Guest Post by: Darrell Lischka

There is so much information online today about the best methods and techniques about building a proper authority site to rank high in the search engines. Part of the problem, are people claiming to be SEO experts, yet when you go and check what keywords they rank for, they are no where to be found on the first 5 pages of Google. So where do you begin? Grab some coffee and have a read as I expose the insider secrets to ranking well in the SERP’s.

The methods that I discuss are for Google. Now some of you might be wondering about Bing, Yahoo etc. Well, since Google is the king of search engines and where most of the organic searching is done, I will be focusing on G. If you want to make money online with Google, then you also need to understand and follow their terms of service. If you try and use black hat techniques to game the system and Google finds out, which they will eventually, then your site and money will disappear with the push of a button – literally.

Many people wonder, what does Google want?

It comes down to 2 important key points. They want to see quality and relevant information for their end users. This is really the challenge given so much data that is added on a second by second basis to the internet. You see, the search engines have to compromise a bit when it comes to giving you and me the results in a timely manner. Most people surfing the internet, want the information yesterday and having to wait for 10 or 20 seconds would be unheard of today. So, naturally Google is not indexing every single piece of data every 24 hours. Now they certainly have the storage capacity to do so in my opinion, but its unlikely given the competition.

What is an Authority site?

Authority sites are essentially what Google considers trust worthy that have been around for awhile. Authority sites will usually contain hundreds of articles over time. Now some of you might Some people confuse this with a niche site. Niche sites usually have 5, 10 or 20 articles around very specific keywords. In reality, you can turn any website into an authority site with enough work.

The Process to Building an Authority Site.

Step 1 – Getting a Domain Name

Your domain name is an important first step in deciding what direction you will head with your authority site. This goes hand in hand with picking your keywords, which is discussed in the next step. Some people use their name or some interesting sounding name that is unrelated to what your site is actually about. I always recommend when possible, to buy a domain name around the specific topic you are generally going after.

For example, if I were going after home based business, then I would try and buy a domain with that term in there. Now you won’t get something like that since its already taken. But with some variations in the name by adding a word before or after can usually work. There are still thousands of good domain names to buy.

One other point about buying a domain name. The search engines like aged domains. The reason is simple. If you have been around for awhile, then likely your website is legitimate. Most spammers will buy a domain for a year by year basis.

If you are serious about your business and hopefully you are, then consider buying your domain for at least 2 years or more. Some people like Matt Cutts who works for Google, have suggested 5 or 10 years is better. I have one site that doesn’t have the term home based business in it, but the site is almost 6 years old. I didn’t understand SEO 6 years ago, so I picked a nice sounding name. However, I can still use that aged domain to my advantage.

Step 2 – Keywords

So you picked out your domain name and are now ready to get some G-bucks. Well this is where the work really starts. You see many newbies will go after big keywords like make money, work at home or travel etc. Big mistake as a newbie and even as a veteran. The competition is very fierce at those levels and the people on page 1 of Google know exactly what they are doing and have the financial resources to compete. So you better have your “A-Game” on if you ever decide to go after the higher end market.

Stick to the lower end keyword selections. For example, if you wanted to go after the travel business, then go and search out a long tail keyword that has the term travel in it. A long tail simple means the primary keyword like travel is within a longer term phrase. It could be something like, “how to set up a travel business”.

So here’s my keyword 101 recommendation. By starting at the low end of searches per day, you can build up authority for your site as you get page 1 rankings. You may pick a term that has 5 or 10 searches a day. That’s fine to start there and work your way up the food chain. Once you rank on page 1, pick another long tail keyword and keep repeating. Over the course of 6, 12 or 18 months, you have built up a nice authority site.

This is why most people won’t ever build an authority site because the amount of work required. This seems especially prevalent with newbies entering the internet marketing game. They see an ad promising instant riches with no work. Trust me, I have been at this IM game long enough to know that easy money online is a lie. Treat it like a real business and work it like a real business.

One other piece of advice to save you some money. There are a lot of people trying to pitch software programs that will help you find the perfect keywords and give you all the necessary information to have success online. Let me tell you straight up that you don’t ever need to buy something like that. Use Google’s free tools because even they can only give you an estimate on how many people a day search for a specific term and they are not accurate. So how the heck do you think someone else is going to have the magic software. Go here and enter your keywords: Google for your free keyword tool and save yourself some money.

Step 3 – Link Building

Up to now, I have covered picking a domain name and selecting long tail keywords with low competition. The actual methods to building authority sites is about writing quality articles for both your website and submitting other unique quality content at other places.

What I specifically mean is that the only way Google will know how relevant your website is, will be by the number of quality links pointing back to your site. Every time you submit an article to an article directory as an example, you are telling Google that your site is relevant for a specific phrase. The more quality links (back links) that you have pointing to your website, the higher in the search engines you will go over time. Some low competitive terms you may be able to rank on page 1 with only a few articles to at the right places. Other competitive terms, you may have to submit dozens or hundreds of articles all over the place.

How to Get Back links

The best places on where to get noticed quickly by G is submitting your unique content to places like Go Articles and Ezine Articles. Those are 2 article directory places that have authority and Google is constantly spidering their content on a daily basis because of the new content.

There are literally thousands of places to submit your content and here’s a few other ideas. Go to Google and search the term, “list of blogs, article directories, ezine directories, forums etc. You will have people that have compiled a list of dozens of good quality places to submit your content to. The main point and emphasis is to submit unique, quality and relevant content. For example, some places like EzineArticles.com will require you to have unique content, otherwise they won’t accept it. Yes, they have staff checking to ensure this is the case.

One other important piece to the puzzle is making sure when you submit your content to those directories, that they are a “dofollow” link. What I mean is that when Google spider bots come along and search the content and links, they will follow your link to your website. You get a credit from Google. There are many places that don’t have this and its called “no follow”. So when doing a search, enter “dofollow blogs” as an example and you will get another list that many people have compiled to help you out.

Now one trick I learned that has saved me countless hours is to go to Firefox, type in “dofollow Firefox plugin” to get a list of software plugins that you can download to Firefox. That way, when you are submitting your content, you can go up into the tools tab, select that phrase that has “no dofollow”, check it off to activate it. When you have it turned on there’s a check mark beside it. When you are at a particular site, it will show phrases that are in purple and a light pink color. The purple phrases mean “dofollow” which is where you want to submit your content to. To turn it off, just repeat the process and remove the check mark.

So there you have the process on building an authority site the Google way. Start by picking out your domain name, keywords and building back links to rank in the search engines. Remember, the more relevant and useful your content, the better you will do in the search engines.

Guest Post by: Darrell Lischka
Make sure to visit his home based business website.

Just got a letter from Google about the new interface switch. I rather like the new interface, although I don’t really see anything too new in there. Might be a little more organized and modern looking. Looks like some Ajax functions, which should make it faster to manage and make changes, but you know how that goes! Here is the email they send me (so personal – not):

***Important news regarding your account***

Hello,

In the coming weeks, we’ll upgrade your AdWords account (Customer ID: 558-754-5790) to a new web interface designed to make campaign management faster and easier. You can try it now; log into your account to use the new interface immediately.

You’ll have at least 30 days from the date of this email before you’ll be required to use the new interface to manage your campaigns. During this time we’ll continue to release additional features and make adjustments to the new interface based on advertiser feedback.

We’re working to ensure that the new interface contains all of the reports and controls you need to manage your campaigns effectively. We won’t upgrade your AdWords account to the new interface until we’re confident that it will meet your advertising needs.

Before we upgrade your account, you can switch between the new and previous interfaces at any time. Click the “Previous Interface” and “New Interface (Beta)” links in the top corner of your account (next to your email address) to switch back and forth.

To make sure that you’re prepared for the upgrade, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the new interface as soon as possible. We’ve prepared a set of online materials to help you get ready for the changes:

* Review the new interface microsite to get a quick overview of the changes and watch videos demonstrating the improvements: http://www.google.com/adwords/newinterface/
* Our “Getting Started Guide” will give you an overview of major new features and their benefits. You can download a PDF at: http://www.google.com/adwords/newinterface/new_interface_guide.pdf
* Wondering how to complete common AdWords tasks in the new interface? Visit our “How to” guide at: http://www.google.com/adwords/newinterface/standard/ads-and-keywords.html
* Search a full set of frequently asked questions in the Help Center for the new interface: https://adwords.google.com/support/aw/

The help materials above will still be available after your account has been upgraded.

We hope you find that the new interface increases your advertising efficiency and makes it easier for you to improve your results. If you have any thoughts about the new interface, please let us know by clicking on the Feedback link in the top corner of your account. And as always, thank you for advertising with AdWords!

Sincerely,
The Google AdWords Team

Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Typical Google type stuff…no way to contact them, etc…

The reports are out and Google has increased it’s domination over Yahoo, MSN and the rest of the search engines…again. Not really too suprising, as it doesn’t seem that Yahoo or MSN can get their act together to promote their search engines effectively to web-surfers. According to the Hitwise report, Google posted an 8% year or year gain over the competitors.

What does this mean for companies trying to gain as much traffic from the search engines as possible? Focus on Google first and foremost with your organic SEO and PPC campaigns. Make sure your Google PPC Adwords campaigns are as built out as possible and your ad copy is effective and working. Doing things to maximize your website’s organic and paid search is always time well spent. You should re-evaluate your SEO and PPC strategy at least every quarter to make sure you are doing search as well as possible.

In order to improve the amount of free, organic traffic your site is receiving, you can put a strategy in place to add freshly written articles to your site to increase your overall page count. Google loves frequently updates sites and posting new, unique articles to your site is a great strategy for increasing your organic traffic to those pages. Make sure you have an effective layout to capitalize on the traffic those pages are receiving, otherwise what’s the point? You can monitor how well your articles are converting into actions to maximize and expound on the topics that are working well. I’d love to hear your coments. :)

Back in the day you could buy your way to the top of Google by purchasing text links on various high-ranking websites. Then came paying bloggers to write about your company or product with a few in-content text links to boost your rankings. About 1 1/2 ago Google came with the smack-down and punished bloggers and companies that were using these methods or artificially increase their SEO rankings. Page Rank took a hit every where and people started panicing that the text link industry was dead. But is that really true? According to another recent report, sponsored blog posts are still taboo and the bloggers that do them could face penalites from the mighty Google.

So, it is just a bunch of scare tactics to take more wind out of the text link and paid-post industry? There is a dilema here…Bloggers need to earn a living with their blogs and selling advertising is a major way to increase blog revenue. Of course Google would just love everyone to put up Adsense on their blogs and call it a day. But guess what, Adsense doesn’t really have that high a yield for a lot of topics, so bloggers and webmasters have to use other ways to generate their revenue.

Personally I think if the merchant review is a genuine one based on the an actual review of the company or product I don’t see an issue with the blogger charging for a post. Does this really sway the search results in favor of the advertiser? Anyone that follows SEO or is involved in it knows that building your inbound links is still an effective way of raising your search rankings. Google has claimed it’s all about content quality, but can they really determine which content is better than others and which should be ranked higher? Because the answer is likely still no at this point, we can only assume that Google is still using other site factors like: site longevity, frequence of site updates, amounts of fresh content, how many inbound links you have, etc. This is why Google is stil hating on paid blogging, because they have to rely on these aspects of ther algorythm to determine rankings. The sponsored blogs can artificially sway the algorythm, so Google has to come out and warn against them. Personally, I would avoid doing many paid blog posts or paid text links. I think in the right circumstances they can work, but have to be done very carefully, through very legit sources. As fars as the “no follow” attribute, this is probaby a good idea for bloggers to do because the paid post can still benefit the advertiser as long as the post pulls some organic search rankings for the advertiser. At the end of the day, gaining a new organic listing for a competitive search phrases can still benefit the advertiser by providing a likely buyer that just read a review of their product or service.

Some good natural ways to increase your inbound links are posting on “do follow” forums and blogs. On forums you can set-up your signature links and really gain some nice inbound links by posting your butt off. Also doing really good blog commenting can gain you traffic and an organic boost. Blog commenting and forum posting has to be done very well and in volume to work effectively. Back in the day, black-hat SEOers would comment spam thousands of blogs and gain inbound links that way. Thankfully those days are over! I’d love to hear your opinion on Google’s rankings and paid blog posts.

Not sure if it’s Google Reader or FeedBurner, but this is not cool:

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Skitch.com > samharrelson > GoogReaderFail

Six hours of latency. Six.

Track will kill the RSS star.

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Earlier this week, I lamented on Google’s poor handling of FeedBurner since acquiring the service.

Instead of capitalizing on FeedBurner’s large amount of inertia and kind feelings towards the service from the influence-sphere of bloggers, Google has relegated FeedBurner to the back shelf of its growing collection of dolls and toys.

In a post about the coming possibilities of a “ping economy” (attention economy?), Steve Gillmor points out the growing latency (ie impotency) of FeedBurner and how Google has mis-handled RSS notifications within Google Reader in general:

The Realtime Ping Server: “Whatever the case, and whether or not we’re correctly implementing a ping or not, the notion that blog posts are effectively removed from a realtime audience which is increasingly dominant is mindbogglingly stupid. Some even suggest there are competitive reasons for this lack of a strategy, but I can’t quite construct a convincing rationale for it to date. However, I will throw out the apparent fact that Google makes much more from Web pages than they do from RSS pages.

Inevitably, FriendFeed will roll out Track, and so will Twitter in short order, perhaps even sooner than FriendFeed’s smaller team can prioritize it. Until then, we will continue to model our Twitter cloud in FriendFeed constructs, make do with a lack of filtering tools to constrain the friend-of-a-friend overspill, and look to other players (Microsoft in particular) to compete directly with Feedburner at the RSS routing layer. There is no reason why RSS can’t be an effective protocol at the realtime layer, and FriendFeed’s growing arsenal of features is both a roadmap and a toolkit for the transition.

Note: I am publishing this post at 3:31PM Pacific time.

Update: 5:01PM No RSS.

Update: 5:52PM Still broken.”

Such a shame. FeedBurner could have taken blogging and pinging to the 2.0 level with more instantaneous notifications of updates. Instead, Google placed more “relevant” ads on our feeds and moved on.

Nothing to see there (except the ads, of course).

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Just in case you were wondering, Google’s Matt Cutts makes it official (on Twitter nonetheless):

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Twitter / Matt Cutts

Curious to see what your new PageRank is now? Here’s a nifty tool (of course, you can always go the toolbar route, but that takes away all the mystery and surprise).

Personally and professionally, PageRank is meaning less and less these days. Why?

1. Social networking sites (like Matt’s Twitter page) have taken on just as much authority as blogs yet these social profiles and pages fall outside the playing field of PageRank.

2. Sure, PageRank is important for SEO and PPC to some extent, but if you’re doing marketing work in the niches, PageRank becomes increasingly non-relevant the more niche you go. Someone, like myself, who loves and deals in antique books doesn’t really care if a blog on 19th Century German translations of Hebrew texts has a PR of 6.

The point is, PageRank is great if you’re dealing with keyword buys on large scale sites or blogs, but it’s not the ultimate determiner of a site’s authority.

3. PageRank has always been a standard for determining a site’s legitimacy for consumers, affiliate managers, bloggers and even Google itself. However, in the ongoing process of “web fracturing” (nice network science term), a metric built solely on the number of inbound links doesn’t scale.

4. Affiliate managers and advertisers have better tools to determine if a site is legit these days. PageRank is a part of that mix, but not the dominant part anymore.

5. Google itself doesn’t seem to always abide by PageRank only in its own SERP’s. Why should we rely on it solely as the metric of authority?

All in all, PageRank is sill a necessary part of any marketer’s daily life. However, the almost clinical obsession some people have over their PR number seems silly in a world where the determination of authority is increasingly based on intelligence and discernment rather than an algorithm.

One of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written was a March ’07 post on the rise of search motors to replace search engines:

My college students don’t use Google near as much as I do, or I would expect them to do. In fact, they don’t seem to use (or know how to use) many search engines at all.

They do know how to use Wikipedia, though. The idea of going to a specific “search engine” or “search site” in a few years will seem as stupid as dialing in to an AOL server to get on the internets. We’re going to be talking about “the good old Google days” soon enough.

Google is our generation’s AOL, I fear.

What young people seem to be realizing (and helping the rest of us realize) is that reliance and dogmatic faith in the preeminence of one search engine is not efficient or natural. Instead of relying on inefficient search engines, individuals doing search on the web are moving to search vehicles that rely on countless tiny motors.

What I realize now is that social networks are those motors. Facebook, Twitter, etc are the new search motors that run on fuels much more efficient (and better for the environment) than the fossil fuel of PageRank.

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I thought Google would buy RSS wundercompany Feedburner. I made the prediction on a couple of podcasts with Jeff Molander and his gang and was subsequently called silly or something to that effect.

However, Google did buy FeedBurner, and I thought we would see a revolution in both RSS technology (more mainstream adoption, etc) as well as AdSense and contextual advertising.

Turns out I was wrong about those two. Google continues to sit on FeedBurner without offering much in the way of innovation beyond shutting down the paid premium option and shutting down the popular (and well written) FeedBurner blog, instead sending folks to the AdSense blog.

So, instead of innovating RSS or contextual ad serving, it seems that Google is content with wrapping FeedBurner into an AdSense delivery system and not much else.

Sad.

Especially when you get results like this (from my RSS reader on a post about ice cores):

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Really does make me sad. I thought we were on the verge of something big on the syndicated web. Google keeps disappointing me as it seems to keep going for the chedda and not much else.

BTW, make sure to visit Chedda’s blog. It’s off the chain.

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I hate “retweets.”

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past 3 months, you might not be aware of the scourge of a phenomenon sweeping the twittersphere lately… the retweet.

Basically, when someone says anything you find amusing, you include the syntax “R/T” and copy their tweet. Boom. A retweet. In all of its ugliness. My favorite Twitter desktop application, TweetDeck, makes retweeting insanely easy, helping to spread the plague like hungry fleas riding the back of diseased rats. You get my point.

My reasons for hating retweets are varied, so I’ll get into that in another post. But for those of us who loathe these unholy creatures of digital bits, there’s some redeeming value since they do point to trends (albeit not always quality or valuable trends). However, if you’re looking at Twitter, or social media in general, from a 20,000 foot point of view and trying to glean insights, there is some data to be had here.

A nifty new app built on the Google App Engine allows you to see some of the trends being retweeted:

retweetradar – Finding trends in the mountains of information ‘retweet’ed on Twitter.: “retweetradar is a sister site of http://spy.appspot.com your social media ‘spy’, listen to the social media conversation on any term from Twitter to FriendFeed, Flickr to Blogs and more… watch it all in near real time.”

I’m really falling for the Google App Engine. I need to do more exploration there. As a footnote, Scott Jangro has set up a blog there to fool around with the django and Python language native to the platform, so go check that out.

So, even though retweets are the new antichrist, there’s some atonement for them since they do point us to a measurable function of what might be trending hot in terms of a very niche community(ies).

Personally, I’d rather just put a stake through their tiny digital hearts.

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Google’s Friend Connect (see the sidebar if you haven’t joined this site already) is now integrating with the Twitter login:

Official Google Blog: @Twitter: Welcome to Google Friend Connect: “To help you and your Twitter network stay connected no matter where you are on the web, we’re excited to announce that Google Friend Connect has integrated with Twitter. This means that when you join a Friend Connected site, you can choose to use your Twitter profile, discover people you follow on Twitter who are also members of the site, and quickly tweet that you have found a cool website.”

This is beyond fascinating to me. We will definitely see more convergence of this type as Google and Facebook continue to battle it out to see who will own your online (offline?) profile.

If Google and Twitter are in bed together, they definitely get my vote since my soul was sold to both of them years ago.

Give it a go over in the sidebar (and if you’ve already joined CPN through Friend Connect, you can hit the settings to play with the Twitter integration).

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Last year Jason Calacanis gave the keynote at Affiliate Summit and made the point (if I may summarize) that affiliate marketers are bright and have lots of potential but think too small…instead they need to make quality platforms that people and VC’s will get behind.

Clearly, that mindset should have changed as the economy continues to dive bomb and the Silicon Valley companies (such as Calacanis’ VC backed Mahalo) that Jason lauded continue to make double digit percentage staff cuts in the name of runway to survive the long recession/depression that we’re in for.

However, I’m listening to the new This Week in Tech from Leo Laporte, which features Jason Calacanis, John C. Dvorak (drink!) and Sarah Lane. Listen to the first 15 or so minutes if you’re interested in how much Jason’s views haven’t changed over the last year regarding affiliate sites being equatable to parked pages and spam.

Look, I hate spam as much, if not more, than the next guy. Just follow me on Twitter if you’d like to see an affiliate marketer filled with self-angst over the spam problem. I recognize that some “affiliates” use tactics that suck and should be looked down upon. But that is not the majority of affiliates considering that “affiliate marketing” itself is mushrooming to encompass a whole range of publishers because of the evolution of the social web.

However, an outsider calling all affiliate sites spam for his own business gain is just lame considering Mahalo itself is an affiliate site. I guess the Valley way to eliminate competition is to call it spam.

Good luck with those runways, Jason. We’ll keep the traffic flowing in the control tower.

Google Reader Update

December 4, 2008 by

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I’m a power RSS user.

I normally have somewhere around 200-500 feeds that I actively read on a daily basis (yeah, I know).

So, I’m glad to see an update from Google Reader. It’s been the app that has kept me from selling my soul to Google since NetNewsWire kicks its webby butt.

That might change.

Official Google Reader Blog: Square is the new round.