David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

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

THE HAPPY GUY MARKETING

 

Archive for the ‘linking’ Category

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.  :-)

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

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.

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

SEO Software – just say NO!

Monday, September 10th, 2007

Over at my favorite SEO forum, High Rankings, somebody asked for recommendations about SEO software.  The consensus response was, “Yes, don’t do it.”

But that response deserves a little more explanation, some of which was also posted at the forum.  There are two reasons why SEO software should be avoided.

Avoid SEO software for link-building.  What doe Google and company look for in links?  They are looking for recommendations.  They seek a sign that a web page is considered a good reference on a certain topic.  They are looking for natural links, not contrived ones meant to alter their results. 

What does automation do?  It creates patterns – patterns that are not natural, but contrived. What is the one strength that computers have that mere mortals like you and me and Paulina Rubio do not have?  The ability to sort through almost infinite data in almost no time at all and recognize patterns. Using SEO software is like posting a neon sign that reads, “Yoohoo! We’re trying to mess with your results.”

Think your SEO software can fool the Google algorithm?  Hmmm.

Avoid SEO software, because this is a sport.  I know a lot of web folks are techies who are used to the scientific principle that if you take certain steps, you will get certain results.  Repeat the same steps, get the same results.  SEO is not like this.  If a thousand people all repeat the same steps, there will not be 1000 websites in Google’s top 10 for “Paulina Rubio lyrics”.  There will still be just 10 results.

In any competition, the goal is not to duplicate what everybody else is doing.  The goal is to do more than everyone else.  To do better than everyone else.  And, if possible, to do what nobody else though of. It’s OK to study the competition.  It’s OK to study others who are not competitors.  It’s OK to take the best of what each of them is doing, but then you have to go out and do the very best you can.  No me-too software program will do that for you.

All that being said, I do use some software for SEO purposes. 

I use Internet Explorer to view websites (Yes, IE is software.)

I use Roboform to prefill forms for directory and article submissions.  But note that I manually edit important things like “title” and “description”.  Roboform just saves me from having to misspell my own name hundreds of times a day.

I use Keyword Discovery to help research the best search terms for my clients (It’s a web-based application, but it counts as software).

And of course, I use Word to compose articles and news releases, to edit source code and to do plenty of additional tasks.

And let’s not forget WordPress, which I use to blog about SEO.  :-)

So software, yes.  Software to automate SEO, no.

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

Reciprocal Linking Versus Triangular Linking

Monday, August 13th, 2007

When emails like this come from amateurs it’s one thing, but when they come from so-called SEO professionals… 

I came across your site ( http://www.seo-writer.com )  whilst searching for potential link partners for a client site I am currently promoting (name withheld to protect her innocent client). My client’s site is thematically relevant to your own without being competitive.

I would be more than happy to offer you a quality one-way link from our site ( name withheld, well, just out of politeness) in return for a one-way link from your site to my client’s site (from a page with a minimum pagerank of 2+). This linking arrangement avoids reciprocal linking which Google has devalued, giving instead a more valuable one-way link.

Google devalued reciprocal linking?  This is news to me.  What Google has devalued is unnatural linking patterns – anything that can be recognized as a plain attempt to fiddle with their rankings.  If all your links are reciprocal, well, that’s a pretty unnatural linking pattern.  On the other hand, if all your links are triangular, that’s an even more unnatural linking pattern.  What’s more, whereas reciprocal linking can be for traffic reasons and/or better search engine rankings, triangular linking is a pretty transparent attempt to control Google’s rankings.   

To sum up, here is how I responded to this so-called SEO: 

That myth about reciprocal linking is certainly getting around.  It’s basically bunk.  If you follow natural linking patterns, Google will love you.  Triangular linking is less natural than reciprocal linking.  Anyway, this particular arrangement doesn’t interest me.

Best of luck.

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

Google cracking down on paid links

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

First, let me preface this post by saying there is nothing wrong with buying paid links, regardless of what Google says or what you think Google says.  Paid links are called advertising.  “Free” links, which are never actually free, are called public relations.  This has been going on since someone in ancient Egypt first wrote a sandwich board reading “The End is near” and someone else asked, “How much to add ‘Reserve your burial plots today!'”

However, Google does not appreciate links sold strictly to boost PageRank, specifically targeting its ranking algorithm.  This is understandable.

So what is a website owner, intent on promoting his website and his services, to do?  Go for the best links possible, whether they are paid or free, sticking within budget.  If most of your links are paid, that sends quite a red flag that maybe there is nothing on your website of enough value to actually earn links.  In fact, that in itself is a pretty good case for Google to demote your website in its rankings.

On the other hand, if there is a website that could be sending you some targeted traffic, that can show high relevance and offers good link juice, why not pay for the link?  Google will not penalize you for having bought a link or two; Google will penalize you for trying to purchase a re-arrangement of its listings.

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

Link Exchange No-nos

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Yes, even The Happy Guy can fume…but this blog post will turn a lemon of an experience into lemonade for all of us to drink.  The most frustrating, if nevertheless polite, lady I think I have ever met will give us all a lesson in how not to conduct a link exchange. 

She approached my client about doing a triangular link exchange.  Whereby our site (A) links to her site (B) and in exchange, her other site (C) links back to (A).  The concept behind this is the she can fool Google into thinking she is not doing reciprocal link exchanges.  Lol 

I have no problem with doing triangular link exchanges, but don’t think Google’s mighty computing power missed that all the sites linked to from (C) just happen to also link to (B).  

So I posted a link to (B) on our site (A) and also on another site (but I will leave that out to avoid confusion), PageRank2 and PageRank 3 pages.  She reciprocated with a link at (C) pointing to our site (A).   

So far, so good?  Not quite.  The page where she placed the link to our site (A) was a PageRank 0 page that was not cached by Google.  Now I don’t make too big a deal about PageRank, but not cached by Google means that Google will never even see it.   

So I suggested she find another page to place the link to our site.  I’ll let her own words explain her position: 

I’m sorry, I am only authorized to add links to our link pages, which have no PR. 

Maybe I can add them to some other pages (sill with no PR) to make it more worth your while and so more people will see your link? 

Let me know what you think! 

Which is just what I did.  I suggested their main links page, which still had PageRank 0, but was cached by Google and is hyperlinked from the home page through a tiny, obscure link at the bottom.   This was a superb idea that she jumped on immediately….NOT! 

I’m sorry, but [Link URL suppressed] also doesn’t have a PR. I would gladly add them there but please understand, my admin system only allows me to add links on the link pages. 

In any case, people looking through our links pages will see your link.  

OK, why do we build links.  So people can see them.  So search engines can see them.  So…well, that’s pretty much it.   The pages she had been offering were completely hidden from the search engines and almost completely hidden from humans.  Anyway, at this point it sounds like she is ready to place my link on a page that is only mostly hidden from the search engines and mostly hidden from humans.  So I ask her to confirm when it is live.  Yes, she comes back with more (very polite) excuses.  

I’m sorry, but, as I have stated, my admin system won’t allow mw to add links to any other pages apart from the link pages (the links mist go under a category) 

I hope this is ok. 

Of course, this is not OK, which is what I say. I point out that there are links right on her PR2 home page, and ours could just as easily go there, so could she please get whomever is in charge of placing those links there to put our amongst them.  What an obvious solution.  But (You knew there would be a “but”, didn’t you?)… 

1-       I don’t see any links from other companies on our link page. 

2-       I am the person who adds the links it is my job within the company, and I have an admin system which only allows links under the categories… I cannot add the links anywhere else!!!!!! 

Now, if you want remove our links because you are not happy with this you may, I hope you don’t but I’m sorry, there is absolutely nothing I can do about adding links to our home page! could lose my job! 

Please accept my apologies, I hope we can reach a cordial agreement on this matter. 

Ever polite, it still does not erase the fact that she came banging on my client’s door asking to exchange links, and then showed empty palms when it was her turn to reciprocate…and has proven to be the most steadfast excuse maker I have ever encountered. 

Oh, and yes, as a matter of fact I did remove her links.

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

Self-serve blog links

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Rick Hendershot, a fellow Canadian has come up with an interesting idea…not just because it is new and innovative, not just because he’s Canadian, not just because it’s a really useful idea, but also because it is something I had thought of earlier (same concept, different business model) but have been too busy to give it any serious thought.

You will find Rick’s self-serve blogging service Linknet2 an attractive alternative to the pay-per-post model, where you have to wait for someone to jump on your opportunity.  Unlike the pay-per-post model, you have very little control over the content and the link text, and even the number of links you garner.  So you control boith your reputation management and your SEO.  This is a great way to build those elusive deep links.

Self-serve blogging means that you write the post, you insert the links, etc.  Right now he has 13 blogs going as part of his system, but he soon will have more.   The key to how valuable this will be is whether he can keep the quality of postings high and get inbound link juice to each of the blogs. We’ll check in again to see how this new service is doing.

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

Top ten free SEO tools

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Have you ever wondered which are the best free SEO tools available on the Internet?  Well here is my top ten list, so listen closely. 

Free SEO Tool #10: Top Ten Analysis SEO Tool at http://www.webuildpages.com/cool-seo-tool/ is a great way to get a snapshot of your top ten competitors at Google for any given search term. 

Free SEO Tool #9: Go Rank Analyzer at http://www.gorank.com/analyze.php reviews your web page for a given search term to give you a snapshot of how the search term shows up on the page.  Actually, this probably should be higher up on the list.  In other words, I should use it more often. 

Free SEO Tool #8:  Aftervote at http://younanimous.com/ is a really different tool, and I’m not sure too many people would think of it as an SEO tool.  It is, in fact, a meta search engine that combines the results of Google, Yahoo and MSN, along with some other factors to provide its own original results.  So you can see at a glance which sites are doing well for a given search term across all three engines.  It also features a number of performance indicators, including Google PageRank, Alexa ranking, Compete page strength, and a link to see the WhoIs data.  You can also add a whole slew of plugins, including Netcraft reports and submission links for Digg and other social bookmarking websites.  In short, this is a great all-in-one tool for sizing up the competition for an individual search term or for finding joint venture or link partners of value.  One of the handy features is that you can see the Alexa ratings for some of your top competitors at once, so you can better judge the value of your own Alexa rating.  Hmm.  Actually, Aftervote is a bit like #10 above. 

Free SEO Tool #7: Overture Keyword Selection Tool at http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/ is useable.  OK, this is one area where Mr. Cheapie here is willing to pay the big bucks, specifically for Keyword Discovery. But if you really want a free tool, Overture can really help.  It just doesn’t carry over search data from previous months, so if data is seasonal, you have to wait until, say, the Christmas season to do the keyword research that will carry you next Christmas. 

Free SEO Tool #6:  Google Toolbar at http://toolbar.google.com/T4/index_pack.html is pretty useful.  Sure people make way too much of it, but the little green bar gives an instantaneous snapshot of the value of a page.  No green, and you might as well check the drop-down to make sure a page is cached.  If it’s not, forget it.  The difference between a PR2 and PR4 might be irrelevant in practical terms, despite the world wars and family feuds that can be fought over such minutia, but if the Toolbar shows a PR5, that’s pretty impressive (if it is real).  If all you need is a quick snapshot, use the toolbar.  If you want better info, use the Page Strength Tool or another. 

Free SEO Tool #5: Spider simulator at http://www.webconfs.com/search-engine-spider-simulator.php .  This lets you see at a glance what the search engines see, which links they can follow and what text they see.  I have often found major problems much quicker this way than wading through a jungle of code.  It can also be helpful for locating hidden text and hidden links on competitors’ websites if you think they are all a bunch of thieving hooligans.  There are probably hundreds of spider simulators of similar quality.  I use this one; it works for me. 

Free SEO Tool #4: Social Bookmarking Aggregator Tool at  http://www.seo-writer.com/tools/bookmarker.php should really be at #1, given that I created it and it is, of course, perfect.  But it is more of a viral tool than an SEO tool.  Still, the more people bookmark your pages, the more links they build and the more bloggers are likely to pick up on the bookmark and build links – all natural links the way Google and Yahoo like them!  And it’s available in Spanish, too, at http://es.seo-writer.com/tools/bookmarker.php Go to the bottom of this post right now and click on the social bookmarking links to bookmark this post.  You’ll see how it works and make me happy all at once.  :-) 

Free SEO Tool #3:  Common Links at http://www.randycullom.com/common_link.php is an even more ingenious backlink tool than Yahoo Site Explorer, but it is less flexible.  Pick a search term, and plug it in.  It will tell you which are the top ten sites for that term at Google or at Yahoo, then get the common backlinks.  For instance, if a page links to three of the top ten websites for a certain search term, chances are that the same page is more likely to link to your similar website than a page that links to only one of your competitors (and could be the owners’ mother’s website, a satisfied client, a supplier, a buddy, another site owned by the same person, etc.) 

Free SEO Tool #2:  Yahoo Site Explorer, at https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/ shows pages indexed and backlinks to either the site as a whole or to a specific page.  This is superb competitive intelligence.  You can mine your competitors’ backlinks to create your own backlinks.  Unlike Google, Yahoo gives you the whole list.  Why stop at your competitors?  Why not look for complementary websites and what their backlinks are, too? 

Free SEO Tool #1 –  SEOmoz PageStrength Tool at http://www.seomoz.org/page-strength/ is a superb alternative the Google Toolbar’s PageRank measure.  I like the PageStrength Tool because it pulls information from a number of indicators – including the Google PageRank toolbar – and provides a composite view of how important a page is.  This is useful in evaluating potential partners, purchasing domains, sizing up the competition, etc.    However, it does have some limitations.  I have noticed that it sometimes draws inaccurate backlink data from Yahoo, and it gives big marks to certain very specific criteria, such as links from Wikipedia and Digg, rather than from a range of  major Web 2.0 sites.  Still, it does include age of domain and Alexa ranking, both of which are also important, as well as a number of other indicators totally lost on the Google Toolbar addicts (and we all know how reliable the Google toolbar is every third Tuesday of even numbered months!).  In some ways, this is similar to Aftervote and to the Top Ten Analysis SEO Tool, but it is a little more sophisticated. 

So there you have it, my top ten list of free SEO tools.  And no sooner will I hit the “publish” button, that I’ll tell myself that I really did not put them in the right order.   

If you have ideas on the top free SEO tools, please leave a comment. 

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

Google Search Engine Ranking Factors Report

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

SEOMoz has come out with some superb information once again that every SEO specialist and every webmaster should read.  The Google Search Engine Ranking Factors Report summarizes the opinion of all the top SEO specialists (except me…hmmm, I guess I am not quiote at the top yet), many of whom I personally admire.  The report rates various factors for their importance to Google rankings.

Below is the lsit of the top 10 most important factors, according to these esteemed SEO specialists.  I would probably rate the factors in a similar order.

 

 

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

My Right to Google Rankings

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

I have the right to Google.  After all, I pay taxes to Google, don’t I?  And the Constitution says that I have rights to Goiogle rankings, doesn’t it?

Is it just me, or is this how most websmasters think?  The laters kerfuffle (is that how you spell it?  Is kerfuffle even a word?) began when Google’s webmaster liason Matt Cutts blogged that people should report paid links to help Google develop ways to reduce the skewing effect of paid links in their search results. 

Quite frankly, it’s a little silly to expect most people to go along with this, and Matt could probably find plenty on his own, but he  apparently wants some outside feedback to catch what he might have missed.  So what?  It’s his right to ask in his blog for any kind of feedback he wishes, just as it is my right to ask for any feedback I wish.  It’s up to people to decide whether they wish to provide that feedback.  Nobody is obliged to report anything.

But the debate is raging strong at Threadwatch and at WebProWorld.  Here are a few of the incredible things people are saying:

“Isn’t this somewhat hypocritical? Doesn’t Google sell links through AdWords?”
 

“It’s alright to sell links just as long as we’re the ones selling them. That’s the message I’ve been getting loud and clear from Google.”
 

“If I want to buy a link to generate traffic (not caring about SEO) or I want to sell a link because people want my traffic, who is Google to tell me I can’t or my site will be punished.”
 

“We don’t owe Google anything. Google owes us everything!”
 

Adwords are paid links, but they do not affect the content of anyone else’s site without their consent.  If I sell links on my site, it absolutely affects the content on Google’s site, so they have every reason to be concerned.  They have no right to stop me from selling links, but they have every reason to want to control for the effects those paid links would have on their results…which is what they are hoping to do. (Google is not threatening to punish any site.)
 

How about this comment:
 

“I think Google should show us the alternatives if they don’t want us to go down the paid link route.”
 

Considering that I have been doing SEO for , what 3 or 4 years now without buying almost (I said “almost”) any links, I think we all know how many linking alternatives there are.
And now there is an article by  iEntry CEO Rich Ord, 7 Reasons Google’s Paid Link Snitch Plan Sucks, that panders to the congregation (although at least his arguements make a little more sense, except for #6: The hypocrisy of being in the business of selling links and then asking others not to sell them is a bit much for many webmasters.

Here is my take:  It is my business and mine alone whether I sell links or not, and mine and mine alone whether I buy links or not.  It is Google’s business and Google’s business alone to decide which links, if any, will form part of its algorithm calculations.  And as much as everybody seems to think they own Google, they do not.  It might be silly or even useless to ask people to report paid links, but the vitriol and false entitlement are clearly  misplaced.

Here is my take:  It is my business and mine alone whether I sell links or not, and mine and mine alone whether I buy links or not.  It is Google’s business and Google’s business alone to decide which links, if any, will form part of its algorithm calculations.  And as much as everybody seems to think they own Google, they do not.  It might be silly or even useless to ask people to report paid links, but the vitriol and false entitlement are clearly  misplaced.

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).

Close