I Can't Remember Where I Purchased My Domain Name!
It wasn't until my third client had called asking how to regain control of her domain name that I realized that it was a common problem for small business webmasters to forget where they had registered their domains. WHOIS my registrar? Why didn't I get an email about renewal? Why did my site stop working today?
People rarely realize how important it is to keep their domain registrar notified of changes to their email address and and other contact information. The registrar will send renewal notifications to the email address last on file. For most domain owners, the only time they think about contacting a registrar is the day they reserve their domain name. If they move to a new city and get a new internet service provider, it doesn't occur to them that the old email address will change and that meeans that the registrar can no longer contact them through the previous address, or phone or fax as each of them change and we rarely notify the controller of our domain of those changes.
Sometimes the first indication a business owner will have that there is a problem is the day their web site stops working. If they failed to notify their domain registrar of changed email address, they may never have received their domain renewal notice. Since many registrars honor a 30 day "redemption period" allowing expired domains to be redeemed, it may be possible to save the registration within 30 days following expiration by contacting registrars during 30 day domain redemption periods.
The following URL leads to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (AKA ICANN) discussing the grace period and redemption period rules it enforces.
A client recently contacted me pointing out that their linking campaign was starting to pay off handsomely by gaining links at a nearly astounding rate of about 200 a week! He asked how he could be certain that those sites that linked to his were spidered and indexed by the search engines, thereby increasing his PageRank at Google. Those of you who'd like a primer on PageRank can visit the following URL's to learn more.
The basic premise of PageRank has it that pages linked to by other sites, (especially other highly ranked sites) are more valuable than those with fewer inbound links. Thus, those that have more inbound links from other highly ranked sites are given higher placement in the results pages of any search done for pages with the same keyword phrases. Any search engine marketing specialist worth their salt will suggest a linking campaign to their clients as a basic element in improving their search engine positions.
Now returning to my client's question about getting his inbound links from those sites that had added links to his site, he asked me if he should simply catalog those sites that linked to him and then go submit that long list of URL's to the search engines. I did some research and found that there were nearly 6000 inbound links, but that only a fragment of those were now cataloged by Google and applied to his PageRank
With further research, I found that dozens of those links came from his articles distributed across the web that had links to his site within his resource box at the end of the articles. Further, many of those sites featured many of his articles and would have required him to spend hours submitting each of them to every search engine. I am opposed to the practice of submitting other sites without permission as well, so this was something I recommended that he NOT do. Submitting other sites at the same time that they submit themselves could get them penalized for spamming and that hurts, not helps, your chances of getting that inbound link crawled and linked back to you.
You'd simply link to those sites that link to your articles in most cases. If your articles are in their article directory, that directory will link to your article. There is no need to directly link to each of your own articles when that involves repeating the same site over and over.
My comments to my client follow:
Here's an example of my thoughts on this when a site carries multiple articles.
"This one URL links to 14 of your articles. Not only does it link all your articles, but it ranks you higher than if you were to link to each page individually because your name's on the page 15 times along with your article titles, which presumably would contain valuable keywords surrounding your name along with the links to the articles and their titles. The descriptions presumably include important keywords too. This can be done for each site that carries multiple articles. Those are more important to link to than any single articles listed on small sites that pick up a single article anyway.
I recommend linking instead to the article directories which will then link to all articles that are then published on each site, both now and in the future -- whether or not you have multiple articles listed at this site now."
Top Search Engine Marketers know how important a sitemap can be for the proper indexing and ranking of all the pages on client sites. Having a single page that links to all others within the multiple directories comprising each section can be critical to getting every page spidered and included in crawler-based search engines.
So I suggested that we create a map of inbound links to his site and that we link from his home page, to his sitemap and from his sitemap to the map of inbound linkers. Then submit his map of inbound links page to the search engines. That gets each of the inbound linking sites spidered and those inbound links will in turn be credited to his PageRank#&0153;.
Don't list dead links on this links page! Even though many pages are listed in the search engines, it doesn't mean that they still exist and you should either manually check each one if there are only a few, use link checking software to check them otherwise.
Click below and take a look at the page and note to visitors: http://www.ecommercebase.com/printTemplate.php?aid=441 Something important to consider when someone pulls an article and the link goes bad. Check every link you include on your map of inbound links pages.
Another consideration is your resource box when distributing articles for publication online, it should include a full link, including the http:// so that it automatically hyperlinks in many content management programs without having to encode URL's in the HTML by hand. It's done for editors by the software when it sees the http:// where as if you type www.yoursite.com, your www won't get hyperlinked automatically by the software.
It behooves you to point out to editors and publishers that you require your URL to be hyperlinked when articles are used online. Failure to insist on this practice reduces your PageRank An alternative practice would be simply to include the HTML in the text of your resource box and note that it is included when sending out your article.
Many sites don't distribute articles for use online, so the way to gain inbound links is simply to provide great content which encourages linking just because your site offers such valuable information. This in itself is not enough though, you will gain many more links if you make it simple for others to link to you. Create a specific page on your site with HTML code for linking and suggested site description including relevant keywords that can be cut-and-paste simple for the less technically savvy.
Here are instructions for those unfamiliar with how to set up a "link to us" page:
How do you know who links to you now? Visit Google and type the following syntax into the search box without the quotemarks "link:www.yoursitename.com" and press the Google search button. The results page will return 10 results as usual, but look at the blue bar across the top of the page where it says,
"Searched for pages linking to yoursitename.com. Results 1 - 10 of about 203. Search took 0.16 seconds."
Go through the results pages and you'll quickly discover that many of those links are repeats for one reason or other. This doesn't necessarily mean that 203 linking results reflect that many sites, just that many links. Google also eliminates many duplicate site listings in the results pages, as you'll be able to see when you've reached the last page of results when reviewing all of your site links. Google will show only a few of the results, then note after a few pages:
"In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 37 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with omitted results included."
The results on the above search don't mean you've found all the sites that link to you either. If you distribute articles for use online, post to forums using a signature line or even take part in discussion lists archived online, you will find many more links to your site by searching for your own name or any "handle" or "screen name" you regularly use.
Go to Google again and type in your screen name or any other often-used moniker that identifies you and enclose it within quote marks in the Google search box and click the search button. Using your own name, this is called an "EGO" search.
As a writer that has distributed articles across the web for over four years, I do this to find where those pieces have been published and make certain that the site has adhered to guide- lines I've established for use of my articles. Searching for my own name returns over 1000 results and, to my surprise, many of those results also link to my site, but are not listed when doing the previous search using "link:www.website101.com"
In order to gain additional scoring PageRank at Google, I have set up a map page like that I've been describing here for one of my web sites at the following address to assure that it gets all inbound links spidered and credited to my web site links and hopefully improves Website101 PageRank at Google, which is currently at 7 out of a possible 10.
You'll note when you visit that page that I've placed the links in no particular order except the first one, which I've always been very proud of - since the day we earned that honor in 1999. Entrepreneur Magazine linked to WebSite101 and helped raise our visibility dramatically. Another early linker was Internet.com, where we have gained steady streams of traffic due to perceived importance of such a referring site.
There are dozens of additional methods of getting your site linked by other sites which is discussed more fully at the following URL:
Use those techniques wisely, then keep track of who links to you and create your inbound links map to tell search engines how popular your site is and you'll see your PageRank increase over time. Concentrate on those sites likely to link to you at first, but don't hesitate to request links from the big boys either.
That highly coveted link from Entrepreneur Magazine mentioned above came from online distribution of a press release done in October of 1999 and got WebSite101 linked from Entrepreneur Magazine online as well as a blurb in the December 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur.
All of this work may seem mundane and tedious, but the results of that tedium can mean huge boosts to visibility, traffic to your site and profit in your bank account.
A final note of caution - Don't link to just anyone who asks you to! Many unscrupulous webmasters will post your link only long enough for you to see it and then take it down or bury it in massive link farms created solely for their own benefit.
Another site that links to WebSite101 is SiteTipsandTricks.com where Bob McElwain has written a highly recommended article on link swapping scams.
Take a look at Bob's article:
Take heed of all those requests to link to unknown sites that use software generated "Personalized" letters to webmasters seeking links to www.some-stupid-site.com/unrelated-content/ I've seen dozens of these notes claiming that the site owner "found you in Yahoo, my favorite search engine" (sic) and "I'm sure you are aware of the value of reciprocal links" and "I've already linked to you" and when you visit, you find hundreds of irrelevant, pointless links to unrelated content.
I'd be remiss if I didn't remind you that use of this article requires that links in the resource box be made live by hyperlinking ;-) Keep on with your links campaign and then tell them you learned best techniques at SearchEngineOptimism by linking to us! We only link to those we find with links to us done in searches at Google, or those who provide articles on relevant subjects that would benefit visitors to our site.
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