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Archive for April, 2009

The Bugs Bunny Guide to Linkbuilding

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Have you ever been hard at work, doing what you do, and suddenly got struck by the immortal question – “What would Bugs Bunny do?” Me too. All the time. Well, if you are doing link-building, you are in luck, because here is what Bugs Bunny would do:

“What’s up, Doc?”

Bugs Bunny always introduces himself in way that leaves an opening for the other party to offer something useful. Such as a reciprocal link. Be friendly. Be informal. Be in the situation. Nobody pays attention to cut-and-paste link-exchange emails any more. Find a way to make yours both unique and personal.

Carrots are maaaa-gic

“Carrots are divine… You get a dozen for a dime, It’s maaaa-gic!”
 

Link exchanges might be long, hard, boring work, but carrots are a totally different matter. For starters, they are orange. SEO carrots are often called “link bait” or “viral content”. If you have fun putting together useful, cool, different information, you have carrots – and carrots are maaaa-gic.

“I know this defies the law of gravity, but I never studied law!”

You will hear many people tell you how SEO is “supposed” to work and how link-building is supposed to work. But there is no diploma for SEO; like politics, SEO is “the art of the possible”. SEO doesn’t always make sense. But if defying the law of gravity works, run with it (or float with it).

“I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque!”

On the other hand, if your tactics are not working, go back and do things another way. With link-building, a shortcut is not always a shortcut. And any automation – or anything that bears a pattern that could appear to be like automation – means that you definitely turned the wrong way at Albuquerque.

“The rabbit is considered a kind and intelligent creature in Cambodian culture.”

Know your audience. If you are seeking links from real estate agents, you might need different tactics than if you are seeking links from home renovators. If you are seeking links from local websites, foreign websites, national websites…each website owner has a different motivation for possibly giving you a link. Your success rate will be highest if you understand your audience.

This means war!

“Of course you realize, this means war!”

You may have noticed that Bugs doesn’t pussyfoot around. Link-building is an arms race of sorts. The good news is that you don’t have to be the one with the most weapons. You can win the war with the smartest weapons. Thank carrots (see carrots reference above).

“Oh well, maybe I can shine it up and use it for an ashtray.”

That’s right, everything has a use. So you got a low-quality link. Perhaps the page is PR0. Perhaps there are 150 links on the page. Perhaps your link is at the end, or has no anchor text, or goes to your “contact us” page. A low-quality link is better than none. Shine it up and use it for an ashtray.

“I don’t ask questions. I just have fun!”

If you are having fun, that alone is good. Job satisfaction is so important. Link-building can be frustrating and tiring and stressful. Find ways to make it fun and you’ll win part of the battle just there. Bugs advises that all emails asking for a link begin with “What’s up Doc?” Sounds good to me.

So get back into your rabbit hole and put to use all the fine advice that the world’s most famous rabbit can offer you to make link-building more fun and more successful.

 


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Ethical SEO or SEO Spam

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

You cannot always believe what you read, and in SEO you have to be very careful.  Take for instance the good folks at OutsourcingforSEO.com .  They repeatedly spam Zoomit Canada with non-Canadian submissions.  I have deleted several dozen accounts, but they keep creating new ones.  They don’t seem to get the message or they are gluttons for fruitless work.  They also seem to have figured out a hack to add many more tags per submission than the form allows.  One day last month they even created accounts with names like danysulivan8 and leeoden4 and johnbatele4, mimicking the names of high-profile SEO consultants (I know these colleagues to be reputable, but imagine what can happen to their reputations if such accounts are being created elsewhere!).  I suppose they thought I might let their submissions pass if I thought somebody respectable was doing the submitting.

seo-spammer

Of course, this all must be part of their “Ethical SEO Website Traffic Services”, as seen in the screen capture below that I took just before deleting another of their spam posts.

SEO spam to the extreme

I think this is the first time I have ever called out another SEO company. It’s not that I haven’t seen plenty of pure spam and plenty of questionable stuff, too. But it’s a slippery slope and I’m not big on rating other SEO consultants. But these guys are so determined to keep spamming Zoomit Canada, over and over and over and over, that I’ll make an exception. If anybody knows of a spammer award, I would love to have this company submitted.  After that, committed.

The moral of the story is to be very careful who you hire for SEO services.  This company is submitting its client websites, too, exposing them to potential sanctions from the search engines and being banned by other social bookmarking websites, too.  You don’t want a purposeful spammer representing your website.

 


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Cow Tipping SEO

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Yes, well, about that title…I’ll explain shortly how that relates to a raging SEO debate, which I will also get to later.  But first, a quiz.  How many of the following coding elements would you have known if you had not seen them here:

  • The “abbr” tag
  • The “acronym” tag
  • The “address” tag
  • The “base” tag
  • The “bdo” tag

Exactly.  These are all HTML 4 Elements that any good coder should know.  Well, maybe.  I wonder how many coders have ever run into some of these, and we are just at the Bs.  However, a very respected SEO consultant, Edward Lewis, states:

Below is a listing of all HTML 4 Elements that you as an SEO Consultant will be involved with at some point during your tenure. You should be familiar with the various HTML Elements and HTML Attributes that are available to you for on page SEO techniques.

You should also know when to use what Elements and/or Attributes (also referred to as Best Practices for HTML Authoring) in any given circumstances.

Given that in my six years in SEO so far I have never even come across these tags, I must disagree with that statement.  But the list is a handy one, just in case, so here is the link.

The Great SEO Debate

This touched off a very heated debate yesterday over at Sphinn, when Harith (another respected SEO consultant who resembles Fred Flintstone in at least one way) submitted the story under the title You’re not an SEO if you don’t know these by heart!

My comment there was as follows:

Perhaps someone can explain to all us fake SEOs who thought we were real SEOs how exactly we might ever even want to use abbr, never mind have to (considering I have never seen this before, I have a hard time believing that even a developer needs to know what that is).

The simple fact is that technical stuff is at the foundation of SEO just as it is at the foundation of baseball.  So many factors go into the exact placement, velocity, spin, etc. of a pitch, but don’t expect the pitcher to waste his time learning the physics when he should be practicing his delivery.

(Yes, I’ll get to the cow tipping soon.)

This debate reveals a basic divide in the philosophy of SEO.  Is SEO primarily a technical skill or a strategic skill?  Given that SEO really is a sport, where the only way to get a berth in the rankings is to knock someone else off, and the only way to maintain one’s rankings is to keep other websites from knocking yours off, I maintain that it is primarily a strategic skill.  A reasonably small amount of coding knowledge will get an SEO consultant a long way (and much better honing one’s strategic skills than becoming a champion coder).

Cow Tipping SEO

Which brings us to cow tipping, a sport I probably should know more about, given that I have cows for neighbors.  Imagine two SEO consultants.  The first thinks strategically, noting  that it is indeed a cow, not a bull.  He sees that there is nobody on the other side of the cow.  He tips it. 

The second SEO consultant thinks technically.  He sees the cow and gets out his cow tipping diagram, and reviews it.

Cow Tipping for the Techically-minded SEO Consultant

 


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