|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
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.
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
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
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
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...
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.
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
||List with major directories like Yahoo!, Open Directory, LookSmart.
Since their standards are high, the engines figure that your site must
contain valuable content.
||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
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
How do I find directories like this?
Go to AltaVista. Enter this into the search box
Then do it for your own Concept Keyword and Specific Keywords.
||One-at-a-time, site-by-site, link exchanging or you can automate your
link exchange program. Check out
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.
||If you have several domains on related topics, donít forget to interlink
||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!
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,
theme-specific sections of the major directories
theme-specific minor directories (ďtheme hubsĒ)
theme-related, non-competing, sites
as you happen to discover them, donít spend time searching just for
links to your other domains on related topics
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
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.