Thursday, January 24, 2008

LinkSpiel Is A SEMMY Finalist! Whoo Hoo!

The Link Spiel made it as a SEMMY finalist in the link building category!

Whoo hoooooo!

Sorry - still can't help but giggle every time I say the name "SEMMY". I really want to win just so I can blast out press releases and blog posts with this title:

The Link Spiel Has A SEMMY.

Finding a picture for that blog post could be fun.

Or not depending on your point of view. Anyway, here's the post that got the nod -

So PLEASE! Pop over to the SEMMYS and vote for the Link Spiel. If we win we promise to:
  • work to put a link in every pot,
  • eliminate pink apartheid,
  • ban the senseless use of nofollow and
  • reduce penalties on paid links.

Or not. But we will definitely promise to be appreciative and far less corny in the future.



Sunday, January 20, 2008

Silence Of The Link Lambs

Last week Search Engine Land posted information about a link building opportunity with Wired that caused a bit of commotion after people took advantage of the opportunity.

Tonight I got an email from StomperNet explaining a similar firestorm caused by it's members with the site Here's an excerpt from that group broadcast that explained (in part) what happened:

..."OK, just about two weeks ago we released our "NoSecrets" video. In that video we gave a bunch of new strategies for using social media sites to build your business. One of those sites was this is where it got interesting ... That NoSecrets" video went viral... And it was viewed many, many tens of thousands of times. Naturally, many of those people put the strategies to work.... But, of course, with SO many people viewing the video, well let's just say not all of them used the strategy the way they were supposed to*. And just a few days after we released thatvideo, made some changes. They posted about those changes on their blog..."

More " we've been spammed, Internet marketers be damned" drama. Interesting.

No, I don't condone spam and even more importantly, I don't condone stupidity. Anytime I write about a strategy and provide example sites, I try to add a "don't spam" type disclaimer. Not because I'm covering my ass but for site preservation. I don't want to add to the demise of open sources, I saw what happened to places like Yahoo! Answers and, and I don't want to be part of turning those places pink.

(Yes I know, this little blog isn't in the same league as SEL or Stompernet when it comes to influence, but hey -- even small voices carry on the 'Net. :)

Publicly sharing link building information and resources has become difficult recently. With certain tactics on the outs and open sources now fighting back, sharing where and how to get links has become a touchy subject.

How much is too much information? Do you discuss principles and leave out the specifics? Do you talk about the type of site but never reference one by name? I've always freely shared ideas and sources because it's how I was taught and how I continue to learn. I'm one of those old hippie types who believes in the communal nature of the Net so I contribute and give back by sharing what I know works. My defiant ying side wants to scream out stuff like this:
Link far out and stick it to the man.

But the yang is a little different. I'm also an ISTJ pragmatist who thinks sites accepting UGC (user generated content) shouldn't be surprised when their systems are challenged by large numbers of people looking to add their articles. Especially when those sites were built to accept those articles to begin with! If you think what's being submitted is spam, bounce it. IMO, public sites accepting content shouldn't build a business without a spam contingency plan.

So what's an old Pink Floyd lovin', granola chewing link building chick supporting a viable 2008 business and a new Lexus supposed to do? Share? Not share? Go underground or worse...regurgitate?

Lots of questions, not so many answers - yet. For now I'm going to keep on truckin' but with a Mad Eye Moody approach. Hopefully no one will come along and eat me alive for doing so.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Is PageRank Asking For It?

Over on the LED-Digest today a post was made about paid links and how the the whole hoopla surrounding them would basically go away if Google just dropped the visible PageRank bar.


The concept of keeping PageRank hidden won't stop people from buying or selling links. They'll just come up with a rating system of their own or determine ad rates based on where a page ranks in the search results. You know, kinda like a lot of smart webmasters are doing now...

Maybe we should just make the serps invisible, that will fix things.

Monday, January 14, 2008

This Link Building Was Pure Genius

First an annoucement and then a link tip so please don't quit reading because you've already heard about the SEMMYS...

Thankfully those of us working in the SEO/SEM industry aren't on strike or we'd have far fewer articles to fill nomination spots for the new SEMMYS.

The SEMMYS are a collection of search marketing blog posts our friend Matt McGee showcased on his blog, Small Business SEM during 2007. There are 15 categories including, SEO, Local Search, Analytics, Rants and of course the most prestigious one (cough) - Link Building.

Yours truly is a judge in the SEO category along with Eric Enge and Andy Beal. We have a ton of articles to read through and adjudicate so I'm going to be busy for a bit.

It's important to keep in mind the articles selected are from Matt's weekly round-up lists, he had quite the collection in 2007. There wasn't a nomination or selection process so in the future it might be a good idea to suck up to Matt when you see him around the conferences.

Which is the other point I want to make about the SEMMYS in addition to announcing them.

This was a stroke of genius on Matt's part IMO, think about it... If you're an up-and-comer in SEO you'll work hard to get on Matt's radar by linking to and writing about him.
In turn (and here is where the genius comes in) Matt is going to get:
  • A ton of on topic relevant editoral links which will probably
  • Sit in content areas within a blog or site and
  • Come from thematically related sites/blogs
Now if you're an old-and-been-arounder like me, and were either nominated, asked to judge or just annouce SEO news, you're going to link to Matt's site which means he's going to get:
  • A ton of on topic relevant editoral links which will probably
  • Sit in content areas within a blog or site and
  • Get a bunch of less effective but still good links embedded in his badges as well as
  • Long term branding since we're lazy bloggers and don't take badges down and all this will
  • Come from thematically related sites/blogs that have been (mostly)online for more than two years.
Hmmm. Do you think that's the end of it and there's no more links to squeeze of out this? Think again.

There are two hits on Google News for the search term "semmys" and I'm sure more will come when Matt issues a press release. The annoucement for the program has been Sphunn, was added to the SEL daily Search Cap, made Gooruze, SE Roundtable, Cre8asite Forums, SEOBook, Bruce Clay's Blog, Cartoon Barry, and Search Engine Guide, not to mention a ton of other sites.

Pretty impressive list of sites from the SEO community isn't it? And you know what's even more impressive? The contest was officially annouced earlier today (1/14/08), all this attention and all these links --in ONE DAY!

Like I said - smart move. If you're a little-fish-in-a-big-pond, or even an old-fish-in-an-established-watering-hole and want editoral links from authority sites in your niche, this might be a good way to go about attracting them.

Do you have an opportunity like this in your industry?

Sphinn this here if you liked this post. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Almost The Best Link Building Blog Of 2007

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who voted for the Link Spiel in the recent Search Engine Journal 2007 Blog Awards contest. Here's the post Loren made announcing the winners:

Wow, the Best Link Building Blog of 2007 category was almost an all out tie, with last year’s winner, Jim Boykin, bringing in the bulk of the votes, but Debra Mastaler’s The Link Spiel, bringing in a higher percentage of top ratings.

Both blogs are at the top of their game and both bloggers are excellent speakers and trusted authorities on link building. Debra’s blog The Link Spiel has grown quite large in the past year and is a must read on my RSS reader. Jim Boykin has been pumping out link building tips and ideas for years now, and his blog has been a must read since day one.

Most of the bloggers in the link building category are people I call friend, some longer than others but friends just the same. From the looks of the results, everyone did well which means lots of people are reading - and hopefully learning from what's being shared. I know I learn and grow from listening to this group every day.

Blogging regularly is hard, time is precious and breaking news isn't exactly an every day occurrence in this niche. I started this blog as a way to improve my writing skills but found I genuinely enjoy sharing what I find and know about link marketing/building. Now, I worry less about my grammar and more about what I share - which is probably how it should be anyway.

The Link Spiel will have a new home soon, Alliance-Link is being redesigned (finally!) and a place has been made for her. She will be, like the packages always say "new and improved" so stay tuned. In the mean time, I'll plug away here and try not to go underground. ;)

So again - thank you. I appreciate the time you took to vote for the Link Spiel and the fact you think highly of her content. So...

Come back, drop a comment and read a little spiel.
You'll learn a bunch, laugh a lot and definitely be made to feel
That what you read is usable and something you can tap
To implement and get more links so you don't rank like crap.

Debra Mastaler

Monday, January 07, 2008

Ok, It's Settled. Link Bait Is A Science. Or Not.

Does anyone else think it's a little odd for a hospital research group to use an 11 year old algorithm to plot a course for staph?

Would that article have gotten as much play had it NOT used the word "Google" in it's title?

Also, last month (Dec '07) this article surfaced in NewScientist magazine

It's a recap of a report published by researchers from the University of California/Berkeley on how Google's PageRank algorithm can be used to help study the human brain information retrieval process. (Bill Slawski found the paper for me, thanks!)

The paper was presented at a technology conference (again - interesting) and then picked up by NewScientist magazine. Seems there really is more to PageRank than being fodder for SEO ire.

Now please don't go getting all huffy and accuse me of being a medical killjoy or wanting to hoard PageRank for the SEO community - it just ain't so. I'm all for the spread of green love in the world.

But still... (seriously now) the whole thing seems a little creepy and not because they're talking about staph. Bill pointed out scientists/researchers tend to use popular terms and examples (like the word "google") to reinforce concepts and I get that but - does the scientific community really need to use the word Google in the title of their research papers to get attention?

Cynical me says "seems so". Again - it IS an 11 year old algorithm... and Google is trading at what - a bazillion dollars a share? Are these people really using the best mathematical equations to find medical answers to benefit mankind or one that grabs attention and maybe research dollars?

One thing's for sure - it appears our friends in the medical/scientific community have learned the fine art of link bait. Which means it's really a science - right? Link bait for science. Has a nice ring to it.

If this spread of research love continues I wouldn't be surprised to see PageRank as Time Magazine's Person of the Year.... ;) Hey- add that to the prediction list!


iBrian sphunn a story about the staph post here:
But nothing coming back from the medical community....... wonder how come?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Will The Real Search Engine Blog Please Stand Up?

Earlier today I read the The 2007 Paid Links War, In Review post on Search Engine Land and clicked through to the links within the article. After reading, clicking, and reading some more, I realized I had spent a solid 20 minutes on the post and had visited 12 different sites. Wow.

I came away with two things as a result:

1. I appreciate the time and effort it took Vanessa Fox to write the article, it's a huge amount of work and I think sites like SEL, Search Engine Guide, SER and SEJ provide a tremendous information service to the SEO community and/or anyone wanting to learn about the world of search marketing. And...

2. I have to wonder how does a small business person - or anyone outside of the SEO circle find the nuggets of information being shared by search engine representatives on individual, private commercial blogs?

Why isn't information like this (see below) being added to the official search engine blogs? How would anyone in the small business community know to look on this blog, scroll through the mounds of comments to find a significant statement like this one made by Google Engineer Matt Cutts on paid links:

I think quoting me as saying "ALL links inside of any sponsored post should carry the no-follow tag period, regardless of whether they are required, not required or even link to the advertiser paying for the post" is different than our conversation. I believe that I said that adding nofollow to all links in paid posts would certainly be safe.
Bold mine. I wonder why this wasn't blogged about on an official search engine vehicle with links to the originating story/comments? The host blog would still get some attention, the search engine would make their point clear and official and the rest of us only have to visit one place. Win, win win.

Come on guys, you want us to follow your webmaster rules then make it official by posting them in one place, on your company blogs. Let's get rid of the FUD, the crude, and the mud associated with near-miss comments by people trying to share.

I'm not suggesting the information you're dropping around isn't helpful - it is - but it's damn hard to follow when it's left all over the blogesphere.