Today I will be exploring SEO and it’s relevance to website architects and affiliate marketing.
What Exactly Does SEO Stand For?
As you can see from the definition above SEO is maximizing your visibility online so that you have as many visitors as possible when someone searches a specific term. This is why keyword research is so important.
SEO also refers to the improvement of natural (unpaid) results and excludes direct traffic/visitors and the purchase of paid placement (ads).
SEO and Internet Marketing
As an internet marketing strategy SEO considers how search engines work; the associated computer programmed algorithms that decide search engine behavior, the products/services people search for, the exact search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience, usually Google.
SEO is important because a website will receive more visitors from a search engine the higher the website ranks in the search engine results page. These visitors can then be converted into customers.
This is your ‘conversion’ rate. The more visitors the higher your conversions, generally speaking. Not everyone who visits buys so the more people finding your site and reading your content the better chances of someone clicking your affiliate links.
Methods of SEO Marketing
A variety of methods can increase the ranking of a webpage within the search results.
Linking between pages of the same website to provide more links to important pages may improve its visibility. The ‘crawlers’ (programs that examine your webpage to determine ranking) like pages that rely on their own authority. If all of your links point to outside sources the search engine may determine that you don’t rely on your own information so your site is not an authority. You want to be the authority in your niche.
Writing content that includes frequently searched keyword phrase, so as to be relevant to a wide variety of search queries will tend to increase traffic. This is why keyword research is so important. Tools like Jaaxy can be a huge boon to your internet marketing campaign.
Updating content so as to keep search engines crawling back frequently can give you better rankings. This is why you must be dilligent about posting new content. You should post on a steady schedule, at least once a week, and make your posts beneficial to your readers.
Valuable websites always rank in search engines, even without tons of keywords. Keywords just get you there faster but not every page on your site needs to be filled with them. Your posts should be natural with conversational language and valuable information for your visitors.
There Are Many Different Techniques
There are two types of SEO methods termed ‘white hat’ and ‘black hat’ (this is actually in reference to old Western movies where the good guys usually wore white hats and bad guys wore black hats).
White hat methods are techniques that search engine companies recommend as part of good design. They tend to produce results that last over the long term.
An SEO technique is considered ‘white hat’ if it is within the search engines’ guidelines and is not deceptive. White hat SEO is not just about following the search engines’ guidelines but is about making sure that the content a search engine indexes and subsequently ranks is the same content a user will see.
White hat technique is generally summed up as creating content for users, not just for search engines, and then making that content easily seen by the online crawler algorithm, rather than attempting to trick the algorithm into ranking your site higher than it deserves.
Have you ever searched a term and then found a website that seems like it was written by a badly programmed computer or by someone who has no grasp of the language it’s written in, perhaps even repeating the same phrase over and over? Most likely that post was written for a search engine, not a user. That is a type of ‘Black Hat’ marketing strategy.
Black hat SEO attempts to improve their rankings in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines or it involves deception. One black hat technique uses hidden text, either as text the same color as the background, making certain text invisible in Java or CSS which the user can’t see but the crawler can, or text positioned off screen. Another method gives a different page requested by a human visitor than to a search engine, a technique known as cloaking.
Search engines have penalized sites they’ve discovered using black hat methods, either by reducing their rankings or completely eliminating their listings from their databases. This is why most black hat marketers anticipate that their sites will have a short life span and try to get as many conversions as possible in that short time.
If you want a long term investment that will give you high conversions and passive income for many years try to stick to White Hat techniques. The search engines will love you, your visitors will trust you and you’ll have more reliable conversions if you approach your business with honesty and integrity.
This was just an overview of SEO and the various techniques as well as a cautionary tale in case you run into a program or individual suggesting more black or grey (in between black and white hat) techniques. The proven techniques for longevity are the ones you should trust.
There’s so much more to learn about SEO, keyword research, affiliate links and internet marketing in general. A great place to learn about all of it (and make a lot of great friends) is Wealthy Affiliate. They have tons of trainings, guides, how-to videos and much more. Best of all, you can try it for free!
I hope this overview was helpful. If you know of any other techniques used or have any other important input, please comment below!
Catharyn / Fascinatura – The Rebel Entrepreneur
I was searching for more ways to earn money online and saw an ad for Branded Surveys. They promise a quick way to make some money online while voicing your opinion. Naturally, I had to check it out.
The Sign Up Process
It’s free to sign up for Branded Surveys and you can either sign up via email or Facebook. Since it was just a trial run I decided to use my email. It was easy to get in and had to verify both my email and my mailing address (as supposedly the ‘best’ surveys are very targeted… we’ll see if my mailbox gets some unwanted ads in the next few months).
The UI Is Very Nice
This is the dashboard. It’s very clean and you can see all your ‘points’ clearly in view. These points are how you get paid: you can cash out at $1,000 points or $10.
Also, your choices for payment are amazing. You can get paid drectly into your bank account or via Paypal (my choice) if you want them to show you the money OR you can get gift cards for retailers. I didn’t count how many options there were but the sheer amount of choices was impressive.
Payment Can Be Not So Straightforward
So here’s the sticky part: you can cash out at 1,000 points. Different surveys take different amounts of time. My options were a survey for 3 mins, 4 mins or 5 mins for 50 points each. Apparently there are surveys that pay you more but I’m assuming they take more time (one review I read said the average is 10 – 15 mins).
So, by my estimate you can make up to $10/hour. I’m being generous, mind you. This is if you go hard and nothing goes wrong with your survey.
Also, there’s the possibility that your points are rejected. You don’t automatically get rewarded for your time and opinion. After you take the survey your answers need to be reviewed and if it’s decided your answers are not what they want/need you don’t get your points. There was no information on what the criteria was for ‘correct’ answers so I’m a little leery of this aspect.
Not to mention that you can get bumped out for answering incorrectly during a survey. Yep, apparently you can get kicked out midway through a survey because you’re not the right person for the job. That doesn’t really give me warm and fuzzies.
Finally, the pending status can last up to 14 days. Just putting that out there.
So, let’s be real here. I’m giving this company my time that I could put into anything else so they can bump me halfway, reject my answers or hold my payment for two weeks. Right.
There Are Levels
So, as you progress with whatever points they decide to give you you climb the ranks of their ‘Branded Elite’.
So, at 600 points you’re a Silver Elite member and at this point you can get points for referring your friends to Branded Surveys. That’s right! Before you’re a Silver Elite you don’t get credit for anyone you refer to them. Which, honestly, is brilliant on their behalf because it guarantees you’ll do surveys and stick around if you want credit for your referrals.
Another brilliant thing is that you’ll lose your status if you stop doing surveys and earning points. Your Elite level is not static. You have to keep earning points in order to keep it. This guarantees that as long as you want your status you’ll keep working for them.
I must respect them for a marvelous system to keep you reaching for that carrot, but that doesn’t mean I want anything to do with it.
My Overall Opinion
- You can make up to $10 an hour if you go hard and they like your answers
- UI is nice and easy to navigate
- Payment options are varied
- They might not like your answers
- Payment of points can be delayed up to 14 days
- You can get bumped mid survey
- Elite status is not static
- You don’t get credit for referrals until you’re at ‘Silver Elite’ status
I think Branded Surveys is a borderline scam. I’m sure they give you enough to keep you interested and seem like it’s a good use of your time but from what I’ve seen and the multiple reviews I’ve read, it’s not. You could make so much more with some of the other options I’ve mentioned here, especially Wealthy Affiliate. It ain’t quick, but it’s consistent. Branded Surveys does not seem consistent.
Don’t get me wrong, if you have nothing better to do and love surveys have at it. It’s just not my cup of tea.
If you’ve tried Branded Surveys or something similar let me know what you think in comments below!
Catharyn / Fascinatura – The Rebel Entrepreneur
Today I’m going to be writing about what exactly affiliate links are and how they work.
So, What the Heck Are Affiliate Links Anyway?
If you scroll to the bottom of just about any company website you’ll see an ‘Affiliates’ link. This is the Affiliate Program of that particular company. Some also have ‘Invitation Codes’ where you get rewarded for every person you get to sign up for their service. This is also a type of affiliate link.
Affiliate links are special links companies generate for an affiliate partner with to promote a certain product or service on their website, blog or social media pages. People come to your site via a search engine, word of mouth or various ads you place on the internet and, hopefully, they read your quality content and decide to click your special link to purchase said product or service.
This is a very simple explanation of the process, of course. There are varying types of affiliate programs, some with stringent requirements such as a certain number of sales in a month (Amazon) and some just want you to advertise for them so you sign up and you’re in (Ebay).
Always read your affiliate agreement. Your requirements can range from nothing but placing links to actually having to plan community events to promote a product (seriously).
How Much Do They Pay?
Again, read the agreement. You can get paid by the click (PPC) or only if someone actually purchases the product you’re advertising. Services pretty much always have requirements for your visitors to become members, some for a certain amount of time (6 months is fairly common). This only makes sense because otherwise the company is not making any money.
Again, be sure of what you’re getting and what is expected of you. Some companies offer really great incentives but it also depends on the cost of the product or service. You’re certainly not going to get as much for a 0.99 item vs a $2,000 item, however you may sell more of the more affordable items. This is the tricky part of affiliate marketing.
How Do I Choose Which Program to Promote?
This is where your niche comes in. It’s no good to have a website where you just promote whatever, you need to specialize. The search engines will love you more (better for your SEO or Search Engine Optimization), your customers will love you more and you’ll become an expert in your chosen niche. This also makes it easier to find the products and services you want to promote.
For example, my site focuses on how to make money online. It’s a fairly broad niche but I focus mainly on affiliate marketing and generating passive income through blogging and social media. Therefore, the products and services I promote are related to affiliate marketing and passive income.
There are still thousands of niche companies for me to choose from so I have to narrow it down to companies I know and trust as well as those I review, whether I like them or not.
I say I have to narrow it down because you should never fill your pages with affiliate links. Search engines don’t like it and your visitors won’t either. Can you imagine if you came to my page and there were dozens of ads constantly in your face? Very off-putting.
There’s also the possibility that a company will review my affiliate application and deny it since I’m not very well known yet. That’s a hurdle we all face at first and it’s fine. You can bet once I have readers and I’m ranked in the search engines I’ll apply again.
Also, if your blog is wildly successful and you get tons of traffic as well as a lot of conversions companies may start approaching you to become an ambassador for them. At that point, though, you will be in a position to either accept their proposal or reject it as you’ll already be a force on the ‘net.
How Long Until I Make Money?
This is the really difficult part: I don’t know, it depends.
This depends on your niche and whether you have traffic or not. To make money your need clicks and conversions (people purchasing the product/service you’re promoting). You have to build trust and credibility before anyone will buy what you recommend. That takes time and engagement from you. It takes commitment and tenacity.
If you give it time and commitment amazing things can happen. You’ll become an authority in your niche (so choose something you’re passionate about, it helps) and people will start to trust you. Then you’ll start seeing results.
It’s Not An Easy Road
Nowhere on this site will you see me say being an Affiliate Marketer is easy or that results are quick. That has never been my experience, unfortunately. However, with the right knowledge and training as well as effort and time results are inevitable.
There are people out there making six or seven figures yearly doing affiliate marketing, no joke. It took them years to get there but they made it happen and some of them are willing to help beginners like you and I to have success like they have.
Don’t you want to live your best life and become self reliant? I sure do.
If this sounds like something you’re interested in why not check out my Wealthy Affiliate review? They’re the real deal. Their training is top notch and the community is amazing. Also, you can try it for free for as long as you like.
Do you have any experience or thoughts on affiliate programs or marketing? Comment below!
Catharyn – The Rebel Entrepreneur
Today I’m shifting my focus to an investing app called Fundrise. I’m going to give you the basics on this program and my overall opinion. If you want to get into the nitty gritty, their website is: www.fundrise.com
What Is Fundrise?
Fundrise is the first online investment platform to create a simple, low-cost way for anyone to invest in real estate. They say they’re “on a mission to build the best investing experience ever by minimizing fees, improving long-term return potential, and unlocking access for everyone.”
Does It Cost Anything To Start Investing?
There are various ‘levels’ of investment:
- Starter: $500
- Core: $1,000
- Advanced: $10,000
- Premium: $100,000
With your investment they basically create a diversified portfolio of real estate projects that they acquire, identify, and manage on your behalf. You pay an annual advisory fee of 0.15% for managing your account. There is also an annual 0.85% asset management fee on the Starter account. They don’t charge any transaction fees, sales commissions or additional fees for enabling features on your account, such as dividend reinvestment or auto-invest.
After your initial investment you can invest $100 or $100,000, it’s totally up to you.
What Do These Levels Provide?
With a Starter membership you can’t really choose how your money is invested or which projects you invest in. It’s very basic. If you are a Core member or above you unlock different plans that you can tailor to your own goals:
- Supplemental Income
- Balanced Investing
- Long Term Growth
Personally, I went for Supplemental Income because my goal is to be self reliant with multiple streams of income. I am only a Core member right now, but I am seeing a little bit of growth every day.
Here is my overview on the webpage. As you can see, I have invested $1,100 since Nov. 6th and have $3.74 in net returns. That doesn’t seem like a lot but it is currently Nov. 21st, barely two weeks since my initial investment. That’s actually not bad for such a small investment.
I have a few other long term investments that aren’t getting this much return. Hell, I’ve had a CD for a decade and it’s accrued about that much interest at this point!
You Get Lots of Updates
I like that I also recieve project updates on the properties in my portfolio. Sometimes the projected return changes depending on these updates, like if an apartment complex will be finished ahead of schedule your return may go up. I had one go up because they sold quicker than expected, which is pretty sweet. Of course, it could go down as well if problems arise but that’s just how investing goes.
There’s So Much More To It
There are so many details in investing that I’m not really getting into that here. The Fundrise website is very informative and it’s pretty easy to get a hold of them if you have questions the FAQ’s don’t answer.
Honestly, all that info about eRit’s, tax info and all those things make my head swim. All I really want is a simple, easy to understand platform that gives my the basic info I need to decide whether my investments are making money or not. I believe Fundrise provides that much, at least.
What’s The Verdict?
To me, Fundrise provides everything I’m looking for in an investment app. It has both afull service app that lets me check my investments on the go as well as a well made and easily navigated website with easy to understand readouts and the information I want at my fingertips.
The initial investment amount can be steep for some, including me, but the returns seem to be worth it if you’re a long term investor. If you want oodles of money right now, look elsewhere unless you already have a ton of money to invest up front.
Overall, I like Fundrise. So far they’ve provided what they promised: a relatively low cost way to invest in real estate projects that gives very real returns over time.
- Relatively low cost
- Higher yield than many long term investments
- Constant updates of the projects in your portfolio
- Easy to understand, help if you have questions
- App and website
- Initial investment may be a lot for people on fixed incomes
- You can’t invest in a specific project
I hope you found this review informative. If so, let me know below!
Catharyn – The Rebel Entrepreneur
I’ve seen multiple ads for a work at home program that involves ‘posting links’ or ‘writing’. I’ve looked into these sites and here I will review what I know.
The Lead Page is Always Different
I saw it the first time as an ad for link posting. I dug deeper into the site for information on exactly what ‘link posting’ is supposed to be but I found nothing. They expressed that big companies needed people to post links somewhere (?) and would pay up to $15 for you to do it.
Unfortunately they wanted $97 to even tell me what I’d be doing, for whom and what the process was.
Today, as I was doing research I came across another ad for ‘Work at Home Special Report’. It looked pretty official.
However, when I dug deeper it took me to the same ‘Computer Process’ site as the link posting job from before.
I started digging more into these ‘link posting’ and ‘writing’ jobs that all seem to have a common thread and my suspicions were confirmed: these ads are a complete scam.
They Have A System
First, they show you the same sort of ‘breaking news’ front page, like the one above, as if it’s some sudden shocking development that these jobs even exist. Then, if you decide to go in deeper they bring you to a squeeze page where they say there are limited positions available, then they want you to put in your name, email and phone number.
And you can bet they’re going to sell your information to third parties.
Then, if you give them your information (and bring on the spam-pocolypse upon yourself) they ask you for $97! You have to pay nearly $100 to work for them. You should never have to pay to get a job; that’s just backwards!
I’ll Cut to the Chase
So, here’s my review:
Website: It varies by the scam but you always end up at their ‘computer process’ site for payment.
- None that I can think of
- If they get your information you will be spammed and robo called
- It’s a waste of $97 (and more as reportedly if you actually sign up you’ll be contacted by telemarketers trying to get you to ‘upgrade’)
- It’s just a scam. Don’t do it.
There Are So Many Legit Ways to Make Money Online
You don’t need a scam like this ruining your day and cleaning out your bank account. Definitely check out my other posts and reviews for actual, legitimate ways to earn a living online and produce various income streams so you can make your dream of being self reliant.
Do you have a story about link posting, a work from home method that’s legit or a scam? Leave a comment below!
Catharyn / Fascinatura – The Rebel Entrepreneur