Twitter Marketing Essentials

Hey SEO Brainiacs! Today we will be talking about “Twitter Marketing Essentials” which was originally presented by “Tiphereth Gloria” from Social Media Club Sydney.




  • Make sure you use your real name as no one responds to fake accounts – make it as un-spammy as possible.
  • Set up your notifications as direct mail so you can respond quicker.
  • Be sure to include a URL where needed as this is a good backlink to your site i.e a do-follow link.
  • Biography – It’s important to have a bio for your readers or followers.


Important twitter functions


Mentions (@) – When people give you a shout out

Lists – is a way of organizing your followers or the people you follow. Lists are also a good way of getting followers as it shows a potential follower that they are special.

Twitter directories – Add yourself to these directories if you want to be found easier and it is also a good way of finding and engaging any like-minded twitterers you wish to follow or vice versa.

Hash Tags (#) – placing a hash tag before a word hyperlinks the word and turns it into a subject or topic area. A trend happens when people constantly hash tag a particular subject/topic area as this hash tag will appear on the trending section. You can essentially build followers through the subjects people tweet about. By tweeting a trending hash tag, you can essentially increase the chances of your tweet being retweeted if it is share-able.

Advanced search – allows you to find tweeters in a specific location which is great if you are trying to find your local audience for outreach strategies. Another way you can use this function is for keyword research by looking at current trends and what people are searching for. Trendsmap is a useful tool that lets you look at geo-targeted trends.

Twitter advanced search function


Important points


- In the social sphere, content is king so it’s important to keep tweets relevant and fresh.

- The content you share should be about frequency but do not over-do it so tweet at least once a day.

- Customize your tweets to your target audience as “one size does not fit all”.

- Be sure to mine your lists for valuable data.


Well that concludes this post, next we will be talking about “Building an effective Facebook Ad Campaign & Fan page”. Until next time, this is +Jahn Sapanlay signing out.

Social Media Marketing Basics

Hey SEO Brainiacs, today we will be talking about “Social Media Marketing” which was originally presented by Cathie McGinn from Reading Room Australia.


Data Overload


Over load in data


We live in a world with so much information, available to us everywhere and anywhere. Naturally, people are bound to be over-loaded by all this information which in turn leads to shorter attention spans.

So what does this mean for brands? Well they need more personalization – they need to show us how their brand appeals to us. Instead of advertising, they need to aim for brand loyalty and build relationships with their customers.


Privacy is obsolete


In this day and age, privacy is obsolete because there is no longer any separation of your public, private or personal identity. People are connected to everyone everywhere all the time.


Markets are Conversations


Businesses need to think of markets as conversations because we don’t want to hear corporate speak such as what happened in the BP oil spill disaster.


Social Media marketing Strategy in 3 Steps


1. Listen: Social Web Monitoring


Listening in Social media


  • Observe and understand the conversations.
  • Discover the platforms relevant to your audience.
  • Gain insight.
  • Set benchmarks – Know your benchmarks.
  • Metrics – know what success looks like.


Monitor social media by:


  • Brand relevant keywords
  • Social mentions
  • Site analytics
  • Referring sites
  • Track with Google alerts
  • RSS Feeds


2. Engage: Let the data drive you.


  • Engage in conversations on the social web.
  • Add value to your community.
  • Build relationships online.
  • Respond to feedback- If people interact with you then you should respond in a timely manner or as quick as you can.
  • Develop insights from the data.


When things go wrong:


  • Be human and use language that fits the space
  • Set up a framework that will help you manage the risk
  • When you find a potential issue, you need to be quick to respond and do so in the same medium.
  • A bad example of a disaster response was during the BP oil disaster as they communicated to the people in corporate speak and didn’t appeal to the people.

Basically, social media occurs all across the customer journey as people want interaction, a good experience and they don’t care about advertising. The customers own the brand not you!


3. Influence


  • Lead the conversation with useful content.
  • Develop brand advocacy
  • Position your brand at the heart of the community.
  • Drive traffic to you online properties.

It’s not necessarily the loudest voice that gets heard but the most relevant voice. When people talk about your brand, chances are they will link back to you.

Social Media Effectiveness


Measuring social media effectiveness


It’s important to track, measure and improve then rinse and repeat. Some metrics you can use are Klout score which is a measure of how influential you are according to your social media presence, and Google alerts presence which will give you an indicator of how your brand is growing online.


Well that concludes this post, next we will be talking about “twitter marketing essentials”. Until next time, this is +Jahn Sapanlay signing out.

Analytics 101

Hey Hi and Hello Brainiacs, I hope you enjoyed the post about “Landing page Basics“. Today I will be talking about “Analytics 101” which was originally presented by Danny Ng from First Rate.


 What is Web Analytics?


Basically, web analytics is the practice of analyzing the usage of a website in order to demonstrate the value of the site, or ways to improve it. So how does it work exactly? Well, web analytics in a nutshell is when:

1. Users visit your site

2. A Javascript tag collects information about your visitor

3. The Javascript tag sends the information collected to the database servers.

4. The data is then translated into reports.

5. The insights found are actioned on the website (This is where you make decisions about what to do next)

**The web analytics process happens in this order**

Note: Web analytics shows where the website has value and where it needs improvement.


Two Approaches


1. You can do this by analyzing the server log; or

2. You can use the Javascript tag which was explained above to collect information about your visitors and this Javascript tag sends information to the database servers.


The types of packages out there



  1. AWStats
  2. Google Analytics
  3. Yahoo Analytics
  4. Woopra
  5. Piwik
Paid (>$10000 year)
  1. Omniture
  2. Webtrends
  3. Click Tracks
  4. CoreMetrics
  5. Site Intelligence
Paid (<$10000 year)
  1. Clicky
  2. Visitorville
  3. Firestats
  4. Urchin

Important considerations


It’s important to remember that no matter if the analytics package is free or paid, they still have one thing in common i.e. both types still need the resources to translate data to you.

Free packages are not really free because economically they still use resources i.e Time

When your are selecting an analytics package it’s important to align your requirements with what you are getting, that way, you are not getting things you don’t need.

If you are going for an expensive package then you need to take into account the “implementation time” as some of these packages can take long time implement.

**the key is to only pay for what you need**

Which analytics package to use:


To answer this you need to ask yourself:

1. What do you need to measure on your website that will impact the decisions made by your sales, marketing and customer service team?

2. What are your technical resource limitations that may affect your ability for implementation?

3. What kind of reporting do you need?

4. How much are you willing to invest?


What to measure?


What to measure

To determine what to measure, you need to know what your objectives are and from there you can pin-point your KPI’s (Key Performance indicators). Generally, the most common tings to measure are: No. of visitors, Page views, average time on site, bounce rates and conversion rates.


Important questions to ask yourself


As we discussed above, you need to set your objectives first such as:

  1. Are you trying to get leads?
  2. Are you just trying to get views on your website?
  3. Do you want users to convert on a particular page?
  4. What are my key performance indicators (KPI)?

**Basically, you need  to know what you want to measure and take action**


4 Step Framework




  1. Business objectives -  E.g To increase revenue online
  2. Goals – E.g To increase sales or to increase average orders online
  3. KPIs – E.g Revenue ($) or New Customers (#)
  4. Targets – E.g To increase monthly revenue from $15000 to $20000 or to increase average order value from $70 to $100

**Using this framework, you can determine what you need to track and measure.


Identifying Opportunity Keywords


Finding opportunity keywords

Analytics enables you to make data-driven decsions and one good way it can be used is finding high performing keywords. To do this you need to cross reference good keywords from the PPC campaign and utilize them in your organic search campaign. Vice-versa if you find high performing keywords from your organic campaign that are not being utilized in PPC.

Key Takeaways


  1. You need web analytics to make data-driven decisions.
  2. Make sure you only get what you need and be aware of your resource constraints.
  3. Figure out your 4-step framework.
  4. Don’t just analyze the data – refine it and take action!
  5. Always make data-driven decisions.

Well that’s the end for the PPC section SEO Brainiacs, I hope you found this post helpful. The next few posts will be about Social Media. Until next time, this is +Jahn Sapanlay signing out.

Landing Page Basics

Hey SEO Brainiacs I hoped you enjoyed the last post on “Writing and testing Ad copy“. Today’s topic is about “Landing Page Basics” which was originally presented by Lauren Vaccarello from


First impressions are everything


A good first impression is important

Image source: salessmashers(dot)com

We all know that first impressions are very important in life and in Search Engine Marketing, it’s no different. A landing page is essentially your first impression to the searcher. Basically, it is how you introduce yourself to your prospects and you have less than a second to convince your prospect that you are worth their time so make it count.


Defining a clear Path


a foggy path

Image source: jurylaw(dot)typepad(dot)com

It’s important to minimize distractions on the page such as too much flash or CSS,The key is to keep it simple. Before they come to your website, figure out what you want your landing page to do. What are your objectives? Do you just want to create awareness? Or Do you want people to buy something? If this is the case then make sure you include a strong Call to Action (CTA).

***The key is to minimize the confusion by keeping it simple***


Product Page Vs SEM Landing Page


  • Don’t give people options on a landing page because this adds to the distractions and will deter you from objective, whatever it is. Instead, simplify it and minimize the noise.
  • If they are first time users make sure you use clear and simple language. Don’t speak to them like a marketer, speak to them not at them.
  • A page with too much information is no good, instead, keep it at a readable length and speak to them in language that they will understand.



Call to Actions matters


  • Your landing page must have a compelling CTA to get conversions and it’s also a best practice to keep the CTA above the fold.
  • It’s important to test CTA buttons for effectiveness and this can be done through A/B split testing.
  • If your CTA involves them filling out a form and giving you their email address then you need to consider the value you’re giving them in exchange for their email. Ask yourself “Are they getting enough value from giving you their email?”


Limit form fields


No-one likes to fill out long forms that’s why some people do even attempt it. Don’t ask for too much information, think about the perceived value your are giving in exchange for the information they give you. If you aren’t going to mail anything to their physical address then don’t ask for the address; if you aren’t going to call them then don’t ask for their number and so forth.

Impact of shortening forms

  1. For every field you remove, there is an average 3% increase in that chances that they will fill out your form.
  2. They key is to cut out the form fields that you don’t need because you can’t expect to receive every piece of information from a new customer, and let’s face it they probably won’t give it to you anyway.



Keep your promise to the customer

Image source: gimmemyketchup(dot)wordpress(dot)com

  • Deliver on the promises that you make and don’t promise anything you can’t give.
  • Make it easy for your customers to navigate your page, if you promised something on the Ad then make sure that promise is reinforced on the page.
  • Basically, if you promise to meet a certain need then you better do everything you can to meet that promise or you won’t be hearing from them again especially if they’re a new customer.

Top SEO brain tips for PPC


  1. Make sure the page title and copy matches the search query and be sure to assign the right landing page for their search query.
  2. Make it clear for them to convert, minimize the noise and keep things simple.
  3. Only ask for necessary information and don’t ask for anything you don’t need.

Well that’s it for the PPC part, next post I will be writing about “Analytics 101” and stay tuned as the social media part is still to come. Until next time, this is +Jahn Sapanlay signing out.


Writing and Testing Ad Copy

Hey Brainiacs! I hope you enjoyed the last post on “Keyword Selection for PPC“. Today’s topic is about writing and testing Ad copy that will convert in paid search. Before we start, I would like to give credit to Mr Chris Dimmock from  Cogentis Search Marketing who originally presented this.

Important points to consider:


  • The Adwords Ad drives the CTR (Click Through Rate)
  • The CTR is the strongest influencer of Ad Cost and Ad position.
  • The CTR is also the major contributor to Quality Score (QS)
  • Quality score is influenced by keywords and CTR.
  • The CTR is not influenced by the keywords but the Ad itself.

The Quality Score (QS) while influenced by keywords, is actually determined by the Ad Text. That is why it is important to make you Ads as eye-catching as possible while keeping the keywords very relevant to the keyword and landing page. By doing this, users will more likely click on your Ad resulting in a higher CTR.


Components of Quality Score


pie chart of quality score

Image source: 


1. The CTR contributes the largest amount (60%) to the QS which is based the amount of clicks as a measure of relevance (a measure of your Ad Text and it’s relevance to the keyword)

2. The second major contributor is Keyword to Ad Relevancy to Ad Group Relevancy which is 30%.

3. Landing page relevancy (10%) is based on the Keyword to Ad relevancy to Landing page relevance. Google only makes money on the click (when someone clicks the Ad) they don’t care if users buy your product or not so that’s why the landing page is only worth 10%.


Quality score and Ad Rank


To calculate the Ad rank consider this scenario:

The process of calculating Adrank

Formula: Ad rank = Maximum Bid × Quality score

So even if advertiser A is willing to pay more money their Ad might not show because of their low quality score. On the other hand, Advertiser D may have the highest quality score but they also have the lowest bid which will not get them to the number one slot. Now, Advertiser C has a relatively high quality score and a decent bid so they will in turn be ranked number one. However, being in the number one slot doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best Ad as it comes down the most relevant Ad and which one satisfies the users search query.


Quality score, Ad Rank and Actual CPC


To calculate the Actual CPC consider this scenario:

The process of calculating Actual CPC

Formula: Adrank of Ad below ÷ your Quality Score

So to get the Actual CPC of Advertiser A use the Adrank figure from Advertiser B and divide that number by Advertiser A’s QS.

Advertiser A actual CPC = 24 ÷ 10 = $2.40

And repeat the same process to get the actual CPC for B

Adveriser B actual CPC = 12 ÷ 6 = $2


Writing Adwords Copy



  • Write a generic Ad for all your keywords.
  • Dump all your Ads into one Ad group
  • Include keywords in your Ad but don’t keyword stuff. Instead separate them into different Ad Groups.

Structure is critical – It is important to separate your Ad Groups because of the Display network crashes then you don’t want it to affect your the Ad groups in Search.

Make sure:

  • You use a CTA (Call To Action)
  • Use proper spelling, grammar (If you do this correctly then you can use longer headlines)
  • If you want to use a phone number in your Ad then make sure you only do so on mobile ads as your CTR will decrease if you use them on normal Ads.
  • Aim to get a 5% CTR within the top 3 and you can use longer headlines.
  • Use A/B Split testing to test advertising effectiveness.

PPC and SEO Working together


Basically, it’s all about getting as much real estate as you can on the page, think of it like playing monopoly and trying buy out as much property as you can so your customers land on your ad (property). The more indexed pages you have on the SERP Page the better for you. Paid Ads don’t affect your organic listings but will affect the amount of traffic driven to your site which is in fact crucial to SEO.

SEO Brain Tips for PPC


  1. Get you CTR to 5% and correct your grammar and you be able to use more than 35 characters.
  2. To maximise Ad rank, aim to get your quality score to ≥7
  3. Always test your Ad and keep testing.

Well that’s it for this week, next topic is about “Landing page Basics” stay tuned. Until next time, this is +Jahn Sapanlay signing out.



Keyword selection for PPC

Hey Brainiacs, I hope you enjoyed the last post on PPC 101. Today’s topic is about keyword selection for PPC which was originally presented by Mr Guy Wayland from e-Channel Search.

Plan first


The importance of planing your campaign



It’s important to plan your campaign first as the structure of the campaign is dependent upon:

1. Your business view – what do you want to achieve from the campaign? Conversions, branding etc.

2. The searcher’s view – Find out what they are really searching for.


Fig.1 – The intent of the business and searcher

The intent of the business and the searcher



Fig.2 Types of keywords in accordance to commitment level

Types of keywords in accordance to commitment level


Think about what you want to achieve in the campaign and plan your goals accordingly.


Two sources of relevance


Consumer Relevance – is how your product or service meets the customer’s needs or search intent. Basically, the keyword must match the Ad and the landing page must match the keyword. Consumers won’t be worried about the price as much if it is what they are looking for.

Relational Relevance – This relates to how the Ad creative matches the matter/keyword.

Quality score


The (QS) Quality score/Quality index is basically a means to which a search engine uses to measure determine the actual CPC (Cost-Per-Click). Basically it measures the relevancy between three elements, the given Ad, the keyword, and the target landing page.

Factors that determine Quality Score:

  • Keyword relevance
  • Ad relevance
  • Landing page relevance
  • Click Through Rate (CTR)
  • History



Keyword selection is just one part of the equation if you wish to reach the right audience as you also need to focus on your Ad placement to reach the right customers. The are two parts of prospecting:

1. Keyword research


  • Which needs to have Head terms (broad) and Long-tail (deep).
  • Be mindful of Quality Score at all times or you will be wasting your money.
  • Make sure you use negative keywords (think about what your won’t be searching for)
  • Use Geographical targeting – do it extensively.
  • Tailor your content network and eliminate the places where you don’t want your Ad to appear on.

2. Finding the motivation behind their search


Understanding human behaviour


If you don’t make the offer clear on the intent you will lose them so it is important to know what motivates them in the first place. Think about your potential customers, what they are like, what characteristics they have etc.


Fig.3  - Know your customer

Characteristics of your customers



There are three elements your Ad should have:

1. Star – Your headline should capture their attention and get them pause long enough to look at your Ad. Here you need to focus on the keyword that you can build into an attention-grabbing headline. The headlines are more important the body copy.

2. Chain – A series of facts that will convert their attention to sustained interest i.e they read your Ad. Here you need to find out why they are using that particular keyword.

3. Hook – Something that will convert their sustained interest into an action which gets them click on your ad. People will see numbers clearer than words (50% off is more eye-catching than half-price). Hook them in by trying to create a sense of urgency.

Top tips


  1. Test the keywords on a different campaign.
  2. It’s important to understand how they are searching.
  3. Make it your aim to fulfill their need or search query.
  4. Put a guarantee on your ad as it will reinforce the ad.
  5. Grab their attention as people don’t always click on the first one, they click on the ad that grabs their attention.
  6. Keep it short and sweet – keep the keywords minimal.
  7. Remember that it’s better to have more Ads with less keywords than less ads with more keywords.


Well that concludes this topic, the next post will about Writing and Testing Ad Copy. If you like this post then stay tuned by following us on twitter. Until next time, this is +Jahn Sapanlay signing out.

PPC 101 – Google Adwords Setup

Hey Brainiacs, I hope you enjoyed the last post on the basics of Local search. Every SEO in training should know the basics of PPC (Pay Per Click) so it’s only fitting that we talk about it. For today’s topic we will be going through the process of setting up an account with Google Adwords. Also I would like to give credit to Mr Monte Huesbsch from Aussieweb who originally presented this.


location of Ads in Google Adwords

Image source:


Things to think about before you begin


  • 95% of people don’t go past the first page.
  • 85% don’t scroll down (anything below the fold).
  • It’s important to trial and experiment with PPC.
  • Click inflation does exist as “bidding” will eventually go up.
  • The Google display network (GDN) has gone up 15% in Australia.

Adwords Beginners Guide


The adwords beginners guide is an excellent resource to learn about PPC. Be sure to go through the downloadable PDF file entitled “Growing your business with Adwords” which is located on that same link.
After you have gone through this guide all you need to do is create an account and have a minimun of $5 to get started. However, make sure your credit card has a limit because you will regret it if you don’t. There have been instances where people have had limitless credit cards which ended up being maxed out. Make NO mistake, whatever your credit limit is, Google will see that it’s eventually spent.

Create a Campaign


Creating a campaign screenshot

Image source:


Important points to consider:

  • Make sure you specify an audience (You can also use Geo-Targeting)
  • Don’t forget to set a budget for the campaign because Google will spend your credit limit.
  • Remember that mobile searchers will naturally use shorter terms in search as most of them are time-poor and they will want things a lot quicker.


Bad Keywords


Identifying under-performing keywords can be quite tricky, however, if you have keywords that are getting good impressions and not good CTR (Click-Through-Rate) then this can be identified your bad keywords. After you have identified these bad keywords make sure you keep them in a separate Ad Group so as not to affect your good keywords.


Top tips


  • Set up a gmail account just for the campaign you are running due the reason that if the client wishes to see the campaign they will need the email account you used; and if it’s a personal account with confidential information then it won’t be good. So set up a separate gmail account.
  • It is best practice to set up a separate campaign for Mobile, Search and GDN because if something bad happens to one of them then it won’t affect the other one.
  • Limit the number of keywords to about 20 in each Adgroup.
  • Generally 2-3 word search terms will get more conversions.
  • Make sure you include Negative Keywords such as: DIY, Cheap, Free etc.
  • PPC is all about refinement and testing as you will not get the best result the first time so keep testing.
  • Make sure you have Google analytics on your website so you can link it to Google Adwords. By doing this you can see bounce rates, sales etc.
Well that’s about it, next post will be about “keyword selection for PPC” so stay tuned. Also for more useful guides visit the tutorial videos on youtube. Until next time, this is +Jahn Sapanlay signing out.

The Basics of Local Search

Hey Brainiacs! Last time we talked about link building basics part two which I hope you all enjoyed. Today’s topic is Local Search which was originally presented by Kate Gamble from Bruce Clay.


The Importance of Local Search


So why is local search important?  Well according to research conducted by Forrester research, nearly 50% of connections to the internet are from phones and 2.3 billion searches per month is projected for 2011. Local search is also very important for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to gain a competitive edge against local businesses around the area and also some of the larger companies.

The Evolving SERP Page



They say that if your not in the top 3 then your’re no where (based on the eye tracking above).


Why Target Local?


Well in the US alone, mobile search accounts for 30-40% while in Australia it’s 20%, so if your not optimizing for local search then you’ll be losing a lot of traffic to your website. Also, there is a higher chance to achieve conversions (i.e. buying your product) if you target local terms. Users can see the amount of mobile traffic through Google analytics.


Key Factors in Algorithms


key factors


Traditionally, a page will rank in accordance to the requirements of the search engine algorithm which is generally dependent on links, copy and site speed. However, the local search algorithm is a bit different as it is dependent upon three factors:

1. Relevance – Make sure your keywords are relevant as well as your landing pages.

2. Distance – Refers to the location of your business from the pin markers on the map, the closer you are to the pin the higher you will rank.

3. Prominence online – Basically, this refers to citations which are mentions of your business with you phone number and address; the more citations you get on high authority sites the better for you.


Google Places




Basically, this (above) is what your business will look like if you’ve submitted it to Google Places, of course it won’t be at the top as soon as you submit it like it is in the picture so that’s where the hard work begins.

There are some important SEO Tips you need to know when your submitting your business on Google places such as:

  • Don’t spam the business name with keywords, this is a big no-no, use your actual business name (which is most like your brand name) and your main keyword you wish to target.
  • Make sure you utilize the categories section and actually select all 5 categories as this will help you rank more diversely.
  • Before you upload the image files, make sure you rename them properly (give a proper description of the image).
  • Optimize your videos, for keywords in the title. Check out the SEO Brain YouTube Page for more clues.
  • Utilize the coupons section as this will give your target audience an incentive to visit your site.
  • Utilize Google Tags.
See the example below..
Google places submission process for



Example of local reviews on Google places

Ok the top SEO tips for reviews are:

  1. Get reviews from people with a sphere of influence (Authoritative people in you niche). This is harder than it looks as it involves building a relationship with that person which you can do through social media (Facebook/twitter). However, it will be worth the effort as a good review from an authoritative person will surely encourage his/her followers to believe in that review.
  2. Anonymous reviews will carry less weight as these users can be seen as spammers.
  3. Basically, it’s not the number of reviews that count but the amount of positive reviews you get. Also a bad review may not be as bad as you think, it depends on how bad it is. Perhaps you can reply to that review and see if anything can be done to rectify it. Remember, customers want to heard and whether you care about them enough to at least reply.
  4. Do some competitive analysis on your main competitors and find out where they are getting their reviews.
List of review sites:




This is what citations look like


As I mentioned before citations are mentions of your business, essentially they are web signals. The more of them you can obtain from high authority sites the better your page will rank. Here are some sites to target for Australian citations:



Facebook Places


Example of a Facebook places listing

Facebook places is another element you should incorporate into your local search strategy so claim you place. The steps are pretty straight-forward and after you verify your listing create some deals for people who check in.


Local Search Top SEO Tips


  1. Obtaining citations are important as well as local links.
  2. Proximity is key, the closer you business to the Google pin marker the higher you will rank.
  3. Target high authority people with a sphere of influence and get them to link to you.
  4. Keep traditional SEO practices in mind.
Well that about wraps it up for loca search basics, I hope you enjoy it. Next post, I will be diving into the world of (PPC) Paid search focusing on a “how to session”. Until next time, this is +Jahn Sapanlay signing out. Bye for now.


Link Building Basics Part two

Hey Brainiacs, I hope you enjoyed the last post on link building basics part one. Today’s topics is a little more evil as we explore Grey and Black hat link building. Again I would to give credit to Mr Michael Jones from Steak Digital who originally presented this.


 Grey Hat link building (OK)

Gandalf the Grey

Image source:

Basically, Grey hat SEO is still okay but there has been a lot of discussion about whether it is a mixture of more black hat tactics than white hat or vice versa. Everybody has there own opinions on which side of the spectrum grey hat leans towards so it’s debateable. Some examples are:


Company Link Network

Basically this involves buying a collection of domains and linking them together.

example of a company link network

Image source:


  • Full control over the anchor text used.
  • Links are easily attainable and link popularity can improve quite rapidly.


  • The websites can be detected as a content farm or link network by the IP address.
  • This practice can lead to the whole network being banned not just the main website.


Link Exchanges (a.k.a link request)

example of a link exchange

Image source:


  • It’s free.
  • Possibility of receiving links from similar industries.


  • Search engines have de-valued this practice.
  • Requires an implementation of links on your own website.
  • Links can disappear or move from the original linking page.


  • If you are going to do this then you need to make sure that the link exchange provider is indexed in Google or else there is no point.


Forum posting

Example of link building in a forum post


  • Links are easily attainable.
  • Free.


  • Due to over-spamming in the past, links on forums are usually strapped with a “no-follow” attribute.
  • Can be time-consuming as the post must be read, followed and the response must be relevant and useful.
  • Because posts are archived, they are either deleted or simply unreachable to search engines.


  • Target relevant forums for the links you are building.
  • Target relevant discussions or conversations for building your links.
  • By keeping your posts relevant and useful, it will make look more natural because it looks like you are genuinely trying to solve the user’s problem.
  • The key is to make it look as natural as possible.


Blog commenting

Example of a blog comment


  • Free.
  • Easy way of building links.
  • Can assist in building relationships.


  • Due to spamming issues, these links are usually strapped with a “no-follow” attribute.
  • These links are low quality because they are easy to build and a common source of spam.
  • Time spent reading and following the discussion vs the quality of the link you are getting in return.


  • Provide some quality content that complements the blog post.
  • Don’t comment on a blog that appears to be over-spammed.


Black Hat link building (BAD)

black hat seo

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Paid links

example of paid links


  • Links can be obtained from very high PR websites.
  • Buyer’s have a choice of the anchor text used.


  • High cost incurred.
  • This practice is heavily frowned upon as it can get your website banned.
  • Search engines can detect paid links which will lead to your site being de-valued.
  • Paid links are normally placed in the lowest value places of the page such as the sidebar and footer. They are rarely placed in the body of the content where it counts the most.
  • Paid links look unnatural and can be easily identified.


  • Avoid getting paid links as they won’t benefit you in the long-run.


Paid link networks

These are sites that sell links to you.


  • Links can be obtained from very high PR websites.
  • Buyer’s have a choice of the anchor text used.
  • The entire buy/sell process is handled by link programs.


  • Very high cost incurrred.
  • This practice is heavily frowned upon as it can get your website banned.
  • There have been many link networks detected in the past which have been banned as a result.
  • Paid links are normally placed in the lowest value places of the page such as the sidebar and footer. They are rarely placed in the body of the content where it counts the most.


  • If you care about the well-being of your site then stay away from these!


Well SEO Brainiacs, that about wraps up the link building basics topic I hope you all enjoyed it. The next topic will be on Local SEO so until next time. Until next time, this is +Jahn Sapanlay signing out. Bye for now.

Link Building Basics Part one

Hey Brainiacs welcome to another instalment of the SMX Sydney bootcamp and I hope you enjoyed the last post on content creation for search. I know you have all been patiently waiting so today’s topic will be (drum roll) link building. OK let’s get started, to begin I would like to give credit to Mr Michael Jones who originally presented this.


What is link building?

Basically it is the process of increasing the number of quality links to the main pages of your website. The anatomy of a link looks like this:

structure of a link
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Why do we need links? Well according to the Search engine ranking factors 2011, link building contributes 42% of the search engine ranking algorithm. More specifically, that 42% is divided into 21% for page-level which refers to getting a link on a specific page not the home page. At the same time, getting a domain-level link which is the home page or index page makes up the other 21%.


Key considerations

things to consider

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  • Websites that are more important, popular or have higher authority will give you higher value links.
  • Stay away from bad neighbourhood websites as they will lower a pages ability to rank well and will devalue links.
  • Make your link look as natural as possible.
  • Unique domains are important as the links you get from different websites will matter more than the links you get from a previous site linking to you. Moreover, it’s better to get a 100 links from different websites than getting 200 links from the same website. So try to diversify links from different websites not just one.
  • Paid links are commonly found in the side bar or footer. Having said that, you should aim to put your link in the body of the content as this will have a higher value. In addition, a link is valued even higher if it is placed at the top of the content.
  • Always aim to get one-way links and avoid getting reciprocal links.
  • Stay relevant, focus on sites that are relevant to your particular website.
  • Get links around your major keywords (the top keywords you wish to rank for)


Key recommendations

these recommendations are key
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  • Diversify your links by not using the same anchor text all the time, instead use variations of it. Using the same keyword phrase for all your links will make it look un-natural.
  • Build links to different pages of your website (the internal pages) not just your homepage.
  • Diversify your link sources by getting links from different sources like a blog post, article directories, social media, forums etc.
  • Link building is a continuous and consistent process as building a high number of links in a short amount of time will appear un-natural.
  • Be consistent and build links evenly as this looks more natural in Google’s eyes.
  • Avoid bad neighbourhoods and use your best judgment; if you think a page is really spammy with lots of keyword stuffing everywhere then don’t get a link from it.


Benchmark and Regular reporting

Web Ceo is a good tool for this as it runs reports in the anchor text, link type, link source, number of links and many others. Additionally, it’s a good way to analyze where your strengths lie and also will identify your potential weaknesses.

web ceo layout

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White Hat link building (Good)

White hat is like being a light Jedi

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As explained back in my post about SEM Basics, white hat link building is the legitimate way i.e it’s the correct way. Now, there are many ways and platforms you can utilize for white hat link building such as:

Company Blog

Company blog example

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  • A company blog is a good way to cover any extra keywords you want to target on you website.
  • It’s a good way to link bait as it compels other websites to link.
  • Company blogs are good platforms for the regular creation of new links.
  • They allow you to have full control over the anchor text used.


  • They require a lot of time and maintenance


  • Make sure it’s interesting and fresh.
  • Make sure you update it regularly.


Guest Blog posts

Guest bloging example

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  • They allow you capitalize on the popularity of the blog so use them to get more exposure to your website.
  • It’s an excellent branding opportunity.


  • There are some constraints on your writing style and the anchor text you can use.


Paid Blog posts

Similar to guest posting aside from one being paid while the other is free.


  • Again they are excellent branding opportunities because of the blog’s popularity and authority.
  • Links are from high quality and PR websites.


  • There are also restrictions on writing style and anchor text.
  • It can be very costly so it is advisable to maximize your branding opportunity by include a call to action (CTA).


Social Media

Social networking platforms

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According to Matt Cutts, Social media is now used as a metric to rank for a website.


  • It’s a form of word-of-mouth marketing which as you know is the most powerful method marketing.
  • It’s also an instant source of links and traffic.


  • It’s true that the major social media platforms are free of charge but they do cost time and require a lot of maintenance.
  • Requires a large friends list or following to be effective.


  • It’s easy to create links but don’t spam it.


Social Bookmarking

Various social bookmarking sites

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Examples include: Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon and many more.


  • This is also an instant source of links and traffic.
  • It’s a great way to engage your audience with a high viewership.


  • The links you share need to be valuable to the reader.
  • Requires a lot of maintenance and engagement.


  • You should integrate social bookmarking elements into your website such as Digg buttons.



how a wikipage looks

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  • These have high traffic and high PR and there is also a possibility of receiving traffic from these websites.
  • These websites are extremely high quality.


  • You have limited control over the anchor text you can use plus you can’t make it promotional. 
  • Links are no-followed.


Article Syndication

Ezine articles

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  • Links originate from high page rank and quality websites.
  • Little cost involved and the submission process is quite quick.


  • The time and cost of content creation.
  • Constraints on anchor text and writing style.


Press release syndication

PR web

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  • These websites have high PR and are high quality.
  • Low cost and quick submission process


  • Negative press can push down your rankings
  • The time and cost of content creation.


Directory submissions

Directory categories

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  • Links are easily attainable.
  • Many directories exist for you to submit your link.
  • Free or little cost.


  • They are still useful but the value of the link is low.
  • The review process can be long.


Local directories

hotfrog listing

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  • Getting links here will increase your chances of ranking on Google maps.
  • Links are easily attainable as they are also free of charge.


  • Listings are only targeted to a specific Geo-graphical area.
  • Constraints on the amount of local directories in targeted country.


Well, that’s all we have this part of our link building basics installment. Next week, I will talk about the darkish grey side of link building so stay tuned. Until next time, this is +Jahn Sapanlay signing out. Bye for now.