Quick, Cheap, & Easy Strategies to Dominate Google's Search Results

Feb 25th

Following last year's pillage of general web directories, Google reset the PageRank on many article syndication directories to PR3 or PR0. EzineArticles did not get edited, perhaps because they have more stringent editorial guidelines, they were a known market leader, or they were a Google case study. Just about every other article syndication directory did.

About 3 years ago I create a directory of directories so I could keep track of new directories. But very few of the directory owners considered editorial quality. Eventually they started polluting their directories with site-wide links to payday loan websites.

On the paid side some people who had success creating one low quality directory decided to create a dozen more pay for inclusion websites, often cross promoting them with discounts...after you buy one they thank you and offer you the ability to buy inclusion in the other dozen at half price.

And on the cheap end, it got to the point where lots of companies like Directory Maximizer do directory submissions for a dime to a quarter each, allowing you to space out the submissions, mix anchor text, and mix listing descriptions. And while many of these services claim to be "SEO friendly" and offer services in bulk, you can see that a search engineer might not hold the same opinion. :)

By the time a technique is cheaply and reliably outsourced the value has already been diminished or will soon become worthless.

  • lower cost and automation means more people will use the technique
  • the lower cost often appeals to those making lower quality websites
  • the more people who use a technique the more likely it is for search engineers to kill it

Andy Hagans used to charge $900 for doing a couple dozen article submissions, and back when he did it, it was probably worth it. He marketed it to highbrow clients who used it to promote quality website. Lower end webmasters probably could not justify paying $900 for that service.

And you could get a hand rolled product of similar quality to what Andy charged $900 for, but at a price $870 cheaper from We Submit Articles. About a month after I showed Andy that We Submit Articles website, where someone was selling services similar to his for $30, he changed his model to promote linkbait stuff, moving himself up the value chain, creating something that is much harder and more expensive to replicate.

Article submission software and article remixing software came out, only making the issue worse. Andy probably could have continued his old model for another year and been fine, but he knew that Google would eventually pull the rug out from under it. It took a while, but the article directories had their PageRank edited.

Search engineers can't stop everything, but by the time a technique is cheaply and reliably outsourced the value has already been diminished or will soon become worthless.

  • lower cost and automation means more people will use the technique
  • the lower cost often appeals to those making lower quality websites
  • the more people who use a technique the more likely it is for search engineers to kill it

When you think of the web from that perspective it is easy to see why my current business model is so much better than the old model. The community interaction allows for deeper understanding, and helps people move past using just the techniques that are quick, cheap, and easy.

Parasitic hosts and upload sites, social media sites full of spam, endless cross-referencing internal tagging, blog carnivals...all are quick, cheap, and easy. What do you think is the next quick, cheap, and easy marketing technique that Google will kill?

Published: February 25, 2008

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Comments

February 25, 2008 - 6:45am

I was surprised that directories were hit before these article submission services. If you post a job at getafreelancer.com or e-lance.com, you will get countless proposals offering these services.

New website owners who know little about SEO, can easily be seduced by these services. One offer was 1,000 links for $200 via article submission. It's terrible for the user experience. Just this morning I saw 4 of the same article ranking on the first page for a rather short key phrase. They were all from diffent domains.

February 25, 2008 - 7:02am

I guess social bookmarking sites are going to be hit hard by Google. Just see how many clones have already popped up and the number is increasing each day...

I bet the most authoritative ones like digg.com and del.icio.us won't get edited though.

February 25, 2008 - 8:05am

I have to agree, I think it's going to be the 100's of "favorites" sites. I have recently noticed that more are beginning to use nofollow, but as you mentioned with the post this is because 100's of people are posting 1000's of fake entries an hour for $30.

SEO is getting filled with people who just practice bad business, if you can't hold self control over any kind of marketing opportunity it's going to turn out worthless in the long run, just like article submission and just like social bookmarking will probably end up.

Side note; did you mean to paste that same bullet point passage in twice?

February 25, 2008 - 8:47am

I love how you slipped Blog Carnivals in there - I ran one for a while and the quality of entry was absolutely awful. I actually felt bad subjecting my readers to such rubbish, so I stopped participating.

The problem with the blogosphere is all these people who insist on sharing their tips and techniques - they attract these parasitic get-rich-quick types who bastardise the techniques and then destroy any benefit they have. I just get the feeling that the windows of opportunity are starting to close and ultimately all that will be left is the age-old 'content is king'.

February 25, 2008 - 9:16am

At the end all comes to value. In the good old time the articles were submitted to directories with the idea to get them published on other sites, not to get PR from the directory itself. Even now, if your article is valuable, it will be republished. Unfortunately, 99% of what's published there is nonsense.
I am sure people will find new cheap and easy techniques, but that has never been a sustainable business model. Low cost works well only in China.

February 25, 2008 - 3:22pm

Darn,

I thought from the title you were going to teach us how to make good monies on internet ;)

I hope social bookmarking because the levels of spam in those sites is atrocious due to situations like you reported on w/ stompernet.

February 25, 2008 - 6:14pm

There's plenty of "Get 3 links on 650 blogs for $40" at Digital Point. Those are sure to go at some point.

February 25, 2008 - 7:55pm

I agree the window of opportunity is starting to close. But in the same way that back in the day you can make a killing with simple PPC arbitrage, SEO will also evolve. The one thing that will separate profitable SEO from spammers and get rich quick is not "content is king" but CREATIVITY.

February 25, 2008 - 9:13pm

What do you think is the next quick, cheap, and easy marketing technique that Google will kill?

The quickest, cheapest & easiest technique when optimizing anything is modifying the title tags on site. Will Google terminate the relevance of the title tag soon as they terminated the relevance of meta keywords and rely solely on page content?

February 25, 2008 - 9:24pm

I see them as losing relevancy if they do that...the title tag is one of the few things they can show people before sending them off to the site, and it is the clickable links in the SERPs...so it makes sense to put weight on it.

February 26, 2008 - 12:05am

I feel like a fool. I have to admit I was on the fence about outsourcing directory submitters, but I tried it anyway. About a month ago I paid Directory Maximizer $14 for 100 directory submitions. The quality of the directories they submitted me to were atrocious. One of them was even a dating site directory (I sell hunting and camping gear).

Will these listing hurt my link profile or SERPS much?

February 26, 2008 - 12:46am

They might. It depends on how estabilshed your site is.

February 26, 2008 - 9:09pm

They might. It depends on how established your site is.

Hi Aaron can you elaborate a little bit more on your comment.
What's stopping me from hiring these sort of companies and hurt my competitors?

February 26, 2008 - 9:32pm

If you tried to hurt your competitors you would probably try to hurt the well established ones, not the lower authority ones. The well established ones are harder to knocked down than newer weaker sites using spammy techniques, trying to catch up with established sites.

February 26, 2008 - 4:05pm

Hi Aaron, I hope you don't mind me posting a comment out here. I represent Directory Maximizer.

While I do agree with you that directories have been given less importance by Google in the recent past, I would also have to say that their value hasn't completely eroded if they're used effectively. Being in the business, we don't recommend just relying on directory links for increased rankings because we know that on their own, they hold little value but when accompanied with other link building methods, they can add support value and more importantly, allow you to build links for niche terms.

I am only speaking from tests we've done. For the client who's posted above, if he searches for the niche term "Riflescope Outfitter" which he used in his submissions, he'll see quite a decent ranking (I see his site at the top).

I believe that directory links can work very well if they target niche terms rather than going for the bigger and very competitive terms. The links would only serve as a support base in cases where broad and competitive terms are targeted.

Feel free to counter my view but we have a few sites we know of which rank for these niche terms, they may just provide 10 visitors a month or so but we do believe that using a diverse profile of anchor text over a large base of submissions could have a substantial impact.

You have mentioned some very good points but I believe that our service can be used effectively if done keeping these points in mind.

February 29, 2008 - 1:55am

Your right, I am listed in the #1 position for the broad match phrase, "riflescope outfitter" (21k competing pages), and I am listed at #14 for "riflescope" (1.3 million competing pages). Hopefully everything will be great. Obviously I thought your service was worth $14 or else I would not have asked for it. But when those confirmation emails started rolling in and I saw that my site was being listed in a directory of dating sites... well I'm sure you could see were I might get concerned. No hard feelings though, yet.

P.S.
Way to stand up for yourself, you got backbone.

February 29, 2008 - 5:11am

Yes, our list isn't supposed to have any dating directories, we only submit to general directories. That was a mistake which happened, but it's been long rectified now and we've put a few things in place to avoid such mistakes in future.

We had a system earlier where a select few people outside our team could find and add new directories to our list as and when they found them, based on which our list would get updated immediately (trusting them to have done the required groundwork, since they were informed of the guidelines). But we have now stopped that system (because of what's happened in cases like yours) and now only use our in-house editorial team to source and review each directory before it’s added to our list.

April 30, 2008 - 6:30pm

And now, humorously enough, it's this post on seobook.com which is ranking for the broad search riflescope outfitter.

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