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The anatomy of a backlink and the value to your website

I’ve been preaching on backlinks and their value to your website for a few weeks now. And, you’re not getting a reprieve this week. I want you to understand how important backlinks are to your search marketing success.

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Human Pelvis from Grays AnatomyThe hip bone’s connected to the back bone

I’ve been preaching on backlinks and their value to your website for a few weeks now. And, you’re not getting a reprieve this week. I want you to understand how important backlinks are to your search marketing success.

One of the items I have yet to talk about though, is an optimal backlink and what you should be asking for and hoping to get.

So I present to you, the anatomy of a backlink.

What a link looks like to webmasters

A web link to the average web visitor, looks like this- link (note: this is not a real link).

But to your friendly neighborhood webmaster, it might look something like this:

<a href="https://www.nrvliving.com">NRVLiving</a>

While that is all well and good and will create a link, there are certain areas you can optimize for search. When I build a link, here is how I do it. (The color coding will be explained below the example.)

<a href="https://www.nrvliving.com/properties" title="Blacksburg homes for sale">Homes for sale in Blacksburg, VA</a>

To the average web visitor, this link looks like: Homes for sale in Blacksburg, VA and it still works just like the link before it, but now it incorporates all the colored elements.  Try hovering over that link, you should see the green text pop up in what’s called a tool tip.  And if you click it, you will be sent to the internal page on that website.

Okay, so an explanation of each color section:

  • Purple (/properties) : This is what some folks in SEO refer to as a deep link.  It’s really not that deep technically, but what you want to do is NOT have every single incoming link point to your home page.  Spread that incoming authority around your important pages that you would like to show up in the search results.  If your internal/deep pages have enough authority, you can get a result in Google, etc. where you have more than one link show up in the results.
  • Green (title=) : This is the title attribute of the HTML anchor element.  What it does is create a tool tip when you hover over the link providing further details of what the linked to page is about.  The side benefit is that the search engines also pay attention to how other websites link to you and use this title attribute as another element in their algorithm arsenal.
  • Red : Again, the search engines use the actual link text as an element in their arsenal to figure out what that link is pointing to.  You want it to be normal sounding yet have a keyword or two in there.  Don’t be spammy though!

The hip bone’s connected to the back bone

All of these links act like connections and endorsements across the web and form a picture in the (artificial) mind of Google’s data crunching mainframes of what the pages within your site are about.

So take my advice.  Vary up your back link profile.  Don’t use the same words and phrases.  Think like a client.  Heck, ask your clients.  “If you were searching for a home in __________ right now, what would you search for?”  You can also check out a site like Google Trends to see what people are actually searching for.

Human Spine from Grays Anatomy

Marty Martin is an accomplished SEM/SEO anti-consultant with a broad range of experience working for a wide variety of clientele including colleges and universities, regional and state tourism, government and business. An advocate for business, Marty works hard to share accurate information in a world suddenly overrun with "social media consultants."

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Jeremy Hart

    May 12, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    The website you’ve highlighted is amazing, Marty!

    I’m kidding – well, kind of. Anyway, wanted to thank you for your recent posts here. So much of this back-end stuff is just confusing as hell to me, but I appreciate you taking the time to break it down. Is there a need to go through every link on a site and change it up, or should I be focusing on making one or two changes each page?

    • Marty Martin

      May 13, 2010 at 8:53 am

      Hey Jeremy,

      Thanks for the kind compliment; I’m glad you’re finding them useful.

      As for your question, I would just gradually shake things up over time. Give the search engine crawlers something new to chew on each time they visit your site. Do you use Google Webmaster Tools? You can check crawl frequency there and adjust your updates accordingly. There’s also talk among some search experts that too many updates at once can cause Google to sandbox you for a while, but I’ve personally not seen that happen.

      I’d definitely start with the links to your pages you want the most traffic to though.

  2. Phil Boren

    May 16, 2010 at 12:35 am

    Marty: I get so focused on generating backlinks, that I sometimes forget to spread it around beyond the home page! Thanks for the info and, BTW, for the mention/link in one of your recent posts.

    • Marty Martin

      May 18, 2010 at 5:04 pm

      HI Phil.

      First, you’re welcome, thanks for the inspiration!

      And I never ever ask for a link to my home page. Always ask for a deep link, you’ll get enough home page links otherwise.

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Opinion Editorials

How to turn your complaint mindset into constructive actions

(EDITORIAL) Everybody knows someone who complains too much. While being open is important for mental health, constant bellyaching is not.

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complaint mindset

Everybody knows someone who complains too much. While being open is important for mental health, constant bellyaching is not, so here are a few tips on turning your complaints into constructive actions.

It’s important to understand the difference between “complaining” and “addressing.” Talking about problems which mandate discussion, bringing up issues slated to cause larger issues down the line, and letting your boss know that you have the sniffles all fall into the latter category due to necessity; complaining is volitional, self-serving, and completely unnecessary in most contexts.

Complaining also puts you in an excessively bad mood, which may prevent you from acknowledging all the reasons you have not to complain.

Another point to keep in mind is that complaining occasionally (and briefly) isn’t usually cause for ostracization. Constant or extensive complaining, however, can lead others to view you as a largely negative, self-centered person — you know, the kind of person literally no one actively seeks out — which is why you should focus more on redirecting that negative energy rather than using it to remind your barista why they gave up their dream of becoming a therapist.

Complaining stems from two main sources: the need to be validated—for example, for others to know what you’re going through—and the need to be comforted. Addressing a chronic complaint mindset, then, is largely about validating and comforting yourself. This is a simple solution which nevertheless can take years to manifest properly, but you can start by doing a couple of things differently.

“Focus on the positive” is perhaps the hokiest advice you’ll get from anyone, but it works. In virtually any situation, you can find a positive aspect—be it an eventual outcome or an auxiliary side-effect—on which you can concentrate. Think about the positive enough, and you’ll talk yourself out of complaining before you’ve even started.

It’s also good to remember that no one, no matter how much they care about you, can handle constant negativity. If you find yourself constantly hitting people with bad news or tragic personal updates, try mixing up the dialogue with some positive stuff. That’s not to say that you can’t be honest with people—friends, family, and colleagues all deserve to know what’s going on in your life—but make sure that you aren’t oversaturating your listeners with sadness.

Lastly, keep your complaining off of social media. It’s all too easy to post a long Facebook rant about being served cold pizza (no one likes cold pizza on day one), but this just results in your loding a complaint reaching a larger number of people than vocalization ever could. If you have to complain about something in earnest, avoid doing it anywhere on the Internet—your future self will thank you.

Being honest about how you feel is never a bad thing, but constant negativity will bring down you and everyone around you. If you can avoid a complaint mindset as a general rule, you’ll one day find that you have significantly less to complain about.

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Business Finance

7 ways to get your freelance invoices paid more quickly

(FINANCE) It’s easy to feel uncomfortable bringing up money with your superiors, but for a freelancer, it’s more important than ever to bring up the issue. Here are 7 tips to get your invoices paid quickly.

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financial advice

For many, an awkward topic of conversation revolves around money. Whether asking for a raise or asking to borrow money, people often feeling uncomfortable when talking money.

This is equally, or possibly even more so, true for freelancers who are solely in charge of their finances. Without a system of weekly direct deposit, freelancers have to work overtime to keep their earnings in order.

The issue with this is that clients also have a lot on their plates, and something as simple as a freelancer’s paycheck is common to fall through the cracks. This causes freelancers to have to work friendly reminders into their repertoire.

However, freelancers may not always be knowledgeable of the best ways to keep their finances in check (no pun intended). Below are seven ways to enhance payment methods.

  1. You have to be willing to make billing a priority. Due to the fact that money is awkward to talk about, as aforementioned, many let this fall by the wayside. The best way to do this is to keep up to date with your invoices and send them as soon as they are done. Making a calendar specific for billing can help with this idea.
  2. This second bit dates back to when we were young and learning our manners: it is crucial to be polite. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also increases speed in payment. Using “please” and “thank you” in invoicing emails are said to get you paid five percent faster.
  3. It is best to try and keep a complicated concept like finance as simple as possible. Make sure you are creating specific due dates. This will help to signify importance of payment.
  4. Now that virtually anything can be done online, it would make sense to use electronic payment verses an old-school check. Accepting online payments will get a user paid, on average, eight days faster as opposed to a check.
  5. This is an important notion to keep in mind for any aspect of your business life: be professional. Invoices are often seen by many eyes so it is best to include your business’s logo on said invoice. This has been found to increase chances of being paid on time by 10 percent.
  6. Specificity is urged again in the form of transparency. Make sure you are giving detailed descriptions on each invoice so that anyone looking at it knows exactly what you are being paid for. By doing this, you are 15 percent more likely to be paid on time.
  7. While you may be invoicing month by month, try to avoid sending on the 30th or 31st. Being that everyone, generally, sends their invoices in on these dates, it takes 10 – 20 percent longer to be paid. With everyone sending it at the end of the month, it has a tendency to back up payroll.

The most important thing to remember is that while the topic of money may be awkward, it is your money. If you let a few invoices fall behind because you are uncomfortable reminding your client, this has a way of adding up. Be sure to keep on track with your finances to earn what you are working for.

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Tech News

For meetings that should be an email, there’s StandupMeet

(TECH NEWS) If you’re tired of having your precious work time taken up by useless meetings, there may be a solution.

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standupmeet

Have you ever attended a meeting that turned out to be a waste of time and set you back on your work? I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that every person reading this article is nodding in agreement.

Meetings, if executed appropriately (and sporadically,) can be effective. However, having weekly (or even daily) meetings that are designed to catch-up or give reports can add up to a ton of wasted time.

Across the board, meetings are generally geared towards productivity, and oftentimes they are counterproductive. So, how can you still get that need for touching-base with employees while still being productive? StandupMeet might just have the answer for that.

StandupMeet is a tool designed to make meetings more productive and agile. According to their statistics, more than $37 billion per year are being spent on unproductive meetings.

The main features include: the digitization of meetings, the instantaneous sharing of minutes, and the ability to assign actions and keep track of progress.

By making the meetings digital, you organize meeting points in one place. Decisions, actions, and key points can be logged in real time and accessed before the meeting.

This makes projects more agile and helps to increase critical success factors.

With instantaneous sharing of minutes, you can collaborate and share minutes of the meeting, key result areas, and action points. This is also done in real time and is shared with colleagues to make sure that each person is on the same page.

Finally, by assigning actions and keeping track of projects helps to ensure data integrity and provides accountability to each team member. Automated reminders are available so that you can spend your time on the more valuable tasks first.

In addition, StandupMeet also offers: project wised meeting, customized meeting types, organized agendas, shareable meeting minutes, accountability, reminders to ensure time is being appropriately applied, recurring meetings, conflict-free meeting scheduling, locations, automated follow ups, automatically tracked action points, and flexibility across time zones.

This can save time and increase productivity for on-site workers and can also be beneficial for teams that are remote.

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