A Single Step
Welcome to my quest to become an internet marketing Jedi. Follow me as I learn SEO, Affiliate Marketing, Niche Marketing and other online money-making strategies. Hopefully, some of you will learn from my baby-steps. Perhaps, one day, when I've mastered all this, I'll teach you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Technorati Verification

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Off-Page SEO

Hi, folks.

Today, I'll tell you what I know about off-page SEO.  Once again SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.  Off-page SEO refers to things you do outside of your website/blog to get search engines to notice you and climb their ranks.

Off-page SEO seems to be primarily abut building back-links.  A back-link, again, is when another website posts a link to YOUR website, as opposed to you posting a link to someone else.  Every back-link you create is like a vote for your site.  The more you have, the more popular and authoritative you look.  Now, it should also be mentioned that the QUALITY of your back-links is even more important than the QUANTITY.  One back-link from a highly-respected, authoritative site is worth more than a hundred back links from a bunch of sites no one's ever heard of.

I did a Google search for the "Best Ways to create back-links" (or something to that effect).  I then looked at each result on the first page and came up with the following Top Seven Ways to generate back-links:

1.)  Blog Commenting - This is where you go to someone else's blog and comment on their stuff.  It needs to be a meaningful comment, though; don't just say something for the sake of saying something and creating a back-link.  The problem with this idea, as you might imagine, is that's HORRIBLY inefficient.  To get any movement on the search engine rankings, you need a LOT of back-links (unless you can swing a few good quality back-links) which means you have to find a LOT of blogs you like and make a LOT of comments on them which is probably as tedious and time-consuming as it sounds.

2.)  Article Submission - You write an article and submit it to an article directory or an internet magazine.  There's plently of both out there.  Some of the top directories are EzineArticles, Article Dashboard, GoArticles, Article Base, and Buzzle.

3.)  Forum Posting - You post questions and comments on forums related to your kind of content.

4.)  Directory Submission - There's a ton of website directories out there.  You should probably submit your site address to at least the top 10 or 20.  Technorati is probably the biggest one.  There's also Yahoo!, DMOZ.org, zeal.com, directoryworld.net, and Clickey.

5.)  Social Bookmarking Sites - These are sites where you can "Like" a website.  Stumble is one.  There's also Digg and Reddit. 

6.)  Social Networking - I think this means Facebook and Twitter and the like.  You can have a facebook page devoted to your site or your blog and that'll drive some traffic your way along with some back-links if people really like your stuff.

7.)  Guest Posts - This is where you write an article for someone else's blog.

Really, though, it sounds to me like the best way to generate back-links is through a hybrid of methods called a Link Wheel.  There're lots of different ways to construct a link wheel, but the one that sounds best to me - the one that I intend to use - came from Pat Flynn's site SmartPassiveIncome.com, which he says came from a popular internet marketing forum called Warrior Forum.  I like this strategy because it's multi-layered.  It's really quite brilliant.  I'll let you follow the link to Pat's site and watch the video of him explaining it rather than me explaining it all right here.  That'd take a whole other post by itself.

So, that's off-page SEO, for you.  Again, it's all about the back-links.  Next time, I think I'll try reposting as much information as I can FROM MEMORY.  When I've been making these posts, I've been looking at my notes.  I wanna see how much of this shit I can rattle off without my notes.

Wish me luck.
Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Few Words about Key Words

SEO for beginners

Key words are the key (*slap!*  OW!) to good on-page SEO.  You need good key words to unlock ("Safety's off."  "Okay, I'll stop!") your site's potential.  Key words are the words you type into a search engine to find what you want.  You need to think about what words people would type into a search engine to find your site.

Now, the problem is, a LOT of people are trying to use some of the same key words.  For example, if you type in "porn" or "adult entertainment" you'd get millions of search results.  You'd get thousands just for typing in "coffee" or "paper-clips".  The trick is to be more specific.  Go for a key word phrase.  That's a phrase, mind you; not a whole sentence.  You want more than one word, but not 10.  3 to 5 should do it if you choose them carefully.  For example, if you google "coffee porn" or "adult paper-clips", you're probably not going to get that many results; maybe a few hundred. 

You need to do something called "key-word research".  Fortunately, there're lots and lots of online tools and downloadable programs you can use to do this.  Google has its own key-word research tool.  I wanna say I got the following formula from the guys at "Unknown Secrets of Internet Marketing", but I'm not sure where I heard or read it, really.  You start with a broad, general key word; the main word your site is about.  Type that into your key word research tool and see what you get.  The tool should tell you how many times people have searched for that one word and other related words and phrases over the past month or year or whatever.  It should also give you an idea of how many people are competing to use that word.  Now you need to get more specific.  You need to select a ketword phrase with 500 to 2000 exact global searches; people searching for that exact phrase.  Let's say your key word is "underwear".  Next, you might try "mens underwear".  Then you might go for "mens fart-proof underwear".  Finally, let's say you live in Dallas, so you could go for "Dallas mens fart-proof underwear."  By now, you shouldn't have a lot of competition for a phrase like that.  You probably won't have that many searches for it either, but you'll know there's a relatively small group of men in Dallas who're interested in buying fart-proof underwear.  This should make you happy, assuming you sell that sort of thing.  Once you've got your key words/key word phrases, you should write an article that uses some of those words or phrases in the title, the meta-description, the URL, and the body of the article.

That's the gist of it, anyway.  Find yourself a good keyword research tool, start with a broad word related to your business and then narrow it down by adding other words and exploring alternatives until you find a phrase that doesn't have a ton of competition.

This next part I KNOW I got from the guys at "Unknown Secrets of Internet Marketing".  It's about the different kinds of searches you can do with the Google Adsense Keyword Tool.  (Google Adsense, by the way, is a way to monotize your site and start bringing some money in.  Basically, Google will put affiliate ads on your site and, if anyone buys anything from them, you get a little money.)  Anyway, the first kind of search you can do is a Broad Match.  For example, if you do a broad match search for Butt Plugs, it will find every instance of someone doing a search with the word "butt" and "plugs" with any number of words before, after, or in between, so you'll get search results like "What what in the butt", "Best butt exercises", and "The Butt Blog" (Yes, that's a real one) and you'll get results like "Jewelry plugs", "Hair plugs", and "Electrical plugs".

Next, there's the Phrase Match.  This is where you put your phrase in quote marks like so: "butt plugs".  When you do that, you'll get results with those two words together, but still with other words before and after; just none in between.  You'll get results like "Big Bob's Butt Plug Emporium", ""Butt Plugs not recommended by proctologists",   and "Free butt plug videos".

Finally, there's the Exact Match.  This is when you put you phrase in (brackets).  When you do that, the results you get will tell you how many times people have searched for those two word together and nothing else.

Next, I'll tell you what I know about using those precious, precious key words for on-page SEO.  By the way, Don't be afraid to share what you know with me.  Again, the idea here isn't so much for me to teach you - I'm no expert at this - it's for all of us to study this stuff together, like a study group.  I do this because teaching others what you know is a good way to help yourself remember it.
Saturday, January 8, 2011

On-Page SEO

Hey, everyone.

Just to review, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.  It's all the things you need to do to get your site/blog noticed by search engines like Google and Yahoo.  As I've said before, from what I'm learned, search engines rank search results by two criteria; relevance and popularity.  On-page SEO is things you can do directly on your site/blog and to tell the search engines what your site is all about.  This helps them decide if your site is relevant to a given search.  Off-page SEO is things you do OUTSIDE of your site to show that it is popular and most likely authoritative.  this mostly involves creating back-links.  That's when other sites post a link to your site; not the other way around.  Each back-link is like a vote for your site.  The more you have, the more popular and authoritative your site appears to be to search engines.

Right now, I'm gonna focus on on-page SEO.  My plan is to use the top 10 or 20 on-page SEO techniques on this site before moving on to any off-page SEO stuff.  I figure, before I try to gain popularity, I better make sure I've established my relevance.

It all starts with your key words.  Again, key words are the words you type into a search engine to find what you're looking for.  You need to figure out what key words other people will type into a search engine to find the kind of information you have on your site.

Most on-page SEO is about using your key words in the right places.  A lot of this involves HTML code.  That's the computer code all websites and blogs are based on.  I know, I know; it's a scary foreign language few of us understand, but the good news is, you probably don't need to MASTER HTML to use it.  You just need to know enough to change what you wanna change and if you do a search for these things, you're bound to find a blog or website that tells you EXACTLY what to do.  Don't go monkeying around with the HTML unless you have a clear idea of exactly what you need to do, which isn't hard to find.

Anyway, after doing a quick Google search and polling a few first-page results, I've come up with the following list of the most important on-page SEO techniques:

1. Title Tags:  You title tags are the hidden code (or "meta" code) that can be seen at the top of your browser and in your search results.  See the text at the VERY top of your browser right now?  That's the title tag for this page.  Also, when you search for anything, you see the title tag at the top of each search result; the text you click on to see the page for each result.  You've got to have some good key words or key word phrases in you title tag.  In your HTML, you title tag looks like this: <title>Your site:page name</title>.  Something like that.  If you know how to view your site's HTML, you should be able to 'Find' your <title> tag and change it to whatever you want people to see.  The title tags should be 10 to 60 characters with only letters and numbers in them.

2. Header Tags (H1, H2, and H3 Tags):  The H1 tag tells search engines what the topic of each page is about; not the topic of the whole site, just the topic of each page.  There's a great article on everyjoe.com that explains it like this.  Imagine your site is like a report like the kind you had to write in high school and college.  The title tag is the title of your report.  The H1, H2, and H3 tags are the main heading, sub-headings, and sub-sub-headings respectively.  The lower the number, the more important they are.  Again, if you can find these in your HTML, you can edit them, but make sure you look up some good directions on how to do that first.  I'm not knowledgeable enough to do that now.

3. Your Domain Name:  Your domain name is the name of your site.  It's the part that comes after "http://..." and ends with .com or .net. or .org or whatever.  For example: www.yourwebsite.com is a domain name.  Use one or two of your top key words somewhere in there.

4. Your URLs: Now, the difference between a domain name and a URL is a bit tricky.  It took me asking for help on Warrior Forum to figure this out.  Basically, your domain name is the address of your site, but your URLs are the addresses of each page ON your site.  One guy on Warrior Forum explained it kinda like this: He said your domain name is like a city and your URLs are the addresses WITHIN the city.  Anyway, you're suppose to throw in a key word or two into your URLs on top of the ones you put in your domain names.  Just make sure the name of each page has a key word or two in it.  I think you do this using the header tags I talked about in #2.

5. The Meta-Description: Again, "Meta-", when it comes to websites, means HTML that is not normally visible on the site, but may be somewhere else.  The meta-description is not seen on the website, but it's seen in the search results.  Remember in #1 when I told you that the title tag is the text you click on for each search result you get?  Well, the meta-description is the short description of the site that appears right underneath the clickable title.  This, again, is something you have to go into your HTML to change.

6. Key-Word Density:  This is how many times you use your key words on each page.  From what I've read, it seems like you wanna have a key-word density of about 2%.  I think that means you want your key words to be 2% of the total number of words on each page.  There's plenty of online tools to help you figure this out if you search for them.

7. Internal Linking: This is just when you link your pages together by having a link to you other pages on each page.  I don't think every page has to have a link to every other page, but a person shouldn't have to click more than three links to get from one page on your site to any other page.

8. Good Content:  This is almost self-explanatory.  If you've got good content, people will keep coming back and linking to you.  Give them value.  Entertain them.  Help them with something.  Show them a product or some information that'll make their lives easier. 

9. The Beginning and The End:  You're 'spose to use your key words in the first and last 50 to 100 words on each page.

10. Alt Image Tags:  If you use any images on your site, those images are bound to have HTML tags of their own.  If you can find those tags, you can throw in some of your key words in the description on each image.

Well, those are about the ten most important things you need to do, again, according to the websites that turned up when I searched for the "most important on-page SEO techniques".  I've done some of these with this tie already, but I need to finish doing all of them.  I'd post links to instructions on how do do each of these things, but it depends on what site you're using.  

By the way, you'll notice I put almost all the the items on my list on bold type.  I've read that putting your key words in bold, italic, or underlined type is another way of putting emphasis on them and telling the search engine crawlers they're important.  "Crawlers" are the little programs that come and sniff around your site and inspect it and then report back to the search engine about how well constructed and popular your site is.  If you've got everything fine-tuned, they'll give a good report and you'll climb those search engine ranks.

Anyway, good luck with your endeavors.  See ya 'round.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Online Marketing Notes

Directory World

Here are my notes on what I've learned so far about online marketing.  They're kind of random, as notes usually are:

Pat Flynn is the creator of an EXCELLENT source of information on internet marketing called Smart Passive Income.  You'll hear me mention him here and there.  I've been listening to his podcasts and I found another podcast where someone else interviewed him and he talked about his back story, which I found valuable as it was the inspiration for this blog.  He started out taking notes for an exam called the LEED and publishing his notes online.  People started visiting his site.  He monotized that site.  "Monotized" means he gave it a way to make money for him.  There's a difference between having a website or a blog and having one that makes money for you.  The latter has been monotized so it brings in money.  Anyway, he monotized this site with his notes on that exam and then he wrote an ebook about it to help people pass the exam and then he had it re-purposed as an audio-book.  "Re-purposed" is when you take your site content and put it into another format like a Youtube video or a podcast or an audio-book.  It sounds like a good way to spread your ideas around and bring in some cash.  I'll probably do that myself soon; maybe with this site.

I found this great post on ProBlogger by a guy calling himself "the Blog Tyrant" with the following quote; some advice he got from his uncle:

"You must always have a short-term source of income that pays the bills, two medium-term projects that supplement the income, and one long-term project that's a year away from fruition."

You can embed affiliate links in your Youtube videos.  If I haven't explained it before, allifiate marketing - which is a VERY popular way to make money online and one that I intend to start working on as soon as I feel like I've got a good handle on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) - is when you have a website with whatever kind of content you're interested in and on this website you also have links people can click on to buy products you like.  Every time they buy a product - or maybe when they just click on the link - you get a little money, like a commission on the sale.  Anyway, you can do this with Youtube videos.  You can become a "Youtube Partner", I believe it's called.  They'll put little ads in your videos and if anyone buys anything from those ads, you get a little money.  I was invited to become a partner based on my parody video A Walk on the Dark Side but then they rejected me.  I guess they decided Lou Reed'd be pissed if he knew I was makin' some money off his music.

Generating Traffic:
Write about things your passionate about.  
If someone comments on your blog, and they have one of their own, read their stuff and comment on it.  At least thank them for their comment on your stuff.  Always thank people.  
Have a solid understanding of who your market is, how they'll find you, and what problems you're helping them solve.

Affiliate Programs:

Look for affiliate programs with recurring billing.  Make sure the products and services you affiliate for are relevant to your audience.  

Use Ping services.

Once you set up a website, create a fan page for it on facebook and invite all your friends to it.

Find high-profile people in your niche and try to add them to your contacts on Twitter and facebook.

These are five questions Pat Flynn says you should be asking yourself about your internet business:
Am I making a good first impression?
Am I giving people a reason to come back?
Am I giving people an easy way to consume my conent?
Is my content sharable?
Why am I listening to Pat?

This is from Pat's podcast in which he interviewed Glen Allsop from a viral marketing site called Viperchill.com.  This is a way to decide what kind of niche or affiliate marketing site you want to have:
Write down your fears, passions, and problems in life.  
Goonline and see if there's a big market of people who share those things with you.
Find a product that addresses those things.  
Build a website around those products.
In time, try to develop your own product(s) that address those things.

You can use Twitter and Google Trends to do market research. and find out what's popular.  "Market Research" is just research that helps you determine how much interest there is in the kind of business you want to have.

Check out Google Optimizer.
Monday, January 3, 2011

Generating Blog Traffic 2

Hey, everyone.

I thought it might be nice if I actually explained some of the stuff I’ve learned for my fellow amateurs from an amateur’s point of view since I know I DO get a few people reading this.  Mostly, I’ll just be regurgitating stuff I’ve read on other sites in my own words.
What I’m basically talking about is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  Once you start a blog or a website, you need to submit it to the big search engines; mostly just Google and Yahoo!.  SEO is ways of getting higher rankings on those search engines so people who use them can find you and you can get more traffic; that is, people visiting your site.

First, there’s Tags.  You’ve probably seen tags before.  They’re those words associated with an article or video; little classifications that help you look stuff up and help search engines decide what kind of site you have if you’re starting one.  For example, if you go to youtube and type in “kittens”, you’ll get videos with the “kittens” tag on them.  Tags are the key words people type into a search engine to find what they’re looking for.  That’s a good way to choose tags, by the way; just think of what you’d type into a search engine to help you find the kind of content you wanna put on your site.  Apparently, you’re suppose to use at least one or two of these key words in the title of whatever it is you’re putting up, be it an article or video or what-have-you, and use them in the body of your articles or descriptions of your videos, too.  Whatever site you’re putting your content on will probably specifically ask you what kid of tags you wanna put on it.  When I finish this article, for example, I have to choose the tags for it before I publish it.

Off the top of my head, I don’t really remember what meta-tags are.  They’re similar to normal tags, of course, but serve a different function.  Actually, I may have just described meta-tags instead of regular tags, or possibly both for all I know.  Anyway, a good Google search will tell you what I can’t.

Another good way of getting better rankings on the search engines is to have a lot of back-links.  This is when other people post a link to your site on theirs.  Apparently these are pretty important.  The more you have, the more popular you must be.  One way to get those, as I mentioned in my last post, is to comment on other people’s articles on sites that ask if you have a blog or website of your own when you comment on theirs.  Make sure you post something meaningful, though.  Don’t just go there and write “Cool article”.  Don’t be a jack-ass.  There’s gotta be other ways of getting back-links, though.  Going to other people’s sites and commenting on them for every single back-link seems very inefficient and time-consuming.

Another thing is site-pinging.  You get your site “pinged” by a search engine or a pinging service.  I’m not entirely sure what this is or how important it is, though, at this point.

I’ve also started making youtube videos of at least some of my blogs.  Just today, I figured out how I can upload videos made on my new iPod Touch.  I tried doing that before, but I had problems with the sound track being off so it looked like I was in a badly dubbed movie.  I figure posting video blogs is just another good way to get myself out there.  I try to point people to this blog in the description of my videos.

Anyway, again, that’s where I’m at.  That’s what I know right now.  I’ve got a lot to learn.  My blog traffic is improving, but it’s not quite at the level it should be before I try to make any money off of it.  I’m still coming up with ideas for what kind of sites I wanna have, but first things first; gotta learn how to get people’s attention.

Wish me luck.

A Man of Weath and Taste

I thought I’d introduce myself.  My name is Tim.  I was born and raised in Minnesota.  I have an older sister and a younger sister.  I'm the son of a hard-working single mom and a half-mad missionary.  I grew up in a wee village of just 306 people.  After high school, I went to college in Mankato, Minnesota.  I started out majoring in Theater, but then switched to Philosophy, then Law Enforcement, then Psychology.  

In 1998, I dropped out of college to pursue my dream of living in California.  This was a mistake.  I took a bar-tending course but my job-seeking skills were so abysmal I never found a job.  Then I learned how hard it can be to get a job and make a living as a college drop out in San Diego.  I managed to find a job waiting tables, which I got fired from.  I did telemarketing for a while.  I was homeless for a month, during which I stayed in a couple of cheap motels.  Eventually I found an apartment and a new job at a deli.  

In the fall of 1999, around the time of my 22nd birthday, I joined the Army as a medic.  I did my basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, my medical training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and served my first 2 years and 4 months at Fort Polk, Louisiana before going to Korea for my last year and three months.  When I got out, I went back to college and took up Psychology again before deciding I idn't want to be in college as long as it took to make it in Psychology, so I switched to Therapeutic Recreation in which I eventually got my degree.  

While I was in college, I heard about the idea of teaching English abroad and loved it.  I got myself a job in Japan with the biggest tutoring academy chain in the country.  Two months later, they went bankrupt.  Five thousand teachers lost their jobs overnight, making it virtually impossible to find another job in Japan.  Some of my friends started applying to Korea so I did, too.  My phone rang every 10 minutes with job offers.  I landed a good job with a reputable company near Seoul.  The next year, I taught on an island off the southern tip called Jeju.  It was great there.  The beaches were beautiful and there were loads of museums and parks and other tourist attractions.  Right now, I at a public middle-school in Daejeon.  I'm not sure if I'm coming back to Korea after this year.  

Well, that's gonna be all for now.  Next time, I'll tell ya what this blog is all about.  See ya soon.