Search engine optimization (seo) basics

 

This is a simple and easy to understand guide for those who are just starting out doing SEO or for those who have forgotten stuff and want to refresh their memory. As this guide progresses what we talk about will get more and more advanced. Scroll down if you aren’t bothered about the very basics and want a fresh and unique insight into SEO.

Lets start from the beginning shall we.. what does SEO stand for… Search engine optimization is what it stands for and is the process of making your website more trusted by the search engines and appear higher in the search results as a result of many different seo tactics both on your website (on page) and from links pointing to your website (off page).

The difference between on page and off page are quite different but a website linking to your with good on page will mean off page that link for you is good!

On page

When the internet first started, and search engines started to pop up all over the internet on page factors where the most used ways to find what searchers where looking for, however internet technology was still young and search engines where easily fooled with methods such as keyword stuffing and cloaking tricking the search engines into thinking that a webpage was what searchers where looking for when in actually fact it wasnt at all. Since then Search engines have come up with many different ways at determining whether a webpage is suitable and should be displayed to searcher or not. Search engines such as Google have created updates like the Google panda update that specially analyzes webpages looking at on page factors like:

keyword density to check whether a webpage has a natural keyword density or if the webpage is practicing keyword stuffing. Keyword density is used to determine also the relevancy of the website to the search query.

Original content? This is quite important as a search engine is of no use if all the search results read the same… It is also important that the original author is shown above scrapers and content rippers. Many spam sites are auto blogs that scrape other people content automatically and publish it as their own.

Thin website and content? A thin website which hasn’t got much content and or webpages on it isnt any good and is a sign that the website mayn’t be as good as say a website with lots of content especially about the chosen query. A thin website can also be a sign that the website is simply a affiliate advertisement site which hasn’t had much effort put into it.

Page speed and downtime of the website It is of no good to searchers if the search engine displays a bunch of slow or even down websites. Slow website will effect user experience of the website and considering search engine want to give searchers with the best results possible with the best user experiences then slow loading websites are out of the question (unless they tick all the other boxes search engines want). Down website, well that is quite self explanatory really…

Too many adverts… A website that has more adverts on it than information tells search engine that the main purpose of the website is to make money from the users and not provide good information which will help the users find what they are looking for. For this reason search engines will check to see how many adverts a webpage or site has in relation to content and whether the adverts are intrusive or not.

Where the website is hosted… Sometimes just being hosted on a bad shared webhost can be enough to wreck your seo! Search engine will check you web hosting IP and if it is considered a spam ip your website maybe effected. It is by far easier for search engines to blacklist whole ips and websites on those ips than individual websites. So if there are spammy website that share your ip then you are in trouble as being seen as a spam website too even if you are not.

Link to bad neighbourhood sites? Are you linking to bad neighbourhood websites? Sites search engines think of as low value spam that might be practising blackhat or giving people malware? If so you may find a penalty coming your way as linking to bad websites isnt a good sign that your website can be trusted either.

Complete nonsense This is a tricky thing for search engine to determine, After all search engine are just computers and cannot read text or determine the context of the text. Language is also changing and uses of language and slang makes it impossible to devise a system to accurately determine whether something makes sense or not. This is why this off page factor is mostly dealt with by not a computer but by manual reviewers who will review content and will make up their own minds whether or not it is spam and or make sense or not.

Structure and layout of the website A good website design? Easy to navigate? This all effects user experience. Layout and site structure also helps search engine bots to discover all the different corners of your website.. the more easily they can do this the less chance they will miss something and see which pages are the most important this will help the search bots better able to understand what your website is about thanks to this.

Off page

Off page is what links to you… You don’t have any control what good or what bad website may link to you! You have got the ability to create good quality link yourself even though this is against search engine guidelines deterring your from link building.. but who’s to tell them? Right?

According to many search engines and their rule books link building to increase search engine rankings is against their terms… Getting found out by doing link building runs the risk of your site being penalized in the search engines or worse.. totally gotten rid of!

Ironically search engines use off page factors to determine the trust and authority of a website and where it should rank in the search engines, something that you have no control over the actual quality of your website and content! This is mainly because search engines going back to the off page factor I mentioned above that search engines cannot read and so cannot understand whether something is quality or not, meaning that the next best thing search engines can do is see what other websites link to the website and determine whether it is spam or not…. In the eyes of search engines a good high quality website will have good high quality natural links (acting as votes of recommendation toward the linked website).

There are various ways for search engine to filter the good links from the bad.

Irrelevant links

If many of your links are coming from webpages that have nothing to do with the linking website then search engines can safely say that the website must be spam or a link that is trying to game the search engines system and improve rank.

Links made for search engines and not users

All links pointing to your website should be made not to improve search engine rank but to help with seo are bad and quetions the reason why the website has linked to another website like this… is the webmaster being paid to link the website? Is this website run by the same person as the linked website?

Spam user generated links

From blog comments to forum spam, websites that other people can register on and post links can be abused either manually of with automation seo tools to automatically register and spam. Many black hat seo’s will use automated tools such as scrape box or gsa search engine ranker to make mass blog comments on auto approve blogs, forums, article directories, social networks or some other place where it is possible to submit a link. With blog comments spam comments will be quite generic and will be like:

Thanks for a really great post it really did help me loads the information is the best, now please go visit my website…

Quite notice able really, often though spammers will post to irrelevant blog posts meaning they are easy to catch. Article directories spam if used properly can be a bit harder to find for search engines. Things like duplicate content, footprints left that show up on the articles can all be used to see whether or not if a article directory post is real or not.

Link diversity from lots of different website

Having links from the same website, or same network of sites can be bad.

Anchor text diversity

Having a mix of anchor text which links use to link to your website shows that thwe website is more natural than say a website that has loads of the same exact match keyword anchor text for the keyword the website is wanting to rank for. It is a good sign showing that more than one person is linking to you.

Bad paid links

Sometimes webmasters can buy links off people, this can be quite problematic for search engines to decide whether who is buying or selling links. Usually link sellers have networks with which the search engines try to find and take down. Paid links have the aim of passing link juice (do follow links pass link juice.) Link juice is what gives a website authority. Sometimes paid links are easier to spot then others.. Advertorials are a example of paid link. There isn’t anything wrong with advertorials search engines just don’t want these paid links passing on authority so they state in their guidelines that advertorials must be no follow to prevent link juice passing on. To spot a advertorial is quite easy you just have to read a article and if it is overly commercial and shallow or not.

Hacked website and footer links are another way website owners get paid links. Sometimes these links are much harder to find but with hacked sites such as the SAPE network paid for links usually are part of network of sites and search engines can easily determine a network of sites and penalize them.

Link exchanges

Link exchanges if done correct by contacting websites in your niche to exchange links (il link to you if you link to me) is a good way to build authority in your niche.. however again this method is against search engine guidelines and if found.. say goodbye to your website ont he search engines. This method can easily be found as it is quite obvious if all your links come website that just so happen to link back to you as well.

High pr blog networks

High pr blog networks can takes ages and ages to create.. the best ones are constructed as naturally as possible without to many signs to set alarm bells off from the search engines. Each one of your high pr blogs must be a fully operational website with lots of content and not to much interlinking.

High pr blog networks can cost a lot of money but it is one of the safest and best ways to help with seo off page! Having your own high pr blog network gives you the control and if you keep all the blog related to your niche you will soon dominate the serps filling the results up with just your blogs and websites!

Social networks

Google has quite recently made a video telling webmasters that social signal ie tweets, like and google+ do not effect your google ranking’s and that the only reason why webmaster think that they do is that they see websites with lots of social signals at the top of the search results… but its not because they help its because they are good quality websites and get them because they are already at the top of the search engine and have great content that people want to share! But dont let this fact scare you away from spending time with social marketing! Getting established and getting your conetne shared on social networks is a great way to get internet traffic and spread the word about your website to other people! It also means that you are not solely reliant on search engines traffic because there are tons of rules that I have already outlined that can be really confusing to follow so if you ever do get penalized you wont have lost everything at least!

How to get natural links form other webmaster’s the white hat way!

White hat seo bascally means you dont do anything to upset the search engines and all of your links are genuine and created by other websites. Here are a few ways to get some white hate links from others.

Create brilliant content that people want to link to.

Link to them first… which will send out pings to them informing them of your website and that you linked to them.. Increasing your chances that they will visit your website.. and if they like your website they may link back.

Really in all honesty there arent that many ways to get whitehat links you just need a lot of web traffic and luck that one of those visitors is a webmaster and is going to write a article about exactly what you have written and will then link to you because they think your website is great and they are unselffish… But the internet isnt this ideal.. meaning link building by creating your own high pr blogs and linking to your website is the only practical way to reach the top of the search engines and be seen in the first place.

Don’t give up and remember… most seo forums are just full of morons who don’t have a clue seeing as they are wasting their time on forums rather than making money the right way.

The ultimate seo guide

The ultimate seo guide beginner to pro, this guide isn’t just for newbies but for everyone.. If you are already familiar with the basics of seo please feel free to skip the introduction and get reading the advance section to start learning about unique and clever ways to enhance your seo campaign!

Introduction

This is a SEO guide to help boost your website traffic, this guide will cover all the basics to internet marketing focusing on SEO (Search engine optimization right through to social media marketing). Search engines want the best results in their search engine… they want to make sure when some one searches for something they give the searcher… the best possible results to their query whether that is for buying a particular product… meaning a reliable and well known website would be the ideal search result or if the searcher searched for a health related question the search engine would be better providing accurate information from health authorities over a website that has little standing in health.

How the search engines determine what website to trust and recommend to their searchers is based on a few factors. Like I said search engine will try to provide searcher with the most relevant and up to date results with webpages from websites that are connected to the search query the searcher has requested. Search engines have many ways to determine what the best webpages to show to their searchers. Some of the ways the search engine do this include what other websites are linking to them, how relevant the website is to that particular search query for example by analyzing the links and their anchor text to see whether relevant anchor text that is connected to the search query is used, on page factors such as the relevancy of the actual webpage can be used by analyzing the keyword density if that particular page and how up to date the webpage is.

The frustrating thing is that you may very well have a great website, better then any-other website in your particular niche but if your seo isn’t that great or you have a few bad links pointing to your website your website could suffer despite your’s being the best. Hopefully this guide will help you change this!

Keeping track of your website link profile

Keeping track of your link profile is quite easy but can cost quite a bit to able to use the tools to check your link’s. In the good old days when yahoo site explorer was around you where able to easily check any sites backlinks fast and freely. Now however you cannot use yahoo site exploere and you will need to either use a site explorer which will give a you a big picture of your link profile and when the links where created (found) or use something like webmasters tools on google which will tell you a small sample of a very limited amount of links pointing to your website (but is free). Most professional seo’s will use link checking tools ona daily basis. Link checking tools can be pricey to able to access the data they provide. You do however have free trial versions of many of the link checker tools out and about but with very limited results to see.

Links are important… but irrelevant spam link will not help and may get your website penalized

A couple years ago, link building and seo was quite simple all you had to do was automatically build thousands of spam links…. and it was rather like a competition of how many millions of links you could get.. but since then search engines like google have released updates that now check to see whether the links pointing to your website are spam or not. Too many spam links pointing to your website may trigger a automatic penalty by the search engines which can negatively effect your placement on the search engines.

So what determines a spam link?

Its not just auto generated links that search engines deem spam links. Anything that links to your website that has little value to users and has just been simply created for seo purposes and to increase authority or in google pagerank is considered a spam link. Recently google has said how they will take action against website that are deemed spamming and trying to manipulate the search results with no follow links.. so having lots of low quality no follow links can hurt your rankings.

Paid links

By and selling links on your website is against search engine guidelines, Search engine guidelines for example the Google webmasters guidelines are a set of rules that webmasters must abide by if they want to keep on the right side of the search engine and want there website to be on the search engine. Disobeying these guidelines could mean if caught your website can be penalized or deindexed entirely. Reading thoroughly the webmasters guidelines is one of the best things to do! But keep in mind that the guidelines often change so you will need to keep updated! Right anyway back to paid links, Here is a list of paid links:

Often webmasters will resort to buying high pr backlinks from other websites sometimes webmasters will purchase a site-wide link to be shown on all pages of the website which if there aren’t many out bound links and the website is relevant can mean a huge boost in the search engine results.

Hacked website links and link networks

Another form of paid links are SAPE links or link networks… for a recurring price you are able to purchase links that will be set up on often hacked websites.

Advertorials

Do follow advertorials that pass pagerank or authority are against webmasters guidelines.. Advertorials are allowed but should be no followed according to search engines. However often webmaster simply will forget to no follow these links meaning they if caught will find themselves in trouble.

Paid for links

Directory’s: Search engines hate link directory’s as they just fill up the serp’s with useless junk… search engines hate even more the paid kind of directory’s that have the sole aim of boosting seo!

It is very hard for search engine to determine what is a paid link and what isn’t. If a search engine deems a website of selling links it can mean that the whole websites outbound links will be deemed as a paid for link even if they are not. By selling links you are always run the risk of your website loosing authority and rankings in the search results.

Little or no value links built just for seo

Links that offer little or no value to users and have just been made for seo purposes are considered spam.. even if found on a good useful article if the search engines consider this link to be of little use to users then this link could get your website in trouble.

Link exchanges

Link exchanges for seo is against search engine guidelines, link exchanges can be easy to find as it is very unnatural that one website links to loads of website which in turn link back to it.

Forum spam and signature links

Forum signature links may seem like a good way to get traffic from forum member’s who see your link but search engines dont like it! Because of the way forum signature links are like advertisements and can pass link juice.

It can be rather hard for search engine algorithms to determine whether a link on a forum is from a signature or not but algorithms can see footprints such as each time a user name posts that link appears and or the link has the exact same anchor each time but looking at small footprints like this isnt very reliable for search engines so it means it is up to the manual reviewers to determine what’s what.

Auto generated user submitted spam

Blog comment spam, guestbook spam, article spam, social network spam…. there are lots of different links seo tools can make… but non of it makes any sense and is of any use to searchers! The whole purpose of this kind of spam is to boost seo efforts. Auto generated spam can easily be spotted via algorithms. For example google’s penguin algo has been created to deal with auto generated spam and other links google considers as spam. By analyzing the link profile (anchor text used, types of links used, ratio of no follow and dofollow links), the kind of links linking, whether the link is on a webpage full up with thousands of other website links to spammy websites are just some of the ways to spot a spam link.

Thousands of these low value links and nothing else says to google that your website cannot gain links of its own naturally and using these blackhat methods means that your website shouldn’t be trusted. You have many pros and cons of seo tools but mostly cons when using software to create links.. (see here for further reading)

Google penguin and panda

The google penguin update is all about links whereas the panda update is all about your website content.

Penguin is algorithm that is constantly being updated and modified to combat link spam. Looking at factors such as linking patterns and the quality of links.

Panda is all about your website… if your website has duplicate, unique content, thin content (meaning not much), or is practising in blackhat methods to game google like keyword stuffing or cloaking then expect a panda penalty!

Basically Panda is for on page and penguin is for off page.

On page and off page seo

On page seo is all about your website.. from the way it is built and structured to keyword density. On page seo is often neglected but it is the most important part of SEO! Good on page seo can not just effect your rankings in the search engine results but will also increase sales and profits as we all know a good website and design helps sells a website… gets people talking about the website and improves your brand in doing so.

Here are a few factors to on page seo that you should practice or in some cases shouldn’t:

Keyword density: Your keyword density must remain natural on all of your pages, many Seo’s will tell you that your keyword density should not exceed 5%… This doesn’t mean that every webpage must have exactly 4.9% keyword density as this is obviously unnatural and will cause alarm bells from the search engines. The best keyword density is not to keep tabs on it at all and just write normally!

Keyword stuffing is a old blackhat method which search engines have picked up on (for quite some time now), keyword stuffing is exactly what it says on the tin… you stuff your webpage with the keyword you are trying to rank for. This is a very old method and no longer works.

Page speed: Page speed is really important both for seo and not to annoy your website users! Search engines after all want the very best and fastest websites to display in their results!

Structure: Having a good website structure that is easy to navigate is quite important! After all this effects user experience which is what on page seo is really all about!

Downtime: Search engines dont want to serve its users with websites that are always down, so make sure your website has good uptime. Also search engine bots will not be able to see your great new content if your website is down all the time.

Webhosting: Bad, cheap shared webhosting will not only be slow but if its cheap you will probably be sharing the server with lots of spam websites. Sometimes search engines may consider ever website from one particular host ip to be spam as this is easier to deal with then idvdually picking out the spam websites even if there is nothing wrong with your website.

Blackhat?: If your website is or looks as though it is doing blackhat on page seo can be detrimental! Blakchat on page seo can range from hidden css text (can be as simple as text the same colour as background), cloaking text and links, displaying one thing to users and something else to search engine bots, loads of adverts everywhere, ripped duplicate content (autoblogs).

In the world of seo you have two types of SEO….White hat seo and Black hat seo.

So what are the differences between white hat’s and blackhat’s.. apart from the obvious the color the biggest difference is that blackhat’s try to game the system whereas white-hats dont do anything off page to

Some people may think of themselves as white hat seo’es but search engines may disagree. Thats because white hat seo should be based on only getting real and legitimate links from OTHER people that have been made naturally because they like your website! But there is just one problem to this… how are people meant to know your website even exists if you have no backlinks and are nowhere to be seen on the search engines? Good question. If you want to do completely white hat seo there are a few things to get your website noticed to begin with and hopefully get those starting links that will boost your website in the search engines.

Linking to others

Linking to other websites can send out ping backs letting other webmasters know that you are linking to them, this creates exposure for your website and if the webmaster you linked to like your website you may get backlinks from them too!

No follow advertorials on high traffic websites

Advertorials on high traffic websites (remember to get no follow ones) will really help give you a boost and interest in your website!

Social network’s

If you have plenty of friends on social network website’s then it maybe a good idea to post about your website on their. Remember though nobody likes people who just spam about there website constantly.

Tv adverts, billboards and leaflets…

The search engines may mean you cannot spam the internet but who’s to say you cant spam everywhere but the internet? It may cost but brand awareness can really do a world of good to your website!

Creating great content is the real key!

And I am not talking about just insightful articles that only you think are great but nobody else ever reads!

Guest posting!

Drive traffic to your website from high pr blogs! Create something helpful and useful on blogs that already have big amounts of traffic!

Why content is king in seo!

If you are number one on google, but your content is garbage then you wont be getting many conversions or anything really by being number 1 and it will only be a matter of time till a more popular website gets relevant links and out ranks you (as you wont be getting natural backlinks from other website seeing as your website aint very good) or a manual reviewer knock your website from number one.

Creating great content that is both helpful… and visual is a great way to get your website talked about and stand out from all the rest! There are a lot of website that are simply re writes of the next! By creating something different you can make a better brand than all the rest!

Great unique content has a much high chance of being linked too.

Sometimes some niches just are too selfish and impossible to gain natural links from meaning you will always have to make your own.

Link building yourself

Build your own blog network with high pr blogs linking to your website is something many web masters do and if you are clever about how you structure and link your websites you can easily avoid getting penalized.

This is one of the most used methods in seo and is one of the most effective. By creating and establishing a high pr blog network which links to your main website (naturally) is one of the best ways to get good quality backlink which you control. However this method is very time consuming and you will for each website in your network has to establish a fully-fledged website. You can buy expired high pr domains however this can soon empty your wallet and if you dont know what your doing and what domains to buy you will soon find your self out of pocket with no benefits either.

churn and burn blackhat link building

Because it is becoming harder and harder to rank sites in search engines, Webmasters are now turning to the short term strategy of creating churn and burn style websites. These are basically throw away website which are quickly created and quikcly ranked via automated tools to create millions of backlinks to them. They will quickly get to number 1 on google before quickly being pushed off again.. but because it didn’t take much effort to make or rank these sites another one can quickly be made to replace it again.

Other black hat link building

Tired link building… The idea behind this is that you create a first tier of web 2.0s or websites pointing to your website and then blast these with tiered spam links from article posts then in a tier these have pointing to them blog comment and trackback spam. This is meant to some blackhat say protect your “money” site from getting a penalty in google. However I am sure goolge and other search engines are working to find ways to stoop this if they aren’t already doing so.

Even if you work really hard on seo it is still not guaranteed success!

Its not just the search engine bots that can harm your rankings.. Manual reviewers!

Google and other search engine have teams of manual reviewers who search through the internet looking for what they determine as spam or rubbish content. These manual reviewers have the power to penalize or even total remove a website from the search engines. Manual reviewer will look at the content of the website and the link profile of the website too.

It is a lot harder to recover from a manual action penalty than a algorithm penalty as with a manual action penalty you must correct what they determined was wrong with your website and then send out a reconsideration request where then a some one will review your website again and see whether or not the penalty should stay which can take a long time.

What can go wrong and isn’t eve your fault!

Copyright and scrapers

Sometimes though creating great content can mean that your website can suffer from scrapers stealing and reposting your content as their own on competing websites… This shouldn’t impact your search rankings but sometimes search engines can get it wrong and rank there website above yours even if you are the original poster.

Something that you can do to stop this is to use copyscape to identify websites infringing your copyright and sending Dmca removal requests to search engines to remove those pages from the search engine index.

Copyright does have to be just for text.. images, videos, music… although it is text duplicate content that can be problematic in seo.. people ripping your media albeit a image or a video can still effect you as your unique content is no longer unique to your website, and people could be linking to them instead of you who created it.

If a particular website has lots old successful DMCA removal requests against it this can effect its overall authority in search engines that are aware of the dmca’s.

Negative seo!

All your effort and hard work can be totally destroyed by one of your competitors through negative seo! It is sickening how this can happen.. even if you follow all of the search engine guidelines you can still find your website disappear form the search engines from negative seo!

The sites that are the worst effected by this kind of sabotage are newer sites or ones without that many links! There are means to help save your site from a negative seo attack but seeing as search engines cant trust whether you or someone else built these links or not these ways maybe a little ineffective in the grand scheme of things.

Disavowing the links is the way I mean.. This is possible say for example in google webmasters tools where you say to google “Hey.. I have nothing to do with that link!”… and google then doesn’t use that link to rank your website so to speak.. But many seo’s are cautious about the real intent of the tool. As some argue that real whitehat sites wont be link building at all so wouldn’t be checking there link profiles and in effect wouldn’t know about spammy links point to then this tool could be admission of guilt of doing seo.

Negative seo is exactly why you shouldn’t rely on seo as your main source of traffic. The aim shouldn’t be to get to number one but the aim should be to get people to come straight to your website just like amazon or ebay. Direct traffic and not reliant on google, bing or any other search engine will mean nobody can destroy your business.. Seo and getting to the top of google should be thought of as just a way of letting people know about your website only.

Getting other people to do seo for you

Running a business can take up a lot of time… and so does seo! That why getting others to do you seo for you maybe a good idea allowing you to focus more on your own business online and offline! But there are a few things that you must be aware of before you buy into the very first seo company you find on the internet.

Do they know what they are doing? There are a lot of freelance amateur search engine optimizers out there who will give you a bargain price… but rubbish seo. If the seo company you are thinking of getting is offering you seo for a really low price like £100 a month then chances are your going to be spammed to the top.. and then soon be penalized! Good seo takes time and a lot of money.

Local seo is better than international seo. For example if i was a local business in Sheffield wouldn’t I want to be able to talk with in person with the seo company? Rather than hiring a seo company in say india.. with which i can not properly communicate or know what they intend to do? Local seo companys are far better than international ones! International ones can be just based upon a lie where as local seo company’s have to respected locally and will often only focus on local businesses and what they know.

Conclusion

In conclusion it is evident that SEO is a wild goose chase where you are constantly trying to stay on the right side of the search engines and even if you follow all of the search engine guidelines… someone else can break them for you and destroy your websites standing in the search engines by doing negative seo to your website. My advice for you would be not to focus on seo get other professionals to to do it for you whilst you focus on creating your own great business… I know that you have probably read this entire article wanting to learn more about seo but the real truth is that seo isn’t a business strategy at all… Its more like the lottery, a random game of luck. Unless you already have powerful website that google already trusts.

The best way is to focus on creating your brand and letting people know you exist anyway you can! Trying and wasting your time making a search engine bot rank your website isnt very time effective.

Name dropping

Just like rappers do (quite shallow really) name dropping is a crucial part in any marketing strategy! Name drop whenever you can on forums, social networks and even in real life! By name dropping your website without actually saying its your website will create the illusion that the website is known, popular and being talked about! Name dropping is what created the huge popularity around twitter and other big social networks as name dropping helped promote them letting people that other people where using them.

Name dropping is basically like brand building letting your brand become known!

Sometimes just out of curiosity people will wonder what your website is about and will search for it!

If people are talking about your website it must be trusted.

All the big company’s do it (Getting celebs to name drop there brand all the time)

Even if it is just you who is name dropping it will still has the potential to help boost your brand and get it known!

 

The best alternatives to SEO and PPC to get website traffic and customers

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The right promotion will lead to sales, if your product or service is good then this will add to your brands reputation and help your promotion leading to more sales.

I have been posting some very negative things about SEO and PPC recently and its probably got you thinking that your online business is doomed but there are actually plenty of alternatives to get traffic to your website that isn’t a expensive wild goose chase as i like to put it.

Alternative’s to SEO and PPC to get traffic to your website range from the obvious to the not so obvious.

Rather than bothering trying to make the google bots happy spend your time creating a strong brand image and company that can be recognized and remembered this is far more valuable than a unheard of and un-trusted website ontop of google SERPS (whether on the organic listings or ads). So even if google did decide to deindex your website for whatever dumb reason of theirs you still will be getting customers.. how cool is that!

Here I will be telling you how…

Social media… obvious but you need to know how to do it right and not be annoying

Social media is first on the list but I want be dwelling on this technique much as i am sure you already know a lot about social media.
Social media is a good way to get customers and get people to know your brand but some people spend to much time with this technique.. Social media only becomes effective when you go “viral” and like a domino effect your message and brand gets spread and shared across the social media site or sites… messaging everyone individuals one by one or trying to mimick and make people think that something is viral wont work because people make up there own minds as to what they like and don’t like, some times based on what there friends are sharing but you don’t have hundreds of thousands of friends do you? But people who do are celebrity’s It is possible to get in contact with a celebrity there are plenty of sell out out there who will tweet or share your content with their fans for a little cash… This may all be what it takes to make something viral..

Social media is good as even if you do not make a direct sale from it you have got your brand in peoples memories and if they come across your brand again when wanting to buy something they are more likely to buy from you who they have heard about before than some other company they have not heard of especially if a celebrity they “follow” has recommended it.

Forum posting

The art of forum posting is difficult avoiding ban happy mods takes skill but usually if you don’t drop a link than something that would be considered as spam isn’t anymore.. that how stupid forum mods are.. but seeing as we aren’t bothered about seo then posting unlinked posts about your brands is okay… as long as you are not being overly promotional and coming across as a genuine person than you can easily promote your products name and if your posting on niche specific forums other people may start talking and recommending your brand.

Remember to be careful as if you are too overly promotional and intrusive with social media forum posting, and the other techniques i mentioned instead of creating a good image for your brand you may just create  bad image instead.

Okay, the less obvious traffic sources now.

Link to other people

Linking to other bloggers is one way you can get traffic. When you link to a word press blog or other blog platform usually a ping is sent to that blog alerting the blog owner that a link was created to their blog.. sometimes they may then blog or tweet back about your website which may result in traffic… it also has SEO benefit but we aren’t talking about seo are we…
If you have a big budget tv advertisements that are funny or unique can be a very good way to get direct traffic to your website… I wont go into that much detail though with this method as obviously you need a lot of money for tv advertisements. Tv ads are probably the BEST way though to promote a brand. I would actually rather spend lots of money on a tv advertisement than spend £0.10 per click on adwords…

A way I am not going to mention

Article directories like ezinearticles and other websites are no good, you will just be wasting your time writing a article for promotional purposes (to be read by lots of people), article directories are only good for seo as the only things to read these articles will be seo bots… or scrapers.

WHAT’S LIMITING YOU TO THE INTERNET?

  • LOCAL NEWSPAPER AD’S
  • BILLBOARD’S NEAR POPULATED AREAS OR SPORTING EVENT BILLBOARDS THAT ARE EYE CATCHING…
  • LEAFLETS
  • STALL’S PROMOTING AND GIVING OUT FREE SAMPLES IN SHOPPING CENTERS AND CITY AREAS
  • SPONSORING LOCAL EVENTS

All these above techniques are used by all the big company’s.. it works for them so why cant it work for you?

 

Google adwords is a fix

In one of my previous posts I talked about how seo was just a wild goose chase and how ppc is a waste of money. Well after searching for a product today on google “the last time I am bothering to use google now” I noticed that the reasonably priced product that I was searching for came up on google with 19 adverts and the usual 10 normal results.. that right 19!

BUT, the interesting thing is that in the normal results there where no online stores at all instead Wikipedia (Wikipedia is a useless source of information and should be avoided) was number 1 and hole bunch of other authority info websites.

Google knows full well when some one searches for this product they are more than likely looking to buy hence the 19 ads, yet they offer no commercial sites in the normal search results…

So the only way it looks as though you could possibly sell something for that keyword would be to buy ads but you will have to bid away all your profits on adwords if you are going to even get noticed in the 19 different ads!

Adwords is a complete waste of money as it is actually starting to resemble it own kind of “seo” system where instead of back links you need to pay google to rank in the ads.

Don’t waste your money and be conned… there are so many other ways to get your website noticed and seen on the internet.

Google has actually said that this conspiracy of the google penguin and panda updates are to help generate more adwords revenue from people moving away from seo to adwords instead as untrue and something on the lines of “profits since the penguin and panda updates have actually decreased”.. google would say this… and what businesses profits have not gone down during the recession.

One thing that you should remember is that people used to sell and make money on the internet before google came along, just go back to those tactics.

 

You don’t get something for nothing in business

If you are wanting to start out your own business you may have heard of a few marketing tactics to get sales, If you are on a limited budget SEO has probably caught your eye as SEO promises free marketing and free customers but let me save you a whole heap of time and money by telling you that you don’t get something for nothing. It will either come at a huge cost of time or money with no guarantee that you will actually rank for the keywords you want that will make you money.

With SEO you are putting your business in the hands of another either google, bing or another search engine. All the search engines are different in the way they rank for sites and what works for one may not work for another that being said what all search engines have in common is the goal of making money via the ads at the top of the search results. So you can see that if you are a business the search engines would rather you buy adverts than you get free traffic from them and not pay.

SEO, and chasing rankings or even adwords placement on google is a complete waste of time and money.

Google is constantly “updating” their algo on how they rank sites… not in a positive way to catch out what they call low quality sites or spammy ones but this is just a excuse as a recent penguin 2.0 update had actually penalized a main charities website the salvation army downgrading their positions with their keyword considerably and this charity does not make any profits from what it does and is hardly a “spam” website. This proves that either there are flaws in the algo updates that they are sending out or that they are on a mission to penalize all website except from a few chosen few ie ebay, amazon.. wikipedia.. that why nowadays you may have noticed that you no longer get diversity when searching only search result from mainly those websites.

For proper seo and to just increase the chances of you ranking your site on google you must invest in huge amounts of content and high pr websites that you must then write on and link to your website… but that can easily cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds and if you do not know what you are doing as there are a lot of scammer’s out there you may find that you will just waste your money on nothing.

BUT then if you are thinking of buying ppc (pay per click) advertisements on top of google or another search engine i wouldn’t bother unless you want to work for nothing.. based on a bidding system adwords requires you to bid the highest amount to get the best positions in the ads, there has been speculation that there is also a minimum amount that you must pay also to be displayed even if their are no bidders in other words google is fixing adwords prices… The average conversion rate per click is 2% and you must add in factors such as bot traffic too clicking you ads remember so if you are a small business selling reasonably prices goods at £10 and with £0.10 per click you can see that this will quickly eat into your profit quite easily just for 1 sale.

The best idea is to build your business up the old fashioned way and not rely on other businesses or monopoly’s for that matter to market your business. Good marketing offline can mean that people become aware of your brand and will directly go to your website.. but its not a easy task but still possible, you just have to make people know about your business and that you offer un-comparable service or sell the best products and their is no need to search around.

Ebay banning images with text, artwork or borders

The greedy executives at ebay have been updating their image requirements for sellers (or rather been trying to find more ways to squeeze the sellers on ebay and make more money) ebay dicating to sellers how they should sell and run their business have said that you are no longer able to post product images with text or borders including also flags showing what country the seller is from. The requirements for images are already hitting ebay.com for both one time sellers and shops making the website bland and impossible to distinguish on the results page between a local sellers and other.
In the uk the image requirements are slowly being introduced first to just normal sellers and then to shops. The idea is completely stupid as it means customers will not know who is selling from their own country and who is not, giving a advantage to Chinese sellers who can source products at wholesale price but will tend to deliver products weeks after you have ordered them and sending a product back to china for a refund is almost impossible.

So customers will only be able to see at first who has the best price and the Chinese sellers will always win on this front, (In china postage is cheap and that where many products are made… however in the uk postage is extremely expensive it actually costs less for someone to send something from china than it does for a uk seller to send something somewhere in their own country, it true this just proves how stupid the system is and how the uk government does not care for commerce in the uk).

So with every now competing for price on ebay this will drive profits down, and the only ones to win are ebay…. who want this as they want ebay to be cheapest place to shop, lets hope ebays plan backfires and people boycott ebay because their are only Chinese sellers left and buyers don’t get there items for weeks after they have bought them or never and ebay has to revert the changes.

But all this prooves that ebay or reliance on another company is not a long lasting business plan as the rules can change any minute and can crush your profits.

Has these latest changes or another ebay “update” effected you and your business? If so then comment below and tell everyone.

How to brand and get your business noticed the right way

therightway

Advise to help small start up businesses thrive!

Branding is a very big part of building a online business being recognized as a trustworthy brand with a good reputation will mean people will know that they can trust your company and the products you sell are good or services you offer (For instance people are more likely to buy something off a website that they know of or have seen on tv or there friends have told them about rather than a random website they have just found).

Creating a good brand can be difficult especially if you have a limited budget. But having good branding for your company can in the long run be far more beneficial than most would think. Many online marketers will use SEO, Search engine optimization where they aim to get on top of the search engines to bring in traffic to their site and hopefully convert a percentage of this web traffic into sales, this is all well and good however it is not a stable business plan that a business should solely rely on.. not only is seo very time consuming (writing endless articles and building links) but because of major updates that frequently change the algorithm of how the search engines rank sites means the goal posts are constantly changing and nobody can actually predict apart from the search engines themselves how to rank a site. It could take you months to build links and write articles to you website (I am not going to say the cliche of quality articles/content as apart from duplicate content search engine bot cannot judge where a article is useful or not as they do not know context  (however bare in mind that quality articles and content may on rare occasions bring in natural links from other websites)). So it can take you all this time to rank your website but a matter of moments for your site to disappear into the index abyss thanks to a algo update!

So that is why you should not be reliant on another website for internet traffic.

So how can you create a brand with a budget then?

Well, there are a number of ways you can do this with promotion and creating good publicity for your brand.

Promotion can take many forms and is crucial, you can always just invest in a couple tv ads… but sometimes that can not be enough… It can be a waste of money if the advert is not interesting enough, or just too annoying. You have to get the balance just right because in contrast to your tv adverts being not enough some tv adverts as you all may know can be too much… or try to send out a message that try’s to be overly philosophical rather than a tv advert or try to relate to the viewer  to get across there message, sometimes even adverts can  be to idealistic (conveying what they think would be good for you and what your life should be like) this is a bad idea, as it is kind of like you are over stepping the mark… and people do not like to told what to think.

Some big brands don’t even need tv adverts for you to know about them, just word of mouth can be enough to spread the brand message. But remember just as word of mouth can help promote your business it can also help destroy it if people do not like your brand. That also means you have to be careful on social media as your competition may even try to discredit your business.

If you cannot afford tv adverts for your company then the next best thing is posters and billboards…. be creative though and get people thinking…. posters and billboard will often become part of the scenery where the billboard is and in effect people will even if they do not necessary read the billboard will start to recognize your logo.

Once you get customers of the best thing you can do for your brand is to over deliver….. UNDER PROMISE AND OVER DELIVER! This will help your brand as people will start talking about your brand and business to their friends.

These are just a few ideas to help your brand and business, Good luck!