Why Social Signals are Important for Search Engine Rankings

These days, you hear a lot about the importance of social signals on search engine rankings.

In the old days, search engines ranked pages entirely on the basis of on-page factors – which boiled down mostly to keyword density, and how it was applied to important elements of the page; the <Title> and <h1> tags, <META> tags, body copy, ALT text and so on. There is a fairly obvious problem with this method; it’s relatively easy to reverse-engineer the top ranking pages, duplicate the results, and obtain a top ranking position for yourself (hands up if you owned a copy of Webposition Gold back in the day).

Then along came an upstart search engine called Google. They did things entirely differently; they ranked web sites based in large part upon in-pointing links. These links were seen as a sort of endorsement from the “linker”. In other words, if Site A links to the similarly-themed Site B, then Site A is essentially providing a vote of confidence for Site B. And, since Site A contains high value and is credible content, Site B must be, by extension, credible too.

In many ways, this strategy vastly improved the quality of the search results surfers could expect to attain – at least for a time.

There were two major problems with the original Google algorithm.

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Social Media Marketing and the 80 / 20 Rule

If you’re doing business online, or at the very least maintain an online presence for an offline one, you can no longer ignore social media. And you can’t pay “lip service” to it either. You have to be engaged in it. Immersed in it, to some degree.

That’s the bottom line in 2014.

But how much time should you really be spending? And which platforms should you focus on?

Well, when I say “social media”, I really mean Facebook and to a lesser extent Google+.

Why only these two?

Well, Facebook for obvious reasons. It has over a billion users, and studies show that the typical North American spends the largest percentage of his or her time online on Facebook. More germane to this discussion is the fact that data suggests that of all the time spent on social media sites, the vast majority (83%) is spent on Facebook.

I include Google+ because of its obvious ties to the Google search engine, and its potential ranking and engagement signals.

What about other social media sites, like Twitter?

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Hiatus Over. I Hope.

It’s been almost a year since I posted here on No-BS-Marketing, which is a bit of a damn shame, since I greatly love both discussing and ranting about all aspects of IM. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much of a choice. Google’s various animal-based penalties and the impact they had on my businesses meant I needed to develop my own product or service, which is exactly what I did.

Owning your product or developing your own service is the only way you can really control your traffic, because you can pay for it. You can either buy it yourself, or reward others for sending it to you (via an affiliate program). Either way, it doesn’t matter one iota anymore what Google does because you’re no longer affected. If you get some free spillover traffic from the big “G”, great, if not… who cares?

Anyhow, now that the service is completed and live, I’m immersed in marketing it. And that means both online and off. Online, my biggest interest lies with FaceBook, which offers some incredible opportunities due to the fact that you can get incredibly granular with audience targeting, thus allowing you to deliver your product to those most likely to be most interested in it. I’ve learned some great stuff from Amy Porterfield, Keith Kranc from DominateWebMedia.com, and several others along the way.

It is my intention to discuss this new and exciting element of marketing as I mess around with it, and the importance of social media in general.

Talk soon,

Paul

 

Want to Make Money Online? Stay the *%@& Out Of the Warrior Forum

I have a friend who has just recently discovered the income potential which is the Internet. He’s genuinely excited – and who of us were not, when we first realized the financial opportunity offered by the Net, but had not yet been introduced to the depressing reality that despite how simple it all seems, it’s just not that easy to earn a living online (almost 99% of people fail to do so).

Of course, having discovered Internet marketing, he’s also discovered the Warrior forum, and accordingly spends endless hours there almost daily, pouring over posts and eagerly examining each WSO (Warrior Special Offer) that comes his way.

This is not a “knock” against the Warrior forum – it’s the biggest Internet Marketing forum on the net. It’s been around since 1997, and boasts almost 600,000 members. It is, without a doubt, a great resource.

One day, after listening to his questions about a certain IM related business model, I could resist it no more; “Dood,” I said, “get the *%@& out of the Warrior forum. Stop. Seriously.”

Why?

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Looking Back At 2012: The Year of the Penguin?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly a year since I last posted here on No BS marketing. I’ve been meaning to, of course… it’s just that something always seems to come up at the last minute. However, I really, really, really wanted to check in to talk about 2012 – as it pertains to Internet Marketers and to anyone who relies on free Search Engine traffic as the foundation of their business.

Because it was – pardon my French – one hell of a year.

2012 was, in my opinion, the year of the “Penguin.”angry penguin

Never has an update caused so much consternation and had so much of an impact on so many.

Some Background Info on Penguin

If you’ve been in a coma for the last year, Penguin is the name of a Google algorithm update which targeted webmasters who obtained their rankings through deceptive, “black hat tactics”, or tactics that violated Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Google is officially on record as saying violations include participating in “link schemes” as well as keyword stuffing (which hasn’t worked for years) and cloaking (which is beyond the means of the average online marketer). Really, Penguin is all about links.

For the most part, this algorithm hammered just about every site that had engaged in any active sort of link building campaign, a tactic indicated by highly optimized anchor text. Back in the old days (circa 2011), if you wanted your web site to rank for “solar powered widgets”, you’d set up a link building campaign that featured these keywords in the anchor text, build your links (or outsource the task to the Philippines), and watch your rankings rise.

Not anymore.

On the face of it, penalizing sites obtained rankings in this manner makes sense, and should have improved the quality of Google’s search results.

Did it?

Well, that too has been debated by those far more qualified than I.

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How To Make Money With YouTube

YouTube is the 3rd-highest trafficed web site on the Internet, according to Alexa.com.

That is, by any stretch of the imagination, a ton of traffic. But YouTube is much more than just a place to kill a slow afternoon at work. It’s much more than a place to lose yourself watching home movies of entertaining pets or old music videos from the 80′s.

It’s also a place that offers a great opportunity to make money.

Yes, you can leverage YouTube’s massive traffic and worldwide appeal to generate revenue for YOU. From my point of view, one of the coolest things about Youtube is that it’s entirely possible to use it to build a successful, profitable business or generate some decent “bonus” income without having a web site, selling a product, or providing a service of any kind.

How?

There are two ways I can think of right off the top of my head…

    • Monetize your own videos. If you’re already putting up videos of your cats, dogs, kids, or whatever, why not monetize them?  I’m sure you’ve seen the “in-video” ads that appear over top of certain videos while you’re watching? These are Google “Adwords” ads (since YouTube is owned by Google).

      Adwords is Google’s in context advertising solution, and if your account qualifies for monetization, you can agree to have relevant ads placed on your videos. Google will then split the profits of  the ads with you, and mail you a check every month. While it sounds ridiculous, the “everyday” pet videos thrown on YouTube are incredible popular. For example, the one I posted earlier of the German Shepherd puppy has received over 500,000 page views (at the time of this writing). This simple video of a Dobermann guarding a baby, has received 4.7 million views. That’s nearly a million views per year since it was uploaded in 2007.

      Now suppose Google’s ads were displayed on this video. Let’s also assume a modest 2% click through rate and earnings per click of $.50. So… 4,700,000 X 2% X $.50 = $47,000! Not enough to live on when it’s divided up over 5 years, to be sure, but not bad for just throwing a video on YouTube.

 

  • Create a YouTube “Affiliate” Channel: Many people review products on YouTube and include an affiliate link to the merchant in question. For those of you that are not aware, affiliate links contain a special tracking code so that if the person who watches your video decides to buy the product in question, the retailer pays you a percentage of the sale.

    People like to watch video reviews, and Google likes to give YouTube listings prominence in its search results.

    That`s a WIN WIN.

    Of course, you have to perform a genuine review; you have to own and be intimately familiar with the product in question in order to effectively point out its benefits and possible shortcomings. You also have to be entirely genuine and have your viewer’s best interests at heart, or you won’t make a penny. That’s because unless you have chosen a very specific niche/product, lots of other people will be doing the same thing.

    You just have to do it better, or alternatively, do it well, but come up first in the search results.

So there you have it; 2 ways to use YouTube to make money online without having your own website.

Yes, there IS a downside to building an income solely from YouTube; you never truly own your own business. If Google decides tomorrow to stop displaying ads on your videos,  for example, your income disappears. Or, if they stop directing traffic to your videos the same thing happens. For this reason, marketing with YouTube is best thought of as one part  of a more comprehensive plan. You really need to diversify (i.e., get your own web site) if you want to have a secure, dependable income.

 

Video Review: Dave Kaminski’s Web Video University

I talk a lot about video marketing on this web site.

One resource which I recommend consistently throughout the course of these video-related discussions is Dave Kaminski’s Web Video University (WVU).

I recommend it for a simple reason; it is a fantastic, thorough and extensive resource for anyone serious about creating high quality web videos. I know this because I’ve been a member of Dave’s program for over 6 months now – I discovered Web Video University after purchasing Dave’s Screencast Secrets, which is a program that teaches you how to use the combination of Camtasia and PowerPoint to create incredible screencasts. I was so impressed by the product that I signed up for WVU immediately.

I wasn’t disappointed.

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The Web 2.0 Link Building Experiment: Using Squidoo, Tumblr, & Hubpages for Links

experimentIf you’ve spent any time on this site, you’ll know I talk a lot about link building and my experiences with it. Link building is one of those necessary Internet marketing evils, and for the most part, it’s a big pain in the a**.

Sure, there are all sorts of tools that will automate the link building process (think SE Nuke or EdwinSoft’s Ultimate Demon) and these are fine for getting a base of low quality links. However, obtaining quality in-pointing links is a tedious, hands-on process, that often doesn’t bear fruit.

Webmasters of quality sites guard their links jealously, and won’t hand them out to any webmaster who comes calling, and certainly not one of a low quality website that can’t provide something in return.

Prior to the Panda update, I had a pretty relaxed attitude towards link building; a few blog comments here and there, some directory submissions, link exchanges with relevant sites, a handful of videos posted with their links pointing to the most appropriate pages, and so on.

Mostly I just focused on creating the sort of great content that garners links on its own.

That doesn’t seem to be enough anymore.

Today, in a post-Panda world, it seems to me that a much more aggressive link building strategy needs to be considered – which is why I’ve written so much about link building on this blog.

One of the strategies I’ve always considered but never put into practice is the Web 2.0 strategy; creating high quality material on Web 2.0 sites like Squidoo, Hubpages, Tumblr, Weebly, etc, and then linking those sites either directly to your “money” site, or to each other in a complex link wheel, and then to your money site.

That’s after you build some links to those pages as well, of course.

And, since Web 2.0 sites have a ton of authority with the Search Engines (SEs), the links gained from pages hosted on them can have considerable weight – especially if those pages you created have received links of their own.

I’m not sure I buy into the “linkwheel” strategy: it is manipulative (as far as the SEs are concerned) and too easy to reverse engineer. In other words, to me it looks more deceptive than a straight link. There’s no reason to my mind why a SE would ignore a direct link from any Web 2.0 property to your web site, unless, of course, you have a zillion of them and your page is of extremely low quality. That’s a dead giveaway.

I’ve seen some webmasters argue it makes sense to link your Web 2.0 sites together to further build the authority of the sites in your Web 2.0 network, thus transferring greater “link juice” to your own site in the process. Who knows whether this works or not for sure?

One of the reasons I never bothered with this strategy is that is seemed like a LOT of work. I won’t post crappy content under my name, which means I’d have to create them all myself, and with my regular content creation duties and the sheer number of web 2.0 sites worth considering, I’d never be able to get it all done.

Obviously then – considering the title of this post – this is something I’ve reconsidered. I’m thinking that I should develop quality material on the top 5-10 Web 2.0 sites. Build them, let them “sit” for a month or so, and then add a link or two to my money sites.

Yesterday, for instance, I created my first Squidoo lens – it’s on the subject of body building supplements, and today I created a second one on job training (for my new job training and certification site). It was a fairly painless process, although I imagine it will become less fun each and every time I create a Web 2.0 page.

Since I’ve seriously been considering hiring a virtual assistant this year, this seems like a perfect task to outsource.

In the meantime, stay tuned for updates and results on the Web 2.0 experiment. I’m curious to see how it turns out.

What They Don’t Tell You About Blog Networks For Link Building

Toilet and moneyBuild My Rank. TrafficKaboom. SEOLink Vine. Unique Article Wizard. Article Ranks. Blog Blueprint.

I could go on, but you get the point. These are all link building networks – large networks of sites and blogs owned by marketers for the express purpose of link building.

Here’s how they work…

You sign up for the service of your choice.

You pay a fee, usually a regular monthly subscription which ranges in cost from around $50 per month and up.

This gives you access to the network.

Now you can post articles, blog posts, and sometimes, short 150 word “snippets” to the network, and include a link back to your site. The specifics of how many posts you can make per day, or how many different sites you can add to the network varies greatly depending on the service to which you subscribe.

For instance, with Build My Rank (which I wrote about some time ago after trying the free trial of the service), you are allowed to add 5 sites to the network, and make an unlimited number of posts. Each post must be a minimum of 150 words, and can contain one link back to your site. All posts must be unique and well written – no spun material is allowed.

On the surface, belonging to a quality network – which can contain sites with a PR (Page Rank) ranging from 0 to 6 (again it varies from service to service) – seems to make pretty good sense. Why bother hunting down blogs to solicit guest articles or make posts on when, for a small monthly fee, you get direct access to tons of such sites that will post your articles without question?

Well, here’s where we get to the part where I tell you what the gurus are not telling you about using blog networks for link building…

There are two main things…

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Learn Web Video ABCs, Plus Green Screen And Mobile Video Secrets!

Dan Kaminski, of Web Video University fame has announced his “end of year” special and it’s a doozy; 3 of his most popular courses (Web Video ABC’s, Green Screen Secrets and Mobile Video Made Simple) for a mere $99.

Normally these courses retail for just over $300, but until Dec 31, you can get them for a third of the cost.

I haven’t done a full review of Dave’s Web Video University (I plan to in the New Year) but I can tell you this; I maintain a membership to it because it is a fantastic resource. If you’ve spent any time on this site you’ll know I have no hesitations about calling things as they are; I never candy-coat things. Dave’s course is simply superb. He’s put a ton of work into his products and it shows.

So if any these courses appeal to you, grab ‘em up now and save!