David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

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

THE HAPPY GUY MARKETING

 

Cow Tipping SEO

Apr 07, 2009 - filed under SEO 9 Comments
 

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

SEO Strategies for government websites

Mar 27, 2009 - filed under rankings, SEO, SEO scams 16 Comments
 

In times like these, when companies are cutting costs, not many are hiring SEO services.  But governments aren’t cutting back (quite the contrary, but that’s a rant for another time).  I am just putting to bed a major SEO audit of a government website, so I thought I would share with you some of my observations.

 “What?” you ask.  “Why would a government website need SEO?  They don’t compete for business.  They’re an information website, like Wikipedia.”  In fact, government websites do compete in a number of ways and SEO can be a very powerful tool in reaching the right audience. 

This post recommends SEO strategies to address issues that are particularly relevant for government websites – and in some cases any major information portals, such as university or newspaper websites.  I cannot reveal who our client is, but you should know that it is a government agency that operates bilingually with both domestic and foreign audiences.

Governments have certain natural advantages – the search engines like government TLDs (top level domains, such as .gov or .gc.ca), the sites are huge, they are link magnets because they carry so much official information (they are the authority on so many things) and they typically have a high PageRank.  Just to give you an idea, here are a few key stats for the website I have been working on (I wish this blog had stats 10% as good!:

government-seo-stats

But government websites also have some unique challenges.  Here are a two of those challenges, along with strategies to address them:

SEO against the scammers

Any government agency that has the authority to approve or reject something, is a potential target for scammers.  This might apply to:

  • Licenses
  • Permits
  • Grants
  • Jobs
  • Contracts
  • Status (tax status, citizenship status, business category, etc.)
  • Appeals

Scammers will optimize their websites using words like “free” and “guaranteed” and “easy” and other qualifiers that sound like you can somehow get past due process.  Obviously, a government website does not offer “guaranteed grants” or “free mortgages” or “guaranteed immigration” or “easy access”.  But to protect the integrity of its services, the agency must rank above the scammers for those searches.

We found a few instances where there were several scammers ranking for several such searches better than our government client, so recommendations were made to out-SEO the scammers.  In such cases, the government website must rank well not just for things it wants the public to hear, but for things it would just as soon noit discuss.

SEO for proper direction

Given the size of most government websites, there are usually many levels of information.  People might do searches based on very specific or broad criteria.  For instance:

  • There might be a department with several branches. 
  • One of those branches might be in charge of several areas interest. 
  • Within one of those areas of interest there might be a number of programs. 
  • And one of those programs might include local delivery through offices in various locations. 

The bread crumb trail to get to one of these delivery points would look like this:

Home > branch > interest > program > locations > specific location

So information might go five or more levels deep, with multiple branches to each level.  This means that there are many pages with similar wording that could rank for a specific search.  Here are some of the possibilities.

A person seeking a specific item, such as “health card Bottomsville office” would ideally land at the “Bottomsville” office page.  He might also land on the page listing all the locations, including the link to the Bottomsville page.  Or he might land on the health card program page, where he can follow the link to “health card office locations” and with a couple clicks he gets where he wants.  These are all good scenarios.

On the other hand, someone doing a general search – let’s say a person in Sometown searching for “health card information” would ideally land on the program page, where she might find links to “health card fees”, “health card eligibility”,  “health card office locations”, etc.  However, if she lands on the page for the at the “Bottomsville” office page, she might be confused (because she is from Sometown).  If she is clever, she will notice the breadcrumbs and follow them up…but don’t count on her to notice them, nor necessarily to understand their utility.

If the wrong pages are showing up for certain searches (and we found a number of those), the pages need to somehow be unSEOed, and the correct pages need to be better optimized.

Other SEO challenges

There were other SEO challenges that are not unique to government websites.  In this case, we had to track not just domestic searches, but the rankings across a variety of country-specific search engines.  And, given the bilingual nature of the website we had challenges when certain searches were the same in both languages and the English pages were the only ones that were showing up.

And don’t get me started about the restrictions one has working within the prescribed regulations of a government website.

Beyond all these issues, SEO is SEO, and we provided a report based on best practices, competitive intelligence and working within the constraints of what changes this government agency would be able to make.  Doing SEO on a government website is a complex but rewarding project.

Furl Removed From TheBookmarketer

Mar 19, 2009 - filed under bookmarking, social media, website updates 4 Comments
 

The BookMarketer<br /> Free bookmarketing power tool

The popular social bookmarking website Furl, one of the originals, has been removed from TheBookmarketer.

Why have we taken such a harsh step? Because Furl has folded; it no longer exists.

Why have you not heard about it from other social bookmarking services? Because TheBookmarketer keeps its database updated better than most other social bookmarking aggregators.

Last month we removed Magnolia, when it also folded.  Not all social bookmarking aggregators are keeping up on the comings and goings of social bookmarking services.  In fact, some still feature Spurl, a service that discontinued a year ago.  And very few have added Tipd or Zoomit or Plime, three up-and-coming social bookmarking websites.

The Bookmarketer adds Tipd, Plugim, Plime

Mar 05, 2009 - filed under blogging, bookmarking, social media 7 Comments
 

Financial bloggers finally have a social bookmarking tool that includes Tipd.com, the niche social bookmarking website for financial news. Now there are five excellent reasons to add The Bookmarketer to your blog:

The BookMarketer
Free bookmarketing power tool

1. It is the most up-to-date social bookmarking service, including emerging social bookmarking websites such as Tipd, Plime, Plugim, Shoutwire, Stumpedia, Socialogs, PostOnFire and Jamespot. (I am user “amabaie” at all of these; come be my friend.)

2. It is the least out-of-date social bookmarking service. Many others still have Spurl, which discontinued public services a year ago, and Magnolia, which folded earlier this year.

3. It displays more popular social bookmarking icons on your blog post, increasing the likelihood your readers will use it and bookmark your posts.

4. Finacial bloggers finally have a social bookmarking tool that included Tipd.

5. Canadian bloggers finally have a tool that includes Zoomit Canada.

The Bookmarketer is a free social bookmarking service to help increase the readership of your blog or website, and increase the links you attract from other websites. Just cut-and-paste the code, and off you go. Toy can see The Bookmarketer in action at the bottom of this post.

Nine Reasons to Ignore Three-Way Link Requests

Mar 03, 2009 - filed under linking 35 Comments
 

“So if I understand correctly,
you want to offer me a minor league bench-warmer
in exchange for one of my star players?”

Like you, we are inundated with link requests. Some are worthwhile; some are not. Obviously if the topics are way off base, we don’t pay any further attention. If the topic is on-base, we give the site a quick eyeball test.

But what do you do when a three-way link is requested? Just to understand correctly, a three way link is when a webmaster or hired gun requests a link from your site to their site, and offer in exchange a link from another website altogether.

Here are nine solid reasons to ignore such emails…

There is more work up front, because there are two websites to evaluate for one linking opportunity. Given the relatively few worthwhile requests, it really is not worth having to work twice as hard to decide whether to pay further attention, when you can work many times less hard by just deleting.

As a general rule, three-way linking requests are on average of a lower quality than straight two-way swaps. So there is even more incentive to delete the message rather than work twice as hard to review it.

Most three-way link requests want you to give a link from your high-quality website (your star player), but offer you a link from their low-quality website (their bench-warmer). If they are not interested in linking back from their quality site, why should you even bother?

The website they are promoting is the one they want a link to, naturally. Over time, as they build ever more links, a link from that site will become valuable. They offer a link from a site they are not promoting, which through attrition will become less valuable. Yet they are asking you to link to them from the site you are promoting and making more valuable. Fair? I think not.

Very often the website they want to link to you from is not even theirs. Very often, it belongs to a linking specialist they have hired. The linking website in most of those cases exists solely to provide reciprocal links, making is not only poor quality, but also expendable; when the linking campaign is over, the hired guns have no interest in keeping your link, poor quality as it is, live.

With alarming regularity, three-way link requests come in offering return links from the same website, often a directory. Link to Site A and get a link back from PainInTheButtDirctory.com. The next day, link to Site B and get a link back from PainInTheButtDirctory.com. The next day, link to Site C and get a link back from PainInTheButtDirctory.com. The next day, link to Site D and get a link back from PainInTheButtDirctory.com. It’s actually kind of amusing in an annoying, make-them-stop sort of way.

Contrary to popular opinion, a three-way link does not fool Google and Yahoo, at least not if it is done on any measurable scale. If a website has a high percentage of inbound links from websites that are all linked to from the same website or family of websites…well, let’s just say that the one thing huge data processors are expert at is recognizing patterns. ‘nough said.

Do the search engines value three-way links more than two way links? Some people swear by it. I have no data to back up the assumption I am about to share with you, and I could be very wrong. However, I suspect that the search engines see two-way link swaps as both a means of boosting link popularity sometimes and as a means of partnership marketing sometimes. What percentage probability they attribute to which characteristic is likely based on features of the linking pages. However, when there is a three-way linking pattern detected, I am pretty sure the search engines would attribute close to 100% probability that the links are solely to manipulate their ranking of your website. When else do you ever hear of three-way linking? I suspect that these links are seen as fairly dark gray-hat SEO, if not black hat.

The very last place you want to be found in is in a link directory that is solely used for three-way links. It’s like waving a big red flag and calling out, “Hey there, Google. Yoohoo, Yahoo. Lookit me. I’m messing with your rankings.” Is that the message you want to send the search engines about your website.

blackhat1 whitehat2

Are there legitimate three-way link requests? I have to add this footnote, because there is nothing black and white, not even SEO hats. There are some rare situations where a brand new website approaches us with a link request. They know that their links page carries no weight and might not even be indexed or cached by the search engines. In other words, they know they have nothing of value to offer in return. So they offer a link from another website. This happens rarely, but when it is specified that this is the reason, I usually take the time to look at their website and consider their offer. And, assuming the site seems worthwhile, I sometimes ask for a link back from their “worthless” page, knowing that over time it will be worthwhile…and in many cases more so than the third-party link page that seems more worthwhile in the short term.

Twitter Success for SOHO Small Business

Feb 25, 2009 - filed under reputation, social media, Twitter 12 Comments
 

A lot of small business owners are thinking about social media marketing, but are not sure if or how to do it.  A lot of them have heard about how Twitter tipped the balance in the last US election.  But many business owners still are not sure.

Yesterday I was meeting with a group of SOHO entrepreneurs.  To give you an idea of the crowd, there was…

  • A local real estate agent
  • A local gift catalogue agent (who can sell across Canada)
  • A virtual assistant (Drop me a line if you want her contact info)
  • A local mortgage broker
  • A local home decorator/renovator

Notice the word “local” appears a fair amount?  Can a local business, such as these SOHO folks effectively do social media marketing.

Yes.  I advised them all to sign up for Twitter.

So, without further ado, here is David Leonhardt’s crash course in Twitter for SOHO business.

Pick a smiling avatar.  At networking meetings, you need a firm handshake, a smile and eye connection.  On Twitter and other social networking sites, your smile does all the heavy lifting.

Find people to follow who broadcast good information in you niche, such as links to articles, blog posts, other experts to follow, tools, etc. These people will do almost all the research you’ll need to keep up on new tools, new developments, new resources and more in your field.  Congratulations! You have just hired a research department that won’t even ask to be paid.

If your business is local, follow as many people as possible in your area.  Go to Twellow and search for a location.  Some people will show by country, some by state, some by town, so you’ll want to do multiple searches.  Follow these people, at least long enough to see which ones follow you back.  If your business is not local, you can search by pretty much any criteria.

Remember that anything you type into Twitter will be read by just about anybody.  It’s like a worldwide networking meeting with a microphone over your head, so be tactful and be professional.  On the other hand, Twitter is a medium where people like to know you as a human being, so polite informalities are a plus.

Make sure you are tweeting the right things, things that will advance your reputation and your business. Things that will build credibility. Things that will create opportunities. Things that will attract more people toward you. Sooooo many people tweet the music they are listening to, the food they are eating or preparing, the trouble they have getting out of bed – I suppose they are trying to get intimate and help followers feel like they are right there with them. But so many tweets on those topics make one’s eyes gloss over and reduce your value to the majority of followers (my opinion). Here are a few things you can tweet:

  • Tweet your successes.  That reinforces both what you do and your competence.  This builds your credibility as someone who is effective at what you do. Don’t brag, but do brag just a little.
    Just sold another home.  It was a tough one.  Required extra effort.  Feels good. 
  •  Tweet profound or quick facts that your followers might find interesting.  That also makes people want to keep following you and builds your credibility as a knowledgeable person in your field. 
    56% of Americans never read a nutrition label.  How often do you?
  • Tweet useful resources related to what you do.  That also makes people want to keep following you and pay attention to what you are doing.  It also makes you the person they come to when they need advice, which might lead to business for you.
    Helpful guide to pre-workout stretching here: [URL] 
  • Occasionally – very occasionally – ask for clients.  Why not?  A little self-promotion is accepted by most people.  And if you lose three followers and gain one client, it’s worth it.
    Booked until end of March.  Know anyone needing party planning  in April or May?
  • Ask questions.  This is a great way to do research and make yourself more knowledgeable about the market. This tends to work best when you have a large number of followers.
    Trade-in of keep it running – what are your car plans for the next few months?


Use Twitter to network, but if you start an in-depth conversation (which is good), take it off-tweet.  Phone, email or even Twitters DM (direct message) feature are preferable.  Your other followers don’t want to be bombarded by one side of a conversation they are not party to.

Remember that in all social situations, it helps if you give first.  People give to helpful people, so send ideas, referrals and pats on the back to people following you.

There are also tools that can make Twitter more effective, but not really useful for a newbie.  If you start getting really into Twitter and find you are following too many people, download TweetDeck and set up groups of people you wish to follow.  For instance, you can set up a group of most important prospects that will appear in one column (so that you never miss the chance to respond to their tweets) and a group of your industry idols whose information you don’t want to miss.

Should a local SOHO business be on Twitter?  Yes.  You can do a year’s worth of networking in a week.  You can find leads, referrals and clients.  You get an instant research team.  Go for it!

P.S.  You can follow David Leonhardt on Twitter or retweet this post to your Twitter followers.

10 Ways to Make Your Avatar Sell

Feb 19, 2009 - filed under Digg, marketing, MyBlogLog, reputation, StumbleUpon, Twitter 28 Comments
 

If you include social media marketing as part of your online marketing strategy, give a little thought to your avatar. Actually, give a lot of thought. Overlooked as they are, they can be crucial to your branding strategy.

Avatars are those little images that go beside each post you author at websites like Digg, Twitter, FaceBook, MySpace and even beside comments in this blog. In some places, they are called profile pictures or something like that. But look at all the variety of choices you have…

Twitter @SteveatLFPressTwitter @ForwardStepsTwitter @johnchowTwitter @foodtvdotcaTwitter @PublicityHoundTwitter @thegypsyTwitter @feydakin
Twitter @PRsarahevansTwitter @bwelfordTwitter @cnnTwitter @MrJavoTwitter @XurxoVidalTwitter @zoomitTwitter @MarketingProfs

Why avatars are so crucial is because they are like your online logo on every social media website you participate in. If you Tweet or connect for fun and recreation, who cares? But if marketing and business is important to you, below are 10 guidelines on how to optimize your avatars for maximum affect.

Note that these are “guidelines”, not rules. It might not make sense for you, in your particular situation, to follow all of them, but if you follow none of them, you are probably blowing it big time. Not all the avatars above follow all the guidelines, but they all follow most of them. As you read the list below, let your cursor slide over the images; I have added some notes in the alt and title attributes.

    Default avatar at MyBlogLog...boring

  1. Let’s start with the basics. Don’t leave your avatar blank or go with a default avatar. The image it will leave people with is that you don’t know what you are doing, that you might just be a spammer, that you have something to hide or, perhaps worst of all, no impression – you’ve wasted a chance to brand yourself.
  2. Daiv Rawks' face at Twitter2. Your face is the ideal logo. In social media, people don’t want to interact with a company; they want to interact with a real person. Remember that social media is like a fusion of all the occasions when you might be speaking informally with people – around the water cooler, at trade show receptions, at the pub down the street, at networking meetings. In the real world, nobody wants to speak with a faceless company; they want to speak with a human being. Online people are still people; they want to speak with real people. See what people think of face avatars here.
  3. The previous guideline is one that you might want to break in one very specific situation. If your social media strategy is strictly to broadcast information, you might want your avatar to be your company logo. Very few organizations can get away with this strategy, but some information-rich companies, such as newspapers or radio stations, do this very effectively. Here are avatars from two different media outlets, reflecting very different apporoaches to social media marketing:
  4. CNN broadcasts on Twitter The London Free Press participates at Twitter

    John Chow is easy and pleasant to see on Twitter

  5. 4. Make your face pleasant and easy to view. Some people try to get attention with avatars where their face is half showing, on some kind of angle, or contorted. Others pick a cute photo where some object is partially obscuring their faces. Nice pictures for friendship; not ideal for networking.
  6. Even in tiny form at Digg, you can see mklopez's avatar

  7. Remember that your avatar will show very, very small. That means your face really needs to fill the avatar. If it looks like you are far away, people won’t be able to recognize you when the avatar appears in tiny format (like on a Digg submission or even on a tweet). I can think of one Twitter avatar that I always assumed included a baby’s head…until I saw the photo at larger size in another program and I realized it was just the way her hair falls. (Bet she doesn’t know she has a baby!)
  8. Oops. Seems like this face is hard to make out even in a large avatar format

  9. 6. Also, because avatars show up small, it is ill advised to have too much cluttering up your avatar. Is that a photo of your arms behind your head, or are you picking your nose. Is that a pet, or an oxygen mask or a mutant mushroom in front of your face? Is that a person way back there in the middle of that 20-pixel-wide landscape?
  10. All these guidelines makes for a possibly very dull photo. If everyone follows all these rules, then everyone will look the same and nobody gets branded, right? It does make it more challenging. You can create a distinct background, perhaps a bright color. You can change the color of your face…or post in black-and-white (rare on the Internet) as two of the examples above do. You can become a caricature of yourself or of your expertise (think Statue-of-Liberty for a freedom blogger, thinkBob-the-Builder for a home renovator) – I did say people like to deal with real people, not faceless corporations, but I also said these are guidelines, not rules. You can add a letter to the avatar to represent your username, but be careful that when shrunk it does not look like something strange. Here are examples of three strategies to make avatars stand out:
  11. Mr. Javo's cartoon self actually looks like him, but it stands out as a cartoon Search Engine Guy used cropping to make his image memorable Look how Steve 'Feydakin' Gerencser uses color to stand out from the crowd.

    Who can resist Jill Whelan's smiling avatar at MyBlogLog?

  12. Smile. Yes, a smile is inviting. People are more likely to add you as a fan or follow you or befriend you if you appear pleasant and inviting. Yes, I know you are above that; basic psychology applies to the other 99.99999% of humanity.
  13. You'll see Marko's StumbleUpon avatar at Sphinn, Digg, Twitter, etc.

  14. 9. Now that you have chosen an avatar, use the same one across all social media platforms where you hold an account. Many people flit from one social media platform to another, and you want to be instantly recognized. I have recognized Twitter friends on Digg, and Digg friends on Sphinn, and Sphinn friends on…exactly. And thanks to Gravatar, I have seen many of my online friends and acquaintances in numerous blog comments. Each time I see a familiar face, that face – and by extension, that person – becomes more familiar. You can see my same avatar on Digg, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Mixx, Sphinn, Zoomit, etc. Interestingly, Lee Oden did a quick Twitter survey just when I was first contemplating this post, so I thought I would share it with you.
  15. I'd know that face anywhere.  Barry Welford's avatar is a constant.

  16. Once you pick your avatar, stick with it. I know several folks I really respect who break this rule, so hopefully they won’t hate me (and if they hate me, hopefully they don’t have any voodoo dolls of me kicking around). But every time you change your avatar, you break your branding momentum. From a psychological perspective, your avatar is your logo, and people relate it to you. Imagine if Amazon.com or Toyota or Apple Computers or Target Stores changed their logos several times a year. Exactly. Many people who follow you in social media don’t necessarily remember your name (Yes, I know, your friends do, but many of the people you are trying to reach for marketing purposes don’t) or even your username, but they will know your image, because that is your most powerful representation. They will relate your image to your style/topic of posts; your target market pays attention when it sees your avatar because it’s on their radar. From a more practical perspective, as people flit quickly through recent posts, they will tend to gloss over an unfamiliar avatar. Each time you change your avatar, you lose also their attention.

Let me stress once more that these are just guidelines. If you have good reason to do otherwise, be my guest. When it comes to social media, or any other social situation, there are no hard and fast rules…and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

You can easily tweet this post by clicking reTWEET this

Don’t Trust SEOs Bearing Pretty Packages

Feb 12, 2009 - filed under rankings, SEO, stats 14 Comments
 

gift-boxesMany SEO companies advertise specific packages, such as a gold, silver and bronze SEO package costing so much per month and including so many links of so much PageRank and focusing on so many search terms.

We don’t.

SEO is not a science, it is a sport. It involves strategy. It involves balancing various aspects. It involves flexibility and responding to what others do. It involves competing against others….and each game is different.  One size does not fit all, and the size and shape has to be able to change sometimes on a dime.

Good SEO does not come in pretty packages.

Here are some of the limitations that packages create:

  1. Building so-many links each month. Come the end of the month, there would need to be a counting of links, and if the links have fallen short, a flurry of activity to create links, even if the quality of those links is poor. Don’t get me wrong, you need sucky links. But the fact is that those links might actually be negative for your site .
  2. Building links based on PageRank. Plenty of good links of low quality would be rejected. Why create links you are not being paid for?
  3. Monitoring the number or PageRank of link-building. What should be monitored is the ranking for those search phrases that are being pursued. Over time, changes in strategy are required .
  4. Client knows what to purchase. How is the client to know what package to buy? Even the SEO consultant can only guess at what is required, a sin any sport. As the SEO moves down the field, he is constantly re-evaluating the game and what is needed .
  5. Automation. Let’s face it, if your website attracts the exact same number of links every month, that’s a red flag sign of automation, even if the links were built manually .
  6. Best links will be missed. The best links are those that can’t be predicted, the ones using link-bait and social networking. Anyone offering a package cannot afford to invest the time in these high-quality links .
  7. Limiting the number of search terms. I see the search phrases my clients have to target change all the time. Sometimes they change their product offering or target a new demographic. Sometimes the language that searchers use changes. Sometimes we see that we are getting a surprising amount of traffic from a keyword we were not targeting…and we go after it .
  8. A package is a product. Do you want to sell a product, or do you want to be part of the team. If I was to hire an SEO consultant, I would want him to be part of the team .

Whether in basketball, baseball, hockey or any other competitive sport, a custom package that is flexible and responsive to changes is the only way to go. SEO is no different. Hire an SEO consultant that can outline a custom program and who is not shy to make changes on the run. Make sure your SEO is as flexible as you are; your market is dynamic and the search engines are even more so.

Memes for linkbuilding

Feb 10, 2009 - filed under blogging, linking, Twitter 4 Comments
 

I’ve been tagged in a meme.  I think I was tagged sometime a ago in one, but this time I’m paying attention for a few reasons:

  1. It’s a good chance to tell you about the linking benefits of participating in memes.
  2. I was tagged by SEOAly (Alysson Fergusson), the Sunshine of Twitter
  3. SEOAly might get to go free to the IM Spring Break conference (and surely bring back some great notes for me, since I don’t have time to attend)

The concept of a meme is quite simple.  At heart it’s a tag-you’re-it game, where one blogger “tags” several others by linking to them.  Their role then is to link back to the person who tagged them, and then tag additional bloggers.  If you can visualize the linking diagram, you can see the benefits this brings to your blog and to the blogs of your friends and associates. 

If a large part of SEO is making your website well-connected across the Internet, a meme helps establish the community of like websites.

So to participate in this meme, I am supposed to link back to SEOAly, link to the IM Spring Break meme page, list 7 things you expect to happen at IM Spring Break, then tag as many people as possible.  (I will cheat on that last one; I’ll tag just a few people who have been readers of this blog whom I think might not yet have been tagged by someone else.)

What will happen at IM Spring Break.

  1. I will miss 100% of the sessions, because I’ll be back home working for my clients.
  2. I will miss Chris Winfield’s insightful presentation, but I will get to contribute to it when he seeks input via Twitter as he did for his Lawyers on Twitter presentation last month.
  3. Several words that I can’t repeat here, in case my kids ever read this, will punctuate an equally insightful presentation by Sugarrae Hoffman.
  4. Jordan Kasteler aka Utah SEO Pro will get even with the IM Spring Break organizers by going 100% dry all conference.
  5. SEOAly will attend, thanks in part to this blog post.
  6. SEOAly will bring back notes for everyone she tagged.
  7. I will run out of ideas before I get to #7.

So, let’s tag Wilson Raynopss, Peter Lee, Mr Javo, Communibus and Barry Welford just for fun.

Is a meme a good way for you to spread the word, too?

Free SEO Book For Twitter Followers

Feb 03, 2009 - filed under social media, Twitter 16 Comments
 

ANNOUNCEMENT: I am offering a free copy of Don’t Get Banned By The Search Engines to new Twitter followers. All you have to do is follow me and you will receive a special URL to download the book without having to pay the $40.

Why am I doing this? It is a good question, and one that I have wrestled with. I have been critical of the “look how many followers I have” syndrome, where people are fixated on the size of their audience. It’s almost a self-esteem issue in some cases.

Yet I watch some people with several thousand followers ask questions and get a flood of great answers in no time flat. Meanwhile, with just a few hundred followers, I get much fewer responses. I also see how there are times when I would like people to know about something interesting on Digg or Sphinn or Mixx, that this would be a great way to let more people know — not just about my stuff, but about all sorts of great items.

For instance, on Sphinn recently, I posted:

Awesome 404 Error Pages by Smashing Magazine
DoFollow versus NoFollow links by The Minority Report
Why You Should Trade Links With PR0 Pages (OK, that one was by me)

I would love you to Sphinn these, too. With more Twitter followers, I know I can share these gems with more people.

So for a limited time, I am offering all my new followers a free copy of Don’t Get Banned By The Search Engines as an incentive and a thank you for taking the time to add me to your follow list. I am looking forward to meeting you at Twitter.

Follow David Leonhardt on Twitter

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