Link Building Tip: Use Google Alerts! April 2nd, 2009

For those of you who are doing DIY link building (because you don’t have the budget to unload this rather tedious task on Live Customer), we wanted to share a free tip that will help you find sites, forums, blogs, etc that might be good prospects for incoming links: Use Google Alerts!

If you don’t know what Google Alerts are, or haven’t set any up in your Google account, here is a quick rundown: Essentially all a Google Alert does is alert you (duh) when it indexes content that matches the query you’ve create that particular alert for. For instance, if you set up a google alert for “leather jackets,” you will get emails whenever Google finds an instance of that phrase on a (new) page it spiders. This can be anything from a new website, to a forum post, a blog post, or anything else Google gets its spindly little spider legs (spiders don’t have hands) on.

This can be a great way for you to find people who are talking about the subject matter you’re interested in building links for, or even find new sites where potential customers are hanging out online. You can even use it to aid you in reputation management by setting up alerts for your own domain, business, or product names, as was discussed this week in this article.

If you don’t know how to set up Google Alerts, just sign in to your Google account, then head to alerts.google.com and set them up in seconds. Then just make it a daily habit to check the emails and visit the sites it gives you and scout out any possible way you can procure a link on those sites.

If that sounds like a lot of work – you’re right, it is. This and many other methods we use for link building can be tedious, but they are the best way to build relevant links and work your way up the search engine rankings. Combined with quality text link ads, they are a potent combination that make a real difference in organic traffic.

Should you decide that your time is used better in managing the million other things that go into running an online business, request a link building quote from us today and find out how we can do the job better and for less money than you think.

The New Canonical Link Element March 16th, 2009

As a matter of SEO, avoiding duplicate content is crucial.  With our clients, many times what we find is that they have not purposely duplicated their content, but rather overlooked  problems with their site that cause their content to be accidentally duplicated.  This often occurs when pages or products are accessible via multiple URLs, due to categorization or poor organization.  This goes beyond a site that is accessible with and without the “www,” or with example.com AND example.com/index.html, it also affects many online businesses who have affiliates, link partners, and other people linking to their pages with affiliate-appended or mistyped URLs, as well as database-driven sites that have issues with differing versions of the same product or page showing up in multiple categories (each time with a different URL).   In these cases, the search engines can view the differing URLs as unique pages but with duplicate content, assigning a penalty or ignoring the pages altogether, but keeping the “juice” from incoming links separated among those pages.

Fortunately, a new link element announced last month and supported by all three major search engines could help to solve many of these issues, and give link builders, SEOs, and web masters a way to tell the search engines exactly what the “real” URL is.  This element, link rel=canonical, can be placed in the head section of any page to tell the search engines what the canonical URL for that page’s content is.  So if you have an article that appears in two or more places on your site, like example.com/article.html, and example.com/category/article.html, you can specify the former as the canonical URL, and avoid duplicate content and direct any link juice flowing to the latter to the real page for the article.

Originally announced at SMX West in early February and reported on various blogs, a follow-up post regarding the new element appeared on the Google Webmaster Blog on February 12, explaining its use and giving live examples, including Google’s “trusted tester” Wikia.com.  ClickZ’s Eric Dafforn also wrote a great article explaining the element and its uses in detail.

For those who want to implement the element themselves, simply place the following in the head section of the page you want to use it for:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.example.com/correct-url/” />

This will signal to the search engines that the original source of the page’s content on your site is whatever URL you place in the tag.  So if you have 3-4 versions of the URL whereby that page can be accessed, all links (both internal and external) that point to any version of the page will be credited to the specified canonical version of the page.

It will be interesting to see some of the changes that occur in the coming months for content management systems that have traditionally had problems with duplicating content, and whether or not they adopt the new element as a fix.  As for link builders like us, we will be doing our own tests to see how we can maximize its effect for focusing link juice on the best pages and driving rankings for the most competitive keywords.  For more on our link building services, contact us today.

Identifying Good Keywords February 3rd, 2009

One of the most overlooked aspects of link building, and SEO in general, is the process of choosing keywords. As with everything else in life, SEO is about opportunity costs.

- If I use this title, I can’t use that one.

- If I focus on ranking these keywords, these other keywords will be neglected.

- If I want to date this person, I can’t date that person… nevermind, bad example.

Well folks, that’s life, and you’ll just have to deal with it. Unless your name is Miley Cyrus, then you can take half-nude or Asian defaming pictures and rank for whatever you want. Generally you want to target 3-5 keywords per page. Anything more or less and your ratios might be a bit skewed. So what 3-5 keywords, and how do you find them? There are a ton of great tools out there that will give you an overwhelming list of keywords your propective buyers may or may not be interested in. The Google Keyword Tool is a great free resource, and although not as robust as other utilities, it is nonetheless free, and we like that. This is a great place to start. If you sell shoes, just type that in and grab yourself some good terms. Then type those in and see what you get. Once you have a good solid list of keywords that you think are relevant to your website and what you are trying to accomplish, it’s time to figure out which ones are the best.

If you have an older site with some existing sales data, then you already know some terms that give you more traffic, other terms that convert better, and some terms with amazingly high bounce rate. If you have this data it’s time to triage and get these narrowed down to the highest traffic and converting terms and focus on those. If you don’t have this data because you’re launching a new site or are just discovering the wonderful world of analytics then I recommend a magic 8ball and some Red Bull. Or you could try running a limited adwords PPC campaign and develop these numbers in a relatively short amount of time, whichever works best for you.

Ok, so now you have a good list of high traffic, high conversion keywords that you want to rank for. Make sure you prioritize these keywords based on your experience or inference as to which will bring in the most traffic, convert at the highest percentage, and have an adequate effort-to-reward ratio. In other words, you may assume that ranking for “running shoes” is going to bring you tons of traffic and convert great, and you’re probably right, but the amount of effort and time involved in getting to page 1 for that term is so high that you will likely not see a return on any investment you make toward that goal for some time. However, going for related but more specific keywords, which may bring in less traffic in direct comparison to the more general ones, is more likely to bring you business in the short term, while also helping to set up a run at the bigger keywords later. For more on this strategy, see this article from Searchengineland on SEOing the “long tail”.

Choosing what keywords you want to rank for is an essential, if not the most essential, phase in any SEO or link building effort.  Much like a military campaign, planning what to attack and when is just as important as executing the attack.

A New Site & New Services January 13th, 2009

As many of you have likely noticed, Live Customer released a new site and a new selection of services in mid-December.  Having completed our “soft launch,” we are ready to charge forward helping you establish or improve your search engine rankings by adding to our already well-known inventory of text link ad partners with services designed to round out your link building strategy.

Link Building

Focusing on only one method of getting links is a mistake.  One of the main focuses for the new year is to augment the focused power of our text link ads with custom campaigns designed to procure links from both highly-relevent and diverse sources.  When you sign up for one of our new link building plans, our team will compile a list of sites that could provide valuable links for your site, and then go out and get those links through a variety of methods.  In many cases we are able to get links through third-party trade (as in not from your own site), through blog comments, forums, and the like, without incurring any additional cost.  These types of links, coupled with the high-quality links we offer through our partner inventory can help you build your link profile and dominate the rankings.

Content Links

Just as it is a mistake to limit your link building efforts to only buying, it is also a mistake to get links that reside only in sidebars, footers, and the other outside-content areas.  As such, we have also launched services for grabbing content links, like blog articles with embedded links, resource articles with custom content and links, and presell pages, which are hosted content pages dedicated just to you.

Advertising Campaigns

The fact is that many people are throwing money away by trying to compete and get exposure on platforms like Google AdWords and the Google Content Network.  Live Customer has partnered with an advertising network with more reach than even Google’s content network, but with a lower overall cost.  We can help you set up and/or optimize an advertising campaign to get a better ROI, so contact us today to find out more about our options for advertising campaigns.

If you have any comments or feedback on the new site, or questions about our new services, please send them our way! We’re hoping 2009 is going to be a great year for us and for our clients and are looking forward to helping you reach your goals this year.


Warning: require_once() [function.require-once]: URL file-access is disabled in the server configuration in /home/livecust/public_html/blog/wp-content/themes/livecustomer/footer.php on line 5

Warning: require_once(http://www.livecustomer.com/bottom_templ.html ) [function.require-once]: failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /home/livecust/public_html/blog/wp-content/themes/livecustomer/footer.php on line 5

Fatal error: require_once() [function.require]: Failed opening required 'http://www.livecustomer.com/bottom_templ.html ' (include_path='.:/usr/share/pear:/usr/share/php') in /home/livecust/public_html/blog/wp-content/themes/livecustomer/footer.php on line 5