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Mr. Rogers’ link neighborhood – should you do a link exchange?

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Won’t you be my neighbor?

Mr. Rogers as a dinosaur. Original photo by Mike Procario.Chances are if you’ve had your real estate website and/or blog up and running for a while, you’ve received a few (ha!) requests for link exchanges from other real estate agents, mortgage companies, pharmaceutical companies, etc.

What you may not realize is reciprocal linking is not always so good for you.  In fact, it can get you penalized by the likes of Google as I mentioned to Phil Boren.  The thing to keep in mind is you want significantly more non-reciprocal links to stay under the radar.

The best links you can get are from a subject-related link neighborhood.

You’re growing inside

So what exactly is a link neighborhood?

Everett Sizemore, an eCommerce SEO consultant, explains:

“A link neighborhood is a group of websites that are associated with each other through hyperlinks. They can be topic-specific, such as a group of real estate websites; or they can be geographic, such as a group of businesses and organizations from Denver, Colorado. They can also be spammy, such as a group of non-related websites from all over the world linking to each other from dynamic “links” pages with the only binding thread being that they all subscribe to the same link building software.”

You might be wondering, do all the websites in the link neighborhood link to each other (like a link wheel)? Everett clarifies:

“Not all websites in “the neighborhood” have to link to all other websites. If a local chamber of commerce links out to several local businesses, some of which link to each other and/or back to the chamber of commerce – that would be a geographic link
neighborhood – and sites found to be within that neighborhood (both literally and virtually) would probably end up outranking competitors for geo-targeted keyword searches (ie Denver Dentist), all other things being equal.”

Now that you know what a link neighborhood is, you’ll probably want to know how to research a good neighborhood or two to get links for your own website.

Mister Rogers and his trolley

I’ll have more ideas for you

A good place to start is to read my last post on competitive analysis if you haven’t already.  I mention several free tools for doing back link research.  Researching a link neighborhood is very similar.  Pick a couple of sites who rank well and use those tools to see who is linking in to them.  The great thing about these tools is they typically will order the results based on authority.  Nice.

You can also scan your site now (or link exchange page if you have one…did you read what I said about those above?) with the bad neighborhood link checker.  It’s free.

Besides those suggestions, many search professionals and other serious web marketing folks pay for access to some really nice tools.

Here are a few you might want to check out:

  • Raven: I personally subscribe to the Raven tool set as it is an ever-improving group of SEO management awesomeness.  More to the point, they have a really nice, comprehensive tool called “Backlink Explorer” which will allow you to review the link neighborhood of any website, including your own.  (Starts at $19/month and has a free 30-day trial)
  • SEOmoz: I’ve been a long time subscriber to SEOmoz’s tool sets and attended the advanced search engine conferences in Seattle.  Their tool set is also filled with awesome things, but the one on point with this blog post is their “Backlink Analysis” and have “Competitive Link Research Tool” in their labs. (Starts at $79/month; there are some free tools but the best require a paid account)
  • SEOBook: While I don’t personally use this tool, I did use it when it was free and it was great too. (Starts at $300/month)

And finally, you don’t have to do start your link research in your own market.  Frequently, I’ll pick an outside market and see how the ranking look in that area and you’ll often find good links that might be missing from your market.  Then move on to your own market.

And you’ll have things you’ll want to talk about

I hope you do. Leave some comments; ask some questions. The inspiration for this post came from a comment in a previous post (as noted at the top) so let me know what you want me to talk about.

You always make it a special day and a special week for me, by just your being you. There’s only one person in this whole world like you; that’s you yourself, and I like you just the way you are.

Fred M. Rogers

AgentGenius.com is not affiliated with esizemore.com, Raven, SEOMoz or the SEO Book.

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."

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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