Anatomy

 

How To Build A Successful Website

This is a complete guide to build a successful blog business or Website.

It will assume that you do have some basic knowledge about getting a hosting account, buying a domain name etc and know the basics of SEO and a few other slightly jargon-esque terms.

If not then feel free to ask.

This guide to building a successful website business is based primarily on building sites that earn via affiliate commissions from companies that offer the relevant programs. The information is designed to maximize how you build a Website or blog that wishes to gain visitors via obtaining high rankings in the search engines, especially Google.

It is not always easy to know what readers already know and what they do not, but as we deal with SEO Tips and link building strategies and the like here then the majority of us know the basics, and to be honest, that is about all you do need to know. We are going to look at just what it is that makes a successful Website and learn just how to build a successful blog business or Website business simply depending on your preferred platform.

This won’t be quick, in fact it is a very long read.

Let’s begin.

What Kind Of Site

In the past I have been a proponent of having at least one general site where you can basically put on any product that you care to think of. A mini Hubpages if you will. We all know what happened to Hubpages in 2011 (they bombed for a time) and I no longer recommend this.

I feel that as time goes on more and more sites without a very fixed field will no longer stay ranking well. Sites that are about 1 topic almost exclusively are going to begin to do better and better, unless you are a behemoth. I have seen a rather general site of mine tank and although I do have a number of relatively general sites that still do really quite well they have never been, and never will be, a priority.

So, especially if your time is limited, and even not, then I do not recommend you go down a super general site road. Make a broad site but a site that stays strictly to one niche and never wavers outside of it.

The Best Site

The best site is simply going to cover your topic in all of its aspects. We will get in to this more later on but basically a site that is about a single niche and that really covers it as comprehensively as possible is always going to be the best approach for most. Our goal is always to be the absolute best resource online for our chosen topic and it will be covered from every angle we could possibly think of.

Sure, mini sites have their place and they can earn amazingly well, I know, but nothing like how large sites earn. I am not talking about a thousand or two thousand dollars a month here, I am talking about money that is able to change a persons life. And we all have it within us to build one of these sites, we just need to take the right approach.

Domain Names

Starting with a good name is of prime importance. I have had some ridiculously stupid ones in the past in an effort to get in as many cool keywords as possible and the truth is that the shorter the better. Get your keywords in the domain if you can because it will help you rank better for them but don’t forget the power of something memorable too.

With a little bit of work a domain name that is something that your visitors will remember can still rank for the keywords you have chosen. But you should never just be aiming at one or even just a handful of keywords, thousands should be your aim and we will get on to that in a short while.

The fact is that as time has gone by I have seen less weight being given to exact match domain names for keywords. They do still give you a bonus in terms of ranking but not as much as they did only a few years ago. Think about branding your site more than getting the boost from a keyword rich domain name.

If exact match domain names lose more weight in terms of ranking for the terms in the future then you will have missed out on simply being the owner of a site that has a totally memorable name. The choice is yours but a one or two word memorable domain name is preferable over one with a few keywords.

New or aged domain names

Age matters (a lot)

After Lando’s guide and setting up sites, well, wow. Age matters, a lot. Add in Page Rank and you are on to a real winner.

If you read the guide written by my good friend Lando: How To Buy Aged Domains, then you will see the results of buying an aged domain name to base your business around. Spending maybe a few hundred dollars to buy a domain name that has been active for years and years, has gained trust with the search engines and has Page Rank can very effectively knock years off the work you need to undertake to get a Website ranking well in the search engines.

I recommend spending some time and a minimal amount of money searching out an aged domain that has a great name and will be perfect for your purposes. You are basically eliminating the waiting period that newly registered domain names normally incur before they can rank well in the search engines.

How To Choose Products For Websites

How To Guarantee Huge Sales Numbers

This is probably the most important aspect and often the one that is most overlooked by people. They simply do a little keyword research and take a look at Amazon to see what is popular and leave it at that. This is not the best approach at all and you are going to basically guarantee success if you really take some time to find the right products before you even begin to do anything else at all.

I really cannot emphasize this enough:

The niche you enter is the most important factor bar none. You can forget about site design, how pretty it looks and anything else if you pick the wrong niche. You MUST pick a niche that is basically full of people to spend their money online because of a variety of factors. Everything else is secondary. You MUST enter a niche that either converts amazingly well or is so easy to rank for many keywords that the sheer volume of traffic makes up for the lack of excellent conversion rates.

This is because just because something is searched for a lot it does not mean that hordes of people actually buy online. But there is one simple rule to follow if you want to guarantee that your site will be a success in terms of earnings and future earnings potential.

Make a site about a product or products that are hard to find.

It really is as simple as that.

This is not something that I have talked much about in the past when really I guess that it should actually be the most important thing I ever talk about. I kind of have taken it for granted that people spend some time thinking about what they are actually going to make a site about if they are going to make commissions from products. You really should take a long hard look at what it is that you are going to be selling.

If you take time to pick the right niche than half of the battle is won. Do not enter niches about weight loss and Insurance and other highly competitive terms that, although lucrative, are going to take years to earn any money from. It is imperative to pick topics for blogs or Websites where competition from our sites is generally low key and not in the least bit a cut-throat business.

I don’t mean stay away from anything competitive but think carefully and wisely about the business you wish to be in and if the niche is one that you know attracts very professional Internet marketers then you should think long and hard about whether you are making the right choice or not.

Let’s take a look at some key factors when it comes to picking a product that is basically guaranteed to make you rich. IF you put in long hours of work over years, that is. Anyone who tells you there is a magic formula to dramatic earnings in months is an outright liar. Making money from Websites is extremely profitable but it is hard work for years and years to come.

Scarcity

The harder a product or service is to find then the better you will do if you are one of the few places that people can go to get it. Basically you will want to pick something that is very hard to find anywhere apart from online. This can be looked at in a  series of ways.

Size

Size can actually play an important role in how you do. Large items that most people simply cannot take home with them can do very well. The average person simply isn’t going to be able to pick up certain things from a store so if it is very large and available online then many people will take that option.

But as so many bricks and mortar stores offer a delivery service then this is not enough to go on for guaranteed success. But it is certainly an idea for a Website, just maybe not one that is going to be the main focus of your business. Think picnic benches ordered online and delivered..

Weight

As with size, heavy items can also do well online. Saving the back and all that. We don’t want to go down the Back Pain Relief route, now do we ;)

Choice For The Consumer

This is where it gets a little more meaty.

Many products are simply not available with much selection at many high street stores. The lack of choice is often why a lot of people turn to the Internet. There you can find all possible products in any possible range. From barbecues to Kitchen-ware, you can find the best options online as you can basically find anything that you are looking for.

Building a site about a particular range of products and easily offering all the many variations is going to get you traffic and sales. But this is still hit and miss as you never actually know how many people are really going to buy a product until you get the traffic. But if you take a look around various bricks and mortar stores at various products and compare that to online resources, if the choice of colors, sizes etc is much more comprehensive online then you are certainly heading in the right direction.

Online Only

This really is where the money is at. If you can scout out such items, be they physical or information based, you are going to do well. I am not going to talk about digital products, e-books and the like, although if you read the post about how to publish books on the Kindle then you know that this is a worthy endeavor and many people love to promote digital books etc.

But basically the truth is that if you can find a physical product that is only available on the Internet from a retailer of your choice with an affiliate program then you are taking a huge leap in the right direction. Easier said than done, no doubt, but you are going to nail it if you can find a product that is rather exclusive and available from very limited places.

Not only is this going to give you a much higher chance of making numerous sales but it also invaluable as it means that you may be dealing with less competition than just the average “go to Amazon and pick a product” crowd.

Not that I don’t have a number of such sites that make good money, I do, but aiming for some kind of exclusivity is going to take you a long way. My aim here is to give you the best possible advice and that means trying to scout out products that are exclusive in some way. It doesn’t mean some esoteric product, it means hats for large heads or some such items that are hard to find in general High Street stores. Think long and hard about it to get off to the best possible start.

Huge Price Difference

For many products the traffic that you are going to get is going to be from people looking for the best deals. It may not be reflected in your actual keyword stats but the honest truth is that a lot of traffic for products is based around searchers looking for low prices.

We have all heard of Amazon right?

And we all have a number of names in our head that could probably sell us a product if we went there direct. But still, people search online for the product they are after to see just who sells it the cheapest.

The trick is to get your visitors to click your affiliate links because you can offer them a resource to buy where the product they are after is so much cheaper than on the high street. It may mean they have already been to Amazon and are now looking to see if anyone has it cheaper. Even if you are explicit about the fact that you are working through Amazon you can still get people to click your affiliate links with some simple word play.

We can talk about the fact that we have teamed up with them to offer great deals, the inquiring mind will follow such a link to see if your site is offering better deals even if it is through a site that they have already visited such as Amazon.

Rank number one for your terms and you are sitting on a gold mine if you get such search traffic.

At the heart of a successful website is a site based around products that are simply expensive to buy on the high street and people are more than happy to pull out a credit card and buy online. We should always endeavour to build a site around such products, those that are practically screaming out to be bought online because of a huge price difference. Find such products and you are a long way to making a success of what you are doing.

The fact is that in this day and age an awful lot of products are a lot cheaper online. If you can pick products that are in this arena and are also products that people really will buy online because they are cheaper then you can make a real success of your website. This is why picking, or more importantly, finding, the right products to build a site around is of such prime importance. Think toasters to match kitchen color schemes that are simply impossible to find anywhere apart from online but are also sold at dramatically lower prices as well.

Personally I have built so many sites that get traffic yet fail to convert in to sales it is not even funny. If I added up the hours, days, and months I have wasted I would probably cry. But the reality is that you never know just how well things are going to do until you have tried, and most often, failed. But one day you will stumble upon a few niches that simply do amazingly well in terms of sales per visitor, or conversely, stumble upon a niche where it is so easy to rank for so many terms that even with a very poor conversion rate you can succeed down to sheer weight of traffic. Let’s look at one other very important factor that is perfect for an online business that is concentrating on earning through affiliate sales of products or even informational guides.

Embarrassment Factor

Let’s face it, there are simply some creams that you don’t want to go in to the pharmacy to buy. Welcome to the world of the embarrassment factor.

You will certainly find that, as with many niches, you will be struggling to compete in a large majority of niches where the product or information is based on a persons embarrassment and unwillingness to buy from a real live human face to face.

But if you delve deep enough and look long enough then there are an untold number of products, be they actual, or digital, where people would really rather buy from behind the anonymity of a computer screen. Think male tanning creams not acne remedies, be realistic about the competition you would be facing.

Ranking for terms that are based around people not wanting to buy face to face is certainly a very lucrative arena to delve in to. It will simply be a matter of picking your terms and your products very carefully indeed. If you do decide to go down this route then you should look very closely at he competition and certainly not jump in to any of the more popular niches without realizing that you will have a long upward struggle to get any traffic at all in any kind of decent time frame.

But get it right and you could be the richest bum cream affiliate online! Sweet (money, not bum cream).

Picking Keywords

Before we actually get down to the nitty gritty of our actual websites or blog based platform we really do need to think about our keywords.

Anyone who reads my blog (Zen Duck) knows that I am not actually a big advocate of too much keyword research. At best any tool you can find such, as the google adwords keyword tool, is a guide at best and totally inaccurate at the worst. None of them are going to be totally accurate and if you base your sites solely on numbers you get from any tool then it is no guarantee that that traffic actually exists. It is why I never recommend basing your income expectations off only a single, or even handful of keywords.

The best sites will discover their own keywords once they are up and running and becoming even moderately successful.

It is then that the real work begins and the fun happens. But more on that later. Picking your initial keywords should be down to common sense as much as anything else. And the exclusive slant you have because you took a lot of time to think about what your products actually are. Think about what I talked about earlier in terms of how to pick your products and then think about what terms could be typed in when people are searching. There are literally thousands of buying keywords, terms that people will type in when they want to actually buy a product or information. And this is where our focus should lie.

Most searches performed online are unique. They are a one off that is unique to the person typing. Sure, there are terms that are searched for by thousands of people every single day, and they are very hard to get a good position in the search engines for.

Go For The Longtail

I have talked about this many times on my blog and it bears repeating. It is the most important factor that people simply overlook in their drive to rank for a single search term. Rather than banging your head against a wall trying to rank for a single term for months and more likely years the truly successful website targets search terms that are relatively long in nature and are searched for only infrequently.

What this means is that there is less competition from other site owners to try to rank for these type of queries and it allows us to rank with little effort apart from actually writing the content. Picking our terms wisely allows us to make maximum use of our time and to build traffic to our site quickly and effectively.

This is so important yet so many people totally fail to follow through on it. That is great news for us as it gives us a backdoor to earnings that many ignore. While other site owners chase hard keywords, we bide our time over years increasing the authority of our site by attacking numerous long search strings that all add up to massive sales numbers and increased authority thanks to the vast number of search engine queries we rank number one for.

DO NOT OVERLOOK THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS POINT

The most successful blogs and websites will most often get the majority of their traffic from terms that are searched for infrequently and even then most terms that attract our traffic will be ones we had never thought of and ones that certainly will never show up in a keyword tool.

It really is so important that we target such terms that it is one of the most important factors when it comes to making a successful site or one that simply flounders and gets nowhere.

This is especially the case for new sites where you immediately hit some kind of wall in terms of trying to rank. Trust is important and it comes with age and maturity and you simply cannot rank for hard and competitive terms in the short term. Buying aged domains goes a long way to circumnavigating this problem but aiming for the longtail allows you to build more trust and authority in a shorter period of time.

The longtail, or “long-ass search” is a different matter entirely. The wisest possible move that you can make is to target long search strings and build a solid base from such terms.

I am not saying not to target hard search terms, you certainly should, but do not get too focused on them, they will come in the long term, maybe years down the road in your Internet Marketing journey. Patience is of prime importance for such terms and I will talk a lot more about this later. Let’s get down to some serious business now and see just what is involved once we have picked our products, our niche, and have a very simple idea of some of the terms we may like to target from the search engines.

Creating A Successful Website

The reality is that the most successful sites are never going to be too narrow in nature. To some extent the broader the site is the more chance you have of it being a success. Within reason of course. None of us are going to be able to build the next Amazon, not unless we have many millions to invest, but neither should you really go too targeted.

The fact is that if you are looking to build as long term a site as possible then you really do want to have plenty of options. The fact is that products fall in and out of favor, brands come and go and products simply stop being produced.

This is why the most successful sites are going to be those that cover a niche that is broad enough to take these kinds of losses and can focus in on other products in their stead. Don’t get me wrong, I have a number of single product focused sites, but they are satellite sites around a main site or relatively small, but still respectable, earners in their own right. But the best sites are going to be large enough to be built in to an authority resource covering a whole and relatively broad niche.

Focusing our energies too much on a single product is never wise. Do it, by all means, but make the main part of your focus on a site that never relies on just one or two products. You want a site that is large enough to be able to withstand products coming and going and basically covers a relatively broad niche topic with plenty of products or products that are often changed yet still in plentiful supply.

But all of this is for naught if we do not have a site that is run well, set up well and designed to take advantage of just how search engines function on the most basic level.

Let’s take a look at a number of things we should keep at the forefront of our minds if we are to get our traffic from search engines, still, in most instances, the best way to get free traffic that has a person who is interested in spending their money. Not the only way, by any means, branding and traffic from non-search engine resources can certainly be a very successful way to earn a living from a website, but we are talking about search traffic here for the most part:

Website SEO Tips

Search engines work in certain ways and to a large degree there are criteria that need to be met to gain trust, authority and ranking. Don’t believe for one second though that just because you make use of the following that you will be a success. There is more to it and it is changing daily.

Search engine rankings are relying on more and more factors daily and for many the unfortunate result is that social factors and branding are playing a more and more important role in just what sites take the front page of the search engines. We do as much as we can to comply with what is required and we will need to constantly adjust our approach to what is required to stay in the running.

I am not a social person as far as my websites go, apart from at the Zen Duck, but I know that certain criteria is becoming increasingly important. To some extent I believe the social side of things in terms of ranking is grossly overrated, we will get to that in due course, but my main point is that the following is what are basic guidelines search engines look for when it comes to ranking sites and putting them in the order which they deem they merit. We certainly ignore such things at out peril, 3 years building websites has certainly taught me that much.

Content Titles

One of the most important, if not THE most important factor in terms of getting a page of content ranked highly is simply the post title.

In fact I would argue it is more important than the actual url. In fact I know this to be the case from experimenting. A change to the title of a post or page can dramatically effect its position in the search engines results pages (SERPS). This is simply not up for debate.

A tremendous amount of weight is placed on the title of a piece of online content. Get the terms in the title in the order you believe people will type them in to the a search engine and you are already a good way to ranking, given time and other factors. But the bottom line is that at the heart of a successful placement in the search engines is the ability to think about the traffic you wish to attract and what they will type in to find your page.

The titles of your content should be thought of as the most important beginning to your success. If you want to rank for a term then use it in your title. And your titles should all be thematically similar if at all possible. We talked about this when discussing what type of site to build.

You want all of your content on your whole site to be easily discerned as about a single topic. This is not as important as sites become old or have gained true authority, but for the average site builder sticking to one theme is the quickest way to gain the trust and the authority we desire to become a success.

Are Short Or Long Post Titles Best

There is much debate over the length of a post title. From experience I have certainly found benefits to both options. Depending on the age of the site. Newer sites do better with longer post titles. Not ridiculous lengths but titles that reflect more of a longtail approach. Basically because the shorter the term the harder it is too rank for. More people will type in short phrases than long phrases for a topic. But look at the whole topic and overall there are a lot more phrases typed in never to be repeated than for those that type in a single short phrase.

The best approach is to pick a title for your content page that has the best of both worlds. You may want to rank for “socks” for your post title, no easy thing, but a post title of “Socks For Sale” will be that little bit easier. The longer the title the easier it is to get some traffic. You can still attack the most competitive term but you will also be able to get traffic a lot easier for the longer query by ensuring that the best guess at the best longtail for decent traffic is a part of your post title. Post titles are only a part of the use of titles in our overall content and I will now talk about titles as a part of the content itself. This is something I see overlooked way to often.

When I know for sure that the use of titles within the content is not only a guaranteed way to attract more traffic for more search terms but it simply helps to rank the overall page and the main content title a lot easier and higher in the search engines with the least amount of of-page work.

This piece of content is the perfect example. Those using wordpress have instant access to various header sizes and for static sites the option is easy enough too. Content that is perceived to, or preferably really is, covering any topic in depth and fully is going to be given better search positions in a fair world. Sadly it is never always fair but in recent times search results have come on leaps and bounds and will only improve in time.

And what they are about is delivering the best results for people’s queries. And content that simply covers a topic properly and answers the search query is going to be the easiest content to rank highest and this should always be the endeavour of the site owner.

And when you write a comprehensive piece of content then you will have content that requires breaks to improve the readers experience and keep them engaged and you will also have different headings to mark out the various sections you are covering within your content.

This means that you make H2′s for in content titles that are all a part of your overall topic. Header 2′s are seen as carrying weight with the search engines as they are re-enforcing to the search engines and the reader (who should always be at the front of your consideration) exactly what is to be expected and what the content contains.

I am not saying a whole site should be made up of such content, but producing something extraordinary on occassion full of different headers, quotes, italics, bullet points, images and videos not only gives you an immense sense of satisfaction it works absolute wonders for the authority and trust, thus rankings, that your site as a whole, and thus all of its content, gathers.

And for us the humble site owner it allows us to rank for many queries from single piece of content. It also allows us to rank better for our main terms simply as we have written content that covers our topic in as comprehensive a manner as we possibly can.

Post Content

As just discussed, the more comprehensive your content is then the easier it is to rank. This is partly why long content can often be easier to rank. Long pieces of writing such as this can often give you the edge in ranking for your keywords. The more content on the page the more longtail queries you will pick up and these can be built upon.

But this is not a hard and fast rule. I personally have plenty of pieces of content online that are longer than 150 words and they do just fine. The power of the post title in action.

Just another of the fallacies that many so called exerts will say no longer work. The fact is that the title of the content itself is so important in terms  of ranking that it should always be kept in mind. But there is no doubt that if we really do want to build a long term and sustainable site then we need to certainly ensure that our content is at times very comprehensive and delivers more than expected. You want to produce something that is the star of the show. You want a number of very comprehensive articles that can be linked to from the whole site and will show your readers in no uncertain terms that they have arrived at a valuable and very informative resource indeed.

Be it search traffic or traffic from your online advertising via forum profiles where you hang out, a signature in emails, or any other form of traffic, you need to ensure that your site is informative, useful and stands out above the rest. This does not mean writing epic content purely for the sake of it, although if it comes to that then you will simply have to bite the bullet and do it. It means making your site the best there is and then your promotions can be for something you are genuinely proud of. Even if you, in reality, have no passion for the niche itself, although that is obviously always preferable.

I have any number of site that do not fulfill the above criteria. They are stuffed full of affiliate links on every page and they do just fine. But I have also lost a number of such sites and the days of such sites are well and truly coming to an end.

More on that in a moment.

For the absolute best results in terms of ranking for a term there is little doubt that the longer the content and the more comprehensive then the better the chance you have of ranking for your post title and for the various titles within your content, as well as literally hundreds of terms that you never even thought of.

But don’t force it just for the sake of it. A variety of content length and a mix of short and long is not a bad thing, it is more natural in terms of how a website owner would work naturally, and if you cannot work naturally on a site to rank for your terms then you need to at least give the appearance of doing so.

This is why personal blogs and sites that have a passion as their basis often do so well. They do not mimic a natural style, they actually have one.

But I am not so naive as to believe that we are going to have any passion whatsoever for our chosen niche, and if we do not then we should at least know what a passionate sites content contains. So many online “Gurus” will tell you that you must build sites about a topic of interest or passion and I find it frankly ridiculous. It comes down to nothing more than a work ethic and a personality suited to such tasks. If you are not at home doing daily mundane tasks then you are in the wrong business. The work is un-glamorous to say the least and why there are so many failures.

I would rather write about socks all day even though I have no interest in them apart from as a purely functional piece of attire than go work for a boss. Your choice. Obviously the more interest in the topic the easier it is to write great copy, but it is by no means a requisite of a site that is successful. Research and a work ethic can make up for a lack of knowledge or interest if you are so inclined, which I personally am.

Your post content should be what it needs to be and nothing more. If it needs to be 150 words as it is just a short piece that says

“You can buy white socks the cheapest via this link”

then so be it. Variety is the proverbial spic of life. Don’t let so called experts dictate what your content should be. If it needs to be 20,000 words then write that. If it needs to be short then keep it short. If it needs to have a video or you feel it would be of use then post a video.

If it is a review of a product then give your personal opinion and basically follow what you feel in your heart would be best for the visitor.

Now, to contradict myself.

I have very few sites that follow the above. Many of my sites are full on affiliate sites of content of around 300 words and an image and an affiliate link. They work well, but they are, basically, crap. I am honest about my sites and I know that many contribute nothing to helping people in any way.

But I am also honest in that I know that they point people to the cheapest place to buy something. So, I sleep fine at night. But these type of full on affiliate sites with every page nothing more than a portal to Amazon or some other affiliate program are slowly becoming a dying breed. And this is why I no longer recommend people spend all their time making such sites. Let’s take a look at what a successful website or blog’s content actually looks like. This is from personal experience of what works, what will continue to work, and what allows you to stand the best chance of building a successful website that will stand the test of time.

Overall Site Content

Unless we are in the exalted position of  having our own products to sell, and that is certainly an option for those so inclined, then we will be basing our sites around some form of product or information that we hope to earn from.

Those without their own products can build sites that take and process orders if they are so inclined and run a dropshipping program. Personally I have been there and done that in part by selling products I have ordered and selling them on ebay. For me it is simply too much of a headache to deal with all that goes with dealing with customers and processing orders, packing and shipping them, but there is money to be made in such circumstances and the style of your site is down to how you wish to run your business.

I prefer affiliate marketing in the form of getting search engine traffic and delivering what is expected by the searcher and providing them with an affiliate link to a destination where they can buy a product that fulfills their search query.

Whatever approach we take there are a few caveats that are universal. We need to build sites that will allow us to rank in the search engines so that we can get this form of free traffic that is highly targeted to spending money.

And it is our site content that allows this to happen.

Of late search engines are doing a better job than ever before of delivering results that are what the user expects to see. And the sites that are in favor are large sites that cover a broad niche in the most comprehensive way possible. I am not going to go in to actual site design in this piece of writing. It has been covered comprehensively in the guide I wrote to making a success of the Amazon Associates program. Available to all for a minimal price and certainly worth a read. Available from the books section of my blog: Zen Duck Books.

But the actual content of a successful site needs to be evaluated and we need to build content that is going to allow us to rank well in the search engines so we need to deliver what is now expected. And what is becoming more and more apparent is that what is expected is a site that has a healthy mixture of content both short and long, informative and maybe even shared publicly by those that find themselves reading and acting upon the content.

Having lost a few sites in terms of organic search I know they have one thing in common. The content is not stellar and the overall site has too much content that is of a similar length. And the death knoll was taking what was a successful site nonetheless and trying to rank for terms that were not closely related to the overall niche. I do not recommend that you now do this. Keep your whole site tied closely to a theme for less risk of it being seen as not the best resource for the user.

As discussed earlier the content length of an individual post should be what is needed to cover the subject matter in the detail expected by the searcher.

If this piece of copy was 300 words then you, the reader would, be sorely disappointed. You would simply not expect to either pay for, or read for free, a guide to making a successful blog or website based around affiliate sales and for it to be 300 words. You have an expectation in yor head about what it would entail and hopefully I am fulfilling what is expected from you. If not, then my apologies.

At the same time if the searcher is simply looking for a quick guide to making a link nofollow or some such query then they would to expect to have to wade through 20,000 words. We should write content and include what is needed and no more. The search engines seem to be doing the best job they have ever done at mostly delivering content that is suitable to the queries submitted. And this is all well and good.

Certainly not perfect by any means and there are lots of results that show up that are downright bloody awful, but if we want to be a success we should not base our site on this kind of inferior content. Build a site that is the place to go for the niche.

It means writing guides and it means writing how to’s and it means writing price comparison posts and it means writing feature articles that will leave people dying to click a Facebook like link or recommend it to a friend. These social signals may not play as important a role as many currently seem to suggest they do but they do certainly play an important role in the Webmaster getting an inkling of if their content actually delivers the goods from the  searchers point of view.

Add in a FB like button or business page to your site and if you get absolutely no positives from it then you may need to reevaluate exactly what it is that you are doing. Worth doing strictly from a point of view of gauging exactly what people think of your content.

Polls are other great ways to gauge visitor interest and opinion and for certain niches they can be great indicators of the type of visitor and whether they like some form of interaction. If they do then you can maybe adjust your content and your site accordingly to reflect the type of habits your visitors have.

Basics for your content should not be overlooked. Write a mixture of articles of varying lengths and certainly write guides and informative copy that is there purely to help and with only the slightest of ulterior motives.

What do I mean by that?

I mean that we need to be honest and not pretend that we are not building a site to make money. And to do this there is no doubt that the better the quality of the content the better our return will be in the long term. By all means make short copy designed to optimize whatever you want clicked on. Above the fold affiliate links and the like are a basic way to get your visitor to click a link but there are factors such as bounce rate on a site overall that can be ignored less and less as sites are ranked in different ways as algorithms advance.

Make The Site Interesting

If you think about it from a logical point of view then a site where every visitor clicks off it in a second or two can hardly be engaging. I have been very guilty of recommending people build sites in exactly that manner in the past but the times are changing and we need to adapt or die. This is not to say such sites are not very effective and can earn a tremendous amount of money, they currently can. But do not build these type of sites thinking they will retain high serps positions over the long term, they won’t. But for part of your online arsenal they do still work very effectively and making maximum money with minimal brain power or effort.

If every article on a site leads a visitor to click off the site almost instantly then it may well not stand the test of time.

But what if we combine short sales copy with long informative articles and information on site that keeps a certain amount of our traffic reading for some time? Content such as this, that also links to other informative and thematically relevant content? It makes it a more worthwhile site surely?

From personal experience I know for a fact that the best performing sites are those that have a mixture of both useful and informative content and direct sales pages, if the end desire is still to make sales through an affiliate program of some sort.

Long content engages the reader if written well and from an informed point of view and it allows us to actually funnel the reader to other pages on the site which further gives us a bonus in terms of being seen as a site of some authority and importance.

There is no reason why you cannot write very long copy that has been given your all but also directs the reader to another piece of content, maybe very short, on your site that offers up an affiliate link.

If nothing else you are building out a resource of real value, and although this is still much overrated in terms of what content really does rank well in the search engines  (bots can’t distinguish amazing information from average content) you can bet your new pair of white socks that the time will come when less and less filler and crap is shown high in the serps.

Better to begin on the right track and make something to actually be proud of from the get go.

And it does not mean that you sacrifice your goal of making the best possible living online in any way. These type of long posts and guides and high quality information based articles work wonders for both your traffic levels as they contain so much information but they also allow us more opportunities to rank that content better in the search engines and thus gain more trust and authority for the site overall.

How?

A thin affiliate site will not attract natural backlinks and we certainly will not be given the opportunity to write a guest post on another website if we ask for a link to our crap site. But if we write amazing copy these opportunities and many more and now open to us. More about backlinks shortly, first let’s take a look at one of the many misconceptions many new and seasoned Internet Marketers seem to share.

Keyword Density

I read so much nonsense about keyword density and the like that I find it ridiculous. By this I am talking about how many times in a single piece of copy you repeat the terms you wish to rank for. Many say that the keywords should be repeated no more than 2% of the time or some other relatively low and arbitrary figure. It is frankly nonsense as far as my own personal experience is concerned.

No, I have not run extensive tests from sites ranking for terms, but I can read and that is all that I need. Read any piece of content that ranks and you will soon see that the number of times a phrase is repeated is not of prime importance when it comes to ranking. Other factors are far more important.

Naturalness is the most important part of anything to do with keyword density and nothing more. This is something so many people get totally hung up on when our copy should just be written mostly naturally. I say mostly as I am not a fool and know that if I wish to rank for a term then it needs to be included at least once in  copy for the simplest and most basic advantage to rank for it. In the post title is most important and in the copy is second. As long as it is repeated at least once then we are good to go.

We should then simply write as naturally as we wish to write and nothing more. We can work our keywords in to our writing as naturally as we possibly can and never worry about how often they are repeated. The content should flow and we should not count such things, we should simply use our words as often as we need to, or do not need to, to make out writing deliver on what is expected of it. Now we come to the crux of how we actually make money from our sites if we are making our money through commissions.

How To Use Affiliate Links

From here on the content is available only to those that were sent the password. That is, those that were subscribed to the Newsletter at the time of publishing. If this is not you then you can buy the book in digital format from Amazon: How To Build A Successful Website, for the Kindle, or from Smashwords: How To Build A Successful Website, for all other digital formats.

But don’t forget to sign up for the Newsletter anyway (see below), there will be plenty more free goodies to come in the future.

Enter password to unlock.
The content from now on is password protected.

120 Responses to “Anatomy”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. aaron says:

    First comment again!

  2. aaron says:

    Seriously though. I am frustrated that I cannot get my amazon earnings past the 1k mark. Every new site I throw up ended up in google dance or somewhere which cannot be found. I wonder is it because all the articles have affiliate links in them?

    The only good thing is that adsense is still going up but I want to get my amazon to a few thousand dollars as well!

    • Dave says:

      aaron,

      It is definitely what we have found. A lot more content now needs to be on site that is nothing like the usual affiliate post. Rather than the usual re-hash of product descriptions more unique content with no affiliate links at all is what seems to be in favor.

      Content written with a unique and personal style that makes it stand out does best. I believe the Keyword Academy are also now going in this direction, and Mark knows his business and which way the Google wind is blowing.

      • aaron says:

        That is what I figured.

        Rather than writing fresh content for my amazon sites, I am now introducing amazon into existing sites. Hope this works better.

        *sign* why so hard to make money from amazon.

        • Dave says:

          aaron,

          It has to be difficult, otherwise no one would give up this game and then it would be so competitive that it would be difficult to earn ;)

          That made absolutely no sense whatsoever, I will shut up now.

      • Mark says:

        Mark Butler at the Keyword Academy is definitely going with quality writing over anything else.

        When I read through the Quacky Zacky Zen Duck guide on how to make a website, it mirrors what Mark Butler and Griz have been talking about for a long time-write quality posts. I like the direction. A notable difference between The Keyword Academy and Dave’s teaching is that TKA teaches that you should have some experience in what you are writing about. I know that I have a lot of life experience like most of you. However, I bet that most of you would not even trade your dirty socks in exchange for my vast knowledge.

        I used to be product marketing engineer for a company that sold million dollar tools for processing silicon wafers that were used to manufacture semiconductors. As a group, we could write great copy. I also have reason to believe that few of us had little if no passion about the product other than we were getting paid a nice chunk of change for doing so.

        Thanks Dave for making it clear that we don’t have to be in love with what we are marketing.

        Maybe Splork is going to be out of job for filling up the web sewers!

        • Dave says:

          Mark,

          Do tell me more, silicon wafers you say ;)

          I look at this game like this, it is a great living. Most peeps don’t have the luxury of being in love with their day job so why should we have to only work in niches we are passionate about. Great if we can but if we only find profitable niches that are no great love then so what. We just knuckle down and do the work and after a while they mostly run on auto-pilot anyway. A mix of both types of sites is ideal, just for your sanity but that is all.

          I go where the money is whatever the niche may be ;)

  3. daveh says:

    Snapped it up for kindle. Sipping my first cup of coffee and this is a nice surprise indeed. Without being too much of a fanboy, I have to say that your reading your stuff is like sitting down for a beer with a knowledgeable friend.
    Thanks. Also, you did do something about that G+ picture, right?

    • Dave says:

      daveh,

      You cheeky bugger, I will have you know this face of mine has won awards!!! Um, yeah, I’m gonna change it to something a little more Gangsta.

      Thanks for the kind words though Dude, I tried to keep it kind of informal but not too Matey if you know what I mean. Hard to tread the fine line between making people feel comfortable or that they are reading part of an exlcusive club that they don’t quite belong too. Hopefully I got it right.

  4. Terry says:

    Wow, that was some read. Congrats!

    I just gave you a priceless review at Amazon, fair exchange for being a tight git and using the password to get the whole thing for free.

    Oh, and I totally agree that internal linking makes a huge difference, especially to a big weight loss site like mine with lots of non-affiliate content pages. It has really moved up the serps in many long tails where it was only mediocre a few weeks ago.

    Now if I can only stop the competition from reading your post/book… ;-)

    • Dave says:

      Terry,

      Thanks Man, I just read you review and it was generous to say the least. I really appreciate it and was far better than you spending a few bucks.

      Internal linking really does cut down the backlinking work so much it ain’t even funny. It doesn’t seem to always give immediate results but over time there is no doubt it is the sign of a good quality site and gets the rewards such sites are due.

      Terry, we both know that even if the competition reads it the real truth is that most peeps simply won’t put in the work. It is why I didn’t talk about tools, a billion plugins, or all manner of schemes. A simple approach with good post titles and good content, a proper link structure internally and a shit load of backlinks is all there is to it, most simply won’t put the hours in and spend their time looking for shiny toys to give them a shortcut that doesn’t exist.

      Good news for us grafters ;)

      • Seth says:

        I think linking OUT to legit websites might help too. I used to never link out (why take them away from my site?) but I am doing it more and more these days.

        I may be wrong but if my site links out to government websites and such, maybe my website will look more legit in the eyes of Google? I can hope anyway.

        • Terry says:

          Yeah, I do that too. I think its more natural looking to reference an authoritative .gov paper on a related topic to a post. It shows G you’re giving your visitors more info if they want it from a reliable source.

          Just not anything on webmd.com or its subdomains – that f***er is direct competition in long tails now!

        • Dave says:

          Seth,

          I agree Seth, just as Terry says you are showing that the site is helpful and won’t hesitate to point visitors to the best place for more information. It certainly isn’t going to hurt. I can’t remember where i read it, and it was a while ago, but someone did an experiment linking out to a number of high PR sites and improved their own PR dramatically. I know PR does not equate to rankings all the time but there is obviously a relation to who you link to and the way your site is seen.

          When I went on my aged domain buying spree I found a number of sites that had pages that were nothing more than full of links to other sites in the niche, and I mean 50 plus links, and they had PR of 5 and more for that links page. And each site or page they linked out to had the same PR or very close to it. Interesting stuff and certainly food for thought. So may peeps claim that a page full of outbound links and nothing more is worthless when I think the opposite is true for the authority of the site as a whole.

      • Terry says:

        Welcome dude, it deserved a good review!

        Its unfortunate for me in the weight loss niche that there are a few big time grafters in there too! Or at least they are buying links like crazy.

        I know one guy who is legit and writes-guest posts like a demon – and his site sits top for a lot of the best KWs. He even conquered “weight loss” for a while, but that is a KW that needs constant input or you sink. Unless you happen to own webmd.com, about.com or mayoclinic.com. The problem with that KW is its mostly “reading” traffic, not “buying” traffic, which is probably why he let it go.

        But I do pretty damn good for my “buying” weight loss related KWs…

  5. Seth says:

    I make 80% to 90% of my money from informational websites and NOT product websites. Products bore the hell (can we swear here?) out of me and information is a lot easier to write about.

    With information you can always write from the perspective that it is your opinion and not fact. Kind of like this website: ZenDuck is all your opinion and you can go on and on forever (as you do) and you are going to start making money with it.

    I also make 90% of my money from leads and not product sales. Just like most people, I started out thinking I had to sell “things” but eventually found out I could make more with leads.

    • Dave says:

      Seth,

      I know there are plenty of ways to get ahead in this game. It is why I made it clear at the start that this post was about earning mainly from affiliate commissions for products.

      I have to agree with you though Dude, writing about personal opinions in the first person is a lot easier than writing about a lot of products. I just can’t abide writing adsense sites and have never gone down the leads approach for zip, email submits etc.

      Oh, you can swear within reason as long as it doesn’t get out of hand, we are all grown-ups, but what do you mean I go on and on? Moi?

  6. John says:

    Hi Dave, great article so far, but the password received in the e-mail is not working for me! Is this some kind of tease? Anyone else having this issue?

  7. John says:

    Of course as soon as I wrote that comment I tried again and it worked. Going to read on……

    • Dave says:

      John,
      ;)

      Maybe I should have given out the wrong password and made you all spend $4. Could have made, um, maybe $4 as I know everyone just wants stuff for free.

  8. Gayan says:

    Hi Dave!,

    Wow! a pretty long post, excellent stuff as always :).

    I have few questions and hope that your experience/expertise in these matter would help me to clear out few doubts.

    1. Does having a top-level domain name help to achieve rankings and PR?

    I ask this is because I don’t know why but within these like 2 months I’ve seen three G PR updates. One site that I know first went from PR-4 to PR-5 and then it went down hard to PR-1 and then few days ago now it’s PR-2.

    My own blogspot site few days ago went from PR-2 -> PR-1 (damn it!) but the good thing is most of the inner pages also have received PR-1 with these unusual G PR update “cycle” and the traffic actually is increased.

    Anyhow as I was saying if I had a top level domain would it be useful to get a bit higher PR ?, I know PR is not a huge thing but as you’ve said and many others (Einstein and Galileo included :D) having a decent PR makes it easy to rank “stuff” without relying a lot on manual link creation (man I hate it :/) right?. So will I be better off with a root-level domain?.

    2. Does having a top-level domain means better adsense (or ads in general) add “deliveries”?

    I’m not entirely sure but luckily I have a site which is very similar to mine that belongs to a friend and he has bought a domain.

    Now we both have very similar content (not that we copy or anything, you know they all about Linux and stuff) and I’ve seen some adsense advertisers run ads on his site that are not showing in mine.

    To test this out we both wrote few articles that are very similar in nature and again some of the ads that he got are high paying, relative ones although my blog too receive good relative ones but, I don’t know whether the advertisers have blocked running ads on Blogspot or anything but some of those ads have never appeared in my blog!. Not only his but in many other top-level similar domains (linux sites) also get these adsense ads but not my blogspot site.

    Those are the questions and oh one more thing (yikes! :D), like 2 weeks ago I accidentally found a deleted blogspot blog (not one of Grizzly’s ;-), I’m seriously!) and this site actually have a direct Do follow link from a PR-6 site and a PR-3 page (pretty sure it has many links since it was used to be a site of a programmer, but these are the ones that I know of) and the site must have been about a scanner software for Linux.

    The point is, I just added one article few days ago (about 400 words) at that time the site was un-ranked, but few days after the “next” sudden G PR update it went form un-ranked to PR-5!. My question is, both this site and my other main blog are in the same Google account, is it okay if I connect both these sites together to pass some of that link juice?

    Sorry about the long and boring rambling, could you help me out a bit here :).

    Loved your article, as always!. Thank you.

    • Dave says:

      Gayan,

      Even apart from rankings and PR you really should spend nearly all your time on sites that you own. Blogger could be gone tomorrow, I lost my first 2 blogger blogs a year or two ago and a lot of adsense money a day along with it. Luckily I had bought my own domain name so got caught back up in a few months.

      It shouldn’t make a difference what platform you are on as far as adsense ads are concerned but it may be that the advertisers have stopped using ads on blogger for whatever reason. People can even ban certain sites as they simply don’t lead to clicks that convert to sales. Conversely your buddy may just deliver kick ass leads so more advertisers target that individual site. Could be down to simply having a different site layout that converts better. From my experience a blogger blog simply never converts as well as a good sounding personal domain name.

      Nice one with the blogger blog, I have been trying to find a way to find expired blogger blogs so if you have any tips let me know.

      You SHOULD be fine linking the one to the other but I am not going to say to do it. If you can’t risk losing it then play it safe, same for all sites. If you are worried about doing something and it will nag at you and the site needs to stay ranking then do what your gut tells you. I do know that the 2 blogger blogs I got banned were done so right after I put a few backlinks on internal pages pointing to one of my own domains. They are notoriously fickle so I don’t want to give you advise that could come back to kick you in the guts. Sweet find though and you can certainly use that authority to boost something.

      • Gayan says:

        Thanks Dave!.

        First I thought of moving into WP couple of weeks age but then I got caught up with Web hosting plans and stuff.

        I’m not boasting or anything and the traffic that I have is very little when compared with yours and many others. My main blog gets about 2000-2300 uniques daily and some say that you shouldn’t have shared hosting but go for the VPS, etc :/ if you have decent amount of traffic.

        In your experience a simple shared hosting will be enough?. Now I know I’m kinda putting you through a bit of harsh end ;-) because it ain’t that easy to answer these questions but don’t worry if something bad happens I won’t blame you or anything :D.

        I’ll take your advice and will not link then both. I’ll just write few article with KWs for that PR-5 blog and see what happens (most probably about scanners and Amazon links! in them :D).

        And I actually don’t have a way of finding these blogs, I just came up on this on accidentally :/. But if I find a software, etc, I’ll let you know. Again thanks for the answer, I really appreciate it.

        • Dave says:

          Gayan,

          Shared hosting should be fine for that. I don’t know what kind of limits there are for shared hosting but it will be above that. I expect someone has more experience than me in this arena as I know a few have VPS.

  9. JanisG says:

    Congrats Dave! Great stuff!

    I have managed to read a half of it, and, I will be honest, it is confusing as hell. I hope you intentionally have made it sound more difficult as it is :)

    Back to reading and noting down questions ;)

    • Dave says:

      JanisG,

      Confusing? Seriously?

      I tried to write it in as simple a way as possible with no technical terms we should not be familiar with. But ask away, authors are notorious for assuming peeps know what the hell they are on about.

      • JanisG says:

        Oh, I am better now, thanks! :)

        I have my ‘$50 per day and rising money site deindexed, and I drafting a plan to resurrect this site.

        Google says it ‘violates Google’s quality guidelines’, and I suspect that it might be realated to too many aff links and zero information-only articles.

        Ok, lets start with affiliate links.

        Here is my old Affiliate Links setup.
        * Product picture on the top left corner with Aff Link
        * Call to action (Click here to….) before or after first paragraph of article copy.
        * Another product picture near the bottom of article with Aff Link
        * Last paragraph title ‘Best price product name’ or ‘Buy product name’)
        * Call to action (Click here to buy….) after the last paragraph of article copy.

        Looks like this setup is out of favor. What is your current linking setup? Linked picture on the top of article and call to action link at the bottom?

        Cheers! :)

        • Shaun L says:

          Look at Amazon. How many ‘buy now’ buttons does it have on each page? And that’s (I’m assuming) one of the highest converting websites in the world. Having multiple links on each page is over rated, you only need one clear link near the top of the page and you’re good.

          As long as you have a ‘no leakage’ situation going on (You haven’t got other ways for people to leave your website) then people will just got round and round until they eventually click your link. It works for Amazon, it can work for you :-D

          • jamesthejust says:

            That’s a good point re: Amazon. They talk about that in their Associate’s blog, or someplace – top-right, big call to action, above the fold.

            For some reason I’ve never quite left it at that and have done a’ight…but that’s something to definitely A/B split test.

        • jamesthejust says:

          I’d suggest you wrap your text around your picture so it’s not just an ad above the fold. The MFA setup of ‘scroll to content’ is a quality signal for sure…but honestly it doesn’t sound so bad the way you put it just now.

          Also sounds like a competitor marked you for webspam – Google’s been soliciting for more webspam reports, and it’s got to figure in the way we do business online.

          I’d add more info-type articles and sorry for taking over Dave’s blog, this is pretty near to home for me since a similar situation happened not long ago.

          You’re on the right track, though – but I’d just suggest increasing the user experience. Hope that helps.

          • JanisG says:

            Thank you James!

            Yes, I suspect that competitors have something to do with this. I read your story on your blog, and that sucks. I guess it’s all good now?

        • Dave says:

          JanisG,

          I now try to stick too 1 aff link only and have taken the link off pictures. Thsi is for sites that have basically every post as an aff post. But I am going for much more of an even split where half the content is just great reading with no aff links at all. Then the affiliate posts have a link or maybe more if needed, but only 1 link for each product and I no longer ever link pictures.

          • JohnM says:

            Good to know about the aff links.

            I have had a link in the pic, a link in the name of the product, i.e. white tube socks would be clickable and a buttonthat said click here or buy from amazon link. in other words each product had 3 aff links.

            I’m going to take the link off the pic and remove the buton and see if that improves it :)

          • JanisG says:

            OK, so ‘one link per post’ is the new rule. Let’s leave 2 links per post to Hubpages and alike ;)

            I have to admit that some of my posts had 10-12 links. Every month I am publishing the monthly bestseller list, and I used to link every item in the list to Amazon.

            Here is the tip – if you have niche website (e.g Dave’s white socks site), try to publish few monthly bestseller posts based on Amazon bestseller lists and title them ‘Best white socks 2011 – bestselling white socks in July’. Then make couple of backlinks with anchor text ‘Best white socks 2011′ and see your post on page 1. You will be surprised how many people are searching for keywords ‘best [gadget category] 2011′ Might be worth to buy domain name bestwhitesocks2012.com for a support site ;)

            Cheers!

            • Dave says:

              JanisG,

              Good tip. The 1 aff link per post is not written in stone but it does make you really cut them down to the bare minimum. There is definitely some kind of tipping point where sites with too many aff links overall on too much content seems to get a penalty so I advise being as cautious as possible now and build out real sites that may well have short aff posts but actually have lots of really good content too.

          • Bruno says:

            That’s a good tip indeed. I have been actually experimenting with that myself …

            One tip that I’ve got from Rand at SEOMoz is what they do with that pages of theirs, “Ranking Factors 20XX” that goes off every two years …

            That page of this year, 2011 ranking factors, is actually exactly the same as the previous one for 2009, so they get to keep all the links and the authority of the page and slowly build it over time. Now they are getting more links to the 2011 update and it all adds up with their old 2009 links …

            So what I’m doing, is that I’m actually creating a page with the url like “best-white-socks”, but the title is actually “Best White Socks 2011″, and then next year I’ll just replace for 2012 and change the text also ..

            Dunno if it will work, but it’s an idea especially considering what Dave talks about changing the post title to something that gets more traffic ..

            Maybe someone who has an old post similar to that could test and change to 2011 to see if it works immediatelly

            cheers!

  10. Shaun L says:

    Haven’t finished reading the article yet (Will save the rest for later) but had a couple of points and questions:

    1. I noticed in the post you started talking about products, but didn’t mention anywhere specifically that they should use Amazon. It’s obvious to me and probably most of your readers as we know what you’re about, but you may want to put a paragraph in there for people who aren’t familiar with what you’re about? Unless you left that out intentionally of course…

    2. What did you use to lock the rest of your post? I’ve seen the membership protected sites where you can have people unlock your content by paying, but not one where you can issue a password (Unless they have that feature and I just didn’t notice).
    I’ve currently got YourMembers installed on one of my websites, but think I may upgrade to Magic Members or Wishlist Member (I forget which one I decided was best lol, will have to do the research again) as I’m in the middle of setting up a membership side to one of my sites.

    Thanks for all the free info.

    *One of the tight gits* :)

    • Shaun L says:

      One more question, can you include affiliate links in Amazon or Smashwords books? Not that I’d make that the only focus for putting a book out, but if you genuinely needed a tool to make what you were speaking about work, why not :D

    • Dave says:

      Shaun,

      I don’t say to only use Amazon because I don’t only use them. I use plenty of other programs as well. If you want to go down the scarcity route for products then it may well be someone else that you are an affiliate for.

      I used Exclusive Content Password Protect http://www.cliconomics.com/exclusive-content-password-protect/ Super simple to use.

      And welcome to the tight git club, you are far from alone ;)

  11. Carrie says:

    Great post. Well worth the wait :)

    I want to leave you a review on Amazon but will wait a few days so you don’t have a flood all on one day.

    • Dave says:

      Carrie,

      Thanks.

      But there is a problem. My account has been blocked for my books. So they may not be up for sale on there for much longer, I just emailed them as I have had no notification about why, seems like it has happened to thousands of peeps over the last week and a lot of people have lost what is their living.

      Man, the things we do to earn, then lose, a living!

      • Terry says:

        They’re targeting IM’ers putting up PLR books about MMO (a good thing) and its possible you got swept up in the wave (a bad thing).

        I hope they don’t go looking deeper at the accounts of peeps that gave reviews… :-O

        • Dave says:

          Terry,

          Um, feel a bit silly. They just merged my account to a different email address. All is well with the world again ;)

          • Terry says:

            Now you see me now you don’t! Hahaha!

            Life is full of little surprises, I like the nice ones best meself!

            • Dave says:

              Tel,

              Don’t suppose you or anyone else who is in Spain wants a Puppy?

              She turned up knocking at the door a few weeks ago.

              We will have her for a few weeks while she gets Parvo shots but will then have to go to the pound.

              We can’t keep another Dog.

          • Terry says:

            Dave, as much as I’d love a puppy, we already have 2 dogs and really no room for a third. The dog pounds and rescue centres down here on the coast are bursting at the seems with abandoned dogs.

            If living in Spain has one big drawback, its having to put up with its people’s almost inhuman disregard of animals. Re: bullfighting (totally savage and detestable), the maltreatment of donkeys, the disgraceful abuse of hunting dogs etc etc etc… the list is too long.

            Now that broke my concentration…

            • Dave says:

              Terry,

              I hear you Man, thought you had run off after I asked about the pup ;) We don’t want her to go to the pound so just thought I would ask. She just dug up a whole planter that the Wife did the other day, puppies have WAAAAAAAAAAY to much energy.

      • Carrie says:

        That stinks! Sorry.

  12. Carrie says:

    Random question for anyone – is there an easy way to check PR across all the pages on a site?

    • jamesthejust says:

      Scrapebox is your best bet (that I know of)…you can scrape a sitemap of the website or scrape using SB, then use the PR checker.

      Alternatively, you can check up to 50 at MassPageRank.com but the URLs can only be so long.

      Dave: I haven’t read the post but wanted to find your book on Amazon – where is it?

      • Carrie says:

        Yeah, I guess I can use SB. I have been avoiding it b/c I can only scrape like 10-20 free proxies anymore. Thanks!

        • JanisG says:

          Carrie, there is a simple solution to free proxies problem – harvest your own proxy sources ;)

          Check out this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_NMkQgK1PY

          You can also use these working free proxies to find more working proxies using SB:
          * Take these working proxies and paste into keywords field
          * Select Google search engine and Time span – last 24 hours (Time button)
          * Start harvesting
          * When harvesting stops, copy uncompleted keywords back to keywords field and repeat harvesting
          * When you think it is enough, remove duplicate URLs
          * Sort harvested URLs by domain (just click on URLs header)
          * Export URLs list to Clipboard and paste them to notepad
          * Delete all URLs with these domains – kemoceng . com , forumcuaile . com , and ip-adress . com – because SB proxy harvested hangs on these sites (at least for me)
          * Now you have a list of webpages with proxy lists published during last 24 hours – add this list to SB proxy sources list and harvest fresh proxies!

          HTH

          Janis

          • Carrie says:

            Thanks Janis!

            I do pull from my own list of proxies but still have had bad results lately (much better in past). But I haven’t tried the nuances of your method so I will give it a go. Thanks again.

    • jamesthejust says:

      I wouldn’t look like such a spammer if Dave installs Ajax Comments so I can edit myself…ugh…I promise I’m not spamming.

      Anyway, Carrie, have you tried using the OpenSite Explorer at SEOMoz? I don’t know if that would do the trick…

      Dave: I left a review of your book on Amazon, I’ve just read it and it rocks – not surprised.

      But for some stupid reason it has my wife’s name on it from my end – even though it logs me in under ‘James Hussey’ it shows my wife’s name. Whatever.

      • Dave says:

        James,

        Thanks Man, it’s appreciated. I just hope the books stay up for sale as there is definitely a problem with my account and it is blocked for me but the books are currently still live. Very weird indeed.

  13. KuleKat says:

    Doh! I’m stuck in France with the Wrong Computer (that’s right Grommet, I don’t have the email passwords). From what I’ve read so far though, I could have written this myself – seems that quite a few of us (you and me included) figured things out much the same way. Great stuff – will catch up with the rest when I revert from being temporarily French i.e. doing naff all during August. Thankfully the local wine (Loire Valley) is not only cheap but a lot more “new world” these days.

    • Dave says:

      KuleKat,

      The hardships we have to endure ;)

      You are right, the times have changed and a lot of us are changing with them. Good to know you are one of them.

      Have a great August.

  14. Tara says:

    Well worth the wait Dave and it confirmed many of the things I was starting to think too, such as adding tonnes more pages/posts without aff links and making your aff site more informational than a blatant doorway to Amazon or whatever.

    The stuff about mining your own stats, which you stated over a year ago had been golden and the regular practice of adding fresh content daily-ish, whilst building up one of my sites is starting to show climbs in traffic, whilst doing minimal backlinking (that’ll come a bit later). Good to read that this was also what you were seeing/advocating.

    Sorry to hear about your account being banned, I hope you get that back. I’ll leave an Amazon review in a few days time when it all settles back down!

    • Dave says:

      Tara,

      Great that it is working out for you. These more personally written and informative sites are definitely the way to go. In this post I really wanted to drive home the absolute importance of working with the stats you are given. If you get shown that G likes you for terms then it is silly not to go with it at the beginning and do as well as you possibly can for the terms you rank easily for.

      The account for Kindle is now fine again, a bit of a mix up and nothing more, which is great news. But I do feel sorry for the people that had been earning their living there and are now banned, must be awful. Just another reason to always have various income streams. Looking forward to your review ;)

  15. Seth says:

    Uhh….Olivia….what did you do with our articles on xxxxxx? Just flushed them down the toilet? I might have to swear again!

    • Olivia says:

      Sorry Seth – thought I had told the few non-spammers. After a year of a dead as a dodo website I thought it was time to try and get it working again – and since google hates article directories… time for something completely different!

    • Dave says:

      Seth,

      I tried to email you some goodies to make up for it but your email doesn’t seem to work. Let me know what it is and I will send it again.

  16. Gerald says:

    Nice long article and I’m so glad that I subscribed and able to access the hidden content. It takes time though to read the whole article but it a worth of valuable information.

    • Dave says:

      Gerald, it is slightly lengthy, over 16K words, but glad you are enjoying it. No hurry in reading it, it won’t be going anywhere.

  17. JohnM says:

    Question about adding more content to my site.

    Lets say I have a post with the top 3 selling microwave ovens. I have a pic of the oven, a brief description of it then the link to Amazon.

    I now write a post on how microwave ovens work. Should I make that a new separate post that links back to the top 3 post, or add it to the bottom of the top 3 post?

    Thanks

    • Dave says:

      John,

      New post. Get as many non affiliate posts up as you can. I know it takes time but it is worth it long term. I am not saying that it needs to be done but from what i have seen sites really do need to get a mix of better content. Just don’t write rubbish though, write something that is actually very good quality.

      I don’t want everyone to think that this is a must, heck, I just finished writing an affiliate post on a site that is basically full of short affiliate link content. But to future proof yourself as much as possible it is what I recommend. Basically look at it like this. Any site that you rely on for earnings and don’t ever want to lose, or you can’t afford to, then make damn sure it is just about the best site in the niche bar none. If it is about microwaves then write content with good post titles about picking a microwave, the history of microwaves, background on how they work etc etc.

    • Dave says:

      John,

      As a follow up to my last comment, and basically for everyone else too then I want to make things clear.

      Full on, basically crap, affiliate sites do rank well and can earn a fortune. I have plenty of them, some earning better than others. I am not even saying not to make them, they can be goldmines no doubt. But be realistic about it and be prepared for them to die a death at some point. We basically all know that a blog that is about say, a passion for white socks, I am sure there are some, that has an affiliate link now and then, is going to be seen differently in the serps than a site that is basically a load of crap, with no passion that is solely there to pass on traffic through an affiliate link.

      I am not saying this is fair, after all it just means that when results should be real stores and real stores only then blogs with authority are still taking their spots when maybe they shouldn’t, but it is the best way to get products ranking and is going to head more and more in this direction in the future. Sites as a whole are becoming more important than ever, and internal linking too. So internal links from non sales pages is the best way to boost your rankings without external backlinks. And when you do backlink, send plenty to your non affiliate pages so they pass on the juice to the aff posts.

      • Gerald says:

        I never do any internal linking into my site because of the widget that displays related content. Does the link displayed by the Related Post widget count as an internal link? or do I have to embed the internal link directly into the body of the post?

        • Dave says:

          Gerald, depending on how long you have had yarpp on for I would simply try internal linking manually instead and see what happens. I would be loathe to take it off a site that has had it on for a while but why not try internal linking as well and let us know what the results are? I think you will be surprised at the results. I wouldn’t mess with yarpp on a site that you care about though just in case changing the internal site structure messes up rankings.

          • Terry says:

            Another cheeky trick you could do, which I’m convinced has boosted me a few places in the serps, is to end your posts with the main KWs of your site (assuming its the site title) inside anchor tags pointing at the homepage, all nicely wrapped in h2 tags.

            Lets see if I can do an example without buggering up the code:

            <h2><a href=”http://yoursite.com”>Your Main Keyword</a></h2>

            For my sites, it looks a natural way to sign off my articles simply with the name of my site. but sends strong link juice from the article to the homepage with your main KWs anchored. Good way to climb the SERPs for your main KW.

            • Dave says:

              Terry,

              I had never thought to do that, I usually link from just a number of posts to the homepage in the body, never the end. Makes sense to try a H2. Will give it a little go methinks ;)

            • Dave says:

              Terry,

              While we are in tips mode, another one that I just got around to doing on a site just now, is to change the “Home” navigation you often get in the header to your sites keywords. I keep overlooking such simple things when it is stupid to go out backlinking when you haven’t even got the best internal links yet. Doesn’t apply to all WordPress themes but it does to a number of them.

          • Bruno says:

            Terry, I’ve been experimenting with that as well. Good to know that you do it as well, gives me peace of mind :)

            Other great tip that I’ve got from Leo’s blog is about a way to handle first link priority:

            Most blogs usually have a header image that links back to the homepage and sometimes an additional button saying “home” also back to the homepage. From a SEO perspective, this is no good

            What Leo suggests is to actually use a 301 redirection on the image header (this can be easily achieved with the ‘Redirection’ plugin if you are in WordPress) and getting rid of the “home” button (no point having 2 links back to the homepage).

            Now what happens is that you can insert a contextual link with any anchor that you like in your posts with relevant anchor text since this will be your first link back to the homepage.

            I always leave a link back to the homepage in the footer in case I don’t create a contextual link for the homepage.

            Anyway, it is a bit similar to what you said. I liked your idea and I’ll leave a link back as h2 at the end of the post instead of the footer link. So if I don’t have a contextual backlink to the homepage, then the H2 link will do the trick.

            Dave, I’m trying to get my head around that for a big broad website. It’s home related and for example there are some stuff that would fall into the “Appliances” category.

            But I don’t want just a single link in my home navigation that says “Appliances” since I would never rank for that (although it would look nice in the navigation menu). I would much prefer having for ex “Kitchen Appliances”, but then if I insert that one and also “Small Appliances”, “Cooking Appliances” and all others, then my home navigation would only have space for appliances, which is not good. There are more stuff on the website.

            Maybe my website it’s too general, I have even considered splitting it. But I’m using more for tests and stuff so it is good to have a big nice umbrella like that :)

            Any recommendations?

            • Dave says:

              Bruno,

              You could silo the sections to subdomains, that way you can have each section looking very different and target more keywords in the home naviagtions. But even without that maybe just go for at least a better term than “home”, maybe “discount appliances”, but basically any keyword is better than none. Or “cheap home appliances”, even if you are not really going to try and rank it may as well be something if your site structure is set up that way.

        • Bruno says:

          http://leodimilo.com/musings/why-should-redirect-all-affiliate-links/

          here’s the link for Leo’s posts about the 301 redirect on the header image

          • Shaun L says:

            Dave, what exactly is a silo? I’ve seen the word a few times on a seo blog i read, but most of the articles are written in a complex manor most people won’t understand (I’m guessing they’re trying to make seo look difficult just {When it’s not} so people don’t attempt to do it themselves and instead use their services).

            And about the home page keyword thing, I see why that’d help, but it’s taking away from user friendlyness. If you’ve a site where you only want the user to see one page and click an affiliate link, then it’d probably be ok. If you have an audience however, especially a non techy one, i think it’s a good idea to stick the the universal Home text.

            • Dave says:

              Shaun,

              A silo is basically a self contained area on a site. i.e a subdomain for a topic within a niche where all links on that subdomain only point to other pages in that area. Categories are silo’s as well, a group of posts within a site. There is a lot of talk amongst “experts” about how to set them up, mostly totally over the top stuff. Leo explains it simply but effectively here http://leodimilo.com/search-engine-marketing/how-silo-your-websiteintroduction/

              Also take a look at http://www.proudback.com/ and topics like http://www.proudback.com/stretching-to-help-ease-back-pain where you will see me making a link based silo. Each page for a particular topic links to others within the same topic almost exclusively. It is an example of good internal linking to boost all pages and is very important from a user point of view. All the information on a site about a topic is easy to find and any page on the topic links to all other relevant pages. Good internal linking can be enough of a silo and the back site gets about 100 a day without me having done more than 1 or 2 backlinks to it. I need to get busy!

              Shaun, I understand what you mean about the home link, you gotta go with what you believe is right Dude, no one is “right”, we have to go our own way. Let me know what you think about the silo thing.

  18. Joel says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Really worth the wait and signing up for the newsletter! ;)
    Following you is so helpful to survive Google wrath and their never ending algo….so far eh! God Bless!

    • Dave says:

      Joel,

      I do my best ;) But NEVER blame me if anything goes wrong, Just my advice, not always the Gospel though!

  19. Bruno says:

    Dave,

    I’m not sure if you still would go for creating say 5 different posts with different buying keywords in a single website, but for your old sites that you do have that, do you interlink posts that have the same product?

    I mean, I think it would look weird to have “Panasonic XYZ – Best Price” linking to “discounted panasonic XYZ” and so on.

    What I’m usually doing is having for example 5 different products linking to each other. Then if I want to create additional buying titles for those same products, I’d repeat the products – or maybe 1 or 2 that do not convert – and interlink again.

    This way I’m always internally linking different products so it doesn’t look weird

    What do you reckon?

    cheers!

    • Dave says:

      Bruno,

      I do still do it on some sites, it really depends on the niche and how you go about such content. If you word it right it doesn’t look so spammy. i.e writing in the first person saying ” I just wanted to remind you that we still have Panasonic XYZ – Best Price available” etc etc.

      But what I am doing a lot more of nowadays is writing large pieces of content for a number of products and linking out to each one, then linking each one back to a main more general SET of terms for the large post. Weirdly Wifey just informed me that one I did a month or so ago in that very manner is sitting at position 4 for the main review term for a whole product range. It had internal backlinks from the smaller product pages and 1 external link from an aged domain I bought and knocked out a site on in a day. You don’t need lots of links if you internally link well and get a single good quality link.

      I also now go more for lots of buying keywords in a single large piece of writing with H2′s or just in the text. You need plenty of backlinks for all the terms but you can do it in one post instead of lots of post titles if you are worried about it looking spammy.

      Your way of linking is fine and it may make the site look cleaner, in all honesty it really is down to how you write your copy so it comes across in the right style too.

      • Dave says:

        Forgot to say, it also has PR3 now too ;)

      • JanisG says:

        Now I feel like one of six blind men feeling different parts of an elephant :)

        Can you please get in more detail about large pieces linking in and out to other large pieces here:
        “But what I am doing a lot more of nowadays is writing large pieces of content for a number of products and linking out to each one, then linking each one back to a main more general SET of terms for the large post. Weirdly Wifey just informed me that one I did a month or so ago in that very manner is sitting at position 4 for the main review term for a whole product range.”

        Thanks! :)

        • Terry says:

          Its like reciprocal linking only internally to the site. Dave means he writes a big article covering several products with no affiliate links in it, its just descriptive.

          Lets say the main article is about economical kitchen appliances and he talks about four of them, a fridge, a blender, a microwave and a kettle.

          He sends a KW anchored link from that article to each of his product review posts for each product (1 for the fridge eg “Zanussi Model 3 Beercooler”, 1 for the blender, eg “Phillips Model WTF35″ …etc) mentioned in the big article.

          Then each product review post that got a link from the big article links back to it with a more general term. So the fridge review post on the Zanussi Model 3 would link back to the main article with the anchor “Economical Fridges”.

          That creates a specific link to the product review post to help it rank for its specific model name, while the reciprocal link helps the main article rank for more generic terms.

          If your head is still spinning from Griz’s teachings about NOT reciprocal linking and going for one-way links where possible, this sort of turns it on its head. But times have changed and it looks more like Google is placing a lot more weight on a site’s internal linking structure. That means it counts links that deliberately link related articles together in the site. In their eyes, that makes for a more easily navigated website because a visitor can read an article and cross reference it with related articles on the same site simply by following the in-post links.

          Hope that clears the muddiness a little (and saved Dave writing it LOL) ;-)

          • Dave says:

            Terry,

            I think I should pass the blog over to you Terry. Very eloquently put. It is absolutely what the search engines seem to be after and more important than ever before. And these larger pieces of writing that cover a topic in detail are only ranking better and better.

            Janis, if you write a big post called say, “White Socks Reviews” and maybe talk about 4 great pairs of white socks with a H2 for each one and then also write individual posts for the pairs as well and link to them from the review post then you can do very well. Then when you link from the shorter posts to the review post for a few terms, white socks, white socks reviews, you can rank well with a lot less backlinking work being done off site.

            Results are not instant but they are more permanent as a site gets more and more content like this.

          • JanisG says:

            Terry and Dave – thank you very much!

            Makes perfect sense now.

          • Bruno says:

            Thanks Dave and Terry for the input.

            I was doing something similar as Dave mentioned about writing a large piece, for ex, “Best White Socks 2011″ listing 5 socks linking to each single post for each sock and back

            This way it’s quite easy to write the content: write all 5 sock posts, then create a big one with a resume of each sock. It should be easy since you have the content fresh in your mind.

            I usually try to create article in batches, so 1 general article like Dave mentions and then 5-7 posts that support that article.

            “No post is an island” said the ol’ man ;)

  20. Bruno says:

    ups sorry, just to make it clear:

    “I’m not sure if you still would go for creating say 5 different posts with different buying keywords for a SINGLE PRODUCT in a single website, but for your old sites that you do have that, do you interlink posts that have the same product?”

    • Dave says:

      Bruno,

      I do, I link lots of product posts together, mostly all then pointing to a main post as well, or one that G tells me it likes the look of most for keywords.

  21. JohnM says:

    If the product name is gas powered white socks model 123A by zen duck, what keywords to I use to link to it from BMRs? I would use the buying words you have suggested, but would I use the whole product name? Or should I use buy white socks model 123a, best deals white socks by zen duck, etc?

    • Dave says:

      JohnM,

      Normally you will backlink for the post title as that should be the term you are going for. And I would also then go for the others you suggested and whatever longtails show up in your stats.

  22. Cat says:

    Did you chage the password Dave? I’ve tried copying & pasting from the email, as well as typing it in, and keep getting an error message :(

    • Dave says:

      Cat,

      You are number 3 who has had a problemo. Try refreshing the page and trying again, if it doesn’t work then let me know and I will send the whole thing to your email addy. Sorry for the problem, don’t know why it has happened to just a few peeps.

      • Shaun L says:

        It could be because there’s a space in the beginning or the end. If put a capital letter in it also won’t work (As I found out).

      • Cat says:

        Thanks Dave, I just tried again today, typed the exact same thing & it worked this time. Weird!

  23. JanisG says:

    Here is one tip on using pictures for internal linking (you have to download pdf from the OP)
    http://www.warriorforum.com/adsense-ppc-seo-discussion-forum/427943-how-i-bumped-my-page-1-my-keyword.html

    I am doing some testing on this to see if it works.

    Cheers!

  24. way says:

    Hey Dave,
    Thanks for the book. I’m still reading it, but I wanted to make sure I’m subscribed properly since I did not get the newsletter. I paid for the book figuring you deserved the a few bucks for the work =)

    • Dave says:

      way,

      You definitely were already signed up but I see you have signed up again. The newsletter must have hit your spam folder, it happens. I would add my email addy to your address folder and you will be fine. Thanks for buying, its appreciated, hope you enjoy.

  25. Ruth says:

    I know I’m a bit late to comment – but I actually bought your book for Kindle when you released it. Although I had subscribed I knew it’d be worth the cash ;) Plus, you may be pleased to hear, it was the first book I bought on my brand new Kindle! Exciting stuff. So thanks!

    • Dave says:

      Ruth,

      Cool. I am still amazed how great it is to read stuff on the Kindle. It doesn’t even look like it is on. A brilliant device.

  26. Shawn says:

    Dave, the password for this post ain’t working for me. I tried splitting apart the words and all but it ain’t working. Did you change it?

  27. Shawn says:

    (^o^) “Oh! It’s working now.”

    (-.-) “That’s odd…”

  28. AJ says:

    Just wanting to sign up to the newsletter. Dave, the part where you have the password for the post, saying only those that where subscribed to the newsletter at time of posting.. you should have a link right there to sign up to the newsletter. :)

  29. Saldivar says:

    Hi Dave,

    The password you sent me doesn´t work now.

    Cheers

  30. blackkitt says:

    Hey Dave,

    Can’t wait to read more. But I didn’t get a password after I subscribed. Did I miss the boat?

    • Dave says:

      blackkitt,

      It was only sent to those that were signed up to the newsletter at the time it was published, otherwise it is buy the book time I am afraid. Sorry about that Dude.

  31. lenallen says:

    I’m a noob here. GREAT help, thanks enormously. I read (studied!) this thread and printed it to read yet again later. Then bought the book at AMZN to get the remainder, and have it downloaded to Kindle-pc. How can I print the remainder of this post from my kindle version? Or by some other means? Thank you.