SEO and Traffic Tools

I make over a $1,000 per month blogging on various websites. Technically, I make over $1,000 per month from AdSense and not blogging, but it’s the blogs that bring in the AdSense money, so I suppose it is all relative.

The point is that there is an amazing array of SEO tools and traffic analysis tools and so on our there. I’d like to try some of them out, and since I do make some decent cash from my writing, one might think that I would be willing to shell out $50 or so to try some of them out. And, frankly, I would except they all seem to cost $50 PER MONTH or worse.

Now, I’m all for spending money to make money, and all that, but I can’t help but wonder how much those tools are really worth. After all, I can check my rankings anytime I want for free by running the actually Google searches manually. Of course, that’s the rub, “manually.”

Still, $50 per month is $600 per year. That isn’t cheap, and that is for just ONE tool. What if I liked the rank tracker from one tool, the link checker from another tool and some sort of SEO checkup thing from another tool? That might be $150 per month, or over 10 percent of my income.

My only conclusion can be that either there are a lot of people out there making a lot more money with their websites than me, or that there are a lot of people out there who aren’t spending their money very wisely. I guess the question is how much actual value does the average website publisher make from those tools? After all, I’m already making $1K without them. Would I double my earnings? Triple?

Think about it this way. If I was able to generate a more realistic 10 percent improvement on my income that would be $100 per month, of which $50 per month would go to the cost of the tool. I’m not sure that works out for our heroes.

Speaking of which, I recently dropped $50 to upgrade to the Pro IMAuotmator. I’ll write about it soon.


What are your thoughts about SEO tools, search ranking monitoring tools, and link tools? Any you can’t live without? Any that are very worth it from a pure additional income standpoint?

PotPieGirl Exposes Google

Interesting post over at the PotPieGirl today. In watching several keywords, she noticed that one of the highly ranked webpages for the very competitive term “make money online” is an EMPTY WEBPAGE! This has apparently been going on for some time, now as well.

As it turns out, it used to be the website of someone called Griz who was/is fairly well known in the make money online circles. At one time, the site got tons of links, and lots of traffic. However, the website was taken down for TOS violations in 2010. That means a webpage that is part of a domain that does not have any content whatsoever, let alone quality content, ranks at #9 in Google’s search results based solely on the incoming links that are still out there on the web.

Here is a screenshot of my search results for the same term (no quotes) on 4/19/2012 at approximately 2:33 PM MDT.

Google Just Counts Links

Google goes out of its way to say that the only thing needed to rank highly in its search results is to produce quality content. Then, of course, people will link that high quality content and you’ll rank highly. Everyone whose been interested in writing online and ranking well for their content for more than 10 minutes knows that’s a fantasy.

Still, Google, and by extension those who believe what Google tells them, continue to parrot the line that content is king. This is proof that is simply not the case.

There is no high-quality content here. There is no content AT ALL.

Still it ranks in Top 10.

Not only that, but since this particular website has been down for going on two years now, it also has virtually no new links, at least not legitimate ones.

So, what does this all mean for someone who wants to make money writing online?

It means that you can generate quality content, but if you want people to find it in on Google, you’re going to have to link it. The sooner you get used to the fact that the number of incoming links you have outweighs the quality of your content, the better.

I’m not saying to write garbage. After all, I started this website for people who can, and do, write well. I’m just saying don’t be naive. You’ll have to do more than just write good stuff to rank highly and make money from your organic traffic.

Grab the MMWO RSS feed to keep up with all the tips, tricks and pointers that will help you take your quality writing to the top of the search results.

Fastest Google Indexing

I use Google Alerts as one of the ways to keep track of when and where my content, on my blogs or elsewhere, gets indexed, or otherwise shows up around the web. For example, I have alerts for both and “make money writing online.” The idea is that whenever something I write here gets indexed, it should send me an alert. It doesn’t always.

I have my alerts set for “all” instead of best and for “when it happens”. If you have very busy websites that generate a lot of links and feedback and people talking about you, this is not the way to go. But, for a smaller website like this one, these specific alerts generally only trigger when:

  1. Something I posted gets indexed
  2. Something I posted gets linked with the name of the website
  3. Something I posted get scraped or stolen
  4. Something I linked gets indexed

This brings me to today’s point.

It turns out that as far as regular, no tricks, no effort, indexing goes, the fastest Google index spider that triggers my alerts is the one that indexes

For example, I posted an article on my freelance writing blog not too long ago. I post every-other-day-ish over there, so it is no surprise that Google doesn’t crawl my site every hour. Some days, it takes 36 hours or more to get a new post indexed. It’s not a “news” site, so that doesn’t really bother me.

When I post, I do the usual. I ping the proper servers, my feed goes out, and I bookmark, Like, and Digg my article. Less than an hour later, almost every time, the Digg of my article triggers a Google alert, which means that the webpage corresponding to that Digg, has been indexed and my information found. At that point, if I search, I can find the Digg in the index.

Interestingly, it seems, in my case at least, that while Google does index Digg in near real-time, the spider does not follow those links. In other words, even though the Digg for my latest article shows up right away, the spider doesn’t follow the link and index my page. Instead, my page gets indexed when the Googlebot rolls by of its own accord, or by following a different link.

So, if you want to get something indexed about your post right away, Digg it. It won’t help you get the actual post indexed, but if someone clicks on the Digg result, they’ll be just one click away from getting to your website.

Bing Faster Than Google?

I’ve put some additional effort into tracking some of the various keywords that I write about for some of my clients. One of the new tools I’m using shows Bing rankings in addition to the more traditional Google rankings. What I’ve noticed can only be considered anecdotal at this point, and has only been observed on a handful of keywords over 45 to 60 days. However, it seems that when it comes to rankings, Bing is faster than Google.

Bing Search Rankings Accurate Sooner?

Faster Search Rankings graphic

Here is what I mean.

Imagine a website that is a well respected authority site for something like dog clothing. (I have no idea how this does or does not end up working out for thin, affiliate, type websites where the goal is to rank for a single keyword. I don’t have any of those sites to try it out on.)

Now, imagine that the website publishes a new article about ascots for dogs. Let’s assume that the goal was to rank well for the term plaid dog ascots. Furthermore, let’s assume that the page is reasonably well optimized for search and that a regular, non-automated, amount of links has been built to the content in question. Finally, assume that while this may be a competitive keyword, it is not highly competitive and that the top ranking results are not giant, authoritative, well linked pages of PageRank 7 websites, but rather regular, middle of the road, webpages for longer-tail keywords.

Continuing our example based on this scenario, after five to 10 days, Bing starts ranking this webpage for the keyword plaid dog ascots at #5. Google starts the ranking for the same page for the same key phrase at 28. Most website owners fixate on the Google ranking and consider their efforts to be a success or failure based upon that number.

However, what I have noticed a few times now is that without doing anything more than maintaining the existing site that over a matter of two to three weeks, the webpage in question will slowly, but surely (though not linearly) make its way up Google’s SERPs until it comes to rest within one or two rankings of the original Bing ranking.

This suggests a few things. One, that Bing, unlike widely reported on Google, may not limit or “sandbox” new content, allowing it to rank naturally almost immediately. Google, on the other hand, seems to almost require that an article be at least two or three weeks old before it can rank in the top 10, assuming that it is not given “hot news” treatment. Two, it seems that Bing might be a good predictor of the final ranking position for long-tail keyword webpages that are not hyper-competitive. Three, if that is all true, then observing one’s Bing ranking for a given keyword offers some insight into how effective the webpage was constructed and linked.

I’ll keep you posted as I work. Maybe this is a fluke that only happened a couple of times. Maybe, this is a very useful insight into SEO for writers.