David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

Tips for better SEO (search engine optimization) and website marketing …

THE HAPPY GUY MARKETING

 

Archive for October, 2007

Reciprocal link heresy

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Let’s go hunt us a sacred cow today, OK?  Specifically, the sacred cow that all links must be reciprocated. 

There are a number of software programs you can purchase that can periodically make sure that all your link partners retain their links to your website so that you can notify them, warn them, threaten them and remove their links if they have removed yours.

Others spend time double-checking by hand.

Is this money well spent?  Is this time well spent?

No.

First, you have gained nothing by removing the links of those few who have reneged on their end of the bargain.  You have not increased your link popularity.  You have not gained additional PageRank.  You have not increased your website’s trust, relevance, content, number of pages or any other indicator that will lead to higher rankings.

Second, you have just spent money buying software that could have been spent elsewhere.  Or you have spent time checking backlinks that could have been spent creating them.

Third, you might even be doing yourself a disservice by making every outbound link on your resources page a reciprocated one.  The search engines are pretty clever.  They can detect when 100% of your outbound links are reciprocated.  They can detect when 100% of your links are part of a triangular linking pattern.  Do you think they are impressed with that?  My logic is that it is to your advantage if over time some of your link partners reneg and you have less of a pattern (remember that when it comes to linking, patterns should be avoided, for they indicate to the search engines that the links are contrived).

So, with apologies to everyone hocking link-checking software, my recommendation is to not waste another minute of the precious few God gave you checking up on your link partners.  A nice hike in the mountains would be a much better investment for your business…and of course for you!

 


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Hidden Text Trick

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Every wonder how that image-only home page can outrank you for some pretty important search terms.  The typical advice you will get on forums and in articles is that it is all in the links – that the high-ranking page has more, better and more relevant links pointing from other web pages. 

But there might be something more sneaky and nefarious going on.  Check the source code.  Are there hundreds of words of text that do not appear on the page?  If so, go back to the page.  Where can they be, you can’t see them and there is no scrollbar to scroll any farther.  You highlight the page to see if any hidden text shows up and all of a sudden the page starts scrolling.  You see plenty of text.  And technically it’s not hidden, but it is tucked away where nobody would think to view, because the webmaster has deactivated the scrollbar.  Pretty sneaky.  But is this hidden text?

Technically, the text is very clearly visible, so it is not technically hidden.  On the other hand, a manual review of this site would reveal that there is spiderable text placed where most visitors would not know how to find.  I am willing to bet that a hidden text penalty would be issued to such a page.   

My advice is to report your competitor to Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask right away.  And don’t even think about doing the same thing…because someone else might report you both! 

 


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This story is going to make “MILLIONS”

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

I don’t know why, but I seem to like posting the crazy email demands I get.  For instance, this one lady wants a book written based on her true story, and asks “Dear David, I was wondering, do I have to come up with the cash up front? Or will the writer take a commission?”, followed by a long explanation of her story.

When I explain that “We typically ask for the payment to be broken into thirds, but we can break it down into smaller increments.  The only thing we are not flexible on is that any work the writer does has been paid for.” …she comes back with:“All I know is my story is going to make MILLIONS and IM wikking yo dhare it all, just to get my story out! Got it?”

Ready for my response? 

“With all respect, it sounds like you are more interested in hiring a gambler than a writer.  Best of luck.”

 


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Inbound links – better to own than to rent

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

I like this post saying Don’t Buy Rent Links

Julia Kristiva makes a great arguement for creating content, going through the costs and revenue, and how the website benefits from the content.  In this example, she references a useful tool created for a client.  But articles, data, case studies, ebooks, and other useful content can have the same effect.

I have never been a big fan of buying (“renting”, actually) links.  Just as with home ownership, it’s better to own than to rent.  If you own something that people want to link to, you effectively own the links.  But if the links are a result only of your monthly payment, your are renting. 

It’s the difference between a cost and an investment.

 


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How to learn SEO

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

I am being pressed to tell someone how he can quickly learn SEO. 

“OK, so if they want to have their site optimized, what would be a going price for that? And what are the details of having this done? Can I find out these answers by going to your site?”

This line of questioning is not unusual from someone interested in an SEO quick start.  However, my response…

The price depends on what they need to have done and how competitive the markets they are chasing are.  And on who is doing it.  One SEO quoted $80,000 for a job that I thought should run around $10,000 to $20,000.  Or you can go offshore and easily get your website’s reputation hacked up for a mere $3000.

Although there are certainly plenty of items common to almost all SEO projects, again it depends on the website, the company and the market.  It’s a lot like marketing a book…there is not one size that fits all.  It’s not for nothing that you could spend weeks on end reading the numerous forums where SEO is debated and still not come out knowing what information is right and what is not, let alone what information applies to your situation and what does not.  If you really want to learn SEO, the SEMPO course is the place to start, at least to avoid making serious mistakes and getting the basics down, then experience will be a good teacher over time.

Sorry, there is no simple answer and no out-of-the-box process.  If there were, then everyone would apply it and there would be 1000 websites in the top 10 for every search term.  Since there can be only 10, it is almost by definition the things that are new and original and above what everybody else is doing that really make the difference.

 


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Be honest when your work is not needed

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

What do you do when someone asks you to do something that you are very good at, but just is not really worth their while?  Here is what I told a lady who wanted a news release about an interview she had posted on her website: 

It’s not that I mind taking your money…but I strongly suspect that a news release on this would be ignored.  That is not to say it is not interesting, but in your shoes I would allocate some time to contact specific blogs you think might be most interested about the interview and some of them will likely blog about it and link to the page on your site where it is posted.  Print publications are more likely to want to do their own interview. 

This approach will save you some money, although if you want to pay me for this advice, please fee free to do so by placing a link to my http://www.seo-writer.com website on yours.  :-)

 


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Optimize for misspellings

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

Your PPS is cute, what with the “translaters” !  :o )

That was part of a query I received from a lady needing translation of a French medical document into English.  She was refering to the following paragraph from my “free lance englishfrench translaters” page.

P.P.S.: If you came searching for a free lance frenchenglish translater or free-lance englishfrench translaters, you won’t be the first to make a little spelling booboo. That’s OK; it’s our job to make sure that your final translated text is error-free.

This is just a cute way to get a few misspellings tactfully into the text of the page.  When someone searches for “free lance translater”, their real intention is to find a “freelance translator”, so including the text on the page is one good way to help them find hwat they meant to type, not what they actually typed.

Is this appropriate?  Are we tricking the search engines?  Not at all.  We are helping people find what they want.  It is always wise to include as many variations of a word as possible.  It is for that reason that writing naturally makes sense.  Writing just for a keyword, say “Freelance French English Translator” would not sound right.  Variations of these words should also appear on the page, such as “translation” and “translators” and maybe “translating”.

Including misspellings is another way of covering the various combinations of searches people might eb undertaking

 


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Make them think

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

If you want to attract attention, it helps to make them think.  I ran the following item in my Daily Dose of Happiness ezine:

RELAX

Close your eyes and imagine you are in a room filled with soft blue light.  Around you is gentle green foliage.  Feel the blue.  Feel the green.  These colors, the hues of sky, forest and water, are known to relax people.

For more permanent stress-relief, paint your walls blue, green or a combination of the two.  Since these are cool colors, they can also help keep tropical homes cool.  Not recommended in Iqaluit or Hammerfest. 

A fairly straightforward little item, with a touch of cuteness at the end.

Actually, it was a touch of interaction.  You have no idea how many people pulled out the atlas to find out where Iqaluit and Hammerfest are located.  And one Norwegian subscriber even emailed me to cheer the inclusion of her country in my ezine.

Make them think.  Make them look something up, but make sure that what they have to look up is not something really important to your message, because not everybody will look it up. 

 


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Geography based directories

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

Have you ever noticed that some directories have a two-track navigation?  You can drill down to the appropriate category.  And you can also drill down to the apporpirate location. 

When submitting your website to such directories, always drill down as low as you can in the geography are.  Even if you are submitting a website that services the world, submit at the city level.  Even if the lowest level is not yet indexed by Google or yahoo or MSN. Here is why…

 Suppose you submit your website to http://www.wv-travel-directory.com/directory/0-world/187-cheap-air-travel/view.html .  You will get a link on that page.  If you take advantage of the deep linking opportunities (this directory allows three deep links, in addition to the home page URL), you will get 4 links all on the same page.

Suppose however, that you drill all the way down through http://www.wv-travel-directory.com/directory/10-north-america/187-cheap-air-travel/view.html , http://www.wv-travel-directory.com/directory/25-united-states/187-cheap-air-travel/view.html , http://www.wv-travel-directory.com/directory/316-new-york/187-cheap-air-travel/view.html , http://www.wv-travel-directory.com/directory/802-new-york-city/187-cheap-air-travel/view.html and submit your website at http://www.wv-travel-directory.com/directory/807-manhattan/187-cheap-air-travel/view.html .  I am, of course, assuming your offices are in Manhattan.  You get a link on the page you submitted to, plus on all the parent pages…all those pages you just navigated through.  Count them: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6.  Six links, and if you submitted three deep links for your listing, each of those links also shows up on six pages, so you get a total of 24 links.

 


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Stupid writing client tricks

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

If you plan to hire a writer, please do not try this at home:

Message from prospective client (came in on a form on this website)…

I need 10 unique articles about closet organizer, I provide you the keywords for each article, I need the article have a keyword density about 2% to 3%.

Next message…

The articles have to be in english, I provide the keywords, each articles have 300 words and a keyword density of about 3%. The articles is to be include in ezinearticles to generate trafic to my site, the article  have to wake interest in the people to visit my site.

Final message…

Thanks for your time David, but I found Ghost Writers who write me the articles for $50, thanks again for your time and your interest.

No, I did not make up one word of this.  10 high quality articles for $50?  If it is not immediately obvious what the problem is, you had better get a job quickly – you won’t be in business for long!

 


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