The Prosperative Blog

The Damage Of Distraction

distraction, 3D rendering, rough street sign collectionThis past Wednesday afternoon I made a phone call to my attorney (don’t ask, sheesh). When the call was over, I took the phone away from my ear and expected the screen to light up and the red “End Call” button to become visible.

It never happened. In fact, my phone became completely unresponsive. I forced it to reboot and it got stuck drawing the Samsung logo. Long story short, I should be getting a new phone in the mail today.

Here’s the thing about being without my phone for two days. At first I actually felt nervous and uncomfortable. “Oh my God, I’m freaking out. I can’t check my email or my texts!”

I didn’t expect this knee-jerk response at all. It made me irritated with myself. Somehow people had managed to survive without a smart phone in their pocket for thousands of years. I had managed to survive my first 30 years of life without one as well. I wasn’t lost without it.

Once I got my ridiculous initial reaction under control, I was amazed at how much easier it was to focus on the task at hand. Normally when I’m out and about, I’ll periodically check my email, texts, earnings stats, etc. to see how things are going for the day and if there’s anything that needs my attention. I think it’s just in my nature to be obsessive when it comes to my work.

Robbed of the ability to be obsessive, my brain settled in on the fact that I could give one hundred percent of my focus to whatever was in front of me at the time. When I’m writing code for a project that’s rarely an issue. I get completely absorbed in it. But with other tasks it can be harder – especially tasks that don’t require active physical participation.

That is, when I’m coding my fingers are flying across the keyboard. When I’m trying to envision how to build my next application, that’s different. I sit (or walk since I tend to think better while in motion) and contemplate the best way to tackle the project.

Not having the phone beckoning me to check it every time it made a sound, I was in a much better position to stay completely focused on the project that I am currently mapping out. It was amazing how quickly the plan came together because I had zero distraction.

The irony is that the smart phone was conceived with the idea that it would help you get things done. Being able to read and respond to emails or texts from anywhere, being able to call anyone from anywhere, would surely increase our productivity in whatever work we do, right?

Sometimes, sure, but when we’re in the middle of something that requires a lot of our focus and thought, that handy little gadget can serve as a destructive distraction, interrupting the flow of thought that is inherently required for anyone who runs a business to think through their strategy.

I’ve decided that once I get the replacement phone, it’s going to stay off a lot more than its predecessor. Not just in matters of business, either. I’m sure my wife will greatly appreciate the phone being off when we’re having dinner together. I’m pretty good about keeping it on silent and ignoring it in those moments, but sometimes the tug to check it is overwhelming. Even if I never stop to look at it, just being rid of the desire to do so will help keep my focus where it belongs: on the most important things in life.

Maybe you should consider doing the same.

As always, I invite your questions and thoughts in a comment below.

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Good Questions Versus Stupid Questions

no stupidity stop stupid behaviour no naivety brainless stupidly unprofessional foolhardy dumb mistakeLIE: “The only stupid question is the one you didn’t ask.” 

We’ve all heard that, but it’s not true at all. There are genuinely stupid questions that get asked out loud all the time. What’s the difference between a stupid question and a good question, and how can this affect your business? Let me tell you.

Ignorance Versus Stupidity

Most people think of a stupid question as a question they fear will make them sound stupid. Let’s say you’re in a room full of people who practice search engine optimization and they’re talking about “latent semantic indexing.” You don’t know what that is, and from the way everyone else is nodding it seems you’re the only one. You’re afraid to ask what it is because you fear it will make you look stupid.

But you wouldn’t look stupid — you would look ignorant, and that’s ok. If you’re ignorant you just lack information. Stupidity can be defined as willful ignorance — you don’t know and you don’t care to know. Not knowing is not a negative trait because you can learn. Refusing to learn is a very negative trait because it harms you and (quite often) the people around you.

Stupid Questions, Good Questions

That said, a question can be classified as stupid when the person asking it has no intention of finding or applying the answer to it.

For instance: “Why am I such a failure?” That question can be a good question, but it can also be stupid. If you ask that question and just go on with your life as-is, it’s stupid because it’s pointless. You had no intention of finding the answer and fixing the problem. You continue to be a failure despite having asked the question because you took no action.

If, however, you ask that question because you genuinely don’t understand what you’re doing wrong and you want to correct your mistakes, then it’s a good question. It’s a question with purpose, and finding the answer to it will help your future tremendously if you take action once you find it.

How A Good Question Becomes Stupid

car used salesperson selling old car as brand new truck salesman typical topic ok gestureThe best question can become a stupid question when asked of the wrong person. If you ask the bank clerk the best way to repair your car’s transmission, what are the chances that you’ll get a good answer? Virtually none. You should know this because they’re a bank clerk and not a car mechanic. If they really understood how to properly repair your car’s transmission what are the odds they would be working as a bank clerk?

I see this in Internet Marketing all the time. Rather than asking proven, successful individuals how to run a business online, people go to public forums full of wannabes that have absolutely no experience in running a successful business anywhere (online or off).

Any business-related question you ask of people like that is automatically stupid because it’s asked to the wrong people, and you should know they’re the wrong people because they’re wasting time on public forums — time that successful people would be using to build their business.

Asking The Wrong Person For The Wrong Reason

Why do people so often ask the obviously wrong person for answers? Because it’s “free”. If you ask a business question at a public forum, for instance, you don’t have to pay for the answer. If you ask your “computer expert” relative how to fix your laptop (even though for some reason they work at a grocery store despite being an “expert”), you probably do so because they’ll give you a “free” answer.

I keep quoting the word “free” because those answers are not free — they cost you dearly because they’re almost always the wrong answer (or at best an incomplete answer, which can be just as bad). Getting the wrong answer is often worse than getting no answer at all! In the long run it can cost you a lot more.

Why are doctors and lawyers so highly paid? Because the answers they give you are incredibly valuable. Your health, wellbeing, money or even freedom may be at stake when you go to see these professionals. Would you take advice about your health from your “expert” relative that works at the grocery store? Would ask them for legal advice? Of course not. That would be stupid.

Would it make any more sense to go to a public forum of people with no verified knowledge to ask those same questions? Again, that would be stupid.

So why would you go to a public forum full of people who have little to no experience in running a successful business when you have questions about how to run yours? Your financial welfare is at stake! It would be stupid to do so. It may appear to be “free”, but in the long term it’s anything but.

Success = Good Question + Right Person + Action 

superhero businessman looking at city skyline at sunset. the concept of success, leadership and victory in business.Success can be defined as asking a good question to the right person and then taking action to apply the answer to your problem.

If you’re trying to run a business online you don’t ask wannabes at public forums with no experience how to be successful. No, you ask an experienced businessperson with proven success, and when (s)he tells you the answer you immediately take steps to put it into practice. That’s how you become successful.

“No man is an island.”

Unlike the quote at the beginning of this post, “No man is an island” is a quote I can get behind, with a slight modification — “No person is an island.” Man or woman, nobody is successful all by themselves. We all need help to succeed. I’ve been running a successful business online for the last 12 years. I still ask questions, find the answers and apply them all the time. As long as you’re breathing you should never stop doing that.

So don’t be afraid to ask the “stupid” questions, because they’re not stupid if you’re asking the right person and intend to take action once you get an answer. In that case, ask away.

In fact, why not start right now by asking me a question in a comment below? I’ll do my best to give you a good, actionable answer.

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Price What You’re Worth (The Dangers of Underpricing)

Red wine. Glass of wine. Pouring red wine.I occasionally enjoy a glass of wine after dinner, but I know virtually nothing about what makes one wine better than another. So when I’m at the grocery store and looking at the wines, all I really have to go on is price. Like most people, I assume that the more expensive bottle must be the better bottle.

But is that true? Not necessarily. In fact, in one study a group of researchers swapped the labels of two bottles of wine, putting the expensive label on the cheap wine and the cheap label on the expensive wine. They then had two groups of people taste test the wine — one group saw the label and the price and the other group didn’t.

The group that thought the cheap wine was expensive consistently rated the “expensive” wine as being better than the “cheap” one. Not so with the group that didn’t get to see the labels or the prices.

Perception is Reality

The study makes clear what marketers have known for a very long time: perception is reality. If people think something is better they will often favor it even if the facts don’t backup the perception.

Especially when it comes to things they have little real knowledge about, people are inclined to assume that what costs more is probably better. Whether it’s a product like a bottle of wine or a professional service, the price often sets the expectation of value.

The funny thing about this is that if you asked people randomly whether or not more expensive products are always better, pretty much everybody is going to say “no”. But when it comes time to actually choose a product, people often buy the best they can afford (and sometimes more than they can afford).


The reason is simple: we know that higher price doesn’t always equate to better quality, but when shopping for products and services we have little knowledge about (like wine) we have no other way to judge quality! Especially when we’re buying products and services that are very personal and could affect our health, well-being or financial situation, people prefer not to go cheap if they don’t have to. It’s a way of limiting the risk that we’re getting an inferior product.

That’s why more people buy more expensive name brand medicine than generic, even though study after study shows that there’s no real difference between the two. Just in case the name brand is better, we tend to buy it if we can afford it because our health is at stake.

Underpricing Is Dangerous

expensive or cheap compare prices best value low cost or price for best value and top quality on a budget road sign arrow
These facts about human nature are why it can be dangerous to underprice yourself. If you’re out to sell a product or service, you want people to perceive it as being of high quality. Since people generally don’t have a lot of real world knowledge about the products and services they’re buying, price often greatly influences a person’s perception of quality.

This is especially so with professional services. People are looking to pay somebody else for the service because they don’t have the knowledge or skills to perform it themselves.

If you are selling a service and you underprice yourself, people will tend to think that the service you’re offering must not be as good as what your higher priced competition is offering. Some people are bargain shoppers and will buy from you just because you’re cheaper or because you’re all they can afford. If that’s your target market, fine, but if you don’t want to survive on thin margins you’ll have a real perception problem if you “race toward the bottom” just to be cheaper than the competition.

Crafting Perception

Judge law lawyer and Justice concept with a 3d render of a gavel on a wooden desktop with grey background.Of course, just setting a high price tag isn’t going to result in people flocking to you because they assume you must be the best. You have to backup that perception.

For example, let’s say you’re in the market for an attorney for your business. You see a great-looking professional ad for a specific attorney with lots of convincing reasons to give them a try. The hourly rate is high, but your legal issue is an important one so you make an appointment for a consultation. At this point your perceived value of this attorney is very high.

Now let’s say you go to the attorney’s office and (1) the office is a run down building and (2) there’s no secretary or legal assistant, only the attorney and (3) (s)he is driving a beat up old car and wearing raggedy clothes.

Would you still trust that this attorney is great? Probably not.

Do those 3 factors necessarily mean (s)he’s not great? No. It’s possible that (s)he is a fantastic lawyer and just prefers not to spend all of the money on an expensive office, employees, car or clothes. Certainly possible, but you don’t know that. You base your perception on what you know, and what you know is that a great attorney should be able to afford all of those things and it appears that this one can’t.

So if you’re going to set your price high, you need to be sure that you’re backing up your high price with the perception of high quality as well. This should not be a game of smoke and mirrors. The actual service or product you provide should be high quality, resulting in a satisfied customer.

Real World Example: Apple Versus Android

Melbourne, Australia - May 23, 2016: Close-up view of Google Play Store on Android smartphone and Apple's App Store on iPhoneI am an Android person myself. I own a Samsung Galaxy phone. Although I think Apple makes great products (I’m typing this on my Macbook Pro), when it comes to phones I just prefer Android. Being a tech guy, I understand that the hardware and software in an Android phone is not inferior to that in an iPhone. In fact, in many cases there’s better hardware in higher end Android devices.

So why is the iPhone so much more expensive as a rule?

Because perception is reality. Apple has done a fantastic job of crafting the perception of their product as being better than the competition. Again, this is not smoke and mirrors. The iPhone is a great product, but is it better than a high end Android phone? From a technical standpoint at least, it’s not.

But if you asked the typical person on the street which they would prefer to own if they could afford either, what answer would you get? Aside from the occasional techy like me, I bet most people would prefer an iPhone if they could afford it. Perception is reality, and in the war of perception Apple is winning at this point. In fact, sales of Samsung devices is slumping this year while the iPhone is selling like hotcakes.

The Take Away

I hope I’ve made it clear that perception is everything when it comes to marketing your products or services, and why people tend to use price as a gauge of quality — at least initially. So set your price according to the market you’re targeting. If you’re trying to be the low cost leader of your market, fine. There’s money to be made there — just ask Wal-Mart!

But if you don’t want to survive on thin profit margins like Wal-Mart does, then you need to craft your market’s perception of you carefully. Price is one great way to do that, so don’t underprice yourself and by all means back up your higher price with higher value.

Oh, and in case you think this doesn’t apply to the “little guy”, my wife is an artist. For a long time she sold her artwork for what I told her was far too little money given her talent level. Recently I finally convinced her to raise her prices, and yesterday she sold a beautiful piece of her work for many times more than her norm to a local chiropractor. Perception is reality!

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions, so feel free to post them in a comment below.


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The Hard Truth Internet Marketers Need to Know

I have a hard truth to tell you that most successful Internet Marketers who market to other Internet Marketers already know. But before I tell you this hard truth, let me tell you about a recent experience I had.

Several months ago I created someRoulette and piles of gambling chips on a green table in casino. Croupier collects chips using stickthing that I and several other veteran Internet Marketers believe is one of the most powerful tools I’ve ever created. I used it myself and had amazing results and it has seemingly endless possibilities to be used in ways I had not even used it yet.

After having GREAT success using it for myself, I decided to release it to my list of Internet Marketers. Guess what happened? It bombed and many of those who did buy it complained about a variety of things. To be honest with you, I thought it would bomb, but it was just TOO good not to find out for sure and I legitimately WANT to help my subscribers succeed.

So WHY did this amazing tool bomb and why did I know that it probably would before I even launched it? Before I tell you this, I want to make sure you understand this isn’t personal. I want you to also understand I’m saying this to HELP those who are guilty of it (and they are MANY).

The hard truth, and I’ll use softer words than many others might use … the reason why the product failed is that most people trying to make money online are not really trying to build a successful business, they’re trying to hit the lottery!

Well, there it is. I don’t know if you’re guilty of this or not, but that’s the sad truth for most in this industry. That’s why they spend thousands of dollars per year and never see a profit, or even a return, on most, if not all, of their investments. It’s because they aren’t investments at all. They are lottery tickets.

Shiny object #1 didn’t give them the top-secret push button formula that pumped cash into their bank account with little effort.

Shiny object #2 didn’t do it either. Keep going all the way up the last shiny object.

Until a person decides they are going to spend time learning and spend money strategically in areas that will help them accomplish their business plan (yes, a “business plan” not a golden lottery ticket, AKA shiny object), they are bound to end up like the 90%+ of Internet Marketers who are playing the lottery and blaming all of the product creators and “gurus” for their lack of success.

With that being said, there are legitimate “done for you” opportunities out there. But they aren’t cheap and they rarely provide instant riches. These opportunities are usually passed on by the IM “lottery players” and only taken up by the very few serious-minded individuals who understand they are involved in business, not a lottery.

It’s a sad fact, but the many Internet Marketing product creators who specialize in shiny objects, but not so much great results, continue to do it, lining their pockets, BECAUSE the IM “lottery players” WANT those products. The same people who complain about those product creators and “Gurus” are the ones who pass on legitimate, powerful products, while making payment after payment for shiny object after shiny object.

Well, are you guilty? I sure hope not. But this is a hard truth and a sad fact. If you are guilty, rather than making you bitter, it is my hope that it makes you better.

There is a great deal of opportunity in this growing digital age, but those who will succeed are those who realize it is a business and not a lottery.

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4 Marketing Lessons From My Underwear

What can you possibly learn about Internet Marketing from my underwear? A LOT. So stick with me until the end. I promise you’ll be enlightened.

Ok, now let me help you make sense of what may otherwise seem like an attention grabbing headline.

You see, I’m a runner. Not what you would call a professional runner, just an exercise buff. I run at least 4 days a week, at least 4 miles each day. Sometime sprints, sometimes a jog, sometimes something in between.

While running, I almost always listen to a great podcast that I love called Stuff You Should Know. It’s fantastic: educational, entertaining and covers a wide range of topics that helps expand my knowledge of the world we live in.

As you might expect, this podcast has sponsors — advertisers. One of those sponsors is Their claim to fame is that they sell ‘the most comfortable underwear in the world’.

Now, I had never given a second thought to my “common”, Target-brand underwear. I never thought it was uncomfortable or lacking in any way. I mean, it’s just underwear. Who cares, right?

But as I’m running and listening to this podcast, the guys who run the podcast (Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant) pause to talk about their underwear sponsor. One of the guys (Chuck) says that he wears MeUndies now and can attest to the fact that they’re the most comfortable he’s ever worn. That they ‘whisk away sweat’ and never chafe or sag, etc. The bottom line — he loves them.

I hear these ads again and again, as I run multiple times a week and listen to the podcast every time. The first time I hear the ad, I ignore it (as most people would). The second time I ignore it. The third, the fourth, etc. Over and over I keep hearing how great these undewear are, but I don’t need underwear so I ignore it — or so I think.

Of course, being a marketer I am well aware of the fact that either 1) MeUndies sent Chuck some free samples that he can try for himself or 2) he’s just lying to support the sponsor. I don’t believe he’s just lying because I’ve listened to Chuck for years and he really comes across as a stand-up guy. He speaks what he thinks, and that always comes through. Although I don’t know him personally, he certainly doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that would lie for a sponsor.

Finally, after hearing the ads again and again and again, I decide to give MeUndies a try. Lo and behold, they are indeed the most comfortable undewear I’ve ever worn. Now I won’t buy anything else.

So what does my underwear choice have  to do with your online business? Everything!

Take a look at the four lessons my underwear-changing experience teaches you:

#1 – Create A Need And Fill It

Did I need to change my underwear? Has it really made a huge difference in my life? Was it something that I really had a problem with that I was desperate to solve?

No, of course not. It’s underwear.

But MeUndies has a very compelling message — especially for me as an exercise buff (I won’t go into detail of why undewear matters when you excercise a lot — gross!) Because their message is compelling, it created a need in my brain that hadn’t previously existed.

Being a marketer, I’m usually pretty immune to this because I know the tricks. But I’m also a human being, so it still works sometimes.

So make sure that the message you’re crafting to sell your products and services is compelling — so compelling that it can create a need in people’s minds where one didn’t exist before.

#2 – Repeat Your Message Again And Again

I ignored the podcast ad at least the first five or six times I heard it. But the more I heard it, the more it sank into my brain, and the more compelling it became.

In time, when I finally did need new undies, what did my mind naturally think of? The product with the compelling message.

The lesson here is to repeat your message again and again to your target market. Probably the best way to do that is to get them on your email list and repeat your message to them over and over. It takes time for people to come around and decide to buy. Don’t expect them to pull out their wallets the first time.

#3 – Have Trustworthy Individuals Provide Testimonials

I’ve been marketing online long enough to know that a lot of marketers (unfortunately) either bend the truth or completely mangle it in order to make a sale. I’m also not so naive to think that people aren’t willing to lie in a “testimonial” to help a sponsor that’s putting cash in their pocket.

Because I trusted Chuck as an individual, having listened to his podcast for years and come to “know” his personality enough to feel pretty positive that he wouldn’t lie to sell a product for a sponsor, I believed him when he spoke well about the product. I was more inclined to give it a shot because he said it was great.

So whenever possible, get trustworthy people to give you testimonials about your products and services. Customers and clients are great for this, because they’re real people you’ve actually done business with in the past. Use their words and show their faces if possible. Make them real to your audience. It builds trust and helps sell your product.

#4 – Above All, Have A Great Product

This last lesson should go without saying, but it’s important. Let’s say I’d given MeUndies a try and it was not a great product — wasn’t even a good product. Would all of the other things the sponsor did right result in long-term success? No.

In fact, it would have hurt the reputation of every sponsor for the podcast. I’d be far less likely to believe Chuck the next time he talked about how great some sponsored product was. And I wouldn’t be the only one.

So no matter how good your marketing skills are, you need to apply them to a great product if you want to succeed long-term. That’s probably the most important lesson here.


Are you amazed at how much you can learn from my choice in underwear? Are you appalled that I would use it as a marketing lesson? Do you have any personal experiences you’d like to share?

I’d love to hear all about it in a comment. Please post it below!

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You’re ranking in Google, so what?

Millions of aspiring internet marketers have a particular problem.

forestfortreesIt’s called “not seeing the forest for the trees”.

What do I mean?

It’s very simple really. You got your sites to rank in Google, but you’re not making money, or getting subscribers. You’re not sure why.

I’ve talked a lot in the past about link building, quality content, legitimate site structure and so on.

Actually, I’ve been teaching about all those important topics on my regular webinars for many months now.

But there’s much more to online success than just ranking.

Yes, ranking is very important. But what does ranking achieve for you? Its purpose is to drive visitors to your site. When they get there you have to engage them, if you want to make any money.

Time and again I get some very basic questions from many, many people about how to do that. And it’s understandable that there would be confusion.

There’s a lot to learn and it’s easy to overlook something important.

Just like everyone else, when I build a site I’m sometimes too close to it to know whether I’ve overlooked something. Sometimes I need another pair of eyes to spot things I’ve missed.

Amin’s actually forced me to confess to some of my own site building mistakes live on webinars!  But of course I have several advantages, including these top three reasons.

  1. I have a huge amount of experience based on years of testing, testing, testing.
  2. I have trusted colleagues who are willing (very happy even!) to tell me when I’ve missed something.
  3. I can correct any mistakes pretty quickly.
So where does this fit in with your own sites?
If you’re getting visitors to your site and not making much (or any) money, most likely, you are too close to your own work to be able to observe it the way a stranger would.
What seems like a masterpiece to you might actually seem so-so to a stranger. It can even work the other way around – you might not like your site, yet other people do.

So who decides whether your site will make money? I’m going to let you into a huge secret – other people decide that, not you!

You can influence where you rank, as I’ve proved many times in the past. You can drive visitors to your site.

But ultimately beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?

If your site isn’t right, you’ve thrown away all your hard work.

So how can you know whether your site actually fulfills the purpose that keeps Google happy? How can you know whether your site is truly interesting and effective for site visitors?

One of the best ways to do that in my experience is to ask other people who are not afraid to hurt your feelings.

This is not a popularity contest. It’s not about whether you’re a good person, or a hard worker.

It’s about whether your site  is effective.

familyprotectsPeople not to ask (generally) are your mom/dad/husband/wife/brother/sister etc. In most cases they’ll want to be kind to you and not hurt your feelings.

The people to ask are the people who will tell you the cold, bitter truth about your site. Even if it upsets you, it’s better to find out what doesn’t work, so you can correct it.

You need specifics, not generalizations.

I’ve had the “pleasure” of making all the mistakes it’s possible to make. I’ve learned to correct them, through trial and error and long experience. But I’ve also had the privilege of raw feedback.

Sometimes feedback is hard to hear. Sometimes it makes immediate sense. But it’s always invaluable!

So my recommendation to you is to ask other people what’s good and what’s bad about your site. Ask them what they like and what they don’t like.

Just be sure that they’re not so kind that they want to spare your feelings! Honesty really is the best policy, particularly for this!

In some cases you might only need to make a simple change to more than triple your opt-ins.

You might need to make only a small amount of effort to double your sales. And let’s be honest, the chances of any site already being perfect are pretty low! That means no matter how good your site is, an objective, independent view will give you lots of ideas for improvements.

Criticism can sting. Feedback can be hard to take.

But I promise you, earning nothing from your sites after all your hard work is even harder to take!


Nobody to ask?

Well, you could always put up a survey on your site asking your site visitors. Only a small percentage will ever reply, but you’d get some feedback.
You just might be surprised at how others view your site!
Questions? Comments? Feel free to put it in a comment below and I’ll do my best to respond!
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Why Keyword Competition Tools Are (Almost) Always Wrong

As the creator and designer of a number of popular Search Engine Optimization tools, I have used (and regularly test) a variety of SEO tools and services in order to compare them to my own and see where I can improve (and, to be honest, where I’m beating the pants off the competition). This includes not only direct competitors to my own products, but also the “Big Data” providers in the SEO industry.

Great data is only great if you understand what to do with it. If you’re a beginner to ranking your site in Google then you need guidance more than a bunch of stats and numbers. This is where most of the SEO tools fail miserably. While the individual data points provided by these tools are often pretty good, when it comes to using this data to give you practical advice they almost always fall flat.

Take estimating keyword competition for example. How difficult will it be to rank in Google for a specific set of keywords? With all of that data at these tools disposal, you would think they would be pretty good at estimating that difficulty.

They’re not. In fact, they’re usually pretty bad at it.

Let me back this up by giving you an example of some keywords where these tools get it wrong. This example is a “long tail” (that is, a set of keywords that don’t get searched very often and contain 4 or more words).

Keywords: online acoustic guitar lessons

Difficulty rating from popular tools (scale is 0 to 100):

Moz – 50

SEMRush – 69

SpyFu – 56

KWFinder – 49

Difficulty rating from my soon-to-be-released SEO system:

Keyword Titan – 28

Notice the difference? The four popular tools shown estimate it to be about twice as difficult to rank for “online acoustic guitar lessons” as Keyword Titan does.

The reason why their estimates are so (incorrectly) high is because those tools appear to be averaging the authority of Google’s top 10 ranking domains / pages for the keywords. That’s a mistake, a serious mistake, and it’s where pretty much every keyword tool goes wrong.

You see, the true estimation of how difficult it will be to rank for a set of keywords in Google isn’t found in the strength of the top 10 sites ranking for the keywords — it’s found in the weakness of the weakest ranking site in those top 10 results.

That is, if there are 9 very strong sites ranking for a set of keywords and one weak site mixed in among them, that weak site is the true indicator that ranking in the top 10 for those keywords is not so difficult. After all, if it was difficult to rank for then that weak result wouldn’t be there, right?

Almost no other keyword tool gets this right. They always average the strength of the top 10 Google results together to come up with their difficulty estimations.

I designed Keyword Titan to be different. When you analyze a single set of keywords in KT you get what I call a “Snap Analysis”. Here’s the snap analysis for online acoustic guitar lessons:


Notice the site ranked #9, The site was clearly created for the simple purpose of ranking for a number of keywords related to online acoustic guitar lessons. It has a keyword rich domain name (I’ll go into detail in a future blog post about why that’s helping this site rank).

The TrustFlow of the domain and of the page is somewhat low (in case you’re not aware, TrustFlow is a respected measure of how much “trust” the links coming into a domain or page give it — the higher the TrustFlow, the more likely the domain or page is to rank in Google).

But where that domain really shows its weakness in comparison to the rest of the ranking sites is in the number of other sites linking in to it (the refdomains (site) metric). While all of the other sites have hundreds or thousands or more external domains linking into them, only has 86. Getting 86 quality links takes a little bit of time, but hardly qualifies for the “hard” ratings being given to these keywords by the other tools.

The relatively low external linking domains combined with its marginal TrustFlow causes Keyword Titan to give it a difficulty rating of only 28 (which is on the low side of “moderate” in Keyword Titan).

This same scenario plays out again and again any time I run keywords through the popular keyword tools. Because those tools use the strength of the ranking sites to estimate difficulty rather than looking at the weakest site in the results, they are wrong much of the time. That means that SEO professionals and beginners alike are making poor decisions about which keywords to target.

It’s not that these tools don’t have access to the same data that Keyword Titan does — they do — they just interpret it incorrectly. So the next time you’re trying to figure out what keywords you should be trying to rank for in Google, keep that in mind.

I welcome your thoughts and responses in a comment below.

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248 Fall/Winter Seasonal Keywords to Target

Seasonal keywords can be extremely profitable. Many people ignore them because they attract so little traffic outside of the season, but for those marketers who take them seriously, there is a lot of money to be made!

seasonal nichesIf you want to profit sooner rather than later on seasonal niches you need to start at least one season before the busy season. So if you want to target a summer niche in the U.S., you’re probably not going to gain notable results this summer (summer is currently in full swing). But if you want to go after a fall or winter niche, now is the time to ramp things up!

Today I’d like to help you do just that! I’ve been in the lab for the past several months working day and night on a brand new SEO tool-set (I’ll be revealing this tool very soon). Using one of the powerful tools I quickly and easily generated 248 fall/winter keywords worth an estimated total of $478,000.00 to those ranking for them! These keywords have a combined 459,000 monthly searches!

Take a look for yourself:


Click to enlarge

Click here to download the keywords

A smart marketer could grab one of these keywords, run with it, and be raking in good profits this fall! There are plenty to choose from and they’ve all been filtered. All of these keywords have at least 200 monthly searches and at least $0.10 cost per click (CPC). They also have a difficulty rating (based on my own in-house algorithm) of less than 40/100, so none of them should be very difficult to rank for!


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How do you Know a Site is Authoritative?

Determining the level of authority, or “power”, a site has in regards to SEO is very important. You need to know how strong your competition is in order to determine what it’s going to take to outrank them. In the past you could look at the Google Toolbar PageRank that Google publicly disclosed. It provided a rough indicator of authority, but even that was often times determine site authorityway off. You would see sites with a PageRank of 0 outranking sites with a PageRank of 5 or more on a regular basis (for example). Google no longer updates their PageRank though.

The total number of backlinks to the ranking page was something that used to be focused on in a big way as well. The only problem with that was, and is, that quality was far more important than quantity. However, up until a few years ago the quantity of backlinks was much more important to Google in determining authority than it is today. So the overall backlink quantity to the ranking page has also been “thrown out the window” as an authority indicator.

That leads us to the present state of SEO. What is the most effective way to determine the authority of a website?

Since the beginning of search engines, the best way to determine the authority of a website is to analyze the sites that rank for any given keyword and determine what they have in common! When this is done you have a lot of BIG data to analyze. So the goal is to figure out the most simple metrics you can that are consistent with the top Search Engine results.

As you may know, I love SEO! I love data analysis too. So I’m always testing and comparing data to figure out what works and what doesn’t. What I have found to be the most effective way to determine the authority of a website for the average Internet Marketer, without getting too complicated and technical, is to look at the MOZ Domain Authority (DA) of the domain, and the total number of unique domains linking to the site (not just to the ranking page).

The DA of a domain is determined by multiple factors that MOZ looks at in order to determine how likely the site is to rank in Google’s search results. If I want to get a general idea of a site’s authority, this is what I look at.

The total number of unique domains linking to a site, in itself, is too raw to give any more than a rough idea of a sites authority. But when analyzing keyword competition, it is very powerful! Simply plug a keyword into Google and then find the total number of domains linking to each of the top 10 results. If you find a site that has 100 or less, great! If you find one with 50 or less, even better. If you find one with 15 or less, you’ve found GOLD (if the keyword has much search volume).

Keep in mind, the quality over quantity factor remains. The quality of the referring domains is a big factor to both the DA and the ability to rank with fewer referring domains. So if you find a keyword that has a top 10 competitor with 25 unique domains linking to it, 26 isn’t necessarily going to beat it. But if you get 26 solid links, you have a very good chance at it! (Reaching out to site owners in my niche and offering a unique article in exchange for a link at the end of the article to my site often results in mid to high-level links for me.)

This is how I do my own simple, quick and accurate keyword research and it works! I eventually achieve top-10 rankings for most of the keywords I choose to target as a result of using this method.

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Build a Brand Rather than an Income and You’ll End up with Both!

Imagine having a dream that one day you would be famous. Your goal is to be famous, so that is what you focus on. You brainstorm ideas on how to be famous. You buy books that provide ideas on how to become famous. You try everything you can think of that might make you famous, hoping that you’ll eventually come across the golden idea that will launch you into stardom! Then one day, after so many years and so much time and money spent trying to be famous, something happens that puts you in the headlines! You are seen by millions. People are talking about you. You are famous! You’d done it!!

success onlineThat is, until the next day when the next big headline has come and you are forgotten about.

Now, let’s consider some of the most famous people of all time. How did they get their fame? Was their goal to be famous? Is that how they became famous? No, of course not (at least not in most cases). Thomas Edison was a passionate inventor. Though he was also a businessman, his focus was not on making money, it was on invention! in the process, he became very rich (and famous). Michael Jordan’s primary passion was for the game of basketball. In the process he became a Billionaire. Michael Jackson’s passion was for music. The list goes on and on.

My passion lies in software development and helping others succeed. I love coding and I love helping others succeed. Both of those things truly satisfy me. As a result, I’ve made millions of dollars. Though it is true there are some exceptions, most people who are successful, get there with one or two specific passions that they focus their time and money on.

Today I want to ask you a question. What is your focus? Is it just on making money? If so, you may be building a house of cards as they say. You may be just like the proverbial fame seeker I mentioned above who finally got what he wanted, only to see it vanish the next day.

If you do not feel like you’re going in the right direction with your online business, do this: Forget about making money and resolve today that you will focus on building a brand!

What are you passionate about? What really motivates you? What can you really provide value in? Go with that and work to build yourself up in that niche, whether you make money or not. Do this and you’ll be building your business on solid ground. That money may not come quickly, but it will come!

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