The Almost Perfectly Optimized Website

It’s taken me a while, but I finally found it. Found what? The perfectly optimized website according to Google page rank… for a while at least!

Ever since I’d learned about Google’s page ranking system, which I really don’t trust (and don’t think they now care about anymore), I wanted to find those pages that were at the very top, to see just what it is that they’d done. Sure, by now we’ve heard that Google says trying to attain high page rank is meaningless. Still, it was one of those challenges I put myself on because, well, it’s just what I had to do.

Buddha Quote 62
Creative Commons License Hartwig HKD via Compfight

That search began in earnest, as I first went looking at the top ten sites, based on Alexa’s ranking. Google’s site has a perfect 10, but we can’t count that. Or can we, since none of the other search engines have a page rank of 10? Nope, had to exclude them, if only for bias. I then went through the next 10; nothing.

At that point, I just started searching big name sites at random, hoping I would just happen upon one. But it wasn’t happening, and I was getting depressed. Then I finally decided that there just wasn’t any way to obtain a perfect score, and I would have to be satisfied with those sites I found that had 9’s; that’s very good also.

Lo and behold, I finally found a site that has the perfect 10 rating by Google. I was researching something regarding standards for proper CSS had HTML, and that search lead me to this site: http://www.w3c.org/, or W3C: The World Wide Web Consortium.

My mind was swimming; the perfect website! Not only that, but it had an Alexa rank of 230 at the time; even better. In a weird way, it showed just how diverse ranking properties can be; Alexa says it shows the web prominence of a website, and though 230 isn’t bad, it seems to shake things up, even if only in a minor fashion, because how can such a page be considered as perfect by one company and only #230 in another?

Frankly, I don’t care. I don’t care because I found perfection. And what perfection; why should I have expected anything less than what this pages shows me.

And just what does it show me? Well, first it has lots of content; these people were made to create content, which is easy for them to do because they have so many contributors.

I looked at the source codes; how wonderful they are. When you look at the main page, start in the middle first. This shows how content doesn’t have to be rambling, or even one coherent thought. These people don’t just have a list of content; they have one paragraph explaining what they’re going to give you, with links galore, internal links, which I’ve talked about before. You almost never leave this site.

Along the top and the sides are even more links. Each one takes you to very organized pages, and every single one of those pages have lots and lots of links, all going somewhere else within the site. On the left side of this page all the links are in alphabetical order; on the right, they’re grouped by category designations.

One very special page is their table of contents, which is here: http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/. Every single line in the actual table of contents, which looks like a large outline, is a link. Each link takes you to a page, which leads you to many other links and pages, and it goes on and on. Frankly, I don’t know that one person could read this entire site in a week or a month without having to start again from the beginning, there’s so much here.

This is the icon, the standard upon which we are all based. And frankly, I have to admit that I was elated and sad at the same time. Elated because I finally found perfection (though it’s gone now); sad because, unfortunately, I’m never going to attain perfection, page rank or otherwise.

As a sole proprietor, I’ll never be able to match this kind of content, and I write all the time. Even if I add staff, which I hope to someday, I can’t see where we would ever be able to spend the kind of time it takes to put together something like this. Others may not see it the same way I do, but this is a beautifully put together site; I almost want to cry. lol

I can only hope that one day, when I’m old and gray (technically, being black my hair is white), I’ll remember what it was like the day I saw perfection, and knew it would never be me or my sites; how do you feel?
 

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The Myth Of Link Building

Almost every SEO article you read talks about the importance of link building. They say that you have to create organic ways of getting people to link to you to build your prominence.


Chain Link

They say if you can get one way links that you’ll be in a much better position than trading links. Even Google said that they base their rankings, invalid as they are, on the number of people who link to you without your linking back to them.

What’s happened because of all this talk? I keep getting people writing me and wanting to link to many of my websites, including my business websites. They look at the PR (page rank) on those sites, which is pretty good, and think that by offering me the “opportunity” to trade links with them that it will work out great for me. They may even look at the Alexa rank, which is almost always better than theirs, even if they have high PR (that’s one reason why I question PR) and think they can snow me.

There are many myths that are related to link building. Many of the ideas people come up with don’t work. Some things people believe about link building aren’t true either. Let’s look at some of these things.

1. Link building will automatically boost your site’s prominence. That’s not quite true, although it is partially true. There’s this thing called relationship link building. That means if you link to a page on pink elephants and your blog or website is about quantum physics, you’re not going to get much bounce from that. Whereas if you link to a page that’s related to yours, you’ll get some benefit out of it.

Actually, sometimes linking to a site that doesn’t have much to do with your topic, but helps highlight something you want to be known for, is beneficial to you. For instance, on my business site, I tell people what I do, which works pretty well. However, I also wanted people to know I was based in Syracuse. So I linked to Syracuse and highlighted it, and if one looks me up and adds Syracuse I come up pretty high on the list as well.

2. All related links to your page are going to boost your site’s prominence. You’d think this would be true, but in actuality it’s not always true. I don’t know if you’ve ever gotten one of these requests from someone. Every once in awhile the subject on another site or blog seems like it might be a good fit. That is, until you take a good look at that site. Try to see if you can find the page they’re telling you they’re going to put you on from the main page. Most of the time you can’t because what they’ve done is thrown in a page that doesn’t link to any of their other pages, but is on their site. You don’t get any benefit from that at all; that’s one of those one-way link tricks that benefits them, and it’s sneaky.

3. If I don’t get enough external links, I’m not going to have any good rankings at all. That’s not true, and I’ll give you the perfect example. I’ve mentioned it before, but who’s checked out W3C? That stands for the World Wide Web Consortium, and they’re the folks who pretty much create and monitor the standards for how the web is supposed to work, including coding. They have almost no external links at all; pretty much everything they do is internal.

They’re the masters at internal linking, and the best example for the rest of us. When it comes to page rank, their main page is 10/10. Their Alexa rank, as of when I wrote this, is 479. It’s in looking at that page that I knew that internal linking was the way to go, which is why I often link to my own content on this blog. A few people use a WordPress plugin to do it, but I’d rather do it myself. This way I can bring up some very old posts or newer posts, and hopefully it’ll be more relevant if I do it myself than if software does it. Maybe not, though; sometimes you just have to get a little silly.

Link building is a big deal, but not in the way you might think it is. I’d start off working through your internal linking first, because it’s the main thing you can control. If you still feel the need to do backlink building, at least do it intelligently and ethically.

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Repurposing A Previous Post

In my 501st post the other day, I talked about possibly going back and repurposing previous posts for one reason or another. I’ve done just that very thing, I wanted to share with you that post and the reason why I did it.

Back in March of 2008, a friend of mine sent me some videos she found where the guy on the video offered solutions for how people could get out of their credit card problems. This wasn’t a quick fix thing, but real videos that were teaching people some long term solutions. Lucky for me I already knew how the process worked, but I thought the videos were neat enough to share, and since this is a sharing blog I decided to share them with others. I wrote a post called CreditCardSolutions.com to highlight them.

Somewhere along the line, the site must have changed hands, and all the old content was suddenly gone. Now I had broken links and a page that literally made no sense whatsoever. I could have just ignored it, until I was writing that 501st post. Though my original page didn’t make the top 5, it was number six. It means there were a lot of people looking for credit card solutions, coming to my site, and finding absolutely nothing to help. Me being me, I just couldn’t let that go on.

So, I’ve gone back and basically rewritten the entire post. What I also did was leave what I’d originally written, so people could see why I changed the page up. And I optimized it slightly, with only one little affiliate ad because it fit the change I made to the content. I also changed the title of the page to Credit Card Solutions, which fits better, and obviously it’s been drawing traffic anyway under that search term, so it just fits much better.

Anyway, I hope you check it out, even though it was an old post, because now it’s totally new. Even if you don’t need the assistance, just see what I did; it might spark an idea in your own mind for some of your older posts.


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Six Things I’ve Learned About Affiliate Marketing

I’ve written on this blog many times that I’m not the best affiliate marketer in the world. Well, I’d have to say that part is true, based on my history. However, what I can’t say is that I haven’t learned how to do any type of affiliate marketing, and if I decided to redo a few things, I believe I could actually start making some nice money at it. It would probably take some time to get to a point where I could be making enough to pay all my bills, but I actually do believe I could do it.

So, if I were going to start today with something brand new, what would I do, based on what I’ve learned thus far? Let’s look at my list:

1. I’d take time to think about a niche where not only could I write at least 100 articles about it, but that would somehow surround a product. I mentioned this in a comment on Sire’s blog once in response to a question someone else asked. I know someone who created a blog about hydroponic gardening, which means it was truly a small, defined niche. It was the only subject she wrote about on that blog, as it was new latest hobby. And, along with pictures she took herself, she had Adsense on her blog, but also had products related to hydroponic gardening. She was earning close to $1,000 a month on just that blog alone. She recreated that type of thing a few times, and was living fairly well. However, this wouldn’t only have to be a blog; a nice website might do the same thing.

2. I’d take more time to think of a domain name that people might actually know what it is they’re visiting for. With my Medical Billing Answers site, I did this very thing. It’s been making consistent Adsense money for me over the last five months, which is really nice. The problem is that there’s no consistent product that relates to it other than some books, and books aren’t quite a great seller, plus they have a low margin of return.

3. Set up internal linking from the beginning. When I started this blog, I had no real concept of internal linking. When I created my Reviews Of Everything site, I knew to create menus with categories, but I didn’t do a great job of setting it up for proper internal linking. Now I’m good at internal linking as it pertains to this blog, but I haven’t gone back to do it with my business blog, and I haven’t done it for most of my other sites. I have done it for my main business site, which has helped greatly, and I did it from the beginning with Top Finance Blog. I think if you create a niche site or blog, that will work wonders for you.

4. Join more than one affiliate program, but have an idea of what and how you want to market those items. I’ve only done this well for my Top Finance Blog, where I knew I would only market finance related items. With my medical billing site, I never thought about anything except for Adsense initially, and with my Services And Stuff site, I never thought out how to lay out my product advertising, so it’s a mish-mosh of stuff that just doesn’t work well. Even with my Reviews site, I have laid things out properly, but not matched up items well, which messes up sales greatly.

5. Research better. I’m supposedly the king of research, but when all is said and done, when I created the sites I’ve created thus far, each was more of a whim than any concerted thought of how I would market anything. Even with Top Finance Blog, I didn’t think about monetizing it until two months after I started it, and I wasn’t sure then how I was going to do it. My medical billing site was the best planned site of all of them, and it makes the most money, and, oddly enough, it was an industry I didn’t have to research because I know it pretty well. For my next site, you can bet I’ll research, then select a niche, then pick the right domain name, select products beforehand, then I’ll set it all up and go for it.

6. No matter how well you set things up, you still need traffic. The most perfect site in the world won’t generate anything without traffic. There are really only two ways to drive traffic. One, through search engines, which means you need to not only do great search engine optimization, but hope to have a niche that will drive either lots of traffic or has loyal readers who’ll buy because they like your information. Two, through efforts such as what we bloggers try to do, or email, or things like Adwords, or hooking with folks who will help to drive traffic.

I think that’s enough for now. Of course, add anything you’d like to the mix, because that’s what we do around here, we share information and ideas. And I could have added a seventh, though it’s more negative, that being that sometimes affiliates drop you because they don’t feel you’re making enough sales, as I’ve been dropped recently by Apple stores and Newegg, though Newegg dropped me because I’m in New York state; so, those two will never be mentioned around here again.


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SEO Is Easier With Websites Than Blogs

If you remember, back on January 1st I had a pretty comprehensive post on Page Rank and SEO, where I did an examination of this blog, and another blog, to figure out where page rank and SEO might have some sort of affect on the pages within a blog. I pretty much came to a conclusion that it was hard to to proper SEO to a blog because even if you only write on one thing, there are so many other variables on a blog that it’s hard to get a good page rank; that is, if you really care. I decided to do another long project, adding something else into the mix. So get something to drink, sit back, and either read or listen, via that Odiogo button there at the top left of this post, because this one’s going to be long.

What I’ve done is gone through this blog, my business blog (Mitch’s Blog), and my main business website. I’ve selected the top 10 visited pages, or articles, for each of these entities, based on Google Analytics. I’ve checked them for page rank, and then I’ve checked them on Google Rankings to see, based on the main search terms, where they might come up, if at all; only the top 500 this time, though, so I could get through it all. My point, which will be proven, is that SEO efforts for websites can bring some nice results, much nicer than with blogs, even if the niche is more defined. Yeah, there’s a lot of link love I’m giving myself, in case you ever decide you’d like to see what all I’ve been writing and creating over all these years, but hey, it’s also a research project, so forgive the indulgence. I do this for you, my faithful readers. My story and I’m sticking to it. So, let’s begin.

Let’s start with this blog. To begin with, it’s not always easy to figure out which search terms to try to find blog entries for. This means that the ranking figure might be skewed too far one way or the other. But we’ll take it as it’s worth. Here are my top ten articles, my Google rank, and my Yahoo rank; none of these pages has a Google page rank, so why even chart it. Here are the other numbers:

9 Instant Tips On How To Leverage The Power Of Squidoo (used to be 1) 4 Google, 0 Yahoo

Be Responsible For Your Own Life Google, 0 Yahoo 0

A Point About Commenting On Blogs Google 0, Yahoo 0

Getting Google Desktop To Index Thunderbird (this page has a 0 page rank, instead of being unranked) Google 6, Yahoo 2

Another Rant On NYS Internet Taxes Google 48, Yahoo 0

Dofollow/Page Rank Discussion Google 31, Yahoo 1

My First Week In Reno Google 0, Yahoo 0

Kontera -Performancing Ads And TTZ Google 0, Yahoo 32

My Big RSS Subscriber Contest Google 0, Yahoo 1

The Dance-Off Google 0, Yahoo 0

Out of those 10 posts, I think only two can really be considered as legitimate as far as the search engines go, those two being the one on Google Desktop and NYS Internet Taxes. The rest,… well, iffy at best.

Next, let’s take a look at my business blog. This one, it’s slightly easier to see how the SEO efforts went, but this time some of the posts do have page rank, so it’s included this time around:

RAC Audits – A Commentary PR 0, Google 1, Yahoo 1

My Personal And Business Goals For 2009 PR 0, Google 19, Yahoo 1

Did Martin Luther King Jr Believe In Our Future? PR 1, Google 18, Yahoo 0

PR 1, Google 2, Yahoo 0

The 7 Habits Seminar PR 1, Google 1, Yahoo 0

Is Fox News Anti-Obama? PR 0, Google 14, Yahoo 0

Am I An Invisible Man? (this is actually one of my pages on that blog) PR 2, Google 53, Yahoo 24

Group Think Doesn’t Always Work PR 0, Google 3, Yahoo 1

Quotes I like (another one of my pages) PR 2, Google 0, Yahoo 0

Evaluating Employees And Yourself PR 1, Google 4, Yahoo 0

As I said, more of these work as far as being able to see how my SEO efforts worked, but probably four of them aren’t all that valid.

So, those are the two blogs, and truthfully, though some of the numbers on this blog look pretty good, I don’t think they’re valid. And for my business blog, more are valid, but I’m not sure anyone would be looking for the keywords I used to search for those articles.

Now, though, we’ll take a look at my business website, where most of the pages we’re going to look at would offer legitimate search terms I might be found for. Notice the PR difference, as well as the more legitimate search term rankings:

Employee Evaluation Module (this is actually my most searched and reviewed product page, which I’ve never mentioned here because I doubt there’s a single person who visits this blog who could use it, as you’d need to have employees) PR 2, Google 1, Yahoo 1

2009 CPT Code Changes (one of my healthcare newsletters PR 2, Google 2, Yahoo 4

Tribute (this is a tribute I wrote to my dad when he passed away) PR 2, Google 122, Yahoo 0

Records Retention PR 2, Google 106, Yahoo 0

Free Newsletters PR 3, Google 1, Yahoo 1
( for this one, since I offer two newsletters, I also did a second search term, for free healthcare newsletter, and it came up Google 6, Yahoo 2)

Biography PR 2, Google 0, Yahoo 0

Chargemaster Consulting PR 2, Google 6, Yahoo 2

Charge Capture Consulting PR 2, Google 8, Yahoo 0

Healthcare Consulting PR 2, Google 221, Yahoo 0

Executive Coaching PR 2. Google 0, Yahoo 253

As you can see, every page here except for my bio page is ranked by either Google or Yahoo (I didn’t even know what kind of search term to use for my bio, so I left it alone), and the search terms are more accurate because, on a website, it’s easier to define what each page should be about. Now, many people forget two important things about internal pages. One, to optimize them at all, which is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. That would explain why so many internal pages aren’t ranked on most websites; I’m happy to say that the majority of my pages have a page rank of some kind, if only because it shows that they have been optimized. Two, if they optimize, most people use the same exact meta description and keywords on every page of their site, which is a mistake because every page on a website isn’t optimized for the same thing, and the search engines will ignore pages where the optimization doesn’t match what the page is about.

Now, let me be clear here; I still don’t care all that much about page rank. However, unless they’ve banned you for some reason, it’s still a nice indicator of whether or not you’ve optimized your site pretty well. It still doesn’t mean anything as far as visitors or even making sales or more money, but it does mean you have a better opportunity to be found on the search engines, if only because someone just might put in search terms that will lead them to you. Just like we look at Alexa and Technorati, or any of the other little things we can choose to view (see the two ranking icons to the upper right, above the Twitter bird) that rank us in some fashion. It’s better being on a list, or a ranking of some sort, than not being noticed at all.

I believe I have achieved my purpose, but I need to define it a little bit better. There are things we can do on our blog to help generate more interest, to get people to read more of it, and hopefully to get it to rank in some fashion, long term, on the search engines. But when all is said and done, it’s quite possible that blogs are just so active that posts don’t really get a chance to get rankings, even posts that continue getting visits years after they’re written, if you’re lucky (that’s where internal linking might be able to help), so don’t kill yourself trying to make every one of your blog posts optimal. If you can stay somewhat consistent on a topic, as I do with my business blog, you will have a better chance of attaining and keeping a page rank, because every blog post I mentioned on my beginning of the year post, at this point, has lost its page rank. Don’t beat yourself up over it.

However, when it comes to your real websites, using good SEO skills can help your pages get ranked, which means you’ve probably optimized them well enough to have a legitimate chance to be found on the search engines. With blogs, it seems to be more important to generate visitors in other ways, such as commenting on other blogs, and many of the other ways that so many people have written about that I’m not going to bother going into it again. When it comes to your blog, just write, and write as well as you can. It’s a blog; have some fun with it.

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