Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Top 10 Secrets to Writing Popular Posts - Kevin Jorgensen

Do you wish you knew the secret to writing popular blog posts? You know, the posts that get over 200 comments, 20 backlinks, and hundreds of shares on social networking sites?

Use Simple Words

The first thing you’ll probably observe when you look at popular blog posts is they’re easy to understand. And that’s true regardless of the subject matter.
Why? The reason popular blog posts are easy to read is because the author choses to write with simple words.
I try to write my content using 8th grade vocabulary (like Time magazine), rather than writing like a highly educated person. I’d rather you be able to read and understand quickly what I wrote, than use my writing to convince you I may know more than you do about a particular subject.
The interesting thing is you will still come across as an expert – perhaps even more so. Even better – readers are more likely to share content that they think other people will understand. Use simple words, not fancy ones.
In addition to simple language, there are some words that seem to attract attention better than others (source Hubspot). You might consider these words for your subheads (don’t over do it).
Most viewed words e1319174304814

Use the Word “you”

Really great content sounds like it was written specifically for you. Do you know why? Often because the writer simply used the word “you” instead of “we” or “them.”
When I write in this manner, what I’m doing is trying give you the sense that it’s just you and me, as if we were sitting down at Starbucks for a cup of coffee.
A simple method to help you do this is to think of someone you know and write your blog posts as if you are writing just for them. Some writers will even keep a picture of a person on the side of their monitor to remind them that they are writing for just one person.

Write “how-to” Posts

People want useful information. You want to be popular. Write useful information and you’ll be popular.
The formula for writing a “how-to” post is simple. Sit down and write out all of the steps involved in doing something in particular. Map each step into a sub-head and then write in that ‘you’ style, using simple language, how to accomplish each step.
Let’s say you want to show your reader how to subscribe to your blog with an RSS reader. Your headings might be “Choose a Reader,” “Sign Up,” “Click on the RSS button,” and “Subscribe.” Under each heading you would give more information, explaining what to look for, the pros and cons, and pointing out issues that might be confusing.

Not Too Long But Not Too Short…Just Right

Goldilocks was on to something. She only wanted things that were just right to resolve her immediate problem. Taking her queue, your content should be just long enough to completely address the issue you’re writing about. Some content will be longer than others but in order to be popular, no content should be fluff and likewise, it shouldn’t read like War and Peace either.
People love details – as long as the details make a point. Fill your how-to content with statistic, facts and information a reader will want to reference. Charts and graphs are great and add to visual appeal as well as increase appeal. Those references often end up being inbound links back to your content.

Hook Your Readers

The first rule of hooking readers is to write a great headline. Great headlines have four qualities. They are:
  • Unique: Unique headlines can only be used for your blog post, like this post I’m writing right now. It’s unique because there is only one Kevin Jorgensen!
  • Useful: A headline is useful when it promises practical information. The reason “how-to” guides are popular is because they give answers to problems.
  • Ultra-specific: Adding numbers or stats to a headline makes it ultra-specific.
  • Urgent: The best way to create urgency is to put some kind of deadline into your headline. “6 Days until the Next Stock Market Boom” or “Your Last Chance to Get a Free Copy of My Book” are good examples.
The best headlines have three or four of these features in them. This formula is called the Four Us.
After the headline, you hook readers by writing a great first sentence. How do you do that? Asking questions works really well. So does making a crazy statement that simply can’t be true, but then you promise to show your readers that it is. The point is to write a first sentence that people can’t resist. Quotes also make good first sentences, as do statistics.
Next, your reader will probably skim your post, especially if it is long, looking at all of your sub-headlines. This is why your sub-headlines need to also hook the reader.
Readers should be able to scan your sub-headlines and get a summary of what the post is about. Try writing your sub-headlines like normal headlines, using the Four Us formula. That way, you read them and say, “I’ve got to read that!”

Create a Conversation

One of the most important parts of writing popular blog posts is writing conversationally.
Have you noticed all the questions in this article? How about the italicized phrases? There’s a reason for this style. People forget that blogging is social media, and being social means knowing how to carry on a good conversation.
If you were having this conversation in-person the way to make it a great conversation is to listen and ask the other person questions. It shows the other person that you care about what they are thinking, and that it’s not all about you—because it’s not.
The same is true for a blog. Monologs are boring.
Creating a conversation also means you exchange words with each other after the blog post is done, usually in the comments, though some people prefer to email privately.
If there isn’t a dialog then it’s a monolog, and that’s no fun. So at the end of your post, always ask people what they think and tell them to leave their thoughts in the comments.

Prove Your Points

It’s important in your post to prove any claims that you make. For example, in the section where I said that graphs and stats in a post get more backlinks, I actually linked to another blog post that backed up what I was saying.
If you don’t do this, you’re likely to lose credibility and people won’t believe what you say.
Another benefit to proving your points by linking to other posts is that you are sharing with your audience another good source of information. And the chances are, the appreciative author you link to will probably link back to your blog at some point.

Show You’re an Expert

Lots of bloggers can get uncomfortable with this one because they feel like they’re tooting their own horn. Actually tooting your own horn rarely works.
To show you’re an authority on a subject means you have to get other people or organizations to say that you are an authority. Then you simply point out what they said.
Following this approach, you’re not bragging, just pointing out what others claim. Of course, it matters how you say it, so be humble.
There are also some words that seem to generate more inbound links (the proxy for authority) according to Hubspot:
 Most linked to words e1319174372888
You’ll see blogs with “As Seen In” sections displaying the logos of important companies and media sources, like the New York Times, underneath. This is an endorsement—another way of showing you have authority.
Testimonials from readers and clients are also a form of authority. If you’re interested, here’s a post on how to effectively use testimonials that explains more on this topic.

Care About Your Readers

I’ve discovered that if you truly care about people—including your readers—you will naturally try to write a popular blog post, because you are always looking for ways to write better. In other words, you’ll constantly try to learn new ways to improve your posts so you help more people. And that’s the Golden Rule for success blog posts!

Pay Attention to Search Optimization

In your blog posts, focus on the keywords for which you want to be found. Use one keyword in a post and keep the frequency between 1 use in 50 to 1 in 100 words. Improve the context of your keywords for on-page search: page title is the most effective place for keywords, use keywords in headings and content, and use the blog post description to convince searchers to read your content. Another place that writers often overlook for keyword use is the alternative text for images.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What is SEO and how it can define or rank for 2012

What is SEO? The acronym stands for Search Engine Optimization. But the definition of SEO is a more difficult question.
It’s not what it once was, that’s for sure. The problem is, I see references to outdated definitions of SEO on a fairly regular basis.
If you have arrived here thinking SEO is a sham, snake oil and/or dead then a) you are grossly mistaken and b) let me disabuse you of that notion.
SEO Definition
Here’s my definition of SEO in 2012.
Search Engine Optimization is a multidisciplinary activity that seeks to generateproductive organic traffic from search engines via technically soundand connected sites by matching query intent with relevance and value.
It’s a bit of a mouthful, I know. I’ve emphasized the areas that I feel are particularly important and deserve a more in-depth explanation.
Productive Traffic
SEOs are Chefs
The goal of SEO is not to increase traffic willy-nilly. You increase traffic by 30% but it makes no difference to the bottom line. Who cares!
Productive can mean different things to different companies. Productive may mean leads or subscribers or revenue or page views. Whatever it is, it’s important to define and track productive traffic rather than simply focusing on increasing traffic overall.
I might be able to generate more traffic by adding ‘Nude’ and ‘Free’ as keyword modifiers but is that really going to bring productive traffic to a site?
This goes (way) beyond brand versus non-brand traffic, which I find to be the most rudimentary of divisions. This is having a fundamental understanding of the traffic that makes a difference to that business.
That may mean moving away from high volume terms and generating less traffic overall. Don’t get saucer eyes when it comes to keyword volume. It’s about the right keywords, not the biggest keywords. (That’s what she said!)
Yet, even if you’re driving the right traffic there are other factors that contribute to a productive visit. If the focus is leads, you might realize that the call-to-action is weak, doesn’t match the query intent or competes with other elements on the page. Perhaps the lead form itself isn’t very good either.
If the goal is page views, you may realize that the design is confusing, the text hard to read and the content without a structure that allows for easy navigation.
Because productive traffic is the goal an SEO needs to understand design, user experience, information architecture and conversion rate optimization. Otherwise it’s like a chef who creates a menu but then has no input on how the food is cooked, the quality of ingredients, decor of the establishment or the presentation of the meal.
It’s okay if you’re in the business of driving any old traffic at a website and then shrugging your shoulders when it doesn’t really do anything for the business. But that’s not SEO. You’re just a burger flipper at some fast food joint.
Technically Sound
As an SEO you need to have very strong technical skills. What does this really mean though? At a minimum, it means you need to know how the Internet works and how search engines crawl and index the web.
You should also be comfortable analyzing HTTP headers and know your status codes cold. Get good using Firebug or Chrome’s Developer Tools. Mine those weblogs, because there’s gold in them there data. (Sorry, I just watched True Grit.) Bonus points if you can code something up yourself to extract it.
Understanding how to diagnose and solve accessibility and crawl efficiency problems is critical.
SEO is about knowing enough about … everything. HTML, CSS, JQuery, AJAX, Flash, JavaScript, XML, JSON, RSS, PHP, SQL. Experiment with and understand these technologies.
But you’re not done yet because you still have to understand the technical side of specific search engine directives including (but certainly not limited to) noindex, nofollow, rel=canonical, rel=author, rel=publisher, rel=standout, hreflang and various competing schemas of microdata.
SEO is about knowing all of this to ensure technical issues aren’t obstacles and to create positive relationships with engineers. You must speak their language. You don’t have to understand everything and you should never bluff, but you damn well better be able to carry on a coherent conversation.
You should know the difference between a GET and a POST; between server side and client side scripts. An SEO should be able to convey when and why to use a cookieless domain. You shouldn’t get a deer-in-the-headlights look when engineers talk about CDNs or minifying code.
I haven’t even touched on diving into the details of information retrieval, natural language processing, machine learning and other methods that inform modern search engine algorithms.
The more technical you are the more effective you become. And there’s always something more to learn.
Puzzle Pieces
What do I mean by connected? Today it means links to and from other sites and connecting with and through others on social platforms. In plain language it’s about links and social.
I’m not a huge fan of link building and prefer a link gardening approach. Mind you, I understand the value of links but too often link building is done for the wrong reasons and weighted far to0 heavily in the scheme of things.
It works a fair amount of the time. I can’t deny that. But I’m never sure at what expense. Too often I see those companies on a treadmill of link building efforts. Frankly, you should reach a point where link building isn’t something you’re workingat.
Oddly, linking out is an overlooked and underrated tactic. Tadeusz Szewczyk was an early and strong proponent of this practice. Linking out is a form of built-in reciprocity. You wind up getting back links from those to whom you link out. It’s a way of connecting to and engaging with people in your niche.
That sounds a lot like social doesn’t it? Social takes on a number of dimensions. First is producing content that is worthy of sharing and then doing everything you can to make it portable. That includes an interaction design that promotes sharing andensuring that the shared content is optimized.
Of course there’s also really being social and getting out on these platforms and connecting with your users and customers. I don’t mean public, glorified customer service but actually socializing with some of your users and customers. This is both extremely tough to do at scale but also valuable for a variety of reasons.
Today it also means understanding how social is being integrated into search (it’s not the other way around) and learning Facebook SEO and Google+ SEO.
Now we finally get to the real heart of SEO and the initial reason I started this blog post. Query intent is perhaps the most critical part of SEO.
You should understand the syntax of your user and the motivations behind their search and queries. At the bare minimum you should understand differences between navigational, informational and transactional queries.
No, this is not about personas. All too often time and money are spent creating personas that create artificial divisions in the long-term, a type of stereotype that others glom onto to as a way to promote their own views. “Remember, that’s not what Sally Searcher is about.” (Ugh, kill me now.)
Instead this is about doing the hard work of understanding how and why people are searching for your content and products. It’s about syntax, psychology and consumer behavior among other things.
Intent is also informed by context. Geography, time of year and platform (i.e. – mobile) can all play an important part of understanding intent. It’s never something you can just copy and paste from one site to another.
For instance, here’s a real search that wound up coming to this blog.
how to change the blue link title of your website
I find these types of queries fascinating. It forces me to think different. SEO is about knowing how people are thinking and searching, not how that business thinks their users should be searching. SEO is an advocate for the user.
Relevant LOLcat
Not too long ago SEO was about matching keywords with relevant content. This is why content farms became so popular and profitable. All you needed to do was take a long-tail keyword and match it with relevant content. It also meant you could shard a keyword concept into a large number of pages.
So you might find a different page for ‘how to squeeze orange juice’ and ‘how to squeeze fresh orange juice’.
Was the content relevant on these pages? For the most part, yes. But it was the content equivalent to empty calories.
That doesn’t mean that relevance isn’t important. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s still incredibly important. A fair amount of on-page SEO is about making relevance obvious. Because it doesn’t just need to be relevant, it has to be perceivedas relevant at a glance.
Relevance must be seen through the lens of intent instead of a simple keyword match. Relevance is the beginning, not the end of SEO.
Relevance is always coupled with value. Is value subjective? Sure. But it gets easier when you trace it back to intent. Does that page truly satisfy the query intent? Notthat it’s relevant. Not that it matches the keyword. Did the page provide enoughvalue to satisfy intent.
You’ll notice that I’ve used satisfy twice and that’s not by accident. Search engines (and SEOs) are increasingly concerned with user satisfaction. An SEO might not talk about ‘delighting the user’ (eye roll) but we’re measuring satisfaction through both qualitative and quantitative measures.
Is it readable? Was the user experience positive? Were they able to find the information? Did it lead them to other related content? Was it easy for them to subscribe or buy? Were they able to print or share the page? How many pages did they view? Did they convert? What is the bounce rate?
We’re also there to call your baby ugly and identify gaps in a site’s content. That might mean the content produced isn’t valuable enough or that there is unsatisfied query intent (i.e – you don’t have the right content).
SEO is about producing positive and satisfying interactions that support the brand and flow into other marketing channels.
What About Rank?
You’ll note that I didn’t talk at all about rank. Rank can be important but only in the context of driving productive traffic. In many ways rank should take care of itself if you’re doing everything else right.
In addition, rank becomes less important when you’re working on large sites with more than, say, 100,000 pages. There are ways to measure rank in these situations but I don’t often find that of great value except in communicating with clients obsessed with rank.
Rank is also losing it’s fidelity with the continuing personalization of search results. If Search+ is here to stay then rank will become increasingly fractured.
SEO vs Inbound Marketing
There are many who probably look at my definition and explanation and believe it better matches ‘inbound marketing’. This new umbrella term created by Hubspot works for a lot of people. They find it easier to describe and convey to clients. It’s more palatable and allows them to distance themselves from the poor reputation SEO has acquired. I get it. But I don’t like it.
I’m an SEO and I’m proud of it.
I use SEO as a client filter. I can skip those who think it’s snake oil, find the ones who ‘get it’ and help educate those who might be on the fence. In many ways these are the clients who are most thoughtful and can contribute and collaborate on SEO efforts. Those are my kind of clients.
If I were trying to sell into the Fortune 100 or have thousands of clients under contract at a time I might decide inbound marketing was a better term. I wouldn’t have the time to explain and educate.
That’s not Blind Five Year Old. While the company is expanding, I still have the ability to create personal relationships with clients.
In the end, I’m not sure I want to work with a client who would accept my help under the guise of inbound marketing but not as an SEO. Perhaps that’s my own type of elitism.
SEO 2012 Example
So lets take my SEO definition and apply it to an example. Suppose you have the query ‘eureka lightforce 300 manual’. What do you suppose the intent is behind that query?
Eureka Lightforce 300
Are they really looking for that vacuum’s manual? Or are they instead having a problem with their vacuum? If you were able to look at query reformulations you’d see users cycle through modifiers like troubleshooting, repair, problems, information, solutions, manual and parts. In fact, you can use Google’s related queries to see how these are linked.
Two years ago you might have been able to get away with creating a page with a highly optimized Title, dynamic boilerplate text, a generic product description and a link to a PDF download of that manual. It would have been relevant but you wouldn’t have truly satisfied intent or delivered real value. More to the point, the value that you delivered was a commodity.
What would a SEO page for this term look like?
You’d still have a solid Title, product description (and specs), and a link to the manual. But you’d add a list of common problems with that vacuum along with potential solutions. These might include step-by-step DIY repair guides.
You’d provide links for replacement parts. You might dynamically serve them local vacuum repair shops. You may even have a section dedicated to buying a new vacuum. Maybe you even have a calculator that tells you whether it’s worth fixing the old vacuum or buying a new one. Heck you could even provide links to house cleaning services.
A well designed page with these elements would provide relevance and value, thereby satisfying query intent.
SEO is about generating productive organic search traffic by matching query intent with relevance and value. The implication of this definition is that SEO must draw upon an increasing number of disciplines including design, user experience, information architecture and conversation rate optimization.
Source :

SEO Checklist for New Websites by Jocelyn Wilhelm

So you’re thinking about having a new website? I’ve put together 6 SEO Checklist for New Websites to guide you along the way and make sure your website is optimized for search engines which will help your customers easily find you online.

1. Accessibility

Make sure users and search engines can access your site easily and readily. If your page has a slow download time or if visitors are being directed to a page other than your own, people will most likely opt-out and not visit your site again. These are sometimes caused by missing or broken links on your site. Having too many plugins on your site, can also slow down your load time. Here are a couple of tools that you can use to check if your site is optimized for search engines: Google Webmaster Tools or SEOmoz Pro Web App.
SEOMoz Best Web SEO Checklist for New WEbsite Resource
Click on the image to go to their site!

2. Keyword Targeting

Have you worked on finding and using the right keywords to use on your site so your ideal customers can find you online? Base the content of your site on the products and services you are offering. And make sure that the keywords you’re using have good search volume, high relevance and low difficulty. So for example: You may have a better chance at finding your target market by using the word “thingiemabob” rather than “thingie”. You get my point! :)

3. Content Quality & Value

Does your site offer content in such a way that makes your customers happy? Did you offer them solution(s) to their problem(s)? Did you answer their question? Make sure your content is visually intriguing to your customers so they learn to trust you…so they’ll come and visit your site again…so they’ll tell their friends about you and your services.

4. Design Quality. User Experience and Usability

Unless you have a design background, maybe look into hiring someone that can help you with this. This is something you really can’t skimp on. Your website is an extension of you, for brand. You want this something that can provide an exceptional experience to your customers. Make sure it’s pleasing to the eyes, easy for people to navigate through, easy to read, and make sure it’s fast! I can’t stress this enough. If your customers are frustrated with your site, they’re not going to come back. And one more thing, make sure it’s viewable on mobile devices. Mobile marketing is on the rise, I’ll cover this on another topic. But if you want to succeed in this ever-evolving digital world, you need to exist where your customers are.

5. Social Account Set-up

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, SEO and Social Media makes for a very happy marriage. They’re a good complement to one another. And as such, using both in your marketing strategies will contribute to your overall online business success. It is so easy nowadays to share content across the web so at the very least, make sure you have a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts.

6. Link Building

OK, so you’ve spent so much time crafting your content and using all the right keywords, but what good is it if no one reads it? Learn some organic ways how to direct more traffic to your site, by reading my article about “Link Building Best Practices”.
Good luck! Hope these handy SEO checklist for your new website will help you become more successful with your online business and let major search engines know your website exist.
Feel free to post below if you have any questions or comments or if you want to share other suggestions. Thank you for stopping by!

‘Til next time….
Jocelyn Wilhelm, JW Social Media CEO

50 Qualities of the Best Business Blogs in the World

Every day I get emails from all over the world of business owners and marketers asking me one simple question:
“Marcus, will you take a quick look at my blog?”
And to the best of my ability, I always try to take a look. Yes, I’m feeling the time crunch more and more, but I still find so much joy in having someone in Europe put enough trust in a “pool guy from Virginia” to give him or her blogging advice. :-)

Doing It Right

I mention this because over the last 2 years I’ve looked at and analyzed hundreds of business blogs. Some companies were big. Others were small. Some had an army of content producers and curators. Others had an army of one. Some had an unlimited budget for blogging and social media while others couldn’t rub two nickels together. Some sold soap. Other sold jet engines.

Yep, by this point, I’ve seen some of the best, worst, and most diverse the blogosphere has to offer.
This being said, I’m always impressed with businesses doing it right. I love it when success is achieved and when folks are getting positive results through the incredible medium that is blogging.
But results don’t just come naturally. There are certain actions and qualities that one must take in order to rise above the chatter and receive the love from their readers, their industry, and the other master of all—Google.
So that’s what this post is about, 50 of the most essential qualities of some of the greatest business blogs in the world. Here goes…

50 Qualities of the Best Business Blogs in the World

1. They answer the basic consumer questions first and foremost.
2. They don’t suffer from the curse of knowledge.
3. They don’t try to impress readers because they know that happens naturally with great teaching.
4. They don’t brag about themselves, their company, and why they’re so awesome.
5. They are willing to have a conversation below the post (in the comments section) or behind the scenes via email.
6. They don’t waste words, and if they can state it shorter, they do.
7. The owner/CEO of the company is involved and also is a blog contributor.
8. They include at least one image on every post.
9. They make it readable by using short paragraphs, bullets, headers, etc.
10. They include video as much as possible.
11. They address subjects no one else in their industry is willing to address.
12. If they see something wrong in their industry, they tactfully call-out the action, person, or company doing it.
13. They leverage as many employees as they can in the content curation process, and see every member of their staff as a “blog contributor.”
14. They don’t have a bunch of frivolous red tape, filters, and stupid management teams holding up every blog article that’s written.
15. They have thick skin and don’t back down as soon as someone doesn’t like what they have to say.
16. They are very consistent in their writing schedule, and most post at least twice per week.
17. They recognize the importance of great content combined with solid SEO, and don’t turn their back on either one of the two.
18. They don’t like to waste the time of their readers.
19. They never talk about their silly company picnic, employee retreat, etc.
20. They look to shine light on others “doing it right” in their industry.
21. They don’t try to make everyone happy.
22. In fact, they push customers out of the sales funnel as much as they push customers down the sales funnel, all for the pursuit of building the right tribe and creating the right clients.
23. They don’t care about their competitors stealing their “secret sauce” because, well, it’s likely not a secret anyway.
24. Their writing has personality, flair, and passion—the opposite of a college lecture hall.
25. They don’t give a rip about metrics that don’t mean a dang thing…like Klout.
26. They don’t bury their head in the sand when it comes to addressing issues (good, bad, and ugly) their readers are thinking about.
27. They are the best listeners in the world because they understand that listening to customers is all they really need to do in order to have unlimited ideas for blog content.
28. They are master storytellers.
29. They talk about their customers way more than they talk about themselves.
30. They write with passion and clarity.
31. They know their shtick.
32. They’re not afraid to make you laugh or make you cry.
33. They see themselves as “teachers” and “educators.” This is not just a blog thing, it’s a cultural shift within the company.
34. They quickly get rid of employees that don’t share this vision.
35. They see everything their business does, every service it renders, and ever product it carries, as a content opportunity.
36. They stay on the cutting-edge of their industry.
37. They run stories and articles when no one else will…because it’s the right thing to do and they’ve got guts.
38. They know by “giving it away” they will receive way more in the long run than their competitors who hoard information, thought, and industry best-practices.
39. They make the time to blog when there is none.
40. They understand the need for community, but also realize community is nothing unless their business doors are actually open and they’re turning a profit.
41. They invest money into their blogging platform so it doesn’t look cheap.
42. Even though their goal is to educate, they still understand the power of subtle selling, calls-to-action, etc.
43. They focus on numbers that matter the most—visits, leads, and conversions…and not on stats that don’t always equal profits—likes, tweets, shares, etc.
44. They are willing to be imperfect, make mistakes, and learn as they go.
45. They track their blog’s ROI (return on investment) and realize which articles are generating the most revenue and which ones are not.
46. They think wayyyy outside the box.
47. They show gratitude, support, and sincere appreciation to those readers, fans, and other companies that support them.
48. They don’t strive for “awards” or “best-of lists” or anything of that matter, understanding that such accolades will come naturally if they just do their part.
49. They understand complaining for the sake of complaining is a stupid business model and eventually, if done too much, will turn them into “the boy who cried wolf.”
50. They love what they do. They do it well. And they are relentless in their pursuit of excellence.

Your Turn

What’s funny about this list is that even though I’ve listed 50, there are many more I’ve not mentioned, which is why I’d love to know your thoughts. What qualities would you add to the list? Which ones do you disagree with? Which ones have you had the toughest time with?
Written By:

Top 15 Most Popular SEO Websites Resources | February 2012

Here are the 15 Most Popular SEO Sites as derived from our eBizMBA Rank which is a constantly updated average of each website's Alexa Global Traffic Rank, and U.S. Traffic Rank from both Compete and Quantcast.

1 | SEOBook2,191 - eBizMBA Rank | 1,400,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 1,534 - Compete Rank | *4,005* - Quantcast Rank | 1,036 - Alexa Rank.
Most Popular SEO Websites | Updated 2/20/2012

2 | SEOMoz
4,693 - eBizMBA Rank | 700,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 2,034 - Compete Rank | *10,100* - Quantcast Rank | 1,946 - Alexa Rank.
Most Popular SEO Websites | Updated 2/20/2012

3 | searchengineland
4,746 - eBizMBA Rank | 650,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 2,479 - Compete Rank | 9,274 - Quantcast Rank | 2,485 - Alexa Rank.
Most Popular SEO Websites | Updated 2/20/2012

4 | SearchEngineWatch
4,746 - eBizMBA Rank | 645,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 3,479 - Compete Rank | 10,620 - Quantcast Rank | 3,022 - Alexa Rank.
Most Popular SEO Websites | Updated 2/20/2012

5 | SearchEngineJournal
6,212 - eBizMBA Rank | 550,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 3,462 - Compete Rank | *11,900* - Quantcast Rank | 3,275 - Alexa Rank.
Most Popular SEO Websites | Updated 2/20/2012

6 | SEOChat
6,390 - eBizMBA Rank | 500,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 6,634 - Compete Rank | *10,300* - Quantcast Rank | 2,235 - Alexa Rank.
Most Popular SEO Websites | Updated 2/20/2012

7 | MattCutts
7,571 - eBizMBA Rank | 440,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 5,788 - Compete Rank | *12,400* - Quantcast Rank | 4,524 - Alexa Rank.
Most Popular SEO Websites | Updated 2/20/2012

8 | SERoundTable
8,703 - eBizMBA Rank | 400,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 6,794 - Compete Rank | *13,500* - Quantcast Rank | 5,815 - Alexa Rank.
Most Popular SEO Websites | Updated 2/20/2012

9 | SubmitExpress
8,716 - eBizMBA Rank | 390,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 12,313 - Compete Rank | *11,000* - Quantcast Rank | 2,834 - Alexa Rank.
Most Popular SEO Websites | Updated 2/20/2012

10 | SelfSEO
13,054 - eBizMBA Rank | 250,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 18,522 - Compete Rank | *13,000* - Quantcast Rank | 7,640 - Alexa Rank.
Most Popular SEO Websites | Updated 2/20/2012

11 | WickedFire
13,680 - eBizMBA Rank | 230,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 25,112 - Compete Rank | *14,080* - Quantcast Rank | 1,846 - Alexa Rank.
Most Popular SEO Websites | Updated 2/20/2012

12 | HighRankings
16,563 - eBizMBA Rank | 190,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 21,890 - Compete Rank | *16,000* - Quantcast Rank | 11,798 - Alexa Rank.
Most Popular SEO Websites | Updated 2/20/2012

13 | SEO
18,116 - eBizMBA Rank | 150,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 28,787 - Compete Rank | *14,900* - Quantcast Rank | 10,661 - Alexa Rank.
Most Popular SEO Websites | Updated 2/20/2012

14 | SeoByTheSea
20,007 - eBizMBA Rank | 115,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | *NA* - Compete Rank | *NA* - Quantcast Rank | 20,007 - Alexa Rank.
Most Popular SEO Websites | Updated 2/20/2012

15 | SearchEngineGuide
20,719 - eBizMBA Rank | 100,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 27,672 - Compete Rank | 22,358 - Quantcast Rank | 12,126 - Alexa Rank.
Most Popular SEO Websites | Updated 2/20/2012


62 SEO Tips to the definitive link building campaign to get rank in SERPs

Successful search engine optimization (SEO) requires inbound links from quality relevant websites. Using extracts from their book, Wordtracker Masterclass: Link Building - How to build links to your website for SEO, traffic and response, Ken McGaffin and Mark Nunney here outline the definitive steps in a successful, long term link building campaign.
Search on Google with one of your most popular keywords and you'll likely find millions of results. How does Google decide who comes first? And how can you persuade Google to give you a higher ranking in the results?
Search Google with office furniture, for example (see image below), and there 120 million sites in the results. How do you beat over 120 million other websites?|

office furniture search

You've got to work on two main areas - the keywords you use on your own web pages (on-page SEO) and the links on external websites that point to yours (link building).
On-page factors are easy to manipulate and therefore search engines don't base their algorithms on them alone. They look for more information in the links that point to your website. These are much more difficult to manipulate and so are given precedence in search engine algorithms.
So successful SEO soon requires successful link building. That can be a daunting task and it's why we've written this book.
Good content, an understanding of your online community and knowing how to get external sites to link to yours are all needed to build quality links over time.
This is entirely possible no matter what your level of experience - just approach the job systematically and give it sufficient time and you'll soon be getting quality backlinks without even asking for them.
Here we'll take you through 62 steps of the following seven stages of the definitive link building campaign:
1) Strategy
2) Management & metrics
3) Networking & prospect hunting
4) Content creation
5) Promotion
6) Debrief
7) Repeat
We'll then give you a link to a spreadsheet containing a checklist you can use for your own link building campaigns.
You'll find more how-to detail on practical link building in Wordtracker Masterclass: Link Building - How to build links to your website for SEO, traffic and response, by Ken McGaffin and Mark Nunney.

Stage 1. Strategy

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat". Sun Tzu.
It's best to know where you're going before you start your journey.
SEO translates your company and marketing strategies into target markets and matching keyword niches.
1) Choose target keywords. For SEO, this means you must decide which keywords you are targeting. And you must include those keywords in the link text of internal and external (from other sites) links.
2) Group your target keywords into market sectors. So, for example, if your website is an online garden center you might categorize your keywords into groups, including the following:
garden furniture
water features
• etc, etc...
3) Focus your link building work on each market sector in turn, eg barbecues, water features. For each of those, you might further refine your target keywords into keyword niches, eg for barbecues, this could include:
gas barbecues
charcoal barbecues
portable barbecues
barbecue accessories
• etc, etc...
A keyword niche is all keywords containing a seed keyword, eg the gas barbecues keyword niche includes camping gas barbecues and natural gas barbecues.
4) Infuse all your link building and promotion with your brand name. Eg, if you have any influence over link text then don’t just use gas barbecues, use (if ‘Barbilicious’ is your brand name) Barbilicious gas barbecues.
If you are launching a new design line called, say ‘Vintage Chic’, call it (if ‘MyBrand’ is your brand name) ‘MyBrand Vintage Chic’.
There's much more on link building strategy in Wordtracker Masterclass: Link Building - How to build links to your website for SEO, traffic and response, by Ken McGaffin and Mark Nunney.

Stage 2. Management & metrics

To be successful, any project needs to know who does what, when, who is in charge, what's being measured and how. Let's break that down. Before you start, make sure you have answers to these questions:
5) Decide who will do what and how? Who blogs? Who tweets? Who comments? What's your company's social media policy? What software will be used? What account will be used for sending and receiving emails from bloggers? How will records of (and contact with) link prospects be kept and accessed?
6) Make sure you've got a clear decision-making process You might be going into new territory for your company. Is blogging the PR department's brief or the online marketing department's? (We've seen SEO under one and blogging under another). How will options be discussed and decisions reached? If these issues aren't sorted out then you can be paralyzed (and it's why big companies often are).
7) Ensure you can make rapid changes to your site Sounds simple enough but it often isn't. With one client, to get a blog post live, we had to: write it, get it approved by a PR company and then a government department - the process took up to a week and at times a post would come back unfit for purpose and too late to be worth publishing!
8) Decide what metrics to use, eg inbound links, traffic, SERPs ranks, mentions, email recruits, feed subscriptions, sales. As well as total links, you might count links containing target keywords in their link text.
Be aware that there are many factors outside your control - you might get lucky and deserve no credit for good results; and you might have the best link building campaign ever but fail for other reasons.
Metrics are there to help you - of course you need results but concentrate more on how you do things (your method, your process - this is what this book is for) and results will be more to do with your considered actions than luck.
9) Choose your monitoring tools. You can count links with Google Analytics, Google Webmaster and Wordtracker Link Builder.
I recommend using Link Builder because:
• It uses the Majestic SEO crawl of the internet which is as big as almost any search engine’s but without their filters (ie, you can see the lot).
• You can see your competitors’ inbound links and your own with one ‘click’.
• You not only see inbound link counts but also a breakdown of those links into different types like blogs, directories, media and social.
• Everything is displayed in attractive, easy-to-read graphs.
• Er, I managed much of its redesign with my link building partner Ken McGaffin.
It's now time to get out into the community...
There's much more practical advice on planning and managing link building campaigns in Wordtracker Masterclass: Link Building - How to build links to your website for SEO, traffic and response.

Stage 3. Networking & prospect hunting

Find and explore your target market’s online community. Make friends there and build lists of link prospects.
There are many opportunities for this as we show below. But you must always record your prospects' details either in a spreadsheet like this, a bespoke contact management tool or specialist link building software like Wordtracker Link Builder.
10) Check your own site's inbound links and referrers. Use your site's analytics, Google Webmaster Tools and Wordtracker Link Builder.
301 redirect any 404s you find whilst there.
11) Find relevant blogs. Study, start commenting when confident, don't mention your own products at first.
12) Monitor news sites. Make sure you know what's going on. Comment, be supportive and helpful, make friends.
13) Build press lists. Contact journalists, make yourself available as an expert - show your pedigree.
14) Join forums. Register, use your signature, be more helpful than promotional, earn community trust.
15) Look for specialist sites that accept article submissions. Contact any specialist sites and bloggers and ask if they want guest content written by you.
16) Take part in specialist social sites. egister, help, etc. Here’s a list of 193 of them.
17) Look for specialist groups on big social sites. On Facebook, StumbleUpon and Twitter, search for groups and lists
18) Look for local sites and small news sites. Make contact, offer help, stories and content.
19) Join trade associations and chambers of commerce. Be active, look for contacts and linking opportunities. They are there to help and that includes mentions and links.
20) Look for relevant libraries. Great resources for communities and quality links.
21) Approach your suppliers. They have websites, right?
22) Watch competing websites. Study inbound links, press releases, successful content and tactics.
23) Find directories. Consider becoming a directory editor. Don't submit your own site until it's established.
To help find all the above:
24) Enter your targets keyword into Link Builder. One search with a target keyword on Wordtracker Link Builder will find the inbound linking sites to the top 10 sites on Google for that keyword. Those inbound links are all link prospects. They are organized into different types of sites that can be used for different linking strategies including blogs, directories, social, news, business and jobs.
25) Do regular searches with your target keywords to find all of the above. Start with a systematic search.
26) Search with advanced queries. For example, try the following …
Find pages with your keyword on them and “submit url” contained within the anchor text of links pointing to them (in other words, find sites about that keyword who accept submissions):
keyword inanchor:"submit url"
Find pages that link to competitor1 and competitor2 but not your site:;;
For more advanced Google queries, aka 'search operators', See GoogleGuide.
27) Read all you can on the quality sites you find. Follow links to the websites they mention. Wander around and see what and who is in the community. What do people like and dislike? What do they get passionate about? Always be looking for link prospects and ideas.
Learn how to find more link prospects in Wordtracker Masterclass: Link Building - How to build links to your website for SEO, traffic and response.

Stage 4. Content creation

Quality content is essential for natural link building and is a constant theme of Wordtracker Masterclass: Link Building - How to build links to your website for SEO, traffic and response. This is because the most important factor in getting links without asking is creating something worth linking too. The list below takes you through some of your options for creating link-worthy content:
28) Always be looking for spectacular content. It can turbo charge your link building. But even in competitive markets, a solid, consistent approach will bring rewards over time.
29) Make the most of the content you already have Is it link-worthy? Can it be made so? In some recent work for a national retailer, after some digging around I found gold - a large collection of quality how-to content stuffed away in PDF format in a hidden corner of an old website.
30) Publish industry news (one-offs or regular). Industries have industry websites and they want industry news. Provide a regular supply, use target keywords in your headlines and you'll get links from pages relevant to your content (good) using your target keywords (perfect).
31) Don't ignore national media news (one-offs or regular). National news is a tougher nut to crack but be persistent and you can get results.
32) Customize your news for regional media (one-offs or regular). Regional news is easier to get coverage and links from. The obvious technique is to give your news stories a regional angle.
33) Ask target bloggers/experts to comment on an article when writing it. Once you've earned a reputation, you can post whole articles with no more than other experts' opinions.
34) Interview key industry personalities. If an expert is speaking at a conference or writing regular blog posts then they want publicity and coverage. Offer it and they will speak to you. Make the interview interesting and others will link to you.
35) Review other sites and resources. You review, they link. You might make friends at the same time too.
36) Link to any reviews of your own site. They review, you review their reviews. Do you have any product you can send for review? If you are a service and you have spare capacity then work for free and for the publicity.
37) Learn how to produce videos. All above in video format. Pretty much all mentioned content ideas here can be in video format or accompanied by videos.
38) Publish photos. People love photographs and will link to them. Social sites like StumbleUpon and Digg love collections of stunning and interesting photographs. Many photographs on sites like Flickr can be reused for free.
39) Publish infographics. Not cheap or quick to make but they can make a dull or hard to understand subject appealing.
40) Conduct surveys or polls (for stories and PR). Surveys are great for market research and improving your products; and provide stories that news sites and blogs love to link to.
41) Run competitions and giveaways. It's easy for a competition to be ignored, so make it interesting and make it simple to understand and enter.
41) Create free widgets and tools. Some sites create almost useless tools just to get the links from sites that list free tools. Far better to make a genuinely useful free tool that keeps on giving value to users and links to you.
43) Publish free downloadable guides and whitepapers. Take some content, wrap it up into a PDF and you have yourself a 'free guide'.
44) Collect and publish case studies. Readers want specific content - examples. Case studies are detailed examples.
45) Create lists. Collections of useful stuff like lists, top tips, how-tos, 10 best, 10 worst, etc are really link-worthy. Want some ideas? Search for 10 best and 10 worst then adapt and 'switch' (ie, rewrite) the best content to your market.
Find more content ideas for link building in Wordtracker Masterclass: Link Building - How to build links to your website for SEO, traffic and response.

Stage 5. Promotion

So you know why you're building links (your strategy); which keywords you're targeting; you've researched and established yourself in your market's online community; and are creating quality content. Now what? You've got to let people know, of course.
It's time to promote and here's a detailed list of methods for you to consider:
46) Create RSS feeds. Try registering with Feedburner.
47) Publish newsletters. Recruit site visitors to your free benefit-packed newsletter and you are building an emailing list. Use your newsletter to promote your content.
48) Post on your site/blog. You’re doing that anyway, of course. But it’s amazing what people forget if it’s not on a checklist.
49) Submit content to generic social sites, eg Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Digg and now Google+.
50) Submit to your specialist social networking sites.
51) Contact your specialist contacts with email, direct tweets and even telephone.
52) Contact journalists you know personally. Don't just issue press releases - get to know them, chat and build trust.
53) Buy and use a list of relevant journalists' details and get to know them.
54) Contribute with guest posts and articles on specialist blogs and sites.
55) Issue press releases to online and offline specialist distributors (like PRWeb and Press Dispensary).
56) Submit to site-of-the-day sites.
57) Consider Eric Ward's URLwire - it's a paid-for service but is top quality.
58) Buy PageRank links (or not), ie links without the nofollow tag, if you want to take the risk - but we don't recommend it.
59) Buy promotional links (adverts) on generic sites like StumbleUpon and Facebook; specialist sites; and Pay Per Click (PPC). The links won’t directly help your SEO but others might share your content and those links will.
If your content is good and your network strong then you will get links from your immediate contacts. Then their readers and others will find your site, visit and perhaps link to it.
You'll be getting links without asking. Success.
Master the craft of building links without asking in Wordtracker Masterclass: Link Building - How to build links to your website for SEO, traffic and response.

Stage 6. Debrief & repeat

We recommend that you have separate link building campaigns for each of your target market sectors. Work on one campaign after the other but try to overlap each a bit so that search engines don't see too many surges of similar links at one time.
As each campaign comes to an 'end' with your team and (if relevant) client, you should review your strategy, tactics and execution to find lessons to learn and changes to make. Consider the following:
60) Improve your strategy. Are you targeting the right keywords?
61) Build on your tactics. Are your chosen methods the right ones?
62) Streamline your systems. Were you able to get done what you wanted done? If not how can that change?
Then move on to the next market sector.

Stage 7. Link building checklist

You'll find a checklist you can use for your own definitive link building campaign in a spreadsheet here. Download or copy it and use it for each of your target market sectors and keyword niches.
Let us know about any tactics and techniques you think we should add. Just add a comment at the bottom of the page.