Tag Archives: Make Money

How Good Are Google Search Result Rankings?

ranking Everywhere you turn people tell you the same thing about search engines; Google is the best search engine. Google is certainly the biggest search engine company. Depending upon whose numbers you want to believe, Google’s search market share is a whopping 71% or more. Google processes hundreds of millions of search queries every day and uses so many servers, computers, routers, and networking equipment that it recently got into the power business. But, does that make Google the best search engine? How good are its search results?

Quality of Google Search Results Page Rankings

Answering the question of how good Google’s searches are is not straightforward. There are numerous factors that can go into ranking websites and webpages as the best search result, or the number 38 search result. Which ones to include and how much weight each search ranking factor should be given is a matter of opinion. Some may claim that larger, better known, results should rank highest, while others would claim that the democratization of information is exactly what makes the Internet so powerful, therefore, no preference should be given to “mainstream” websites or their pages.

However, examining Google’s search results with human eyes often provides some insight into how well the company is doing when it ranks websites in the top ten search results. (UPDATE: The guys over at Search Engine Journal published a different look at what I was getting at here.)

Check out my freelance financial writer page.

Google tracks the preferences and history of most users. It uses this data to “personalize” the search results for that person. For example, if you often search for something like denver sightseeing, a search for something like tourist attractions may be skewed toward attractions in Denver, even though denver was not included in that particular search. Furthermore, if you often visit a specific website, especially by clicking on its links from searches, that site may be pumped up to a higher position in future searchers.

Many writers seeking to earn money writing online fall victim to this trap. Since they logically visit their own websites more frequently than others, they are likely to rank higher in most searches performed by the website author. Unfortunately, this often leads new writers into believing that they rank much higher than they really do for a particular search.

Always perform any searches that you want to use to see how things look to everyone else in your browser’s privacy mode. Google Incognito mode is useful for seeing unpersonalized search results and is my personal favorite, because it does not shut down your regular browsing session to go private.

Once you have launched a private browsing session, type in a few Google searches that you think would be productive ways of finding valuable information. Obviously, two word searches are difficult because there can be so much interpretation. Try better searches with three or four words. For an example, try “LCD versus Plasma”. Then try “LCD vs Plasma”.

google-search-results-quality-comparison

Despite Google’s insistence that it handles synonyms for you in searches, the differences between the results when using “versus” instead of “vs” are very different. This is technically an abbreviation, not a synonym, but the point remains that what results you get for your searches depends very much on EXACTLY what you search for. That is why writing to multiple keywords is so important.

You’ll notice throughout this site (and even in this article) I make an effort to link back for both “earn money writing online” AND “make money writing online” because it really does matter.

When you are out there writing content for yourself or your clients and building powerful backlinks to your best stuff, be sure to do the same. Otherwise, the best search engine in the world might not rank you as high as you deserve based on one tiny little word.

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How To Get More Traffic On Your Website

The HubPages experiment continues. Check out some of my best Hubpages Hubs here.

I hate to say it, but I’ve been sucked in by the whole HubPages concept. For those of you who are not familiar with HubPages, it is an article directory that allows anyone to author webpages using a web-based template. It’s closest competitor is Squidoo, although I find Squidoo a chore, and HubPages a little too much fun.

What makes HubPages so addicting for a professional writer is that the interface is remarkably simple to use and the output generated in the form of a published “Hub” or webpage is attractive and compelling. Additionally, I have yet to have the interface crash on me and cause me to lose any work, which means that I feel comfortable typing directly into the web forms instead of being compelled to type into a text editor like Notepad++ or Word and the copy and paste the results. This makes writing Hubs much faster than on less “trustworthy” platforms.

Still, to reach the full potential of HubPages, one needs to generate more traffic on their webpages or Hubs. There are two ways to go about this within the context of the HubPages system.

The first method to attract more Internet traffic to your website hubs is to get a higher HubRank or Author Score on hubpages. This provides two main benefits. One benefit is that once a writer has a HubRanking over 75, their backlinks have the HubPages nofollow tag removed which means that the links from HubPages actually pass their “link juice” on to the site they link to.

The other important benefit is that HubPages displays “other” articles or hubs to its visitors whether they are Hubbers (hub authors) or just regular internet users directed to HubPages via a search engine. Needless to say, appearing more often in these lists of articles increases the odds of people clicking on your links and visiting your own hubs. Ideally, that visit leads them to read more of your stuff, and eventually bookmark, share, or become a fan of your websites.

Today, when I logged on to HubPages I had an author score of 93. Since one component of any HubRank is “random,” according to HubPages documentation, there is no way of knowing how much of that score is “real” versus how much might be a pumped up random number. However, a 93 is pretty good either way.

Unfortunately, there are many Hubbers with scores of 98,99, and yes even the top score of 100.

How To Get HubRank 100

Getting all the way to a HubRank of 100 takes full participation in the HubPages community. Fortunately, that is pretty easy to achieve, even if you only want to “fake it.”

Commenting on other Hubs, making a few posts in the Forums, and publishing a new hub every now and then is sufficient to qualify as “full participation.” The only thing left to do is have enough traffic, fans, or commenters to get the rest of the algorithm up to the top.

Assuming one is writing quality content for publishing hubs, and that one is not interested in pandering to the lowest common denominator by writing dozens of hubs about hot actresses or pretending to be a hot housewife writing about her underwear, then the only two possibilities for driving increased traffic to the webpages for the sake of increasing the author score are a) building more links to hubs, or b) writing more hubs.

Since the point of my experiment with HubPages is to generate links OUT to my stuff, taking the effort to do anything more than the most basic backlinking to Hubs seems counter-intuitive. Therefore, the solution for most writers looking to earn money writing online is to produce more hubs.

Like I said, generating new hubs can be a quick process for an experienced writer. Assuming that a topic is in mind and the author is already a sufficient subject expert to write on the subject, it is entirely possible to write quality Hubs in 20 minutes or less.

In the past I have attempted to writer 30 Hubs in 30 Hours. However, this schedule leaves no room for error. Since I am unwilling to take any precious time off in order to ensure success, I looked for a new idea that would fulfil the objective of publishing a lot of hubs fast but have some more flexibility.

The result?

The Turbo Lightning HubChallenge!

Publishing 100 Hubs in 10 Days. The additional hubs will generate their own traffic and as a bonus compliment the traffic already being driven to my websites via HubPages.

To go all out, I have decided to sell-out this time, as well. I’ll be writing hubs on the most common “high traffic” or “high search volume” topics. After all, it isn’t like I’m building a whole website to compete for a single high CPC keyword with massive competition. If it turns out that the Hub works at drawing traffic, I’ll have an insiders look at what works for that search term.

If not, the hubs will still draw the eyeballs of visitors already floating around the HubPages community who happen to see a Hub about the best new free techniques for whitening teeth, looking younger, losing weight, and getting government grants for plastic surgery for hot housewives. (Oh, yeah. Now THAT is keyword stuffing!)

Will it work?

Find out. Grab the Make Money Writing Online Feed so you don’t miss a thing.

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Google Certified Ad Networks Who Are They?

google-certified-ad-networks-questions-graphicGoogle has allowed certain third-party advertising networks called, very benevolently, “Google Certified Ad Networks” to the Google AdSense program. The official party line is that these additional online advertising networks will provide publishers with higher income allowing them to earn more passive income online from the content they publish on websites. The skeptical party line is that nobody sells ads better, or in greater volume, than Google AdWords, and that the 3rd party ad networks have to earn their money by taking a cut of revenue as well, therefore, these new ad networks will only drive down the amount of money webmasters can earn with AdSense advertising on websites.

Who is right?

Unfortunately, that is a pretty tricky question to answer.

Early on in the launch of the third-party ad networks, many webmaster claimed that they saw their revenues and earnings in the form of cost per click or CPC decline. They further claimed that after disabling all of the third-party ad networks that their ad revenue increased back to “normal” levels. That might have been all she wrote, except for at that point one of many unofficial Google spokesmen turned up on that forum and said that the 3rd party networks were being rolled out very slowly and therefore, whatever those guys were seeing was not the result of lower payments from third-party ads. He went on to say that it would be a “mistake” to follow the disabling course of others. Curiously, no other information has been forthcoming sense.

It is difficult to no how much value to give to various forum posts since users are notorious for inflating their importance and income. Reading many user’s posts leaves one with the considered opinion that the author has never published anything other than a handful of token websites in their life, let alone have any sort of ability to provide a valid analysis.

Testing Google Certified Ad Networks Impact On Earnings

Unfortunately, truly testing the impact of Google certified ad networks would require either directly violating Google’s confidentially terms and conditions or violating the rule against having more than one AdSense account. Since AdSense publishers can only enable or disable third-party certified ad networks on a whole account basis, there is no way to turn them off for one set of sites and leave them on for another and then compare the results. To publicly compare results would violate rules against disclosing cost per click and eCPM metrics.

Thus, Google leaves us with no way of knowing whether or not the new 3rd party certified ad networks are good for us publishers or not. Are the Google Certified Ad Networks hurting earnings, or are the new 3rd party ad networks helping earnings? I guess we’ll just have to go ask Mr. Owl.

Who Are Google Certified Ad Networks

The only thing we can see is who the certified third-party ad networks are. If you were expecting to see the names of numerous advertising powerhouses or other well-respected online vendors, you have a surprise coming. Most of the certified ad networks list reads like that starting lineup for the Cleveland Indians at the start of the movie Major League, “I’ve never heard of most of these guys.”

As always, successful AdSense publishing requires diligence on the part of the publisher and webmasters. Monitor your sites and check in periodically to see what ads are showing up. Find out whose ad is on your webpage and add those served by undeserving advertisers to your competitive ad filter where both Google and 3rd party ads will be blocked.

Determining which, if any of the third-party ad networks to block will be much more difficult. For now, monitor your AdSense income and respond to any substantial across the board drop by blocking all 3rd party ad networks immediately.

Remember, this is the holiday season, when AdSense earnings are at their highest. If you are publishing real, legitimate content and honestly building links and authority to your webpages, your AdSense income should be going up through the end of the year, not going down. So, now is the perfect time to over-react. Next year, you can re-evaluate if necessary. And, the good news is that you will have a baseline of data from your “blocked” period to use as a starting point in evaluating whether or not to continue allowing the Google Certified Ad Networks back onto your websites.

List of Google Certified Ad Networks

Here is a list of third-party ad networks as of 11/28/09:

Adchemy
Invite Media
Specific Media
Turn
[X+1]
OwnerIQ, Inc.
Adconion Media Group
Adtegrity.com
AudienceScience Inc.
Dapper Inc.
Dedicated Media
FetchBack
LucidMedia
NetSeer Inc.
QuinStreet, Inc.
ReTargeter
Teracent Corporation
ValueClick, Inc.
Aggregate Knowledge
Atrinsic
Brand.net
BrightRoll
Chitika
Collective Media
CPM Advisors, Inc
DataXu
Efficient Frontier, Inc.
InterCLICK
Media6Degrees
MediaMath
OpinMind
Quantcast Corporation
Rocket Fuel Inc.
Semantic Sugar, Inc.
TellApart
Traffic Marketplace
Triggit
Goodway Group
Ad Marketplace
VivaKi
AppNexus
Epic Advertising
Reply! Inc.
Criteo Europe
Criteo UK

If you have any data to share, or experiences to report, regarding 3rd-party ads on your website, please don’t hesitate to comment or email.

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Keep Making Money Online By Writing Ahead

writing-ahead-graphicIf you target the right keywords and focus your writing just so, you might be able to rank highly for a specific phrase or set of key words without updating your site regularly. But, doing so is really more the realm of those make money fast types who want to convince you that you can make big money on the Internet by doing virtually nothing. All you have to do is throw up a couple of websites that you can build in minutes. Of course, you will never figure it out on your own, so you’ll have to cough up $49 for an eBook, or subscription, or something.

But, since this site is about helping writers make money online by doing what they do best, that is writing, I’m not going to go there right now. Instead, I will tell you that the three-word phrase you see on everyone’s how to make money posts, Content Is King, is 100% true.

I am currently in the midst of an ongoing project to build a big money making empire of websites. I could use all those SEO tips and webmaster tricks out there to try and make crappy sites rank high, or I could just do what I do best, write quality articles and posts for these sites and let Google do what it does best, separate crappy MFA sites from good ones.

That being said, it would take very fast typing fingers to write daily content for even a dozen websites, let alone several dozen. Trying to do that while running a small freelance writing business would require the aid of some form of time stopping ability.

What is a budding writing web entrepreneur to do?

Write ahead.

Every day, you will be writing. After all, you are a writer, and that is what writers do.

However, some days you will fill like writing about certain topics and not about others. Save the forcing-it writing for paying clients with deadlines and use your want-to writing to write for your sites. You’ll write faster and better.

Don’t just write one post or article and move on. Write three. Write a dozen. Heck, write 20. Then take advantage of WordPress’s scheduling ability to meter those posts out in nice search-engine friendly increments. Personally, I like to publish every other day, not including weekends. That makes a Tuesday-Thursday publishing schedule fairly attractive.

Sticking to this schedule gives you two major benefits. First, your content is always new and fresh, which Google loves.

Second, since you know that your “automatic posts” go out every Tuesday and Thursday, when you need publish something a little more timely, or you just don’t want to put what you just wrote at the end of the queue, you can set it to post on any of the other days of the week and know that you won’t be overlapping without having to go into your control panel and look it up.

Do this for each site as you set them up and have maximum enthusiasm for the topic. You should easily be able to crank out 5 posts. With the 2 a week schedule, they’ll last 2 1/2 weeks before you have to come back.

Chances are, you’ll have plenty of good ideas before then.  Keep going and pretty soon you’ll have enough posts queued up to take a vacation and not miss a beat.

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