David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

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

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Archive for February, 2011

Look what’s popping up on Google News these days

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Those people who use social bookmarking to promote their content have long debated the merits of various sites. Usually the analysis follows the lines of…

“Well, I get more traffic out of SBsite X, but barely anything out of SBsite Y.”

“Yeah, but it take only 4 votes to pop on SBsite Y.”  *See below for definition of “pop”.

“Hey, does anybody know on which site the links are DoFollow?”

“On both, I think, but only if you pop.”

Well, here’s a new reason to use social bookmarking websites.  We have been helping a client with a campaign to end penny production in Canada.  This is all about visibility, engagement, differentiation and cresting an identity in a niche that is otherwise pretty bland – credit card applications.  Of course, we put the story on a number of social bookmarking websites.  The story sat on Kirtsy for a few days.  Then it popped.  Among my next Google Alerts for “Canada penny” came the post on Kirtsy and a related post on PFbuzz, as well.  Interestingly, the post on PFbuzz had popped three days earlier.  I am not sure what this means.

What I do know is that Google News is picking up more stories from social bookmarking websites, specifically when the stories pop.  This really is not surprising – a story popping is a great way to distinguish the cream from the crap.  But this does appear to be new, at least the first time I see it happening.

POP your stories

What are some of the most important things you need to do for your stories to pop?

  • Make sure the story is good quality.  That means substantive.  That means original ideas and new information.  That means well written.
  • Make sure all your submissions are quality.  You will develop a reputation, and when people see your avatar, they will pay attention.
  • The title is important.  Make sure it’s enticing so that people want to check it out.
  • Vote for other people’s stuff.  Yes, people will return the favor.  Nobody votes for stuff left by a hit-and-run marketer.
  • Comment on other people’s stuff.  It’s a great way to get noticed. Make sure your comments are substantive and add to the discussion – you want to be noticed as someone of interest, not as a pest.
  • Invite some friends to join the community.  Not only are they your natural supporters, but others will appreciate that you have helped grow the community.
  • Don’t be shy to ask for help.  That’s what Twitter is for: “Can you please check out my latest sub at SBsite X?  Votes, comments, shares appreciated.”

“Pop” stands for “popular”.  Stories that are voted “popular” usually pop to the front page of social bookmarking websites.  On many sites this is called being “published”.

 


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Google Lets Evil People Block Your Domain

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Yeah, I thought that title would grab you.  Google announced a new extension to its Chrome browser, an extension that could truly rock the SEO World.  The extension does two things:

  1. It enables searchers to block domains from search results.
  2. It tells Google what domains have just been blocked.

chromeSays Google anti-spam spokesman Matt Cutts, ” If installed, the extension also sends blocked site information to Google, and we will study the resulting feedback and explore using it as a potential ranking signal for our search results.”

This blog post will tell you exactly how to preserve and enhance your search engine rankings in a world where users can send explicit feedback (this Chrome extension is neither the first tool for explicit feedback, nor will it be the last; but it might just be the most powerful, so far).

I should make it clear that I was always a big believer is both explicit and implicit user feedback.  The search engines would be fools not to pay attention to which sites please their visitors when serving up sites to new searchers.

It was just over two years ago that I released Sticky SEO, essentially detailing how you can keep more visitors longer on your website, going deeper into the site.  For the most part, this means pleasing more visitors even more than you already do, since that is what Google looks for.

So what do you do with this Chrome extension?  Well, you want to please your visitors so that they don’t swear, curse and block your domain.

PROBLEM # 1: FREE LOADERS

Searching for free tattoos?  Probably not.
Searching for free tattoos?
Probably not.

There are a lot of people searching for free stuff on the Internet.  You don’t give your stuff away free, but the “free loaders” show up at your website.  “What?  They want a million bucks to dig a hole to China?  I want someone to do it for free.  Bloody rip-off scammers.  Block, block, block.”

There are probably not too many people searching for “dig a hole to China” and expecting free service.  Nor are there many people expecting to get new shoes for free.  Nor gourmet coffee or gift baskets.  Nor metal buildings or intercontinental pipeline installation.  Not even free tattoos or body piercing. But there many niches that include freebie searchers,  for example…

  • website templates
  • resume help
  • music downloads
  • ringtones
  • online games
  • learn Spanish

How do you make sure that people searching for freebies don’t block your website when they discover that you are one of those evil profit-seeking cannibals who wants to feed your family?  You give them what they want, of course.  You add something free to your site.  You give them a free option, or you link to a free option.  Somehow, you make sure you please them.  Remember what your mother said?  “You can never go wrong being nice to someone.”  Well, she should have said that.

PROBLEM # 2: GENERALISTS

Let’s say you sell a very specific item or service that is part of a bigger niche, but people don’t search all that specifically.  In Sticky SEO, on page 14 (until I eventually get around to updating it), I tell the tale of a client who wanted to revamp its website back in 2006.  They sold commercial fitness equipment, but their clients would search just for “fitness equipment”.  The problem was that ten times as many people looking for home gyms also searched for “fitness equipment”.

Life would be easy if people searched for “home fitness equipment”  or “commercial fitness equipment”, but life wasn’t meant to be easy.  What would they do about all this traffic from generalist searchers?

Please them, of course.  Remember what your mother said?  “You can never go wrong being nice to someone.”  Like I said, she should have said that…especially if she knew Google was going to give all those people an easy way to block your domain and tell Google your site sucks.

How to please those generalists?  No point in reprinting page 14 here.  You can read it for yourself.  (Hey, it’s a free download.  Did you think this was a sneaky sales pitch or something?)

Your evil competition wants to eat you.

Evil competitors want Google to eat you.

PROBLEM # 3: EVILDOERS

Yes, the world is an evil place if you look at it right.  Google’s motto is “Do no evil” (or something like that.  But they never said anything about not arming your competition to do evil, did they?  How much do you want to bet that across the Internet’s freelancer markets there will be an SEO arms trade: “100 domain blocks for $15 – from separate IPs in over 20 countries”?  Maybe for $25, who knows?

So how do you deal with that?  No inbound link is supposed to hurt your rankings, so that your competition can’t spam you out of the search results.  But what if a coordinated group of offshore outsourcing in China and India and Greenland gang up on you?

Sorry, I don’t have an answer for you on this one.  But I am sure Matt Cutts will be asked about it sooner or later, and maybe he will have an answer.  Hopefully.

 


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BlogEngage and Blokube added to TheBookmarketer

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Once again, we’ve improved The Bookmarketer by adding two new sites that I have been using quite a bit lately (high time they were added).

TheBookmarketer is a blogger’s best friend, making it easy for readers to spread the word about blog posts they like. Two lines of code posted into the template for single posts, and they have instant access to post a link and recommendation to your blog on 75 websites. In addition to popular social bookmarking websites like Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, OldDogg and Delicious, your blog posts can now be easily added to these more recent social bookmarking gems.

blogengage-header

BlogEngage is a vibrant new community of bloggers that is more of a community than most social bookmarking sites, perhaps because its user base are strictly bloggers, who tend to be very networking-friendly folks. What impresses me most about this is the attention that Brian, who runs the site, gives to the members. I really must tell this story….

About a week ago, I got an email from Brian. He was concerned about some irregular voting patterns and wanted to know if I had created shadow accounts to vote up my submissions. Of course, I had not; I run multiple Twitter accounts, but I do not have multiple accounts at any voting sites. Brian had highlighted several accounts that had voted mostly for my stuff. Those who know me, know that I am not shy about letting friends know where I submit things, so it is not surprising that a few friends followed me over. It turns out that some of the accounts concerned had submitted several of their own items, some before I had even signed up at BlogEngage. But there were two that really did look suspicious. One of them had signed up just because I had submitted his blog post. That one made sense to me. The other, I have no idea who he was, but he signed up the same day, voted for nothing but my stuff and really did look like a shadow account. But it wasn’t. It was like being stalked. Hopefully his/her IP address has been tracked down.

But the moral of the story is that Brian took the time to ask questions rather than just chop off someone’s head.

How does this compare to the big boys of social bookmarking?

  • DIGG: I have had lost an account at Digg. I was able to reach them and have my account reinstated (with no explanation), only to have it removed two weeks later (still with no explanation).
  • PROPELLER: I have lost an account at Propeller (remember Propeller?) with no explanation and my inquiry emails several times ignored. I have known many other to suffer the same fate at propeller, and it might even have been accidental (they were notoriously understaffed and technically challenged).
  • NEWSVINE: My account at NewsVine was deleted, and again several emails of mine were ignore (I assume it was because my mostly dormant account suddenly signed up to join several groups, but I am still scratching my head as to why deciding to become active would be a bad thing and why they would refuse to even answer an email).
  • MIXX: And I have known many people to lose their accounts at Mixx, some to be reinstated; at least that is a sign that Mixx (soon to be “the former Mixx”; I will very much miss them) responds to emails.
  • REDDIT: As to Reddit, they have discovered how to be truly evil to accounts they don’t like.  They just disable your account but let you think your account is still functioning. Anybody who submits their own blog posts – no matter how great the content is – will sooner or later have their account disabled. Unless they visit the account while logged off, they will never even know.

So with all this rudeness going around, BlogEngage gets a 10 out of 10 for being classy.

blokube2

BloKube is another young community of strictly bloggers interested in sharing tips and stories related to blogs and blog promotion. This is not the place to submit your blog posts on equestrian fashion or on Japanese cuisine. But it is a great place to learn how to improve your blog’s content, style, functionality and promotion – no matter what you blog’s topic is.

And I should not miss this opportunity to remind you that if your blog is Canadian, you really should be submitting posts also to http://www.Zoomit.ca (and voting for other good submissions while you are there).

 


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