Monday, 28 February 2011

Derek's Home & Business Blog Is Moving

Given the recent problems I've been experiencing with Facebook and with receiving no reply from their support team, I have no alternative but to change the domain for my blog. This change is going to start within the next 12hrs and be fully completed within one week.

During the transition, the blog will be offline as I implement the new domain for the blog and transfer the old domain to new servers. Hopefully, this transition should take no longer than 24-48hrs.

Once the transition has been completed, anyone who accesses blog posts on the old domain via search engines, articles, blog directories or social networks etc, will automatically be forwarded to the same post on the new domain. For the technically minded, this is done via a 301 Redirect (domain forwarding) which will ensure web users are forwarded to the new domain and the post they requested, no matter where they clicked the link on the web.

The 301 Redirect also tells search engines that the blog has permanently moved which in return, will automatically update the search results with the new domain.

If you're a follower of the blog via Google Friend Connect, NetworkedBlogs, Email or via the RSS Feed, you do not need to do anything as the changes I make on these services will automatically transfer you to follow the blog on the new domain. However, if you've bookmarked the blog via your browser, you will need to change the bookmark to point to the new domain: http://www.derekjones.co

The bulk of the work is going to be updating blog posts, blog directories and other online services to the new domain. This unfortunately is going to take some time to complete, so please be patient if I don't publish any new blog posts or I'm not on Bloggers Network as often during the coming week.

As a word of caution and because I don't want you going through the same experience as I have, please be warned when obtaining free domains such as co.cc. Free domains are subject to abuse by spammers, which in return are easily blocked from social networking sites such as Facebook. May I suggest that if you decide to obtain a domain for your blog or website, that you purchase one from services such as Go Daddy for example. Try to avoid free domains such as co.cc at all costs.

Finally, the transition should go smoothly and without any problems. However, if any problems do arise, I will let you know as soon as possible.

Thank you for your patience and support during this transition period.

Related articles:
Facebook Website Blocking Update
Has Facebook Blocked Your Website?


UPDATE 3:15am: Transition complete! New domain (http://www.derekjones.co) is now live and the 301 Redirect is now operational on the old domain. Blog posts have also been updated (where applicable) to include links to the new domain. Now it's time for bed :)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Facebook Website Blocking Update: All CO.CC Domains Blocked

After doing some investigation, it seems Facebook have blocked ALL co.cc domains from their system. This is the reason why my website has been blocked and not because I did anything wrong. See my recent post: Has Facebook Blocked Your Website?

Does this mean then that if they receive too much spam posts from .com domains for example, they will block ALL of them too? NO and that's why this course of action is so annoying..!!

One of the main reasons why I picked this domain was not only because it was free, but because I was able to have my name as part of the domain. All Top-Level Domains (TLDs) with Derek Jones had unfortunately been taken which is why I chose this one.

With spammers constantly using .co.cc domains for their unscrupulous activities, it seems Facebook will probably continue to block these domains in the future (as this is not the first time they've imposed this block), even if it adversely effects honest, law-abiding people like myself. Therefore, I will have no alternative but to make some changes in the very near future which will probably include a new domain for my blog.

This is not going to be an easy task... simply replacing this domain with another domain on Blogger is not a clear option as it will undo all the hard work I have done over the past 5 months to get a decent amount of traffic plus listings on major search engines and blog directories.

I will have to do something soon though because as of today, I've noticed (while publishing this post) that NetworkedBlogs shortened URL's (plus Dlvr.it and Goo.gl) which are pointing to my blog posts are now getting blocked by Facebook. This means that any new post I publish on my blog will NOT be posted on my Fan Page and the Bloggers Network group.

With receiving no reply from Facebook as yet, what do you think is the best course of action regarding this? I'm open to suggestions :)

Related articles:
Has Facebook Blocked Your Website?


As ever, if you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar), on Facebook or subscribe to our feed at: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DereksHomeAndBusinessBlog

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/djones1509
http://www.facebook.com/DereksHomeandBusinessBlog

Monday, 21 February 2011

Has Facebook Blocked Your Website?

In addition to being the Founder and Administrator of Bloggers Network, I'm also a member of six other blogging groups on Facebook. This process helps me to get my posts seen by the blogging community for essential feedback etc.

On Friday, 18th February and after doing a new post on my blog, I decided to post links to this new post on all the groups I belong to. As a result and because (I assume) I posted in succession, my website has now been blocked on Facebook without warning or explanation.

I have contacted Facebook concerning this and hopefully, the block will be lifted soon. If you find your website has mistakenly been blocked by Facebook, use the following form to contact them:
http://www.facebook.com/help/contact/244560538958131

The most annoying part about this, is that not only has all the direct links to my website been removed from Facebook including the Bloggers Network that I administer, but all the Facebook "likes" on each post on my blog has now been reset to zero. Furthermore, no blog visitor such as yourself can "like" my blog or any post until the block has been removed. Will these Facebook "like" numbers be reinstated when the block is lifted? I certainly hope so!

I understand Facebook must have safe-guards in place to prevent spammers from spamming their system, but being blocked after posting 6 links in approximately 15 minutes is somewhat "over the top" in my view. If I had known such action would have blocked my website, I wouldn't have posted the links.

As you may or may not know, Facebook do not make it entirely clear (see below) as to what is and what is not acceptable when posting links. I don't want them to give away their algorithm secrets, but some guidelines/clarification (and a warning) would be most helpful to prevent honest users of their system like myself having their website blocked.

This is the only information Facebook provides regarding the above: "Unfortunately, Facebook cannot provide any specifics on the rate limits that are enforced. Please know that the threshold at which you are warned is not a specific number, but rather determined by different factors, such as speed, time, and quantity."

Just be warned that if you decide to post your link in multiple groups in succession on Facebook, you too could have your website blocked. I don't want you going through the same problems I'm currently experiencing.

On a brighter side, at least most of my posts on my blog Fan Page haven't been removed. This is because any new posts I publish on my blog, the service NetworkedBlogs automatically use a shortened URL and not a direct link to post the new content on my page. If these had been removed, well, I dread to think how I would feel.

One thing is for certain, I won't make the same mistake twice as we're clearly at the mercy of Facebook and NOT the other way around!

Has your website been blocked by Facebook? Please let us know.


UPDATE 31st May 2013: Given the amount of search engine traffic that I receive daily on this blog post, I've just published a new post on how to avoid your website from being blocked by Facebook: Is Your Website Blocked By Facebook?

UPDATE 11th July 2011: Google has blocked all .co.cc websites from its search results because the domain has been found to be too "spammy". For more information on this, see article: Google Plus, Facebook Chat & Blog News

UPDATE 6th March 2011: It has been discovered that posting in succession was not the reason for the block. The reason is that all .co.cc domains have been blocked by Facebook. For more details on this and how this situation was resolved, read these update articles (newest first):

- Move To The New Domain Now Complete
- Derek's Home & Business Blog Is Moving
- Facebook Website Blocking Update


As ever, if you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar), on NetworkedBlogs, via Email (maximum of one email per day), on Facebook and Google+ or by subscribing to our blog feed at:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/DereksHomeAndBusinessBlog

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509, Google+ and on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/djones1509
https://plus.google.com/104849975941505117776

Be careful in your social marketing efforts!

Friday, 18 February 2011

9 Questions To Ask After A Site Links To You

Inbound links increase the value of your website in the eyes of Google and the other search engines. And, they help more people find your website and all you have to offer. Each inbound link is like your website just got another vote of confidence.

So, once the link has been set up, your job is done. Or is it?

Getting links to point to your site is one of the most challenging parts of search engine optimization, but link building doesn't end once a link has been set up.

In fact, getting that link should only be the first step in a long-term link building strategy.

Let's talk about this for a minute. Someone received your link request, and went to the trouble of responding. Or, they heard about you, researched you, and maybe even purchased something from you, and then decided to link to you. However it started, he thought it was a good idea to create a link to your site and took the time to make it happen.

Do you just congratulate yourself and move on?

No! The person who helped you deserves a little bit more of your time and attention.

Not only should you send them a thank you for the link, you should treat this like the opportunity it really is. By establishing a relationship with them, you could not only boost your search engine rankings, you could be opening the door to rich collaboration and business opportunities.

Consider these nine important questions for sites that already link to you.


1. How popular is their site?

The more popular the site, the more beneficial it can be for you. Start by checking out the number of inbound links the site is getting, they are a good measure of the popularity of the site. Then you can sort in order of priority and start with the most popular.


2. Which of the sites that link to you are bringing you real traffic?

Review your log files or investigate Google Analytics to find out which of your links are actually bringing you traffic. When sites bring you traffic, it can be for a combination of reasons, for example:

- You share the same target market and their visitors are interested in what you provide

- They've talked warmly about your products and given you a good review

- They've placed your link in a prominent spot on their site

- They get high traffic themselves

For whatever reason, getting traffic is only part of what you need. The next part is...


3. Does the traffic from the sites convert to sales?

As important as it is to get traffic to your site, if none of the visitors DO anything when they arrive, you aren't really too far ahead. The critical question is 'does the traffic they bring convert for my benefit?' Set up Google Analytics to help you find out the answer. And, if you find out that they link to you, they bring you traffic and the traffic they bring converts, then stop reading this article IMMEDIATELY and get in touch with them.

Start by thanking them, and then initiate a dialogue to explore what else you can do together.


4. Have you done them a favor in return?

No? Do so, right away.

Yes? Do so again.

It's very easy to do a favor for someone and being helpful and willing is a great way to build relationships - and relationships are at the heart of successful link building. It might be as simple as sending them an email thank you and asking them to keep in touch.


5. Do you know how the link got to be there and can you put a name to the person behind the site?

It's really important to remember that it's people who make links, not websites. Visualize a network of people linking to you, not just a network of websites linking to you.

Do a bit of research to find out who they are and what they do. What do you have in common? Why did they link to you in the first place? Is there more business you could be doing together? And, as we talked about in question four, what favor could you be doing for them?


6. What social media sites are they active on and have you linked up with them?

With the escalating popularity of social networking, contact through social media is critical today. Because these people have linked to your website, they're relevant to you - and they bring with them a network of friends and followers who are also likely to be interested in what you have to offer.

Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or whatever, and respond to their posts, re-tweets or comments. Do that and just watch your network - and your inbound links - grow.


7. Can you say at least one thing that is great about their site?

Make sure you do.

Write a complimentary blog post, add a kudos when you re-tweet, make a positive comment, agree with them, elaborate on their ideas. You'll be getting yourself an even bigger fan.

We all love a bit of flattery and it can be a powerful tool when you are building relationships. Dale Carnegie put it very well when he said, "Flattery is telling the other person precisely what he thinks about himself".


8. What linking text do they use when they link to you?

The linking text that people use when creating the inbound link to you is very important for your search engine rankings. Therefore, you need to know if they are using a really basic 'click here' or if they incorporate more keyword-rich text in the link. If necessary, it is worth the time to make a quick approach to them and suggest they use one of your important keywords or phrases in the linking text. It will strengthen the value of the inbound link for you.


9. Are there any ways you can collaborate, either in content or in business?

If there's really a good business fit between you and a site that links to you, then they're likely to respond positively to any business proposition you may make. Time to start brainstorming. Is there more you could be doing to help each other or generate more business?

In summary, don't view getting an inbound link as the end of the story. If you see links as simply a way to boost your search engine rankings, then you'll miss out on some tremendous opportunities.

Instead, remember that link building is really about building relationships with people and generating opportunity. It is about being part of community, providing useful content to your readers and the people who link to you. Who knows where it could all lead you?

What is the most important element of link building to you? Let us know in the comments section below.


Many thanks to Ken McGaffin, CMO at Wordtracker.com for the content of this article. If you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar), on Facebook or subscribe to our feed at: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DereksHomeAndBusinessBlog

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/djones1509
http://www.facebook.com/DereksHomeandBusinessBlog

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Top 14 Benefits Of Social Media Marketing

There's a lot of fuss surrounding social media these days. If you still haven't jumped on the bandwagon and aren't sure why so many people are making such a big deal about it, here are 14 benefits of social media for your business and you from Success magazine.

For Business:

Establish a Brand and Raise Awareness

Since the majority of the population is already visiting social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, getting your brand name all over those networks can help let people know that you're around. If you have yet to create a company image online, social networks are the place to do it.

Create a fun YouTube video that entertains and informs. Funny videos tend to make their way around the Internet a lot faster than any other kind, so when making a video, keep in mind that you want it to be interesting enough for your target audience to want to share. Using Facebook and Twitter to create a fun online community that your customers will want to visit will boost brand loyalty and drive traffic to your Website, allowing you the chance to make more online sales.


Spy on the Competition

Follow your competitors on Twitter and Facebook and you'll be able to see what they have up their sleeve. Just make sure to provide a better deal than whatever they have going on.


Pitch Products in a More Human, Interactive Way

Since people visit social media sites to get personal rather than be bombarded with ads, discuss your business in a fun way and engage your customers with questions. Ask their opinions and entice them to respond back. This way you're making a valuable connection that will help grow your number of return customers.


Bring Attention to Your Products

Featuring a product on a social media site is one of the fastest ways to bring attention to it. Offer a promotion along with it for your online community members and watch your sales skyrocket.


Increase Customer Loyalty And Trust

Speaking to your customers in a personal way will make them feel like they are talking to a friend, not a company. This will help build their trust in you, which will make them do business with you rather than your competition. It will also improve the chances of customer recommendations.


Listen to Your Customer's Opinion

Social media sites are an awesome way to see what your target audience is saying about your company or your products. Take their constructive criticism and use it to enhance your product to better meet their needs.


Conduct Market Research

Listen to what your customers say about your products and track what links they click on and you'll begin to see what your customers like and respond to. People love to express their opinions on social media sites, which will allow you to hear the truth. Then you can use your new-found information to tweak your product or service to please them as well as continue to post more information and links that they will enjoy.


Strengthen Customer Service

Social media networks allow your company to answer your customers' questions and concerns directly in a timely manner. This will improve customer satisfaction and also save you money on long distance customer service phone calls.


For You:

Build Your Personal Reputation

Social networks allow you to get your name out to the world and talk about things that matter to you. This will help you build a good online reputation, which is critical nowadays if you're looking for a job or even a new business contact.


Display Your Resume

LinkedIn allows you to display your full resume online for any future employers or recruiters to see. This will help bring you new opportunities that never would have existed otherwise.


Find a Job

Jobs are posted every minute on social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter along with the links or information you need to apply for them.


Showcase Your Talents And Establish Yourself as an Expert

If you're passionate about a certain subject, whether it's work-related or a hobby, the Internet is a great place to show off your knowledge. Soon people will be coming to you for the breaking information on that topic, and talking about you to friends.


Enhance Your Business Contacts and Enhance Personal Relationships

Through professional sites like LinkedIn, you can build your number of business contacts and enhance your reputation as an expert in your industry. You can also connect with those long-lost high school and college classmates, old colleagues, and out-of-town family members.


Share Information with Like-Minded People

Connect with other professionals in your field to share information. Where else would you be able to connect with industry professionals across the globe to swap stories and advice?



About The Author: Wendy Suto, President and CEO of Search Circus, specializes in search engine optimization and search engine marketing including social media marketing for over 10 years. Certified in SEO, Wendy Suto only follows natural and organic search engine optimization guidelines with proven results.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

25 Essential Blogging Tips

Here's a collection of 25 essential blogging tips I've learned since starting my blog. Follow these tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your blog and the Blogosphere.

1. You should be reading the top blogs in your industry to see what your competitors are doing, stay on top of industry news and track the comments to see what your customers and potential customers are interested in and talking about.

2. Plan your blog in advance and make sure you really understand the purpose of the blog and what you hope to accomplish.

3. Figure out how often you want to post and try to be consistent, so readers can detect a pattern and come to rely on your blog as a consistent source of information.

4. Participate in other blogs by commenting. Your fellow bloggers will get to know you, potential customers will get to know you as they see you participating in other blogs and you often get to link to your own blog with your comment, so you are building links.

5. Be authentic and communicate clearly.

6. Creating an open dialogue is the best way to be sure visitors will respond to your content.

7. Focus on what you know best and don't try to make your blog all things to all people.

8. Don't use your blog as a blatant advertisement. Use your blog to build relationships, establish your credibility, excite prospects about what's going on in your industry and your company and be a source of solid information.

9. Always proofread your posts. Avoid spelling mistakes at all times.

10. Backup your blog (If you use Blogger, you can do this by clicking on "Settings" on the Dashboard... then on the "Basic" page, click on the "Export Blog" link at the top of the page. Rule of thumb is to backup your blog every time you publish a new post).

11. Put a link in your signature on posts.

12. Use Technorati and Feedburner.

13. Write "How to" articles. They are very popular and tend to draw a lot of attention.

14. List your blog on directories (See the Top Blog and RSS Directories page for a full list of directories to submit your blog to).

15. Put an RSS subscription icon on every page.

16. Break long posts into multiple posts.

17. Have a picture of yourself on the "About" page, or even on your blog header graphic.

18. Make it easy for visitors to contact you.

19. Talk directly to your readers and always answer comments and questions.

20. Add podcasts, video, photos and images.

21. After you've written a post, look at it with different eyes. Ask yourself, if I came across this post on someone else's site would I care about it? Does it have some kind of impact on me?

22. To optimise for search engines and your RSS feed, always use keywords in your title.

23. Always clean up comment spam. No one likes a blog littered with comment spam.

24. Web users tend to get lost in large blocks of text - break it into smaller paragraphs and they'll stick with it for longer.

25. Add a poll to your blog. This is a great way to get your readers involved and it can help you tailor your blog's content, based on the feedback you get from your readers. (Vizu is a great service that allows you create and add free polls to your blog. You can also use SurveyMonkey to add surveys to your blog).

Got any blogging tips to share? Feel free to post them in the comments section below.


If you haven't already done so, may I suggest you join the Bloggers Network. The Bloggers Network is a group for bloggers to network with each other. Advertise your blog, post your latest blog posts, plus discuss anything to do with blogging. You can access the group by visiting:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/BloggersNetworkGroup

As ever, if you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar), on Facebook or subscribe to our feed at: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DereksHomeAndBusinessBlog

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/djones1509
http://www.facebook.com/DereksHomeandBusinessBlog

To your blogging success!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Has Google Seen Your Website?

Sometimes you may be wondering "Is Google even taking notice of my website?" or "Can Google see any of the links I build to my website?" or maybe you just don't know how Google and the search engine works and feel confused about how to get noticed.

Well, here's an easy way to check if Google can see a specific page on your website. Let's say for example, I want to find out if Google has found this page:

http://www.derekjones.co/p/contact.html

To find out, I just type the following into the Google search box:

info:http://www.derekjones.co/p/contact.html

If Google can see my page, this search will return my page as the only result. If Google cannot see my page, I will see a message that says:

Sorry, no information is available for the URL
www.derekjones.co/p/contact.html

That's it, Google will tell you up front if they know about a page or not.

Hint: If Google cannot find a specific page on your website, make sure you place a link to it on your main page. The next time Google crawls your site, it will be able to find the page by following this link. You can also create a Sitemap with all your pages and submit it to Google using Webmaster Tools.


As ever, if you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar), on Facebook or subscribe to our feed at: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DereksHomeAndBusinessBlog

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/djones1509
http://www.facebook.com/DereksHomeandBusinessBlog

To your SEO success!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Google's New Malware Warning

When you're in the business of directing people to websites, not taking them to sites riddled with harmful malware is a priority. As the world's most popular search engine and with a very important reputation at stake, Google is focusing on keeping its search results clean, or at least letting its users know when search results are suspicious and potentially dangerous.

Google now displays a warning for search results that appear to have been hacked or compromised. Specifically, on search results pages, the notification sits below each suspicious website's title as a hyperlink that says, "This site may be compromised."

Google started warning users of malware-laden sites years ago. Since 2006, Google has been prompting users with the warning, "this website might harm your computer," when they try to visit sites that are suspected of distributing malware. With infected search results continuing to deceive unsuspecting web surfers, Google has decided to add an extra warning.

On a support page dedicated to explaining the new warning, Google clarifies the distinction between the older warning and the new one. The older one (i.e. "this website might harm your computer") shows when Google's malware detection system determines that a site is "potentially hosting malware." Google displays the new warning: "this site may be compromised" when it suspects that a site has been hacked or compromised while not detecting any malware.

Hackers typically compromise a site with a couple of goals in mind. Their intention could be phishing, which consists of tricking users into sharing personal details like credit card information. It could also be spamming, a practice that violates search engine quality guidelines in order to fraudulently achieve a higher page rank.

Google is working closely with webmasters who believe their websites have unjustly been classified as hacked or compromised. Such a label could be devastating for a business. On the other hand, as an individual, it's better to err on the side of caution. Update your Antivirus/Antispyware software and watch out for hacked websites!

Note: If for some reason you have not got Antivirus/Antispyware software installed on your computer, may I suggest using either PC Tools or AVG. Both of these packages offer a wide range of powerful tools to protect your computer against online threats.

Related articles:
Does Google Consider Your Site Safe?
Google Adds New Security Layer To SERPs


As ever, if you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar), on Facebook or subscribe to our feed at: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DereksHomeAndBusinessBlog

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/djones1509
http://www.facebook.com/DereksHomeandBusinessBlog

Be safe online!

Facebook News Feed Problem

By Wanda Lee

Have you noticed that you are only seeing updates in your News Feed from the same people lately? Have you also noticed that when you post things like status messages, photos and links, the same circle of people are commenting and everyone else seems to be ignoring you?

Don't worry, everyone still loves you and nobody has intentionally blocked you. The problem is that a large chunk of your friendlist can't see anything you post and here's why:

The "New Facebook" has a news feed setting that by default is automatically set to show ONLY posts from people who you've recently interacted with or interacted the most with (which would be limited to the couple of weeks just before people started switching to the new profile). So in other words, for both business and personal pages, unless your friends commented on one of your posts within those few weeks or vice versa - you are now invisible to them and they are invisible to you!!

HERE'S THE FIX:

1. Click on "Home" at the top-right corner of your Facebook screen to get to your News Feed page.

2. Click on the arrow next Top News - Most Recent.

3. Scroll down to the bottom and click on "Edit Options", click on "Show Posts From" and change the setting to "All Of Your Friends and Pages". Right below it, you can choose whose posts you do not want to see.

Simply posting an update about it won't do any good because lots of your friends already can't see your posts by default. You'll either have to send out a message to everyone on your list (which I'm not even sure business pages can do and is a rather tedious method) or post an event explaining the situation like this one, and invite your entire friend list. You can also tweet about it hoping that most of your fellow facebookers are also on twitter.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Bing Searches More Accurate Than Google's, Study Finds

Microsoft's search engine Bing, and even Yahoo, are providing users with more accurate searches than their rival Google, according to a report out this week.

Bing and Yahoo, which is now using Microsoft's Bing search technology, had the highest search success rates last month, reported Experian Hitwise, an Internet monitoring firm. More than 81% of searches on their sites led users to visit a Web site.

However, Google, the dominant player in the search market, wasn't as successful with its January searches. According to Experian Hitwise, Google had a 65% success rate.

"In my business and personal searching, I feel like I'm seeing less on-point results and more garbage, even on pretty specific queries," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "Search success is a big deal for both advertisers and users. This same study also pointed out a significant increase in multi-word, more complex searches. To me, this means that users are looking for more specific results."

Olds said the search engine that delivers the most accurate results will win over users in the long run. That's good news for Microsoft, which has been chasing Google from a long distance ever since Bing was released. Even if Google's results haven't been as accurate, it's still the highly dominant search engine in the market.

Experian Hitwise also reported that Google accounted for 67.95% of all U.S. searches in January. Bing-powered searches, which encompasses Bing and Yahoo, accounted for 27.44%. Yahoo alone came in at 14.62%, while Bing had 12.81%.

"If the inaccurate searches are a trend and not an isolated result, then this does point to the need for Google to improve on its search success," Olds said. "In the short term, it gives Microsoft a great angle they can use to tout Bing vs. Google to advertisers."


Many thanks to Sharon Gaudin of Computerworld for the content of this article. If you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar), on Facebook or subscribe to our feed at: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DereksHomeAndBusinessBlog

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/djones1509
http://www.facebook.com/DereksHomeandBusinessBlog

Bloggers Network:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_144476842272032

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The 10 Week SEO Diet

So you've noticed that your competitor's site ranks higher than your site on Google for *yellow widgets,* even though you are the premier widget provider in your area.

So what are you going to do about it? You're going to take back control of the search results, that's what!

You don't need to be proficient at SEO or hire a Search Engine Optimizer to make a difference to your search engine rankings. There are several easy steps you can take that can make an immediate difference to your site's visibility.

Here's a 10 Week SEO Plan that will quickly put your site on the path to higher rankings:


Week 1 - Verify Your Site With the Big 3 Search Engines

If you want to understand how search engines interact with your site and find potential issues before they impact your traffic, you really need to verify your site and sitemaps with the big 3 search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) and monitor your stats regularly.

Start by registering your site with Google Webmaster Tools. This is easy. Simply create an account and verify your site by uploading a small piece of code to your server for Google to find. Then create a XML sitemap of all your site pages and upload it via your Webmaster Tools account.

The amount of information this gives you about how search engines interact with your site is truly mind-blowing. Once you've gone through this process, you'll be able to check:

- how many pages Google has indexed and how often
- what errors Googlebot found while indexing
- what keywords your pages are being found for
- how many incoming links each page has from external sources
- how many internal links each page has from other pages on your site
- how well your site is optimized for target keywords
- how fast your site loads
- how many broken links are on your site, where they point to and on what pages, etc.

It's a similar registration / reveal process with Yahoo Site Explorer and Bing Webmaster Tools.


Week 2 - Research Your Target Keywords

It's easy to assume that because you sell "yellow widgets," your customers type "yellow widgets" into Google to find your products, right? But the truth is, you don't actually know what your customers are searching for unless you research it. They might be typing in "gold whatsits." One of the biggest mistakes online businesses make with SEO is targeting the wrong keywords.

Start by creating a seed list of keywords. Basically, this is a brain dump of all the keywords and phrases you think your potential customers might type into a search engine to find products and services like those you provide. You need to get inside the heads of your potential visitors/customers. Put yourself in their shoes for a minute and think what would YOU type into a search engine if you wanted to find a site like yours? Then pass that list around the office, to family, friends and customers and get them to add the keywords *they* would use to find those same products and services. Keep going until you've got at least 50 keywords/phrases. That's your search term seed list.

Now, take that list and enter it into an online keyword research tool such as Keyword Discovery, WordTracker or even the Google Keyword Tool. These tools show you how many searches each keyword/phrase attracts each day. Use this information to narrow down your choices. Don't bother with keywords that generate less than 20 searches per day. Look at the most popular keywords in your list and choose the ones that relate specifically to your site content. Revise, streamline, and revise some more to come up with your final list of target search terms.


Week 3 - Integrate Your Keywords into Your Pages

Contrary to popular belief, sticking your keywords into your meta tags is NOT sufficient for Google to find your site a relevant match for related search queries. For a search engine to find a site relevant, it MUST find the keyword within the visible text on your pages and in link text pointing to your site.

Take your final streamlined keyword list and allocate your chosen keywords to the various pages of your site. This is a pretty straightforward exercise. Usually the content of each page will tell you what keywords will be the easiest and most logical to integrate into the body text and other content.

Now, rewrite your content to incorporate your keywords naturally into your pages. Try not to repeat a keyword phrase more than 3 or 4 times in a single page. Re-write your page titles and META tags, alt tags and headings to include your new keywords. When you create new pages, make sure you include logical keywords in your file names e.g. instead of www.mywidgetsite.com/page2.html try www.mywidgetsite.com/shiny-widgets.html.


Week 4 - Create Tailored Title and Meta Tags

How many sites have you been to where every page has the same META tags? That's a lost search opportunity. Every page on your site should have a different Title and META Description tag, tailored to the content of each page. Take your new keywords and create optimized titles and tags for each page you want the search engines to index. This indicates to search engines AND visitors what each specific page is about.


Week 5 - Install and Utilize Google Analytics

Have you installed Google Analytics on your site? If not, then do it today. Google Analytics is a free site statistics package that provides insights into your web site traffic and marketing effectiveness. You may already have access to a site metrics package courtesy of your hosting company or web designer, but I guarantee you that it won't be as powerful or easy to use as Google Analytics. The program lets you see and analyze your traffic data in new ways and you can learn how your visitors interact with your web site over a specified time period.

With benchmarking tools, you can find out whether your site metrics under-perform or outperform those in your industry and more accurately measure your web site's Return on Investment (ROI). Google Analytics synchronizes directly with Google AdWords and other PPC services too, so you can set conversion goals and track visitor pathways from the entry page right through to the purchase receipt. Google Analytics features a wide range of graphical report options, enabling you to prepare web site performance reports for stakeholders right across your organization.


Week 6 - Add Fresh Content

What keeps a search engine coming back to your site? Fresh content. By adding new pages and information to your web site on a regular basis, you're sending a signal to both search engines and visitors that you have lots to provide and they should come back regularly. The more content you have, the more entry points you are providing to visitors as a way of finding you in the search engines. Think of your site as a reverse pyramid, where your additional content pages are providing more and more doorways to your site at the top level.


Week 7 - Revisit Your Internal Link Structure

A lot of webmasters spend too much time looking at external links pointing to their sites and forget about their internal link structure. The way you link between your own site pages can have a huge impact on the search rank of those pages. This is because Google and other search engines are influenced by the keywords that are used in the links themselves. This *anchor text* tells search engines what the page is about.

For example, if you are linking to your page about *leather widgets* from your home page, instead of having the link read "Click Here," change it to "Read more about our leather widgets," with the entire snippet of text used as the link text. This signals to search engines that the page you are linking to is about *leather widgets* and they are more likely to show that page as a relevant match to search queries for *leather widgets* in their search results. Try to integrate this link policy across your entire site, with all your pages being cross-linked via appropriate keyword-rich link text. You'd be surprised what a difference this small change can make to the visibility of your pages!


Week 8 - Get Social

Use social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to publicize your site content. If you haven't already established accounts for your business on these social networks, do so quickly. Then, every time you make a product announcement, publish a newsletter or add a new blog post, make sure you cross-post the content on these social sites. This will encourage more people to share your content and engage with your site, resulting in more traffic and more incoming links.


Week 9 - Build Incoming Links to Your Site

Speaking of incoming links, these are crucial to your site's ultimate performance in search engines. The number of external links pointing to a page is a major component of the ranking algorithm Google and other engines use to determine a page's relevance against a search query.

If Page A has 5 links pointing to it using *shiny red widgets* as the anchor text in the links, while Page B has 50 similar links, it makes sense that Google will find Page B a more relevant match and rank it higher in the search results. Make sure your site is full of Page B's. There is an exception to this though - the sites linking to yours need to be trusted by Google.

You need to ensure the links you obtain are from high quality sites and not spammy free-for-all link farms or else the links might do you more harm than good. A simple explanation for how this works is here: How Does Google Collect and Rank Results?

Publish a link policy and encourage external sites to link to you using anchor text of your choosing. Seek out high quality directories and submit your site to suitable categories for your products / services.


Week 10 - Monitor, Tweak, Test, Tweak

Nobody gets anywhere by standing still. It's the same with your web site. You need to constantly monitor how it's performing and how people are interacting with it before you can improve it. For this purpose, Google Analytics is your best friend. Set aside time in your weekly schedule to review your analytics and make note of how your SEO work is progressing. Make a note of any issues that need addressing. Plan changes to the site based on visitor activity and keyword search trends. Log into your Webmaster Tools accounts for the big 3 engines regularly to check for indexing issues and monitor how many pages from your sitemap each has indexed.

Follow these steps and I promise you'll see results in just 10 weeks


Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running a daily Search Engine Advice Column, Kalena manages Search Engine College - an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and other Search Engine Marketing subjects.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Thank You To All My Followers

I've seen a dramatic increase over the past couple of weeks in the amount of traffic and people who are following my blog via Google Friend Connect, on NetworkedBlogs, on my Fan Page and via my feed. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank you all for following and for your support... I will continue to bring you more great tips, news and informative articles on a regular basis.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the blog owners who have joined the Bloggers Network group on Facebook. Since setting up the group just over two weeks ago, I've seen the group grow rapidly with bloggers actively networking and helping each other gain traffic and readership to their blogs.

If you're a blog owner and have yet to join the Bloggers Network, you can do so at:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/BloggersNetworkGroup

Over the next few months, I will be promoting the group on some high traffic sites in the hope in making the group a major resource for bloggers. As the group gets bigger, I will also be looking for an administrative partner to help me run the group. Until then though, thank you to all the blog owners who have joined so far and I wish you every success with your blogs.

Until my next post, have a fantastic Sunday and thank you once again for following, for your support and for making this blog all worthwhile... Thank You!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Bing Accuses Google Of Click Fraud

Without a doubt, the biggest storyline in search this week has been Google accusing Bing of cheating and stealing its results, Bing semi-denying this, and the back and forth that's gone on between the two dominant search engines.

The whole thing came to light when Danny Sullivan posted an article detailing Google's "sting operation," which Bing would later call "spy novelesque" and even "click fraud". Essentially, Google rigged up some forced search results to test Bing, and found that Bing was indeed displaying the results in question.

Just hours after Sullivan's article came out, Google's Matt Cutts and Bing's Harry Shum took to the stage at the Farsight search event to publicly argue about what Bing had done and the ethics of it. Bing also put up an official blog post showcasing its position on the matter. "We use over 1,000 different signals and features in our ranking algorithm. A small piece of that is clickstream data we get from some of our customers, who opt-in to sharing anonymous data as they navigate the web in order to help us improve the experience for all users," wrote Shum. "To be clear, we learn from all of our customers. What we saw in today's story was a spy-novelesque stunt to generate extreme outliers in tail query ranking. It was a creative tactic by a competitor, and we'll take it as a back-handed compliment. But it doesn't accurately portray how we use opt-in customer data as one of many inputs to help improve our user experience."

"The history of the web and the improvement of a broad array of consumer and business experiences is actually the story of collective intelligence, from sharing HTML documents to hypertext links to click data and beyond. Many companies across the Internet use this collective intelligence to make their products better every day," Shum continued. "We all learn from our collective customers, and we all should...We never set out to build another version of an existing search engine."


It didn't take long for Google to offer up its own official blog post, rehashing the tactics described in Sullivan's article, with added commentary from Google Fellow Amit Singhal, who said, "As we see it, this experiment confirms our suspicion that Bing is using some combination of: Internet Explorer 8, which can send data to Microsoft via its Suggested Sites feature, the Bing Toolbar, which can send data via Microsoft's Customer Experience Improvement Program, or possibly some other means to send data to Bing on what people search for on Google and the Google search results they click. Those results from Google are then more likely to show up on Bing. Put another way, some Bing results increasingly look like an incomplete, stale version of Google results-a cheap imitation."

"At Google we strongly believe in innovation and are proud of our search quality," he added. "We've invested thousands of person-years into developing our search algorithms because we want our users to get the right answer every time they search, and that's not easy. We look forward to competing with genuinely new search algorithms out there-algorithms built on core innovation, and not on recycled search results from a competitor. So to all the users out there looking for the most authentic, relevant search results, we encourage you to come directly to Google. And to those who have asked what we want out of all this, the answer is simple: we'd like for this practice to stop."


Google did not get the last word in the war with Bing (at least not yet...I'm sure we haven't seen the last word at this point). Bing took to its blog again, this time with some words from VP of the company's online services division, Yusuf Mehdi. "We do not copy results from any of our competitors. Period. Full stop. We have some of the best minds in the world at work on search quality and relevance, and for a competitor to accuse any one of these people of such activity is just insulting," he said. "We do look at anonymous click stream data as one of more than a thousand inputs into our ranking algorithm. We learn from our customers as they traverse the web, a common practice in helping to improve a wide array of online services. We have been clear about this for a couple of years (see Directions on Microsoft report, June 15, 2009)." No link is provided unfortunately.

"Google engaged in a 'honeypot' attack to trick Bing," he added. "In simple terms, Google's 'experiment' was rigged to manipulate Bing search results through a type of attack also known as 'click fraud.' That's right, the same type of attack employed by spammers on the web to trick consumers and produce bogus search results. What does all this cloak and dagger click fraud prove? Nothing anyone in the industry doesn't already know. As we have said before and again in this post, we use click stream optionally provided by consumers in an anonymous fashion as one of 1,000 signals to try and determine whether a site might make sense to be in our index."

He also mentions some design elements Google has employed since Bing's launch that are rather Bing-esque, which we've also pointed out in previous articles. "At the same time, we have been making steady, quiet progress on core search relevance," he said. "In October 2010 we released a series of big, noticeable improvements to Bing’s relevance. So big and noticeable that we are told Google took notice and began to worry. Then a short time later, here come the honeypot attacks. Is the timing purely coincidence? Are industry discussions about search quality to be ignored? Is this simply a response to the fact that some people in the industry are beginning to ask whether Bing is as good or in some cases better than Google on core web relevance?"

Search quality certainly has been in question lately, particularly with regards to content farms, but Bing doesn't appear to be doing anything much differently in that regard so far. Blekko is the only one that has really clamped down on those at this point, though Matt Cutts did finally acknowledge that the recent Google algorithm change is not the search engine's answer to content farms, and that they still have some projects they are working on in that department. He said they want to do it all algorithmically, as opposed to in a human-edited fashion like Blekko. Meanwhile, it looks like we might have a whole new kind of content farm emerging that doesn't even use humans to create the content.

Another side note in all of the Google/Bing drama is that Microsoft has now released a Chrome extension for support for the H.264 video codec, which Google recently announced would no longer be supported by Chrome. As WebProNews mentioned in a previous article on the subject, Microsoft has offered similar plug-ins for other browsers, so to say that this is in any way related to the search dispute is a bit of a stretch, but the timing is interesting.

While Bing and Google continue to duke it out, there is no clear winner in who is right and who is wrong. User opinions are widely varied.

What do you think of the whole situation? Has Bing done anything wrong in its practices? Was Google wrong to set up its "sting operation"? Share your thoughts.


Many thanks to Chris Crum, editor of WebProNews for the content of this article. If you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar), on Facebook or subscribe to our feed at: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DereksHomeAndBusinessBlog

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/djones1509
http://www.facebook.com/DereksHomeandBusinessBlog

Until my next post, have a wonderful weekend!

How To Use Facebook For Your Small Business

Leveraging Facebook to generate leads, build site traffic, and even make a little money is every small business owner's goal. But in most cases, it's not as simple as getting on once a week for an hour, posting a bunch of 'interesting' information, and getting on with your life hoping that the leads will start flowing in. Facebook is a remarkable tool for creating a 'buzz' about your small business and inviting new friends to check out your services, but done in the wrong way Facebook can also hurt your overall brand image.

Facebook reaches millions upon millions of people: 500 million to be exact. And 200 million Facebook users are mobile, getting their Facebook fix from their Android, iPhone, and Windows devices. According to the Facebook Press Room, in 2010 the average Facebook user was connected to 80 community pages, groups, and events; created 90 pieces of content each month; and shared more than 30 billion links, news stories, blog posts, and pictures.

Marketing your business on Facebook is no longer a 'maybe we'll do it this year.' It's nearly a requirement to establish your brand as credible, available, and trending. We've put together the top three things you must do on Facebook to be successful, as well as the top three things you absolutely should not do on Facebook. Let's start with the bad news first and end with the good news.


Top 3 Mistakes Small Business Owners Make on Facebook

1. Over-Posting - I see this mistake made over and over again. In most cases it happens because small business owners have great intentions and want to be active on the social networks, but they either don't have time throughout the week or they just plain forget. When they do remember, or do have some marketing time, they jump on Facebook, don't join any conversations or start new ones, but post about five status updates, links and news information in a 15 minute time frame.

2. Not Enough Time - Maybe 15 minutes is all the time that you have for Facebook, and if that's the case then you might want to consider adding some help to your marketing team. By over-posting, you're not giving followers a reason to be interested in your company, you're giving them a reason to "unfriend" you. Take your time with posts. If you do only have 15 minutes on Friday evening to get your Facebook marketing done, put up your most interesting status update in the first minute, spend 12 minutes seeking out new friends and conversations, and in the 15th minute post your second most interesting status update.

3. Unbranding Your Business - Facebook is a great resource for keeping up your small business brand. It's important to 'stay in character' and to 'stay in business mode' while spreading information about your business brand. Playing games, talking about personal issues, or posting inappropriate pictures will kill your brand. Spending time on Cityville and Farmville from your Facebook business pages will only show that you're not professional and not concerned with how your business brand appears to others.


Top 3 Things A Small Business Owner Must Do On Facebook

1. Brand Your Business - Send a clear message with every status update, photo upload, and conversation piece about your brand. For example, a client of Linwright Design happens to be in the field of pain management, and a lot of patients are living with things like RA and fibromyalgia. So we seek to join conversations around these topics, spreading our overall brand message by suggesting information from our website and our branded blogs on these conditions. As a small business owner, your profile picture can be your logo with information about your business, or if you are proud of your team and want to make your brand a bit more personal, it can be a "family" photo of your employees.

2. Seek Out Conversations - Don't be over-active in 'friend requesting' strangers. For one thing, you will get penalized and possibly even blacklisted from Facebook all together, which is the last thing you want. Seek out conversations in your industry by doing searches with keywords. For example, for our pain management client mentioned above we search keywords 'fibromyalgia' (and more) to listen to and join conversations that people are already having about this condition.

(Tip: Go to the search box at the top of your Facebook Page. Enter the keywords that you are searching for. Go to the bottom of the search results where it says "see more results." Look to the left and click on "posts by everyone." This will take you to the world and all conversations on Facebook regarding your industry. Listen to what people are talking about, get ideas for blogs, and join conversations.)

3. Be Consistent - Facebook, as with any other social media platform, is all about consistency. So you only have an hour a week to spend on Facebook? Spread that hour out throughout the entire week. Even 15 minutes every day will help more than one hour in one day. You have to be available to your Facebook friends and you have to be able to monitor your brand. If someone leaves a comment or asks a question, you need to be able to answer those or respond. Even 15 minutes, at the end of your day, every day, will make a small but crucial difference over time.



About The Author: Kandie Day is founder of Linwright Design, specializing in digital development and distribution. Mainly Arizona SEO www.linwrightdesign.com, social media marketing, branded content development, and in-depth analytics.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Google Chrome or Internet Explorer? I Choose Chrome!

I've been using Internet Explorer as my main web browser for more years than I care to remember, but recent events caused me to download and install Google Chrome. See my previous post: Does Google Consider Your Site Safe?

Another reason why I wanted to download Google Chrome was to see how fast my blog would load after making some changes to the design. So after downloading and installing the latest version of Chrome last week and then accessing my blog, I was blown away of how fast it loaded... it took a mere 3 seconds!

Before I made changes to the blog, Internet Explorer 8 was taking approx 25 seconds to fully load my blog. After the changes, I got the load time down to 20 seconds. Internet Explorer for some unknown reason, would always take some time loading the AdSense ads and JavaScript code.

I'm aware that Internet Explorer has a number of security features such as the SmartScreen Filter which will obviously slow down the loading process, but even after starting Internet Explorer without the add-ons and disabling all the security features etc, my blog was still taking 15 seconds to load compared to Chrome's 3 seconds... now that's a big difference!

It's not just my blog Internet Explorer seems to have problems with, I've noticed that most blogs I've visited which use Google's Blogger platform seem to take forever to load in IE... why is that?

Anyway, now I have two browsers installed on my system, so which one will I be using as my main browser? Well that's easy... Chrome of course! :)


As ever, if you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar), on Facebook or subscribe to our feed at: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DereksHomeAndBusinessBlog

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/djones1509
http://www.facebook.com/DereksHomeandBusinessBlog

Until my next post, have a great day!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Google's New Content Farm Algorithm In Action

Google had announced earlier last month that it will Focus on Content Farms in 2011. In regards to the same they have launched two major algorithmic changes focused on content farms and low-quality sites or spammy sites that are noticed in Google search results. Well, the algorithmic changes were approved, launched and in action now.

Matt Cutts, Google's Principal Engineer, confirms it in his personal blog post. In the post, Matt updated the news by saying, "My post mentioned that "we're evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others' content and sites with low levels of original content." That change was approved at our weekly quality launch meeting last Thursday and launched earlier this week."

He also added that "This was a pretty targeted launch: slightly over 2% of queries change in some way, but less than half a percent of search results change enough that someone might really notice. The net effect is that searchers are more likely to see the sites that wrote the original content rather than a site that scraped or copied the original site's content."

The impact of the algorithmic changes seems to be evident as well. A Webmasterworld Google SEO News and Discussion Forum, has various SEOs and webmasters reporting traffic drop from Google. A webmaster commented that "Something really BIG changed yesterday about midday. We are still in triage mode here covering our basics. We saw a huge 10-20 drop in almost all positions for our biggest and oldest site.," another said, "We have lost 40-60% traffic in several sites, all same time yesterday. Very frustrating and to see server idle now."

Most of the complaints hint that the traffic upset set in on 26 or 27 January. Affected site's webmasters are most unimpressed at Google's latest changes. Who will be? When you are watching your site's traffic from going great to a sudden death like transition. More updates and reports can be expected from both Google and webmasters in the days to come.


Many thanks to Navneet Kaushal of PageTraffic for the content of this article. If you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar), on Facebook or subscribe to our feed at: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DereksHomeAndBusinessBlog

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/djones1509
http://www.facebook.com/DereksHomeandBusinessBlog

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Top 10 Free Marketing Tools

Here's a great article by Titus Hoskins of marketingtoolguide.com, listing 10 of his most useful and free marketing tools to help build your online business...


My Top 10 Most Useful Free Marketing Tools Of 2010

At the end of the year, everyone is making lists and I thought it would be helpful if I gave you my most useful marketing tools of 2010. All of these are free and there's no reason why these tools can't also help your website or your online marketing.

While they are geared towards marketing, they can also be used for getting traffic to any website. I also believe it is the "USE" of "ALL" of these tools in combination which has helped me succeed online.

So here, in no particular order, are my most useful free marketing tools of 2010:


1. SeoQuake for Firefox

This invaluable SEO tool will give you vital stats about your site and those of your competitors. I use this extensively to check out my linking partners and how I can better challenge my competition. Besides checking the traffic ranking, Google indexed pages, age of site... the most important stats for me is the SEMRush numbers, these will roughly tell you the worth of the monthly keyword traffic a site is receiving. Very helpful.

2. Google Analytics

Getting traffic is only half the battle, knowing what that traffic does on your site is extremely important. I use this program to make my pages perform better and bring in more sales. Knowledge is everything on the web. I find Analytics good for fine-tuning my "money pages" on all my sites. I use it to build the conversion rate of my traffic. And that as they say has made all the difference in the world.

3. Microsoft's Commercial Intention Tool

Picking the right profitable keyword phrases is the first step to earning revenue from the web. This very useful tool from Microsoft will tell you the probability, or how likely, your chosen keyword will have commercial intention or results. This tool will give you some indication if the niche market you're considering will be worth it.

4. Addthis Social Bookmark Button

Social bookmarking has become very important for getting targeted traffic and for getting higher rankings. You simply must have an easy way for your visitors to bookmark your content in all the social networking sites. I find the Addthis button extremely useful for this purpose. The more social bookmarks your content has in these networks, the higher they will rank in the search engines, not to mention all that traffic.

5. WordPress Blogging Software

Using WordPress blogs are very beneficial because they are SEO friendly and search engines really like and favor them. This is one of the easiest ways to create profitable websites and adding helpful "plug-ins" makes them even more useful. One marketing strategy is to use a WordPress blog with its own domain to complement your main site; make sure to have them keyword related.

6. YouTube Videos

Videos are the future of marketing on the web, so using YouTube videos to promote your site or product is a no-brainer. I have also found videos are very important for SEO reasons mainly because Google will place a popular video on their first page listings, almost instantly. Some webmasters suggest you shouldn't use YouTube videos because it will draw traffic away from your site, but I find it's a good trade off for me.

7. Twitter

Simple, direct and very effective for getting your message on the web and into the search engines. You must include this social bookmarking/messaging site in your campaign and marketing. You have to make sure you integrate your Tweets into all aspects of your marketing... web content, articles, videos, pdf downloads, etc. ... tweet them all.

8. Alexa

Surprisingly, along with sites like Compete, I have found myself using Alexa as one of my most valuable information gathering tools. While not entirely accurate, it does give you information you can use to further your marketing goals. Especially for very competitive keywords, finding the links your competitors have on the web is invaluable information.

9. GoArticles | Ezinearticles

Article marketing is still my most effective marketing tool on the web. I find using sites like Ezinearticles and GoArticles vital to my whole online campaign. I know using articles is considered "old school" but this method still works, especially using unique articles.

10. Search Engines

Hands down, getting top rankings for your lucrative keywords in the major search engines, is still the most valuable marketing tool you can have in your tool-kit. I find gearing my marketing and promotion towards Google has paid off handsomely for me. Achieving and maintaining those top rankings in Google will make or break your online endeavors in 2010 or in any year for the foreseeable future.

All these marketing tools are free to use and are very easy to implement on your site or sites. Using and having all these free tools at your disposal will greatly benefit all your online pursuits. Just use them.


If you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar), on Facebook or subscribe to our feed at: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DereksHomeAndBusinessBlog

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/djones1509
http://www.facebook.com/DereksHomeandBusinessBlog

Until my next post, have a great week!