Two Ways to Fry a Fish

Sep 21st

Well that is an irrelevant post title, but I figured NickW would like it. :)

Online dating. Hyper competitive. Too many sites. etc etc etc. But you can still get links and traffic by approaching the topic from a different angle.

Desparate Dating is a good example of that.

The site might be absolutely offensive to a ton of people, but that site will likely get links from BOTH people who like it AND people who hate it. The site is equally unique and offensive, which is something that is oh-so-easy to link at.

One well known search engineer in the past also recommended creating a grammar nazi site that went around fixing everyone's borken grammar and linking back to the home site.

Teaching Children to Spam

Aug 25th

Spam from children...it's coming...

The same words, sent in the exact same way, carried two completely different meanings. In the "default" case, it's just another shill hawking just another product. In the second, it's a real request from a real person who is not even directly involved with the product, who happened to think it (and, more importantly, the folks involved with it) were neat, and wanted to get the word out.

Same words. Same medium. Very different meanings.

I think some of the people email spamming with poor english would probably do far better if they also tried sounding young or whatever in some of them. Sounding authentic is the key.

Most of my link requests talk about other subjects as well. If only I were 20 years younger...arg..am...getting...old.

I really like the Threadwatch tagging thingie. It's where I found this link & is a good way for people to submit stories without actually having to submit them :)

Splitting Straws - Bad Linking Strategies 101

Aug 23rd

So when I announced Backlink Analyzer I posted a detailed blog post, which got many links from solid authority industry related sites.

I later moved the bulk of the info to the download page, and now most people will probably link at that.

The reason I posted so much info on the blog part is that I wanted to make sure that people read it / saw it. I probably should have had a bit more self confidence with that and placed the bulk of the information on it's own permanent page right off the start.

One of the biggest things many webmasters do that hurt their sites is not being consistant with internal linking or not being consistent with where they tell others to link.

Ebay - Charity Auction Link Building

Aug 23rd

I am sure I have seen some coverage of this before, but not much recently (although I have not been reading around as much as I used to).

Some people auction off stuff on eBay and share the profits with some non profit organizations. They contact non profit websites when they launch the auctions and try to get links to their auction and their website on the supporters pages.

Some of them start two auctions in parallel supporting different charities such that bidders aim to outbid the other item to show how much more important their charity is and how much more they support it.

After paying back the costs sometimes the links are way cheaper than buying similar links directly, and you help charities. Win win.

Link Bait

Aug 21st

Perfect examples of link bait (although some examples may offend certain religious people):

Although those are both on exceptionally popular sites, you can do that with obscure sites if the story is easy to spread and / or funny.

You really only need one well known person to link in on something like that and it just spreads. This PageRank 0 site recently got a homepage link from AOL.

If you are in a field that can't build links naturally create linkbait. Goldenpalace.com, an online casino, always buys random overpriced crap for the promotional effects. Others state unpopular claims with minimal bets that get them far more plublicity than the cost of them losing.

Other interesting stuff...

WordTracker free keyword research PDF

Aug 6th

WordTracker created a free online PDF guide to help people with their keyword research. The ebook is 75 pages, and describes some of the basics to the keyword research process.

I see the guide as being pretty good for people new to the search market, as it gives them the snapshot of a variety of voices helping them get a better picture of the keyword research and internet marketing process.

The three big criticisms I have with the guide are:

  • it promotes KEI, which I think is a garbage measurement of competition, and Dan Thies recently said the same when I interviewed him.

  • the guide recommends using WordTracker as a fairly strong quantitative measure of traffic, when I think it is actually a bit more qualitative.
  • there are other tools which can also help the keyword research process, but many of them are not given much coverage due to the goal of the guide being primarily wrote to sell WordTracker

If you have been around the block you probably will not have your hair blown back by the guide, but it is definately good for newbies. They also licensed the guide via Creative Commons.

Personalized Link Exchange Requests - People are Predisposed to Avoid Change

Aug 6th

Most emails that are sent from unknown strangers are garbage. Sending a somewhat vanilla looking link request email means people are going to be predisposed to wanting to ignore you.

Seth explains why timely, targeted, and personalized link requests are much more effective than the average link request. (although he is talking about a different topic I decided to try to relate it to SEO) When I was new to the web I worked much harder on link building than I do today. I usually found the best link requests only worked if I took the time to really understand the motives of the webmasters or made it look as though I was just trying to help them out.

An example technique I did, was when a site was taken down and redirected to another site I:

  • used a tool similar to Hub Finder to find authority links pointed at the old site.

  • manually reviewed the sites to look for their motives and how on topic the page was to my site
  • emailed webmasters of some rather powerful websites reminding them that they had an outdated links, told them the new site location, and listed a few other highly recommendable resources (one of which was my own site).

By breaking link to me down into a 4 or 5 step process to highly qualify the leads and make myself look like I was helping them I was much more effective at building links than the random rogue hunting methods.

By making it look like I was trying to help them make their sites better my link conversion rate was like 30% to 50%, and these were for free powerful links.

Around the same time I wrote an article about Google's Florida Update that got to be somewhat well known. Some people want to know your status or whatever, and when some ask I played down any success I had up to that point and said well I just wrote an article a couple days ago... and based on that even more people converted.

Here is another, similar example, that blatently failed. A while ago I used a tools like Hub Finder, Link Harvester (I should soon add a feature to limit the domain type on Link Harvester), and Yahoo!'s Advanced Search Page to find some of the college sites that linked into search engine submission companies years ago.

I wanted to see if I could persuade them that search engine submission was outdated, and that they could keep current with search news by linking through to some of the search related blogs (one of them of course being my blog).

This had horrific conversion rates, and probably was a complete waste of time. Why? Because I was asking people to make multiple changes at once:

  • First it requires them to admit that their information is outdated, incorrect, or useless; and unlike a site moving location I did not have blatent obvious proof of this fact assembled.

  • I did not sell why they should change the page as mutch as I needed to
  • students changing sites need permission to change stuff and
    • they have little reason to believe me or care

    • most of them get paid next to nothing and would probably rather work on their homework or real job than worry about me
  • most professors like to think of their own information as pure and correct.

How could that have been more effective? I could of asked Danny Sullivan or Robert Clough or one of the other authoritative search site owners if they would publish an article about search engine submissions being outdated. I could either write that article myself or pay a friend to ask those people if they can write it and have it published. Then I could have used that article to quote various search reps as saying submission is outdated, as well as link through to other more effective ways to list and rank sites, and then use that as reasoning for people to avoid submissions.

I could also write a part two to the article describing many submission services as scams, going over how they use submit your site buttons to gather link popularity and many of them also are notoriously well known as email spammers.

By sourcing authoritative voices on the topic I, or at least by developing my credibility beyond a random person sending emails, I would:

And the other hidden tip sorta mentioned in the post is that while you have credibility, traffic, media coverage, authority, etc etc etc you should work harder at building links or spreading ideas, as your effort will be much more fruitful if launched on the back of some other success. Find a hit and run with it.

Open Source Link Profits

Aug 5th

Sourceforge, the open source hosting site, aggressively interlinking their sites.

Sorta makes it compelling to create an open source site, or some site that has a pure sounding mission, which makes people want to heavily link at it, so that you can push that link popularity through the rest of your high profit network.

Are search algorithms saying every web based businesses should start off with a strong relationship to a socially conscience 501 C 3 (or equivalent)?

Then again, even Google is paying Mozilla for making Google the default Firefox search engine, so it seems search engines MUST endorse donating to charities for search engine traffic.

Self Conflicting Sales Copy, SEO Features that Sound Not Good, & Perpetual Sneaky Sneakiness

Aug 4th

Someone recently told me there was a thread about SEO Book over at Digital Point. I replied a while ago, thanking people for the kind reviews, but I just went back to take a peak to see if there were any more replies and there were no more.

A site targeted AdSense ad on the page did catch my interest though. Text Link Brokers had an ad for presell pages starting at $10, which seems way too cheap to me if they are making quality pages on quality sites.

Sometimes price points and sales copy give conflicting messages, which end up driving away the low end and high end market at the same time.

The $10 presell page price point makes it seem as though the product is geared toward newer webmasters with limited funds, but then they talk about the copywriters:

Who writes the Content?
We will either write it or you can. However, we strongly suggest you let us do it since we have some of the best SEO/Marketing copywriters in the country working for us.

which makes it sound a bit more high end, but then...

We also have a feature that no other company is offering. We will randomize the content on every site where we host your HMP pages. For example, if you order 50 HMP pages on 50 sites, we can write one professional article and then randomize it 50 times,

What is the point of even writing a professional article (using one of the best SEO/Marketing copywriters) if it is going to be randomized? Does that undermine the sales point if you don't explain how it is randomized? I know Article Bot is supposed to be good at randomizing content, but doesn't that sales copy send mixed messages?

In other link related news, excuse the AdSense only above the fold area on the other end of this link, but it looks as though Linkworth might be handing out some less than stellar link advice:

It is being said that Google is looking for keywords on websites related to the selling of text ads. Rather than waiting around to see what happens, or if it is true, we feel it's in the best interest of all partners and advertisers to consider changing the titles used, alter locations of text link ads and separate ads.

Odds are good that if the links are heavily off topic and they are selling many that the pig is going to look like a pig no matter what kind of lipstick you put on it (I think I got that line from Aussie).

Why not just work out contextual relevance and matching advertisers to publishers a bit better? It seems to me that hide the links advice is counter to the whole point of running an open link market.

As search algorithms continue to advance I don't see how scalable SEO markets should be handing out advice to hide the business models instead of trying to improve the quality of the offering. After all, it is no real secret that Yahoo! LOVES to buy links for SEO.

As search advances you can try to be sneeky or try to be more open. Both will probably work if you do them right, but if you are buying links from one of the largest link networks or link brokers that probably is not going to be very sneaky, especially if many of the content sites selling links link back to the network.

How can Linkworth be telling people to worry about link rental sounding words and fail to mention that some of the content partners linking back to Linkworth probably makes it fairly obvious that the site stands a good chance of selling links? I am not sure if it is still there, but a while ago I think Linkworth also had a directory of their ad publishers openly availabe on their site as well.

I Still Like Directories

Aug 2nd

I realize I am playing both sides of the fence here, but directories are getting a bad rap. Directories in and of themselves are not necissarily bad neighborhoods or whatever, but what some people call directories, and some of the stupid or greedy things that people are doing with directories are making them match the profiles of scraper sites and other sites search engines would not want to index.

Not too long ago a person launched no 2 or 3 but 5 different general directories using the same linkage data. Well that is probably an example of the types of things to avoid.

Some directories have 10,000 pages and only 300 listings. Duplicate content filters are not going to want to keep that site in the index.

Some directory owners build all their link popularity from other free directories and forum signature files. Some directories have no quality standards and do not even properly categorize the sites. Others fail in both categories: inbound link quality and outbound link quality.

Many directories sell sitewide pharmacy or debt consolidation links. In doing that they parse out a ton of their link popularity, which means less of their pages stay in the search index, the lower category pages have less value, and there is less reason for search engines to want to trust any link from that site. When you sell lots of off topic junk the site becomes ghettofied and the path the site must go down is chosen.

If you believe in the good link vs bad link algorithms some engines may have then it would make sense to steer clear from most the sites that excessively exhibit many of the above characteristics, but not all directories are built that way.

Many directory owners do not try to be unique and market their position with anything other than raw PageRank. The more a directory looks like a discount PageRank brokering service without quality standards the more likely search engines will be to want to discount the sites.

We the pundints, us with blogs, and spare times to chat on forums, need to have something to talk about. So we raise an issue up and the knock it down and then hunt on the prowl for the next issue to talk about.

Everything comes and goes in waves like that as the algorithms evolve.

When people talk about directories dying they are stating that algorithms are moving away from them more and more, but for a significant period of time the ROI on directory listings was absurdly great. Even if it drops off somewhat the search engines still have to trust something. In many industries outside of a DMOZ and Yahoo! Directory link there are less than a handful of sites worth trusting. How do search algorithms rank sites in those kinds of industries? They need to trust something.

Even if Google was not placing significant weighting on directory links I still would use many of them for how they work in the other search algorithms, but with that being said it may also be worth looking more into other sources of link popularity as the business model of junk general directories is dying.

I think the business models that will work the best longterm will be those that have a strong social position in their marketplace, those who can afford to advertise a ton, those who can get media coverage, or those that naturally pick up the random citation on random blogs and community driven sites that provide many random unrequested links. Not every business fits in those groups though. The end goal should be to figure out how to get in those groups, but until placed in those groups we do what we have to to get by :)

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