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About Aaron Wall

Aaron Wall is the author of SEO Book, a dynamic website offering marketing tips and coverage of the search space, free SEO videos, and free SEO tools. He is a regular conference speaker, partner in Clientside SEM, and publishes dozens of independent websites.
Affiliate Software to Track Your Ads

Many people think of affiliates as an added sales channel and affiliate ads as offering a branding bonus (how many text link ads affiliate banner ads have you seen?) but there are numerous benefits to running an affiliate program that many people never consider.

Exclusive Partnerships:

You do not have to let people know that you have an affiliate program unless it makes sense to. You can chose what partners to allow when special occasions come up, without risking watering down your brand equity and perceived value by chasing large distribution deals.

Do Pre-made Stores or Merchant Sites Have Any Value?

Question: I recently purchased a website at mydomain.somecompany.com as a store to sell somecompany.com’s products and was wondering if the site had any value, and how I could do SEO on the site if I couldn’t change the content?

Answer: Many companies sell the right to resell their products online, but most of them that require you to use their domain or subdomain for your stores are probably selling junk. Truth be told, I have got similar questions from other people who told me that customer support at some of these firms charged for site customization, and even started off many question sequences with how much room is left on your credit card.

Location – Online & Offline Business Costs

I have went shopping with my girlfriend in San Fransisco a few times, and got to thinking about how most of the businesses in the city pay $4,000 to $20,000 per month for rent. In many cases, with a 5 year term.

You can buy a great domain name for that. You can compete in the search results in most markets for that. Monthly rent to buy exposure in one city is recurring. Many online marketing costs and domain costs are not.

Preparing a Site to Sell

If you are growing a site organically it might be worth it to sacrifice the short term earnings for long-term growth, but what happens when it comes time to sell a site?

If you site has a strong brand or other intangible brand type assets worth far more than current earnings consider those before making any changes, and do not tarnish the site’s image. If you site does not have those, and will likely sell at an auction it will probably sell for some multiple of current earnings, based on a number of factors including:

Brand Disconnects in Marketing Content

I just ordered a cup of tea from Starbucks, which is running a series called "The Way I See It", which is a bunch of idealistic quotes from various sources.

The Way I See It #193 was from a musician named Dan Zanes. The quote was

Wanting What I Can’t have

I recently got feedback from an SEO Book buyer who stated that their site was not accepted by some directories I recommend. If someone does not accept your site realize that due to their editorial stringency a link from that location is probably worth more than a link from the sites that did accept your site.

Hidden Distribution Costs

I recently went to a soap shop in downtown San Fransisco called Lush. It is the most expensive soap I have ever seen, and a perfect product for the web. My girlfiriend asked the clerk if they sold online and they said yes, but don’t buy Lush soap from Amazon.com.

Google Checkout Logos Appearing on AdSense Ads

When Google introduced their AdSense network they not only created an ad syndication network, but also a way to syndicate the Google brand.

At first it was the cute Ads by Gooooooooooooogle stuff. Then they started marketing Google Checkout heavily by offering $10 off coupons. Then they started syndicating flash and video ads for Gmail, then Google Pack, and now they are placing Google Checkout icons in the AdSense advertiser ads.

Niche SEO Conferences

Recently, in addition to the expansion of Elite Retreat, a couple more smaller niche SEO conferences have been announced. These conferences offer a great value because they allow you to be close to the facilitator. They are like buying under-priced consulting in the form of a conference.

Domain Names & Defensible Traffic

Andy Hagans recently posted about his linkbait marathon strategy to rank his sites at the top of the search results. Brian Provost posted about his love for domaining. Domain names may play a big roll not only in anchor text, but also in overall domain credibility, linkability, and defensibility.

AdWords to Show Contextual Ad Location URLs

Jen noticed that Google’s Kim Malone announced that in the next couple months AdWords will start displaying content targeted ad locations.

Google AdSense pays most publishers crumbs for their ad space. People who are running AdSense ads are willing to sell ads. And sites that have AdSense ads on them are probably actively managed.

Is there a better way to get a list of relevant pages to acquire links from than to run a content targeted AdSense ad campaign and ping those webmasters?

Who Places Your Brand on Their Site?

One of the easiest ways to strengthen a leading market position is to give others in your market incentive to place your brand on their site. It is even sweeter if it comes with a link to your site.

Large Networks Add New Editorial Content Formats

Many top destination sites are adding blogs and other publishing formats to their site to build their authority and market-share. This editorial content creates value, builds trust and authority, and allows for a more profitable blend of content and advertisements.

Creating Value Then Profit

Shane, an attendee from the first Elite Retreat, posted about why it is not best to monetize a blog right out of the gate:

So, your focus at the beginning has to be on attracting and retaining readers. You do that by having a great site, and nothing turns visitors off more than a brand new blog with just a handful of posts and ads splashed everywhere. It says to them that you’re more interested in making money than you are in providing good content.

Pull Marketing: The Golden Age

Since blogging has become popular there are far more people writing than their are good ideas to spread. This means that if you can create a good idea marketed at publishers looking for a scoop, and format the idea to spread you can probably get enough link authority to get a natural PageRank 6 in just about any market.

Who is Using MySpace?

While I still have a MySpace account I never log in anymore. There was too much spam to deal with. And my girlfriend got so many creepy messages that she had to delete her account.

Generally, to use MySpace much, you have to do one or more of the following:

Hiring an Ideas Guy

As more and more content is created there are more publishers than there are good ideas, which means publishers are hungry to spread the few good ideas that exist. What separates a profitable channel from a money loser is typically two things: ideas and execution.

Because I have been posting about a more diverse set of topics sometimes outside of SEO I get asked lots of business strategy questions.

Science and Marketing

Without marketing great ideas go nowhere. Google’s Larry Page recently stated:

"Virtually all economic growth (in the world) was due to technological progress. I think as a society we’re not really paying attention to that," Page said. "Science has a real marketing problem. If all the growth in world is due to science and technology and no one pays attention to you, then you have a serious marketing problem."

Do Not Write Nameless

I recently wanted to quote another writer who posted to a community site outside of my normal realm.

On their profile page it had their nickname and their AdSense ID number, but no name. If it is hard to quote you then fewer people will quote you. Having a nickname for a brand is a good idea for some, but if you are a freelance writer or service seller it is a good idea to build an identity that is easy to attach to a real name. In an anonymous world people trust and gravitate toward things that seem human and real.

Video – Key to Small Player Market Growth

Brian Clark recently linked to a 51 page Michel Fortin PDF which was against writing long copy salesletters.

It is a great read for any web marketer. A few highlights:

Adjust Your Marketing

Some marketing fails because it does not use market feedback to help improve the ROI on the next generation of marketing. For example, if I make a couple sites and then take what I learned from making those and apply that to making more sites I will probably be more efficient than if I try to make many sites in parallel without collecting feedback.

Signs of a Low Quality Website

Webmasterworld recently had a good thread about signs of low quality websites. The less a person knows about your topic the more likely they are to rely on general signs of quality (or lack of) when consider if they should link at your site or not.

Easy Link Opportunities Die Off

As time passes algorithms change and more is required to be remarkable, and easy link opportunities die off.

Google Custom SEs Another Trust Source

Recently Bambi Fransisco asked Googler Peter Norvig about using wikis in search, in response to Wikia’s search threat.