Web 2.0 Secrets
This comes from a webinar that was hosted by Mark Ling from Affilorama, and featured “Mr. K” a.k.a. Jason Katzenback. Unless otherwise noted, the person ‘speaking’ below is Jason Katzenback.
Finding Profitable Keywords
Before getting into the web 2.0 strategies, it’s really important that you realize that one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned when it comes to researching your keywords is to not be deceived by what the keyword research tools are telling you.
Often what we think is that we need to look for keywords with low competition, but for me that’s a huge mistake. One of the most powerful things you can do when looking for keywords, traffic and markets is to look at where the money is going.
Now, a lot of people will hear that and say, “Oh yeah, we know that,” but people still do it. They jump on WordTracker or another one of those big-name keyword research tools, they find terms that seem really popular, they build an affiliate site and (even if they’re getting traffic) they might get no sales whatsoever because there’s no money in those search terms or in that market.
What I recommend is that you look at the pay-per-click model. I’m not saying you need to use pay-per-click, just look at where the money is going. With PPC you know that people won’t spend money on keywords that don’t earn money: after a few weeks they’ll drop the poorly performing keyword.
The difference is that you’re not looking at words that are simply popular searches, but words that are profitable. That is, they translate into sales, signups, or whatever measure you’re looking at.
If I were to choose between building ten pages based around keywords where I know the traffic converts or building 100 pages around popular keywords where I’m not sure if the traffic converts, I’m going to go with the keywords that convert. Even though you might get less traffic, the traffic you do get ends up making you more money.
So how do you find these profitable keywords?
The strategy I teach my clients is this: For any website you have two kinds of keywords: Product-specific keywords and all the rest.
Product-specific keywords are words that are obviously related to a particular product. If we were promoting Traffic Travis, for instance, product-specific keywords would include “Traffic Travis”, “Traffic Travis review” and so forth. With these words you know that the person searching on them is interested in the product. Traffic might be low, but the conversions are just fantastic.
So what I tell my students is to focus on attracting traffic that is searching on these highly-converting product specific keywords, and then try spying on advertisers in the same market who are bidding on PPC to see what words they’re bidding on.
[The great news is that Traffic Travis has a cutting-edge competition analysis tool which can help you do this. And it’s free!]
The idea is that you grab a complete list of keywords for the product or market and then use this list and these tools to find out what people are bidding on. Keep tabs on your competition and their ads for at least two weeks and see which ads and which keywords still show up. If they’re still using a keyword after two weeks you can be pretty sure they’re making money on it.
What is Web 2.0?
This is a term coined a few years ago to describe the “new” interactive internet. Evolving web technologies allow people to get more involved with websites — gone are the days when all you could do on the internet is read content – now you can watch videos, play games, join communities, take polls, vote on content, post comments, etc. We’ve gone from being talked at to being talked with.
From an internet marketing perspective, this is great. There are a huge number of web 2.0 sites out there, all begging people to get involved with them. What this means is that getting backlinks to your site is no problem whatsoever anymore. In the past you had to worry about contacting other website owners, sending out hundreds of emails, arranging reciprocal links…. these days you don’t have to worry about that. There are hundreds of resources out there that will put your link onto authority sites that the search engines just love. What’s better — as you add new content to these sites the search engines are extremely quick to jump on it, so you get traffic from both people AND the search engines.
How does this work?
Jason’s Web 2.0 backlink method:
The biggest tool at your disposal is the RSS feed.
RSS is a type of language that formats your website content in a standard way so that RSS readers can understand your content. When you go to a blog or any number of other sites you’ll often see an orange block in the address bar, or somewhere else on the page. That’s the RSS icon. If you click on this it will bring up the RSS feed.
Where it’s useful for us is that a lot of these “web 2.0” sites allow you to both create RSS feeds and add content to their networks using RSS feeds. They translate your feed into standard HTML so that it can be published as content on a website. Every time you post a new article on a site that has an RSS feed it will automatically update the RSS feed and consequently any site that is using that RSS feed, so by updating one site you can effectively be updating many. Not only that, but each update will also provide a link back to the original source for the RSS feed. You can essentially build a chain or network of sites and links that ends up pointing back to your main website, and thereby explode your traffic through the backlinks.
The way to do it is to take a systematic approach. Take a good, high-quality article that links to your main affiliate site on your important keywords, then go to (for example) Hubpages and build yourself a great Hubpage on this site. The article should also focus on your keywords, ie “Traffic Travis Review”.
Hubpages will create an RSS feed using this content.
Then you go to Squidoo and build a lens called “Traffic Travis” or whatever tickles your fancy. Again focusing on your keywords. Squidoo allows you to enter an RSS feed, so take your Hubpages RSS feed and put that into Squidoo. (At this point you should also add another article or at least a brief summary.)
Now you have a Squidoo lens that links to your Hubpage which links to your Traffic Travis affiliate site. Squidoo also creates an RSS feed from your content (which now includes your Hubpages content and the extra article or summary you added to the Squidoo lens) so you take this RSS feed and insert it into a Blogger blog, or some other site. Again you would add an extra article or summary at this point, so now you have your original article, your Squidoo article or summary and your Blogger article or summary, and it all points back to your original Traffic Travis affiliate site.
I don’t want this to sound like a “recipe” as such… you should use different sites and mix things up to see what works best.
Some good sites to use are:
- wordpress.com (although they’re VERY wary of anything that looks commercial)
- twitter.com (for getting your new sites, posts, comments etc indexed in Google)
- ping.in (for pinging your new content)
In addition to creating RSS feeds, one of the great things about sites like Squidoo is that you’re allowed to add “tags” to your entries. Here you can play on one of the great aspects of human psychology, which is that we’re all inherently lazy. The general Joe Bloggs inhabiting Squidoo land won’t think too much about the tags he adds to his material. They’ll usually only add one or two very general tags, which is of course what everyone else does as well. They’ll all be “competing” for these very general tags, but if you come along and add a more detailed three word keyword phrase as a tag (a keyword phrase that you’d like to rank on) then you might find your material appearing in the search engines for that phrase.
For example, if you’ve tagged your Traffic Travis review on Squidoo as “Traffic Travis Review,” your Squidoo lens might appear in Google as “Traffic Travis Review on Squidoo”. Often these phrases are searched for within the network itself as well.
The benefits of interacting with Web 2.0 sites
Another thing to think about when you’re playing on these sites is that frequently they’re “self sustaining” networks. They use their own algorithms to determine which sites to make more prominent in the network. Sometimes it comes down to how many backlinks you have, but a huge part of it is the more “internal” factors of the site.
Remember that these are social sites. Don’t just put up content and walk away… to get the most out of them you need to interact with the site. Comment on other pages, vote on other sites. For every action you do you get a link back to your page, and the system recognizes that you’re active on the site and favors you accordingly. Everything you do produces a benefit. Don’t lose sight of this fact.
This is how web 2.0 sites are inherently different from sites of yore. Try doing this with an article directory!
The new “mini-nets”
About five years ago Michael Campbell (I think!) wrote an eBook about creating “mininets” — a bunch of websites that would link to your affiliate page. The search engines would see this bunch of websites linking to you and would bump you up the search engines. Of course Google saw this happening and changed their algorithm to detect activity like this: Now they do things like checking IP addresses, domain names, domain registers etc to see if websites are connected in some way. They want to make sure that websites are being linked to from different places, not just from a bunch of websites owned by some guy named John in Seattle.
Web 2.0 takes over from the mininet concept. Instead of using your own websites you can take advantage of all these giant free websites out there.
Just to demonstrate how big these Web 2.0 sites are, for a very long time the top three sites in the world for traffic (according to Alexa, which is not 100% accurate but gives you a good idea) were Google, Yahoo and MSN. If you look at the Alexa rankings for the United States today, you’ll see that both MSN and Yahoo have been bumped down the list, and the second most visited site is Facebook, followed by YouTube – all web 2.0 sites, all getting huge traffic. The difference is that while you have to fight your way tooth and claw to get into Google, with the web 2.0 sites all you have to do is submit your content. If it’s formatted correctly and focused right then you’ll start getting traffic immediately, and if you’re still focused on the search engines… they LOVE these sites!
Promoting your promotions
An important concept here is the idea of not just promoting your affiliate site, but promoting the sites that are promoting your affiliate sites. Promoting your promotions.
Put it this way: Instead of just submitting an article to ezinearticles.com and getting a little bit of traffic from people who find that article in the search engines, why not try promoting that article so that it goes up in the search engines and you get more traffic? Why have just ONE site ranking well in the search engines when you can have TEN?
Here’s a story: A while ago a friend of mine approached my team and said “help!”. There was one site appearing very highly in the search engines that had all his contact details on it: His home address, his phone number, everything. He asked if we could somehow push it down the search engine results. Well, we used this method of putting content on the web 2.0 sites, promoting and cross-promoting them, and within a few hours we had 16 of the top slots in Google.
Can you imagine what you would do with 16 of the top 20 spots in Google?
Choosing Web 2.0 sites to use:
Don’t get too hung up on which sites to use. When you find one that you’re able to use, I recommend that you watch your website stats. If you see that certain sites are sending traffic and others aren’t, focus on the ones that are. Most web hosting companies will give you a basic stats package where you can see where the traffic is coming to your site from: Learn how to use this. And don’t worry about the “nofollow” tag. (The tag that some sites add to their outgoing links that tells the search engines not to pay attention to that link. It was introduced a few years back to try to curb comment spam in blogs. It’s considered a problem for internet marketers because a backlink with a “nofollow” tag doesn’t really count as a backlink.) Even with the nofollow tag, people will visit a website, read your content and then visit your site.
Using WordPress.com in your Web 2.0 strategies
Be very very careful with WordPress.com. (Note that this is different to WordPress.org. WordPress.com allows you to host a blog on their servers, while wordpress.org gives you the software to host your own blog on your own server.) They’re very wary of anything that smells like it has commercial interests. If you’re wanting a blog to promote products, don’t use WordPress.com. Go to somewhere like Blogger or Pulse.Yahoo. That said, WordPress.com is still very popular. It has a huge fanbase, a huge Alexa ranking, and gets indexed very quickly. But you should never put a salesy call to action into a WordPress.com blog — say things like “to continue reading about this, click here” or something non-salesy like that.
Twitter is great. It’s basically a site where people post very brief messages about what they’re doing right now. “Watching television with the kids” and that kind of thing. When I first saw it I thought “what a useless site!” but then I realised that the GoogleBot is all over this site. If you post a link to Twitter, even if there’s no search engine benefit from it as such, the GoogleBot will be off spidering that link within fifteen minutes. This is a great way to get your site indexed, and it really illustrates the point that you need to look at these web 2.0 sites and see how you can use them.
You don’t even need a website!
With the way the web is these days, you don’t even need to build a website. Just jump on a site like Squidoo, Hubpages, Xanga or Blogger to build your primary affiliate site. If you have good content it’ll just take a few hours to put together.
Can you use this method with AdSense sites?
This method also works really well for AdSense sites. To start ranking highly for my AdSense sites I usually pick just three pages (three keywords) to focus on for the first thirty days. For those 30 days all my promotions are focused on those keywords — they never alter. If you’re promoting a Traffic Travis review and your keywords are “Traffic Travis review”… don’t alter them. Don’t use “Read my Traffic Travis review” as the link text. Stay focused. The keywords you use in your link text are extremely powerful for getting rankings on those words. Promote all that content using that keyword.
Keeping your content fresh
MARK: Jason mentioned the need to keep updating your site. You can also just move your content around to make it look fresh to the search engines. I often take the pages of my website that are really making money and I just change a few words around every month or so.
JASON: Even if you just move your content around, grab an image and move it to somewhere else on the page. But it needs to look natural. A few years ago when people were getting into RSS feeds they would insert an RSS feed into their site with the idea that every time the RSS feed updated, their site would be updated, and the search engines would see fresh content and give you “fresh points”.
The search engines got wise to this and now they know that if the same section of a page changes while nothing else on the page changes, something fishy is going on. You need to change your site in a natural way. You could maybe even change your template, although that’s a lot of work! The search engines really do look at all the code on your page.
While we’re talking about the content of your page, here’s another thing. It’s very important that your website title and description are unique. If you simply duplicate the title and description across all your pages, the search engines look at that and say “According to your title and description, this page is exactly the same as your other page. So we’ll only rank one of them.”
The same is true for your web 2.0 sites. Don’t use the same content on all sites. Use different titles, different content. If you have ten great, unique articles on ten sites you can nab the top ten spots in the search engine results.
Watch your stats
By watching your website statistics (and again, every hosting company will provide you with a basic package) you’ll often find that people are arriving at your site through keywords you hadn’t planned for. When you see this information, take it and start building links to that page using that keyword.
Are your landing pages for PPC and organic traffic the same?
No. With PPC you need to pull your visitors in and get them to take action immediately. What I do is work on building the perfect PPC landing page, and then take that and modify it from a SEO perspective. Your PPC landing page is unlikely to be a good fit for SEO because it won’t tie in with the content. SEO requires lots of content, while PPC doesn’t need as much. You can pretty much duplicate your PPC landing pages and modify them slightly for each keyword you target, but with SEO all your content needs to be unique to rank well. With SEO what I would do is have all my unique content point to a pre-sell page, so the content is unique and can rank well, but you still get that call to action from the pre-sell.
What’s a pre-sell?
In SEO it could be simply a product review. It’s the page that calls on your reader to take action, whether it’s clicking through to the merchant site through your affiliate link, signing up for your newsletter, whatever.
What’s an “intermediate sales page”?
When you’re posting content on the internet, whether it’s on these Web 2.0 sites or your own website, it needs to have a purpose. If I’m promoting Traffic Travis, for instance, I might write an article on link building. By itself that article isn’t going to do anything, I need to build a purpose into that article and tell them that they should check out Traffic Travis, and give them a link to click through to my Traffic Travis review (my pre-sell page). My article is now an intermediate sales page.
Whatever you do, don’t ever just put an affiliate link to a product in your sidebar and think that you’re promoting the product. Always create a pre-sell page, or a review, or something that pre-qualifies the traffic.
MARK: Make sure you use at least half the words in your PPC ad in your landing page, and preferably use ALL the words in the headline of your PPC ad. Google makes sure that your website is relevant to your ad, and while there are some human reviewers, a lot of it is based on algorithms. And if you don’t want your PPC landing pages appearing in the search engines, put “noindex, nofollow” in the metatags. (You can also block spiders in the robots.txt — Jason)
JASON: Another point about PPC pages, while we’re on the topic. Make sure that your landing pages go up on a good quality site with at least 20 good articles accessible from the homepage. You don’t need to link to them from your landing page, but Google will spider the homepage and check if it’s a good quality site. If there are relevant keywords in there you’re unlikely to be Googleslapped. (Made to pay ridiculously inflated prices for each click on your ad.)
There is a big difference between being a traffic broker and an asset builder.
Traffic brokers just send traffic from one site to another site. When you do this you’re very vulnerable. If an affiliate program you’re promoting through PPC bites the dust, you have to start a whole new campaign from scratch.
If you’ve built a site (or a network of sites) with good content, you have no problem if the affiliate program you’re promoting dies. You can just switch to a different product. That’s the difference: You’re building assets. You’ve built yourself a big spiderweb with your own website in the middle of it, surrounded by a bunch of other websites, and you’ve built that web yourself.
Is there really any benefit to creating blogs?
Remember that a blog is just a website. If the content of the blog is not very good then you’re not going to have great results. If you pit a static HTML page with great content against a blog with average content, the HTML page will win every time. The real benefit with blogs is that they’re so easy to use, but other than that I don’t think there’s as much of a benefit as everyone says.
Does keyword density and other onpage factors make much difference to your search engine rankings?
It depends on which search engine you’re talking about. Different search engines have different levels of susceptibility to onpage factors. MSN is particularly susceptible. Yahoo slightly less so. Google even less than that.
What I recommend is that instead of focusing on keywords, you focus on the title of your page. Once you’ve got your title and written content, it’ll all seem natural.
When I have over-optimized pages crammed with keywords I find that I get quick rankings, but they fall off very quickly. Somehow the well-written content does better, although I don’t know how they figure it out! Focus on your reader and on your incoming links rather than keyword density.
That said, I still believe in the H1 tag and the bolded keyword, but I’m not about to run around saying “ooh, I need 6% keywords!” I mean, you still need to make sure that the search engines know what your content is about. You should still have your keywords in your title and your description, but other than that… content is just content.
Does having your keywords in your domain name make a difference for your search engine rankings?
Here’s a funny story. When Affiliate Elite was released a friend of mine had the domain name “affiliate-elite-review.info”. The site had nothing on it but a blank WordPress template, but even so it managed to rank #7. Of course once people started promoting Affiliate Elite properly he was bumped off, but it shows that your domain name has some influence.
Do you have an opinion on link-building tools like LinkMetro?
I still have these running for a few of my sites — by that I mean I haven’t removed them — but I don’t focus on these anymore. There are too many better ways out there for building links. I think that people spend too much time on these systems, when what you really need is a variety of links. I don’t think you should make it your main focus. If a site wants to swap links with me, I say “Give me content and I’ll give you content.” A link in content is much more powerful than a link in a directory. And for goodness sake, don’t put a script on your page that says “Powered by XYZ”. These are reciprocal links and Google absolutely hates them.
Can you recommend a script for managing reciprocal links?
Not really. I just get my guys to insert links using plain old HTML in Dreamweaver, and I don’t really pay attention to whether people keep their links back to me. As a side note… be careful that you don’t put more than 20 links on a page. Google hates it, and any more than 20 links is useless.
Are press releases effective?
I’m not really a fan of the free press release tools. I’ll usually fork out for a paid press release when I create a site that really focuses on promoting a product — the good thing about paying for a press release is that you get to include keyword backlinks, and it ends up being spread everywhere. Really powerful exposure. The downside is that it costs a minimum of $80 (with PRWeb) and often around $200. I would say that if your site is profitable, by all means give it a go. But it’s by no means essential.
Can you share any new ways to get backlinks?
- RSS aggregators: There are a lot of these online that people don’t use. Feedbite and Google Notepad for example. What you can do with these is take all your RSS feeds and submit them, and the aggregator spits out one big RSS feed. You’re not submitting content, but it makes content for you.
- Social bookmarking: Make sure you have good content.
- Ping.in: Every time I submit something to Hubpages I take the RSS feed from there and ping it at ping.in. I’ll also go to Twitter and say “I’ve just put up a new page on Hubpages, here’s the link.” You don’t need to add extra content, just put a link in there and you’ll earn yourself a backlink. I’ll do the same thing with Twitter every time I create a new lens in Squidoo, then I’ll go to Ping.in and ping both the Squidoo lens and the RSS feed that Twitter makes.
- Another thing you can do is anytime someone links to you, Twitter about it. That sends google to the link immediately so that it knows you’ve got another backlink to your site. By promoting other people’s sites you’re also promoting your own.
Mostly it’s just about seeing what’s out there and finding a way to use it.
Getting links by posting comments: Comment Kahuna
This is a really good way of getting backlinks to your site. We’ve recently put out a new free software called Comment Kahuna that helps you find blogs to post on. One of its key features is that it can find blogs where there’s no “nofollow” tag. Comment Kahuna lets you enter your keywords, enter the type of site you’re looking for (ie, WordPress, Squidoo) and then it’ll find blogs related to your keywords that you can post on.
You can choose whether you only want blogs without the “nofollow” or whether you’re happy to post on both, and I recommend that you do both. Don’t get too hung up on the nofollow tag. The search engines still follow nofollow links, even if they don’t use them as backlinks, and humans certainly follow nofollow links. I really only pay attention to whether the site has people talking on it.
The nice thing with Comment Kahuna is that it keeps track of your comments and watches them. It can also autofill some of the content.
What I recommend is that you keep track of the blogs that are approving your comments and build yourself a resource of sites that you can keep going back to.
Just to demonstrate how powerful this can be, I know one guy who ranks very well for a pretty competitive term (“character stories”) and his only method of promotion was using this tool. He says that a lot of the blogs he posted on were “nofollow” blogs, which demonstrates that even the “nofollow” links have some benefit.
The other good thing about comments is that they don’t just provide backlinks: If they’re good enough they could end up ranking in the search engines. This is why it’s so important that you don’t spam and that you have properly written content. If you’re not a good writer and you have a hard time being original, what you can do is take a section from the original post, quote it in your comment and then add a little extra of your own. “Good point, I agree, I saw this happen in X situation…” etc. Just make sure your comment adds value.
Does “keyword.yourdomain.com” offer any benefit to your search engine rankings?
Yes but no. You really need to be careful with this. Subdomains are looked upon as being individual domains, but a couple of years ago they started being used for spam, so now the search engines are a bit wary.
You need to make sure that the subdomain is really justified in the context of your website. For instance, you might have a domain called “dogtraining.com”. You could then create “german-shepherd.dogtraining.com”, “poodle.dogtraining.com”, whatever, but it’s not really necessary to have a subdomain for each of those.
However if you had a domain like “pets.com” you’d be quite justified in creating a subdomain “birds.pets.com”, “cats.pets.com” and so on. Those are much broader categories.
If it’s a broad niche you’re in, then maybe you can get away with subdomains, but if you’re in a very specific niche then I wouldn’t do it. You can just use folders to get keywords into your URL. For instance you might have http://www.dogtraining.com/germanshepherd/. This works well too.
Listener’s question: Is it important to use different IP addresses and webhosts for each of your websites?
I have dedicated servers with lots of sites on them, but I don’t link them together. I also use a service that provides different IP addresses for each site. If I do need to link them together I make sure they’re all on different IP addresses with different company names as well.
But really, if you’re not linking your sites together then it doesn’t really matter, although I might say that if you’re doing well in one market, why would you move into a different market? Why not build a bunch of sites in the same market and try to exploit it as much as possible? In this case you would probably want some interlinking and you’d need to look at the IP address issue.
(DISCLAIMER: THIS IS JUST MY OPINION!)
MARK: But why bother doing this if you can easily build links with these web 2.0 sites or by posting comments with Comment Kahuna? These links will all be on different IP addresses anyway.
I’m into results, not theory. You need a hungry market and you need to provide them with what they’re looking for, simple as that. Don’t get hung up on what all the gurus tell you that you need, as we saw earlier with the blog question.
Don’t just rely on the keyword research tools, make sure you’re actually listening to your customers: go into forums and see what people are really talking about.
To put it simply, try lots of things. See what works. See what doesn’t work. Keep doing the things that work, and stop doing the things that don’t work. We all have different styles. Something that works for me might not work for you, and vice versa.
That said, there’s always going to be good advice out there. I’m not recommending that you reinvent the wheel. But have the courage to make your own plans, stick to them and see how they work, develop your own theories and try things out for yourself. Remember that the lessons you get from failure are huge and important, so don’t be afraid of it.
MARK: … So long as you don’t CONTINUE failing, of course. The things we have discussed in this interview do comprise a strategy, but you have to try it out for yourself and get your own results. That’s the only way to move forward. Theory is all well and good, but you have to make it your own.
Ok, just to remind people about Jason’s Comment Kahuna software: It’s free and fully functional. There’s no big upsell involved, we’re not even using an affiliate link. Go and grab it (Comment Kahuna) and try it out today!
Following the call, Jason emailed me a quick web 2.0 backline strategy:
Jason Katzenback’s Web 2.0 backlink strategy: Outline
Note: While this could be used as a “recipe”, Jason recommends that you try out a variety of Web 2.0 sites with this method. Mixing it up will give you better results in the long run.
- Create 3 x 300 word articles that are on the keyword topic you want to rank for. Make sure they use compelling titles and have the keyword in the title. Have the keywords in the opening and closing paragraph and once or twice in the body. Make sure the content has a purpose and directs the people to take action.
- Create a high quality lens at Squidoo and post the content with a link back to your main site using the keyword you’d like to rank for.
- Go to Twitter and make a post that says something like… ” I created a new lens at http:// www….url to lens”. This is to get your backlink spidered.
- Create a hub page at Hubpages, add your second article with a link to your main site using your keywords, and add the RSS feed from the Squidoo page to your hub page.
- Post on Twitter about that to get that backlink spidered.
- Create a blog at Blogger.com, add the third article with a link back to your main site using your keyword and add the RSS feed from the Squidoo and Hubpages page to your blog.
- Post on Twitter about that to get that backlink spidered.
- Create a page at Tumblr and add the RSS feed from your new pages (Tumblr allows you to add up to 5 pages).
- Post on Twitter about that to get that backlink spidered.
- Create a page at FeedBite.com with the RSS feed from all the previous sites.
- Post on Twitter about that to get that backlink spidered.
- Create an account at Bumpzee and add your Squidoo, Hubpages, Blogger and Tumblr RSS feed.
- Go to Ping.in and ping all the pages you’ve just created, including your Twitter page.