Is It a Good Idea to Pay for Website Links?

If you want your website to be higher up in the search engine rankings, you will need to have good back links. One option that you may think about is simply to pay for the links. However, you need to be careful as there are both good and bad ways to go about paying for links. The real question is: should you do it all?

Buying links indiscriminately, just for the sake of having the links built, is a bad way to go about getting links. Using this method, it is possible for you to be penalised by the search engines causing a massive drop in your rankings. There are a great deal of SEO companies that are still using this bad “link farm” method to create back links. Nowadays, this method will not get the desired results in the search engines. Google’s new algorithms have advanced to a stage where they recognise these bad links. If this method is used, it is likely that your website will receive a penalty and in order to get this corrected, you will need to disavow your links by going through Google Webmaster Tools; this can be a lot of trouble.

Another poor way to purchase links is through the use of “link swaps.” These pages are located on websites and are hidden from the public’s view, but they are crawlable by the search engines. Usually, these pages consist of just long lists of links, which have been traded for a similar page of links on a different website. As stated before, Google’s algorithms have caught on to these exchanges and when they are found by the algorithm, your site will be penalised for using them.

The good news is, there are acceptable ways to purchase links. Like most things that are good, it will take a little bit of time, investment, and effort. When your site has good back links, it helps with SEO. This will generate significant traffic back to your website and, in turn, this traffic helps with SEO.

The first thing you will need to figure out is who, in your industry, are the main online influencers. This should be accomplished by researching online magazines, blogs and websites that discuss your industry. These are the locations where your possible customers are most likely doing their research before they make a purchase. Only after you have accomplished this should you start looking for areas to purchase a back link.

There are a multitude of websites that are willing to sell a back link to you. At times, the price may be quite substantial, so you will need to spend time making sure whether the purchase will be worth it to you or not. These websites will provide you with information regarding their traffic; it’s your job to sift through this information so you will know exactly what you will be getting. You should check in social media to see the popularity of their website and you should check their page rank as well. In general, you will receive greater SEO benefits from a website that has a higher page ranking.

If you locate the right website, and pay for a link, you may well receive a greater amount of relevant traffic and this, of course, will have a positive impact on your SEO. However, you must be certain of what you are getting before you make the purchase.

Photo: Image courtesy of

Are “No-follow” Links valuable for SEO?

Effective SEO involves building links from other websites to your own. There are lots of ways to build links, many of them wrong. But there are only two types of links, known as follow and no-follow.

What exactly do these terms mean? Both types of links appear similar to users, the difference is in how they show up to web crawlers. No-follow links are coded with instructions for web crawlers not to follow the link.

The debate over no-follow links

There are some who believe that no-follow links are useless in terms of SEO and that it is pointless to put any effort into into getting no-follow links from 3rd party sites. This isn’t entirely accurate, though, and here’s why.

It’s unclear whether search engines pay any attention to no-follow links, but there is evidence that Google does place at least some weight on no-follow links, provided the link meets certain criteria, such as being from a highly-ranked and relevant site. There is, however, some experts differ in their opinions on this.

Even if they don’t influence search engines, even a no-follow link, if it’s in the right place, will still go a long way toward raising awareness of your site, product or service. If a no-follow link brings extra business, then it’s not exactly pointless. A positive review of your site is going to bring visitors, whether it makes any difference with search engines or not.

Once your site is noticed and written about by one person, the chances increase that others will notice you, because of that one popular blog that included a no-follow link to your site. The more people who notice you, the more links you’ll get, and some of them will be follow links.

So if you’ve been working hard to earn some links to your site and you find that some of them are no-follows, there’s no need to stress yourself out about it. There is evidence that search engines still notice, and even if they don’t, people will.

Photo Credit: “Google Logo in Building43” (CC BY 2.0) by Robert Scoble


Turning website visitors into customers

Website owners can often fall into the trap of becoming so obsessed with the number of visitors the sire receives that they forget about delivering a positive experience to those that do show up. This is especially true if you own a site that sells high-ticket items. You need to ensure that the customer is comfortable and trusts all the information on your pages if you want them to buy.

How to convert a visitor into a paying customer

Here are 5 tips that will help you make it happen more often than not:

1. It pays to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing with their online business. This doesn’t mean that you should run in and copy the successful sites, but it does mean that you should look for their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what works will help you gain the attention of the search engines and the visitors they send your way.

2. Information really is where your site will live or die. The more reasons you can give your visitors for making a purchase, the more likely thy will be to buy. Your conversion rates will soar if you can give away valuable information for free.

3. Visitors pay real attention to the experiences of your previous customers. Ask happy customers to leave a review or send referrals you way, as that is a great way to create new sales.

4. If you want to stay current and credible, make sure that the information on your website is fresh and relevant. If people are happy with what you offer, they will return, so give them valid reasons to purchase again when they do return.

5. Your website is perhaps your best sales and marketing tool, but it is not the only one. When using other marketing methods, you need to make sure that the message and brand you build on your website is consistent across all mediums.

The most effective ways to measure website performance.

There are plenty of tools available that will give you some real insight into how well your site is performing. Google offers analytics and website tools that should be accessed regularly in order for you to see if you need to make some tweaks to your marketing efforts.

1. Bounce rate – This is a great way to see how many of your visitors are arriving at your site and leaving quickly or only looking at a single page. If you have a high bounce rate, it will affect your search engine ranking.

2. Acquisition – This lets you know where your visitors are coming from when they land at your website. This lets you know where you should direct more of your efforts in terms of marketing your pages:

a. Organic visitors are those that come via a search engine

b. Referrals are those that come from other websites

c. Social media visitors arrive via Facebook, Twitter, or one of the other social media sites

d. Direct visitors will arrive directly using your URL

3. Search queries – This lets you know all the search terms that have been used to find your website, which can really help you cater your message so that more people find you.

Photo: Image courtesy of Steve Snodgrass on Flickr

5 Tips To Generate More Leads From Your Website

While your website is the ideal place to talk up your business, it should also be used to generate a healthy amount of potentially productive leads.

1. Contact Form

The most straightforward way to generate leads on your website is via a contact form where visitors leave personal information. There are several ways to optimize said form.

Positioning – The contact form should always be clearly visible on the upper half of your page. Ideally, the form should appear on every page, but of that cannot be done, make sure to create landing pages with the contact form included.

Length – You need to strike just the right balance when creating a form. Too long, and people simply won’t take the time to fill it out. Too short, and you won’t get the quality leads you seek. A medium length form will pull in just the right type of leads, as truly interested folks will take the time to fill out more than just their name and e-mail address.

Use content to dress up the form – Visitors to your site may choose to ignore yet another bland form, but will be tempted to fill out a form that goes above and beyond. Tell them a little more about the offer that await, or tempt them in with a special offer that will come their way should they take the time to fill in all the details. Avoid using “submit” at the end, choosing instead to use a call to action.

2.      Keep your blog updated
Blog posts are a great way of picking up leads, especially if you add engaging content that makes the reader want to leave a comment. Get in the habit of writing engaging posts on a regular basis. Each and every comment left is a new lead. When someone takes the time to leave a comment, they are letting you know that they are interested in your services. Great blog posts tend to deliver great leads.

3.      Contact number.
Many website owners make the mistake of essentially burying their number on the “Contact Us” page. If you want to get the attention of your visitors, place your contact number at the top of every page. Interested visitors will definitely call for more information, at which time you can gather their basic information.

4.      Freebies.
One way to get people to offer up their information is to reward them for doing so. You might decide to give away a free gift or perhaps a discount on any one of your products. This is a technique that works very well.

5.      Learn to be social.

The belief that social media is a fad is one that has long since been dispelled. It has quickly become an important part of any marketing strategy, because the fact is that people love to share. The number of friends and followers you have is less important than your activity level. Posting often quickly leads to a growing number of inbound links and leads.

In order to get the most out of social media, you need to use it correctly. That means engaging in conversations as opposed to constantly just talking about yourself. Deliver great content and then get engaged in meaningful conversations with others.

A blog post shared on Twitter will get 117% more views than one that isn’t. If you are interested in B2B, use Linkedin, while Facebook is best for B2C. For referral traffic, you’ll find that Pinterest is more effective than Linkedin, Google+, and YouTube combined*.

Above all else, you need to make sure that visitors have a good experience every time they visit your site. If the site is hard to navigate or the content is bland, visitors may quickly lose interest in what you have to offer.

* Source: Shareaholic, February 2012.

Photo: Image courtesy of Jason Howie on Flickr

Ranking, results, and writing to be read

When it comes to search engine ranking and pulling in more visitors to your website, few subjects on the matter have gathered as much attention recently as using articles to do so. The content and keywords to be used are a hot topic indeed.

What you may have noticed is that not all the advice you receive in this department is the same. That is because the internet, and search engines, are constantly evolving. Content is an integral part of SEO, but the more content that is out there, the more Google changes their algorithms to ensure that the best, most relevant content rises to the top. Today’s content creators are aware of the need for consistent original content that will keep visitors on their website for a greater period of time.

One of the best ways to make sure that people do stay is to avoid simply stuffing all of your written content with keywords.

Here are 7 tips that will help you create great content that moves you up the rankings:

1. Think of your audience

Getting too caught up in writing for the search engines often means creating content that will not engage your target audience. Google and others are now well aware of what type of SEO content is also a hit with the reader. That means making sure that you deliver engaging, informative content with just the right splash of SEO.

2. Forget about keyword density

Squeezing in keywords where they don’t belong will hurt, not help, your content. The finished piece will be painful to read, and there is simply no evidence that Google uses keyword density to rank websites. By all means add keywords, but make them a natural part of the piece. Use them at the start of your article and include headlines, too.

3. Variety is the spice of life

One thing that the search engine do use to rank is known as Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). LSI is a process where Google looks for synonyms to normal keywords in content. Good use of these types of words can give you better ranking in Google and Bing. A blog post will sound more natural when it uses synonymous keywords rather just than repeating the same keyword over and over again. The use of synonyms will make your article sound more natural and Google likes this. So mix it up a bit and use similar but related keywords in your blog posts and copy. These small changes can deliver big results.

4. Length does matter

We live in an information age, where knowledge is considered a strong asset. Being able to share that knowledge with others can help position you as an expert and improve your search engine rankings. A longer article is always better than a shorter one. Longer content is often more researched and better thought out than content that is shorter. Google favours longer copy. And you are more likely to have your article shared if it is substantive. So don’t be afraid to plough on and write a long blog post or article. The more knowledge the better, as longer articles seem to get more loves, as well as more shares via social media. And that’s good for everyone!

5. Give your audience the information they want

While this seems pretty straightforward, you’d be surprised how often it doesn’t happen. Think about the most common questions you hear pertaining to your niche or industry and address those in a well-crafted blog post. Or, why not develop a detailed Q&A page that addresses a lot of the questions your readers are looking to get answered? A good Q&A page will connect you to your market and positively build brand image. It will rank well on Google too, giving you more traffic to your website.

6. Ask the same questions as your audience

It is common practice to think about those big juicy keywords instead of focusing on what it is that people are actually searching for on Google. Think about the phrases or questions you type into the Google search box when looking for something, and apply that technique to your writing. The way you ask the question is likely the same as your target audience, so think about including said question as the title or as a headline in your piece.

7. Encourage sharing

Great quality content deserves to be seen, so get it out to the masses via as many social media outlets as possible. People love to share great content with their networks, which means your work will end up with a much larger audience than it would get if you simply placed it on your website. Google loves to see content being shared and will reward you accordingly. Make sure you are using Facebook, Twitter and all the other social media platforms to get your message out there!

Zoom Planet can help you create engaging content that will help you to get noticed and to win more business. Contact us now to get the ball rolling?

Photo: Image courtesy of Tim Snell on Flickr