6 SEO Secrets Every Blogger Needs to PWN Today’s Google

83 Intelligent Opinions, Leave Yours.

Robots vs Zombies, vs Ninjas vs Pirates

Getting your blog posts to rank on Google is harder than ever before.

There’s more competition and Google’s algorithms get trickier every update.

But let me start with a few definitions:

  • PWN: A deliberate misspelling of the word “own“. Commonly used in gaming circles as a verb to describe beating or succeeding at something. For example, the Blog Tyrant pwned that zombie.
  • Today’s Google: We’re talking everything after the Panda update.
  • Panda update: Read below. You’re so needy.

In this post I’m going to show you a few SEO secrets that every bloggers needs to know to survive and succeed on modern-day Google search results.

The absolute necessity of the top spot on Google

One of the things that a lot of bloggers don’t realize is that the first place on Google means a lot more than anywhere else.

Google top spot click through rate

Image: Search Engine Watch

Take a look at the graph above and you will see that the top spot gets almost 40% of clicks while second place is around 12%. And this is, in my opinion, a very conservative estimate.

To get that coveted top spot you need to do a lot of things right. You just don’t get there by accident anymore.

Years ago when I first sold a blog for $20,000 it was so much easier than it is now – write a few posts, do a few blog carnivals… what the heck is Twitter?

Now we actually have to pay attention and understand what Google is looking for with their changing algorithms.

Google’s changing algorithms

Every few months good old Google makes a change to how it indexes results in its search engine. Sometimes these are minor tweaks and sometimes they are major overhauls.

Google search results

A modern Google search result

A few years ago Google results were just a list links to relevant articles. Nowadays any given Google search will show you:

  • Videos
  • Moving Twitter results of current events
  • Previews of the website you’re about to visit
  • Location-based results
  • Personalized results
  • Etc.

Its a totally different place.

But what has all this got to do with the changing algorithms?

Well, each time they revamp the way Google users see and use the search engine they change the way articles and blog posts and videos are indexed. The whole goal of Google is to return relevant and up-to-date results while combating spam and removing those who “game” the system.

So what was that Panda update about?

The Panda update was the most recent update that totally changed the way Google works. I’ve heard it was labelled “Panda” because now all websites are endangered but in actual fact its named after a Google engineer called Navneet Panda who re-wrote the way Google do some important things.

There are lots of stories of people who have had their entire financial world turned upside down by this update. A friend of mine had a fitness site that went from 2,000+ visitors a day to 200 a day overnight after this update.

The whole point of this update is to remove poor-quality sites from the top of Google’s search results.

Remember, you used to be able to build small niche sites with a little bit of content and a few great back links and rank at the top. That is going to be less and less likely although I still know a few guys having a lot of success like this.

Here is the announcement from super nice Matt Cutts (@mattcutts), head of Google Spam:

This update is designed to reduce rankings for low quality sites — sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high quality sites — sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

The problem here is that a lot of “mom and dad” operations were killed in favor of big, rich sites like Expert Village that have thousands of people working for them.

The second problem is that often these sites aren’t the best source of quality information.

A lot of good quality bloggers were hit by this update. Another good reason to not rely on Google.

6 SEO secrets every blogger needs to PWN today’s Google

Impending Doom (Explored)
Photo credit: pasukaru76

The idea here is to give you a few little tips that can help you boost your SEO potential as well as protect it from a Panda-type hit.

This is a huge topic and there are entire expert firms devoted to helping other big firms navigate this new science. With that in mind, you should consider this post a very small starting point for you own research.

1. Social is the new backlinks

If you’ve been around the SEO game for a while you’ll know that it was all about backlinks. Google saw these as an excellent way to determine a site’s authority: the more people linking to your site the more trustworthy you were likely to be.

And when it was discovered that you could manipulate your rankings with backlinks it all went mental.

People were buying them, stealing them, selling them, sneaking them into free WordPress themes (a good reason to check this out) and a few honest souls (like me!) were earning them legitimately through killer content and useful comments.

But now it seems like a new major indicator of trust is social media and in particular Twitter and Facebook.

Think about it.

If a new blog post gets zero Tweets and zero Shares there is a chance it is of low value. A post that gets 10,000 Tweets, on the other hand, is likely to be very useful for readers.

The social media shares are almost like a focus group for Google rankings.

If it gets shared, it will get indexed.

So what can you do?

  • Build your social profiles
    Make sure you continue to build your Facebook and Twitter profiles alongside your blog.
  • Coach your readers
    Its a good idea to occasionally mention to your readers that it would really help you out if they Tweeted or Shared your stuff. Hint hint.
  • Tweet other bloggers’ stuff
    Make sure you are tweeting other articles that you like from bloggers in your niche. They will return the favor. A tweet from Brian Clark can work miracles.

Start thinking about social media as a way to help your SEO, not just your referral traffic. This is important.

A WARNING: The obvious question then becomes, won’t people just “game” the social media scene? Yep. They already are. And Google is already filtering them out. If your tweets and shares aren’t legitimate you can expect a penalty real soon.

2. (Some) Backlinks still matter

The next thing that I have to mention is that backlinks still matter. A lot.

As I mentioned, I know a few guys who are doing really well from small sites with a really strong backlink profile. It just proves that Google still really believes that a link from a trustworthy blog is one of the best ways to judge the quality of a site.

So what’s the post panda lesson?

Don’t buy backlinks or build them from poor quality blogs. We’ve known for a long time that buying backlinks is against Google’s rules and a stupid idea but the real news now is that poor quality backlinks just aren’t going to be worth as much.

Here’s the thing. If you can figure out a way to “game” Google with backlinks you can bet that Google is on to the method. If you are trying to build a long term, sustainable income you want to avoid any method that could come undone with a future update.

Make sure your get your backlinks from quality blogs and websites. The absolute best way to do this is to create tools, resources and content that people link to. Boring I know.

3. Bounce Rate now a big indicator

Your Bounce Rate is a statistic that shows how many people leave your blog without visiting any other pages.

For example, if I had one visitor and they arrived on a page and then closed the window without looking at any other pages I would have a Bounce Rate of 100%.

You want to get that rate down as low as possible.

So what is low? Well it depends on a lot of things.

If you have a lot of traffic coming from Google search you will usually have a high Bounce Rate because the people who arrive are really only looking for one thing. Referrals from related sites typically have much lower BR.


bounce rate

Recent week’s BR. Problogger referrals lower than Twitter and Facebook.

If you can get a blog’s bounce rate down below 60% you are doing well. Anything below 50% is excellent.

This has always been an important factor for Google but a lot of people now think it is even more crucial. If people aren’t staying on your site long its likely it isn’t very valuable.

So how do you lower your Bounce Rate?

  • Get a good design
    Design is a really important factor. You want to be able to win people’s trust. I’m launching some pretty sexy themes soon or you can check out Studio Press if you want something that Google is in love with.
  • Have related posts
    Make sure you use the Related Posts plugin to add some “further reading” to the bottom of your posts or sidebar.
  • Recommend posts
    Have a Popular Posts section at the top of your blog (people love to click it) or make sure you recommend posts to people in other articles.
  • Go back and tweak old articles
    Every once in a while you should go back and tweak old articles to give people and idea about a related topic. Have a look what I did in the opening paragraph here.
  • Tweak above the fold
    Above the fold is all the stuff you see before you scroll. It should be as efficient as possible.

It is really important to be relevant. Make sure people who arrive at your post are getting exactly what they are looking for. That is, after all, what Google is trying to achieve.

4. Duplicate content is being redefined

Something I learned recently is that duplicate content does not just refer to copying other people’s work. It also refers to sections within your site that have the same content.

For example, some blogs, like this one, have tags and categories where people can go through and find old posts. They might also be able to do this with a Pagination style system like I’ve got at the bottom.

Well, as it turns out, all of those different navigation paths represent duplicate content. That is, if you show full posts on each one.

Try to use the MORE tag to limit posts to excerpts, use post titles only on category pages or re-structure how your site’s navigation works. I’m 100% sure about it yet but I think Google might want us to start using either tags or categories and not both.

One little secret I’ve noticed is that my tag results are now getting indexed in Google faster than even some posts.

5. Returning readers indicate safety

Just like the lesson on Bounce Rate, we are now seeing that the metric of Returning Readers is becoming more important than ever.

Again, this is all about Google seeing some indication of your site being a safe and useful place for them to send their clients.

This is a no brainer. If you want to get people to come back to your site you need to:

  • Produce amazing content
    I’d really start to tone down on the small “update” posts and just release big beautiful articles with lots of useful information.
  • Focus on email subscribers
    Keep growing that email list. Not only does this safe-guard your blog against a Google penalty, it also gives you a way to contact readers and get them back to your blog whenever you want.
  • Try a series
    One way to get people back is to produce a series of posts on the same topic. Darren Rowse did one that went for a whole month. The retention must have been amazing.
  • Interact with people everywhere
    I’m often surprised at how little some smaller/beginner bloggers interact with their readers. They don’t reply to comments, Tweets or Facebook messages. My policy is to try and reply to all of them and it has worked really well for me over the years. Make friends with your readers and they will come back.

The trend you might be noticing by now is that if you do all of these SEO secrets there is a good chance you will be building a really amazing blog. That is the crux of the issue.

5. Build a multi-platform, multimedia brand

Something that I have been saying for a long time now is that you really need to start paying attention to two things; mobile and cross-media content.

When Google bought Youtube they signaled to a lot of people that they were going to move away from just articles in their search results. And they did.

They have also done a lot to make sure they are appearing on smart phones (think Android).

The point here is that Google knows that the future of the internet is tablets and phones. People are going to be moving away from personal computer and towards a more mobile environment. You have to make sure your blog moves with this trend.

So what do you need to do to ensure you continue to PWN Google?

  • Make an App
    Pat made an iPhone App for his blog. Good idea.
  • Make videos
    You just GOT to start making videos. They are going to be as big as written content one day very soon. Did I mention I’m on Youtube?
  • Podcast
    A podcast is a really cool way to talk to your audience as well as show the robots that you are serious about your content. Here’s how to make a podcast.

Start thinking of your blog as a brand. Its more than just ordered posts on a website. You are offering a service and you need to maintain and grow that brand across a variety of different platforms and mediums if you want to stay strong on Google.

6. The future of SEO is about user psychology

This might sound a little bit ridiculous to some but the future of SEO is going to be less about building backlinks and more about understanding how users interact with a website.

I’ve hinted at this already when talking about having a clean design, low bounce rate, lots of users who share your content, etc. You really need to start learning how people behave when they visit a website. What are they looking for? What makes them stay longer? What makes them share content?

Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz is one of my favorite internet personalities and a leading expert on SEO. He recently said in a video:

So, Panda kind of means something new and different for SEO. As SEOs, for a long time you’ve been doing the same kind of classic things. You’ve been building good content, making it accessible to search engines, doing good keyword research, putting those keywords in there, and then trying to get some links to it. But you have not, as SEOs, we never really had to think as much or as broadly about, “What is the experience of this website? Is it creating a brand that people are going to love and share and reward and trust?” Now we kind of have to think about that.

The funny thing is that the smart (and successful) guys like Darren Rowse and Brian Clark have been saying this for years.

Don’t build a blog, build a whole website with valuable content. And understand how people behave.

  • Communities matter to humans
    Human beings need to feel part of a community. Its literally built into our DNA. Study ways to make your blog feel like a group.
  • Make sure people trust you
    If you want people to subscribe to your list you need them to trust you. So what signals are your sending to your readers?
  • Understand color and images
    Understand the role that color and imagery plays in the subtle decisions that people make. For example, in our culture red symbolizes stop, spam and danger.
  • Offer exclusivity
    Exclusive content is one way to make people come back and be loyal. Humans love to feel like they are part of something special.
  • Solve financial and emotional problems
    When you write a blog post you are not just solving a practical problem. You are solving a financial or emotional one. Make sure your content is changing people’s lives, not just their days.

I really recommend that all my readers start to get interested in psychology and the psychology that is involved in marketing. It is something we spent a lot of time on at college but not a lot of bloggers seem to emphasize it all that much.

Do you have an SEO story?

So how have you gone in a post-panda world? Do you spend a lot of time working on SEO or is it something totally above your head? I’d really love to hear about all your questions or stories regarding SEO practices and tips so please leave me a comment and let me know, especially if you noticed something that made a big difference to your rankings.

Credit: kennymatic

 

Ramsay WROTE THIS

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83 Comments... Leave yours.

  • Adem

    Great post and a great insight into how to get the best from Google. It does sound like a lot more hard work though than just creating cheap links though ;)


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Oh yeah! Sad huh?


  • Cristina Ansbjerg

    Accidents happen, so after coming this afternoon and finding out the comments were closed, here I am again to leave a few words :-)

    So bounce rate is now a big indicator… question is, how does Google know your bounce rate? Are they spying us using Google Analytics?

    (Rhetorical questions)


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Do I need to answer them then? Ha ha.

      I’m confused.


      1. Cristina Ansbjerg

        You don’t need to reply them for me. Maybe for other other commenters, dunno :D


    2. justinlion5

      one way could be back clicks. i.e when you click a result -> visit site -> click back to google. and, google also have your search history via cookies. so, if you search for a term, visit a site, close the window, and search again for the same term or similar, they would see that too. there are probably lots of ways to reverse engineer bounce rate, without breaking into the privacy of your site usage.


      1. the Blog Tyrant

        Whoa! The man himself!


  • Shaun @ Money Cactus

    Great post Tyrant,

    When I started blogging I thought that if I created the best content I could it would be enough, how wrong I was. I’m now trying to put a lot more effort into the SEO of my posts, but it is a steep learning curve. Practice makes perfect I guess!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Yeah lots to learn. Its funny now how SEO also means brand building.


  • karen

    When I saw that the comments were turned off, and I didn’t see the pub date, I assumed this post was OLD since you normally turn off your comments for posts older than 2 weeks. :)

    Why do you NOT use published dates on your posts? (Also, you probably need to change the copyright date now to 2012 – another reason why I thought this post was really OLD. :p)

    But the real question is what does bounce rate of 7-20% mean? My bounce rate has never been higher than 20% but the time people spend on my site is never more than 2 minutes.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Karen.

      I don’t use dates on my posts because I try to write timeless content. I don’t want someone to see a post marked 2010, etc. and think that it is out of date.

      Thanks for the copyright tip! Forgot that one.

      As for bounce rate, sounds like you are doing really well!

      Congrats.


  • Marcus

    There’s one terrific strategy for SEO, social media marketing, and content writing that a lot of articles overlook.

    Learn how to write killer headlines. I find that good headlines are the hot commodity of the web. When I’m searching on Google and result #5 has a more relevant, attention-grabbing headline than result #1, I’ll always click on that link even if it’s further down.

    Headlines are like the Swiss Army knife of online marketing. They will get you traffic from search engines, social networks, YouTube, iTunes, and RSS readers. If you can hook in users from the beginning, you’ve already won.

    You’re also making your content easy to share. If your headline is that good, that’s what people will use when they tweet or write a Facebook update. You’re saving them the trouble of thinking of a clever way to word it for their friends.

    Have you ever thought a headline was so awesome that you immediately wanted to share it with your friends–before you’ve even read it? I’ve been tempted a couple of times!

    A Simple 3-Step Process to Make You a Headline Hotshot:

    1) Cruise the front pages of social-voting news sites like Digg, Reddit, and Hacker News. Look at the headlines, what stories would you want to read? Take another look at the headline.

    2) If you really want to go ninja, write down the headline. Then reverse-engineer it into a fill-in-the-blanks formula. Then apply that formula to make a headline for your niche.

    Here’s an example I grabbed off Hacker News today.

    Headline: How to teach yourself to code in one month.
    Formula: How to teach yourself to [verb] in one [unit of time]
    New Headline: How to teach yourself headline writing in one day.

    3) To take it a step further, set up a spreadsheet to keep track of the great headlines you notice in your daily life.

    Have columns for
    Headlines:
    Formulas:
    Example headlines:
    URLs for the original article:

    Do this a couple of times, and the process becomes automatic in your head. When read articles, you’ll start to notice the formulas.

    The beauty of this approach is that you’re tapping into the best marketing minds on the Internet. Then all you have to do is plug in the keywords of your niche and you’re off.

    That being said, you also need awesome content to back up your headlines.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Dude! I love your comments that are actually articles! Ha ha ha.


  • Brian Fryer

    Working at an SEO company provides a lot of insight as to how Google works.

    Pre-Panda, you could get blank page to rank for any given keyword… as long as you had enough backlinks pointing to that page.

    Post-Panda, however, is an entirely different story. While backlinks still play a critical role in determining how authoritative a site/page is, the CONTENT of the site/page is now a much larger factor. In fact, content now counts MORE than the number of backlinks.

    Here’s an analogy to describe how the process works:

    Link building is like shining a spot light on a webpage. With each link built, the light gets “brighter”. The “brighter” the light, the farther up in the rankings the page will go. Once a webpage gets in the top 10 pages of Google, they take a REAL HARD LOOK — oftentimes, a page can reach all the way up to the 2nd page of Google before this happens. If Google’s algorithms don’t like what they see, the webpage is pushed down approximately 100 rankings.

    At Whoosh Traffic, we call this a “content penalty” — which means that Google doesn’t believe that the content of the webpage is relevant to the backlinks.

    The only way to recover from a content penalty is to change the content of the webpage. There are quite a few ways to do this, so I won’t go into details here.

    Now, we have a rank tracker that helps you track where your webpages (and/or entire websites) are in the search results for any given keyword. This includes graphs to show you where you have ranked over time, too — this way, you can monitor the effectiveness of your link building.

    Anyone who wants to can check it for free here: http://whooshtraffic.com/rank-tracker/


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Great stuff Brian.

      How is Erica going? She’s a clever gal.


      1. Brian Fryer

        Erica & I are doing great!

        We just moved to Austin, TX last month and are having the time of our lives.

        And yes, indeed she is quite the clever gal :-)


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          I saw her post about leaving Cali.

          Texas seems scary to an Australian. All I know about is oil and executions.


          1. Marcus

            Maybe Brian can chime in later, but I’ve heard that Austin is totally different from the rest of Texas (never been myself but want to). Very quirky, liberal, and open-minded place. There’s a big music festival called South by Southwest (SXSW) that attracts a lot of creative types. Richard Linklater, a movie director from Austin, said, “The only thing wrong with Austin is that it’s surrounded by Texas.”

            There’s a sister event called SXSW Interactive that has become a breeding ground for tech startups to get wide exposure. I think that was the tipping point where Twitter really got popular.


          2. Brian Fryer

            Marcus nailed it :-)


  • Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2

    Very rock solid insights BT!

    One of the biggest factors that helped with our blogs SEO was when we siloed it correctly. This made a HUGE difference.

    Now I need to run out and implement your insights here to take everything to the next level.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Good luck Lewis!


  • Rachelle

    Hey BT!

    Well I have a SEO story.

    In 2007 after I “set up my website” it was one page place holder site and very lousy, I forgot about it.

    In real life I did a promotion to distribute some brochures with an advertiser. As a part of that promotion they linked from their site to mine.

    When I started blogging I had a page rank of 4 just because of that one relevant link. Of course I had no idea what PR was or if it mattered.

    Now I’m just a lazy ass blogger.

    One of these days I’ll work on keywords…


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Rachelle you always make me freaking laugh.

      Brilliant.


      1. Rachelle

        Happy New Year!

        There is a difference between skill and luck. Know the difference…if you are lucky count your blessings…if you are skillful, rinse and repeat.

        :)


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          Gotta love the saying, “Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.”

          My brother always says it to me when I beat him at tennis.


  • Astro Gremlin

    Great post, Blog Tyrant. My bounce rate rally improved after I installed the LinkWithin plugin (it shows thumbnail photos from my other posts and says “You might be interested in . . .” People click on weird pictures. I wonder now if my internal linking is being interpreted as duplicate content. Oh well.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Interesting. What % of people leave after that image click?


  • Robert Dempsey

    SEO is definitely changing and I’ve been saying for quite a while that social and SEO are merging further. There is no better evidence of this than Google+ and one of the more recent updates where Google doesn’t provide keyword information on users logged into Google. The number of [not provided] records in my analytics is going way up. And with more than 60 million people using Google+ (and never logging out) personalized search, for better or worse (I think a lot worse) is here to stay. That means social media is a MUST.

    So many great points in this post on what to do however a few really stand out to me and is what I’m focusing on, namely:

    1. The experience someone has with you on your blog
    2. Creating a community
    3. Understanding the psychology of your reader

    Content is at the heart of everything we do online and must always be given much attention. However interaction with readers and really growing the community through email marketing and loyalty programs (such as I’ve implemented on my site) is going to keep people coming back, sharing your content on social media, linking to it, and ultimately giving you the juice you need to rank.

    This brings up an interesting thought though. There is no doubt that search engines won’t fall out of favor anytime soon. However how many people search their social networks for answers now before going to Google?

    I’d be very interested to see those numbers :)


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Do you know more about those “not provided” results in analytics? They are well frustrating.


      1. Robert Dempsey

        Unfortunately no. One of the workarounds I’ve read is to look at the content those “not provided” people are getting to. That can give some indication.


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          Yeah that’s a good idea. I wonder if there are other analytics packages that are more transparent?

          I know Aaron Wall thinks GA is not very reliable.


          1. Brankica

            Try Clicky, I think they giving all the data Google started dropping recently. When I look at my real time Analytics on Clicky, I see each keyword that brought the person from Google and which position was my page ranked for that keyword


  • jonknep

    This is a great post and one I’ll be sharing. I got your hint above ha. I guess I’m lucky to get into marketing/branding first before jumping into the SEO arena. I thought about people first before I even considered Google/bots/blah blah. Most of these points, especially user experience and multi-platform networking, were smashed into my head before I even considered the value for SEO purposes.

    As far as Panda and recent tweaks I’ve been fortunate. Keep in mind I only have a handful of affiliate sites. The biggest “hit” a site took is my ranking stayed the same, however Google replaced some crap results with big name sites so traffic from one of my top three keywords did take a hit. Talk about a weird way to “lose” haha.

    Aside from that for some terms, I had sites that bumped up. I’m not doing anything crazy or drastically different. I am focusing on a few things on site and off site that I’ll share below:

    -Making additional [related] on site content easy to access, but not over doing it.
    -Focusing on search terms with high engagement i.e. low bounce rate and high time on site [my top 2 earning sites have bounce rates in the 50s : )]
    -Writing lengthier articles that aren’t just filler
    -Including diverse content (think videos, user reviews, links to other quality stuff)
    -Building backlinks slow (or what I consider slow)
    -Building seriously diverse links and not only looking for short term (link wheel) fixes.

    This post does reaffirm that I must work on shifting my reliance away from Google, taking more time to make sites social share friendly, and figure out applicable ways to build an email list.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hey bro.

      The point about focusing on search terms with high engagement is a really interesting one.

      My post about ‘best about us pages’ ranks top of Google and gets like 150 uniques a day but the traffic largely bounces once they get what they are after. I often wonder about the signals.


      1. jonknep

        Yea it’s not in all cases but once you got traffic rolling in and you see where you are in the SERPs, you can pick through your site’s analytics.

        I’m looking at my analytics now and one example popped out. The plural vs the singular keyword for one search phrase has the stats:
        plural: 2.46 pages/visit; time 1:11 minutes; 50.59% bounce
        singular: 3.35 pages/visit; 2:50 minutes; 30.86% bounce

        Hmmm now I wonder if I’ll be as worried about adding that “s” on during link building haha.


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          See that is really interesting. I once did some work for a huge SEO company who was building thousands of websites. They were only targeting plurals because they said the singular didn’t get picked up when people typed in the plural but when you type in the plural you get the singular.


  • argel

    Sadly, for some user-made templates of blogger.com, the LinkWithin gadget does not work and you have to find some other code to make it work..

    Anyway, I’ll try implementing this SEO tricks up my sleeve, maybe BT can create a detailed guide for each item (or not haha!)

    Thanks!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Sounds like a lot of work!


  • Farhan Syed

    Hi BT,

    A very detailed post like usual. But I’ve seen you committing the same error in most of your posts.

    Like you write:

    “Its a totally different place.”

    That should be:

    “It’s a totally different place.”

    “Its” denotes possession. “It’s” is the contraction for “it is”.

    Hope you didn’t mind.

    I’ve a question. You’ve written:

    “Pat made an iPhone App for his blog.”

    I have a blogger blog. I have visited it from an Android phone and the blog worked fine with it. I created no App for it. So what is the function of an App?


    1. Mike Reeves-McMillan

      There’s a simple way to remember: imagine that the “it” was male. Would you say “he’s” or “his”? If you’d say “he’s” then it has an apostrophe, if “his” then not.

      Also works for their/they’re and whose/who’s, which are also commonly confused.


    2. the Blog Tyrant

      Hey Farhan.

      Thanks for that. I really am just too lazy when I edit but probably should take more care.

      I guess the function of Pat’s app is to have it on your phone all the time.


  • Cassie | womenswaytowealth

    Hi BT, thanks for the useful post. Do you have a backlinking strategy you recommend/use? I’ve been using Pat’s and it works well but it is very time consuming. I suppose that’s the nature of seo and building a business though! LOL!

    Lazy = no business. Just get backlinking, right?


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hey Cassie.

      I thought about doing a post on this topic.

      I have never done any back linking on Blog Tyrant other than a guest posting strategy. On the 1st of February I have a post on Copyblogger that will show you how that works.

      As for my other sites, the strategy is less about building back links and more about writing viral content. I seem to have more success when I put time into articles and community building than SEO.

      But I don’t really build sites for Adsense clicks which is what a lot of niche sites are about.

      Thoughts?


      1. Marcus

        I’m really on the fence about niche sites too. They seem like they could be good money, but not something I could get passionate about. They also seemed more focused on SEO rather than providing useful content.

        What gets me inspired is the idea of creating an authority site like a Blog Tyrant, Viperchill, or Smart Passive Income. Pumping out awesome content and building a community of like-minded people.

        Content could be a good guide for whether you should do a project as a niche site or an authority site. How much do you have to say about a given subject? There are some topics I could write a solid e-book about, but not blog about them for years on end. On the other hand, there are topics that I couldn’t imagine confining to just one book.

        On one of the blogs I write for, Vagablogging.net, I was shocked to see I’d written almost 200 posts! Amazed I still have the steam to write about travel. Feel like I haven’t really started to get going yet.


        1. Robert Dempsey

          Technically this is a niche site as are ViperChill and Smart Passive Income. There are many types – the types that are authority-style like this one, Amazon affiliate, some other product affiliate, selling services, selling your own products in a specific niche, etc.

          Don’t get too caught up in the terminology.

          With the severe lack of trust online today having authority on whatever style of site you determine to create is important.


          1. the Blog Tyrant

            What!?!

            I’m a niche site?

            Oh yeah.

            ;-)


        2. Brian Fryer

          The idea about niche sites is that they are “training wheels” for Internet businesses. Creating niche sites teaches you very important fundamentals of running an online business — doing research, validating a market, setting up a website, driving traffic, increasing conversions.

          You may “know” all of this, but unless you put it into practice, it’s useless. Niche sites provide the perfect opportunity to test what you know and gain some REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE so that you can apply it to a bigger idea that you’re passionate about… Or just setup more niche sites :)

          And, of anyone needs help learning exactly how to put a niche site together, checkout “Step By Step Business” in Erica.biz’sPinnacle Club: http://Erica.biz/pinnacleclub/

          Erica has been at work creating Step by Step Business since last summer and we’ve already seen a number of ‘beta testers’ do very well.


          1. the Blog Tyrant

            That’s some good promo Brian!

            ;-)


          2. Brian Fryer

            Haha, thank you, BT :-)

            I absolutely LOVE to see people DO SOMETHING other than talking about wanting to do something. I was in that same loop for what feels like a long time.

            Hell, even my dad is in that loop right now and we’re getting him started with Step by Step Business!

            I wish the best to everyone!


      2. Cassie | womenswaytowealth

        I’m with you and Marcus. Focus on great copy and it going viral, also am following a guest posting strategy. That seems to work better than backlinking (although might outsource Pat’s backlinking strategy). My thought though is that the backlinking strategy gets traffic but maybe not the quality of visitor you get from guest posting. So,will stick with killer copy strategy for now.

        Thanks for helping me clarify!


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          SEO and guest posting are totally useless unless you have a target individual in mind. My Copyblogger guest post is all about this topic.


        2. Marcus

          Cassie, if you want to focus on a content-based viral strategy, you can check out this article on ThinkTraffic: “How to Get over 50,000 Visits to Your Blog in the First Month” (http://thinktraffic.net/50k-in-first-month).

          The kicker is that it’s a guest post, which is really meta! Ha ha.


  • Denise Hamlin

    Glad you turned on the comments. I was wondering about that. It seemed a bit counter intuitive.

    So what you’re telling me in this post is that I can ignore those emails offering to improve my SEO with back links for a mere $450 a month? I thought as much.:-)

    Thanks for clarifying what Panda is. I’d heard about it, but didn’t really understand what the fuss was about. It doesn’t seem to have affected traffic to my site at all.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Yes. Absolutely ignore those emails! Ha ha.

      Thanks for commenting Denise.


  • Mike Reeves-McMillan

    Good point on running a series. I ran one for more than six months last year (26 posts on a weekly schedule, with a few other posts thrown in that weren’t in the series).

    Not only does it increase engagement, it’s a good way to write a book.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Feel free to throw in the link Mike! Love to see it.


    2. Cassie | womenswaytowealth

      Couldn’t agree more Mike. Great idea. I’m about to start a 12-part blog post series based on my Home Business Success Kit.

      I love BT’s advice to write pillar posts and then relate guest posts to those articles. This must really strengthen your core message and bring quality visitors to your site. Going to give it a go.

      Do you have any idea how your 26 part series increased your traffic and/or loyalty?


      1. Mike Reeves-McMillan

        BT, it started out with this list post titled 25 Ways Not to Change Your Life:

        http://hypno.co.nz/blogs/2011/01/11/how-not-to-change-your-life/

        But I didn’t want to leave it as just a shallow list post, so… series. Didn’t get me on the front page for “change your life”, which was a secondary goal, but it did lift my rankings for that phrase.

        Cassie, I think it did increase traffic and loyalty, but it’s hard to quantify since I was building my list and general profile at the same time. I also started another blog while I was doing the series, and have shifted my focus there, so… not sure.


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          That is a great idea; using a post to spawn a whole series. I like it.


  • Leigh

    Late to the party here, but I’ll have go.

    I hate social media, and I’m sad to see google looking at that as a reliable indicator for SEO (Also, I’m terribly biased because I suck at twitter and just can’t get the hang of it).

    In real life, I think one-on-one conversations feel like just the right speed and doing that on an open stage is so weird. (Interesting and ever-so-slightly related fact: Some Welsh and English miners would hand over their pay to their wives/mothers on pay day but they would do it outside on the front step so that all the neighbors could watch and ensure fair play.)

    Anyway, I go on facebook and see 50,000 Likes for a brand of toilet paper and think WTF – it’s all phony and why do I bother to jump through these hoops?

    Also, whereapy does not easily lend it self to social sharing – therapy is not a “fun” share. Not many people are going to publicly raise their hand and say to their friends, co-workers and family, “Hey, check out this awesome article on Borderline Personality Disorder, I think we all know who needs this!”

    Therapy deals with embarrassing stuff. If people are actively hiding something in real life, they will not want to share it online.

    So what most therapists do is tweet inspirational quotes or give up. Bah… I just can’t do that.

    /whinge over

    Ok, other than that part I pay attention to things like on-page SEO and maybe some backlink building. So far so good.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hey Leigh.

      As someone who has had troubles with anxiety I really hate the fact that mental illness is “embarrassing”.

      If more money and effort was put into changing that and making mental illness a priority we would, I’m sure, cut crime rates, drug uptake, homelessness, etc.

      Most of those things start with some form of mental illness.

      Might be a good marketing edge for you? Whereapy – where its not embarrassing.


      1. Leigh

        True, BT – it would be lovely to remove the stigma associated with mental health issues but that’s like wishing there wasn’t so much spam or Pr0n on the internet. That stigma has been around for ages and it’s not going to budge so long as people receive and observe other people receiving negative consequences for being associated with mental illness. Job loss, suspension, being denied medical coverage in the US are a few reasons people are reluctant to admit a weakness.

        It doesn’t really seem to matter that anxiety and depression go hand in hand with modernity – the stigma persists.

        Since we are talking here about the psychology of your ideal blog reader + social sharing and how that impacts SEO I think it’s fair to suggest possible reasons that readers will not be inclined to share your posts on places like twitter and facebook – then you can figure out a plan to deal with it.

        Embarrassment is one, but there are other reasons people will not socially share on major platforms.

        Wanting to keep information “secret” is another – for a perceived business advantage.

        Mismatched social environment – overtime my personal Facebook pack of friends has grown to be GenX, funny, authenticity seeking, well-educated, anxiety ridden, crafty, crunchy granolas with a sweet spot for bacon types – my interest in SEO and marketing does not go over well – in fact it’s a total turn off… so I don’t share business web type things because it won’t match their interest and might get me some serious flack.

        Anyway… sorry to go on a bit.

        For more research on the psychology of sharing:
        http://www.bazaarvoice.com/blog/2011/07/14/motivation-matters-new-research-on-the-psychology-of-sharing/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Bazaarblog+%28bazaarblog%29

        (BTW lack of social sharing isn’t so bad for whereapy – for every one Facebook share I have 10+ email list sign ups. I interpret that to mean the site is useful and that users trust it.)


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          Awesome stuff Leigh! (as always)

          I’ll check that link out in the morning.


  • Mike Reeves-McMillan

    Yes, more on-topic to actual SEO, I’m getting good results from on-page optimisation for terms that my articles are actually about, writing substantial articles, and a minimal amount of “backlink” building via guest posting.

    The popularity of a term makes a huge difference. I’m on about page 7 for “how to be happy” at the moment (one of my target terms, which I’ve built a number of guest post backlinks for), but I’m still getting what I consider to be a decent number of visits from that term. Apparently, people don’t find what they’re looking for on the first six pages.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Wow. That is pretty amazing. Page seven and still getting hits. Nice work.


      1. Mike Reeves-McMillan

        Thanks. I think my meta description is probably helping – it’s worth using those, I think, so that the search engine results don’t just grab your first para but tell people what your post is about in your own carefully chosen words.


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          Yeah that is an important thing to do.


  • Dorothy Ray

    Hi, Ty,
    Great article. Your blog has sat in my email box for days b/c I just didn’t have time or mental energy to read it. But this afternoon I idly plugged three main keyword phrases I use into Google. I haven’t touched my blog since last August, but articles represented by those three phrases, plus a few more, were on first pages. I’ve been getting only 5 to 10 lookers/day and they don’t stay long, but it surprises me that Google still mentions the pertinent articles and my url on = first pages along with the big guys.

    I will file this article under Blog Tyrant in case I’m able to get back to my blog before the hosting runs out in August. And tho I don’t ever visit Twitter any more, I’ll tweet it and mention it on FB. You’re welcome. Happy New Year.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Great to see you around again Dorothy!

      Thanks for stopping by.


  • David@ Web Desig Melbourne

    Returning readers indicate safety

    More than safety it indicates the level of loyalty and whether your content is being largely consumed. I find that visitor loyalty is crucial to the success however new visitors are equally important.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Absolutely.


  • Moneywisdomtips

    Mmmm i sure have alot of work to do


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Ha ha.


  • Caleb

    I too have been noticing a large increase of my tag pages getting indexed along with traffic to them as a result especially ever since I moved my tags above the content just under the post titles instead at the bottom.

    Also, strangely enough some of my search results pages have been getting indexed too :?

    SEO is definitely an ever evolving process that we have to constantly be up to date with. But just as I suggest to my readers at MSB we can’t become overly obsessed with it allowing it drive us crazy…instead we have to write mostly for the real live air breathing bots and as long it’s good useful, content, and sharable as you mentioned then the search engine bots will follow..

    btw,
    My bounce rate has averaged 57.8 with around 76 percent visitors for a while so according to your metrics I suppose I’m doing pretty good :)


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Sounds like you’re doing well to me Caleb! Smart guy.

      Thanks for dropping a comment.


  • Keith Davis

    Loved the post Mr Tyrant

    “Social is the new backlinks”
    That is worth knowing.

    I use twitter but it looks as though I need to get Facebook and Google+ sorted.

    Look forward to reading more of your stuff.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks Keith.


  • mike

    Thanks Mr. Tyrant. Had somebody point me in your direction tonight, followed your Facebook forum tonight and truly enjoyed this post. Been working social media for a few years and been blogging a couple years, now want to make it all truly pay off with applying the proper SEO to what it is that I’m doing.

    Our goal this year is to consistently have guest bloggers to help with links while sharing new audiences and ideas, as well as investing the time to create juice commenting on blogs. What would be the 3rd application to add to the other two


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hey Mike. Did the end of your comment get chopped?


  • karen morton

    thank you for such a detailed and interesting read. It is very timely for me as I have much to do to refresh and revamp sites. What PR professionals have now to reconsider is the type of headlines to use in a Blog Post as what catches the eye of the beholder and search engines online is quite different to what I would have considered for print or broadcast media in the past. Being fluid and indeed fluent in creating great copy and optimising it to its full potential is what I am working towards at the moment and flying solo on this as part of my learning curve – steep – but loving online support and advice from people like you – Thank you x


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