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Spy On Your Competitors (Maybe) For Great Backlinks!

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Do or do not, there is no try.

Yoda by andy54321Hopefully everyone understands (if not, you will shortly) that the major search engines use links from other websites to judge your website’s authority and trust profile.

For example, if a website that Google knows to be a high authority website (like maybe a local media outlet) links to your site, it can be interpreted as a pseudo-endorsement or trusted link. The more trusted links you have, the better your trust profile appears and the more authority you should receive and thus (arguably) the higher you should rank, all other things being equal.

Always, always, always be on the lookout for great linking opportunities

There are as many ways to develop awesome links as there are to find new clients. Each is different, has it’s own set of challenges and rewards. You can pretty much assume though the more trusted the website you want a link from, the more difficult it will be to get it. (And by the way, most of the search engines frown on buying links that pass authority even to the point of letting you report them.)

So where can you find these opportunities?  Do you have a bio on a website anywhere?  Do you serve on a charitable board with a website?  Has the local media written a story about you?  Do you have friends with websites?  Do you know real estate professionals in other non-competing areas who would link to you?  Think outside the box!  Sometimes the best linking opportunities are hidden in plain site.

Do you have a good linking suggestion?  Leave it in the comments below and share with your fellow AgentGenius readers!

Which schmo outranks you locally? Where do they get their links?

There are a ton of resources out there for spying…I mean, examining your competitors’ back link profile(s). I’m only going to talk about a couple of them. (And if you’re so good you don’t have any competitors, you could alternatively, pick a random big city, let’s say Seattle and see who ranks well there and where their back links look like, ie: search Google or Yahoo for “Seattle homes for sale” or “Seattle realtor” or “Seattle Eco Broker”)

One great tool is Yahoo’s Site Explorer. Visit the site and enter in the web address of your competition, and Shaazam! What you see initially are the websites “Pages”. We don’t want that. Click on the button at the top of the results called “Inlinks”. Now you’re cooking.

Now this will show ALL the incoming links, even from the site itself. Those aren’t particularly useful, so you can filter them out using the “Show Inlinks” drop boxes. I recommend “Except from this domain” and “Entire Site”. That’ll give you a good idea of where their links are coming from. Start poking around those sites and find out how you can get a link for your own self.

Another great tool for this same sort of research is Open Site Explorer. It’ll give you up to 1,000 links (you have to register but it’s worth it and you *can* get more if you pay) plus lots of other juicy information such as page and domain authority of the incoming link, the anchor text used in the link and the full URI of the page with the incoming link. You can also do the same sort of filtering as mentioned above. Very handy stuff.

Wow, this is a lot of information and will probably take me a long time to finish…

Yes. You should consider building your back link profile a task that has no end date because, in my opinion, you can never have too many good incoming links. And besides, you know your competition is reading this and is going to do the same thing now so you better get cracking.

It’s also a great task for business or PR interns, support staff, skilled teenagers or Yoda.

Should all my links point to my home page?

Definitely not, no.

Create links to your sub-pages, blog post entries, whatever. I may get further into why in a future post, but for now, spread out the link love.

Now get out there and build some links!

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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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. TheRECoach

    March 29, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Great article, and very helpful. Thanks for the excellent advice! 🙂

    @CBRELongBeach

  2. cjbirk

    March 29, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Indeed, it’s excellent information and essential for targeting content creation and guest posts.

  3. Rick @ Resell Rights Ebook Store

    March 30, 2010 at 11:11 am

    There are a lot of people within the internet marketing forums suggesting to only post on sites that allow dofollow links rather then nofollow. But what they don’t realize is the nofollow link is just as important as the dofollow link. Only difference is a dofollow link will pass on page rank from the page.

    But are we really targeting the search engines for traffic? No. We are targeting an audience of real people who are reading the page we posted our link to in hopes they will click through and find something useful on our own site.

    Google counts all links back to your site whether they are dofollow or nofollow. Simply set up a Google alert for “link:yoursite.com” and/or “link:www.yoursite.com” without the quotes and when you receive notice of new links found you will find Google is reporting nofollow links in addition to dofollow links.

  4. Brian Rutledge

    March 30, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Marty, I especially like “You should consider building your back link profile a task that has no end date because, in my opinion, you can never have too many good incoming links”. Too many people think SEO is a one time thing. If you don’t keep working on your back link profile and keep adding good, fresh content on your site, you will be unhappy with your SEO results. This is great advice, thanks for the post!

    • Marty Martin

      March 30, 2010 at 4:55 pm

      Thanks Brian for the comment and retweet! You’re absolutely right in agreeing with me of course! 😀

      Seriously though, you are right. SEO is definitely not a one time love affair with your website. It has to be nurtured and given special attention regularly to keep those results coming in.

      Good content is key. Once you learn the basic tenets of SEO and apply it to fresh content, a lot of work is already done.

  5. Phil Boren

    April 13, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Marty: Good advice here, thanks. In your opinion, are nofollow links as important (or maybe even better) than 2-way links?

    • Marty Martin

      April 14, 2010 at 9:06 am

      Hi Phil,

      Good, thoughtful question.

      In general, I would recommend you stay away from 2-way, or as we more commonly refer to them “reciprocal links”. The major engines (read: Google) discount those links heavily (most search pros would agree with me) and there was some evidence in the past that Google slammed a lot of real estate reciprocal linking as it was/is a heavy practice.

      Now, that being said, my understanding would be to keep reciprocal links low and be choosy about them. Keep your reciprocal links less than 5% of your total back link profile and you should be okay, you just don’t want to be spammy about it. Natural-looking, organic one way links are always best.

      And that probably answers your question too. No-followed, one way links are better in my opinion. And some studies I have participated in show that, in fact, no-follow links do carry some authority.

      Hope that helps!

  6. Jonathan Benya

    April 19, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    excellent post, thank you for sharing. Being able to stay on top of your SEO and avoiding the mentality of “SEO only needs to be done once” is critical. lots of people think it’s a one time thing, but google is smarter than that, and fresh content rules!

    I’m constantly using site explorer and such to make sure I’m continuing to grow my links, and other realtors should be doing the same!

  7. Ken White

    May 6, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Marty,

    Great post. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I’ve focused a lot on content but looking into back linking… but not overwhelming crazy stuff… only links that add value to my readers and would help to move closer to the top of the engine for my key words with out getting punished for cheating.

    Thanks again.

    Ken White
    Licensed Real Estate Agent, Web Programmer in Training.

  8. The Confessant

    June 27, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    This is very useful. I usually just use google or yahoo to check on my competitors backlinks. I will try out the other one Open Site Explorer..

  9. PLR

    September 13, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    You wanna take over? Find the biggest guy in town and knock him out. Or in this context do what your competitors doing but better. Follow them catch up then sprint for the finish line. I can say that your competitors will get lazy and lonley once at the top.

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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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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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