Shite SEO Press Releases: a Case Study

May 30th

I have wrote a few bollocks press releases myself, but this one takes the biscuit for pure pants.

Why is filling a press release site with incorrect rubbish more above board than boosting ones rankings in the search results?

If you ask me he is three stops down from Plaistow.

Google Hijacked in their own Search Results

Google Hijacked in Google:
Official Google AdSense site bit by a meta refresh. hmm. Low quality site? more at ThreadWatch

For those who spin all the ethics stuff, do you think Google knew of the problem and was lying when they said it was no big deal? If so, is it ethical for them to tell blatent lies? If not, how is it that SEOs know more about their search engine than they do and they generally disocunt the whole concept of SEO?

Yahoo! Q Challenge:
whats up with a $5,000 prize - that surely is not much payout for the value they could create with that contest. I might need to create a similar marketing program for myself. hehehe

Exalead:
Michael Nguyen posts about some of their search features.

Novice Spam Tool:
I have not tried it, but someone promoted this site http://searchpr.info/test.php, via forum spam of course.

Yahoo! Public Site Match:
Nothing more than a PR stunt? It sure smells the part. A while ago they promoted that program a good bit, but it sure is hard to find information about it nowadays.

Masochistic Behavior:
reading IHY forums. I don't know anywhere else where a single comment can return pages about what a horrible person you are. SEO is doomed. We are all evil. hehehe

Lots of good ones in that rant thread, but one of my all time favorite Doug quote:

Most journalists I know of at least fall on one side or the other.

Another scary thing with that thread is I find myself agreeing with Glengara!

Open Source Rank Checker:
I have not tried it, but a friend pointed me to this software. I am not sure how it plays with Google, since they have been blocking some automated software.

OPD Should Close Shop?
Danny Sullivan weighs in on the ODP's recent site submission status closure.

Black Market Porn:
UK bans selling porn DVDs over the web. UK prostitution market to soar ;)

Funny:
There is a website that qualifies you and prints out your ordained ministor certification in under a minute. A person today tried to justify me giving away my business model to them because they spent the minute to print one out.

Evolution of Yahoo! Search:
article about Yahoo! creating their search service. thnx to RC

SEO Inc Back In Google, Somewhat

May 22nd

Not that it is huge news for the average SEO, but when SEO Inc was removed from Google the story got so much negative coverage and the SEO Inc PR department botched the issue that it was just a really bad thing for them.

Another great example of how you reacting to something being more important than what actually happens.

Right now I am not getting SEO Inc to show up for their site name and the like, but their home page was cached in Google 2 days ago and is showing up under Search Engine Marketing Firm.

Congrats for getting back in SEO Inc.

Lee Odden mentioned it in SEW forums.

Affiliate Marketing Doomed

May 19th

The Motley Fool wrote an article about the death of affiliate marketing, talking about how AdSense text ads were better at selling than typical banner ads. Of course he is right, banners are generally useless compared to what can be done in affiliate marketing because they scream "I am an ad. Please ignore me."

Yesterday I had one fairly well targeted visual AdSense group display a couple thousands visual ads, and it had a zero percent clickthrough rate. People do not want to click on banners.

While some of the affiliate marketing companies may have stocks that will continue to falter, that in no way means that affiliate marketing as a whole is dead.

Many smart affiliates create testimonials, or factual looking review based content with affiliate links embedded in it.

The two highly successful affiliate techniques I know of are:

  • Creating useless spam sites chuck full of affiliate links or AdSense. Make the sites so ugly that people have to quickly click on something. On these sites AdSense might work better, and since Google does not enforce any legitimate publisher quality standards you can create tons of these sites.

  • Create smaller sites that review most every product in an industry. If a page only makes a hundred or few hundred a month and you have 10 to 50 pages of useful related unique content per site then it does not take long to build a few revenue streams that can make you well over $100,000 per year.

Just yesterday I got a random check in the mail for unknown reasons, which tells me that bad affiliate marketing probably still has a while left, let alone good affiliate marketing, which will only get better as time passes.

More ranting on just how wrong the Motley Fool is at ThreadWatch.

Search Spam, Marketing, Artificial Intelligence & Search Query Refinement

Search Engine Spam Workshop:
List of some of the presented papers. I will likely review some of those pretty soon.

What Every Good Marketer Knows:

People are selfish, lazy, uninformed and impatient. Start with that and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.

more from Seth

Mobile Social Software:
Google buys Dodgeball.com. see also: The Significance of "Social Software"

New Google PR Blog:
Marrissa Mayer's blog

If Search Engines Could Read Your Mind:
an interesting article by Chris Sherman. here is an exerpt:

We'd much rather waste time scanning results and clicking back and forth among less-than-useful pages than craft a really good query or use search refinement tools.

But while we're doing this, the search engines are observing our behavior, and learning from our fumbling activities.

SEO Press Releases:
a fun one :)

The relevance of "relevance":

Yahoo! Music:

Visitors to Yahoo's Music Unlimited will pay $6.99 a month for access to Yahoo's 1-million-song library. That's less than half what Napster and Real Networks' Rhapsody charge for similar services that permit the transfer of songs to portable music players. source

FindWhat:
down to $4.30 per share. other small search providers continue to hurt as well.

Gooooogle:
outgrowing coolness and forgetting their core products?

War a theme for everything?
New UK based search blog by Neutralize: Search Engine War. BTW, the new Legos Star Wars video game is amazing.

Time Management:
Creative Commons flash file

SEO Multitool:
GoLexa (sorta like a combination of Google & Alexa data with links to other stuff like WhoIs & IP Address) from Fantomaster

Hosting Content Articles... ____ Business Model

May 6th

Recently Andy Baio noticed another powerful site hosting off topic high margin content.

It looks as though Google has already banned Syndic8. The comments are looking like they might be somewhat interesting.

Elance & SEO Service Auction Websites...

May 5th

and why they a waste of time...

out of 50 or so SEO requests over the course of a year...

  1. at least 50% of them were other SEO companies looking to see what the industry pricing was (IE: Abuse of the system).

  2. 25% of them were looking for the cheapist price in the world... like SEO for 100 bucks a month type thing...
  3. 20% of them were people that were looking for detailed SEO proposals so they could do the work themselves..
  4. 5% of them were real... and each of them had at least 30 Responses to their RFQ for a 500 buck a month or more project.

    With the time it takes to answer an RFQ (few hours per RFQ).. I could of done better just talking to people I know would need SEO work done IE: any site that collects money on the internet

SEO: the Missing Business Model

May 4th

From my limited perspective there are a couple major recurring flaws in the buying / selling cycle of selling SEO services.

  1. Client ignorance of pricing: some clients view SEO as free money. This leads them to hire a cheap guy or someone who heavily markets the free money angle. Either of which stand a good chance of leading to fraud.

  2. Client ignorance of process: some clients assume they know how to do it or that SEOs are messing it up based on slow feedback loops.
  3. Rapid changes: this kinda goes hand in hand with the ignorance of process since most available information is dated. Some search algorithms are changed in ways that could best be described as random.
  4. Big leap of faith:

many SEOs want to sell a $10,000 + package right out if the gate.

Not that I am actively seeking lots of clients (because I am still bad at pricing and still am not sure what I want to do when I grow up) but I have found that by being not available demand is much higher.

Another thing which works well for me is to do an hour long or couple hour phone consultation. Then when you are done go through the clients site and write a report for them giving them specific action points for improving their sites visibility.

In doing that you can easily sell a $500 to $2,000 review package where you might be able to make a few hundred dollars an hour while still avoiding the longterm commitment of performing ongoing SEO services.

You get to feel the client out and they get to feel you out. At the end of that report you can say that if they have any questions or need any help they can get ahold of you.

By charging a decent bit off the start you help the client assume there is value which filters out many of the worst clients.

As long as the suggested improvements report and phone call do not sound like a sales pitch you start to build trust. If you and a client click you can go forward from there with a bit of trust built up.

I see tons and tons of sites sell full service SEO solutions, but few people seem to be looking for that middle ground where they can still deliver good value without expecting a longterm or big dollar commitment from the clients.

What are some of your favorite business models or sales techniques within the SEO space?

Defense of SEO, Ask Jeeves Profits Increase, Yahoo! Think Big Contest

Needed:
Danny Sullivan writes Worthless Shady Criminals: A Defense Of SEO

Decry a particular SEO tactic, if you want -- but don't decry the entire SEM industry as being rotten. If you want to do that, then here are some other stereotypes you'd also better buy into:

  • All car salesmen are crooks

  • All lawyers are crooks
  • Teachers teach because they can't do
  • Bloggers don't check facts

  • [Insert Race/Culture/Nationality Here] is [Insert Derogatory Comment/Stereotype Here]

Ask Jeeves:
Profits increase 35%

Yahoo!:
Think Big contest gives away 10,000,000 Yahoo! ad impressions. I think Jeremy Z should win with the Viagra Rolex Watches.

Yahoo! also thinks small. Cutting up ads on stored My Yahoo! web pages. Webmasters are already complaining about how My Yahoo! stores web pages.

Charity:
Google foundation may invest in for-profit firms. Am going to apply for a grant soon. Will let you know how it goes :)

AdWords in RSS, Various other Links...

Easy to Compare:
Wal Mart & Google, except that Google has a strong brand.

Blogs:
more than a spit fight

Death of Newspapers:
The future of journalism

AdWords Spying:
GoogSpy looks scrapes hundreds of thousands of searches from Google to determine who is bidding on what terms. The idea is killer, but the implementation is a bit lacking. Link found from ThreadWatch.

Google AdSense in RSS:
alpha testing

RSS Spamming:
RSS Injector

Niche Tips:
an old WMW thread

Book:
Steven Berlin Johnson, one of my favorite authors, announced the release of Everything Bad Is Good for You

Boston:
Search Engine Meeting, reviewed

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