EzSEO Newsletter # 281

In this issue:

1. When Google Cannot Find Ads for your pages

2. SEO Link Vine

3. My Review Plugin

Hi Again

In this issue there is some time sensitive information on SEO Link Vine, plus a way to remove those public service ads that Google show on your sites when there are no relevant ads and monetise the ad space.? Also, I have a preliminary look at a Ratings & Review plugin that I am now using on all new sites.

Let’s get on.

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1. When Google Cannot Find Ads for your pages

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Have you ever been browsing through your own websites only to see Hurricane Relief adverts (or similar) where adsense should be?? These types of ads are called Public Service Ads and are shown when no “paying” ads are available.? Now, you might like to keep them if you want to help out these “charities”, but you do have a couple of alternatives if no paying ads are found.? I want to show you the two options that Google give you – displaying a non-Google ad, or just shrinking the ad space so no ads appear at all.

Let’s look at both of these options:

1. Using non-Google ads

The way this works is that you can setup an alternative ad to be shown whenever Google cannot find matching Adsense.

This is quite easy to do.? Let’s do it.

The first thing you need to do is setup the alternative ad.? You need to create a blank HTML document.

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Now, what you put in your ad is up to you.? You basically design the ad to fit into the same size rectangle as your Adsense ad used.? e.g. If your ad is 300 x 250, then you need to create a 300 x 250 ad replacement.? One way you can do this is to create an image of 300 x 250 and put your ad content on the image.

Armed with your image, you can now create the HTML to show the image and hyperlink it to your affiliate link.

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There are two things to note here:

1. You use absolute URLs in the links so that no problems arise when the ad is shown on various pages (within sub-directories) on your site.? Absolute URLs are simply the FULL URL to the file.

2. Use the target=”_top” tag so that the affiliate link opens up in the same browser as your page, and not inside the box reserved for the Adsense ad.? You could of course use target=”_blank” if you prefer your ad to open in a new window.

With the html document created, save it to your server.? ALso upload any image referenced in the document.

If we call the html document “googlealternative.html” and save it to the root folder of our domain, then the URL of that file is:

http://mydomain.com/googlealternative.html

Check the URL in your browser to make sure it loads properly.? It is important that you have the correct URL for the next step.

Now, login to your Adsense account.? You can edit an existing ad, or create a new one.? On the Adsense setup page where you select the colours and size of your ad, you will notice the following near the bottom right:

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Currently it’s set to display Public Service Ads.? Select the “Show non-Google ads from another URL” option, and a new box opens up where you can paste in the URL of your alternative ad:

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Carry on through the setup process and save your ad.

Now, whenever Google cannot find relevant Adsense ads to show, it will show your custom ad instead.

OK, there is an alternative.? Maybe you just want to remove the ad space altogether if no ads are found.? This is easy enough as well, and Google give you the script you need.

At the bottom left, you will see the following:

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Click the Learn More link and scroll down the page to the “Collapsing ad units” section.

There is a link there to download the script you need.

Copy the script to your server.? For example, if you copy it to the root folder, then the URL will be:

http://mydomain.com/google_adsense_script.html

Now, all you need to do is repeat the procedure listed above for an alternative ad, but place the URL of this script in the alternative ad box.

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That’s it.? No more public service ads.

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2. SEO Link Vine

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In the last newsletter I mentioned SEO Link Vine.

I wanted to test it out a little longer before doing a full review, but Brad has decided to close it to new members tomorrow (at least members who want to get links – those who just want content will still be able to join).

Therefore, I’ll tell you my thoughts on SEO Linkvine, but please remember that this is based on a short period of use.

Also be aware that the doors are closing tomorrow so if you are sitting on the fence on this, its decision time.

OK, so what do I think about this?

Well, I am totally against the use of “public” blog networks for building links.? Any blog network that is setup purely for gaining links is likely to get you into trouble somewhere along the line.? There is absolutely nothing to stop Google representatives from signing up at these networks, identifying the blogs in the network and devaluing the links (if they had any in the first place) so that sites they link to get ZERO benefit.? Site owners might notice their sites nose-dive in the rankings as these links are devalued.

OK; so is SEO Linkvine a Blog Network?

Well, some might see it as that, but I look at it a little differently.? Let me explain why.

The sites in the “network” are owned by people in the SEO Linkvine system.? When you post content, that content gets sent to webmasters who have expressed an interest in content in that niche.? They can approve it, or decline it.? If they approve it, your article is posted to their site by the system.

To me, this system is very similar to the way article directories work.? You upload your articles in the hope that other webmasters will pick up your content and post it on their sites.

SEO Link Vine has a couple of advantages.? Firstly, you can spin your articles with either the built in spinner, or better still, get a copy of Jonathan Ledgers Best Spinner.

Once you have spun the article in the Best Spinner, paste it into the SEO Link Vine interface, select categories etc, and your article then gets distributed to webmasters.? This distribution is the second advantage – you don’t have to wait for webmasters to find your content in the search engines, or by searching ezine articles.? Your content is actively distributed.

OK, so far so good.

I do have a reservation about this system.? When Brad closes the membership tomorrow, he said he’ll be concentrating on building the blog network.? If this is a blog network owned by SEO Link Vine then it would be good to be able to opt-out of the “SEO LinkVine Network”, allowing out content to only go to real webmasters in charge of real sites.

Hopefully I have given you enough information so that you can make an educated decision on this.? However, I would like to offer a couple of words of advice about link building in general:

1. Links should be built slowly.

2. If you are distributing articles (in any way), make that content the absolute best quality it can be.

3. Avoid “Get Linked Quick” schemes.

4. Get links from a range of sources: directories, article sites, blog comments, exchanges, web 2.0 sites etc.? Make it look natural…

To think about this another way, imagine you had to show a Google representative all of your inbound links.? Would you be nervous about doing it?

Read more about SEO Link Vine

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3. My Review Plugin

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You may remember a comparison I did on various review & rating plugins.? You can read that comparison here if interested:

Best WordPress Ratings & Reviews Plugins

Over the last few months I have been building new sites using the Thesis 1.7 template.? This is where my problems began.? My favoured plugin has been Louis’ excellent WP Review Engine, and with my old Studio Press template sites, this has worked brilliantly.? However, I have had a lot of problems with it on the sites I am building with Thesis.

I am not sure if it is my server, or problems with Thesis, but whatever the reason, I decided to look at the alternative plugins, and I found an absolute gem called My Review Plugin.? One of the best things about this plugin is that the auto-embed features work flawlessly on most templates I tested.

I love it so much that I have decided that over the next few weeks I’ll show you how to setup review sites using Thesis and My Review Plugin.

My Review Plugin has a number of excellent features.? I’ll list the ones I have used below:

* Setup rating categories, and have rating boxes automatically added to the comments form of your WordPress site so that those who leave a comment can also rate the product.

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* Commentors ratings are added into their comments.? There is also the option of showing a “Was this review helpful” voting system.

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* Editor ratings – you can review the product and show your ratings for the product, or add your ranking into the average generated by your visitors.? This is a very flexible system.

* When you have ratings on multiple products, you can insert “league tables” showing those with the higher rankings.? These tables can be auto-inserted into the homepage or category pages.? If you have a category e.g. on Zanussi dishwashers, then all Zanussi dishwashers in that category will be competing for the league table on the Zanussi category page.? On the homepage, the league table will comprise the products from all categories.? This is really useful for your visitors.? These tables are customisable and look really cool.

A Horizontal Ratings Table:

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.. and a Vertical Ratings Table:

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* Include thumbnail images with your reviews that can be inserted into the comparison tables.

* Flexible rating systems – 5 stars, 10 stars, letter grades, percentages, pass/fail, etc.

* Bayseian weighting – takes into account the number of ratings as well as the score to decide which are the best products for your comparison tables.

* Disable ratings on certain posts and pages, easily.? This way you can have ratings only in certain categories of your site (and even then, not all posts in the category).

* Auto insert “Buy Now” (or create your own button) buttons into the post that link to your affiliate URL (that you enter into the Dashboard).

* Rating tables can be inserted into each post, showing the average ratings for that particular product.

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* Google maps integration which is great if you are running a local services site.

* Supports microformats like hReview, hProduct and RDFa Review Integration.

* One click upgrade from other review plugins like WP Review Engine, WP REview Site etc.? I haven’t tried this or seen where in the plugin this feature is, I am quoting the sales page here.

* Support has been excellent and timely.? Mark (the developer) quickly answered my questions.

This plugin has so many cool features that I haven’t done it justice in this very quick overview.

In the next few weeks, I’ll show you a lot more features as we go through the procedure of integrating this plugin into a “review site” built with the Thesis theme.

Read more about My Review Plugin & Thesis 1.7

Well, that’s it for this issue.? If you want to ask a question or have a comment about anything in this newsletter, please leave a comment at the end of this newsletter.

Have a great week!

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Comments

  1. says

    think for thesis bugs, u should check in with folks in their support forum, usually very fast and prompt with their replies from that community.

  2. says

    About SEO Linkvine – I have been using Brad Callen’s Keyword Elite for some time now. It is worth every penny I paid for it. So, when I heard about SEO Linkvine, and when you (Andy) kinda recommended it, I pounced.
    What I have discovered is that the test site mentioned by Brad evidently had the support of ALL the sites in his network. In reality, when you submit an article, you don’t automatically get thousands of back links. You get to pick and choose up to 30 categories (or cah-tag-a-gories as Vita Vee pernounces it) of sites to submit to…and then, your article gets approved or disapproved by your picks. So, it’s not a lead pipe cinch that your work will be accepted, or that it will be broad enough in scope to be picked up by all the site cats you chose. I suppose it’s better than going it one at the time with Ezine, etc, but it’s not the be all and end all. I’m giving it two months to see what happens. My test case is my new site, StockTradesNews.net, which was implemented to not only make dough, but to prove out Brad’s new enterprise. And one last note..Unlike Keyword Elite, Brad has been kinda lite on hints/tips/tricks for SEO Linkvine. There has to be more they haven’t gotten around to telling yet. All in all, of all my new SEO and PPC pals I have made, I actually trust Brad and Andy. I’m hopeful that SEO Linkvine will prove itself as time goes by.

  3. says

    Andy,
    I’m a little confused about all the online fanfare about SEO Linkvine? If I recall, Brad or his brother had a service called My Blog Network or something like that (Can’t recall the actual name). It was sold through PayDotCom at $47 per month. It used the same model with a spinner and the same blog owner distribution process. Seems like the same service with a face lift!

    I did try it and it was okay but I agree with you that there are no short cuts to effective link building.

    The question to ask before purchasing is concerning the amount of articles you plan to publish monthly to justify the cost. I have found that most recurring payment services usually make money for those that own the system and rarely the majority of users.

    If you’re not publishing quality articles that point to sites that convert, they save your money. It is better to test conversions before paying for a recurring service.

    Just my opinion.

    Thanks,
    Vito

  4. Jim says

    Found this comment on a site, relating to a person’s experience using a duplicate content searcher like Copyscape. I’d love to have your comment, Andy.

    “I just started using it today, I have a lot of unique articles I have had written and posted on my blogs and directories. I was shocked by how many times my articles have been ripped off and used without a link back, to my original article. Of course I am not stupid enough to think it will never happen, but some of the articles I checked are a couple of days old and are submitted to different directories under different names and no link back or credit given.

    I am now thinking I will just wait until a directory publishes a new article and rip it off myself, save me some money. It looks like its a waste of time and money creating unique content, Google will never know who the original author is.”

  5. says

    Andy

    As Vito mentions above, SEO Linkvine sounds remarkably the same as their previous offering called My Article Network. MAN was using the Article Marketing Automation network but with a cosmetically different front end. It was the same system with a different name and SEO Linkvine appears to be the same thing again, just with a different name. Article Marketing Automation is part of PLR Pro or can be subscribed to separately at $47.00 per month.

    I used AMA for a while last year but despite submitting quite a few articles through the system, I didn’t find the ROI particularly brilliant.

    At the end of the day, your articles are going to various blogs that are owned by folks who register their sites into AMA with the sole intention of receiving targeted free content. Although they do not tell you where your articles are being posted, you soon get to know because you will receive a trackback notification from the WP blog that the article is posted on.

    Although most of the blogs were OK, I did find a number of them were either not indexed in Google or had been deindexed, which obviously meant no link juice. Although some of the backlinks did show up, they were only a small percentage considering how many articles I put through the network. I could probably get better return by submitting to article directories at no monthly cost!

    Alan

  6. joe derer says

    Andy… i wanted to try out “The Best Spinner”… sounds and looks pretty cool… i tried to ask a question… i could not submit a ticket… why should i buy this program if i get a problem or have a question – who am i supposed to contact — Andy Williams… i think not… can you or someone else shed some light on my question… why would someone go ahead and purchase something knowing there is no way to contact the seller — does this reflect the quality of affiliate’s that you are recommending… joe

    • says

      Joe
      Not sure why you are having a problem. They have a support desk and a support forum. I have used their support desk without any problems in the past.

      • joe derer says

        thanks for taking the time to read my post – am a huge fan of yours… what i had was a question about “what if” i buy the product and my old computer crashes… do i have to buy it (best spinner) again… every time i tried to fill out a ticket… i got an error message… my other attempts to try and contact someone were all dead ends… except in the case of contacting you… a phone number that a prospect could call and get an answer might be an interesting way to increase sales… do not recall seeing a snail mail address… at 60 years young i have unfortunately grown a little skeptical after purchasing things with little to no support from sellers… kinda like the thingy you bought for 199 which turned out not to work… i trust your information and am sure you would not recommend something to your list that did not work… maybe there is a way someone who sells “Best Spinner” could be reached to answer my question – i am ready to become an owner of this product if someone there would just answer my question… if you have read this far – thank you for your time… joe derer

        • says

          Joe
          I have used their support before without any problem. The problem may be on your end as I actually took the time to email you earlier about this, but it looks like you did not get my email :)

          Here is what I wrote:

          Obviously I cannot answer that for them, but I think that as long as you have your username and password, you can use the software on a second computer without any problem. I have it installed on two of mine, and while I dont use them at the same time, I have used it on both without any problem.

  7. Randy says

    Hi Andy, it is funny that you should write about this subject since it has just happen to me. Maybe you saw my post on another private forum and thought it would be a good subject for an article at your site I don’t know. BUT I hope you can help me a bit further with this problem of mine and hopefully it will also help others out there as well.

    Here’s my problem. I have some of John (xfactor) sites and have only made under my threshold from Nov. of 2009 ($74.00). I am still learning and will continue to plug away at it, But When I log into my adsense account it tells me…

    “Your pages are displaying Public Service Advertisements (PSAs) because you haven’t yet verified your PIN and/or phone number. See the Payment History page for more details”

    I ALREADY DID THIS LONG AGO. When I go to the payment history page to do it, NO WHERE is there a link to do it. I guess I am on my sixth month and all that I earned (not much but it is something) will be lost after the sixth month if I don’t verify, which I already did, both by email and by Phone. I still have my post card they sent me and after reading it it also tells me to go to payment history and click on “Please enter your PIN” link, BUT, THERE IS NO LINK THERE TO CLICK ON. Why? Probably because I already verified this months ago. Why are they telling me to do it again and how do I do it again if I need to, if there is not a link there to do it from?

    SO, is there somewhere I can get answers from? Is there a google support ticket area? I will loose the little money I did make if I can’t find some answers or support from Google somewhere and will never be able to get my sites to earn anything from adsense if I can’t get an answer from somewhere.

    Would you know how I can correct all of this? If I can’t I will have to use your suggestion and put my own affiliate ads in these google adsense ad locations I guess. Even though this might be a nice alternative I still need to correct this some how.

    Thanks, always enjoy your newsletter and subjects.

    Randy

  8. Randy says

    Hi Andy, just wondering if you had an answer to my question above about
    google serving public service ads and how to get it changed?

    Randy

    • says

      Sorry Randy but I dont have an answer. The only thing you can do is contact Google. Not sure what address to use, but there should be one somewhere in the logged in area.

  9. Randy says

    I also wondered if you could do a video of how you BEST use the Best Spinner? Can you go into why you use it the way you do and how it benefits what you are trying to accomplish?

    I have been using it for a few weeks now but find myself just rewriting the whole paragraph because the one I spun doesn’t sound good. So, other then the suggestions the program gives me I find myself with not very much confidence with submitting such an article. I find it is taking me A LONG TIME to rewrite just one article for my liking.

    How about anyone else out there?

    Randy

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