100 SEO Tips: Free Plug-in For WordPress

And I thought that many SEO experts were leaning towards keeping silent about their expertise! (Remember my post on silence being the key?) Well, if I were to judge by the actions of Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, I would say that there are SEO experts out there who would like nothing more than to help people out in their quest to learn more about SEO techniques.

He came up with a plug-in for WordPress that would display SEO tips. The whole idea stemmed from the default plug-in “Hello Dolly.” I am sure WordPress users know about this – every time you log in to your WordPress account, you will see random phrases from the lyrics of the song “Hello Dolly.” Van Zanten decided to play around with it and have it display SEO tips instead – much more useful, I should say.

So how did he come up with the SEO tips? He sent out an appeal to everyone to send in their SEO tips and, according to him, within 30 minutes, he was able to receive hundreds of SEO tips from other SEO experts! Talk about selfless sharing here, huh? These contributors even went as far as to help Van Zanten collect and fine tune the submitted tips. Now, with the plug-in anyone can view the tips anytime they want on their very own blog.

The best thing is that the plug-in is for free! You only have to download the plug-in from Van Zanten’s blog and you are good to go.

Filed in: Announcements, SEO News

by: Noemi

1 Comment

Search Marketing Expo

smx logo
This year, those of us interested in search marketing in general can look forward to several events sponsored by Third Door Media. The Search Marketing Expo will be held in different locations through out the year, the soonest of which is the Search Marketing Expo West which is to be held from the 26th to the 28th of February at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California.

An array of topics is going to be highlighted, including organic search optimization. Here are previews of the three keynotes that will be presented in the conference:

Program chair and SearchEngineLand Editor-In-Chief Danny Sullivan will kick off SMX West on February 26 with “Search 3.0, Search 4.0 and Beyond.” He’ll discuss the implications of blended search (Search 3.0), personalized and social search (Search 4.0), and what’s next for search and search marketing technologies.

Participants will also get some hints about new search technologies in the works at Cuill, a stealth search start-up with former Googlers as founders. During the February 27 keynote conversation, Cuill Vice president of products Louis Monier will describe efforts at Cuill to set new standards in search, in addition to providing perspective on developments in the field.

The day-three keynote will be “Generation Next: Search In The Coming Decade”, a panel discussion with luminaries from the major search engines predicting where they see search headed. This session will be moderated by SearchEngineLand’s Chris Sherman and SEMPO Chairperson Gord Hotchkiss.

For more particulars about the SMX West, visit their site. Alternatively, you can look at more information on the different SMX events in other places.

Filed in: Announcements, SEO News

by: Noemi

1 Comment

Google experiments with a search results voting system

a840e102_screen.jpgGoogle Labs is experimenting with a voting system for their search result pages.

From the official page:
This experiment lets you influence your search experience by adding, moving, and removing search results. When you search for the same keywords again, you’ll continue to see those changes. If you later want to revert your changes, you can undo any modifications you’ve made. Note that this is an experimental feature and may be available for only a few weeks.”

Basically, when you type in a search phrase, you’ll automatically have the option to “vote” for results that you like better. Clicking on the arrow button for a result likeit.jpg means that you “like it”, thus moving the marked result at the top of the page (it is indicated with an orange asterisk as shown in the picture on the left). If you “don’t like” a result, you can click the X button dontlikeit.jpg and you won’t see that particular result when you use the same search phrase again.

This feature is currently in its experimental stage, so the Google gods only know how long it will be available and what aspects of this project will be permanently incorporated into the search engine.

If implemented, what does this mean for SEO?

Here are some things you should think about before you redo your entire SEO strategy for the sake of this new feature:

  • It’s still experimental. This means that this feature could only be temporary, or that it isn’t in its final version yet. What Google finally ends up with might surprise you, so while you may speculate endlessly, plan for several possible scenarios and implement your new tactics only when the feature is made permanent.
  • This is only available to users with Google accounts. Even then, not all people with Google accounts are logged in when they perform regular searches. Also, if these Gmail statistics are any indication of the numbers and demographics of Google account holders, you’ll see that they don’t have the biggest market share overall. Plus, their demographics compose of people aged 18-34 , tech-savvy, and have a relatively higher income than the average Yahoo or Hotmail user. If this isn’t your market, you needn’t be too concerned. Here are some other interesting statistics.
  • There’s no social networking aspect. I’ve seen other blogs compare this feature to Digg, but that’s a bit misleading. It’s a similar voting system, yes, but it’s private. There isn’t any hint of social networking – yet. Only you can see your personalized results, and, as far as I can tell, there’s no way for you to broadcast your votes through your Google account.
  • People might still figure out a way to exploit this for SEO purposes. I’m not sure how to do this yet, because the customized search results are private, but I’m sure some SEO genius out there will find some flaw in Google’s voting system.
  • Creating well-maintained, unique sites with great content is still the way to go if you want more stable long term success. Happy end users and a strong readership is what makes websites successful in the long run. This is something that many website publishers and search engines agree with.

What are your thoughts on Google’s voting system? Have any of you tried it? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

Filed in: blogging, Google, SEO News, SEO Tips

by: Celine Roque

No Comments

Use PayPerPost? Watch your blog PR drop to ZERO

ppp.jpg Just last Thursday, Google decided to drop the PR of selected PayPerPost blogs to zero.  PayPerPost also acquired insider information that other similar networks will be affected.  Here’s an excerpt from Ted Murphy’s post at the IZEA community blog:

We now know from some of our friends inside of Google (thanks “bob”) that they are now looking for phrases such as PPP, PayPerPost,ReviewMe, Payu2blog, etc. in the text of your post. For that reason I would suggest refraining from using any type of this text in the body of your posts, sponsored or not. When you disclose thank the sponsor, not PPP.

At one point in the post, Murphy criticizes Google for not taking out on blogs like TechCrunch .  Of course, TechCrunch responds here.  But what really caught my eye was this part of their reply:

I can’t see a lot of bloggers being happy with losing Pagerank so we should see an exodus of bloggers out of PayPerPost (particularly ones with traffic) over the next few months. This will leave PayPerPost with inventory deficiencies that will result in diminished revenues making the PayPerPost business model unsustainable going forward.

 So what should the average blogger do?

If you read my post on the previous Google PR update, you’ll see that I’m a big fan of marching to your own drum rather than following Google’s because you’re afraid to lose PR.  Doing so has yielded positive results for some bloggers, like that guy who made $1500 out of the last PR update.

Don’t move out of PayPerPost immediately.  That is, if it’s been working well for you.  Some scared bloggers might move out, and if the number of advertisers doesn’t drop, you’ll have less to compete with. Wait it out a little, unless Google PR is something incredibly valuable to you.

Alternatively, you can sell paid posts (or links, for that matter) independently.  You don’t have to be part of a network like PayPerPost to do that.  The disadvantage is that you won’t be easily accessible to advertisers as you would be in the PayPerPost (or any advertising) network.  This means more work for you, especially if you’re going to be sneaky about it.

Instead of Google PageRank, use alternative statistics to measure the worth of your blog to advertisers.  There are other ways you can show this, like disclosing unique pageviews, RSS subscribers, etc.  Some people use figures from Alexa, but doing so is as accurate as a monkey counting bananas with a calculator.  Izea is coming up with RealRank, which should be interesting because the formulae, etc. will be disclosed publicly.

John Chow also wrote a post about how to sell links in a Nazi Google controlled internet.  Something you should check out, especially if you use Text Link Ads.

Any PayPerPost users among our readers?  What do you have to say about this issue?

Filed in: Google, PageRank, SEO News

by: Celine Roque


Google’s PR Update: Not Everyone is a Loser

In my previous post, I talked about the “What now?” aspect of the most recent Google PR update. Many popular bloggers ended up on the losing end.

If there were losers, there were also winners. And I’m not talking about Google.

An anonymous Problogger reader earned at least $1500 because of the PR update. (Click here for more details)

Basically, it’s the laws of supply and demand coming into play. Most of the blogs were scared off by the result of the PR update and stopped selling text link ads altogether, but the number of people who want to buy these ads are still relatively the same. Here’s a quote from the guy’s email:

1. About 50% of the blogs in my niche that used to sell text links have stopped doing so.
2. I’ve had about a 50% increase in demand for text link purchases in the last week.
3. I have had an increase in the number of private text link sales this week.
4. The amounts advertisers are willing to pay me have gone up.

See? Sometimes, not bowing to the big G pays off ;)

Since Google just picked the top earners or the most popular blogs selling text links, the guys directly beneath them, those with roughly the same PR, but maybe not as much popularity or clout, are going to benefit big time – if they take the chance.

Of course, it’s going to turn into some kind of vicious cycle if Google decides to strike again. The new “Big Players” will be punished, some small fry will be scared, and others will benefit from the big guys taking the heat. Then, text link ads will be mostly sold underground and will be a market that Google can’t measure or control.

Any readers out there who was on the winning end of this PR update? Feel free to share your stories, please :)

Filed in: Google, PageRank, SEO News

by: Celine Roque


Google’s new PageRank update – what now?

This week, several popular blogs reported a significant decrease in their PageRank after the recent Google PageRank update.  At first, the entire blogosphere was confused about what caused this drop, until it became apparent that selling paid text links on your website can hurt your PR.  It’s certainly no surprise, since Matt Cutts has been saying since June that Google thinks link buying is outside their guidelines and that “we might take strong actions on that in the future”.

Well now they have.  It took a while, but the confirmation about this update was eventually released.

So what’s been the overall effect on the blogosphere?  The ones directly affected are those who have been making a decent income off of paid text links.  PageRank is one of the more important qualifiers listed by people selling these links.  A link from a site with PR 9 will cost more than a link from a site of PR 7.  If site owners will adjust their prices based on the PR update, well… it’s probably not something they look forward to.

Of course, there are many “innocent bystanders” affected by this as well.  If most of the sites that link to you are penalized with a lower PR, odds are your PR will decrease too.   Not to mention the sites that were wrongfully penalized such as Darren Rowse’s Problogger.  Other bloggers cried foul, and Google responded by restoring their original PR.

There’s even some speculation that it’s a manual update, since PR changes are mostly going on for well-established blogs, websites, linkfarms, and blog networks – rather than a general update going on all over the net.  Right now, most of the big bloggers out there are at the mercy of Google.  Personally, I couldn’t care less.

That’s right.  I don’t really care.

Barry Schwartz actually had an increase in site visitors despite the decreased PR.  If you check out Ryan Caldwell’s post on acquiring longterm leverage for your websites rather than being obsessed with transitory trends and changes in search engine algorithms.  This PR update (or any other update) doesn’t have to affect you if you don’t want it to.

If you’re a blogger selling paid text links, what are you going to do now?  First, if Google PR is important to you, stop selling these links blatantly. Or at all.  If you still want to sell links, instead of using PR as a qualifier for your price, use pageviews instead or case studies from previous links, etc.  That’s what I look for when buying links, not PR per se.  There are other ways to measure popularity out there, especially for social bookmarking sites that depend on readers rather than a big search engine bully.

Or try selling graphic/image links instead.

Being too dependent on Google will cripple you.   Even if they may deliver a huge percentage of your search engine traffic, you need to have a backup plan in place.  By all means, use Google PR to measure some level of success, if you want.  However, don’t hyperventilate with each change they make.  It’s their search engine.  They’ll do whatever they want with it.  John Chow has been Google-slapped several times and I don’t think it’s greatly affected his popularity or income.  I know I’m not John Chow, but using him as an example drives a point home:

Just make a good, regularly updated site that people will read, come back to, and tell their friends about.

What “good” means is up to you and your readers.  Don’t let Google define it.

Filed in: SEO News

by: Celine Roque


Social Media Optimization and the Social Media Press Release

05_smpr.jpgJust last month, Dee Barizo wrote a post here at Smart SEO Blog about the importance of the social web.  As the concept of Web 2.0 grows, so does the marketing approach that goes with it.  Remember a few years ago when SEO was the buzzword all over the net?  It’s still an important factor when it comes to your rankings, but since last year a new type of SEO is emerging and everyone’s blogging about it.  It’s called Social Media Optimization (SMO).

Now, SMO doesn’t intend to replace SEO.  In fact, it’s simply a subset of a bigger SEO universe.  With social media becoming more important each day, SMO is becoming more and more integral to a site’s popularity.

What exactly is Social Media Optimization?

Based on PR expert Rohit Bhargava’s definition, social media optimization is implemented on a site for the following reasons:

  • to make it easier to link to
  • to make it searchable on social media engines (such as Digg, Technorati, and StumbleUpon)
  • to make it included in related blog posts and podcasts

Press Releases vs. Social Media Press Releases

In the old notion of SEO, a press release was simply in the form of a written article which was keyword optimized and distributed to high ranking sites.  Just a few days ago, Shift Communications released a template for a new type of press release that was more attuned to the social-driven web.  Here is a list of what makes it different from the old press release format:

  • It’s a straightforward, no-BS release.  All the fluff is gone while the necessary facts remain.
  • It includes several multimedia elements such as video, audio, photographs, etc.
  • Quotes, contact information, and links to related stories are in sections that are easy to identify and access.
  • An RSS feed subscription button for the company/organization news feed is present.
  • At the bottom of the release, you have the option of adding the story to Technorati, Del.icio.us, Digg, and other social bookmarking sites.

What does this have to do with increasing your site’s rankings?

Clearly, a social media press release will gain more attention than a regular press release, especially since few companies/websites have taken this approach when it comes to their releases.  The point of the social media press release isn’t so much that it can be found via traditional search engines, but that it contains straightforward facts and can easily be linked to and shared.  So the next time you think about issuing a new press release for your website, think again.  A bee produces more buzz than that.  If backlinks are the foundation of your rankings, and social media search engines can get you the readership you need, getting backlinks through a social media press release would be a better choice than attempting to do the same with the old press release format.

Filed in: SEO News, SEO Tips, The Social Web

by: Celine Roque

1 Comment

Sphinn, The New SEO Hangout

With Threadwatch shutting down, it’s been hard to find a place where search engine marketers can get together and shoot the breeze. However, I think Sphinn is a suitable replacement for Threadwatch. Sphinn may not be as edgy as Threadwatch, but it’s still a fun place to hang out.

What Is Sphinn?

Sphinn is a Digg-style social media voting site for search engine marketers. It was started by Danny Sullivan, one of the most knowledgeable and experienced journalists in the search industry.

9 Reasons Why I Like Sphinn

I live and breath SEO. I love learning more about the search industry especially tips and tricks. Sphinn does a pretty good job of aggregating useful, interesting articles about SEO.

Sphinn has over 1,000 users and many of the users are experts in SEO.

The signal-to-noise ratio has been pretty good. There’s a lot of great content being submitted.

SEO newbies are welcome.

Sphinn drives a healthy amount of traffic for a new site.

The outbound links don’t have the nofollow attribute.

You can stalk other users. This means you follow your favorite users as they submit and sphinn (vote for) stories. If they stalk you back, you become each other’s friends.

Sphinn has a wide variety of categories that cover the SEO landscape pretty well. For example, domaining and affiliate marketing are both sub-categories (under online marketing). Also, social media gets its own top-level category.

My Favorite Sphinn Stories So Far

Linking To Wikipedia Is lazy
This was a great reminder to stop linking to Wikipedia unless I absolutely have no choice. (Don’t link to Wikipedia. Early this year, it added the nofollow attribute to every one of its outbound links.)

Your Stories Never Go Popular Because Your Personal Marketing Plan Sucks
This is a good kick in the rear for many search marketers including myself. Personal marketing is often neglected by many of us. However, Wolf-Howl shows us how important it is to market yourself. Great read. I wrote this blog post, Underrated SEO Skill: Being Social, because I realized I wasn’t marketing myself very well.

Digg Is Subtracting Votes
More editorial manipulation by the big techy news portal.

How To Determine If A Link Passes Link Juice
This is a great article especially if you buy links. Are those links actually passing link value?

Top 25 SEO Blogs
Make sure these are on your RSS reader. One day Smart SEO Blog will be there. :)

By the way, I learned about Sphinn through SEOmoz.

Filed in: SEO News

by: Dee Barizo

1 Comment

Teen Learns SEO From Dad, Makes $20+ A Day

I just found this SEO story on Sphinn. It’s about a teenager named Chloe Spencer. Her dad, a search marketer, helped her start a blog about Neopets. Neopets are virtual pets that many teens love.

Early last year, Chloe started doing keyword research on Neopets. She found that neopets cheats had a healthy search volume. She created a WordPress.com blog with neopets cheats in her blog title. After two weeks, she hit the first page of Google due to the domain trust of WordPress.com. Later, she got her own domain name because she wanted to use AdSense. The WordPress.com TOS doesn’t allow for AdSense. Also, she did some link building.

Currently, she only spends a couple hours a month working on her blog. It earns her at least $20 a day. That’s over $600 a month. Not bad for a teenager. She can skip the traditional teen jobs like fast food, bagging groceries, or baby sitting. She’s planning on starting other sites and making more money.

What can we learn from Chloe’s success? Here are couple things I thought of.

Pick a niche that you’re passionate about.

Passion goes a long way in SEO. It helps you get links because other webmasters sense your passion. It helps you stay motivated while you’re doing the tedious tasks of SEO. It helps you be patient with your rankings because you actually enjoy what you’re doing.

This is the first thing I tell someone who’s looking to get into SEO. Build a site in niche that you’re passionate about. It makes learning SEO much easier. Content production and link building will be enjoyable rather than a chore.

Be an expert in your niche.

This is similar to being passionate. Chloe has played neopets for over 4 years. On her about section in her blog, Chloe writes, “I am an expert neopets player, and I know almost everything there is to know about neopets.”

Before launching a site, do enough research in your niche to become an expert. By becoming an expert, you’ll write higher quality content that will attract links. Also, it will be easier for you to write content.

Pick a niche with low competition.

Had you ever heard of neopets? I had not until I read the article. Low competition niches are easy to rank for.

Check out the top 10 sites in the SERPs for your target keywords. How strong are the sites? Do they have a lot of backlinks? Do they have high PR? This tool helps when researching the SERPs. Also, consider the SEO skills of your competitors. I’m guessing most of Chloe’s competitors don’t know much about SEO.

Source: Forget babysitting and paper routes, teen turns to SEO

Filed in: SEO News, SEO Tips

by: Dee Barizo

1 Comment