Jun
10th

EngineSeeker Review – Traffic Generation

As I was adding an affiliate recently, I had to sign up for a new affiliate service (more about these in a later post).  Since I was already signed up, I thought I’d look for other advertisers that might be useful for this or other websites I run.  Since I was already on the topic of SEO, I decided to check out EngineSeeker.com.

At first glance, I liked the site.  They had a pretty simple interface to make use of a number of different advertising methods, so I thought this might be interesting.  I was unfortunately disappointed.

As with most sites, they offer to list you in search engines.  I decline, because I’m already either crawled by all the search engines or I automatically submit to them.  Caveat Emptor!  Submitting to tons of search engines isn’t usually useful as 75% – 90% of your traffic will end up coming from Google.  Less than 1% of your traffic will come from these 100 search engines (or whatever ridiculous number someone is advertising).  Don’t bother, it isn’t worth the effort.  Yes — even if that is no effort at all.  The worst case is that they submit you multiple times and one of the useful search engines delists you because of over-submission.

Alright, but they have this nifty “Ad Network”.  Let me see how this works.  As always, I’m looking for any useful way I can exchange links, etc. to get a boost on the Google SERPS.  If I run an ad on my site, they’ll display my site on other sites.  That’s what the documentation says, anyway.  When I talked to their rep, he explained that showing their ads on my page doesn’t cause my ads to be shown any more often.  I showed their ads over 300 times and they showed mine once.  Ok, shut that one off.

How about FastTraffic?  That sounds like a good idea.  They use domain names that are expired, but which still receive some traffic.  Then that traffic gets routed to your site.  Sounds like a nifty way to pick up traffic that might actually be interested in my site (they claim its targeted).  The rep sets me up for the free version which guarantees (or your money back??) 2000 hits.  Cool.  2000 hits — I’ll take it!  Not so fast, bucco!  I’ve had 314 visits and 5 of them have clicked on another page.  5!  That’s a bounce rate of 98.4% on a page that has a bounce rate much closer to 50%.  The fact that 5 people have clicked onto a second page makes me feel like it isn’t a bot, but I’m not sure it’s exactly what I’d call targeted traffic either.

What’s left?  Oh, the 5-day trial.  Yeah, there’s a catch there too.  The 5-day trial is only a trial if you don’t… well, try anything.  If you sign up for any of the services, then you automatically forfeit your first month’s subscription fee.  That’s not any kind of trail I’ve ever heard of.  Besides, I’m a fan of the Sam Walton style of customer service.  It’s rumored that the following exchange once happened at an early WalMart meeting:

Sam: “If a customer wants his money back — give it to him!  I don’t care if he rolls a used tire down the asile and wants to return it.”

Manager on staff: “Umm, Mr. Walton… WalMart doesn’t sell tires.”

Sam: <looks man straight in the eyes and replies> “I said, Give him his money back!”

Well, hopefully I paid my $9.99 to save you the agony.  So, when you see advertisers that I promote here on the blog, know that they offer services that I have used and appreciate.  If someone does a terrible job, I promise not to tell you they did an ok job just so I can make a couple of bucks on the affiliate program.  In this case, if you get a chance to check out EngineSeeker.com — go ahead and pass on that “opportunity”.

May
29th

Google PageRank Update May 2009

Yup. Google just updated their published PageRank this week on May 27th, 2009. You may have noticed your site just go up or down in PageRank. It’s like report card day for webmasters, except that you don’t know when it’s coming. Webmasters all over the globe giggle with glee that their PageRank just went up or sob like a baby if it went down.

For those not familiar with Google PageRank, it is a metric Google uses to determine how “interesting” a site is. It was invented by Larry Page and hence the “PageRank”. The odd thing about PageRank is that it doesn’t directly influence search engine listings, but its indirect effects are important.

PageRank is similar to the way we determine who we trust. For example, my best friends are all essentially PageRank 10 (Google’s highest PageRank). If one of them says that Joe is a cool guy, then I trust Joe with a PageRank of about 7. Even though I don’t know Joe personally, someone I trust said he was trustworthy, so I’ll give him some amount of my own trust. If one of my PR (PageRank) 10 friends says that Joe is a good plumber, and I know someone looking for a plumber, I may recommend Joe.

Google does the same thing with webpages. When another site links to you, the “Google love” you will receive is based partly on the PageRank of that other site. Now you can see why getting a PR8 site to link to your site is a very good thing when it comes to SEO. Obviously it’s just part of the picture, but it’s important to understand how PageRank works.

Here are a few other things to remember when it comes to Google PageRank:

  • The PageRank scale is logrithmic, meaning PR4 is not just “one better” than PR3.
  • Google doesn’t use integer PageRank.  That means a PageRank of 1.3 will only show up as PR1 so sites of equal reported PageRank are not necessarily equivalent to Google.
  • Reported PageRank is delayed.  It’s hard to know by how much, but suffice it to say that it’s not real-time.

In any case, if you’ve been wondering what your PageRank is, time to go check it.  As of May 2009 the PageRank data is fresh!  We’ll try to keep you posted in the future when we hear of additional updates (Google doesn’t announce them).

May
26th

SEO / SEM – Getting your Website Noticed

Increase Traffic with SEO

Increase Traffic with SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are important to your website, so you should take some time to learn how to do it effectively.  You may have heard the axiom “Location! Location! Location!”.  Well, it’s just true on the Internet as it is for a physical location.  On the Internet, your “Location!” is determined by where you appear in search engines.  When you’re right up front in searches — that’s the equivalent of establishing your business on a main highway next to Walmart.  Sometimes it seems like black magic, but hopefully this article will shed some light on how you can more effectively market your website.

While it is possible to hire your SEO out, you can also do it yourself.  For anyone considering hiring an SEO professional, make sure they can show google searches which show their clients very high.  For everyone else, I’m going to assume you’re going to do at least some of your own SEO.  Let’s look at some of the ways you can increase your PageRank.

Google PageRank is a representation of how important Google thinks your website is.  It should not be considered the “end all, be all” of SEO, but it is one of the factors you should consider.  Without focusing on it too much, PageRank is basically increased by other websites that link to your website.  When a site like Yahoo links to your website, that’s obviously worth more than a site that gets very little traffic.

Getting links then is one of the most important ways of getting your website.  If you have a blog or another website, be sure to give yourself a link that way.  You can also write articles, or get others to write articles.  Generally, you’re going to want several hundred links (or several thousand depending on your market).  Many of those can be created yourself, but at some point you may want some help.

There are a lot of online directories that will list your site for free.  Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time to go through and submit your site to each of these directories.  Recently I decided to try a service that will submit these links for you.  I was impressed to see that they actually submitted my website to 100 directories and sent an Excel spreadsheet listing all of the sites they submitted my links to.  Total Cost: < $30!  I decided to become an affiliate so I could tell you about the service.  You can follow this link to check it out for yourself.

One last word about external links to your site: keywords.  Be sure to find out from analytics what your major keywords are.  That is, what words are sending the most / best visitors to your site.  You now want to make sure those are the words that you optimize your website for.  For example, if “Free DVD Catalog” is what you find visitors search for to find your website, then you might make your links DVDCorral – Free DVD Catalog so that Google will rank you higher for the words “DVD Catalog”.  See how I just promoted one of my other sites on a blog?

Now go and do likewise.  :-)

May
7th

Starting Google Analytics

Setup Google Analytics

Setup Google Analytics

Besides being such a great search engine, Google has some phenomenal tools.  Before you do anything else, it’s important to be able to track what’s happening on your website.  You can’t grow your website without knowing where it is right now.  To understand where your website is, who is coming to it and other useful marketing information, we’re going to use Google Analytics.

Analytics is not only completely free, it probaby is the best tracking tool on the internet for your site.  With Google Analytics, we’ll be able to understand who is coming to our website, where they are coming from and what they do when they are there.  You will be absolutely amazed at the amount of data you can gather about your visitors and how we can use that information to make our website better.  Without further adieu, let’s get started and you’ll pick up more features along the way.
Continue reading Starting Google Analytics »

Apr
27th

Starting a Website, Choosing a Webhost

Any web-based business is obviously going to need a website.  There are a lot of choices out there, and it’s easy to get lost in the details.  The good news is, you can start small without losing the ability to grow quickly in the future.  Some of the questions you may find yourself asking are:

  • How much webspace do I need?
  • Can I just choose based on price, or is there a significant difference between internet providers?
  • My friend said I should go with XYZ internet provider, which package do I need?
  • If I make the wrong choice now, how long do I get stuck with it?

Alright, so there are probably a hundred other questions I can think of, but let’s just start with these.  Below, we’ll link to additional posts that describe more details like how do process credit cards, getting your site marketed, and more advanced questions.  For now, let’s get you a website!

Everyone wants to know

First, let’s answer the questions that are going to be the same for everyone.  Then, we’ll move on to answers that will vary depending on the type of site your planning to setup.
Continue reading Starting a Website, Choosing a Webhost »