SEO Techniques: Gaining Backlinks by Blog Commenting

October 15, 2012 |  by  |  Search Engine Optimisation  |  No Comments

There are two major areas of search engine optimisation that websites need to get right in order to stand out and take those top spots in the search results. The first is on-page SEO, which is all about optimising a website to make it as search engine friendly as possible. The second is off-site SEO, which is all about establishing a site’s credibility by building backlinks.

Backlinks are inbound links pointing to a website from other websites. The more backlinks a site has pointing to it, and the higher the quality of those links, the stronger that site’s off-site search engine optimisation will be. That makes gaining backlinks incredibly important to strong SEO. Unfortunately, it can also be tricky to get them, not only in quantity, but just as importantly, in quality.

One way to gain backlinks is through blog commenting. Essentially, the goal is to find relevant blog posts and leave comments including a link. Done correctly, this can be a great method to generate inbound links and boost SEO performance. Done wrong, it can bring heavy penalties from search engines like Google, and destroy a site’s ranking. So how can a website owner ensure that they’re doing it right?

Quantity is important, but not at the expense of quality.

This statement is doubly-true, referring not just to the quality of the links themselves, but also to the quality of the comments and posts used to generate them. The more quality links a site can gain the better the results will be, but just generating backlinks en masse with no concern for where they come from is ineffective at best, and could be detrimental.

When searching out potential blogs to comment on, one important factor is relevance. The more relevant the blog is the better. For instance, commenting on a blog about dog ownership to try to gain a backlink for a site about car maintenance probably isn’t the most effective use of time. The blogs chosen and the comments left need to be relevant to the site being linked to.

It’s also extremely important to make sure the comment is of high quality. The Internet is full of blogs with comment sections packed with auto-generated text and incomprehensible sentences posted solely for the purpose of trying to gain a link. Search engines – specifically Google – aren’t stupid, and they’re cracking down hard on that kind of SEO tactic.

To avoid penalties, blog comments posted for SEO purposes need to be relevant, on-topic, and well written.  Sacrificing any of those traits in favor of quantity or speed is asking for trouble, and could result in seriously detrimental effects to a site’s search engine optimisation efforts.

Don’t waste time commenting on the wrong blogs.

Not all links are created equal. Links come in two varieties, do-follow and no-follow. Do-follow links pass on “link juice”, meaning essentially that they pass on authority from one site to another, and are more valuable for SEO purposes. No-follow links do not pass on any of a site’s authority, and therefore aren’t as beneficial for SEO. No-follow links can still be incredibly valuable, but when it comes to blog commenting, do-follow links are the type to look for.

Not all blogs use do-follow links in their comment sections. In fact, most don’t, as the majority of major blogging platforms automatically set comment links to no-follow in order to help ensure that the comment sections of blogs aren’t abused by people looking for SEO benefits.

Finding relevant do-follow blogs can be a bit of a task, but the time investment pays in the end. There are search engines available specifically for finding blogs with do-follow links, and Google even has a custom search available to target them. These tools make finding relevant blogs with strong SEO value much easier, but it still isn’t something that should be rushed or taken lightly. Again, it comes down to ensuring quality and not just quantity.

Blog commenting can be a fantastic way of boosting a site’s search engine optimisation, and done correctly can be very effective. However, it’s important to never forget that doing it wrong can have disastrous results. The Internet is riddled with spam and garbage posted in the hopes of improving rankings in the search engines, and those search engines have become very wise to the game. As a result, poorly executed or spam-like blog commenting will potentially result in steep penalties.

By ensuring that backlinks are obtained only from high-quality and relevant websites and blogs, and by ensuring that the comments and posts used to gain those links are of an equally high quality, website owners can avoid search engine penalties and gain the maximum SEO benefits blog commenting has to offer.

Google Bounce Rate: Why Your Brand Should Care

The bounce rate of your website is potentially one of the most valuable pieces of information that you can take from website analytics, especially when spending a sizable budget on search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) marketing.

Overall the website analytics provide vital information in relation to your websites usage, number of visitors to your site, page views, visitor clicks, countries visitors are from, how the visitors got to your page, the list goes on.

The task of studying the website analytics can also provide some confusing reading to most.

While examining the website statistics, you may have noticed a bounce rate (as a percentage of all visits) to pages on a website. Firstly what is a bounce rate and why should you care about this statistic? Secondly how can you reduce the bounce rate and increase time spent on the website?

What is a bounce rate and why should you care?

To answer why you should care about the bounce rate, first we must answer what it is. In simple terms, it is whether users bounce onto your site and off again (without visiting any other pages), spending none or a very little amount of time reading or interacting with your website’s content.

The bounce rate (without visiting any other pages), is difference to the exit rate.  Some seem to use the terms interchangeably, however to clear up any confusion the exit rate refers to users who have previously visited other pages and then leave the website.

So why should you care, does this percentage actually matter? Yes, it matters a great deal (especially in the post penguin era). It signals to Google that the users needs were not met by your website, this matters to your visitors and to your crucial SERP (Search Engine Ranking Position). It signals and provides Google with two vital pieces of information, the ‘relevancy of search query’ and ‘quality of content’.

Relevancy of search query

When you appear in the results for a search term, for instance “Best Nike Football Boots”, if a user clicks through to your site and what they see is an article regarding something unrelated, they simply click their back button.

What does this mean to Google? Well firstly Google presented its search results of which they deemed relevant, a user clicked a link, then clicked back (Google knows they are back), hence the content was not of relevance or interest. The user then clicks more results (below yours) and spends 10 minutes reading a page, before Google detects they are back searching again. If this is repeated multiple times by multiple searchers, which website will start to be deemed more relevant?

Quality of content as time spent on site

If the bounce rate for your page is high or time on page low, it indicates two possibilities. Low quality content or non relevant article to the search query, this being the case ensure that the page is targeting the correct audience for its relevance.

If the bounce rate is high from multiple search queries, it then leaves low quality content as the biggest contender, indicating that the query may be relevant, but the content of the page is not worth reading. This being the case, you are seriously risking the integrity of your online brand, potentially creating negative brand equity in that consumers may associate your website with a waste of their time.

So if your bounce rate is high, it it matters to you from the perspective of consumers, SERP, future visits, ultimately brand equity.

How can I increase my time on site and decrease my bounce rate?

Brands need to ensure that their first impression reels in the user to engage with their content, as high time on site and low bounce rate, will provide increased Google authority and in turn, SERP for terms relating to your niche.

This is because Goggles main purpose (as a search engine) is to provide users with pages that are relevant, if users click your website and consistently spend a significant amount of time browsing they have achieved their goal. The visitor is also indicating that they have found what they are looking for and satisfied with the website. The likelihood of their return to the website also increases.

In order to achieve this, firstly ensure that your website follows the basics (a user friendly design). No matter how good the content and relevance, if the user can’t read or find it then it doesn’t matter. This includes ensuring that the website is both simple and clean, having a clear navigation and the content is immediately obvious to the user while the website layout is also responsive to the device being used.

Once the basics have been satisfied, your content must be relevant and of the highest quality, something of value that your users will want to read it. It must be informative and insightful about a topic, while also ensuring that it is relevant and consistent with your site, brand and other articles. If your site is about Apples ensure that you stick to them (don’t talk about Oranges).

Getting this mix correct, greatly increases the likelihood of user participation in terms of discussion and social mentions. Remember that if you are an authority site in your field, others will want to associate themselves with you,  building authority for themselves.  This results in increased non Google traffic and more users visiting (not bouncing) and reading your pages (increased time on site).

In conclusion, post penguin, content quality is of vital importance to your search engine strategy and to ensure brand consistency, should be at the heart of your brand communication strategy.

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How to Use Social Media Marketing to Increase Customer Loyalty

Many businesses make the mistake of believing social media are tools to win new customers. It’s certainly possible to win new business and new accounts with social media, but the focus of their use should be on building customer loyalty and engagement.

If you carry out some simple analysis in relation to a customer and the business they give you, you may be surprised at what you learn. For most businesses, the cost of acquiring a new customer is far greater than that of retaining an existing one. A term some marketers use is the ‘lifetime value’ of a customer. Their initial order may only be worth a hundred pounds to you, but if you look after them and develop a relationship with them, they could be worth thousands of pounds to you. Social media are the perfect way to build relationships with your customers. They are also great tools to keep competitors at bay.

If a customer trusts you and is happy with your products and services they are likely to stat with you. The only possible exception is the type of customer who is constantly looking for a better deal, and will move to a new supplier for a cheaper price. In the long run, these customers may not be worth the effort or cost of dealing with.

Using social media to communicate with and engage your customers is an efficient and cost effective way to build loyalty. In certain industries, you can establish yourself as an expert by using social media. If you can achieve this, customers won’t even consider looking elsewhere. In other industries, the fast pace of change means you need a constant dialogue with your customers, and the likes of Twitter and Facebook are perfect for this.

The following are three example of different types of businesses and how they might build customer loyalty using social media.

An Insurance Broker.

Using Facebook and a customer email database, the broker could communicate news and updates relevant to customers’ insurances. For example, as winter approaches there are precautions a customer should take to protect their home. A change in the law could mean the customer needs to update their auto insurance. The broker’s Facebook page would become a source of advice and expertise the customer returns to. When it comes to renewal of their policies, the customer is less likely to move away from this broker offering free advice throughout the year.

A Specialist Cycling Shop.

The shop owner could use Twitter to send news about cycling events around the world, such as The Tour De France. In between these messages, the owner could send brief updates on new products of interest to cycling enthusiasts. As well as building customer loyalty, the shop could attract additional sales by this regular customer contact.

A Pizza Restaurant.

Facebook could be used to offer discount coupons to customers. Flyers in the restaurant could entice customers to sign up to the restaurant’s Facebook page to hear about these offers. There are many different ways this could work in practice, but a very simple way would be to communicate a word the customers must say when placing an order. This simple system could be used to attract customers back to the restaurant over and over again.

Using social media for marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. Think about the ideas above and how they might be used to build customer loyalty in your own business.

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Improved Revenue From Existing Customers Using Social Media Tools

It costs more to attract new customers than to retain old ones. Customer loyalty is also beneficial for the company because repeat customers have a tendency to spend more and to promote your business to their contacts. It is therefore a good marketing plan to devote a substantial chunk of the company’s resources on ensuring that existing customers remain happy and satisfied. A happy customer tends to spend more. Fortunately, there are various social media tools available to make this task easier and more cost-efficient.

First, it is essential to provide customer service assistance through various social media channels. Facebook, Twitter and other similar services are accessible venues for airing out concerns and raising questions about the company’s products and services. Responding through these channels make interaction more convenient for the customers, and it also provides you the opportunity to make your presence known online. Good customer service always translates to customer satisfaction and higher revenue.

Social media tools also add value to the customer experience. Engaging them in constant dialogue fosters and promotes a more personal relationship with them. An open line of communication empowers them to provide positive feedback or even suggestions on how to make your company stronger and better. Customers are more comfortable with spending money on companies that they feel comfortable with.

Here are other great suggestions on how to boost revenue from existing clients using social media connectivity:

Have Them Spend More

Providing your social media followers and subscribers with exclusive promotional deals will help make them spend more. For instance, you can issue vouchers that will give a 10% discount for an accumulated one-time purchase of £100. This tactic encourages the customers to spend a total of £100 instead of the usual amount that they spend on your products or services.

Incentives for Frequent Purchases

Another method of encouraging repeat purchases is by offering freebies or incentives to followers who make frequent purchases. For example, you can give a 20% discount on the fourth purchase of the same product. You can also allow customers to accumulate points from every purchase and use these points to redeem interesting prizes. Customers love a good deal and are often willing to spend more in order to save more.

Introduce Other Products

Social media tools are great avenues for introducing other products and services to existing customers. All it takes is a simple photo or an interesting link. Without resorting to too much spam, you can use your tools to highlight certain services that would appeal to your client base. Start with products or services that complement the usual items that they purchase. The posts need to be relevant to the readers and should provide benefits that would interest them.

The Customer is at the Core

In any social media promotion that you will engage in, you must always remember that the customer should be the primary focus. Posts and promotions should always have the best interest of the customer at heart. They should always find value in what you are asking them to read or they will lose interest and simply move on. Resist the temptation of giving too much information about your company or the product you are selling. It is your responsibility to find a good balance between showing them what you want them to see and keeping them interested.

Businesses thrive because of the support of satisfied customers who keep coming back for more. Owners should learn to appreciate these repeat customers and give them more reasons to continue their patronage. Giving exclusive privileges through social media channels is a good way of making them feel valued.

Quick Tips: Creating And Managing Your Online Reputation

Contrary to popular belief, being able to take control of your online reputation is much easier that you might have previously expected. By following the simple tips provided in this article you can easily create a consistent brand message and online reputation.

Follow these 5 simple steps to staking your online reputation claim:

Step 1: Find Out Where You Stand Today

Before jumping in with both feet, you need to be sure of your current online reputation situation. Take an honest assessment of where you are at. You may have serious damage that you need to repair, or you may not have any reputation at all. Either way, you will need to find out where you are before you can begin to build on your reputation.

Conduct several searches for the various names that you might use. Search for your business name, your personal name or any other names that might be associated with your brand. You will want to focus on the first 2 or 3 pages of Google when conducting these searches. Most people who search online never look beyond the third page, so you won’t need to worry yourself about any results past that.

Compile the results of this search into some sort of spreadsheet or other tracking device. You will want to refer back to this information as you begin repairing, restoring or working on your online brand message.

Step 2: Decide What To Change

Take the time to look over the information that you have just gathered. Identify any of the negative results and mark those your highest priority. Second to that, mark those incidents of positive feedback as potential promotional material. One of the easiest ways to build a solid brand message is to simply promote the good information that is being shared about you by other people.

Step 3: Find Out Where You Shine

Of the results that you found, what sites were providing the most information? For example, of the sites that ranked the highest, were they social media sites or were they sites found within the blogosphere? Are you getting a lot of attention on Youtube?

Find out where the majority of the information about you is being shared. You will want to focus your own efforts in these areas.

Step 4: Strategise

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Be sure that you take the time to craft a strategy that works with the information that you have gathered thus far. If you have received negative reviews within the social network Facebook, then spending too much time on Youtube would be a strategy to avoid.

Build your strategy based around your areas of need. You might need to create more blog posts, press releases, videos or articles for directories. Whatever it is that you need to do, plan it out first.

Step 5: Execution

Planning is nice, but execution is everything. By now you should have a solid plan in place to take control of your brand message. If you feel that executing your plan is something that you are unable to do, then it is time to call in the hired guns. A reputation management company will help you to create content, promote it via the various search engines and help take control of your online brand messaging.

Taking control of your online reputation is a critical part of doing business in the 21st century. By following the 5 simple steps outlined in this article, you will be well on your way to taking charge of your reputation and building a lasting, professional image.

Improved Search Engine Rankings Using Social Media

One of the best ways to improve website traffic is by gaining a good search engine ranking position from search engines such as Google and Bing. Online users who type in specific search phrases or keywords are provided a long list of related sites; however the vast majority only go as far as reading the first page. Unfortunately this can be the case, no matter how excellent your content may be and it can remain in obscurity, unless the website improves its search engine ranking method, with the aim of propeling it to the first page of the search results.

The “game” of optimisation used to be simpler; today webmasters can resort to a number of unethical means (such spamming) in an effort to gain top rankings. This can result in useful content often being difficult to find, as online viewers are required to click through a long list of irrelevant websites before finding the information they need. However recent updates made by the top search engines, have focused on providing “natural search results.” Google, for instance, recently released the Penguin update which aimed to reduce low-quality back-links, over optimisation, and illicit SEO strategies.

More than ever, it has become essential for writers and bloggers to provide online content that is both compelling and informative. It is also important to focus on building a strong network of natural back-links that serve as portals to the website. The more links there are out there, the higher the chances of a stray reader stumbling upon your page.

Here are some social media techniques that you can use to drive audience to your site:

1. Social Media as a Tool for Encouraging Back-links

Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are great tools for building strong links to your webpage. Google and Bing have both made confirmations that links used on these social media sites are used in their algorithm. Fortunately, both sites have made it easy for webmasters and writers to integrate their blog links into post creation. For instance, once new entry is posted, it is possible to have Facebook and Twitter post updates and inform followers. Google+ is another great way of reaching a wide audience base, the more “+1” votes recieved on a blog post, the more visibility it gets.

Optimal times for posting upon social media platforms exist for certain demographics; however another method is to post multiple times, although not excessively. Scheduling tools are also widely available online, which enable authors to have certain links posted repeatedly over a pre-determined period of time. This way, you can reach potential readers who have varying schedules of activity or may be in different time zones. Scheduling also spares webmasters from the monotony of having to manually create updates featuring the same links.

2. Social Media as a Source of Content Ideas

The concept of search engines is that users are looking for information, based on certain keywords and phrases. If your goal is to get many readers, then you will likely attract more people by writing about content that interests them personally. The more interested people are about your article, the higher the likelihood of them sharing your link with other users. Thus, it is beneficial, to entice readers to share through social media network,s while providing them with the content they crave.

Social media sites are also excellent places for finding ideas on article topics of current interest. They have become tools that provide information based on what the majority of users are interested in, at any given time. Twitter for instance, has an easy to use search bar and “Trending Topics List” that will give you an insight into what people are currently talking about and showing interest in. Use these methods to find topics that fit your blog portfolio and provide interesting information or insight that will attract attention and let potential readers find it by making it available online.

3. Encourage Social Media Following and Re-Posting

Social media is the best tool to encourage direct access to your website via links. While being very easy to use, readily available, widely accessible and in terms of the future, being relatively safe from any algorithmic changes that search engines may make, for instance calculating page rank. In other words, it would be wise for a blogger not to simply rely on search engines for page visits, but to maximise the usage of social media to attract a strong following.

Most social media networks provide sharing buttons that can be clearly displayed on a website. These can easily be attached to your blog, using codes that are obtained by visiting the social media platform support page. Having these buttons displayed visibly on your page will encourage readers to share articles or entries that catch their interest.

As a last resort, another approach is to directly ask for help from your followers. Adding simple phrases like “please re-tweet” or “please re-post” is enough to encourage other users to share your post. This is particularly true for well-written and informative content. However it is important not to seem desperate, as this may impact upon your followers.

In summary, social media tools can be used to drive attention and traffic to your site. However, the content of your site remains the biggest factor in attracting readers. Content, after all, is king. No matter how extensive your social presence is, poor content will not get a good mileage. The best way to maximise your tools is to become an industry expert or authority figure in the topics that you are writing about. Gaining credibility in your craft will result in more social media following and repeat visitors to your site.