How to Cloak Affiliate Links

cloakThe word "cloaking" is often used online, but it usually has a specific meaning: to show one type of content to human visitors and different content to Google or search engines.

Not surprisingly, this tactic is not condoned by Google.

What people are really talking about is hiding their links from Google. They don't care if it is cloaking or something else. The goal isn't to cloak - the goal is SEO self-preservation by hiding links Google doesn't like - and there is not much Google hates more than affiliate links.

But is there a way to "cloak" the links on your website, especially affiliate links, so they do not create any Google penalties?

No Follow

One suggestion is to add a "no follow" tag to links. The problem is while Google may not "count" the link for some SEO purposes, for others it could still lead to a penalty. The reason is that Google still sees the link and knows where your site is linking to.

As Google has long said: bad sites link to good sites, but good sites do not link to bad sites.

As an example, if your site is linking to child pornography do not expect a "no follow" reference to save your butt.

Bottom line: the "no follow" reference is useful for PageRank issues, but useless for other parts of Google's search algorithm used to rank your pages. No follow does not mean your link is not followed and seen, it just means it is not counted for PageRank.


Another suggestion is to link to Page A where Page A automatically redirects to the desired site, and with the robots.txt file tell Google not to access Page A.

This doesn't work because Google does not always follow robots.txt rules (this has been tested and proven). There are seemingly millions of references online to Google ignoring robots.txt blocks.

Bottom line: if you think robots.txt is the perfect cure-all because Google always follows your rules, please contact me as there is some blue sky I would like to sell you.

Squeeze Links

Squeeze Links was the first proven method of hiding links from Google what was 100 percent white hat. It even used a process approved by Google.

The process is now a few years old and the core method still works.

As part of the system it was recommended to use a robots.txt block. While imperfect (as previously mentioned) Google has also of late said it would prefer if robots.txt was now abandoned so it can have access to all files. That seems a bit overbroad and of course there may be files you would want to block from Google and the world.

But the robots.txt suggestion was just additional protection for a system that removes links from web pages. Since the same page is shown to Google and human visitors Squeeze Links does not involve "cloaking" or anything black hat.

The biggest downside to Squeeze Links was that it required some hands-on ability to create and edit files and upload them from a computer to a website.

In the dumb-downed world today where website creation and editing is done entirely in the cloud, such as via content management systems like WordPress, many website owners now lack the stills that were considered entry-level basic a decade ago.

Elf Links

Enter the Elf Links WordPress plugin.

This advanced system contains several layers of protection and has been repeatedly tested and proven to hide links from Google.

Since links are removed from the web page the same page is initially shown to Google and to human visitors to avoid any issue with cloaking.

Elf Links is also the only known plugin with the ability to create a link after it has been clicked on - although this advanced option requires the hands-on file editing abilities some lack.

If it doesn't make sense for a link to be created only after a link is clicked on, to be more precise there is no html link in the web page, but a generic link is then created, and after it is clicked on the affiliate details are generated. OK, who care how it works so long as it works. This amazing feat is currently limited to Amazon, Ebay and ClickBank affiliate links - although that encompasses the majority of affiliate links online.

Although Google is continually advancing its capabilities, it may never be possible for a bot to see an affiliate link when it does not even exist until after some programming code is clicked on.

Bottom Line

The ultimate issue is making money. As they say, follow the money.

Money is generated from affiliate links. Those links are only clicked on if the web page they are on gets traffic. For free SEO traffic you are not going to get any from Google if Google sees you have affiliate links. The solution, obviously, is to not allow Google to see you have affiliate links.

The Squeeze Links solution is time tested and proven, and works with any website - whether html, WordPress, or some other system.

Elf Links has more layers of protection that anything on the market, but is limited to the WordPress content management system. Elf Links has also been reviewed and approved by Amazon, and has been tested to confirm it provides SEO advantage.

Anything else you are probably wasting your money on. Both Squeeze Links and Elf Links can be used on an unlimited number of websites. The last thing you want is licensed software. You already know what happens with licenses - those sites ultimately disappear and with them your software. (How many licensed plugins from just a few years ago still work? About zero.) Worse, you could be effectively blackmailed in the future to pay for an upgrade. Even "lifetime" upgrades turn out not to be so generous when the software developer says a new version is not really an upgrade but new software.

Protect yourself, your sites' search engine rankings, and your bank account now in the future. If you have the capabilities or willingness to learn Squeeze Links is a very inexpensive solution. Elf Links costs more, but also offers more layers of protection, and may be the best option for sites built on the WordPress platform.

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Internal SEO Tool : Siteliner

Siteliner is a new tool offered by Copyscape. It quickly and effectively shows you useful information about your site, including:

- Page sizes
- Average page size
- Number of words on a page
- Numbers of links in and out of each page
- Broken links
- Duplicate content between pages

Internal Duplicate Content Analysis

The last one, duplicate content, is the bread and butter of Copyscape and you could say Siteline is Copyscape on steroids.

Whereas Copyscape evaluates external duplicate content issues one page at a time, Siteliner evalutes internal duplicate content issues internally within your domain. The evaluation is for all of your pages (up to 500) and is very fast.

You can click on your pages and SiteLiner evaluations to quickly see where you have duplicate content.

It can be an eye opener seeing how much content is duplicated across pages due to

- Common Navigation
- Common headers
- Common footers

The numbers illustrate the importance of having a significant amount of unique content on a page to help overcome the amount of common content due to navigation and header / footer issues.

The feature showing the number of words on a page is useful. Other resources only give this information one page at a time, or you need to copy and paste your content to get the page count. Seeing the words per page across all of your pages on one easy to read web page is nice.

Although I had been recommending at least 750 words per page, that may need to be bumped higher, such as 1000 words per page, depending on how many common across-site words you have. It could be 1500 words per page is needed to substantially reduce the duplicate content percentage for each page.

This percentage is important for SEO because it helps show your page has substantial, quality content. Across your domain it is a factor in establishing you do not have a content farm with many pages of shallow content.

For Google this is called the Panda factor and it has impacted a growing number of websites.

Page Power

Siteliner also has an interesting feature it calls Page Power. This is supposed to evaluate how many times a page is linked to from other important pages in your site. This is an internal linking analysis tool that is similar to PageRank: how many links does a page receive and how important are the pages the link is coming from?

If you have a very flat page structure where every page links to every other page due to a common navigation system, then every page may end up with a value of 100. As you site grows larger and you use subnavigation systems then the Page Power of each page will begin to diverge. You will then begin seeing differences in how important a search engine may think you are valuing different pages due to your linking system.

Bottom Line

SiteLiner is a useful tool for quickly evaluating your page sizes, internal linking, and internal duplicate content. Use it. For SEO purposes it is definitely worth analyzing your site using this valuable new tool.

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Autoresponder Companies

The List of Companies with Autoresponders

Alstrasoft Autoresponder Pro - This is supposed to allow you to create your own autoresponder service. Unfortunately, a lot more goes into an online service that others rely on. Don't know anyone who has tried it.

AWeber - This is a popular online service providing autoresponder services for many years.

Benchmark - A newer online service. I have not tried it yet but it looks promising.

Dirt Cheap Autoresponder - An autoresponder script you own and install on your websites.

EZ Response - What can you say about a service that advertises other autoresponders on its sales page?

Gammadyne - The software is downloaded to your website. It is regularly updated, but do not know of anyone using it.

GetResponse - Another online service that has been around forever.

Infusionsoft - Expensive and targets brick and mortar business owners. The service is actually not that great.

Mailchimp - This service is discussed online because of a limited free option. You can't market with it so don't waste your time and energy. And no actual autoresponders are allowed in the free version.

Promasoft - Last updated in 2007. Don't bother.

Royal Responder - One of the first online services, there is no reason to use this instead of AWeber or GetResponse.

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Genius Report Number 1: Perfect Backlinks

If you want higher website rankings (and who doesn't!) Perfect Backlinks is a must-have report for your online business.

Not all backlinks are created equal.

Only relevant pages, with keyword rich anchor text links, that are DoFollow, on high PageRank pages can make a quick impact on your search rankings.

But where to find these elusive, rare links?

It turns out you can get them whenever you want!

"This is a good report." - HP

"Simple and to the point. I am not a techie, and no SEO expert. But Brian's report makes perfect sense, and it is totally workable. Thanks." - Roger

In this report you will find the only method for getting Perfect Backlinks. Even better, instead of paying $100 per month for some services, you will get a resource to identify and locate these backlinking opportunities for free. There are thousands of high PageRank, DoFollow links you can get. Without spamming, needing proxies, or risking get banned.

... More Information about the Perfect Backlinks Report

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Detailed Review of Dan Kennedy Trust-Based Marketing Book

I grabbed a copy of Trust-Based Marketing by Dan Kennedy and Matt Zagula. Although Dan Kennedy's jointly authored books have been weaker than his other books, his Trust book was a pleasant surprise.

Click Here To Get This Recommended Book

The book starts off by proclaiming that it will change your life. The book is really good. I'm not sure it is a life changer, but it is excellent. One of Dan Kennedy's best books.

It is filled with golden nuggets, but many of them take close reading and paying attention to what is being said. You have to mine them from gunk Kennedy stubbornly insists on including in each book of late, such as letting you know he never uses the Internet and he is somehow responsible for every marketing success on the planet. If a tribe in Ethiopia claimed direct mail is better than the Internet, Kennedy would likely refer to it. There are also a couple chapters didn't seem to fit in well with the book.

The chapter titled Don't Get Google Slapped was particularly odd. From reading it I don't think Matt Zagula (the chapter author) has any clue what a Google slap is. His solution: give yourself a brand name and refer to your service as something new, could be the poorest advice I have ever seen in a no B.S. book. Kennedy was wise not to put his name on the chapter.

If you sell life insurance and don't rank anywhere for life insurance terms, but call yourself anti-death insurance - ranking for your unique phrase is not exactly helpful when people are searching for life insurance.

But don't get me wrong, as I nitpick so my gushing review is not overlooked as being a Kennedy shill - overall this is an excellent book and I suggest every marketer and small business owner get a copy.

Here is a list of chapter titles:

Trust-Based Marketing as the Path to Wealth
Trust Without Trying is No Longer Enough
Understanding the Difficulty of the Task
What Do Clients REALLY Want to Know
How NOT to be Another Salesman
The Suze Orman Factor
Publish or Perish
All Media is NOT Equal
Creating Trust ONLINE - Pipedream
Don't Get Google Slapped
How Familarity Breeds Trust
The Unmatched Power of Affinity
Establishing and Asserting Your Authority
The Power of Prescription
It's Not What You Say, It's What They Hear
Trust Language
Astound and Amaze With the HOUDINI FACTOR and the Power of Dramatic Demonstration
The Role of Proof
The Cache Client as Its Own Form of Proof
Risk Reversal
The Power and Hazard of Leadership Position
The Power of Exclusivity
How Do You Know if You are Succeeding at Trust-Based Marketing

The chapter on how not to be a salesman is good, as it describes specific tactics and errors to make. The chapter also mentions how simple adjustments to how you are presenting yourself can make a significant difference in sales.

At the end of the chapter Dan recommends another book, which I have also found to be excellent.

Overall Grade: A.

Some of the topics have been addressed in other B.S. books, but it never hurts to have a little repetition, this time from a different perspective of creating trust in your marketing.

I already know I will be reading this again to pick up a few more gems. One thing I suggest is to first read the book. Just read it. As you go along you will find lots of tactics and ideas to implement. For a Dan Kennedy book this has more examples than most, so pay attention.

Then, go back and read it again as a textbook. Take notes, create an outline, keep track of what you can use now and ideas to use in the future.

The chapter illustrating the difference between what you say and what a prospect hears is really good, and should cause you to ponder how your marketing message is being received.

Click Here To Get This Recommended Book
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Kick Butt Tip #25 – Target Email Messages for Key Dates

An important marketing tip overlooked by many online marketers is targeting messages for specific dates. This is how marketing works in the physical world, but too many do not use it online.

For example: Christmas is December 25th and assume the last day to buy something and assure timely delivery is December 18th. Are you sending a message on December 18th? Are you sending reminders the week before? Two weeks before? On December 1st?

Halloween is October 31st. Are you sending spooky promotional messages on October 7th and 14th?

Here is the problem for online marketers ...

Specific dates are missed because the online business is not prepared to create and send a message on those dates.

Marketers often use autoresponders which schedule a sequence of messages based on the date someone subscribes to the newsletter.

But since you will never know when someone may subscribe, you cannot target autoresponder messages by dates.

If you schedule a message to be sent a week after someone subscribes, that message may be sent on January 8th, or May 15th, or October 10th. You do not know.

It can be time consuming to create and send a broadcast message on specific dates, so opportunities to take advantage of marketing dates are missed!

That means you are losing money.

Here is the solution ...

Some autoresponder services, but not all, allow you to schedule a broadcast message for a specific date.

This is one reason why I use multiple autoresponder services. For some lists I use my own script. For others, I use AWeber because it allows messages to be sent on targeted dates.

Upcoming holiday? No problem. Like pre-made sequential autoresponder messages, with AWeber you can have pre-made broadcast messages that are sent on specific dates not related to when someone signs up for your newsletter.

Here is how it works ...

First, in your AWeber interface select Messages and then the drop down for Broadcast

I then select a New Plain Text Message

After creating your message AWeber gives you an option to select a Later Date to send your message. Select Schedule for Later

Finally, choose the calendar date for the message to be sent!

Using the above month, a message could be scheduled to be sent on Labor Day for a sale you plan to have.

Or, a week before Patriot Day you sent a message about Patriot Day and suggest a product for your subscribers to buy to celebrate this little known US holiday.

Or, on Patriot Day you schedule a message to be sent about the day and find some excuse to offer a deal for your subscribers.

Now Go Do It !

You probably know from your own experience very, very few marketers take advantage of this date setting capability.

Now is your time to set yourself apart and grab more sales!

If you do not already have an AWeber subscription, as I write this it is only $1 to get started with AWeber, and then only $19 a month.

Dirt cheap for this type of capability!

Click Here Now to Check Out AWeber Today!

Make more money from email marketing by targeting email messages to key dates

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The Robert Collier Letter Book Review

The Robert Collier Letter Book may be the best copywriting book ever written. It is unquestionably one of the best copywriting books. First published in 1937, The Robert Collier Letter Book is on the bookshelf of every top copywriter.

The edition I have is from 1937.

I believe another, almost identical edition was published in 1950, and in 2000 the publisher released another print. This may be because the original hardback book is still in such demand, but was commanding prices of $100 or more!

As you can see, I have a lot of sticky notes in my book!

How many books do you have that are worth reading over and over and over? A book still in demand after 75 years? A book with dozens of sticky notes highlighting important points?

Since I have tagged with sticky notes so many important pages it is impracticable to list them all, or all the reasons why this book is a "must have" on your bookshelf.

But let me start by providing a copy of the table of contents:

Just some of the marketers who have praised this excellent book:

Yanik Silver - "If you study Collier's work you can crank out winning sales letters that bring in the cash anytime you like."

Jay Abraham - "I learned how to actually write the kinds of sales letters that produce astonishing results for my clients...."

Ken McCarthy - "Collier's classic is THE guide to direct response copywriting."

Kirk Bardsley - "Robert Collier's "Letter Book" is one of the top five books ever written on the subject of writing effective sales copy."

Carl Galletti - "If you can't make back hundreds or even thousands of times your investment in this book, then you aren't paying attention. Read it again."

Here is just some of what you will get in this book course:

* How to approach a prospect to emotionally tune in them into being receptive to your offer (page 2).

* How to arouse the desire to buy your product (chapter 2).

* What you need to appeal to to make sales (page 15).

* A picture is worth a 1000 words IF you use this technique (page 30).

* Why product descriptions to not sell (page 44).

* You need this in every sales letter (page 54).

* How to get your prospect to order NOW (page 64).

* The two necessary parts to a successful close (page 67).

* The 6 essential elements to a winning sales letter (chapter 9).

* You are not selling a product. You are selling _____ (page 148).

* How to prevent buyers remorse and decrease refunds (page 220).

* A common mistake that costs many businesses sales (page 223).

* Timing is important. When will they buy from you via mail (or online), and when will they instead visit the local store? (page 227)

* Why variety is the spice of life and sales (page 245).

* Forget testing these issues, this is the key to increasing conversions (page 279).

* How this opening to a sales letter can quadruple your sales (page 330).

* Easily adapt successful pitches in other industries to your product (page 349).

* The strongest motive to appeal to (page 360).

* In a nutshell, this is how you write a profitable sales letter (page 437).

* Many marketers forget to add this key point when making a call to action (page 439).

* Dozens of pictures of ads and examples of proven sales letters and techniques you can use (throughout).

You owe it to yourself to get this amazing book today. Once you read it you'll be kicking yourself over all the lost sales from not having this earlier!

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The Power of Legal Terms

A new product being released, how 212,871 articles were obtained for free, is in part based on the power of website legal terms and understanding what they can accomplish. It also helps to understand how the web works and marketers promote their websites.

You can read more about it here:

When you know how things work you can obtain results others cannot even contemplate.

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Kick Butt Tip #24 – Avoid Google Blogger

Many beginning marketers see the opportunity to create a free blog on the Blogger service and decide it is a great way to build a free website and spread the word about their product or service.

The fact Blogger is owned by Google is the clincher. Why not get a free website on Google that maybe Google will promote in its search rankings?

Unfortunately, what will happen is Google will eventually delete the blog without warning. All of your hard work and content will be immediately wiped out.

There are millions of similar stories across the web.

If you think - I'll just follow Google's TOS and not spam and I'll be fine - then you are incredibly naive.

But one of countless examples of non-spam blogs terminated by Google.

Save yourself the trouble and don't put your Google account at risk. Avoid Blogger.

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Kick Butt Tip #23 – Block Googlebot from Unwanted Pages

If you want to block Google from accessing certain pages you do this in a robots.txt file. This is not news to many webmasters, but what you may not realize is you need to specifically block Google instead of relying on a global bot block.

For example, this is what many use in their robots.txt to block bots from accessing the /block subdirectory (this is a hypothetical subdirectory)

User-agent: *
Disallow: /block/

This is what need to ALSO include in your robots.txt file to make sure Google is blocked:

User-agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /block/

Blocking Google can be useful to prevent unwanted pages from appearing in Google's public search index, and to prevent Google from knowing about certain links or pages.

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