Private Blog Networks – stay away or continue building ‘em?

Private Blog Network

The past few months there has been a lot going on in relation to Private Blog Networks (PBNs). They’ve become extremely popular and everyone’s out looking for domains using GoDaddy Auctions, ExpiredDomains.net and similar sites.

A little more than a week ago Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits and the guys over at No Hat Digital each shared blog posts about how their networks were hit and de-indexed:

Spencer and his partner Perrin got severely hit, getting a lot of money sites de-indexed and a lot of their network sites de-indexed as well. The No Hat Digital guys didn’t get hit that hard, even though they took a relatively massive hit.

Spencer also made a follow-up post and podcast episode called “NP 46: Why You Should NOT Build a Private Blog Network” where he and his business partner described why they’re done with PBN:s and how they’re going to move on.

Of course this sudden PBN penalization caused a stir in the SEO community – and everyone didn’t share Spencer’s opinions that PBN:s as a tactic shouldn’t be used anymore.

Glen from Viperchill.com wrote a post called ‘Why I’ll Keep Growing My Private Link Network After Google’s “Crackdown”‘ and Dale from SudoRank wrote a post called “Google PBN Crackdown? More an exercise in media scaremongering“.

Basically, they both believe that this is more of a scaremongering tactic than an actual and massive effort from Google’s side to completely shut down PBN:s.

If they could detect and shutdown PBN:s algorithmically – why haven’t they done so already?

The situation in it’s entirety is somewhat similar to what happened a few months ago when another Internet Marketer, Sebastian, got completely penalized and wiped by Google.

By all means that situation also looked lika a scaremongering tactic from Google to scare people away from using the same tactics as that guy did.

Should I continue with Private Blog Networks?

It’s definitely obvious that these lates penalizations have created a split in the SEO-community.

There are those that say it’s game over, it’s time to move over to something else and go more ‘white hat’.

There are those that say that it’s all about just creating better PBN:s.

The Niche Pursuits guys are for instance dropping PBN:s and smaller niche sites in favor of authority sites, something that Sebastian also seem to be doing since he’s working on his authority site/project Smartlend.

Guys like Glen of ViperChill and Dale of SudoRank give off the vibe that they’re not going to stop with PBN:s anytime soon.

In the end it’s all up to you and your risk appetite.

Go slow and steady and get links via outreach or fast and risky by creating your own links via a PBN? It’s your choice.

Broken Link Building – A Viable SEO Strategy?

Opening The Tomb

With Google updating the Panda and especially the Penguin updates, webmasters are now scrambling to get relevant links pointing to their websites.

That’s why a lot of attention is being put on the White Hat SEO technique, Broken Link Building. But just how viable an SEO strategy is Broken Link Building and is it worth it to use it on your own site.

What is Broken Link Building?

Broken Link Building is taking advantage of the link building opportunities that arise from links on a website pointing to a dead or nonexistent site. This is where the broken link name comes from. There are links that point to nowhere, and there is a way to ferret out these links and utilize them for your own site.

Why Broken Link Building is a Viable SEO Strategy

Broken Link Building has never been in the center stage before because there were far more easier (although shady) ways to get links to one’s site. However, with the Penguin updates, which put emphasis on quality links, sites are now looking once more to the Broken Link Building technique. Here are some reasons why BLB is a viable SEO strategy.

  1. It’s White Hat SEO

 

Google’s updates aren’t going to touch your site when you get links harvested from BLB techniques. Because you are getting links from good value sites, instead of link farms and the like, you are safe or at least your site is safe from penalties from Google updates.

 

  1. It’s Affordable

 

This technique isn’t going to eat too much from your budget. All you need to do is to invest a little bit of time and some cash for tools that will make your broken link building a little bit easier. What it brings back to your site is well worth the small investment, of course.

 

  1. It Links to Relevant Website

 

There is a way to find the dead links that point to the PageRanking sites and this little bit of hard work will result in your site getting relevant links. Not only does BLB keep you out of the crosshairs of Google’s updates, but it also links you with relevant websites. Relevant websites increase the value of your site as well as increase the targeted traffic that go to your site.

 

  1. It’s Not Too Complicated

 

Anyone with a little patience can learn how to find broken links. There are some apps that can help make things easier for you. There are also a lot of tutorials available on the internet which can help you out.

 

  1. BLB Tools Easily Available

 

There are also lots of BLB tools available in the market today. These do not cost a lot and are easy to learn how to use. With the right tools, broken link building can end up being an easy and rewarding SEO technique that can benefit your site immensely.

If you think Broken Link Building is something that you want to do for your site, then go ahead. It’s easy to do, doesn’t need that much maintenance, and can potentially bring in great returns for your site.

What is content marketing?

phone content marketing

Content marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on creating valuable and reliable information for targeted customers in the aim of converting these customers. Unlike advertisements, however, which attempts to sell products by pitching their products and services to the audience, content marketing does not pitch products or services, but instead informs the audience to make smarter decisions.

Presently, content marketing is being used by even the biggest and most popular marketing organizations, like Microsoft, Cisco, and P&G. Content marketing is already being embraced by small to medium sized businesses as well. Why? Well, because it’s effective and it works.

Here are a couple more reasons why you should include content marketing in your overall marketing strategy:

Targeted Audience

With all of the advertisements and information not only available on the web but also bombarding everyone on the planet who is connected, a lot of your potential customers are now wary of advertisements or at the very least unmindful of generic marketing ploys. With content marketing however, you are targeting your audience and looking to connect with the ones who need or want the information. Targeted audience are also more likely to make a purchase and to do business with your company.

Powers Your Social Media Campaign

Social Media Campaigns play a big role in your marketing, but without the necessary content, your social media campaign will likely lose steam and just stop. With a plan in place and the necessary content available at your disposal, you can create a better social media campaign which will not only drive interaction but also increase your sales.

Establishes You as an Expert

Because your content is more actual information that a product advertorial, people will appreciate the information that you give them and you or your business will come out as a leader and expert in that field or niche. A brand selling facial whitening soaps can become a leader in the industry by constantly putting out quality content about face care, UV protection, wrinkle-reduction and other topics relevant to the niche or the product. With people thinking more of you as an expert, they will also see your product as a top of the class product.

You Own the Content

Another thing about content marketing is that you end up owning the content that you put out. So when something becomes highly appreciated in the market, this information can be traced back to you. So even audiences who aren’t really looking for you are going to stumble upon your business at some time because you are the root of the information that they are currently enjoying or ingesting. And because you own the content, there are no limits to how far you can use the information for your marketing strategies.

Creates a Stronger and Personal Connection

Because you are producing content that is useful for your audience, and because you are answering some questions that they might have, you are building a stronger and more personal rapport with your audience than you would have had if you used traditional marketing strategies. Have you seen how other brand’s clients react to them positively in the internet? These are strong connections that have been made through customer satisfaction and proper content marketing.

Microformats and SEO – how they can benefit your site

micro

Perhaps you’ve heard about microformats and that microformats are good for your page’s SEO, but what exactly is a microformat and how can it help your site. Read on to get a primer on microformats and to find how to leverage this for your site.

What are microformats?

Simply put, microformats are a way to publish information and share them on the web more clearly and more effectively. To be more technical about it though: microformats are little bits of code (meaning you use them in HTML) that tell search engines and people about the information contained in your site.

For example, if you own a company and want your contact information found easily on the web, you can use the hCard microformat to publish that information on the web.

Advantages of Microformats

Microformats have been around for a bit, and search engines such as Bing and Google have already embraced the format. In fact, Bing and Google have added to the Webmaster’s toolkit tools that focus on monitoring and then fixing problems with microformats.

  1. Search Engines Love Them

 

As mentioned above, the big search engines have shown “support” for the microformat, so using these in your sites is something that you should definitely do. If the search engines are taking notice and giving priority to these microformat-enabled sites then there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t be doing it for your site as well.

 

  1. More Control of SERP snippets

 

Have you seen those snippets of information that Google shows on the search results? Well, Google uses an algorithm to choose the snippet that it displays for each page. This doesn’t always result in a snippet that convinces people to click and go to your site. Sometimes the snippet just sounds and reads weird, but since it’s done automatically there’s really no way that you can ensure the snippet will come out like you want it to.

 

With  microformats however, you will be able to affect the snippet that Google will display about your site. This will give you more “control” over the kind of snippet that Google puts out.

 

  1. Easy To Use

 

Another beautiful thing about the microformat is that it is not a new language. Also don’t need to be a programmer to be able to use microformats. Your web authors or web designers can easily add these microformats. How easy are microformats to use? Well, if you want a comparison, you should know that publishing an RSS feed is a whole lot more difficult than using microformats. Almost anyone can be taught how to use HTML+CSS and microformats.

 

  1. Easy to Implement for WP and Magento

 

If you are already using WordPress and Magento then you are in for another good news: you don’t have to change what you are currently using. These changes are very easy to implement for both Magento and WordPress.

Microformats are easy to learn and implement. It would be a waste if you didn’t take the time to invest in learning more about microformats and implementing them into your site.

Black Hat SEO

black hat

At the other end of the Monochrome SEO spectrum is the Black Hat SEO. Black Hat SEO is the practice of using search engine optimization techniques that disobey the terms of service of the popular search engines. Black Hat SEO uses the term “black hat” which is taken from the old western movies which show bad guys as wearing black hats.

Advantages of Black Hat SEO

There are no advantages going to be mentioned here. These techniques are against the search engine’s terms of service and will no doubt do more harm than good for your site. And that goes double for your readers, who will have to go through all that spam, hidden content, keyword-stuffed articles when they visit Black Hat SEO sites.

Black Hat SEO Techniques

What you will find here however, is a list that shows a couple of Black Hat SEO techniques. Techniques that you should not utilize.

  1. Keyword stuffing and keyword stacking

 

White Hat uses proper SEO and uses the right number of keywords, Gray Hat SEO uses a little bit more but doesn’t go over the top. Black Hat SEO on the other hand, stuffs articles with keywords, so much so, that it doesn’t read good at all anymore.

 

Another way that Black Hat SEO misuses keywords is using irrelevant keywords in the content to get a couple more hits. For example using the keyword Lebron James into your dog collar article is using an irrelevant keyword in your article. Like placed ads in a Michael Bay movie, irrelevant keywords will stand out.

 

  1. Hidden text and Hidden links

 

There are a couple of ways that site’s can hide texts from readers. One very basic example is the text are hidden from the reader by changing the color of the hidden font to match the background. Hidden font may contain tons of keywords and some little content. This technique is used to get more keywords in the site for search engine’s to notice. They are not pretty relevant to the reader though.

 

  1. Doorway or Gateway Pages

 

Doorway pages are pages of a site that lures in search engines, thus luring in visitors, and then  redirecting the visitors almost instantly to bring them to an unrelated site. It’s sort of like a trap for visitors. They are baited with different content and then forced to a site that has some other content. Sometimes used by pornographic sites to get readers into their sites.

 

  1. Link Farming

 

Link farms are called such because they have no other use than to link tons of unrelated websites. These are used to get more visibility from SERPs. However, with the Penguin updates that come from Google, those sites that use link farms to get their links will be in for a panealty.

 

Black Hat SEO does not benefit the readers and the visitors to a site. High value sites make sure that readers have a good experience when they visit, but those that practice Black Hat SEO don’t really care much for that. Pretty much like the bad guys in the western movies of old. Don’t be one of the bad guys, go with White Hat SEO.

Gray Hat SEO

gray hat

White Hat SEO is Good Guy SEO, Black Hat SEO is Bad Guy SEO, but what about Gray Hat SEO? Well, Gray Hat SEO are search engine optimization techniques that aren’t against Google policy, but at the same time, they aren’t really “allowed” by Google, but they aren’t against it either. Is it getting confusing now? Let’s hope not.

What are the advantages of Gray Hat SEO?

Well, one of the advantages of Gray Hat SEO is that the techniques used here are more beneficial for your site than your normal, everyday White Hat SEO. The problem? Well, there is always a risk when you practice Gray Hat SEO.

Aside from the risks, since Gray Hat SEO isn’t defined to either be Black or White Hat SEO, what can be gray today can turn out to be black in the next update. This means that all the useful Gray Hat SEO techniques that you used can be the sudden reason to get slapped by Google with a penalty and lose tons of traffic.

What are examples of Gray Hat SEO?

  1. Keyword Density

 

In Gray Hat SEO, a lot of keywords are inserted into articles, but not too many that it’s already keyword stuffing (this is a Black Hat SEO technique by the way). If you are a reader, you might be able to spot the high number of keywords in an article that you find in the internet. The number of keywords don’t disturb your reading experience though, unlike keyword stuffed articles which are really ugly to read.

 

  1. Publishing Duplicate Content

 

Google has nothing against duplicate content, which is why there are those that practice this Gray Hat Technique to get some more links. They publish to different content farms and such.  Google really can’t do anything about duplicate content, because having duplicates is

 

 

  1. Link Building with Irrelevant Sites

 

Okay, everyone knows that a link to your site is considered a vote to your site. That’s why Gray Hat SEO is another way to increase your links. One way of doing this is to link to sites that can also be considered irrelevant to your niche. For example, a link from the NASA website to your sites about shoes for elderly people, can be considered pretty irrelevant.  While this may not put you in danger of a reprimand from Google, it’s not really a White Hat technique to get links from irrelevant sites just for these sites’ PageRankings.

  1. Paid Links

 

Getting links from providers in exchange for payment or service is something that Google frowns upon. However, there’s really not much that Google can do during these occasions, because sometimes there’s no real way to prove that certain links did come from paid providers.

 

All in all, Gray Hat SEO techniques will benefit your site – sometimes even more than White Hat SEO – but there’s always a risk that you will have to take. If you believe the risks are worth it in the long run then go ahead and go with some Gray Hat SEO techniques. Just be on the alert for any sudden and major updates from Google which might affect your SEO.

White Hat SEO

white hat

If you’re just starting to learn about search engine optimization or SEO, there’s a good chance you’ve stumbled upon the term “White Hat SEO”. Aside from White Hat SEO, there are also Black  Hat SEO and Gray Hat SEO – and you’ve probably heard or read about them. First, however, you are going to learn all about White Hat SEO.

So What is White Hat SEO?

Basically, White Hat SEO is good guy SEO. Practicing White Hat SEO means using only the techniques that are within the terms of service of the popular search engines and techniques that maintain the integrity of your sit and (since you’re the one doing the optimization) your integrity as a person as well. The techniques included in White Hat SEO practice are practices that stay within the bounds.

Advantages of White Hat SEO

  • White Hat SEO Keeps Your Site Safe

 

Well, if you want to practice SEO but don’t do White Hat SEO, you’ll end up doing Gray or Black Hat SEO. Doing the darker hat color SEO practices, is a risk that you are taking and will probably get your site banned from the popular search engine.

 

A lot of people use the popular search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, to look for content on the web. If your site is banned from these search engines, people using the internet won’t be able to see your site, unless they have your address memorized.

 

  • Keeps Your Site Ethical

 

When your site practices White Hat SEO, Google will take notice and not flag your site. Being a site that Google can trust also keeps your PageRanking safe.

 

White Hat SEO Techniques and Tips

Here are some of the best White Hat SEO techniques that you practice on your site.

  1. Provide Quality Content

 

There’s a saying in the SEO world: Content is King. And you know what? That is very, very true. Nothing can be more true in the internet. So if you want to give your site a PageRank boost and if you want to be in Google’s good graces, simply provide the one thing that everyone is looking for in the internet: reliable, high value, information.

 

  1. Use Descriptive, Keyword Rich Meta Tags

While search engines might think of the meta description and meta keywords as less relevant, it’s still important that you do what you can here and use these properly. Another thing that you can focus on is the title. Make sure your titles are keyword rich and actually mirror what your site contains.

 

  1. Proper Keyword Research and Use

 

It’s still important to use the proper keywords in your site so that people using these keywords will be able to find your site more easily. Research keywords and phrases that people will type in search engines. Assign around 2 or 3 keywords in each page of your site and also use them in the title, meta description, meta keywords, heading elements, the text, the alt tag, title tag, and in your links.

 

  1. Keep Quality Inbound Links

 

Consider that each link to your site is a vote. However, links that come from bad side also count as a vote against the quality and integrity of your page. So what do you do? Make sure that your inbound links come from quality sites. Think quality over quantity and slowly but surely.

Google’s Penguin Algorithm – how to not get penalized by it

penguin

Okay so you already know about the Google Panda update, now you are faced with another Google animal: The Google Penguin update. What is it and how is it going to affect your site? Here are a couple of things to help you out.

First, obviously, Google sends out themed updates and focuses on one problem or one similar group of problems per update. For example, Google’s Panda update weeded out the thin content sites and lowered their page rankings. Thin content sites are sites that offer content that are just not that helpful or valuable for users.

The Penguin update on the other hand, focuses on all the sites with the squirrely links or spammy links. Questionable links are determined by Google as links that are:

  1. Having come from poor quality sites (if you get a link from a site that doesn’t rank well, you get dragged down)
  2. Sites that aren’t related or relevant to the kind of niche or business that your site has
  3. Paid links (Google has a way of finding out paid links and these links will now do more bad for you than good)
  4. Links that look unnatural or have an anchor text that is super optimized.

 

How do you evade the Penguin?

Nobody wants their page rankings to drop, so what are the things that you can do to save your site or to at least keep your site within Penguin’s good graces.

  1. Keep your links from quality sites

 

With the Penguin update, it is not enough for sites to have links, now you have to make sure that your links are of good quality, meaning they should have reasonable PageRanking or Domain Authority. There are ways to check the PageRank and you should make it a point to do so because this will make sure that you don’t link to poor quality sites. A PageRank of 4 or DA of 30 should be just about right.

 

  1. Keep Links Relevant

 

When a car site links to your dog collar site, that’s pretty irrelevant with each other. While the one or two link from a different niche site won’t probably hurt, a lot of these non-relevant links might set Google’s eyes on your site and put you in for a PageRank lowering. Another good thing to keep Google off of your site’s back is to keep your links relevant. You can do this by posting on sites that discuss topics that are also in your niche. In the example given, if you are all about dog collars then a post to a pet site is very relevant.

  1. Keep an Eye on Your Anchor Text

 

If your sites anchor texts are too keyword intensive, Google might spot it and give you a red flag. Rather than being organic, anchor texts that have the same keyword will stand out as a marketing move on your part rather than a natural occurrence. Make your anchor link diverse.

 

  1. Keep out offending links

To keep Penguin away or to regain your PageRanking after a Penguin hit, you should remove any and all links that aren’t helpful to your site.

 

  1. Keep an effort to build the right links

Rather than taking a risk with low quality links, you should take the time and effort to build the right links, naturally. Build a good reputation online and your site won’t be affected by any future updates.

Google’s Panda Algorithm – what it is and how to avoid getting penalized

Google Panda

A lot of sites have discovered a lessening of the number of visitors to their sites. This is probably because of the release of Google’s Panda Algorithm. This is an automated process and to make sure that your website isn’t affected, you have to follow the rules set by Google regarding your websites.

What is the Panda Update?

The latest Panda update was a move made by Google to thin out low-quality sites by reducing their page rankings so they don’t show near the top of the search results. Low quality sites are sites that don’t give too much value to visitors, sites that copy content from other websites, and sites, in particular, that just aren’t that useful at all.

Examples of these low-level sites are: content farms or sites that contain a lot of content about different information, but provide only “thin content,” which aren’t that useful at all for users. Most publishers submit their articles to these content farms to get a couple of mealy links as a bonus.

Sites with content that are either spam or just seem like it will also get flagged by the Panda update.

A lot of publishers have been affected by the update, but the real winners are the users. Now when people search for something on Google, they won’t have to sift through a lot of useless sites, they’ll be given more relevant sites in the results.

What do you have to do?

Now, your site might not have been affected by the Panda update (which means you are producing valuable, original content) but if you think you might be in line to be touched by the Panda, here are a couple of tips to keep your page ranking from dropping.

  1. Have a plan

 

Just knowing that you need to create content isn’t enough. You need an actual plan when creating content. Create an outline of what you need and how you plan on getting those.

 

  1. Implement your plan

 

With a plan in place, what you need to d next is to put the plan into action. Create a process according to your plan and make sure to follow that.

 

  1. Keep content original

 

Another important thing that you should always keep in mind is to always keep your content original. If you aren’t careful, it’s very easy to place copyrighted or copied content on your site. If you’re having writers ghostwrite your content, you should be extra careful. There are ways for you to find out if the article in your hand is original or not so make sure you check.

 

  1. Use your content wisely

 

Good content is very useful for promoting your site. This is also very important if you want users to keep coming back to your site. So make sure that you make good use of your content, leverage it using the other social media tools available at your disposal, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

How to get started with affiliate marketing

affiliate

Okay, so you are looking at making money through affiliate marketing, but you don’t know a thing about it except that it can make you tons of money. Well, here’s a guide to help you get started in the world of affiliate marketing. Go on and read through this guide as your starting point.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is making money by marketing other people’s products online. If you are an affiliate (or someone who does affiliate marketing), you may be making money by referring people (whether through the reviews that you write or maybe you “sell” these products and services on your website). A lot of companies use this kind of marketing because it’s very cost effective as they only have to pay affiliates, or guys like you, when a sale is made.

Affiliates are paid in commission, which range from 1% with popular brands and up to 75%. The most lucrative when it comes to affiliate marketing is the health and beauty market, which offers 30% commission for each sale. If you are successful as an affiliate marketer, you can make a lot of money selling other people’s stuff.

Where can I look for products to market?

Since there are a lot of companies that are looking to have their products marketed, it’s not hard to find them at all. You can find products when you browse or join an affiliate network. What is an affiliate network? Well, an affiliate network is a company or a website that takes care of all the information about affiliates and companies that have an affiliate program. An affiliate network, networks these two sides of the affiliate market, namely the affiliates and the companies with affiliate programs.

If you decide to be an affiliate, you can sign in on any of the affiliate networks that you can find online and you’ll have the freedom to browse hundreds if not thousands of companies and brands. You can also learn all about the commission that the companies offer for each particular sale of their service or product.

Some Tips on Making Money

You’ve decided you’re going to be an affiliate marketer and promote other people’s stuff to potential buyers on the internet. Here are a couple of tips to help you get started and make the right decisions.

  1. Choose the right niche

Choosing the right niche for you is the first step in making money through affiliate marketing.  The right niche not only provides you with the chance to do affiliate marketing , it’s also about the things that you love. For example, if you love cooking, then that can be the niche for you. Promote what you love, because if you market something that doesn’t interest you, you’d probably just stop.

 

  1. Find a mentor

Find someone on the internet who is willing to guide you through learning all about affiliate marketing. There’s a lot of learning to do in affiliate marketing and there’s a very steep learning curve. If you can, you should enroll in some affiliate marketing courses online. There are also some great information online in sites such as this.

 

  1. Don’t spend money

 

You’re in affiliate marketing because you want to make some money. So a good advice is to not actually spend money during your early days.

 

 

With all the information on the internet, it’s not really that hard to learn about specific things. So go about it correctly and you can know more about your niche and the kinds of potential consumers you have on this niche.