Friday, March 18, 2011

Making a Real Online Business

I've been hesitant to post this, simply as I'm still in the middle of testing.  But since it's getting results, and looks to be useful, here's the preliminary findings:

Let's recap about the 3-legged stool search engines sit on:

When you look over the various breakdowns of search engine behavior, there are three points (in different descriptions) which have been found to be consistently prized by search engines:
  1. Content
  2. Authority
  3. Social Proof
Content - this must be fresh, substantial, and original. 
Authority - your content needs to use related terms, and sites which link to yours should be talking about what you are talking about. (A bioengineering thesis would be linked to by other bio-engineers, a cooking recipe would be linked to by other cooking sites or cooks.)
Social Proof - people "vote up" and bookmark your site, as well as "tweet" or post statuses about your content.

Now, there are various ways to go about this. Let me give you the short version. This is pretty technical, as I don't have time right now to flesh it out into a step-by-step set of actions. 

1. You have to follow your passion - what you could talk about all day - when you are creating content. A tool to find content to write about is Google Alerts, which will bring this to you in your email or feed reader. 

Another tool, Google Adwords External Tool will give you what Google thinks about your terms and provide you with profitable keywords where people are actually buying things (see their average CPC - it needs to be greater than .05)

Next, you'll want to be able to re-purpose this content so that you "write once, publish many times." The search engines have this rumor going around about duplicate content. While this mostly applies to content on a single site, most of the sites out there which are soliciting content want your content to be fresh and original. (This is simply a sign that the spammers have already been busy before you got here.)

The way to make new content is to "spin" it, or use substitute words and/or paragraphs at various points in the  text. Some studies have shown that it only needs to be about 40% different. An online tool to help you with this is http://spinz.me and a free (ad-supported) duplicate content checker is available at http://dupefreepro.com (as well as a decent discussion of this subject.)
 
2. Authority is gotten from inbound links. With the rise of social media, there are many different sites out there who crave content. By republishing your content (all using your chosen keywords), you can have many different sites linking to your main site (thousands, in fact, if you want to work that hard.)

But check out http://knowem.com to see what the top ones are (only about 500).

3. To get social proof, you'll need to get your stuff voted up and bookmarked. While self-promotion is frowned upon, you can do this to get the ball rolling with tools like onlywire.com and socialposter.com - the trick is that the IP address of your computer is logged, so they know exactly where a bookmark is coming from. So you can essentially only vote and bookmark a site once. 

To let the search engines know that your stuff is there, you want to use http://pingomatic.com as well as one of those bookmarking services.

If your stuff is written to be popular, there's a chance it will be picked up by others and bookmarked as well. But simply bookmarking and pinging your own will get this started.

Here's a preliminary result for this, with one of the keywords I've used for a site I'm promoting at http://worstellfarms.com (arrows are my properties):


Points to note here are that this is a fairly small competition scene, and actually has very few people looking. But that's key, as it's local search I'm looking for.

You'll also see that I've used PDF's created from the original page which then link back to that page. So while my actual page for that keyword shows up 5th on the page, 3 of the 4 which rank higher all link back to it. I've essentially not only gotten onto the front page of Google, but pushed 4 other possible competitors off.

Again, this isn't really ready for prime time. I've got some programs and services which I use that help with this. But right now I don't have time to write these up as my testing is still refining my actions.  If you contact me via one of my blogs or sites, I can send you the affiliate links and a longer description.