Why Backlinks Improve Pagerank

How and why one web site gets ranked on the first page of a Google Search and another is on page 23 is a mystery to many small business people. And even experts will disagree on the details.

The exact formula used by Google is a closely guarded secret that changes from time to time. However enough is known to provide practical guidance to anyone who wishes to improve their overall ranking for any given keyword phrase.

There are a number of “on page” factors that matter a lot in this ranking process. This includes a proper set of meta tags, and the effective use of keywords on the page and if possible in the URL of the site. But once these basics are properly completed, the focus of search engine optimization shifts to the creation of backlinks.

A backlink is any link from another web property that connects (or links) to the target site. These can be links from other pages on the site, but most importantly include links for other web entities.

In the simplest way to think of it, you could consider each such link to be a vote. The site with the most votes wins.

And while in general this is true, it is only part of the story.

In the internet world, not all votes are created equal. Google in particular give the votes from your cousin Susie’s occasional blog far less value than a vote from the Smithsonian. Different web sites are assigned a page rank value which is a rough estimate of its standing in Google’s eyes as an authority. The higher the page rank, the more weight in has in the equation to rank a site.

In a recent report released by Ryan Deiss called the Authority Codes, he suggests that a single link from a site with a Page Rank of 5 is roughly equal to 555 links from sites with a page rank of 1.

While I cannot verify his information, I use the example to point out that the differences in page rank are significant.

That said, one backlink is better than no backlink, and the more links you get the better in terms of your sites ranking.

Because in the final analysis, the fight for a high ranking is very much like the old story of two hunters who have a bear chasing them. One stops to tie his shoe. The other says, Don’t be silly, you can’t outrun a bear. The other says, I don’t need to outrun the bear – I just need to outrun you.

In the page ranking game you are striving not to be the highest ranking site in the universe. You just need to be the highest ranking site in your particular niche. And for most local businesses that means being the top ranking butcher in Peoria, or St Louis or what ever geographical reference point that applies to you.

Now you still do want to get the high value links when you can. Among the better values are links from .edu or .gov sites. Educational institutions and governmental agency rankings carry more weight than those of a standard .com. Why? Because the search engines tend to assume that such links are more authoritative and less likely to be “Commercially” motivated.

Google also appears to look at the relevance of the referring source. If your site is all about elephants and you are getting links from a petting zoo and a veterinarian, the links will likely help you more than a set of links from a poker site and a car dealership.

These effects are magnified on some popular web sites like Squidoo. Many know that Squidoo carries a fair amount of weight due to its relatively high page rank. However, the real power of link from Squidoo come when the referring lens is part of a group of similar lens on the same topic.

Thus a link to the elephant site from a single lens on Google may have some decent weight, its likely to loose out by a single link from a lens that belongs to a group of circus animal related sites on Squidoo.

All of this conversation on backlinks is preliminary to a series of posts I will be adding to this blog from time to time in the coming few weeks.

I am in the final stages of preparing a report on back linking strategies.
With any luck I will have it available in the next day or two.

In the meanwhile, I invite you to leave any questions you have about backlinking in the comments section. Also feel free to copy this post in its entirety to repost on your own blog or to provide a link to this.

And one quick tip. When you leave a comment here you will be building a backlink to your web site. So it pays to comment in the form of gaining a backlink. Now I do moderate the comments on my blog, and will delete any spam or irrelevant comments. But if you ask a legitimate question, or leave a useful comment, you win a backlink.

[tags]backlinks improve pagerank, improve pagerank, backlink, backlinks, seo, authority codes, Ryan Deiss, Squidoo, meta tags, page ranking, [/tags]

Squidoo eBook Gets Some Backing

Some time ago I got interested in Squidoo as an inexpensive way to create a web presence.  It was relatively easy and free.  It wasn’t until later that I learned how valuable a site it could be for generating backlinks to other web properties.

Now knowing something and doing something with that knowledge don’t always follow. At least in my case.  It turns out I know how to do a lot of things that frankly I don’t always do. How about you?

I published a Squidoo eBook called Squidoo Basics and get a few sales every now and again, but haven’t actually promoted it in the past. I had a stray sale the other day that reminded me of its nearly orphan status, and I decided to give it a promotional push.

I’ve also been experimenting with Market Samurai a keyword research tool plus more and selected a series of keywords to focus on. The best in my estimation was the phrase Squidoo eBook.

So I went to my one page sales letter and added my new keywords, title and descriptions as I teach others to get the page itself set up properly for the search engines.

I then started writing. First a I did an article on my Home Staging Business Tips blog on Squidoo, making sure to create a Squidoo eBook  anchor text backlink to my sales page.

I then took the guts of that article and posted it on Active Rain, which is a real estate authority blog site that many homestagers also use.  I again used the same anchor text.

From there I went on to create a quick Blogger blog who’s one post is on Squidoo and yes with the same anchor text.  Then on to Hub Pages, and then Knol, and now back here to Micro Business Specialist.  You can fully expect to see a link in the coming paragraphs.

I intend to follow this up with a series of articles that I will post to the article directories.  With any luck the combination eventually gain me a first page listing on Google.

Anyone who searches Google for the phrase Squidoo ebook should be a pretty good prospect for an eBook Called Squidoo Basics, don’t you think?

Now, I’ve heard varying theories on how best to do this, so I am open for your comments. But my goal here was to create a circle of backlinks from a variety of high ranking web sites and some less so to start driving my single page sales page higher in the Google Search engines.

In the past, I have advocated linking first from one source to another and then to another to flow the accumulated Google Juice to one spot.  In what I did today, I did not link from one to another, but just to the sales page.

While I like to pretend I know everything, I’d be interested in readers comments on this.  I can always go back to each of these and create some cross links.  I do know that I do not want to have links going from a to b and b to c and c back to a.  That creates a circle and apparently negates the value of the back links. Same with a to b and b to a.

The topic of Squidoo is certainly large enough that I could easily go to any of these sites and add more content which will give me ample time to promote my Squidoo eBook.  I am also likely to go back to Squidoo and create some additional lens on the topic, rather than add to the existing one. That way I will have another backlink, rather than just a backlink from a longer Squidoo Lens.

If you are new to Squidoo I invite you to click on my link and join  Squidoo for FREE!

[tags]Squidoo, squidoo ebook, backlinks, seo, search engine optimization, hub pages, knol, market samurai,[/tags]

Practically Perfect Products To Promote

A week or two ago, I wrote a blog post I called a Provocative Suggestion in which I promoted a new system called Affiliate Silver Bullet.  In addition to my blog post, I have been emailing people who have opted in to one or another of my auto responder lists. Actually, I have the message queued up as one of my follow-up messages.

Today I got a message from one of my readers who wondered if it would be effective for new people who don’t have a large list to mail to.  A fair question.

And my answer was that it certainly is easier to promote things when you have a large list, but that you can’t let that get in the way of identifying a product or series of products to promote while you are building that list.

One of the benefits of the Affiliate Silver Bullet is that they have already chosen quality products for you to promote. That’s a bit more important than you might realize at first. The product they have included are proven winners, with quality you can be proud to present to your list, and with sales material that actually converts.

But what do you do, if you don’t already have a sizable list?  You start building one.

The primary advantage of Affiliate Silver Bullet that makes it so much more desirable than its predecessor “Clickbank Pirate” is that you can send people to your own auto-responder list.

I have a separate list in my Aweber account for each of the five Affiliate Silver Bullets I have set up so far.

That means you can build your list by promoting the products in Affiliate Silver Bullet.  Each bullet has a freebie associated with it that you can promote on safe lists, or by any other means.  When people opt in for the freebie they join your list.

Once they are on your list, you need to send them emails.    Writing quality follow-up emails is a skill in it’s own right. This is also handled by Affiliate Silver Bullet.  With each bullet you get a series of professionally written emails that will drip on your new list members until they buy, automatically.

Combined that means you have a selection of quality products, a series of valuable giveaways to offer to prospective members to get them to opt into your list and a series of professional emails to follow-up with them. All of which you can set up each week in just a few minutes.

Your job is then to concentrate on how you will drive traffic to the free offers. Now granted if you already have a large list, it will only take a few emails to promote the individual offers.  So yes, someone with a large list will have an initial advantage.

But for those without a large list, you now have all the back end pieces you need to allow you to focus on learning how to and then driving traffic to the free offers.

It does take traffic to be successful.  There are many ways to drive traffic. Article marketing is just one that I use.  I am writing articles relevant to each of the Affiliate Silver Bullet products. Not about the products, and not pitching them but about the topic. If the silver bullet is on bloging, I write an article about blogging and put one of the two links in my resource box to the freebie for that Silver Bullet product.

These articles will be referring prospects within days of being accepted by the directories and will send traffic for months and years to come.

I’ve also set up some simple blogger blogs, often using the same content as my articles with links to the freebie. Here I’ve found that the Blogger SEO Annihilator script I got from the first month of  Jeff Dedrick’s Automated Traffic was a great value.  It helps get them optimized for search engine results.

I’ve then built on them with Squidoo lens and Hub pages to send high authority back links to the blogger posts.  I get some traffic from the Squidoo lens and hub pages, but more importantly raise the blogger posts to the top of the search engines for my keyword terms.

This combination is just the start, but a powerful start, to driving a ton of free traffic to these Affiliate Silver Bullet products.  Add to that any safe list, traffic exchange or other traffic you can generate and you have a system that will send you traffic and ultimately revenues for years to come.

Don’t expect miraculous overnight riches with this approach. But by concentrating on building the traffic generation aspect and linking it together using multiple tools, you can develop a cash machine that send you clickbank checks on a weekly basis.

The bottom line from my point of view is this. You need a quality product to promote, with sales materials that sell. You need a freebie to get people to opt into your list, you need quality follow-up email messages to get the whole thing to convert into dollars for you.  You could do it all yourself, or you could let Affiliate Silver Bullet do it for you.  If you let Affiliate Silver Bullet solve your product, freebie and follow-up needs, you can focus your attention on the key skill you need to learn to be successful online and that is traffic generation.

That’s why I think Affiliate Silver Bullet is an appropriate starting place for may new and intermediate level affiliate marketers.

[tags]affiliate silver bullet, aweber, squidoo, hub pages, clickbank, [/tags]

Beyond Squidoo: Get Support from HubPages

Get More Link Juice Via Hub Pages

In my last posting, I spent some time describing Squidoo.com 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 www.hubpages.com. 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 http://cli.gs/7gH1Zr

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. http://cli.gs/mv5Whd

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 www.squidoo.com. 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.

Create A Website, Follow-up with a Squidoo Lens

I am trying to practice what I preach. And so now that I have my Aroma Therapy Scents blog site up, I am writing an article a day pointing to a different page each day and using the keywords featured on that page. That is actually not to time consuming. I know the topic, I already have material to work with and a clear sense of the keywords I want to use. The article directories have been eating them up, with several already apporved.

The next step was to create a Squidoo Lens. Frankly, I largely cut and pasted articles from the web site into Squidoo, and then hyper linked the key words in each article back to the pages.  I added a lot of Amazon and eBay modules to the Lens, which should generate at least some sales. Time will tell. At the bottom of each text module I added a link to my sales page and to the home page, encouraging people to buy my Aroma Therapy Scents eBook and or sign up for my 10 day ecourse.

My main goal is to get backlinks to the web site. But Squidoo should also send some traffic my way and generate a few sales here and there.

Now I should probably go back and rework some of the text as they may be duplicate content as I just cut and pasted the articles. That will take a bit more time, but otherwise I have less than an hour into the Squidoo Lens, which is a real time bargain.  see: Aromatherapy Scents Squidoo Lens http://www.squidoo.com/AromatherapyScents

I recommend that everyone with a web site, set up a Squidoo page. It may generate some revenues, but more importantly it provides backlinks and traffic.

Squidoo – Rank on Top Twice!

Squidoo – Rank on Top Twice! PodcastSquidoo – Rank on Top Twice!

Getting your web site to be top ranked on Google and the other search engines is a complicated task. Particularly, if you are one of many within a given market area.

A little known tool for many main street businesses is an internet portal called Squidoo.

It’s similar in many ways to sites like Facebook, and Myspace in that it allows people to create a web presence easily, but unlike the aforementioned, it unabashedly permits commercialization.  That means you can put up sites that advertise your business.

The easiest way to do so is to reuse much of the content you have on your web page now.  Just rephrase and reorient it to fit the new medium.

Squidoo calls it’s pages, lens.  There are a group of modules that you can create and edit in minutes once you get the hang of their system.  There are a lot of interesting things you can do with the various modules. The main thing you want to do is use your Squidoo lens as additional advertising tool for your services and as a funnel to send traffic to your main web site.

The most critical point when setting up your first lens is what you call it.

If you are a butcher in Minneapolis, you want to do some keyword research as to the best term to use for your market. It may be “butcher”, it may be “quality meats”, it may be any number of things.  What ever it is, you want your first lens to use the best of the picks and then add the words, “in Minneapolis” or what ever the top geographical term is in your market. Then after you set up a lens,  “Quality Meats in Minneapolis” set up another for “Best Brats in Minneapolis.”   Since Squidoo is free, there is no reason for you to not set up multiple Lens on your best keyword phrases.

If you do, you will often find that your Squidoo len(s) will get higher ranking than your own web page, even if you have optimized your web sites meta tags geographically, as I do for my clients.

That’s because Squidoo itself has a high PR or page rank in the eyes of Google.

Now what you want to do is include links in your Squidoo Lens to your web site’s home page.  This helps raise your web sites ranking in Google’s eyes as well.

It sees Squidoo as an “authority” site and gives more credence to links coming from it.

There is a lot more to internet marketing than just having a web site.  That’s what keeps internet marketing consultants like me in business.

While Squidoo is easy to use, like everything, there is a learning curve.  Once you master the basic mechanics you also need to learn the strategies to make it work for your particular needs.  There are a number of eBooks about Squidoo out there.  I publish one called Squidoo Basics. It is a general introduction to Squidoo.

There are other formats beyond Squidoo, like Hub Pages, but Squidoo is probably the best place to start building a broader internet presence.  To get started all you need do is open an account at www.Squidoo.com

In due course, you will not only get your web site on the top of the Google Rankings in your home town, you will also have a Squidoo page there as well.  When prospects see you listed not once, but twice, in the top of the local listings, they will begin to understand that you are the person to go to locally for home staging services.

And that’s where I intend my clients to be.  On top of their local markets.