Look no further. In one long (and I mean looong) infographic, you’ll find most of what you need to know to get started.



What is a backlink good for? I’ll give you three answers: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), relevant traffic, and, sometimes, viral traffic. Admittedly, backlinks don’t fall quite so neatly into just one category or the other, but thinking about these three goals will help you determine what kind of backlinking strategy you should develop or how to tweak the strategy you already have.

Backlinks for SEO: Build a MonumentBacklinking for SEO

Some backlinks are gained especially for search engines optimization (SEO), though they do not necessarily generate significant direct traffic. Here, you are looking for links from high PR (PageRank) sites and highly relevant pages. You want link juice even if a particular link won’t bring you lots of traffic. These are important links for building your own website’s authority and PageRank. They are like monuments to your site’s authority and significance.

How do you pursue these kinds of links? I recommend a combination of the following:

  • As always, regularly produce great content on your website.
  • Be social. Friend, tweet, like, plus 1, connect, share, link.
  • Guest post with amazing content and earn quality backlinks.
  • Create an awesome resource or tool that you can give away (perhaps exclusively to readers of xyz.com, etc.).
  • Develop a funny, helpful, or entertaining infographic that is sharable and earn backlinks that way.

Backlinks for Relevant Traffic: Build a Bridge

Bridge Relevant BacklinkSome backlinks may not help your SEO as much as they help bring in relevant traffic. By relevant, I mean traffic made up by users that are interested in your content, product, or service. You are interested in getting backlinks from webpages being read by your target audience regardless of the link juice. These links are like bridges that bring users from other websites to your own.

Ways to pursue these: In short, find sites where your target audience gathers and earn links from those sites via the methods suggested above. If you’re not sure where to find your target audience, you have a little work to do. A good place to start is by searching for keywords relevant to your site (or product) and targeting the top results for backlinks.

Backlinks for Viral Traffic: Build a Freeway

Viral Traffic backlinkYeah, we all want a few of those links that bring a flood of traffic, even if it is short-lived. Often, going viral is an accident. It certainly is difficult to manufacture and I cannot recommend budgeting too much time toward trying. But there are things you can do to help your chances. Again, ensuring you have high quality content is key. Entertaining and educational videos and graphics/infographics seem most poised to go viral.

By the way, how would your server hold up if you did go viral? If you are using a low-cost shared hosting plan, be sure that your webhost can easily upgrade your site to a VPS (or scale otherwise). I use and recommend InMotion.

Chances are your online business (or business idea) has potential in a market beyond your own country or even your own (primary) language. Increasingly, companies are optimizing their sites to target users by language and/or location. So let me ask you: How much traffic are you missing by NOT targeting more than one language or location?

multilingual-SEOAnswer: It depends on your target keywords, but you should definitely find out! And the good news: It is not difficult to make some small changes and begin seeing big results!

Geo-Targeting: Location Considerations

Let me begin with an example for why targeting a specific location can be helpful (we’ll talk languages in the next section). Let’s say your site is primarily targeting English speakers from North America. Using a tool like Google’s Keyword Tool, you can search for traffic numbers for your primary keyword and see the global monthly traffic and local monthly traffic. If your location is set to the U.S., for example, your local search numbers will represent searches coming from that location. For any keyword, if you’re local monthly search volume is less than 75% of your global monthly search volume, I would definitely figure out where that other 25% or more is coming from and pursue it. That is a lot of potential traffic.

A few ways to dig deeper: (1) Change your location setting in Google’s keyword tool and try to find out what other locations make up the remaining percentage of global searches for that keyword; (2) Check your site’s analytics and see if you’re getting traffic from those locations; (3) Use Google search from various locations and see if users in those countries, even English-speaking countries, use a different word for your niche or product (e.g., use google.co.uk or google.com.au and search your keyword).

For example, I have a niche site that targets a keyword with a global monthly exact search of just under 30,000 but a local monthly search (searches from U.S. and desktops/laptops to be precise) of just under half this (around 12,000). Now this is a healthy amount of U.S. traffic, but I know that double this amount is coming from outside of that location. I want to find out what location(s) those are and pursue that traffic!

Another example: I was recently noticing a niche website which was ranking well in the U.S. but not ranking well in Australia (using google.com.au). I looked into the numbers for the target keyword and a few others:

  • 8,100 exact monthly global searches, half of which come from the United States. Only about 390/month come from Australia. According to these numbers, it probably is NOT worth spending a lot of effort to target 390 more searches. But some similar keywords are more promising . . .
  • A related keyword had 2,900 exact monthly global searches, 1,000 of which come from Australia (only 170/month from the U.S.). These numbers suggest to me that it is at least worth considering how Australia can be better targeted for this niche site.
  • Another related keyword had 1,900 exact monthly global searches, 880 of which come from Australia. That’s a nice percentage of the total, too. This word was spelled differently in Aussy English than N. American English. So be sure and research whether your keyword is spelled differently in English in other countries! Now 880 is not an earth-shattering number, but these folks are searching for something quite specific and could very well provide a high ‘click’ rate for adsense ads on a relevant page of that site.

So why Australia? Australia has over 20 million English speakers–no small number. So for this site, I would recommend earning some backlinks from Australian sites relevant to the niche, as well as paying attention to Aussy spellings.

Geo-Targeting: How?

There are a number of ways to target specific locations in addition to what we’ve already discussed. John Lincoln has covered the most common in a helpful post over at Search Engine Land:

1. ccTLDs (e.g., example.de, example.fr)

Pros (+)

  • clear geotargeting
  • server location is irrelevant
  • easy separation of sites
  • legal requirements (sometimes)

Cons (-)

  • expensive
  • potential availability issues
  • more infrastructure
  • ccTLD requirements (sometimes)

2. Subdomains With gTLDs (e.g., de.site.com, fr.site.com, etc.)

Pros (+)

  • easy to set up
  • can use Webmaster Tools geotargeting
  • allows different server locations
  • easy separation of sites

Cons (-)

  • users might not recognize geotargeting from the URL alone (is “de” the language or the country?)

3. Subdirectories With gTLDs (e.g., site.com/de/, site.com/fr/, etc.)

Pros (+)

  • easy to set up
  • can use Webmaster Tools geotargeting
  • low maintenance (same host)

Cons (-)

  • users might not recognize geotargeting from the URL alone
  • single server location
  • separation of sites is more difficult/less clear

4. URL parameters (e.g., site.com?loc=de, ?country=france, etc.)

Pros (+)

  • none (not recommended)

Cons (-)

  • segmentation based on the URL is difficult
  • users might not recognize geotargeting from the URL alone
  • geotargeting in Webmaster Tools is not possible

I would add, however, that progress can be made by simply tweaking your content with these other locations in mind, as well as earning backlinks from sites in those locations, especially sites with those country-specific domains (ccTLDs).

And remember, ranking better for these local searches ought to bring in more traffic from global searches, too, not to mention more long-tail keyword traffic.

Multilingual Considerations

The most commonly spoken language in the world is English, which is also the most common second language in the world. So if you have an online business that already targets English speakers, why even consider targeting other languages or regions outside of your own? Because in many niches, thousands of users are searching primary keywords in another language—thousands of users that would find your content, your product, your course, etc., helpful.

Let’s say you are primarily targeting U.S. users in the soccer niche by providing commentary on professional soccer around the world. Let’s also say your primary ad revenue is Google Adsense.

Congratulations: Your sport is one of the most popular in the world. As you may know, it is called football (not soccer) in most English speaking in countries, fútbol in Spanish, Fußball in German, 足球 in Chinese, etc. You should certainly consider pursuing content translation to target these other languages!

Does keyword and niche data suggest potential in another language for your site? Again, you can use a simple tool like Google’s keyword tool to find out by changing your language settings. In fact, related keywords in other languages will occasionally pop up even without changing these settings. Look at the numbers and decide whether the traffic is worth pursuing.

Multilingual Content: How?

The big question is, How will I get my content into another language? A quick and dirty (but cheap) way is using a translation tool like Google translate or Bing. This might be a start, but from someone who sometimes has to read in other languages, trust me, it’s a rough translation! Aside from asking a friend or even hiring someone to translate content, there are a few great plugins to consider. My research suggests the following are among the best:

  1. qTranslate (human translators available in addition to machine)
  2. Multilingual Press (must be set up on WordPress Multisite)
  3. Transpoosh (machine translation with user-input)

So it boils down to numbers: Do some research, look at the numbers, and decide how much time or money you should (or should not) invest in the potential traffic.

website-incomeginThe following are search engine optimization (SEO) essentials and user-experience tweaks that I use for all my sites, and you can get most of them for free!

1. Fast, light WordPress theme. I use Standard Theme. There are other good ones out there. You might find a good free theme, but a great theme with good support usually comes at a price of $50-100. Go with highly rated, lightweight themes that are SEO friendly out of the box.

2. A great, fast, responsive web host ($5-10/mo if you’re just starting). Avoid the uber-popular dirt cheap hosting plans. These plans are for no-traffic sites that can be packed like sardines on a server (I am only slightly exaggerating!). I know because I used one of those plans for a long time for some other sites. After a lot of research and talking with people inside these companies, I use and recommend InMotion. Start with a shared hosting plan (with my discount, it is about as affordable as those ‘cheap’ plans I mentioned anyway). When you grow, it is easy to upgrade to a VPS plan, and if you get really big, a dedicated server! Save 30% and get a free domain name exclusively through incomegin.com!

3. WordPress SEO (free) by Joost de Valk. A free WordPress plugin used by many, it allows you to powerfully tweak your entire site for SEO purposes. This includes meta-descriptions for your site and individual posts, RSS customizations, and all sorts of other amazing tweaks.

4. Google XML Sitemaps (free). The previous plugin can handle XML sitemaps, but it has caused me some headaches so I turn that feature off (note it is off by default). For that reason, I use this simple little gem of a plugin which builds your XML sitemap for you, automatically updating it when you change anything on your site, including when you add new content. Sitemaps are essential for SEO purposes as they help crawlers (like Google bots) navigate your site.

5. W3 Total Cache (free). Can you tell I really value a speedy site? Now admittedly, SEO experts continue to debate the significance that page load speed has on the total SEO picture. But let me say this: Page load speed affects the user experience, so it matters! This plugin will get your site running at top speed…well, almost. See the next point…

6. CloudFlare (free). This about more than just speed. CloudFlare does provide major speed upgrades, but it also provides added security, blocks “bad” traffic (saves a ton of bandwidth!), provides great analytics, and a number of other great features. I run the Pro plans for most of my sites which is about $20/mo for the first site and $5 per site after that. The free plan offers most of these features, too.

7. Simple site layout. This goes beyond theme choice and CSS. It’s about how many images you put up, advertising, newsletter signups, etc. A cluttered site makes it hard for the user to navigate easily through your content. A simple site design enables you to anticipate (and even guide!) visitor flow. How many options will you give a user who lands on your homepage? Think through menu(s), sidebar clutter, and newsletter signup, especially.

8. Well researched post titles. Do your post titles do each of the following: (1) Capture attention; (2) Summarize the post; (3) Include target keywords? For the sake of SEO and the user experience, your answer should be yes!

9. Stellar content. This is perhaps the most important item on the list. Are you offering great, unique, and/or actionable content?

10. SEO friendly content. As with #8, craft your content to target keywords that users are likely to use when searching for your topic. Be careful not to over do it. Be natural yet strategic.

There you have it. Ten musts for all my sites. Surely there are a few more, but these are a great start.

Income Gin: What is it?

September 15, 2013 — Leave a comment

“Gin” is short for “engine” (think cotton gin). An engine is a machine that converts energy into useful motion for a purpose. An Income Gin is a plan for converting your entrepreneurial energy into multiple passive income streams. Let show you what I mean…

What an income gin is NOTIncome Engine

1. It is not an engine that runs on nothing. An engine requires energy to operate. Success with online businesses and income streams will not happen without your energy. This site will energize you and provide help for building the most efficient income gin strategy possible! We want to maximize the power of your fuel!

2. It is not an engine that requires no maintenance. Even the most profitable passive income streams, if they are to remain profitable in the long run, require some maintenance. Keep the engine oiled, keep your income gin running smooth. We’re not talking major overhauls, just simple maintenance. The goal is to create multiple income streams that require minimal monthly maintenance once up and running.

3. It is not an engine that cannot be modified (i.e., souped up!). An income gin can be upgraded, tweaked, and modified. Add more fuel (or more efficient fuel), modify your process here and there, and increase revenue. This site will offer tips for improving your income gin once you “build” it.

4. It is not a low mileage throwaway. An income gin is built for the long haul. That does not mean you will run it yourself over the course of its life; You may sell it and profit on your creation. Whatever the case, incomegin.com will help you build an income gin with value that will last you as long as you want it and will attract potential buyers if you decide to move on to another project.

Continue Reading…

Near the end of Summer (2013), the Income Gin Podcast should be live and ready to stream! I have a great slate of shows planned to get things rolling. In the mean time, be watching for the announcement. I’ll send out all the details via the email newsletter (are you signed up?).

In addition to the main podcast, I will also be producing a much shorter podcast, the Monday Minute to Motivate for a weekly injection of inspiration for tackle what lay ahead.