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  • Link Building To Your Site

    Over the years there has been lots of discussion in the SEO community regarding link building to a web site. The debate is particularly heated at the moment, as Google rolls out its "Jagger" upgrade.

    Let's start with what we mean by inbound links, also called backlinks. These are links from other sites to your URL, which direct the surfer directly to your site when the link is clicked. The basic premise is that if you have high ranking sites linking to you, then you must yourself be important and have valuable content, and hence you should rank highly. The way in which Google ranks sites is called Pagerank and can be seen as a green line on the Google Toolbar representing ranks 0 to 10. As Google states

    PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important."

    Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank, which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don't match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines all aspects of the page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it's a good match for your query.

    So, back to the question "Does having inbound links to your site help your site's credibility", and hence visibility when searched. The broad answer to this question is "yes", but with a number of very important caveats which we will cover in the other sections.

    OK, so backlinks are basically good, especially from high ranking sites, so how do we get them? The first way, and best way, is by having such great content on your site that all these high-powered sites want to link to you. Downside to this method is that it is slow and takes lots of time and effort on your part. But don't worry, when anyone tries to build a level playing field there are always people out there that will provide work-arounds.

    The first one was reciprocal links, whereby you say that you will link to a site if they also link to you. That's stretching the original idea, but it's not too bad because how many of these sort of links are you going to set up? Well, actually, some people have created thousands of such links between sites, maybe not what Google initially intended!

    But then, due to the emphasis Google placed on link popularity, the concept of link farms was born. These are sites that link to other sites purely to increase the links to the site. Pay a few dollars and get thousands of links to your site. Too good to be true - you bet. Google hates link farms and sees these links as spam and will actively penalise sites that use such links. So, the first rule of linking is do not use link farms. The second rule is do not use lots of reciprocal links, Google can easily check this and the "Jagger" update that is currently rolling out seems to be particularly focused on penalising sites with lots of reciprocal links. The jury is still out on whether "themed" links will be treated in the same way. "Themed" links are links to sites that are very closely aligned to the same primary topic as your own site. If you think about this, it makes a lot of sense and is much more likely to be based on real content-based linking.

    We believe another area Google is focusing on is how quickly your site gains backlinks. If your site is one month old, it is hardly believable for it to gain 100 real backlinks in that time. So, the third rule of linking is to ensure your links build in a realistic way. In all of these ways, Google is trying to ensure fairness and that's why new sites are often held back in the results pages.

    Finally, we should mention the sites that will improve your ranking - the Directories. There are many of these, but the most important is DMOZ, also known as the ODP. DMOZ is the Open Directory Project and is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors. It gets the name DMOZ from the acronym for Directory Mozilla, as it is administered by Netscape Communication Corporation. It's Pagerank is 9 and hence a link from DMOZ will help your site. We recommend that everyone visits http://dmoz.org and attempts to get listed, it's free. The Yahoo directory is also important and free for non-commercial sites, but $299 a year for business.

    So, in summary, by far the best way of getting links is by having a quality site that other people want to link to. So again, we are back to content. If you provide quality information, over time, more and more sites will link to you, and if they are in the same business sector as you, so much the better.

    And now a poem

    Written by my partner, reflecting the Jagger update.

    Just when you thought it was safe,
    To step once more into the water,
    Google throws in an undertow,
    For doing things you didn’t oughta,
    Just when the surfboard is glistening,
    And you're ordering champagne,
    Google has been quietly listening,
    And feels you need more pain,
    Those link farms you visited,
    Weren't health farms after all
    Reciprocal now is the term
    For what Big G's doing to you all,
    Your trillions of two way linkages
    Now millstones to make you stagger,
    Your new nightmare shrinkages,
    Brought to you today by Jagger,
    A strident voice proclaiming links,
    Are running quickly out of time,
    Under the boardwalk of history,
    Lying decimated all down the line,
    This will not be the last time,
    That your website is torn and frayed,
    That Google will paint it black,
    Or the devils sympathy card is played,
    Just shine a light on your website,
    Is it still under your thumb?
    Or is it hijacked like flight 505,
    By others who would become,
    Your link promoting partners,
    Who just ask your link return,
    And now you owe the reaper,
    And your harvest starts to burn,
    Simmering in the torrid glare,
    Of a Google bent on being cool,
    Where everyone should fight fair,
    Everyone obey the golden rule,
    And slowly and inexorably we move,
    Out of shadow and into light,
    With every upgrade evening up,
    The distance twixt wrong and right,
    And every route 66 drives towards,
    Eliminating devious spam-like crimes,
    And ever inexorably inches forward,
    Towards its own stated guidelines.

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  • Professional Search Engine Optimization
    Search engine optimization is increasingly being accepted as a powerful and critical component of the marketing plan. With the costs involved in other forms of online marketing growing significantly, it has become almost a necessity for companies to include SEO in their overall marketing mix.

    It’s thus no surprise to know that professional SEO today is big business and this industry is growing at a fast pace. There are however many different types of SEO firms out there and finding a reliable service can be a daunting task.

    Search engine optimization firms employ varying methods to get high rankings for websites and not all of these techniques are considered ethical. With the increasing number of ‘black hat’ SEO firms, (companies using unethical and unfair methods and techniques to manipulate search engines), and the thin line between actual ‘black hat’ and ‘white hat’ SEO practices, it is crucial to be well informed of the methodology the company plans to use for your website before you decide to hire them.

    Here are 8 simple tips to help you in your evaluation and selection of a trustworthy and professional search engine optimization service:

    1.Educate yourself with the basics
    Make sure to do your homework carefully before you venture out to hire a SEO service. It’s imperative you understand in advance exactly what a firm can and will do for you to enable you to evaluate them. There are several resources online dedicated to search engine marketing and search engine optimization and taking the time to understand and learn the basics will go a long way.

    2.Fee structures and your budget
    There are no standardized fee structures and most companies offer a range of packages instead. A package may in itself contain a variety of services like keyword research, optimization of a certain number of pages, directory submissions etc. Selecting a company should not be only about cost. A firm that charges more may not necessarily be better at SEO and likewise a firm that charges less may not necessarily be providing you the same services. Use prudence while understanding pricing models and the risks behind them. One way to go about deciding what your budget should be is to first identify your website’s and business’ unique needs, tailor a package to meet these requirements and then compare firms’ pricing models to decide a realistic baseline budget.

    3.Size and specialty of the firm
    Depending on the size of your website and requirements of your company, it might be a good idea to check out whether the firm is adequately staffed and what their customer to SEO team ratio is.

    Another important thing is to ensure that the company specializes in all areas of SEO and has a team of professionals experienced and accomplished in each of the areas including design, development and actual coding.

    4.Location
    The location of the firm largely depends on your comfort level. You may favor a local company or one at least within your country or prefer to outsource completely to another country to benefit from their lower costs. There are also few companies using a blended offshore delivery model with marketing and client services offices in one country and the actual design and development work being done in another. With the combination of lower costs plus client servicing available within reach, this upcoming balanced model may be a good option to consider.

    5.Client testimonials and references
    References are a great way to start and should be freely available. If they haven’t been provided, ask and make sure to use them to find out exactly how credible and trustworthy the company really is based on their past client’s experiences.

    6.Guarantees
    Most firms won’t guarantee top position results and shouldn’t. It is justifiable for a company to guarantee increasing your traffic or rankings from its current positions; however if any SEO service is guaranteeing you a specific position/ranking in any search engine, make sure you read the fine print of the agreement.

    7.Ethics / Spam
    Ethics is of paramount importance when it comes to selecting a search engine optimization company. There are a variety of unethical practices a firm can use right from while selling their services to you, to, the actual methods they employ while optimizing your site (keyword stuffing, cloaking, etc to name a few). Make sure to ask as many questions as possible and specifically about the methodology they use. If the firm does not offer you ready explanations of the process they undertake to optimize websites, you probably need to look elsewhere.

    8.Reporting and success measurement
    Some of the key questions to ask – How long will it take to see results? What type of reports will the SEO firm furnish and how often? How will success be measured? Will a maintenance plan be included?

    It is largely up to you to define the goal and success level of your SEO campaign. It may be an increase in the traffic to your site, potential leads from a mailing list subscription, or an increase from last years sales. Make it a point to discuss and articulate your goals with the SEO firm and come to an agreement before you hire them. It is however important to set realistic expectations. Unlike PPC and other forms of paid advertising, SEO is a time consuming process, both in terms of implementation as well as results.

    To conclude, hiring a SEO services firm can have a significant impact on your company’s bottom line, however the decision to partner with a particular SEO firm should only ensue after a careful evaluation of the firm and after you have done the groundwork necessary to help you decide your own goals for the program.

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  • Policy adjustment for display URLs The display URL (the URL that appears within the ad itself) shows potential visitors to a site where they'll land when they click on an ad. For sites that sit on shared or hosted domains (such as blogspot.com), we're adjusting our display URL policy to make this more clear.

    Beginning this week, all ads leading to sites on hosted domains will need to have display URLs that accurately reflect their destinations.

    Let's say I wanted to create an ad linking to this blog: http://adwords.blogspot.com. In the past, blogspot.com would have been an acceptable display URL. Because there are so many independent blogs hosted on http://blogspot.com however, we now require the display URL to reflect the specific blog reached upon clicking the ad– in this case:adwords.blogspot.com.

    Incorrect:

    Destination URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com
    Display URL: blogspot.com

    Correct:

    Destination URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com
    Display URL: adwords.blogspot.com

    Going forward, ads that don't include this additional information in their display URLs will be disapproved. A suggested display URL will be provided in the disapproval email notification, but we encourage you to proactively adjust any ads that you think might be affected by this change.

    If you'd like to learn about this policy in greater detail, please 
    visit the AdWords Help Center.

    Thanks for your understanding, and for helping us to continue to improve the AdWords experience.

    Inside AdWords: Policy adjustment for display URLs

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  • 3 Tips For Building Traffic To Your Website
    Doing business on the Internet is not much different from doing business anywhere else. If you are active and creative you will get success. If you have these two qualities it would be wise to use them to build traffic to your website. Getting traffic is not as easy as you might think. Although millions of people use the Internet, there are also millions of offerings out there. If you want to get a share of the visitors you will really have to work hard. To get you started here are some techniques that you can use to build traffic and also improve the search engine ranking of your site.

    1. The best way to build traffic is to build an interesting website!

    This doesn’t mean that we subscribe to the “build it and they will come” philosophy. However if your website has many pages of information, then each one of those pages will be packed with words and phrases that people will find when they make searches. On the other hand if you have only published a “brochure site”, a website that is a mirror image of an offline introductory brochure about your company, then there will not be much “spider food” on your site. That is, there will not be much for search engines to put in their data base, and you will not get much traffic from search engine queries.

    Another consequence in building an interesting site is that other sites will link to you, viewing your site as an important resource. In fact, this is what Google had in mind when it set up its current ranking system. A site that is informative and filled with useful information will be noted and other sites will link to it. Each of these links is viewed by Google as a “vote” for that site. Make your site interesting, and people will link to it without you even knowing about it.

    In addition, never underestimate the importance of word-of-mouth. If your site is interesting people will tell their friends and they will check out your site. A content rich site is the first secret of building traffic.

    2. Publish some of your information on other websites

    This is one of the most effective ways to build traffic. If your site is full of useful material, then other people will also want to publish it on their websites. Webmasters are hungry for content to beef up their sites and their newsletters.

    Here are a few places where you can offer your content (but make sure that you put your url and contact information on each article, this is how you actually get the traffic).

    You can first submit your article to article directories such as:

    ZapContent
    http://www.zapcontent.com

    EZinearticles.com
    http://www.ezinearticles.com/

    ArticleCity
    http://www.articlecity.com/

    Or, you can use an article submission service such as http://www.isnare.com

    3. Improve your search engine ranking with on-page and off-page optimization

    While good content is an essential part of any traffic building strategy. It also helps to take steps to improve your ranking in search engines. If your content is not optimized it will not get the exposure that it deserves.

    You can improve your search engine ranking by placing your important key search terms in the title tag, the description tag, in your site’s headlines, and in link text on your web pages. These are the on-page factors of website optimization. If you do this successfully your site’s search engine ranking for a particular keyword or keyword phrase will improve.

    It is also important to work on off-page factors that are related to search engine positioning. Your ranking is partly determined by how many other websites link to you. If you have published your material elsewhere, then you will get a good amount of important links. If not, you may have to launch a reciprocal links campaign or place your site in paid directories in order to increase the number of incoming links to your website.

    Creativity combined with activity is a good recipe for traffic building. Build your site as best you can, and then spread the word about it. Use these three tips and you are sure to succeed.


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  • How To Build A Funny Videos Website
    A website filled with funny videos will always be successful for the simple fact that people are always searching for something funny to relax and have a good laugh.


    Early on, there were only comic books and video tapes that people brooded over to have a good laugh, but today there are so many websites available for the same. These websites are filled with funny crazy pictures, funny video clips and allow the user to surf through and watch any video they wish to. They can either watch the top rated ones or specify a search keyword and look for that one particular video. However, building a funny video website is not as easy as it seems. If an individual wants to create a website, they need to go through a rigorous process. And so, you can imagine the amount of details involved for a company to launch a website. Their main content would be based on humor and interactive flash games only.

    Once a company decided to get into the funny video website category, they will need to assess the other websites already existing in the market and what they can offer that isn’t already there. As they discuss these issues with their team, they will also have to touch base with a good web hosting company to figure out if they can use their domain for the upcoming website. A funny videos website consumes a lot of bandwidth, so a dedicated server is usually required for hosting. The one thing to keep in mind is that every step of the way takes a lot of effort, so one must have a clear cut budget before delving into this pool.

    A website needs bright appealing colors, simple easy to use layout and most importantly content that will catch the eye of the person browsing through the site. If they find it interesting, they will stop and spend couple of more minutes, else will move on to other websites. A good PHP or ASP programmer can do the customized coding and put in all the necessary links, but it is difficult to find someone who will understand your needs and create a site that satisfies your dreams. The funny images and videos that you put in your site should be unique and be humorous. Some also have the html code for the video to be embedded in other websites, like MySpace or Blogs. This will help your site stand out among the crowd and get people to notice it. Finding interested people to contribute to the funny crazy pictures, flash animation videos will take time for a start up venture.

    Will there be categories to sort the videos into? For example, if a person wants to upload videos about his dogs, will your sites have a category labeled “Dog Videos”? This will come in handy when a new visitor is looking for funny videos related to dogs. This makes it easier for them to navigate through your site and find what interests them, making them stick around longer to browse the other features on your site.

    Some of the crazy pictures and funny video clips on other sites have the option for the viewer to rate the video, and post a comment. These are added features that allow the user to feel important making them come back to the site. The company should therefore think through their plan and get their facts together before putting their site out to the public. And if it is not interesting, or the pictures aren’t funny enough, you will have lost a prospective member. It is therefore advisable for the company to spend time in doing their research to try and come up with an idea to outdo the other funny video websites.

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  • An Easy Guide to Building Links to your Website Link Building is vital for a good placement in any search engine and most website owners are unaware of this or don't really understand how it actually works.

    Apart from good Keyword research and the right meta tags, linking building is an absolutely must for the success of any website and is an on going process, so make sure your put some time aside for this on a weekly basis or pay some one with experience to do it for you.

    Without it your website will certainly get no traffic.

    There are 4 different types of Linking involved and each one is as important as the other.

    If they are done correctly, they most certainly will give you a good ranking in the search engines.

    They are :

    Reciprocal Links
    Oneway Links
    MultiSite Links
    Directory Listings
    Reciprocal Linking

    Quite simply - this is a link from your site to another and they link back to you. A bit of advise here is to only link to sites that are relevant to yours. i.e - If you are selling Cars - only link to Car websites, a link to a Health website will really do you no justice, and trust me I have seen hundreds of website owners make this mistake.

    What's important here is not number of the links you have, but the quality and relevancy of the site your are linking back to. Be Selective and also take a good look at the sites linking to the site you want to link. It's really no good if this Car Site you want to link to has 40 reciprocal Links from Online Pharmacies.

    How to Do this :

    1. Pay a SEO Company to do it for you. ( recommended - but can be quite expensive )

    2. Buy Them

    3. Link Exchange Sites.

    4. Search for them on your own


    Important : Do not add to many reciprocal links to quickly, build it up gradually otherwise you will be penalized by the search engines, as it will be seen as un-natural. A good way to start is not more than 10 to 20 in one month. As your site gets older you can start adding more.

    One Way Links

    This is what the search engines call a natural link, and these links are given a far better ranking than a reciprocal link. The easiest way to do this is to write articles on what you are selling and then submit them to article directories with a link back to your website.

    Website owners are always looking for content for their sites, and Article Directories are the easiest way for them to get content, with out them having to write them on their own. There are hundreds of these directories around and the more you submit to the quicker you will build up your one way links. It also is less time consuming than reciprocal linking and you will get far better results.

    MultiSite Links

    For this to be effective you need at least 3 to 4 websites to be involved in this. It is also seen as a natural link by the search engines and can be quite difficult to do if you only have one website. Although it can be done. You will just need to find 3 other websites that are interested.

    How it works is this :

    You link to site B, Site B links to site C, Site C links to site D and site D links back to you. This way all the sites get a link with out any of them creating a reciprocal link.

    Directory Listings

    This is also seen as a natural link as most directories don't require a link back. It's very simple and all you need to do is submit your site to as many directories as possible. There are thousand's of them on the Internet, so all it requires is a little bit of time and hard work. If you make it your goal to submit to one a day, the process won't become a tiresome.

    Good Luck.

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  • Blog And Ping Your Way To Traffic
    If you have a website then you are certainly interested in having it do as well as it possibly can in the search engine rankings. However, did you know that you do have some control over getting good rankings and increasing your traffic? That is right; you can take your website’s success into your own hands and increase your traffic and income by blogging and pinging. Don’t know what blogging and pinging are? Read on to find out!

    Blogging

    A blog is just the short way of saying web log, which can be compared to an online journal or diary. However, blogs don’t have to be personal information. They can include news, thoughts, opinions, challenges, history, and anything the blogger wants. The most important aspect of a blog is that it is updated on a schedule and a regular basis with fresh new content. Some bloggers add new content once a week while others blog daily or multiple times per day. This is where increased search engine rankings come into play. Since there is always fresh new content the site is given heavier weight than if no new content were provided. This results in higher search engine rankings and increased traffic.

    Pinging

    A ping is simply a program that sends out a message to another server or computer in order to get a response. So, for instance, if you update your blog you want to ping the search engines so your pages are indexed and your site ranked higher.

    Why Blog and Ping?

    You probably know that if your website does not show up in the search engines you are unlikely to get a ton of a traffic, and if you have a website you want traffic. So, the best thing to do is write a regular blog, ping the search engines, and your site will get indexed significantly faster than it would otherwise. By putting in a little bit of extra work you are getting your site indexed with the search engines and inevitably more traffic.

    There is a lot of free blog software out on the Internet that you can simply link to your site and start blogging. Including RSS feeds, which are the pings, means the search engines are going to know you are out there and as a result start indexing your site. So, if you want to increase your traffic start blogging and pinging and you will see a difference in traffic in a hurry.

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