David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

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

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Top ten free SEO tools

May 15, 2007 - filed under keywords, linking, SEO, social media 1 Comment
 

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. 

Improving Social Networks

May 08, 2007 - filed under networking, social media Comments Off on Improving Social Networks
 

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.

Submit Your Dog Stories

May 08, 2007 - filed under clients, writing Comments Off on Submit Your Dog Stories
 

We have an interesting client who is planning to publish an anthology of uplifitng and positive dog stories.  This is a great opportunity for any aspiring writer or dog-lover you know to get their work published! 

Please read very carefully the submission details posted at: http://www.seo-writer.com/books/dog-stories.html

Woof! 

Spanish Social Bookmarking

May 04, 2007 - filed under bookmarking, multilingual SEO, social media, Spanish, tagging Comments Off on Spanish Social Bookmarking
 

 

 

  

Announcing El Marcadorado – Spanish language social bookmarking script.   

This is a first in the world, a Spanish language social bookmarking aggregator script for webmasters.  Just like TheBookmarketer- English language social bookmarking script, Spanish webmasters can place the small El Marcadorado code snippet on their webpages  to encourage visitors to social bookmark their pages. 

In addition to the major English language social bookmarking sites, El Marcadorado supports the major Spanish language social bookmarking websites, such as Meneame, Blogmemes and Fresqui.

I posted earlier what the script can do and how webmasters can make use of it.  All that applies to the Spanish version, too.

If you know anyone with a Spanish website…let them know!

Why Diggers will hate me today

May 02, 2007 - filed under Digg, social media Comments Off on Why Diggers will hate me today
 

How would you like to see your bank account password posted to the home page of Digg for all to see and hundreds of bloggers to pick up and post to their blogs as a result? Well, that’s pretty much what happened at Digg yesterday.

If you are not an avid geek newsmonger, you might have missed the riot, the madhouse, the uncontrolled and childish feeding frenzy that gripped Digg yesterday.

After the Digg management team pulled a story (rightly, in my opinion) that revealed a hacking code for new HD-DVDs, the Digg community went haywire. Several times I checked the home page of Digg yesterday, and each time there were stories about no other topic, and pretty well most of them repeated the hacking code.

On the one hand, Digg operates a free and open community, and is not responsible for what people post, especially since those posts are not actually content, but links to content elsewhere on the Web.

On the other hand, if you ran a website where users could post links for others to vote on or comment on, would you not remove a link to a web page of nude Vanessa Fox photos (sorry, inside SEO joke)?

Would you not remove a link to a website on how to create dangerous explosives in your basement?

Would you not remove a link to a site that promoted racial hatred?

Would you not remove a link to a video of a rape?

And what about a link to a page offering the code to illegally hack a company’s product? Digg removed the link. Too late, of course…once the cat’s out of the bag, but still the right thing to do.

In response, Digg was essentially shot down by its own member who wanted Digg to stand up in the name of principle, because they don’t like censorship. Well, neither do I. But this was not a matter of censoring opinion, the way they do in Russia or Iran or at most stockholder meetings. This was censoring the illegal publication of private information, just like your bank account password. I wonder how many people who mobbed Digg took the time to think about that. I suspect the mob might have been more like a twosome if they had.

Sadly, Digg founder Kevin Rose capitulated to the mobs in this post. I think that was the wrong thing to do, and I suppose that much of the mob that brought Digg to its knees yesterday will hate me today. Or perhaps, cooler heads will prevail, and some people will realize that things got just a little out of hand.

SEO and Length of Text

Apr 27, 2007 - filed under rankings, SEO 1 Comment
 

Over at High Rankings I just responded to a question about whether it really is necessary to have 200 – 250 words of text on your page for SEO, when the title and meta description tags are optimized.  Surely a newbie question, but one that clients often bring forward based on a very quick reading of plenty of inaccurate information floating around on the Web.  Here is the response I just posted

I suppose it is redundant to have nine players come up to bat when you really need no more than four (in the event you load the bases), so why not just field a team of four players?As for limiting your text to a sparse 200-250 words, why not limit your team members to anyone 5′ and under?

The answer, of course, is because only one of two teams will win any given game, and every advantage you have is good and every advantage they have is bad. Only ten of a million or two web pages will be in Google’s top ten for any given search phrase, and every advantage you have is good and every advantage they have is bad.

There is a notion that search engine rankings can be achieved primarily in a scientific manner.  Science is when repeating the same action provides the same result, no matter how many time you repeat it.  But SEO is more like a sport, where the rules and the players are constantly changing, and where you are competing for the prize and there can be only a handful of winners and many, many losers.

Web 2.0 or Web 1.1

Apr 25, 2007 - filed under blogging, Internet Comments Off on Web 2.0 or Web 1.1
 

With all the talk about Web 2.0, it was refreshing to read a little bit about “What happened to Web 1.0?” (Dead link removed) . I have a theory, some wise guy coined “Web 2.0”, possibly even some wise guy that I admire, as the new interactive Web. 

Everybody thought this was a really cool idea, because there was certainly no interactivity on the thousands of forums, the hundreds of thousand guest books, the blogs that actually preceeded Web 2.0 and all the article submitted to article directories.  And I am sure there was no interactivity whatsoever in all the newsgroups and feedback forms online, nor the javascript feeds that predated RSS.

I’m not sure we really have Web 2.0, as much as Web 1.1 . 

What?  Me?  Sarcastic?  Naw… 

ADDENDUM:

I should have mentioned above Yahoo! Groups, which have been around for at least six years, and I also recall when I first released my book Climb Your Stairway to Heaven: the 9 habits of maximum happiness, I remember setting up my own pages at Author’s Den, Published.com and many other places that gave people free reign over creating content on their websites.

 

 


 

Google Search Engine Ranking Factors Report

Apr 25, 2007 - filed under Google, linking, pagerank, reputation, SEO Comments Off on Google Search Engine Ranking Factors Report
 

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.

 

 

Google Full-steam Ahead

Apr 24, 2007 - filed under Google Comments Off on Google Full-steam Ahead
 

The numbers are in from Compete.com, which shows that Google is building an even bigger marketshare than ever before.  Check out this chart posted on the Compete blog: 

 

 

Google is everything, of course, but it comes pretty close.  Remember when John Lennon said the Beatles were more popular then Jesus?  Well, I wonder if somebody at the Googleplex will feel tempted to cause the same stir again.

From a more practical standpoint, this means that a top spot at Yahoo is probably worth about the same as a #2 or #3 spot at Google for the same search term.  Don’t laugh – even a top spot at Ask for a high-converting search term is worth the effort.  But Google is unquestionably the jackpot.

And for everyone who criticizes Google for what they do to try to keep their results relevant, you can’t argue with success.

My Right to Google Rankings

Apr 17, 2007 - filed under Google, linking, pagerank, rankings, SEO Comments Off on My Right to Google Rankings
 

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.

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