Using Adsense to Analyze and Optimize Your Blog

In your travels as a blogger, you will eventually and inevitably hear about a thing called “Adsense,” a service from search engine giant Google that displays contextually relevant ads on your web page. Essentially you place Google’s Adsense code on your web page in a text widget or in the HTML view of a post, and the code will scan your site for subject matter and then display ads from businesses looking for audiences interested in similar subjects. When a reader clicks on one of these ads you are credited for the click-through – depending on how the advertiser is set up, you will be paid a small percentage as a commission if a sale is made as a result of that click through from your site.

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The word “sale” is also a relative term – a sale can mean cost per acquisition – which could mean not an actual purchase, but instead getting people to arrive at a certain page designated by the end-user/reader.  Adsense is a very big subject and beyond the scope of this article, but it is a powerful way not only to find small amount of revenue for your blog, it is an very useful way of seeing and learning how pages on your site, or even sections of pages are working with your readers.  By placing ads with proper names at different locations at your site you can see where you are getting click-through and over time these numbers become statistics and those statistics can begin to give you a more three-dimensional understanding of how your site is being used so that you can improve its efficacy. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason full movie

Let me give you an example of what I mean:

I log into my Adsense account, create an ad, in this case, let’s start with a 160 (wide) x600 (tall) “skyscraper” add. I will choose the font “Arial” to match the font on my blog, pick some colors that blend with or match the colors of my site’s template (this is again, totally up to you, though there are many articles about best practices and techniques for dealing with Adsense colors and how they interact with your content) and then I will assign it to a channel. I will create a new channel for this ad, based on not only the name of my site, but also, name the channel to reflect WHERE on my site I will place this ad. For example, this ad’s channel I will title: WP-BLOGGER SKYSCRPR AD LEFTTOP.  This is just an arbitrary title I have created for this example which to us will mean “An Adsense ad measuring 160×600, for the site that will be positioned on the left sidebar, “above the fold.”

After I create the channel, and add the Adsense ad I have created to it, I will go to the next page where I will be prompted to name the ad itself. In this case, I could simply name it the same thing as I did the channel, but why not use this to add more information for later study? I will name the ad itself – WP-BLGR SKYSCR ARIAL BLEND.

Google will now give me a box with code I can copy and paste and place into a standard text widget that will go on the left sidebar of my blog in the top position.

Over the course of time, visitors to my site my decide to click on one of the ads that will appear in this position. When I now go to my Adsense stats, I may see that WP-BLOGGER SKYSCRPR AD LEFTTOP has had 10 clicks in a day. Maybe on day two it has another 10-15 clicks.

I will now create a second ad – this time a large 300×250 square that will go at the bottom of my posts. I will similarly give it an appropriate name and also create a unique channel for this one and copy and paste this Adsense code at the bottom of my posts within the HTML view of my article. (I also like to add “center” tags around the code for aesthetic purposes.)

Now, over time, I can see which of these two ads is performing better; if I see after several weeks that the 300×250 ad is getting 50 clicks a day and that the 160×600 is still only getting 10 then I know something. But what do I know? Is it the font? The color choices? If these are identical for both ads, then I can rule that out.  What about the position? The size?  I can test this out by creating two new ads with their own respective channels for the right sidebar, or top of posts and see if that makes a difference.

Ad Placement Kama Sutra

There is no hard and fast rule for what will work on every page or site. Even the campaigns that claim to teach you a “surefire, bulletproof, 100% satisfaction or your money back” method for optimizing your Adsense placement are not able to predict your style, your template, your demographic, or otherwise. This is something you need to test for yourself.

Some people will tell you that using standard “HTML colors

” like blue for text links, is mandatory. I am not sure why – it isn’t as though the public hasn’t been online in huge numbers for at least a decade – I don’t think they are going to be confused by links that aren’t blue and underlined. Again, the point is – try different styles and positions (now this sounds like a Tantra class) for yourself and see what the stats tell you OVER TIME. Yes, there is no fast and easy answer. Your blog is going to grow and develop and evolve and mature and change and so is your site’s audience.

Adsense is not just a way of monetizing your blog, it is a way of giving yourself deeper analytical insight into what is working and how the layout is. Typically it is wise not to use too many ads on your site.

Simpler tends to be better.

Adsense is free sign-up, free to use, no credit card required. Just Google “Adsense” and get started. Even better, if you Google “Analytics” you can set up a Google Analytics account and link that to your Adsense account. I find that Google Analytics, as exhaustive as it may seem, only gives you a part of the whole picture. Although it has functionality to set goals and test conversion rates and whole bunch of other design, marketing and SEO terms you may not want to delve into yet, having Adsense show you exactly what people are clicking on that isn’t content related but instead commerce related, may give you some idea of what they are really hungry for.

This article is not about chasing the pennies around the table, however. I am not advocating changing up your content to influence the ads themselves. That is an entirely different practice. What I am interested in demonstrating here, is a way to both learn to use Adsense well, to better understand the audience your site is attracting, and ultimately to understand how well your blog is steering people through your traffic by seeing how they are navigating their way through it.  Adsense tends to be a “call to action” – whereas your content may contain musings or tips on a subject – Adsense ads are designed by their creators to say “Click Me!”   Thus seeing where visitors end up clicking most, tells you where their eyeballs are going as they scan your page.

As I said before, using Adsense effectively is a massive subject and there are hundreds if not thousands of experts in the field so you can leave this article with the assurance that there is a lot of information out there to expand on what I have only touched upon.

A Lil’ Something For WP-Lovers

I would be remiss not to offer at least one cool WordPress plugin to go with all of the hyperbole above and that is Joost de Valk’s “Google Analytics for WordPress“.

This little Swiss Army knife “automatically tracks and segments all outbound links from within posts, comment author links, links within comments, blogroll links and downloads. It also allows you to track AdSense clicks, add extra search engines, track image search queries and it will even work together with Urchin.

“In the options panel for the plugin, you can determine the prefixes to use for the different kinds of outbound links and downloads it tracks.”

Once you have your Adsense and Analytics all setup, give it a whirl and see if it makes things easier or more convenient. It isn’t a must, but it might give you some new ideas about using all these powerful tools together.

What techniques do you use to understand how Adsense is working for you?

About the Author:

Keram is a new media consultant, music producer, actor and writer who opines on SEO at

and society at Keram recently released a solo acoustic CD titled “Box”.
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The Power of Blogging and What I Hope To Learn In Vegas

What do television and blogs have in common?

Every year that goes by, that question becomes easier to answer. I have been making an annual pilgrimage to the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, Nevada for the last four years and every time I attend it seems there are more and more seminars devoted to the world of blogging, RSS feeds, social networking, Tweeting, podcasting, vodcasting and how to monetize them all.

This year, in fact, they have an entire seminar track called “New Media 2.0: Using Social Media and Podcasting to Reach New Audiences” with top speakers and experts from around the world speaking to a crowd that has historically been interested in the future of television and radio broadcasting.  There is even a seminar about now if but when Web TV will kill conventional television broadcasting for good.

Blogging is a powerful tool that anyone can use, and WordPress is king among the blogging solutions out there. I have used WordPress to create everything from a music review website with a streaming jukebox player ( to a food recipe site ( to a podcasting site ( that lets me broadcast my own radio show via iTunes (using the BluBrry’s excellent Powerpress podcasting plugin).  Episode fourteen of my podcast is all about blogging, monetization, Twitter and some of the best people to learn from in the world of blogging and SEO.

Newcomers to the world of blogging often mistake it for a new kind of LiveJournal or MySpace blog wherein one chronicles one’s daily life. But a Blog is a lot more than that. It is a complete content management system and a self-publishing platform, the same kind used by everyone from CNN to Perez Hilton.

Writing a blog is like being the editor of a magazine, even down to understanding your demographic, your traffic metrics, your primary subject focus, and even attracting advertising dollars. Army of the Dead psp

As you explore the world of WordPress and what it can do, you should always be thinking of your audience – who are they, why are they interested, how do they navigate your site, who may be willing to pay you for attracting those same viewers to their product?

Also, pay attention to this post – it may seem like a lot of self-promotion, but it is, in fact, a demonstration of linkbacks/trackbacks and cross-linking – a practice you must learn to use within your own posts; linking to articles that you have written for your blog within your new blog posts makes search engines hungrier for your site – they like to see correlations and cross-pollination.

I will be attending this year’s NAB show

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as a media correspondent based on the strength of my blogs alone. Think of that – in nine months, I went from knowing what most beginners do, to getting a media badge to one of the top 50 largest media conferences in the US. That is the power of a blog. I look forward to reporting back what I find. If you are interested in a play by play, you might consider following my Tweets from the show – you can find me on Twitter @ConstantChange.

About the Author:
Keram is a new media consultant, music producer, actor and writer who opines on SEO at Light in the Piazza buy and society at Listen to Keram’s podcast at

How to Search Engine Optimize Your WordPress Blog

The question I get asked the most about blogging is: how do I get traffic? There are many strategies out there that will eventually bring you traffic, but there is one strategy that is more important than them all and that is Search Engine Optimization.

You will get a large majority of your traffic from search engine results. So, it’s important that you get everything in order so that the search engine bots will like your site. Think of it as preparing for a hot date, you need to look your best, comb your hair, take a bath and be on your best behavior to impress your date. The search engine bots are often like that and are usually a fickle date.

So, here are some basic SEO tips for your WordPress blog.

Basic WordPress Settings for SEO

There are several critical settings you need to change before you announce your site to the world. The first thing you need to do is enable clean URL permalinks. That turns your URL’s from PHP gobbledygook into readable URL’s that are helpful to your readers when they are searching for you.

For example would you rather see:


Enable permalinks FIRST before you build your sitemap and submit it to the search engines. This will save you headaches later. Also, keep in mind it may take 30 minutes to an hour for your permalinks to start working, so don’t stress that you broke your website when your pages aren’t loading.

After you’ve done that, it’s time to think about all the categories you’re going to post content. Create them up front, that way they get built into first sitemap.

Building the Sitemap

Your XML sitemap is critical for WordPress SEO Success. A sitemap is what gets submitted to the search engines and they use that as guide to your website. It tells them what pages and what content lives on your blog. You’re going to need the WordPress XML Sitemap plugin to manage your sitemap. It’s works in the background and updates your sitemap whenever you write a new post. Then it also notifies the search engines that there are new pages and the bots will come crawl your site again.

Once you have your permalinks and categories setup, go to the Setting Control Panel for the XML Sitemap Plugin and click “build sitemap for the first time.” Within the plugin you can also manage if and when search engines are notified of updates. You can also select parts of the site you don’t want crawled or parts of the site you DO want crawled. Once the search bots become familiar with your site, oftentimes your new posts will appear in search results in minutes.

SEO Content Guidelines

When you write blog posts it’s important to think of SEO. Write your posts naturally then when you go back to edit, you can start inserting SEO goodness. What sort so SEO guidelines do you need to keep in mind when writing content?

  • Internal links – it’s important to interlink with other relevant blog posts on your site
  • Don’t Keyword Stuff – write naturally and don’t try to cram in too many keywords
  • Give posts a structure using HTML headings: <H1> <H2><H3> etc
  • Categories – Select relevant categories but don’t select too many
  • Tags – be sure to tag your posts
  • Images – Search bots can’t see images so be sure to insert <alt> tags
  • Titles – Optimize Your Post Titles – This is what people see when they search for you, so be sure to keep titles less than 10 words and that they describe exactly what the post is about.
  • Enable Comments – comments are great for SEO as they basically create more free content for the post, content that gets crawled and index by the search engines.

Off-site SEO

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On site SEO is only half of the equation. There are many things that you can do to build your blog’s profile and help it rank well in the search engines.

  • Submit to Top 4 Search Engines – This is a bit of a no-brainer but you need to submit your blog to the four top Search Engines – Google, Yahoo, MSN and manually. They may find you eventually, but it’s best to submit yourself so they find you sooner.
  • Submit your blog to blog directories. The big ones are:

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  • Submit your Blog to Link Directories. Find a list of link directories and put your blog in as many directories as possible. This is very time consuming, but those early backlinks are valuable.
  • Comment on Other Blogs – To help build a reputation, make insightful comments on competing blogs, especially ones that have Do-Follow links turned on.
  • Join Social Media sites – The SEO value of many social media sites is huge, so join them and get your content onto them.
  • Contact Related Blogs to link to you on their blogrolls and do the same in return for them.

Analytics Tracking

Once your blog gets going, you need to know where your traffic is coming from. Google Analytics provides free and detailed analytics that will tell you everything you could possibly want to know about your website. Install it right away. Once you get a month’s worth of data, you’ll see how people are finding your site and where you can improve. You’ll discover some surprising things and you may discover new niches and content ideas to pursue.

Do You Have any WordPress SEO Tips? If so, please feel free to leave a comment and share them with us.

Useful WordPress Plugins You May Have Overlooked

There are thousands upon thousands of WordPress plugins with more cropping up every day.  Every once in a while something from the “Why Didn’t I Think of That” category pops up and I would like to share some of those with you.

Ever feel like you have a great idea for a blog but you either don’t have the time to develop it into a full post, or just haven’t formulated the full concept?  Rather than create a bunch of drafts, you can now sketch out a quick list of to-do posts and Aha! moments with Post Ideas by developer Aaron Robbins.

Where Post Ideas goes beyond the old method of saving drafts is that it allows you to track keywords and research URLS, and perhaps more importantly, sort your sketches by name, date or priority.  Love it.

How about batch processing for your blog?  Any photographer or music producer knows how important batch processing can be to both save time and keep consistency between a large number of files.  Well, here are again in the “Why Didn’t I Think of That” department because a blog, with its ever-growing number of posts develops in voice and direction over the course of its life and eventually you may want to go back and adjust a lof older articles to better reflect the direction in which your site is headed.

Enter Mass Post Manager for WordPress which enables you to delete all posts and comments in a category and / or reassign all posts from one category to another.  This is especially useful if you find that in the early days of your blog, when you were still working things out, you created too many categories or eventually found more concise categories with which to organize your content.

If you have ever been a fan of the Yet Another Related Post Plugin (YARPP), a tool that searches your database by categories, keywords, titles and other criteria and then outputs a list of suggestions to older posts at the end of your article, then you may have found that it can stress your shared server out if not handled with care.  Another solution is to create an effective and powerfully visual callback to a related post by placing  graphic sticky or Post-it note on top of your article.

Vishal Monpara’s awesome WordPress Sticky Post Plugin shows the designated post on top every post on your blog.  It isn’t really a substitute or replacement for YARRP, but, it is a very cool way of drawing attention to another article by working over top of your existing theme.  It currently supports both WordPress 2.1 and greater and WordPress MU 1.1.   Check it out and see if you like it.

Speaking of WordPress MU (Multi-user) – an announcement came from San Francisco this week that WordPress MU will soon be merged into WordPress itself.  This is very exciting indeed as MU allows a standard WP blog to be transformed into a full-fledged social networking portal.  Tighter integration between the two will mean a lot of optimization and ideally, improved ease of use, adding to the eisting power of WordPress significantly.

Have you ever suffered from long URL-itis in your comments section?  Now that everyone seems to have wised up to good SEO practices, we are seeing URLs that can run the length of a long-winded sentence.  You know the kind I mean: wifes-family.html

WP-Chunk to the rescue! This plugin gracefully shortens URLs within submitted comments.

A final plugin to strongly consider for any blog is Secure Files

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by Trevor Turk.  This definitely falls into the category we discussed earlier about things that should have come pre-installed with WordPress, in that it allows you to upload and download files from outside of your web document root for security purposes.

This is especially important for blogs that have multiple authors – since the nature of image and CSS that can be uploaded from a post-creation backend are not protected in the same way that your database is protected by being restricted only to registered users with sufficient access.

Placing the uploads directory outside of your install’s root directory can save you from malicious or to be euphemistic “accidentally uploaded” files that can damage or harm your site or server.

Have you ever tried any of the plugins on this list?  What has been your experience with them?
About the Author:
Keram (follow him on twitter @ConstantChange

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) is a new media consultant, music producer, actor and writer who opines on SEO at and society at Listen to his podcast at

Review: Atahualpa – the Emperor of Free WordPress Themes?

Atahualpa was the last sovereign emperor of the Tahuantinsuyu; the indigenous name for the massive Inca Empire.  Presumably it is this sense of scope that led the creators of one of the most comprehensive free WordPress themes I have yet encountered to choose this namesake.  Beyond that the Atahualpa theme by the good people at BytesForAll does not share any further history with the Incan emperor who was eventually destroyed by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizzaro.

The Atahualpa theme for WordPress is essentially a one-stop shop for everything a WordPress site could ever want.  Customization of every element is available, from headers and footers, “Next Page” text, the layout, color and size of forms, tables, links, stylesheets, even a separate page for a custom Favicon in included.  Think of the Atahualpa theme as a beautifully integrated backend for both form and function, of coding and design.

Atahualpa theme for WordPress - dashboard

The main dashboard for the Atahualpa theme

Normally getting a custom favicon for your site, that is, the small image that appears to the left of your URL in the browser line, requires a separate plugin. Atahualpa makes integrating your own custom favicon or selecting one from an existing table of popular favicons easy and seamless:

Atahualpa's favicon page

Atahualpa's favicon page

Displaying images is no longer tied restricted to the somewhat limited image control panel built into WordPress.  Nor do you have to understand php to futz with your theme.  With Atahualpa the power to alter how images display, integrate and function within your theme comes through its dedicated Image panel:

A small portion of Atahualpa's image control panel

A small portion of Atahualpa's image control panel

Even the way widgets are displayed on your site can be customized from Atahualpa’s dedicated Widgets control panel – fonts, borders, placement and much more.  If you are an advanced coder or designer, however, fear not – your talents are not being discredited or disregarded by virtue of this PowerTool for the People – your skillset can be put to work in those custom areas; knowledge of CSS can take your modifications even further:

Atahualpa even includes a control panel for Widgets!

Atahualpa even includes a control panel for Widgets!

Despite its complexity, there is little that is intimidating about the interface.  I particularly enjoyed the huge Save and Reset buttons at the bottom of each customization page – it feels like a giant NerfTM toy, despite its power.

Atahualpa theme for WordPress - Save button

Atahualpa vs. Thesis

The biggest players in the blogosphere tend to flock around a very popular and powerful theme known as Thesis

.  Thesis grants enormous levels of control and customization in a solid, very well integrated package for WordPress installations.  It has dedicated, even comprehensive SEO solutions, multi-column and width options, a heaps upon heaps of design management aides.  It will cost you $80 per site, however, and around a $150 for a multi-site license.

Atahualpa has its own dedicated SEO page, multi-column/width customization, and huge amounts of design control that even a novice could tinker with without breaking anything.  And it is completely free.  The developers have put in dozens if not hundreds of hours into developing it into a solid option to meet virtually any need, and so include a simple Paypal donation button should you feel like doing the right thing and giving a little back for their efforts.

Over 200 theme options, drop down menus for pages and categories, fluid or fixed width layout, 1, 2 or 3 columns, rotating header images, auto image resizing, integrated Feedburner form, 4 extra widgets and more comprise the vast array of features.  The admin supports English in addition to the following language codes: DE, HU, PT, CZ, SI, TR, FR, PL, NL, BG, IT, VN, JP, ES.

Atahualpa is an Emperor among free WordPress themes, indeed.  I strongly recommend it, especially for those of you just starting out, since it can even help you understand some of the processes of coding and design that you can later implement on your own in perhaps someday customizing your own themes.

To download and test-drive Atahualpa today, visit

About the Author:
Keram is a new media consultant, music producer, actor and writer who opines on SEO at and society at Listen to his podcast at and find him on Twitter @ConstantChange


Understanding Categories in WordPress

Get Off To A Good Start – Identify The Parts

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When you first install a WordPress site, it is a little like opening a box of disassembled furniture from IKEA: you have a simple, uncluttered guide showing all the separate pieces you should have found in the box and a series of steps outlining how to assemble them together to arrive at the finished product.  But at the outset, it is just a lot of parts spread out across your living room floor with little indication how important any one of those pieces might be until it is time for it to be implemented.  The best way to get started is to identify all the parts, arrange like-with-like, do a rundown of the various steps involved, then go back to step one and get started.

Tags vs. Categories

One of my first experiences with WordPress involved me migrating an existing blog over to a custom WP installation and what it did was take all kinds of tags and convert them into categories, leaving me with dozens of categories for my new WordPress blog.  I am assuming this functionality has been straightened out in the interim, but it sure left me confused about what categories were, especially as compared to tags, so I hope to shed a little light on what Categories in WordPress really are, and best practices for using them as you plan out how to build and organize your site.

Let’s start with what a Category isn’t.  It isn’t just a Tag or a Keyword.  A tag is used as a keyword (for search engines, for example), but isn’t just a keyword because it can be used to identify what you feel are the operative terms of your article that may not be otherwise obvious.  For example, in this article I open with an analogy about IKEA furniture, but this article is about running a blogging content management system.  While I could add “IKEA” as a tag to “trick”  search engines into adding my site to any searches about one of the world’s wealthiest companies, I will not make many friends by using this trick.  Instead, I would be wise to add tags for this article that include terms like “optimization,” “SEO,” and “WordPress tips.”

Organizational Logic

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file_cabinet1Think of tags as the tabs you put on file folders when flipping through a drawer, whereas categories are like the names of the drawers themselves.  Choosing the appropriate top-level labels for the drawers of your filing cabinets takes some proper planning; it will make your future self much better organized, happier, and efficient.  It also makes it easier for you to delegate work to others, because they will have an easier time understanding not only your organizational logic but the logic of your Organization; the way you divide and compartmentalize your content says a lot about the nature of your business.

If a burglar were to break into your office and see drawers labeled “Locations”, “Wardrobe” and “Camera” – they could infer that you are either a photography or video production studio.  If the same drawers were labeled “Accounts Payable,” “Accounts Receivable” and “Budget Sheets” they would quickly realize they had broken into the Accounting department.

The same goes for your blog.  Your categories should be carefully chosen and kept to a bare minimum.  The reason for this is that you can utilize this organizational workflow to great advantage in tandem with a well designed theme that automatically displays tabs or other graphic elements based on your categories.  Not all themes display categories in a prominent way, but some (like WP-Blogger) actually use categories to automatically display as tabs along the top of the content so that readers can easily navigate your site and get a better understanding of what you are about.

TIP: When setting up your blog, create a new category and then go to your Admin Panel->Setting->Writing and select if from the drop down menu beside “Default Post Category.”  This will prevent you from inadvertently filing something under the standard “Uncategorized” option.  In fact, remove the Uncategorized category altogether since you would not want that to ever display within your theme as it is both unprofessional and nonsensical.

Learning how to use categories early will save you a lot of time later on.  Categories are a powerful way to organize and structure your site and its content in a way that can be exploited by a well-designed theme.

About the Author: adrift in manhattan download free

Keram is a new media consultant, music producer, actor and writer who opines on SEO at and society at Listen to his podcast at Middletown full movie and find him on Twitter @ConstantChange.

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Four Key Elements to Improving Your Article's SEO Rank

While blogging is intrinsically a very search-engine friendly medium due to its inherently dynamic nature (search engine crawlers love to feed on fresh, original content) and is further aided in this regard by comments and pingbacks to your article by readers and other sites, there are some things you can do to improve and optimize how you structure your posts to get the maximum impact with the search engines.  These are not dirty tricks, but rather best practices that will help ensure when someone does a search for something having to do with the subject you are writing about, they have a better chance at finding your hard-wrought post and not some lazy Splog.

Can You See The Target

Preparing for this requires identifying exactly what is the subject of your article and from that determining what key words, or Keywords, as they are better known, underline that subject.

Once you have identified your main and several ancillary keywords, look for the following areas within which to implement them (and as often as possible without letting it deteriorate the quality of your content).

Four Key Elements For Optimizing Your Content For Searches

The first and most important element is the Title of your article.  This is simply accomplished by incorporating your principal keywords into the title itself.

The next place to include your targeted keyword(s) is in the URL for your article.  Go to your Admin Section->Settings->Permalinks and make sure you have selected Custom Structure and input %postname% in the text field.  This is something that should be set from day one of your blog.  This will allow you to customize the URL for every individual post you publish.  At the top of of your post editing page, just below the title field, you should see:

Permalink:“  and then an Edit button.  The text following your domain name should be a series of words based on your title, separated by dashes.  Make sure your keyword is among these words.

On the right side of your article entry is a section called “Tags.”  This is an obvious place to include your keywords.  You can also use a plugin like WP Auto-Tagger or Tag Suggest Thing , both which compare strong keywords at Yahoo and other search engines to tags based on:

The Content of your post feldene A Bunch of Amateurs movie full – make sure you are writing and writing well about what you want people to find when they search for your topic of interest.  You might fool them once, but they won’t come back for a second helping of the old bait and switch.

As a blogger you are providing an information service for which you strive to be the best provider of content on any given topic.  Even if it is a journal about your own little corner of the small town you grew up in, you should strive to be the best writer on that topic and build a site that helps people find it.  The best writers understand the most interesting stuff has to do writing what you know in your own voice – because it is your personal and unique idiosyncrasies that make you a specialist.  When you try to write about subjects you know nothing about, then you are an also ran.

I hope these optimization tips will help lead your audience to you.

About the Author:

Keram is a new media consultant, music producer, actor and writer who opines on SEO at and society at Listen to his podcast at Lethal Weapon movie download and find him on Twitter @ConstantChange.

Navigate the Forest with these Esoteric Powertools for SEO and Web 2.0

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When you stray off the beaten path you can either get hopelessly lost in the bramble or you can discover hidden wonders. In this article I hope to serve as a compass as we veer off the road less traveled in search of some lesser known treasures for SEO, marketing, networking, optimizing and monetizing your blog.

How To Stay Out of Bad Neighborhoods

Text links have always been recognized as an important factor in search engine ranking, be they inbound or reciprocal links.

But an overzealous linking strategy can also backfire; sites known to be linkfarms or that link indiscriminately to content of which some or many advertisers steer clear (porn, gambling, hate speech, splogs) can drastically decrease the number of higher quality ads that show up in your Adsense or similar displays. What’s more the search engines will recognize these follow-through destinations and penalize you in their rankings.

Michael VanDeMar’s free Bad Neighborhood Link Exchange Tool will scan the links on your website and where they lead, and flag problematic destinations.  Understanding this relationships between so-called “bad neighborhoods” and your own empowers you to make choices about to how to reorganize your linking strategies.

How To Be Everywhere At Once – Build a Consistent Brand

From the “why didn’t I think of that” category comes this deceptively simple yet powerful tool for checking where a given username has already been claimed and where it remains available. runs this search across some forty online social networking destinations from BallHype to Zoomr and everything in between. It is a great way to safely identify and build your brand across the web.

Turn Yourself into A Search Engine


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claims to increase searches from your site by up to 5x what it is now by unify your content across all your social web and blogging accounts and making it searchable. It also offers statistics on user searches so that you can better understand your readers’ interest and refocus content to this end.

As a search line on your site, Lijit shows visitors other recent searches as well. It an easy to install widget that can help keep people focused on your content and promote interactivity while giving you a clearer perspective on what is working and what is not.

Protect Your Content and Build Good Habits With Copyscape

The benefits of using Copyspace are twofold – first it protects your hard work by checking its appearance across the web to ensure that your materials are not being republished without your permission. Second it demonstrates to you that you can’t simply copy and paste other people’s work without being caught which ideally builds better habits and prevents sloppiness on your part. Copyscape is a valuable resource that is being used by ever growing numbers of content creators to self-police the internet for plagiarism and unsanctioned use of their precious commodities.

What Are You Worth

It is important to check your inventory every so often and assess that value of that in which you are investing your precious time. In my early days as a blogger I frequently saw the Blogerati talk about their “failed blogs.” I now understand this to mean either a domain, niche or site that requires far too much effort for the amount of traffic, interest or ROI it is generating. Some of my blog experiments do well regardless of whether or not I update them frequently likely because I have discovered a strong niche and the content I am offering therein is serving the interest of that audience. Others I am simply not interested in and ultimately neither is anyone else.`Acknowledging a failed blog means cutting your losses on such expenses as domain renewals and hosting, but more importantly on your precious time.

If you have ever wondered what your blog is actually worth, the answer is, as Yaro Starack put it: “Whatever someone is willing to pay.” But there are a couple of admittedly inexact tools that can give you a better sense of what your blog might be worth in relative terms. These take into account factors like “top level domains” which could mean the number of non-abstract words in the domain name, whether it is a .com vs a .tv, whether it is a developed property and thus its Google Page Rank, Alexa rank, how many inbound vs . outbound links it has and so on.

I tapped in one of my domains and both of these spit out that the sixth month old .com site about video games was worth roughly $12,000! Another of my sites, which I once felt was a virtual gold mine showed as having a value of exactly $0. They are not hard science nor are they a crystal ball, but they are an interesting way to get a sense of what is up with your respective properties.

Cubestat is a free tool where you simply enter the domain so that it can project its worth based on daily pageviews and daily ads revenues among other factors.

Sootle works in a similar fashion to Cubestat but also spits out some code you can embed in order to place a widget that displays your site’s current value to prospective advertisers and buyers.

You will likely find a discrepancy between the values each of these calculators returns but at least you will have a place to start.

Understand Google Page Rank and then Stop Obsessing

Google Page Rank is one of those dark arts that often consume too much “mindshare” for people interested in SEO, especially because it is, necessarily, a moving target.

Ian Rogers breaks down the Google Page Rank algorithm white paper (of course this is just someone who knows a lot about it attempting to reverse engineer the methodology so take it with a grain of salt.) that is not so much a tool, as a sobering analysis of what you are up against.

Into the Woods

You will need every tool available to survive out there in the wild. I hope some of these help you on on your journey.

Photo “Yumi Lost in the Forest” courtesy David Light Orchard used under Creative Commons License

About the Author:

Keram is a new media consultant, music producer, actor and writer who opines on SEO at and society at

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. Listen to his podcast at

Top Five Essential Plugins For Any WordPress Site

Moving forward from my introduction on becoming your own self-publisher via a custom WordPress installation, I want to share what I feel are the top five essential plugins to install before doing anything else with your new blog.  It’s OK if you have already been at it for a while too, just make sure you take a look at the items in this list before going any further.

Always Outnumbered dvdrip 1. All in One SEO Pack Plugin

The All in One SEO Pack Plugin is like having a robot butler to handle all the important nitty-gritty for getting your site’s settings just right for search engines.  The plugin acts like a Swiss-Army search optimization tool, handling everything from automatic META tag generation, to optimizing your titles, and defining excerpts from your article.  It is backward compatible with other similar plugins like Auto Meta and Ultimate Tag Warrior.  Don’t leave home without it.

2. Google XML Sitemaps

A sitemap informs search engines about pages on your site (and how they relate to one another) available for crawling, thus optimizing how your content is seen by the search engines.  Google XML Sitemaps automatically generates an XML sitemap for your WordPress site and is supported by, Google, YAHOO and MSN Search.

3. WordPress Database Backup

WordPress Database Backup integrates a database optimization, repair and backup system accessible right from your WP control panel.  This is insurance against disaster.

4. WordPress Auto-Tagger


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is one of those plugins that makes you wonder how you ever lived without it.  It will scan your post and reference it against Yahoo’s most popular search terms to make recommendations for the list of tags to associate with your article.  Not only a real time-saver, but a wise move for your SEO.

5. WP Super Cache

A replacement for WP Cache, and an evolution of WP Cache 2, Donncha O Caoimh’s WP Super Cache greatly reduces the strain on your server by creating static HTML files from your site, thereby bypassing the need for the server to process php scripts.  A new blog may not notice much of a boost, but once it is trafficked by hundreds of hits a day, this essential plugin will not only make your site load faster, but will save you from receiving a warning from your Host Provider for excessive CPU load or slow MySQL queries.

What plugins do you use that you feel are essential for running a WordPress site?