First 5 Figure month - November 2010
First 6 Figure year - 2010
Updated with 2011 holiday season results below!
Update May 2012: In the extremely rare event you haven't heard of the Penguin update that was rolled out on April 24th 2012 --> the strategy that I outline in this thread which worked for 3-4 years, may not work any more. The guidelines I discuss here on on page SEO may get you an over-optimization penalty and backlinking methods I discuss here may get you more penalties or may not be given any credit.
Many of my sites that used the following strategy were unmoved by the Pandas, but were annihilated by the Penguin.
Mindset and keyword research modules are fine to follow, but as far as on page SEO and off page SEO go, you have been warned!!
(7 YouTube Videos Below)
Day 1 - The mindset
Day 2 - 5 videos added on keyword research
Day 4 - Text added on keyword research
Day 7 - On page SEO
Day 13 - Off page SEO - Part 1
Day 18 - Off page SEO - Part 2
Day 24 - Off page SEO - Part 3
I beat my own targets
Currently I’m in grad school and I’m graduating in 2012. I didn’t think I could maintain a GPA of 3.9/4.0 and achieve my IM goals before graduating. But I was WRONG!
Time to give back
I have learned a ton from Warrior Forum (both free information and paid WSOs) and I thought it would be terribly wrong if I didn’t give anything back to the forum.
Free traffic from organic Google rankings
First 4 figure day – November 26th 2010 (Black Friday) - $2400
First 5 figure month – November 2010 - $21,000
First 6 figure year – 2010
UPDATE 2012 January
The purpose of this screenshot is NOT to brag, but simply to encourage you so that you know this was NOT a one time fluke! This will also be my last update as far as proof of income goes, if figures from 2 years in a row won't convince one to take action, nothing will.
Disclaimer: all this is not from free traffic, this year I experimented with a few paid traffic methods targeting Black Friday/Cyber Monday, however those earnings are less than 10% from the screenshot below.
Two other people also have reported their success targeting BF/CM in 2011 after following this thread here and here
2012 UPDATE complete: What's below this point is what I wrote back in March 2011. Some of the details may have changed, but the basic principles remain the same even as of January 2012.
All of above was from free traffic. Currently I have over half a dozen #1 rankings on Google and another dozen or so elsewhere on the first page. Most of them are similar to sniper sites with an average of about 4-5 posts. Two of them are larger sites with multiple rankings for various different long tail keywords. These two larger sites have about 30 - 80 posts in them.
Not with Amazon yet? BIG MISTAKE
The video below shows the products for which I earned a commission on Black Friday
All eggs are not in the same basket
My income comes from ClickBank, Commission Junction and Amazon (and like $50/month from adsense).
If you can't find all the videos, here is my YouTube channel where you will be able to watch all the videos
Success - the Essence
I intend to share my on page and off page SEO strategies in this thread. However, I STRONGLY believe that my SEO knowledge played a relatively small role in this success. If one asks me to list the factors in the order that they contributed to this success, I think my list is going to be something like this.
- Positive attitude – I had ABSOLUTELY no doubt in my mind that I was going to achieve these goals
- Ability to think BIG – think 4 steps ahead
- Ability to prioritize things (e.g. read ‘Think and Grow Rich’ vs watch American Idol)
- Realization that knowledge means NOTHING without ACTION
- TAKING ACTION
- Ability to take a ‘failure’ as a lesson and to move on – I had many failures when starting off; but I always thought “if others could do it, I could do it better”
- Sticking to one system instead of jumping from one model to another – there are many ways to skin a cat; but you only need to learn one way to do it
- On page and off page SEO
- Picking the right niche market (and then the right product)
- Providing value to customers and engaging them for better conversions – in some of my review sites, my #1 recommended product gives me a smaller commission than #2 and #3 products. I’ve seen a lot of reviews simply based on the affiliate commission instead of the actual product value, but I just don’t do that.
I have many weaknesses
I WANT TO REALLY STRESS THE FOLLOWING POINTS. I'm far from perfect. I have many weaknesses. I will list a few of them below.
- I’m slow – I hate to admit it, but I am. I’ve been wanting to write this since December, but it took me 3 months to get it going
- I’m not very organized – I have many incomplete websites; I have many domains that I have purchased, but never used; I have got content written for about a half a dozen new websites, but they are still in my inbox (from outsource-rs); for some websites, I don’t have analytics installed so I don’t know the keywords that are bringing them traffic/sales; for some websites that are already on the 2nd page, I don’t have any affiliate links – I’m probably leaving money on the table; I have never used an auto-responder and thus have no list – again I’m losing money in the long run here
- I can’t multi-task. I can only do one thing at a time. I cannot think about building links while I’m still making a website or studying for an exam.
- My business model is not the most stable – I have a few sites bringing all my money. Should a couple of them get thrown away from their current positions, I will lose like 50% of my IM income. I am aware of this; but haven’t done a lot about it. I’d rather have 10 sites that make $500/month than 4 sites that make $2500/month (unfortunately my current situation is closer to the latter than the former)
- I get emotional and attached to my websites – my very first websites were all failures. Either they were in the wrong market, targeted the wrong keywords (with no commercial intent) or they had no significant search volume. Yet I was reluctant to move to a different market or different keyword, instead wasted a lot of time and $ trying to squeeze water from stone.
- I’m not the most outgoing personality – as a result, my WF avatar doesn’t have my picture, I don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account and as a result I don’t do any social networking (thus missing out on the whole social marketing thing). This is also why I’m not in the IM niche. Come to think of it, I don’t even have my real name in my profile …. maybe one day… soon!!
Because I want you to understand that one does not need to be perfect to be successful in IM. I have many deficiencies. In spite of all those, I have been relatively successful in IM with the few hours (as little as 1 – 3 hours/day) that I can spend on it.
SEO that I wish to share
When I started writing this, my plan was to write the whole thread in one go. But it has already taken me like 12 hours (including figuring out Camtasia and making the videos) and I think I have like another 40 hours of SEO that I want to share with you in my head. For example I wish to talk at least about the following broad topics:
- Keyword research – I’ll be honest here. This is probably my weakest area. I do a few basic things. I don’t think any of that is unique to me. In the early days, I used to be a lot conservative, but now I’m not afraid to compete with big players; so I’m not too concerned about kw research. Currently I’m ranking #12 for a relatively broad keyword: a two word phrase e.g. boys games (just an example) and I’m super excited about it. All the keyword tools that I used told me to keep away from this keyword, but I didn't listen to them. In the early days I would have never gone for this. Instead I would have gone for something like “young boys outdoor games”. (EDIT: Even though I said that originally, I believe I ended up doing a detailed write up on keyword research and domain selection - see Day 4 content)
- Basic and advanced on page SEO – if you’ve been in IM a while and you have multiple #1 rankings, you should probably not waste your time reading my methods. But if you are not there yet, I can assure you that you will learn many things that will do you a whole lot of good if you put them to action. I will probably try and spend a lot of time on the interlinking structure as I don’t see many people addressing this important aspect of SEO enough.
- Basic and advanced off page SEO – my typical #1 position has fewer backlinks pointing to it than backlinks for #2 and #3 websites combined. This is not true when I outrank Amazon.com or Wikipedia. Because they are authority sites, they get ranked with much fewer or no backlinks. I believe I will be talking about some advanced off page SEO. I also understand that for some relatively new warriors these concepts will be super-advanced while for others (e.g. those like Dan Thies or Leslie Rhodie) my advanced SEO may be basic.
By the way I don’t call myself an SEO specialist. I may only know a fraction of what people like Dan Thies or Leslie Rhodie know. But the fact that I have over a half a dozen #1 rankings that earned me my first six figures online probably suggests that I know enough SEO to give a beginner a jump start in their IM carrier.
I’m going to call it a day now and will come back tomorrow to start some SEO. Got to go do something that will actually make me some money
UPDATE March 21st - Day 2
5 New Videos on keyword research added
I reveal 2 niches (flip video cameras and kids karaoke machines) and 4 potential keyword phrases. For some of them 'exact match domains' are still available.
The 5 videos were nearly 1 hour long and kind of cluttered the page. So I took them to a post further down this page. The text added on Day 4 on keyword research should be more concise and organized than the videos. However, the videos address certain aspects that I don't in the text. So if you have time you are encouraged to watch them, but if you don't have the time (like me); the text on Day 4 should give you a good foundation.
UPDATE March 23rd - Day 4
Keyword research and Domain Selection
The importance of keyword research cannot be emphasized enough. If you pick the wrong keyword, you can spend tons of time and money without a significant return. Sometimes, you get the coveted #1, but you find it has no commercial intent and therefore ZERO $$ (been there done that ).
In the past, I have spent a couple of hours on keyword research (for a business that I’m going to build that will earn me $1000s for life) and paid the price dearly. Only now am I realizing the real importance of it. This is the foundation of your business. Don’t be afraid (or lazy) to spend days on it (instead of hours) if you have to!
Now that I have produced several winners, I don't go in to a LOT of details because I know a few tricks to beat my competition. But if you are starting out, it's best that you pay as much attention as possible to this initial step of your business. Remember, you're building a business, not just a website!
3 Vital Parameters
Whether you use manual methods or paid tools, the goal should be to find a keyword with
- Sufficient search volume
- A level of competition that you can handle
- Enough commercial intent (instead of informational)
- I personally think you cannot give concrete figures for the search volume. For example, if you were to sell an expensive $1000 item (Jewellery, industrial equipment on Amazon – hint hint!!) with a 7% commission, 10 sales/month is $700. For a laser targeted buying keyword with high commercial intent, a search volume as little as 300/month can give you that $700. The other extreme is also true. So you really have to make a call depending on the product you are promoting.
- The general consensus is that you should target a search phrase with approximately 3000 exact searches/month. That’s 100 searches/day and will get you 40 visitors/day if you
- Obtain #1 position on Google
- And if you get traffic ONLY through that single kw – this almost never happens; you are bound to get traffic from all kinds of long tail kw.
- If you are starting out, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you start on a POSITIVE note. In other words, you don’t want to be targeting a highly competitive keyword just because you want to go with the 3000 searches/month norm. You’d rather target a keyword with only 750 searches/month (exact count), get that #1 position and get some confidence going even if it is only going to earn you $75/month. THIS IS ALSO WHAT I DID at the beginning. Had I targeted a term like ‘Dog Obedience Training’, I may have already given up internet marketing and may not have been in a position to write this post today.(I did right at the beginning, but thankfully I failed fast )
- What competition? That’s what some SUPER AFFILIATES like James Schramko says! When you get to that level, when you have $1000s to throw away, when you have produced dozens of winners you can say that. But if you are just starting out, I personally think you should pick a keyword with relatively low competition so that you are going to taste success sooner than later.
- The general consensus is that you should target a keyword with less than 30,000 ‘competition’. Here, ‘competition’ is taken as the number of results you get when you do an exact search for your phrase on Google; e.g. “dog training obedience” (the keyword inside inverted commas). Tools like Micro Niche Finder (MNF), automatically gives this (they call it the phrase count). I rank #1 for a keyword with a phrase count of 8 million. I would personally not worry about it too much. Even if you are just starting out, if all other factors look fabulous, I wouldn’t pitch a keyword just because it has a phrase count of 100,000. OBVIOUSLY, the lower the phrase count the better, but don’t let that be the only guideline for analyzing competition.
- The phrase count kind of addresses the ‘quantity’ of competition. But what about the ‘quality’ of competition? From what I know, phrase count includes any indexed page that has in its text the keyword phrase you are looking for in that same order. It DOES NOT tell you if these sites have the keyword in the title tag, H1 tag, meta tags, hyperlinks, URL etc. etc. This is what paid keyword tools like MNF and Market Samurai (MS) do. The ‘strength of competition’ figure in MNF (abbreviated as SOC) takes some of the above mentioned parameters in to consideration. MNF shows SOC by using 3 colors: green for easy, yellow for intermediate difficulty and red for very difficult. MS shows a variety of other parameters like number of backlinks, domain age, links from authority directories etc. etc. as well. Again, they use the same 3 colors to show level of ease/difficulty. The more green you see in the competition, the better! These tools (and probably others that I have never used) give you an idea about your competition.
- Again, if you are starting out, shoot for a keyword with not too much competition both quantity and quality wise. With MNF, go no further than yellow!
- We are still not done! Once you find the above parameters to be doable, you need to look at the CURRENT rankings for that search phrase. What are the top 4-5 websites? Here are some of the things that come into my head as I’m typing this.
- Are they all authority sites with 1000s of indexed pages and millions of backlinks? Even if they are, that doesn’t mean you should keep away from them. Amazon is a perfect example that has high PR, high trust rank (whatever that is), a lot of pages and a lot of backlinks. But people (including myself) beat Amazon easily. However, if a particular authority site is laser targeted to the exact keyword you are trying to target, that may be a different story.
- How optimized are their ranking pages for the keyword of your interest?
- Title tag
- Meta Description tag
- Domain name/Page name – URL
- You can see all above 3 things on the search results page itself. Now you should also click in to each website and look at the following factors
- H1, H2, H3 tags
- Keyword richness in content
- Images – ALT tags
- Hyperlinks etc.
- Are the above parameters optimized or not? If they are very well optimized, then you may have a hard time beating them if you are just starting out. We want to find ‘competition’ that is not well optimized.
- What about the number of backlinks to the competition? This really doesn’t matter if their on page optimization is not that good. In the example that I show in the video the well optimized #1 non-authority site with an exact match domain (EMD) beats not so optimized authority sites with tons of PR and backlinks (for the search term flip video reviews). However, if their on page optimization is also good and they have tons of backlinks pointing to them, that may be another indication that we should keep away from it. The general consensus is that if your competition has 200-300 backlinks (to the exact page – not the domain), you have a winner. But as I have shown above, you may be able to handle more backlinks than that if their on page factors are not so good.
- Do you see a lot of Google adwords for that search phrase?
- Does Google Adwords Keywords Tool say there is a lot of competition for this phrase?
- Are there many affiliate websites already promoting products with this or closely related keywords?
- Do potential products on ClickBank have a high gravity?
- Are there products on Amazon? What about customer reviews?
- Does Detecting Online Commercial Intention: Audience Intelligence: adCenter Labs say it has a high commercial intent?
- Do you have to convince the buyer (e.g. you can save gas by converting your car to run on water) or is the buyer already convinced/desperate and addicted to the product you’re trying to sell (e.g. product name keywords (PNK)?
- Are there genuine products that will truly provide a solution to the searcher (e.g. home remedy for acne cure) related to the keyword you are going to target?
- Is there already a ton of free information available on the web? With physical products, you will not have to worry about this.
Domain name selection
Once you have selected your keyword, your next step is domain name selection. I am yet to give up a good keyword because I could not get a good domain. The more keyword rich and more specific the domain name is, easier your ranking process will be.
Most preferred domain name
Obviously, the most preferred domain name is the exact match domain (EMD) on one of the three top level domains (TLD; i.e: .com, .net, .org).
Sticking with the example of flip video reviews, that would be flipvideoreviews.com, flipvideoreviews.net, or flipvideoreviews.org.
I have an exact match .info which is #1. Obviously, I built this site when I was starting my IM carrier about 3 years ago and did not want to spend on the .net or .com (honestly I don’t remember if those were available). My feeling is that I have to continuously give it content (posts) or backlinks and if not it falls in the rankings. I have #1s in .com, .net and .org. I have a feeling those are more resilient. However, I CANNOT come in to a scientific conclusion about this because my sample size is very small and the levels of competition are different among the different websites.
However, my advice as well as the general consensus is that you should stick with the TLDs if you are looking at building a long term business.
EMDs are not available ?
What do you do if the EMDs are gone? You have 3 options. Either you look for E-M-D, prefixEMD or EMDsuffix. I’m going to list my personal preferences below. Different people have different points of views. This is mine. I suggest you look at the examples I have given and make an intelligent decision as to what you feel suits best for your particular situation.
- E-M-D : e.g. flip-videoreviews.com (one hyphen is better than two hyphens).
- www.dog-obedience-training-review.com/ for dog training
- www.european-wall-tapestries.com/ #1 for European tapestries and #2 for tapestries
- www.colon-cleanse-information.com/ #2 for colon cleanse information
- www.best-colon-cleanse.com/ ranks above www.bestcoloncleanse.org/ for best colon cleanse (the number of pages and backlinks are stronger with the E-M-D though)
- www.forex-strategies-revealed.com/ #1 for forex strategies
- http://www.flip-video-review.org/ is ranking on page #3 with 3 links to the domain
- I personally have a two word keyword (hyper competitive) ranking at #12 (page 2) with a hyphenated E-M-D
- EMDsuffix : e.g. flipvideoreviewssite.com, EMDinfo.com, EMDX (flipvideoreviewsX.com – I have personally not used this type of domain. But do a search for tinnitus miracle on Google and you will see EMDV, EMDZ and EMDJ on the first page – EMDV ranks above EMD; EMDbonus and EMDreview rank above EMDZ and EMDJ; I did not spend time to look at their on page or off page optimization)
- acaiberrydietnow.com/ beats acaiberriesdiet.com/ for **** berry diet
- prefixEMD : e.g. bestflipvideoreviews.com
- www.buypowercoloncleanse.com/ beats Colon Cleanse Ultra for power colon cleanse (didn’t check on page and off page SEO factors)
The big question is OK but what’s the easiest? I’m sorry I don’t know a concrete answer. But what I do know is that it doesn’t matter a lot. What matters is you pick one and get on with it! Since we are going to optimize other factors as much as possible and we have immaculately researched our keywords with in depth competition analysis, we should be able to make up for an non-perfect domain name.
That’s it for today guys. If and when I remember more things, I will be sure to update.
The videos have more information, only the first 3 videos on keyword research are functional as of now.
Thank you everybody for the encouraging words.
Update - March 21st
I just answered a question and I think it's a little important
I believe I answered that question in the videos. I don't make nearly as much on a regular month from these sites. That is because I targeted black Friday products right from the go.
I was planning on talking about this during on page optimization. But since you raised the point, I'll briefly go through it now.
The MAJOR trick is this. When it comes to Black Friday, people (including myself) search for 'product name keyword + Black Friday Deals' etc. You want to optimize your pages for the right products and exploit the tons of traffic you're going to get on Black Friday and then throughout the month of Christmas.
There you go! That's a $100K tip right there!
On Page SEO
Step 1: KW Research – Primary keyword selection
Step 2: Domain name selection
I've already addressed above 2 points
Step 3: Secondary keyword selection
Step 4: Write content
Step 5: Site setup
Secondary keyword selection
How do I find secondary kw?
Mostly, I use the Google WonderWheel to do this. If Google believes they are relevant kw, I would be a fool not to . But if I come across other related kw (even if WonderWheel doesn’t pick it as a directly related kw) with very low competition and high search volume, I would include that as a post.
Here’s is something new to think about.
I’ve done 4 projects of these so far and yet to see anybody talking about this. I don’t make single websites anymore. I make them in batches of 4 or 5 in the same niche. I’m sure not everybody is going to agree on this. But I have my reasons. So what I do is, if the niche is good, instead of identifying 5 kw (1 primary and 4 secondary), I would go ahead and look for as many kw as possible, while I’m spending time doing kw research. I’m going to learn about a new niche, so might as well make money from that niche using 5 websites than just 1 right? I will use the kw with the highest search volume as the primary keywords for the 4 or 5 websites. Others will be used as 2ry kw. Most sites in a batch/theme will have the same kw as secondary kw.
Content for 5 websites – approximately 25 pages of content!
In the past, I obviously used to write my own content (and I obviously didn’t make 5 sites at a time). But as my online earnings increased, I realized that I could do more productive things with my time than write kw optimized content. This is what I do. I get kw optimized content freshly written @ $3.50/piece. They are over 500 words in length. 5 pages of content = $17.50.
Then I get these rewritten by different people @ $2/article. So that’s $2X20 = $40. Total cost = $17.50 + 40 = ~$60 together with Odesk fees etc. I don’t think that’s a bad deal for content for 5 websites! Just $12/website for content.
From my 2nd such project onwards, I’ve been using Desktop WordPress Mass Blog Installer & Manager for Windows, Mac, or Linux to do the wordpress installation. Half an hour and all 5 websites are done with all of my plugins uploaded etc. It’s priced @ $30, but check out the WSO section for cheaper options. I saw some cheaper WP cloning software within the last month or so. They may do the same job as Desktop WordPress Mass Blog Installer & Manager for Windows, Mac, or Linux.
I know some of you are going to disagree with me on this method. I am rarely able to get two top rankings for two pages of the same site. But that's very rare. Usually, only the theme kw (primary kw) gets top rankings and others don't. In my experience, with these smaller sites, if I try to rank a 2nd kw, the 1ry one drops. I’m not the only one that says this; I’ve heard Terry Kyle and Tom Goodwin also say this. I heard it on a webinar they did with David Eisner. You should be able to find it somewhere here in the WF… there were a lot of SEO tips in that webinar. Obviously there has to be ways you can do it, however, I have not succeeded doing that with this type of smaller sites. Iguess I haven't tried to do it religiously either!
What triggered this idea was two sites that I made targeting Black Friday of 2009. Both these were EMDs and both of them got #1 (several months after Black Friday ). Whenever I wrote an article for one of them, I got it rewritten through Odesk and added it to the other site. So I thought, why not make them in clusters of 4-5 websites right from the beginning?
These clusters have been relatively successful in getting top rankings. Here are the stats.
- First batch - #1-2, #6, #11, #18, #201
- Second batch - #2, #3, #7-8, #11, #13-14 (this is the one I have put most effort on)
- Third batch - #11-12, #23, #115, last one is not ranked (this is the hyper competitive niche that I referred to earlier. All these are two word keywords and hyphenated URLs. e.g. video-games.com
- Fourth and Fifth batches – haven’t started backlinking, haven't checked rankings
In my experience, most of these micro-sites that target low search volume kw don’t make good money unless they reach the top half of the first page. Some of them don’t make money even if they reach the top (I have a couple of those - what a waste of resources). That’s because they’re not buying kw or their commercial intent is not as good as you though it would be. The only way around it (that I know of) is to setup an adwords campaign and see if it is buying kw or not. I’ve tried adwords in the past, but haven’t had good success. Definitely a good skill to have however strong your SEO may be.
On the other hand I also have sites that don’t rank on the first page for the primary kw yet make over 1K/month (not Amazon). These are either high search volume kw or it’s the ltbkw (long tail buying kw) that bring in the sales.
Take home message
Not every site will be a winner. What’s important is to fail fast if you want to look at it that way, learn from the exercise, and move on.
More about content
Although I outsource 5 pages of content, these are merely search engine fodder. When a site starts ranking, I will go ahead and rewrite/modify the homepage/sticky post myself.
The specific instructions that I give my writers are as follows
- The article should have at least 500 words
- Main keyword has to be mentioned at a density of 2% (10 times per 500 words)
- 3 other keywords (secondary kw) have to be mentioned at least twice in the whole article (each kw twice in the article for 3 keywords)
- Please highlight the different kw you use in different colors in each article
- Include 3 sub-titles – the main keyword should be in one and 2 others in the other 2 sub-titles
- Main keyword should be mentioned in the 1st sentence and the last sentence
- The 5 keywords are as follows. One is to be used as the primary keyword and 3 others to be used as secondaries in the article body and sub-titles as mentioned above
Initial configuration – WP Dashboard
I’ll start from the top left hand corner and go through the ones that I make changes on.
- Dashboard – I will rename the category ‘uncategorized’ with primary kw, if it’s not too long. I’ll add another 1 or 2 categories with a related kw.
- Links – I remove all the default links. I’ve set up WPDesktop to do this automatically
- Appearance –> theme – I’ve been using the thesis theme for a while now. But I’ve used all kinds of free themes to achieve top rankings. Thesis supposedly have this advantage for being ‘SEO friendly’. This is a controversial topic and I’ll stay out of it J
- Appearance –> widgets – under the footer widget, I put the following code.
<a href=”http://mydomain.com/about us”
target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>About-US</a> | <a
target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Contact</a> |
target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Disclosure</a> |
| <a href=”http://mydomain.com/terms-of-use”
| <a href=”http://mydomain.com/sitemap.xml”
- Note how all the legal pages are nofollowed while the sitemap is not. These will appear in the footer of each page. You definitely want your primary/theme kw here, and may be also one or two secondary kw related to the main theme.
- I also use the recent posts widget in the sidebar here. I believe it just makes it easier for search engines to find all the posts and therefore index them. If you have really interesting content, that will also help you retain your visitors for a longer period of time. More on this later (A lot).
- Because I use Thesis, I also use something called ‘Thesis OpenHook’ and I do one configuration here. One of the things that I do here is pasting an auto-ping script. I learned and purchased the script through a WSO from Sean Donahoe. Sean’s products are top notch by the way. What this script does is, it pings your site whenever a visitor lands on your site using their IP address. I guess this is a good thing; I include the script in all my sites. Does it make a difference? I really don’t know! Recently I bought this WSO from Konrad Braun http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-...autopilot.html and it does auto-pinging and more. I found this free plugin with a Google search that seems to do a similar thing. Feel free to check it out Free Pinger Plugin for Wordpress – Let visitors ping for you
- The next section is plugins. I believe this is where the power of wordpress comes in to play. I use a bunch of free plugins and a couple of paid plugins. Here they are
- WordPress › cbnet MBP Auto-Activate « WordPress Plugins
- WordPress › Dean's FCKEditor For WordPress « WordPress Plugins
- WordPress › Google Analyticator « WordPress Plugins
- WordPress › Google XML Sitemaps « WordPress Plugins
- WordPress › Search for Platinum SEO Pack « WordPress Plugins
- WordPress › SEO SearchTerms Tagging 2 « WordPress Plugins
- WordPress › WP-DB-Backup « WordPress Plugins
- WordPress › WP No External Links « WordPress Plugins
- WordPress › Yet Another Related Posts Plugin « WordPress Plugins
- WordPress › SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam « WordPress Plugins
- Also use a 'socialize' plugin of your choice - for people to like you, retweet and bookmark you
- SEOPressor UNLIMITED – SEOPressor automatically optimizes your on-page SEO by bolding, italizing and underlining your main keyword. It also optimize title and image tags. You can use the Suggestion Feature to tweak your content for high search engine ranking. Version 4.0 | By Daniel Tan
- Ping Crawler Turbo – Based on Ping Crawl 2 by Josh Team and Eli and Josh Phipps and LinkCurl fork from “Guerilla Blog Hacks” with Minor tweaks for speed, efficiency and security by Sean Donahoe – Every time you make a post on your blog it grabs similar posts from other blogs that allow pingbacks using the post tags. It then links to them at the bottom of the post as similar posts. It then executes the pingback on all the posts. You can specify how many posts to do per tag and that many will be done for each tag you use in your posts. Typically it has about an 80% successrate with each pingback and they are legit so the ones that fall into moderation tend to get approved. This creates quite a few deep links for each blog post you make and through time really helps with your link building. Especially for new blogs. Version 1.1 | By Sean Donahoe | Visit plugin site
- Trackback Feed - Indexing Plugin and Trackback Feed Plugin I'll tell you what I use this for in the Off Page SEO section. You might even be able to figure it out yourself.
- Under settings --> General: I always put the WordPress address (URL) and Site address (URL) both as http://mysite.com This is the non WWW. Format. I always use this format. You should pick one of them and stick to it in all your link building campaigns. It is said that building links to the www. Format and non-www format will divide the link juice and thus the benefits.
- Under settings --> Email: I say firstname.lastname@example.org and create that email in the cpanel and forward it to my personal email address. That way, should someone contact this address at all, it will be forwarded to my email.
- Under settings --> Discussion: I leave the comments on. THIS IS CRUCIAL. But I say comments will be moderated by admin. So they are manually approved. MORE on this later.
- Under settings --> Privacy: I select the option "I would like to block search engines, but allow normal visitors". I leave it that way until the content is posted. I don’t want Google to see an incomplete site – first impressions matter . I have setup WPDesktop to do this automatically during WP installation.
- Under settings --> Permalinks: I do /%postname% or /%postname%/ - pick one and always use that one to build link. Just like the www vs non-www that I mentioned earlier
OK! The site configurations are done! Now we need to add the content. I’m going to use the following terms from now onwards.
- Theme kw – the main kw the site targets
- Primary kw – the 1ry (primary) kw of any given post
- Secondary kw – the LSI or other related kw for a given post
If the kw that I’m going after is kids karaoke machines, that’s my theme kw. 3 related kw would be kids karaoke machine reviews, karaoke machines for kids and best kids karaoke machines. Assuming this is a website with 4 posts, I would have 1 post optimized for each of the kws.
Let’s say my first post is going to be on my theme kw. For that post, the 1ry kw as well as the theme kw is “kids karaoke machines”. For the same post, “kids karaoke machine reviews”, “karaoke machines for kids” and “best kids karaoke machines” would be 2ry kw.
Let’s say my 2nd post is going to be on “karaoke machines for kids”. Then my 1ry kw is “karaoke machines for kids”, theme kw is always “kids karaoke machines” and 2ry kw are “kids karaoke machine reviews” and “best kids karaoke machines”. You should add more LSI kw from WonderWheel etc. even if you are not going to use them as 1ry kw on any of the posts. http://kwbrowse.com/ used to be a good tool to identify these LSI kw, but it's not functional anymore. If anybody knows another resource, please feel free to share.
OK hope that makes sense. Now let’s start adding content to the website, 1 post after the other. Here is what I do for each post.
- Title tag: 1ry kw – some phrase theme kw – (NOTE: Title Case)
- URL/Permalink – There are 2 options. One is to leave the default URL as is, which in this case will be http://mydomain.com/karaoke-machines-for-kids-all-about-kids karaoke-machines/. The other option is to manually edit it so that only the 1ry kw remains like http://mydomain.com/karaoke-machines-for-kids. I’ve tried both; however, I don’t have enough evidence to say one is better than the other. It’s up to you, I just feel the latter may look too spammy if you do that to all pages of your site.
- Exceptions to the above rule is the post made for the theme kw
- Here I discuss two options for my title for the post on the theme kw – “Kids Karaoke Machines – Best Kids Karaoke Machine Reviews”. However, I have also seen titles like “theme keyword | theme keyword” and they still rank. Others use only “theme keyword” in their title so that it’s 100% focused. But in my opinion, when you resort to the last 2 options, you’re not talking to the searcher (you're talking only to the SEs) and you’re also limiting yourself. We’re probably not going to be able to rank all 4 pages in this site. We’re probably only going to be able to rank the post with the theme kw. If you notice, inside my title, I have 3 out of the 4 kw we targeted with this website. Depending on what the competition may be for those other kw, the above post has the potential to get top rankings for all those 3 kw. That would be nice wouldn’t it? I have a couple of sites like this where the post optimized for the theme kw (I’m going to call this post the STICKY POST from now onwads) ranks #1-3 for various kw. Of course, if the competition is harsh for these 2ry kw, they won't rank (like the case with majority of my sites). In the above example, for the kw that is not in the title, I will make sure that it’s in the description tag.
- Second option would be something like “Best Kids Karaoke Machines. Reviews of Karaoke Machines for Kids” – Here I’m sacrificing a little bit of kw prominence to squeeze in that 4th kw also. IMPORTANT – you’ll learn a lot from this exercise. Do Google searches for ‘keyword prominence’ and ‘keyword proximity’. Use that knowledge to write your title and description tags.
- IMPORTANT – you’ll learn a lot from this exercise as well. Do Google searches for wedding favors, unique wedding favors, bridal shower favors and unique bridal favors – you’ll see what I mean. This is StomperNet CEO Brad Fallon’s site. See how he links to it from his blog Wedding Favors and Accessories. Look at all the links at the bottom of this page. Search Google for those phrases, see what you get. Learn from it, you can probably spend a good hour learning stuff. Pay attention to the title tag, the description tag and the URL of the top ranking 3-5 sites and you’ll get a feel about how you should word these 3 components of your site. Just remember that you and I are not Brad Fallon and that we cannot target multiple keywords. If you are just starting out, trying to rank your site for multiple kw can hurt you more than it can help. So for now, do the above exercise, but focus on ranking one kw.
- Got carried away a little bit sorry! What about the URL for the sticky post? Again, I have no concrete answer. But I’ve had success both ways. Here’s what I’d do. If I had the EMD which in this case would be Kids Karaoke Machines - Do Your Christmas Shopping Here!, I would make the url of the sticky post http://kidskaraokemachines.com/kids-...chines-reviews/. I am aware that ‘machines reviews’ is not grammatically correct, but I’m doing it so that I get ranked for kids karaoke machine reviews as well as kids karaoke machines.
- However, if I did not have the EMD I would go for this. kidskaraokemachinesreviews.com. Again I don’t have concrete evidence to say one is better than the other. By now, you’ve seen many examples and I hope you went to Google and did dozens of additional searches and are able to make a decision about how you want to go about with your site.
- Description tag – this HAS TO BE unique for each post. Don’t be lazy. Write different ones for each post. Use 1ry kw once and theme kw once. If possible, also use singular and plural versions. If it’s the sticky post, make extra effort to talk to the human searcher (not the SE). Have a ‘Call For Action’ (visit us, click here); give a benefit of your site (cheapest price, independent review, free shipping, free download etc.). Do something to make him click through to your website over the ones that are above/below you. Make it attractive.
- Body of the post – I have already talked about the kw density, distribution of kw, LSI etc. I’ll talk about the post body under the following aspects: subheadings (H tags); hyperlinks; text decoration; images; tags/meta tags; sticky post; scheduling posts
- 1 heading at the top with H1 tags – should contain/or start with the 1ry kw e.g. Kids Karaoke Machine Reviews – Different types of Kids Karaoke Machines available
- 1 H2 heading with theme kw
- 1-2 H2/H3 headings with 1ry/2ry kw
§ One with the theme kw pointing to the same post (the way I see it, you’re telling Google “this post is about the 1ry kw, but it is also about the theme kw”)
§ One with the theme kw pointing to the main domain/homepage and/or different post (again you’re telling Google “that post is about the 2ry kw, but it is also about the theme kw”)
§ One with a 2ry kw pointing to the relevant post
§ This way at least 3-4 posts will have an outgoing link and an incoming link with the anchor text as ‘theme kw’
o Text decoration – make the 1ry kw bold once; and italicized or underlined once
§ I download royalty free images from the web (morgueFile free photos for creatives by creatives and stock.xchng - the leading free stock photography site are good examples) or purchase them from stock image sites and name them with 1ry kw e.g. kids-karaoke-machine-reviews.jpg
§ Then I insert the relevant image to each post and put the 1ry kw as the ALT tag
o Tags/Meta tags
§ I use 2 – one is the 1ry kw and the 2nd is the theme kw – again, I think this tells Google that the whole theme is about our theme kw. However, the general belief is that SEs nowadays don’t give a lot of significance to these tags. But you’re not losing anything by doing this. Some people like to add more tags thinking you will rank for all those kw but another school of thought is that you should keep them focused.
o Sticky post – I set the post optimized for the theme kw as the sticky post. You can do this under Publish --> Visibility --> Public --> Stick the post to the front page
o Scheduling posts - I schedule the 5 posts to be posted at like day 1, day 2, day 6, day 12, and day 21 or something. I just do whatever comes to my mind at that time, no concrete rules here.
Added later - points forgotten to include in the original post
- I nofollow the link to my RSS/subscribe on the homepage. Thesis gives an option in its dashboard for you to nofollow this. There may be plugins to do this for generic WP themes or you can manually add the rel="nofollow" attribute to the code if you can find the place.
Outgoing links – This is important
- A kw relevant page doesn’t only get links from other relevant websites but also link out to other relevant websites
- So link out to authority sites/pages relevant to your theme – Wikipedia, About.com, CNN etc.
- I usually have this in my footer and make sure I no follow them
- Some people also have a separate page listing these relevant pages
o I check everything again and if everything looks good, I then go to Settings à Privacy settings and ‘unblock the search engines’.
o Affiliate links – I only add my affy links after the SEs have indexed my sites. I would also go and do my product review or whatever also after that.
A lot of people talk about kw research, On Page SEO and Off Page SEO. But not many address the ‘social interactions’ that should take place inside your site. Now the internet is all about interaction right? And you should facilitate this interaction inside your website also by all means. Google recognizes this using bounce rate and retention rate (as far as I know).
Bounce rate gives an idea about how many pages of your site does the typical visitor look at before he/she leaves it? The more the better. But instead, what we do is we give an affy link right on the home page and facilitate his/her leaving our site immediately. What I do is I send them to a 2nd page and that’s where my review is. I say something attention grabbing and ask them to go to this page to read a review of the most popular 3 products or whatever.
Retention rate is how long they spend on your site. There are two methods that I employ to increase their retention. One is ask them to watch a video the other is asking them to make a comment. This is why I asked you to leave the commenting open during configuring WP. But you have to moderate them and manually approve the comments so that spammers will be kept out. I also respond to the comments and try and get a 2 way communication going. Here is something a little grey hat that I do to get the ball rolling. To encourage people to make comments, I make a controversial comment to begin with. Then I’d wait a couple of day and see if anybody responds. If nobody does, I go in there with another fake identity and responds to the first comment igniting more fire. Usually after that there are plenty of people making comments and the cycle goes on. Not only does this increase the retention rate but I think Google also recognizes that there is a dialogue going on and rewards it by giving higher rankings. I have a couple of sites at the top that outrank huge relevant authority sites with tons of backlinks etc. etc. The only way I can explain how I beat them is the comments on my site. This is a HUGE on page SEO tip. This might even be the most important SEO tip of this whole thread. How many people will use it? I don’t know! But if you do, you are bound to see the rewards.
Another thing you can do is encourage people to retweet, like on FB and Digg your posts. I have tried a couple of WP plugins for this in the past. I'll be honest here. Nobody retweeted, liked or dugg my content I was heart broken. Don't ask me why. May be it's the kind of crowd my niches attract! I was only left with the Tweets that I did myself. That's part of Off Page SEO, I'll talk about it there (hopefully I'll remember to do so).
It's important that you learn some of these basics, but it is also equally important that you don't spend too much time analyzing things leading to analysis paralysis. At one point, just say enough and just do it.
Day 13 - April 2nd
Off Page SEO
Because this post was getting really long and it was not allowing me to add more smileys etc. (a maximum of 10 per post from what I can understand), I have posted this section on page 3. As of April 2nd 3pm CST, it's not 100% complete, but there's plenty for you to read and digest if you are relatively new to proper SEO.
Enjoy and feel free to ask questions on the thread (and NOT PM me please)