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How Tumblr Helped Put My Site on Top

This guest post is by Ryan Shell of Fashables.

I won’t even begin to act like I’m some sort of SEO ninja, because I’m not. What I do know is that a particular post on one of my sites has ranked in the top three spots on Google, with a majority of that time spent at number one and outranking a major clothing brand.

Tumblr played a huge part in making that happen, and I’d like to share my almost accidental findings.

The backstory

Fashables

Break dancing (Image courtesy PhotosbyRy.com)

I’m a marketer by day, but one of my many side projects is running a men’s and women’s fashion blog called Fashables. I attended a Dockers event on April 7 for the launch of one of a new line of pants, the Alpha Khakis.

After the event, I went home, wrote a new post and scheduled it to be published the following day. The post was well optimized for the phrase “Dockers Alpha Khakis” and search engines have since sent my site a good amount of traffic for those keywords.

One of the reasons why I’ve received the traffic is because of keyword optimization, but another huge part of the SEO puzzle is what happened with Tumblr, and that’s the real story here.

The accident

This could get confusing, so keep I mind that Dockers Alpha Khakis is the primary post in question.

A recurring feature on the site is a street style fashion post that is published twice a week. One of the photos previously published is the one you see to the right—it’s of a young girl taking part in a break-dancing circle at Union Square in New York City.

One of Fashables readers evidently liked the photo enough to share it on Tumblr. Now, this is where the accident happened.

When they shared the photo on Tumblr they, for a reason unknown to me, linked the photo to the Dockers Alpha Khakis post on Fashables.

Once the photo hit Tumblr, it got reblogged and reblogged—maybe 40 or so times in total. Each reblog provided another link back to the Dockers Alpha Khakis post on Fashables and increasing the post’s Google juice.

The result

Before long, I started noticing that searches for “Dockers Alpha Khakis” were sending a decent amount of traffic to Fashables.

In fact, for quite some time my post was coming up number one in Google searches and outranking the main Dockers website. This was a huge deal: my little fashion blog was outranking a major brand’s website. This had my inner nerd awfully excited, which made my mind curious about how these findings could be used, on purpose, in the future.

Contest your way to links

We can talk until we’re blue in the face about ways things were done or ideas about outcomes, but at the end of the day, you need to know how they can impact you.

For this Tumblr example, my immediate thinking is that this could alter the way bloggers, or anyone wanting to promote a specific webpage, run contests.

Currently a lot of people who do giveaways focus on email entries, comment entries, Facebook entries, and Twitter entries. The time may now have come for Tumblr to be part of that game. If you want a high search engine rank for Widget X, using Tumblr to have a link reblogged time and time again will add significant influence to a specific page and its keywords.

Keep in mind that the photo that was posted to Tumblr from Fashables had only one link that connected it to the Dockers post. To be clear, there wasn’t a mention of the product or keyword in the original Tumblr post, so this method can be used without appearing overly spammy or self promotional.

In the end, I didn’t plan on ranking so high for “Dockers Alpha Khakis,” but I certainly welcome the traffic that has been driven to Fashables from search engines. Do you think this tactic could work for you?

Ryan Shell is a marketer by day, and he runs the fashion blog Fashables by night. Connect with him on Twitter at @RyanShell. And if you like fashion, make sure you connect with @Fashables.

Boost Your Blog #7: Interlink Your Posts

Continuing our discussion of things you should be doing right now to improve your blog, today’s tip is:

7. Interlink your posts

Another task that I try to do on a regular basis (not as regularly as I should!) is going back through old posts in my archives and looking for opportunities to interlink them.

Many times bloggers write multiple posts on their blog on related topics, and each one is an opportunity to interlink relevant content. This benefits your readers, as you give them further reading on the topic, and helps with your search rankings (internal links help your SEO a little).

Pay particular attention to opportunities to link to your own products in older posts—this can be a money spinner.

Do you regularly go back and interlink old posts?

Boost Your Blog #5: Check for Hot Posts

Continuing our discussion of things you could be doing right now to improve your blog, today’s tip is:

5. Check your metrics for “hot posts”

One of the tasks that I build into my own blogging on a monthly(ish) basis is to dig into Google Analytics. I do a number of things while digging in but one simple task that can have significant impact is to look for “hot posts”—posts that attract a higher rate of traffic than normal posts.

Most blogs have a few hot posts in their archives, and they’re not always the ones you’d expect. These posts are real opportunities—there are people viewing them and chances are that once they do, they then disappear never to return.

Once you’ve identified your hot posts, think about how you can optimize them. You might put a bit more time into optimizing them for SEO, you might want to think about how to hook visitors of that page into subscribing, or you might want to even think about promoting a product (yours or someone else’s) from that post. Really what you do will depend upon your goals.

Does your blog have hot posts? And have you optimized them?

White-Hat SEO + Social Media = Link Bait Magic

This guest post is by Ben Jackson of SEODiscovery.org.

You’re a blogger.

You want traffic.

You know between nothing and a lot about SEO?

Perfect.

Most people are intimidated by SEO and just as many have no clue what it’s all about. This is exactly why corporations waste thousands upon thousands of dollars every year on useless SEO practices that produce lackluster results—they don’t understand what is happening! Well here is my proposition:

Whether you already understand SEO or know nothing about it, I am going to present a strategy to you right now that will have you getting lots of links and traffic to your site, and here’s the kicker…

You won’t even realize you’re building links! You can follow this process, concerning yourself only with creating great content and establishing a great reputation in your niche, and the links and rankings will follow.

Enough talk. Let’s get to it!

One of the only SEO tactics that is actually considered to be white-hat is link bait. Link Bait is a piece of content or feature on a site that is especially appealing and worthy of attention. Visitors like what you’ve shared so much that they link back to you, thus “link bait”. You do the work upfront creating something awesome and then sit back as the links pour in for you. This is also referred to as natural link building and is 100% white-hat.

Step 1. Create your link bait

We are just getting into the entire promotional/SEO campaign we’re going to be developing and this is by far the most important part. You need to have something really great to share and you need to use the magic word—it needs to be FREE (always capitalize FREE). I’m sure we all know already that people love posts with lists: Top 10 Article Directories, Best 5 Tips for Weight Loss, and so on.

You want to create really usable and exciting content for your niche. Compile a few lists together into one comprehensive directory, create a list with an angle that hasn’t been done, share a secret actionable tip you have been waiting to share—something that your viewers will want to come back to and share with others. You can get creative and provide value however you want (I did it with a free software program you can see here: FREE OnlyWire Account Creator).

Bonus tip: If you really want to kick it up a notch, think of something people never give away for free, and give it away for free. Software or an ebook without an opt-in can work well, and you can also put affiliate links and links back to your site in your product.

Step 2. Make sure it’s shareable

The Internet and how we share online has changed a lot over the last few years. We don’t get so many forwarded emails with jokes in them anymore (that is so 90’s). These days, social media has become the analogy for word of mouth on the Web, and we want to let the people talk!

While we are creating “link” bait and we want to get links from webpages, we cannot ignore the fact that most people will opt for a tweet instead. Many people don’t have a real online presence or won’t write a relevant blog post in order to share your link, so they’ll just tweet it or like it on facebook instead.

This is why it’s very important that we place sharing buttons prominently on our page with our link bait and also refer people to them. Every tweet will expose your link bait page to more people who may also retweet or link to your page. Basically, you have an opportunity to greatly expand your popularity and potentially go viral off this process.

SEO reminder: getting a lot of links to this one page on your site will give it a lot more authority and this link juice will spread through your internal links and help other pages on you blog rank higher as well.

Step 3. Create the spark

Part I: Getting ready

At this point you’ve got your awesome link bait setup on your site, catered towards your niche, and ready to explode. The sad truth is that if you build it, they will not come: you still have to promote this page to get the ball rolling. If you have a big Twitter following or an email list, you can contact these people about it to get things started.

A lot of us don’t have those assets built up yet, but thankfully there is a lot you can do to ignite the fire on your link bait. We are going to accomplish three different things all at the same time:

  1. Build dofollow backlinks to your site.
  2. Build links to your link bait.
  3. Establish/build a positive and professional reputation in your niche.

This is all done through blog comments. Here’s how:

  1. Go to www.dropmylink.com.
  2. Enter a very broad keyword for your niche like “seo” or “cars”.
  3. Choose to search for “KeywordLuv” blogs.
  4. Click Search.
Drop my link

Drop my link

This will help you find tons of blogs in your niche that use KeywordLuv on their comments. In case you’re not familiar, KeywordLuv blogs are “dofollow” which means they pass link juice, they allow you to use your keyword to link back to your site, and a lot of the time they link back to your most recent post too. Your goal is to first amass a list of popular KeywordLuv blogs in your niche.

Part II: Here comes the magic

It’s time to reveal how this all comes together now. You’re going to visit each of these blogs one-by-one and leave a comment on their most recent blog post. You want to comment on the most recent blog post because it will have the most activity which means the most potential for people to click through your links and find your link bait.

Also, these pages are linked right off the homepage so they should have some PR (No you can’t see the PR because “Toolbar PR” isn’t updated often, but the page does have PR). When you comment, you can leave a link with anchor text to any page of your site you want to rank. I know you don’t have all page #1 rankings, so choose a keyword you have been working on and leave an anchor text link to the corresponding page (there’s the link building part).

When you leave a comment you will also automatically get a link to your most recent post. The idea is that you make your link bait your most recent post. This way, you get an anchor text link to a page you want to rank and you get a link promoting your link bait. These “most recent post” links stand-out and get clicked on more often as well.

Most recent post

Most recent post

When blog commenting, take the time to read the post (you might learn something from it) or at least skim it so you can leave a comment that adds value to the page. If you leave stupid comments like, “Wow, great share thanks!!” you will fail in two ways:

  1. Your comment won’t get approved.
  2. You won’t look authoritative and won’t build a solid reputation in your niche.

Make a meaningful comment because this will cause discussion around your comment and it will make people want to click through your link. To recap, you will visit a popular blog in your niche with KeywordLuv enabled and leave a comment on their most recent blog post. You are not spamming, you are adding value to their page and sharing your links.

This way, you can establish yourself as an authority in you niche, build “dofollow” anchor text links to your website, and promote your link bait so that it catches on and gets links to your website on autopilot.

Bonus tip: When someone in your niche comments on your site, follow their link back to their site and comment on it too and even tweet a post of theirs. This goes a long way for building strong relationships and networking with relevant web masters.

SEO is becoming less and less about traditional link building, and spamming becomes a dumber idea every day. If you focus on sharing quality content, creating a great user experience, and integrating social media, you are bound to grow your traffic and increase your rankings. You can repeat the above strategy over and over again for repeat results. Instead of worrying about the newest link building schemes or paying for an expensive new SEO program, you can focus entirely on creating great content and building your reputation—every blogger’s dream.

Master the SEO basics for FREE with Ben Jackson’s SEO Course (No opt-in) and be sure to follow Ben on Twitter and “like” the FB page too!

Being Relevant and Reputable—Google’s Sweet Spot

This guest post is by John Hoff of Blog Training Classroom.

I’ve written many articles online over the years. Many deal with WordPress, blogging, and making money online; however, there’s one subject I’ve noticed which consistently takes the “most popular” topic award … search engine optimization.

The concept of search engine optimization at times can really make your head spin. In one respect, it seems like a concept which is extremely complicated to understand and implement because there can be a ton of moving parts which you have to consider, like:

  • keywords
  • keyword density
  • attaining backlinks
  • who you link to
  • duplicate content
  • how to structure your link text
  • heading tags
  • meta tags.

And now with terms like Panda and Google +1 getting tossed into the mix, I feel like grabbing our buddy Googlebot by the shirt and saying, “Really? I mean, come on. I’ve got way more important things to do online then trying to understand how your Google brain works!”

But then there’s the simplicity of search engine optimization.

The simplicity part comes when you start thinking about Google as if it were a human. By thinking of it like a human, we can better understand what it wants in terms of concepts we understand and use in our everyday lives.

The human side of Google

The above list shows all the mechanics of SEO. Google is not a human, it’s an algorithm.

Now to throw you for even more of a loop: it’s an algorithm which is trying to act like a human. You ask it something and it wants to be the smartest guy on the block.

How does it get to be the smartest guy on the block?

By giving you the best answer to your question.

And that, my friends, is what Google wants.

While Yahoo! and Bing give “okay” answers, Google wants to give you the best answer, just like your most trusted friend would, because if it can do that, you’ll keep asking it questions.

So what is the human side of SEO?

It’s the concept of helping Google get what it wants in terms of how we humans think. And by giving it what it wants, it will reward you.

How to give Google what it wants

Here’s where all those mechanics of SEO come into play. They are the way in which Google tries to determine two very simple concepts. Is a site or article:

  • relevant
  • reputable?

Now those are concepts we humans can understand a little more easily.

The relevant part is the easy part—all you have to do is stay on topic. It’s the reputable part which takes a little more work, but we’ll talk about that in just a moment.

Case study: Problogger.net

Let’s take a look at how Darren Rowse and his site are giving Google what it wants.

As of the date this article was written, Problogger.net has a PageRank of 6. Not too shabby. This tells us that Google thinks this site is important.

How then would Google see that Darren and his site are both relevant and reputable?

The “relevant” part

When you arrive on Darren’s blog, it’s obvious his site is all about the concept of blogging. Here’s a quick list of how he shows Google his site is relevant to blogging:

  • He offers products on the subject.
  • He’s got an incredible number of articles written which relate to blogging.
  • The word “blogger” is in his URL.
  • The word “blog” is sprinkled throughout his website.
  • His site’s home page title clearly tells people what they will find here (blogging tips).

And the list goes on.

Okay, so that was the easy part: just stay on topic and show Google what your site is all about. But what about being reputable?

The “reputable” part

Back in the day (years ago), simply being relevant was good enough—remember those keyword meta tags?

But being only relevant these days just doesn’t cut it and the reason is because the Internet has grown from a few thousand websites to millions of websites, with many talking about exactly the same thing.

So tell me then, who’s article would you rather read and trust?

Someone who knows nothing about blogging but wrote a “how to make money blogging” article, or an article Darren wrote which was about “how to make money blogging?”

Both articles are relevant to making money through blogging, but whose article would you trust is more correct?

Take that evaluation you just did in your head, and that’s exactly what Google is doing.

It sees that both articles are relevant to the topic but then, just like you, it makes a decision at who is more trustworthy.

And that’s where the reputable part comes into play.

Darren and his site Problogger.net are reputable for these reasons:

  • People (a lot of people) link to his site.
  • People mention his name and site even when they don’t link to him.
  • He’s like seriously everywhere: Twitter, Facebook, Google+ (how do you do it, man?).
  • His articles get retweeted, Liked, Stumbled, appear on Digg, etc.

In other words, he’s mentioned everywhere online … and in a good way.

So Darren has shown Google, just as he has to you and me, that his site is both relevant to blogging and a reputable resource people can use. By showing this to Google, he has attained decent search rank.

That’s the simple side of search engine optimization. It’s not about the mechanics, it’s about the human side of SEO.

How to get into Google’s good graces

In my opinion, the way to achieve the best search engine success is by concentrating the majority of your time on the human aspect of SEO.

Don’t get me wrong—if you’re really wanting to dive into search engine optimization, then you’re going to have to learn the mechanics. There’s no way around that. You can think of the mechanics (keywords density, header tags, etc.) like tools.

But tools don’t build buildings, people do.

Chances are that many of you want to rank your articles in Google, but have better things to do with your time than become SEO experts.

If that’s you and the idea of studying search engine optimization is as appealing as watching reruns of Rocky III all day long, then I’d suggest at the very least familiarizing yourself with a few of the more important mechanics of SEO, and then focusing the rest of your time on just building epic stuff.

Concentrate on people, and do what entrepreneurs did back in the day before the Internet.

Create that epic stuff—articles, blogs, ebooks, tweets, etc.—and then get out there and hit the digital pavement. Share your epic stuff with other people and they will like you.

And when other people like you, Google will like you. Hence Google +1.

By the way, what the heck do we call Google +1? Twitter has “tweets” and Facebook has “Likes”, but what do you say when you +1 something?

And how important do you think this tool will be after reading this post?

John Hoff the blog training instructor at Blog Training Classroom and is an Internet Marketer. If you’d like to learn more about SEO and how he ranks sites and articles in Google, he’s got a free SEO brain dump download – no email address required.

Why Bieber SEO Copywriting Sex Doesn’t iPad Work Minecraft

This guest post is by Greg McFarlane of Control Your Cash.

Today, I bring you heresy. Not on the scale of Galileo trying to convince Pope Urban VIII that the sun doesn’t revolve around the Earth, but close enough.

Stop believing the lies. SEO is a fool’s errand.

SEO copywriting is the worst invention since the vuvuzela, and does at least as much to drown out coherent thought. I’m not talking merely about the damage SEO does in the hands of independent bloggers like (presumably you) and me. Visit the landing pages of some major corporations and other business entities, and you’ll see particular words and phrases dispersed and repeated through the text so awkwardly that the finished product barely qualifies as English.

Here’s an excerpt from a famous American hotel’s landing page. Discretion forced me to substitute the name of another city for the hotel’s actual city, which will make it .002% more difficult for you to figure out what hotel the passage refers to:

Your Ultimate Cincinnati Experience Begins At Our Cincinnati Hotel Resort.

Elevate your experience at the (5-word phrase describing the hotel). See all the changes that make our Cincinnati hotel new – up down and all around. The best value on the Cincinnati Strip, the (5-word phrase describing the hotel) offers affordable dining, spacious hotel accommodations, exciting Cincinnati hotel casino games, headline entertainment and some of the best thrill rides in the world, all in a central location. Boasting the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States west of the Mississippi, this iconic Cincinnati hotel is recognizable all over the world. Visit the indoor and outdoor observation decks in the (5-word phrase describing the hotel) to see why our panoramic view of Cincinnati was voted the Best of Cincinnati for 2010 and 2011 by the Cincinnati Review-Journal. Dine in the city’s only revolving restaurant, Top of the World, offering 360 degree views of Cincinnati. Grab a drink at one of our many lively bars. Take advantage of our exceptional Cincinnati hotel deals and relax in our spacious rooms.

Wait, where are you located? And what type of establishment is it again? Thanks, I wasn’t sure. The accompanying photos of the hotel and the iconic skyline it inhabits weren’t giving me a clue either.

No one has ever read that preceding dreadful paragraph in its entirety, possibly not even the person who wrote it, ran it through an SEO program and then posted it.

The worst part is that the people responsible know that SEO “copywriting” results in non-syntactical gibberish, yet don’t care.

Why?

SEO devotees got trapped in the minutiae and lost sight of the ultimate objective: getting people to buy. Everything else is secondary, including intermediate and tertiary goals such as moving up in Google rankings.

It’s as if you were to make it your life’s work to keep your car’s license plate as legible as possible. You shampoo it daily, then buffer it with the most reflective wax you can buy, letting the plate serve as a gleaming reminder to the vehicle behind you of who you are and what state you live in. Meanwhile, you never bother to change the oil, check the tire pressure, fix the shattered windshield, or even confirm that you filled the tank and inserted your key in the ignition.

SEO not only shouldn’t be an end in itself, it runs counter to the more basic goal of getting people to hear what you have to say. The above paragraph could have read something like this:

The best value on the Strip boasts affordable dining, enormous rooms, casino games, spectacular entertainment and world-famous thrill rides, capped by the highest observation tower west of the Mississippi. Stand behind the glass, brave the elements, or even enjoy a gourmet meal, 1,149 feet above the ground.

It’s not Shakespeare, nor even Dickens, but it gets the point across. More importantly, it would get read. Perhaps not by Google crawlers, but by eyes connected to heads (and indirectly to wallets.)

If you’re writing for Google crawlers, or anything other than humans, the battle is already lost. Otherwise, who are you writing for? Literally no one. For people who preach SEO as a moral imperative, verbal resonance doesn’t matter as much as strategic keyword placement.

Oh, isn’t Greg being cute and naive. His right-dominant brain thinks that cold science is sullying his precious art.

No. SEO isn’t a hard discipline like chemistry or physics. It’s an attempt to codify a metric that has only a tangential relationship (and occasionally an adversarial one) with the more important one of attracting customers. You remember customers, right? The people who buy your products?

Telling a talented writer to write for SEO is the equivalent of someone having told Mozart, “Those concertos of yours are okay, but you should include at least one diminished seventh chord and a couple of appoggiaturas every ten measures.”

There are even better arguments for the death of SEO, one of which is an insurmountable little mathematical problem. Just as not all children can be above average, not all sites can be optimized. If they could be, then your definition of optimization is wrong. If every blogger in your field intersperses the same select words and phrases throughout her copy, the result is nothing. You can’t have everyone move up in the rankings. If you have 100 competing sites, and they all adopt the latest SEO practices, what remains are … 100 competing sites. When every blogger spends less time creating content and more time trying to please algorithms, the result is that no one benefits and readers now have a more difficult time sifting through everything. It’s the Tragedy of the Common Nouns.

And another thing. No one mentions that every time you Google something, the initial page grossly overstates the number of results. People see an intimidating 7- or 8-digit monstrosity that’s supposed to represent how many instances of the relevant phrase exist online, and then those people panic. 

For instance, entering “control your cash” (with quotes) ostensibly returns 8,410,000 results. (Fortunately, the top six that appear in the screen capture all happen to reference my site.)

Search results

Of course, I indeed searched for that phrase when I was thinking of names for my site. At that time, had I wanted to, I could have thought, “Oh my Lord. Even if I somehow add enough keywords in my copy that I reach the 99th percentile, there will still be 84,100 results ahead of me. Google displays them ten to a page, so unless a searcher is willing to press the arrow labeled “Next” at the bottom of the page 8,410 times, no one will ever see me.”

Try pressing that “Next” arrow anyway and see what happens. Go ahead, I’ll wait and meet you back here 8,410 clicks from now.

More search results

“Control your cash” doesn’t return 8,410,000 usable results. It returns 479 unique results. And that’s for a fairly generic phrase. If you want people to search for something more specific, such as (“heating ventilation and air conditioning” + “Fremantle” + “open Sundays”), you don’t need to season your pages with endless repetition of the same words. You just need to exist and be a little self-aware.

Writing is still the fundamental form of communication among literate people, last I checked. And those same literate people expect other literate people to speak to them as clearly and concisely as possible. That sound you heard was Strunk and White emerging from their graves, bloodied but undead, ready to tap a bony finger on anyone who thinks that doing the opposite of writing something compelling is going to boost business.

Greg McFarlane is an advertising copywriter who lives in Las Vegas. He recently wrote Control Your Cash: Making Money Make Sense, a financial primer for people in their 20s and 30s who know nothing about money. You can buy the book here (physical) or here (Kindle) and reach Greg at [email protected].

Maximize Social Media Traffic to Your Blog

This is a guest post by David Cowling of SocialMediaNews.com.au

As bloggers, we are always looking for new ways to increase the level of traffic and readers to our websites. You may have a great product to sell or you just monetize you blog through display advertising—increasing your traffic to the next level is sure to increase your potential blog earnings.

Copyright Photosani - Fotolia.com

Using Social Media traffic to methodically drive more eyeballs to your site is a great way to capitalize on the Web 2.0/3.0 boom. Have a look at these tips to increase user engagement on your topic, and boost new readers clicking through to your website:

1. Use social media distribution tools to send out your RSS feed

As a blogger, you want to promote your RSS feed as much as possible. Getting other websites to display your feed can result in increased visitors clicking through and viewing your posts.

This can also result in back-links to your blog, which results in better search engine rankings. So how can we ensure our RSS feed is getting the attention and exposure it deserves?

You can take advantage of social media distribution platforms, such as Hellotxt.com or Ping.fm, which can distribute your RSS content to over 100+ different social media websites around the world.

These sites allow you to save in your RSS feed, and then they can automatically post your content to your social networking accounts whenever you write a new blog post. This is all done automatically behind the scenes so there is no extra work for you every time you create a new blog post.

While distribution tools like this can get your content in-front of a whole new readership, I don’t think signing up to every single social networking site that is integrated with these tools is the smartest idea. A better approach is to sign up with the social networking sites your readers and audience are most likely to use themselves.

2. SEO your social media profiles

We are now leveraging maximum traffic from our various social media profiles with the help of posting automation tools. The next step is to drive even more traffic to our social media profiles, which will in turn go onto our blogs.

A smart way to drive more traffic to your social profiles is actually through Search Engine Optimization—yes, that’s right, SEOing your social media profiles. This is a fairly new idea where we are mixing the power of social media with SEO.

Facebook Fan page SEO

One of the only parts of your Facebook pages that are seen by the search engines is the About box.

This is only a small section of the page, so make this product-descriptive if you are selling something, or if you are promoting a particular website, include your URL and primary keywords.

Whilst the URL won’t be clickable, this will display to search engine users, and correct keywords will also push your Fan page higher in the rankings. While that increase may only be a small amount, every bit counts.

If you have other Fan pages on Facebook, link them all together. In some ways, Facebook is like a big social search engine, and they will crawl the links between your pages.

When filling out the Info tab on your Fan page, make sure the information you include is keyword-rich, and again has some reference to your URL and/or your products.

The search engine inside Facebook is not just for people—we now have the option to search “everything,” which includes Fan pages and groups. Having keyword-optimized pages will help you show higher in the Facebook search results.

Twitter profile SEO

When you are creating your Twitter profile, take note that your username actually becomes the Title tag of your page. Since Twitter is so highly trusted by Google, many profiles rank highly in organic Google searches just because of a keyword-rich username, which becomes a keyword-rich URL.

If you decide to use your full name as your username, be aware that your Twitter profile may rank first when someone Googles your name.

If you’ve uploaded a picture to Twitter, the search engine also uses the exact image name of your picture. So you could further optimize your Twitter profile by using a keyword-rich image file name, (e.g. your-name-your-primary-keywords.jpg).

LinkedIn profile SEO

As LinkedIn is a pure business social network, its developers have made a number of tweaks to help your profile stand out, particularly in the search engines. Your name, LinkedIn headline, current location, and the industry you have selected for your profile are placed into the Meta Description tag on your profile page.

That’s often why when you Google someone, their LinkedIn profile may often be the first social network to appear in the results.

3. Use social groups to promote your topic

To get even more traffic to you blog, consider creating Groups and Discussions on both LinkedIn and Facebook about your blog and products. Facebook and LinkedIn users are generally very active, and if you can get active users in your own group, this will have a positive effect on your blog.

You may actually have a large LinkedIn network but not really sure how to take advantage of it. Create a LinkedIn group about your topic/blog and invite your network to join it. If you can get engaging discussion occurring you are likely to find more professionals in your space join the group. If suitable for your own blog or product, consider the option of an Open Group, where anyone can join and invite others.

As the group administrator, you are able to send LinkedIn messages to all Group members (if they have opted-in to receive notifications when joining the group). This is a great way to push-market to your LinkedIn network, as often, InMails have a high open rate and are not considered as intrusive as other email marketing tactics.

Conclusion

I hope these tips give you some insights into new ways you can leverage traffic from social networking websites to your blog.

If you are a blogger and actively use social networks as a traffic generation source:

  • What networks send you the most traffic as a blogger?
  • What % of your traffic is coming from these social networks?
  • What has been your most shared article? What can you learn from this?

Consider optimizing your profiles to rank higher and get even more profile views and click-through traffic.

This is a guest post by David Cowling from Social Media News Australia.
If you are looking for more Social Media hints and tips check our David Cowling’s blog on
Social Media.

Getting Un-Panda-lized: One Blog’s Response to Google’s Panda Update

This guest post is by Ethan of OneProjectCloser.com

When Google rolled out the first Panda update on 23 February 2011, we saw our site traffic plummet by 40%. I learned about this four hours after quitting my day job to become a full-time blogger. I don’t regret the decision for a second, but it presented some unique challenges for the days ahead.

Since then, we’ve employed several different strategies to reclaim our former glory. Research and site analysis led us to remove potentially low quality content. We’ve experimented with modifying and removing ads, all the while trying to better the user experience. It’s important to know that we haven’t seen a recovery … yet. None of what I’m about to share has made a significant improvement, but hopefully this article will provide insight for other publishers.

When Panda struck

Site analysis

“This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites”—Amit Singhal, Google Fellow

Google has mentioned time and again that the new Panda document classifier impacts the entire site. Before, you could have a handful of really good posts and the onus was on Google to find them. Now, webmasters shoulder the responsibility to carefully curate every shred of content.

Since the term low-quality is subject to some interpretation, we began our site analysis to identify the high-quality content. The goal was to improve our link profile and eliminate everything but our best content. Using data from Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, and backlink analysis tools, we rated every single post. Specifically, we looked at top landing pages, content by number of links, content by number of linking domains and domain authority. Many of these factors correlate with AdSense earning so we also took that into account.

Removing low-quality content

“…is blocked from crawling and indexing, so that search engines can focus on what makes your site unique and valuable…” – John Mu, Google Employee

We decided which articles needed to go and which would stay. It was painful to think about deleting about 75% of our archives, so it was a relief to find alternative ways of “removing” content. By blocking crawling, we would be able to keep informative posts that didn’t make the cut, and preserve link juice.

In another forum, John Mu stated that you should use a 404 or 410 error code for pages that are not worth salvaging, 301 redirect items that can be merged, and a “noindex” meta tag for content that you plan to rewrite. Matt Cutts did a live webcast on May 25 in which he verified that noindexing is a good solution for removing low-quality content. Blocking content in robots.txt prevents Googlebots from crawling whereas noindexing allows crawling and following links.

Ads and affiliate links

“While it’s exciting to maximize your ad performance with AdSense, it’s also important to consider the user experience…” – Best Practices Guidelines, Google AdSense

It seemed very telling that the AdSense team released new guidelines for ad placement about two months after Panda hit. A lot of publishers felt slighted because AdSense optimization specialists have always pushed for more ad blocks and more aggressive placements. Now it seemed there was a threshold for ads that pushed content below the fold. This isn’t a stretch, as Google already renders each page for the preview they provide alongside search results. They know where the ad blocks fall.

I’ll admit we were being aggressive with our ad placement. We took the plunge and removed AdSense for over a month, through the Panda 2.2 update, but saw no improvement. Since, we’ve only replaced AdSense on a handful of articles.

We suspect that Google views affiliate links much like ads, especially as it may bias the publisher toward a specific product. Eliminating the majority of our affiliate links was easy as only a few ever converted. But needless to say, overall these changes have really hit us where it hurts.

Duplicate content

“The Panda Technology appears to have helped some scraper sites” – Michael Martinez, SEO Theory

Michael shares that he had a hard time finding examples of scrapers outranking the original authors, but he hits the nail on the head in the last line of the section. If Panda isn’t demoting your site, you’ll still outrank the scrapers. Our site doesn’t.

I’ve submitted a lot of takedown notices since Panda hit, but that isn’t the only duplicate content we’ve been reviewing. A lot of our articles overlap because of similar (but distinct) topics. We began working to make sure each article could stand on its own merit with unique ideas and fresh perspective. This was no easy task, and is still a work in progress.

The end-user experience

“The +1 button is shorthand for ‘this is pretty cool’ or ‘you should check this out.’ Click +1 to publicly give something your stamp of approval.” – Google +1

Bloggers have known that social marketing (a good metric for user experience) is an important part of your online identity and a great way to build readership. With moves like the +1 button, Google shifts some of the power from site owners to the everyday web surfer. Before, we would build relationships and advocate for links from webmasters, but that system was easily gamed. Now, the end user experience and how they interact on your site matters more than ever.

We’ve made a lot of improvements, and in some ways I’m glad Panda has had such a dramatic impact. Nothing else would have spurred on many of the changes we’ve made. Our site will be refined by fire with the end result that will be much better than before. Sometimes webmasters are too close to their own products.

If you have ideas about overcoming the Panda demotion, or suggestions for how we can improve, I’d love to hear them.

Ethan is 28 years old, and loves construction and home improvement. He co-founded OneProjectCloser.com in 2008 where he shares how-to projects, tool reviews and more. To stay connected, follow One Project Closer on Twitter and their new Facebook page.

How to Use SEO Wisely for Long-term Profits

This guest post is by Moon Hussain of Experiments in Passive Income.

By now, we have all read about the basics of search engine optimization.  But despite knowing all the best practices, only a very few of us practice them.  I know this because shamefully, it was only recently I realized that most of my content isn’t search engine optimized.

This doesn’t make sense: you work hard using social media to get the word out about your glorious new post and are dying to see your Twitter stream blow up with your content.  That’s great and all, but why not optimize your work for the search engines and receive consistent, targeted traffic every day?

See, it’s the year 2011 and having grown up in an age where the Internet has morphed into a powerful tool, we use it for far more than stalking people on Facebook; I personally use the Internet for online shopping, restaurant reviews, dentist reviews (not kidding!), product reviews, checking out bands, downloading music… I could go on forever.  Whoever has their sites ranking in the top few related results is (potentially) raking in a lot of targeted traffic and money. This could be you.

If you have a blog online, the bottom line is you need to reach targeted audience.  You need to draw in new visitors on a constant basis to expand your online domain.

Shucks, Pa! How can I reach my target audience?!

With a few more simple but smart moves, you can really get a nice amount of new visitors on a monthly basis.

Hopefully, you know what type of audience you are trying to reach.  To reach your audience, a big part of what we, SEO practitioners, do is called keyword research.  You can use a free tool like the Google Keyword Tool to decide what keywords are worth your time.

For a solid year, I have been relying a little bit on keyword research and more so on social media (thanks to Twitter and my fellow network) to drive traffic to my site.

The main keyword that I have been trying to rank my blog for receives a nice 9000-10,000 hits a month.  Nice big fish, right?  Only problem is, it can take a while to rank for competitive keyphrases.  However, something pretty cool happened in the process of trying to aim for the main keyphrase: I now rank for another keyphrase that receives about 2000 searches a month globally.

Thanks to ranking for this “smallish” keyphrase, I get new visitors consistently every day.  Without having to do any extra work!

What does an extra 50-100 visitors a day mean for you?  Could this result in extra subscribers to your email list, affiliate sales down the line, new loyal readers?

Start with your blog posts

Even though you have a main keyword you want your blog to rank for, you should take a look at your past posts. Do you have any posts that review a product or shed light on a sub-topic?

For product keywords, you can easily optimize your post to rank for “product name”, “product review” type of keywords.  Even if these terms receive a low number of searches a month, you can earn a few affiliate sales because these are known as buyer keywords. People use such keywords to make up their minds about purchasing the products by looking up reviews; if everything checks out, they are ready to buy the product or service.  You want your link to be the one they click through to make that product or service purchase!

Move onto sub-topics

As for a sub-topic, again conduct some research using the Google Keyword Tool.  Just because you want your blog to rank for “vegetable gardening” [5400 searches globally] doesn’t mean you can’t have a post that ranks for “grow tomatoes” [1300 searches globally].  You can surely see that people who are interested in growing their own tomatoes would most likely also be interested in vegetable gardening.

Better yet, if you do proper keyword research, you can end up with a keyword pyramid which can help you dominate your competitive keyphrases a lot easier.

Since my blog is well over the year mark, I have made a list of five posts (and keyphrases) that I’d like to rank.  This may take me a couple of months but it ensures the survival of my blog.  I have already begun my SEO efforts on this post: Why Blog Blueprint Rocks For Your Backlinking Campaign—The Most Important Words You’ll Read Today.

About a month ago, this blog post didn’t rank in the top 1000 search results in Google.  Thanks to an awesome gig on Fiverr, it ranks #23 in Google now and I will keep up my backlinking efforts until I see it ranking in top three in Google search results.

If we take a look at my keyword research, you may think that ranking for this post isn’t even worth my efforts:

But that’s where you’re wrong! Not only is the competition for these keywords low but ranking this post in conjunction with a few other posts for the appropriate keywords will result in new, steady traffic.

Take action NOW

Which two or three posts can you rank with some on-page and off-page optimization?  Doing keyword research for these posts and hiring someone on Fiverr should take less than an hour.  The purpose here is to leverage your existing content using search engine optimization to get new visitors.

Ranking your post or website can take a nice amount of work and time.  It takes patience and endurance, kind of like a ninja. Seriously!

The first step in getting your site to rank is to conduct search engine optimization on the post.  If you are using WordPress for your blog, then hopefully you are using the All-In-One-SEO Pack for on-page optimization.  If you’re not, then you have some work to do.  This plug-in makes it super easy to fill in tags, description and title of your post (as in filling in the meta tags specifically for the post) for the search engines:

Next, you need your post to receive some backlinks.  If you have a powerful network, you can ask your friends to link to you (yeah right!)  For blogs with a small readership, this won’t come so easily.

If not, you can take matters into your own hands.  You can create social bookmarking links, article links, web 2.0 links or a nice link wheel.  You can take it a step further and use Fiverr to get your backlinking done.

However, don’t expect results overnight.  Rarely does this happen.

By ranking three of your posts for search terms that receive 1000 searches each, you have potentially added 1500-2500 new visitors every month.  For small blogs, this number of visitors a month is a lifeline.  Once the work is done, you will reap the benefits for months and years to come.  Even Darren dedicates time to search engine optimizing his posts once a month, only on a much bigger scale.  But you can start small and build your way up.

Why SEO is your friend

Most people new to search engine optimization give up before they see any results which is a shame because it can sustain your blog and your business.

Advertising takes money.  Search engine rankings can take time.  However, I’m a fan of SEO and ranking your website because it’s a low cost solution as long as you don’t mind putting in consistent effort and have time.

Within one month’s time, I’d love to share with you how my blog post is faring in the search engines.  Why not throw in the gauntlet?  What post(s) will you be working on ranking in Google?  Please let me know in the comments section.

Moon Hussain loves utilizing search engine optimization to fuel her so-called passive income experiments blog.  Check out her free report, To the Moon & Back: Honest Guide to Building Successful Passive Income Businesses Online in which she discusses all that she’s learned in a year.