David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

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

THE HAPPY GUY MARKETING

 

Google gets social with StumbleUpon

Dec 04, 2007 - filed under bookmarking, Google, social media, StumbleUpon 2 Comments
 

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. 

Link Building by the Specs? No Thank You!

Nov 30, 2007 - filed under linking, pagerank, rankings, SEO Comments Off on Link Building by the Specs? No Thank You!
 

So somebody needs to build links to help his search engine rankings, and has come up with a very precise list of exactly what he wants.  It includes 19 exact specifications, which perhaps he pulled from a handy article somewhere on the Web.  Here is the list he presented, but this post could be abut any such list… 

1. One way non-reciprocal links only, no link exchanges.
2. THREE WAY Links where all links are in the same theme is OK
3. All links must be permanent.
4. Only 10% can be in directories.
5. No blogs
6. ONLY OUR THEME , (our theme is quite common so you will not have problems).
7. NO hidden links or any site that has hidden links.
8. No directories. No link farms, link-exchange programs, forums, Google banned site, black hat website. No guestbooks, links within forums, links within newsgroups or links from link exchanges etc. and never participate in any commercial web rings.
9. No sites banned by Google.
10. Link page must have a recent Google & Yahoo cache.
11. Must be manually submitted.
12. No Automated software (e.g., Zeus, Arelis or others)
13. All links must be from a different domain and IP address (geographically diverse, different class-c IP address block).
14. Only 10 to 15 links per week per language per site
15. Link pages must be static urls (no variables or parameters in the url)
16. No blacklisted or spam sites.
17. No more than 40 outbound links per page.
18. The link text must be from our keyword list and point to that keywords target page
19. All links must be static and without “nofollow” tags, no redirects, or javascript
20. Links must be on a PAGE with a Google PR of at least 2
21. All links must be on a page of the same language
22. Links must be on domains where we have no link

This post is about why I refuse to build links according to lists like this.  First, I must note that some of the items such as #9 and #7 and #15, for example, all make perfect sense.  These are deal-breakers that make a link useless. 

However, other elements are judgment calls: stipulating how many links per page, the PageRank, that a three-way link is acceptable but not a two-way link, among other factors.  What people hire me is to exercise that judgement.  To decode when a page might be PR1 but incredible on-topic and worth going after.  Or when a page might have 200 links, but with PR4 and lots of real human traffic it is worth its weight in gold.  Honestly, the client can just have his secretary or an offshore link-builder do the manual job of seeking out the links.  He does not need me for that.  What he needs me and my trained staff for is to exercise judgment – judgment that he is overriding with a pre-fab list. 

Does the client really think we have control over how many links are built in a week?  That depends on the response rate and the amount of back-and-forth with various webmasters.

And how much does he want to pay me to track down IP addresses to make sure they are all different?  Or check that the client does not already have a link on the domain?

That’s why I turn down offers to try to fit a strategic process into so comprehensive a list of technical specifications.

You’ve Made Digg – Now What?

Nov 29, 2007 - filed under bookmarking, Digg, marketing, social media, website conversion Comments Off on You’ve Made Digg – Now What?
 

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. 

Link-bait content for viral marketing

Nov 21, 2007 - filed under content, deep links, linking, marketing Comments Off on Link-bait content for viral marketing
 

Today I just want to share with you Jason Lee Miller’s list of what works as good link bait and ideal for viral marketing.  His whole article is great and can be read here, but this is the list I thought I would share directly with readers. 

The Resource Approach (Becoming the Expert In Your Field/Niche)

—    Create expert articles/lists/data sheets 
—    Create practical or fun tools
—    Write How-To articles
—    Create a comprehensive blog roll (give link love, get link love)
—    Compile informative news stories and articles


The News Approach

—    Get the scoop. Be first with industry news
—    Interview prominent people in your field
—    Investigate a hot topic
—    Do an exposé


The Humor/Novelty Approach

—    Post funny/interesting/amazing photos related to your industry
—    Create humorous/unique videos (Use Blendtec for inspiration)
—    Create lists; people love lists – Top 10 Ways to…; 10 Signs You’re…

How to chose a link partner

Nov 19, 2007 - filed under Google, linking, rankings, SEO Comments Off on How to chose a link partner
 

Most webmasters are at a total loss when they try to decide whether to do a link exchange.  In fact, they are so lost that they rely on how much green is showing on the notoriously inaccurate Google Toolbar.

Here is my top-5 list of how to decide if a link exchange is worthwhile.

1. The page is cached by Google.  That is the drop-dead bottom line.  If it is not cached, Google can’t find it.  And Google is the biggest search engine by far.  If Google can’t find it, chances are that Yahoo, Ask and MSN can’t either.  And chances are that real people won’t land on the page or navigate to it.

2. Relevance. The page should not be optimized for “links”. “link exchange” or “resources”, unless are searches you are targeting in your SEO efforts.

3. Relevance.  The page should be relevant for the specific words you are targeting.  In other words, the title tag and the heading should include at least one of the main words of the search you are targeting.

4. Relevance. The page should be on topic, regardless of specific words.  If it is full of totally unrelated websites, the search engines can see that it is just a collection of random links.

5. If you can get a link on a content page, or where yours is the only external link on the page, you have struck gold!

Reciprocal link heresy

Oct 26, 2007 - filed under linking, rankings, SEO Comments Off on Reciprocal link heresy
 

Let’s go hunt us a sacred cow today, OK?  Specifically, the sacred cow that all links must be reciprocated. 

There are a number of software programs you can purchase that can periodically make sure that all your link partners retain their links to your website so that you can notify them, warn them, threaten them and remove their links if they have removed yours.

Others spend time double-checking by hand.

Is this money well spent?  Is this time well spent?

No.

First, you have gained nothing by removing the links of those few who have reneged on their end of the bargain.  You have not increased your link popularity.  You have not gained additional PageRank.  You have not increased your website’s trust, relevance, content, number of pages or any other indicator that will lead to higher rankings.

Second, you have just spent money buying software that could have been spent elsewhere.  Or you have spent time checking backlinks that could have been spent creating them.

Third, you might even be doing yourself a disservice by making every outbound link on your resources page a reciprocated one.  The search engines are pretty clever.  They can detect when 100% of your outbound links are reciprocated.  They can detect when 100% of your links are part of a triangular linking pattern.  Do you think they are impressed with that?  My logic is that it is to your advantage if over time some of your link partners reneg and you have less of a pattern (remember that when it comes to linking, patterns should be avoided, for they indicate to the search engines that the links are contrived).

So, with apologies to everyone hocking link-checking software, my recommendation is to not waste another minute of the precious few God gave you checking up on your link partners.  A nice hike in the mountains would be a much better investment for your business…and of course for you!

Hidden Text Trick

Oct 25, 2007 - filed under Google, SEO, SEO scams 4 Comments
 

Every wonder how that image-only home page can outrank you for some pretty important search terms.  The typical advice you will get on forums and in articles is that it is all in the links – that the high-ranking page has more, better and more relevant links pointing from other web pages. 

But there might be something more sneaky and nefarious going on.  Check the source code.  Are there hundreds of words of text that do not appear on the page?  If so, go back to the page.  Where can they be, you can’t see them and there is no scrollbar to scroll any farther.  You highlight the page to see if any hidden text shows up and all of a sudden the page starts scrolling.  You see plenty of text.  And technically it’s not hidden, but it is tucked away where nobody would think to view, because the webmaster has deactivated the scrollbar.  Pretty sneaky.  But is this hidden text?

Technically, the text is very clearly visible, so it is not technically hidden.  On the other hand, a manual review of this site would reveal that there is spiderable text placed where most visitors would not know how to find.  I am willing to bet that a hidden text penalty would be issued to such a page.   

My advice is to report your competitor to Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask right away.  And don’t even think about doing the same thing…because someone else might report you both! 

This story is going to make “MILLIONS”

Oct 24, 2007 - filed under clients, writing Comments Off on This story is going to make “MILLIONS”
 

I don’t know why, but I seem to like posting the crazy email demands I get.  For instance, this one lady wants a book written based on her true story, and asks “Dear David, I was wondering, do I have to come up with the cash up front? Or will the writer take a commission?”, followed by a long explanation of her story.

When I explain that “We typically ask for the payment to be broken into thirds, but we can break it down into smaller increments.  The only thing we are not flexible on is that any work the writer does has been paid for.” …she comes back with:“All I know is my story is going to make MILLIONS and IM wikking yo dhare it all, just to get my story out! Got it?”

Ready for my response? 

“With all respect, it sounds like you are more interested in hiring a gambler than a writer.  Best of luck.”

Inbound links – better to own than to rent

Oct 17, 2007 - filed under content, linking, SEO Comments Off on Inbound links – better to own than to rent
 

I like this post saying Don’t Buy Rent Links

Julia Kristiva makes a great arguement for creating content, going through the costs and revenue, and how the website benefits from the content.  In this example, she references a useful tool created for a client.  But articles, data, case studies, ebooks, and other useful content can have the same effect.

I have never been a big fan of buying (“renting”, actually) links.  Just as with home ownership, it’s better to own than to rent.  If you own something that people want to link to, you effectively own the links.  But if the links are a result only of your monthly payment, your are renting. 

It’s the difference between a cost and an investment.

How to learn SEO

Oct 16, 2007 - filed under SEO 1 Comment
 

I am being pressed to tell someone how he can quickly learn SEO. 

“OK, so if they want to have their site optimized, what would be a going price for that? And what are the details of having this done? Can I find out these answers by going to your site?”

This line of questioning is not unusual from someone interested in an SEO quick start.  However, my response…

The price depends on what they need to have done and how competitive the markets they are chasing are.  And on who is doing it.  One SEO quoted $80,000 for a job that I thought should run around $10,000 to $20,000.  Or you can go offshore and easily get your website’s reputation hacked up for a mere $3000.

Although there are certainly plenty of items common to almost all SEO projects, again it depends on the website, the company and the market.  It’s a lot like marketing a book…there is not one size that fits all.  It’s not for nothing that you could spend weeks on end reading the numerous forums where SEO is debated and still not come out knowing what information is right and what is not, let alone what information applies to your situation and what does not.  If you really want to learn SEO, the SEMPO course is the place to start, at least to avoid making serious mistakes and getting the basics down, then experience will be a good teacher over time.

Sorry, there is no simple answer and no out-of-the-box process.  If there were, then everyone would apply it and there would be 1000 websites in the top 10 for every search term.  Since there can be only 10, it is almost by definition the things that are new and original and above what everybody else is doing that really make the difference.

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

Close