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How Two Webmasters Discovered 25,000 Surprise Backlinks

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Two Canadian webmasters were reviewing their website stats, and discovered 25,000 new backlinks from one domain. This is how they did it – and how you can, too.

It should be noted that the link-building technique that will be described here is applicable to everyone. However, the precise mechanics of it are available to you only if your website:

1) Is Canadian.
2) Features informational content, such as a blog, a photo gallery or an articles directory (This is 2010 – if you are even considering SEO as a means of attracting traffic, I am sure that informational content is part of your plan, right?).

backlinks-street-sign

A Tale of Two (Canadian) Webmasters

Vancouverite Daniel Snyder, of Info Carnivor, was first to notice. He discovered 15,000 new backlinks from one domain, and that left him puzzled. He had only submitted two of his blog posts to the site, so how come he suddenly had 15,000 backlinks.

Next it was Hamilton-based Jim Rudnick, of Canuck SEO, who’s website saw a “sudden increase of inbound backlinks – 25,000 brand new ones” – and all from the same domain. He asked the support team at his stats tracking supplier to double-check this obvious error, but they confirmed it was right.

What Was the Site and How Could This Happen?

The site – or should I say “the domain” (I’ll explain the distinction shortly) – is Zoomit Canada, a social bookmarking website just for Canadian news, blogs, articles, etc. If you are familiar with Digg and Mixx, you will understand how Zoomit works.

So how did they do it? That is simple enough. They submitted their blog posts to Zoomit, and they did a little bit of networking (voting for/commenting on other people’s submissions). Because both Daniel and Jim submitted good quality content and supported the good quality content of others, other folks also voted for their submissions – enough to be voted to the front page.

And that’s when the magic happened.

As with most social bookmarking websites, it’s when a story gets voted to the front page that the inbound links really begin to count. This is the case with big social bookmarking websites, like Digg and Mixx, as well as with smaller ones like Old Dogg and MMO Social Network.

As I said above, what we are discussing here is applicable to everyone. However, the precise mechanics are available only to Canadian content. You see, Zoomit added an extra twist that you won’t find on those other social bookmarking websites – a top domains widget.

Look down the right side of the page and see that there is a “Top Domains” widget that lists the 20 top domains in alphabetical order. In other words, submit your post, network a bit and you’ve got yourself thousands of backlinks.

What Are All These Links Worth?

Now you might ask, what are these links worth, SEO-wise. You might have heard that a sitewide link isn’t worth all that much. This makes a great case study to separate fact from fiction. Here are four points to consider:

First, 25,000 links from one domain are nowhere near as useful as 25,000 links from 25,000 domains. Link diversity does count for both Google and Bing.

Second, 25,000 links from one domain are better than 24,000 links from one domain. And both are better than a single link from that domain. Yes, every link counts.

Third, a sitewide link in most cases (certainly in this case) includes a link on the home page, something that is generally considered quite valuable in SEO. In this case, the home page is PR4.

Fourth, look at the Zoomit Canada site structure. Each province and each news channel is hosted on a separate subdomain. Subdomains are generally treated by the search engines as separate websites. In all, this website – oops, sorry… I mean this “domain” – includes 13 province subdomains, 21 channel subdomains, plus the main domain. That adds up to 35 home page links by being a “top domain” on Zoomit Canada.

Given the effort in building quality links, and the unlikelihood that you’ll ever have links from 25,000 different domains – and possibly not even from 2,500 domains, the effort to get those 25,000 links from one strong domain is worthwhile. Lucky Canadian webmasters who benefit.

Don’t despair if you post non-Canadian content. Social bookmarking and other social sharing is a great strategy, and every great piece of content (quality stuff, not $25 articles written offshore by someone who knows about as much of your topic as my neighbour’s cat and writes in something that almost exactly fails to resemble English) you create and promote creates links back to your website.

Every sales person, every lobbyist, every entrepreneur, every preacher, every person who wants to deliver a message knows that the most important words are “Please” and “Thank You”.

So a big “Thank you” to Daniel and Jim for inspiring this post.

And (shameless plug alert) please let us know if you need writers for your content – to write good quality, meaningful posts – the type that my neighbour’s cat just can’t produce for you – and promote them in the world of social media.

 


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Propeller’s Funeral is OldDogg’s Baptism

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Tomorrow we will celebrate a funeral and a baptism of sorts.  OK, perhaps “celebrating” a funeral is not the best choice of words, but today is Propeller‘s last day.  (But “celebration” is a great word for OldDogg‘s baptism!)  If you’ve been around social media for only the past couple years, you might be asking, “What is Propeller?”  and “What is the big deal”.

FIRST, the funeral…

propellerOnce upon a time, Netscape – remember Netscape, the most popular Web browser in the world until Bill Gates got it in his sights? – set up a social bookmarking service to rival Digg and Reddit.  It began to grow and looked like it might be a contender, until Netscape itself began to wither away.

Eventually, when there was not much left of Netscape, with its last dying breath (OK, it didn’t quite die, just sort of whimpered into limbo), Netscape sold its social bookmarking service to AOL.  Yay, a big, successful company to revive the still thriving but pretty-much-orphaned site.

AOL took immediate action.  It creating new branding for the site under the name of Propeller.  It gave light.  It gave hope.  It gave a spare corner of a dusty old closet in the basement.

Oops.

That was 2007, and ever since, Propeller has slowly been withering away.  Just a year ago, it would still take at least 12 votes on  bad day for a story to make the front page.  A few months ago, we started seeing  stories make the front page with a single vote.  In the past couple months, it was rare for a story to need more than one or two votes to make the front page.

Propeller was dead, but still it walked on.  Or crawled.  And tomorrow the euthenasiaists finally do their dirty work and put the zombie out of its misery.

THEN, a baptism…

olddoggjpgFor those diehard Propeller loyalists and for others seeking a place to go, a new social bookmarking website was born – OldDogg.

The “others” I am referring to are most specifically refugees form “New Digg”.  A month ago, Digg resolutely decided to ignore the lessons of Coca Cola, and launched a new version whose main intent was to pull the rug out from under the 20%-or-so of its most loyal and regular users, its very heart and soul….and give it to Big-time publishers.  

Suddenly, there was a significant group of passionate social bookmarking fans in search of a place to go.  Overnight – literally – Phil Mitchell in his UK home office (a 12 foot by 12 foot room with two monitors and a 3.5ghz 4gb ram computer) put up a brand new social bookmarking website called OldDogg.  If that was not impressive enough, for his next act he wooed the Digg refugees over.

Let’s be clear.  Old Dogg was basically a Pligg clone with some new skin.  It was – and still is – no Digg.  And many disgruntled Diggers are returning to Digg.  But Phil laboured away, coding faster than the speed of Tiger Woods at a sorority party, and the site has really come together since those early days just a month ago. 

olddogggraph
In the first 25 days the site had clocked up over 27,000 votes and 1,500 comments.

  • Diggers who are returning to Digg don’t seem to be leaving OldDogg.  At least for now, they are keeping one foot on each site.
  • Every day, OldDogg is getting new members from pretty much all over the place.
  • Over the past week I have seen a significant Propeller diaspora showing up.
  • I should note that I see a healthy dose of my Mixx friends on OldDogg, too.

Born one month ago, it’s time to hold a baptism and say that here we have both a refuge for fed up Diggers and a homeland for lost Propellerheads (sorry).

What does the future hold for OldDogg?  It is hard to say.  It all depends on whether Phil can make it scalable.  I had given him this advice: “There are always a gazillion ways 2 improve (everything Digg used to have, I guess), but right now IMHO you need more non-power-users first.”

He seems to be doing just that, and the timing of Propeller’s funeral is a stroke of luck for OldDogg, as it has added a very active group  members.  But with more members comes the need for more complex coding (I can’t follow what my friends submit , as I can on Mixx and used to be able to on Propeller and Digg, for example).  And Phil Mitchell will need to assemble a team that is bigger than just Phil Mitchell.

These are more than the ramblings of an uneducated observer.  Unlike Phil’s instant success, I have been running Zoomit.ca totally on my spare time (exactly!), and I don’t do PHP coding (so I have to empty my pockets to make upgrades).  With time and money both in short supply, I’ve been doing a slow motion version of what he has done with OldDogg (but watch in the next couple weeks for some exciting upgrades to Zoomit.ca, too!).

From what I have seen over the past month, Phil is probably up to the task.  Keep your eyes on OldDogg; I predict it’s here to stay.

 


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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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