Google Analytics Part Two

Google went public with their new Analytics program and after about 1 week the system seems to have stalled. Some 200,000+ Analytics accounts were created with possibly over 200,000 additional profiles added to those, Google has went from tracking zero to almost half a million in their first week. Apparently this has overloaded the system and they are no longer accepting any new sites or allowing current account holders to add any more profiles.

If you haven’t gotten your account set up yet just be patient as this beleaguered analytic program should be up and running again very soon. While the down time may be creating some bad reviews of the system I would suggest that you give it a little more time before you buy into anybody’s review of the new, free system.

Myself I was able to get a couple of accounts signed up almost right away. I have to tell you that once the system is able to cope with the huge demand of resources required to operate the Google Analytics program, it should be another Google success story. Although the preliminary reporting has been a bit dodgy at first, I for one am willing to wait to see how it all turns out. If you are interested in this program I would suggest waiting a few weeks before even trying to sign up.

Google Analytics

Google has come out with another great new tool and it is free. I am talking about the Google Web Analytics program. This powerful tracking tool offers some of the same great features that other Premium Web Analytics systems provide with the only real difference being cost. Although this tool is designed to help people fine tune their Google AdWords campaigns but technically all you need is an account. The one down side is that your site can’t have more than 5 million page views per month. If you get more than 5 million pages views per month then you will have to pay for the service but hey… if your site gets more than 5 million page views per month then I think you can afford to pay for this service.

I think that there will be some pretty pissed off Web Analytic Software providers out there.

3 Way Linking – The New Popularity Building Strategy For Your Website

by Les Romhanyi

There has been a lot of talk over the past few months, even more so with the latest Google update, about the value of linking. What types of links are better, which types are still seen as value added to a website. Well if the truth be told, the only people who can tell us are not saying anything. I am speaking of the engineers at Google and the other search engines, the very people who are the one who determine the value of all linking.

According to some people at the various search engine optimization companies, reciprocal links are no longer being considered when determining link popularity for a website. Just like so many of the other theories search engine optimization, outside of the engineering labs, no one really knows for certain. I have read some of the reports that have been issued on this topic and these reports are far from conclusive, offering little more than contradictory examples taken over several days of testing.

So aside from a wait and see what happens next stance what can we do? Rather than adopt a reactive position to this uncertainty I feel that it would be far better to move forward and be proactive by changing my linking strategies. As long as there is any kind of controversy regarding reciprocating links, there really isn’t much point in relying on them to help build link popularity.

Personally, I still place a value in reciprocating links as a valid means of trading traffic and will continue to utilize them however, as more and more misinformation gets spread over the Internet it will become increasingly more difficult to exchange links with quality sites. So what is a webmaster to do now that this style of linking seems to be on its way out? Simple – adapt or disappear off the search engine radar. Well Google’s radar anyway.

For my consultation clients I am going to suggest that they be extremely selective on who they link with now. Spend more time evaluating the potential linking partners. If the site measure up to their standards of web development and the theme of the linking site matches their site in some manner then, go ahead and trade links.

Before they trade links with any site they should make sure that the partner site is placing their link on a page that has some “on topic” content rather than a page that contains just random links. If possible only trade links with sites that employ some form of directory system so that all of the links contained on any given page share a similar theme. I will also be suggesting that they set up their own directory style system broken into categories and every page in each category should contain a topical block of text that ties all potential links together. Setting up their own system like this will make linking with their site more desirable.

Another strategy I will be advising my clients on is the use of 3 way links. For those of you who do not know what three way links are here is a brief, simplistic description: Site A links to Site B, Site B links to Site C, Site C links to Site A. Pretty straight forward eh? The process is pretty straight forward but the application often is not. The only way three way links work is when all the parties involved are honest and are willing to maintain those links.

Recently I tested one of my sites and discovered that approximately 80% of the sites I traded links with were not honoring our agreement. Now I fully expected that there would be some shiftless webmasters out there who would be less than trustworthy but, I never expected the number to be so high.

Although reciprocating linking isn’t too difficult of a task it does require a certain amount of time and effort. To have some unscrupulous webmaster cheat you out of your back link in your reciprocated deal is bad enough but to have one do that to your site in a 3 way link deal is even worse.

You see a 3 way linking deal requires slightly more effort due to the necessity of documenting all of the information regarding this agreement. If you are going to go through all of that effort to set up a three way linking agreement you certainly do not want one of the partners to sour the deal by dropping one of the links without notifying any of the other partners.

The extra work required to establish a successful 3 way linking agreement isn’t too difficult, it is all about record keeping. After you have researched the two sites that you think would make good candidates for your three way link swap, you are going to need to contact them and invite them into the exchange. More than likely you are going to have to lay out the plan and explain to them why a 3 way link deal is good and make sure that they understand that the only way it works is if everybody involved is open, honest and up front about everything.

As part of the research for the 3 way trade you are going to want to make sure that all three sites are in some way related. Not necessarily in direct competition with each other but connected in some way; much like the way a restaurant site would be similar to a hotel site and the hotel site might be similar to a pub site. Pretty simple really as a hotel can contain both a pub or a restaurant, it isn’t too much of a stretch to think that these 3 service based businesses could be related somehow.

Once you have the three sites picked that you would like to trade links with make sure you research them thoroughly. The things you want to be checking for are:

* Page Rank
* IP
* Quality
* Age of the sites
* Current link popularity

Page Rank

When checking Page Rank you are looking to make sure that everybody is of a similar PR. Don’t get greedy and automatically suggest that your site should be linked from the site with the highest PR. In fact it might be a good idea to suggest that the higher PR site should link to the lowest PR site. Doing this may make the deal seem a little sweeter.
IP

It would be best if all 3 sites were on different IP addresses. Sites that are all residing on the same IP may be misconstrued as being part of a link farm strategy. Why take the chance?
Quality

This one should be a no brainer. If the site isn’t of a quality that you would recommend to your friends or family to visit why would you want to risk the credibility of your site by suggesting that other people go to it? Rule of thumb here on quality is this; if you wouldn’t bookmark the site for yourself, don’t link to it.
Age of the Sites

The age of the site is important because of the alleged age delay sandbox effect in Google’s algorithms. If the site is too new then you may have to wait for the site to mature before any weight is given to the out going links from that site. You should try to make sure that the sites you include in your 3 way linking are at least 1 year old or more. No guarantees that sites over a year are going to be mature enough but at least the odds are better.
Current Link Popularity

The reason you will want to check out the current link popularity is more about the investigation into their linking history. Do they currently trade links with sites that may be considered as being from a bad neighborhood. Do they link to gambling, porn or FFA sites? If they do and they are not part of the gambling or porn world and your site isn’t either then DO NOT link to them.

Three ways linking in this manner revisits the days when linking was more natural. This type of linking will demonstrate to the search engines that you value your linking recommendations and therefore the search engines should value them as well. If the search engines trust your site to make these recommendations then there is no way that the applied due diligence will get you in trouble with the search engines.

About the Author
Les Romhanyi, Port Coquitlam, BC. Canada
les@bigjuicemedia.com

Les Romhanyi is an SEO specialist with many years experience placing websites at the top of all major search engines. Big Juice Media is a Sports Betting Marketing company based in Canada.

Hyphens and Domains

A few weeks ago I wanted to run a test on how the various search engines reacted to site architecture styles. Not knowing how the engines would react I wanted to use a throw away domain just in case my tests fell outside of the guidelines. I searched the hundreds of registered domains owned by the company I am with and came across one that was perfect as it also let me test the multiple hyphen issue. I won’t give out the domain but it goes something like this;

Dubya dubya dubya dot keyword hyphen hyphen hyphen keyword dot com

After a few days the new site was indexed by the big three so I went in and checked to see how my tests were working. I am happy to say that in one of the big 3 search engines, all of my tests worked just fine as I was receiving top 10 placements for a goodly portion of my targeted keywords. As far as the indexing goes well, that is a completely different story.

MSN and Yahoo both indexed my site just fine but Google on the other hand sure doesn’t seem to like the spammy use of the hyphens. In fact when using the site:DomainCheck for this site it always seems to return a similarly named site that only uses the one hyphen.

Dubya dubya dubya dot keyword hyphen keyword dot com

Conclusion: MSN doesn’t seem to care about the amount or use of hyphens in the domain. Yahoo will index but at this stage seems to apply some form of penalty. Google seems to be a lot pickier about the placement and amount of hyphens used in the domain. As for the use of hyphens in file names all three seem to be fine with them but I did restrict my search to a max of 4 hyphens used per file names.

To Blog or Not To Blog

For any of you who have been reading my Sportsbook SEO Blog I am sorry for not being able to add anything for the past couple of days. I have been quite busy conducting tests and analyzing the data. I was pleasantly surprised to discover another site conducting a similar test so I have been able to add their data to my own. This has greatly improved the time it would have taken to see some results in Google for my own test. I have expressed my thanks to the company running the parallel test and am waiting to see how they respond to my sincere gratitude.

I am also currently working on another article regarding the latest Google updates. I have made some very interesting observations and am going to share some of them with you in this new article and on this Blog.

Naturally, if you ever have any questions feel free to email me and I will answer them as best I can and as quickly as my schedule permits.

Keywords Meta Tag

It seems like ages ago now but when you think about it it really wasn’t that long ago that the Keywords Meta Tag was an important element in the optimization of any page. This powerful tool was so badly abused that it didn’t take too long for the search engines to discount the value of the keywords Meta tag. Spammers, in their effort to manipulate the search engines, began stuffing non-relevant keywords into the tag thus biting the hand that fed them.

To counter this search engines lowered the value of the tag to the point of almost being an unnecessary element in the HTML document. Did you notice the use of the word ALMOST? The keyword Meta tag still carries a little weight when used properly by some of the engines.

The way to properly use this tag is actually only use words that actually appear in the content of your page. If the words and phrases are used on the page then you should include them in the Meta tag. Don’t use too many as there is a limit to the number that can be used. Select the words that are important to the content of the page and only add them once to the Meta tag. If you’re content changes spend a few minutes to update the keywords Meta tag so that you don’t loose the weight on words that are still active in the content and Meta tag.

Granted that the weight of this Meta tag has greatly diminished over the years but it does still carry some weight and weight is weight. The nice thing about weight is that it is cumulative and the little bit you gain from the keywords Meta tag could mean the difference between showing up on page 1 or page 2 for your keywords/phrases.

10 Marketing Strategies for Sports Betting Sites

by Les Romhanyi

So you have a new sports betting site and you were hoping to compete with the established sports book sites, how do you go about letting the world know the site exists?

In the old days new sports gambling sites would simply just start aggressive Pay Per Click campaigns. With today’s Internet the search engines no longer allow gambling sites to advertise and that includes a ban on search engine PPC. Removing this type of advertising forced the online gambling providers to come up with other ways of increasing their popularity.

There are a number of strategies you can try in order to attract potential members to your sports betting sites.

  1. Optimize your site for higher ranking in the organic searches. This is a tough one seeing as the competition is very steep. Don’t use questionable tactics, just be honest with your SEO and optimize the pages for the content that is actually on each page.
  2. Generate topical content well in advance of the sporting event that you would like to promote. Generally speaking, search engines can take 3 to 12 weeks to find new pages so unless you are really up on how to get the pages indexed quicker, give new pages plenty of time to be discovered by the search engines.
  3. Allow other sites to use your topical content in exchange for a text link back to your site. Doing this allows you to gain extremely valuable one way text links that will help to increase your link popularity. Just make sure you choose the text for that link carefully and the site posting your article maintains credit to you as the writer.
  4. Post articles from other sites. Make sure that the article you post on your site is full of keyword rich text and optimize the page that contains that article for the contents of that article. When done properly this can greatly improve your chances of being found in a search engine for that articles topic.
  5. Add a Forum to your site and create categories that promote the events that your site specializes in. For instance, if your site is based out of Europe you might want to make a bunch of categories based on Soccer such as Soccer Injuries, Soccer Trades & Rumors etc. Doing this will generate keyword rich, topical pages that eventually will be indexed by the search engines. The more active you’re Forum, the greater the chance of creating countless pages that the search engines will love.
  6. Join forums on other sites and actively contribute to them. You see when posting to other forums your signature is added to the bottom of your post. In your signature you have an opportunity to place some text that could be used to promote your site. Also, some forums will allow you to place text links within the signature. Be respectful and do not stuff the signature with too many text links.
  7. Add your site to as many directories as you can. Some directories can take a long time for inclusion, the DMOZ for instance, so you should apply to them as quickly as you can after launching your new sports betting site.
  8. Reciprocating links can be helpful as long as you carefully search out potential linking partners. Make sure that the sites you are linking to are quality sites that you yourself would actually spend time on. A good rule of thumb is this – if you would bookmark the site others would probably bookmark it as well and therefore, the site would be a good site to trade links with.
  9. Offer affiliate programs to other webmasters. If you offer affiliate programs make sure that you actually pay your affiliates in a timely manner. You would be surprised at how many sites actually don’t treat their affiliates very well. Treat the affiliates like the limited partners that they are and that level of respect will more than likely result in your banners and text links gaining better placement on the affiliate’s websites.
  10. Purchase banner space on sports related websites. This can be an expensive proposition so you really need to take care in selecting the sites you want to buy banner space on. Don’t base your decision on Alexa ratings alone as these can easily be skewed. Also be wary of sites stating Hits and Impressions as their verification on traffic. The best stat to base you purchase on is monthly unique visitors and don’t take their word for it, use an independent third party tracker for unbiased results.

Just like everything else in life there are no guarantees but if you adopt some or all of the above mentioned marketing strategies, your site should see improvements over a short period of time.

About the Author
Les Romhanyi, Port Coquitlam, BC. Canada
les@bigjuicemedia.com

Les Romhanyi is an SEO specialist with many years experience placing websites at the top of all major search engines. Big Juice Media is a Sports Betting Marketing company based in Canada.

Reciprocal Linking – Dead or Alive?

I have been reading some articles on the state of reciprocal linking. It seems that some people think that the latest Google update has to do with filtering out artificial linking. A visit to Matt Cutts blog revels that Google is going to be aggressively targeting linking schemes. Whether it is reciprocating links, link farming or purchasing links he didn’t say but it seems to me that moderation in anything one does with their website should be the key.

I have another site that contains approximately 60 pages of links that were all part of a reciprocated linking campaign. Now I can’t say whether or not my site has been affected by this latest update but I can say this, all 50+ pages of links still maintain a PR2 rating. If Google is filtering out those links it doesn’t appear that they are assessing any penalties for these reciprocated links pages as they are all still being indexed and are maintaining their page rank.

So if Google isn’t bestowing any weight to these reciprocated links it would appear that the other search engines still are. The site I am talking about and all of my other sites that participate in reciprocating linking, are all doing quite well for their targeted linking text in the other search engines. To me this says that reciprocal linking my not actually work for Google any more but they seem to be working for Yahoo and MSN still. Until reciprocal linking stops working for all search engines then this type of linking remains viable in my opinion.

MSN Search and You.

As you may or may not know I have been providing SEO services for quite some time now. Although my main focus these days is in the sports betting industry but I have also performed this service for many other industries as well. Hell, I cut my SEO teeth so to speak in the adult entertainment industry. I make no apologize for this work or any other work I did in the past as one website is pretty much the same as another to me. I will add this one point – I never knowingly worked on or would consider working on anything that falls outside of the law, well the laws for the country in which I live anyway.

The reason I brought all of that up is to demonstrate that as far as SEO goes I do not simply take on the safe, easy projects. The gambling and adult industries are among the toughest to gain SERP for in any organic search result. Don’t believe me, go ahead and try.

Given the amount of experience I have with the various search engines I have seen a lot of changes over the years. One of the changes I have been witnessing as of late and not liking are the changes that Google has been making. Over the past 18 months or so, Google has been making some rather bizarre choices in their attempt to fight off spam. Now I applaud the efforts but not the results as the results seem to be focused on fighting the spammers and not on improving the results. Granted, getting rid of the spammers should make the results more relevant but when sites that don’t use spam get caught up in spam net, how is that good?

Another area that Google seems to have lost focus on in their attempt to fight spammers is the alleged age delay sandbox. If you don’t know what that sandbox is I’ll briefly describe it. The alleged age delay sandbox is where a new domain is assessed a penalty that prevents the site from ranking in organic searches for all but the most obscure keywords and phrases. How this is supposed to fight spammers I am not sure seeing as the sandbox is only allegedly supposed to exist. The one thing I do know about this effect is that if you are a new site and you need to have it rank right away, the alleged age delay sandbox isn’t affected when applying for Google’s Adwords. Go figure. Is this another example of how Google is alienating the medium it was developed to serve?

If these things are in fact happening at Google, how long will it take the other search engines to act in an effort to counter these failings? In my opinion not too long. From what I have seen it would appear that MSN search is doing just that.

Recently I had the occasion to create a couple of niche sites that fall in the sports betting market. The sites I made both had newly acquired domain names that were both optimized for highly competitive gambling phrases. I had the sites spidered within days of uploading them to their host and within a matter of days they were ranking very high in MSN for their targeted phrases. Not only did these sites rank well but for the most part, the pages maintain their SERP to date.

Another thing that I did notice was that MSN search was indexing the pages more frequently then they were in the past. No sandbox and increased frequency in indexing tells me something, it tells me that MSN search is looking to fill in a hole that Google has created. I for one think that is a good thing as it may force Google to quit taking the easy roads in their fight against spammers.