The Best SEO Tip is to Do Nothing? or maybe not...

Mar 6th

The Best SEO Tactic is to do Nothing at all?

Not true. Google may be slow to rank a site. They may even temporarily or permanently dump websites for aggressive promotion.

While many people are still stuck on the mindset that Google is search, there are many other sources of traffic. Some sites get banned by Google and lose less than 10% of their traffic.

MSN and Yahoo! are fairly easy to manipulate right now, and Google can only throw out a limited amount of baby with the bathwater before their search results become irrelevant - causing them to lose market share.

When Google talks about how PageRank uses the uniquely democratic web blah blah blah... they fail to mention how they sometimes are willing to dump a million websites to plug a hole. There is nothing democratic about that.

Many of the people who are going after algorithmic exploits are focused on conversion. If a site has a 30-40% conversion rate there is no legitimate way a search engine can state that they filtered it out to provide a good user experience.

Yahoo! and MSN seem to understand that. Google seems a bit behind the curve on that concept though.

Google got ahead because they placed user experience ahead of profit. As they twist about figuring out how to extract profits from the value they created - they should recognize why and how they built that wealth - and realize it is just as easy to lose it.

How do I Become an SEO?

Mar 4th

This year was my third SES conference. I think while eating lunch 2 of the 4 days people described my ebook and site to me without knowing I was me, which must mean I am getting a good bit of market saturation. :)

Many of the people who talked to me at past SES events either were SEOs or wanted to know how to hire one. Recently my inbox and at SES a much higher percent of my inqueries were people asking "how do I become an SEO?"

I have been a bit of a branding whore so it would seem that over time I would get more questions like that, but I think a ton of people have recently been entering the SEO market. The Google IPO and the like brought many new faces to the field.

Some companies are still out to lunch though. The last day of the conference I met a person who read my ebook and wanted to chat. He was the single employee webmaster / programmer / backend database / web marketer for a few nationwide stores which were doing over $5,000,000 a year in sales from one of the websites.

It would make sense that a person working on salary doing all that work may want to go it alone. If I were him I would.

The general things I think that can help people who want to jump into doing SEO are:

  • Start a site about something that interests you. Get involved in that community.

  • Your first site may totally suck. Mine did. and the second and third did too... the beauty of the web is that nothing is permanent and you rapidly learn from your mistakes.
  • Do not be afraid to be wrong or make a mistake.
  • Go after a niche. A large part of the reasons my first site sucked was because I was a bad writer and bad designer. An equally large reason my early sites sucked was because they were too broad in scope.
  • If you are unsure of how to niche out your idea look for feedback from blogs and forums and Google Groups. If you do create a large site you will be able to break out many of the ideas into their own smaller sites.
  • Build content on that site using a regular human voice. Try to build an audience by participating in other communities.

  • Within any channel or site limit the number of choices you give people to make it easy for them to do what you want them to. If you have another product idea or target audience you may want to set up another website to sell it.
  • Read a ton of literature about topics that interest you. If you know a ton about a topic it is far easier to crank out a ton of content about it.
  • Subscribe to RSS feeds of topical blogs.
  • Don't worry about keyword density. Write pages that are focused on usability and conversion. Use headings, subheadings, and the like to work the appropriate words into the content.
  • Use descriptive anchor text. Use many variations.
  • If you sell SEO services most people who want to buy SEO services want services which can not be done at the prices they are willing to pay unless you do things that will damage their brand. Stay away from bad customers. If you can create passive income streams they will pay you just as much as bad customers do while requiring far less work.
  • It is better to have a few strong partnerships than to spread yourself too thin working for a ton of customers. A good way to find some customers might be to talk to local merchants you know and trust and do profit share partnerships with them.
  • Price points target your audience. If you are the cheapest on the market you will find the people who can't afford good products or are not interested in fully committing. About 5 months ago I doubled the price of my ebook and get less refund requests and customers who are more serious and more friendly.

Once you understand how to do well within one social network on the web you can parallel that to other fields that may interest you.

Press Releases: Spam Alley

Feb 24th

From Dan Thies new blog

The online PR thing is automated and all these press releases end up archived somewhere, with link popularity passed on indefinitely (maybe). But it's only a matter of time before the PR wire turns into total spam, isn't it? I can see it now, we'll see days with press release titles like:

Why would an SEO Company create an arbitrary press release to inform the world of his clients keywords.

Would you want your SEO company to use your niche keywords as an excuse to promote themselves?

Maybe tucked away on their sites, in a testimonial or corner somewhere, with a link to your site, but not something you should be reading Fresh off the news wire!!! hehehe

Press releases are an easy way to dominate news search results, and I have even had some rank well in regular Google search results (part of the reason they can rank well is because some of the PR sites have a solid base authority level).

I sometimes use PRWeb to submit them.

A Few New SEO Blogs

Feb 24th

Some of these might not be exactly new, but just new to me, but hey may as well list them...

Key Words - new blog on SitePoint by Dan Thies
SEO Shed - newish SEO blog. I think it is done by Sebastian from SEW forums.
SMART Keywords Blog - newish SEO blog. I think it is done by AussieWebmaster who is a moderator at SEW forums.

Hopefully I will have time to update the big list of SEO Blogs soon. I think the list is getting up near 5 pages. There are a bunch of us.

Creating Multiple Similar Pages: Is it Search Engine Spam?

Feb 21st

Answering a question from SEW Forums

Q: My question is, with this # of links to the same form is it better to save the form with different file extensions or to have all links all going to the same form?

A: I think a large part of the potential problem is intent, which may not be clear and easy for robots and editors alike to be able to understand. If you do go the multi page route you do not necissarily need to optimize those pages ... just get enough link popularity into your site and those pages should rank well. Plus you can pull that data from a database right? [added: ensure you create content which clearly conveys its purpose]

I think another thing you need to look at is the user of your site. If they land on those contact forms or whatever, do those pages provide enough info to actually convert?

Many well known SEOs recommend creating various pages for slightly difference audience and query types, but you want to keep the end user in mind.

If the search engines did not exist people would still

  • create similar documents targeted at different personality types and different motivators / personal triggers

  • create similar documents with different marketing strategies to target different consumer bases
  • create similar documents in different languages or with slang to target different people

The myth of the single ideal searcher or web user is just that: a myth

Deep Links?

Feb 21st

Some SEOs I have spoke with have seen sites that had many deep links do exceptionally well in this past Google update. One of them recommended having at least a 2 to 1 ratio of deep links to links pointing at the root URL. This of course makes the SEO process far more expensive, but should make the results far more stable than just building links to your home page would.

Do you build many deep links?
Have you noticed a similar pattern with the sites doing well in this Google update?
Do you have any tips for maximizing your deep link ratio?

Site Wide Links?

Feb 20th

Jarrod Hunt recently stated

My observations show that those with a low percentage of unique backlinks when compared to the total # of backlinks are doing very poorly in these updates.

Many SEO experts I have been talking with prefer to host a presell page on the other site which is linked to from every page on that site. They then make that page sematically related to their site and link that page to various related pages on their site. Some people are also even throw a few other links to authority sites on those pages.

I believe at Chicago SES Jon Glick stated that each site only gives 1 vote. Algorithms such as Google's Hilltop also deweight nepotistic links. If search engines only want to count 1 vote per site or related site owner why not make that vote as strong as it can possibly be?

Do you still get many sitewide links? What is your prefered method to build links?

AdSense Premium, Blog Spamming Your Own Blog

AdSense Premium Publishers:
can boost CTR by 500% when compared to regular AdSense publishers. Looks like I need to make about a million posts, get a few hundred thousand links, throw AdSense ads on my site, and then give it a try real quick...

Overture : Only for the Big Guys?
Not so. One of my friends told me that he was recently cold called by an Overture ad rep interested in placing ads on his somewhat new site.

Placing Porn in Your Own Comments:
Not that long ago I saw a blog rank for a rather gross porn related term (was trying to gross a friend out) and I got to thinking, now that there is the rel=nofollow you really could get away with just saying that you were too lazy to moderate your old comments and re engineer old pages to rank well for many many many many adult terms (I accidentally rank for some by accidentally using occasional foul language).

How could search engines know the difference between a blogger who is lazy with comment deletion and one who is intentionally marketing that way? When blogs naturally rank for random things it could be really easy to make good bank with a false blog set up cleanly using the NoFollow comment effect.

A Third of Shoppers:
often shop the web and buy at the store

Metcalfe’s Law:
eBay took a beating in the stock market recently due to slower growth. After a ton of brokerage firms downgraded eBay Legg Mason gave them an upgrade.

More Networking Questions:
FCC chairman Powell resigned...wonder who's next? and how that will effect the web? It is amazing how many people in the administration have resigned. Surely a sign that something isn't right.

Anti-Corporate Search Engine Optimization Tips

Jan 20th

Protecting Your Listings:
Many companies and people make a name for themselves but do not adequately protect their own name or site name in the search results.

No matter how powerful your name is if you do not create multiple sites with good inbound linkage data you will likely end up with sites or pages that help destroy your brand listing near the top of search results.

Apparently Search Engine Roundtable has a client experiencing these problems.
Anyone Can Cause Major Effects:
The beauty of the guerilla warfare in-the-search-results marketing ideas are:

  • if you can get your dissent seen others will likely have the same experiences.

  • You can easily encourage others to make similar sites (or create content on your site) and target other similar words.
  • Using a couple days and a couple hundred dollars you can create a site which ends up costing some company hundreds of thousands of dollars to dislodge.

Make Your Corporate Dissent Stick Out:

  • build a viral linking campaign into your site

  • search for other dissenters and contact them. encourage linkage.
  • place BlogAds and other similar advertisements on sites which are owned by vocal people who you know will be outraged by and spread the topic of your site.
  • leave comments and trackbacks on blogs which heavily support the company you dislike. if they care enough they may rant about you and give you additional linkage data.
  • publish using a blogging system and integrate your site into the blog community by making lots of comments on related blog posts and registering your site at many of the blog directories.
  • publishing your content as a blog also can allow others to quickly create you content for you while they are thinking about that topic.
  • always remind people to "link to us"
  • make sure that even if their name is not in your domain name (which you may not want it to be for legal reasons - check the laws where you live!!!) that it looks as though part of your official name contains the name of the company you do not like. this helps to encourage linkage data which overlaps with their name.
  • use fact and research on your site...if it is just a rant site it will not be as effective. people are more moved by emotion than by just numbers though. combine those facts with displaying raw human emotional pain and suffering for maximum effect. (get pictures and stories on your site. Pretend that you are Michael Moore and you are in Flint Michigan).
  • get listed at many directories under categories such as Allegedly Unethical Firms. if it is a single complaint then list in the single complaint category.
  • if you can convince enough other people to also make sites on the same topic then that company can get their own DMOZ category which may rank well based upon the power of the DMOZ directory.
  • make your site as SEO friendly as possible. If you have a site which is taking a major corporation to task feel free to email me and I will see if I can give you a free copy of my ebook.

Effective Anti-Corporate Marketing:
If it is readily apparent that you are biased or if you insult the intelligence of the readers odds are that the site will not have a ton of effect on consumers. If you are just trying to annoy the corporation then it may worth it to make the copy extra spicey, of course check your local laws and whatnot :)

Corporate Responses:
Companies may want to sue you, but then again they will probably not want to throw media weight / plublicity toward your site. Odds are that they will need to invest money into making many unique corporate sites and building the link popularity for them.

As they build sites they have to build up all of them or leverage their link popularity well to avoid your site from showing up.

Free PPC Stats, SEO Friendly Affiliate Systems, Search Referral Tracking, Content Ideas

Jan 20th

Free PPC Stats:
ThreadWatch offers up a free list of PPC terms and their prices.

What Does Bill Gates think of Free Market Data?
He loves it!!! He was found hanging out over at SearchEngineBlog.

SEO Friendly Affiliate Systems:
Another article (with pictures) similar to the one I linked to before which explains the problems with SEO friendly affiliate programs.

Name that Referrer:
Black Knight posts about the lowering quality of referral data.

Creating Content?
ways to come up with content creation ideas.

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