Thursday, July 20, 2006

Page Rank, Alexa Ranking, SEO and YOU! (Article)

Page Rank and Alexa Ranking are two well respected figures of merit currently on the web to assess the success of your website. What do they really mean and how do they affect you?

Since I began my online money making adventures about 6 months, I have spent a lot of time trying to understand how the world wide web actually works. One of the biggest keys to being successful on the internet is how to get people to actually come to your website. Naturally, the more traffic that you get to your site, the higher potential for sales you will have. Of course, there are artificial ways of doing this such as advertising, classifieds and pay-per-click programs. While these are very important and can provide you with a lot of high quality visitors, they can be rather costly and limited in exposure. So how do you attract traffic the natural way? How do I get those top positions in the “free” search engine results? How do I expand my exposure beyond my hometown, state and even country? The trick to achieving these goals is called “Search Engine Optimization” or SEO.

Unfortunately, SEO is not a defined formula or process. It is a bit of a secret. Trial and error is what drives this process, not a straight-forward formula. Even worse, this formula is constantly changing. So what can you do? First, there are a few “figures of merit” for a website. Now understand, these merits do not directly relate to getting top spot on Google, but they are factored in to some degree.

One figure of merit is called Page Rank. Again, Page Rank is another unknown formula which only the search engine gods know about. Page rank generally provides a number (between 0 and 10) on how well linked your website is. If you are a sole entity in the world wide web with no links being directed to you, your exposure to the world and ability to find your website is rather low. Cases like this earn ratings of 0 and 1. If many websites, also with high page ranks, are linked to your site, the probability of people finding your website is much higher and deserves much higher page ranks such as 5 and 6’s. The upper numbers like 8, 9, and 10 are rare and found mostly on the real big sites (such as,, etc.). So page rank provides a figure of merit on how people can get to your site naturally. It is believed that page rank has a lot to do with search position on Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc. Each one of these search engines have their own page rank system, but the Google one is the most respected.

The other figure of merit that I see praised a lot is the Alexa Ranking. Some people think this number and the Page Rank are similar, but they really are quite different. The Alexa Ranking focuses more on the AMOUNT of traffic that your site receives, not the linkage. Of course, the two are related, but the merits tell different tales. Now, as much as traffic is a good thing for sales, it has a lower effect on search engine rankings and SEO. Alexa Ranking numbers work in reverse, as well. The lower the number, the higher the ranking. Most websites start off in the millions. Websites below 100,000 usually means heavy traffic.

I currently have a friend who runs a fairly respectable website which has an Alexa Ranking of 65,000 (gets close to 500,000 visitors per day) but only has a page rank of 2/10. I have a website that has an Alexa Ranking of 1,000,000 but a page rank of 4/10. What does this mean? Most of his traffic is coming from places other than highly page ranked websites. My site has a lot of high quality links, but little traffic. For me, I need quality visitors, for him, he just needs visitors. At the end of the day, it all evens out and our income is approximately the same at this time.

From all of this, I have drawn a few conclusions:

1) Figures of merit for your website can help you understand your place in the world wide web.
2) Depending on your website goals, your figures of merit should be optimized according.
3) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is used to improve your free search engine position and is dependant more on your Page Rank and less on your Alexa Ranking.
4) Alexa Rankings are a good indicator of traffic, but does not necessarily reflect the importance of your website on the web (particularly to search engines)
5) One of the best ways to improve your Page Rank is to get your website link on other people’s high Page Ranked websites
6) Finally, no matter what type of website you run, high search engine placement (Page Rank) AND high traffic (Alexa Ranking) is the goal for all financial success.

- Matthew Bredel

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Monday, July 17, 2006

The Affiliate Marketing Inventor?

I hate to admit it, but I've always been a bit of a geek all of my life. I was reminded by this fact from my mother this past weekend. She said to me: "I haven't heard about any of your 'invention' ideas of late." She made a good point! In my quest to quitting my day job and making millions of dollars while sitting on a beach sipping pina coladas, I have spend countless hours throughout my life thinking about that "invention to make me rich". I've seen the Oprah shows that shows some funny looking person who came up with some silly idea that is making them millions right now. That should be me! And over time, I have come up with some pretty good ideas (at least, I think I did!).

But really, let's get real! Was I really going to make and sell these products? There is a lot of overhead involved in creating your own product:

1) Thinking it up!
2) Researching the marketplace (does it exist?)
3) Protecting your idea (patent? $)
4) Prototyping your product ($)
5) Testing your product ($$)
6) Producing your product ($$$)
7) Marketing and selling your product ($$$$)

Boy, there are a lot of dollar signs above. I have also looked into "invention" companies, but they usually want a decent amount of money up front (if they are reputable) and, if the product ever becomes a hit, they usually take a fair chunk of the profit. What is the old saying: "You've got to spend money to make money!". Creating your own investment is a fairly large financial risk and time commitment, but the pay-offs can be HUGE!

When I discovered online money making opportunities, much of my "invention-thinking" energy was re-directed. I realized a fair way back that my ideas were good, but really, I was not prepared to sacriface my career and the stability of my household to test them out. Affiliate marketing provides me the opportunity to:

1) Make a lot of money! (maybe not as much of inventing your own product, but enough to fulfill my pina-colada drinking dreams)
2) Invest little money and time…I do not sacriface much at this time.
3) Make money without working (once on auto-pilot, can you say pina-colada again?)
4) *VERY IMPORTANT: Allows me to be creative and inventive in a very productive way!

That was the answer to my mother's question! I find myself thinking and pondering different products to promote, how to promote them, to whom to promote them, the design of the website or blog, etc. Affiliate marketing has given me a positive and prosperous outlet for this inventive mind of mine. What I now dream up becomes a reality. And ironically, if I ever DID want to invent products, my knowledge of the internet and its resources (which I have learned through my online ventures) have given me the tools to effectively promote and sell my own inventive product.

I am still not drinking my pina-colada quite yet, but every few days or so, I get a little sip and boy, does it taste good!