How to Create the Perfect Conditions for Working Online

More and more people are now starting to make a full-time living online. It’s actually relatively easy to do, as the web gives you access to a huge market, tons of creative and productive tools and resources, as well as the means to promote yourself around the globe. At the same time it also has many benefits – allowing you the freedom to work when and where you choose, removing any reliance on a boss or organisation, and affording you the potential earn far more money than you ever could as a ‘cog in the machine’.

But working online also means being self-disciplined, being imaginative and creative, and having a variety of skills that can earn you money. It means sitting in front of a computer every day for hours and focussing 100% on the work you’re doing. If you fail to earn any cash… well then you only have yourself to blame at the end of the day.

Getting good at this kind of work though is a matter of practice as well as having the best strategy. Read on to start creating the optimum environment for getting the maximum amount of work done…

Find a Coffee Shop

The first piece of advice that any online entrepreneur should know, is that working from home usually isn’t the best strategy. At home there are simply too many distractions and even if you can force yourself to focus you’ll probably find that you get cabin fever pretty quickly from spending all day there.

Coffee shops are much better environments for working in then, where you can feel as though you’re ‘out and about’ and where there will be no distractions to put you off working. The hustle and bustle in a coffee shop can also be conducive to work, which is why sites like ‘coffitivity.com’ are popular for increasing productivity.

Another tip is to go first thing in the morning – that’s when it’s quietest and the darkness outside will actually help you to focus and get more work done.

Have a Coffee

The next tip is to get yourself a strong coffee. Early in the morning this can give your brain a real kick, while the simple fact that you’ve got something hot to drink can make the experience of being here much more enjoyable. I normally go for a cappuccino from Pret A Manger – those are my favourites.

Headphones

To complete this experience you should also buy yourself a great set of headphones. These should surround you with noise and should block out background chatter when it gets too loud. Play some music with a beat and no lyrics and you’ll find that it can really help to spur you on to be more productive while at the same preventing the experience from feeling ‘dry’ or ‘boring’.

Of course a great computer is also recommended, and for the best experience a slate PC with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse so that you can work just as though you were in an office. Keep the coffee flowing and the music pumping and you’ll find you can surprise even yourself with your output.

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How to Get Your Visitors to Write Your Content ForYou

The internet is run on content. Content is what makes the wheels go round – it is what Google uses to index your pages, it is what readers come to your pages for and it is what sets a great site apart from a good site.

As such then, your site is going to live and die on the quality of its content, and if you don’t have compelling and entertaining things to read on your pages then you can’t expect to keep your visitors for very long or to draw in new readers.

Thus it follows too that you should spend a fair deal of your time developing content, or alternatively that you should be investing some of your profits into writing that you can buy to use on your site. The more content you host, the more there will be to read and the more readers you can get. So imagine then how useful it might be if you could get your content for free – by getting your visitors to write it for you themselves!

Well, it turns out that it can be done, and that there are actually number of techniques for doing just that…

You Don’t Know if You Don’t Ask…

One very easy strategy for getting visitors to write your content for you for instance is simply to ask them to. This might sound a little too good to be true, but actually most people aren’t trying to make money online and so aren’t aware of the value of writing. All they know is that they like your site, and that it would be exciting to be a part of it and to be a contributor. Publish their work and they get some exposure and something to show their friends while you get free content to bring more traffic – everyone wins!

Competition

If you want to add a little incentive though, then you can always offer a prize for the best content you get by running a competition. Competitions are great for marketing and people love the opportunity to test their skills. Add in the possibility of some form of free gift and you’ll find that people jump at the opportunity to get involved.

Community

Another way to get people to provide you with free content is to provide them with a platform for discussion and chat. This could be a forum or it could be a comments section on your individual articles, but if you give visitors somewhere to discuss the subject then you’ll find it quickly amounts to a lot of content that provides more for the search engines to index and more value for readers who come to the site.

E-Mails

This is one that you are less likely to have heard of: publishing e-mails you receive. If your site gets big enough, and if you write informatively on a topic, then you are going to get questions from time to time from fans and people who want to discuss the subject. You can help them out by answering, and then ask for permission to publish the whole conversation and that way gain more content to print.

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Side Projects That Every Webmaster Should Have on the Go

If you run a website, provide SEO or generally work online then that shows you to be a particular kind of person who is willing to take risks, who is forward thinking and who is creative. You have taken the initiative to take advantage of the most recent technologies in order to start earning a living entirely your own, and you have used a variety of skills in order to accomplish this.

As such then, you should hopefully recognise the importance of continuing to push yourself, of continuing to take advantage of new technologies, and of developing your existing skill base further if possible. The more you learn, the more you practice and the more you experiment, the more opportunities you will create for yourself and the more successful you are eventually likely to be.

So what’s the best way to develop yourself and to learn? Simple: take on a side project.

Why a Side Project?

The idea of a side project, is simply to start any project that sits outside of what you do to earn your main keep. So that means something on top of running your main blog, or providing web design for clients. This is what you will do with the extra time you’ve afforded yourself by working for yourself (even if you work 9-5 you still have lunch and a commute either end free to tinker when other people are still busy).

A side project then should allow you to take the skills you’ve learned and start developing them and making better use of them. This way you may well find you create a secondary earner that can supplement or even replace your main income, but even if that doesn’t happen you’ll still learn valuable skills and add more strings to your bow.

Good Side Projects

A good side project should be something that is somewhat related to your main ‘career’ while at the same time allowing you to expand on your skills and move into unknown territory. For a web designer then this could mean a side project that teaches you some better coding skills, or that improves your ability to create digital art. This will give you something different to do to take your mind off your main job occasionally, but will also at the same time help you to develop new skills that might just allow you to take your business to the next level.

Some Examples

App Development: If you run a website or do anything else that involves design and/or basic coding, then learning to develop apps is a natural extension of those skills. This is a fun and rewarding process if you like logical thinking and there’s actually a lot of money to be made here – whether you have a commercial hit or you decide to start offering that service.

A Personal Blog: There’s a good chance that the topic you chose for your ‘primary’ blog is going to be one you thought would prove popular and one that was easy to monetise. That means there’s also a good chance unfortunately that you won’t find it particularly fascinating – which is why it’s a good idea to run a personal blog as well. And you never know, that one might just take off two giving you two steady incomes.

A YouTube Channel: YouTube is actually a surprisingly lucrative place to work, and with a few videos it’s relatively easy to gain a following and then to start generating profit from that following. This is a very fun way to make a little extra cash, but it can also add an extra dimension to an existing site or provide more channels for marketing.

Writing a Book: If you run a blog or a website then that makes you a writer – which probably means you have more capability than most to write a book. This can be fiction or non-fiction, but either way it’s a very rewarding and creative use of your time that can also allow you to hone your writing skills and develop your writing ‘voice’.

3D Modelling

3D Modelling is another in-demand skill and one that you can charge a fair amount for on a freelance basis. At the same time, it’s also a useful tool for creating products that you can 3D print (great for selling something interesting from your site), for making models to use in games and can even be used to create unique looking graphics and logos for your site. Why not try to create a new physical item to sell from your site and see what you can learn in the process?

There are many more projects you can start too, whether that means learning to use Illustrator or Flash or launching a small side business. You have the time, the skill and the resources, so don’t squander them all on one project!

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Webmasters! Here’s How toEarn More Money From Your Site Without Doing Much Extra Work

Running a website is a great way to make money that has many benefits over traditional jobs. It allows you to earn passive income so that you’re earning even while you sleep, it allows you to get paid for writing on topics that interest you, it gives you the freedom to work how and when you like, and it has potential to be highly profitable too.

But while there are many benefits to earning money this way, most webmasters and bloggers wouldn’t mind earning a little extra cash, and there are many ways that they could do this that wouldn’t have to involve actually doing all that much extra work. If you want to know how you can start supplementing your income using the resources you already have, then read on…

Reusing Articles

Content is a very valuable commodity on the web, and as a webmaster or blogger you are likely to have lots of it to spare. This can easily be used then to earn you a little extra income – you just need to know what to do with it.

One option for your content then is to try selling it. If you have articles that you haven’t been able to use then there are many ways you can sell these and you will find that they can fetch a fair amount of money. One of the easiest ways to sell these articles is through sites like ‘Constant Content’ which acts as a repository for content. Another option is to go on webmaster forums and to sell them on there.

Even if you have already used your articles though you can still make more cash from them. Some internet marketers have use for articles that aren’t unique and if you sell them as such you can make a good profit.

Alternatively, why not create an eBook from the content on your site? Google won’t index this content so you can’t get penalised for reusing it, and then you’ll be able to sell it via Kindle or even as a print book if you self-publish with a service like LuLu.

Reusing HTML and Graphics

Even better is to try reusing some of the work you did to build your site in the first place. If you designed a template for your website and have any graphics left over that you didn’t end up using, then you can always recycle these to create more general sites that could be used by a number of businesses. Approach a small local business with a mock up website made from your spare parts, and you may find you can sell them for a fair amount. And if you have any sites that you no longer update sitting on your computer and taking up space, then why not see if you can sell those on a webmaster forum?

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a great way to make some money from your site and all it requires is that you have a landing page where you can promote a product that offers you good commission. Set up a landing page on your site, or write an article that promotes that product, and then you can quickly start generating more profit from your visitors. If this proves to be successful and you have a high conversion rate, then you can even pay for some PPC advertising in order to scale your profits.

Run a Competition

Running a competition is a great way to increase profits again, and particularly if you charge entry. People love being in with a chance of winning something and will often be happy to spend a little money (make the entry cost reasonable) in order to create that potential. This is also a good opportunity from a marketing perspective too though, and particularly if you team up with another company in order to provide a great prize and gain extra exposure.

If you question whether people will pay in order to enter your competition though, then another option could always be to allow them to enter for free, but then try to sell them something off the back of that – for instance you could publish the best entries into a compendium using Lulu or a similar service and then sell that book to the lucky entrants who get published in it.

Sell an App

Just as you can turn the content of your site into a book, so too is it relatively easy to turn it into an app. You can pay someone to create a framework for this relatively and from there all you need to do is upload the HTML files and then make the app available on the Play/iTunes store. Include advertisement or charge for the app and that’s a little more free cash!

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Five Promotional Strategies for Your Website That You Almost Definitely Won’t Have Thought Of

Promoting your website doesn’t just mean doing SEO and social media marketing. In fact it can mean doing anything that will attract attention to your website in a positive manner – whether that means doing some kind of PR stunt, or creating entirely new products and services to help generate interest for your existing ones.

In other words, if you’re currently only doing SEO then you really need to start thinking like an actual marketer which means looking for opportunities to draw attention to yourself and your business and generally creating stories. It also means finding partners to work with, building contacts and using social media in smarter ways.

There are many ways to do this online that many SEOs and marketers never consider. Here are some examples of the kinds of alternative strategies you could use…

Write About Small Businesses/Other Sites and Then Tell Them

A sure fire way to get coverage online is to tap into the vanity of many bloggers and site owners. One way to do this for instance is to write about those bloggers on your site in a round-up of the ‘best sites’ for instance, and a similar strategy is to write about product from small startups, or generally to put the spotlight on those people who will be grateful.

The reason this works so well, is that it will then be in those people/company’s best interests to show people your link. If you had just created an app in your Mum’s basement for instance, and then discovered you were being covered on a small tech website, chances are that you’d be excited and that you’d then share the link with all your friends and on your own site. For that small tech site that would be a lot of free promotion!

Enter Competitions

Entering competitions is a brilliant way to get free exposure for yourself and/or for your site. For instance if you want to promote a site on sewing, enter a sewing competition online and then when your work is featured on the front page you can ask to include a link back to your site (often you’ll be given the opportunity to include details about yourself including a homepage).

Create a Social App

Social networks have huge influence over a gigantic portion of the web, but of course it’s a huge undertaking to build your own social network that involves a lot of moderation and is too much for most small companies to take.

So how about creating a social app instead? The perfect example is Instagram – essentially this is nothing more than a basic photo editing app, but with a social element tacked on which would be relatively easy to program. Now imagine if a company that sold cameras had come up with Instagram – they would have a huge new marketing avenue and would be able to greatly increase their visibility.

For that matter though, creating any app can be an effective way to get more people to your site – particularly if you name it something that people search for regularly in the Play Store/iTunes.

Work With a Rising YouTube Star

YouTube is full of rising stars – many of whom don’t realise just how valuable their thousands of viewers and subscribers are. If you reach the right one and approach them with the right proposition, then you can enter into a mutually beneficial partnership – for instance you could offer to feature their videos on your site in exchange for some free promotion. Potentially that could mean thousands of new visitors over night! Alternatively you could offer to let them write a weekly ‘column’ or you could pay them to review your site. Either way, by sharing their viewers and your visitors you could both exponentially increase your reach.

Selling a Book of Content

Here’s a little trick that will be doubly beneficial – create a competition or just invite people to write in to your site with articles and offer them the chance to be published in a compendium of your best content if their articles are chosen. You can then simply publish that book through LuLu or another self-publishing site, but you’ll find that the excitement of seeing their name in print brings in lots of new visitors and generates lots of free content (especially if you contact writing magazines and websites to cover the story).

Best of all though, you can now sell those books through Amazon, Lulu and Kindle to create extra awareness for your brand and to bring in some profit directly. And the people who are published in the book will be almost guaranteed to order copies!

So think outside the box with your marketing, don’t just rely on guest posts, and you might find that you can get a lot more visitors to your site in a short space of time.

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Why Site Maps Still Matter

SEO has changed a great deal in the last decade with many of the techniques that were once considered fundamental being cast aside. Those very strategies that were once encouraged could now actually end up damaging your site, and site owners who don’t keep up-to-date with these changes are destined for failure.

But some things never change, and even in the rapidly moving world of SEO there are still a number of strategies that have remained relevant from day one. One example of such a strategy is the site map. The concept here is to create a single page that links to all the other pages on your site, and that idea is still as useful today as it ever was.

The Role of Site Maps

In case you’d forgotten the role of site maps in the slew of new techniques and news, the idea is essentially to ensure that Google’s spiders can quickly and efficiently find all your new content. You create a site map, make sure that Google indexes it, and then simply add each new link to that page to make sure that Google instantly knows where to find your new content as soon as it arrives.

For all the changes that Google has made with its recent algorithm updates, the essential way it operates is still the same: by finding links to get around the web and locate new content. If you imagine Google as a car, those links are like roads on an Atlas and without them they’d have no way of finding where new interesting locations were to visit. If you know that Google regular visits one location then, why not just draw them routes from there to all your new locations rather than waiting for them to stumble on them themselves?

Why Not Just Use a Homepage?

Of course you could argue that Google can just look at your site’s front page in order to find newly posted content. However it’s worth noting first of all that often the front page of a site gets less love than the internal pages as it’s constantly changing and doesn’t have much content of its own to flaunt. At the same time, links on your homepage won’t exist for long before getting replaced which might not give the bots all that long to find and index the new pages. With a sitemap you can ensure that even the almost obscure pages buried deep within your site will get found and added.

Having a site map will also ensure that all your pages are only ever a few clicks away from the homepage which will help to keep them nearer the top of the SERPs by sharing some of that link juice. By presenting your links in this manner, you demonstrate to Google that those pages are still important and you help to make them more discoverable as a result.

XML or HTML?

Of course rather than creating a HTML sitemap – a literal list of all the pages on your site – you could always create an XML site map purely for the search engines. Doing so though would actually mean you missed out on some of the other benefits of site maps, specifically the benefits that come from letting your visitors use your site maps.

The problem with many new sites that use WordPress and other blog formats is that they can make it very difficult for readers to find content other than the recent articles that they might be interested in reading. When was the last time that you approached a website like a book and sifted through the whole thing in one sitting rather than just reading an article and leaving? The popularity of the blog-format means that we don’t tend to do that anymore, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t want to or that they couldn’t be enticed to stay longer.

Making More of Your Site Map

What you’re probably thinking now though is ‘but people don’t use site maps!’. When was the last time you clicked on a site map to explore a site?

Well the answer to this is simply that your site map doesn’t have to ‘be’ a site map at all. Why not have an ‘archive’ page for your articles, or an ‘explore’ page that will make your site map appear like a more integral part of your site? Find a more attractive way to present the links (rather than a huge list of pages) and organise it logically into a manner that’s easy to search through.

What you’ll end up with is a page that can enhance the experience of visiting your site for your visitors, that can serve like a ‘contents’ page for the rest of your site once you’ve hooked in your readers, and that can help your SEO efforts greatly too. Don’t forget the site map!

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Promote Yourself to Promote Your Website?

If you want to promote your website and make it a hit, then there are a huge number of options open to you and a vast array of different methods you can use. It’s unfortunate then, that a lot of people will focus on just the same few methods rather than thinking outside the box.

One strategy that a lot of people tend to miss out on that can be highly effective at helping you promote a website, is to focus on promoting yourself and to then use this strategy to help propel your site into the limelight. Read on for a brief introduction to how this strategy could work.

First, A Story From personal Experience

When I was only 18, I entered a competition on Bodybuilding.com called ‘Teen Bodybuilder of the Month’. I was an amateur bodybuilder at the time and didn’t expect to win, but fantastically I was chosen and woke up one morning to an inbox filled with about 100 e-mails from new fans. This was a rather exciting time for me, but looking back I realise now what a squandered opportunity it also was. There was an option to fill out a form at the time you see with a space for me to put down a website address, but at the time I didn’t have one that was worth sharing.

Now if I was to do the same thing today, I would have first developed my website to perfection and probably started selling a fitness eBook from it. I’d have been guaranteed at least a hundred sales and that could have helped me to turn a nice profit – probably several thousand dollars overnight.

How to Sell Your Personality

Now unfortunately that competition is no longer around and I am no longer a teenager. However, there are many other competitions on the net that could act as an equally good avenue for self-promotion – find competitions in your niche and they might just help you find a huge new audience.

But competitions of course aren’t the only way to use this strategy and there are many other ways you can gain exposure for yourself. For instance you can do something noteworthy then offer to sell your story or to do an interview with another website or magazine, you can create a YouTube channel and post videos regularly to develop a following, or you can just put yourself at the forefront of your web design.

Why it Works

The reason this works so well is that people like to read personal stories and are naturally inclined to identify with stories of personal success. When you put a face on what you do, it instantly becomes more relatable and it adds an ‘emotional’ element. People are more likely to listen to you, and if you’re willing to put your face to something then they’ll be more likely to believe you as well.

And better yet, you’ll find that it’s easier to get people to promote you than it is to get them to promote your site. You’ll find that your requests for exposure are treated less cynically and that it’s much easier to get favours.

So to give your site a boost, perhaps it’s time to put yourself at the head of your marketing!

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How to Get Great Links and Exposure From Forums

Before there was social media marketing, before there was Facebook and Instagram, there were forums. Of course we all know what forums are: they’re basically much more focussed social networks without quite so much of a personal element. You create a profile, you post discussions, and you talk with other people who interested in the same subject.

This has been going on for the longest time and is a concept we’re all familiar with, and yet forums are not quite on the radar of many internet marketers – or certainly not to the extent that they should be…

The Power of Forums

For while forums might not be as popular now as they once were, they make up for this in dedication. The people who regularly frequent forums on websites tend to be very committed to those communities and to the niches they talk about, and they tend to post often and passionately.

This is why it’s such a good idea to have a forum yourself if you are getting enough traffic – it will bring people back to your site far more frequently and it will generate you a ton of free content.

But for marketing purposes it’s important to use the forums on other sites as a way to bring people to yours. A link on Facebook to your article might get seen by many more people if you place it on Facebook, or if you do good SEO for it, but if you post it on the right forum then you’ll find that it gets a lot more clicks and that more of those visitors are likely to become fans and possibly customers.

How to Use Them

But that’s only if you do it right. One of the reasons that not enough people use forums is that they have often tried and failed with them in the past – they’ll post and find that they get no responses or worse that they get asked to leave the site for blatant self-promotion tactics.

But if that has happened to you in the past, then it only really suggests that you haven’t used the right strategy in the past. What’s important you see is to make sure that you don’t try to just ‘use’ the online communities you find in forums, but that you actually offer them some value in return.

That means that you should spend time on the forum not necessarily posting links to your site but sharing links to other useful sites and commenting on other posts. This way you can develop a reputation and some relationships and some of the users may even consider you a friend of sorts. This is another thing that makes these forums so powerful – because now when you eventually do promote yourself with a link, you’ll find that they are not only likely to click it, but that they’ll also probably go out of their way to help you with promotion and to see you succeed. That is the power of internet forums!

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A Good Fitness Blog Versus a Bad Fitness Blog

If you want to pick a niche for a website that you know will have a big audience, that’s easy to write for, and that it potentially highly profitable, then you can’t go wrong with fitness. Everyone it seems wants to be in better shape, there are a ton of angles to come at here, and it’s something that people are willing to pay money for.

At the same time, even if you opt against fitness as an area to write about, you will still find that it is a great example to use when discussing SEO and that a fitness site can serve as a great microcosm for other topics. As such, we can take a look at what might make a great fitness website or blog from an SEO/business perspective, and we can then from there apply lessons to any other kind of blog that should be equally as successful.

Read on to see how a good fitness blog might vary from a bad one, and what this means for your SEO and blogging regardless of your chosen niche…

Titles

The title of an article on a bad fitness blog might well be something like ‘A Workout for Your Pecs’. That might not seem like a bad article when you first glance at it, but now ask yourself whether you’d want to read it, whether it’s any different from any other fitness article out there. On the other hand, a great training blog would be more likely to feature articles such as ‘How My Life Changed When I Started Bodybuilding’ or ‘The Closest Legal Alternative to Steroids’. These are articles that are personal, that are engaging, that will have an emotional impact on the reader and that are controversial. Thus they will pique the interest of readers and almost compel them to read them, and thus they will make those readers want to come back.

Personal

The ‘My’ in that first title is also critical. Having a persona and allowing your audience to relate to you is a powerful way to make your site more engaging and memorable and is great for branding too.

eBooks

If a fitness site isn’t selling an eBook then it is missing out on a huge opportunity to make money. Having AdSense on your site will only really make you a few cents per click and direct a lot of traffic away from your site in the process, whereas having an eBook (and a mailing list) will keep traffic on your page, entrench readers in what you’re saying, and generally help you to make a lot more from your site. With any website, selling a product or service on your own is the optimum form of monetisation.

Images

A good fitness blog should also make good use of images to inspire readers and to help grab their attention. Fitness is something that’s very visual so you shouldn’t squander this opportunity to really catch people’s eyes with what you’re doing and to decorate your pages. Again the same is true of any site – so ask yourself, does your site have good images? Is it personal and engaging? Is it well monetised? If not, it’s time to start learning from those good fitness sites!

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Top OLD SEO Techniques That Still Work

It’s not exactly news anymore that SEO has gone through a lot of changes lately. Since Google Penguin and Panda, the way that you build links and increase a site’s visibility on Google has changed immensely. No longer are you meant to just flood the internet with links and ‘link swap requests’ and no longer can you stuff keywords into your articles like mad. These days, SEO experts recommend writing guest blogs, using social media and trying get people to write about your site for you. It’s a lot more difficult in short, but the long-term rewards are well worth it and you’ll find that these techniques are actually a lot more ‘future proof’ as well as being more effective in the here and now.

But the danger is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Sure, a lot of old SEO techniques are no longer useful and some will even damage your site – but that doesn’t mean that every old strategy is now completely useless and in some cases in fact you’ll find that they can be very helpful. Here we will look at some examples of those techniques – old favourites that actually still can be quite effective.

Submitting to Small Sites

In the past quality didn’t seem to matter with links – as long as you had quantity. Volume was the name of the game here and all anyone seemed to care about was how many sites you could submit your links to how quickly.

This isn’t the case anymore, and rather it’s a much better idea to spend longer going after the big fish – a few PR5 links are worth a million PR1 links and a million PR1 links will probably see your site getting penalised anyway.

But don’t give up on small sites altogether. Because actually what’s most important of all is that you ensure your links profile is natural and varied. That means that you should avoid having too many links of any single type. Hunt down links of all kinds and that includes a few lower quality ones.

Keywords

Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past, and your anchors shouldn’t consist entirely of keywords either. But still, there is a place for a few keywords when used correctly. Find two or three places to include them on your page naturally and particularly at key points such as the opening paragraph and the closing part.

Building a Blog

One way that site owners have always been able to increase their ranking has been to create a second site or a blog and then use that to link in to their main site. This is a technique that still works, so think about creating a network of sites rather than a single one, or just try creating a couple of blogs on other domains.

Posting blogs on your site is also a technique that has never lost its power, so make sure that you have somewhere to post regularly on your site if you want to keep it interesting to Google.

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