Ask Ana: What Would You Like to Know About Traffic Generation and SEO?

Ask Ana: What Would You Like to Know About Traffic Generation and SEO?

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Today I decided to give up blogging about what I THINK you’d like to know and actually find out WHAT YOU would like to know.

Yes, it’s a Q&A day at Traffic Generation Cafe.

You can ask me any question about blogging, traffic generation, SEO, social media – anything and everything that’s on your heart and I’ll take my best shot at answering you.

One request though: let’s stay away from generalities.

For instance, “How do I generate more traffic to my website?” is a loaded question with no simple answer. However, asking “Can I generate traffic using social bookmarking sites?” is a great way to go.

Also, if I find it that your question is interesting and deserves an answer in a separate blog post, I will let you know when that post is published.

So… What are good questions to ask?

  • Should I try paid traffic generation methods?
  • Is article marketing still a good way to generate traffic?
  • Is it OK to change my posts after they’ve been published?
  • What is the best link building method?
  • How do I find great blogs to comment on?
  • What SEO plugins do you use on your blog?
  • How do I know if my posts are getting indexed?

I am sure you already have something on your mind for me to answer, so the floor is all yours.

ana hoffman traffic generation

traffic generation cafe comment below

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156 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Hi,
    Thanks so much for this opportunity. I am currently working with Adwords to drive more traffic and get my SEO up. I have very little visits a day, and am really hardly found by Google at all. I have a fabulous site though! Now the Adwords, seem to also rank some of my pages very low quality. I built my site in WordPress, and the articles do well. Is it possible that WordPress pages aren’t ranked or indexed so well for some reason? And what can I do about it?

    • Ana Hoffman

      Took a look at your blog, Inge, and looks like you need to start from SEO basics: on-page optimization and link building.

      Those are the two things that will eventually bring your blog up on Google ranking ladder.

      The best way to learn about both is to get my free SEO guide, if you haven’t already:

      I’d ditch Adwords altogether; you’ll go broke before you see any results.

      • Thank you so much, and such a fast response too! You really are amazing. I did indeed get the guide, and had a quick look through. I guess I will now have to knuckle down and go and do it, page by page. Not looking forward to that. But…I never looked forward to building my site, and now I am very proud of it. Thanks again!

        • Ana Hoffman

          One good thing about SEO is once you get it, you are golden, Inge. After that, it just takes upkeep, like anything else I suppose.

  2. What are the greatest challenges you have faced in regards to SEO in estimation and do you forsee any game changers in the near future regarding SEO strategy?

    • Ana Hoffman

      Quite a question, Daniel!

      I think the most challenging thing about SEO is how unpredictable and unstable it is.

      Yes, there are some cornerstone strategies that have worked in the past and will probably work in the future, but in the end we are all at the mercy of search engines.

  3. I think im gonna follow this one :)

    1. Guest posting
    2. Blog commenting

    My favorite is blog commenting because I gain two things. One is knowledge on the post that i was reading and second is a backlink that points to my site.

    I will be reading all your post here, hoping that i will gain enough knowledge to start a real website. Thank you for all this information madam.

  4. Just wondering if anyone has ever had any dodgy goings on on their list. I’ve suddenly had an influx of bizarre email addresses sign up to my list. A couple of them might be legit, but most look really strange e.g. a4056bf2 [at] with the name cgunnigljust (I’ve changed the numbers a bit). What is this? Why would anyone spam-join a list? Seems so odd to me. What should I do? My thought was to email them all and ask them to send a response to confirm their membership – or I could just assume they’re all duff and wipe them off, but that may still leave me with an ongoing problem…. Cheers F

  5. Joy

    Hello Ana,

    I understand that Google is giving credit to the origin of the content but HOW will they determine who’s came first?

    Is a WordPress post different to a webpage that only get’s crawled every so often? If someone takes my post minutes after I publish it to my own blog only to repost on theirs, how do they know which is the original?

    Please clarify.


    • Since I am not Google – LOL – I can only explain our understanding of how it works, Joy.

      Most of the times, Google is good at discerning which came first, often because any republished posts will have a link back to the original.

      In those instances when the content is simply stolen and there are no links back and you notice it ranking for anything at all, you can easily report it to Google and the page will be de-indexed.

      Of course, it’s possible that Google is not as perfect as it would like to be and can rank another site that republished your post ahead of yours.

      Nothing can be done in this case; just hope that those who visit it will follow the links back to you.

  6. Wouldn’t that be nice, David!

    Pinging: the truth is Google will eventually find and index most of the pages and links online. Most, but some slip through.

    Do you really need to ping your posts, comments, etc? Probably not.

    But I do it anyway to speed up the process.

    I wouldn’t worry about indexing programs though. Google will index most of your pages on its own.

    Traffic, traffic, traffic… It’ll come with time. Just need to work your rear for it – and that’s the truth. LOL

  7. Hi Ana – A post about Google +1 and another about Cloudflare please. You just plus1’d the latter and I’ve blindly gone and put it on my site…. but what is it…. I have a vague idea and obviously I blindly trust your judgement, but it’d be good to have more of an idea of what I’m doing lol. +1 I’m struggling with too. Seems we should be doing it, but I’m still catching up with FB and blimey…. what will be next? (yeah, I know, you can’t answer that last one, if you could you’d no doubt be a very rich lady). Hey ho. Fiona

    • It’s on my list of post to do, Fiona. :-)

      Google +1 is pretty much like a Facebook “Like” button. When doing a search in Google, you will see the posts that were “+1-ed” by your friends and that will tell you that you’ll probably like it too.

  8. Hi Ana – Great post – and as I’ve been suspecting for some time, I need to get a grip on FB…… darn – only just mastered Twitter!!! ;-(

  9. Ana, you’re an example to us all of how to give and give before ever asking for anything. You’re quite an inspiration.

    My question: If for a span of 3 months you had to choose between using a combination of Tweet Adder and MarketMeSuite to generate a BOOST in traffic vs. a combination of guest blogging and optimized content generation, which one would you choose, if your goal was to develop a dialogue with your visitors to convince them to join your mailing list within those 3 months?

    For whichever of your choices, could you explain why?

    • As much as I love Twitter marketing, Arturo, I would go for guest blogging because it produces far more targeted traffic – the kind of traffic that is more likely to join your list.

  10. Bob Crane

    I wanted to ask the question you suggested “Does article marketing still work..does it?

    Also, on your blog I read something about network marketing…do you do network marketing? I have been having a debate with a friend of mine as to whether network marketing is a sustainable business. You spend a lot of time and money growing a NWM business..does it really pay? What is your take, Ana?


    • Article marketing: I haven’t seen it work for a long time, Bob.

      There was a time when people were reading articles and clicking on the links, but it’s been a while since you could really generate any sizable traffic from publishing articles.

      Since the recent Google Panda update, article marketing was even further discounted, if it were at all possible – even the links that come from article marketing don’t carry that much value.

      So I wouldn’t waste my time with it.

      Network marketing: no, I am not in a network marketing company currently, no do I plan on joining one.

      I do have network marketing to thank for my online career though: that’s how I first started, and after failing again and again, I dedicated myself to learning how to do it right and how to do it well. That’s how I started Traffic Generation Cafe.

      Do I believe it’s still a viable way to make money? Tough one. I’d say that for the majority of people entering this particular industry succeeding in it equals to trying to fill a leaking bucket: the more people you recruit, the more people leave your downline, and so it continues. Only select few truly have the stamina and stubbornness to continue – and yes, those people still succeed.

      To me, it wasn’t worth it.

      And, by the way, I am with a top-tier business right now called YourNetBiz – better business model, better money, but still working just as hard. :)

  11. Hey Ana,

    Great idea this is :)

    My question: what do you think of the use of TribePro/OnlyWire which give you a crazy number of instant backlinks when you submit your content? I mean you can get 2000+ right away!

    Google’s whole point regarding backlinks is that they appear natural… I’m thinkin’ that will be hard to do with +1000 per article instantly.

    Would there be any penalties from Google?

    With other services like IMAutomator or Social Monkee, you can spread your submissions over several days.

    Thanks in advance, Ana!


    • According to the latest SEOmoz search engine rankings report, when it comes down to links, quality and relevance definitely outweigh pure quantity, Mavis.

      I don’t use any service that creates thousands of backlinks – shows an alarming pattern and yes, can get you penalized.

      I do however use services like OnlyWire, which distributes to up to 40 services (I am not aware that they could do anything more than that) and IMAutomator, which submits to, I believe, 15 services with their free version.

      In other words, I do reasonably bookmark each and every post, but that’s it.

      I don’t truly believe it gives me a real edge, but I do it anyway for faster indexing and just because I am in habit of doing it. :)

      Hope this helps!

  12. Great tip Alex! :-)

    Shinarix, there are many tips on my site about bringing more visitors to your blog. You can use those tips to do so and by making your blog more interesting to users. Perhaps you should find a different niche.

  13. Hi, David:

    It sounds like all you need to do is point your new domain to the blogspot blog – your domain company should be able to help you with that if you are not sure how to do it.

    As far as Twitter is concerned, I am not sure what you mean by Twitter contact file – are you referring to the number of followers you have on Twitter? If so, there’s a slim chance of monetizing them in any way. The only way to build a list that you can actually send emails via IContact is to add an opt-in form to your blog (kind of what you see in my sidebar and a few other places on my blog); then all the folks who opt in to be a part of your list will become your IContact subscribers and you can email them whenever you want to.

    Let me know if I understood your question correctly; if not, rephrase it and I will give it another shot.


    • Keep them coming, Angela.

      Pinging is a way of notifying different services that you have new content on your blog, which in turn encourages search engines to come and crawl your site, so it’s definitely something that you want to do.

      Plus, once you set it up, it’s all done automatically, so why not?

      I am sure I already gave you this link before, but just in case I forgot, here’s a recent post I published on pinging:

  14. Hi Ana – Does aweber allow you to automatically send through emails with your blog posts to all your subscribers? how does that work? Cheers F

          • I came looking for a comment you made to a reader where you mentioned how all the best bloggers are Aussies because I wanted to quote and agree whole heartedly 😉 but I cannot find it. That’s OK though – because I found myself a quote here. Ok so I had to cut you off mid sentence, but DETAILS?!…

            “For me AW is the best” -Ana Hoffman

            cheers :) (cheeky sod Alex)

            • I said what??? lol! I’m sure I did, but can’t recall where. :-)

              Type in “Aweber” in the search bar at the top, because I have written a lot on the topic. I’m sure you’ll find all the details you are looking for there, you’re welcome to ask me any questions :-)

              You make me laugh! :-)

  15. late to the party … but here goes!

    I used to allow other sites to use my content – I’d post a film review on my site, and then let another site use it to for the link and relationship building. The consensus seems to be that Google doesn’t look kindly on this. True? And if I can, should I kill the second versions of my content when I can? Might that help?

    • Better late than never. :)

      You should be mostly concerned with duplicate content within your own site, Christian – I wouldn’t worry about other sites republishing your content, especially when they link back to the original post.

      Google is very good (most of the times) when it comes down to figuring out which version of the post is the original one and rank that one and drop the rest.

      You can learn more about this in this post:

  16. My question is -ummmm, no I got nothing.

    Good idea this though – I’d think of doing the same but I am trying to stay AWAY from blogging.
    What am I doing here?!?! LOL

    actually I got one – do you think Google was way too generous with their latest PR update? I got a contact me page with a PR of 2 for crying out loud!! (makes me question the weight all those high PR links I pay for are carrying now )

    • Glad you brought it up, Alex – I completely agree with your thought on the latest update.

      My recent upgrade from 0 to 4 doesn’t seem to be that significant considering that everyone and anyone got bumped up.

      Yet another one of Google mysteries, I suppose…

      By the way, do you have a good tool that you use to check your internal pages for PR?

      • Alex

        Apart from manually looking, you can use MS – kinda.

        Do a Rank Tracker update for your keywords and all the pages that are found ranking for your keywords will also show you their Pagerank too.
        Not officially how you do it, but a good method none the less.

  17. Good morning, Wayne:

    1. I am very good with deep linking, that’s why my average reader will browse through about 3 pages per visit according to my Google Analytics.

    Most of my posts will have links to several other related ones within the body.

    To learn more about deep linking, check out this post (see, I just sent you to read more :) ):

    2. My low bounce rate has a lot to do with my deep linking as well and the way my site is structured. I strategically send my readers to some of the most important pages on my blog and try to keep them interested in reading more.

    3. Direct traffic: the answer can be very simple and complex at the same time.

    The most basic definition of direct traffic is people who typed your URL from memory – great compliment to your branding.

    But these numbers can be quite misleading as well as there are plenty of factors that can affect that number.

    I think I am going to write a post on this; somebody else was asking me the same question not too long ago.

    I’ll let you know when I publish it.

    • Can I just throw in my 2 cents here and remind the readers that as a blogger you are ALWAYS going to have a higher bounce rate and less page views than a non blogger might.
      This is simply because of commentluv, blog hopping and the nature of how we as bloggers interact.
      Sure – take all these tips and you WILL increase pageviews and lower bounce rate, but remember that a lot of the percentages come from those who follow your comments or click on your latest post link, read it and then leave. This is the nature of the blogosphere, so don’t stress too much over it.
      That being said – I could do with a higher pageview average than 2.1 that’s for sure LOL.

      (why am I still here? LOL)

      • Why indeed, Alex… :)

        I actually agree, I don’t ever stress about my bounce rate too much.

        You can do only what you can to keep your readers reading, but you are right, Alex – many of my readers are repeat ones who just come to read what I had to say for the day.

  18. Wonder how long it’ll be before I get 120 comments on a post…. in a couple of days…. WOW you are one popular lady 😉

    I have another question…. it’s about sign ups – your last email triggered the thought. I’ve been getting confused about what I should be doing. I know the money is in the list… so there seem to be three ways of getting emails – people sign up through wordpress (I’ve had one of those and it captures a password and email address, I turned off this option once the person had done it since I hadn’t realised what that tick box was … der), you put an aweber box on your site (I’m using icontact cos it’s free up to 500 subscribers but it’s pretty similar) and people subscribe through a feedburner and with feedburner you don’t get the email address right? So here’s the question:
    1. What is the point for you/me in RSS – is it just a service I provide to enable my readers to follow me easily and if that’s the case, why would I do that rather than ask them to sign up? If they’re following with RSS they probably won’t even see my posts…. I started RSSing a whole load of blogs and now I never look at it, it’s too noisy!
    I think I need to look at your list building blogs a bit to suss out my aweber/email provider questions.
    Cheers Ana

    • My honest opinion about RSS subscription is in the same lines as yours – it’s fairly useless and diverts your traffic from what you REALLY want them to do, which it subscribe to your list.

      There’s no way to track your RSS subscribers as far as whether they are actually reading your blog or just let it sit in their RSS feed readers, like you and I and everybody else does.

      You also can’t send them an email – so you can’t monetize them in any way.

      I generally recommend bloggers have as few RSS buttons on their blogs at possible and don’t give any calls to action on your blog to subscribe to your RSS; rather, direct your traffic to your email sign-up forms – that should be your priority.

  19. Hi, Ana.
    I do have a ” out of Left Field” query.

    I ran into a site the other day which, apparently has around 20’000 pages indexed by Google and has a decent Alexa rank to boot. Yet, this site seems to be no more than a home page(Main page) with a few links(I mean one or two) linked articles and some ads( Google ad links). Good luck to the owner of that site. Though, maybe I have far more to learn than I had realized. As I am not quite sure how a site that comprises of basically one or two pages and hardly any content, can be doing that well.

    • This would not be the first time I wonder about the same thing, Daniel.

      No one knows what is in Google’s mind, sometimes it feels like not even Google itself does.

      For instance, I wrote a post not too long ago, in which I use some lyrics from Dead or Alive song. I was listed on the first page of Google for those lyrics quite quickly – something I absolutely didn’t intend to do, obviously.

      Since then, all I’ve been trying to do is to get de-listed for the query and yet I can’t, no matter what I do. :)

      Go figure…

  20. I’ve never done safelists personally, David, so I don’t have much experience to share with you.

    The reason I’ve never done them is that I never found it to have enough “pay-off” for what you have to do.

    • Daily caching has to do with the authority of your site. As your site authority increases, as in PR, traffic, overall rankings, etc, Google will start visiting your site more often.

      I do talk about link building quite a bit on Traffic Generation Cafe, so it you go under link building tab in my navigation bar, you’ll see plenty of posts on the subject.

  21. Hi Anna,

    May I ask about Bing and Yahoo’s algo? Our site had the number 1 spot in both search engines a month ago and it just suddenly dropped to page 6-7 overnight… I’d be glad to read your answers, thanks! :)

    • There can be many different reasons why this happened, Calli, and I have no idea what they might be.

      I am no expert on Bing or Yahoo (probably something I need to study and write a post about); I usually focus on Google, since it’s the best used and the most difficult one to obtain rankings from.

      • Didn’t know what happened as well. Google is our priority as well but having a #1 spot at yahoo and bing could be great, too. Thanks for responding to my question, by the way. :)

  22. Hi Ana,
    Do you think that there are some bloggers out there who blog and work for only the sake of blogging and not for generating traffic with all these methods you guys mention? 😀 Or is it a naive thought?

    • What’s the point of blogging if no one reads your blog?

      I am yet to meet a blogger who doesn’t care if she/he has an audience, Nella.

      • Ok when you say this it sounds definite and so serious. :) I do care about having an audience maybe I put my words wrong. I read all these blogs and articles about generating traffic everywhere, and it seems that the joy of blogging is gone, everything is about earning money with social networks and so on. This is good but sometimes it feels too much. :)
        All right, I hope you understood what I wanted to say and we can stay in touch.

  23. I hear blog commenting, forum posting commenting, article posting, directories, etc. etc. They all have ups and downs depending on the actual page or post. What is best? Depends alot on the type of site, dofollow/nofollow, niche, topic, you name it. Tough to say one is better than another. Some yes, others no, sometimes borderline depending on the page and what is going on. Lots to think about and varies from one to another considerably.

    • You are right, Ray – many ways to potentially generate traffic.

      Potentially is the key word though.

      Article marketing used to be a good way to go, but that hasn’t been the case for a long time. And now, with the recent Panda update, even article directory links are not so hot.

      In short, I focus on these ares of traffic generation only (I list them in the order of importance):

      1. Guest posting
      2. Social media (specifically Twitter and Facebook for me)
      3. Blog commenting

      I don’t spend my time doing anything beyond that.

  24. Wow, Ana – this is brill – I’ve just taken nearly 2 hours to trawl through this thread! It’s nearly 2am and it’s definitely, definitely bed time…. but I have a couple of burning questions…..
    1. Any chance of more on YouTube as a traffic generator?
    2. Twitter limits. What on earth happens at 2,000 following? I now have nearly 1,900 followers and can’t seem to follow more than 2,000…. it’s been like this for a couple of weeks… Linked to this is the question over follow backs? Is it wise to follow everyone back? Seems you just get a load of spammers and totally irrelevant people you’re following…. Your views please.
    Cheers Ana
    PS my post on Going Bananas is probably part induced by trying to tweet, write blog and all the etc’s whilst having a three year old climb on my head – you might sympathise ;-)…. though I think your little girl is a bit older…. and she’s a girl so maybe she doesn’t do the climb on your head thing!

    • Hi, Fiona:

      1. YouTube: I used to use it all the time, but dropped it a few months back for lack of time. I’ve been thinking of getting back into it; will definitely come up with a post when I have some solid info on that.

      2. Twitter: the trick is to unfollow anyone who is not following you. I personally use TweetAdder for that, but I am sure you can find some free tools to take care of it.

      You need to unfollow people, then follow more, give it a couple of days, then unfollow those who don’t follow you again – it’s a process, but shouldn’t take you more than a few days to accomplish this.

      Once you are followed by about 2000 people, you can move on and the following rules after that are that you can follow 10% more that the number of people who are following you.

      I think I explain all of this and more in this post:

      • Hi Ana – I’m using Tweet Adder and I think I’m probably just impatient since you seem to be able to romp up to following 2,000 and then suddenly the brakes go on. I guess it loosens up again once you have more followers given the 10% thing.
        I’m not following everyone back, just the ones in my niche…. I’m using to assess each of my new followers and then send them each a tailored message. Time comsuming, but worth it for me at the moment. Maybe when I hit the big time I’ll have to do it differently 😉 F

  25. Hi Ana,
    another question I’ve thought of, as this is directly affecting me.

    If a domain that has backlinks is permanently redirected (301) to a new domain, does the new domain keep the old domain backlinks in the eyes of Google and the SERPs?


    • An honest answer to your question, David, is I have no idea.

      I used to think that. You used to be able to 301 a domain with high PR to a newer domain and in a few weeks that PR would transfer to the new domain.

      Last time I put it into practice (about a year ago), it didn’t work. My previous domain name for this blog used to have PR2 and even after redirection Traffic Generation Cafe is still PR0.

      I haven’t heard anyone else talk about this lately, so I don’t have any fresh opinions to share on the subject.

        • I can’t believe I missed it, Maky… Thanks for pointing it out!

          I haven’t heard of a recent PR update; must’ve just happened today.

          Not that it should matter that much, but it is uplifting – made my day. :)

            • Glad to have made your day. I don’t know exactly when it happened but the news is buzzing around the web today. Coincidentally, I came over to read this post to catch up on the Q&A and I saw where you wrote that TGC is still a PR0 and I was like: No Way, not again! So I went out of my way to check it.

              I would have personally sued Google if I didn’t like what I saw :) You and your blog deserve it Ana … Enjoy it!

  26. Hi Ana,

    what is your opinion on using commenting on blogs to provide backlinks to improve PR rank?

    As far as I know, this can be broken into a few categories:
    1. paid services that provide a number of links that are high PR rank where you can leave comments
    2. using some software to acquire these links
    3. joining / making a tribe as link sources


    • The ruling opinion on blog commenting, David, is that they are not the highest quality links, since they are so easily obtainable, but still necessary for your diverse link building profile.

      I wouldn’t go spending your money paying someone to get such links for you, unless you know it comes from a reputable source.

      I definitely wouldn’t use any software – it’s very easy to be labeled as a spammer that way and way too hard to clear your reputation after that happens.

      I’ve started a commenting tribe in the past; definitely a great way to attract some comments to your blog, but as far as link building is concerned, you don’t need a tribe to build links, just go comment on blogs.

  27. Ana,
    1. I’d love to know if article marketing is still a valid way to drive traffic to my site – or is guest posting still a better option?
    2. Does changing my posts after they’re published help to drive more traffic to my site – especially if I’ve added more keywords?
    3. I’d love to know what SEO plug-ins you use on your site. Do you recommend on SEO information product over another such as SCRIBE or one of the others, or is using Google AdSense enough?
    4. Do you suggest downloading a huge list of search engines and then putting them in the your Admin area so that your articles are distributed more widely when you publish? If so, what’s the best list of search engines to submit too and where can we find this info?
    5. Is being listed on Technorati when they don’t have a specific niche listed for your site just a waste of time? For example my topic is specifically Intuition Development. The closest thing I could find on Technorati was Religion. Is it worth being listed on Technorati at all?
    6. What would you recommend as the best way to build an email list of really interested readers for your blog?
    7. How does having several blogs and linking them all together help drive traffic to your main blog, or doesn’t it? If so, what’s the best way to use several sites to grow your main site?
    8. How do Meta Tags work? Why is it so hard to add them to your WP blog?

    (If I think of any more questions – I’ll send them your way.)

    Thanks so much for doing this.
    Angela Artemis

    • Great questions, Angela.

      1. I would do guest posting over article marketing in a heartbeat – better exposure, better traffic, better links.
      2. Changing a post after it was published only makes sense to me if you see that post ranking for your keyword and you want to solidify those rankings by doing better on-page optimization and building links to it. Just adding more keywords to a post typically won’t work that well.
      3. I don’t use any SEO plugins on my site simply because my Thesis theme has SEO capabilities built in. However, if it didn’t, I would definitely use any one of the free SEO plugins available, like all-in-one SEO pack, WordPress SEO, etc. I think I am going to write a post on this one, since many readers had the same question.
      4. I am not sure what you are referring to here, Angela. My guess is you are talking about pinging services, since it’s the only thing you can add to your Admin panel. If so, we just recently talked about it in this post:
      5. I know of some bloggers who are getting some traffic from Technorati, but it was never enough for me to bother with. It takes time to get listed for your topics (in your case, it might be even hard to determine how to classify your blog according to their tags – happens a lot), and there are certain steps you might need to take to get that accomplished. Another possible blog post here.
      6. Building an email list: not an easy question to answer in a comment. I recently ran a series of posts on list building; I would suggest to check out this link for some of those posts:
      7. You are referring to building a link wheel here. It’s a very complicated and time-consuming thing to do. It’s mainly done not to drive traffic to your blog, but for link building purposes; if you ever get any traffic from your link wheels, it’s a bonus. Check out this guest post I wrote for the FamousBloggers:
      8. Just published a post on tags today, Monday. Check it out for more info on tags.

      Thanks, Angela!

      • Ana,
        You are simply fabulous for answering all my questions!
        Re: #4 – yes, you were right – I guess it was “pinging” svcs. I thought it was adding search engines to send your blog posts out to. (Is there anything like that on WP?)
        I’ll check out all the links you included in your answers.
        Thank you again,

        • You are very welcome, Angela – and I am pretty sure you are talking about pinging services. There’s no such thing as submitted to search engines through your blog.

  28. Lou Barba

    Hi Ana,

    You’ve got your work cut out for you now!

    My question is, why, according to SEO Quake, do I lose indexed pages on Google? I would think that number would only go up. Thanks for this question and answer time.


    • Lou, With SEO Quake you will get some variations with certain data, from time to time. There are a number of sites experiencing the opposite of you. They have far more pages showing as Being Google indexed(According to SEO Quake) than outside of SEO Quake. I have seen this myself. The other issue currently is that the INT and EXT links( (On the right hand side of the SEO Quake Bar) are often showing O links for both. If you reactivate SEO Quake(And refresh the page) this sometimes gets all the stats to appear. Also, you can open up “Preferences” it automatically re-installs your chosen preference parameters(You will see it re- ticking your preference boxes. If you went to webmaster tools and checked your (Urls indexed) and compare this to other Analytics tools readings, it will probably not ad up. The number of pages of which I track the performance of in Webmaster tools, is far less than the number of pages I have indexed(According to SEO Quake).

      • Thanks for your input, Daniel – of course, it’s a much easier thing to deal with if it’s SEO Quake issue.

        Thankfully, mine is working just fine.

  29. Ray Rapeepat

    Hi Anna:

    Here is my question:

    “In terms of generating Traffic, is bogging alone enough, without article marketing?”

    Some suggest to me that I need to do both. I would rather do without writing articles and submitting them.


    Ray Rapeepat

    • Article marketing won’t bring you any traffic, Ray; tested and proven.

      Most people do article marketing for the sake of backlinks; unfortunately, with Google’s recent Panda update, most of those links were discounted, so not even that is a great strategy any longer.

      I personally, don’t do article marketing and would never recommend anyone else take their time with it. There are much better ways you can spend your time, like doing guest posting and commenting- those two will bring you actual traffic and better backlinks.

    • Monja @

      hi ray,
      i know you addressed this to ana but i thought i give you my two cents just because i recently started a blog and didn´t do anything but blogging so far and leaving comments on related blogs.
      there is not much traffic so far but that which comes is great because people start leaving comments and interact. for no real promotion i´m happy. so yes, i think it is possible with “just” blogging and good quality articles but as everywhere in life – when you advertise your new product (in this case your content) it´s much better. so article marketing, commenting, paid advertising – whatever – will lead to quicker rise of your blog. good luck

  30. Hi Anna,

    In the old days, it was a case of optimizing a written piece, building back links to it and that written piece could be on page one of Google. Simple.

    Now however Google, is placing more emphasis on social media and this changes how search results appear to different people. What do you think of the implications of this for site owners and bloggers in the long run? If they are not active on social media sites, it is going to have that much of a effect on their traffic.

  31. Hi Ana,

    Thanks for the opportunity to pick your brain – I’m looking forward to reading the Q’s and A’s in this post!

    I just moved over to WordPress a few days ago and have a question for you. My new blog is running on a WP framework that has a lot of built-in SEO features and functionality, comparable to what many SEO plug-ins offer. My question is – if you are using one of these premium frameworks – is it better to stick with the SEO functionality built into the framework, or to consider using a WP plug-in specifically geared for SEO – and why?

    Thanks so much – I look forward to your response!


    • If your theme provides SEO capabilities, Ramona, then there’s absolutely no need to use any additional plugins that will just duplicate what your theme already provides.

      I use Thesis theme on my blog and no SEO plugins.


      • Thank you Ana for your feedback!

        I am running on Catalyst and I had the option of adding in the Yoast SEO package when I migrated, but chose not to because the SEO seemed to duplicate what Catalyst already offered. I appreciate the reassurance that I made the right decision!

        Have a fabulous weekend!

  32. Lorenzo Son

    Thanks my beautiful friend Ana,

    To ask me regarding traffic. For me traffic it’s not a problem.
    the problem for me is money to buy anything. I lost thousand
    of dollars for the program with a lot of prommises but they could not
    deliver to make me money for that program. Second I know only a basic
    knowledge in computer.

    You can try to visit my website to confirm that even editing with my simply blog
    I can’t edit it.

    I hope I answer what the question you ask for me.

    Lorenzo S

    • What can I tell you, Lorenzo – “I can’t do it” is not much of an excuse, if you want to run an online business. :)

      Either we all have to learn or we have to pay someone to do it for us – no other way around it.

      As far as making money: if you have plenty of traffic, but are not making any money off it, that probably means that:

      A. your traffic is not targeted;
      B. or they are targeted, but you don’t know how to convert them into buyers.

      My suggestion would be to figure out what the problem is and read up on what you can do to fix it.

  33. Great Idea, Ana. I am still browsing through the prior Q &A’s but wanted to put mine in the hat….

    In your response ( to one of my earlier comments about an internal page getting ranked high in Google, you mentioned “The reason that post was ranking was purely because of my site’s authority and internal link building I did, nothing else”. I am new to the SEO world… will you please share some of the internal link building tips?

  34. I have a site reworking up on Elance.
    One of the responders said, ” We will also post your website link in our client list so your site will get a PR3 rank inbound link which help it to rank higher in Google.”

    My question: Isn’t that a little ‘black hat-ish’ ?

    • It wouldn’t be a deciding factor for me, Susan.

      There’s nothing wrong with it per se; I just find it strange that someone would offer it to gain your business.

      There’s absolutely nothing that will stop them from removing that link once they finish the project.

      So go for the most qualified applicant and good luck with it!

  35. First off, thank you for this wonderful opportunity to receive some of your wisdom! So here it goes:

    We’re in the process of redesigning our almost 3 year old WordPress music blog and our designer has posed an important question. How do we want to offer the translation option for our blog? We post in English and Spanish (not duplicate posts, we just decide which language is most appropriate for the content) and for that reason we receive both english and spanish speaking visitors. Since we are redesigning the site, we have decided to offer a better experience to both types of readers by giving them the option to view the site only in English, which would only show the English posts and vice versa. Our main concern is to not split up our community by doing this, and therefore hurting our rankings and visitor numbers to the site. I’m sure there are a million other points I haven’t even thought of since I am not very well versed in this online world, but that is the gist. What are some of your recommendations?

    • In my opinion, you’ll only gain a stronger community if you find a way to offer ALL of your content in both languages. It’s really that simple, as far as I can see.

      All the best with your improvements!

  36. I actually do want to know the answer to one of the examples you provided as a good question.

    Is it OK to change my posts after they’ve been published?

    I a reformatting my blog to make it more reader friendly and also to take the pressure off of myself as my posts take way to long to write.

    Each post can in actuality be three or four smaller posts and I would like to go in and redo some of my entries.

    So assuming there are no comments. Is it cool to do this or not?

    Thanks Anna,


  37. Would it hurt my SEO to change the site title and tagline of my blog? Not the URL but just the title and tagline you input on the general settings page of WordPress.

    • Definitely not, Marc – it can only help if it’s better optimized than your old one, although it might take Google some time to catch up with the changes.

      So change it away!

  38. Thanks for your input, Keri!

    Twitter traffic: one of my most viewed pages on this blog is this one, Nick: I created it with one purpose in mind: to give my new Twitter followers an incentive to come to my blog.

    I send every new follower a DM with a link to this post and make it sound like it’s all about them, which it is.

    It’s been one of the most viewed pages on my blog ever since I created it.

    Now monetization: my two best money makers are my services, like blog audits or Skype consults, and affiliate products.

    I’ve been meaning to create my own product for a while, just never find the time to do it (bad, bad, bad). So what I do instead is review new products every once in a while, offer specials on my services, etc.

    I always have an influx of income when I send my list an email with a special offer of sorts.

    Truth is though everyone does pretty much the same thing. I have a feeling I’ll have to come up with better, more innovative ways to monetize my blog in the future.

    We all will.

    • OK, I’m sure this is an idiot question but hey, I’ve def still got my L plates…. on that promote yourself post there’s a no follow thingy or something….. I presume this means the links count – where do you set this for an individual post?
      And Yes, I am a stalker on this post and it’s replies!

      • I am not sure if I understand your question correctly, Fiona, but I think I do.

        I recently implemented a nofollow plugin that allows nofollow links to become dofollow after a certain number of comments.

        The plugin is called nofollow plugin and you can set the parameters you want to use within its settings.

        I need to go back and rewrite that post a bit now that I am using this plugin; thanks for reminding me!

  39. Ray

    Hi Ana,
    This really is a great idea. Actually, I would like to know what SEO plug-ins
    you use on your blog. Also, do you have any feelings for a keyword research
    tool called Keyword Winner? It is new and is making the rounds.

    Thanks so much

  40. Hi Ana,

    Thanks for giving such a nice chance… I want to ask how to compete with our competitors to rank well on particular keyword.

    For example I got a site of travel niche and there are big competitors who are ranking on the top page in Google but I too want to rank on the top page with the same keyword. I know I need huge number of backlinks for top ranking.

    My question is what’s the best source for getting huge quality backlinks to achieve my desired SERP in my niche and in how much time I could on the top page of the Google? I’m not saying the #1 rank, I’m asking #10 on Google top page.

    One more stupid & silly question Is it possible to rank at Google’s top page in just one day?

    • Let me start from the bottom up, Riya – yes, it’s possible to rank on Google in one day, but usually it has nothing to do with your own efforts. Google might rank a particular post I’ve written very quickly due to my site authority, freshness and relativity of content; definitely not because I am a good link builder (actually I am not, I am very lazy about my links. :)

      How to compete with your competition: I’ve written about it extensively in my free SEO report that you can find right here:


  41. Hi lovely Ana–

    How very generous of you, but then I’d expect nothing less:).

    I just signed up for a guest blogging course, and am excited to try something new to expand my readership and connect with others in the course.

    In your experience:

    1. Does traffic go down when a popular blogger features a guest?
    2. What is your opinion about “light swearing” in a blog post. Is SEO minimized by the cuss words, or does it matter?

    TY and have a wonderful weekend:).

    • Have I ever told you, Linda, that you always manage to bring a smile to my face when I see you around? :)

      If I understand your first question correctly, my answer is yes – I generally get less traffic and comments when I have a guest writer. I am sure it can be easily explained by the fact that my readers come to my blog to hear from me and when they see someone’s name in the author box other than mine, they either just leave without giving the guest author a chance or are pessimistic about the post.

      That’s why I don’t post too many guest articles – they really do need to be unique for the sake of both my readers and guest writers.

      2. Light swearing: what it does is clearly defines your audience. Those who don’t like it will leave and possibly won’t come back, those who’ll stay either don’t care either way or find it thrilling.

      I think those bloggers who swear in their posts have to make a hard choice – decide to go all out and gain more readership due to controversy or stop doing it at all. “Light” version will only hurt your blog.

      As far as SEO is concerned, the only way you might be affected is your bounce rate might increase, which in turn could affect your rankings.

      If a Google searcher comes to your site from Google, sees swear words, gets uncomfortable, and leaves because of it, Google will assume that the content you provided them with wasn’t up to par and “demote” your site in rankings.

      Disclaimer: this is just my logical way of reasoning on the matter and in no way an indicator that there is indeed such a thing as swearing as a negative search engine ranking factor. :)

      • Interesting Ana – I’m surprised at the answer on Guest Posts. I tend to hope that you (in your excellent judgement) will only post guests who write good, interesting posts – and I think all the one’s I’ve read on here have been. Totally agree on the swearing thing. What’s the point unless you’re going for shock value?

  42. Hi Ana,
    1.Can creating a free WordPress Plugin get you backlinks to your blog? Would this be an easier strategy than commenting and guest-posting?

    2. What is the amount of visitors a six month old blog should be receiving if they blog regularly, say three times and week and also comment on other blogs daily.

    3.What is you opinion on commenting systems like disqus, livefyre and so on. Why not just use the standard WordPress system?

    4.What would you recommend as the number one monetizing strategy for new blogs, ones that have been around for six months or less?

    5.What is your opinion on blogs that mainly rely on guest-posters for content? Are they as valuable as a blog that is regularly written by one person?

    That’s it for now but I can add some more if you like.

    • Ana

      Lots of good questions, Justin, although the best I can offer as an answer to some of them is my best educated guess.

      1. It depends on the plugin. If you’ve got a hit on your hands, you might stand a chance. But then you also have to consider all the promotion you’d have to do for it, plus the fact that most plugins will give you an OPTION to link to them and most bloggers won’t do it.

      That, of course, also assumes that the kind of plugin you come up with would be somehow displayed within the content or otherwise visible somewhere else, not just a functional plugin that works behind the scene.

      2. I don’t think there’s such a benchmark, Justin.

      Generally, commenting will build relationships (like between you and me – you’ve been around my blog for a while, I know who you are, if you ever need to borrow a cup of sugar, I am here for you), but not necessarily bring huge amounts of traffic.

      My blog was hustling and bustling at 6 months, but then again, most blogs are not. Is it because mine grew too fast? Or the others are growing too slowly?

      3. I’ve tried other commenting systems in the past and always came back to the default system.

      I think it’s more user-friendly, most familiar, comments are also indexable and rankable; plus many other systems are nofollow, like Disqus.

      I am all for using the default system and no one has convinced me otherwise – yet.

      4. Making money off any blog of any age requires loyal readership and trust between you and your readers. If you managed to gain that trust within six months – great, then you can sell just about anything: affiliate products, your own products, services.

      Truthfully, there are not that many monetizing options for blogs – we all do pretty much the same things. It all comes down to whether your readers will buy from you or the next guy – it all depends on you.

      5. I don’t read such blogs. In my opinion, the content gets very diluted and looses the quality. I can name quite a few such blogs – anything from a-listers to smaller blogs.

      Both the writers and the readers come to such blogs for the sake of building some links and to get noticed, not necessarily to learn anything and definitely not for the sake of the community because usually there’s none.

      Thanks, Justin!

  43. Since web spiders crawl your pages and look for depth, don’t you actually gain an advantage by having your site in a sub folder, or www. instead of just http:// blahblahblah?

    • If I understand your question correctly, Gib, you are asking if there is an advantage to using www vs non-www in your domain name? Correct me if I am wrong.

      Using www is not considered to be a subfolder or subdomain; it’s simply a matter of preference – search engines don’t care either way.

      What you should care about, however, is that you do choose your preferred version – whether with or without www and stick with it.

      This issue is called canonicalization and is further explained in this post:

      Hope this covered it, Gibson. :)

      • You answered it perfectly, Ana. I remembered looking at my hosting account and seeing a folder specifically marked www. When I talked to my host support guys about long-tail-keywords, (a long time ago) they said that they didn’t even matter anymore!

        So if the folders don’t matter, and long-tail-keywords don’t really matter, the only thing I can surmise is CONTENT IS KING, again!

        Thanks for your insight, Ana! :-)

        • I think you are absolutely right, Gib – it’s all coming around full circle again. Content is, once again, becoming the cornerstone of any successful blogging business – just the way it should be.

  44. Hi Ana,
    Question for ya, how do you get your rating for Alexa to go down, seems like I’ve been stuck on the same numbers for awhile. I’m get like 4000-5000 page views a day.

    • Alexa rank of a site reflects both the number of users who visit that site as well as the number of pages on the site viewed by those users.

      It’s always been considered not the most accurate number because it can only track the users that have the Alexa toolbar installed, although they claim that they use other sources to compute their numbers as well.

      In short, to lower your Alexa ranking you need more traffic – no other way around it. :)

    • I think this is a great topic to discuss in one of my future posts – where exactly can we get traffic from.

      • Hi, I just looked at woorank – it might form a good topic for a post Ana – half the stuff on there I don’t understand and some of it I’m getting big fat red crosses for – which bits are important? which aren’t? and what do I do about the important bits? Cheers Fiona

        • Hmmmm yeah, sort of. (It’s the blue +box which expands things out btw, not the red x)…. anyhow, I still need mega help with things like Dublin core and W3C – which I seem to have 87 errors on, most of which seem to have to do with “add this” plugin – could this be something wrong with the plugin?

          • I took a look quickly at Woorank, Fiona. It’s an interesting collection of data, however, I found some inaccuracies when I ran a report on Traffic Generation Cafe. That’s why I took their info with a grain of salt.

            However, I will look into it further at some point and will let you know in a post what I find out and if I would use it for my business.

  45. Shannon

    Sometimes the rules don’t seem to apply.
    I just watch a website come out of nowhere, and steal the number one spot from a very well established, highly organically ranked site.

    When I look at the standard metrics there is not explanation for this. Back links of this interloper are a fraction of the site it surpassed.

    What should I be looking for to determine how this happened?

    • Truthfully, only Google knows, Shannon. :)

      However, it does happen a lot with freshly published content – it makes its way to the top very rapidly. It tends to not stay there too long though; Google will eventually catch up and “demote” it, most likely.

      I wish I had a better answer, but that’s why they are Google and I am not. :)

  46. Hi Ana,

    Great idea and appreciate muchly your expertise!

    I have a self-hosted WordPress blog.

    On the edit page on the right of the screen is: “Post tags.”
    I was told that I should only post 4-5 of these. Is this correct?

    Near the bottom is a plugin: Platinum SEO Pack. How important is this plugin?
    (The only reason I ask is because it’s time consuming!)

    There is a spot to fill in “key words.”
    What is the difference between a “tag” and a “keyword” — is one more important than the other? How many key words is standard? Can you repeat a keyword as a tag?

    In the Platinum Pack you’re supposed to add a title and description. Is the title supposed to be different than the blog title? I take it that the description is a summary of what was written?

    Lastly, when I fill in the Platinum Pack “alternate” title does the URL text of my blog contain this title as opposed to the “regular” title of my blog?


    • I just wrote a post about tags, Toni, and will publish it on Monday – make sure to check it out, it will tell you all you need to know about them.

      SEO plugin: there are several of them on the market and I am not sure which one is the best, since I’ve never tested them all.

      You do need it though, unless your theme comes with built-in SEO capabilities like mine does – I use Thesis theme on my blog.

      Back to your SEO plugin: the most important entries you need to pay attention to are the title and the description.

      The title is not the same as your title for the post. When the search engines crawl your blog, they will pull the information for the search engine listing from your SEO plugin, not your post itself.

      So your post title can be very descriptive with your readers in mind, whereas your SEO title should be 65 characters long at the most and contain your main keywords for the post.

      Description is what will show up in the search engine results as well, so you need to make it enticing for the potential searchers. And don’t forget to use your keywords here as well!

      You don’t need to worry about filling out the meta keywords in your SEO plugin – they used to be important, but search engines don’t use them to determine rankings any longer since they are so easily manipulated.


      • Thank you sooo much for all the answers to everyone’s question. I’ve learned a lot!
        I eagerly look forward to your “Tags Post” on Monday.
        I hope you mention in it as fas as SEO goes) whether it is better to have used the same tags in many blog posts — OR — many different tags in many different blog posts. I have written 500+ blogs. Because the topics are so varied (under the general theme of “Life in America”) I have rarely used the same tags twice. Consequently, using the “No More than 4 Tags per Blog Rule,” I have close to 2,000 different tags. I’ve been wondering if this is a bad thing…
        Thanks again.

        • Actually, using the same tags over and over again is the best way to go, Toni. I’ll explain in more detail in the post.

          • Oh boy oh boy oh boy…
            I feel like Lucy Ricardo in “I Love Lucy.” Eeewwww!
            Not the news I wanted to hear but the news I’m afraid I must hear.
            THANKS for the info.
            Is that your address at the bottom of your email from 5/16/11?
            Not that I’m coming to visit…or Lucy either… but Inglis might be stopping by tomorrow.

  47. Hi ana

    Genius post! I love it already
    I think a great question I would love to hear what you have to say is, with all the recent changes around the big G, I have noticed my entries getting indexed much quicker, and higher, I dont spend a lot of time building backlinks. But I find I am out and about more interacting online, social sites etc.
    Is this the way forward?…..

    • Congratulations, Lisa – sounds like you’ve been “discovered”. :)

      As your website grows and obtains more authority, as you remain active in social media and become more of an authority user, as your content attracts more mentions on other blogs and within social media communities – also called natural link building, Google will start visiting your blog a whole lot more often.

      Imagine where you would be if you did even more, like throwing in some links here and there on a regular basis?

      Natural growth like this is the best kind, especially when it starts showing itself in traffic and higher search engine rankings.

  48. I use MMS (marketmesuite) to manage my twitter.facebook, they use my brand on my personal tweets, how to I get an ROI on my tweets,I send about 7/12 informative tweets per day for the past 9 months,get about 5 to 6 follows a day,but cannot see any ROI, what am I doing wrong.

    • Hi, Peter – it all depends on what you mean by ROI.

      Do you mean just raw Twitter traffic? Sales?

      I would assume you are talking about traffic here.

      In my opinion, Twitter is all about numbers. 5-6 followers per day just won’t amount to any considerable traffic to your site, Peter. Get to 100-200 followers per day, then we are talking.

      That’s exactly what I do when it comes down to Twitter traffic generation and Twitter is my largest referral traffic source as of right now.

      You can learn more about the way I do things on Twitter in this post:

  49. Hi Ana,

    My Question is to do with keywords/phrases and which type to target. I have a growing daily seven sentence blog. My monthly Alexa Rating is just under 250 000 and I am getting 400-500 page views per day. Most my traffic is coming from Social media currently as I am still link building etc and targeting keywords (new for me in the last month)

    I am using the keyword tool (google) checking out competition etc and I am on the front page for a number of keywords and phrases (like “creative”) but I am still getting very little search traffic.

    What popularity of keyword should I search for at this stage of our growing (5000 -100 000 global monthly searches etc) with low competition? Or a range of keywords/phrases of varying popularity?

    Hope this makes sense

    • Not sure I can give you a great answer, Geoff.

      What is an acceptable range (if there is such a thing) for one niche might be way too high or low for another.

      Let me tell you about my favorite way to doing this kind of research and how I find the keywords that actually bring traffic.

      First, I find my best competitors. I am sure you know by now who yours are in your niche.

      Then, I run their URLs through ( to see what keywords they are currently ranking for and how much traffic they are getting from those keywords.

      I can also look up what keywords they might be bidding on in Google Adwords – SEMrush will tell me that as well. If they are bidding on keywords, they are generating traffic – obviously.

      This gives me a great idea of what I should be ranking for if I want to compete in the market.

      When you use tools like Google keyword tool, you need to remember that the results you are getting from them are for the #1 spot in organic search results. So even if you are ranking on the first page for a keyword, you might be getting but a fraction of your #1 competitor.

      With SEMRush you can see how much traffic you can get right where you are at, even if it’s the second page.

      That’s how I would go about doing this kind of research.

    • Because, as I am sure you might already know, age is one of the Google search engine ranking factors.

      However, according to the new SEOmoz search engine ranking factors report (take a look at it here:, FRESHNESS of content is becoming more and more of an influencer.

      It’s not unusual these days to see fresh articles popping up in SERPs even ahead of some old-timers – albeit the fact that those rankings might be temporary.

      All in all, domain age and overall authority will remain a search engine ranking factor for now – not much we can do about it. :)