David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

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

THE HAPPY GUY MARKETING

 

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.

Younanimous – AfterVote

Apr 16, 2007 - filed under rankings, SEO Comments Off on Younanimous – AfterVote
 

I have a new favorite search engine: http://younanimous.com/ .  Younanimous has just changed its name to AfterVote, but it remains at the same URL. Why is this such a cool engine?  For three reasons:

1. It provides a hybrid of Google, Yahoo and MSN, so results are not skewed by one engine’s particuylar preoccupations.

2. It allows you to customize results more than the big ones.  You can filter out PDF document, for example.  

3. It gives more info at your finger tips. In addition to the individual results of Google, Yahoo and MSN, it gives Alexa data, Google PageRank, Compete data and WhoIs data for each result.  

Here are a few ways to use AfterVote:

1. To quote for new SEO clients, one can more quickly determine how competitive the field is by searching for a couple of the top search terms.  At Google, I would have to click on several results to see their PageRank and how well they are optimized on-page.  Here I can quickly see the PageRank of all the top players and whether they are the same players across all the engines (800 pound gorillas) or whether the results are more fickle (much less competitive). 

2. For a website owner, this can be used as a keyword research tool.  Hmmm, do I optimize for “hotel jobs” or for “hotel careers”?  This is much more intuitive and probably more reliable than KEI data.

3. Only one result returned per domain.  Note that Alexa and Compete are domain-specific data, not page specific, so they are good for broad assessment goals: which sites would make good JV partners, which would be good for link exchange, which might be good for advertising, etc.

4.  For people who are afraid to use Web Position or other rank-checking software, they can quickly see how they are doing across the three engines for their top keywords.

5. One weakness is that it returns only 10 results from Google, whereas you can set it for 100 at Yahoo and 50 at MSN.  Hopefully this will be upgraded somehow.

Blog advertising

Apr 13, 2007 - filed under blogging, linking, reputation management, website updates 1 Comment
 

You might have noticed that we have a new page listed at the top called “blog advertising”.  Yes, we do accept advertising or sponsored posts, and we have set up very specific guidelines to avoid potential conflicts of interest, including transparency, relevance and freedom to say “this website simply does not deliver”.

In preparing to accept advertising, I did some research on what others are doing.  Tim Nash recently made a similar decision to mine, and given that he is a well-respected contributor at Webdigity, one of the more interesting forums around, I asked him if he would be willing to be a guest blogger and share his thoughts on paid blog posts.  What follows is his commentary…

I’m a blogger not a journalist!
 

Once upon a time I started a website it had a single page about me, these days I run several websites participate on 2 blogs regularly and guest blog on numerous others. I spend 60 hours a week working on the web one way or another. Why am I telling you this? Well in all those hours across all those sites I see reviews and I meet people and products and I think cool I will write about that, 90% of the time I don’t but occasionally I get beyond the first few lines. So when some one turns up and offers you a few dollars to write a review about their site or product are you going to say no?
 

I consider myself to be an ethical blogger in that I always declare when a post is paid for I only accept “jobs” where they are after my honest review. In many ways I consider myself simply being given a nudge out of the door of course I can already hear the screams from the anti paid per post lobby.
 

“The PayPerPost model brings up memories of payola in the music industry, something the FCC and state attorney generals are still trying to eliminate or control. Given the distributed and unlicensed nature of the blogosphere, controlling payoffs to bloggers will be exponentially more difficult.”
Tech Crunch – http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/10/12/the-payperpost-virus-spreads/
 

This is one of the biggest arguments against pay per post — are you being bribed and if so does it matter? If a journalist on a big paper was found to be on the pay of a company how would we react, outrage, anger certainly the end of their career, but why?
 

It’s down to trust and authority we believe our newspapers to be independent of such things this is of course not true but perception is everything. The journalist may never write a positive review about the company but we perceive our trust has been breached we have been let down.
 

But I’m a blogger! I write in my spare time and if some one says here some money to write about xxx then sure I will write about it. If you don’t like it don’t read it! The problem comes when the personal integrity of the blogger is breached which is summed up nicely by Stuntdubl
 

“If everybody writes positive reviews of CRAP – it’s a surefire way for the whole idea to suck. It’s not a surprise that people will accept money to write reviews or analysis – the big question will be HOW MUCH it costs for a review. “
Stuntdubl http://www.stuntdubl.com/2006/11/10/reviewme-2/
 

Here it is laid out on a plate If I accept $30 for an impartial review that’s cool what if I’m given $500 or $1000 can I really remain impartial when offered larger sums of money; I’ll let you know
 

Advice for Bloggers
So here some advice if you’re going to try Pay per post or similar.

  • Set up a disclaimer page discuss which services you use
  • Offer a way to view the site without PPP
  • Make PPP very clear and obvious (I use the tag PPP plus disclaimer)
  • Try to make your posts interesting and on topic, just because its paid for doesn’t mean it can’t be part of your normal blogging cycle.

 

A final cautioning word of warning, some search engines believe Paid links should not be allowed and to steps to prevent these links and pages appearing in the index  Grey Wolf has a great post on this; so is paid per post worth it?
http://www.wolf-howl.com/seo/googles-policy-on-no-follow-and-reviews-is-hypocritical-and-wrong/
 

 

About Me
Tim Nash is a reputation management consultant, co-founder and primary consultant for Venture Skills, a “New media” IT company which specialises in search engine optimisation, reputation management, and technical side of online marketing. When not working at Venture Skills, posting site reviews on forums he can be found teaching at a local university where he lecturers in Search Engine Optimisation and Information Retrieval.
 

http://www.timnash.me.uk
http://ventureskills.wordpress.com
 

 

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