David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

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

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Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

The more links on a domain the better?

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Dear reader, let me be a heretic once more.

We all know, or at least assume, that having multiple links to the same URL from a domain is an exercise in diminishing returns as far as search engine rankings are concerned.  That is to say, if you score a link to your home page from one page on a domain, any additional links to your home page from other pages on that same domain are worth less.  And the more links to your home page from that domain, the less each one is worth.

This makes sense.  If a domain has 1000 pages, a sitewide link cannot be viewed as 1000 endorsements for your home page.

But the web is a changing place, and in the past few months, services have been cropping up to submit your website to 1000 and even 2000 social bookmarking websites.  These services are similar to all those directory submission services and the article submission services, and they are often offered by the same people.  On the surface of it, there is nothing wrong, but it does require a reaction from the search engines.

But first, a personal rant.  Submitting your home page to 2000 social bookmarking sites is NOT social bookmarking.  It is bookmarking, but it is NOT social.  If it was social, these services would be promoting your page on these sites, networking with other users, and you would end up with several links at any one social bookmarking site (assuming your content is actually interesting).

OK, that was more than just a personal rant.*  In fact, I’ll bet the search engines are noticing the same thing and looking at the same numbers and raising one of their search engine eyebrows right now.  If there are thousands of single-link entries at each social bookmarking website, most of which are essentially paid links, should those each be worth more than each entry that garnered, let’s say 12 Diggs or Zooms?  Those dozen votes clearly are exactly the type of recommendations the search engines look for in their algorithms.  Single links at social bookmarking websites clearly are not.  Each Digg or Zoom should be worth more than each single entry.  In fact, we might even go so far as to say that the more Diggs or Zooms, the more each one should be worth.

What should the search engines do?  Clearly, their algorithms must distinguish between sitewide links and links that appear numerous times independently on the same website.  This is true not just for social bookmarking sites, but also for forums where a resource might be cited in numerous threads over time.

Maybe Google and Yahoo and MSN already do this.  Maybe I’m not being that heretical after all.  Naw, that just would be too out-of-character.

* It qualifies as a rant because I capitalized the “NOT”.  Twice.

 


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Link bait lesson from Matt Cutts

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Matt Cutts, Google’s public face for webmasters and search engine consultants, has shown us how to do link bait.  Oops, I mean, how to do really good quality content.  Yeah, that’s what I meant to say.

Here is the link bait…I mean content:

http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/9-google-mobile-iphone-tips/ 

Note that it is a numbered list, and not a “top 10″ list.  Matt chose a top 9 list, which is just a little offbeat..  Note that there are plenty of illustrations.  And the text and images combined are useful – actually demonstrating how to do something - not just silly stuff (although sometimes I like silly stuff, too).

Matt submitted it to Digg: 

http://digg.com/apple/9_Tips_for_Google_s_New_Voice_Recognition_App_for_iPhone

As of now, it has 42 Diggs. 

Study it hard, becasue even if your content doesn’t get more than one or two Diggs, this is how the Google guru prepares his content, so you can’t go wrong posting something like this on your website. 

There now, Matt just got a link from me as a result of his quality content.  You see?  It works. 

 


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Canada finally has social bookmarking

Friday, November 14th, 2008

If you are a Canadian who enjoys online social networking, you might have spent some time as an orphan.  You don’t find much Canadian coverage at the big US-based social bookmarking websites like Digg and Reddit.  During the heat of the federal election, there was nary a whisper about Harper or Dion – it was all McCain and Obama.  That’s natural, because stories are voted to prominence by the membership, most of whom don’t know whether a Harper bounces nor how one would properly inflate a Dion.

You are no longer an orphan!

We have set up a made-in-Canada social bookmarking website just for you: Zoomit Canada.  If you are Canadian, please come and join.  And please tell all your friends.

If you are not Canadian, please tell all your Canadian friends.  Canadians have plenty to talk about – help us give them somewhere to do it.

 


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Like Digg, but “Canadianer” – Zoomit Canada

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

To all those Canadians on social bookmarking websites like Digg and Reddit who were wondering, “Will I ever see a Canadian story make it to the home page?”…

…well, the answer is yes!  In fact, if you rush over right now to Zoomit Canada, you find nothing but Canadian stories on the home page.  That’s because Zoomit Canada is the social bookmarking website made for Canadians:  “Canada’s News, Chosen By You.” 

And if you’re not Canadian, here’s your chance to do all your Canadian friends a favor.  let them know that they can…

  • submit Canadian stories to Zoomit Canada .
  • vote for their favorite stories (actually, it’s spelled “favourite” in Canada)
  • comment on stories to share their opinion.

Like Digg, it’s free.  Unlike Digg, you are welcome to submit your own blog post…so long as it, you or your blog is Canadian, of course.

 


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Now on Twitter

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

I actually opened my Twitter account several moons ago, but somehow Nancy, our news release distribution expert, convinced me to try using it.  So you can follow us at http://twitter.com/amabaie , where you will find a mix of business and personal news. 

Twitter is a humanizing tool.  It is not a place to make sales pitches.  It is a place to connect with people, sometimes one-on-one, sometimes making announcements for all, always letting people know you are a real person.  If you approach Twitter as networking-for-fun-and-profit, you will find it worthwhile.

 


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Earlybird Link Building

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

POP QUIZ:  How do you build links to a website that is not yet live?

Those who are new to the Web might wonder why you would want to do that.  Let’s suppose your website takes 4 months to develop.  If you build some links to your domain, then SEO-wise you can hit the ground running when you are ready to go live.  Imagine going live and already having 100 links indexed by Google.  You have a head start.

But who wants to link to a non-website?  Nobody, of course, except…

Let me tell the story of a shy little girl named Melanie.  Her parents moved to a new town, and let’s just say that the kids at her new school were a little less than welcoming.  What’s a girl to do when nobody wants to be your friend?

Be your own friend, of course.

Eventually, anybody who is a good friend to herself will radiate confidence and self-esteem and will emit an aura of worthiness.  Soon, Melanie had plenty of friends, just because she was a good friend to herself.

So, too, with link-building.  If you are not yet ready to seek links from other people, set up links to yourself.  Here are a few ideas how to do this:

Set up pages at Social bookmarking and social networking sites.  Most of them allow links in your profile, and the more friends you have and the more items you vote on, the more link juice your profile will have.  LinkedIn is great for SEO .  FaceBook is good.  Squidoo is ideal (Set up lots of topical pages and network, network, network).  MySpace is useless from an SEO perspective.

Submit articles to general article directories and how-to/expert websites.  In the resource box, you can place a link.  These links are hardly ever checked by the website administrators, unless something looks fishy.  Make yours an exquisitly useful, quality article and most places will accept it.

Submit comments on DoFollow blogs.  Some blogs automatically add all comments. Some bloggers will read your comment and approve it if it adds value, without looking at your website.  Some bloggers will follow your link and nuke your comment.  (I did just that a few minutes ago, which is what inspired me to write this post.)  Ah…but if the commenter had posted a lengthy comment that really added to the discussion, I might have approved it, and I think most bloggers would … although some might remove the active link to a non-functioning domain.  Keep in mind that who you link to matters.

Set up blogs on other domains.  You can set up blogs on Blogspot and WordPress and on hundreds of smaller websites that allow users to set up blogs.  many of these overlap with the advice above to set up profiles at social networking sites.

Buy blog posts.  There are plenty of paid blog review websites, such as Blogsvertise.  And there are self-serve paid blogging sites like LinkVana

In fact, you can build hundreds of links before you even have a website.  All you need is to harness the power of user-generated content on other websites.  However, there are a few caveats.

1.  It still requires work.  You might not yet have content on your own site, but you have to put quality content on the other sites, and the better the quality the more links you can build.

2.  It helps if your site is live.  It might take 4 months to develop, but in 24 hours you can have a nicely designed on-topic interim home page live on your domain.  I suggest you do this.

3. This is not hoity toity SEO.  This is guerilla SEO.  There is nothing wrong.  There is nothing shady.  It leaves a bad taste because it should not be like this, but given that the longevity of links and the gradual accumulation of links does count to your success, it would be foolish not to take advantage of these opportunities to quickly position your new website to compete with the established players.

 


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Google gets social with StumbleUpon

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

For the past week, I have been noticing three little icons beside certain entries in the search results.  One of them is the StumleUpon logo, and when hovering my cursor over the logo it says “read 4 reviews” , or whatever number applies to that listing.  The other two logos, stars and a word bubble, are attached to the same StumbleUpon reviews.

So what does this mean?  Well, for starters, it is one whopper of an endoresement of StumbleUpon.  Just for fun, I googled “Google buys StumbleUpon” to see if the obvious is true, and surprisingly the results show that Google actually bought a “competitor” to StumbleUpon not that long ago.  Perhaps that makes this an even stronger endorsement.

In any event, what this means for you and your websites:

1. Make sure you get your website reviewed.

2. Make sure you get your website positively rated.

I am certain that before long, stumbling client pages will become a standard tactic of all SEO specialists.  In fact, there might even one day be a StumbleUpon arms race, just as there has developed a link-exchange arms race these days.  If you don’t have your StumbleUpon account yet, it’s time to sign up. 

So if you like this blog or even just this post, please take a moment to click “I like it!” on your StumbleUpon toolbar and write a wonderfully glowing review. 

 


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You’ve Made Digg – Now What?

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

This is a great article by Chris Winfield, one of the top social media marketing specialists and a frequent collaborator with The Happy Guy Marketing: You’ve Made Digg – Now What?

As with so many business decisions, people tend to rush in without a long-range plan.  The script is usually the same…

Hey, let’s get the latest gadget. 

Cool gadget.

Now what?

I wrote about the same problem in this article about website planning, because so many companies still are rushing out to build a website without a clue what they want that website to do for them.

Chris offers a few good suggestions on what to do about a page that has benefited from a surge in popularity as the result of a home page Digg appearance, including reoptimizing the page, adding calls to action, advertising on it, or redirecting it to another page.  I would add that basically you can do pretty much anything you want with the page.  For example, you could simply add the page a related survey geared to building leads for your telemarketing operations.  Just keep in mind what people visiting it will be expecting.  If they come expecting a video on how to carve fruits for a New Year’s Eve party, don’t fill the page with wallpaper remover products. 

 


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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. 

 


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Improving Social Networks

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

Andy Mitchell wonders why so many social networks leave him feeling a little cold, and he suggests some ways to improve things. 

I would like to add perhaps the most important one.  Whenadding friends to one’s network, they should be added to a group, such as my friends from university, former colleagues at CAA, parents of my kids’ friends, etc.  That way, messages, photos, ideas, etc. can be share with like-minded people who share more of a common history, and their input or replies can be read by and only by people who are interested.  It also would also us to be more intimate in what we say.

 


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