Author Archives: Dollars

Wedding DJ Costs or How Much Power Does It Take To Rank High In Google Search Results?

wedding-dj-dance-playlist-graphic At the request of a friend I recently wrote up an article about the wedding DJ business. More specifically, I wrote a Hub about wedding DJ prices. The idea was that since so many people want to know what a wedding DJ costs, but so few DJ companies actually will say on their websites what they charge to DJ a wedding reception or other event, that he could refer them over to the webpage with the data.

The wedding reception DJ rate piece did pretty well while it sat on top of some of the topics pages on HubPages itself and generated a little bit of traffic organically. However, the article doesn’t really show up anywhere in main Google search results pages. The SERPs are, of course, loaded with long-established webpages that ironically, do not answer the question most people are asking when they search for wedding DJ prices or wedding DJ rates or something similar.

Instead these searches return webpages with information about wedding DJs who will do a wedding reception for you, but not pages that actually have any price or rates on them. In fact, most of the top search results flatly state something like, contact us for rates, or fill out this form for a rate quote.

This is one of the area where Google and all Internet search engines fail miserably. They are unable to detect the difference between a webpage that actually lists rates or prices and one that points you somewhere else for that same information. This is obviously a very tough programming challenge both from the perspective of being able to discern when someone wants actual pricing information, and from the perspective of knowing which content delivers an actual rate or price. Then, there is the even more difficult task of determining which pages best serve the searcher. For example, a highly regarded webpage about wedding reception DJs that does not list a solid dollar amount might still be a better resource than a thinly populated webpage with dollar signs all over it, but filled with less than useful information.

Out of curiosity, I have typed up this post which both exceeds the commonly excepted minimum word requirement to be taken seriously by Google (300 words) and that has two links with different anchor text to the webpage in question. The homepage of this site sits at around a 3 on the fabled PageRank scale based on various toolbars, so we aren’t talking about huge fire power, but it has been known to push up a page into the top 10 results for lesser used keyword searches. Thus, we’ll get to see two things. One, how far, if at all can these links push my Hub (which stands on the shoulders of HubPages and its "authority") and, two, what alternate searches might be less competitive, and potentially more profitable?

Stay tuned, or just grab the Make Money Writing Online RSS Feed.

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Finding Profitable Niches Keywords

earn-money-online-graphic Sometimes, finding profitable niches can be tougher than it seems. Just because a keyword has a lot of searches, like wedding DJs, or low competition, doesn’t mean it is going to be a money maker. High cost-per-click, or CPC, can be helpful, but there still have to be enough clicks to make it work out. Just remember the old joke about the kid selling his artwork on the sidewalk for $1 million each. A guy comes by and says, "You won’t sell very much that way." To which the kid replies, "Yeah, but I only have to sell ONE!"

It’s a funny joke, but it is also illuminating to the Internet marketer looking to make money by writing online. Too many writers see big dollar signs when they find a keyword paying $25 per click or more. That sounds great on paper, but if you only get one click per month, that’s a whopping $25 of monthly income. You won’t be quitting your job to live on passive income at that rate.

On the other hand, if you have decent traffic to a $1 CPC keyword and get 5 clicks every day, that works out to $150 of monthly revenue. That is a much better deal even though the CPC is lower for that particular keyword.

Of course, knowing which of the above scenarios will come true at any CPC or CPM is tricky. Sometimes everything looks perfect: high-paying CPC, high monthly searches, low competition, and still, it turns out to be a bust.

One of the easy ways to find out how a keyword will play out is to write a good quality page about the keyword. Use several variations throughout the post in order to "trap" as many keyword searches as possible. The goal is not to rank #1 for any particular keyword (not yet, anyway), but rather to see if there is any value in chasing the rankings for some or all of the well researched keywords you have discovered.

If the topic fits in with one of your established websites, put it on there and link it from as many places as possible. Then, sit back and watch your Google Analytics. See which keywords show up not just for visitors to the website, but from those who actually end up clicking on ads. Don’t forget, some ads pay high CPC because the get very low click volumes. That makes the high pay rates cheap overall for advertisers. You will earn higher AdSense income with ads that get 10 clicks per day and pay $0.50 than ones that pay $3.00 per click but are lucky to net even one click per day.

If the topic does not fit in with one of your existing websites, consider writing an article for another website like HubPages. A content article based website like this one gives you some built in traction for getting your page indexed quickly and seeing what the traffic looks like. If it looks like you have a winner, then you can put the time and effort into building a new site around the profitable keyword you found. If it looks like a dud you can move on to your next promising keyword.

Don’t forget to check back in with your published article every once and a while. Sometimes, pages build up momentum and become profitable after being published for a longer period of time.

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Earn Money With HubPages Tips

Back when I first became a professional freelance writer, I spent a lot of time reading about how to make money online. I read pretty much every big make money online blogger out there and a lot of the smaller ones too. In fact, one of the reasons I started Make Money Writing Online was that almost all of those blogs, websites, and experts were focused on making money on the web with tricks, secrets, link building, SEO, article spinning, and so on. Very few, if any of them took the angle of how could a talented writer use their skills to earn money with writing online.

That does not mean that none of those sites about earning money online had nothing to offer. In fact, quite the opposite. Many of the search engine optimization tips, the keyword tricks, and the explanations about what makes money, what doesn’t make money, and how to get started earning money online, were very useful to helping me get my freelance writing business started. In addition, those same tips gave me some insight into how to build my own websites and online properties in a way that could generate passive income for me in order to compliment how much I earn as a freelance writer.

To Make Money With HubPages Do All The Steps

One of the more intriguing writers I used to read went relatively quiet not long after I found them and read through their massive archive of writing information and web income strategies. More accurately, they created a for-pay service called the Keyword Academy which based on what I have heard is relatively successful. And, while I certainly do not begrudge anyone who finds a way to earn money from their talents, I do miss having more frequent updates from them, primarily because I learned that what is said on that website tends to be true, whether it is popular or not.

Court (who I go back and forth about whether male or female, so forgive the pronouns if I get them wrong) turned me onto HubPages last year with the idea that writing a critical mass of good Hubs could:

  • a) Provide useful backlinks to other webpages and properties in order to increase their value and visibility in search engine results pages, or SERPs;
  • b) Actually provide their own revenue stream via the AdSense sharing program that HubPages uses to allow authors to monetize their earnings.

Apparently Court has gotten some criticism / complaints / whiners about whether or not HubPage is a good way to earn money online. In response, she posted an article titled How to Improve Your HubPages Earnings. Her primary contention in the article is that too many people do not do “all of the steps” required to generate profits from HubPages.

The best part is the analogy used of driving around the block. Basically, if you drive out of your driveway and turn right, you have drive to the next turn and then turn right again four more times before returning home. You cannot stop after fewer turns and expect to have accomplished your goal. If you stop too soon, your only real hope is to try and use hot girls to get more HubPages traffic.

Many writers trying to make money online by writing, whether on HubPages or elsewhere, Court says, stop before doing everything required in order to earn money with writing. It’s an interesting read, and if you are having trouble making money with HubPages, probably a good start.

However, like many make money online articles, it makes a lot of assumptions, and leaves out a lot of details. Not that is in any way insufficient. There is simply too much to cover in a single article of a reasonable length. Just covering the barest of basics about HubPages SEO Tips could take a handful of posts.

However, I thought I would help address one point and that is the issue of building links to promote your hubs. Don’t over think this. You aren’t trying to get your Hubs to rank #1 on Google for a hugely profitable keyword. (You should be doing that on your own websites instead of splitting the money with HubPages.) Remember that the whole point of using HubPages or eZine Articles or Squidoo or Associated Content and the like is to stand on the shoulders of their PageRank, so to speak. HubPages traffic volume gets hubs indexed fast without the writer having to do anything.

How To Link Promote Hubs on HubPages and Websites

In other words, you don’t need to build 900 backlinks to your Hubs in order to get anywhere. Frankly, if the topic isn’t too competitive, a dozen is enough to at least see what the Hub can do for you, or what it cannot do for you. Getting a dozen backlinks is not as hard as it sounds. You should already have a blog or website for your writing business. Throw a post up with some links there. Then add some bookmarks to Delicious or whatever you like, and then link some of your other Hubs to each new Hub and vice versa. Build a Squidoo Lens with links back to your Hubs and you should be well on your way.

At this point, watch your statistics and see which sites are attracting hits. Go out and give those sites another dozen links. Tweak the sites that are not getting any traffic and see if you can get them to build up some numbers. Once you have traffic, start watching your AdSense reports to see which hubs are generating revenue and then build secondary hubs that are related. Make sure to interlink them all.

Now, this won’t make you rich fast, or even earn $1,000 a month with HubPages, but it will give you a taste of what you can do, and that is what will push you to do the rest of those steps. A hub that I punched out with little research and just ten or so links about the best Chicago pizza now generates earnings despite having been all but abandoned months ago.

Once you see a hub generating $7.14 a day in AdSense earnings, it’s actually hard to NOT do more to make it perform better. Success is addictive. Don’t get caught up in an all or nothing mentality. Remember $10 a day in AdSense earnings is $300 a month in free money. Reinvest that money in your online writing business. Buy new domains, pay for better webhosting, get a notebook to write anyplace, anytime, whatever you need to keep going.

Before you know it, you’ll be making the decision about whether to quit your job and become a full-time Internet entrepreneur.

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Google Gets Serious About Webspam and Advertising Tricks Finally

For all of it’s talk, sometimes it seems that Google does very little to stop the continuous rise of webspam and SEO tricks aimed at drawing in the unaware user to a webpage filled with advertising (or worse).

However, recently, Google has finally taken a concrete step in the direction of improving the average user’s search results, and in the process, knee-capped certain webspammers and black-hat SEO or gray-hat SEO gimmicks, depending upon your point of view. In the process, it has improved the quality of the Internet, or rather, its move will have the affect of making the Internet a more accurate and reliable source of information over time. As junk websites and their “made for AdSense” (MFA) pages have their traffic dry up, the incentive to keep them going and to continue creating more low quality, but high search result ranking, junk sites diminishes. This also increases the ability of quality writers to make money writing online with AdSense.

How did Google finally achieve the goal of actually hurting webspam and garbage websites? Was it a secret improvement in its oft vaunted, and overrated, ranking algorithm? Did new duplicate content monitors, or an improvement in detecting low quality websites come online? Did the company finally start taking seriously, the numerous reports of garbage search results?

Nope. Instead, a simple change in the way a common search error is handled will end up making a huge difference.

Misspelled Searches Cash Cow Killed

misspelled-google-search-engine-results-rankings For years, it was a dirty secret that by targeting misspelled searches, one could make lots of money online.

An exploitation of webpages and webmasters who were honest and focused on quality caused legitimate websites to lose out to sham websites, and caused search engine users to end up reading dubious information about their search keywords, that is if they could find their way past the abundance of ads.

It was a relatively easy exploit. Social engineering is a way of hacking computers, or scamming users. The idea is to simply do something in such a way that most people would make an incorrect assumption about what what going on and therefore, hand over valuable information without knowing a mistake was being made. The best part (worst part?) of social engineering tricks is that they circumvent carefully constructed security systems, firewalls, and policies, that might have otherwise stopped the hacker from gaining access to anything valuable.

One common example of social engineering hacking are emails pretending to be official communications from a bank, company, or even another person in which they as the user to verify their username and password. The average user makes the incorrect assumption that the only way they would get such an email was if it was legitimate, and being good people, try and be helpful by following the instructions to click a link and enter their personal account information. Upon doing so, the website, which looks exactly like the real company’s website, says thank you and that everything is find now. The user goes on about their day, while the crooks empty their bank accounts.

Although much less nefarious, the most common (until recently) hack of search engines and searchers was to target keywords that were commonly (or not so commonly) misspelled. When the searcher typed keywords into Google’s website, the misspelled words made a better match with misspelled words on the scam webpages than they did with the correctly spelled words on legitimate websites. As a result, the search engine results pages (SERP) would show the junk webpages above the real websites’ pages.

For example, if a searcher was looking to buy a new computer monitor they might go to Google and type in “computer moniter” in an effort to do research or check prices. Quality websites, including those of the companies that make and sell computer monitors, would spell “monitor” correctly. Junk websites would create webpages with “moniter”. Google’s ranking algorithm would, not unexpectedly, rank the pages with the “same” word as the search (the misspelled word) higher than those with the close, but not exact, word monitor.

For the last year or two, Google has tried to help searchers in this situation by including a note at the top of search results saying, “Did you mean monitor?” However, the search results were still displayed based on the misspelled word. Many users, MOST users in fact, would just scan down the the results and use them instead of clicking on the link to take them to the real word.

The same tactic generated another issue for Google. Ads purchased through the AdWords online advertising program of Google typically targeted properly spelled keywords. Those bids were often not extended to misspellings which means that there was a double problem for Google. First, the search result accuracy on which its livelihood depends was compromised. Second, the lower number of ads targeted at misspelled words means that those ads were displayed at the top of search results for less money than they would be if the automated ad auction included all of the properly spelled words.

Google eliminated both problems with one tiny change in the way it handles misspelled search queries.

Now, instead of just trying to notify users that they misspelled a word, the search results now display, by default, the results for the correctly spelled word, and instead, the results notify users that if they really meant to spell the word the other way that they can click a link to take them to those results. In other words, Google now does the opposite of what it once did to display search rankings of incorrectly spelled keyword searches. By default the correct spelling is displayed and the incorrect spelling is listed as an alternate search, instead of vice versa.

The result?

Higher quality websites now show up even for average users who misspell their search words and the lower quality sites thrown up by those hoping to make a quick buck on a little bit of user ignorance have seen their traffic dry up. Additionally, Google has increased its advertising income by ensuring that the full gamut of ads participates in the computerized ad auction that determines which ads show up on top of those same search results.

This change is a win-win for honest webmasters and quality vendors, as well as for Google. The only ones hurt by this action are the underworld Internet marketer community, and frankly, most people are glad to finally have even a small whack made at them.

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