Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This Isn't a Long Tail But A Long List

Chris Anderson, editor of Wired Magazine and author of The Long Tail had an interesting post the other day, seems he's fed up with being spammed by public relations people who aren't taking the time to find the right staff people on Wired to send their releases to. He's been bombarded and has drawn the line in the sand:

So fair warning: I only want two kinds of email: those from people I know, and those from people who have taken the time to find out what I'm interested in and composed a note meant to appeal to that (I love those emails; indeed, that's why my email address is public). Everything else gets banned on first abuse. The following is just the last month's list of people and companies who have been added to my Outlook blocked list.

He then goes on and lists the email addresses of people currently banned from his Outlook. It's a very very very long list which is both scary and interesting (IMO) if you take a look at some of the companies listed. Companies that ought to know better and are probably charging an arm and a leg for their services.

If you have a story you're pitching or a release you'd like reviewed, it's best to pick up the phone, call the media source and get a name. Most of these places are willing to tell you so be prepared to quickly but succiently outline your topic so they send you to the right person. No long spiels no pitches. Just the facts ma'am.

Link Rap w/da Moserious

You create a new site and its content heavy,
With the right amount of pictures you believe it’s ready,
So you launch it trying to put money in da bank,
But when you search and try to find yourself, you can’t,
So you thank until your mind goes blank,
Got titles and headers but no page rank,
Sooner or later it will show if I wait,
In the meantime make sure my code validate,
And it do,Hmm, now what I’m supposed to do,
Add meta information and alt tags too,
Still don’t get listing,Something must be missing,
Brad and Chuck recommended doing link building,
So you start hunting down sites like a predator,
Doing back links on all your competitors,
Whoever linking to them need to link to me,
Is it free, do we swap, or do I pay a fee,
Well take it from us, before you take that step,
Some things about the site that you might want to check,
Did they use a link farm or some dirty tactics,
Could have a bad effect on your site that’s drastic,
Could’ve link baited, look at what they created,
Compare it to yours, is it even related,
Take the time, go inspect and see,
Take advantage of paid directories,
If you follow all the steps with a little bit of patience,
Get links from relevant sites that are favorites,
Update your content on the regular basis,
I’m confident you’ll make it to first page placement

Great video, I think I'll change my link builidng training outline now although I can't wear the hat. Nothing messes with THE HAIR. ;)

Found the video on Digg - will be interesting to watch how this does over there.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hi I'm Debra And I'm A Directory Addict.

I've been wanting to do a post about directories for a while since they've been in the SEO news lately, had thought to post after the flap last month but decided to wait until the firestorm settled. I dislike knee jerk reactions and didn’t want to add to an already over saturated conversation.

But since the statute of limitations has run out on the topic of directories and with last week's PageRank debacle I thought hmmm... might be a good time to talk about directories still being a viable link source. Of course this will have to get through the current PageRank debates but I suspect enough of us are already tired of that one and will welcome reading about something different.

Directories are like any other business; some are well run and provide a good service while others don’t. My purpose for this post isn’t to point out the less-than-stellar general directories but to showcase directories I consider to be solid and explain why they’re still a viable option for link building. To do that, let’s step back a bit…..

In February of 1994, two Stanford University students started organizing lists of their favorite links to a website they called “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web” . David Filo and Jerry Yang kept adding sites and pretty soon their lists had to be divided into categories and eventually sub categories to stay organized. The site was a hit both on campus and off and in the fall of 1994 the collection of links had a million hit day and almost 100 thousand unique visitors. From that, the Yahoo! Directory was born and so started the boom of commercial human-reviewed directories on the Internet.

Since then a lot of directories have come and gone but their main purpose of providing reviewed resources in a categorized fashion remains. They run the gambit from being personal to institutional lists of sites categorized by human subject experts. Most are commercial, a handful like the DMOZ are not. Websites submitted are placed in one or more categories based on their associated relevance and are usually divided into subject and geographical hierarchies. (I say "usually" because not all directories have geographical categories).

Submitted sites are allowed to provide a business description and in most cases, hyperlinked text. The single thread of commonality all directories share is this human review system. Spiders create databases, humans - directories.

In the early days of the Web/Net, directory editors went out looking to add great sites as a way to attract attention and a search following. It was a tremendous amount of work (and continues to be), but a popular way to search at the time. Gradually engines became more sophisticated and with the millions of sites coming online, the task of hand adding sites became almost impossible. Now, directory owners have to pay staffs to keep updating their properties and charge for submission as a way to cover payroll. Does paying to be listed somehow negate their purpose and objectivity?

I don’t think so. And apparantely neither does Google representative Matt Cutts:

I’ll try to give a few rules of thumb to think about when looking at a directory. When considering submitting to a directory, I’d ask questions like:- Does the directory reject urls? If every url passes a review, the directory gets closer to just a list of links or a free-for-all link site.- What is the quality of urls in the directory? Suppose a site rejects 25% of submissions, but the urls that are accepted/listed are still quite low-quality or spammy. That doesn’t speak well to the quality of the directory.- If there is a fee, what’s the purpose of the fee? For a high-quality directory, the fee is primarily for the time/effort for someone to do a genuine evaluation of a url or site.

I recently made this comment and feel it sums up why you should continue to submit to directories:
The concept of merit based inclusion is what makes securing links in the better directories desirable. It’s reasoned that search engines bestow hub authority on these sites because human review is necessary before a site is included. And since human review is part of the co citation process search engines are programmed to reward, it stands to reason these types of sites would pass link popularity.
I've publically said I thought there were about 25 or so general directories worth submitting to and with the exception of my friends at Aviva , they're all still online and kicking up some green. (Meaning money not PageRank, although some would argue it's one and the same. Hey, it's Halloween, so I'm in the spirit and stirring the pot baby ;)

It would be naive to say everyone in the directory business is in it to make the world a better place, clearly a number of directories have come on board as money and/or network makers. I've listed my "stay-away-from" points several times in detail but the main point I look for is:
If the directory hosts as many Adsense ads (or close) on sub-category pages, then I say pass. Adsense detracts from your submission.

I'm only talking about general directories here, there are tons of niche, geographical, RSS, blog, podcast, video, how-to, etc type directories available to anyone who goes looking. I like the ISEDB for niche directories, and Master New Media for the others. (just search on "directories" on the home page).

Here's a portion of the list I generally use. Those sites with stars next to them are directories that have kindly offered to give us a discount code on submission:

Best Of The Web (BOTW)*


Ezilon - USA *

Ezilon - UK/Europe*


Massive Links *

Aviva *


Rubberstamped *

WebXperience *



Web World Index


Site-Sift *




Webotopia *

Site Snoop

Permanent Listings

I'm sure I've left someone off but this is only a 30 mintue show so I'm stopping here. Submitting to directories is still a solid, basic foundational linking tactic that offers you a way to get started using reputable companies to secure links from. Will it net you tons of PageRank, traffic or glory within the search results? Of course not, but every site has to start somewhere so start with the directories.

Want to get started on a directory submission service and save a little dough in the process? Here's the list of directories that extended a promotion code or other special discounts to you loyal readers of the Link Spiel. I've copied and pasted their responses below. If you have a question please contact them directly.

Directory Discount Submission Codes/Offers:

BOTW - For a limited time only, BOTW is pleased to offer all Link Spiel readers an exclusive 20% discount on BOTW Directory submissions. That’s right! SAVE 20% on All NEW Directory Submissions in the Best of the Web Directory and BOTW Blog Directory from now until the end of November 2007. The promo code may be used multiple times for multiple site submissions during the month of November 2007. Remember - the code will expire on November 30, 2007 so be sure to take advantage of the 20% discount before it's too late!” Promo Code: LINKSPIEL

Ezilon - Offering 20% off their regular submission price of $69 now through the end of November. (2007)

Rubberstamped - Offering a buy one get one free deal through November 15, 2007. Submit and pay for first submission. In the comments box on the PayPal form,add the code "Dm-promotion" and make a note of the two URLs you aresubmitting. Then, submit the second URL to the directory as normal, but skip the PayPal stage. Any problems or queries, email

eWilla - Special offer from The Link Spiel: receive $5 off your standard listingsubmission at Use the term LINKSPIEL with your submission. Limit of one $5-off offer per customer. Expires November 30th.

Aviva Directory - Promotion code is: Debra (note - it's case sensitive).The code is good for $20 off a submission until the end of November.

Massive Links - Offering a 25% discount for all Link Spiel readers for unlimited number of sites until November 30, 2007. When submitting your site place this code: DEBRA-M at the end of the description of your site when filling out the form and make the full payment. When we process the submission we’ll refund 25% of your payment. If you have any questions please contact us using this form or contact us by phone. The number is on the contact form. You can view the different listings available here

LIMITED TIME FREEBIES ***********************

The first 5 people submitting comments on the Link Spiel with their name and email address and the phrase "hey Deb I want the freebie" will be given a free submission to the following directories: THIS PROMOTION HAS CLOSED.

Site-Sift and WebXperience and Webotopia

(Offer limited to first five non-spam replies in comments on the Link Spiel.) All five have been claimed.

Ok so that's it for today. It's been a rough Monday, I started the day badly when I realized I had sent Chris (Sherman) my rough draft for Search Engine Land's Link Week instead of the final post. Didn't seem to matter because Eric Lander (thanks BTW:) sphunn it and it went HOT without ANY BEGGING. ;)

So if you have a second, please head back to SEL and re-read my Link Week post, I promise it will make more sense.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

10 KickAss Ways To Stop Procrastinating & Start A Link Building Campaign

10 Ways To Stop Procrastinating & Start A Link Building Campaign


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Link Laugh

Start your day with a laugh, check out this hilarious video by comedian Anita Renfroe.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Browse8 Directory Special

The good folks at Browse8 Directory are offering a 2-for-1 deal on regular and sponsored submissions through the end of the month . Here's what you have to do...
Submit your site through the directory's submission form and then email them at:


with the second link you want submitted. Be sure to reference the URL you submitted and paid for in the email so they can match it up and tell which link is yours.

Yeah it's a little confusing but hey, you get two lifetime links for $35 so it's worth it.

Sponsor listings cost more and are annual so be sure to read up on those details.

UPDATED: Found out today this TwoFer offer is only good if you already have a link in browse8.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Small Business Brief Relaunches And Looks Fetching

First we dugg, then we sphunn and now we can fetch!

Small Business Brief, which has been home to small business marketing news since early 2004, re-launched Wednesday with a new look and now incorporates the story submission and voting concept made popular by social news site Digg.

I encourage anyone interested in marketing a small business to register and share your news, thoughts and impressions.

See you on the Small Business Brief!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Who's Lying About NoFollow?

Aaron: Have you ever felt a search engineer was lying about something? If so, have you ever called them out on it?

BLueHatSEO/Eli: I think we're being lied to about nofollow. Consider this the call out :)

Oh man, that's like waving Boones Farm at a wino but jerking your hand away when they lunge for it.

Come on Eli, spill and I love the way you use the word "gosh". :)

Great interview on SEOBook

**(Added) Found another good interview done by my buddy Peter D from LinkJuicy on link baiting, this one given by Michael Gray. It's a good read with one exception:

If Google wins what’s going to happen is the market will go underground. You’re going to have to "know a guy" to get you links.

...OR - "know a girl" ;)

What The Best Dressed Link Builders Wear

Are you looking for something new to wear to SMX New York this month?

I was until I found this on SEO Shirts!

What do you think, hair up or down?

Monday, October 08, 2007

That Virginia, She Links Around

SEO skepticism, thy name is Virginia.

Yes, Virginia, Google Will Hurt Your Site For Selling Links Danny Sullivan, 10/7/07

Yes Virginia, you can brand with search David Singh 9/28/07

yes-virginia-there-are-followed-wikipedia-links Matt McGee 7/12/07

Yes, Virginia, Search Engine Optimization Is Worth The Investment Robert Ezparza 6/15/07

Yes, Virginia, there is a natural and paid search synergy Greg Jarboe 4/29/07

Yes Virginia, SEO Is Rocket Science - Defending Search Engine Optimization Once Again Danny Sullivan 12/21/06

yes-virginia-design-can-be-link-bait-too Rand Fishkin 12/6/05

Yes, Virginia, There Is SEM Brand Lift, Parts I & II 7/23/04 Kevin Lee

Yes, Virginia, Viral Marketing Really is a Key Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Component 7/01 John Lustina

It's interesting, the premise behind the answer eight year old Virginia O'Hanlon got over 100 years ago still applies, albeit on a slightly different topic.

I wonder if I wrote a newspaper like Virginia did, say maybe the New Scientist or the Stanford Daily and asked if SEO was real... I wonder what they'd say.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Sometimes It's Just A Damn Link!

In regards to directory submissions as a link building tactic:

Sometimes it's not about quality.

Or relevance.

Or community, networking, neighborhoods, complementary sites or rocket science.

Sometimes it's just about getting backlinks from sites already in the search indexes so you can get started.

Granted, some of them have taken a beating lately but there's a good majority of general and niche directories that haven't. And if by chance one of the directories falls from grace after you've added your site to it, that's ok too.

You'll be long gone doing other things to get the link ball rolling. (right?)

So please. Let's call a spade a spade. Using the directories to build inbound links won't up your relevance/quality/credibility factor much, but it will add to your link count.

And that's important too.