You Have To Build Backlinks In SEO

For a long time I’ve promoted the fact that content was the most vital part of SEO. It’s true that it’s very important, but my views on it have changed as of late.

Obviously everything goes together in the mix, in the ghoulash of stuff that makes up your search rankings. Content, the way your site is built, and backlinks are the big three.

But none of these can work on their own apart from the others. And content is no more important than the others. In fact, if I had to pick one that was most important, I’d say it was backlinks.

I wish that it wasn’t. If Google was doing their job right, then a kick ass site with awesome content should rank well without having ANY backlinks. But you can have a site with great content (and tons of it) and not get ANY rankings in Google for years if you don’t have backlinks.

It sucks. And you’ve got to play the game to compete with other SEOs. You’ve got to do backlinking if you’re doing SEO.

You might be lucky and be working on a site that already has a lot of backlinks, is an established site already. In that case, great – you don’t necessarily need to build any more backlinks, you can focus on content and site tweaks. But you’ve GOT to have those backlinks.

It’s a sort of proof for Google, but it’s a double-edged sword for them. They’ve sort of painted themselves into a corner in saying that backlinks count as votes towards your site. Now they have the unenviable task of figuring out which of those votes mean anything.

And we who do SEO are left to build backlinks the best we can. Whether the methods we use are completely white hat, black hat or somewhere in between is for each of us to decide, but build backlinks we must!

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Tornado Activity Map – And Where To Live!

This is some really cool stuff. This graphic shows the tracks of tornadoes over the past 56 years. You can see that they mostly originate starting in the midwest.


Perhaps the winds/jetstream across the US needs some room to really get going, or maybe something about being near water on the West coast limits the amount of tornadic activity.

Also, check out southeast Ohio. That’s where there’s lots of hills and forested area. Then look at Buffalo, NY – it’s right at the northeast part of Lake Erie. We don’t have info from Canada, but you can see that tornadoes don’t hit to the east of Lake Erie. It’s likely that the lake itself protects Western New York from tornados. Just south of the lake in the southern tier there’s a lot more activity.

Also, in the hilly, mountainous regions, mainly the Alleghenies, there’s little tornado activity. Now you can plan where you might want to live if you’re afraid of tornados!

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The Basics About Ron Paul And Libertarianism

What follows is an overview of what Ron Paul is all about and what Libertarians are in a nutshell. Gary Johnson also fits the description below.

(It was originally for a friend’s classroom of kids but I wanted to post it here as well. Feel free to re-use or repurpose it as you see fit)
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I guess the main thing is that Dr. Paul’s political positions don’t put him exactly on the Left or the Right. Some might say his positions are all over the map, but that’s only because they don’t understand where he’s coming from. Ron Paul’s views all come from the Constitution; he didn’t just think them up on his own. (You could even call Ron Paul and people like him “Constitutionalists”.)

Our Constitution is a very simple document that limits the power of government. It outlines what government (mostly central, i.e. federal government) can do for us and can’t do *TO* us. Back in the day we were very afraid of a monarch ruling over us so our Founding Fathers went to great lengths to make sure government could never do that again.

Our Founding Fathers believed that, without control, government would grow like a beast to seek more and more power, which would mean more taxes, more departments and more money for those in Congress (sound familiar?)

They knew that there are really only 2 forms of government, a Republic (rule of law) or an Oligarchy (rule by a group or family); all other forms of government are temporary and eventually morph into one of these. The Constitution was a document intended to keep us a Republic for as long as possible.

Once you understand these things, you can see that the views of a Constitutionalist all adhere to the same thing. Another widely held view is that the Government doesn’t do things efficiently; it spends money like it grows on tree and has many layers of unnecceasry beauracracy and waste. Ron Paul believes that the private sector can do things more efficiently and the role of government is to foster a fertile ground for the private sector to flourish.

Now here are some more specific things that someone like Ron Paul would do:

  • Eliminate or drastically reduce funding from different Federal government departments like the FDA, the Department of Homeland Security, the EPA, the CDC and more.
  • Eliminate the Income Tax and abolish the Internal Revenue Service
  • Cut the Department of Defense’s budget by 15% or more
  • Bringing overseas troops home immediately and only fight wars that are Constitutionally declared by Congress
  • Eliminate foreign aid (the belief is that most foreign aid doesn’t help the people it’s intended for but instead goes to the rich or those who control that country)
  • Stop the war on drugs and instead regulate and tax a drug like Marijuana
  • Eliminate governments role in Health Care (This is a complex issue and it’s hard to get into every issue in-depth here – but check out http://www.ronpaul.com/on-the-issues/health-care/ – the gist is that private entities can do a better job for cheaper than a government-mandated system that covers everyone for everything.)

Some things that are interesting and very different about Paul are his personal views versus what he would do. For instance, he is personally against Abortion, however he thinks that the Federal government shouldn’t mandate an anti-abortion stance across the country. Abortion is a very sticky issue for many people with layers of complexity. Therefore it’s something that should be decided at the State level. (Some issues are so tricky that they can be pushed even more locally and decided at the city or town level.)

Early in our Republic, the idea was that the different States would be a sort of testing ground, and each one would have their own laws and would only very loosely be governed by the Federal government. That way if you didn’t like guns, or abortion, or wanted a State that had no taxes, you could live in that State. And if a State lost a huge population, they would have to “correct” the laws that made people leave in order to entice people to come back. The Federal government was there mainly for defense against other countries and dealing with them.

Another huge part of Ron Paul’s views are that of sound money. Our money used to be backed by the gold standard, but as of 1971 our money is essentially worthless (known as a “fiat currency”). We used to be able to take our money to a bank and trade in a dollar for a dollar’s worth in gold or silver. Nowadays, a dollar is worth… well, whatever we think it’s worth. This allows our Federal Reserve to print more and more money which devalues the money we have. And the Federal Reserve is not a Federal entity – it’s actually a private bank!

So whenever you hear about “ecomonic stimulus”, when a President is trying to kick the economy into gear, it’s really just the Federal Reserve getting the printing presses going and giving the money to banks at the highest levels. They hope that it trickles down and gets loaned out but there’s nothing that proves this works. It does, however lead to massive inflation and reduced purchasing power of our dollar.

Ron Paul believes that the ONLY way to have a good economy and reduce our deficit spending is to go back to a system of sound money; one that is backed by a commodity like silver or gold. The first step is to get a thorough audit of the Federal Reserve. (Would you believe that we have very little accounting of how much money they’re even printing?) If you control a nation’s economy, you can control that nation’s government, and this is perhaps THE fundamental issue facing our country right now.

So to sum up, Ron Paul believes in limited central government and the cause of Liberty. Stolen from someone else (http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul734.html):

“Liberty means to exercise human rights in any manner a person chooses so long as it does not interfere with the exercise of the rights of others. This means, above all else, keeping government out of our lives. Only this path leads to the unleashing of human energies that build civilization, provide security, generate wealth, and protect the people from systematic rights violations. In this sense, only liberty can truly ward off tyranny, the great and eternal foe of mankind.”

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Further reading: What Would Really Happen If Ron Paul Were To Be Elected President?
http://www.lewrockwell.com/sardi/sardi192.html

 

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Piryx – An Awesome Donation Platform

If you’re looking for an online donation platform, you may want to checkout Piryx . It’s a great website/platform for charities and political organization.

I like Piryx because it’s easy to set up and configure. It has lots of social sharing options and you can create multiple online fundraising campaigns. You can theme pages to look like your site, add your logo, etc.

As for the fees, from their site:

There are no monthly fees, no startup fees, no contracts, and no initial costs. The only costs associated with using Piryx is a 4.5% transaction fee on money that you raise through Piryx Fundraising, which includes merchant, credit card (Visa, MC, AMEX, Discover) and eCheck processing fees.

They have a tiered pricing model as well:

$0 – $100,000 – 4.5% per transaction
$100,001 – $250,000 – 4.3% per transaction
$250,001 – $1 Million – 4.25% per transaction
$1 Million+ – 4.0 % per transaction

They accept major credit cards and eCheck.

With Piryx, they take care of pretty much everything, it’s easy and intuitive. There’s one central location which is nice too – rather than setting up multiple forms across places like your Website, Twitter, Facebook, etc. They also handle all the mobile development so the donation page(s) work on iOS and Android platforms as well.

Perhaps best of all, they’ve done tons of research and have gobs of stats to work with, so they can optimize the donation forms & pages to get the best conversion rates. That’s pretty much all they do, so they’ve gotten pretty good at it.

They have more info on their FAQ page  as well as videos there.

It’s really pretty awesome and you can get going quickly. They also have a recent update that has been spun off into Rally.  I haven’t really dug into this yet but it looks slick as well!

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How To Get A New 6th Gen iPod Nano for $50

It’s absolutely true: you can get a new 6th generation (touchscreen) iPod nano for around $50.

Yup, one of these. Ain't they purty?

This is due to Apple’s recall on the 1st generation iPod nano. Apparently some of the 1st generation nano’s had bad batteries so Apple issued a recall on them. Here is Apple’s official iPod nano (1st generation) Replacement Program.

If you don’t have a 1st gen laying around collecting dust, you can still get on on eBay for around $50. I bought one in fantastic condition with a nice case.

All you do is go to Apple’s site and enter your serial number. They’ll ship you a Fedex package that you can put the iPod in and then you’ll have to schedule a pickup or take it to a Fedex shipping center. All postage is paid by Apple.

As far as I know, all serial numbers are valid – but perhaps there are some 1st gen nanos that don’t fall under this replacement program, so your mileage may vary. Just be sure that you’re ok with the possibility of getting “stuck” with a 1st gen unit. (Me, I don’t care – I actually like the 1st gens as they have a click wheel; if Apple didn’t replace it, I’d still have a nice iPod to use.)

Originally Apple was replacing the 1st gen nanos with the same thing, but there was enough demand that they burned through their supply and now have to use the 6th gen version. (See this link for proof of others getting a 6th gen iPod nano.)

I don’t know if the iPod you return even needs to be working. It doesn’t say on the recall page, so perhaps you could get a 6g nano for even cheaper by picking up a broken one for $10-20.

Here's the original iPod nano 1st gen. There's a special place in my heart for this model.

This is a pretty nice thing to take advantage of if you want to do a (very) little bit of work. Like I said though, there are a couple of possible downfalls, like the recall time running out after you get one.

I wonder what Apple is doing with the old ones – it’d be kind of a shame if Apple was just “Lisa’ing” those beautiful 1st gens into the scrap heap.

Update: Amazon also has the 1st generation iPod nano for around $50-60 bucks.

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How Many Ads Can You Use Per Website With Google Adsense?

The answer is much like the Tootsie Roll lollipop. “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll lollipop?” “One…two… *CRUNCH* … three”.

If you’re trying to put a bunch of Google Adsense ads on your website but not seeing them show up, it may be because you have too many. You can only have three text ad units, three image ad units and 2 search units for Google Adsense. (Other ad banner networks will be completely different of course.)

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How to turn on/off Word Wrap In Notepad++ In Windows 7

Here’s how to turn on/off Word Wrap In Notepad++ In Windows 7: 

From the “view” menu click on Wordwrap

That’s it! There is no step 2!

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Affiliate Marketing Case Study: A SWTOR Guide Site

The best SWTOR guide in the known universe - They also have an affiliate guide at http://aeonguide.com/

As a huge Star Wars fan I’m pretty excited about the official release of SWTOR, or Star Wars the Old Republic. I think it’ll be a great game and overtake WoW in a short amount of time. How does this relate to SEO? Well I was searching for the best class to play and what the differences were when I stumbled across a site that turns out to be a great case study in SEO.

My exact search terms were “swtor class videos”. I dug deep, to about the 20th result where I saw this:

For whatever reason, I visited it and knew what I was dealing with immediately: The classic spam/affiliate site: http://www.swtorstrategyguide.net/ Let’s dig in to what they’re doing and how they’re doing well. Here’s what it looks like:

Click to enlarge

On the main page they have a lot of great keyword rich SWTOR-related content. In the right sidebar they have tons of links to popular SWTOR categories or things that they think would be common search terms, I.E. “SWTOR Strategy Guide”, “SWTOR Datacron Locations”, “SWTOR Flashpoints”. Each one of those pages has some good content – mind you, not necessarily informative text for the user. That is, it’s very basic. Someone might read through this site for a while but likely won’t find what they’re looking for.

The whole goal is just to get traffic there. The content is for search engines, not humans. Then they refer people to another site for what they’re selling – their SWTOR Mastery Guide.

If we pull up the site in Open Site Explorer we see they have a Page authority of 45 and a Domain Authority of 35. They also have a lot of backlinks: 56 linking root domains and 123 total links. That’s pretty good, and a large part of why they rank well.

Looking at some of the backlinking sites, we see ioonos.com. This is almost certainly spun article text. That is – they took one piece of content and, using article spinning, created dozens, perhaps hundreds of version of the same article. Then they posted it to various sites, all linking back to their main site.

Here’s another one of their sites: http://imwithdorothy.info/ As you can see, they have tons of topics about everything under the sun, all linking to some kind of affiliate marketing site. By looking at how oddly the text reads, we know the text was spun with some words replaced with synonyms that sometimes don’t fit quite perfectly. Here’s a snippet:

My View

I used to think this sort of thing was sick. Who would do such a thing? I equated them with the lowest of the low – spammers were villians, criminals almost in my book.

But upon further review, yes, they’re gaming the system. But it’s the system that sucks, not necessarily the spammers. How does Google let these guys get away with it? Surely there are ways to tell crap content and content farms from real sites, right? Apparently not. Or perhaps the search engines choose to look the other way (i.e. it’s about money?)

If these spammers/affiliate marketers can do it and make money, we can certainly gain from these tactics as well. I’m not saying go all out black hat SEO, but perhaps we can sprinkle in some grey hat linkbuilding.

Agree/disagree? How can we do linkbuilding better than this?

Good luck in all your SEO endeavors!

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Pay-Per-Click And The Art Of War

This is kind of a brilliant marketing PPC strategy. I went to search for “Dodge Challenger Price” in Google, as I’m researching the possibility of getting one of those sweet-looking vehicles someday.

In the paid results what do I see but this:

You get it, right? Chevrolet is targeting possible Dodge Challenger purchasers and redirecting them to their own Chevy Camaro landing page. Simple, brilliant and probably pretty effective.

It might pay to think outside the box a bit in your PPC campaigns. It’s a war out there and any way you can steal the other guy’s possible customers, you should go for it. (Well, assuming you’re not breaking any laws or being unethical of course.)

Dodge Challenger

Ain't she a beaut? And no, I wasn't convinced to buy a Camaro instead, even though it looks cool too.

We should all use tactics laid out in Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”: use every possible advantage you can get, attack the enemy where he lives, damage his supply lines, disguise your tactics, and as in this case, use a little bit of deceit to steal his resources.

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