When launching a new site I try to ‘think with the end in mind’, and build not only a well functioning website but one that also gets as much free traffic as possible. Some of these first steps may seem a little unimportant, but they will really help in the long run, as opposed to making the mistake of getting to excited and launching a site to quickly.
Step 1) Find my keywords.
I always take a few hours to first put together a list of at least 10 keywords that best describe the type of content I am dealing with. (ie kids clothing) This keyword list will set the tone for the entire website operation and all the elements involving being found online and is actually the most overlooked step in eCommerce . Use this tool to find the best keywords, based on the your region.
Step 2) Launch a Facebook page
I launch a FB page get all my friends to like the page. Social media is one of the MAIN driving forces in eCommerce today and it’s getting bigger all the time, an active Facebook page launched early will help a new website rank high in the search engines.
Step 3) Buy a good domain name
Typically there two types of domain names:
1) Brand centric
2) EMD (exact match domain)
Brand Centric: An example of brand centric domain would be ‘Nike’ or ‘eMag’. This type is slightly harder to ‘rank’ high for, (rank means the position that your website is on the search engines for your keyphrases) however any website can be found if properly optimized.
EMD: An ‘Exact Match Domain’ contains in it the key words that I have chosen. For example if I am selling name brand shoes, my EMD might be ‘namebrandshoes.com’ or if selling Gucci clothing: ‘gucciclothingoutlet.com’ etc..
Once the domain name is chosen I get a hosting account service and choose a ‘shopping cart’ to set up the store. (See this wikipedia link for explanation of a shopping cart) To date, the best shopping carts in terms of community support, extensions and cheap templates are Magento and WordPress. I recommend Magento if you plan on having more than 2000 sku’s (products) and WordPress if you plan on having less than that.
The next steps deal with web design, logo, uploading products and launching an SEO campaign with the keywords. These topics are a study in themselves and can be covered at another time.
Each year millions of businesses, lawyers, doctors and service providers lose business due to negative online posts about them found on forums, social media sites and blogs.
Reputation management companies can work wonders in this regard, but they tend to charge an arm and a leg for their services and rarely guarantee their work.
There are however a few very cost effective “tricks” which almost anyone can do to both minimize the damage of first page negative posts and the cost of pushing them down.
For the most part Reputation management companies cannot really make the negative positions “go away” completely, but they can fill up the first few pages with a number of mini-sites or “assets” as they call it, replacing the negative content for any given search.
How to create Mini-site Assets:
Total cost: $100 – $150
Time: 1 week
Skill level: basic – intermediate
*Note: The below post was written on the assumption that the person reading possess some basic online skills such as being able to launch a wordpress blog. lf that is beyond your current skill level, or if you have a serious problem (ie: more than one negative post on Google, in a high position) you may need to hire an outsourcer or good reputation management company.
EMD stands for ‘exact match domain’, which simply means that the targeted keyphrase (in this case your name) matches or is closely associated to the domain name of the website. Owning ten or more EMD’s for your name is a nice place to start when trying to get a handle on your online reputation.
Step 1: Head over to your favorite low cost host provider host and buy ‘www.yourname.com’. (If your name is ‘john doe’, you would buy ‘www.johndoe.com’ but I think you get my meaning):)
Next, buy up a few different extensions such as:
- and a few variations such as:
Buy a few which relate personally to you like:
Once you have about 10 highly keyword friendly domains, use a blog software like WordPress for each domain. WordPress is widely used and most hosting accounts have a quick plug in feature which allows you to launch a site within minutes. If you cannot figure out how use WordPress, you should be able to outsource the job for about $5 to $10. Sites like Fiverr.com have a hundreds of people happy to do this type work.
Once WordPress is plugged in, now begins the creative process of thinking up ways to add content to each blog.
Adding content to the sites is an art. What we are trying to do is to “build a case” to Google that each of these sites are highly relevant to your keyword (again your name) and deserves to be on the first page when searching for your name.
It doesn’t work to simply write a paragraph about your hobbies and post the same article on all sites, in the SEO world this is called ‘dup content’ and is frowned upon by Google. What happens under that scenario is that Google will simple choose one site that it “thinks” is the original, and will penalize the other “copies” (pushing them right back to the last page!)
1) WordPress has a number of free themes some of which are image related. You can use such a theme and post your vacation pictures to create an online photo book. Remember to use a keyword rich (your name) titles with each of the pictures.
2) Have a low cost outsourcer from Fiverr.com manually write a few articles relating to your profession. Add a few keyword-friendly images and make sure your keyword is mentioned both in the title, in the opening paragraph and a few times throughout the article.
3) Upload a few family vacation video’s (again wordpress offers free templates to make a video site) and be sure to title the video’s with your keywords. ie: ‘Johnson Family Greek Holiday’ and add a little description to each video with your keywords included.
The list idea’s would not be complete without the use of social media and there are two big reasons why I think it’s good to use social media for Reputation Management:
1) We know that social media sites tend to have high authority in the search engines, so by creating accounts on major social media sites you will increase the chance that your content with be pushed to the first page, and in so doing push the negative content down and few positions or even off the first page altogether.
2) When you create a profile on many social media sites, you are given a unique URL with your name in it. This becomes a valuable EMD (exact match domain) as we covered earlier.
Here is a list of 8 essential sites that I have seen to make the biggest impact. The key is to be thorough and fill in as many fields as possible.
Fill in your personal account as completely as possible and create a page. If you don’t have a company to justify a page create one for your hobby, family, or personal interests. Fill in all the fields for the page and add as many images, video’s and other types of content as possible.
Tag ALL of your photos and add a caption with your keywords. Add keyword titled video’s.
Fill in the description area as thoroughly as possible and use twitter to tweet info about your other websites Pintrest and Facebook account.
Google+ Linkedin and StumbleUpon
Same as Facebook, Fill in your personal account as completely as possible and try to connect to as man people in your field.
Upload video’s from your video content site and be sure to tag and title the video’s with the keyphrases
The aforementioned idea’s have either completely solved or drastically reduced the cost for reputation management in a number of cases. However if your problem persists you may need to hire a professional reputation management company.
This study points out:
“Work environments are in a state of transition from something familiar and predictable to something not yet deﬁned, multi-locational, virtual and physical”
Smart companies are always looking for ways to create an environment that increases productivity. This is good news for SEO’s that prefer to work at home, here are a list of great sites to start your search:
John Rohn said that your income is based on your philosophy.
Let’s take that a step further and ask what is your SEO philosophy?
Everyone uses the same tools, reads the same books and SEO experience is easy to manufacture managing your own campaigns.
So of the thousands of good SEO’s crowding the marketplace, how is it possible to find one with that “special something” that sets him or her apart from the rest?
I tend to trust the ones whose core philosophy includes these three important elements:
1) Adding the most value for the least amount of money
2) Looking at the job as an important long term investment for their clients (this wipes out any black hat tom-foolery)
3) True passion about SEO which drives a strong hunger for ongoing industry-related education
Awards, degrees, titles and impressive blogs, all have there place in the industry, but nothing takes the place of someone with the right core philosophy which, like a compass, will always point him or her in the direction of a successful outcome.
One reoccurring theme that I see often when browsing the word wide ‘interweb’ is:
“How do I recover from Penguin”?
Read on to discover ways to regain lost rank from the cute, cuddly yet ferocious, site killing Penguin!
Content is Queen
Whereas content was King – it is now Queen, in other words it is more important and powerful than ever before. Those of you who are married know exactly what I’m talking about .
Top quality, useful content ranks better than ever, and good writers are still the wizards of the internet. So go ahead and get rid of all that spun fiverr content on your money site, it will will only cause you pain.
Hire a really good writer, with a proven track record of being able to write useful content for real audiences and…
…Diversify Your Links!
If you’ve got a whole lot of the same thing pointing into your website, it may be time to shake things up a bit.
A strategy which is working well for many being hit by Penguin is to dilute the amount of exact-match anchor text in their link profile, by building up a broader rage of links. Note: Use the below diversified link strategy for inbound linking to your home page and your internal landing pages, also make sure a good chunk (20%) of the links are no-follow.
Quality one-way backlinks!
SEO link building strategies after penguin:
- Universal anchors - Feels counter intuitive to anyone studying SEO, but it terms of making it all look natural, having a portion of junk anchors pointing into your site is important. Things like: “click here”, “more here”, “click to see more” etc..
- Exact Match Anchor Text – This should be only a 3% of your overall link profile as too many of these has will raise red flags from Google. When you build links in this way, keep it fresh by altering: ‘your keyword’, ‘Your Keyword’, ‘yourkeyword’, ‘YourKeyword’ etc…
- LSI anchor text - Related keywords. If you don’t already have a list of related keywords in your keyword mix , now would be a great time to make that list. Use wordtracker or Google Ad sense to get idea’s.
A final word:
Make good use of your Twitter and Facebook accounts and don’t forget a couple of the top bookmarking sites. Social signals are being factored in more and more into the search results and should not be ignored.
More after penguin SEO link building strategies
“Do or do not… there is no try “ Or just An excuse to Post A Picture of Yoda on my blog.
A close relative of mine was in a legal dispute for custody of her child. The other party had an aggressive, hard hitting, focused woman lawyer. My relative had a weak, confused pathetic excuse of a lawyer who at times acted as if he didn’t really care about the outcome of the case.
The two lawyers weren’t any different when it came to skill, the woman lawyer was quite abit younger and less experienced, but she was standing and attacking when he was slouching and sort of whimpering. She left no stone unturned in gathering evidence and witnesses for her case, (she had a whole group show up at court!). He on the other hand brought 1 witness. She walked tall and confidently, her objections were forceful (always standing when addressing the judge) compared to his weak “your honors”. I think it’s obvious who won.
How this is tied to SEO ( Or Anything for that Matter)
There are two kinds of SEO’s: Those who work just to get paid, and those are doing it because it’s their life. The latter put their very soul into their work and it shows. They are on this planet to win, and they often do. They tend to over perform and they can’t sleep if an important aspect of a campaign is not going as planned. Money is of much less of a consequence to the latter because his work is so good that he rarely has go after clients. He is “on his feet” with 100% focus, building a strong case for his client, and in one way or another he always finds a way to win, in fact he’s almost cursed to win. (I like that quote)
The other one well, there are millions of those in every industry, we know the type, and while they do serve a purpose, you cannot afford to have them managing your website or reputation management campaign. If he or she loses, falls short, misses too many targets and is not visibly bothered and sickened by it, they have NO business managing you campaign.
Don’t look at a persons skill, look for someone with a little fire in their belly. Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms and what may have worked a year ago, may not work today. The job calls for your guy are gal has to be so up to date so as to almost be married to the job!
Some people hang on to Matt Cutts every word like financiers do with Ben Bernanke about the
Matt Cutts Google
economy. You are better off focusing more on emerging online trends which are pushed by the true agents of change on the internet: the people.
I know it’s obvious to many, but I feel it’s worth noting again that Google FOLLOWS the people, Google does not set trends. They don’t really call the shots online, and they only are ‘on top’ because they have been able to anticipate the trends and deliver what people think they need. When Google ceases to do this, they will cease to be the top search engine.
Whether Google likes it or not, Facebook has not only out ranked them, but it is now a important metric in their own search engine. Now Pintrest is rapidly becoming another strong element, again whether they like it or not.
I hate spamming and spam. I don’t take advantage of people period. In short am not a
Black Hat White Hat SEO
black hat. But I feel the exsistance of the word “black hat” is stupid. The word describes a very wide garden variety of automated/spammy/hacker tecniques which are frowned upon in the industry. It’s also unclear what the word means exactly, because what one person may consider “black hat” another person may consider “good practice”.
Just as I’m writing this, I am told that someone in my family was wondering if my SEO work was “legal” and on the “up and up”. After a stunned moment, I began to think back to the way that I used to view the much misunderstood world of SEO and the internet at large when I first started out.
Many people subconsciously think of Google as “the internet” or at least the highest authority on internet. Kind of like how the Federal government is viewed outside of Texas. So naturally, anything that could be construed as undermining that authority by altering the “pre-ordained” search results, is probably either illegal or at the very least “shady”.
It’s really easy to see where this thinking comes into play when good old Matt Cutts goes so far as to say that it’s a really good idea to “think like Google” when it comes to search marketing. As nice as he presents himself, I think that’s just an arrogant thing to say, regardless of your market share.
I really have no interest in bashing Google, (again) I just personally consider them the Walmart of search engines. A necessary evil that we have to deal with – for now. In my older Google rant I point out that Google is just a company that follows people, looks for trends and hopes to stay on top.
Consumer advocacy websites: I love them and I hate them. These are PissedConsumer.com, RipOffReport.com ConsumerAffairs.com and the BBB to name a few. These wonderful little instruments of destructions are intended to be a soap box for the cheated “little guy” to vent his frustrations against the many evils of the world: like the faceless cruel corporations, naughty individuals, faceless cruel naughty individuals who own corporations etc..
Posts on these sites are very very effective, in fact, a carefully written negative post has wreaked serious havoc on many small to mid-sized businesses, practices and individuals. Companies lose serious money because of these websites.
Articles from these sites generally end up on the first page of Google Here’s why:
Google adores websites that have the following:
- Fresh original content
The top consumer websites have all of the above and some to spare.
Most of the time no one is competing online for the ‘top position’ for your name or your company’s name. So there’s usually plenty of “room at the top” for particular snippet of new content, whether negative or positive. Since all the top paid SEO’s are busy flexing their SEO muscles for terms like ‘rugs’, ‘women’s shoes’, ‘porn’ and ‘real estate’ no one is crowding the first page for “Bubbu’s fishing and tackle”, except Bubbu if he knows SEO.
So a specific phrase like your name (especially if it’s an uncommon one), or your name combined with your company’s name, (evil!) posted on an aged, authoritative site, with original content (which is the angry customer complaint) will naturally bubble right to the top of the search engines.
What’s a guy to do!
The Good News: Reputation Management
There are good companies that are run by genuine, experienced SEO’s. They will create about 100 or so web 2.0 sites, Press Releases and Social Media sites for their clients. They will include wonderful things about their clients on these sites and then promote them with back links. The new sites will be pushed to the first page, pushing back the negative posts.
This actually works. I’ve seen done it done with newspaper articles, RipOffReport articles, yahoo Answers, you name it. A skilled SEO who is following good practice ethical SEO, can really work magic in this area.
Bad News: Bad Reputation Management
RipOffReport.com recently posted this article on their website.
Now RipOffReport.com is know to be a pretty slimy organization and this article to me is pretty stupid scare tactic designed to get people to sign up for their VIP Arbitration Program to remove a negative articles from their site at a cost of $2,500.
But they bring up a few interesting points. It is a fact that some unscrupulous individuals will make the bad links go away, and once you stop paying them, they will bring all the badness back, with new badness to boot!
These vultures give the industry a bad name, like the newby SEO’s give the SEO industry a bad name.
So it is a good idea to shop around …and:
1) Check them out: Do a search for their name and look beyond the first 10 pages of Google (they of course will perform reputation management in themselves wouldn’t you?)
2) Ask if they guarantee their work, and for exactly what the guarantee and how long.
3) If they require a deposit, don’t offer any money until you get something in writing, detailing what they intend to accomplish and when they intend to get it done.
Lastly, don’t allow them to intimidate you and railroad the conversation with technical sounding jargon. The technical language of SEO’s is a bunch of made up non-sense by SEO’s themselves, so you can insist that they take the time answer your questions in a way that you understand. What they do is NOT ROCKET SCIENCE and if they truly are experts at it, it should be relatively easy for them to explain it to you. Doncha think?
This is a new industry and there is no “set way” of doing anything, there’s even a company that’ll give you cute dashboard and a free account for you to run your own campaign (not that simple, but a neat idea). The important thing is to find company that will stand by their word, be clear on what they promise and follow through on their guarantee.
Eric Ward is about as expert as you can get when it comes to link building. He’s been at it since well before Google was around, and is mentioned in countless articles from the WSJ to INC to the New York Times, he was even tapped by Jeff Bezos to do the early work on Amazon.com (kind of a cool gig wys?)
I don’t know when he first said this, but his link building philosophy can almost be summed up in this phrase:
“Link-build as if Google did not exist.”
Took me a long time to digest that one. But Eric hits upon a perfect truth in this elegantly simple statement.
This is what I took away from it back when I first saw it:
If you’re out to only chase traffic from Google, you will always be shifting your strategy to keep up with algorithm changes and will tire yourself just reacting to Google.
I’ve learned that setting up reciprocal link building networks, buying and learning new software to submit to directories, link dropping, submitting articles – all have their place. But above all the main focus should be to build something authentic, something original and of true value to the user.
The Panda update caused a huge uproar with the countless scammy online marketers, evidently millions were “slapped” and my inbox has since been bombarded with “Panda solving software” offers. But if you’re Eric Ward or a client of his, Panda has had ZERO effect. I think that says something about Eric, Panda and Google.
Checkout some of Eric’s offers if you are keen on learning link building from a real master.