Fiverr Review – Directory Submission Service

fiverr review directory submission

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The first fiverr gig I purchased was a “submit your site to 40 internet directories” offer from seller softtouch66. Since it was the first fiverr gig I purchased it might as well be our site’s first fiverr review. Let me first state that I don’t know softtouch66 and I’m not saying he provides the best service in this area. He is just who I choose to try for my first fiverr experience back in early September.

I ordered the service and was told that the expected delivery date was in three days. I did indeed get a “your order has been completed” notification three days later but there was an error stating that the attachment had been corrupted. I choose the “reject sellers work” button and asked for a re-upload of the attachment. Within five minutes the seller re-uploaded the report and I immediately accepted the work and left positive feedback. If you want to see what the report looked like I’ve included a picture of it in this post.

The report has the name of the directory, the Pagerank of the site, whether the submission was only submitted or instantly listed (only five were instantly listed) and the URL for the five that were listed. One important note is that the Pagerank is for the site itself and not for the page which your link will be on. A lot of people will advertise your link on a site with a PR of 5, but then bury your link on a page of the site with a PR of 0 or 1. This isn’t a big issue, just something to keep in mind.

I didn’t think that this gig would make a huge difference in my search engine but I was curious to see which 40 sites the provider would submit my site to. I know that DMOZ and Yahoo are the two biggest directories but I thought that maybe I would discover one or two other good ones. The 40 the seller used are listed below with the sites Pagerank.

40 sites from this service

Sr Directory
Name
PR
1 flashthief.com 3
2 httprevealer.com 3
3 filmington.com 4
4 help-on.net 4
5 jam2007.com 2
6 oxenoxen.com 3
7 williamsburgwarriors.org 4
8 pbhelp.com 3
9 onemission.com 5
10 freewebsitedirectory.com 3
11 geeez.com 3
12 ladder97.com 2
13 nju-jp.com 4
14 rankbl.com 2
15 yourjoker.com 4
16 piyy.com 3
17 freeprwebdirectory.com 6
18 busybits.com 5
19 seagrance.net 4
20 kiwidir.com 5
21 somuch.com 5
22 skoobe.biz 5
23 marketingwebdirectory.com 3
24 submissionwebdirectory.com 4
25 sitepromotiondirectory.com 4
26 hydeparkbooks.com 4
27 acsprf-ar.org 4
28 africancouncilcomed.org 4
29 auhana.com 4
30 cultuurtechnologie.net 5
31 imadec.com 4
32 kacsca.com 4
33 permacharge.com 4
34 rdarestructuring.com 4
35 secondwavesystems.com 4
36 pxdaj.com 4
37 nuoret.org 4
38 linkaddurl.com 4
39 9sites.net 4
40 webnetclick.com 3

I just checked the five submissions that were listed and four of the five URLs still have a link to my site. For the other 35 you’re basically taking the sellers word that they submitted your site to them. You could always check back in a few weeks but I never did. A bit on the lazy side, but hey, that’s why I’m using fiverr in the first place 🙂 I just check a few of the 35 and didn’t see our site there. That doesn’t mean that he didn’t submit them or that they’re not there, I just didn’t see them.

Fiverr Review Results

This particular service isn’t necessary but it’s not a bad idea or a waste of $5. The effect of having a site listed in minor directories is debatable but SEO firms still do it so it’s definitely not a bad idea. With these links you could do it yourself, but it wouldn’t be quick or fun. I would rate the general “directory submission” concept as a 4/5 but this particular seller as a 3/5. The 3/5 may be totally unfair but it’s hard to give any higher with 35/40 on the report having no URL and a quick glance at a few of them not showing up when I search. I’m also not going to give any lower grade because the report was well laid out and I don’t doubt that he submitted my URL to all 40 sites.

I would probably try a different seller next time just to compare results but that’s a reflection of my curiosity rather than his results. And remember, that’s the main joy of Fiverr, it’s only five bucks!!! I hope you enjoyed my first Fiverr review. I’ve got several more planned and if people like them I’ll keep reviewing them.

Fiverr Tips

fiverr tips

The Things People Do For $5

For those who haven’t tried it yet, Fiverr.com is a site where people from all over the world post things that they are willing to do for $5. Over the next few weeks, I will be writing articles about my experiences with specific fiverr gigs.  This article will just be some general fiverr tips. Fiverr ends up keeping $1 for playing the middle man and the service provider gets $4. Using Paypal makes the process extremely fast and simple. The first question that probably popped into your mind when you first heard about Fiverr was “Is there anything on there that I would want or could help me?” The answer is probably yes, but you have to sift through a lot of other stuff to find them. I’m going to give a few fiverr tips on finding quality services and avoiding services which can do more harm than good.

A quick glance at the front page of fiverr shows that your hard earned $5 can buy you a video of a stuffed monkey saying your message, a physic reading and an attractive female who will claim to be your girlfriend on Facebook for a month. I’m not sure how Lizzy would feel about that last one. 🙂 The first of the Fiverr tips I will give is that instead of looking for a life changing service, you should look for things that you could do yourself but would rather not due to time involved (with things like directory submissions) or due to lack of skill (like me with graphic design). A lot of people write off fiverr as a lot of junk, the same way I used to hear people make the same claim about eBay 13 years ago. I think that they are completely missing the point.

If you start working on your site’s SEO and decide that you want your site submitted to 30 different internet directories, you can do it yourself or pay someone on Fiverr to do it for you. If you decide that the task is going to take you two hours to do, and you decide you would rather pay someone $2.50 an hour to do it for you, then you can find a well reviewed service provider to do it for you. That’s another big fiverr tip: make sure you check the providers reviews. Reviews aren’t a guarantee, as there are groups who provide fake fiverr reviews just like any other site on the internet.  However, if someone has a lot of positive reviews, then you should feel relatively safe. I also make sure to read the negative reviews for any hidden “gotcha’s” that aren’t discussed in the listing’s description. The good part is that – worst case with a service like this – you’re out 5 bucks. We’re going to talk about a few other bad scenarios in a bit.

The thing I love about fiverr is that I’ve been wanting to dabble in outsourcing for about a year, but it seemed little daunting to get started. Fiverr lets you take advantage of outsourcing without lengthy searches and without any commitments. There are a lot of “full service” businesses that charge a high fee and then hire multiple “sub-contractors” on fiverr. If you know reliable providers, it’s a great idea. For most of us that’s overkill though. We only have a few tasks that we don’t feel comfortable doing or don’t have the time to do. I’m going to talk about a few types of services that are a good idea and a few that are not so good.

Fiverr Tips : Good things to outsource

Graphics work – For me, this is the biggest no brainier on Fiverr. I use Photoshop or GIMP several times a week but I have no artistic ability whatsoever. I would much rather pay a few dollars to someone like Dafeenah and get something that looks great rather than spend an hour or two myself and end up with something that looks like a first graders art project.

Website / RSS directory submissions – These aren’t hard to do at all, but they can be time consuming. If you decide that you these things done you can spend some time or pay someone $5 while you read Lizzy’s books. 🙂

Press Release / Article submissions – The effectiveness of the press releases and article directories has plummeted since the Google update “Panda” earlier this year. They still MAY be worth doing, but they are extremely time consuming. If you can find someone to send your press release to 30 services for $5, that would save you some time.

Fiverr Tips : Bad things to outsource

Twitter followers – Anybody who has read me series of Twitter articles has no need for these services since I showed how to get targeted fans for free. 🙂 Still, there are a lot of people offering this service, so there must be a lot of people buying it. Long story short: the followers you get are going to be garbage. Regardless of what sellers say, the followers are likely not real people but rather fake accounts generated by automated bots. Even if they were real they would be random people rather than the specifically targeted people you can easily acquire yourself for free.

Facebook likes – These are tempting! Twitter followers are easy to get but Facebook likes take a lot of time and usually money. The lure of 1,000 new likes that somebody SWEARS are real people for only $5 seems like a no lose scenario. Every negative we discussed with Twitter applies to Facebook with a few extra bonus dangers at no additional charge. I said in the Twitter that the followers you got were likely real people. The scary part is that fake accounts are the better of the two alternatives! If they aren’t fake accounts, they are indeed going to be real people, real people whose accounts were tricked or hacked into following your account. When they notice that they are mysteriously following you when they never asked to, they aren’t going to be real happy.

When I decided to write this article, I spent some time in the seedy underbelly of the internet where people deal in things like Facebook likes to discover the methods. The “industry” standard was to provide about 90% fake accounts and 10% real people whose accounts would be hijacked with malicious code and made to like specific targets. Scary stuff which you should stay clear of.

Fiverr Tips : Dangerous things to outsource

Google +1 clicks – Trying to game Google is never a good idea, as the penalty for getting caught might be getting de-indexed in Google which is the internet equivalent of the death penalty. I read a post last week where a person bought 50 +1 clicks on his page from fiverr. The problem is that the 50 clicks came in a two hour period and all from IP addresses in India. His site was subsequently removed from Google. How’s this for the king of all fiverr tips: don’t do anything that may get your page removed from Google.

Anything that requires you giving someone Admin access to your site – This is a tricky one. About two months ago I discovered a WordPress plugin that I thought was worth buying. The plugin cost $20 to buy for your site or for $30 you could buy a “developer” license which let you install it on “client” sites. Since $5 is cheaper than $20 I decided to go to fiverr to try and find someone who had bought the developer license who could legally put it on our site.

I found two people on Fiverr who were advertising the plugin. I emailed the first seller and asked him if he had a legitimate developer license or if he was using a hacked version. He admitted that he was indeed using a hacked version so I thanked him for his honesty and went onto the next. The second seller stated that he had a legitimate developer license. The only caveat was that he needed temporary admin access to install the plugin on our site. The guy seemed legit but had no fiverr feedback and no website to point me to. Once someone has admin access to your site, they can modify any code they want, insert anything they want, etc. I decided that I just couldn’t risk giving someone access to our site’s backend just to save a few dollars.

I ended up buying the developers license of the plugin myself so I could install it on a friends site too. If I decide to try to install it as a fiverr service I’ll have to try to convince people that I can be trusted to go to their site, perform the installation and then leave without doing anything else. That would probably be worth its own article. 🙂 The morale of this story is if they need any type of access to perform the service, be VERY careful.

Links – buying back-links to your site is the trickiest fiverr service of them all to cover. I’ve talked about the dangers of buying links before so I won’t go into too much detail here.

A fiverr gig from a well reviewed seller that offers 10 links to your site that are manually acquired is probably safe. They aren’t likely to be relevant links so they probably won’t do too much to increase your site’s search engine visibility but they also probably won’t get you kicked out of Google.

On the opposite side of the link spectrum are the services which offer literally thousands of links to your site for $5. Some of these even claim (laughably) to be manually acquired. These can be every bit as dangerous as the +1 clicks we talked about earlier. If your site is an older and well established site that gets good traffic and natural links, then you may be able to survive a link bomb of this size. If however you have a new site or a site without a lot of traffic or links, there’s a much better chance Google will notice your newfound link bonanza and reward you with the dreaded “Google slap”.

I could easily find 100 website owners who have bought these services and had no ill effects, but I’m far too paranoid to try with our site.

This was intended to just be a general overview of fiverr tips for what’s safe and what’s not. Over the next few weeks I will be buying several fiverr services and posting my experiences here. If you’ve got any that you’ve had a good experience with feel free to post them here!!

Recent Google Analytics Changes

google-analytics-changes-screenshot

In this article I’m going to talk about some Google Analytics Changes and a new feature. If you don’t use Google Analytics to measure the sources and frequency of visitors to your website then feel free to skip this article. If you do use Google Analytics then there have been a few recent changes that will probably interest you.

One of the most valuable pieces of information that you can get from Analytics is to see what search terms people are using to come to your site. I check these daily for new trends and ideas. A few days ago I noticed that one of my top search terms was (not provided). I’ve you’ve been watching your numbers I’m sure you’ve noticed the same thing. The cause of this change is Google’s recent push towards security.

A few days ago, Google changed the default method of providing search results for those who are logged into Google accounts from HTTP to HTTPS. In practical terms this means anyone who is logged into Gmail or Google+ will have their searches done using HTTPS, and you won’t be able to see what terms brought them to your site. Right now around 7% of searches come from people who are logged into Google.  For now, this development is only an inconvenience, but as more and more people start to use Google plus that number will start to rise.

More Google Analytics changes : real time analytics beta

About a week ago I asked Google to give me access to the Real-time analytics beta. It….is…..AWESOME.

To be completely honest it’s more cool then useful but I still can’t wait to use it the next time we launch a promo on Twitter or Facebook. Right now our real-time screen is showing that we have 6 visitors on the site (4 from the US). I can see what pages they are viewing and that one came from Facebook and one from twitter. There is a moving timeline in the upper right hand corner which makes it feel like it’s a program from Mission Impossible.

Here is a screenshot I took this morning.

google analytics real time screen shot

One thing I’ve always wished Google Analytics had was the ability to see activity within the last 30 or 60 minutes to measure the effect that a certain action online had. This is now possible with real time analytics, and I can’t wait to test it.

In order to use real-time analytics I had utilize one of the Google Analytics changes that I had been avoiding, the new user interface. I don’t think it’s “worse” than the old interface, I just need to get used to it. The one thing I really love about the new version though is the data on social action. I can now see how many people gave me a +1 with Google, or used any of our other share buttons to share our content on Twitter, Facebook etc. This is a huge addition in my opinion and makes the switch worthwhile.

I think the trickiest part of trying to encourage our readers to share our content via social media is where to draw the line between making it easy and apparent, and making it obnoxious. I think most sites are at one end of the spectrum or another. A lot of sites ignore social media sharing all together and some sites seem to do everything but grab your screen and shake it until you tweet the article to your friends. I’m hoping these new features will give me a chance to monitor any tweaks I try to implement in that area.

There was also a recent tweak to Google’s algorithm to favor more recent data in some results, but I haven’t had a chance to study that enough yet to the point where I feel comfortable discussing it. If you have any thoughts or questions about these Google Analytics changes or any others feel free to post them here.

“ShareThis” to help your Readers Share your Content with Others

I wrote an article in September on WordPress Plugins worth using. A few days after I wrote that article I started using another plugin which I have been meaning to discuss. It’s called “ShareThis,” and it adds social media sharing buttons to all of your posts.

Google is placing more and more of an emphasis on social media in its search results. The most obvious way this is manifested is in search results where one of your friends has clicked “+1” on a page. Your website may be on page 5 of Google results for “science fiction novel” for just about everyone else in the world, but if your friend Bob has clicked +1, it will probably be displayed on the first page of results for any of his friends, along with a message saying that Bob liked this particular page. You can see what this looks like.

Google liked results

Not only do you get the boost from page 5 to page 1 (which is huge) but you get a personal recommendation from one of your friends to one of their friends. This might not happen too often for your page, but it’s one example of how social media can help you. If two articles on two different sites are similar in almost every way but one has had 20 users tweet it out and the other article has had 0 tweets, then Google will likely assume that the article with 20 tweets is the better article and will place it first in the rankings. SEO is alive and well but it’s getting more intermingled with social media daily.

Google is working through several issues with how to factor in +1 hits to search engine results. They claim only +1 hits from individuals they deem “relevant” will count towards rankings results. This is to combat people trying to inflate their rankings by buying +1 hits from eBay and fiverr.

Now that you’re thoroughly convinced you need people to share your articles with their friends, what should you do about it? Make it as easy as possible.
sharethis.com is a fantastic site which makes adding social media and bookmarking icons like the ones below automatic, easy and free.

ShareThis screenshot

sharethis WordPress screenshot

For WordPress users it’s as simple as installing the “ShareThis” plugin. For users of other blogging software or other types of sites, you can go to their website for details on how to get it up and running. It has step by step instructions for seven different blogging sites, a normal website and a newsletter. You can even pick how you want to buttons to look. Once I installed the WordPress plugin and added in our social media accounts, I never had to think about it again. Every time I add new content to the site, ShareThis puts the buttons on the bottom of the article. This makes it extremely easy for your readers to share the article they just read with their friends.

There are definitely flashier options out there for adding social media buttons to your site but ShareThis is a quick and easy way to add this functionality.

SEO Blogging Tips for Fun and Profit

SEO blogging tips pictureEven if you don’t put any effort or thought into SEO, there are a few SEO blogging tips you should keep in mind when you’re writing an article or making a landing page. You should never decrease the readability of your content in exchange to improve the SEO, but I’ve found that by having a small checklist of things that can help, I often find ways to use two or three of these methods in my pages.

For this article the term I’m trying to optimize for is “SEO blogging tips”. That is the first tip right there. Pick one term for your article or page and try to optimize for that and that alone. You can try to use a second term a few times in your article but you can really only have one as your main target. Once you’ve identified your target, here’s a list of things that can all help your on-page SEO.

Titles

Use your keyword in your page title and post title. Notice that SEO blogging tips is in both the title of this post and in the title of the page itself that you see in the tab at the top of your web browser.

URL

Use your keyword in the page’s URL. If you have control over this make sure that your post title is “seo-blogging-tips-for-fun-and-profit” instead of “post?53535” which is the WordPress default.

Meta Tags

Make sure to put your keyword in the description meta tag and keywords meta tag. Make sure to keep your description tag under 160 characters and to only use 2 or three terms in your keyword tag. Stuffing your keyword meta tag is a big red flag to search engines that you might be trying to artificially increase your pages relevancy. If you use WordPress, make sure you download the “All in One SEO Pack” plugin to make this step quick and easy. If you’re taking the time to read an article on SEO blogging tips then you want that plugin 🙂

Headings

Try to use your keywords in headings (h1, h2 & h3 tags). In the line below I’m going to wrap my targeted phrase with a “<h2>” before it and a “</h2>” after it.

SEO Blogging Tips

That’s a medium sized HTML headline tag. If I had used a h1, the font would have been bigger. If I had used h3, the font would have been smaller. By default the title of my post is an H1 so I try not to use another H1 in my post but a well placed h2 or h3 with your keyword in your post helps a little but.

Keyword Density

This is probably the trickiest one of the bunch. Some people say your keyword density should be 1%, others say 5% and many say it’s in between those numbers. While you would like your density to be at least 1% I always keep it natural above all else. I can use SEO blogging tips several times in this article and still sound ok but if I injected it into every other sentence my content would come off as spam and I wouldn’t turn readers into fans which would defeat the purpose of bringing them to your site in the first place.

Location

If you’re going to use your term a few times in your article, try to spread out it. Have one near the beginning, one towards the end and then in the middle as needed. Having them bunched into one area could make it look like you’re trying to artificially raise your keyword density.

Alt tags

One of the easiest of the SEO blogging tips to do, and it never gets in the way of your content! Make sure you use a picture in each one of your posts and make sure the alt tag contains your targeted keyword. the alt tag for the picture with this article is “SEO blogging tips picture”.

Links

You can use your targeted keyword as part of the the anchor text in a link.

Bold or Italicized

Try to make one usage of your keyword bold or italicized. I rarely do both to avoid making the page look unnatural.

The last tip is the most important tip of all. Don’t do each of these things in every post! Doing too much of any of these things can make it appear to Google like you’re trying to artificially inflate your keyword relevancy.

Even if you’re not a big believer in SEO, it’s always easy to make a keyword bold, insert a picture and make sure you use your keyword in your title. Doing a few of these in every post will help your page rank higher in Google’s search engine results and may help bring visitors to your site. If you know any good SEO blogging tips I didn’t mention here let me know!

10 Sites that Make Free RSS Directory Submission Easy

Guerrilla Wordfare RSS Feed

As part of my constant SEO self-audits, I decided that I needed to submit our site’s RSS feed to RSS directories other than Feedburner. I didn’t expect this free RSS directory submission exercise to be fun or to bring us much traffic, but I haven’t had nearly as much time as I would like to link build lately. I thought this might be a quick and easy way to expand our exposure.

Last weekend I started with a list of what claimed to be 40 of the internet’s top free RSS directories. Some of them wanted to charge me money to submit my site. I instantly left those sites. Some of them took everything short of a DNA sample before they would consider our site. I submitted our site to those but it probably wasn’t worth the time. Some would only list our site if we back-linked to their site with a large, obnoxious button. I’m not in the business of creating a directory of directories so I didn’t take them up on their offer. The ones that upset me the most strung me along through step after step with promises that this step would be the last, only to then try to charge me for the listing. If I ever meet the people responsible for those…..

Out of this list of 40 I found 10 sites that made free RSS directory submission a blast. They asked for nothing in return, didn’t waste my time and tried their best to make up for the 30 other sites. I’ll share these with you now so that you can submit your site to them and then take the rest of the day off without the guilt that “You didn’t do any work on the site today”.

10 Sites that make free RSS directory submission easy

http://blogdigger.com/add.jsp
http://www.plazoo.com/
http://rssmountain.com/
http://www.millionrss.com/
http://www.feedsee.com/
http://rss-one.com/
http://www.5z5.com/Suggest-A-Feed/
http://www.rss-directory.us/
http://4guysfromrolla.aspin.com/func/addres/rss-review/userlist?rid=1427020&cob=4guysfromrolla
http://www.feedplex.com/

All of these sites have a Google PageRank of at least 3, and none of them have blown up my inbox with spam yet. Submitting your blog to these 10 free RSS directory submission sites won’t bring you a flood of traffic, but it will be a tiny bit more search engine visibility for your site for very little effort.

Regarding the aforementioned lack of time to do link building, I’ll bring this up for the first time ever on the site. If you have a writing related blog or site and are interested in doing a link exchange with us, use the contact form and let me know.

My Battle to Stop my Blog Comments and Forum Posts from Disappearing

Spam isn’t as much of an issue now as it was a few years ago due to spam filters from our email services being so much better. However like anyone else who used email before spam filters, I have fond memories of waking up to 58 emails in my inbox, 3 of which weren’t Viagra related.  I therefore have a deep rooted hatred of spammers. You can imagine my surprise this week when I found out that I was a spammer!

I rarely post comments on blogs or forums due to time constraints. I know it’s something I need to do more, and I’m trying to work on it. Last weekend I wrote what I thought was a long and thoughtful comment on a blog and was crushed when I pushed post and it disappeared. It was probably over 500 words and of course I didn’t copy and paste it first so it was just gone. I figured it was some glitch in the system. I left depressed and gave up on the internet for a few hours. Link building is tough enough without these types of issues.

Later that day I gathered the internal fortitude to try and use the inter-webs again and went and posted on a forum where I posted several times in the past. I typed a short comment and when I pushed the post button it too disappeared before my very eyes. If these places wouldn’t love me, at least our cover artist would. I went to Dafeenah’s site and commented on one of her posts and THAT didn’t show. I then knew I had a serious problem. Dafeenah confirmed that I did indeed get labeled as spam so I hit Google to try figure out a solution.

It seemed the general consensus was that you should contact Akismet and in a week or so they may or may not help you. I used Akismet’s Contact us form and provided my name, email, website and told them that I only made 2-3 posts/comments a week and they were always relevant. Within four hours I got a reply from Akismet saying that they weren’t sure what happened but that the problem should be fixed. I went to Dafeenah’s WordPress site, the comment posted right away. I hit the forum that blocked my lost post; it went right through. Just to make sure that all my problems were solved I went to the blog that blocked my long comment and it worked like a champ.

Akismet’s spam plugin has always impressed me but their customer service may have even impressed me more. If you notice that your comments or posts don’t seem to be posting, I would head straight to Akismet and give them your information.

More Google AdWords talk, tips and a video

Our cover artist Dafeenah just launched a new website for her design services. Getting to know Dafeenah has been one of my favorite parts of this indie author journey. She is as funny as she is talented. We traded a few emails about Google AdWords the other day and I thought I would mention of couple of the topics we discussed.

I’ve talked several times about the math behind Google AdWords and why it’s so important to track your conversion rates. Dafeenah is in a situation that is a little less common. She isn’t selling a product that is always there and just needs to be clicked on (eBooks) or a product that has a set cost and needs to be shipped (paperback books). She is selling her time and talent as a designer. If she is charging $50 per awesome book cover and they take her four hours to complete then she’s making $12.50 per hour (minus the cost of acquiring images, software etc).

With most websites they need to weigh the cost of acquiring a customer via AdWords versus the amount of money they can make per customer. The math makes this an easy problem to solve. With Dafeenah it’s a bit of a different story. If she has to pay $10 per customer acquired (a hypothetical $0.50 a click with 1 in 20 who click actually becoming clients) then she isn’t in danger of losing money, she just lowered her hourly rate from $12.50 to $10.00. Is it worth it? When you’re starting out it probably is. Just use that free trial of Google AdWords for all it’s worth to start the ball rolling to make sure you don’t start paying out before the revenue starts coming in.

In this situation my likely strategy would be to start off with a cheap Google AdWords campaign to get the ball rolling, track everything involved with it to make sure I wasn’t losing money, but to simultaneously be building other sources of customer acquisition. Forum posting, eBay etc. As soon as you can acquire clients from cheaper sources and your word of mouth spreads you can scale back your Google AdWords budget or put in on hold all together. If you ever hit a slow period and would like to drum up some more clients, you can always fire it back up again instantly.

In the video I talk about the section of Google AdWords where you can track conversation rate and how to implement it, why SEO companies love AdWords and a couple of things you can use the advertising network information for. If you have any more detailed questions about this or any other topic let me know and I’ll do my best to answer it.

NOTE: due to sleep deprivation I originally posted the wrong video. I’ve now fixed it.

Some WordPress Plugins Worth Using

I’m going completely backwards with this one. One of the posts on my “to write” list is an article on some of the advantages that using WordPress has over traditional websites and as part of that I was going to talk about some of the plugins we use. Well today Julia Crane is converting her website to WordPress and so the list of handy plugins we use jumped to the front of the list.

Akismet
The fact that WordPress includes this as part of the standard installation should tell you something. Akismet checks every comment that get’s posted on your site and and determines if it’s spam. If it thinks it is it moves it to a special spam queue with the others where you can delete them with two clicks. When we first started this site I thought Akismet was awesome as it would save us from identifying and deleting the spams by hand one at a time. As our site has grown in traffic it has gone from great to a necessity. We got 36 spam comments in March and Akismet was handy. So far in September we have 3,839. If it wasn’t for Akismet I would literally spend all day cleaning spam. To say this is worth the time to get an api and configure it would be a colossal understatement.

All in one SEO pack
Ads a small window window when you write new posts that let’s you set the title of the page that your post will show on as well as the meta description and meta keywords on your post. If you’re an SEO addict like I am you want this.

AmberPanther Favicon for WordPress
Let’s you ad your own cute little custom icon next to your page name that shows on browser tabs or browser bookmarks.

Exclude Pages from Navigation
I just added this one last week. It’s bad mojo with Google if it goes to find a page that used to exist but is no longer there. Google frowns upon dead links. I had a page that no longer fit with the rest of the site so I didn’t want it showing at the top of each page but I didn’t want to delete it all together. I downloaded this plugin, checked that page to be excluded and it now longer shows in the navigation menu at the top of each page, but it still exists so no Google penalization.

Fast Secure Contact Form
I use this for our “Contact Us” page. It was quick, easy and works great.

Google Analyticator
Automatically ads the code for Google analytics to the top of every page or post you create. I set this up one time and haven’t thought about it since. This is a day one “must install”.

Google XML Sitemaps
Automatically creates a new XML sitemap every time you ad new content and submits it to the major search engines. Another day one “must install”.

Online Backup for WordPress
Let’s you download a backup file with all of your site’s content and formatting. Do it at least once a month or so. Hopefully the day never comes when you need it, but if it ever does and you don’t have it….

Post Filters
Some posts I write belong in their categories but I would rather not have them hog a spot on the front page. This ads a little checkbox to the bottom of the post creation form called “skip frontpage” that does exactly that when I check it. VERY useful for landing pages.

Ultimate Category Excluder
Another one I recently installed to fill a specific need. With WordPress everything you do goes out on your sites RSS feed, as well it should. Lizzy has it setup so that every new RSS post get’s posted on Goodreads, Facebook etc. Most of the time that is really cool. The problem is, if I’m getting ready to make a landing page I don’t necessarily want that going out to all of those sites. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just don’t want to spam Facebook with “Check out Lizzy’s new books!!”. This plugin let’s me designate a category to be excluded from the site’s RSS feed, and therefore won’t be posted on those other sites. Another handy plugin for landing page fans.

There are thousands of WordPress plugins and more are added every day so if you have a specific need, you can probably download an answer. As always, feel free to ask any question and please post if you know of any handy ones you loved that I’ve missed!

Link Building Tips

The two biggest factors in any website ranking high in search engine results are: high quality content and the links from other sites pointing towards that page. We’ve talked a lot about the content but not too much about the link building, so I thought I would write an article to help balance that out.

The VERY basics.

Google treats a link from page A to page B as a vote of confidence from page A for page B. This vote makes Google think page B is more likely to have good content (why else would page A link to them?) and therefore makes Google more likely to place page B higher in its search results. That is a very easy concept to understand. What’s not so easy to figure out sometimes is how much that vote is worth. If site A is a website that gets 5 visitors a day, that vote can be worth very little. If site A is a well-established site getting 500 visitors a day, the vote MAY be worth quite a bit.

The obvious goal for website owners is to get as many high quality links to their website as possible. Sometimes easier said than done. We’ll now talk about the different methods you can use to acquire links for your site, and some things to watch out for.

Link Exchange

The time honored tradition of all website owners. You basically email the owner of another website and offer to put a link to their site on yours if they agree to put a link for your site on theirs. This is an extremely effective method, and it’s only requirement is time. What should you look for?

1: The website is in the same industry as you. This is a HUGE factor. If you’re an author a link from someone in the publishing industry is probably going to be far more valuable to your site then someone in the hardware industry. Don’t just look for any site that will take your link; be picky and try to find sites in the same genre.

2: Check the websites traffic using alexa.com. Any website in the field is probably worth having a link from, but it’s still nice to know how much traffic the site gets. If you have the Google toolbar installed in your browser, you can check a site’s pagerank as well. Pagerank is a number from 0 to 10 that measures how much authority Google views a site as having. The tricky part about pagerank is that it’s not Google’s real number. Google’s real number is updated daily and nobody outside of Google knows what that is. The range rank number from the toolbar is only updated 2-4 times a year. While pagerank is worth looking at, make sure you know the Alexa number as well.

Now that you know what you’re looking for, start hitting Google to find sites in your industry, and start letting the emails fly. What should you email them? Most important is to be honest. If you just found their site today, don’t say you’re a long time reader. The second most important thing is to be human. Don’t make it strictly a form letter; tell them what you liked about their site.

When you get to the part where you ask for the link, sell yourself as much as you can. I didn’t do enough link building when we first started this site, but one good thing from that is now when I’m trying to get a link I can say our site has an Alexa ranking under half a million and gets over 300 unique visitors a day. What if you don’t have any numbers? Sell yourself. Tell them what you’ve done and what you’re planning to do. It really is purely a time and numbers game. If you email 20 website owners with honest emails asking to exchange links, you’re probably going to get a lot more links then if you hadn’t emailed anyone.

When you’ve found your first website owner willing to swap links, take a second to think about what hyperlinked text you want to appear on their site to bring them to your site.  This is called the “anchor text” of a link. While it’s not the most important thing in the world, it does matter. If I want our site to be in the top results for the term “Romance eBooks” I would much rather have links use that text then just “Guerrilla Wordfare”. I’m going to rank at or near the top for guerrilla wordfare no matter what I do so if I have a choice I’ll ask for the “Romance eBooks” text. Does it really matter? Yes, and I can prove it! Open up a new tab or browser window and google “click here”. What’s the top result? Adobe Acrobat Reader (the software that lets you view PDF files). Look at their site and you won’t find them optimizing for the term “click here”. So why are they in first place? Because there are millions of websites out there with pdf files, and many of them have statements like the following:

You can view PDF files with adobe acrobat. In order to download adobe acrobat click here.

While that is an extreme example, it is a great one. There is a digital marketing company called Click Here, with the website of clickhere.com, and they still have to struggle to get the top spot from adobe for the sole reason of a ton of anchor text all over the internet.

Buying Links:

You don’t see much about this topic. Why? Because Google doesn’t like it! So is that just the end of the story?  Not really. In my opinion there are three categories of link buying.

1: The private sale of a link/ad from one website owner to another website owner.

If there is a website in your industry with a lot of traffic and they sell ad space, there is nothing wrong with buying that link/ad. I think some may say that a link is different but I really don’t think it is. Our advertising budget from the start has been five dollars a month (seriously). I paypal a website owner $5 a month for a small square picture ad for Lizzy’s books to run on her site. If I paid her $5 a month for a text link instead of a picture ad is that wrong? A few may say yes, but I really don’t see why. Small transactions like this take place all the time and nobody really has a problem with them.

Do you NEED to do it? Absolutely not! But if you’ve got more money than time and you want links…

2: Link building companies.

Google HATES these people. There are firms out there who charge a pretty penny, and then go out and get links for your website. Some of them do a great job, some of them not so much. The price alone is probably going to keep you from doing this, but if that doesn’t the possibility of them doing something dumb and getting your website banned from google should be.

What kind of dumb stuff could they do? Stuff like #3.

3: Bulk junk.

Go to eBay, fiver.com or any other site and you will see tons of people offering “1000 backlinks to your site! Boost your SEO now!!!!”. These are usually pretty cheap too. These will all be worthless links from adult sites, link farms, spams on blogs etc. Best case they will do nothing for you, worst case they will get your site banned from Google. Google isn’t dumb, when they see 100 new links to your site, 40 of which are from the same ip address and the other 60 are blog spam, they aren’t going to think highly of you.

Links from forum posts and blog comments:

I don’t do nearly enough of this. You really should be active in the online community of whatever industry you’re in, and you should have a signature block with a link to your site. A lot of forums are set up so that the links don’t count as votes of confidence for your site but they can still bring people to your site. This shouldn’t be your entire link building strategy, but it should be a part.

Links from writing articles, press releases etc.

One of the fun things about SEO is that tactics that work right now may not work in six months. Why even try? Because if you stick to good content and natural link building, that will NEVER go out of style with Google. What is the latest thing that Google has declared an enemy? Duplicate content.

Earlier this year Google started rolling out updates called “Panda”. The main target of these updates is to lower the search engine relevance of sites that have content which is also in other locations. If the article on your site is also on 20 other sites, why should Google send them to you?

I LOVE this update. It means people who take the time and effort to write quality content will face less competition from sites who just try to scrape content from others. The reason I’m bringing this up is that it seems to have severely reduced the value of writing articles and submitting them to services to be plastered over the internet. So if you’re currently reading a book from 2009 that’s encouraging you to article write your way to millions, you may want to spend your time elsewhere.

However, what I don’t know is what the threshold is.  Do you get penalized only if your content appears on more than 5 other websites?  10?  15?  No one knows but Google.

Summary:

I’ve seen tests where people post high quality content but make zero link building efforts. The results aren’t pretty. You really do need to balance yourself and your time. Got a million links to your site but no good, updated content? You’ll only end up with a million disappointed visitors. Got a ton of great content but no links, nobody may ever see the content.

That’s a very basic overview of link building. Which is most important? All of them. Google is watching you. If all of your links are from any one thing in particular, you won’t have as much credibility in their eyes as if you have a variety of links with a variety of anchor texts. If there was a secret, I’d tell you. If you know what the secret is, please email it to me.

One last thing you’re going to find out anyway so you might as well hear it from me. You’re going to get a lot of rejection. We have a good thing going here and when I email people I’m always polite, friendly, honest and tell them what I’m proposing (link exchange, book giveaway, book feature etc.) and how I think it could benefit them. Most of the time I get no reply and “No thanks” is a strong second place with “sure” a distant third. One summer in high school I worked as a telemarketer to make money for the upcoming school year. Link building is giving me telemarketing flashbacks. Dealing with a steady stream of rejection isn’t fun for anybody but I really know of no way around the process other then paying someone else to do it for you.

I tell myself to remember that even if I only get one out of every ten that’s still one more then I would otherwise have gotten, and tomorrow I’ll go after ten more. Link building rewards both your creative approaches to identifying potential partners and the hours you spend trying to make those partnerships happen. If you work at it you will build more partners and get web exposure. It’s impossible not too. The only bottleneck is the time your willing to/able to put into it.

As with a lot of my posts, I’m afraid I’ve left the reader feeling overwhelmed by throwing so much information out there in one post. Why do I do it? Because even though lack of time keeps me from doing everything I know I should be doing, an understanding of all of these different factors and their value to my website’s visibility helps me make informed decisions on how to spend the time I do have.