Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dude, Your Site Is Boring No Links For You

At last week's SMB Unleashed Conference in Houston someone asked what was the hardest part of my job as a link builder. Was it the:

Massive amount of time involved in competitive research? Or -

The massive amount of time involved in negotiating space? Or -

Developing new and creative content that continually attracts links?

Nope, no and no again.

IMO, the hardest part of my job is telling someone you won't be able to secure the authority links they so desperately want because their site is a boring, forgetable mess. That doesn't mean I would muster up low quality links either, I just wouldn't work for them period unless they were willing to make some changes.

No matter how I spin it, when I tell someone " your site is boring and lacks credibility as a result. No one will link to it unless you make some changes..." that doesn't go over well with most people. It's easier when you have something tangible to point to like poor design, poor usability, outdated content, broken links, over-use of Adsense and no About Us page. But you're not always that lucky and it's never that easy, sometimes it's just a case of dull and boring.

It's easier to define credibility than "dull" since "dull" is somewhat subjective. Boring content is unemotional, unattached and one dimensional, so it stands to reason you're not going to find motivated people creating captivating pages that elicit credibility. Take dull and now add lack of trust and you have one dud site to try and secure links for.

To me, David Hasselhof is boring.

Vin Diesel is not.

Hamburger is boring. Kobe beef is not.

Birkenstocks are boring (and ugly). Jimmy Choo's are not.

Canned sales verbiage is boring and lacks credibility. Product reviews and testimonials are not.

You can say "boring" is a matter of taste much like beauty is in the eye of the beholder but really... when it comes to selling yourself and establishing credibility online, would you attract more confidence and links by:

  • Hosting information on David Hasselhof eating burgers in Birkenstocks Or --
  • Vin Diesel noshing on Kobe beef with a date in Jimmy Choos?
I'm betting the latter - unless of course you're Amish or somehow challenged.

OK so the example is a little extreme, but you get the point. Your link building and content generation campaigns shouldn't be where you scrimp on costs or creative energy, they're key to your overall online marketing success.

You can't afford to have a dull site or one lacking credibility if you want to attract links, build brand and drive targeted traffic. If you don't have content to use as a hook or the site lacks certain credibility elements then you need to spend the money and have them created otherwise, no one will link to you.

Old and stale beget no links and sales . Don’t skimp on paying for content.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Usurp Wikipedia And Build Authority. Cool.

If you're in the market to find ways to usurp an encyclopedic interloper and wanted to reestablish a long time brand while helping websites develop topical authority in the process, how would you do it?

Seems Encyclopædia Britannica found one. They've created an information widget webmasters can use to place authoritative information on their sites from EC's databases even the paid sections. Here's what it looks like and the marketing spiel that was launched with it:

Britannica Widgets are here, and with them you can instantly post an entire cluster of related Encyclopaedia Britannica articles on your blog or Web site. Just follow the instructions and copy and paste the several lines of code associated with each widget as html into the appropriate place on your site. Any readers who click on a link will get the entire Britannica article on the subject, even if access to the article normally requires a subscription. Really. Try it.

So let’s say you have a site about philosophy, or astronomy, or basketball. Stick one of the widgets below on your site and your readers will instantly have access to Britannica’s coverage of the subject.
Hopefully Britannica won't get a widget smack for using these, will be interesting to watch and see what happens. I'm rooting for them.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Just A Link Laugh

This is pretty funny and reinforces the notion people will do anything for money... or tequila shots. (try to hang to the end, that's the best part)

Monday, April 07, 2008

How To Expose Your Brand Without Wearing A Trenchcoat

I got a clever email recently from another SEO (who shall remain nameless), it's a very creative brand building promotion that didn't cost this person a dime to implement.

I want to share the email because it's a great way to generate exposure especially if you have a small marketing budget but need a big way to attract attention. While I changed the email verbiage to protect the sender, the full spirit and process of the promotion is there.

The email was sent to the friends, customers and newsletter participants of this SEO. The "gift" mentioned in the copy was impressive and extremely valuable, a definite motivator. Here's the email:

Subject: Want A Complimentary Really Nice Gift at SMX Munich?

Hey there, this will just take a couple of seconds!

SMX Munich is right around the corner and I'll be there! The first client that comes up to me and asks for a Really Nice Gift will get it, no strings attached and no April Fools joke.

Well ok, there is one string attached.

Popular SEO Website is running a contest and the grand prize is a ticket to SMX Munich. If you want my Really Nice Gift, you need to get me to Munich!

So go to their site and post a comment telling them you want me – Great SEO Guru - to have the free ticket to SMX and include a link back to my site. (Provides URL)

After all, you can’t get the Really Nice Gift if I’m not at the show in Munich right?
The point of the promotion wasn't to get a bunch of comment links, it was to motivate people to talk about the Great SEO Guru on a highly visible website. He used a contest someone else was running to promote himself and maybe win a free ticket worth over a thousand bucks in the process.

A couple people talk about you, others go to investigate. Lots of eyeballs read that post and lots of people noticed the multiple comments being left for the Great SEO Guru. Pretty smart.

For the ten minutes it took to write the email and send it, I'd say that was a great return on exposure investment.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

In The BigTop With Alltop

I found out yesterday the Link Spiel has been added to Guy Kawasaki's new ALLTOP website which is very cool.

Alltop lists the latest headlines from a wide range of blogs categorized by topic for easy browsing.

Here's a snippet from their media release:
We help you explore your passions by collecting stories from “all the top” sites on the web. We’ve grouped these collections — ”aggregations” — into individual Alltop sites based on topics such as environment, photography, science, celebrity gossip, fashion, gaming, sports, politics, automobiles, and Macintosh.
Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth I'm happy the Link Spiel was included and thank David Harry for publicly whining on my behalf. But I have to admit to being a little surprised.

I've never met David. We've never even exchanged emails so I'm doubly thankful for his comment and the fact he thinks enough of me to mention my name.

I'm pretty sure this little blog wouldn't have been added without David shouting out to Guy-liath and bringing him down for a look.

So big thanks to Guy and David for adding me to the fray. :)