Monthly Archives: September 2011

Quantifying the ROI of Guest Blogging

The term “link building” almost holds a mixed bag of connotations. If you are traditional SEO professional, when people say, “link building” you think about link exchanges and technical ways to generate links. But if you are a new wave link builder like myself, you think about relationships, working with publishers to provide value for something small in return. Regardless of whether you are an old-school or new wave link builder, you are held to the same expectations; to get your target page ranking in Google.

Justifying ROI has been a challenge in business since the early 1900’s. First it was print advertising, then it was television, and now it’s social media. What many people don’t talk about is guest blogging. Guest blogging for the purpose of increasing brand exposure and impacting SEO is difficult to measure because there are so many variables.

First management must understand what key metric to focus on from a content standpoint. Are you going to place emphasis on the number of links attained or the quality of the links? Placing emphasis on content will likely get you higher quality links but less of them, thus impacting the weight of links in the ranking factor. On the flipside if management just cares about Revenue / # of Links it may be to binary to take into consideration the intricacies of guest blogging and relationship building. Any site can pay for links, but guest blogging is a ticket to a long term partnership with like-minded people in your business network which can be potentially lucrative in itself.

Next, you should follow the sales pipeline through your SEO targeted keyword in attempts to better understand what your SEO efforts are providing. Take note that ranking for a search term isn’t exclusively because of a strong link building efforts; there are many other important factors like on page content, overall site power, and social signals. Use Google Analytics or Omniture to track where your conversions are coming from. Are you receiving the majority of your e-commerce sales through affiliate networks or do you have strong SEO that converts more users at a higher rate?

To better understand link building’s impact on the overall SEO revenue you should set a baseline before starting a link building campaign. The baseline should include a current keyword rank and SEO revenue per keyword. Tracking SEO revenue longitudinally will give you further insight into just how effective guest blogging is in the overall SEO big picture. For example, let’s say your company ranks #9 for gps fleet tracking system on August 1st and that keywords generates $1,000 a month for your business, tracking those changes over time will give you insight into effectiveness. Since your guest blogging program is put in action, revisit the ranking and revenue each month. The marginal increase in revenue and search engine rankings is the best way to evaluate your guest blogging ROI.

ROI in theory is a great statistics that shows relative output per unit; however it’s often not that clear cut. Guest blogging/ guest writing is something I think more businesses should invest in. Having in-house assets that are able to manage content partnerships is much more valuable for a business than money generated.

Matt Krautstrunk is a marketing professional based in San Diego, CA writing about topics ranging from payroll services to social media marketing for Business.com

Should You Offer A Groupon Deal To Get New Customers?

Groupon logoI admit it – I’ve caught the Groupon bug. I never really thought it would happen to me. I’m reasonably intelligent and well informed. I know that about 1/3 of Groupon vouchers go unredeemed and that many people buy stuff from the site that they wouldn’t otherwise have bought. However, in spite of this, I have found myself browsing their offerings periodically and even buying occasionally.

I offer this introduction because it occurred to me that you, our readers here at Quantum SEO Labs might benefit greatly from offering a Groupon or Living Social deal yourselves. Here’s what you need to know:

How Groupon Works

I’ll assume that you have not been living in a cave somewhere and as such you’ve at least heard of Groupon and Living Social, two of the biggest social buying clubs on the Internet today. However, if you’re like me just a few months ago before a friend turned me on to the site, you may well not understand how the site works and why it can be so beneficial for many businesses.

In essence, Groupon works on the concept of negotiating special deals on various products and then offering them at a steep discount. In order for the deal to go through, a minimum number of people must make a purchase. I think they also offer a ceiling option now so that you don’t end up selling millions of units of a product at a loss.

What Groupon Sells

I frankly don’t know what Groupon doesn’t sell. Every day, there is an extraordinarily eclectic selection of products for sale, from trips to Europe to spa days to restaurant deals to fire extinguishers (I bought a fire extinguisher for my kitchen – you never know. I passed on Europe and the spa day though). This means that for almost anyone, Groupon, Living Social or one of the thousands of wannabe sites is likely to be able to help you out.

The one thing I haven’t seen yet on Groupon (though I’d be surprised if they have a rule against it) is things like software and eBooks. Mind you I’ve only been checking them out for a few months, so it’s possible I missed those.

Why You May Want to Do a Groupon

There are two great reasons for doing a Groupon deal (or a Living Social deal or a deal with one of the smaller social buying networks). The first is exposure. Let’s say for example that you run a local gym. You could sell a month’s membership for $9.99 and potentially sign up new members who will pay the full price of $49.99 from then on. And this works pretty much for any business which happens to have more than one product to sell or which sells subscriptions.

The Groupon Secret

The other really cool thing about Groupon (and which I warn people on my personal finance blog about when making purchases from the site) is that around 1/3 of Groupon vouchers are never redeemed. This means it’s found money in your pocket. Groupon of course takes their cut, but when you figure that you can literally pocket about 1/3 of the money spent on average and not have to send out any product or provide any service, that’s an extraordinary deal.

By the way, I’m proud to say that I’ve made a total of seven Groupon purchases and have never once failed to redeem the voucher. Though I admit, I did buy things I wouldn’t have bought otherwise and that frankly I’m not sure why I bought them anyway.

For example, I really can’t stand steamed veggies and yet I bought a vegetable steamer on Groupon (I figured I ought to be eating healthy even though I know practically speaking, it’s just going to sit in a kitchen cabinet and collect dust).

Oh well – another example of why doing a deal on Groupon or another similar site is great for business. You can occasionally hook people who wouldn’t have otherwise made a purchase at all.

Speaking of Similar Sites

One final note – Groupon is the 800 pound gorilla in the room and Living Social isn’t far behind. However, there are literally thousands of similar sites which either are wannabes or which specialize in either being hyper local (like just this one neighborhood) or specific niches (only chocolate makers for example). So if you want to do a deal like this but you’re too small for Groupon, consider looking for other, similar sites which may work out a deal with you.

Amazon Has Cleaned Up the Kindle PLR Scourge; How to Profit Now

amazon kindle logoFor a short while, people were making money hand over fist with the Kindle while doing very little work. The idea was that you would purchase PLR books and then publish them using the Kindle Digital Publishing service. All you’d do is add a new cover and a catchy title and away you went. People really did make money on it, but that’s all over now.

What Is PLR?

PLR stands for Private Label Rights and it’s kind of like purchasing a large quantity of canned goods and then slapping your own label on it.

Kroger’s doesn’t actually manufacturer canned peas for example – they contract out with a company which does it for dozens of supermarkets (and often for name brands too – as an aside, often the generic and brand name version of a product are literally identical except for the label, but that’s something for my personal finance blog) and then slap a label on it which says Kroger.

In fact, the next time you visit the supermarket, look closely at a can of store brand food. Somewhere, it should say “manufactured by xxx for yyy.” Anyway, when you buy a PLR book, you are in essence purchasing the right to slap your name (or any name) on it and then republish it and sell it as if it’s yours.

What Happened with the Kindle

People had quickly realized that they could make a fortune by selling eBooks on the Kindle and other eBook readers, even if they didn’t make many sales. All they had to do was to buy the rights to a PLR book (often for as little as $1), reformat it, set up a new cover and title and upload it to the Kindle Digital Publishing service. Put up a price that it will sell at (maybe $2.99) and you can make a profit after the second or third sale (Amazon did take a cut).

The Market Becomes Saturated

As with any “get rich quick” scheme, those who got in first made the big bucks in this business and even turned around and sold $1,000 “courses” to explain how to do it. However, it had gotten to the point where there were millions of these low quality PLR books floating around in the Kindle store and many of them were identical, save for the name and cover (and many didn’t even bother changing the name or cover).

Amazon Wises Up

I myself had done an experiment where I took a freebie PLR book and put it up there with a different cover. I didn’t really pay much attention to it and I never made a sale. Then again, I had other ways to make money online. Anyway, a few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from Amazon that they were taking down my book and others like it because they were all similar or identical to each other. In other words, the PLR scheme is now caput.

How to Make Money Now

I personally have not tried this and have no interest in doing it because I have enough to do with other revenue streams. However, it does occur to me that it’s possible to still make money on Kindle with PLR content, but you’ll need to invest more time or more money to do it. In essence, you can take a PLR book and do what you’re meant to do with it – use it as the basis for a unique work all your own.

In essence, you would re-write the PLR eBook and publish it. Then, it’s unique and Amazon won’t take it down. The catch of course is that it’s a lot more work. The alternative is to hire a writer on a site like eLance or Guru to do the re-write for you, but of course, that costs more money.

Bottom Line

The free ride is over, but for those willing to do real work, there is still money to be made from eBooks. So keep publishing on Kindle and keep using PLR. Just make sure your work is unique before you put it up for sale.

by EricHammer, on       Comments are off for this post