First Link Priority – Are You Shooting Yourself In the Foot?

Here is an SEO tip I picked up from my Market Samurai friends. It concerns something called the First Link Priority, which can hurt your ranking chances without your being fully aware of it.

They suggest some options in the video.  Perhaps the simplest is to not link your images on some pages. But there are other approaches as discussed.

[tags]first link priority, seo, anchor text, image links, [/tags]

Should I use online article marketing for my locally based business?

Online Article Marketing

Online Article Marketing is a highly effective tool used to sell both hard goods and information products to national and international audiences.  But does it make sense for a small locally based business to use it as well. In a word, Yes!

Businesses use online article marketing to establish themselves as experts, to drive traffic to a sales page and to build back links.

While the first two are important, they are less valuable to the local business person, after all most readers will not be from your market place.  Nonetheless some will be, but that’s gravy.

The real advantage of online article marketing for a local business is to out rank their competitors on the search engines. And that does make a real difference for many.

Each time an article is listed on an article directory or published in an ezine or blog, a new back link is created which the author of the article can direct to wherever they choose.

These back links from multiple sites factor into how some search engines like Google rank your site. A site that has links coming to it from a wide variety of sources is more likely to be seen as highly relevant.

While there are many factors that apply to search engine optimization, in general, the web site that has a lot of  back links tends to be ranked higher than a comparable web site that has only a few. Online article marketing is one of the best ways to get a ton of such back links for free.

The key to your success is to identify a keyword that people search for, relevant to your specific business or a product you sell. Write the article about that keyword. Include the keyword in your title. And then use it in the resource box you prepare to go with each article you write.

In the resource box you will tell the reader who you are and invite them to come to your web site. You are usually allowed two hyper links by most article directories. You want to use your keyword in the resource box, and hyper link it to the URL of your web site.  Ideally you want it to go to a page on your site dealing directly with the product you are selling.

Such hyper linked keywords are called anchor text.  The search bots that roam the internet pay attention to them. By using the keyword, you are letting them know that the landing page you are sending them to is related to the keyword.

Thus when someone in your local market searches for “Primer Paints in Baltimore”, the odds are a little better that your shop’s web site will appear higher than your competitors. And that’s what you want.

Getting good back links is like naming your business AAAPaints in the old days when people used to use the yellow pages.  Now they use computer search to find almost everything. And that’s why you should be using online article marketing to build your search engine ranking, even if no one in your market place ever reads them.

For more information on Online Article Marketing go to my blog on Article Marketing.

Breaking Barriers Starting with Basic HTML

Learning how to use the internet is not easy.

Despite the claims of all the eBook peddlers selling their alchemists stones, the reality is that there are many barriers to success online.

There is much to learn.  And it appears to never end. At least I still have a variety of hurdles yet to overcome.  I have made some progress though, and will in the next several posts here discuss how I made it over some of the hurdles that may still be holding you back.

These will be pretty basic for some of you, and for others hopefully just what you are looking for.

The first discussion is HTML.  The code that sits behind much of the web.

I am not a programmer, and have no desire to become one. But as I got serious about establishing a presence online it soon became clear to me that I needed to learn at least some basics.

You can get by not knowing HTML by using various WYSIWYG services to design, highlight, bold etc you text and even insert images. But as time goes on, you will eventually come to the place where you will want to learn how to create anchor text, insert photos, create ordered lists, etc. by the use of HTML.

If you are depending on “your computer guy” to make tweaks to your pages, a lot of tweaks end up not getting made, or get made wrong as a result of the time lag and communication barriers. When you can do it yourself, you are freer to make changes, and then change things back. And that ability to tweak a page is critical to your success in the long run.

I found myself looking things up on Google, which worked well. But my retention of information wasn’t very good.  And it seemed that there were actually too many places to get free help. All arranged differently, all with a different level of assumed prior knowledge.

In my case, I did not really break through until I came across the chance to acquire rights to a short ebook called HTML in Simple Terms. I originally got it for my own use. Over past few years I have given it away and or sold it to almost a thousand different people.

I printed a copy of it out, and keep it by my computer, and use it as a quick reference. As time went on, I learned the bulk of the material by doing it over and over again.

I may be old style yet. But I have found it easier to look up items on paper.  It seems easier to find my place again, when I am going back to double check things.

HTML in Simple Terms will walk you through the steps needed to create your own web page. It explains basic tags, how to add links, work with images, using tables, setting up meta tags, using fonts and colors.

I still don’t know it all. But I know I can find it when I need it, as my copy is always handy. That’s what I like best about having my own copy. I know where it is when I want it.

I am selling copies of this useful text at HTML Guide

Beyond Squidoo: Get Support from HubPages

Get More Link Juice Via Hub Pages

In my last posting, I spent some time describing and how useful it can be as a source of quality backlinks to your site.

Squidoo offers you the opportunity to create your own backlinks that you can custom design. By that I am referring to your ability to use anchor text that uses precisely the keyword phrase you want to rank for, and the ability to direct that link to a specific page on your web site.

Since Squidoo is free to use, there is no reason why you can’t create multiple Lens, and add additional links to your site.  From a search engine optimization standpoint it makes sense to have multiple short Lens rather than one long comprehensive one. So if a home stager wants to create a lens on staging a bedroom and another on staging a living room and a third on outdoor landscaping you now have three sources from which you can send links back to your web site. Within each lens you want to include a couple anchor text links to various pages on your site.

The power of Squidoo comes from it’s internal grouping system. Once you have created your lens, you want to join your lens to every relevant group you can.  If you are a potter, you will want to sign up your lens with all the various pottery groups, as well as art and crafts groups and any others that make sense.

The search engines see Squidoo as a large web site with many different topics. Normally this would be negative as it’s not focused and many lens are not specifically relevant. However since your lens is connected and linked to internally via your group memberships and also by  Squidoo’s own internal tagging system you are seen as part of all the groups you are associated with.   The strength of your  individual link is a product of all these relevant association within Squidoo.  To learn more about the internal linking and groups within Squidoo get a copy of Squidoo Basics.

A similar venue like Squidoo is the Hub Pages site. Go the Set up an account there, and jump right in.  The set up is different but similar to Squidoo. You will need to create a title of 120 characters or less, which becomes part of your url. Just as with Squidoo, you want it to consist of the keywords you want your own web site to rank for. So if you are following my advice on using geographical keywords you may want to name your site, CincinattiDryCleaning if you are a dry cleaner in Cincinatti.

Just like Squidoo, you want to create anchor texts in your hub pages. You can use much of the same material in your hub pages that you did on your Squidoo pages, but you want to rework it into a different format so it is distinctly different than the way it appears on Squidoo or anywhere else. Make it unique.

Now while you will be including links to various pages on your web site, you also want to create some links from your Hub pages to your Squidoo pages. That’s why we talked about Squidoo first.

Remember last week when we talked about “link juice.” Hub pages have a little less link juice than Squidoo. But they are still a highly ranked site, just not quite a big. Your link from Hub pages pours link juice into your Squidoo lens. This link juice accumulates there and is passed via your Squidoo lens to where it links, ie. your web site.

It is important that you maintain the one way nature of this linking. As we also discussed last week, if you reciprocate links the link juice cancels each other out.  So for my purposes, I always link from my Hub Pages to my Squidoo pages and never the reverse. Since I have many different niches this rule keeps me out of trouble.

Which one you use to link to the other is less important, than that you make sure to keep the one way relationship alive. And please remember that means you cannot link from your web site to your Hub pages as this would create a circle and negate the benefit of all the links.

Next time I will begin to discuss why article marketing is so powerful.


Two additional tidbits. I have had a lot of projects building up lately thus the delay in getting this post out. I am still doing my analysis of peoples web sites. But am now restricting myself to just four a week. These are very useful to people and I want to maintain my hands on service to as many people as I can. To get details go to

In addition to maintaining your web site and getting it set up for search engines, the most powerful thing you can do for yourself is to blog from your own wordpress blog. WordPress blogs are easy to use and free, but can be very bewildering because there are so many options in terms of themes, plug ins, widgets and settings. I have learned a lot about blogging from Mike Paetzold who is a master blogger. He just released a new “How to” eBook and video series Tuesday night and is offering $20 off until sometime Saturday.  It’s called Word Press Made Easy and is a “must have” in my opinion. He walks you through all the plug ins and settings he uses on his plethora of blog sites. If you are going to blog, and you should, it is a good idea to copy a master blogger, until you learn enough on your own to make specific variations. With his help you can have your blog up and running and or re-tuned in about an hour.  Well worth it, I promise you.

Squidoo – Who ever came up with this name?

Getting to the Top of the Search Engines XI

Squidoo – Who ever came up with this name?

Building Backlinks on Squidoo

We have established that to advance up the search engines your site needs to be set up properly in terms of on page factors, and also needs to get Back Links from other sites to boost your credibility. Ideally these backlinks should be in the form of anchor texts that highlight the specific keyword you want your page to rank for. For most locally based businesses, it also makes sense to have these keywords and anchor texts include your specific geography such as Home Staging Atlanta or Minneapolis Best Meat Market, etc.

One point I should have made already and didn’t is that these back links need to be one way backlinks. I’ve used the term “Link Juice” before. Imagine that a web site by linking to you is passing on to you some of their Link Juice. If they are a high value web site the back link may be a gallon jugs worth, if it’s a lower ranked site you might just get a pint. That’s if the link is one way to your site from theirs. If you return the favor, you have a hole in your bucket, dear Liza. The Link Juice leaks right back to where it came from. Now if you have a higher ranking than the person linking to you, you may actually loose juice in the process.

At one time it was all the rage to build reciprocal linking arrangements, and one of our readers reported just that after my last post. Unfortunately these are no longer wise moves in terms of search engine ranking. That said, they may still make sense if they send traffic and business from one market to another as part of a referral system. If that’s the case, you may well want to keep them even if they cost some “juice.” But don’t build reciprocal relationships hoping they will help out your search engine ranking. They won’t.

Nor can you set up a circle, where A links to B and B links to C and C in turn links to A. Such circles are readily detected by the search bots, even when inadvertent. So pals we may be, but mutual admiration societies are not the way to get ahead on the search engines.

So how do we get these one way links? There are a lot of ways actually. I mentioned a few to you last time and today we will take a closer look at one of my favorites, Squidoo.

Squidoo is one of many so called Web 2.0 sites, which merely means it is part of the recent wave of sites that allow visitors to interact with the site rather than just read it like a static web page.

There are four primary things I like about Squidoo. First it’s Free. Second, it allows you to put blatantly self promoting commercial messages on it. And thirdly, it’s relatively easy to use. A fourth factor is that is has a high page rank of 7, which means that back links from Squidoo to your site send you giant economy size bottles of Link juice, which is very nice indeed.

To get to Squidoo just go to Once there, sign up for an account. It’s free and easy.

Once you have your account, you are going to create your first site, which Squidoo refers to as a lens. Perhaps the most important thing to remember when setting up your first lens is that what you name it is critical.

For my Minneapolis Meat Market, I want to name the Lens “Minneapolis Meat Market” – if that is the phrase that I want to rank for on the search engines. Now every lens on Squidoo needs to have a different name, so your favorite term may already be taken. If that is the case try adding hyphens between words, or an extra relevant word before or after your desired name.

Some times it is easier getting your Squidoo lens ranked high in the search engines than your main web site due to Squidoo’s high page rank and its tens of thousands of pages, many of which are new every day. The search engines are crawling all over Squidoo constantly, and they will find your new lens very soon after you publish it.

Once you have created your title, you need to fill in the introduction module. Here you want to repeat your keyword/title in anchor text with a link to the page on your web site you want to drive traffic to. So if you are Shar Sitter, one of my Home Staging Clients you may introduce your lens as: “Rooms with Style is a Minneapolis St Paul area Home Staging firm specializing is serving the South Metro Area etc etc…”

If you did a good job creating your web site’s meta tag description, you may want to use that here. It should have your keywords in it, and be a pretty good sales pitch while including the key geography you serve.

By using HTML code to create a link on “Minneapolis St Paul area Home Staging” as I did above, the search engine bots learn that the end link is about Minneapolis and St Paul Home Staging and they have good memories. This is called anchor text and we went over how to set up this HTML code a few messages ago.

This is one of the advantages of Squidoo. Since you are creating the link yourself, you can control the way the link is created. You always want to use anchor text links. The only exception is when you are specifically letting people know what your web site address is and even then, make sure you use anchor text elsewhere in the posting.

If you go to Shar’s site via the link above, you will see it doesn’t go to her home page. It could have, but instead I set it up to link to her page titled “services.” This is called internal linking because it links to an internal page on her web site. Google in particular likes this, and you get a little extra juice for your overall site because of it. Since you have control of the link creation on sites like Squidoo, it makes sense to create these internal links whenever you can.

At any rate, the goal is to use anchor text right away in the introductory portion of your Squidoo lens. That will serve as a powerful back link to your web site. Complete the first module with what other introductory material you feel appropriate.

I’m already at book length for this post. So let me quickly say that the rest of the lens can be simple or complex. It’s up to you. Squidoo uses modules. I tend to use their text modules and fill them with text and pictures. To insert pictures you will need to learn a tiche of HTML code, which is not difficult. You can search on Squidoo for a lens on HTML, there are several good ones. Alternatively, I publish an inexpensive ebook called HTML in Simple Terms for under $10. The advantage of the ebook is that you can print it out and keep it handy by your computer. I find it easier to look things up in print than online.

I also publish an eBook called Squidoo Basics. It costs $17 and will help get you acclimated to Squidoo quickly.

The thing to keep in mind about Squidoo, is that you can publish as many lens as you want. For link building purposes they don’t need to be fancy or even complete. But spend a little time on them and focus on one topic about your business. Create another lens to discusss another aspect. If you serve more than one town, you can be DryCleanersOmaha and OmahaDryCleaners or SouthOmahaDrycleaners. Etc. Each additional link of this sort will help increase your ranking for Omaha Dry Cleaners.

If you are a home stager, you might want to create a lens just for Realtors, and use the Lens as the place you make your special pitch to them. Just be sure to link back to the Realtor page on your main web site.

Once you get the hang of putting up pictures, and I promise you that learning the little bit of HTML code to do that is not difficult, you may want to create a before and after lens for each of your projects.

Just be sure to include back links in each new lens to your web site’s various pages and in no time you will discover than not only is your web site on the top of the search engines, so too will be a number of your Squidoo lens.

When your prospects find you not just on the top, but also number 2, 4, 6,7 & 8 on the listings, they get pre-sold pretty fast that you are the dominant player in your community.

Yes, it will take a little work. You may need to learn a couple new tricks, but with a bit of persistence you can do it.

Next week, we will look at a similar site called Hub pages and maybe a couple of others. If you have questions about today’s post be sure to leave a comment. As I did today, I will incorporate any questions into the next posting.

SEO Off Page III What is a backlink?

SEO Off Page III

What is a backlink?

I’ve already spent a couple articles talking at least in part about back links without specifically explaining what a backlink is.

According to Wikipedia, Backlinks are incoming links to a website or web page. In the search engine optimization (SEO) world, the number of backlinks is one indication of the popularity or importance of that website or page. In basic link terminology, a backlink is any link received by a web node (web page, directory, website, or top level domain) from another web node. Backlinks are also known as incoming links, inbound links, inlinks, and inward links.

Thus when I create a hyper-link in this blog post to one of my Home Staging clients, Jane Ann Lance and her web site it appears blue in most web browsers and you know that when you click on it, you will be taken to her web site. This is thus a back link to her web site and when the Google bot or one of the other search engine bots scans this page it will follow that link to her site and note it as a backlink. Notch one up for Jane Ann’s site.

Now even better would be a link to another of my home staging clients if instead of using her web address, I just sent you to this link: Hamptons Home Staging. In this case, the link is being made to in the form of what is known as anchor text. This anchor text, “Hampton’s Home Staging” tells the bots that this back link is about Home Staging in the Hampton’s and reinforces the keywords on Allegra Dioguardi website. While both are backlinks, the second is more powerful.

Unfortunately, since we are now dealing with off page factors, you no longer have direct control over how others will link to you.

Thus we come to realize that not all backlinks are equal. Some are more important that others. A backlink from a blog that’s been published regularly for many months is going to have a somewhat more valuable link than one started today with just a single entry assuming the new blog is even visited by a bot. Even more valuable is a link from a site Google considers to be an authority site. Google has devised a series of page rankings that it uses to provide guidance as to the relative standing of various major web sites. A back link from a site with a 6 rank may be worth dozens of back links from dozens of unranked sites. That said, there is still a great deal of value in having back links from a large number of sites even if smaller.

So while we will be talking about some places where you can get some relatively highly ranked backlinks, don’t neglect getting links from lesser lights as well.

In our next session, we will show you how to get some backlinks with anchor text that you can control and that have high page ranks. The best of both worlds.