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Off Page SEO Professionally

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Off page optimizations consist entirely of link building strategies. Because it entails third parties, you will often be limited in how much control you can exert. However, knowing what the search engines are looking for can assist you to optimize those opportunities where you do have control.

Search engines evaluate pages that link to yours for relevance. Having a link from a page discussing widget training services will be more helpful to a widget storefront than a link from “Joe Bob’s Land of a Million Free Links”. In addition to relevance that search engines will appreciate, links from topically related sites can and will drive traffic to your site in their own right.

General Advice for Maximizing the Value of Links

Every link is a good link, but some links are better than others. When soliciting links from link partners, directories or other venues, you should keep the following in mind:

  • Always link to your home page using your domain name root. Do not link to the page name of the default home page. For example, all home page links on this site link to http://www.measuring-up.com/ and not http://www.measuring-up.com/index.HTML. Of course, the filename should be included when linking to pages other than the home page.
  • Maintain consistency in using the www. prefix in the URL. Search engines treat http://measuring-up.com/ and http://www.measuring-up.com/ as two different sites.
  • Use your keywords/keyphrases as/in the anchor text for all links whenever appropriate. You usually do not have much control over 3rd party links to your site, but you can control the anchor text for all links within your site and from any 3rd party links that you can define/edit.

Link Building Campaigns

With a new site, it can be helpful to engage in a link building campaign to get your site some immediate exposure. As your site matures and develops more content, you will find that other sites will start linking to it without solicitations.

There are several avenues you can pursue to expand your link building campaign:

  • free directories – Crawling search engines use these human edited directories to find (and categorize) websites. Be sure you get listings for all directories that are applicable:
    • - largest free directory. Used by Google to power the Google directory. It can take a long time (months in some cases) for an application to be processed, so patience is golden when applying to DMOZ.
    • You must apply to become an editor if you do not want to pay for inclusion.
    • Only accepts sites that offer some interactive features. Be sure to check their guidelines before applying.
    • - Only accepts non-commercial sites.
    • When applying to these directories, comply with their instructions and make it as easy as possible for their editors to approve your submission(s). Consider becoming an editor for some directories and you might get the ability to fast-track your own submissions.
  • themed portals – Look for magazines, discussion forums, targeted vertical directories, etc. that pertain to your niche. Request listings where appropriate.
  • press releases / articles – Many websites will be happy to publish a press release or content article and include a link back to your site.
  • industry organizations – Many non-profit organizations offer directories of their membership with links to their websites. Join as many as make sense for your venture.
  • participate in discussion forums – Many internet discussion forums allow hyperlinks in “signature files”. Participate in discussions and offer advice and wisdom. Do not spam forums with blatant advertising. This will reflect poorly on you as well as possibly get you banned from the forum.
  • set up a search engine friendly affiliate program – offer commissions on sales of your product(s) for others to advertise your wares and link to your site.
  • RSS news feeds – publish company news though RSS syndication. Other websites pick up the RSS feed and publish your news story (which can include a link back to your site, of course).
  • paid advertising – There are many directories (like Yahoo), portals and websites that offer paid advertising options from text links to banners.

Reciprocal Links

You can use the search engines to find websites that might link to you. Search on your keywords and your competitors’ backlinks to find sites that link out to websites in your industry. Visit those sites and try to determine the owner’s name (or a manager as appropriate). Send them a personalized e-mail introducing them to your site. Request consideration for a listing on their links page (and include the URL for that page) where your website would be of value to their audience.

Many owners/managers/webmasters will be happy to link to your site if it is germane, quality and useful to their audience. Some might request reciprocation. If their site is useful for visitors to your site, you should consider reciprocating. We do not recommend trading links with websites that have no topical connection to your site. It looks unprofessional and some search engines may be starting to penalize sites for it.

When you solicit a link from another site, be sure to format your requested link to conform to the format published on the target link page. Be sure to use your key…

How to Set Up an Online Store in a Week

Friday, September 8th, 2017

If you’ve got something worth selling, then with all the free tools, cheap hosting, and user-friendly store builders available at your fingertips, there’s no reason not to get started. Lots of us are familiar with the concept of selling online via the likes of eBay, but if you’re looking for a legitimate side hustle that will help you make your mark, then your own online store is the way to go. Here is a guide to getting started in seven days.

1. Figure out Your MVP

If you’ve only given yourself a week to set up your store, then you certainly don’t have time to be a perfectionist. While you may feel strongly that your online store is a reflection of yourself – and therefore has to be perfect – it’s better to have something basic that is up and running.

In this case, you need to ask yourself, what is your Minimum Viable Product? Remember that you can always improve the store as you go – all the while growing your customer base and learning what works and what doesn’t. Start with the minimal features you need to get going, which include:

* A product to sell – plus images and descriptions
* A company name and domain – check domain availability here
* A reliable ecommerce platform
* A plan for managing order fulfillment
* A content and marketing strategy

2. First Things First: Building a Store

Once you have a niche and a business plan, you’re ready to start creating a website. Your storefront will be a reflection of your brand, so choose an option that comes recommended for ecommerce. If your website is too basic then you may find it hard to scale later on.

Easy online store builders work well because they are designed for people just like you. They take care of all the complicated parts of setting up a website, so you can focus on the bigger picture. Store creators are ideal for those who are looking to build an ecommerce website from scratch.

The other option is to use software like WooCommerce, which will integrate with any WordPress website. This is a good route if you already have a blog and you want to add ecommerce functionality. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of free trial periods, and keep in mind these key tips to build your first small business website.

3. Decide How You will Handle Inventory

Getting the right logistical framework in place is key to making sure you are able to scale as your business grows, but you also need a system that’s manageable when you’re just starting out.

Handling inventory is a lot of work. For this reason, many merchants choose to work with a dropshipper. This means that the product goes straight from the supplier to the customer – cutting out the middleman. Do your research to find one who is reliable and will allow you to apply your own branding. If you’re new to dropshipping, check out this guide on dropshipping your way to financial freedom.

If you plan on handling the inventory yourself, you can opt to save costs on storage rent by looking into shared warehouse deals. Some entrepreneurs choose to start by storing inventory at home, but you should have a plan in place to scale the order fulfillment side of the business when orders start dropping in larger numbers.

4. Create a Content Strategy

Content production should be a central asset of your online business, so be sure to treat it accordingly. It’s a good idea to map out all your content needs for the first year and create an editorial calendar to follow. If you need to hire part-time copywriters or freelancers, then do.

Plan for the seasonality of ecommerce sales, and invest more budget at times when you’re likely to get a higher return on your content investment. Don’t forget to factor in your product and category descriptions. Remember that unique and compelling copy will help you rank better, so don’t just copy and paste your manufacturer’s description.

If this is your first time working on a content strategy, then learn from other businesses who already do it well. Follow other online merchants on social media and read through their blogs to see what they’re putting out there.

5. Put the Word out

Maintaining a steady online audience is a lot of work, and you shouldn’t expect a flood of customers to arrive in the first week. But as you get going, here are some other methods for you to try:

*Social media is about give and take – but you should always give more than you take. Offer real insight and commentary, and only go promotional right at the end. Consider which platforms are going to work best for your brand before diving in – they are not all alike.
*PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising is a good way to get noticed in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) early on. It can take a while for search engines to index a new website – even one that is well-optimized – so you may want to give yourself a boost.
* Engaging with influencers is another helpful way to start spreading the word, and to build backlinks to your website. Reach out to popular bloggers to enquire about an article or feature with a link back to your store.

While it’s possible to get your online store up and running within a week, the truth is that to make a success of your new business, the venture must be for the long-term. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes when managing an ecommerce business so be prepared to do your research, to make mistakes, and to learn from them.