24 04 12




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17 06 09

From the Google Webmaster Central blog:

Inbound links are links from pages on external sites linking back to your site. Inbound links can bring new users to your site, and when the links are merit-based and freely-volunteered as an editorial choice, they’re also one of the positive signals to Google about your site’s importance.

Inbound links are very important for building your site’s credibility, but how do you get them?  Before you go joining some spam-centric link exchange scheme, let me share with you a great way to get high quality inbound links. 

Write for them.

Bloggers are always (always) on the lookout for high quality content.  For a busy solopreneur or small business owner, finding new and fresh content to maintain a blog can be a real challenge.  If you can provide relevant and timely content for their blogs, they’ll gladly provide a link back to your website or blog.

Where do you find the opportunities to write for other bloggers?  There are several content exchange sites.  I personally like Blogger Linkup.  It’s straightforward, user-friendly, and easy to remember (an email is sent to you each morning with the latest opportunities).

When you write for other blogs, keep a few things in mind.

  • Only write for blogs that are relevant to your target audience. For example, if you target men in their 50s, then it’s probably not a good idea to post on a work-at-home mom site.
  • Try to write about something that is relevant to your target audience. Again, if you’re not aiming to reach your ideal client or customer, then your time would be better spent doing something else.
  • Find a way to provide helpful and meaningful content. If you can provide something that really helps the blogger (by really helping his/her readers), then you may get an invitation to post to that person’s site again.
  • Don’t save your best stuff for your own site. Use that content to capture the attention of new readers.  If you don’t make an impression (and how better to do that than with high quality content?), then they won’t make the effort to visit your site.
  • Remember that it’s not just about the traffic; it’s also about the links. Although it might be tempting to try to only write for established sites with large amounts of readers and traffic, don’t ignore the little guys (who might be big guys very soon – WebWorkerDaily, for instance, started just three years ago and is a very prominent blog today).  You’ll benefit from “growing up with them,” and you’ll get the inbound links.

Write for outside blogs on a regular basis.  With each new post, you get a new inbound link that’s both relevant and focused.  Keep at it and watch your page-rank steadily increase.  Good luck with your writing!

RESOURCE BOX:  Amber Riviere is a web designer with BrownBugProject.com.  You can follow her work through her blog and through her newsletter, Inside Brown’s Brain.

11 06 09

As a writer, you need to acquire a readership, whether you write articles, advertising, fiction, and/or nonfiction. You’ve probably heard that you need a website to help promote your writing and start building that readership.

It’s true. The Web is a fabulous means to build a writing biz. You can connect with like minded individuals, you can present opinions, you can experiment with your writing (beyond what our predecessors could ever imagine), you can interact with your readers… you can have fun.

The thing nobody tells you about this process is that once you’ve got the website up, you have to generate traffic to start this incredible web adventure.

That can be an interesting task.

In fact, lately this “web traffic” situation seems to be on more minds than mine. I get e-mails (nearly) daily promising me that (for a hefty price) some company or another will get one of my sites “to the top of the major search engines.”

Yeah. Right.

There are effective ways to get your website listed in the major search engines. There are also some not effective ways as well.

This article outlines one ineffective way to get web traffic.

I’ve coached a few writers, so-called professional communicators, this past month who were discouraged because although their websites were rising through the Google ranks and were receiving a good amount of organic traffic, they weren’t making any book sales.

I had a hunch I knew what was going on.

When a well-written book doesn’t sell, it’s usually for a number of reasons, the most probable being that there isn’t a large enough market for the topic, the price point is too high (or too low), or the web page doesn’t properly sell the title.

One look at the site confirmed my suspicions. In all the instances brought to my attention, the problem was with the website. Every single writer was more concerned about web site optimization rather than properly describing and selling their book.

It’s one thing to make your website favorable to search engines, in fact Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important part of building a website, but it’s quite another to engage in clumsy tactics to make your site climb up the ranks.

Disclaimer: I’m not, nor do I pretend to be an SEO expert. The following is pure opinion based on my web adventures.

What each of these people did was, as they built their website text, they inserted copious numbers of “keywords” to the point that they were literally “keyword packing.”

Keyword Packing occurs when you take a particular keyword and pack that keyword into a keyword sentence as many times as possible so that when the search engines spider your site they’ll see your keyword and assume that keyword accurately represents your “keyword” website and will appear when someone inserts that keyword into the engine. (Note: this sentence is packed with a keyword.

Betcha you’ll never guess which one it is.) 🙂

As you can see, keyword packing makes for some very awkward writing. Combine keyword packing with keyword placement on menus, subheads, and titles and you’ve got one, big keyword, mess.

Here’s the problem. When you receive good search engine rankings, you will receive traffic. Problem is when you do receive that traffic, you’ll quickly discover it evaporates once your visitors experience your awkward writing style.

It takes a writer with the skill of a master to elegantly weave keywords into a website while maintaining flow and sales effectiveness.

Very difficult.

So, suppose you’re not an SEO expert (like me). What can you do to get website traffic without sacrificing content?

There are multiple ways to generate some website traffic including writing articles, article distribution sites, creating videos, visiting forums, blogs, zines, Google Adwords, and much more. I’ll discuss these more in upcoming issues of Writing Etc.

You’ve got options, many of them not costing one red cent, to generate web traffic. Approach SEO carefully, never sacrificing content for keywords.

Remember, a site receiving a few relevant, smart, interesting, and engaged visitors is far more powerful than a bunch of people who visit and leave thinking you’ve got an awkward, repetitive, unnatural writing style.

My two (very opinionated and probably antiquated) cents.

Got a comment? Head on over to my blog. 🙂

Beth Ann Erickson is the “Queen Bee” of Filbert Publishing. She’s also the author of numerous titles including “101 No Cost and Low Cost Secrets To Turbo Charge Your Freelance Income.” Pick up your copy today at http://filbertpublishing.com/101.html She’s also a busy copywriter, speaker, and publisher of Writing Etc., the free e-mag for writers.