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Online success does not happen overnight. Contrary to what you hear and see from the late night infomercials or the spam messages that proclaim internet riches for $49.99, an online breakthrough takes hard work and commitment. Unfortunately, many honest, hard working people are suckered in by those who make these false claims. And it is a growing trend that will likely continue. However, there is hope for those looking to stake their claim in the internet frenzy. It boils down to understanding some of the most commonly used terms in internet marketing, and most importantly, traffic generation. And no, this does not refer to traffic that you encounter while driving to work, but internet traffic. Traffic to your website or blog is the key to the success of any online endeavor. You cannot drive traffic to your site or blog by simply having it hosted, but must familiarize yourself with some of the important concepts and how they work. The first is what is known as the backlink.

Google is of course the most popular search engine available on the internet today. People who are searching for specific content type it into the Google text box and usually read the first two pages of the results. So, the first two pages of the keyword search results are going to generate the most traffic. This begs the question, “How would you like to have your site or blog ranked on the first few pages of a keyword search on Google”? The answer is obvious, “Of course I would”! Well, it is possible but you must understand some of the techniques that are used to rank websites and blogs that will obtain the highest page ranking possible. And here is why a backlink is so important to your online endeavor.

A backlink is a path from one website to another. Although both sites are different in structure and design, the theme and content are the same. For example, you may have two sites that are both related to the mortgage industry. The content is similar, the theme is similar, but the sites are structured and designed differently. One site may generate much more traffic than the other and rank high on the major search engines. The other site receives little to no traffic, but the content is the same and the topic is the same, the mortgage industry. Since the content is the same and the theme is the same, you are going to try and build a path that will generate traffic from the higher ranking site to the site that does not generate any traffic at all.  This is the process known as backlinking, or inbound links. And the more backlinks you have with sites that are similar to yours, the more the major search engines recognize not only the importance of the content, but the importance of the site itself. The higher the importance search engines such as Google place on a site, the higher the page ranking. That is why linking to a popular site that is similar to yours is so important when it comes to page ranking and traffic generation.

There are many different linking strategies you can try to improve your page ranking. One of the easiest things you can do is to simply ask the webmaster of the similar site to link to your site. How often that works is purely a subjective opinion. If you feel you can get your site ranked high from this technique, then more power to you. Research and understand the term anchor text, which is commonly used to backlink. No matter what strategy you employ, take some time to understand the most common principles used in traffic generation and page ranking.

Is Website Content Enough

Getting affordable, well-written content is half the battle when it comes to getting high volumes of returning visitors. It takes hard work, dedication and a sense of diligence.

The hard work will be performed by you or it can be sub-contracted out. For example, if you are struggling to generate both high quality backlinks and daily content, maybe it is time to sub-contract out the backlink end of it so that you can concentrate on generating more web content.

The toughest decisions when marketing online are when you first start out; they will either make you or break you. My job is to help in that decision process so that they ‘make you’. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing my advice and moral support has helped you.

It is important to understand and know when to sub-contract out your work. Seriously, if you are feeling overwhelmed or you are ready to give up, then it is the first step in a long learning process of marketing online.

So, you made a few dollars with Adsense? That is great. Now take that money and reinvest it into more content. I am not saying this because I am obligated to, either. It is sound advice that any credible marketer will advise you to do.

Dedication plays a huge role in the overall process. You must be dedicated to your visitors, you must be dedicated to your search engine optimization efforts and you must have the esteem in yourself and foresee the endgame.

Dedication to your visitors comes in the form of always expanding and improving—I call it tweaking. The same occurs in the retail industry where you are always changing the prices, creating a winning sales strategy, and working with customers one on one. What many people do not realize is that making money online is a lot like running your own storefront on Main Street USA. The customers have the same needs and wants and you have to express it through the content you serve to them.

Benefits of an Editor

Having an Editor proofread and edit your website content is an intuitive time saver for you as a writer. Honestly, I can tell you—this goes out to my full time editor—you save me so much time.

By having access to a professional editor you can write the way you want to without the worry and headache of producing anything less than top-notch blog posts, articles, and columns.

It comes without the worry of making sentence structure mistakes and opens up the door of being able to write daily.  Writing daily attracts first time visitors and gains you returning visitors.

Having a full time editor does not mean you shouldn’t proofread and attempt to edit the most obvious mistakes you make though. I make it a point to review what I author at least two times before sending it off my Editor to catch those grammar and sentence structure mistakes.

What your readers think of you is an important part of your success online. The old saying goes, ‘appearance is everything’, and for serving content, it should be worded ‘perception is key’.  This applies even if you do not write your own content. Maybe you buy your content. If that is the case, then this advice still applies.

If you are looking to attract college graduates, then you had better make sure your writer and editor can publish content that attracts those college level graduates. The educated will place less value on your recommendations and advice if you make the most simplest of mistakes. That is the world we live in. Whether we personally like it or not should not matter in the least.  What matters the most is when they click away, which equates to a loss altogether.

Let us talk about writing for your readers based on their geographic location and how an editor can help. American and British English differ on many levels. For an example, here is something I found interesting.

Words ending in ‘-or’ American English end in ‘-our’ British English.

E.g. color, colour, humor, humour, flavor, flavour, etc.

Words ending in ‘-ize’ American English end in ‘-ise’ British English.

E.g. recognize, recognise, strategize, strategise, philosophize, philosophise etc.

If you are British, but the majority of your readers are from the US, then having an Editor that knows American English will gain you results that are more favorable from your American readers. The opposite is true for British readers that read American content.

Recap on the benefits of an Editor

–          Allows you to serve daily content

–          Attracts and gains the trust of educated readers

–          Helps in serving content based on the reader’s geographic location

–          Eliminates grammar and sentence structure problems

–          Gives you peace of mind

–          Builds your website authority

–          Editors are intuitive timesavers

The Content Authority has on call a staff of professional college level Editors that proofread and edit your articles you purchase. This editing service is dependent on what tier article you order. All orders that are of “great quality” and above are edited (this is subject to change soon).  If you find yourself strapped for time and want to publish thousands of high quality articles for your readers, then you will not be disappointed. You are just a click away from ordering high quality articles and taking advantage of the benefits of an editor.

Daily Web Content Benefits

Have you thought about the benefits of serving daily web content to your visitors? You might be thinking, “But why? The links pointing to my page already give me enough exposure.” While this may be true, providing it daily increases the amount of time a visitor stays on your website. The longer they stay, the greater chance they will click your Adsense, the higher chance they will buy a product, and the less likely they will head over to your competition. That is simple and practical common sense advice.

It is as if you are walking into a store and they do not exactly have what you are looking for–what do you do next? You go to a different store to find it. The same can be said for any website. A visitor finds your website but they have never heard of you before and they do one of three things. They click your ‘about page’, they click your blog, and if they still are not sold, they type your company name into a search engine followed by the word ‘scam’. This leaves you open to baseless bad reviews, criticism, and speculation, often times coming under cloak and dagger from your competition. Why are you letting them get that far is the point that I am making. If you offer daily web content, it offers a level of transparency and trust that says, you are who you say you are and you are dedicated to your clientele. If your visitors cannot find what they are looking for, they leave; it is as simple as that.

Providing daily web content not only makes for confident readers but it builds confidence within you. It gives you drive and motivation to do better, to serve more and to sell more. The more web content you provide, the more ideas sprout to life that help you expand your business. You need a daily dose of confidence—it is a reassurance that you are on the right path with one objective in mind and that is to be successful in life.

Comments and critiques are a critical apparatus in understanding your reader’s needs and wants. I personally never reply to someone’s article if they are not active in replying to their readers. You may have experienced the same but unconsciously you perceive it by clicking away to another website you find more interesting.

Look at Facebook. Why is it such a popular website? Because you get to interact with people that interest you and they respond to what you say. By replying to your readers comments, you form a bond with them. This bond is a two-way bond that works both ways. It not only keeps your readers interested in what you have to say but you get to learn what they are like through the comments they leave. Serving web content regularly lets you bond more frequently with your visitors.

Another benefit of daily web content is that it builds trust with you reader base. Trust is a big issue on the web and rightly so when you are bombarded with spam left and right. I find the more web content I provide, the more trust I build with my readers.

I can write what I feel far better than I could ever express myself in an open dialogue. This is achieved by serving web content frequently. The greater the frequency, the better you become at it, giving you the ability to connect to your readers with honesty and an open heart most of the web lacks. Why settle for less when you can start providing daily web content for your readers to set you apart from your competition and start reaping the rewards?

Learn about Long Tail Keywords

I am very excited to help you learn about long tail keywords and the many benefits of targeting them. With the web growing in leaps and bounds, and as civilization becomes connected to the web in the remote corners of the Earth, it becomes more difficult to compete with keyword phrases in any search engine. If you have been putting off launching your own website or providing daily web content to your visitors, now is the time to take advantage of these longer search queries. A long tail keyword gives you the ability to rank well and rank fast. In

longtail keyword differences

Keyword Differences

the diagram below, you will see the difference between a keyword, a keyword phrase and a long tail keyword. For the sake of simplicity, I am defining each separately with a clear distinction.

From the screen capture, you now know that a long tail keyword contains more than two words, it is longer than a phrase, and it is almost a complete sentence. You might be thinking, “Do people actually search this way?” Actually, they do–a recent case study was done by an online ad network called Chitika, and they found…

How many words does it take to get to the center of good search traffic?  According to a new study by online ad network Chitika, three – as in, three-word search queries drive the most traffic from search engines.

Here is look at the ‘traffic by word count graph’ they provided…

Learn about Long Tail Keyword

Learning Long Tail Keywords

According to that graph, it puts long tail keywords as one of the most prominent ways to market your website.

An older study conducted on Dec 21, 2000, that can be found at the Journal of American Society called ‘Searching the Web: The Public and Their Queries’, looked at queries performed in Excite. They found that…

The average length of a search query was 2.4 terms.

Two separate case studies with similar results over an extended time period should be enough to convince you that optimizing websites for 3 and 4 word search queries can help you drive traffic to your website.

How easy is to rank for three word queries? Rather simple. I just launched a website last week that contains a rather high profile long tail keyword. I already rank on the top listing in the second page of Google. Mind you, with only a little work I can supersede much of my competition by pointing relevant web content to that website, which will drive me to the first page. The great part is that I did not even submit that website to Google to be indexed.

If you not taking advantage of long tail keywords by now, this column should give you enough proof to rethink your website optimizing strategy. If you are interested in learning more on this subject, please leave a reply. I would be more than happy to help with your questions and concerns.

Keyword Density Tips and Tricks

Keyword Density Tips & Tricks

We explained the advantages to word density and the benefits of longtail keywords, we looked at the brief history of the web and how search engines were forced to apply strict standards to the benefit of their users to return better search results. We looked at what tools you can use to make sure your content had the proper percentage of phrases for better visibility in a SERP and we educated on the different terms related to this topic.

Let us look at how to craft SEO content step by step. The overall word count of the article you plan to publish will determine how many times you can get away with using the same phrase without seeing penalties from search engines. The normal advice I hear everywhere being regurgitated is that for any given 500 word page, the keyword should be located in at least three areas of your article.  I am not saying this advice is bad, but if you want to see more natural results from the same piece of content then this rule falls a bit short. This is especially true if you want your one piece of content to be listed for different variants of the original phrase over the long haul. Moreover, it gives you much more leeway as a webmaster and it does not hinder your writing style.

Placeholder Keyword Variants

Using variants of the same phrase can help you get more natural looking results within search engines. One piece of content can get listed for multiple keywords, then once you tie into other content you published with links, it reinforces and makes the original content and future content that much more relevant. Relevancy plays a very important part of where you list and how well you list.

Place your main keyword once in the article introduction and then once in the body. To conclude the article place a keyword variant in the last paragraph. This gives you the ability to come back later and use the placeholder keyword variant term as a link to a new article. We will cover this more indepth when we teach you how to properly interlink content in future columns.

If you learn one thing, let it be that no matter what you do, keep it consistent as possible. Some people call this gaming Google; I call it smart authoring. Understanding what your readers want will play exceptions to this rule. If you already are an authority within a niche, then by all means, write for your readers and not for search engines. However, if you are looking to get better results in a search engine, then taking a close look at the density of keywords and their variants within your content is the first step in the process.

The Secrets about Meta Tags

I’m really excited to be revealing to you the secrets about Meta tags–you know why? These little snippets are the most important part when it comes to optimizing your website for SEO purposes.

Don’t take my word for it–just ask any webmaster with an ounce of credibility and they will tell you the same thing.  Why are Meta tags so important, you might be asking— and for that matter, what are Meta tags?

Meta tags are found within the header of each page on your website or at least they should be.

Quick Tip: Content management systems like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal make it a cinch to craft search engine optimized Meta tags.

Before we delve deep into this subject, let me show you where these snippets are found on a website.

If you are using Firefox Browser, I want you to right click on any webpage and select the ‘view page info’ link. A screen just like the image below will show you the Meta tag information.

picture of meta tag screen by right clicking

right click your mouse and the select page info

Now let us look at the snippet coded–you can see the source of any webpage by right clicking and selecting ‘view page source’ in the Firefox browser. In IE (Internet Explorer), you right click and select ‘View Source’.

picture of meta tag source code

right click your mouse and select view source

It took me a while to find a website that had the Meta information properly filled out in the source code. I went to one of the new websites I’m building and from the screen capture above, you can see the Meta tag in the header field (<head>) is filled incorrectly.

Now that we identified exactly where these tags are found –what is their use? When a robot crawls your webpage, it looks for identifying information to list your pages in their search engine. Once it finds this information, either in the Meta tag region or in the body of the article, it uses it for a title and description when it indexes your page.

picture of serp in google

meta tags used in google

This is very interesting—and I’m glad there is a discrepancy, because it will teach you how intuitively search engines work. Here is what I mean…

Now pay special attention—I put a red arrow next to each description—by all rights these descriptions should be the same. Notice how the Meta information in ‘page info’ screen capture is slightly different from what is being displayed in Google. Why is that? It is because Google is saying “look here, your page title is ‘this’ and your description is ‘this and this’, we think your description should be ‘this’ and we grab it from you body of your page, as it better reflects what users are looking for”.

Below you can see exactly where Google grabbed the information from the body content of my page. I made a mistake because the title tag, the Meta description and the URL should be the same.

picture of webpage code highlighted

google grabbed this text for a description

Not a problem; I will simply craft a unique description that is relevant to the rest of my Meta tag information, like Google has it displayed.

The new description will update within the index in a few days. I will post another screen capture to show you proof on how Google “thinks”.

By crafting relevant Meta tag information, you are able to have full control over what the user will see in Google. If you do not supply Meta tags, who knows what the robot will grab in order to maintain relevancy when they index your webpage.

Did you find this Meta tag lesson helpful? I hope you have–I really enjoy helping others learn. Let me know if you want me to cover anything in specific by leaving a comment below.

Update:  Monday February 07, 2011

I told you I would update this article when Google changed the custom crafted description that I added. This is to show you how a search engine works and “thinks”. It took a few weeks to actually be updated in the index because the page I referred to is a squeeze page that only gets updated monthly.

Your custom crafted descriptions would be updated in the search engine more quickly if the page was a webpage that changed often, hence the Google bot visits on a more regular basis compared to a squeeze page that is updated rarely.

It is actually simple to wrap your head around, a page that gets updated by you daily or weekly is checked more by a search engine bot compared to a website that is only updated on a monthly basis.  The more active you are in adding and updating webpages, the more the bot will come back and check for changes, and the quicker your listing reflects those changes made.

The change I made was in crafting a customized description for my listing. Instead of the search engine picking out what to add as my description I took control of the description field. See the results for yourself.

Before I made changes my description was…

picture of serp in google

meta tags used in google

After I custom crafted my description the index now shows…

meta description

custom crafted meta description

Keyword Density Tool Compilation

The number of keyword density tools available across the web is immense and to list them all here would not be feasible. I will though, give you 20 keyword density tools to work with. These tools are not listed in any order. If you want to submit your tool to be added to this compilation please feel free to comment to this column.

Keyword Density Tools

Live Keyword Analysis Wins our Editors Mention Award!

SEO Chat

SEO Book

SEO Book

SEO Centro

Ranks NL

Keyword Density Tools

We Build Pages

Article Underground

Text Alyser

Link Vendor

Web Inspect

Add Me

iCrossing

Google Rankings

GoRank/

For this Keyword Density Tool Comparison list I picked the first 20 webpages that claimed they had this tool in a Google search engine result query. I then went to each site and performed a keyword analysis with the same article I wrote a year ago. Keyword density checker for just a tag cloud were taken off the list.

Here is a helpful Keyword Density Tool Comparison graph comparing each tool and their features.

picture of keyword density tool comparison

keyword density tool comparison

Live Keyword Analysis Wins Editors Mention Award

Live Keyword Analysis receives the Editor’s Mention Award for ease of use, no advertisements, and no security key to enter. All you do is paste in the text that you want to be analyzed, enter the keyword and it automatically gives you the keyword density percentage on the fly, without the hassle of clicking a button.

picture of live keyword analysis easy to use interface

live keyword analysis easy to use interface

We are not promoting any of these websites. This is a simple list of the available working keyword density tools across the net. If you have a tool you want submitted please leave a comment. I will evaluate your tool and add it to the list and graph.

Keyword Density in Retrospect

Keyword density in respect to the way search engines serve relevant results to the user has changed the face of the internet. It affects what we see and read on a daily basis, especially if search engines are used as the tool to browse the internet. Case studies like the Nielsen Report tell us that most of us do use search engines to browse the internet.

In fact, for June 2010, the Nielsen Company found that the average time spent online in the U.S. grew by more than 3% when compared to the previous month.

nielsen report showing search engine usage

If you look at the above graph taken from the Nielsen Report website, you will notice search engines continue to be the primary method people use to browse and view the internet. Although Nielsen’s report is US based only, a similar report found that this is a worldwide occurrence.

Some other statistics you might find useful…

Out of every 2000 US based consumers it is estimated 86% use search engines to find local businesses.

Of every 2000 US based consumers, 81% said the internet was vital to their lifestyles and among that group 90% said they use search engines to search for local businesses.

The “research web” was born 20 years ago and was comprised of research servers used at colleges. Four years later, 1994 was named the “Year of the Web” by Cern. The Web had 10,000 servers, 2,000 of which were commercial, and 10 million users.

When we were talking about our experience in building websites, my response was I had 10 years of experience in building websites; his rebuttal was “You’ve been building websites for 10 years? I’ve been at it twice that time.” I had to correct him and tell him the “research web” was launched in December of 1991 and it is impossible for anyone to have 20 years of website building experience.

The whole point is that the web is like the newborn child of the digital world. Keyword density in respect to the web has changed how we see and view the web on a daily basis. Only in 1994 did the web morph into what we use today. The search engine algorithms did not meet the expectations of the user in those first 10 years. The webmaster could easily manipulate the results by spamming their website with the same keyword repeatedly to reach top listings. Keyword density was born to counteract such manipulation of search engine results.

In a very crude fashion, the search engines were forced into setting the standards on how to write website content to counteract the manipulation of blackhat internet marketers. A widely held myth is that if you write and serve good content, search engines will recognize you. Simply put a, search engine is a computer and a computer does not know how to distinguish a good writer from a poor writer. That is why it is so important for you as a webmaster to understand the history, the fundamentals, and ideology so you can make an educated decision on whether to conform to the standards set for keyword density.

Let us not discount the fact that to be a good writer you should not be using the same words and phrases repeatedly to begin with. Keyword density is not something new and it certainly does not take a college level education to wrap your head around it. Many websites already offer writing classes to teach you how to write like a professional. If you find the need to subcontract your work out, The Content Authority offers a seamless and affordable solution for written articles and we have a keyword density option.

Learn SEO Article Writing

Defining SEO Article Writing

Let us be honest. Writing is hard enough without having to worry about making sure every article you publish is SEO optimized. Or is it?

SEO is shorthand for Search Engine Optimization. Put the two words together and you have the definition of an article that is optimized for search engine visibility. When I first started writing, I learned everything there is to know about this subject by researching hundreds of articles, blog columns, books, and case studies. The recurring theme, repeated repeatedly, was that either the writer was 100% for it or he or she took a hard-line attitude against it because it cramped his or her writing style.

Seeing the world in black and white with a little bit of gray matter in between it is not such a bad thing. You can bet that once you learn how to optimize your content for seo purposes and you see the results, you will be hooked and never turn back. If you research this topic with an open mind, it will take you less than a few weeks to start optimizing your own writing style. You will not even be conscious of doing it. It will become second nature.

The hardliners against seo article writing often think “by educating others on the subject they might steal my coveted search engine listing.” Alternatively, they might simply think, “Let’s be honest here. Writing is hard enough for some of us without having to worry about making sure our articles are seo optimized.” The second frame of mind is a prime example of being sluggishly complacent and doing just enough to get by as a writer.

As a writer, your main concern should be to get visibility of the content you write. Common sense says you can be a great writer but without the right exposure, you will never become popular. Optimizing your content to rank high within search engines will in fact get you the exposure you deserve. How is this accomplished?

Applying SEO Techniques

picture of two woman writing on laptop
It all starts with keyword density. Keyword density is the percentage of times a word or phrase is found within a webpage in direct correlation to the total number of words on that page. The calculation goes like this:

Target Keyword Count/Total Word Count * 100 = Density %

The optimal density range is from 1% to 3%. The Content Authority takes a middle ground with a 2% keyword option on written content.

SEO article writing is not limited to keyword density though. In order to have a fully optimized article you have to conform to the World Wide Web Consortium (w3c) standards. These standards include properly filling in image alt attributes, using a variety of heading tags, and quoting your sources to name a few. Search engines look at the W3C standards and base parts of their algorithm on these areas of accessibility for the impaired.

Summarizing Keyword Density

When you begin to write your next masterpiece or even a simple blog post, I want you to reflect on what is most important to you as a writer. A little research, some work and application of the right seo techniques to your content can help you rank faster and higher than you have before. The idea behind keyword density stems directly from search engines wanting to present the most relevant and well-written content in their search engine result pages (serp) to the user. It is actually rather simple once you learn how—you might even find you already write with the 2% keyword rule and I hope to help you over the next few blog columns to do just that.