Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why Twitter is inspiring

Before signing up to Twitter, I could never understand why people were raving about it so much. Basically, the idea that you would constantly be making these little tweets seemed frivolous and vain. Then you would be asking people to "follow" you? Frankly, the whole concept seemed shallow and narcissistic. But while there are a lot of egomaniacs on Twitter, it is much more than a platform for such people.

It really is what you make of it. The more you get into it the more possibilities you can see. And there seem to be so many people on there with a real sense of clarity and purpose. Whether they are business people, or just those with a message, it's awesome to know how many experts there are out there.

And while being on Twitter is a great profile raiser and obviously has great potential for those wishing to use it to make money, many experts are still sharing much of their knowledge freely. You can learn a lot from following such people. (Of course this has long been the case with blogging. However with Twitter the whole process is far more streamlined and immediate.)

So, seeing all these people pursing their dreams, and being able to connect and interact with them as well, fills you with a real sense of possibility and purpose. Inspiring is not too strong a word.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Things to look for when finding people to follow on Twitter

I'm really starting to understand why so many people rave about Twitter. It's a fantastic tool, and you can use it in so many different ways. Of course you've got to find people to follow for the whole thing to work. And hopefully those people will follow you back so you can interact with them by retweeting, replying and also direct messaging.

So, here are few things to look for when deciding who you're going to follow.

Firstly, obviously you should try and find people in your niche. You can do this by searching for keywords much as you would do with Google. I find lots of them by typing in "blogging tips" for example.

Once you've found some prominent users in your niche, then go to their lists. You'll often find more there.

Also, whether you're cruising lists or doing searches, then keep an eye out for people who are reasonably active, with a decent number of tweets already. And check to see if they've been active recently. And needless to say, they should be real people. You can usually tell if they're not by the sheer incoherence of their tweeting! And if they've got a photo of some celebrity, or a model's glamour shot on their main page, well, that's not a good sign.

Also, look for retweets and mentions of other tweeps in their streams. If these are present they are clearly interact with others. And chances are they'll be constantly looking for mentions made of them, and retweets of their tweets. So, they may well reciprocate if you mention or retweet them. That will of course get your profile seen by more and more people.

If you are hoping to promote yourself, and not just learn from others then I'd avoid tweeps who never mention or retweet others, even if they follow a lot of people. They are basically using Twitter as a kind of press release service, just tweeting their blog posts, articles and affiliate programs.

Also, see how many people they follow compared to their number of followers. If they are approximately equal, then this means they will often follow back.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Being active on Twitter does seem to help generally with SEO

With the continuing growth of Twitter there are more and more people raving about its potential for website marketing. Twitter offers many benefits, but there's also quite a bit of confusion surrounding it. And one question seems to pop up more and more. That is: Does Twitter activity directly improve the SEO of the URL you're linking to?

I've been Googling for a definitive answer to this question. I haven't found one as yet. But as with so many questions about SEO there are a lot of yes and no answers. Those in the "no" camp say that because the links are nofollow, it doesn't have any direct effect. Sure, you'll get quality traffic from clicks from your tweets, and that will go into Google's calculation of the value of your site. Also, you'll get some backlinks from the bloggers you've been networking with on Twitter. But these are indirect effects.

Those in the "yes" camp say that Google definitely does take your activity on the site into account directly and rewards you for it commensurately, if only a little.

Well, from my own experience, I do tend to fall into this latter group. Take this blog. I have had quite a break from updating it in recent months, going from February to June without writing a post. (I've written a few in the last month, though.) Yet my search engine traffic has increased over that whole period, particularly in the last few weeks. Sure, it hasn't been much but it was certainly enough to notice.

Maybe this had something to do with algorithm changes. But I don't think so. The slow increase seems to coincide with my activity on Twitter. It was the only thing related to this site that I've been doing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Boom in public profile sites like

I've been using Twitter more and more recently. And one of the things I've noticed recently is how many tweeps use their site in their Twitter profile. This elegant tool allow you to list all your social profiles in the one place. It just shows how popular social networking is now that there is a booming social networking site designed primarily for people to list all their other social networking profiles.

And it's not the only one. Alternatives include, DooID, Zerply and Unhub. I'm sure their are others out there, as well as more on the way.

Amazing! In a couple of years there'll probably be another bunch of sites springing up for you to included all your profiles for the above-listed sites in the one location as well.

Related ebook: Twitter Marketing For Dummies

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Using Twitter to find new blogs in your niche

While individual blog comments tend to have little or no direct SEO benefit, it's still well worth any blogger or webmaster's while to do as many of them as possible (as long as they are thoughtful and non-spammy, of course). This is because it gets your URL noticed -- not only by the blogger on whose blog you're commenting, but also by many other bloggers reading that blog.

So, you should always be looking for good, popular new blogs. One of the best ways of doing this is to just scroll down the comment threads of high traffic blogs in your niche. You'll find tons of them!

You can apply a similar approach to Twitter. The social networking site is now a very popular search engine in itself. So you just use it in that way. Search for, say, one niche-specific keyword and "blog" or "blogger" and you're sure to find some great new blogs in that niche.

Of course there is still a bit of sifting through results that needs to be done, since not everyone who tweets about blogging is going to be a blogger himself. Still, quite a few of them are.

Just as with Googling, it's useful to mix up the terms as well. If I use keyword combinations like "SEO+blog", "article+blog", "blog+marketing" and then search for various permutations of those searches I get lots of different results. The fact that Twitter is so hugely popular and always frantically being updated alters the mix even more. The results for each search change a lot from day to day, and even from hour to hour in some cases.

The hash tag should be remembered as well. I find a lot of good blogs in my niche by searching for #bloggingtips, for example.

Once you've found these new blogs, you can then look at the lists that they're on. That will turn up still more similar blogs.

Using these techniques, I find that every now and then I turn up bloggers that I've already found via comment hopping. But there are a lot of completely new ones as well. Approaching the blogosphere in a different way means that you'll find new zones of it that contain new clusters of blogs. I suspect that scouring Facebook would be similarly fruitful as well.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Some good fast approval article directories I have found

The more I use article marketing, the more I keep looking for new, good directories. This is because it's important to get those bio-box backlinks from many different places on the web. That does seem to help SEO.

Knowing that it is effective, I also want the new directories to approve my articles pretty soon. There's nothing worse than having submitted something and then not seeing it appear on the site for several days or even a couple of weeks!

But they still have to read your stuff, of course. If they don't, and just let absolutely everything that's submitted go up straightaway (and stay there) then the overall quality of the directory will suffer, and its rankings will drop.

That said, there are some article directories that are auto-approval, and still give you a good strong backlink. Go Articles is probably the best known of these. It's huge and has a PR of 4.

Then there's Article Slash. I've only just joined this one, but it's a solid directory with a PR of 4 as well. And your article goes live immediately.

I've also just found another PR 4 directory called Ezine Mark. Your article doesn't go live immediately, but I've only submitted one and that was approved within a day.

Another directory that published my article wihin 24 hours was ABC Article Directory. That has a PR of 3.

Articles Base is another huge, highly ranked one (PR 6) that is quick to approve (although it is nofollow).

Sooper Articles has a PR of 5. I quite like this directory and it's growing in reputation from what I can tell. I've submitted a few articles there now and sometimes they get published within a few hours. Then other times it will take a week. I suspect they just get inundated sometimes and get a little behind.

The biggest and best of all (and with a PR of 6) is Ezine Articles. It isn't known as a fast approval directory. It's really slow while you submit your first 10, then it speeds up a lot. The time after that varies, but it's usually around a couple of days from my experience.

UPDATE: I recently submitted an article to Amazines, which has a PR of 3 now I think. That was approved in a few hours. That's a pretty solid directory that's been around for ages. The article URLs don't have the full titles in them, though. Maybe this has ramifications for SEO? I'm not sure.

I used Article Blast this morning. That now has a PR of 5. The article I submitted went live instantly, and it was indexed by Google within a few hours, maybe sooner. I know this because when I Googled for the title a few hours ago it came up.