Moving Briskly Along...

Oct 25th

SMA-UK (launched just a few days ago) found so much demand in Europe that SMA-EU was created.

One wonders if and when SMA-US will be created. Perhaps then SEMPO will have officially died.

Price Points, Branding, & Comodification

Sep 11th

This does not have much to do with SEO, but has a ton to do with marketing any business.

All too often online businesses use the "cheap price" branding / sales angle. There will always be someone else who is cheaper. Cheap is not an effective longterm business strategy for most businesses... especially online.

I have been pricing my ebook at $40 because I wanted to make it cheap and affordable to a maximum number of people. While my sales have well exceeded my expectation many of my friends have been telling me that it is the wrong price point.

Example:
I could try to sell my ebook for $10, but likely most people would not buy it because at that price most people would think it is garbage.

I do understand the concept that it is better to push value than price... I am not really doing anyone a favor if a low price is turning people off. The price is arbitrary. It is the value that is important. A higher price may give a higher perceived value.

A couple other SEO ebooks are selling at higher price points ($67 or $97). A bunch of my friends stated that I should price my ebook at $67 and a few think I should charge $97 and an ongoing subscription fee.

I will likely raise the price of my ebook soon, but I am going to wait until after I talk to that cool cat NFFC from SEO Roadshow.

A couple good threads / articles / books on the concept of branding and / or price points:

Danny Sullivan Resigns from SEMPO Advisory Board

Sep 9th

SEMPO is Driven
If people had to say one positive thing about SEMPO it would be that they are driven toward a goal...they will not let petty feedback get in the way of that goal.

The problem is: nobody knows what that particular goal is?

The New SEMPO Weblog Press Release Collection
SEMPO recently created a press release weblog.

After thinking "what the hell is this?" I tried to post a comment into their blog. Unfortunately their comments are pre moderated. You will likely never read the comment I left. My comment did have a link to http://www.cluetrain.com/ though.

So much for that open feedback loop that makes the web great.

Danny Sullivan on SEMPO
Danny Sullivan just released a lengthy article titled Reflections on SEMPO, where he reviews many of the problems SEMPO has faced and announced he and Chris Sherman are resigning from the SEMPO advisory board.

Support for SEMPO seems to dwindle a bit more with each passing day.

SEMPO-Tahoe Press Release
Organizational leadership through press releases...oh how the web connects us.
Compare: SEMPO Press Release vs SEMPO-Tahoe Press Release

Similar, yet different. SEMPO-Tahoe is already up to #3 in Google when you search for SEMPO (only one more site to pass).

ThreadWatch
NickW recently created a new blog to track SEO forums. ThreadWatch posts about many of the often higher level & more interesting or elequent threads...including topics such as Guerilla Marketing, Kung Fu, and Vintage Mike Grehan QuotesTM.

Triangular Linking Info
At Cre8aSite Black Knight talks about the future of linking and triangular linking schemes.

Yahoo! Link Renting: a Critical Look at Yahoo!

Yahoo! Renting Links
Yahoo! was recently renting / leasing / buying / otherwise acquiring some high PageRank keyword rich links from gasbuddy.com. Normally when large companies buy these types of ads they use tracking codes, but these ads were straight links which are analyzed by search engines. Was Yahoo! Buying PageRank? Was Yahoo! Trying to Manipulate Search Results
Only Yahoo! knows what their true intentions were with the links, but within 4 days of people mentioning the links in the SEW forums the links were dropped. If they were not buying the links to manipulate the search results then one would wonder why they were not using a tracking code.

The Yahoo! ad unit used keyword rich links. They pointed links at
http://autos.yahoo.com/ with "cars" as the anchor text
http://used-cars.autos.yahoo.com/used_cars.html with "used cars" as the anchor text
http://autos.yahoo.com/new_cars.html with "new cars" as the anchor text &
http://used-cars.autos.yahoo.com/kbb/ with "Kelley Blue Book" as the anchor text

What Did Yahoo!'s Ad Look Like
Their Gas Buddy ad unit looked like this:

Yahoo!'s Other Ads
Yahoo! Shopping is still renting other high PageRank links through the Internet.com network to boost their rankings for high margin consumer electronic items.


anchor text "cameras" pointing at
http://shopping.yahoo.com/b:Digital%20Cameras:20148412


anchor text "laptops" pointing at
http://shopping.yahoo.com/b:Laptops:20148417


anchor text "PDAs" pointing at
http://shopping.yahoo.com/b:PDAs:20148420

Yahoo!'s Problem with Link Renting
Yahoo! runs their own search engine which powers a ton of search worldwide. Not only are they renting links that manipulate Google's search results, but the links also manipulate the Yahoo! Search search results.

These links are essentially used to build keyword rich link popularity from powerful websites, which may fall under the following unacceptible practices:

  • Pages using methods to artificially inflate search engine ranking

  • Excessively cross-linking sites to inflate a site's apparent popularity

as set by the Yahoo! Search quality guidelines.

Recently someone at the SEW forums stated that Yahoo! told them the problem with their site is that they have too many links pointing at their site.

The Problem with Yahoo! Renting Links

Yahoo! manually edits their search results. If other people have too many links pointing at their sites it is a problem, but if Yahoo! does it then it is ok? why?

Yahoo! owns a valuable network. What they do with that network is up to them. When people search for information Yahoo! can throw whatever ads they want around the results, but the results themselves should not be internally tainted.

As an oracle of information an ethical question is raised when Yahoo! is paying people to edit their results and paying other people to manipulate those same results.

What Next?

If Yahoo! decided what they want to place in their search results how can I trust them? What happens when they personalize my search? Will that mean that I get biased crap promoting more Yahoo! stuff? Will I not be able to find the information I need?

There is a level of trust associated with search. If Yahoo! wants to manipulate Google search results that is fine. If they are going to do that then they should prevent those same pages from being indexed in their own search results.

Yahoo!'s pages rank in the top 5 of Yahoo! Search for "cars," "new cars," & "used cars." Interesting how those search terms match up with the links they were renting.

Yahoo! just shot themselves in the foot if they were hoping to catch Google in search anytime soon.

Another Link Renting Problem
If you look at the Internet.com commerce partner network
http://www.jupitermedia.com/partners/
you will notice that it is a random collection of websites. The only thing preventing these links from being considered a "link farm" is that:

  • they are expensive

  • they are attached to a huge powerful network
  • and Jupiter Media is making a ton of money from them.

    Also, how can a company claim it

    provides unbiased research, analysis and advice, backed by proprietary data, to help companies profit from the impact of the Internet and emerging technologies on their business. source

    and yet sell keyword rich ad space:

    • to random sites

    • throughout its own parent company network
    • which manipulates search results?

The Secret to Effective SEO

Jul 9th

Recently (maybe about three weeks ago) I began working on a brand new site idea for a client. Within two days his site was built (my designer is really fast and awesome). Within a week it was ranking well in Google for a fairly competitive commercial phrase with a respectible search volume (thousands of searches per day).

What did I do?

I picked a keyword rich site name and registered the site with a ton of directories.

There were some other forces at hand that I am not at liberty to discuss, but the primary driving force behind his rankings is about a few dozen directory links.

John Scott and I have been talking a bunch recently about the power of LINKS FROM UNIQUE IP ADDRESSES and he posted a good example recently in the V7N forums.

Obviously I have a ton more tips inside my SEO Book, but the condensed version is:

  • buy a keyword rich domain name
  • list it in a ton of directories using those keywords
  • write articles and figure out other ways to get links into your site

There are a ton of other things to consider, but for most industries the web is so non competitive that just the above few steps can go a long way.

Are External Links More Important than Internal Links (for SEO)?

I know most people reading this already know the answer, but I just came across a quick example, so hopefully some people asking this question at a search engine will find this.

Recently I posted a post called "The Daniel Brandt Toolbar" and around a half dozen or so sites linked to me.

Almost every page in this site links to the "Buy Now" page so that when people search for SEO Book they see the home page first and then the "Buy Now" page listed second.

(As of writing this) when you search Google for "SEO Book" you now see my home page first and the "Daniel Brandt Toolbar" page second. It will change in a few days, but this does a good job to show how external links are often more powerful SEO tool than internal links are.

Give it about a few more days for the posts linking into the Daniel Brandt Toolbar to fall into the archives of other blogs and my "Buy Now" page will list again at #2.

Text Link Advertising on Blog Websites

Jun 2nd

I have noticed that there is some really really cheap traffic and link popularity to be purchased on blog websites.

Some sites get tons of pageviews, and some have tons of link popularity. Some blogs have both and prices that do not cost the farm.

If you look through an article about the most famous blogs in the world you can see just how cheap this ad space is selling.

The first blog is a lawyer blog and the second site listed is the New York Times, but if you scroll past them you can see some pretty cheap ads.

Gawker is one of the most famous blogs on the web (and it costs $400 / month or $150 / week). I am probably not going to be advertising on the Gawker website today, but currently someone is with a Texas Holdem website.

I am sure that link is probably cheap for someone in the gaming industry. Those affiliate checks online casinos send you can get fat. I had one page from when I first started learning about the web that got me a few grand without me actively promoting it...

If you used the right political message or were marketing an amazing idea the cheap entry price of advertising on Gawker could easily pay for itself tenfold.

Once you look at some of the slightly less popular blogs the price drops sharply. Advertising on one of the top NanoBot site is $60 / month.

Some second and third tier blogs are priced dirt cheap. I think the two biggest players in the blog ad arena are:
http://www.marketbanker.com/mb/
http://www.blogads.com/
There are also some smaller players too, such as
http://www.textads.biz/

I may soon promote a stupid idea I just came up with :) More on that later...I thinking...

Seth Godin's Bull Market

May 5th

So Seth released another free eBook.

On the web, when you get above self sustaining you can further elevate your position by creating conglomorate information products which you give away. Some of the companies listed in Seth's eBook will be so stoked that offer him free links, and in every copy of his book people will know who created it.

What happens? His name spreads even more, he wins even more. I have not yet read his Free Prize Inside yet, but still have a couple extras of his last book (Purple Cow). If you would like a free copy of Purple Cow then please email me your address with purple in the subject line.

How Does Landing Page Effect Conversion Rate?

Apr 20th

GoToast is one of the more well known pay per click search engine management software providers (free 14 day trial). Recently they offered a real quick witepaper covering the topic of conversion.

In this study, we classified 1,000 reasonably well-trafficked search listings representing a broad cross section of industries and approximately 250 distinct Web sites. 4,880,209 clicks/visits were analyzed as the basis for this research.

How Does Landing Page URL Affect Conversion Rate?

Type of Site Landing Page Conversion %
Lead Generation Sites Doesn’t Match Keyword 0.79%
Home Page of Site 6.31%
Matches Theme of Keyword 9.28%
Specific Match to Keyword 11.81%
Product/Service Sites Doesn’t Match Keyword 0.85%
Home Page of Site 1.26%
Matches Theme of Keyword 1.33%
Specific Match to Keyword 2.26%

Does It Make a Difference If the Visitor Has the Capability to Convert on the Landing Page?

Type of Site Landing Page Conversion %
Lead Generation Sites No Form 8.75%
With Form 8.73%
Product/Service Sites No Order Button 1.44%
With Order Button 2.08%

That data is almost motivational enough to make me want to create lead generation websites.

Google + Yahoo! Ban Casino Ads

Apr 5th

Internet giants Google and Yahoo! will stop carrying adverts for online casinos, blaming a "lack of clarity" in US regulations.

US prosecutors last month warned companies that running ads for offshore online casinos was equivalent to "aiding and abetting". It is illegal to run an online gambling site from within the US.

Google and Yahoo made the announcement seperately on Friday. Yahoo said the ban would apply to US websites only while Google self-denial hits all its sites worldwide. The change is likely to come in at the end of this month, according to the New York Times. - The Register

Those who were spending $10 - $30 per click advertising for words such as "casino" or "online casino" will now be spending that money elsewhere.

Anyone want to bet as to wheter they see more casino sponsored text links drive up the cost of text ads on many sites?

Cybersquatter

Mar 16th
Cybersquatter
- Person(s) who grab a domain name which could be of certain potential value based on other aspects of the internet. In the past some cybersquatters would take a domain the day it expired on some people. Many cybersquatter sites also place porn where an original high traffic domain existed. The other common cybersquatter technique is to use misspellings to ruin the brand image or monitize a small amount of traffic.

If the domain SEO book was available about 5 months ago then why in the hell would I make an offer to this cybersquatter who spammed me wanting to sell SEObookS.com?

I take it as a compliment that he recognizes I am building a website that is starting to get a fair amount of traffic. I will not pay him 1 cent for his domain though.

Perhaps I am not concerned with my brand image, or my brand image may be a lack of concern... INBOUND SPAM:Dear Mr. Wall,

Hereby I would like to invite you to make an offer on the domain name
SEObooks.com.

As you know, SEO is the abbreviation for search engine optimization, which is
currently a booming market. Since almost every webmaster wants more traffic,
they will want to buy books that cover the subject of SEO.

Please send your offer by April 1st, 2004. Should you have any questions, please
don't hesitate to contact us.

I look forward to your prompt response.

Best regards,
Quincy Beeker
Founder of DNKing.com

Korvezeestraat 12
2628DA Delft
The Netherlands
Email: sales@dnking.com

REPLY: Hello Quincy
how much would you be willing to pay for dnkings.com?
thanks
aaron

Pages






    Email Address
    Pick a Username
    Yes, please send me "7 Days to SEO Success" mini-course (a $57 value) for free.

    Learn More

    We value your privacy. We will not rent or sell your email address.