Thematic Link Exchange – What’s The Real Score?

Thematic link exchange or also known as reciprocal linking is a link building method in which 2 different websites with a similar theme or niche give links to each other (Site A links to Site B and Site B links back to Site A). Exchanging of links is usually done through email outreach, wherein one sends a request to another other site to have a link partnership.

Links acquired through this technique are usually placed on the sidebars – which is more often than not in categories such as blogroll, links, networks, friends, etc… – or placed on the footer of the page as a sitewide link (links that can be seen in almost every page of the website).

Link exchange has been known to be very effective in improving search rankings before, and some are saying that it still works. So I’ve decided to see it for myself by implementing an experiment that I’ve started 3 weeks ago (first week of January 2011).

How It All Began (Case Study)

In my experience as an SEO, I’ve never tried this method – not even once – because I simply didn’t believe in it. I was a big fan of one-way incoming links and voluntary planted in-content backlinks, and yes, those are really some tough stuff to obtain.

Moving on, when I began to put up this blog, my main intention was to just put it up as my personal SEO lab rat, wherein I can do experiments to test what really works and what doesn’t (and I haven’t even thought of including link exchanges as a part of my future experiments, well I guess I was wrong back then).

Anyway, on the 2nd week of July last year, I’ve decided to start a dummy SEO campaign for this blog, which entirely focused on 1 keyword, a keyword that I really wanted to own – and that is SEO Strategies. I don’t really know why I’m so persistent with that keyword, I just like those words so bad! It was quite difficult to rank for and have substantial amount of monthly search volume, definitely the perfect candidate for a challenging match between an SEO and Google.

Getting back to my story, that campaign was very successful, in fact, I was able to see my page ranking for the targeted keyword on the second page of Google’s SERP within 2 weeks. The strategy was so easy, and you should check it out.

After that event, I then halted with this blog’s link building campaign, since clients started pouring in. But I did some few links (10 – 15 backlinks) each month, from September – November last year just to maintain its position. Fortunately, my most prized keyword has been dancing between the #7 – #13 search ranking positions for the past 4 months. It was frustrating, sometimes, but what can I do, I’m still busy with other things.

The Experiment

On the first week of January this year, I’ve contacted four active bloggers (online friends) and asked if they’ll be interested to participate with this mini experiment of mine – basically to do link exchanges with my blog. And I’m very grateful to them for having this post completed:

Kristi Hines of Kikolani

Udegbunam Chukwudi of Strictlyonlinebiz

Gary Lawood of Lawmacs

Zarko Zivkovic of Practical SEO

Within the period of the experiment, I haven’t built any other links pointing to my homepage to have full results coming from the thematic link exchange campaign. With the other links that I’ve artificially built recently, I have them all directed to my about page and About.me profile page instead (another experiment that I’ll be sharing next week).

Let’s get back to business, the links that I’ve acquired from this campaign was segmented into 2 different link placements, but all have the same anchor text used (which was “SEO strategies”). 2 incoming reciprocal links were positioned on the sidebars, one on Kikolani’s blogroll and one on Lawmac’s – both were sitewide links.

Whereas the 2 other reciprocal links were placed on the footer section – Practical SEO’s blogroll links and Strictlyonlinebiz’s theme made possible by links.

Results

The experiment was scheduled to run for only 2 weeks, but I was not satisfied with the results I got and decided to extend it for another week and waited for something good to come up, well nothing really came up after the 7-day wait. However, I found something interesting instead of the results that I was really expecting (Google search rankings).

Google SERP Rankings

  • My targeted keyword’s ranking didn’t improve; it stayed on the 8th – 12th position for the entire month of January. Clearly, Google doesn’t put any weight on this method any longer in boosting search rankings. Google uses different sets of search algorithms each week, or every 2 – 3 days, or who knows how many, but the point is that in the period of the experiment, this method hasn’t shown any potentials in terms of search rankings in Google’s territory.

Link Profile

  • Obviously, the amount of links have improved, given that many quality pages from the 4 sites I’m exchanging links with are linking to my homepage, with some pages that already have PR. It did improve my homepage’s mozRank (from 3.90 to 4.04), perhaps Linkscape wasn’t able to index the links from the other pages where my links are placed yet. My homepage’s Page Authority – a metric used by SEOmoz’s Linkscape – also increased from PA – 40 to PA – 51.

Google Pagerank

  • The recent Google Pagerank update hasn’t hit my website/blog and I sort of know what the reason is. When the Pagerank updated a few weeks back, I’ve observed other sites immediately, particularly the new ones (I have a list of them) and some older sites that I’ve been following. I’ve come to realize that the recent update only occurred to sites that were already live last April 2010. And with the sites that have just been launched/live last June and onwards wasn’t included on the recent PR update. Digging deeper also led me to another theory, I’m speculating that the recent Pagerank update was just partial – probably with just the links that were indexed from April 4 – last week of June last year.
  • Well, with this experiment, I’m confident that it will affect my homepage’s Pagerank positively, given that links that I’ve acquired through this process are mostly dofollow links and are from authority and active websites. So, I guess I’ll be updating this spot on the next PR update.

In Referring Traffic

  • Not so good.

Yahoo and Bing SERP rankings

  • When I started the dummy SEO campaign – which I’ve explained above – my site’s targeted keyword didn’t even reach the top 100 results for both search engines. But doing this experiment made my homepage rank on 4th place for the keyword “SEO strategies” in just a week, and it hasn’t move up to this very moment. Both Bing and Yahoo use the same search algorithm since last year, after Bing’s acquisition of Yahoo.

Final Note

What is it good for? If you’re aiming for organic traffic from Yahoo and Bing, then shoot for a thematic link exchange campaign. This method is also great in building a solid link profile for your website as well as in improving your homepage’s Pagerank, and I can attest to that.

Thematic Link Exchange – What’s The Real Score?

Thematic link exchange or also known as reciprocal linking is a link building method in which 2 different websites with a similar theme or niche give links to each other (Site A links to Site B and Site B links back to Site A). Exchanging of links is usually done through email outreach, wherein one sends a request to another other site to have a link partnership.

Links acquired through this technique are usually placed on the sidebars – which is more often than not in categories such as blogroll, links, networks, friends, etc… – or placed on the footer of the page as a sitewide link (links that can be seen in almost every page of the website).

Link exchange has been known to be very effective in improving search rankings before, and some are saying that it still works. So I’ve decided to see it for myself by implementing an experiment that I’ve started 3 weeks ago (first week of January 2011).

How It All Began (Case Study)

In my experience as an SEO, I’ve never tried this method – not even once – because I simply didn’t believe in it. I was a big fan of one-way incoming links and voluntary planted in-content backlinks, and yes, those are really some tough stuff to obtain.

Moving on, when I began to put up this blog, my main intention was to just put it up as my personal SEO lab rat, wherein I can do experiments to test what really works and what doesn’t (and I haven’t even thought of including link exchanges as a part of my future experiments, well I guess I was wrong back then).

Anyway, on the 2nd week of July last year, I’ve decided to start a dummy SEO campaign for this blog, which entirely focused on 1 keyword, a keyword that I really wanted to own – and that is SEO Strategies. I don’t really know why I’m so persistent with that keyword, I just like those words so bad! It was quite difficult to rank for and have substantial amount of monthly search volume, definitely the perfect candidate for a challenging match between an SEO and Google.

Getting back to my story, that campaign was very successful, in fact, I was able to see my page ranking for the targeted keyword on the second page of Google’s SERP within 2 weeks. The strategy was so easy, and you should check it out.

After that event, I then halted with this blog’s link building campaign, since clients started pouring in. But I did some few links (10 – 15 backlinks) each month, from September – November last year just to maintain its position. Fortunately, my most prized keyword has been dancing between the #7 – #13 search ranking positions for the past 4 months. It was frustrating, sometimes, but what can I do, I’m still busy with other things.

The Experiment

On the first week of January this year, I’ve contacted four active bloggers (online friends) and asked if they’ll be interested to participate with this mini experiment of mine – basically to do link exchanges with my blog. And I’m very grateful to them for having this post completed:

Kristi Hines of Kikolani

Udegbunam Chukwudi of Strictlyonlinebiz

Gary Lawood of Lawmacs

Zarko Zivkovic of Practical SEO

Within the period of the experiment, I haven’t built any other links pointing to my homepage to have full results coming from the thematic link exchange campaign. With the other links that I’ve artificially built recently, I have them all directed to my about page and About.me profile page instead (another experiment that I’ll be sharing next week).

Let’s get back to business, the links that I’ve acquired from this campaign was segmented into 2 different link placements, but all have the same anchor text used (which was “SEO strategies”). 2 incoming reciprocal links were positioned on the sidebars, one on Kikolani’s blogroll and one on Lawmac’s – both were sitewide links.

Whereas the 2 other reciprocal links were placed on the footer section – Practical SEO’s blogroll links and Strictlyonlinebiz’s theme made possible by links.

Results

The experiment was scheduled to run for only 2 weeks, but I was not satisfied with the results I got and decided to extend it for another week and waited for something good to come up, well nothing really came up after the 7-day wait. However, I found something interesting instead of the results that I was really expecting (Google search rankings).

Google SERP Rankings

– My targeted keyword’s ranking didn’t improve; it stayed on the 8th – 12th position for the entire month of January. Clearly, Google doesn’t put any weight on this method any longer in boosting search rankings. Google uses different sets of search algorithms each week, or every 2 – 3 days, or who knows how many, but the point is that in the period of the experiment, this method hasn’t shown any potentials in terms of search rankings in Google’s territory.

Link Profile

– Obviously, the amount of links have improved, given that many quality pages from the 4 sites I’m exchanging links with are linking to my homepage, with some pages that already have PR. It did improve my homepage’s mozRank (from 3.90 to 4.04), perhaps Linkscape wasn’t able to index the links from the other pages where my links are placed yet. My homepage’s Page Authority – a metric used by SEOmoz’s Linkscape – also increased from PA – 40 to PA – 51.

Google Pagerank

– The recent Google Pagerank update hasn’t hit my website/blog and I sort of know what the reason is. When the Pagerank updated a few weeks back, I’ve observed other sites immediately, particularly the new ones (I have a list of them) and some older sites that I’ve been following. I’ve come to realize that the recent update only occurred to sites that were already live last April 2010. And with the sites that have just been launched/live last June and onwards wasn’t included on the recent PR update. Digging deeper also led me to another theory, I’m speculating that the recent Pagerank update was just partial – probably with just the links that were indexed from April 4 – last week of June last year.

Well, with this experiment, I’m confident that it will affect my homepage’s Pagerank positively, given that links that I’ve acquired through this process are mostly dofollow links and are from authority and active websites. So, I guess I’ll be updating this spot on the next PR update.

In Referring Traffic

– Not so good.

Yahoo and Bing SERP rankings

– When I started the dummy SEO campaign – which I’ve explained above – my site’s targeted keyword didn’t even reach the top 100 results for both search engines. But doing this experiment made my homepage rank on 4th place for the keyword “SEO strategies” in just a week, and it hasn’t move up to this very moment. Both Bing and Yahoo use the same search algorithm since last year, after Bing’s acquisition of Yahoo.

Final Note

What is it good for? If you’re aiming for organic traffic from Yahoo and Bing, then shoot for a thematic link exchange campaign. This method is also great in building a solid link profile for your website as well as in improving your homepage’s Pagerank, and I can attest to that.

8 Ways To Do a Strategic Link Search

Link search or finding link opportunities for a site’s link building campaign is very vital to all SEO strategies. Basically, it’s a phase in which your link building efforts will depend. To build links strategically, it’s important that you first know the pages that you’ll be trying to get links from; if they’ll be useful/good for your site or not, and if it is possible for you to get links from them.

Having a list of link opportunities for your site will make it much easier in building solid and relevant links. It also avoids inactiveness in your off-page optimization process, particularly if you’re doing link search constantly (best if it’s included in your daily task), since you are constantly escalating your to-do list.

This process is very critical and does affect the success rate of any campaign and I’d be more than happy to share some of my own techniques on how I search for scalable link opportunities.

Refined Google Search

This is where you usually start your search for links, but the real obstacle with this is that Google’s search result pages seem to be endless for highly competitive keywords, which makes it more like of a treasure hunt. Refining your search terms is the best way to search for the best and most relevant pages to get high quality links from (have high PR, allow dofollow links and keywords as anchor texts if possible). Here are some sample formats on how to do Google search the SEO way:

  • “keywords + add comment”
  • “keywords + post a comment”
  • “keywords + add url”
  • “keywords + submit url”
  • “keywords + yourname@yourkeywords” – for KeywordLuv enabled blogs
  • “site:.edu inurl:blog + keywords”
  • “site:.gov inurl:blog + keywords”
  • “site:.edu inurl:forum + keywords”
  • “site:.gov inurl:forum + keywords”
  • “allintitle:keywords”
  • “keywords + resources”

You can also use other advanced search commands to refine your search for thematically relevant link opportunities through other search verticals (ex: image, groups, news and/or product search), and you can view more of these commands on SEO-Hacker’s link search post.

Related Niche Search

When you feel that your site is oversaturated with 100% relevant link opportunities, then it’s time to move on with this next one. It’s actually easy to search for related sites. You just have to think of industries that can benefit from topics, services or products that your site is offering. For instance, this is an SEO blog, but most of my links are coming from sites that are focused on other aspects of Internet marketing. Here are some of the phrases and terms I’ve used or perhaps you can use to search for them.

  • “affiliate marketing ” + blog, strategies, guide, resources, tips, tricks, techniques, site or forum
  • “email marketing” + blog, strategies, guide, resources, tips, tricks, techniques, site or forum
  • “blogging” + blog, strategies, guide, resources, tips, tricks, techniques, site or forum
  • “online marketing” + blog, strategies, guide, resources, tips, tricks, techniques, site or forum
  • “internet marketing” + blog, strategies, guide, resources, tips, tricks, techniques, site or forum
  • “make money online” + blog, strategies, guide, resources, tips, tricks, techniques, site or forum
  • “online business” + blog, strategies, guide, resources, tips, tricks, techniques, site or forum
  • “ecommerce” + blog, strategies, guide, resources, tips, tricks, techniques, site or forum
  • “internet business” + blog, strategies, guide, resources, tips, tricks, techniques, site or forum

Given that almost all of the terms I’ve used are really in need of “SEO”, then the possibilities of having a link from them is much easier to weigh, since it is quite thematic. It’s best to focus on niches that obviously need your content.

Reverse Engineer Your Competitors’ Links

Very self explanatory, but there’s more to just plainly knowing where they are getting their links from. Having a link directly from your competitors is definitely a strong one, so why not try getting links from them first before engaging with their link partners.

Secondly, most marketers tend to skip on studying their competitors’ relationship with their link partners, and this is where you can actually learn how they are getting the links. Study their relationships as well, and use it not to go against them, but rather to have a link from both sites. Checking out your competitors’ blogroll is the simplest way to study their relationships, since this is the most common place used by partner sites in building their Pagerank.

Here are some free tools that you can use in snooping on your opponent’s territory, I mean getting to know their links.

  • Yahoo Site Explorer – Let’s you see the exact pages where their backlinks are at. It’s best that you install SEOQuake on your browser to see the Pagerank of the linking page instantly.
  • Open Site Explorer – Allows you to see the Authority score of the linking page, anchor text used in the page and other competitor analysis metrics (such as the percentage of dofollow and nofollow external links, external and internal link structure comparison and many more).

By visiting the linking page, you’ll get an idea on how they find and build their links as well as knowing the other keywords that they are targeting.

From Your Link Partners and From High PR Sites on Your List

Similar with the above mentioned strategy, it’s just that most of us ignore this field once we have successfully obtained links from them. Study your link partners’ link profile! They usually have the gems that you wouldn’t find from your competitors.

Exclusive Search Engines

There are several search engines that you can use to find link building opportunities aside from Google and here are some of them:

  • Tools Pagerush – a dofollow blog search engine
  • CommentLuv Search Engine – a search engine for CommentLuv enabled blogs
  • Google Blog Search – gives the most relevant and up-to-date blog entries to your given search terms
  • Technorati – the largest blog search engine out there, and you’ll definitely find a lot of link opportunities there
  • Blogengage – a community of active bloggers with a wide selection of categories

Web Directories

You can certainly find highly relevant link opportunities through directories. You can mostly locate authoritative sites related to your niche through these directories:

Google Alerts

Setting up a Google Alerts account before launching your SEO campaign is very helpful in tracking not only your competitors link building campaign, but also in getting notified with link opportunities that are sometimes not reachable by those who are doing link search manually. It’s easy to setup one, you just have to go to this link and enter the keyword(s) you wish to track. Google Alerts will notify you automatically through email with new pages and links that are being published over the web related to your chosen keywords.

Monitoring your brand name through Google Alerts is also a plus, since it’s much easier to request for the link when it’s your name that has been mentioned. You can try to suggest the webmaster to include a link for the brand name (if it’s not hyperlinked) or you can choose to request to replace the mentioned link with your desired keywords instead as anchor text. But of course, it’s important that you first engage with the webmaster before sending your requests.

Twitter Search

Finding influential people and leaders around your niche through Twitter is sometimes missed as a link building opportunity. Twitter is so powerful in the world of modern marketing, so take advantage of it. There are a lot of tools that you can use that measures the authority and how influential a twitter user is such as Topsy, TwitterCounter and Wefollow. You can also choose to use the search feature of Twitter, since determining how influential a user is only requires common sense (you can weigh it through the number of their tweets, and have more followers than the ones that they are following)

Once you found your targets, you can then check their websites/blogs to see if it passes your link building campaign’s standards.

Getting links from them is not an easy task, since you have to grab their attention. So take the leap and follow their blogs, interact with them personally and professionally may it be through Twitter, blog or email.

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Trusted Sites – 5 Ways To Determine Quality Sites Without Pagerank

It seems that the Google Pagerank is going to rest for a while now, or perhaps be buried along with the decade that has passed. Google’s exclusive rights to Stanford University’s Pagerank was set to expire this year, and obviously, they have been busy enough in improving more important aspects of search (Instant, Places, Local search, spam filters and more of their services).

We all know that Pagerank is still pretty much alive, but this post will focus on giving other methods you can use to determine a site’s quality.

Source:

Google Pagerank Dead or Alive at Techjaws

Google 10-K 2009 at Wikinvest

So as an SEO, how do we determine authority, trusted and quality sites without the help of Pagerank? Well, the good news is that there are so many alternatives that we can all use to verify if a site is worth our time in sending requests,  engaging with or utilizing in order to acquire quality links. Here are some of them:

Linkscape’s Mozrank

This is the most reliable substitute to Google’s Pagerank as of the moment. Linkscape has immensely improved its process in gathering link data, which was really in time to compensate the absence of PR. You can install SearchStatus or mozBar SEO plugin to see the Mozrank of the sites you’re targeting.

Alexa Traffic Rank

Sites that have Alexa ranking of 300,000 and/or less are considerably worth your time; given that these sites are getting traffic and are mostly active.

Page and Domain Authority through Open Site Explorer

Checking a page and its domain’s authority manually through Open Site Explorer is also a good way to make sure if your prospected site will be significant to your link development campaign.

SEMRush SE Traffic Price

Of course, if the price of the site’s traffic is high then it simply translates to how valuable their incoming traffic is as well as the significance of the keywords where they are ranking well. You can easily check a site’s traffic price if you have SEOQuake plugin for firefox installed on your browser.

Amount of Links and Link profile

The amount of links and the ratio of a site’s existing external links also play a big part in determining if a site is of high quality and if it is trusted by users and search engines. You can easily study a site’s link profile through Open Site Explorer (seeing the site’s full link metrics) and Yahoo Site Explorer. With SEOQuake, you can also have an immediate look of their link landscape’s status (particularly with the amount of links indexed by Yahoo, and the ratio of external links directing to the page and the entire site).

Well, the next question is, will the dofollow chase Pagerank to its grave? Anyway, the best thing that we can do for now is to just focus on quality, may it be with our content, link building efforts, relationships and other marketing aspects to be truly deserving of the rankings that we are all aiming at.

Photo Credits: Raven Tools

Anchor Text Link Strategy – The Best Way to Rank for Difficult Keywords

The use of anchor text variations is one of the fundamentals of Link building. Since it’s given that having backlinks pointing to a single web page with only one anchor text used over and over will make search engines suspect the methods you are using in order to optimize the page. Basically, it’s not the way to convince them in believing that your page is really relevant to that targeted keyword, especially if you’re building massive links in a short period of time.Anchor Text Variation

Google’s ranking algorithm is constantly evolving, and the more your link profile looks natural is the more you get the results you desire. Being smart in choosing your keywords and anchor texts will naturalize the look of your link building campaign. To give an in-depth view of this strategy, I’ll set some of my previous experiences as an example.

Several months ago, I worked and pampered a highly competitive keyword, and of course, I managed to make it rank on Google’s top page within 3 months (where I started from the 18th page).  The strategy was quite simple; I just had to surround the main targeted keyword with terms that complement it. The main keyword was “uk bingo” – very competitive and has 250,000 monthly search count. And the longtail keywords that helped me make the site rank for that keyword are:

  • Uk bingo online
  • Uk bingo site
  • Play Uk bingo
  • Best Uk bingo
  • Play Uk bingo online
  • Best Uk bingo site
  • Bingo in the Uk

Results:

As I have mentioned above, I was able to make the main keyword rank on the top page for a very long time (up to now). The link landscape looked very natural, as if real people and satisfied users are the one’s who’re making links to it, seeing as links built pointing to the same page have many variations with the anchor texts used.

Another surprising result was that I also managed to make the keyword “bingo uk” to rank higher than the main keyword “uk bingo” on SERPs without optimizing it. I’ve noticed that it happens a lot, wherein the reverse version of the keyword is also being optimized just by shooting for the other one. So, what if I’ve targeted for the “bingo uk” instead? Perhaps, I should try and experiment on that one.

A Sneak Peek On My Current Campaign

I’ve been very busy lately with tons of work and drinking sessions that decelerated this blog. Although, I still have a lot of experiments in mind that I wish to implement first on this playground, even I can’t find time to do link building on my own blog.

Ok, here’s another sample, I’ve been targeting the keyword “seo strategies” on my homepage, and I was able to make it rank on the 2nd page of Google SERPs in just 2 weeks (from the 40th page). However, after achieving that, I slowed down a bit (for several months), since a lot of client work started coming in. But recently, I’ve thought of reviving my previous campaign by using this strategy as an alternative; and here are the search terms that I chose to surround the main keyword:

  • Organic SEO strategies
  • Effective SEO strategies
  • Strategies for SEO
  • Best SEO strategies
  • Free SEO strategies
  • SEO marketing strategies
  • Google SEO strategies
  • Search engine optimization strategies

Well, I do wish I can find the time to put this experiment into action.

Getting Links Using This Anchor Text Strategy

There are so many ways you can get links from this not-so-spammy strategy, and here are some of them:

  • Monitor mentions of your brand through Google Alerts. It’s important to engage first with the webmaster if you find one before requesting for a link using your desired anchor text.
  • Article submissions and/or guest blog postings. It’s best if your topics are focused with the surrounding keywords (ex. “10 Best SEO strategies”), so that the external links from the content pointing to your site have greater value through relevance.
  • Do link search with your new keywords through Google search, since it will give you a new set of competitors for each keyword. You can choose to contact your new competitors for a link request or explore where they are getting their links from. It’s important to personalize your messages to these webmasters with the intent of engagement, and not just for the link request!
  • Use your new set of keywords as titles on your blog posts and make the copy relevant to the targeted keyword. The best thing about blog posts is that it can naturally build links on its own (especially if it’s linkable). You can choose to promote your blog posts to several social bookmarking sites, RSS feed directories (Feedage and Mybloglog), reputable as well as relevant forums, Q&A sites and CommentLuv enabled blogs, in which the links built will mostly use the blog’s title as anchor text.

How to Find Support Keywords

Easy, use Google Keyword Tool and Traffic Travis!

Next Stop

Be sure that you also use your main keyword as anchor text in building your links, but the most important thing is that your anchor text should vary, since using all of your support keywords will drastically help your main keyword rank higher on search engines.

Content Trap Strategy – Drive Massive Free Traffic in 1 Month

Traffic is the life and blood of any online business ever since, and it’s very self explanatory. Without traffic, your blog, ecommerce site, affiliate site or whatever site is senseless simply because of it having no readership, no profits, no activity and no life as a whole. Many are also dying to find ways to getting traffic, and some do spend a lot just to make sure that they are getting their web pages in front of their targeted market.

So now, I’ll be giving simple steps on how you can start getting the right traffic your way for free, but just to warn you a bit, these SEO strategies – content-based manipulative link building tactics – takes a lot of effort if you’re aiming to get it in just a month.

Step 1: search for 10 – 15 long tail keywords related to your site or your main targeted keyword that have super low competition and have substantial amount of search volumes per month (at least 200 search queries per month should be fine). These keywords will be mostly composed of 3 – 7 words (which may include “how to…”). You can use Google Adwords Keyword Tool for this task, or download and use Traffic Travis; it’s a free SEO software by the way.

The sense of this tactic is to have your page(s) rank highly for these easy-to-rank terms quickly – in a month to be specific – which is much easier compared to targeting highly competed keywords that may take you several months.

The advantage of this is that you can easily get highly targeted traffic faster from these terms in which it can provide your site a good number of traffic that can easily be converted as well. Let’s say you’ve chosen 15 long tail keywords that have at least 500 search queries per month, and you get to rank on first page for those terms. Then you get to have a clean 7,500 searchers seeing your site through search engines and probably be down your way.

Step 2: after choosing your long tail keywords, it is then time to decide on which ones to shoot at first (but you’ll be shooting for all of them within the month). It is best to first choose those that have higher search volumes.

Step 3: Optimize your landing page(s) for the chosen long tail keywords (for sites with no blog section), but if your site has a blog, then it’s best to post blog entries that include your long tail keywords on the title, URL and body copy (particularly in the first sentence of the post). It’s best to make a single blog post solely dedicated to optimize one of your long tail keywords (1 blog post for each keyword).  With regards to the keyword density on the optimized page, I suggest that you keep each keyword’s density to at least 0.6 – 2.0% on the body copy.

Step 4: Once your page(s) are optimized, it’s then time to build links to them. For blog posts, I highly recommend to build at least 5 – 10 dofollow links using the targeted long tail keyword as anchor text. Links built to other sites for each keyword should be topically relevant, if possible. There are so many ways that you can build links for each keyword and here are some of them:

  • Dofollow blog comments – try to find blogs that use Commentluv and Keywordluv plugin, since it would be much easier to build anchor text links from them. You can search Commentluv enabled blogs related to your niche by using the Commentluv search engine. While you can search for Keywordluv enabled blogs through Google search by typing: “keyword” + yourname@yourkeyword. Also, make sure that blogs you find allow dofollow links.
  • Dofollow bookmarking sites – there are a lot of high quality social bookmarking sites out there that allow dofollow anchor text links, like Folkd.com, Spotback.com, Mylinkvault.com, Ebaumsworld.com and many more. Submit your link to them using your long tail keywords directing to its respective destination page.
  • RSS Feed Directories – aggregating your blog entries through highly trusted feed directories will also give high quality links. You can submit your feed to Feedage.com and Mybloglog.com to start with. The best thing about this is that it automatically syndicates your newly posted entries, definitely handy.

Step 5: This is the final blow and this is the most tedious part of the action plan – article submission. The task is simple, you’ll just have to make an article that is strictly about the long tail keyword (doing the math means you need 1 article for each long tail keyword). The long tail keyword must be included on the title of the article, in the first sentence of the article, anchor text link on the author bio box and certainly on the URL of the page.

After making the article, submit it first on Ezinearticles.com and wait for it to be approved before submitting it to other top article directories. This part of the strategy is the one that gives the strongest link, and given that you’ll be targeting for very low competition keywords, it can certainly boost your rankings in just weeks after the articles have been fetched and indexed by search engine crawlers.

If you can do all the chosen keywords in a week, then you’ll see results within 2 weeks, since updates for newly created pages’ keyword rankings usually take place at this range (check and observe your Google webmaster tools weekly to keep track of changes and you’ll notice that it usually takes only 2 weeks to see your page(s)’ current position).

If you want to know more on how you can drive massive free traffic to your site, you can avail for my search engine optimization services. Let’s talk.

How to Find Profitable Keywords with Low Competition

As we all know (I’m assuming that you already know it), keywords are very essential to all forms of SEO strategies out there. Internet marketers rely on keywords to point their targeted market straight to their websites. The problem is that there are too many smart internet marketers and SEO practitioners today that are already competing for most of the keywords that you desire to invest in.

But it doesn’t mean that all the good keywords are already feeding big sharks from your side of the ocean. Since some do fail to spot profitable keywords due to lack of research, knowledge of the market, being blinded by what the rest are shooting at or sometimes tools to help them become aware of the deficiencies of their competitors’ campaigns.

Finding Nemo, Now!

I want to keep this entry short, so you can start digging for those profitable keywords with little competition and make them rank higher on search engine rankings in about 2 weeks – which I will share to you later on. First of all, the task will certainly need a tool to uncover lucrative keywords from your niche. In this task, you will have to use Traffic Travis, a free SEO software that’s capable of doing the following:

  • Find keywords
  • Check your site’s search engine rankings (Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask)
  • See other sites that ranking for a certain keyword
  • Display backlinks to any website
  • PPC Analysis
  • Page Analyisis
  • SEO, Keyword and Competitor Analysis

But we’ll focus on the first and the last feature mentioned; since those two are the only feature we need in finding keywords that will make you more profits from your website. As you can see below, I’ve used “SEO” as the search term and chose “seo marketing” as an example.

The keyword I chose – “seo marketing” – has 9,867 daily search counts, approximately, on Google, Yahoo and MSN combined. That’s quite a huge number, right? If you get listed on the top page for that keyword, it would really blow up your traffic rankings, and it’s possible that more of your money pages will be skimmed through by those visitors.

After choosing a relevant keyword to your site/page, it’s then time to analyze it. As you can see below, Traffic Travis displayed excessive valuable information regarding the keyword’s state, including the metrics of your possible competitors.

Analyzing the keyword through this tool will easily allow you to have a peak of how you can take advantage of the keyword’s profitability. First, it shows you a list of the competing sites (arranged according to their Google rankings) for the chosen key phrase as well as their status, which includes the following:

  • Pagerank
  • Age of the domain in years
  • Number of backlinks of the page
  • Number of backlinks of the entire domain/site
  • Number of backlinks coming from .edu and .gov domains
  • If listed in DMOZ
  • If listed in Yahoo Directory
  • If keyword is included on the Title page
  • If keyword is mentioned on the site/page description
  • If H1 tag on the page contains the keyword
  • Age in days of Google’s cached version of the page
  • Number of sites linking to domain from country (TLD) of initial search

The SEO Analysis feature of the tool will also display the difficulty rating of the keyword chosen, which in my example showed “relatively easy”. And I believe it’s feasible to rank highly for that keyword in just 2 weeks. You can also check my previous case study on how you can boost your keyword rankings in 2 weeks.

A well staged keyword research will make you earn tons of money, so don’t take it lightly. Go and get your free Traffic Travis now! It’s a must have tool to both new and seasoned internet marketers and SEO practitioners. I professionally recommend it not just because I personally use it, but also… well, I think I’m not allowed to share this, but you can just drop me an email if you really want to know why :D That’s it! See you on the first page!

The Best SEO Tip – Search Engine Optimization is All About Trust

This is the most timeless piece of advice that you’ll ever need in the world of SEO. You don’t really need to know how search engine algorithms work, since they constantly change. You also don’t have to seek for the perfect link landscape and super advanced techniques to use for your campaign, knowing that everything is temporary in this line of industry.

But there is one thing that never expires in SEO, and that is trust. With trust, everything is within reach, and that certainly includes top rankings and surge in specifically targeted traffic. To begin with, this is just a recap of the principle I’m enforcing in most of my previous SEO strategies and campaigns.

I’ve done several guest posts recently, which mainly emphasized this principle – Trust building – without me noticing it. And you may want to check them out here:

The New Age of Link Building – How to Build Trust

How to Rank #1 For Highly Competitive Keywords on Google SERPs

10 Risk-free Link Building Methods

In-depth Recap

The Mindset: You don’t want links, you want trust!

You can never convince search engines through the amount of external links you have pointing to your site to make them believe that you are the real deal. What really matters is the trust they see through the relationship of the linking page and the destination page.

Many are saying, why bother building links the hard way when you can automate it, seeing as it works for many other sites. But do you think their high rankings would last, when search engines get much smarter in detecting those cheap shot techniques? Search engines constantly upgrade, and soon enough they’ll be able to track these low class links that might put your business at risk.

How to know if you are aiming for trust?

There are risks in link building and a lot of high quality sites are getting penalized as well when Google starts to suspect them. And believe me; no matter how trustworthy your site looks like to people, it’s not enough! Just think of how hard it is to earn someone’s trust, right? Double that on Google’s case, since they had slapped me too many times before getting to this philosophy.

I’ve been doing the trade long enough, and I’ve been optimistic, futuristic as well as traditional with most of my campaigns, but the concept of trust was always present. Let’s get back to the question – how would you know if your link building campaign is aiming for trust? Simple, get links from high quality sites (that’s pretty basic, sheesh, sorry for the exaggeration).

What highly reputable, authoritative and quality sites look like?

  • Topically relevant to your site
  • Have high Pagerank (at least PR 3)
  • Alexa ranking of at least 200,000
  • Have high keyword rankings on SERPs
  • Good web design, site structure and active community
  • Allow dofollow attributed links, if possible.

Benefits of Trust Building

  • With trust, search engines are more to reward you with higher rankings, knowing that you’re offering valuable information with other quality sites vouching for your page.
  • It’s much easier to have other sites link to yours if your site is trustworthy, authoritative and reputable.
  • It’s easier to sell when both real people and search engines trust you, which means more profits.
  • In trust building, you’re not just boosting your keyword rankings, but you’re also improving your business’ reputation, visibility, pagerank, community engagement, relationships, readership, revenue and potentials for growth.

Trust Factors:

  • Age of site and backlinks
  • Amount of quality external links from highly trusted sites (standards as mentioned above)
  • Anchor text variations of links pointing to your site
  • Link positioning from linking pages (the best ones are those that are included on the body copy of the page, or what we simply call “special mentions” or “awesome recommendation from a real satisfied users/readers”)
  • Thematic link building or link relevancy (connecting sites have similar theme)
  • Frequency of links built throughout the campaign (making it look natural and not automated). 25 high quality backlinks per week are enough to boost your keyword rankings, so don’t haste on it. Nevertheless, there are cases in which your contents may get out there in the open and get hundreds of people linking to it in a day (link bait materials), but those are natural links, so it just proves that there’s no perfect or rather preferred link building frequency as long as links built are natural and ethical.
  • Balance of link attributes such as dofollow and nofollow pointing to your site. There’s no required amount for both and having both on your campaign doesn’t really matter, as long as you are getting your links from authority sites! Just remember that these 2 have their own unique advantages; dofollow passes through Pagerank and nofollow is capable of passing trust, and both can serve as a vote for your keyword rankings (though dofollow links have higher value).
  • Methods used in getting outbound links. Content-based and non-paid links are the efficient ones, because they provide real value to people through information (and search engines give a high score for those types of links).

There are no systematic link building patterns, frequency and landscape (nofollow, dofollow, amount and methods) in SEO. It will always differ depending on your site’s competitors and industry, given that there are some niches that have inadequate source of possible link opportunities. The important thing is to focus with quality, always, it’s the new king!

On-page trust optimization through user experience

Make it believable to everyone (not just to search engines) that your site is truly deserving of the position. Make your pages absolutely relevant to the search terms you are aiming at. SEO is a 2 way street, wherein 50% comes from the on-page part of the campaign (relevance to the targeted keyword) and 50% from the off-page optimization side (popularity of the optimized page).

Always keep in mind that you need to give value or better yet, something that that your visitors don’t expect to gain from it in order to earn the trust of those who are landing on your site. Education is the best way to earn their trust, offer something they don’t know to really fulfill the experience.

Improve your Pagerank to earn Trust

This one’s pretty basic. The best way to build your site’s PR or importance as seen by search engines is through dofollow link building, a well-staged internal linking structure and deep linking to enhance the flow of pagerank juice on your site’s pages.

Advantages of having a high Pagerank:

  • Crawlers will be visiting your site frequently (higher crawl rates), which allow your new pages to get indexed faster.
  • Helps in getting higher rankings for your targeted keywords.
  • Higher chances of getting links from other sites, since it’s obvious that your site is of high quality.
  • You’ll definitely massive attention from bloggers, webmasters, SEOs, etc., given that your site is seen as important by search engines. This opens a lot of opportunities for your business through partnerships and/or business expansions.

10 Risk-free Trust Building Methods – Content-driven links are the most effective ones

  • Link baiting
  • Guest blogging
  • Article submission/marketing
  • Web 2.0 contents
  • Build/buy quality sites
  • Sponsorships
  • Contests
  • Social media profiles
  • Widget bait
  • Resource link request

How about community engagement through Blog Comments?

Blog commenting is a very powerful link building technique, since it’s the easiest way to sculpt your site’s Pagerank. Though, the risk from this artificial method in getting links to your site is very high as well. To give you a much clearer view on how to really utilize blog comments on your SEO campaign, you first need to know where it’s really best to be used.

Blog comments’ purposes in your campaign should only be:

  • To build relationships with other related site/blog owners.
  • To pass through Pagerank juice from dofollow blogs with high PR.
  • To have your pages indexed by search engines.
  • Do not use this technique in hopes of getting your keywords rank higher on SERPs. Use your name or your brand as anchor texts in leaving comments, to avoid from being flagged as spam. However, whenever there’s an opportunity to use your keywords as anchor text, then do so (through KeywordLuv and Commentluv enabled blogs), but don’t overdo it!
  • In getting your brand recognized in the community as an expert.
  • To neutralize the balance of your dofollow and nofollow external links. If you’ll try to get nofollow links, it’s best to get links from 100% relevant pages with PR 4 and above (your targeted keyword should be mentioned in the title page and body as much as possible to get better scores from it).

Personally, I gained a lot from this method since I’ve built good relationships along the process, which allowed me to grow professionally. Here are some of those that I really trust when it comes to this business, and I am sure that you’ll also learn a lot from them:

Gail of Growmap

Udegbunam of Strictlyonlinebiz

Gary of Lawmacs

Rob of Robsellen

Lynn of Clicknewz

Kristi of Kikolani

Stephen of Thebloggingacademy

Alan of Replaceyoursalary

Andrew of Webuildyourblog

Alex of Blogussion

Ari of Ariwriter

By the way, they are all dofollow blogs, but don’t spam them, LOL.

Bonus Tricks

Ebook bait

This one is very effective especially in getting links from your competitors without them knowing it. Is it black? I think not, since you own the PDF file and you’ve just allowed people to download it and put it on their website. Ok, so how does this works?

First is to make an extremely informative/useful Ebook (price lists for physical products are usually the easiest to have as bait), then submit it to several PDF directories. You can also post it on your own site/blog, though your competitors will be certain to think that you have links to your site in it, so I suggest doing the first one instead.

On your PDF, include links pointing to your site (you may use keywords as anchor texts here), and then hide them. You can just hide them by just removing the underline and changing the text color into black when making the content. Once you publish it into a PDF and have submitted it to PDF directories, crawlers will be able to fetch those hidden links through the source code, well that will also work on the sites who’ll be unfortunate to download your PDF (your competitors, most probably).

Do you think it’s black? You decide. But as for me, by only submitting it to PDF directories, it’s clear that the intent was to build trust through information to those who’ll be able to read it (hypocrite!).

Dead-link bait

Warning: this task is time consuming.

Step 1: Pick an authority blog on your niche.

Step 2: Scan their pages for dead links (links on their blog posts/pages directing to dead pages)

Step 3: Create some content on your blog/site that’s very relevant to the dead link.

Step 4: Email the site owner/manager of the authority blog/site to notify him/her about the dead link

Step 5: Wait for the response before suggesting your newly created page as an alternative for the dead link.

Well, as you can see, you have first tried to earn the site owner’s trust by letting him know that something is wrong on his site. The crucial part is getting that link replacement, so you still need to be patient on this one.

Link Magnetism

An advanced search marketing concept in which you emotionally reward or give incentive to the linker. Trust, image and personality play a huge part on this tactic. Strategic preparations are also needed to be able to attract people to this new length of bait.

You can read more about this strategy here – How to become a link magnet.

Hint: That’s a form of trust building as you can see. I’m directing you to a highly informative and trusted content.

Author Bio PR Sculpting

Include other external pages/posts (interview, review, special mention, contributor, sponsor, etc…) wherein your brand or name has been mentioned when making your author bio for guest blog posting and/or article marketing. This is exceptionally advantageous in improving your site’s Pagerank – as explained by Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz.org – particularly if the external pages you’ll include are from authority sites that can gain its own page rank.

Of course, when these pages where you were mentioned are getting the link juice from your guest posts, it will in turn pass the pagerank juice to your own site (given that you have a link to your site from those mentions).

Advantage: You’re already showing how other people trust you through special mentions, and of course it adds up the trust level that your new readers/customers will see in you.

Learn More

If you want to learn more about Search Engine Optimization, we’ll be having a free 28-lesson basic SEO course at SEO-Hacker.com that starts this December 1, 2010. Enrollment is free and real-time consultation is provided in the SEO Hacker Forums.

Call to Action?

When there’s quality, there is trust. If you are in need of a solid trust building campaign, I’ve got two words for you… Hire me.

.Edu and .Gov Sites Advanced Link Building

Let’s make this one quick. This post is about the easiest way to build backlinks from .edu, .gov and other authority sites within your industry. And you can do this through Trackbacks. Though they are known to have less value as a backlink to your site, it is still a link and the best thing about that little value is that it’s capable of passing trust and authority to your site.

Commandments:

  • Play by the book! Inclusion of their link is not the trick, but keeping the link complementary to the post’s topic. Make it look natural not only to search engines but to your readers as well. Of course you don’t want to redirect your readers to a topically irrelevant page.
  • It’s best to designate a special section on your post where you can include an outgoing link to a certain .edu, .gov or from an authority page, to make it really relevant.

How to find sites you can mention:

Before writing your content, you can first search for good resources related to the topic you desire to write about. You can use the following terms in searching pages through Google:

  • Google search – site:.edu inurl:blog “keyword” “trackback”

You can also dig through your older posts if you see high quality resource pages from .edu, .gov and other authority sites that will fit naturally. It’s also best to see if pages you have searched do accept trackbacks. It actually doesn’t matter whether they make their trackbacks nofollow or not, the important thing is the trust that you can get from them.

Here’s a shot sample from Search Engine Optimization: It’s Not Rocket Science:

Advantages:

  • You’re getting their attention, in which you can enhance the chances of building a relationship with them and perhaps a special mention on one of their future posts, if you’re lucky enough or if they have seen your contents as top notch and worth sharing with their networks too.
  • Search engines will see you as an authority, since you are linking out to highly trusted pages that contain valuable information. It’s a big plus if the destination page of the post’s link is seen as a well-suited resource for your entry.
  • You are not risking yourself as well as your site in getting flagged as a spammer.
  • It builds credibility to your contents, because you are allowing your readers to see more resourceful information from high-quality sites. In turn, it will give you more loyal readers for giving them so much than they have expected.
  • It improves your posts’ keyword rankings (long tail more often than not) on SERPs, since most trackbacks show the post’s title as well as a short description where it was mentioned. And this means more traffic generated to your site, right?

How can this benefit your homepage’s keyword rankings?

At the beginning of your post, you can include your homepage’s targeted keyword as an internal anchor text link.

Once the trackback is planted on the targeted site, it passes through trust to the linking page as search engine crawls through the connection. As soon as the small amount of trust have landed on your post, it will then pass a smaller amount to your homepage, in which the anchor text will serve as a new trusted vote that will help in improving its SERP rankings.

One last tip, don’t overdo it. You don’t want the big “G” to snipe and shoot your site dead. Keep it relevant and assure value when making this technique on your blog posts. You can hire me if you are in need of more effective SEO strategies for your campaign.