Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Now a surge in traffic?

Not sure what is up with Google, but now I'm experiencing a surge in traffic - many sites that were lingering around the #5/#6 rank are now #2 and even #1. Being in the top three really makes a big difference.

I think this is down to the Caffeine update being finished. Hopefully the SERPs should settle down for a bit now, after the excitement of the last couple of months.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

May Update

Have experienced a set-back in my quest to increase search traffic. The new "Mayday" algorithm change that Google implemented removed some 4800 hits from my sites - mainly long-tails. Oh well, I guess I just need to change strategy and start specifically targetting long-tails.

There is also some evidence that they are no longer giving as much weight to signature links from forums - again this is a pity as these links were easy to obtain.

I guess it's back to article marketing.

Have also started a new experiment: am going to trial Chitika ads. I need to be selective about where I place them as they display only to US traffic, but I sort of need an alternative to Adsense, and this is one of them.

Their website isn't as user-friendly as the Adsense one: for instance I got completely stuck trying to set up the Chitika premium ads, the screen kept freezing. So have opted for the "whitespace" ads, which display where you have whitespace on your site. Will report back on this experiment.

Finally the Facebook experiment: I've concluded that you definitely get a temporary boost in search rankings if your article/site is posted on a popular Facebook wall and then gets traffic. What happens after that seems to depend on how the page performs. If people going to it from the SERPs don't backspace, you seem to get points for this and it stays in the SERPs longer. Other pages just seem to drop after the temporary boost wears off.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Update on March

Well I got 18869 visits across all my sites in March - an increase of 8.2% on Feb, so not bad.

Almost all my search engine visits were to my authority blogs (and most of the income came from them too). Authority blogging takes a lot of time, especially if you are doing it all by yourself, with no spinning or outsourcing, plus a good quantity of research is thrown in, to make the posts valuable. But it definitely starts to pay off once you have some volume, and if you have been paying attention to your internal linking. You don't actually need many external links if you are careful about internal linking, really good content, and building a volume of content (one tip: turn your feed off on the authority blog - unless you are in a social niche, you don't need it, and feeds are just an invitation to spammers to scrape you). I'm starting to think that how frequently you update plays a big part in Google's trust, along with the mass of content.

So I am going to continue with the above, and perhaps start one more authority blog if I have time.

My Facebook experiment is inconclusive so far. The first page I tried it on was for a narrowish keyword, and within two weeks, it was sitting on page 1 of Google, and is holding the rank. The second site I tried it on hasn't been so fortunate, but it's a more competitive keyword. I need at least ten examples to be able to say conclusively whether facebook helps or not, so I will try to do some more this month.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Update on February

Well, pageviews are now up to 17439 for February - this is a 2.6% increase over the last month. I guess that's not bad as Feb had three fewer days than Jan. But it looks like I'm going to have to get used to 2.5%-3% monthly improvements unless I can think of a way to speed things up.

I've started to go back at look at hubs and other things I created last year with a view to backlinking them. But am also curious about Facebook and twitter.

I know that Twitter links are all no-followed, but something curious happened to me: a site I had reviewing a product, got picked up by the manufacturer of the product, who tweeted about it. It then jumped up in the search rankings by three places. So of course I thought, "this twitter stuff must have some influence" and tweeted some of my own stuff - but it made no difference. So I'm guessing that Google is treating certain twitter accounts differently? Perhaps the manufacturer's twitter account had authority and mine didn't, because I'm a nobody and they are a multinational?

I can't imagine Google is entirely thrilled at Twitter no-following everything especially as Twitter has become a real-time search source in itself, and thus a rival to Google. Given the amount of tweets in the search results, Google clearly wants to piggy back on this resource.

Then there is Facebook. I came across a post by a car dealer who mentioned that when his Facebook business page got over 1000 fans, links he was posting there started to jump in the search rankings.

I'm guessing it's down to internal backlinks. Each fan sends a link from their homepage to the business page they've fanned, and 1000+ links is a lot to your page.

I had a look at the source code of a public Facebook page (which I approached by Google's search results - i.e. I was signed out of Facebook). Links posted within messages on Walls were no-followed - but links using their link attachment feature were followed, but were wrapped in a Facebook script of the following type:

://" target="_blank" onclick="ft("4:20::684224154:::0:::290806722375:::5:1:28:0");

It shouldn't be too hard for Google to extract the URL from that - eg %253A = ':' %252F is '/' the onclick thing is just the message you get when you click the URL and facebook gives you a warning before you leave.

So, am going to conduct a small test, where I join a group with a lot of fans and post one of the URLs to my sites up. Will see if it makes any difference.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

End of January report

Well traffic for January was 16988, a mere 3% rise on December's traffic. I guess that's partly because some of the Christmas traffic on certain sites has dropped off, but also partly because for the first two weeks of the month I didn't really achieve much.

Have decided to step things up this month. I am still mainly building Squidoo lenses (because it is easier to put affiliate links on them for physical products), and still adding content to my two authority blogs (which are going great guns). I also couldn't resist doing a Hubpage called Buy the Apple iPad, mainly because I was able to nab the URL and I thought it would be a shame not to make use of it.

This month I shall be doing an audit of my sites and going through them one by one to see if I can add additional info that will bring in some long tail traffic and to see if I can build some backlinks. I ahve a hunch that "old" info on hubs et al is only OK if there is no competition in the niche. If there is competition, the most current stuff has the edge. Anyway, I shall be testing this theory out - if I'm right, just updating and adding info should get me more traffic. We shall see.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

New Year Blues

I don't know if it's just me, but things have really slowed down this year. It might be down to the unusual snowy weather we've been having which just makes you want to lie in bed and watch old movies.

Anyway, it's time to lay out my goals for this coming year. The big thing I learnt in 2009 was that the key to making money wasn't really keyword selection or using this or that whizzy keyword tool - it was getting traffic. If you get enough traffic you make money either through Affiliate sales or through Adsense.

So this year I'm aiming for the total traffic across all my properties to be 100,000 hits a month. As at the end of 2009 I was getting 16,481 hits a month. So there's a big mountain to climb.

My authority blogs are providing me with the most traffic and the most profit, so I shall be concentrating on them, building content, building backlinks, doing everything I can to make them invincible.

As always, I will be reporting back on my progress as the year proceeds.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Update on my little internet marketing war

The old saying that competition improves you is true. It's actually fun having a competitor whom you are pitting your wits against, plus you learn lots in the process.

Just to recap, I had a competitor move into one of my niches, where I had a Squidoo lens getting 200 hits a day and a steady stream of affiliate sales. In this niche there are essentially four main keywords, about seventeen major long tail words, plus a myriad of truly long-tail keywords.

My competitor targetted only one of the four main keywords, and interestingly all their backinks were focused on this keyword. Not surprisingly, they got the #1 slot for this word - but didn't even appear on the first page for the other three keywords, and for the lesser keywords only ranked on the first page for two.

I by contrast was mixing up and varying my anchored text on my backlinks, trying to keep it natural. I was on the first page for all the four main keywords, my highest ranking was #2 for one of them, and on the first page for 11 of the 17 major longer keywords with the #1 spot for four of them.

My strategy gave me diversity in the keywords I ranked for. Their strategy gave them the #1 spot for one of the main keywords. I expect if I continue with my strategy I should gain the #1 spot for one or more of the major keywords over time. But it's interesting to learn that their tactic of focusing on just one keyword didn't hurt them in that it didn't arouse any suspicions amongst the Google gods and they suffered no penalty.

What I found most interesting was that they were using press releases to get backlinks. They clearly sprayed press releases around, and some major sites published them. Press releases appear to be quite a powerful tool. The question is whether someone like me could get a press release published. By the look of them, the press release needs to be as official-looking as possible with name and contact details etc in order for webmasters of other sites to accept them and publish them. I personally like to be anonymous, but it might be worth looking into setting up a nom de plume for IM work. I also think press releases work best if you own your own domain - I can't imagine anyone publishing one for a web 2.0 site.