Saturday, June 20, 2009

Backlinks Ideas: Blogging

You may note the previous post featured backlinks to some eHow articles. Writing your own blog is one way to get some blacklinks going. You can legitimately link to your own articles.

A blog or website can also be a convenient place to keep an "index" of your articles to refer people to. Many eHowers maintain a website which has a page just for this purpose. You can cluster articles of a certain subject into a single page or group and make it easier for readers to find more articles of the same kind by you. You can also announce your articles, or provide an RSS feed to these announcements.

However, these kinds of backlinks won't give you the quality points that I mentioned in the "What is a Backlink" post. Pages that have a whole lot of links but not a lot of text look suspicious to Google's bots - especially if there seems to be a pattern of linking among a couple of sites. Like, say, you have five blogs and they are each full of links to each other and to your eHow articles. That's what would be called a "link farm" and Google considers it to be spamming their search engines, and if you do it too much, they may blacklist your ehow pages, and put your blogs in the sandbox.

Google, however, can tell the difference between a legitimate index and a "spamdex", so don't be afraid to create an individual blog or website to act as an index for you. Think more of the readers and less of the search engines, and odds are you will do the kinds of things Google is looking for - group the articles by relevance, add notes about them if you think it would be useful to the readers.

The better way you can use a blog, though, takes more work. If you have a subject that you write on a lot, then why not start a blog on that subject? You can use it for several purposes: one is to announce your latest articles on the subject, but even better is if you get ideas for articles that aren't how tos, you have a place to put them - and you can link back to your eHow articles. Such a blog, of course, can potentially make you some money too. You won't have the rank of eHow, but if you create a quality site, it will eventually get the traffic you need to start making a little side money, while improving the ranking of your eHow articles.

However, this works best if your blog has an overall subject that matches the subject of your eHow articles. The backlinks in my last post will get a little boost because the post is relevant to the links, but this blog is not about parenting or a summer activities. That whole article would mean more on a parenting blog.

I'll talk about more ways to sew your own backlinks soon.

The Backlinks Series:
What is a Backlink?
Backlinks - blogging
Backlinks - signature files
Backlinks - commenting

Friday, June 19, 2009

Featured Articles - Fun Summer projects

It's summer and the kids are bored at home. You need something for them to do.

One idea is to take traditions from other times of year and update them. Like creating a candy tree. My cousins used to play this trick on me when I was little around Easter time, but it also can be done at other times. After all, trees tend to fruit during summer and fall.

Have you ever noticed how much fun kids have just messing with sidewalks? If you live in an older neighborhood, or just have an older sidewalk, you can encourage the kids to be "Sidewalk Archaeologists" and collect the dates and info from the medallions that each concrete company impresses on a sidewalk or driveway when they pour it.

Finally, don't forget to mix the fun of nature with the pure joy if naughtiness. You and your kids can engage in some guerilla gardening by making seed bombs. These are little nuggets of degradable paper and wild flower seeds that you can surreptitiously toss into ugly vacant lots and other such places.

(And yes, these are backlinks. More about this next post.)

What Is A Backlink?

If somebody likes your article, they'll probably bookmark it If they really like your article, they'll tell others about it.

For instance, further down this article, I'm going to tell you about my favorite marketing guru, Seth Godin, and in that section, I will provide a link to his blog. That link is called a "backlink." Not long after I post this, bots from Google or other search engines, will crawl through this site and they will make note of that backlink.

The backlink info will go into Google's databases, and next time Google reviews page rankings, it will use backlink data as a part of how it figures out how important Mr. Godin's blog is to the universe. (Google, btw, doesn't review page rankings every day. There are certain things they run every three months, and other things ever six months. That's one reason your SEO efforts don't often have an immediate effect, and also why sometimes you will get a sudden bump.)

Backlinks aren't all there is to deciding pagerank, but they are pretty important. The thing to remember, though, is that Google doesn't just judge number of backlinks - they put particular emphasis on quality and relevance. This is why it is not a good idea to try to cheat the system. Google is really good at spotting these cheats these days.

Now... how does Google judge the quality and relevance of my backlink to Seth Godin?

Well, I'm pretty darned sure that this blog, since it is brand new, has a ranking of zero. I'm not going to do him much good based on my reputation. If Seth posted a link to MY blog, he could do me a lot of good, even if it were a junk link. He's a best selling author with millions of subscribers. He's a marketing guy, and they made an action figure of him, for goodness sakes! But he's not going to link to me unless I say or do something really "remarkable" (which is on of his buzzwords and the real reason he is being mentioned later on here). And that's part of why his backlinks mean something.

But my backlink does mean something based on other factors. This page is a "quality" page, in that it has an actual post, and it's a long and thorough one. This isn't just a bunch of links. And the text of this post not only talks about Seth himself, but the main subject of this post is related to the main subject of his blog - which is marketing and word-of-mouth.

So my backlink may not have a high rank, but it is high quality.

Which brings me to Seth Godin himself. One of his major precepts is that shortcut marketing is dead. You can no longer buy people's attention. The key to marketing, he says, is the Purple Cow. A purple cow is something that gets your attention to the point that you feel like remarking on it to someone else. In otherwords, it's something "remarkable."

The most important thing you can do to get backlinks is to write an article that is so interesting or so useful or so perfect for their needs, that they feel like telling others about it. For an eHow article, people are most likely to remark on an article that made their day. Maybe it helped them resolve a probelm, or maybe it just showed them how some task they were dreading wasn't so hard to do. Maybe it finally explained something that had been frustrating them for years.

If you're going to make someone's day, your title and keywords have to not only match your subject, your article has to truly pay off on those keywords. The people looking for you have to be able to find you, and they won't if you warp your title to include keywords that have a higher CPC but doesn't really draw the same audience as the article should. If you attract a higher paying audience who isn't really looking for what you have to say, they WON'T backlink to you.

You get the most leverage by creating content that will attract the people most likely to say something about your article.

Later I will post about ways you can sew a few backlinks of your own.

The Backlinks Series:
What is a Backlink?
Backlinks - blogging
Backlinks - signature files
Backlinks - commenting

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Top Ten Things You Can Do While Waiting For Earnings To Post

All of these are ongoing projects that you can do a little at a time.

1. Go through your list to find clusters of articles that compliment one another. The groups can be as small as three, but not more than 10 (this will be for promotional purposes, so it helps to focus). Any individual article can appear in more than one group.

2. Find articles in these clusters that don't have links to others in the group - and add some links.

3. Fix typos.

4. Create a blog that you can use as an index of your articles. Write a post for the blog that focuses on a particular cluster.

5. Write a free ezine article that will promote the cluster. Put a link in the bionote at the end that goes to any of the articles, or to the blog.

6. Browse for keywords.

7. Improve the keywords in old articles.

8. Read somebody else's article. (Rate accordingly, comment if you can say something interesting and relevant, report spam.)

9. Go through your stats and figure out which articles seem to earn the best per view, and then think about how you could promote it to get more views.

10. Or, heaven forbid, write a blinkin' article.

Friday, June 5, 2009

eHow is Not a Get Rich Quick Scheme

It's really unfortunate that a lot of people come to eHow thinking they'll solve their financial problems. If you are serious about writing, and serious about your subject matter, yeah, eHow is an especially good market for your how to articles. But the money comes slowly, and it is not guaranteed.

Myth #1 - You can make money fast!

No, you can't. eHow's system is based on residuals, and it trickles in slowly as people discover your articles, read them, post links to them. Some articles start earning sooner than others, but for the most part, it takes months before articles start earning anything regularly, and then it isn't very much.

We did a poll a month or so ago, and the median amount an article makes a month is fifty cents. The average is higher - maybe around a dollar - because the rare star writer makes a heck of a lot more than the average writer, and it pulls the numbers up.

However, if you keep writing, you gain the experience to figure out which articles do best for you (it varies by author) and then your own average goes up. Just don't hold your breath.

Myth #2 - It's Passive Income that is Guaranteed to Keep Growing Forever!

No it's not! If you want guarantees, invest in Treasury Bonds. Articles on eHow are just like any other business. Customers come and go, business rises and falls. You have competition, and changes in the economy and buying habits. Changes in fashion.

The big thing to remember, though, is that you are dependant on two companies: eHow and Google. Either can make a little policy change and it can have a big effect on you.

In my opinion, eHow is one of the best deals going for online writing. It's a place where diligence and quality and patience are rewarded. These are long standing qualities of a successful writer, so it's a great place to gain experience.