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Frugal Theme Review – Frugal and Thesis Themes Compared

I’ve been running Chris Pearson’s Thesis Theme on this site for a while – last  July I installed Thesis. As I talked about in my last post : I am now running Frugal Theme not Thesis.

Why I Chose Thesis in the First Place

I am not a designer I know little CSS far less php, enough html to get by. But I wanted to be able to develop custom websites – not just for my own use but also for SEO clients. Thesis seemed to offer the promise of doing this without coding – their advertising is based around that, At the time I bought Thesis there was no money back guarantee – so I wanted to make sure I got it right. So researched, and then bought Thesis 1.4

I was never impressed with Thesis and although I bought the $87 single use licence intending to upgrade to the multi-site use Developer’s version I never did.  Instead I bought Elegantthemes for my other sites and retained Thesis here. I think my relationship with Thesis soured when I had to go their support forums to learn how to install my own header image and change the site’s background colours to match.

The Boxes Thesis Failed on – Is Frugal Any Better?

Originally I decided not to upgrade to the developer’s version of Thesis for the reasons I listed in this September 2009 post about Thesis. I recently updated to Thesis 1.7 and my issues still stand – so I have reproduced my original problems with Thesis and compared Frugal with the same issues. Yup this is genuine review of Thesis 1.7 and Frugal 3.3 from someone who has used and abused both.  The Thesis comments below are my original September comments – and then I’ve followed them with my take on how Frugal Theme stacks up.

THESIS: It has not one but two Thesis Options panels – this is confusing – I am always going to the wrong one – even after months. Actually its up to five now plus the Thesis Openhook plugin – which always felt like functionality which should have been in the base Thesis install.  But to be fair – this was my first experience with a sophisticated Framework rather than a simple theme – it took some getting used to!

FRUGAL:  Frugal installs a 6-option menu which I find quite simple to work my way through. The excellent videos from the developer Eric Hamm describing each and every option are extremely useful.

THESIS:  I  had to use code to add a header image and to match the background colour. This is the single reason why so many Thesis installs look like a default Thesis install.

FRUGAL: For comparison purposes I’ve included a list of Thesis and Frugal themes sites at the end of this post – just to show what “non-designers” can do with these themes. But the bottom line is that its really easy to add a header and then change the background colours of Frugal – much, much easier than it is with Thesis. If you can do these two things you can make your site look unique!

THESIS:  Using images is painful – I have to import an image and then cut and paste and add the thumbnail image code so that I can have the combination of having a picture anywhere I want in the picture plus having the thumbnail appear on other pages such as categories – its a nuisance. (Upgrading to 1.7 made this even more painful as I had to scroll a LONG way below the post past all the useless javascript libraries to get to the thumbnail options.

FRUGAL: Thanks to Thesis 1.7 ignoring the functionality of WordPress 2.9 native’s support of thumbnails I’ve had to go thru my past posts and nominate an image as a thumbnail – but going forward – images are very straightforward – import the image into the post – nominate as a thumbnail – job done!

THESIS:  Thesis is expensive if you want to deploy it. If you want to run it on more than one site you need that developers editions – that’s another $77 over the initial $87 for a single user. Plus if you want to sell a customised theme to a client that’s another $15 now $40 per a client theme.

FRUGAL: Exactly the same pricing! For one site $87 for a single site or $164 $164 for a developer’s licence  plus $40 per a client site. I notice that both themes now have a 30-day money back guarantee – something that Thesis didn’t have when I bought it. Nice to see competition doing its thing. Honestly I think Frugal should be a little more aggressive on their pricing in order to differentiate themselves from Thesis – once they have the market share they can then up the price – but until then – just my opinion though!

THESIS:  Thesis makes a big deal of being SEO friendly – but its SEO settings are no more difficult to use than the free all-in-one-seo plugin – it replaces that plugin – but most people would already be running all-in-one anyways.

FRUGAL: Is just as easy to set up for on-page SEO- if not more so (the defaults are much better than the Thesis defaults for SEO).  I’ve seen Frugal Theme criticized for  its SEO this over and over – there is no issue that I can see Frugal is just fine for SEO (and replaces All-in-one-SEO or Platinum SEO plugins).

THESIS:  if you are a designer Thesis really is a framework and you can no doubt do beautiful things -but its a bit like giving me a top-quality blank canvas and a paint brush and tell me go create – I am a rather more paint by numbers gal! You maybe able to do beautiful things with Thesis – or afford someone who can – I can’t do either.

FRUGAL: Frugal is astoundingly easy to to customise for a non-designer.  It is dead simple to produce a site which looks like a website not a blog. Its astoundingly easy to customise the look and style of the site. Its everything I hoped Thesis would be  when I bought Thesis 1.4 and which Thesis 1.7 has still failed to deliver on

THESIS:  The ability to display ads using the “multimedia” box is fine and the ability to control this down to post level is impressive. What’s not is the place you put the code shows at most 2 lines of a narrow column- you have to use a text editor to actually edit and update the code – this is because most of the screen space has been used on the unecessary design elements.

FRUGAL: There is not quite the same concept as the multimedia box in Frugal – but you can do custom layouts for pages and the ability to add custom widgets at almost any point in the design – so I am experimenting with this. I’ve gone away from the standard 125×125 ads in the sidebar anyways – they use up a lot of space and rarely converted. Frugal Theme’s use of and implementation of hooks is brilliant – its a difficult concept but a truly understood it with Frugal – never had with Thesis. The fact that you get dummy text when you hook in widgets to hooks is fantastic for those who are learning this stuff (like me and most of their customers).

THESIS: Their affiliate banners are really. really ugly – yellow is the only option – and this is in the marketplace where people care about design. This may have changed with the outsourcing of their affiliate program – I’m not up to date but Costa at Bloggigs is not very impressed with the new Thesis affiliate program for international affiliates

FRUGAL: In-house affiliate program which pays 40% to affiliates running on the iDevAffiliate platform which I’m seeing more and more often (TKA uses it too). Nice set of pretty banners – like this one 🙂

On Going Thesis Development Issues

Since I raised the issues above in September I have found Thesis continues to annoy. Because I chose to have images in my posts in different places in each post – there is no way that I can create an automatic thumbnail for each post – which is used in the extracts of older posts (a feature I really like with Thesis, but is easier to use with Frugal). Instead, after importing an image to a post, I had to go to the advanced setting of that image and cut and paste it in the thumbnail url below the post – and then edit it to reflect the actual thumbnail name!

The latest version of Thesis – made this worse by adding a whole bunch of JavaScript libraries immediately below my post’s editing area – which I now have to scroll past to get to the image urls and options.

Thesis seems to be loosing the plot with what features are released when. There was an active debate in their forums expecting that Thesis 2.0 would be out in September 2009 – and that it would have such innovations – such as easy point and click to change the header image. Still waiting on that easy header change AND Thesis 2.0 – but Thesis 1.7 has a whole bunch of javascript library options? Sorry but WTF  –  although its true that customers don’t always know what they want – but wanting to change a header image – thats pretty darn basic!  Because if you can’t retain your customers they are going to go elsewhere – and the options are starting to improve – not just Frugal but Headway too.

Which is Best Frugal or Thesis

As my readers know I don’t mind calling a spade a bloody shovel and I think Thesis is slipping behind. The risk is though that its winning the marketing war – the line up of “big” name A-list bloggers really does seem to impress people into the desirability of buying.

I don’t know how much longer that is going to work though – I think Thesis has made three key mistakes:

  • they haven’t listened to their customers and responded to the customers fairly basic requests (e.g. easy custom headers);
  • they do now provide a 30 day guarantee so that people aren’t “stuck” with the product that didn’t live up to the hype;
  • they have pissed off a whole lot of their affiliates – eBay has discovered that pissing off the people who bring you traffic is dumb idea – it looks like Thesis is going the same route.

Frankly Thesis hasn’t kept an eye on the competition. Frugal  does everything that Thesis sold itself to me that it would deliver on:

  • easy to customize without knowing css and php;
  • easy to upgrade and modify as my site developed ;
  • easy to deploy for my clients and to maintain for them (or preferably, teach them to maintain).

Frugal Example Sites

Terrible for SEO – but different Jim Chao

Used as a CMS rather than a blog – variety of different page styles Real Estate Leads

Leo is running Frugal on his Internet Marketing blog using a static front page layout which I may adopt.

More “standard Frugal” – but still unique enough Living Frugal Tips

An in your face design who seems to have upgraded from Thesis to Frugal for similar reasons as I  Enemy of Debt

Zen Habits – no introduction required I think. There is a free skin available from  Frugal based on Leo’s blog’s design (with his permission).

Thesis Example Sites

Most of the Thesis sites I found using a “powered by Thesis” search – found me SEO ‘s sites – Thesis is loved by the SEO and design community because of its promotion by the “A-listers” and its opportunities for consulting by writing e-books on how to use Thesis and custom designs for those who give up on the books.

Friction Marketer again a basic Thesis look – well worth reading the article linked to from the point of view of Brian Clark’s social media skills.  (BTW that was September 2009 Brian is talking about the release of Thesis 2.0 – it hasn’t happened yet).

R James Horne – the classic “Thesis look” – sorry James !

Even More classic Thesis (sorry Steve!) Social Media

These are more sophisticated Thesis “looks” – but would have taken quite a bit of custom code to achieve:

SEO Pitfall

Quick Online Tips


Frugal Theme Reviewed  Big Thumbs Up

Sorry – the post is a bit long even for me! But I really found it an interesting comparing Thesis and Frugal – one should have the first mover advantage (Thesis), both obviously have extremely talented developers – but one (Thesis) has outsourced their marketing to the A-listers, the other (Frugal) is going it alone and trying to build a good affiliate network. Frankly one of the reasons I took so much time on this post (and it took days) was that I have seen very few in-depth reviews of Frugal – and  came across some downright misleading stuff (like the so-called lack of SEO). This is my attempt to fix that (oh and get a bit of affiliate income too!)

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Passive Income Online – Now Running Frugal Theme!

Update April 2011 – I have updated the theme again – Frugal became Catalyst – which is a really, really turbo charged version of Frugal -which I got a free upgrade to as an existing customer. To read more about Catalyst check out my Catalyst review

Hi all – if you click thru and get your  yourself onto the actual site – you will see some stuff has changed around here! I am still getting the  edges smoothed off but Passive Income Online has had a spring clean and  is now running the Frugal Theme by Eric Hamm.

I have a (very) long post coming out in the next few days describing why I decided to move away from Thesis ( a theme I’d already paid for) and install Thesis Frugal – this is the short version in case anyone happened to notice (or care) about what happened around here.

In case you have already forgotten: this was this site running Thesis 1.7:

Passive Income running Thesis

After a bit of practice with Frugal (I’ve owned if for a couple of weeks) I took the deep breath and installed it here. Out of the box – i.e. just after I hit activate after uploading the Theme I had a site that looked like this:

Frugal Default Install on Passive Income

It took me a couple of hours – and I had written down the details of the design from the Thesis install. But I now have a site which at least resembles what this blog looked like with Thesis. I’m going to change it more – but I thought I would be too radical to start off with just so people didn’t think they’d wandered into the wrong site!

Frugal Looking Like My Thesis Install

If you want the gory details of how I did the customisationisation without writing a single line of CSS code and very little html. This is the short version.

  1. I made sure that I had the custom header which was kindly given to me by Costa over at Blogigs: WP Easy Customization Tips.
  2. I trawled thru the custom CSS  being used in Thesis plus the font and design options and wrote down little details like fonts and sizes and colour codes for the backgrounds, fonts and other shite.
  3. I installed Frugal 3.3
  4. I was impressed that Frugal preserved my existing sidebar arrangement complete with widgets.
  5. I easy fixed my top of page navigation which has been broken since I upgraded to Thesis 1.7.
  6. I had read the Frugal manual and watched Eric’s excellent videos so knew that I could use his custom widget functionality to add my yellow welcome box at the top of  the page (I chose to change it so it was full width not just above the content column as in  Thesis – it was easy to change by choosing a slightly different hook).
  7. I also used a custom widget to add a the blue box at the bottom of posts promoting The Keyword Academy.
  8. I have to go through each post and add a thumbnail. I wasn’t surprised – Thesis 1.7 was suppressing the WordPress 2.9 functionality of thumbnails so I knew I’d have to go back and fix a pile of posts. The good news is that from now on to add a thumbnail all i have to do is click that option when I import an image – not more cutting and pasting image urls yeah!

So far there are two things that I can’t  find a way to reproduce with Frugal:

  1. I quite like the single post followed by excerpts  of older posts which Thesis does. Frugal well let me have 3 excerpts below the main post – but I haven’t found a way to do more than three (without code – I’m sure I CAN do it with code but that’s not the point) Confirmed by Eric (the developer and owner of Frugal) that I will need to look at a slightly different layout – given that some of you commented you hadn’t realized I’d changed themes thats cool;
  2. The comments on pages appear to have gone AWOL – not sure how to get them back! Answer go to the “main options” page and select comments on pages and posts options – duh!
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Keyword Academy Case Study Update – 2 Weeks

This is my 5th post in my Keyword Academy Case Study series.  If you missed the earlier posts you might want to start at the beginning

This is too early to be doing an update – but I thought some of you would find this interesting. BTW I use the excellent rank checker of Market Samurai to check my rankings with a single touch of the button – saves me a lot of time:

Site launched 31 March 2010

Site indexed 1 April 2010

Cape Tribulation, Queensland

Rankings on 8 April 2010 (14 April 2020 in brackets)

15 pages  indexed in Google (13 pages)

1 backlink recognised in yahoo (and its the same directory which got me indexed) (0)

domain name exact match long-tail: 17  (17)

main keyword: 61 (34)

main keyword singular: 61 (31)

cousin keyword #1 ; 47 (63)

cousin keyword #2: > 100(43)

cousin keyword #3 > 100 (>100)

cousin keyword #4 > 100 (>100)

cousin keyword #5: 37 (49)

cousin keyword #6: 71 (60)

cousin keyword #7: 67 (60)

Backlinks Live

Number of postrunner posts live: 7

Number of postrunner posts indexed: 6 one of the most recent ones is not  indexed.

Note all those posts indexed organically i.e. it happened without any effort on my part. Whether the site owners built links to the posts I have no idea – but if you have been around Internet Marketing for more than 5 minutes you should realise that this is a truly awesome result!

So who else has got some results to report? Send me the link to your post and I’ll add here or updated us in the comments!

Loreecee has an update up: Post Runner Case Study

Alana has an update up: Make Money Blogging Keyword Academy Experiment Day 17

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Keyword Academy – Postrunner Tutorial – Adding A Site

I talked about using the Postrunner Guest Posting system in my earlier Postrunner tutorial This time I want to talk about the other side of the coin – adding a WordPress blog into the system and becoming a recipient of others articles.

Why Would You Add a Blog to Postrunner

Have you ever stopped to wonder why sites such as EzineArticles will publish your article for free? Because they love you and really want to help you to promote your latest little acai berry weight loss site? Nope they do it because they make from it – a lot of money. Same as HubPages – they at least share some of the revenue – EzineArticles doesn’t. And neither do the Postrunner directories.

So from an owner’s point of view I am getting a ton of free content which is often focused around an easy (green) keyword – the keyword is often in the title.  How hard would it be to get that article to rank for that keyword? Get search traffic and then I get people who will click on my ads.

How much have I made with my Postrunner sites to date (I have three in the system at the time of writing – one general, two niche). Nothing, nada, ziltch. None of them are monetized, yet. Will they ever be monetized – I have no idea to be honest. One particularly has some nice Adsense CPC payouts potential so its a candidate.  Another one has potential with Amazon affiliate stuff.If someone is making money from an Article Directory or blog would love to hear your experience in the comments!

In the meanwhile I can use the sites for my own back links of course – well hidden within hundreds and hundreds of other links to sites I don’t own.

How many articles have I published on my site?

General site PR0 20 articles since the 26 March

Niche site PR2  – Finance 21 articles since 21 March

Niche site PR1  Home & Garden 18 articles since  7 April

How Do You Add a WordPress Blog to the System

You add the Postrunner Plugin (available in the member’s area) to your blog, follow the instructions upload it and activate it.  When you set the settings makes sure if your site fits in an category other than “General” – that you put it in the specialised category. There are obviously far more blogs in “General” than anything else – so being different helps.

The site name will default to your site’s title but you will probably want to change it something more useful. The site name is the “elevator pitch” for your site – you have to peruade the article writer to chose your site and not another one!. I

f you site is very specialised e.g.. you have a health site but you only want articles on teeth whitening – say so otherwise you will be declining a lot of weight loss articles. The system will automatically pick up what PR that your site has – but if your article is otherwise useful ie. old, fast indexing or if you are doing active link building for the site – SAY SO! (Its called marketing BTW you are competing with over 700 active sites in the system).

Crossing the Finish Line - Mt Panorma, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

How to Make Me Choose Your Postrunner Site to Post To

  1. Have a site which is regularly crawled by Google and which most recent posts are indexed. If you have not yet persuaded Google to setup camp on your site – active link building from other sources should get new posts indexed between Google bot visits. – I use site:postrunnerdirectory and then click the “show options and “latest ” to see recently indexed pages.
  2. Have a theme which gets my post on the front page and keeps it there for a while. Don’t have a static page on the front and expect me to be happy with just a title in the “Recent Articles” list – this just makes it harder to get my article indexed.
  3. A theme which posts only very small snippets or excerpts on the front page – without my link – I want my link on your front  page so I can get Google following and noticing that link.
  4. A site which you only approve once a week but then you approve the 30 or so articles waiting so my article immediately falls off the front page – again I know I am going to have to do manual link building to get my article indexed *sigh*
  5. Bonus points if you take the trouble to do any of the following:
  • add photos to photogenic posts (I use the photodropper plugin – it takes about 2sec to find and add a photo);
  • add links between related posts (you can do this automatically using the “similar posts” plugins)
  • have a editors pick or top posts lists that I might get my post into.
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Keyword Academy Case Study – Link Building Timeline

This is the fourth  part of the Keyword Academy Case Study series – if you are new here you may want to start with part 1, part 2 and part 3 (Postrunner tutorial)

So now we have the keywords chosen, the site installed – now what? Well first – particularly if this is a brand new domain – which mine is – you need to get the site indexed.  There is a sure fire way to do this – find a site which is being crawled by Google a lot – and get a link from it. I used Postrunner obviously – and many people there will tell you their site  has very fast indexing – most of them don’t lie either. Once I find a site that gets crawled a lot and gets sites indexed easily I carefully document and remember it (i.e. I scribble its name semi-legibly on a post it note and stick it on the white board).

How To Know If  A Site has Quick Indexing

Two types of sites seem to get quick indexing in my experience:

  • authority sites
  • sites whith lots and lots of updating content

This site is an authority site (google and you will see  a listing with more links in it than normal – that’s an authority site). I don’t post very often here – but when I do I am disappointed if it takes longer than 30 minutes for Google to index the post. BTW that works for posts which include duplicate content as well and posts with hardly any words in them at all.  Though it take several hours for Google to notice a new  Resources page I added.

So once Google loves a site it will love anything you put on it and – for our purposes today – this is the important bit – it will follow any links you add and if the site is not indexed it will get crawled.

To find a site with constantly updating content – just check the cache date in  the google index – is it recent, check when it last indexed new pages and compare that to what is showing new on the site.

Is there a link out there? Nope just the Tasman Sea!

Planning a Backlink Campaign

I used to randomly just get links for sites – this is better than not getting links at all, but these days I am a little more organised – mainly so I know what I need to do next on the site.  You see I may not be back for a month given the number of sites I have. On my spreadsheet I keep a record of the main keywords and the cousins. On another tab I  create a list –  date per a line for a fairly heavily link building time frame like this one. Normally I have  a column for source (Postrunner, ezineatricles, hubpages etc).  Then a note (written, ordered,scheduled), the keyword I’m anchoring on the PR of the site I have sent the article to and the url of the stie (replaced with the article’s url when I have it). With Postrunner is very easy because you can schedule posts to appear on a certain day.

For anchored text I mix it up between the title of the site, the site’s url and cousin keywords. I throw in the odd “click here” and “this site” too – just to keep it looking natural (that’s a Griz tip BTW).

For the sites I chose – I don’t go for just high PR – I used a PR3 to get the site initially indexed – but about 80% of my links are from PR0’s why? Because 80% of the Internet has PR0 sites (a statistic I just made up on the spot).

I decided to go with 25 posts to 25 different Postrunner directories in the first month. I scheduled 9 to be sent out in the first 15 days of the month and the rest to appear at the end of the month. So roughly I went from a post post every 3 days at the start to posts twice a day at the end.

Am I building links too fast – will I get sand boxed (ie thrown down the rankings to live several months in the 100’s) – no idea – I guess you will have to stay tuned to find out!

Oh and before anyone asks – no it doesn’t matter if you only have have the site’s titled used 24.8% of the time not 25% of the time, or you link from 82.3% of PR0 sites! It doesn’t matter if you schedule a post to show up at 4am or 7pm either! Its not that exact guys – ifyou need exact in your life this game with drive you insane.

Articles and Links

Each article I use for these backlinks is a minimum of 300 words, has the main or related keyword in the title and once in the content. I have a single link out to my site – usually in the first couple of the lines of the article. Why so early in the content – two reasons. First the higher  on the page your link is the (slightly) better it is for SEO. Second for many themes they will only publish part fo the post on the front page – if  my link is in that first paragraph then it will probably hit that front page – the one with the PR associated with it.

I only include one link per an article to my site – Postrunner allows two but as I am only promoting a single site with basically a single keyword (and some closely related cousins) I don’t want to dilute the links.

I keep a copy of every article I use for support – I try to keep them somewhere that I can find them again.

Articles and Useful Links

Question: when is a link in an article useless to you? When the article isn’t indexed. About a month after publishing I go back and check that the article (not the site the actual article’s url – that’s why I made a note of it above) is indexed. If its not its a waste of time. I may get it indexed by sending some links to it – usually from another network I’m a member of. If I can’t get it indexed at all – or if the site has disappeared – its happened to me (but not with Postrunner sites yet) – I take the article (you know the copy I kept) and resubmit it to another site – its not duplicate because its never been indexed.

Tracking Your Backlinks

I quite like seeing what Google is seeing so I use Google Alerts to know when pages on my site are indexed (} an when Google recognises a link ( – far less common than Yahoo recognising links.

That’s about it really – nothing too complex – I have scheduled the articles out for the rest of the month so I am off to focus on another site for a while.

Article Marketing Back Links Case Study Paid Tools The Keyword Academy

Keyword Academy Case Study – PostRunner Tutorial

UPDATED: April 2012 Check out my Postrunner V2 Review .  I will update this these once the new Postrunner is live

OK I am seeing quite a few questions about Postrunner – The Keyword Academy’s link building tool – so I thought I’d throw an extra post into my  Keyword Academy Case Study series detailing the how and, probably  more importantly the why of using the PostRunner system (formerly the Guest Posting System, GPS). Even if you aren’t a member this might be helpful if you don’t understand why some of us get excited about giving away our content for free!

This post is about Postrunner from an article submitters point-of-view. If you are interested in being a Postrunner Review for  publishers – see my second post about Postrunner– Adding a Site

Wellington Airport from Khandallah
Wellington Airport from Khandallah

What is Guest Posting?

There are lots of ways to get links – but high on most lists  is “guest posting”. You contribute as a guest on another blog and in return get a link back from the site and maybe some traffic as well. Here’s a  guest post I did recently: Building an Online Income.

Now, finding places to contribute  guest posts, if you are in the niche of  freelance writing or make money online or similar, is not really that hard. I don’t accept regular guest posts here – but  many other sites do. Frankly sites like would have disappeared long ago – but for the guest posts!

Why? Because the niche is dominated by people who think its important to publish regularly to make your blog popular. Its not – but that’s another post.

But what  if your niche is not make money online?  Have you ever tried finding blogs to guest post articles about college education or health? Now these are popular subjects – but its still hard to find blogs that will accept your free content. What if you write about tap washers or  hair loss in women? Gonna be harder, a lot harder.

Its not impossible – there are a number of sites that I regularly use to post content to – I highly recommend Post Your Own Articles. You can sign up for free – but read the instructions to authors.

Wizzley works too, so does InfoBarrel and other Web2.0 properties, again they all have different rules and you need to be familiar with them all.

Do you see where I am going with this? Every site is run by a different owner – has different rules and you need to be up to speed with each of them. If you don’t find that a pain – you obviously aren’t doing enough guest posting!

The sites I’ve mentioned above are all great but once you have an article link from each of them what’s your next best use of your time – multiple links from the same site – or links from new sites? I think the later which is why I think PostRunner is worth the cost of the Keyword Academy alone.

What is PostRunner?

Technically its an interface  written in WordPress which allows you to submit guest posts to participating blogs. Practically its an enormous time saver.There is exactly one set of rules for PostRunner – here they are:

  • content must be at least 300 words long;
  • content must be unique and written by a human (no article spinners please);
  • no more than two anchored contextual links are allowed per an article

You add articles in a “normal” WordPress interface – which you should be familiar with. You can chose to either publish a post immediately or schedule it  for the future. You then select a  site to publish to and hit submit.

Your article will only appear once the site’s owner has approved the post. This can take up to 7 days. If there has been no response after 7 days the article is returned to you and you can resubmit to another directory. You get an email notification when you article is approved/declined/returned.

You can use the interface to see which articles you have published for which of your sites and where these are published. You can also filter the list by status (not sent, sent, live (published), scheduled). You can export a list of the article titles, urls of where published and site linked to from the article.

Set-by-step adding a Post to PostRunner

  1. Click “Add Post” and cut and paste your article in as you would normally. Don’t forget to add your links! (Sometimes I do). To add a link just select  the text you want to be anchored on e.g. blue widgets click the link button and cut and paste the url of the page you want to link to);
  2. If you don’t want the post to appear as soon as its approved  click “edit” next to “publish immediately” and change it to the date/time you want (I think the dates’ time are on Utah time);
  3. Click “choose publish location”. This will bring up a new screen listing available directories – the default shows all the “General” category directories but you can use the top right drop down to select from other categories (Health, Shopping etc). For each directory you will see PR – a title – which you can click to go the  site, any links you may already have from that site. Use the select button on the right to chose the directory you want.
  4. This will disappear the directory selection screen and you will be back on the basic WordPress post screen.
  5. Now click “check and save draft” – this should come back with a  message saying you have passed all the tests. If you haven’t passed they will tell you what’s wrong.
  6. Once you have passed the checks you click the submit to directory and you are done.

How I Chose a Postrunner Directory

When I am building backlinks for a website I am trying to get as natural a link profile as possible. Most websites are PR0, PR1 at most.  So although I look at PR when I am choosing a directory I am not exclusively interested in high PR – I am just as likely looking for the 80 PR0’s to balance out the PR4 or PR3

I am looking for sites that are indexed. Now all of them should be – but ocasionally we get a bad one – if its a new site I will google just to check. If you do come up with a site which is not indexed report it to support.

This google  listing will also tell me some other interesting stuff like:

  • how many pages are indexed, less than 10 I move on – its a bit new for my taste, otherwise more is better;
  • click “options” and look at the “latest indexed” option to see if the most recent articles are indexed – if they are that’s good – if they aren’t and the latest article is more than 10 days old that means the site is not being crawled by Google very often;
  • if I am worried about the speed of google crawls I will check the cache (again just google – and click “cache”). If the cache is more than 2 weeks old and/or shows a completely different site I don’t use it. This tells me regardless of the PR the site has probably just been set up and Google  isn’t visiting regularly so my article won’t get indexed easily, and the PR may well disapear in the next update too;

The site’s front page design. Page rank is all about page not site rank. If your article will never appear on the front page it will be harder for it to get indexed and to get PR. I don’t use sites which have static front pages on which articles don’t appear – I don’t mind a single static post with other articles below but I am not interested in ones that don’t reference articles at all on the front page – not even the title.

I couldn’t care less whether the site has an atrractive design or not – but if they haven’t set the permalink structure to be postname or similar I again move on and find another drectory.  Whether the directory has advertising or not doesn’t matter to me either.

Does that cover most of your PostRunner questions? If you have any other questions about guest posting or Postrunner in particular do please drop me a comment below so I can clarify – I have been using this for so long its hard to remember what confuses initially and what does not.

Paid Tools Tools

Keyword Academy Price Rise 6 April

UPDATE 21 July. The price has now reverted to $33/month. If you are paying the higher rate contact tka support to have your subscription reduced to the $33/month rate.

I did warn you that The Keyword Academy was increasing their price!  Well the bad news is that I was right – the worse news is that the price is going up on the 6 April – which is also the anniversary as TKA celebrates their first birthday.

New Zealand native kingfisher
Rare NZ bird - Karori Wildlife Sancturary - Wellington

I have told you already why TKA works for so many of us – I’m not going to repeat myself here, again – that and I just got back from a few days away and I was on my way to  bed before I saw this in my in-box. Bottom line – not sure – signup now – it will cost $1 and you lock in the $33/month for life – sign up on the 6th – and you will be at the new higher rate of $67/month. Either way you still have the 30 days to figure out whether the program will work  for you.


Here’s why the price is going up – in ther own words:

It’s hard to believe that an entire year has passed since we announced the launch of our paid members’ area, and the program has come quite a long way since April ’09.

What started out as a program that offered only guidance and support has become a full blown internet marketing system. We still offer a thorough step by step method for building low maintenance internet income and we still support new members with ongoing webinars and an extremely helpful forum.

But we’ve taken our program beyond information and support, and built tools that save our members huge amounts of time in their pursuit of a bigger online income.
More than Just Guidance and Support

“Tools” is a term that gets thrown around pretty liberally in the internet marketing world, so let me be a little more specific about what you’ll find inside TKA Pro:

First of all, you’ll get unlimited access to the Niche Refinery, a keyword research tool that will allow you to sort through tens of thousands of keywords to find those with plenty of income potential but without overwhelming competition.

Ask our members, and you’ll hear Niche Refinery called “as addictive as drugs.”

Niche Refinery makes the keyword selection process fast and easy. Whether you’re brand new to making money online, or already bringing in a steady income – you need more keywords, you need better keywords.

The only way to get a good look at Niche Refinery is by taking a 30 day trial of TKA Pro.

The second important tool you’ll find inside TKA Pro is PostRunner (called the Guest Posting System until a few days ago; PostRunner was the subject of Court’s most recent post on the blog). PostRunner is a tool that makes it incredibly easy to acquire contextual white hat links that will make a big difference to your search engine rankings.

PostRunner is not a spam tool; we mean it when we say these are white hat links. We’re not going to talk much more about it here; all we’ll say is this: if you want search engine rankings, you need links. PostRunner will let you get the number and quality of links you need to rank well.

The only way to get a good look at PostRunner is by taking a 30 day trial of TKA Pro.
How much has your online income grown in the last 12 months?

If you’re a normal aspiring internet marketer, you’ve read a lot of blog posts in the last 12 months. You’ve probably bought at least a few domain names; maybe you’ve even set up a few websites. But the question isn’t whether you’ve been working on it – the question is how much new income have you created in the last year?

I can make a pretty fair guess about how much you’re earning because I’ve surveyed many of our readers. Here are a couple of interesting stats: over 96% of those responding to the survey were making less than $500 per month online, but over 50% of them had been working at it for more than a year. So you have this relatively big group who’d been working away at it for more than a year, but didn’t even have a few hundred dollars per month to show for the effort.

When you sign up for TKA Pro, I guarantee you’ll see a clear path to consistent income. It takes hard work and patience, but it works.

Every day when you sit down at your computer, do you know what you can and should be doing to increase your income? Do you have a set of proven steps and to follow and the tools to help you follow them?

If you’ve managed to create some income online, do you know exactly how to replicate that success and add zeros to your monthly earnings (or just get your monthly earnings past $0)?

If you can say yes to all those questions, congratulations and more power to you.

If you can’t say yes, and you find yourself wandering around the web for weeks at a time, wondering which of those over-hyped sales letters might actually get you where you want to go…

…do yourself a favor and take a 30 day trial of TKA Pro.

If you register for TKA Pro before Tuesday, April 6th, you’ll get unlimited access to our step by step video instructions, our members’ only forum, and our keyword research and link building tools for 30 days, and it will cost you $1. If you decide to stay subscribed beyond the 30 days your subscription will cost $33 per month – and never increase.

I’d strongly recommend getting off the fence and taking us up on this offer, because Court and I are giving ourselves a nice birthday gift as TKA Pro turns one year old:
We’re Doubling the Price

As of April 6th, ongoing Premium Membership to TKA Pro will run you $67 per month. We still believe the program will be a great deal relative to its value at $67 per month, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s more than double the current cost of a monthly subscription.

We’re not increasing the price so drastically just for kicks; this isn’t the same program we launched with a subscription of $33 per month. By adding Niche Refinery and PostRunner, we’ve put TKA Pro in a position to take the place of other keyword analysis and link building tools whose combined cost would be a few hundred bucks a month.

This is the bottom line: our members love the program, and it’s working for them. We now have over 1,200 active members, and every week we get more reports of big gains to their income. If you were ever going to take TKA Pro for a test drive, I’d do it now before it gets a little more pricey.

Oh, and just one thought about the whole subscription thing. I know you hate subscriptions. I hate them, too. I won’t keep a single subscription to a tool or a program that doesn’t absolutely justify itself and give a great return on investment.

So if you take a trial membership and decide it’s not for you, canceling is as easy as logging into Paypal and clicking one button. Or, you could just send our student support an email and we’ll cancel the subscription for you without hassle or hesitation. And if you forget to cancel your subscription and we charge you $33 accidentally, a quick refund is just one email away. We won’t bug you about it at all. With over 1,200 happy members, we don’t have to fight with anybody over a $33 refund, so don’t hesitate to ask.

Hope to get to know you better on the inside.

– Mark

Case Study

Case Study: Choosing Keywords – Installing a Niche Site

This is the second part  of my Keyword Academy  Case Study series  – if you missed the initial post you can check it out here.

Keywords are everything in this business – start with the wrong keywords you will fail – I can prove that – been there done that – either failed to rank the site at all – or got to #1 – only to discover no money in the keyword!

I have my own take on keywords – the Keyword Academy videos focus on looking for products – but personally I prefer services.

Wellington on an unusually still day!

Will I reveal the niche or the site. No – sorry not going to happen. The reasons why are quite simple:

  • if I reveal the site people will help by sending me links – invalidating the experiment;
  • if I actually start making bucket loads of cash from this site – I will suddenly have a whole lot more competition!

So no hard feelings – I will tell you this about the niche:

  • its a 3 word phrase describing a business need;
  • its a service that  businesses pay good money for;
  • its nothing at all to do with Internet Marketing or Making Money Online
  • its not something  I know a whole lot about – yet – but its something I have some interest in – I will become absolutely fascinated in it if starts making me a regular income!

According to the Keyword Academy tools:

  • it has 3600 exact searchs a month
  • an Adsense cost per click of $11.35
  • a “difficulty” of 200
  • potential income $204 (month) from Adsense – but more on that later…
  • and the top four sites are all PR3 – they consist of a double listing from a relevant directory, and 2 relevant businesse neither of which use my keyword phrase in their ranked urls.

According to Lissie’s approach to keyword approach

  • the top 4 sites are all old 10 years plus. In fact the only site on page 1 which is younger than 4 years old – – which is a few months old.
  • sites in position 3 and 4  may like to buy my site for a tidy sum if it starts to affect their own ratings – I could also offer advertising to them if I was  outranking them – cut out the middle man of Adsense (Google) and save them money and make me more.  With a CPC of $11.35 I  should be getting as an Adsense publisher about 1/3 of that – so there is quite a lot of potential upside to direct  sell to the advertiser.
  • there are a bunch of very,very low (definition ezinearticles or hubpages in the first 4 positions) low tails related to this keyword. Google claims there is not traffic but I don’t believe it – the phrases make sense – this site has a lot more potential for $204 “official” estimate.

Registering the Right Domain

My preferred domains are gone:

  • – is parked at
  • are parked at
  • is ranking #7 as noted above – with 14 Yahoo backlinks, no PR, 14 pages indexed.

Exact matches aren’t part of the TKA approach but in my experience they work wonderfully – unfortunately this not finding the exact match available is a common situation. The ranking of the dot org also however  tells me having some keywords in the domain is going to help a fair bit.

Because I am looking  in future at maybe either selling the site or selling advertising direct on the site I am avoiding all other domain TLDS (biz, info etc) – credibility is key here and com has it in spades. Because most of the money appears to be in the US for this business I am looking for a US domain name

I am not doing hyphens for the same reasons as above.

Looking at extra words to add I found I could register – where the prefix is also part of a long-tail – think if I was after green widgets and new green widgets was a related keyword I got the domain which is

Costs: $7.67 – domain registration (Godaddy using discount code emma30 )

Hosting: free as I already have a Hostgator reseller ($5-$7 for others)

For more on choosing the right domain name check out this video from the Market Samurai people

Next time I am going to talk about the details of getting links with Postrunner.

Case Study Lis Recommmends

Passive Income Online’s Keyword Academy Case Study

OK you horrible lot. This is it I am going to prove that this works.  You can build websites – rank them in the search engines and retire to the beach to live off the earnings.

I’ve been reading for ages that people love case studies – I know I love reading about case studies to – it sure beats working –  but I have resisted doing them because basically I saw them as a lot of work – they are in the discipine that I have any qualifications in – science. In science a case study is an experiment and you learn with experiments whether they prove or disprove the hypothesis.

Internet marketing case studies are different.

If an Internet Marketing case study fails – I make no money But there is really no downside in this experiment – I seriously doubt that I am going to fail to make money. I know that I can rank a site from ziltch to a page 1 in Google within 6 months if I chose the right keywords. If I do that I know I will make money from it (also sadly lacking in many science experiments). So what’s to lose? I will need to be slightly more organised than usual – but that wouldn’t be bad anyways!

So this is what I am goingto do:

  • start a  niche site  on a new domain using the Keyword Academy method.
  • rank it by ONLY using the keyword academy’s guest posting system. Now this is NOT the currently recommended approach in their core videos – but I have a hunch and I know that Mark, one of the guys behind TKA is trying the same thing. I am going to acquire around 25 links/month for the site from GPS.

Report back here every month or so on progress.

So how we are going to measure progress –  scientist hiding in my back brain somewhere! Lets try this

  • number of pages in Google
  • number of backlinks showing in Yahoo
  • ranking for main keyword in Google
  • ranking of  related keywords in Google
  • passive income earned
  • expenses incurred

It may vary depending what I forget to record from month to month!

The site will start off as a bog standard WordPress site set up as a niche site with arount 5-10 pages of content – I’ll probably launch it on the last day of the month just to keep the figures neat. Well my last day – I’m normally a day ahead on account of the time different and given that I will be away over  Easter that will have to be close enough.

In my next post in the Keyword Academy case study series I’ll talk about chosing the right keywords and domain.

Here’s my challenge to you. You can read my every world, hang out on this blog waiting for the next episode – or you could build your own site. No matter how many mistakes you make chosing your keywords and setting up your site  and promoting it – you will probably still make more money than if you just read my posts…

The difficulty with these types of case studies is that the biggest variable is niche – its just plain harder to rank in some niches than others. I am only covering one niche in this study. You could cover a different niche. Why not start your own new site (or indeed kickstart an old one you have been ignoring). If you want to report your progress regularly on your blog – drop a comment here and  I will link to your posts. Or if you don’t have an appropriate blog – just drop a regular comment here with your  progress. What’s the worst that can happen – you make money?

Update: Check out my competition!

Loreecee from Postrunner Review

Tiffany from Passive Income Goals

Alana from Beginner Blogger

Hospitalera from Making Money Online

Online Business Paid Tools Passive Income Product Reviews Tools

Shameless Advertisement for The Keyword Academy! Hurry Time Running Out!

Are you reading this because you are tired of working for the “man”, never seeing your kids until late at night, juggling bills and worrying about where the next car repayment is coming from? Would you like to be younger, sexier, attract fast cars and pretty women? Well I have the answer for you – but you have to ACT NOW!

Living the Dream? Western Australia, Cape le Grand

Sorry – thought that might get your attention! Look lets me honest here – I make money from this blog and the most successful marketing I do is for the The Keyword Academy. Why is it successful ? Well I manage to con people into signing up for the $1 free trial by offering to refund their dollar if they don’t like it – and then people find its a great program and they keep on paying the monthly membership for the site. I get a commission on those monthly subscriptions.  All affiliates work the same Third Tribe Marketing, Scribe SEO – the lot. The difference is that most affiliates people cancel after a few months – which is crap for your passive online income!

You see people who enrol in TKA stay enrolled for months and months and months. Long past the initial keyword video course – much longer than can be justified just on a montly webinar or two – so why is the Keyword Academy membership so “sticky”? They stay enrolled quite simply because they consider themselves to be getting value for money – and those that are doing the work are getting far more actual real measurable value from the program than the $33/month they pay for it.

Long Term Value of The Keyword Academy

Well I don’t know about the others who are long-time members of TKA – but I’d welcome your comments below. But my reasons for staying has come down to:

  • their guest posting system which allows me to easily get links for my sites;
  • their guest posting system which allows me to receive free unique content to some of my sites;
  • their niche refinary tool which allows me to easily analyse keyword income potential and competition;
  • the forum allows me to compare results and react to changes in the Google world – more heads are definitely better than one sometimes.

Cost to Start a Passive Income Business Using The Keyword Academy

So what are the chances of making money actually using the TKA “system”?. What will it cost you to start a niche site using the TKA system?

Enrol in TKAcost $1 free

Research keywords using TKA tools – free

Buy a domain at (use the code emma30 to get 30% off dot coms) $8.99

Buy Hosting – I still recommend Hostgator (around $7/month for unlimited domain hosting)

Setup WordPress (free) as recommended on TKA and start writing keyword focussed articles for your site. (5 to 10 say). (BTW if this scares you the TKA guys will help you set up the first site as well).

Write and submit an article a day to the TKA guest posting system continue for 3/4 months

In around 5/6 months you should be ranking on page 1 and getting passive income from Adsense or whatever other approach you have taken to making money on the site.

Lets say the your site has the potential to make $50/month in Adsense.

If it takes you 6 months to rank in first place for your main keyword – that will  have cost you:

Domain registration 50% x $7.99 = $4

Hosting: $7 x 6 months = $56

TKA $1 plus 5x$33 = $166

Total costs: $226

Total revenue – if you follow the TKA model you should be looking at least $50/month from your site – so it will take less than 5 month’s earnings to cover the  sunk costs.

The figures for your second and subsequent sites are even better. For you next site:

Domain 50% x $7.99 = $4

Hosting – paid already

TKA – paid already

Total costs (per 6 months ) – $4 – around the cost of cake and a coffee in my part of the world – your mileage may vary.

So After a Year Your Business May Look Like

If you start 10 sites and after 12 months you are earning $50/site the figures are:

Revenue: 10 x $50 x 12 = $6000

Less domain registration  10 x $7.99 = $79

Less Hosting 12 months x $7 = $84

Less TKA membership 11 months x $33 = $363

Profit: $5390

Time commitment:

  • initial site setup  -takes me about an hour – it will take you longer the first time
  • then an  ongoing requirement – write and post an article a day for each site: 10x 300 words about 2.5 hours a day at my fairly rapid typing speed – probably just time you spend watching rubbish on TV now.

You don’t have to do this forever for a site – only until its solidly in the top position – that may take 6 months, more or less – this is a business not a job – its not guaranteed – but you’d have to agree there is a fair margin of error in the above figures..

Could You Use an Extra $5000 ?

It took me over 2 years to learn the stuff I just wrote in this post. Before TKA the information was scattered. Before the guest posting system in TKA it was a considerable struggle to find places to post backlinks.  There was always the doubt that what you were doing may or may not work. This works – its not exciting or sexy or even very interesting, but it will earn you money. And you know what? I have sites ranking at #1 for which I haven’t touched in months and months, which I haven’t built a link for in months. They still earn me the same amount of money …

I could rave on about how TKA has changed my life – its true – but frankly it would sound too much like one of those cheesy sales letters that I hate! Frankly you just read over 900 words about making money online – you obviously have some interest. The real question is are you ready to stop dreaming and take some action? Dreaming is great – but it won’t make you money.

So click the  bloody affiliate link NOW and signup –  and stop dreaming and reading about making money online and actually <<<<make some money>>>>> (that’s the link!)!

beginners Blogging Free Tools Search Engines WordPress

What is a Long Tail Keyword? Keyword Identification for the New and Clueless

What is a keyword – or more specifically what is a long tail keyword phrase –  caused me endless confusion when I first began. I totally didn’t get it – that’s why products like Scribe SEO exist – to prey on beginner’s confusion. That’s unacceptable in my view – so here is the information that you need about keywords. Its here for free, you don’t have to sign up for any membership site or even a one off payment.

There are heaps of erudite SEO expert posts on keywords out there – this isn’t one of them. Instead this is an attempt to take it back down to basics – stick with me because I want to start to with a real world business example – and then we will move onto niche sites and blogs.

Keywords For a Service Business

I’m going to tell you how to do it for free. Lets assume you offer house washing services – purely because I am in the market for the same at the moment. Now I may search for “house washing” now this gives me a mixture of results including DIY articles on how to wash my house down and news results for house washing. But I am not interested in learning to wash my house down – I want someone to do it for me! The result is somewhere there in the 7 million pages returned by that first query – but its too hard to find. Instead I try again and type “house washing service” now I have the right sort of result – but they are in Michigan and Atlanta – its (now) obvious I want a local service – so I try “house washing service Wellington”.

So pretty much your keywords are all terms that should appear on your business card; what services you provide and the geographic locality that you service. Most businesses will have a number of keywords. House washing dude may end up with a list that looks like this:

  • house washing Wellington
  • house washing northern suburbs Wellington
  • water blasting Wellington
  • window washing Wellington
  • quick quote house washing Wellington
  • guaranteed house washing Wellington

So basically the keywords for a service business include each service you provide (house washing, water blasting), the location you services (Wellington, northern suburbs) and your unique selling points (guaranteed, quick quote). And all of these are in the language that your customers will use to find you – not the industry terms common among the experts!

Keywords for a Consultancy Business

One of the things I learned in my brief tenure over at Third Tribe Marketing was that an awful lot of people start with the thought that they are going to use the Internet as way to drum up services as a consultant. Common trades seem to include:

  • Social Media Consulting
  • WordPress Blogging Tips and Tricks
  • Marketing Strategies
  • freelance writing

This is a little trickier – basically because its harder to define a consultancy business – a plumber has regulations about not doing building or electrical work, possibly unfortunately, white collar consultants do not. From a business point of view you really, really should define your services very clearly. If you are planning on providing “web services” to the world and can’t define it any further – your problem is not keyword identification – its a business plan!

Next you should be aware that not all keywords are possible to rank for easily. Some have more competition than others. In broad terms the longer the phrase the more likely you will get to rank for it fairly easily and the more likely you will get a paying customer. For example which of  the following phrases typed into a search engine by a potential customer do you think may convert to an actual customer? Lets assume you are selling writing services

  • freelance writing
  • web freelance writer
  • freelance writer for hire
  • freelance writer for hire cost less than $500
  • freelance writer to write about home improvements

Now before some freelance writers jump on me and say some of those terms are not grammatically 100% – I say  that’s the point – people tend to type into Google as they think – they don’t edit for perfect grammatical structure.  Useful keywords are ones that reflect how people search – not the text book!

Now those last couple of phrases will show in the Google Adwords tool as having no searchers – that’s an approximation. The same tool tells me there is no searches for people looking for family home for sale in Khandallah but there is at least one – I have shown her the  house… At that’s the point I need exactly one person to buy the house, if you are freelance writer a client a week or even a month could be the start of a profitable career – you don’t  need a thousand new clients a month to launch a freelance writing career – so find very long tail keywords that relate to the services you can offer  and use them for post titles – it really is that simple.

So Which Longtail Keywords Should I Use on My Blog?

Many people start off in the general – this is my life or my work or my passion blog. These seem to particularly struggle with adding keywords to their posts – because its an after thought. Often they have bought into posting an excessive number of times a week – i.e. more than the once I manage around here.  They’ve been told they have to post all the time – guys YOU DO NOT! Some of my favourite bloggers post once every few months – but when they do post its a useful, worthwhile and generally long post – it usually then has another few thousand words added in the comments – if you are good enough people won’t forget you! I’m not that good – but I can go weeks without posting anything here  – and it rarely drops my subscriber count, doesn’t hugely effect my traffic, and makes little to no difference to the income I earn from this site.

Oh and you can ignore a site for months and suddenly start posting again to – I just did with a site of mine – posted for the first time in 4 months- indexed within 24 hours!

Why? Because most of the people who buy from me  come from search traffic – often they will stick around, clearly dazzled by my deathless prose, but I measure success by income not subscribers (blame it on my bank – they are more interested in dollars in my account not my feedburner stats!).

If you are trying to kick start a new blog – or an old one which has the classic 10 readers, one of which is your  mother – think about what you are offering your readers: if you aren’t offering them something then that could be part of the problem.  This is why focusing on a niche for a blog is easier – if you start writing about the joys of being a first-time step dad and then continue onto to home renovation – your original audience may fall by the wayside. Which is not to say that you can’t have several topics going at the same time – but starting with one and expanding it will be easier – not just to bring your audience with you but also for the search engines to rank your posts because they have already ranked you for related terms.

Which is not to say you can’t change topics and introduce new things.  For example when I started getting a significant number of readers here a lot of us knew each other from online forums – most of my readers knew more about keyword search than I did. But recently I seem to have acquired some new readers who may have missed some of these basics – so hence this post.  Some of my regulars will have dropped off by now – but they should be off doing some work anyways- those that are still awake may have learned something.

So What’s a Buying Keyword?

Canon SX20 IS SuperZoom Camera

I thought this was magic for a while too.  A buying keyword is also known as commercial intent. Sometimes we search to buy stuff – sometimes we don’t. Consider these search terms which I just made up:

When I typed in the query about fish recipes – I got the recipe for the kedgeree that I was looking for – there were ads on the page but Iwasn’t interested – recipes are great things to find online but don’t expect to start a recipe site and make money – you visitors want the recipe – you’ve answered the need – end of story. I site about cooking techniques would possibly do better

Passive income – its kinda in between – people are looking for information – they may want to do something with that information – they may become regular readers or subscribers (in the way the fish recipe person probably won’t) – but they don’t have a huge urge to act now.

The Canon SX20 IS is my latest oh so cool gadget – its a top-ranked megazoom camera with a 20X optical zoom and a 12MB maximum file size and does cool video too – I love it!  Now I bought it recently and I was aware of how to search online but basically I started with a search along the lines of “wide angle, 20x zoom, AA batteries” and came down to narrowing it down to this one and another I searched on the very specific model number to understand the pluses and minuses of that particular model. Its an expensive camera I wanted to be sure. I spent 5 minutes going to a local shop and holding it in my hand – I spent hours finding all the reviews for it. It should have been a buying keyword for someone – unfortunately I don’t live in the US and the cheapest place I could buy it doesn’t have an affiliate program –  and that’s one of the reason that usually US traffic will convert better (Amazon won’t ship the camera to New Zealand (or Australia) and that’s very common for electronics). Not all search traffic is equal – luckily you are unlikely to get serious numbers of visitors to your camera review site so don’t worry about it too much!

Generally as you get closer to spending money  the longer the keyword you type in  “Florida vacations” could be a school assignment on American domestic travel or a bored office worker dreaming at their desk, “family Florida vacations” – is someone getting a bit more serious about actually spending some money: “Florida Disney World Vacation hotels” – is getting better – but “Florida Disney World Vacation hotels coupons” could be a very good buying keyword indeed (it may or may not be – its not mine, its just my opinion, your mileage may vary etc etc).

Oh and engage brain about buying keywords before you use a tool – if someone is looking for a free WordPress theme – do you really want them on a blog you are trying to sell paid WordPress themes from?

So find specific keywords for your niche – sure start with the Adwords tool for brainstorming – but look at what is being pushed on TV and newspapers as well.

Optimizing Images

You’ll notice that cool camera pic is named for the  name and model and has a similar caption and alt-text. Google can’t “read” images – it reads the name of the image, the alt tag and the caption …

Double Indexing in Google and Retrofitting Keywords

Now this is a bit of confession – not every post here is written with a keyword in mind – in fact in the early days – none of them were. Even these days I will sometimes just post cause I want to share with my readers and can’t be arsed with the search traffic.

But there is a secret to old posts – and I don’t do this often enough – the edit key.  This is the trick to getting a double listing. Obviously ranking on the first page for a keyword is nice – but getting double listing is even better: one that looks like this:

The trick is this – each post has a link within the text of the post which links to the other one with the anchor text “third tribe review”. I usually work it something like . In the second post I will say that as a follow up to my recent post on (and I ad the link)  <long tail keyword phrase here> blah blah. Then I edit the first post and often at the end of the post I will add a sentence or so that that says – read my follow up of <long tail keyword phrase> here.

FAQs  About Keywords

Does capitalisation matter? It may to the grammar police – but not to the search engines – the key word lis sowerbutts is exactly the same as Lis Sowerbutts – how do I know – try the two searches and compare the results – you will find they are the same.

Is the plural version of a keyword the same as the singular? No its not – but they are very closely related. Rank yourself for “blue widget” then getting the ranking for “blue widgets” will be much easier.

Does punctuation matter? To EzineArticles definitely, Google – no. Whether you link to “blue widgets” or blue widget’s” or even “blue widgets’ ” its all the same to Google – they are all the same keyword phrase.  Same goes for punctuation – whether you link to: ” Products are available in red or blue. Widget and doodas are available ..” Or “blue widget” the keyword is the same keyword.

On Page SEO

That is the book as far as I am concerned about on-page SEO. The short version of how to write for your readers is something like:

  • write descriptive titles (headlines);
  • I link to relevant posts on the same topic in the text of the post;
  • use subheadings if it fits in – use your keyword in them if reads naturally;
  • include useful information in the post about the topic – this means I will naturally use terms related to my my main keyword;

If  I am writing for search engines I do:

  • all of the above
  • I try to include my keyword in the first 60 characters so its automatically in the post’s excerpt which is shown in the search engines;
  • more words is better than less – the reason that this post is so long is hat the main keyword is quite competitive – the more I write the more likely I am to hit some obscure phrase that someone may search on…
  • if I am using WordPress -add relevant tags to each post and make sure the blog is set up to index the tag pages
  • if the whole blog is about a specific keyword I include that in the title and sometimes the tagline

My point is that none of the stuff I do for the search engines to find my keywords – has any affect on my readers, if you are in a non-make money online, non-SEO niche they won’t even notice.

This really is all you need to know about what you should be writing on your site as far as long tail keyword research is concerned. If you want to seriously increase you traffic then spend a bit more time find long tail keywords you can easily rank for and less time pushing out more and more content which is unlikely to really engage your readers or show up in the search engine results.

Of course the on-page SEO stuff I have been talking about here is the 20% – the other 80% of your effort should all be about Back Links – but that’s another post and fortunately Allyn’s already written the definitive post about how to get backlinks check it out !