Open Q&A Thread for Internet Marketing Questions

Dec 15th

Let me know if you have any questions about SEO or internet marketing stuff. I will try to reply to your comment right below it in less than a day, often within minutes, for as long as this thread is open.

Please ask do not ask for in depth site reviews or questions that would be applicable to just one website.

Update: thread closed... I have to start working on a big project. Thanks for the questions everyone.

Published: December 15, 2007

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Comments

December 15, 2007 - 12:11am

I've seen how tagging can really help something like wordpress, but I wonder it would help an ecommerce site. People could tag items like "beginner" or "cheap" etc.

We are looking into doing this for a customer.

Do you think it's a good idea?

Why don't the pages created by tag incur a content duplication penalty?

December 15, 2007 - 1:23am

I think many of the large ecommerce sites that implement tagging have such an abundance of link equity that they can afford to waste some of it, and that is what most consumer taging does... waste your link equity by generating fairly thin pages.

Some of these tag pages may rank, but link equity flowing to them is being pulled away from stronger pages that become a bit weaker. I largely recommend against implementing user generated tagging.

December 15, 2007 - 2:23am

You know...I was just thinking to myself the other day that these tags sites seem to be nothing more than modern day FFA/linkdumps...

December 15, 2007 - 2:35am

That is sorta what they are!

December 15, 2007 - 12:35am

Aaron,

Do you have any tips for obtaining backlinks from Dutch websites?
Quick and easy to obtain backlinks?

Any resources (lists) of places where you can submit your link to?
Dutch directories?
Dutch article directories?

December 15, 2007 - 1:26am

That is not my language and market, but I would recommend pinging Joost De Valk, or Martijn AnschĂĽtz from M4M.nl.

You could also look through the backlinks of your top competitors, and track conversation in your market.

Since there are less competing channels you have less potential spots to get links from, but you need way less to rank.

December 15, 2007 - 12:53am

If you had a Brand New site w/ a new domain, what five Internet Marketing things would you do right away to set yourself above the competition?

December 15, 2007 - 1:44am

Hi Max

  • Develop a USP that actually made my offering unique. Do not clone old competing stuff - take advantage of new trends and technology.
  • Strong domain name that matched my keywords or otherwise sounded exceptionally credibile.
  • Deep keyword research to help set up the internal site architecture.
  • Sweet site design and copy. Make sure pages are not too heavily aligned against the keywords like some obviously SEOed pages are.
  • Pay for a usability or conversion review.
  • Do basic link building using some of the major directories and niche directories.
  • Publish a blog AND write for other publications in the same market.
  • Create at least a couple different linkbait ideas - the more social interaction that is involved the better.
  • Watch indexing trends and verify that junk pages are not getting indexed.
December 15, 2007 - 4:04pm

Thanks Aaron, good ideas.

December 15, 2007 - 1:05am

Aaron,

I moved my web domain from a standard http://www using a 301 redirect and removed the www so it just reads http://

All my backlinks are pointing to the original. Is this going to be an issue regarding organic optimization

December 15, 2007 - 1:28am

Hi Andrew
In most cases that should be fine, but generally I usually pick the www as my canonical URL. If your site is clean you can also login to Google Webmaster Central and select which one you want to be the primary canonicalization format.

Now a few words of caution is that about 3 updates ago Yahoo! started screwing up some 301 redirects on one of my larger sites. Also when I 301ed that site (to a different domain) Microsoft completely failed to follow the 301.

cra
December 15, 2007 - 1:18am

Do you think Google is discounting links from blogs that are not using nofollow?

And, do you think that site owners that disable nofollow are completely killing their sites from an SEO perspective?

December 15, 2007 - 1:37am

I think they certainly pass link weight to some extent, but if they don't prune the spam it grows like a weed - each spam comment promotes more bots who search for stuff like "poker comment date" etc. And each additional comment drives down the value of each link eventually to a near zero value, or until the site gets penalized. To appreciate how this works read the Tragedy of the Commons, and substitute blog comment spamers as the cattle owners.

People who turn nofollow off are not hurting themselves as long as they prune the spam. In fact, they may be helping themselves because comment links likely cause more people to comment, which in turn makes the site seem more popular and important, by providing a sense of social proof of value to new members in that community. Read about cumulative advantage to see how that works.

December 15, 2007 - 1:19am

Hi Aaron,

I have a question on your thoughts about the future of 301's for ranking purposes. I wanted to know what you think about setting up sites for the purpose of building links naturally (where maybe you couldn't for a corporate site), then redirecting further down the road. How effective do you think this is today, and how effective do you think this will be in the future?

I know you had some troubles in the past with 301's but just wanted to know your thoughts on effectiveness not only today, but in the future.

Thanks in advance!

December 15, 2007 - 1:32am

My 301 redirect issues were caused by an engineer reading my blog then deciding to destroy my site, so most webmasters probably do not have to worry about that sort of thing happening.

As long as you stay on topic I think it will count for a while, but as time passes more and more people will abuse 301s, and eventually (maybe a few years from now) they are likely going to only start passing a small % of their link weight when pushed across domains, as many people are waking up to the idea and asking how far can they push redirects.

December 15, 2007 - 1:33am

I've been thinking about getting into PPC again. I started over a year ago, was doing fine, then got screwed with that whole quality score thing, got frustrated, and gave up...etc.

Anyway, I understand that it's all about testing and tweaking, I'm fine with that. My question is, how do you determine when it's time to give up on a campaign?

I've heard people say things like, "Trash it if it doesn't convert in 100 clicks, $100, or X amount of days..." But that doesn't seem realistic when you're working with micro-niches, and long-tail keywords that don't get a ton of searches quickly.

I would hate to give up on something prematurely, but I understand that the whole point is the ROI... Any suggestions would be appreciated.

December 15, 2007 - 1:53am

Most of my experience with paid ads promoting sites I intended to become market leaders. I don't always look at direct short term ROI. I have some channels that don't even have business models that I have sunk a lot of money into just because I wanted to get a foot in the door on a growing marketplace.

I think the x amount of days is hard as a measure, and the price point and number of clicks depend on market. Like porn does not convert well because there is so much free content out there and so many people search for sites like PornTube or YouPorn. Expensive items are rough too, but lower price point items convert easier.

For affiliate stuff, you could probably get some great advice from Kris Jones or ShoeMoney. Generally some basic tips though would be:

  • Rather than working on deep niche offers in Google I might be willing to try to market broader offers in Microsoft when I was first learning PPC stuff.
  • Buy brand related queries if possible.
  • Build a site with organic trust
  • Use tight keyword groups.
  • Keep in mind that if you get anywhere near break even you might be just a few more tweaks away from great profits.
December 15, 2007 - 2:29am

Thanks for the reply.

December 15, 2007 - 1:34am

Thanks Aaron!

December 15, 2007 - 1:37am

Aaron,
I've got a customer that has a regional business centered around selling in approx. 20 small cities. For his on-site SEO, I've built the onsite tags for 4 of the 1st level topic pages (ie...Contact Page, Testimonial page, Home page and Photo page, etc...) around long tail phrases (ie...Grand Prairie kitchen remodeling, Dallas kitchen remodeling, etc...) and kept the same theme from the Title tag, dow through descriptive tag, keyword tag and finally ALT Image Tags. I "still" have remaining "city-based" long tail phrases remaining to insert into the SEO of the site. How would you continue the SEO addition of the current unincluded "city-based" long tail phrases? Add more pages? I'm looking to see if I'm on the right track with the approach I'm using ...or... I should be doing this project some other way? A lot of theme-based cities I'm trying to get ranked for!

Thanbks, in advance for your time & thoughts!

December 15, 2007 - 1:57am

Hi Gonsailing
I think I might use keyword tools and PPC ads to try to get an estimate of the importance of each marketplace, and focus much of my internal link equity / link architecture against weighting more link equity on my core pages.

I do not recommend what you are doing right now with duplicate titles and descriptions with the exception of having a word or two different for each city because when search engines look at it they might think those are too similar.

I would try to mix up the usage patterns a bit, and test titles like:

  • Affordable kitchen remodeling service in Dallas, TX
  • Austin kitchen remodeling contractors
  • etc.
December 15, 2007 - 4:18am

You said:
..."focus much of my internal link equity / link architecture against weighting more link equity on my core pages."

Aaron,
I apologize, but I'm not sure I quite understand completely what you said above? Would you please add bit more detail

Sorry, but again thanks!

December 15, 2007 - 4:44am

I would emphasize the core cities by having more pages for them or linking to them sitewide, while only linking to the other smaller towns on a limited portion of the site

December 15, 2007 - 1:46am

Hello Aaron...great job presenting at Pubcon.

My question references my recent Pubcon blog post:

http://www.semportland.com/announcements/matt-cutts-told-me-to-post-this...

Matt says Google will reset the links on expired domains.

1)Do you agree that this is massively bad news for domainers?
2)Isn't it illogical to reset links on expired domains and not on sold domains (since the net result of having a totally different site that didn't earn the existing links is the same)?
3)Why is this story seemingly flying under almost everyone's radar?
4)Any other comments?

Thanks,

Todd

December 15, 2007 - 2:16am

Hi Todd

1)Do you agree that this is massively bad news for domainers?

Not really. Most of the domainers with sustainable business models are buying names more than they are trying to buy PageRank, search engine rankings, or search engine trust.

2)Isn't it illogical to reset links on expired domains and not on sold domains (since the net result of having a totally different site that didn't earn the existing links is the same)?

I think on sold domains they feel that you had to pay quite a bit for them. What concerns Google with expired domains is the potential price disconnect which sets up a large arbitrage based business model.

3)Why is this story seemingly flying under almost everyone's radar?

The same reason domainers like Frank Schilling were not talking about how to buy EatingDisorders.com less than one month's earnings back in 2002. Those who were doing it had a competitive reason to not talk about it.

December 15, 2007 - 1:46am

1) Are reciprocal links--such as typically occur in blog carnivals, meme writing projects, etc--a signal of spamminess in the eyes of SEs? How do you avoid giving this signal without completely refusing to participate in legit link-building opportunities?

2) Is PR distributed evenly amongst a page's outbound links? Or do off-domain links contain a bigger boost than in-domain links?

December 15, 2007 - 2:07am

Hi Chris
1) I think the key here is balance. Read Todd Malicoat's balancing the link equation.

2) Believe it or not, I have never tested this. And in some cases the toolbar can not even tell you because sometimes the PageRank values they show (even after an update) don't make sense. Like I have some pages in parallel with each other that share all the same internal links, and have no external inbound links, and some of them show different PageRank scores...like a 4 and a 5, for example.

December 15, 2007 - 1:55am

In your opinion is Google's Webmaster Tools internal link report a valid tool to assess internal linking issues?

I have a 1 year old industry site containing a directory, blog, job searches etc. It has approximately 13,000 pages indexed which is about 75%.

When viewing the pages "that have links pointing to them from other internal pages" I only see 9 pages. My home page, my blog home, a popular blog post, 2 metro pages and a couple of directory listings.

The 2 metro pages showing are both from the same subject. These are the 1st and 7th link in the subject "tree" of my site navigation.

Also a search for site:domain [metro] [subject] has most metro pages in 5th below home page, blog page and 2 directory listings. However, the 2 metro pages showing in the internal linking report show in 2nd place under my home page for the same query type.

External linking doesn't appear to be a factor as one of those only has six local.yahoo.com links which I don't believe carry any weight as other pages that list strangely have 100s. Also the listing pages showing above the term don't have any external links.

If needed here is the structure of my internal linking:

The directory portion of the site is broken into 2 subjects and 25 metro areas within each subject. The site's main navigation (shown on every page) contains links to each metro area for each subject. So that's 50 links along with a few other site nav links. The anchor text in the format of [metro][subject].

Also each listing page links to it's own metro's page and other listings in the same metro area (in addition to the main nav).

I hope that wasn't too long winded. Any input or opinion would be greatly appreciated.

December 15, 2007 - 2:04am

Hi HooHa
Generally what I suggest doing with internal link structure is ... if you have a section of your site that you know is not getting indexed then find legitimate ways to pull it upward in the site's structure - rotate through new products, bring a few sub sub category pages up to link to them off the home page or other key parts of your site, etc.

Also look for noise / junk / duplicate / thin information pages that you don't want to get indexed and prevent them from being indexed using robots.txt or meta robots noindex tags.

December 15, 2007 - 1:51am

Aaron,
I had another question without taking up too much of your time? As in my earlier question, I am optimizing sites using long tail phrases. the sites have each been around over a year and all are indexed. I have been ranked on page 1 for Google, Yahoo, MSN and ASK. Recently "ASK" has been "dropping" the ranking it had for the Home Page on each of the "keyword phrases" on Just the "Home Page"? ASK took each of the keyword phrases from Page 1/Position 2 to (-) de-listed? Again, this is ONLY happening on ASK? Any ideas?

Thanks!

December 15, 2007 - 1:59am

Hi Gonsailing
Honestly I do not pay much attention to Ask, but when rankings are sporadic it usually means that the site has insufficient link equity. Try getting a few links from the local chamber of commerca and other trusted local community resources - in many cases even a few basic directory links might help.

December 15, 2007 - 2:02am

Hi Aaron

I've been doing affiliate marketing for about two years. With my first domain name I did reciprocal links to a lot of low-quality sites, plugged in some product feeds and ended up in Google oblivion. I was filterd to hell and decided to try again from scratch.

I 301 re-directed that domain to a new one, bought your book and invested a lot in quality directory submissions like botw, yahoo, joeant etc. I also bought a few on-topic links here and there. Overall, I was very pleased with the results. All was going perfectly till I added a feed from one particular guided tours company. I then got 950'ed straight away. I removed the feed and got back to the first SERP pages quickly. About two weeks ago I added a much cut down version of the feed (just the product titles, not the product description this time) merged it in with lots of my own original content and got 950'ed again - where I am right now aka Google hell.

Ive noticed that sites with high PR don't get 950'ed - G. just seems to pick on the little guy. I'm not a spammer, I produce tons of orginal, high quality articles that I use to pre-sell the merchants products but still I get 950'ed when I add even a whisker of the feed. I understand G. doesn't want dupe content in their index but sheesh sometimes they throw out the babies with the bathwater. Do you have any tips on avoiding and getting out of the 950 penalty?

December 15, 2007 - 2:12am

Hi Grifter
I think you have done a nice job isolating the issue. So the key then is to - at least for the most part - not fit the profile of a site using that feed.

  • Cloak outbound affiliate links by redirecting them through a robots blocked folder
  • Do not use common elements in that affiliate feed. If you use any part of the feed try to find a way to mix it up AND add unique 3rd party editorial content to it, or splice together enough smallish feeds while stripping the overt template issues. Another option is to use a different feed provider.
  • Build more organic links. The affiliate feed might be hurting you a few different ways. One is by making your site look like an affiliate site, and the other is by sucking link equity away from the other parts of your site.
December 15, 2007 - 2:26am

Aaron

You define a niche to write about. If a large percentage of people are coming to your blog because of a post that represents a sub-niche should you accept and re-focus creating new content around that sub-niche? Should that be a short-term strategy and try to slowly expand from there? Or should you create content that defines broader boundaries and explains much of what happens in the sub-niche? (is this clear?)

Thanks

December 15, 2007 - 2:53am

Hi Camoesjo
I think it depends on what your goals are. Are you writing to teach? Are you writing to learn? Are you writing to have fun? Are you writing to get a paycheck? Are you looking for short-term or long-term gain? Do you see yourself liking what you are doing right now in 5 or 10 years?

Depending on the answer to those questions the strategy changes from do what you want (and perhaps even ignore the audience) right on through to pay attention to their feedback and build off any success with follow up related topics. If I wanted to maximize revenues here I would post an SEO video every day because my sales were double their typical level when I did that.

It was good for me to use SEO in the name of this domain, but over time it would make sense for me to rebrand as Aaron Wall and put myself more to the forefront so that I can shift from topic to topic as my interests and skill sets change. Right now I am killing some of my personal brand equity by using aaronwall.com as a rant blog instead of something more serious.

Those are sorta brand related issues...I recently had a great chat with Rob Frankel and he gave me those tips.

December 15, 2007 - 2:28am

Hi Aaron,

Thanks for giving us this opportunity to get direct answer from you.

Can you please suggest me a good action plan or daily activity calender which will help me get maximum results from my Internet Marketing Venture.

I want specific help in terms of what activity I should do first how much I should allocate for Traffic Generation, How much time in a day I should allocate for Copywriting and How much time should I allocate for List Buildinge etc..

I would also appreciate if you can share with us which one you give most important?

List Building,
Copy Writing
Traffic Generation.

I wanted to get some expert advise rom you on this which will help me in a long way.

Looking forward to hear back from you.

best Regards,
-Gaj
http://www.listbuildiingsuperstars.com

December 15, 2007 - 2:47am

Hi Gaj
I don't think there is a singular relevant answer here. Like I do well mostly with blogging, answering email, but never put much effort into "list building". Others do it another way.

Where you should spend your time depends on where you feel you can add the most value, where you feel you can extract the most value, and what you enjoy doing.

December 15, 2007 - 3:36am

Hi Aaron,

I read your review of SEO Elite at http://www.seobook.com/archives/000869.shtml, where you recommended against the tool.

What is your opinion of this breed of tool in general, like Web Position Gold, IBP, SEO Studio? What do they do well, where do they fall down and what could they do better? What would a perfect tool be, in your opinion?

Regards,

-Lukas Rathswohl

December 15, 2007 - 4:07am

Hi Lukas
I honestly haven't used any of those in a long time. A rank checker is nice, but most of the other tools or services I subscribe to require buying ISP data or scraping data to create a competitive reverse index of sorts.

December 15, 2007 - 3:48am

Hi Aaron,

What are your thoughts re: the value of domain names with a country-specific domain extension (e.g. Australia / .au). Specifically, I"m thinking about 2 separate scenarios .... where the keywords in the domain name:

1. have specific relevance to that country, and

2. do NOT have specific relevance to that country.

Given .com domains are hard to come by these days, do you consider domains with a country extension something worth looking at as a mid to long-term domaining strategy ?

Thanks as always.

Chris G.

December 15, 2007 - 4:12am

Hi Chris G.
I am a big fan of local domains if that is where your market is, though I probably would not spend a lot on them if I did not intend to cater to that marketplace, in that case I would try to get a .net or .org over a CCTLD that was irrelevant to my marketplace.

If you buy core high-power domains in foreign markets they will likely appreciate. Maybe not as quickly as the .com names, but as .com gets out of price of many people and more people come online the value of the local extensions should go up. On last week's DN Journal sales report I just saw cellphones.com.ph just sold for $10,000, and even Tea.in sold for over $8,000.

December 15, 2007 - 3:48am

Aaron,
Great website, your blogs are great to read, did a good job presenting at Pubcon, I think you are one of the smartest on the topic and seeing Rand agree as well is nice to get pats on the back.

Anyways, got a question for you. Started a website for the company I work for to sell there obsolete/excess products online (manufacturing company). We sell fireplaces/space heaters so its hard to linkbait with this topic much but here are some things we are doing and have done.

- Rank very well for alot of our keywords organically.
- 200 tips section with LifeTips
- Social bookmarking on major social sites
- Got a couple articles on propeller frontpage
- PPC for good converting keywords
- Analyze everything with google analytics
- SEO'ed all pages to as good as we fell
- Setup nofollow tags to funnel link juice
- 30 second videos of our products in use (fireplaces burning to show the flames)
- Send out promotional coupons/specials via email marketing monthly

This is a brief overview of all of the things we have done to promote our site and we receive about 2k (1k are organic) hits a day and make about $1.5 million a year from this site, when my boss asks how can we increase sales do you have any good input to do anything other then this? I have thought about doing advertisements on other sites but its hard to find ones related to fireplaces that we feel we could make an ROI. Sorry if this is an off the wall question but we have done everything I know and just curious if you had any more suggestions for us to help promote our site or specific products online. Thanks so much!

December 15, 2007 - 4:50am

Hi Rhwd2003
If your rankings are at the top (#1 for core keywords) and rock solid you may have reached the limits of SEO for unbranded keywords and the brands of others...which means you either want to

  • look to identify new keywords
  • add a wider product line
  • add a few more strong editorial pieces that will be well links to keep your site ranking for a long time
  • participate in online and offline communities or industry events
  • create a brand that people talk about (and thus search for)
  • start another business and duplicate the success you just had

When I started SeoBook.com the phrase seo book had 0 search volume on the Overture tool, but now there is a lot because I created a brand.

December 15, 2007 - 3:52am

I have an e-commerce site and on the home page I have some articles that are pertinent to my industry. When I click on the article, I see a long string up in the address bar. It includes http://www.mysite name/article. Would this long string in the address bar prevent the article from being indexed or could it be that I do not have enough links to the article?

December 15, 2007 - 4:04am

Hi Janine
The URL string might prevent it from Getting indexed if it was really grotesque, but in most cases even those will get indexed if you have a link pointing at them, and have enough inbound link equity.

Search Google for cache:http://yoursitename.com/yourfilename.extension
to see if your page is in their index

December 15, 2007 - 3:56am

Aaron,

Which is the most reliable keyword research tool, free or paid that provides keyword research data over the last 12 months?

Thanks,

James

December 15, 2007 - 4:01am

Hi James
I was talking to a friend about this today. Honestly I like my own server logs more than anything else because that is the most pure data. Beyond that I like Google AdWords (their keyword tool, their traffic estimator, and my AdWords ad stats), Wordtracker, Keyword Discovery, Wordze, and Compete.com.

I don't ever really care about accuracy so much as I care about just coming up with related keyword ideas and a way to structure them.

December 15, 2007 - 4:28am

Hi Aaron,

In your experience does a .net exact keyword match domain carry as much weight as a .com exact match domain?

I found a .net domain for sale that's perfect for my needs, but I'd think twice about buying it if it does not carry the exact match boost.

Thanks,

Anton

December 15, 2007 - 4:45am

Hi Hpotamus
I can't guarantee it will stay that way forever but generally yes it carries the same weight is the answer for Google right now.

December 15, 2007 - 4:48am

Hi Aaron,

I'm currently working on a project that involves developing lead generation real estate website(s).

I have two options I'm considering:

a) Build several websites, each site on a keyword rich domain, and each with content optimized to target specific, well-defined geographic areas

b) Build one website on a branded domain name and focus on optimizing that one site for all the geographic areas being targeted

From an SEO perspective, which would be a more effective strategy?

Thanks,
-Diego

December 15, 2007 - 4:56am

Hi Diego
It depends on how big your public relations budget it, how remarkable your idea is, and a variety of other factors.

Short term the keyword rich URLs will have better return. In the long term they might still have better return if they are well done. If you go big you have to compete with some of the already big established players head to head. It is better to be in the top 3 in a small market than it is to consistently rank #30 for everything. And to beat them with a new site you are really going to have to out market them!

But if you have a big budget and a game changer idea you might want to launch the big one.

Even if you do launch a big one and turn it into a real brand owning the smaller ones probably will not hurt you. Just look at how many thin affiliate looking and near identical sites companies like Monster and Bankrate own.

December 15, 2007 - 5:20am

Aaron,

My site is RentVine.com and most all my pages are index and cached within Google, but for some reason my About Us page is cached by not in the index: http://www.rentvine.com/anc/about.cfm.

I have not blocked it from the search engines in anyway. I can tell it is not indexed because it has no page rank and when you do a search for "RentVine About" in Google it does not appear.

Since it is so close to the root I am confused. Not that is page matter much, I am just curious and baffled.

December 15, 2007 - 7:19am

I am not sure on that one Dave. As a test though, to attempt to half split the issue, I might try to put the same contents on another filename and give it a link and see if that ranks.

December 15, 2007 - 5:55am

Hi Aaron,
To what do extent do you think that Google/Yahoo's results are affected by hand edits.

Also, how important do you think it is to be integrated/linked in your topical community? Will off-topic linkbaits and links from general authority sites be enough to rank most sites?

December 15, 2007 - 7:23am

Hi James
It is hard to answer the first. But stuff they consider spam sometimes lives for years then dies. And sometimes it dies in large swaths from a massive hand edit.

I am a huge fan of being integrated, not just from an SEO perspective but also from an overall marketing perspective. In many industry just general links and linkbait is enough to rank, but it helps to have links from your topical community on queries where localrank might kick in and re-rank the results based on local inter-connectivity.

December 15, 2007 - 6:24am

Hey Aaron,

I own an ecommerce website in a particular niche. I recently bought a non-commercial blog in the same niche that gets 10 times as many visitors as my ecommerce site.

The blog was a labor of love for the previous owner. I want to take over the site and maintain the same level of editorial integrity. In other words, I don't want to flood it with ads for my ecommerce site, which would be easiest and laziest thing to do.

My dilemma is: How do I build value for users of the blog while still finding a way to benefit the ecommerce website.

While I want to maintain the editorial integrity of the blog, the fact is that I wouldn't have bought it unless I saw the synergy between it and my commercial site.

The most important part is that I've made myself part of the "conversation." But how do I capitalize on the "markets are conversations" idea without being too spammy. In other words, how do I go about sneaking in, "btw, we have some great [keyword] over at [domain name of ecommerce site]"?

Thanks.

December 15, 2007 - 7:27am

Hi Furnitureseo
I think in the sidebar you could do a sitewide brought to you by x section where you link to your main company site, with background about it, and links to a few subpages on it.

December 15, 2007 - 6:27am

Hi Aaron,

Does the nofollow attribute pass link juice?

Also, just a thought -
I was just wondering how long google will see 'tags' as a form of keyword stuffing? The reason I ask is because Google seems to want to counteract any trendy SEO strategies.

December 15, 2007 - 7:30am

Hi Rotatedspectrum
I think the reason they largely are dismissive of tags as a strategy is because people use them in such a sloppy manner and tend to waste a lot of link equity creating junk pages...ie: in most cases the cost of tags is greater to the publisher than the potential return.

December 15, 2007 - 7:04am

Hi Aaron. Just wondering which paid seo/marketing tools you recommend for common tasks. Particularly site analysis, competitive research, and ppc management. I have the opportunity to get whatever software I want now and I'm rooting through pages of bs software reviews looking for useful tools.

December 15, 2007 - 7:32am

Hi DarkMatter
Recently I have become a big fan of Compete.com. Most my ppc stuff is small and hand managed. I also tend to do a slow an arduous job of mapping out keywords against site structure using an Excel spreadsheet. I am not yet big on automation for the most part.

December 15, 2007 - 7:11am

Hi Aaron,

For some reason, Google Webmaster Central still shows it's finding 3,000 URLs that haven't existed on my site in over 4 years. The files are long gone. The old directory structure is blocked in robots.txt. What can I do to bury these once and for all? Should I 301 in htaccess each one to the most relevant page today, after all this time, in case there are links to them out there that I can't seem to find? Google must be finding them somewhere. Or do a removal request on each one, even though they don't exist?

It just really bugs me to see the error list over and over again (and then have to weed through it). Thanks!

December 15, 2007 - 7:36am

Hi Adam
Did you check the server header code for those pages as Googlebot?

December 15, 2007 - 7:38am

Thanks Aaron, much appreciated.

December 15, 2007 - 8:06am

Hi Aaron,

I have a site retailing consumer goods. I want to add a blog about a closely related subject to attract quality links to the blog which I hope will increase the SERPS of our retail site. I also hope it will attract additional traffic to the retail site.

Looking around, Wordpress is my software of choice, but my web master can't host it because he hasn't the right software on his server. I've suggeated moving the site to a server which has the right software, but he tells me this would be very expensive because it would cost a great deal of money to port the code.

He wants me to have it hosted by Wordpress and have an alias from my site pointing to it such as www.xxxxxx.co.uk/blog --> blog.xxxxxxx.co.uk

But I have read that for my retailing site to get the full benefit of the links the blog will attract I maust have the blog as part of my site domain on the same server i.e.www.xxxxxxxxxx.co.uk/blog. Is this correct?

What would you advise?

December 15, 2007 - 9:07am

Hi Jono
I think you can get much or most of the benefit from being off a subdomain if they are well cross linked back and forth. Plus you could always move the blog subdomain to /blog later if you wanted to.

December 15, 2007 - 9:37am

Hi Aaron,

Thanks for that.

I didn't want to make that many links from the blog to the retail site because I don't want the blog (which will be about fashion)to have to keep mentioning the retail site, or visa versa. If I do visitors will see it for what it is and not bother to read the bog, so we won't get they number and quality of links I want.

Taking this into account, should I go for broke and move the site?

My webmaster charges $120 an hour. How long should it take to move a site to another server?

Thanks for your help it's much appreciated.

December 15, 2007 - 10:42am

Hi Jono

I am not going to start quoting project times because there are a lot of variables there - worker competency, software features, how critical 100% uptime is, etc.

Just using the same global navigation on both should sufficiently connect them. And you probably do want to mention some of your commercial products in the blog sometime. What is more relevant than how your products help solve the reader's problems?

December 15, 2007 - 11:28am

Thank you for your quick response Aaron. I'm sorry but I don't understand what you mean by this:

"Just using the same global navigation on both should sufficiently connect them."

I would much appreciate it you could explain in a little more detail so I can let my webmaster know how it should be done.

December 15, 2007 - 9:13pm

Hi Jono
Comare tools.seobook.com to seobook.com ... notice the top and bottom navigation are the same? that is what i am talking about...something like that.

December 15, 2007 - 9:02am

Hi Aaron,

Thanks again for this opportunity.

I have a site which will be trading in both France and England. I was hoping to automatically change the content of the homepage to reflect the visitors language. I would achieve this by checking the visitors IP address (to determine location) and then pulling the relevant content/language out of the database.

Is this likely to cause me any problems with search engines?

I'm not doing this for seo/black hat purposes. Its only to give users a better experience.

Thanks,

Sam

December 15, 2007 - 9:11am

Hi Sam
You really should just put the secondary language on a subdomain and then conditionally redirect them to that subdomain if their browser has that language setting. I am not a programmer, but I think it is not that tough to do something like this.

Keeping the different languages on different URLs is important because you want the english pages to rank in one area and the french in another. Mix both languages on one URL and you are going to be missing out on sending visitors to the wrong spots and search engines not ranking you optimally in both locations, etc.

December 15, 2007 - 9:52am

Hey Aaron...these open Q&A posts are really cool :)

I posted a question but it turns out the previous comment pretty much answered it.

But where are a few good places on the web to learn about how dynamic pages are indexed/crawled?

ps. I wanted to search you blog for stuff about dynamic web pages, but I didn't find a search box. I would love for you to add one.

December 15, 2007 - 10:44am

Hi Evan
My top right sidebar has a search box and search is featured aggressively on my homepage.

Dynamic pages are typically crawled just fine in modern times as long as you don't have duplicate content issues or other big technical issues.

While you as an end user may not realize it, this page you are reading is dynamic content, but the .htaccess file was modified to make the URLs appear clean and as though it is not dynamic.

December 15, 2007 - 10:47am

Hi Aaron,
Just wondering if you can offer some advice on SEO for small, local businesses. I have many webdesign clients that also want to achieve front page listings, and I perform all of the normal on-page stuff, such as unique title tags, alt tags on all images, title tags on all links etc...

Could you offer any advice for link building campaigns for these sites? They generally do a lot of recipricol linking, but everything normally goes from a links page - is this okay?

For bigger, affiliate sites I run myself, social networking and link baiting usually are enough to get all the links I need, but with small business sites, there is nothing unique about the content. How would you go about getting links for these kind of small, 4/5 page local sites?

Thanks Aaron - Love the open Q&A's.

DR

December 15, 2007 - 11:03am

Hi Designrandom
Local SEO tips

I would try to mix some of the links on the page contents instead of relying on one reciprical links page. These businesses can join local business groups, the chamber of commerce, trade organizations, donate to local charities, engage in public relations, submit to a few general and niche directories, and consider adding an editorial component (like a blog) if needed.

December 15, 2007 - 4:28pm

Thanks Aaron,
Much appreciated.

December 15, 2007 - 11:19am

Hi Aaron,

what is your stance on blocking image directory from robots? Some sites suggest that you should block Google Imagebot from an e-commerce site due to bandwidth usage etc. What is your recommendation?

Thanks in advance.

December 15, 2007 - 11:24am

Hi Jashnu
I would be more inclined to allow images to get indexed and recommend people embed them into their sites with linking code back to my site, as suggestion on BlogStorm recently.

December 15, 2007 - 11:43am

Thanks for the advice Aaron. What comes to the suggested script, it has some usability issues as it disallows the other right-click features such as back, print etc. so in my opinion it'd be better e.g. to post linking code below.

December 15, 2007 - 12:27pm

Aaron, Do you think domaining is STILL worth trying?

December 15, 2007 - 9:15pm

Hi SEO Junkie
It requires patience and in some cases it requires a good bit of capital. But as you develop free cash flow domains are a good thing to buy to push yourself up the value chain and lock in your market positions.

Read my motivational time out post about how many good domaining deals there are even in 2007.

December 15, 2007 - 1:38pm

I market a site for a client (www.caplanlaw.com) using above board SEO techniques..add lots of relevant content, building backlinks using PR syndication, adwords, etc. For some reason, two competitors seem to consistently outrank us, yet their sites are awful...not new content ever, no resources, zilch. We compete for keyphrases like mn dui attorney, mn criminal lawyer, etc.

any thoughts?

December 15, 2007 - 9:44pm

Hi Scott
Lots of niche and local real estate and legal keywords are dominated by old cheesy sites. I would suggest trying to run a public relations campaign, start blogging, or find other organic or semi-organic means to build links. If they are not risk adverse you may want to try renting some links too, but before spending too much on link renting make sure you have done all your basic level link building.

December 15, 2007 - 1:51pm

Hi Aaron,

BTW...love this Q&A stuff, you're a saint.

For the site i mentioned in the previous post, i have submitted about 4-5 press releases to prleap.com for my client. Yet when I check my google webmaster tools for this site, i never see any additional external links showing up for the site. The site gets crawled at least once a week.

Before i post the press realese to prleap, i always post it on our site first, then wait a least a week for Google to index it.

Is this the proper procedure? And why don't my external links show up?

December 15, 2007 - 9:42pm

Hi Scott
At this point I am not sure how trusted any of the press release sites are for flowing link juice.

I usually only use press releases if I want the press to contact me about something. Sitting on a story for a week then recycling the story tells reporters to ignore the story.

December 15, 2007 - 2:38pm

Hi Aaron,

Great to have this Q&A session again. Truely unique stuff.

I am wondering if the adwords quality scores and guidelines have some implications for organic SEO as well.

For instance it is often suggested to have things like- Privacy policy, About us, Contact us and Resource pages. Currently they do seem to count towards the adwords quality score.

Do you think these factors might make a difference in organic SERPs as well?

In the same way, Google recently implied that the 'lead generation' sites may not be treated favorably for Adwords.

Currently I have some sites that consist of only a single page. Do you think it might hurt if I put an opt-in box on that page? I was wondering about this because that way it would resemble a squeeze page even if I load it with good content.

Another option would be to entice the prospects for a free report on the main page and take them to another page dedicated for the opt-in process. To me it seems that it may also avoid the footprint (same opt-in GetResponse or Aweber ID on multiple sites) by using meta noindex nofollow on this dedicated opt-in page.

I would appreciate your thoughts about this issue. Thanks.

December 15, 2007 - 9:20pm

Hi SEO Nirvana
Having an about page and that sort of stuff makes the site easier to link at and buy from. And beyond that the general guidelines for PPC probably are similar to some of the fundamental thinking for organic search relevancy as well. Andrew Goodman recently posted a great article about how they overlap.

As far as the opt in box, etc. goes...you really have to ask yourself if you are trying to rank a salesletter or you are trying to rank something that should be well represented on the web. Down one path it is probably easier to just get affiliates to do the ranking for you, and down the other you can convert at a bit lower rate but rank way better across a wide array of keywords.

I guess what I am trying to say is that many algorithm proxies for value are accounted for based on how things impact link growth.

December 15, 2007 - 3:03pm

Hi Aaron,

My apologies if this question, or a similar question, has already been addressed above - there's a lot of them!

I'm in the very early stages of starting a Internet Marketing business with two colleagues of mine. We've settled on a name, logo and have started writing copy for the web site (which is not yet live). Our target live date is January 15th, 2008.

My question: if you were in my situation, and you had roughly 8-10 hours per week and about $500 per month to put towards promotion/advertising, what do you think would be your order of action for the first two months? In such a saturated online space, where do you think you'd look to make in-roads and gain visibility?

I understand this is a question that could require a very long response, so feel free to be as brief as you like or point me in the direction of other resources.

I appreciate it!

-Mike Tekula

December 15, 2007 - 9:26pm

Hi Mike

  • I would honestly do whatever I could to free up more time to devote on this project.
  • Then I would create an editorial channel with some high quality content. I would start this well ahead of launch to get some content and traffic flow built up.
  • I also would buy a few links like the Yahoo! Directory and JoeAnt, and some blog specific directories.
  • And I would get a few free links by making a Work.com guide and doing similar stuff to that. Syndication is good.
  • Comment on a few other blog sites and forums and participate in the community. Start today and then maybe you don't seem as pushy if you ask for a favor a month down the road.
  • I would interview experts or come up with some content idea that I needed their feedback on. Get them to feel ownership of some of your ideas.
  • And depending on the product marketing angle and pricepoint maybe launch with an in house affiliate program or through Clickbank.
December 15, 2007 - 3:09pm

You mentioned thin pages and not diluting link equity. I have a small organic local real estate site with only ~100 pages indexed and was going to add a ~300 page fresh content glossary to bring up the page count and create more onsite anchor text links.

I had read something that suggested doing this as each new page was 'born' with a sliver of PR. Reading your comments about link equity and thin pages I am wondering if I am doing the right thing here. I am 250 pages into this project but haven't indexed anything yet, HELP! :)

December 15, 2007 - 9:29pm

Hi Odin

Lets say you have 1000 (arbitrary / not to any scale) units of PageRank spread across 100 pages. Each page gets ~ 10 units of PageRank.

You then decide to add 300 pages. Now whatever PageRank you have is spread across 400 pages. Even if each page gets a sliver, this can still drag down some of the mid tier pages on your other site unless you do link building, depreciate most of the new pages in the site navigational scheme to point a small bit of link equity at them, or the new pages are good enough that some of them are link worthy and they pull link equity into the site

December 15, 2007 - 3:22pm

Aaron,

I am with a software company that promotes mainly one software product.

If we decided to run a blog, then from a PageRank etc point of view, is it better to host a blog on our own domain on the same server where the corporate website is, or is it better to just use another service and just promote and post links back to our main website from there?

December 15, 2007 - 9:31pm

It is best to host the blog on your own site. It gives you more flexibility if you decide you want to change. For example, if Seo Book was on typepad no way it would have got as popular as it did, and then at one point in time I would have had to start over again with link building if I ever wanted to move it.

December 15, 2007 - 5:23pm

Can a blog post be an effective landing page, or is it better to build separate sites for landing pages? I run one blog but would rather create a post (or page) to serve as a landing page for a product and then link to it from the main page, than have to build several new sites from scratch.

December 15, 2007 - 9:40pm

Hi Lincoln
A blog is just a content management system. Of course you can use it as a landing page. But you probably want to turn comments off, and may need to make a few other modifications too. And some blogging platforms also publish pages outside of their blog.

Another option is to view the output page source code from a blog page and then modify that as needed to make an optimized landing page.

December 15, 2007 - 6:32pm

Hi Aaron. In a reply to a question above you said:

"While you as an end user may not realize it, this page you are reading is dynamic content, but the .htaccess file was modified to make the URLs appear clean and as though it is not dynamic."

How is it that you do this? (Or, if it's easier for you, do you have a link to somebody else's explanation of how to do it?)

Edit: Nvm. Found the answer on an earlier post from your site.

December 15, 2007 - 6:35pm

Hi Aaron,

great to see you running such a thread again.

This would be my question, hopefully you can answer it:

If you had a brand new site (say it's not in a super-competitive niche) what would you do in order to overcome the first mover advantage that other sites have (age + links attracting more links)?

What would you do to get noticed in the beginning?

Would this be the approach you'd take:

1. Submit to a few trusted directories and to as many(?) niche directories as possible.

2. Be present on many forums in the niche.

3. Create one really great and unique piece of content that adds value to many other sites in the niche. Then send personalized e-mail requests to as many webmasters as possible telling them about that piece of content and how it would add value to their sites and where exactly on their site it would make sense to link out to it?

Is that what you would do? basically creating a great piece of content and then push-marketing the hell out of it by being aggressive and smooth with e-mail requests?

Or would you do it differently?

December 15, 2007 - 9:34pm

Hi Patrick
You probably mentione just about what I would do too. Like I stated in an earlier comment I would make sure the site design and domain name were great too.

And I am a big fan on bolting on a blog as a marketing strategy because they are so easy to build audiences with.

December 15, 2007 - 7:29pm

Aaron - Seasons Greetings to you and your wife.

I need someone to build a threaded WP blog with all the add ins - similar to yours which is nice.

I am not competing with you even though I am a practicing SEO I have a niche I want to target

So I'm looking for a nice WP designer

Thanks

David

December 15, 2007 - 9:38pm

Hi David
ShoeMoney recently recommended these guys.

December 15, 2007 - 9:44pm

Hi Aaron!

Question: is it wise to open a blog on a portal-like website, which has already many sections and subpages? Is forum a better idea in this case? Or is the website self-sufficient, when being of the portal type, not needing a blog to promote itself?

Thanks and Merry Xmas! Lots of love, health and money in 2008!

December 15, 2007 - 9:48pm

Hi Evernerve

One man's failure is blinding success for the next. Success is relative. I think only you can answer the question on if the website is self-sufficient and successful enough.

As far as blog vs forum...blogs are good if you want to be the editorial leader in a space and want to control the conversation. Forums are better for if you want it to have more of a community feel without pushing the dominant central voice.

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