Today I continue my interview with Aaron Wall – author of SEO Book. Also read Part I of my interview with Aaron Wall.
What’s the best link building strategy you ever used?
Creating free software and giving it away. It is unreal how many thousands of high quality links you can get from producing free software. One of my new Google Gadgets is about a month old and already gets over 30,000 weekly page views. I also love awards programs and interviewing others.
If you had to identify 3 important SEO tips that all bloggers should know and implement – what would they be?
Is it ok if I do 5?
- Attribution is important. Linking to popular bloggers and other sources is a way of getting their attention. Its like saying hey I just talked about you, come see what I said. Many will ignore you, but it only takes a couple good ones liking you for your blog to spread like a weed.
- Make sure your content is formatted such that it is easy to read. Use headings and sub-headers, bulleted lists, spread things out, etc. Ultimately you need people to read and trust your work for search engines to want to trust it. Search engines follow what people do.
- Make sure your page titles are unique on a per post level with the unique part of the title element at the far left of the page title. This helps improve rankings and makes people more likely to click on your listing when you do rank. Descriptive enticing headlines will pull more clicks than boring and bland ones.
- Don’t ignore internal navigation. Where possible, allow some of your categories to drive your keyword strategy. Some of your categories should be well aligned with some of your keywords. Create a top hits or featured posts section that makes it easy to find your best content. Also link back to your older posts in some of your newer posts to alert new readers to the best related posts in your archives and help search engines understand which pages are most important.
- If many people are writing about the same thing you are, try to write about something else or try to write about it from a different perspective such that people want to keep paying attention to you. Don’t be afraid of being yourself. Often times our flaws are more interesting than what we are allegedly good at.
What are the biggest mistakes that you see bloggers making in SEO?
I don’t think this mistake is specific to bloggers, but is a general web thing. You can sometimes see a piece of garbage website ranking well, or see a site worse than yours doing better than you are. But you can’t beat people by following them to wherever they currently are. At one point in time some of those sites were some of the better sites on the market. If they launched a similar site today they would be nowhere. And some of the sites are in cash out mode, publishing garbage spam where something good once ranked.
Don’t believe that just by following anyone’s guidelines or doing exactly what other sites are doing that you are going to rank well. You really need to leverage your own knowledge and personality to create a brand that others can evangelize and spread.
Is Page Rank important any more?
Keep in mind that toolbar PageRank is perpetually outdated and measured on a rough logarithmic scale, but yes real PageRank is important. The reason why is that for any given amount of link equity you can only get so many pages indexed. The more link authority you have the deeper search engines will crawl through your site.
How is blogging important to your overall business?
It is huge. Where others are buying $5,000 booths at conferences and spending $500 a day on AdWords my marketing spend is next to nothing because I get many sales from people talking about me. Plus blogging got me media exposure which makes it easier to get more media exposure down the road. I was a no name SEO with one popular article before I started SEO Book, but now I have thousands of subscribers and thousands of customers. The single most important part of my business right now is blogging.
I talk to many bloggers who want to launch an e-book – what have you learned that could help them from your experience in launching SEO book?
I actually wrote a 9 page blog post offering a bunch of tips on this topic.
At the core it helps to have a strong name, keep the site clean, put your offer inline with the content, give a way a ton of value, give away review copies and just keep pushing on the public relations front.
If you are in a competitive marketplace you need people talking about you everyday. If you find a smaller uncompetitive niche then you might even be able to get away with hiring a freelance writer and having them do the writing and marketing. You can also test markets before you create your products by creating a PPC offer and promising a book as collateral for their feedback. Use their feedback to estimate demand and target pricing.
Seeing how quickly Google grabbed control of video and how aggressively they are pushing it I am not convinced that ebooks are a sustainable long term model that will still work in 5 or 10 years. Google and Amazon are both wheeling and dealing to get access to the catalogs of major publishing houses to sell their books online as ebooks. When those books are available at $8 it gets much harder to charge $80 for an ebook. I think it is better to sell a product as a service with recurring revenues if possible. Include video and other stuff as well. And the reason the web is great is because it is interactive. Most eooks generally are not. ;)
What SEO resources and blogs do you read?
I probably read about 100 different blogs. My favorites are ones that are published less frequently, but with deeply insightful posts, like:
As well as ones that usually have something unique, like:
I also stop by many of the old mainstays like Webmasterworld.com and Searchengineland.com
Thanks to Aaron Wall for his time on this interview.
Aaron has been most generous with me personally over the years and both SEO Book and personal advice at different times have added significantly to my own earnings from blogging.
I commend him and his resources to you as a great source of knowledge when it comes to SEO.
This series has been extremely helpful. I have printed out copies to highlight and re-read. It is exactly this type of thorough no hype information, that keeps problogger THE premium source of information.
But I still like the “Bloggers Headquarters” type articles… :)
Loved the first part, going to read this part now ;)
Its good thing he is coming here to the Philippines this coming October for the Search Engine Marketing Conference in the Philippines (SEMCON 2007) to share more tips on Search Engine Marketing.
Interesting comments about the Pagerank – I have never heard it explained that way before. I think from a website perspective, we become numb to certain ranking methods and feel we need to move onto the next one. At the end of the day, how deeply the robots crawl your sites is very important.
Thanks for this interview.
Am I supposed to understand that the PageRank shown on Google toolbar isn’t to be trusted? In that case, how can I analyze how important my webpage might be, in the eyes of search engines?
I always try to make my content interesting who wants to read a big block of text, I also try to make the content very easy to skim read.
I have started to incorporate video tips on my site, to vary the content on the site.
Overall really good article with some good ideas to work on will consider buying the book.
Smart Tips for Smart Living
This interview is very helpful for a new blogger like me who is concentrating almost exclusively on content right now, but wants to pick up some SEO concepts and tips along the way. Thanks for the great information as usual.
Great Read! Aaron is always helpful and know’s his SEO Stuff!
I felt good that few tips that I am already implementing few of the tips which Wall put forward in his interview but yeah this interview was too damn necessary.
Thanks a ton Darren…
You are always unique as usual!
I found this 2-part interview to be very helpful. While some of the tips weren’t new, it helps to hear them reinforced by a variety of subject matter experts!
Very helpful interview. I am following the 5 tips he gave me, so thats good.
Those 5 tips are also very simple too.
Before I didn’t know what SEO is.. now I am learning about SEO thingy… This interview is very useful. Thanks!
This is wonderful stuff! Great work Darren and Aaron! *=)
Tip number 5 is a great observation. It’s always good to be somehow different and therefore attract more attention.
Same here – I found myself saying “Whew! That’s how I do it.” a few times during the interview. Especially with Aaron’s suggestion of placing unique title info to the far left.
Nice work Aaron and Darren! Thanks for the rich advice!
Another great post – I liked this better than the last.
I stumbled and dugg the post — and I added it to reddit as well.
My reddit karma is not high tho — can some other readers add it and mark it up as well? Otherwise it may not have the legs it needs.
try 588 like i do…
Very nice information. SEO is very important for our website so that user will be able to reach our website.
I am still studying things about SEO and hope i will find something new.
This is definitely a must-read for all bloggers wanting to increase visibility on the net..thanks! Great post!
The eBook that influenced me about SEO is “Google Secrets by Dan Sisson”. This book and a Aaron’s are the only guides you need. =)
Lindsay – thanks for that feedback – appreciate it. The no ‘hype information’ style is what I’m hoping to convey so I’m happy to hear it is coming across that way.
Alfredo – didn’t realize Aaron was hitting the phillippines – he’ll have a great time (as did I a few years back when I visited).
Shayon – the way I understand page rank is that it’s a good indicator of how Google might see your site – but that it’s not necessarily current – ie the page rank that you see in your toolbar is probably what Google saw your rank as being a while back. It’s not that it’s not to be trusted – it is a good indication but it’s not everything!
Kevin – thanks for the bookmarking
KantonFC – thanks for that tip – will check out Dan’s one too
okay, so what you wish to convey is that the google’s pagerank is a bit stale. Okay, that point is taken. Normally when I try to analyze the importance of my webpage on the net, I mostly rely on the pagerank, my readers’ count and technorati authority score. Although I’ve heard a lot about alexa, I ain’t sure how good it is. What’s your opinion, may I ask?
>Am I supposed to understand that the PageRank shown on Google toolbar isn’t to be trusted?
It is inaccurate for new pages but tends to be more accurate for older pages. I think you can tell how important a page is based on a variety of factors outside of PageRank
– how well integrated a page is into a site
– how often you see it referenced elsewhere
– how important and unique a page feels
– do link research using Yahoo! or MSN tools (note that MSN tools are currently not working, but they are private beta testing some sweet tools at the moment)
I wouldn’t trust Alexa stats that much because there is too much of a bias toward webmaster related sites. If you do look at stats like Alexa try to triangulate them against Compete.com stats and Quantcast stats to confirm the data.
I’m curious — how important of a factor is the domain name in the SEO of a site?
With most generic domain names already taken in the readily recognized .com, .net., .info, etc. realm, what importance do you place on the domain name in SEO?
For example, there are the .pro, .md and lots of other country-based and other more obscure extensions — that, while they are more expensive and require some hurtles to overcome to acquire, they appear to offer access to generic word domain names that have been long-since taken for .com. Would it be better–in terms of SEO–to have a generic word domain name like loans.pro or influenza.md, or not worry about the domain name not being available in .com or .net and relying upon SEO in the content?
I have some comment about Aaron Wall…. I know he’s a SEO but somebody is ruining or destroying his reputation…
Some SEO Guru’s whatever are trying to say that his book is misleading some SEOs ‘coz it is full of misinformation… My point is how come this SEO guru is telling that kind of comments… It is posted in some forums…
But I still say that Aaron Wall’s books really a great help for SEO Specialist out there…
A great list of links and advice. I have one part down pat, and that is being my self. I lost everything I owned during Hurricane Katrina and was almost killed. After that day, my life was changed forever. I plan to incorporate your ideas and recommendations into my blog combined with my unique way of fostering blog friendships. I have many blogs to read and many things to learn! I have learned a lot just today. Thank you for coming by my blog earlier and having such a beneficial discussion with me. I also subscribed to your blog and I’ll certainly be no stranger here. Thanks Darren, you have helped steer me in some new directions on my endless path of blogging wisdom:)
Great article and interview. Wonderful list of links as well.
these interviews are providing a huge amount of help to me as a new blogger, thanks darren!
I am hoping that this great guy will come over to the Philippines this October just to give us here a little of his tricks and words of wisdom. We all are looking forward to his coming.
Nice interview and a lot of good tips.
After just visiting SEOBook using free keywords tools. Now, I see the face of owner. I really love your stuff, Aaron..!!
Thanks for the great tips! It’s great to learn from the experts!
Blogging is such a powerful form of social media and a great tool for businesses. I am from VA and we recently saw what an impact bloggers can have. Our VA legislators slipped in a bill that normally would have been slid under the rug but with the power of blogs and viral marketing many legislators wished they had voted against it!
Thanks again and I look forward to your helpful content!
Thanks for this great interview, it is always a pleasure to read more and more SEO experts what they have to say.
Ive read his SEO Book a while back and he deffantly has good tips to share and is a very smart man.
I’ve bought and read the book. However my problem is to find the right sites for the European market. Many of the tools and sites described are often mainly used in the united states and focus on American users. In Europe we have a lot of clones but it’s quite hard to find the right ones. It’s much more fragmented and the blogosphere is much smaller.
Great book nonetheless! (some of the tools actually did help me to find local sites I needed)
I tend to stay away from the repurposed country level codes (like .pro) for fear of building a business on something that is going to get repurposed again in a different way. Who wants to invest in something that might fail and/or get taken away even if you do a great job of marketing?
If I served a local market, I would gladly buy the real local domain (.ca, .de, .co.uk, etc).
Domains have 3 big effects on SEO
credibility – it is easier to trust a report about the credit card industry from credit cards.com than say from applyonlinefreecreditnow.info
keywords in anchor text – if your name contains your keywords then some people will link to your site with keywords in the anchor text
exact match of keywords – if you are creditcards.com then it may be fairly easy for you to rank for credit cards in Google (at least relative to not having a matching name). this bonus does not exist for credit-cards.com
>Some SEO Guru’s whatever are trying to say that his book is misleading some SEOs ‘coz it is full of misinformation…
Seo is a field full of misinformation. You can’t be as luck and successful as I have been without someone less successful trying to beat you down for it.
1) I doubt that I would read a 9 page post.
2) I am not convinced that working to conform to all the details of “good” SEO (which changes all the time) will pay. In other words, as a hobbiest, I think that if I spend time conforming to all the details of SEO, I will end up working for pennies per hour. I hear of bloggers making $12,000 per month, but how much time in total have they spent working for that money (from the very beginnings of web-site development and onwards), and how much of their income is derived from the “benevolent” clicks of friends and fellow salesmen? In fact, how many of these top bloggers are actually salesmen who have already spent years (thousands of hours) developing their network of contacts and “friends”?
Having a sales network of contacts and friends who reciprocate by advertising your web site and visiting your web site, may be far more important than SEO (and all that hype).
No doubt. Aaron’s SEO Book helps lot in doing Search Engine Optimization. And this interview clears many factors also. Thanks :)
I think that the best link baiting that I have seen lately is over at Take My Tech, where the author is giving away his tech related stuff. He is generating a lot of incoming links for his giveaway, but I wonder what he might do with the domain after giving the stuff away?
You can read what I think he’ll do at SEO Link Baiting – Give Stuff Away.
I really love to read a seo book by aaron wall. I’d like to learn from his book..
Loads of interesting questions answered in this article. Cheers for sharing.