Premium Sites Tweaks
You are reading this because you got a Premium site (or maybe more than one). I attended the Premium site training in Fort Lauderdale this past Saturday and after that training, plus playing with the four sites that I bought myself, there are some things you need to know which are not intuitively obvious. I will send out future updates as I become more familiar with the sites, but you need to know about the power of those sites that you are holding in the palm of your … uh … keyboard. These sites are a webmaster’s dream, focusing on all the essential elements that search engine spiders crave.
The problem with “essential elements” in that if left in elemental form, they are useless. For example, in the pantry at home, I have the essential elements to make the most delicious dish this side of Paris. But since I have no clue how to combine those elements in the right proportions, my non-spouse-made meals usually consist of a peanut butter sandwich. So my reason for writing this for you is so that your Premium site(s) do not because your online version of a peanut butter sandwich.
First you need to select a category for your site, such as “T1”, “DS3”, “Ethernet”, etc. There is a pull-down selection box when you create your site to determine what you want this to be. If you messed it up originally, don’t sweat it, you can change it later via your admin panel in the back office. To get to this point, from your main page in your Premium site admin area, which looks like the figure below, click the “Edit” link to the right of the “Category” label:
Then you will see a page like this:
The most popular search phrases for the keyword category you have selected are shown. You can select up to THREE of these by simply checking the radio box next to the term. The links near the top left allow you to see various additional information, such as in the example shown above, this is the number of terms each term has been searched for in the previous month. Don’t always pick the most popular terms, since those are harder to rank well for, where “T1 line” was searched for 27,100 times last month, compared to “cheap T1 service” which only logged 320 searches last month. Click “Save Settings” at the bottom when you are done. You can also enter a NEW keyword not found in this list if you find out or know of one somehow.
Keywords are critically important. The Premium site interface has simplified much of this for you so that it is just point and click to get the info you want so you can make intelligent decisions. If you wish to do more keyword research, one of the primary (and FREE) tools you can use for this is Google’s own tool, found at:
You can also play with the Google “Wonder Wheel” found on the left side of a standard Google search, which presents the information shown from the tool above in a graphical format. You can do additional keyword research with various tools, some free and some paid, but between the information presented in your Premium back office and the Google tool above, I cannot see a need to do more or spend money on yet another tool.
The next “Edit” link down the main page is for your current XML plugin. Make sure that agrees with your category; i.e., if your selected category is “T1”, don’t set your plugin for “Ethernet”, they need to match.
The next “Edit” link down the main page is for your contact info page. This is where email will be sent if someone visits your “Contact Us” page. You will actually configure this PAGE later, but here you will enter your web host’s SMTP information, username and password. If you don’t know what that is, you need to contact your web host’s technical support department, who can give you this information in about 20 seconds or less.
For the “Custom HTACCESS configuration”, my best advice to you is DON’T TOUCH IT unless you are 110% confident that you know what you are doing. If it needs modifying (and 99% of the time it won’t), you can get info about how to change that without barfing up your entire site from your web host’s technical support department.
Additional Site Settings
Do you have a logo for your business? If not, you may want to consider getting one to add to the professional look of your site. Go ahead, BRAND yourself, get wild … and give yourself a more professional look too while you’re at it. If you are not good with graphics, there is a link there for “Contact Ned” who will create you a very neat logo at extremely reasonable prices.
To upload your logo, click the “Site Logo” link, upload your logo, then deselect what is there and insert your logo. Could not be simpler.
For “Header Content“, click the link. On my sites, this is where I have put the VAR Network graphic with my agent ID if the user clicks on it which takes the user to the VAR network pages. Please, please, please do NOT put stupid stuff here. This is NOT a place to have a rotating banner with the joke of the day, a dumb cartoon (even computer related), or a banner for RESIDENTIAL products. Remember, this is a professional looking site offering services for businesses, not the residential consumer. PLEASE don’t put retreads on your Lamborghini…
For “Footer Content“, this is up to you. Another graphic for another (non-residential) product, whatever. On mine currently, I simply have “Copyright 2009 http://mydomainname”.
This is so cool that I gave it its own section. Adwords is that advertising program from Google (and others) that generates huge amounts of advertising cash for the search engines, especially Google. If you’ve spent any time at all surfing, you have undoubted seen Google ads on various web pages, even in gmail. These are from the Google Adwords department. Google reads the content of the page, and delivers those ads to the page. When a visitor clicks those ads, the website owner gets a few cents, Google makes about 8 times more, and the advertiser gets the visitor to come to his web site
This is not really Adwords but it is the best way to describe it. These LOOK LIKE the very standard and usual Google Adwords advertisements, but they are really yours that you define and Google has nothing to do with it. What you do with these is to advertise your other RELEVANT, NON-RESIDENTIAL sites. Remember, this is a business professional visiting your site and having ads on there for joining a “make money now” program or DSL (barf, gag, spew…) or discount cellular ring tones or home phone long distance service is only going to DETRACT from your site. Instead, put links to other sites you own that offer networking services, or maybe even link back to yourself. This is most beneficial if you have multiple sites because they can cross-link to each other.
There is enough room on your page for FOUR of these ads. You can have less if you want, but why not maximize the resources available to you? If you have MORE than 4, then 4 of the ones you have will be selected randomly to be shown on your page when it loads. Each “ad” has 1 line for a title which will be bolded, 2 lines for description, and 1 line for the URL.
Individual Page Settings
These are the pages that will appear on your site and you need to do a certain amount of editing here as well, and not leave these purely as they come out of the box. If you click on the “General Settings” edit box for any of these pages, you will see a page that looks like this:
Be VERY aware that these are all BLANK as your site comes out of the box. Edit each of these. Each page needs to have a TITLE, and your title should contain at least one or more of your keywords. The DESCRIPTION is frequently what shows up in the SERPS (Search Engine Ranking Pages) when you do a search as the description of what this page/site is all about. The ABSTRACT is a condensed version of the description. And the NAVIGATION TAB is the default link for your internal page navigation for how to get to this page. Do you want to rank for the keyword “Home” or for the keyword “T1 Line”?
The “Add Variation” part is pretty cool too and you will see that elsewhere in the premium sites as you get deeper into it. You can add as many variations as you want, where the variation used for a particular page load will be randomly selected from the variations you have. This gives your site a bit of a dynamic nature, and since Google LOVES new and changing content, this is also goodness in that respect. But if you do nothing else, at least provide ONE variation so that these values are not blank. Yes, for each page.
Now the “Edit Content” is a bit different. If you click on “Edit Content” for the home page, you get a screen that looks something like this, dependent on your keywords and selected color scheme:
Note all the “Edit” links thrown all over the place inside a bright blue box? If you click those edit links, you can edit that section of your page. For example, if your site is about Ethernet, there is no sense in having the default caption say “Searching For T1 Services Is A Snap”. So you would click that edit box next to that caption and change the caption so that it reads “Searching For Ethernet Services Is A Snap” or whatever catchy phrase you want to put there.
For the 3 edit links near the bottom, those are for the title of the article being shown, the author and date of the article, and the article content. You should replace this as soon as possible because everyone by default is going to have the same article! I’ll talk more about articles below, how to do it and/or get it done, but make a note to yourself to get a different article here that is specific to the category you’ve chosen.
Be sure to edit your About Us page, your Contact Page and your Privacy Page as well. Google is specifically looking for these to exist (really!) on your site, and if they don’t or if they contain nonsensical content, your site will not be maximizing its potential for page rank.
This is where you can also add custom pages if you wish.
When you write articles for your site, note at the top of the page the easily-overlooked simple statement as shown below:
These are special fields that can be used within your articles or onsite content. For example, you could have an article that says:
“You should really buy #keyword# from this site”.
When that article is displayed, the keywords you have selected will be inserted into the “#keyword#” slot in that sentence, making the article even more relevant in the eyes of the search engines because your article talks about exactly what your targeted keywords are. Is that cool or what?
Have you ever been curious to know what your super-duper web page looks like to a search engine spider? You might be surprised, and it may give you some clues or hints about how to further optimize it if you could see it like the spiders do. Check out:
Content Is King
If you follow SEO (Search Engine Optimization) forums at all, you have no doubt heard before that content is super important. Without content, you have nothing. The Premium sites provide you with a starting point for content, but if you leave your Premium sites as they come out of the box, that is like putting retreads on a Lamborghini. In other words, DON’T DO IT.
In addition to adding UNIQUE content to your site, you should also create content OUTSIDE of your site that link back to your site. Content and linking go hand-in-hand in this way. Spend some time to get some UNIQUE content written about the category of your site, and make it interesting enough to where people will want to come to your site.
This is done for multiple purposes. For one thing, people are interested in the topic but they typically read elsewhere. So as the saying goes, if Mohammed won’t come to the mountain, bring the mountain to Mohammed. In other words, if Mr Network Director doesn’t visit your site, but he DOES regular visit the technical articles at Ezinearticles.com., Hubpages.com, Squidoo.com, Wetpaint.com, and he always has his RSS aggregator setup to catch the latest RSS feeds from blogs (where your blog IS pinging the aggregators when you add new content, isn’t it, as I explained in a previous newsletter?), so your UNIQUE publications at these various resources will surely get his attention at some point, where he will come and visit your site.
Ok, no more beating around the bush, I’ve said UNIQUE more times than I can stand. Yes, your content needs to be unique. Why? Because if Google or the other search engines detect that your article is not unique, only the FIRST occurrence of it will get any credit for it. Subsequent occupancies of it will actually HURT you because the search engines (particularly Google) will recognize it as duplicate content, and not only will you not get any benefit from it, you will actually be penalized for it.
One popular method for creating content is to REWRITE what someone has already written. But you need to be very careful, because too many of the same words in a row in various sentences is going to trigger Google’s “duplicate trigger”. Again, there is no way to know how many words or how many sentences that is, but to be on the safe side, my recommendation unless you are a very skilled rewriter and quite adept with the English language, is to either write them from scratch or have them ghost-written for you. There are many tools out there available, some free and some paid, that check for duplicate content. Check out copyscape.com, dupecop.com and others.
If writing is just not your bag, there are various services online where you can outsource that task. Check out need-an-article.com, textbroker.com, helium.com, skontent.comconstant-content.com, and many others. Since this is content of a more technical nature, you may want to have techies bid on it to write your article based on an abstract you provide that dictates what your article should be about, which can be done at elance.com, rent-a-coder.com and various other places.
The Icing on the Cake – Links
You want a site that is visited by the right people and links are a huge criteria for what your ranking will be. You could have a car dealership that is selling new Lexus cars for $1.98 but if nobody knows you’re there, what difference does it make? You want links from the outside world, but in the process, you want to be and NEED to be selective about it. You want links from Authority Sites and sites with high page rank. If you write an article for EzineArticles and it gets published, EzineArticles is both an Authority Site and has high page rank (PR 5 or 6 last I looked), so that is a great link. And it is of the best variety too — a one-way link, from their site to yours, and you do not need to link back to them.
The only thing better than links is MORE links. But they need to be right KIND of links. Getting links from a “bad neighborhood” is actually going to do you more harm than good. You do NOT want links from sites that promote residential products, since your Premium sites do not offer anything of interest to a residential customer (that they can afford, justify, or even get installed from the carrier — many carriers will NOT install a T1 into a residence, even if the customer CAN afford it). A link like that is of no value to you and simply dilutes your overall link strength. Links from your typical bad neighborhoods (porn, casino, gambling, drugs, pharmacy, etc) are detrimental to your links, so they have even LESS value than zero.
Doing an investigative search into this, it will not take long to discover multiple sites for the same topic, where one site has say 500 links pointing to it, and it ranks significantly higher than another one with 50,000 links pointing to it. Looking through those links via some tools I have, the guy with the 50,000 links apparently took each and every link request that came to him, including a truckload of bad neighborhood links. The end result is that even though he has 100 times more links pointing to his site, the search engines have penalized him for his rabid association with online riff-raff.
The Premium sites come with an option (at no additional cost, I believe) for the LMS – Link Management System. This is of incredible value to you, and if you did not opt for it initially, run do not walk to your computer and get signed up for it. The LMS provides two-way links from other sites that are willing to do a link exchange with you. The LMS also requires you to confirm or deny a link request. You may get link requests from some bad neighborhoods, which with a simple click you can DENY (as you should) and no harm done. But you also need to CONFIRM link requests that you want to accept. The LMS also has a feature where you can check to make sure, on a regular basis, that the link to your site still exists on their site. This is something you must do as part of your regular site maintenance — there is no sense linking OUT to someone who is not going to link back to you, as you are diluting your link strength and getting nothing in return.
Some things to keep in mind about links, especially two way links where you get a link in exchange for that other site linking back to you:
* Make sure the site that you are doing the link exchange with is ON A DIFFERENT HOST than you. Know what your IP address is for your web host and make sure they are on a different host.
* Make sure the link is RELEVANT as discussed above. Maybe that site about plastic mermaid figurines is cool and even has high page rank, but without RELEVANCY, you get almost zero benefit from it.
* Make sure the link EXISTS. This is an ongoing task but make sure that any site that you link to, which is supposedly linking back to you, is indeed really linking back to you, and still exists. One of the worst things in the world, even worse than being out of Miller’s, is a dead link.
* Make sure the site you exchanging links with is WORTHWHILE. I don’t think I would want to exchange links with someone whose site is not at least a PR2 or PR3. And when you achieve the rank of say PR4, there is less sense in bothering with “lesser” sites. Not to be snooty, but this is your site’s business world.
* A trainload of new links CAN happen overnight but you do not want it to. SLOW and GRADUAL is the key when adding links. The search engines want it to be a natural progression and if you acquire 5000 new links overnight, there is nothing “natural” about that, and you will likely be penalized instead of getting the shot of link juice that you expected.
One of the sites where you can do a link exchange, and actually provide the anchor text that they will use, as well as approving each and every link exchange, would be www.linkmarket.net. It’s free to join, although you will need to maintain your own links page. Maybe this would be a good application for adding a new page in your site configuration. But as stated above, you need to regularly go into your linkmarket account and run the report where they ensure that all outgoing links that you have accepted have a corresponding link back to your site. Delete any links you have that are not reciprocating. There are also various link exchange programs that will do this for you as part of your monthly membership (about $25) like 3waylinks.net, neurolinker.com, linkvana.com and more — email me if you want more info, but note that these are NOT free so I am not going to elaborate on them here.
You can also BUY links to get things started for you. In fact, there are various sites online where you can “rent” a link to your site from a PR5, PR6, even a PR7 or PR8 site for a month, a few months, a year, whatever. Depending on the page rank, this can get pricey, but I wanted to let you know what is possible.
Wow, my apologies, this turned out to be significantly longer than I had originally planned. But if you actually USE the information presented here, it will pay off in spades for you, and after all, isn’t that why you got a Premium site? You may be thinking “wow Jon, that sounds like a lot of work”. It is and I make no apologies for that. Anything worth doing is worth doing WELL and will take some effort and sweat equity. But the good news is that you have all the info at your disposal and do not have to test out various theories and techniques to find out what works and what doesn’t.
I hope you found this valuable. I know it may sound like a lot of work, and to a certain degree I may have barely scratched the surface. But as I said earlier, these sites are an incredible creation, and you now have tools at your fingertips where you can do in a few clicks what others need to do with text editors and bare code. It may seem like a lot of work but if done regularly and properly, I am confident you are really going to enjoy the results.
Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.