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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Google Experts Answer your SEO Questions

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日本加勒比If are looking for tips to improve the visibility of your website in Google search, or if you need answers to some common SEO related problems, here’s an interview with the Google search quality team that you will definitely find useful.

Before we jump to the answers, a big thank you to John Mueller (Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google Zurich), Matt Cutts (Webspam Engineer, Google California), Zareen Kazim (Strategist, Google India), Koteswara Ivaturi (Project Manager, Google Hyderabad) and Kaspar Szymanski (Strategist, Google Dublin) for giving their precious time and such valuable suggestions.

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Zareen Kazim: If you are sure that switching your blog to a faster webhost or using a CDN will enhance your speed then I say go ahead my friend.Making your site faster will not go unnoticed by your users.

Having said that, increasing server speed alone may not help in some cases. The most common problem is not the time for a page getting sent to the user, but the time it takes to deliver and render all page objects. It’s always good advice to fine-tune your site and implement some options (compress your CSS, reduce the amount of JavaScript you need to load and also improve on the caching) to ensure faster loading.

There are lots of tools to help you identify ways to improve the speed of your site. Our official blog post gives lots of links, and some of the links lead to other tools. But just to highlight a few, the site performance tool in Webmaster Tools shows the speed of your website as experienced by users around the world.In addition, various free-to-use tools offer things like in-depth analysis of individual pages . Google also provides an entire speed-related mini-site with tons of resources and videos about speeding up websites.

Please note, site speed is just one more signal (out of many ) in larger picture of Google’s search ranking , this is not a high -impact change and therefore better loading speed will not guarantee ranking.

Q 2: Like most other blogs, I have tons of “archive pages” on my blog that don’t have any content but merely group content by author, category or tags. Will these pages constitute “duplicated content” and should I block them from the Googlebot?

John Mueller: Good question. Duplicate content within your site is generally not a problem, however it always makes sense to try to limit it to a reasonable amount to make it easier to recognize your preferred pages. There are several methods to handle duplicate content, and when it comes to archive pages, one simple solution might be to just show a snippet instead of the full article.

Q 3: Over the years, my university has moved my Web site from server to server, and, as such, the URL has changed six times. They use aliases to map all six to the same IP address, so my old links still workbut Google considers it as six separate Web sites. Is there anything I can do to consolidate the six URLs?

John Mueller: One easy way to handle duplicate content across different websites is to use the rel=canonical link element. Other possibilities are included in our blog post about handling legitimate cross-domain duplicate content.

Q 4: I was looking at my Google Webmaster Central report and under Sitemap, it says that the total number of URLs is ‘x’ while the number indexed in Google is only ‘x-y’. What can I do to get more of my pages in the Google Index?

Zareen Kazim: Google uses a large number of factors to determine which pages to crawl and index. Two important elements to work on are:

  • Make sure that it’s easy to crawl your pages; try your site with JavaScript disabled and also check your crawl errors in Webmaster Tools.

  • Make sure that your site provides unique and compelling content.

Q 5. We publish a lot of original content but there are scrapers who copy our content without giving any credit. The sad part is sometimes these sites, who copy our content, rank higher than the original content creator. How can we tackle this problem? Does Google Search take into account the timestamp when an article was published for search results rankings? Why does Google even index scrapers?

Koteswara Ivaturi: This is a popular question. At the outset, duplicate content due to scraping does not equate to a webmaster violation because we know that it is not the fault of the webmaster to not have control over who is scraping the content from his website.

Google is very good at identifying the original source in such cases and so that takes care of the any potential negative effects that the original source may have. It is very rare that the scraped sites rank better than the original site in the search results; but if that happens you can follow the instructions.

Q 6. For an image or media-rich website, what are best practices? Too often, the focus remains on written textual content -- which of course is a major factor towards a website’s relevance to search terms, but sometimes, artworks are also relevant to the search. Other than adding good ALT text and using descriptive file names for image, what can I do to improve my site’s visibility in Google Image Search?

Koteswara Ivaturi: Image Search can be a great source for some additional traffic to your website. Adding the ALT text and using descriptive file names are a must when it comes to image- or media-centric websites.

Beyond these, context for the image is going to really help the search engines understand the images much better. For example, if a page has an image of a flower the text or caption that describes the flower should be around or next to the image. Lastly, we recently announced that you can now submit information about your images while you submit your Sitemaps.

Q 7. I already have an XML Sitemap for my website. Should I also create an HTML sitemap? Also, should I include every single page of my blog in the Sitemap (including tag pages and the date-based archives) or just the important ones?

Matt Cutts: In general, HTML Sitemaps can be very handy for your human visitors, and it’s a nice additional way to help search engines make sure that they know about all of your pages as well. If you have time or a script that can generate a pretty HTML Sitemap (e.g; for a blog, you could have one page for each year or month of your blog, depending on how much you write), that can work nicely.

If you don’t have the time or motivation to do that much work, you might consider creating a “Top 10 most popular posts” feature for your blog. I know that as a regular user, I love stumbling on a new blog and discovering that the site owner is pointing out some of their best or most popular posts.

John Mueller: It’s always a good idea for your XML Sitemap file to include all pages which you want to have indexed. If you have pages such as tag or archive pages which you prefer not to have indexed, it’s recommended to add a “noindex” robots meta tag to the pages (and of course, not to include them in the Sitemap file).

Q 8. I have read on forums that domain expiration dates are a factor in Google rankings and domains that are due to expire soon may be penalized in some way. Is that correct? I have registered a domain through Google Apps and it won’t let me renew the domain for more than a year.

Zareen Kazim: Matt Cutts addressed this issue in a Webmaster Central video recently and confirmed that the length of a domain name registration isn’t a ranking factor.

Your initial domain registration is valid for one year. If subsequent registration renewal fails, you’ll have several opportunities to change your billing information and renew your registration. If you purchased the domain through Google Apps, you should make sure that you have the renew option checked in your Google Apps account and have a valid Google Checkout information. You can find more detailed information here.

Q 9. How does search quality team look at links from Newspaper Websites & Editorials? In recent times there have been incidents where leading editorials were selling paid content (which include links) on their website for brands & business interested in ranking well on search engines.

Although they explain they only offer advertorials with SEO benefits to agencies to promote brand content, doesn’t this mean offering a paid content (links) to manipulate SERPs is a direct violation of Google’s TOS? These sites indeed have a long reputation & trust but Google TOS should be same for all regardless of the brand or individual?

Matt Cutts: If you’re talking about the recent incident in the UK, we saw that. Google’s quality guidelines are clear on this point: paid links shouldn’t pass PageRank.

Whether the paid links are in an “advertorial” or somewhere else on the page, that would violate our quality guidelines and Google would take action on those violations, both so that the link buyers wouldn’t benefit and so that the link sellers wouldn’t be trusted in the future by Google.

Q 10. I do have a couple of affiliate links on my website that point to Amazon.com and some other websites. I am not getting paid to insert these links into my content but will get some commission on a sale. Should I use nofollow with such affiliate links?

Zareen Kazim: If linking is natural, based on relevancy of a site’s content, I don’t see a violation of any Google Webmaster Guidelines.

While it is legitimate for a webmaster to monetize great content, in order to perform well in Google’s search resultsit is important to take technical steps in order to prevent unnatural passing of PageRank through paid links, e.g. by either using the “nofollow” attribute or by creating a robots.txt file.

Q 11. I have launched a new blog and it obviously won’t rank in Google because none of the reputable blogs are currently linking to it. Therefore, I am actively writing guest posts on other blogs as that gives me a chance to get a link from them. Is Google fine with guest blogging and do links ‘earned’ from writing guest blogs matter?

John Mueller: Making and promoting a new site takes time and effort. In general I would recommend putting that work into your own site, instead of creating content for other people’s sites.

It’s much better to create great content for your blog and to let other sites refer visitors to your site on their own. Good luck!

Q 12. What’s your take on articles submission websites? I do a lot of article marketing & distribution for my clients. These are original articles written and distributed through sites like eZineArticles and iSnare. Obviously besides the exposure my clients get as experts, I am also looking at the SEO benefit of earning backlinks from these posts. How do you treat multiple copies of the same article spread over different sites?

John Mueller: As mentioned in an earlier question, it generally makes much more sense to create great content for your own site, instead of giving it to a large number of other sites to publish.

Personally, I would recommend not looking at it with regard to the links; think about how users will view the content and the people who created it. Having high-quality content on your own site will make it stand out much more than if that content is posted all over the web. If the content is unique and compelling, it will generally attract links naturally over time.

Q 13. Are all links on a page treated the same or does the order of links matter. For instance, will Google flow more juice to the links that are in the first paragraph of the story than the ones that are in the page footer?

Zareen Kazim: Our link analysis is getting much more sophisticated than the original PageRank used to be. To answer your question, we may treat links across different areas in a different way, as some areas of a page might not be as relevant to the content of the page as others. Check out Matt’s video where he talks about links in paragraphs:

Q 14. My website has a country specific extension (like example.in for India) but the content is of interest to a global audience. How do I ensure that my domain /site is visible in Google search results of other countries as well?

John Mueller: Any website can be relevant to users globally; it doesn’t have to use a generic top-level domain (gTLD) for that. Using a country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) is fine if you want to create a website for users all around the world.

If you’re looking to target specific countries (instead of the whole world), you may want to review our recent blog post on multi-regional websites for more information.

Q 15. How do I know whether my site has been penalized in Google or not? I know Google Analytics reports can give me an idea but are there are any other methods? Will Google inform me about the penalty through Webmaster Tools?

Zareen Kazim: Many webmasters worry about penalties when they see their site change in the rankings, and for most times, these changes can be attributed to the nature of the web itself. Google algorithms are constantly changing, to reflect the changing content of the web, and these changes can affect how your website is ranked in our search results.

Working on improving your content and the user experience of your site should be your number one priority. In our Help Center, we have an article with suggestions for potential fixes if you see your site’s ranking change significantly. Google uses the Message Center in your Webmaster Tools account to communicate important information to you regarding your Webmaster Tools account and the sites you manage.

If we have noticed there is something wrong with your site, we may send you a message there, detailing some issues which you need to fix to bring your site into compliance with the Webmaster Guidelines. Once you fix your site you can submit your site for reconsideration. Please note, while not all of the messages in the Message Center are for issues involving our Webmaster Guidelines, it’s strongly recommended that you make sure that these messages are forwarded to your email account, so that you are informed about changes or issues as quickly as possible.

Q 16. There are times when I have searched for a ‘query’ and clicked on ‘ads’ as they offered better content than the natural listings. However when I tried the same keyword few days later, the site that I clicked through ‘ads’ was listed in natural listing this time. Would the future of SERPs based on Google Algorithm involve correlating large number of user clicks on ‘ads’ and adding them to natural result pages?

John Mueller: We work hard to provide high-quality search results. In many cases providing personalized search results can help to make them more relevant to you. Ads, however, are separate from natural search results, so I would assume that what you’ve seen here is a mere coincidence :-).

Rest assured that ads do not affect our natural search results.

Q 17. My site is all about movie reviews and now I am planning to expand it into food recipes. Should I use a sub-domain (food.example.com) or a sub-directory (example.com/food) for the new topic.

Zareen Kazim: When it comes to Google, there aren’t major difference between the two, so when you’re making that decision, do what works for you and your user. If you use Webmaster Tools (which we hope you do :) ), you’ll automatically be verified for deeper sub directories of any sites you’ve verified, but sub domains will need to be verified separately.

Q 18. I have two blogs – one is about food and other one is about movies. Will it be OK if cross-link the two sites even if the content is not related? I am worried that Google might consider that as a “paid link” even though I run both the websites.

Zareen Kazim:Before you begin cross-linking sites, consider the user’s perspective and whether the crosslinks provide value. Ask yourself if you would place this link in a highly visible place on your page -- if no, maybe it would make more sense to skip the link.

Cross-linking between dozens or hundreds of sites, however, probably doesn’t provide value, and I would not recommend it.

Q 19. Googlebot can read and execute JavaScript files but do you also pass any juice to the links that you may have discovered through the scripts?

Kaspar Szymanski: It’s true that we started crawling JavaScript.We don’t recommend for webmasters to focus on linking; instead a much wiser way of spending your time is by enriching the site with great content and useful tools. However, if you are concerned about JavaScript links passing PageRank, feel free to use “no follow” attribute. Check out Matt’s video on the same topic:

Q 20. I have an active blog where I post anywhere between 10-15 articles in a week and Google indexes my new stories often within minutes of publishing them. I am however planning to take a break and won’t be adding any new content to my site for a month or so. How will that impact my site as far as indexing and rankings are concerned?

John Mueller: Your existing content will hopefully remain relevant in that time :-), so I wouldn’t worry about Google’s crawling, indexing or ranking during your break. Google will be ready to pick up your new content when you’re back; you don’t have to do anything special in a case like that.

One thing that you will want to do -- if your site is self-hosted -- is to make sure that it’s running the most current version, is properly locked-down, secured against hacking and monitored accordingly during your break. We see many blogs get hacked nowadays, and that in turn can affect your site’s standing in our search results if it’s left in a hacked state for a longer period of time.

Q 21. Some people call a portable computer as a notebook while others use the term ‘laptop.’ Similarly, a Flash Drive is known as a USB stick, a thumb drive and even a memory stick in some cases. Now if I am writing an article on say “10 best laptops,” how can I also optimize it for all “notebook” related queries?

Matt Cutts: When you’re writing an article, it pays to think in advance about the words that regular users might type when searching for your content. If you identify 2-3 common terms before you start writing, it’s not hard to incorporate those synonyms into the content of the post in a natural, non-spammy way.

Don’t keyword stuff in the article, but you might write “a flash drive (also sometimes called a USB drive or thumb drive) is a handy way to carry around data in your pocket.” Or you could sometimes call it a flash drive and sometimes call it a USB stick. As long as you’re doing it in a natural way, sometimes it can make the content even more readable than repeating the same term over and over again.

Q 22. Is there any ‘optimal’ length that you can recommend for the page URL and the title?

Kaspar Szymanski: Not really; instead it’s probably best to decide upon these things with the user experience in mind, rather than search engines. If you are interested in optimizing your snippets, feel free to have a look at our blog post on that topic.

Q 23. I know that inbound links will help my site’s ranking in Google search results but is that true for outbound links as well? I always link to quality websites from my articles where my visitors can read more about that topic but do these outbound links aid search rankings as well?

Kaspar Szymanski: No, they don’t contribute directly towards your site’s rankings; however they add value for your readership and they contribute to the community, so feel free to continue this good practice. On the other hand, being selective and preferring quality sites to link to might help in how Google perceives your site.

Q 24. Do ads on a web page affect search rankings? All other factors remaining the same, will pages having 3 ads rank better than a page with say 5 ads?

Zareen : No, ads don’t affect a page’s rank in our natural search results.

Q 25. Would you recommend any books on web search and SEO?

Zareen Kazim: Given the dynamic and constantly changing nature of the web, it might not make sense to stick to a single book. But we have an entire page in our webmaster Help Centre about SEO including the SEO starter guide [PDF] which I highly recommend.

Monday, May 3, 2010

How To Use del.icio.us (Social Bookmarking)

What is del.icio.us? Why is it so popular? Here's a brief intro to what del.icio.us is:

"del.icio.us is a social bookmarks manager. It allows you to easily add sites you like to your personal collection of links, to categorize those sites with keywords, and to share your collection not only between your own browsers and machines, but also with others."

"When you find a web page you'd like to add to your list, you simply select the del.icio.us bookmarklet, and you'll be prompted for a information about the page. You can add descriptive terms to group similar links together, modify the title of the page, and add extended notes for yourself or for others. You can access your list of links from any web browser."

What this boils down to for me is I get to see what sites are getting good word of mouth on the Web, what's most popular, what's interesting, or what's just fun. I check my del.icio.us bookmarks every day, and I constantly am bookmarking new sites as I come across them with the handy toolbar bookmarklet tool.

  • Sign up, give it a try. Think of a good user name that you won't forget, like HappySquirrel or BananaPhone. Be creative.
  • Install the del.icio.us buttons on your browser so you can easily bookmark or share sites with your fellow del.icio.us users.
  • Go out and find some sites, then "tag" those sites as you post them to del.icio.us using your new handy dandy browser button. How do you tag sites? Simply put in a series of keywords that you feel best describes the site that you're at. For instance, some good tags that would describe this site would be:

    web searchengine searchengineoptimization technology internet

    Usually, I've found del.icio.us will come up with great keyword suggestions for me, but there have been some unusual sites that I've found that del.icio.us comes up empty on.

  • How do you get back to your bookmarks? Simple. Go to "http://del.icio.us/username", and replace "username" with the name you've chosen.

Short Reports for Bonuses

There is always going to be competition any time you are trying to sell a product. There are ways to lure the customer around the competition to you and your products, so that they will make the purchase from you. The best way to do this is to offer your customer more than the competitor while keeping it in the same price range.

It is possible to create multiple bonuses by compiling short reports. These reports can be made from the stack of articles you have piled in your desktop. They can be from the past or fresh ideas right out of your head. You can write this new material specifically as a bonus fro the product you are attempting to sell.

In an ideal world, the short reports should relate to the product that is being sold. They can be how to reports, which will be instructive, or they can be relative to a product in some way. The reports can also be related and actually advertise high ticket back end product as well.

These bonuses can be used to increase the value of your own product or in an attempt to increase the value of an affiliate’s product. They will usually return the favor so it is a good way to get some extra advertising. If you do not own the product, inform the prospects that they will be receiving the link to download their bonus as soon as they purchase the product. When you get the word that the purchase was made, hold up your end of the deal and send them their bonus.

Short report should be referred to as exclusive reports or special reports when you are speaking with a customer. This will enhance the idea of the subject in the customer’s mind. It will make the customer feel special since you are offering them such a special deal. These short reports can be compiled into PFD format and sent that way also. When you send the report, include your website address and contact information. You will also want to allow your customers to share the report with anyone they please. It is another way to spread your business and your name. The more people that know about you and your services, the better off you will be.

Other Profit Centers

The bottom line is to increase your profits. Never forget that. This is extremely true in article marketing and always will be. Many Marketers involved earn an amazing amount of money by simply writing articles.

Articles will drive readers to your website. Then, they potentially become a customer. It all starts with the article, though. If your article is no good, it will directly reflect your product. Articles can be used as a tool to establish your credibility as well as your expertise ands sales. Articles can either make you, or break you. Throughout this book, you have learned how to make articles work in your favor and should be well on the road to success. There is one more way to make money off of articles that we haven’t touched on yet, though.

We now know that you want to advertise in the resource box but what can you do inside the article itself to monetize from it? Remember, the object is to make money, right? It doesn’t matter if it comes from the sale of your product or someone else’s, does it? NO!

You can use your competition to make money. You can sign up as an affiliate of their program and promote their product within your articles. You can sign up for programs even if they are not in direct competition with you. There is no reason to be scared of your competition now that you know how to take advantage of them.

Make your affiliate links attractive. You want to pull in the most income possible, even if it means promoting someone else. You will be pleasantly surprised to see how rapidly your income increases, and how fast it all happens.

Journalists Use Facebook to Find Sources and Promote Stories

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When Lisa Eckelbecker first signed up for Facebook she wasn't sure what to make of it. But as a reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette newspaper, she soon started getting friend requests from readers and people she had interviewed for stories.

"I realized that I was facing a dilemma," she says. "I could use Facebook to communicate with and listen to my immediate family and close friends, or I could use it as a business tool to share my work, build contacts and listen to lots of different people."

After attending a seminar at Columbia University on how to use social networking tools, Eckelbecker chose the latter option.

"I have started posting my stories to my news feed, and it's been gratifying to see people occasionally comment on them," she says. "Recently, I asked my Massachusetts friends if they could help me find sources for a story on supermarket retailing. I struck out with that request, but I like the idea of using Facebook to find sources and will try that again."

Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites have gotten a reputation as places where users routinely post the most mundane details of their daily lives to their closest friends. "Carried out the garbage and now I'm heating up the leftovers" might be typical.

But Eckelbecker is one of a growing number of professional, citizen and student journalists who are using Facebook and similar sites to help them find sources for stories, then spread the word to readers once those stories are published online.

Such sites are part of an expanding array of tools - including websites, blogs and Twitter - that reporters are using to promote themselves and their work on the web at a time when traditional print journalism seems fated to go the way of eight-track tapes.

A Helpful Tool for a Food Writer and a Freelancer

Dara Bunjon writes about Baltimore restaurants for Examiner.com. And when she’s not hard at work on her blogposts, she’s posting links to them on her Facebook account.

“I regularly use Facebook to promote my column, which is set up with 210 followers,” Bunjon says. “If a story has relevancy to a Facebook group I will post links there. All this has driven my hits upward and grown the number of people who are following what I write.”

Judith Spitzer, a former newspaper reporter who’s currently freelancing, uses Facebook as a networking tool to find sources for stories.

“I use Facebook and LinkedIn to network with friends and friends of friends when I'm looking for a source, which is huge because there's already a trust factor when they know someone,” Spitzer says.

Mandy Jenkins, social media editor for The Cincinnati Enquirer and its website, Cincinnati.Com, says Facebook is “extremely valuable to connect with professional sources and other journalists as friends. If you monitor the newsfeeds of those you cover, you can find out so much about what's going on with them. See what pages and groups they join, who they interact with and what they say.”

Jenkins suggests that reporters join the Facebook groups and fan pages of organizations that they cover. “Some groups send out a lot of insider info on these group lists without even noticing who is on them,” she says. “Not only that, but with Facebook's openness, you can see who else is in the group and contact them for a quote when you need it.”

And for interactive stories where a reporter might need to gather readers' videos or photos, “Facebook's page tools have a lot to offer in terms of social media presentation and crowdsourcing,” she adds.

As an example, Jenkins cites the Recession Survivors Project on Facebook. The site features videos posted both by the students who run the site, and by its “fans” as well.

Using Facebook to “share story links, blog entries and collected articles from around the net in one's news feed is the best way to show off expertise and make any journalist a ‘go-to’ for information on their beat,” Jenkins adds. “The Facebook newsfeed is so versatile and allows so much importing, it takes practically no effort to share information with all of your friends very easily.”

How to Get Business Through Facebook

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Create a Professional Facebook Profile

Facebook is better known for finding old friends, playing games and connecting with people you know. There's another angle to Facebook though. Facebook can also be used to promote yourself. Whether you have a small business that you want to promote, are a band of some sort, are an artist, are a public figure, or an organization, you can use Facebook to promote yourself.

The cost to create a Facebook profile for your hobby or organization is free. Facebook also offers the option to create an ad, for a small fee, that will be displayed on Facebook. This will help promote you even more.

You have to have a personal Facebook profile first. Facebook is a place for people, so if you want to promote your hobby or organization, your professional Facebook profile will have to be connected to your personal Facebook profile.

This profile is different than creating a Facebook group. A Facebook group does not have a news feed on the page that you can add messages and comments to. It does however allow you to send a message to everyone in your group at once. You have to decide which is better for you.

How to Create My Profile

Creating your professional Facebook profile is easy, just log into Facebook and go to Facebook's create a page tool. Then decide which category your hobby or organization fits into and follow the directions to create your Facebook profile.

Once you have the Facebook profile for your hobby or organization all set up, you'll need to spend a little time adding content to it. Don't worry, this is easy. Add something to the Info tab of your Facebook profile. This will tell people what your hobby or organization is about and what you can do for them.

Advertise Your New Profile

Make sure you send the link to all your friends, fans and clients so they can all come to your Facebook profile and sign up. Then whenever you add a message to your Facebook profile page, they will all see your message from their Facebook page.

If you have a website for your hobby or organization, make sure to add links to your hobby or organization website to the messages that you add on your profile. This way people will come to your organization's website to learn more about it.

Facebook also offers paid advertising for your professional profile. This will place ads around Facebook to get your profile more exposure.

Finished

How to Market Your Business on Facebook

We all used to think Facebook was for kids; I'm with you I used to think the same thing as well, but it's time to change our thinking. There are many companies using Facebook to market and seeing success in doing so.

Consider the following statistics provided by O’Reilly Media. Between September 2008 and February 2009...

  • The number of Facebook users between the ages of 35 and 44 increased by 51%

  • Facebook users among the ages 45-54 grew by 47%

  • Facebook users ages 26-34 increased by 26%

  • More than half of the 140 million Facebook users are out of college

As you can see Facebook is no longer for just college students. Why should you use Facebook as a marketing tool? The answer is easy; you can use Facebook to gain new clients, stay in touch with current clients and promote new products and sales offers. You can also use it to create buzz and PR that is specific about your business.

How do you do this? Facebook offers you many tools, to be successful in marketing your business you must have an understanding of these tools. In this article we will look at two in particular:

  • Facebook Pages

  • Facebook Groups

Facebook Pages

Facebook Offers you Facebook Pages. What does that mean? You can use Facebook Pages to create and give your business their own profile on Facebook; the best thing is right now they are free. These pages give your business an identity on Facebook which strengthens your brand. Current customers or even potential customers can become fans of your page and by doing so this allows them to follow you and receive any updates that you post to your page.

The great thing about Facebook Pages is that every time someone becomes a fan of your page all of their friends see that they have become a "fan." This often attracts other followers as well as creates a buzz regarding your business and of course your Facebook Page.

You can use your Facebook Page to not only share your company information, but you can also use it to post photos, videos, applications and messages. Any activity that you perform on your Facebook Page is then broadcast into the mini-feeds of your followers.

When creating your Facebook Page, there are things to keep in mind. You will be given a choice of three options when you start out. You will be asked whether your page is about:

  • A Local Business

  • A Brand or a Product

  • An Artist, Band or a Public Figure

Which are you? Good question. This depends on what you want to promote. Do you want to promote your business locally, do you want to promote your brand or a product or are you working to promote an artist, band or public figure?

Each of these categories will provide you with an opportunity to complete your "basic information", "detailed information" or your "contact information." Each option will provide you with a page that enables you to provide different ways of showing your information. It's important to realize that you cannot edit your page type once you select it, and also remember that the page type that you select will categorize your page with other like pages in that category; this is why you want to make sure you select the correct category to be displayed in.

Your Facebook Page, when done correctly can be used to bring in new customers as well as to help you maintain current customer relationships.

Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups, carry a similarity to Facebook Pages, the difference is they are built around a group of people rather than your business or your brand. You must be a member of Facebook to create a Facebook Group. In order to create a group just login to Facebook and then click on the Groups link in the main menu on the left hand side of the page.

You can use Facebook Groups to create awareness, but they do not have the feature that allows users to become fans, they only become members. The downfall of this is it will not share as much information with friends of "group" members as they interact with the group.

Which One is Right for You?

The question I hear most when it comes to marketing on Facebook is "Laura, do I need a page or a group?" The answer depends on the goal you want to achieve with marketing on Facebook. The truth is you will gain more exposure from a Facebook Page, because it can be seen by unregistered users, but a group page can only be seen by registered Facebook users.

Now, that feature alone should make it easy to decide, right? Wrong. You must also consider that when you send a message to Facebook Page members, they will only receive an update notification, but if you are sending a message to your Facebook Group they will receive the message via their Facebook inbox. If you goal is to be able to communicate in a personal way, the Facebook Group option may be a better fit for you.

Should Your Business Be on Facebook?

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Many businesses using social media are discovering the charms and benefits of Facebook fan pages. It's a nifty little value-added service that allows businesses and organizations to build an interactive page inside the Facebook ecosystem to engage existing or potential customers. It's an intriguing idea, but does your company really need one?

Fan pages are a great way to reach consumers without resorting to direct email (spam) or hit-or-miss mass snail mail (spam in paper form). Since users make the decision to connect with your company, marketing messages will be anticipated not disregarded. People who add themselves to your fan page typically expect to see at least a little advertising come their way.

Fan pages are also a terrific way to reach customers who spend more time online than they do watching television or reading magazines and newspapers. It's cheap, too. Facebook doesn't charge users to create a fan page so the option is available to businesses for the low, low cost of free, making it an attractive option for businesses with tiny budgets.

Of course, fan pages have their drawbacks, too. Since they're located inside Facebook's walled garden, fan pages won't turn up in search engine results so only registered members will even know they exist. Furthermore, this type of marketing has a limited appeal to an even more limited demographic -- that is, people who spend time online and who are also willing to receive marketing messages.

Unfortunately, it's also easy to get lost among the multitude of other pages populating Facebook. Even if you do manage to stand out and accumulate a large fanbase, there's no guarantee they're remember to visit your page in between Mafia Wars and Bejeweled Blitzes.

If you do decide to create a fan page, Social media marketer Samir Balwani notes you can't just slap a page together and expect hoards of visitors overnight. He says there are several elements a page needs, like creating contests or giveaways, in order to gather a large following.

Balwani makes one point in particular that's often overlooked when companies build a page -- make it an information resource, not just an overblown advertisement. It's not enough to simply bark marketing slogans at visitors, be sure to offer plenty of information and insight about your industry. If you sell flux capacitors, make your page a repository of definitive information about them.

Not everyone is convinced that Facebook fan pages are the path to marketing nirvana, however. ZDNet bloggersays they make businesses look unprofessional and diminish brand value. Between the visual clutter and lack of variety among pages, she says they just aren't worth the pixels they're displayed on, and could even work against you.

While you're weighing the options of whether or not to try this marketing tactic, remember that you'll need manpower to manage it. Like Twitter accounts, Facebook fan pages are fairly high-maintenance and need to be regularly updated and monitored. A page that looks abandoned is worse than no page at all.

Whether fan pages are worth your company's time is a highly subjective matter. If you're really on the fence, take a look at your competitors. Do they have one? Is it heavily trafficked? Can you do better? If the answers are yes, then give it a whirl.

5 Things You Shouldn't Share Online

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When you're hanging out with your friends on social networking sites, it's easy to forget that what you say and share might not just stay between friends. Here are 5 things you should never post and what you can do instead without missing out on the fun.

1. Party Pics

Everyone claims to know this rule, but pics of people drinking and smoking at parties continue to get uploaded to Facebook and MySpace every day.
Why it's dumb: Since anyone can repost photos online as much as they want, even pics that are meant to be private have a way of coming back to haunt you. Employers and college recruiters often check social network profiles before they make decisions, so one incriminating pic can ruin your life. (Remember what happened to Michael Phelps?)
What to do about it: Well, for starters, don't do anything incriminating at a party. Especially when there's a camera around (and there's always a camera around). If you're not sure how to say no to illegal stuff and still have fun, here are some tips.

2. Flirty Pics

This includes everything from those half-naked "sexting" pics to anything R-rated that you wouldn't want your parents to see.
Why it's dumb: Even more than party pics, flirty pics tend to change hands and get reposted very quickly. You might think your pic is for your sweetie's eyes only, but once you send it, you lose all control over where it ends up. Jealous exes sometimes share, and proud boyfriends and girlfriends have been known to show off.
What to do about it: It's okay to be sexy. Just don't be sexy in front of a camera.

3. Your Phone Number or Address

Some social networks let you post contact info on your profiles, and some let you send public party invites where anyone can find your address.
Why it's dumb: Broadcasting personal info on a social site might be the easiest way to share with all your friends, but it's also the easiest way to share with creeps, weirdos and other strangers you don't want knocking on your door.
What to do about it: Only share that info in private messages and emails. It might take longer, but it's a lot easier than changing your number or screen name to keep a creeper from contacting you again. And instead of creating a party invite page, just send out emails through a site like Evite.

4. Complaints About Teachers and Bosses

Social networks seem like great places to gripe about school and work, right?
Why it's dumb: Remember: whatever you write can always get back to the person you're writing about. If what you say is untrue, or even just unflattering, it could get you suspended or fired - like the one 16-year old girl who got fired after she told her Facebook friends that she thought her job was boring.
What to do about it: Save your kvetching for when you're with your friends in person. It's more fun that way anyway.

5. Your Drama

Social networks are hotbeds for friend fights, breakup fits and nasty rumors. With just a click of your mouse, it's super-easy to share the dark side of your social life.
Why it's dumb: Some conversations need to be kept private. Getting personal in public damages your rep, hurts friendships and creates even more drama.
What to do about it: Don't use social networks as a place to have it all out with your friends and enemies. Instead, use socnets to share positive stuff about yourself and the cool things going on in your life, and keep the private stuff private.

Does Your Facebook Profile Reveal Too Much?

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Social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook are very popular among teens and that popularity comes with risks. The Internet has a dark history of predators connecting with vulnerable young people but social networking sites have added a whole new dimension to this sinister side of the web.

The Dark Side of Social Networking Sites

In the past predators had to make direct contact with potential victims in chat rooms or forums before being able to lure them in to real world danger. Social networking sites have changed that. Now predators can surf these sites, hand pick targets that appeal to them, and stalk the person they choose without any direct contact at all.

Predators don’t even need to be on the target’s friends list to get things going. Since the purpose of these sites is to connect with other people on a purely social level most users have a naiveté about the way they set up their profiles.

Online Predators and Facebook

How do Internet predators take a profile page on a social networking site and turn it in to a map of your life? It’s really not that difficult. Let’s look at Facebook as an example.

On Facebook people openly list information like their gender, birth date, hometown, school, political views and religious affiliations. They enhance their profiles with personal statements, lists of hobbies and social groups, lists of favorite things and employment histories. Some users include even more personal embellishments like email addresses, phone numbers and relationship status.

Facebook users dress up their profiles with applications that do everything from showing their current mood to describing their romantic personality. Facebook gives away lot of information about users. There are event announcements, party attendance lists, friend lists, group lists, fan pages and The Wall where friends post messages. All of these things make it very easy for a predator to stalk you in real time.

Protecting Yourself From Facebook Predators

While nothing is fail safe here are some tips that will keep you safer:

Make your profile private so that only friends can see it. People from your past that may be looking for you will still find your name in a search but they won’t see your profile until you add them as a friend. Predators will always choose a readily available target over one that takes work to even find.

Set up a limited profile using the privacy settings on Facebook. Use it for people from your past or people you don’t know well.

Don’t list your birth date, or at the very least omit the year. Don’t list your school name or the name of where you work. Consider not listing your hometown, political views or religious affiliations. Keep as much personal information as possible off of your profile page.

Don’t put your phone number on your profile. People you really know will have other ways to get it.

Keep your personal statement limited. When you make a detailed personal statement you give a predator all the information that they need to create a fantasy relationship with you. The more a predator knows about you the easier it is to seek out ways to bond or connect with you in real life.

Never accept an invitation to a party or event on Facebook. Decline all online invitations and if you plan to attend tell the host in person.

Don’t tag your pictures. Strangers won’t know your friends’ names even if they can see their faces. Never label where a picture was taken, like a club or other public place, instead label pictures with simple non-identifying titles like, “Summer Party ‘07”or “Randoms.”

Restrict your picture settings so that only friends can see pictures you post or pictures that you are tagged in. You do this in the privacy settings on Facebook.

Be selective in the applications that you add. Stay away from overly personal applications or applications that give away information you have purposely left out of your profile.

Social networking sites can be fun. They are great ways to stay connected to people and to get in touch with old friends. You do not have to stay away from sites like Facebook in order to be safe online. You just need to be aware and make smart decisions about the things you put on your profile page.

Why Facebook? Why should you start Facebooking?

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Facebook and other social networking websites can be very confusing for those who have never used it. So if you are having friends and family request that you get on Facebook, but aren't sure why you should use Facebook, continue reading.

Why Facebook?

Facebook can be thought of as your home on the Internet. It's a place people can go to leave you a message, browse through your photo collections, or even chat with you while you are online. It can be a great way to keep in contact with friends and family, and even find long lost friends that you haven't spoken to in years.

The Facebook "wall" is where it all happens. This is where you write comments on what you are up to or share photos and articles with your friends. You'll also see what your friends and family are posting on their wall, and anyone on your friends list can come by and write a comment on your wall. So not only is the Facebook wall a great place to let everyone know you are back from vacation and post trip photos, it is also a place where conversations are started.

Facebook is your online photo album

In addition to keeping up with friends and family, Facebook is a great place to upload all of those family photos. Ordinarily, you'd have to whip out the photo album when people are over at the house, but uploading them to Facebook means the parents can look at their grandchildren anytime they want.

Facebook for fun, games and more

There is also a lot more to Facebooking than just post on your friend's wall. You can play online games like Mafia Wars whereby you will enlist the aid of your friends to knock off a bank or take down a gang leader. You can also use Facebook applications to map out who you are related to on Facebook and even chat with any friends and family that are online.

Facebook for business

You can also use Facebook to connect with co-workers and old co-workers to keep the workplace networking going. It's a fact that one of the best ways to find a new job is to be recommended by a friend, so keeping up with business contacts can be very important.

Facebook for finding old friends

Ever wonder whatever happened to your prom date? Or your best friend from middle school? With more and more people joining Facebook, it is becoming a great place to look up old friends and getting back in touch.

Remember to start slow

Now that you know what all you can do with Facebook, the trick is to not become overwhelmed by trying to do everything at once. Start slow by sending friend requests to your friends and family and reading what's up on their wall. Once you get accustomed to the interface, you can expand your use to uploading photo albums, and from there, begin experimenting with some of the neat Facebook applications.

Facebook Profile: What is Facebook?

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The idea of Facebook can be quite confusing to those new to social networking. So what is Facebook? It is a place to communicate with friends and family, to share photographs or funny links you find on the Web, to play social games like Farmville or Mafia Wars, search for long-lost friends or even chat interactively with your buddies.

Facebook sprung from its roots as a school-based social network to became the most popular social network in the world. A few keys to Facebook's success is its ability to appeal to both people and businesses, the success of Facebook's developers network which has turned Facebook into a thriving platform, and Facebook Connect's ability to reach out to the rest of the web and provide a single login that works across multiple sites.

Facebook Profile: Key Features

  • Facebook allows you to maintain a friends list and choose privacy settings to tailor who can see what on your profile

  • Facebook allows you to upload photos and maintain photo albums that can be shared with your friends

  • Facebook supports interactive online chat and the ability to comment on your friends "walls" in order to keep in touch or just say 'hi'.

  • Facebook supports groups and fan pages, allowing businesses to effectively use Facebook as a vehicle for social media marketing

  • Facebook's developer network delivers advanced functionality in the form of social apps like Flixster and Vampire Wars

  • Facebook Connect allows websites to interact with Facebook and allows Facebook to be used as a universal login authentication service.

Facebook Profile: History

Facebook is a social network founded in February of 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. Originally a social network for students of Harvard University, it became a hit on campus and expanded to other colleges. In 2005, Facebook opened itself to high schools, and in 2006, it was open to everyone. Since then, it has experienced tremendous growth, bypassing MySpace in terms of global popularity.

In 2007, Facebook launched the Facebook Platform, which allowed developers to create applications on the network. Rather than simply being badges or widgets to adorn on a Facebook page, these applications allowed friends to interact by giving gifts or playing games, such as chess. In 2008, Facebook launched Facebook Connect, which competed with OpenSocial and Google Friend Connect as a universal login authentication service.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Making the Most Profit From your Articles

Most article marketers concentrate on ensuring the fact that the people who use their articles do not alter them in any way, shape, or form and that the article’s author information is always included. You can choose to take a different path. You can allow your readers to change the links within your article and within the resource box to their own affiliate links.

You may be thinking that that is a crazy idea. The point is that the author’s resource box remains unchanged and you still get the recognition.

You will still benefit by getting recognized and getting traffic to your site. Doing it this way will compel ezine publishers and website owners to use your articles because they will benefit from this as well.

This works like a charm if you happen to have affiliates promoting your product or affiliates that are signed under you when you are promoting someone else’s products, too. It actually motivates them to use your articles and will bring you more in commissions.

In lots of cases, it is more appropriate to let the publisher replace the links within the article as well as the resource box. This means they would replace the author’s information with their own information. This all depends on what you are attempting to accomplish with the article in the first place.

Other options include letting the affiliates replace all of the links within the article to their own personal links but leaving the resource box as is. This will give you the recognition of an expert and still benefit you with increased commissions. It will also benefit you in the long run because you will eventually become an established expert in that field.

Selling Your Private Label Rights

There are plenty of ways to profit from your articles. You have the option of writing and distributing articles in an attempt to drive traffic to your site where sales are made. You can allow your affiliates to replace your links with their links or you can compile your articles and sell them as an informational product.

Another way to profit from your articles is to sell the private labels to them but you will not benefit from the links in the article, only from the people who purchase the rights of the article from you.You won’t benefit from the recognition of being an expert either. You will only benefit from the income you make from selling the article and the rights to it.

The ideal way to do it would be to bundle articles in one file. They should touch one the same subject and the folder should be compressed. Then, you would upload it to your website and link it from a webpage.

If you write a large number of articles on a regular basis, it would be a great idea to join a monthly membership site. You would pay a monthly fee and continually upload new batches of private label right articles.

If the articles you are writing are of high quality, this can become a very profitable business for you. You wouldn’t even have to write the articles yourself. You can hire a ghostwriter to do them for you, choosing the topics based on the request of the members.

If you decide to go this route with it, you will need to create a private label rights license, which will be part of all of your articles from that point forward. The license will have to be published within the area of your member’s website also.

In some cases, you may not have to create a members website at all. It is sometimes a good option to contact the owner of the membership site and sell the batches of articles straight to them. Make sure to establish this relationship before you start producing articles for this purpose. You would hate to write all of those articles with nowhere to sell them. These options are great fro consideration and have been very profitable for the ones involved already.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What is Sitemap and How It Works?

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What is a Google Sitemap?

A Google Sitemap is a very simple XML document that lists all the pages in your website, but the Google Sitemaps program is actually much more important than that. In fact, the Sitemaps program provides a little peek inside Google's mind - and it can tell you a lot about what Google thinks of your website!

Why Should You Use Google Sitemaps?

Until Google Sitemaps was released in the summer of 2005, optimizing a site for Google was a guessing game at best. A website's page might be deleted from the index, and the Webmaster had no idea why. Alternatively, a site's content could be scanned, but because of the peculiarities of the algorithm, the only pages that would rank well might be the "About Us" page, or the company's press releases.

As webmasters we were at the whim of Googlebot, the seemingly arbitrary algorithmic kingmaker that could make or break a website overnight through shifts in search engine positioning. There was no way to communicate with Google about a website - either to understand what was wrong with it, or to tell Google when something had been updated.

That all changed about a year ago when Google released Sitemaps, but the program really became useful in February of 2006 when Google updated it with a couple new tools.

So, what exactly is the Google Sitemaps program, and how can you use it to improve the position of your website? Well, there are essentially two reasons to use Google Sitemaps:

1. Sitemaps provide you with a way to tell Google valuable information about your website.

2. You can use Sitemaps to learn what Google thinks about your website.

What You Can Tell Google About Your Site

Believe it or not, Google is concerned about making sure webmasters have a way of communicating information that is important about their sites. Although Googlebot does a pretty decent job of finding and cataloging web pages, it has very little ability to rate the relative importance of one page versus another. After all, many important pages on the Internet are not properly "optimized", and many of the people who couldn't care less about spending their time on linking campaigns create some of the best content.

Therefore, Google gives you the ability to tell them on a scale of 0.0 to 1.0 how important a given page is relative to all the others. Using this system, you might tell Google that your home page is a 1.0, each of your product sections is a 0.8, and each of your individual product pages is a 0.5. Pages like your company's address and contact information might only rate a 0.2.

You can also tell Google how often your pages are updated and the date that each page was last modified. For example your home page might be updated every day, while a particular product page might only be updated on an annual basis.

What Google Can Tell You About Your Site

Having the ability to tell Google all this information is important, but you don't even need to create a sitemap file in order to enjoy some of the perks of having a Google Sitemaps account.

That's because even without a Sitemap file, you can still learn about any errors that Googlebot has found on your website. As you probably know, your site doesn't have to be "broken" for a robot to have trouble crawling it's pages. Google Sitemaps will tell you about pages it was unable to crawl and links it was unable to follow. Therefore, you can see where these problems are and fix them before your pages get deleted from the index.

You can also get information on the types of searches people are using to find your website. Of course, most website analytics tools will give this information to you anyway, but if the tool you use doesn't have this feature, then it's always nice to get it for fr?e from Google.

But the best part of the Sitemaps program is the Page analysis section that was added in February of 2006. This page gives you two lists of words. The first list contains the words that Googlebot associates with your website based on content on your site. The second list contains words that Googlebot has found linking to your site!

Unfortunately, Google limits the number of words in each list to 20. As a consequence, the inbound links column is partly wasted by words such as "http", "www", and "com" - terms that apply equally to all websites (hey Google, how about suppressing those terms from the report?). That said, this list does provide you with a way to judge the effectiveness of your offsite optimization efforts.

When you compare these two lists, you can get an understanding of what Google thinks your website is about. If the words on your Site Content column are not really what you want Googlebot to think about your site, then you know you need to tweak your website's copy to make it more focused on your core competency.

If, on the other hand your inbound links don't contain any keywords that you want to rank well for, then perhaps you should focus your efforts in that direction.

Above all else, you really want these two lists to agree. You want your inbound linked words to match up to the site content words. This means that Google has a clear understanding of the focus of your website.

Additional Benefits of the Sitemaps Program

Google has even started notifying Sitemaps-participating Webmasters if they are breaking any of Google's Webmaster Guidelines. This can be very valuable information if your site suddenly becomes de-listed on Google and you don't know why.

Only Sitemaps participants can get this information, and it is only provided at Google's discretion. In fact, Google will NOT notify you if you are creating worthless websites that offer no original content, or if you are creating thousands of doorway pages that are redirecting to other web sites. Google doesn't want to give the sp@ammers any clues as to how to improve their techniques.

How Do You Get Started with Google Site Maps?

The first thing you must do is obtain a Google Account. If you already have a Gmail, Adsense, or Adwords account, then you are all set. If not, you can register an account by visiting the Google Accounts page.

Building your sitemap file is pretty easy to do if you are familiar with XML, and if you aren't you can always use a third-party tool such as the ones that are listed on Google's website. Google also has a "Sitemap Generator" that you can download and install on your server, but unless you are fairly adept at managing Python scripts, you should probably stick to the third-party tools.

At any rate, once you have your Google Account and your Sitemap file built, the rest is very easy. All you have to do is:

1. Log into your account

2. Type your website's URL into the "Add Site" box and clíck on "OK"

3. Clíck on the Manage Sites link for the website you are adding, and add your sitemap file to your account.

Google Sitemaps - An Excellent SEO Tool

Google Sitemaps help Googlebot quickly find new content on your website. They allow you to tell Google what's important, what's new, and what changes often. The tools provided to webmasters through the program can play a vital role in helping you understand how the search engines (especially Google) view your website.

Using this information you can dramatically improve the position of your website and quickly clear up any issues Google finds. You can also use the tools provided by Google to gauge the effectiveness of your off-site optimization efforts so you can better focus your time and energy on activities that bring you the most success.

Search Engines History

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SEO began in the mid-1990s, as the first search-engines were cataloging the early Web. Initially, all a webmaster needed to do was submit a site to the various engines which would run spiders, programs to "crawl" the site, and store the collected data. The default search-bracket was to scan an entire webpage for so-called connected search-words, so a page with many not the same words matched more searches, and a webpage contains a dictionary-type listing would match closely all searches, limited only by unique names. The search-engines then sorted the information by topic, and served results based on pages they had spidered. As the number of documents online kept growing, and more webmasters realized the value of organic search listings, so stock search engines began to sort their listings so they could display the most relevant pages first. This was the start of a friction between search engine and webmaster that continues to this day.

At first search-engines were guided by the webmasters themselves. Early versions of search algorithms relied on webmaster-provided that information such as category and product meta tags. Meta-tags provided that a guide to each page's content. When some webmasters began to abuse meta-tags, causing their sides to rank for irrelevant searches, search engines abandoned their consideration of meta-tags and instead developed more complex ranking algorithms, taking into account factors that elevated a limited number of words (anti-dictionary) and was more diverse, including:

  • Text within the title tag

  • Domain name

  • URL directories and file names

  • HTML tags: headings, bold and emphasized text

  • product density

  • product close proximity

  • Alt attributes for images

  • Text within NOFRAMES tags

But, relying so extensively on factors that were still within the webmasters' restricted control, search-engines continued to hurt from abuse and ranking manipulation. In order to provide better results to their users, search-engines had to adapt to ensure their SERPs showed the most relevant search results, rather than useless pages filled with numerous keywords by unscrupulous webmasters, using a bait-and-switch lure to display unrelated webpages. This led to the rise of a new kind of search engine.

The History of Yahoo! - How It All Started...

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Yahoo! began as a student hobby and evolved into a global brand that has changed the way people communicate with each other, find and access information and purchase things. The two founders of Yahoo!, David Filo and Jerry Yang, Ph.D. candidates in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, started their guide in a campus trailer in February 1994 as a way to keep track of their personal interests on the Internet. Before long they were spending more time on their home-brewed lists of favorite links than on their doctoral dissertations. Eventually, Jerry and David's lists became too long and unwieldy, and they broke them out into categories. When the categories became too full, they developed subcategories ... and the core concept behind Yahoo! was born.

The Web site started out as "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web" but eventually received a new moniker with the help of a dictionary. The name Yahoo! is an acronym for "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle," but Filo and Yang insist they selected the name because they liked the general definition of a yahoo: "rude, unsophisticated, uncouth." Yahoo! itself first resided on Yang's student workstation, "Akebono," while the software was lodged on Filo's computer, "Konishiki" - both named after legendary sumo wrestlers.

Jerry and David soon found they were not alone in wanting a single place to find useful Web sites. Before long, hundreds of people were accessing their guide from well beyond the Stanford trailer. Word spread from friends to what quickly became a significant, loyal audience throughout the closely-knit Internet community. Yahoo! celebrated its first million-hit day in the fall of 1994, translating to almost 100 thousand unique visitors.

Due to the torrent of traffic and enthusiastic reception Yahoo! was receiving, the founders knew they had a potential business on their hands. In March 1995, the pair incorporated the business and met with dozens of Silicon Valley venture capitalists. They eventually came across Sequoia Capital, the well-regarded firm whose most successful investments included Apple Computer, Atari, Oracle and Cisco Systems. They agreed to fund Yahoo! in April 1995 with an initial investment of nearly $2 million.

Realizing their new company had the potential to grow quickly, Jerry and David began to shop for a management team. They hired Tim Koogle, a veteran of Motorola and an alumnus of the Stanford engineering department, as chief executive officer and Jeffrey Mallett, founder of Novell's WordPerfect consumer division, as chief operating officer. They secured a second round of funding in Fall 1995 from investors Reuters Ltd. and Softbank. Yahoo! launched a highly-successful IPO in April 1996 with a total of 49 employees.

Today, Yahoo! Inc. is a leading global Internet communications, commerce and media company that offers a comprehensive branded network of services to more than 345 million individuals each month worldwide. As the first online navigational guide to the Web, www.yahoo.com is the leading guide in terms of traffic, advertising, household and business user reach. Yahoo! is the No. 1 Internet brand globally and reaches the largest audience worldwide. The company also provides online business and enterprise services designed to enhance the productivity and Web presence of Yahoo!'s clients. These services include Corporate Yahoo!, a popular customized enterprise portal solution; audio and video streaming; store hosting and management; and Web site tools and services. The company's global Web network includes 25 World properties. Headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., Yahoo! has offices in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Australia, Canada and the United States.

Who We Are

Founded in 1994 by Stanford Ph.D. students David Filo and Jerry Yang, Yahoo! began as a hobby and has evolved into a leading global brand that changed the way people communicate with each other, conduct transactions and access, share, and create information. Today, Yahoo! Inc. attracts hundreds of millions of users every month through its innovative technology and engaging content and services, making it one of the most trafficked Internet destinations and a world class online media company. Our offerings to users on Yahoo! Properties currently fall into five categories: Integrated Consumer Experiences, Applications (Communications and Communities), Search, Media Products & Solutions, and Mobile. The majority of our offerings are available in more than 30 languages. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, with a presence in more than 25 countries, provinces, and territories.

What We Do

Yahoo!'s vision is to be the center of people's online lives by delivering personally relevant, meaningful Internet experiences.

How We Make a Difference

Yahoo! is also committed to empowering its users and employees through programs, products, and services that inspire people to make a positive impact on their communities. Yahoo! for Good connects people with causes through our products and services, as well as through partnerships with nonprofits such as Global Green, Network for Good, and DonorsChoose. Yahoo! also channels the generosity of its employees through the Yahoo! Employee Foundation, a grassroots philanthropic organization that brings together the talents, time, and financial resources of Yahoo! employees. The foundation has given millions of dollars in grants to organizations around the world.

Keeping an Eye Out for E-zine Publishers

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You definitely want to know ezine publishers, especially the ones within your niche. These people are extremely important in your article marketing venture and you should start building your own database of ezine publishers. You want to stay in good terms with these individuals because they can directly alter your status in article marketing.

You will need to start by visiting the many ezine directories and subscribe to the ones within your niche. You should try to read one or two issues before you start to submit articles. Some ezine directories will even provide information regarding whether or not article submissions are even accepted, where they should be sent to, and the article's guidelines. This is really valuable information and should be treated as such.

Once you make the decision to submit your articles to ezines, then you should contact the publisher directly. Ezine companies usually show favoritism to people they have a direct relationship with in comparison to someone who just submits their articles. The ezine publisher may accept article submissions but you will have a much better shot by establishing a relationship with them. Just submitting articles with no other form of contact does no form any kind of relationship.

You could write a personal email instead. Make it a point to tell the publisher how much you enjoy the site and include what you like best about it. Inform them that you have many articles that you know their readers would be interested in. Then, ask them if they would like you to submit them or not. If you are able to point out a particular subject within your niche, do it. This method is much more effective when you are trying to get your foot in the door.

Do not overwhelm ezine publishers with your articles. These are very busy people that get a boatload of email. At first, send only one email a week. This way they can actually get a good feel of your writing style and amount of content. You will have a much better chance getting anywhere with them this way.

You can also send exclusive emails to individual ezine publishers. Publishers really like exclusives. Once a week, write an article real quick exclusively for one ezine. Submit it to the publisher and make sure to let them know that it was written exclusively for them.

Other Article Distribution Strategies

There are tons of ways to get your articles into circulation and you would be well served to use them all. These methods include distributing articles to the article directories or repositories, sending your articles to a list of ezine publishers, using a blog to publish your articles, using other people's blog to promote your articles, submitting your articles to private sites or member only sites, and submitting your articles ion to forums that accept articles. That is a lot of places to use to get your name out there.

There are a few other ways to distribute your articles. Remember, the purpose of the article is to get traffic to your website and increase revenue. Even so, some people forget to put their own articles on their websites. You have written content and websites need content. Make sure that your content makes it to your website.

Another way to distribute your articles is in an eBook where you compiled all the articles that you have for a particular subject. The eBook should be free and should be listed at the many eBook directories on the Internet. This will allow people to give your book away. This is meant to promote your online business so the eBook needs to be done well. The more content and useful information it contains, the more likely that a reader will actually pass it on.

You should also use your articles as part of n email course or series. Again, the series should not cost a thing. Set up an auto responder for the series or course and put a sign up sheet on your website. This will build a bigger email list as well as help your article distribution.

The way you do this is by putting all of the articles in text format and into a folder. From there, compress the folder and upload it to your website. Then, on every single email you send out, include a signature file that lets everyone know that they can download the file for free and use the content however they want as long as the content is not changed and the author's box stay intact.

If you think about it, articles can be used in tons of creative ways. Keep an eye out for new ways to promote and distribute. Never let one of those opportunities pass you by.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Types of Black Hat SEO Techniques

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1- Hidden text – Create modern CSS based websites with JQuery effects. They often hide large portions of text in layers to display them on click or mouse over for usability reasons. Example: CSS pagination.

2- IP delivery – Offer the proper localized content to those coming from a country specific IP address. Offer the user a choice though. Shopping.com does a great job here.

3- 301 redirects – Redirect outdated pages to the newer versions or your homepage. When moving to a new domain use them of course as well.

4- Throw Away Domains – Create exact match micro sites for short term popular keywords and abandon them when the trend subsides. Something like tigerwoodssexrehab.com

5- Cloaking – Hide the heavy Flash animations from Google, show the text-only version optimized for accessibility and findability.

6- Paid links – Donate for charity, software developers etc. Many of them display links to those who donate.

7- Keyword stuffing – Tags and folksonomy. Keyword stuff but adding several tags or let your users do the dirty work via UGC tagging (folksonomy) every major social site does that.

8- Automatically generated keyword pages – Some shopping search engines create pages from each Google search query and assign the appropriate products to each query. You can do that as well if you have enough content.

9- Mispsellings – Define, correct the misspelled term and/or redirect to the correct version.

10- Scraping – Create mirrors for popular sites. Offer them to the respective webmasters. Most will be glad to pay less.

11- Ad only pages – Create all page ads (interstitials) and show them before users see content like many old media do.

12- Blog spam – Don’t spam yourself! Get spammed! Install a WordPress blog without Akismet spam protection. Then create a few posts about Mesothelioma for example, a very profitable keyword. Then let spammers comment spam it or even add posts (via TDO Mini Forms). Last but not least parse the comments for your keyword and outgoing links. If they contain the keyword publish them and remove the outgoing links of course. Bot user generated content so to say.

13- Duplicate content on multiple domains – Offer your content under a creative Commons License with attribution.

14- Domain grabbing – Buy old authority domains that failed and revive them instead of putting them on sale.

15- Fake newsCreate real news on official looking sites for real events. You can even do it in print. Works great for all kinds of activism related topics.

16- Link farm – Create a legit blog network of flagship blogs. A full time pro blogger can manage 3 to 5 high quality blogs by her or himself.

17- New exploits – Find them and report them, blog about them. You break story and thus you get all the attention and links. Dave Naylor is excellent at it.

18- Brand jacking – Write a bad review for a brand that has disappointed you or destroys the planet or set up a brand x sucks page and let consumers voice their concerns.

19- Rogue bots – Spider websites and make their webmasters aware of broken links and other issues. Some people may be thankful enough to link to you.

20- Hidden affiliate links – In fact hiding affiliate links is good for usability and can be even more ethical than showing them. example.com/ref?id=87233683 is far worse than than just example.com. Also unsuspecting Web users will copy your ad to forums etc. which might break their TOS. The only thing you have to do is disclose the affiliate as such. I prefer to use [ad] (on Twitter for example) or [partner-link] elsewhere. This way you can strip the annoying “ref” ids and achieve full disclosure at the same time.

21- Doorway pages – Effectively doorway pages could also be called landing pages. The only difference is that doorway pages are worthless crap while landing pages are streamlined to suffice on their own. Common for both is that they are highly optimized for organic search traffic. So instead of making your doorway pages just a place to get skipped optimize them as landing pages and make the users convert right there.

22- Multiple subdomains – Multiple subdomains for one domain can serve an ethical purpose. Just think blogspot.co or wordpress.com – they create multiple subdomains by UGC. This way they can rank several times for a query. You can offer subdomains to your users as well.

23- Twitter automation – There is nothing wrong with Twitter automation as long as you don’t overdo it. Scheduling and repeating tweets, even automatically tweeting RSS feeds from your or other blogs is perfectly OK as long as the Twitter account has a real person attending it who tweets “manually” as well. Bot accounts can be ethical as well in case they are useful no only for yourself. A bot collecting news about Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake would be perfectly legit if you ask me.

24- Deceptive headlines – Tabloids use them all the time, black hat SEO also do. There are ethical use cases for deceptive headlines though. Satire is one of course and humor simply as well. For instance I could end this list with 24 items and declare this post to a list of 30 items anyways. That would be a good laugh. I’ve done that in the past but in a more humorous post.

25- Google Bowling – The bad thing about Google bowling is that you hurt sites you don’t like. You could reverse that: Reverse Google bowling would mean that you push sites of competitors you like to make those you dislike disappear below. In a way we do that all the time linking out to the competition, the good guys of SEO who then outrank the ugly sites we like a lot less.

26- Invisible links – You’d never used invisible links on your sites did you? You liar! You have. Most free web counters and statistic tools use them. Statcounter is a good example. So when you embed them on your site you use invisible links.

27- Different content for search engines than users – Do you use Wordpress? Then you have the nofollow attribute added to your comment links. this way the search engine gets different content than the user. He sees and clicks a link. A search bot sees a no trespass sign instead. In white hat SEO it’s often called PageRank sculpting. Most social media add ons do that by default.

28- Hacking sites – While crackers hack sites security experts warn site owners that they vulnerabilities. Both discover the same issues. Recently I got an email by someone who warned me to update my WordPress installation. That was a grand idea I thought.

29- Slander linkbait – Pulling a Calacanis like “SEO is bullshit” is quite common these days. Why don’t do it the other way around? The anti SEO thing doesn’t work that good anymore unless you are as famous as Robert Scoble. In contrast a post dealing with “100 Reasons to Love SEO Experts” might strike a chord by now.

30- Map spam – Instead of faking multiple addresses all over the place just to appear on Google Maps and Local why don’t you simply create an affiliate network of real life small business owners with shops and offices who, for a small amount of money, are your representatives there? All they need to do is to collect your mail from Google and potential clients.