Friday, July 11, 2008

Google Wants To Know About Incompetent SEO's.

Google recently changed it's "What's An SEO" page, they blogged about it on the official blog June 30. On July 1, Googler John Mu posted this in GoogleGroups,

Suppose a webmaster were to come to you and ask for advice on finding someone who can help optimize his site for search engines. How would you recommend that they get started? Where should they look for SEOs? Which questions should they ask? How could they recognize competent (or incompetent) SEOs?
Bold mine.

The last line caused my eyebrows to go up a bit. "Incompetent" as opposed to unethical, that surprised me. defines "incompetent" as "not competent; lacking qualification or ability; incapable". Interesting, although I guess you could make a long-winded case the two are interrelated.

None of the people responding to John Mu's post focused on "incompetent" SEO's - but just about everyone used the word "snakeoil" in their comments. Again - interesting.
Anyone else wonder why a company who names spam control tools after certain members of the SEO community solicits feedback on incompetent SEO's?

Enough about Google, I want to end the week on a positive note.

Wiep sent me new baby pictures of his son Liam - here's my fav. Enjoy his bright face and the weekend.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Calling Matt Cutts To The Bat Phone

This post has been moved to the new link building blog the Link Spiel. You'll find the entire post here:

Dear Matt Cutts:

I hope this finds you well. :)

I'm writing to ask a question about anchor text and if you count the anchor found in a second link on a page. There's been a lot of discussion on this topic recently, it's an important point and one a lot of people want more information on so... since it's a subject only Google can definitively answer I thought I'd go straight to the source and ask.....

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Trade You A Smarte Car For A Link

In marketing, it's all about perception.
In link building, it's all about authority.
So how do you mirror the two for links?

If you've ever done any link building you know you have to either ask for or create something to attract links, they just don't drop out of the sky. Regardless of what method you use, in order to secure links you have to develop some content to arouse interest and stimulate action. The million dollar question then becomes - what's the best line to use to get a link?

If you owned a company that manufactured "Smarte Cars" and wanted to launch a promotional campaign where securing inbound links was one of your objectives, which approach do you think would net more links in the end?

Set A:

  • Paid links: "I'll give you $20 if you place my link on your page"
  • Reciprocal links: "Let's trade links, I'll put yours on mine and you put mine on yours"
  • Paid Reviews: "We'll pay a fee if you write a product review with my URL in it.

Set B:

  • Promotional product placement: "We'll pay you to place our branded link on your webpage and list you as a promotional partner in our sales collateral.
  • Incentive promotion: "Trade you a smart car for a link on your home page"
  • Content development: "Hey there Miss blogger, you write what we live. We'd love to be part of your audience would you consider posting my article on Smarte Cars? Even if you can't, please keep our article and the $10 gasoline coupon enclosed."

Which set of tactics do you think are more effective algorithmically when it comes to link building? Which set do you think will experience higher response rates?

Let's look at the relevancy factor first. Can't say one set will benefit algorithmically over the other, both sets of tactics should draw the same amount of relevance since both sets are placing links on pages thematically related to yours.

Can't say anchor text because the power behind the keyword works for either set of tactics as well. From a link popularity standpoint both the relevancy and anchor text components are duly represented so algorithmically either set would work.

And you can't say one set of tactics is sanctioned by the engines over the other because really, the principle behind both sets is the same. So which one do you think is more effective and why?

From my experience, the second set results in more responses and links secured. Why? Because the second set of tactics sounds more professional, conveys authority and gives the perception the end user is getting the better end of the deal. Waving incentives and reinforcing benefits will usually result in more open and response rates.

That old saying "it's not what you say, it's how you say it" is spot on in this situation. If you send out the old "swap with me for PageRank" type letter you'll find lower results than if you offer an incentive to act and develop your inquiry to sound beneficial for both parties.

Bottom line? Throw out those old letters and boring articles and incorporate incentives to your link building content. Extend a great gimmick, show them the benefits and make them an offer they just can't refuse.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Grab Your Profile Link Before Some Jerk Does

Online, reputation is everything. It drives you professionally, personally and algorithmically. Have a good one and you'll see positive returns. Develop a bad one and you'll have to work doubly hard to come back into your customers good graces.

While it's impossible to monitor every venue showcasing public opinion and reviews, you can work to protect your reputation by registering your known brand/name with as many social media, forums, and discussion sites as you can, especially the popular ones in your niche.
Why? Well anyone can register any name at a social media site and pass themselves off as you. Or just register the same name and tie it up so you can't. If you've worked hard at promoting your name (or a forum nick-name), people will assume it's you they see on various social media sites. Imagine their confusion when some interloper starts posting differing opinions or ridiculous comments! By not registering your name you've lost the opportunity to build on it and promote yourself in that location.

You've heard the old saying..."online, no one knows you're a dog"? It's very true. Anyone can come along and register your username, no verification or identification required. Once they become "you", they can seriously damage your reputation by making outlandish accusations or promises on behalf of your company. At the very least they unintentionally cause confusion. It could go on for a while before you find out about it and by then... negative opinions are formed, reputations are damaged and people are left scratching their heads.

If you think it's a big waste of time to go around and establish your branded username, consider the time and expense it will take to get those negative comments deleted and the confusion straightened out.

Also consider the added link bonus you'll get by taking possession of your username; many of the social media sites allow clean links in their profiles. (LOL - what kind of link builder would I be not to find the link opportunity in this! ;)

Be pro-active and register your brand/name on as many social media sites as you can. Tie up your username and avoid damaging your reputation, don't make it easy for anyone to steal your online identity.