Milin Enterprists
Milin Enterprises
Chapter 8

Build Free
Search Engine Traffic

     
     
Web site traffic is not like the weather! You can do much more than just watch and talk about it.

Now that you know how your pages rank for your keywords, and since youíve experimented (in chapter 6) with a variety of formulas while sticking to basic Search-Engine-sexy principles, you can start to tweak your pages.

Add an extra keyword to the title. Or increase the amount of content. Or decrease it. The key is to note which pages are doing well and start to reproduce those successes. Tweak, re-submit, and track. Then repeat. Sooner or later, youíll start to rank well for more and more pages. Soon after that, youíll start ranking well for many of your pages at many of the engines.

Bottom line. Try to get half of your pages in the Top 10 in at least half of the engines. At that point, stop tweaking! Donít try to get into the Top 10 for all pages in all engines. Youíll only drive yourself crazy, wasting time. And if you have a spot in the Top 10 for any page, never try to make that page better, youíll go backwards more often than not.

I donít mean to imply that you should be delighted. If some pages are simply off the ranking radar (especially if they donít score well in any engines at all!), review them to make sure that you are not making any gross errors (see chapter 6's information about how to write a high-ranking page). If youíve done a good job, and if youíve tried a couple of times to improve it without results, youíre better off creating more new content. Why?

Hereís what happens when you write 100 good, solid one-size-fits-all-engines pages. The engines shuffle their ranking formulas every now and then. So 20 pages may drop down in Excite, for example. But 15 others move up! And two weeks later, pages that were #100 in AltaVista suddenly start scoring on Page 1!

When engines tweak their ranking algorithms, they canít just suddenly say, OK, the Title does not matter any more. The big picture has to remain the same. Itís the details that they change.  Donít sweat it, it all evens out. From here on in, your time is best spent creating new pages, rather than tweaking. You can write a good new page far faster than the repeated tweaking cycles each page requires.

Why one-size-fits-all? Why not create a different version of the same page for each engine? Yes, some people do go so far as to create a different version page for every engine. Donít bother. First, itís not a productive way to spend your time -- much better to write brand new pages. And second, if you do this, you are no longer writing for both humans and engines. You are just playing a game. And these kinds of tricks simply do not last long. This can actually backfire, big-time.

Youíve heard of KISS, right (Keep It Simple, Stupid)? Well, KISSE! (Keep It Simple, Search Engines).

One traffic-building action you should consider at this stage is building your popularity. No, not you! Your site! Letís get back to thinking like an engine. Pretend youíre a Search Engine, whatís another way for you to tell whether a site is relevant for a concept?

Letís say that you have a site that is all about porcupines. And further, that you have an excellent page in that site about the mating habits of porcupines (a prickly issue, I agree! Sorry, I couldnít resist.). Letís use that site to see how link popularity works.

How about if you, the engine, could see that lots of sites, all kinds of sites, link to you? Yes, thatís a plus. What about if many of those sites were from zoos? Better. What if those sites were about porcupines? Even better! What if the single most important site in the whole world about porcupines linked to that site? The best. What if 100 of the best porcupine sites all linked to it? No dispute, thatís the best.

And your page about porcupine sex would score especially well if many of those links came into this page from other pages about the, reproductive habits of porcupines, and had ďporcupine mating habitsĒ in the incoming links!

Bottom line? The more sites that link to a site, and the more important they are, and the closer they are to the theme of that site, even to the topic of individual pages, the more popularity points for that site (and page).

Popularity, an off-page criterion the engines are using more and more, is still not a dominant weighting factor presently. Why? Because most sites donít have many links to them at all. If all sites had hundreds of incoming links, link popularity would be a far stronger tool. Scoring high for link popularity is relatively more useful if you are trying to win for tough words like e-commerce.

Why? Well, itís kind of like the golf pros on the PGA Tour. They are all so good, that the difference is razor-blade thin. Zillions of sites are trying to rank #1 for e-commerce (a mistake, by the way, the concept is too untargeted, luckily you know to work the niches, right?).

All those experts are working so hard for a #1 ranking. And even for such an in-demand keyword, link popularity is not the be all and end all. Try this, Go to AltaVista and do a search for ďe-commerce.Ē As I do this now, I see that ďinternet.comĒ is at #1. 

Type this into AltaVista's search box, exactly like this

link:internet.com - host:internet.com

What does that mean? The search request is asking AltaVista for all the links that point to internet.com (ďlink:internet.comĒ) minus those that link to itself (ď-host:internet.comĒ). You can also try it with just...

link:internet.com

Either way, check the link popularity for each of the Top 10 for ďe-commerce.Ē

Youíll find that most of them have thousands of incoming links (internet.com had 1,200,000!). But when I did this little experiment, there was one site in the Top 10 that only had a single link in... yes, just one! So clearly link popularity is not heavily weighted or it would have driven that site out of the Top 10.

Now repeat the linking research, but this time search for something much less in-demand. Check out the Top 10 for this search result. Youíll see that the number of links to each of these sites is far less. Also, if you check out, say, the 100th site in the search results, these deeper sites tend to have fewer links to them. But not by a heck of a lot.

Overall conclusion? Yes, link popularity is a factor. And it is worth building some into your site. But itís not the be-all-and-end-all, especially not for niche sites, which is what you are creating.

However, link popularity is expected to grow in importance. So it is worth adding a little popularity to your site. Hereís what to do, and what not to do, to get more popular.
 
1:  List with major directories like Yahoo!, Open Directory, LookSmart. Since their standards are high, the engines figure that your site must contain valuable content.
2:  List with directories that are specific to your area of interest. These are niche hub sites that offer links for little or no money. For example, take a look at this wonderful directory for all things related to mining
http://goldsheet.simplenet.com/

If you had a site about investing in mining stocks, wouldnít this make a nice listing for you? Text links are free and a small logo is only $50 per year.

Question: 
How do I find directories like this?

Answer:
Go to AltaVista. Enter this into the search box

+mining +directory


Then do it for your own Concept Keyword and Specific Keywords.

3:  One-at-a-time, site-by-site, link exchanging or you can automate your link exchange program. Check out
http://willmaster.com/master/rlinks/index.shtml
http://www.linksmanager.com/

Donít waste time surfing endlessly for nice sites with good traffic (you can check at Alexa) and a similar theme. In my experience, the response rates to friendly, individualized e-mails requesting a link exchange is almost zero. On the other hand, maybe you schmooze better than I do.

However, while I would not specifically set aside time to look for such sites, I would e-mail them as I discovered them in the course of doing other, more productive work. Not much to lose that way.

4:  If you have several domains on related topics, donít forget to interlink them all!
5:  Whatís a definite not to do? Do not do the FFAs. If you donít know that FFA stands for Free-For-All linking sites, then youíre better off!
One more thing, remember that links go both ways. Create a links page that sends links out to terrific, on-competing, high-traffic (verify with Alexa) Web sites. The best way is to reciprocate on your incoming links

  1. theme-specific sections of the major directories
  2. theme-specific minor directories (ďtheme hubsĒ)
  3. theme-related, non-competing, sites 

  4. as you happen to discover them, donít spend time searching just for this.
  5. links to your other domains on related topics
Linkage counts both ways with the engines, incoming and outgoing. Remember to code your HTML so that you open a new window with these links, so you donít lose anyone who links out (your page will be there, underneath, when the other window is closed). If your outgoing links have affiliate programs, even better!
 
Yes, Site Build It! even allows you to do this as you create your pages. No worries about the HTML. It does it for you. If, for some reason, you don't want to open a new window, that's OK -- you have the choice.

So, both linking in and out counts. And, to strengthen the impact of those links on your ranking results, include your Specific Keywords both in the links out, and in the links that come into you.

Time to summarize the process for building traffic through the Search Engines.

Tweak, Link, Re-submit, Track. Then do it again. When youíve got it right, create more high value content and then, tweak, Link, Resubmit, Track. Then do it again. When youíve got it right, stop tweaking. Instead go back to chapter 6. Create new content!

That wraps up building traffic through Search Engines. I sincerely hope that you believe that you can do this. Because you can. If you follow this honest, high value, win-win-win-win approach, if you overdeliver to your readers, if you simply write and tweak your high-value content pages fairly, and if you experiment until you get it right.

Youíll do as well as the pros with far less aggravation.


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