one year ago. If you have been paying attention at all, you will be aware of the fact that the rules of engagement regarding SEO have been completely rewritten. (more…)

Article Submission Directories That Allow A Link in The Content

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Here is a great list of article submission directories that allow a link in the content with your choice of anchor text. There are eighteen article directories in this list. List provided by Mathew Guiver.

  • http://ezinearticles.com
  • http://www.articledashboard.com/
  • http://www.easyarticles.com/
  • http://www.articletrader.com/
  • http://www.goarticles.com/
  • http://www.articlealley.com/
  • http://www.articlecube.com
  • http://www.free-articles-zone.com/
  • http://www.a1articles.com/
  • http://www.postarticles.com/
  • http://www.articletogo.com/
  • http://www.articlenexus.com
  • http://www.articlesbase.com/
  • http://www.thearticleworld.com/
  • http://www.articlebiz.com/
  • http://www.1articleworld.com/
  • http://www.article-buzz.com/
  • http://articlecrazy.com/

I have only used ONE of these, but I will be trying all of them. The important thing is they all allow your inbound/outbound link in the content of the article.

Here is another list of article submission sites with high PR. Coming from this blog by Dollarshower.com

Sites that don’t need sign-up
http://www.webpronews.com/, Page Rank: 7, Alexa Rank: 14,536
http://www.qarchive.org/, Page Rank: 6, Alexa Rank: 1,786
http://www.articlecity.com/, Page Rank: 5, Alexa Rank: 41,377
http://www.articlebiz.com/, Page Rank: 3, Alexa Rank: 92,151
http://www.selfseo.com/, Page Rank: 3, Alexa Rank: 49,086

Register and submit sites
http://www.ezinearticles.com/, Page Rank: 6, Alexa Rank: 333
http://www.articledashboard.com/, Page Rank: 6, Alexa Rank: 42,902
http://www.articleclick.com/, Page Rank: 4, Alexa Rank: 42,147
http://www.articlemarketer.com/, Page Rank: 4, Alexa Rank: 41,411
http://www.goarticles.com/, Page Rank: 3, Alexa Rank: 18,786