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How to Fire up Your Link Building Mojo

How to Fire up
Your Link Building Mojo
By Jeremy Morgan (c) 2008

You know you need inbound links to your site to succeed in SEO. What you may not know is, you don't need to spend a dime to get them. In fact, I would advise you not to purchase links.

The recent Google shakeup is all about paid links. Stop paying for links now! Google is now "punishing" websites for having paid links, because they feel it's cheating the algorithm. You might be upset by this, but they are doing it to improve the quality of their results. Here is how you can take advantage of it.

Google is moving towards algorithms that favor sites that are "naturally" linked to. What is "natural" linking? These are links that a webmaster puts up because he or she wanted to, not because they were paid to. They saw something they liked, and put a link to it. This means all those shady SEOs who were buying links up by the hundreds can't cheat good sites out of the rankings anymore. So how you do get natural links?

Focus on Your Subject

There is a saying in marketing, if you market to everyone, you are marketing to no one. Maintain your focus, and keep your content within your niche. Don't try to spread yourself too thin.

I personally have been guilty of this sin in the past. At one time had SEO articles, PHP scripts, Ford Mustang News and photoshop tutorials, and pictures of my family and locations back home. Needless to say I didn't really dominate any of those niches. Focus your efforts, and try to stay on topic.

Give Them Something to Link to

Once you find your focus, provide content that others in your niche want to link to. It's really that simple. Think to yourself, "are people going to want to link to this?". As much as I think my speculations and opinions on industry trends are great, the reality is most people link to articles I write that actually tell you how to do something. If you really want to build links, give them something helpful or really interesting to link to.

Even pages that you cannot easily monetize. The more links you get, the better.

Join the Community

In 2008, they have a community for almost anything. Get involved in those communities, sign up for forums and comment on posts. Become an authority. Just by being helpful to others and bringing information to a community, people will link to your site out of respect, knowing that their audience will appreciate the link. Be honest, helpful, and maintain your integrity on the boards. Instead of making fun of that newbie, help them out.

Look for Places with High Quality Links

Don't be afraid to ask to exchange links with others who might benefit from your service. Links from sites like your local library or community-centric pages go a long ways. Even your employer may put up a link (be careful not to mess that one up!).

Get Deep Links

Deep links are very important. Try to get links pointing towards inner pages of your site rather than the front page. With enough of these types of links, you can dominate some of the serps related to that topic, as well as build your overall quality.

Write Articles

Chances are, you're reading this article on somewhere other than or Webfoot Central. That's because I submit articles all over the internet. Not only do you help build backlinks, but you contribute to your community, and make a name for yourself. Don't write spammy articles, or try to advertise too hard. Make something useful that others will want as content on their own site.

Issue Press Releases

I can't really comment on this one too much, because I've never done it, but for some sites it's a very useful tool for getting inbound links, and good publicity. Make sure you have something going on that's worth talking about!

Blog, Blog, Blog

Every site needs a blog. Even if your site is primarily about selling widgets, have a widget news related blog. Individual articles will get people linking to them, and will keep your site fresh and add content, which google and other search engines love.

If You Must, Sponsor Some Links.

There are a few sponsored links worth getting. Yahoo Search Inclusion is one example. If you are in a highly competitive industry, such as adult, SEO, mortgage, finance, or gambling you will need to purchase links to get an edge. There are a lot of people competing for your terms.


Use common sense. The best way to get ahead is by being honest, and providing a decent service. Stop trying gimmicks or tricks to cheat your way into good rankings. The best long term SEO plan involves taking the high road and doing things honestly. Check out the SEO book to see what I learned about ethical SEO. Now I don't have any problems getting people to my website. You can too, all it takes is a little effort!

About The Author
Jeremy Morgan is a Portland SEO who frequently blogs about SEO and how to earn a living online.

Social Networking with Training Wheels

Social Networking
with Training Wheels
By John Jantsch (c) 2008

Look, I don't really think that the mySpaces and Facebooks of the world are that important for the typical small business as they stand today. There may be very practical business reasons for some to actually use these and other, what are called social networks, for business gain, but most people that have jumped on the social network bandwagon have found themselves left with a "is this all there is" kind of feeling.

To those, I say this, the value of the current public social networks for business folks is not what you can get out of them for gain today, but what you can learn by using them for practical gain tomorrow. That's why SpacebookedIn makes sense for you now.

The Facebooks of the world are busy teaching millions and millions of business folks how social networks work, how social networking works, how shared applications can be viral and ever-present. The real payoff in my opinion is that the wave to come after the Facebook bubble bursts is the "personalized business network." Once everyone of your customers and prospects knows how to use what are easily replicatable social networking tools, like building profiles, sharing video and connecting based on mutual interests, your job of building your own social business network around your own very specific community of niche will get a whole lot easier.

2008 will be the year of the personalized social business network. So, if you've decided to take a pass on the whole social networking trend, I would suggest that you use this handy list to start learning to ride this bike with the training wheels on.

Ten ways to get started with Social Networking

1) Read 10 blogs - sign-up for a Bloglines account and search for and subscribe to 10 blogs about social networking - you can return daily to your page on Bloglines to find and read all the new content on your 10. Of course you can add blogs about your industry and interests here too.

2) Comment on 10 blogs - posting relevant comments to blogs you read is a very simple form of social networking. It's also a good way to get some extra visitors your site or blog.

3) Join Facebook - Join and create a profile. Find and friend some of your existing contacts using tools on Facebook. You'll be surprised how many people you already know have Facebook accounts. Facebook has some real value for you because of the rich set of tools and large amount of active users. This is a great place to experiment with how people interact in social networks. Once you get your feet wet you may also find that Facebook is a great way to connect with business contacts you may never bump into otherwise.

4) Create a mySpace page - this service is really embraced primarily by musicians and the younger set. It also happens to have a large underbelly contingent so be warned, but it is a great tool for learning how to build a presence outside of your web site.

5) Join LinkedIn - this is a service that's been called Facebook for business. It is really about meeting and connecting with like-minded business folks. It is a great service for people looking for a job or to make connections with people who may be out of reach without an introduction.

6) Visit Ning - this is the largest custom social networking service that allows you to create your own community using a variety of tools that can be branded to match your current site.

7) Create a Workbench profile - this one's a little self-serving as this is my new social business networking site but it's a good example of the personalized business community that's the next wave for small business.

8) Create a Twitter account - this tool is pretty silly on the surface, it allows you to type in 160 characters or less what you are doing right now. It feels like a giant waste of time but a very large and active community has grown around this kind of micro-blogging and you should understand how people are using it.

9) Create a StumbleUpon profile - This is a social network built around discovering and recommending sites that you like. Active stumblers can send a lot of traffic your way.

10) Create a Digg account - this site allows you to keep up to the minute with what's happening in the world of business. Users submit and vote on what is believed to be the most important content.

You might also consider Mixx, Squidoo and Flickr as places to find and develop niche related communities when you're ready to really get out there.

Think of mySpace, LinkedIn and Facebook as your labs - get in there and experiment for the future. then start planning your own personalized social business network.

About The Author
John Jantsch is a veteran marketing coach, award winning blogger and author of Duct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide. You can find more information by visiting

The Sociology of Social Media

The Sociology of Social Media
By Andrew Clough (c) 2008
While being hired on at StepForth Web Marketing our CEO, Ross Dunn, was interested in how someone with a background in sociology could benefit his company, specifically in understanding social media and how to market to it. Sociologists look at communities and try to dissect them as to what its participants have in common in addition to trends or commonalities within the communities.

Sociologists study society and social action by examining the groups and social institutions people form, as well as various social, religious, political, and business organizations. In essence it is the study of social interactions of people and groups.

They like to watch groups of people and see how they interact and function. Understanding the group's values and ideas is the key because once you understand a group one can participate within it. Participation means that you have the ability to communicate to those within the groups and spread or gain information. The concept of a social media marketer is to gain understanding of a community and leverage it to increase awareness of their own or their client's expertise. Social media based communities are seen as the new web properties for marketing campaigns. Driving traffic and developing information users trust and use is the monetization of the social media world.

This article is a general understanding as to what social media is and its potential for reaching the public. In the future I will be covering more specific areas within social media and helping clients build campaigns that work for their specific situation in this emerging marketplace. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

Why People Use Social Media

Social Media is a web based venue that shares ideas, values, and information. Social media sites are formed when groups of people want to share information. They are used to keep up with friends and colleagues, to exchange ideas, and get information from those who might have an answer. Social media sites create a community (a group of individuals) based around this shared information. Many of these sites have gained huge followings and therefore are seen as authorities in their particular area of expertise (news, technology, sports, etc.).

Social media creates a community where like minded people can interact, mingle, and explore. They provide information that's judged by those within the community to be deemed noteworthy. It is interesting to note that social media sites have the same basic format in how they propagate the content provided by their users. Individuals are able to vote on the content or respond to the content. In this way, social media sites seek to gain and direct viewers. Social media is about giving control over information back to the masses.

Information provided on these sites is judged on a combination of criteria; its relevance, its quality, and the uniqueness of its content. The information is seen as trustworthy and unbiased because it is peer filtered. The information within these communities will have influence on the people who view it and can determine what actions they take regarding this new found information. As social media sites prosper with large user bases of interconnected individuals they provide a new platform for finding web based information.

Social media is inherently personal. The users provide personal information and ideas, respond to them, share them, and create a social media personality. This is where social media marketing comes in. Marketers want to know who you are and what you like. With booming global communication and technologies social media sites are seen as important venues for exchange. They embrace ideas surrounding information like connectivity, word of mouth, promotion of quality, and trust of those deemed trustworthy. Social media sites are important because they contain information users find interesting, timely and informative.

Marketing is the sharing of information to influence a consumer to purchase a product or service. Social media marketers want to get their messages out across the many mediums (video, interactive, audio, etc.) on social media sites to the individuals spending time on them. Social media sites also provide a space for advertisers to promote and gain insight on their products. These sites are seen as a great venue for advertising because of their ability to reach individuals based on their demographics, like age, location, and search profiles.

In both social media and marketing a niche is a smaller more focused section of a broader market. Niche communities are able to congregate within social media sites and share ideas and fraternize on very specific topics. This idea is very important to marketers and social media because they want to be able to reach the appropriate market for their information. Niche marketing is the process of finding and serving these specific market segments and designing custom-made strategies to profit from them.

Currently social media sites hold huge amounts of information. Social media is a great tool for spreading information and adding to it. Do people want more personalized, up to date and high quality information? What kind of information do users actually get in a current search inquiry? Is there a better way of accessing all the information on the web? These are questions social media is trying to answer. Social media sites are giving the power back to the people for exchanging information; it is a tool that helps society communicate and connect. Society values unbiased, accurate information and access to it. Social media provides personalized information and the chance for your voice to be heard. Social media's ability to influence one's personal decisions will give it huge potential to shape the society we live in.

About The Author
Andrew Clough is StepForth's Social Media Specialist at StepForth Web Marketing Inc.; based in Victoria, BC, Canada and founded in 1997. You can read more of Andrew's articles and those of the StepForth team at or contact us at, Tel - 250-385-1190, Toll Free - 877-385-5526, Fax - 250-385-1198

Search Engine Optimization, Google, and the Reptilian Code

Search Engine Optimization,
Google, and The Reptilian Code
By Jerry Bader (c) 2008

Search engine optimization dominates the thinking and to a large degree the marketing efforts of many small and medium-sized companies, but have you ever noticed that many of the largest and most profitable companies in the world ignore many SEO techniques.

Of course these companies have large advertising and marketing budgets that drive traffic to their websites and generate leads, sales, and most importantly customers; and they achieve these results without having to twist their Web-marketing message out of shape in order to satisfy search engine criteria.

Their prime interest is in delivering their finely crafted, focused marketing message to their audience, not to search robots. Last I heard search engines are in the business of selling you their stuff not buying yours. But these companies also know something that you don't; they have a secret that makes their marketing work without the need for search engine appeasement. This secret is not much of a secret, in fact it is out there for all see; unfortunately most search engine crazed entrepreneurs choose to ignore it and instead look for an easy fix, a magic bullet, search engine nirvana.

Google's Mission

Google's success is based on two very simple facts: one, it is the best way to find what people are looking for on the Web; and two, it has parlayed this ability into a series of paid-for services. Pretty obvious stuff until you delve deeper into why and how this works. Google understands the same thing most extraordinarily successful companies understand and that is they know what you really want. The keyword here is 'really:' they understand the unconscious primal need to survive, to be the alpha-ape, to be first on page one of a search for whatever it is you do, because in the SEO game, if you ain't on the leader board you ain't in the money.

The Google Paradox

Here's the problem: Google can only be successful as long as they deliver relevant search results to a vast Internet audience. If they fail to deliver appropriate search results people will stop using them and their paid-for services will decline. On the other hand, you as a business executive want access to Google's vast audience, and the only way you think you can effectively gain this access is to appear on that first search page as close to the top as possible; and you really don't give a damn how you get there. Enter the search engine optimization gurus, boffins, and Svengalis who provide the promise of survival of the most index-able.

So now we have Google whose success is based on delivering relevant searches and SEO companies intent on manipulating this ability to place their clients on page one near the top. Google of course being a smart bunch of guys foils the SEOs by constantly changing their methods and algorithms and trumps them by placing paid-for results in the most prominent places. And the game continues, bringing in huge profits to Google and wonderfully large fees to the search engine optimization experts, leaving you paying the shot with little to show for it.

Just as an aside, I can tell you that most of our website traffic and subsequent inquiries and worldwide clients come from Google searches, and our website is mostly Flash, concentrates on Web-video and audio, and basically ignores most search optimization tricks. We rely on providing our audience and Google with relevant material.

Back to Basics

The lesson here is clear: sound marketing practices based on the way people think and act should be your number one priority, not blind faith in the manipulation of some constantly changing mathematical formula that is increasingly playing second fiddle to paid-for placement.

Persuasion Techniques

The ability to make money on the Web is not based on traffic but rather on your ability to communicate. High volume expensive traffic that leaves your site within seconds serves no financial purpose. You should be spending your marketing dollars on methods that grab visitors' attention and deliver a focused, informative, entertaining and memorable marketing message that resonates with your audience's unconscious desires formed in the primitive reptilian portion of the brain.

The Lustication-Justification Process

Sales are generated by creating what Clotaire Rapaille, the reigning superstar of market research, refers to as the process of lustication and justification. Lustication is the psychological trigger of desire that makes your audience want to buy your product or service, while justification is merely the rational excuse used to expend resources.

Decoding the Motivating Triggers

Rapaille's work is all about decoding the motivating triggers that prompt a purchase. Once found, the job of the marketing effort is to stay on code. The major research effort is to get past the excuses, the justifications, the rational left brain thinking that appeases the accountants, engineers and programmers, and to get down to the nitty-gritty, the elements and primal coding that make us tick.

Rapaille believes words carry more than their literal meaning and are ripe with unconscious associations, not a surprising revelation since all communication whether verbal or nonverbal is based on the associations we make over a lifetime of experience. These shared associations form the basis of the code we are looking to play upon in our marketing.

Where most corporations and advertising agencies use focus groups as an exercise designed to cover their collective asses, Rapaille takes a different approach. As a trained psychiatrist, he organizes his version of focus groups in stages. During the first stage he allows his subjects to gain a sense of accomplishment by justifying their reasoning through logical and rational thinking that he completely ignores. In the second stage, he pursues the more relevant hidden aspects of desire, and that's the ultimate sales trigger he's looking for.

An Affordable Solution

Most businesses certainly can't afford the fees of someone like Clotaire Rapaille, but if you free yourself from conventional thinking and the need to justify and rationalize everything you do then maybe you to can find the hidden triggers of desire that form the code you need to base your marketing on.

Humans have two fundamental needs, survival and improvement; these essential requirements are subdivided into our need for food, shelter, reproduction, acceptance, community, status, and knowledge; these are motivational triggers for everything your audience does and for every cent they spend. While you're knocking your brains out competing for top spot on a Google search, the big boys are delivering what people really want, and laughing all the way to the bank.

If you want your share of the Internet pie, you best discover what really satisfies your audience's hunger, because that's the basis for a marketing message and website presentation that works.

About The Author
Jerry Bader is Senior Partner at MRPwebmedia, a website design firm that specializes in Web-audio and Web-video. Visit, and

Contact at or telephone (905) 764-1246.

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