Google, Duplicate Content and Article Distribution

April 19, 2009 by lindac

Duplicate Content is a topic that has a lot of bloggers concerned, confused, or both. There’s a belief that when Google finds duplicate content, they’ll either slap the offender or not index the dupe content. Wrong, and wrong again… but let me show you what I found.

First, I went to three popular seo blogs to see what they said, and collected these tidbits;

  • Duplicate content probably won’t show up in searches
  • Google duplicate content penalty is applied when content found on your website is the same as what is found on other websites
  • The penalty starts when Google finds an exact duplication of content on two URLs

True or False? Duplicate Content Won’t Show Up in Searches
Answer: False!


Here’s an article I submitted to ezinearticles.com. I did not submit it anywhere else and did not post it to my site. I simply wanted to see how many times it would be duplicated and indexed by Google. So far, 598 times. So much for duplicate content not being indexed.

Google Duplicate Content

True or False? Duplicate Content Will Get Your Site Penalized
Answer: False!

On April 17, TechCrunch posted the article “Did Twitter Just Quietly Start Twitter Connect? If Not, It Should.” Within 24 hours, there were 3,440 duplicates in Google, with TC only topped by Google News and The Washington Post. Doesn’t look like TC got penalized, does it?

Google Duplicate Content Penalty

So… How Does Duplicate Content Affect You?

The biggest way duplicate content filtering affects you is that Google relies very heavily on trustrank and brand strength. Michael Gray of wolf-howl has a wonderful way of putting it;

One of the things that a lot of people don’t get about the new Google is the over-reliance on trust in the algorithm. It’s this over-reliance on trust that puts wikipedia at the top of so many searches. However if you have this trust it’s like having a laminated get out of jail free card…

I love that! “Laminated get out of jail free card.” No doubt, you’ve noticed how many times wikipedia and about.com dominate searches. And that’s why. They have trustrank. Do you?

Let’s Be Honest. No One Is Searching For Your Article Titles, Are They?

Of course not. They’re searching for some keyphrase that you happened to use IN your article title. So, using the TechCrunch article as an example again, let’s see how TC fares when we just search a keyphrase from the title. Let’s search “twitter connect”…

Google Duplicate Content

In a search for the phrase “twitter connect,” TechCrunch drops to spot #5 as broadstuff.com and Twitter move ahead of him for that particular keyphrase. Still, #5 out of 33 million results isn’t anything to sneeze at. I’m still not seeing any penalty for the duplicate content, are you?

But again, you aren’t TechCrunch, are you? How far would your site drop if every article and news directory with higher trustrank and a more established brand were to be ranked above you for your own article?

So, What’s Up With the Duplicate Content Myths?

It’s pretty simple, really. Search engines have always said they don’t really want to index sites that have no unique content. Back in the days when a listing in dMoz was the ultimate way to the top of Google, dMoz came right out and said that if you remove all the duplicate content and affiliate content, if there would be nothing left, they won’t list your site.

You know all those affiliate programs that give you a free duplicate of a site so you can upload it to your own domain and resell the product? That’s what they don’t want to index. Why? Because, if I’m looking for information about blue widgets, I would be very frustrated if the top 50 results in Google are all duplicates of the same site. So, search engines don’t want to list and rank entire “duplicated” sites. And, that’s the root of the dupe content myths floating around.

If your site (or any site) has unique content, the content will be ranked. Multiple sites carrying an identical copy of an article will be ranked according to their trustrank, brand strength, page rank, etc. Whether there are 500 duplicates or 5,000 duplicates isn’t the issue - the issue is the quality of the site containing the content.

Google, Duplicate Content and Article Distribution

There’s two different strategies you can use when it comes to distributing articles and dealing with the duplicate content that’s an inevitable result.

Strategy #1: Outranking the Duplicates…
If you want to distribute articles for the linkback, but don’t want your own site out-ranked by every other site that picks up your article and has higher trustrank or a stronger brand, you need a smarter strategy.

  1. First, create the article.
  2. Then create a condensed or different version for distribution so that the copy on your site is not the same as all the “duplicates” that will appear in the article directories. Same topic, same keyphrase, but not identical content.
  3. When you submit the article, link the article submissions back to your original article so that as the number of duplicates grows, the linkback to the original article also grows.

EXAMPLE: If your article is “Orchid Growing Tips” you might include 5 tips in the article you distribute, and then end the article with a link “for more orchid growing tips” - that links back to your original article. On your site, either have additional tips, or different tips. This strategy offers triple benefit. A) Your original article is not a duplicate, B) All the duplicates provide linkback to help the original article rank higher, and C) you can use your keyword in the linking text.

It all boils down to the old “smarter not harder” theory. But then, what doesn’t?

Strategy #2: Articles for Linkback
Then again, maybe you just don’t care if your site comes up in the search? Don’t look shocked. It’s an option. It works like this:

1) Write articles that target long tail (lower demand, easy to rank for) phrases.
2) Distribute articles, linking to your main page with the phrase it’s optimized for.
3) Enjoy building lots of linkback for your main page as the articles get duplicated.

EXAMPLE: Write articles about blue orchids, black orchids, cattleya orchids, etc. Link them all to your main page using the phrase “orchid growing,” which is the phrase your main page is optimized for. Again, three benefits, but different ones. A) You’re not competing with article directories to rank for the same article, B) All your articles provide linkback for your main page, and C) you can use your primary keyword in the linking text.

:)
Linda

P.S. How many links should you have in your article? That depends on where you’re submitting. Some article repositories don’t allow links in body content, some do. Count on at least one in the signature. Add 1 or 2 more in the body if you’re allowed to. I never use more than 3 total.

Additional reading you may enjoy:

 

44 Comments »

  1. Dave Pumfrey said :
    April 19, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Hi Linda,

    Great post - highly informative.

    I’ve just started submitting articles, so your advice is very timely.

    I was previously concerned about issues with duplication of articles, before reading this post.

    Everything is now VERY clear… and I also now know how to optimise traffic generation from my articles.

    You rock!

    Thanks,

    Dave

  2. Theresa Mayhew said :
    April 19, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Hi Linda,
    I’ve also wondered and been confused by this and really appreciate your explanation. The screenshots help those of us who need a visual. You make learning so easy.

    Thanks a bunch,
    Theresa
    PS Hope your dad is feeling better.

  3. Ken Garrett said :
    April 19, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Linda,

    Thanks so much.

    You have answered a number of my questions. One question that still exists for me is “How different must something be to be considered different?” I have created posts by working with several PLR materials by rewriting them in what I consider to be my own words, by deleting some material, combining with material from other PLRs and rearranging the content. I have considered taking the original PLR material with only minor revision and submitting it in the form of articles with links back to my site. What is you opinion of this tatic? While the article I submit may be similar to those submitted by some one else using the PLR it will differ from my site content.

    Ken

  4. Ken Garrett said :
    April 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Linda, one additional question.

    What are your reccomended article submission sites?

    Thanks

    Ken

  5. lindac said :
    April 19, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Dave… thanks!

    Theresa… he is, and thank you, too.

    Ken… No one really knows “how” different an article has to be. The precise criteria has never been published, so it’s really all trial and error.

    One thing we do know, though is that page text is “weighted” with lean towards the first and last paragraphs. Which just means that the first/last paragraphs carry more importance than the content in between.

    So, if your first/last are significantly different and the stuff in between is a bit different, you should be okay.

    The method you’re using of rewriting in your own words is (IMHO) significant enough to consider it unique content by the time you’re done.

    One thing you can do is paste your content into copyscape.com and see if it pulls up any other PLR content. You won’t need to do that every time, but doing it a couple of times will give you a feel for how much you need to change in order to “not” find duplicates.

    Some people say that even 10% is enough to be seen as different, but I haven’t gone as far as counting words and calculating a percentage. I just do what you’re doing; rewrite in my words, with focus on first/last paragraphs and it seems to work just fine.

    :)
    Linda

    P.S. I’ll post a page with article directories in the reference section shortly.

  6. Cheri Merz said :
    April 20, 2009 at 2:48 am

    Linda, thanks! This will save so much time while I generate the articles. Knowing how to use them means it will be so much easier to write them for that purpose in the first place.

    Silly me, I only thought to inform or editorialize in my articles and blog posts. Now the challenge will be to do so in my own voice and at the same time accomplish the objective of actually finding people to read them.

    Oh, and then buy my products…can’t forget that. I’m beginning to think accosting people on the street may be easier after all, lol. (I’m kidding. Besides, I’ve tried that and it isn’t nearly as much fun.)

    Cheri

  7. Ken Garrett said :
    April 20, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Cheri

    you may be accosting the wrong people…..LOL

    ken

  8. Susan said :
    April 21, 2009 at 12:15 am

    Thanks for the fresh input, Linda! Glad to hear your dad is doing better…

    This doesn’t get mentioned specifically, but I’m assuming that taking an already published article from an existing website and submitting it to an article respository - even if you give all the credit to the original author - is not kosher. So the trick then is to re-write the article sufficiently to make it seem “original” before submitting it under your own name and with your own links.

    I’ve heard that the text should be altered at least 35% before it can be considered sufficiently “re-written”. The only way I can think to confirm that this has been accomplished is by setting it up in Word and keeping track of the changes - perhaps there’s a way that Word can provide a ballpark, bottomline percentage of the amount of change to the overall text. But that sounds like a lot of work. Much easier to just write a 400 - 500 page article from scratch. Linda’s suggestion that revising mainly the first and last paragraphs sounds a lot less time consuming.

    Cheri, I know what you mean about believing there must be an easier way to get a sale! I’m convinced I could do better simply giving my product away for free and asking for donations. If someone gave me one measly dollar, it would be 100 cents more than I’ve made on a sale so far.

    Susan

  9. Ken Garrett said :
    April 21, 2009 at 3:04 am

    Susan,

    I found copyscape.com very helpful. I was a big spender and choose the platinum plan which will allow you to submit offline documents as well as website content. the cost of the plan is 5 cents per document check and you can choose the number of checks you wish to prepurchase. I choose to pay $5.00 for 100 checks.

    I was quite pleased with the way it works. It will tell you the numbers of common words and also highlight them. This made it very easy for me to know where to make changes.

    I hope this helps.

    Ken

  10. Susan Livingstone said :
    April 21, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Thanks, Ken. I was aware of Copyscape as a way to prevent plagiarism (see my blog entry: http://susanlivingstone.com/2009/01/28/plagiarism-and-how-to-prevent-it/) but hadn’t thought of it as a way to help me change the text of a pre-existing article - they don’t emphasize that feature on their website! I’ve only used the free check to see if my copy has found its way to any other sites.

    I’ve looked at a number of both free and fee based article re-writing software programs, and they uniformly suck. Even the samples they demonstrate are patently awful - and these unreadable results they’re bragging about are supposed to be their big selling point! The only good reviews I have ever read for such programs are written by people who are so English-challenged (the people who are most in need of such a product) that the makers of the software would be embarrassed to include their testimonials on their websites had they any ability to recognize poor writing when they saw it to begin with. (Yeah, I know sentences shouldn’t end with “with”. See Winston Churchill’s explanation for why that’s something up with which we should put.)

    So if any of you are thinking about getting some article re-writing software - don’t bother. It will ALWAYS be better to re-write an article yourself. If Copyscape helps you do that more easily, great! Thanks for the tip, Ken.

  11. Ken Garrett said :
    April 22, 2009 at 2:52 am

    Susan,

    I have not been impressed with re-writing software either. I have found it much easier to find one or two articles and rewrite or combine them then run them through copyscape to identify duplicity. I then go back and make changes to the duplicate material until I approach a less than 50% level of duplicate material. I feel that at this level the material can be defended as my product.

    Ken

    Ken

  12. Renee Olson said :
    April 22, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Oops… I sure hope you have this set for moderation. Otherwise, my previous questions are lost in cyberspace.

    I was on question number 4, when I blasted my way out on accident.

    So, I will ask each question again. Sorry if it shows up twice.

    1. Can you explain in more detail what a category slug is? Should I be concerned with changing the text or just accept what the system generates?
    Under: Posts > categories

    2. I would like to have 2 category bars in the right column. One titled, Information Center (for articles) and the other Resources (for product). Can I do that? I have the 2 categories set up, but I haven’t been able to separate the data accordingly. And is that too much of a deviation from the sample on Page 15.

    3. Under the Information Center, I would like to have a itle that will open to a drop down menu to show of variety of stories. Is that possible?

    I’m tinkering away in wordpress and feel like maybe the things I want to do, can’t be done or I’m not getting the right keystrokes to do it.

    4. Comments: I have turned off comments and mark No Comments on each post, but I still see the text show up under the post. If I click the text it says comments closed, but I would like to get rid of the text all together. (and the date, too) How do I that?

    @Ken and Susan - I like what you’ve done with your sites.

    @Theresa - You have been very busy. I tested your contact/ sign up form today. What a great idea.

    @Dave - I use IE8 and couldn’t read the black text against the blue background. I thought someone from the AJ group had a similar situation, but I can’t remember what rectified the problem.

    @Cheri - Sorry I didn’t visit you today. I will check on you later.

    @Linda - Your site rocks. I always look forward to the new information.

    I am just starting to get my content on my site. It still seems pretty dorky to me and trith be told the article I have up doesn’t even have my keywords in it, but I rank #1 on PAGE 2 of Google just for the domain.

    I can’t wait to see where I land when I actually get my articles written correctly.

    5. I thought of one more question. You wrote about doing tables in the side bar. Can you apply the same technique to the post section?

    Thanks,

    Renee

  13. lindac said :
    April 24, 2009 at 5:09 am

    I’m enjoying the conversations that I see happening. The comments about article rewriting programs had me grinning. They’re horrid, aren’t they! What a clever idea to use copyscape for that.

    Renee… hope these help…
    1) A category slug allows you to enter how the category will appear in the url bar. For example, if it’s more than one word, you can choose whether to use hyphens or not. It also doesn’t hurt to just use the default that WP generates.

    2) You could have the categories split up, but it would take a little custom coding. You’d need to go into the sidebar.php files and “call in” the specific categories into each column. There’s probably instructions to pull in just one category at th wordpress.org site, but it will take some digging to find it. Or Google it?

    3) Regarding the dropdown, you probably could do that, but keep in mind that if the stories are targeted to keywords, Google won’t index a dropdown as well as it does text links. Text links trum any other kind of link for seo. So, it might be better to get a variable that determines how many show. Like, you could have the most recent, 5, 10, etc showing as text links.

    3) I can relate! I’ve done that one. lol. What you need to do is go into the php files in Appearance –> Editor and find the relevant file. You’ll probably need to modify the main page file and post file. Those are usually index.php and post.php, but could be named otherwise, too. Just look for the comments link and delete it. A word of caution…. before changing a php file, always paste the whole thing into notepad so you have a backup in case you delete something you didn’t want to delete. Then you can put it back.

    And thanks — glad you like it! Also, congrats on the fast ranking on the domain alone.

    5) With tables in the post section, you sure can! Just flip to the “html” tab when posting and put the table in. Then you can play with the content of the table in the html or visual editor.

    :)

  14. Ken Garrett said :
    April 24, 2009 at 6:27 am

    Just a note about article submissions. I have posted 4 articles to ezine.com. The first article became active 2 days ago and 3 more are still pending. The following are the stats thus far(2 days) 138 views and 23 visits to my website from this article.

    I have submitted the 4 articles submitted to ezine to two other submission sites and am I am looking forward to seeing the impact of these submissions on my website activity. I will report more information as it becomes available if there is an interet.

    Ken

    Ken

  15. Ken Garrett said :
    April 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    To update the statistics of my article submission to ezine.com through Sunday 4-26. 3 articles are now live with 1 more waiting approval.Since the first article waent live on 4-22 the articles have had a total of 564 view with 91 clicks to my website

  16. Susan Livingstone said :
    April 28, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Ken, good going!

    I’m concerned about my own ignorance here (as usual). I’ve submitted my first article to eZine, but am now stumped about what to do next. I have an ever growing list of questions to maximize my benefits and lower my carpal tunnel:

    1. Do I submit the same exact article to multiple article directories? If so, how many - just the top 3, 5, 10?

    2. If I must re-write the same article before submitting it each time, how many directories is enough then? No more than 3, I would hope, to save my sanity.

    3. How often do I submit an article on basically the same topic? I’m assuming the original article will disappear in the crowd pretty quickly, never to emerge again. Do I view this as a lifelong, ongoing task to keep getting traffic to my site?

    4. Anybody have any insights on those automated article submission programs? Do you look spammy if you use them, and how likely are your articles to be accepted (they surely must all have different guidelines)?

    5. Should I keep the best articles for my site, and submit mediocre articles to the directories? I see such crap there that I wonder if they’ve become known for being last-resort places to go to get content. I don’t want to put a lot of effort into creating an article of beauty only to have it benefit someone else’s (better trafficked blog) rather than my own.

    6. Would it be better in the long run to create relationships with blog and website owners and offer them unique articles that I write just for their use? I can generate income as well as back links doing that, it seems to me. And if this is a good idea, how would I go about it?

    Lots more questions trying to get from my brain to my keyboard, but I’ll stop there. All input welcome as I hate to put hours of effort into something and learn just how badly I wasted my time for lack of knowledge.

    Thanks all,
    Susan

  17. Ken Garrett said :
    April 29, 2009 at 2:13 am

    Susan,

    It is my understanding that you can submit the same article to multiple sites. I have submitted artilces to 2 directories but it appears that 99.9% of the benefit is from ezine.com. The only requirement is that the article is your product.You will be penalized only it you are using the same article as a post on your website.

    It is my goal to create 10 articles which link back to my site along with 10 posts. Hopefully, that will create enough momentum that I will be able to step back from this site and follow the same formula to develop additional sites.(Linda, is this a reasonable stratagy?)

    As I have written my articles and posts I have tried to write related material. Writing more detailed pieces for my site and related, more general pieces to submit as articles. With this stratagy I hope to generate interest via the article and present value with the post.

    I have not tried to space the articles. I have added them a quickly as my time has allowed. It is my thought that new traffic through the sites such as ezine.com will keep the interest and traffic level at a high level without the need to add additional articles.

    I have not answered all of your questions and i am certainly not the expert. What i have related is my approach at the present time. If Linda offers suggestions for alternate methods or reasons why what I am doing is not a good approach i am certainly willing to change.

    I hope this has helped in some small way.

    Ken

  18. Susan Livingstone said :
    April 29, 2009 at 5:29 am

    Ken, again, thanks for your input. I’m now up to 3 articles submitted to eZine - not wholly original, but heavily rewritten to (hopefully) pass Copyscape standards.

    If eZine is the one that’s “99.9%” effective, am I being a lazy cow if I save myself some time by just ignoring the rest, I wonder? I’ll wait upon your advice, Linda. I’m especially interested in your response to Ken’s idea of resting after creating 10 articles linking back to his site. My fear is that, once an article is submitted, it grabs eyeballs for its novelty value for all of about 5 minutes before it is swept away by newer submissions that must come in at a fast and furious rate. I’ve certainly tried to make the best of my keywords, but is that sufficient to make an “aging” article still viable?

    I have a sort of nightmare vision of endless, repetitive articles that must be constantly tweaked and reworded and resubmitted ad infinitum just to keep up a useful level of traffic. I hope that’s not how it really is.

    Ken, I appreciate you offering you insights, and am most interested in seeing how your strategy pans out.

    Susan

  19. Ken Garrett said :
    April 29, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Susan,

    The interesting thing I have found is while the traffic seems to come from ezine I have gotten a couple of linkbacks which were the result of my submission to articlesbase.com (this is the only other site to which I have submitted articles). I assume the link backs are a good thing since the sites linking back have published my articles in their entirety inclusive of the links back to my site.

    When I write my article I seperate it into sections on my word document. I list the title, the body of the article,and a list of keywords. This way when I go to submit to a site such as ezine or articlesbase all I need to do is copy and paste into the various areas on the submission pages. I have also created a seperate author bio document which I use in the same manner.

    Ken

  20. Ken Garrett said :
    April 29, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Susan,

    When writing articles I include the title, body of the article along with a list of keywords for the article. By doing this I am able to simply copy and paste when I submit to the various sites.

    I submit to ezine.com and articlesbase.com while most of the traffic comes from ezine I have gotten link backs from sites that have picked up my articles from articlesbase. I assume the link backs are a positive thing because they show my articles in their entirety complete with the links back to my site.

    When I wrtite an article I write it with the intent of having a post on the topic also. With this in mind I write the post first and then compose a “readers digest ” version with things written in a more non specific tone. This usually varies things enough that duplicate content is not a problem.

    My site is http://gonebassfishing.com if you want to see how my articles and posts relate or how the linkbacks show up.

    Ken

  21. Ken Garrett said :
    April 30, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    To all,

    I am sorry for the near duplicate posts. When i submitted the first time my screens did strange things and it did not appear as if the comment got submitted.

    Ken

  22. Ken Garrett said :
    April 30, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Linda,

    I would like your opinion about an idea which has come to me. Would offering a free “thank you gift” in the form of an article, which will not be submitted to the publishing directories or placed as a site post, in exchange for name and email info to build a list of site visitors be a positive, negative or neutral act?

    I was considering a one time pop up to capture this info as a visitor enters the sight. I am not sure exactly how I would use the info later but I thought it would be better to collect it and not have a use than to find a use and then be sorry I had not been gathering the information. If nothing else it is a way to provide additional value to the visitor.

    Just one of the random thoughts that bounces around in my head and found an escape route. :)

    Ken

  23. Susan Livingstone said :
    May 1, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Well, if anyone is still reading these comments, just thought I’d like to mention what’s going on with my stats.

    The site I’ve sent in the most articles for so far is not doing great. Of course, all the articles haven’t gotten published yet, but one has, and it’s brought in 5 views as of today. More people from The Whole Egrail have visited, and I’m sure they were just curious - no chance of converting any of you guys into buyers!

    I have submitted 4 articles so far, sent to 3 different article directories. Ezine has published only one (it’s taken several days to go through the process) and the other directories I’m not sure about. I did get “Expert Author” status at eZine which my searches on the web tell me means nothing except that *maybe* it will help future articles get reviewed and published a little more quickly. Is that how it works?

    Yahoo! has me listed on page 1 (#5, last I checked) for my best keyword, so I’ve gotten the most visits from there (7). Google and MSN have no idea of my existence, apparently, despite having a KEI of 67,000 on my best phrase. I may be overly optimistic about how long it takes those 2 search engines to begin listing me, however - although it’s been nearly a month since I began waving my flag. Linda, what can I expect in that area? One month and only 33 unique visitors? And that’s the site that’s gotten the most traffic! Yikes!

    For some reason, YouTube sent me one referral, but I have no idea how, as I have no videos of my own there.

    Dribbles coming in from various other sources.

    The one article currently published on eZine has brought traffic (such as it is) more quickly than any other source, I can say that for it. So if that is telling me that article marketing is the way to go to get traffic, is it worth investing in an article marketing service, like Article Marketer Inc.? I can’t afford them, but they do have a free trail period.

    I hadn’t intended to spend gobs of time writing endless articles on all of my sites, especially the one that is meant to be a “set it and forget it” site - how do I continue to get fresh traffic to a basically static site that someday I’m going to run out of juice to write about?

    Lastly, I’m also hearing about the technique of setting up Squidoo lenses, Blogger pages, Wetpaint pages, etc. as single page sites that point to my “money” site. I’ve gotten a blueprint for how to set that system up, but again, without fresh content how do I keep getting people in? Don’t want to spend days setting up an elaborate linking system that doesn’t work well and requires constant maintenance, so any ideas on that would be welcome, please and thanks.

    Susan

    PS Say, exactly what is a bounce rate and how high is too high? Anybody know?

  24. Ken Garrett said :
    May 4, 2009 at 3:49 am

    Susan,

    Unfortunately i don’t have any answers to your questions but I am certainly eager to see the answers when you get them.

    Ken

  25. Susan said :
    May 4, 2009 at 4:02 am

    I did ask a lot of questions, didn’t I?

    I researched the answer to one question, at least - bounce rates. I know now that it refers to when people visit your home page (by whatever means) and don’t click on any other pages before leaving. How fast they exit after arriving is an important statistic to pay attention to, I gather. Google Analytics tells me that a bounce rate of 35 is a cause for concern, and 50 means trouble. My bounce rate is high enough that *something* needs to be done, but what, I’m not sure.

    I guess I have to retool the look or layout of my site, but what the optimum might be is a whole ‘nother area of expertise I must now delve into! Lifelong learning is a good thing, I hear - staves off Alzheimers. I think I’m going to die a bloody genius, at this rate.

    Susan

  26. Ken Garrett said :
    May 4, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Susan,

    Thanks for that tidbit (I think). Based upon that information my site appears to be composed of very tightly stretched spandex! Guess I’ll be right behind you in the genius line.

    Ken

  27. Cheri Merz said :
    May 9, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Hi, y’all,

    Came over looking for all the posts about the analytics that I remember from right after the first or second call. Haven’t found that so far, but this has been a good thread.

    Susan, I can completely relate to your concern about having to spend time writing and re-writing articles. Not my idea of what I want to be doing, either. I somehow think it has to be less complicated than that, and I’m sure Linda will have an answer when her family crisis settles down some.

    I have a couple of questions of my own, and maybe you guys can help. First, don’t remember if it was Renee or Susan, and I think it’s in another thread, but someone was commenting on everyone’s progress. How did you know where to look for everyone’s sites? I’d love to go and see what others are doing, too. I spent a bit of time doing some quick and dirty other projects, but finally have one of the sites up that I’ll be spending some time in and on.

    Second, in case I still don’t find the thread I’m looking for, is concerned with how to install the analytics, and then how to read them. I’m so green that I don’t even know what a pingback is, and I’ve got one reported on my site. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

    I wouldn’t have a clue how to determine site visitors, not that I expect I’ve had any besides me checking and tweaking–no SEO yet, and haven’t published any articles. Guess THAT’s a good thing, because I would have simply published my posts until reading this thread. They’re too long, though. Wordy, me.

    Ken, it took me a minute, but then I howled at the tightly-stretched spandex reference. You’ve got a way with a great turn of phrase!

    Cheri

  28. Susan said :
    May 9, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Cheri,

    Yes, I think I speak for everyone when I wish Linda well and hope her situation improves soon. I’m sure when she comes back to this site and has a look at her wee ducklings paddling in circles here, she’ll have a good laugh and steer us toward the shore. ‘Til then, we can at least keep each other company while swimming!

    You can find out at least one site everyone has up by clicking on their name at the very top of their comment. That’s how I know you have a site called UtahBelowMarket.com. But that only tells us about one site - I currently have 5, although 2 of them are a work in progress.

    Re: pingbacks. According to the wiki, “a pingback is one of three types of linkbacks, methods for Web authors to request notification when somebody links to one of their documents. This enables authors to keep track of who is linking to, or referring to their articles.” And it’s not a bad thing. If someone includes a link to your site in a blog they’ve written, for instance, you get a pingback telling you so. You might notice this in the comments section of your blog, where it looks like someone just copied and pasted a few lines of your writing there. That’s just a notification that someone, somewhere, gave you a link from their site.

    As for Google Analytics, I’m not the best person to give you advice, but installing it is pretty easy. Just go to the site and follow the directions onscreen, and paste the code they give you into, say, your footer (in your dashboard you’ll see a list of the templates on the right hand side - choose your footer.php template and just paste the GA code at the bottom and save it).

    Reading the results in Google are pretty straightforward too - you can have all your sites listed there and just click on the report checkmark next the one you’re interested in finding out about. Keep digging in there and you’ll figure out which visitors are unique and new, and where they came from - Google, Yahoo, Ezine, Youtube, wherever…GA breaks all that down for you. Just keep poking around and you’ll see what stats you can discover. But what they all mean in terms of what changes you might need to make in SEO or site layout or whatever, I know very little about! That’s what I hope Linda will edumacate us on when she’s able to be back.

    Hope that all helped some…

    Susan

  29. Cheri Merz said :
    May 10, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Susan,

    Thank you, that was very helpful! Have installed GA to UtahBelowMarket.com and guess I have to wait 24 hours to see if I did it right. I went to my themes editor and found footer.php, then installed the code just above the tag. Can’t see any difference in my site, so that part’s right anyway.

    I do seem to learn best by trial and error after getting instructions. I’ll noodle around in the Analytics Help pages to learn more…they seem to have a very exensive knowledge base.

    Thanks again!

    Cheri

  30. Susan said :
    May 13, 2009 at 1:23 am

    ALL,

    I MADE 2 SALES OFF ONE OF MY SITES!

  31. Susan said :
    May 13, 2009 at 1:25 am

    Whoops, so excited I must have sent this before I was through typing.

    Anyway, it’s the site I’ve been promoting with articles, so I have a feeling that’s what did it. My heart is pounding. ‘Course, I can’t get a check from Commission Junction until I’ve reached the minimum, but still. It’s exciting.

    Just thought I’d share.

    Susan

  32. lindac said :
    May 13, 2009 at 1:31 am

    Woohoo, Susan! That’s awesome. Congrats, and here’s to lots more of those!!

    Remember to check your Google stats to see where the traffic is coming from so you can focus on doing more of what’s getting results.

  33. Susan said :
    May 13, 2009 at 1:34 am

    So glad to see you back, Linda! Hope and pray all is well…

    Yes, I’ll certainly check GA and see what it has to tell me. What a shot in the arm a couple of bux is, eh?

    s

  34. lindac said :
    May 13, 2009 at 1:54 am

    Yes, I’ll certainly check GA and see what it has to tell me. What a shot in the arm a couple of bux is, eh?

    It is. It really, really is. Not the $$ so much, but the mental confirmation that this stuff really works!

    Good to be back. Sure was good to sleep in my own bed again. Hotels are nice for a while, but restaurants and a strange bed get old after a while.

  35. Cheri Merz said :
    May 13, 2009 at 1:54 am

    Congratulations!

  36. Ken Garrett said :
    May 13, 2009 at 3:09 am

    Susan,

    Congrats!!!! Its nice to hear of success Hopefully I will be able to follow your lead very soon.

    Ken

  37. Ken Garrett said :
    May 13, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    A plea to all,

    I would like to compile some statistics relating to the conversion of article visits to website visits. If you would be willing to share the number of article views and the number of URL visits for articles submitted to ezine(just totals are needed)I would be most appreciative. I will be more than happy to share this information with those who contribute. My intent is to place a post on one of my website relating to attracting traffic thru article submission and would like to have a broader data sample than that created by my personal article submissions. If you are willing to share please e-mail to me at dreamweaver5069@gmail.com. Thanks

    Ken

  38. lindac said :
    May 14, 2009 at 6:12 am

    Hi… I’m diving into the comments I missed while I was halfway across the country, so pardon the onslaught of comments from me that are about to happen. lol.

    Ken, I’ve posted your “plea” to my twitter page and marked it as a favorite so it’s easy to find, too. More shortly

  39. lindac said :
    May 14, 2009 at 6:39 am

    [18. Susan]If eZine is the one that’s “99.9%” effective, am I being a lazy cow if I save myself some time by just ignoring the rest, I wonder? I’ll wait upon your advice, Linda. I’m especially interested in your response to Ken’s idea of resting after creating 10 articles linking back to his site. My fear is that, once an article is submitted, it grabs eyeballs for its novelty value for all of about 5 minutes before it is swept away by newer submissions that must come in at a fast and furious rate. I’ve certainly tried to make the best of my keywords, but is that sufficient to make an “aging” article still viable?

    I like Ken’s 10 article idea and lol - you’re not a lazy cow for not wasting times on directories that don’t get results. Also, don’t worry about the 5 minute novelty value before an article scrolls off the page - that’s common. I’ve just posted about directories and how to choose which to submit to - I think (hope) it will clear up the questions about what to expect from article directories.

    [22. Ken]I would like your opinion about an idea which has come to me. Would offering a free “thank you gift” in the form of an article, which will not be submitted to the publishing directories or placed as a site post, in exchange for name and email info to build a list of site visitors be a positive, negative or neutral act?

    Positive, for sure. Make the article a pdf, though. People are used to pdf reports and willing to give up their email for it. Oh - and wait until I upload your site facelift. lol. Then we can match the pdf to the new site look. : )

  40. lindac said :
    May 14, 2009 at 6:54 am

    [23. Susan]

    I did get “Expert Author” status at eZine which my searches on the web tell me means nothing except that *maybe* it will help future articles get reviewed and published a little more quickly. Is that how it works?

    Yes - expert status just gets you reviewed faster

    Yahoo! has me listed on page 1 (#5, last I checked) for my best keyword, so I’ve gotten the most visits from there (7). Google and MSN have no idea of my existence, apparently…

    Have you submitted your main page to MSN? Often, that will bring the bot around, and Yahoo will usually follow right behind either Google or MSN.

    …is it worth investing in an article marketing service, like Article Marketer Inc.? I can’t afford them, but they do have a free trail period.

    I haven’t had much luck with them, and I had the paid membership. I found that even using Article Marketer, the ones getting results were pretty easy to submit to without the monthly cost.

    If you read the May 14 post on article directories, you’ll know what to watch for. I’d start by doing it manually and then see if your “picks” (based on the post) are in Article Marketer. That will tell you if they’ll save you enough time to be worth the price. For me, they weren’t. For others, they are.

    I hadn’t intended to spend gobs of time writing endless articles on all of my sites, especially the one that is meant to be a “set it and forget it” site - how do I continue to get fresh traffic to a basically static site that someday I’m going to run out of juice to write about?

    I generally don’t spend gobs of time, so I completely hear you!! What I do is write 10. I submit one a day for 5 days. Then one every other day until they’re done. What I find is that they get picked up by other sites and take on a life of their own. One of my articles was only posted to 2 directories and it’s now on over 500 sites, which are all linking back to me. As the linkback grows, it helps pagerank of your site, which then pulls other pages higher in Google and then your organic traffic starts to overtake your article traffic.

    Lastly, I’m also hearing about the technique of setting up Squidoo lenses, Blogger pages, Wetpaint pages, etc. as single page sites that point to my “money” site. I’ve gotten a blueprint for how to set that system up, but again, without fresh content how do I keep getting people in? Don’t want to spend days setting up an elaborate linking system that doesn’t work well and requires constant maintenance, so any ideas on that would be welcome, please and thanks.

    Really, all those techniques can be condensed into one. Linkback. They’re all just ways of getting one way links back to your site. You can use any method of doing that - whatever works best for you. Squidoo pages are really quick to create because they’re click/drag/drop and they’re one page sites - no need to add fresh coontent regularly.

    PS Say, exactly what is a bounce rate and how high is too high? Anybody know?

    Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits — or visits in which the visitor left your site on the same page they arrived on.

    I use 50% as a benchmark because if more than half the people who arrive leave immediately, it tells me that page isn’t drawing people in.

    Often, you can improve that number by adding a photo at the top of the page. Many people tend to start pages “slow” and build up to the good stuff. Put the ‘good stuff’ - compelling content - right up at the top.

    A catchy photo, a video, compelling text in boldface that catch attention… those things get people to engage, which reduces bounce rate.

  41. lindac said :
    May 14, 2009 at 7:00 am

    [25. Susan]
    My bounce rate is high enough that *something* needs to be done, but what, I’m not sure.

    Mind a suggestion? On your main page, the title right above the current video is: Does Your Cat Have A Urinary Tract Infection?

    Change that to: Cats Urinary Tract Infections are Potentially Fatal

    Then let us know what happens : )

    Ken… Lol on the spandex reference.

  42. Susan said :
    May 14, 2009 at 7:22 am

    Linda - muchas merci! All my (current) questions answered in one swell foop. We’ve missed you…

    I made the change to my main page per your suggestion…I’ll see what, if anything, happens as a result and pass along the news.

    I’m also glad to get your confirmation of Ken’s suggestion to write 10 articles, and will write the 6 more I need to achieve that total, sending them out on the schedule you indicate. I also think I’ll save myself money best spent on cat food and forego the Article Marketer Inc. fee.

    You’ve put a smile on my face, Linda…thanks!

    Susan

  43. Denis said :
    May 15, 2009 at 1:37 am

    Hi Everyone:
    Just a heads up for those who may be interested. Has anyone else signed up for this?

    What seems to be a great SEO Course called Stomping The Search Engines from Andy Jenkins and Brad Fallon is now available for only $1.00. Yep a buck. You’ll need to sign up for the newsletter though, but can cancel it before the next month.

    Some of the material seems awesome. Linda could tell us if they’re just trying to scare us though. But stuff like: [ NOTE: See comment below; Linda : ) ]

    The first link that a search engine spider encounters in your web page’s code is the link that the spider gives the MOST WEIGHT TO…
    Do you understand the ramifications of this?
    That means that if your pages have a link in their top set of navigation (like a set of tabs that lead to your home page, or “contact us” page, or “about us” page, etc.) and those links are the FIRST LINKS that the search engine spider sees…those links, and their ANCHOR TEXT (the words that give the pages they point to their “Reputation”) will have the MOST POWER.

    What does that mean to you?

    * What if the tabs at the top of your page says “Home”? Is that the reputation you want for your Home Page?
    * What if your right-handed navigation has short phrases or single words that lead to your sub-pages? Are those single words what you want your sub-pages to rank for?
    * If you’re using Footer links on your site to help funnel Link Reputation (which is essentially responsible for the MAJORITY of your Ranking Power), those footer links are playing second fiddle to the links at the top of the page.

    This is a BAD thing for 90% of all Site owners. We know - we see a LOT of sites.

    That means that there’s a 90% chance that you’re internal site structure is actually HURTING your rankings.

    Very Interesting…Can it be true?
    ATTN: THIS IS NOT AN AFFILIATE PRODUCT. I HAVE NO STAKE IN THIS. I just thought that the material is very relevant. I’ve got my copy. Who knows when I’ll get to go over it though…

    Here’s the site: http://www.stomping2.com/

    Denis
    From “The Portal”

  44. lindac said :
    May 15, 2009 at 3:09 am

    Denis… I don’t actually like the Stomper stuff. Too much sensationalism, scare tactics and geek speak for my own personal liking.

    Let me show you an example. Go to Google and search: weight loss.

    It’s one of the most competitive searches out there. 13,600,000 Google searches for “weight loss” in April alone. 99,500,000 competing sites.

    Page 1, spot 1 is http://www.laweightloss.com.

    If you look at the site, you’ll see that:
    – their first link is an image
    – their next link is “home”
    – their third link is “schedule an appointment”

    Doesn’t seem like their “home” button is hurting their rankings to me.

    They don’t have proper page text. Their links are named “all wrong” - and there they are, page one, spot one for one of the most competitive phrases out there.

    Ranking is more than a sum of it’s parts. You can do all those things *right* according to the seo’s of the world, and still have rankings that suck. You can do all those things *wrong* and be on page 1, spot 1.

    The bottom line is, IMHO, not so much focusing on the elements of the algorithm because they change from time to time. The bottom line is understanding what kind of sites Google is looking for, because they make the algo changes to help find those kinds of sites.

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