Part I of the Secret Guide to Social Blogging Success talked about laying the ground work for your “make money online” fame blog. Part II covered the initial launch phase and socializing. Part III dealt with developing ’social proof’ aka “fake it before you make it”. This part will cover why and why not Google is important to the social fame blogger.
As mentioned previously, some techniques described aren’t 100% kosher and may not work for everyone. The methods described can cost you more money than you would make from them. The concepts in this series are based mainly on my knowledge and experience in analyzing and planning business systems and applying this to my observations of various top 45n5 Top 100 List bloggers in action. So, with that out of the way, let’s begin shall we?
While being well placed in Google’s search results is very important to a regular web site, in reality, it’s not very important for the social fame blogger. After all, phrases like “Make Money Online” only get about 3500 searches a day. This is far behind many money making keywords you can build niche blogs and mini-sites around. For example, insurance at 58,000 searches a day or music at nearly 400,000 searches a day. It’s even behind something silly like pet horoscopes at 7000 a day. Ranking for a “make money” term, while a nice SEO exercise, is really pointless for your effort to generate fame.
In fact, your average make money online blog typically only sees about 10-20% of its traffic from Google organic search results. Most of this is from weird long tail searches or searches on something specific to the blog, such as its name or the author’s name. The rest this kind of blog’s traffic is largely from social networking sources, including Digg and StumbleUpon, as well as other blogs. No wonder most of these big bloggers are quick to say Google isn’t important to them. It brings them only a small percentage of their total traffic in most cases.
So, if you’re wanting to be a social fame blogger, don’t be overly concerned about SEO beyond a few simple basics. You’ll want to rank well for your blog’s name and your own (or your persona) name but that’s really all you need. Anything else is of not much consequence to your plans. You can say with confidence Google isn’t important to you, except…
PageRank - The Drug of Choice
But, there is something that social fame bloggers crave from Google and that’s the all important toolbar page rank. That little green bar rules the life of a social blog. It’s the ultimate social proof and if you don’t have it, you’re in the bush league with the rest of the noobie wannabes. It’s impossible to fake it until you make it like some of the things I mentioned in previous parts, so what can you do?
Unfortunately, you have to wait this one out until Google gets around to updating the bar. This could be several months. Of course, by building your entourage, getting dofollow links and other methods I described earlier you should be well on your way to scoring a PR of at least 4, if not 5 or even 6, by the time the next update rolls around.
Should you buy an pre-existing domain that already has PageRank? You could do this if you find the right domain for your purposes but this can be risky. First, you have to make sure the domain is good and hasn’t been blacklisted. Next, the history of the domain will be available to all so it will be obvious to anyone who bothers to investigate that you’re faking your rank, at least socially. IMO, it’s better to build up your own rank than to buy it in this case.
The key point here is to not screw up your all important PR by indulging in anything that smacks of link selling for Page Rank. This means abstaining from paid reviews and link brokering. You also have to avoid things like blatant linkback schemes or other obvious attempts to gain PR. Everything you do must look completely natural both to the Googlebots and to any Wii playing, cappuccino swilling, Google engineers that might happen peruse your site in a manual checkup.
Once you have PR, then you have a big social proof card to play and, for once, one that might actually make you real money. I’ll discuss this in a later part of this series.
Should you put Adsense on your social fame blog? It kind of depends.
First, as you may know, Adsense won’t make anything significant on a make money online blog. You’ll get 3 cent clicks and, if you use the methods described in this article, you’ll wind up with your entire Adsense account “smart priced” too. So, if you plan to use your Adsense account for other things, don’t use it on your social fame blog or any other blog associated with it. My first inclination would be to not show it because it (a) won’t make much money and (b) gives competing blogs a cheap way to advertise on your blog.
However, you can use it if you don’t care if you get cheap clicks across the board and if you use the filter to block the occasional competing ad. Many WordPress themes are optimized for Adsense and the ads can look good with these themes, a nice, professional, money making look. It’s easy, fire and forget, monetization that’s easy to maintain and looked upon kindly by Google.
If you’re really evil, you can greatly exaggerate your Adsense earnings to your readers, just multiple the amount you earn by 100 or so and throw this in your stats post. This can cause naive readers to believe that you’re doing something right and they’re doing something terribly wrong and they need to hang on your every word so that they can learn to do it the right way and make money. I’m not sure if this one will still work today but it was quite effective a year or two ago based on my analysis.
AdWords - Your Secret Weapon
How many bloggers do you know that have Adsense on their blog? How many do you know that use AdWords to bring traffic to their blog? I would guess the first number is large and the second is rather small.
The trick is using Google’s placement tool to put your ads on competing “make money online” blogs who’re still silly enough to be showing Adsense and aren’t using a competitive filter. You can also select cheap five cent keywords along the lines of “make money online blogging” to get space on blogs that you might not have directly added to your placement list.
While this kind of advertising for traffic may not be cost effective if you were actually intending to make money, it is effective for building your fame. It plasters you name all over the place, particularly on competing blogs, for a relatively low price.
Your ad wording depends a lot on your chosen blog persona. If you’re a jerk, be one by saying “This Blogs Sucks - Here’s One That Doesn’t”. If you’re a nice guy/gal say, “Blogger Bill is Great - Find Out Why I Think So”. The point is to make the ad copy stand out from the crowd and attract enough attention to be clicked by the curious reader. It’s just simple, basic, marketing.
You can save some money here by obtain vouchers for advertising on AdWords, Yahoo and MSN from various sources. Often a hosting company will give out credit vouchers when you sign up for a plan and you’ll be signing up for several with your entourage. Also these vouchers are often traded on webmaster forums so try there too.
That’s it for Part IV. Google is so big it required it’s own part. In Part V, I’ll go over the infamous ‘ramp’ and other related methods for phase 2 of the social fame blog and I’ll wrap it up with a Part VI