Martes, Hulyo 31, 2012
ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) is a system of digital phone connections which is compatible with the existing (analog) telephone system
We recently interviewed Bing's Duane Forrester about the new SEO tools & their product roadmap.
Here is a screenshot of their new link explorer, but I highly recommend setting up an account and checking it out firsthand.
For a long time Yahoo! provided great link data, but most other search engines were more reserved with sharing link data for competing sites. What were some of the driving forces behind Bing opening up on this front?
Bing values the power of strong partnerships as one way to spur innovation and deliver compelling experiences for our users. For any partnership to be effective, remaining as transparent as possible is critical, including those we forge with agency and publisher partners. Sharing link information was something very clearly asked for by tool users, so after doing the internal work to see if we could provide the information, it was an easy decision to build this tool when the answer came back positive. You wanted it, we had it and could share it. Done.
As a search engine your web index is much much larger than most SEO tools. On Twitter Rand mentioned that the index size of Bing's new Link Explorer was fairly comparable to Open Site Explorer. Is the link data offered in the tool a select slice of the index? Were you trying to highlight the highest quality link sources for each site?
We see the entire index, or at least "can" see the entire index and link ecosystem. We?re limited to the actual number we can show at any given time, however.
Currently it appears as though the tool lists link source URLs & page titles. Will the tool also add anchor text listings at some point?
On the list ? sometimes we run into data sourcing issues, so when we hit those walls, it takes us longer to add features. Bing WMT pulls data from all the sources available within Bing Search, and sometimes those have limits imposed for other reasons. In those cases, we must abide by those rules or seek to influence changes to increase our own access/capacities. A search engine is a complex thing it turns out? J
There are filters for "anchor text" and "additional query." What are the differences between these filters?
Anchor Text is pretty clear to most SEOs. "Additional Query" allows you to look for, as an example, a page with "N" text appearing on it. So text not just as "anchor text", but simply appearing on the page.
Currently if I search for "car" I believe it will match pages that have something like "carson" on it. In the future will there be a way to search for an exact word without extra characters?
I?m going to split this answer. Users can enable ?Strict? filtering to only see ?cars? data by selecting the ?Strict? box. To your point, however, this is what some of our tools are Beta. We will continually refine them as time goes on, adding features folks find useful.
Will you guys also offer TLD-based filters at some point?
First time anyone's mentioned it, so I?ll add this to our list for consideration.
A few years ago my wife was at a PPC seminar where a Bing representative stated that the keyword search data provided in the tools matched your internal data. Is this still the case?
Bing Advertising is completely separate from Webmaster Tools. I?m not sure if that rep was meaning data within the adCenter tools matches data or what. Bing WMT does import CPC data to showcase alongside keywords which sent traffic to your site. That data matches as we pull direct from adCenter. The data we show through our tools comes direct from Bing Search, so that?s a match if this is what you?re referring to.
Bing's Webmaster tools offers an API with keyword research & link data. Bing's Ad Intelligence is easily one of my 3 favorite SEO tools. Will Bing eventually offer a similar SEO-oriented plugin for Excel?
No plans on the roadmap for an Excel plugin.
At SMX Derrick Connell suggested that there was a relevancy perception gap perhaps due to branding. What are some of the features people should try or things they should search for that really highlight where Bing is much stronger than competing services?
Without doubt people should be logging in and using the Facebook integration when searching. This feature is tremendously helpful when you?re researching something, for example, as you can reach out directly to friends for input during your research process. While searching, keep your eyes open for the caret that indicates there is more data about a specific result. Hovering over that activates the ?snapshot? showing the richer experience we have for that result. Businesses need to make sure they focus on social and managing it properly. It?s not going away and those who lag will find themselves facing stiff, new competition from those getting social right. Businesses also need to get moving adopting rich snippets on their sites. This data helps us provide the deeper experiences the new consumer interface is capable of in some cases.
You have wrote a couple books & done a significant amount of offline marketing. One big trend that has been highlighted for years and years is everything moving online, but as search advances do you see offline marketing as becoming an important point of differentiation for many online plays?
In a way yes. In fact, with the simplification of SEO via tools like our own and many others, more and more businesses can get things done to a level on their own. SEO will eventually become a common marketing tactic, and when that hits, we?re right back to a more traditional view of marketing: where all tactics are brought to bear to sell a product or service. Think of this?email marketing is still one of the single best converting forms of marketing in existence. Yet so many businesses focus on SEO (drive new traffic!) instead of email (work with current, proven shoppers!).
In fact, neither alone is the "best" strategy for most online businesses. It?s a blend of everything. Social happens either with you or without you. You can influence it, and by participating, the signals the engines see change. We can see those changes and it helps us understand if a searcher might or might not have a good experience with you. That can influence (when combined with a ton of other factors, obviously) how we rank you. Everything is connected today. Complex? Sure, but back in the day marketers faced similar complexity with their own programs. Just a new "complex" for us today. More in the mix to manage.
What is the best part about being an SEO who also works for a search engine?
On Wednesday, June 6th at 10AM PST, I was part of the team that brought a new level of tools forward, resetting expectations around what Webmaster Tools should deliver to users. Easily one of the proudest moments of my life was that release. While I?m an SEO and I work for the engine, the PM and Lead Engineer on the WMT product are also SEOs. ;) To say Bing is investing in building the partnership with SEOs is no mere boast. Great tools like this happen because the people building them live the life of the user.
What is the hardest part about being an SEO who also works for a search engine?
Still so few people around me that speak this language. The main difficulty is in trying to understand the sheer scope of search. Because everything you thought you knew as an SEO take son an entirely different dimension when you?re inside the engine. Imagine taking every SEO conversation and viewing it through a prism. So many more things to consider.
And, finally, nothing against Matt here, but why are dogs so much better than cats?
1 ? they listen to you and execute commands like a soldier
2 ? generally, they don?t crap in your house
3 ? you can have a genuine conversation with a dog
4 ? one of my dogs drives
5 ? when was the last time your cat fetched anything for you?
6 ? your dog might look at you funny, but won?t hiss at you
7 ? guard cat? Hardly? you?d be better off with peacocks in the yard.
8 ? dogs make great alarm clocks
9 ? even YOU know you look strange walking your cat on a leash?
10 ? dogs inspire you to be a better person
Thanks for the interview Duane & the great new tools. :)
Duane also did a video review of their new tools on SEOmoz, which highlights how they show rank & traffic data on a per keyword & per page basis. To learn more about Bing, subscribe to their search blog & their webmaster central blog. Duane also shares SEO information on Twitter @DuaneForrester & via his personal blog.
Lunes, Hulyo 30, 2012
Linggo, Hulyo 29, 2012
Sabado, Hulyo 28, 2012
gives you keyword density in your title, meta description, meta keywords, visible text, alt tags, comment tags, image tags, option tags, reference tags, linked text and URL.
Biyernes, Hulyo 27, 2012
Huwebes, Hulyo 26, 2012
Post-Google update season is typically a boon for SEO providers (good ones and bad ones unfortunately). The industry isn't dead or dying, it's simply evolving. In fact, most things in the business world do not "die", they simply evolve.
I suppose dying versus evolving is a matter of personal preference. I prefer to view markets, verticals, and models as evolving because it helps me accomplish a few different things:
- learn why certain practices and opportunities faded, or are fading, away
- learn what is working now and why
- combine those two basic pieces of knowledge to shape future plans and opportunities
If all you do is bemoan the fact that a particular area of your business is evolving past what may be working now then you'll surely miss the boat on the next wave of success. Even if you don't miss the boat completely you'll be stuck in a self-perpetuating game of always chasing something rather than being out in front of it.
Chasing successful models, rather than creating them, certainly can be profitable but you should strive to have a mix of both in your business. Whether it's a completely new business segment (say PPC if you largely do SEO) or just new tactics (more diverse link building for your own web properties, as one small example) you should be looking behind you, to your left and right, and in front of you.
If you are a solo SEO, or mainly run your own web properties, one smart way to diversify your revenue stream is to get into some client work. This can be a tough proposition, it was for me, because many of us who run our own properties are not too keen on scheduled meetings (especially frequent ones) or dealing with some of the timeless issues of client work:
- rapidly changing expectations
- red tape
- lots of chefs
- writing custom proposals
Many of these items can be thwarted by having a clear, frank discussion about what you'll be doing and by setting parameters from the outset. Hopefully you're in a position where you don't have to sell to eat; meaning, running lean and avoiding debt-leveraging is the best way to be able to hand pick your clients (in my experience).
If you have to take on everyone who walks in the door then your results will suffer, your reputation will suffer, and your work will become a big burden to bear. If you have employees who deal with clients in this type of environment then you will likely lose your best people over time and your workplace will become nothing more than a sweatshop with computers.
In addition to all of those negatives, having to sell/sell/sell probably means your margins are thin which directly leads to client's not getting the appropriate service and attention, relative to what they are being billed for.
Selling, itself, might be the biggest hurdle for you. Before I got into this industry I was an insurance agent, Being an insurance agent helped me immensely with being able to sell an otherwise complicated product to folks who didn't have a full grasp of all the relevant subject matter (specific coverages, exclusions, and so on). Hopefully some of these tips will be helpful for you and your SEO sales.
Similarities Between Insurance and SEO
I sold Personal Insurance (car, home, renter's, condo, jewelery, etc) and it was a weird product to sell. It's one of the few things people buy that they hope they never have to use and they have to buy it every year (assuming they have stuff they need to protect). There are some interesting parallels to selling SEO, oddly enough. The serious buyers in the insurance and SEO marketplaces are looking to protect a valuable asset; in insurance it may be their home, car, or life. In SEO it's basically their online presence.
As with any other industry, there are tire kickers and price shoppers. I would caution against excluding price shoppers from a "preferred" client list. They may require a bit more upfront work but just because the might be doing cost comparisons it doesn't necessarily mean they are cheap. In fact, they might be a dream client so avoiding the "well they are price shopping so they must be cheap" argument would serve you well.
Remembering that the sales process is some odd combination of value, facts, and emotion helped me avoid the (very easy to fall into trap) of selling price. I knew many insurance agents that sold on price and did pretty well short term. A more defensible strategy long term, and where agents really make their money, is on retention. If you set the client's expectation that your only benefit to them is price they will leave you, soon, for the same reason.
If you are looking to build a solid client base you have to be able to compete on price but not sell on price. You should be able to answer questions beyond price if you truly believe in the product you are selling.
Before I was an agent I was an underwriter and responsible for the profitable growth of an insurance agency's book of business. I managed anywhere from 50-75 agencies at a time. I can tell you, without equivocation, that the agencies who avoided the trap of selling (not competing) on price absolutely killed it on retention.
In the insurance world, as in the SEO world, retention is mission critical to long term success. If you let price define your business then you'll be participating in a race to the bottom and end up like barely profitable PC makers.
So, how did I compete on price but not sell on it?
- basic study of behavioral economics
An example here would be conditioning the client to understand the difference between best price, better price, and lowest price. A stripped down policy that doesn't cover everything they want to cover or need to cover, which is $300 cheaper that what I'm selling, isn't the best price or even a better price compared to my price. It's the cheapest but not the best.
In my experience, most people who have stuff to protect (new cars, homes, boats, jewelry, etc) will spend the extra money to get a quality policy from someone they feel they can trust and whom they feel is knowledgeable and those are the the type of clients you want!
A company or person who values their online presence and marketing initiatives should be willing to pay a bit more for more reputable work from a reputable company. If you have evidence to back up your claims of being that company then you will win more than you lose even if you aren't the lowest price.
Framing the Offer
What never worked for me in SEO sales was pre-packaged offers. I know it works for some agencies but I always felt like I was selling Hot Cakes and Hash Browns rather than an actual service. Plus, as time goes on and the market becomes more complex and sophisticated so do solutions.
Offering add-on services is great for ROI, so if you're an SEO firm maybe you start offering PPC, conversion, and social services. Add-ons make package pricing super-tough if you are doing it at scale. Packages significantly keep pace with increased RFP demand but are you really delivering the appropriate price for each client as well as for your bottom line?
I do not see how you could advocate for packages across the board because the core of the "for" argument would be that you can sell 2 different sites at the same price inside of different verticals. If you do that how are you maximizing value to you and the client? You aren't, it's that simple. Are they in the same vertical? Ok, but the competition is likely different, the search volume is likely different, and so on.
If you just sell a pre-priced packaged you will negatively affect quality in a variety of ways:
- client being overcharged
- client being undercharged
- cutting corners to save margin
- under-delivering and taking more margin to try and save the account
- not maximizing the balance between client ROI and company profit
I do like using packages after customizing the quote, this is where the framing comes in. As an insurance agent we were generally pushed to try and get folks to prepay the policy for the year through a variety of methods:
- full payment discounts
- increased cost for use of credit cards
- monthly billing fees
So if you were my client I would frame this as "billing discounts". Take a $1,000 policy as an example:
- stipulating a normal $5.00 per month billing fee totaling $60.00 per year = 6%
- most companies give a 5-10% discount for paying in full (cash or check), we'll say it's 5%
The discussion would be something like "We can save you over 10% per year if you pay in full with cash or a check via our cash discount option." Or you could frame the non-cash payment option, which removes the 5-10% discount as a convenience charge of some sort. The information is the same either way, but frame it in that way and you'll have much more success with those kinds of sign-ups.
If you go the custom quote route with SEO proposals you get all sorts of benefits:
- built-in up-sell opportunities (more keywords/verticals, more competitive keywords/verticals, PPC, social, conversion, etc)
- the ability to not only cross-sell services but explain the benefits as well. Explaining how PPC can benefit SEO (and vice versa), with examples, at the time of quote delivery is more powerful then just lumping it into a pre-packaged, pump and dump quote
- paint a better picture in a more holistic campaign, specifically targeted to their business, versus a pre-packaged one (add and remove specific services that might not be needed or relevant after some initial conversations prior to quoting the service)
- play quotes off each other (offer at least 3 options, shooting for at least the middle option)
Package pricing works far better in the insurance world versus the SEO world. Insurance options and coverages have specific costs to them determined by predetermined risk tables.
In SEO you have to evaluate competition against an unknown, ever-changing algorithm in addition to figuring out potential ROI in the PPC world against CPC's that could be all over the place from industry to industry as well as potential profitability from conversion optimization help you might be interested in offering.
Being able to customize quoting options puts you in a better position to frame your offers versus a more stagnant pricing model like you see in the insurance market (even though you can still introduce framing effectively there). Of course, custom quoting comes with its own issues like spending time of RFP's versus actual work.
One solution to the sunk cost on creating custom proposals is to, after your initial discovery call/feeling out call, charge a fee relative to a few hours of your time (or however long it takes you to do a mostly accurate proposal or even a ballpark figure if the client is comfortable with a range). If they balk at that then they probably aren't serious and they likely do not respect your time. If you have a solid reputation you can probably do this with some success, if you are new and unestablished you might need to bite the bullet for awhile.
What Makes Sense For You
There are so many variables that come into play when figuring out this piece of your sales process. You can have some packaged pricing for sure, many PPC companies offer a percentage of spend as a base fee as an example. With the recent, frequent (and substantial) algorithmic changes it really is important to be able to put together a package specifically for a client based on their situation, goals, and budget. It's going to be hard to base your business on selling SEO as a widget-type process (20 links per month, 10 articles per month, etc) going forward.
Some SEO's are all-client based, some just run their own properties, and I think there is a trend starting where SEO's are doing both. Each business model has its own pro's and con's, as well as many different variables, so one set of tips will likely not resonate or be specific to all. However, I think there are a few overarching points that SEO's looking to diversify into client work or who want to be more profitable on the client side should consider:
- get to a point financially (cash flow, debt, margins) where you can pick and choose clients ASAP as it is such a beneficial position to be in on a number of fronts
- if you are currently a packaged product seller start experimenting with custom quotes (and try to put out at least 3 options)
- try a few different pricing options for the actual proposal work and delivery
- be as clear as possible when discussing deliverables (my biggest mistakes have been because of this, bad for me and bad for the client)
- before and during the design of your pricing strategy read Rafi Mohammed's books on pricing
Miyerkules, Hulyo 25, 2012
Negative SEO vs Sabotage
Just about any independent SEO worth their weight who publishes a number of websites has at least once hit a snag & been filtered or penalized. A person can say "not me" but how do they operate optimally in both the short term and long term if they never operate near limits or thresholds? But now that Google has begun actively penalizing sites for unnatural link profiles & tightening these thresholds, competitors have been giving one another shoves. Some of the most widely highlighted examples of crappy SEO were not attempts at SEO, but intentional competitive sabotage.
Why Many SEO Thought Leaders Remain Ignorant About SEO
Recently there have been numerous claims that negative SEO doesn't work made by people who should know better.
Many of them don't know any better though, due to a combination of being naive, trusting public relations messaging as being the truth, and a general lack of recent experience on smaller sites.
If someone only...
- does consulting for large corporate clients
- works in house at a big company
- publishes a site about SEO and doesn't build & market sites in competitive areas
... it is easy to bleat on about how negative SEO isn't generally possible except for weak sites. Sites that (allegedly) deserve to be hit & must (obviously) lack quality to be so weak.
The Risk of Labeling "Spam"
As highlighted above, some of the most frequently & widely cited spam examples were not examples of spam, but examples of competitive sabotage. Thus anyone who recommends highlighting "spam" can potentially hose businesses that did nothing wrong.
Why Many SEO Consultants Pretend Success & Cheer Brand
Most sites focused on search typically write a syndication of Google fluff public relations and/or are doing cloaked sales pieces claiming that the death of spammers is great because they and their clients keep becoming more successful. Its all fake it until you make it / fake it until you too are driven out of the ecosystem & pretend things are always getting better even when signs point the other direction. This is done for a variety of reasons:
- not wanting to lose access to Google
- signaling you have experience working with big brands
- wanting to signal that you are a safe play in the marketplace
Nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM.
Marketers Sell Whatever Google Promotes
It is far easier to get paid to do nothing than it is to get paid to fight against the waves of the ocean.
So long as Google keeps feeding macro-parasites trying to kill off smaller & independent players you can expect a lot of consultants to push themselves as being a good fit for the big brands that Google is explicitly designing their algorithms around promoting. However this trend won't last forever. Many of those bigger sites are becoming ad networks & at some point Google will see that competitive threat for what it is. They will then decide "the user" would like a bit more diversity in the results & to see more smaller sites rank.
Most Businesses Must be Small
Much like wealth, business distributions follow power laws & most businesses are small in scale. Sure "build brand" is a nice cure all, but building a strong brand requires scale. Not all businesses have the margins required to build brands. And businesses take time to grow.
Quality vs Scale
Scale & quality are not the same thing. Some businesses are intentionally kept small because their owners feel scale requires compromising on quality. Remember the Olive Garden review that went viral, or what the biggest banks did to the global economy a few years ago?
Most Big Companies Start Off Small
Since going public in 1987, Fastenal has been the fastest growing public company. The company was started by a guy who was sorting bolts and nuts in his basement. Now that they are worth $13 billion they are virtually untouchable, but if 30 years ago online was a big sales channel & someone negative SEOed him his business could have been toast.
Big businesses come from small businesses, as does most innovation. However, if the underlying market is absurdly unstable that retards investment in growth and innovation in companies like Fastenal:
The Fastenal story began in November 1967 when company founder Bob Kierlin opened the very first Fastenal store in his hometown of Winona, MN. The front counter was a salvaged door, about a dozen people attended the "grand opening" weekend, and the first month's sales totaled $157.
One of the biggest failures of modern societies is the self-serving myth of too big to fail.
If SEOs believe that size of a business is the primary legitimate proxy for quality, they should either hire thousands of employees or go get a job at Wal-Mart.
Martes, Hulyo 24, 2012
The best part about a growing and very quickly changing industry is the diversity of viewpoints; the worst part is the exact same thing because sometimes 1 always equals 1 and doesn't need bullshit in lieu of evidence. I try my best to stay out of the limelight and just focus on making things happen. However, occasionally a topic will bother me so much that I have to chime in. The last time was over 5 years ago so I figure I'm due to speak up again. Today's topic? Negative SEO. My issue with the topic? Deniers.
There've been several posts on how negative SEO doesn't exist (those are the worst) or that maybe it exists but only weak sites can get hit (in other words, people with opinions that didn't do any testing). I'd like to put those topics to rest as best as a guy that keeps to himself can. I really should be able to do this in one sentence, but in the event what I write as the second half of this sentence doesn't do it for you, I have a couple stories; if crappy SEO of over-optimized anchors and junky links are to blame for ranking drops, how can it be said one cannot do this to someone else, and even if you were to deny this, then why the sudden rush to denounce certain links? On to some anecdotes!
While leading a training session overseas I mentioned a site I watched get hit by some negative SEO activities. I know that it was negative SEO and not a slip up on the SEOs' part by virtue of knowing the history/team behind the site and watching it as part of my normal data routine; the site was managed by the kind of guys that get asked to speak at SEOktoberfest...the kind of people I'd go work for if my bag of tricks ever ran out. Ok, so you're asking how I know it was negative SEO. The easiest explanation is that I watched the site spike heavily with on-theme anchors from junk sites over a one week period and was filtered shortly thereafter. It stayed filtered for just under few months, but 2 days after discussing the site and explaining how I knew the site was hit it magically reappeared (yes, there were googlers in the audience).
If you are skeptical then your first response better be that I'm only loosely describing one example so let me say that in the same industry where I've shared my knowledge of the subject on some more sophisticated methods (first released in the SEObook community), I feel almost like an information arms dealer since even the larger brands have themselves or through affiliated relationships been clubbing each other over the head. You read that right; I explained how I thought negative SEO could be employed and then watched a bunch of people actually do it, repeatedly. Unfortunately, I was hit too, but that's a different issue. In this particular industry, the only people left standing now are some poorly matched local results with fake reviews, a bunch of hacked domains, and the flotsam of macroparasites that gained popularity post Penguin. The only one that came back? The one I publically shared at a conference, explaining exactly how they were a victim based on the link patterns that didn't fit with the site's history over a several year period.
I'll wrap this up with a bit of humor. As a joke a friend of mine asked me to negative SEO him for his name. Let's say his name is John Doe and his domain is johndoe.com. The negative effect was temporary, but I was able to get him filtered for a little while on his name for maybe 120 seconds of my time and less than $50. The site did come back after a few days, but our mutual feeling on the matter is that for an extra $50 double-dose I could probably get the site filtered again. Neither of us wants negative SEO to get any more prevalent than it already is, so I'll skip the details on exactly how it was performed. There are multiple forms of negative SEO significantly scarier than someone with a copy of xrumer and in some cases there is very little you can do to prevent it; if a jerk wants to take you down, it can happen. If your niches begin to look like the wasteland I described above where I shared my thoughts a little too freely, then heaven help you because it doesn't look like Google is going to.
Cygnus has been involved in search since 1997 and loves tackling new and interesting (and of course lucrative) projects. Follow @Cygnus on Twitter for his rants.
I recently got an email from a woman who had been reading through the link building articles here on�SEOBook, she was new to the community and SEO in general and had�questions she was shy about asking in our forum. ��I?ve answered her directly but thought her questions were good and commonly asked so I wanted to share my responses in case someone else would benefit.
While I know her first name, I don't know what industry she is in or the name of her site so my answers will be given in general. Here's the first one::
Question: I?m trying to learn about link building and am going to try an�article content creation tool.�Where should�I put my articles�-�can I put�multiple�articles on one blog�site and each will act as a link or does only one article per blog website count as a link?��.
Before I answer, I thought I'd provide some background information on a couple of key concepts as they relate to the question and linking in general.
Writing articles is a common and basic link building method; most�articles are between 400 - 700 words�and use a couple�keyword terms in�the�copy.� Articles created by automated content tools don't win�Pulitzer prizes and aren't meant to; they're�written and dropped�as a way to secure a lot links which hopefully pass�link popularity or "link juice".� Overall the tactic still works but works best when the content is dropped on "quality" pages.
What's a quality page?� In a nutshell it's a page ranking well for certain keyword phrases, has some age behind it and an active social profile.� Pages rank for a number of reasons, suffice to say if it's ranking well, it's doing something right and is a good place to secure links from. It's hard to definitely say the social aspect of things causes? great algorithmic impact but my sense is this issue is being given more weight than we?re being told; it's just damn hard to prove. Plus, from a traffic and exposure point social can be huge; a site/blog with an active Twitter/Facebook presence is an asset, and one that can work to your advantage.
If you're using article marketing and content creation tools as a way to attract links, you're probably not going to create the type of content quality sites want to host. �The type of content those tools spit out tend to end up on low-quality blogs and/or in article directories, neither�has�much�algorithmic weight behind them�so you don't�get the link popularity or content citations you're vying for.� Why?� To understand the "why" behind the question, we need to understand what link popularity is and how it's used to influence�the way your pages�rank.
In its basic form, link popularity is comprised of three components and one influencing factor:� link quantity, link quality, relevance and anchor text.
- Link quantity�- the number of links pointing to a specific webpage.�� Having lots of links is a good thing. :)
- Link quality�- quality is determined by the authority of the host pages/sites and the pages/sites linking to them.� Quality flows from one page to the next through links.� Most people know this factor as PageRank, (TrustRank for Yahoo and not sure what Bing calls it)
- Anchor text�- this is the clickable part of the link you see, it's a query ranking indicator and an endorsement, it tells�both humans and bots what is about to come.� Anchors using keyword phrases provide additional "weight" and carry semantic value,� Google doesn't spell out�much�for us when it comes to the importance of ranking influences but they have�in the case of anchor text:
"Anchor text influences the queries your site ranks for in the search results."
While the comment above was made in 2007 and recent events might make it seem like anchors are no longer a key ranking component that just isn't the case.� �Anchor text itself is the not problem when it comes to poor rankings,�aggressive webmasters are.� It's not smart to use the same anchor over and over, it never has been. � From a marketing and SEO standpoint it's best to use a wide range of anchors and to use them sparingly. �If it doesn't make sense to hyperlink a keyword phrase in your content - don't. � Nothing says "SEO article here" like multiple hyperlinked keyword anchors in the middle that lead to the same page or pages that don't support the conversation.
Make your content and your anchors conversational, if it makes sense to link out, do it.� There's nothing wrong with hyperlinking a "click here" or "for more information" in the body of your copy, it helps with the flow of information and to mix up your anchors.
Links to and from contextually relevant or thematically related sites/pages are supposed to convey more authority, relevance helps establish where you belong topically and/or geographically.� You don't have to get links from pages in your keyword niches but it helps.� Why?� From an editorial standpoint, webmasters in the same/ancillary areas are more�likely to link to other webmasters or pages that support their content.� Like attracts like, the concept is the same here.
The relevance component can be a key factor in�the phenomena known as�"negative SEO".�If you're not familiar with the issue,�read here�and if you are, you know how easy�it can be to have this happen to you.��If you've always linked along in your topical and/or geographic niche and someone comes at you with tons of off topic backlinks, being able to fight back/defend your link history becomes easier.� Stick to getting links from pages your demographic frequents and follow your history patterns.
Now that we have the link popularity explanations and support information out of the way, let's go back to the original question:
Question:� Where should I put my articles - can I put multiple articles on one blog site and each will act as a link or does only one article per blog website count as a link?
Link building is less about�what you do, and more�about where you do it.� Ideally you want to find:
- a lot of pages (link quantity)
- with high visible PageRank scores (link quality)
- using keyword anchors (anchor text)�
- on topically or geographically relevant pages (relevance) ranking well.
Sound familiar?� Problem is, hitting all four points is not easy,�even for a seasoned linker.� There is a very high probability quality blogs won't take basic/respun/or tool generated content, they have reputations and readership to satisfy.��You'll have to go to a blog with a less discriminating palate and offer your content.� As long as the blog and your post are in the index, you will receive some measure of link popularity but less than what you'd get from a well ranked topical blog.� In link building, the ultimate goal is to get your links on pages ranking well for whatever terms you are targeting.� Simple in theory, not so easy in reality so always strive to hit as many of the four link pop factors outlined for maximum results.
There's nothing wrong with hosting multiple articles on the same site or blog but it's never a good idea to put too many link eggs in one blog basket.� Spread the wealth, preferably on blogs within your area. You will have a wider audience and expand your link and social graph which works to help you algorithmically.
2)�In which way should I spread my created articles across blog websites - am I correct in thinking duplicate use of article is a bad thing - each one should be unique?
If you have the time and resources to develop unique articles, that is your best course of action. �If you don't, reusing content is fine as long as it's different enough that anyone reading it won't be able to quote a sentence�verbatim. The engines frown on content spread around for ranking purposes, Google has a page�on this subject here.� To be safe, freshen up your content with new material each time you drop it, include new images and video, change up the anchors and where they point.
3)�Do keywords through an article's/blog's text (on a blog site not the promoted website)have any impact for link building or do only the keywords I attach to the posting matter?
To be honest, I?m not 100% clear on what this question is asking so I?ll answer about the impact a keyword anchor has when sitting on someone else?s page.
Words on a blog/site are considered content, even if the words are hyperlinked. �Your keyword anchor is content for the page it sits on and also a query indicator for the page it points to.� The page the link points to gets the bigger ranking bang because the query indicator is more important to the ranking process. If you hyperlink ?click here? instead of using a keyword rich phrase, you lose the influence for the keyword but the engine will still follow the hyperlinks and make the connection between the pages. ��It?s highly probable the term ?click here? is seen as frivolous content on the site and does not add to the relevance factor.
Even though a lot of people feel anchors have been devalued lately, I don?t; �I think the dial on the number of times the anchor is used and how it?s used has been turned up. Way up.
Use all of your terms and their variations along with company and surnames, hyperlink verbs and call to action phrases so you motivate people to click. Above all, hyperlink words in a sentence when it makes sense and then link to content that reinforces what you?re saying.� Link to off topic content too many times and people stop clicking and reading.�
Anchors and on-page content are not the only ranking influences an engine uses, they each have multiple factors which include social and user-interactions. It?s best to use a wide range of tactics when you link and keep the four points of link popularity in mind as you work.� While it is best to try and link between two topically or geographically related pages to reinforce your intent, unrelated linking won't hurt, it just doesn't help as much.
Thanks for submitting your questions Laura, hope this helps :)
Debra Mastaler is a long time link building & publicity expert who has trained clients for over a decade at Alliance-Link. She is the link building moderator of our SEO Community & can be found on Twitter @DebraMastaler.
Lunes, Hulyo 23, 2012
Linggo, Hulyo 22, 2012
Sabado, Hulyo 21, 2012
We all read the advice online: don?t build crappy links. Don?t use short term benefit tactics in SEO. But do we always heed that advice? Can we always afford to?
The latest reality check came in the shape of a small online business in the UK, Children?s Furniture Store (CFS). Jane Copland �tweeted about an online letter in which they announce that, due to Penguin update, they are forced to close their business down.
This really got me. Firstly, I hate to see a small business go under. These people put their hearts and souls into the business and it breaks my heart to see them being closed especially due to changes in Google algo. Furthermore, it seems from their closing letter that they were a victim of bad SEO advice and that reflects poorly on all of us. We have enough attention seekers out there calling us out for asshattery as it is so I would rather be pictured as someone who helps small businesses rather than the one that puts them under.
A lot of people started reaching out to Children Furniture Store?s twitter account, offering help and advice. Unfortunately, it was too late for them; they have already started folding up their business and have ceased trading.
I am sure this is not the only case that has or will have happened. As a matter of fact as a result of my activity on twitter around this, I was contacted by another small business asking for help on similar issues. Other people I know encounter these situations on weekly basis.
So why is this happening? Who is to blame for this? A business is closing down, people are losing their jobs, we can?t just dismiss it as ?that?s life? and ?business is hard?. We cannot learn anything from this case and other similar cases if we do not take a hard look at all the possible culprits responsible for these situations and try to understand what could have been done to prevent this from happening:
This is the list of guilty parties, according to my opinion, ranked by a decreasing amount of responsibility:
The business owner
The business owner is the most responsible party here. They probably didn?t mind when the money was rolling in and never thought about the ?what if? scenario. These are the things that they did wrong:
- Never ever put all the eggs in one basket ? I think this is the most common and widespread piece of advice given to website and general business owners, yet people manage to ignore it again and again. Had CFS had various sources of traffic (which they could have developed with the profits from the organic traffic) or even had they started developing offline business, Google Penalty would have hurt much less. This is true even if you are not using blatantly spammy SEO techniques, you never know where Google?s business goals may be tomorrow and when the line between what is kosher and what isn?t is constantly moving, you never know when you will find yourself on the other side of the line. Having additional sources of traffic/business immunizes (relatively) you against this scenario. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and PAY for the traffic ? for example Paid Search. Building a social presence would help too. Luckily they HAD kept their mailing list and were able to sell any leftover inventory using it ? but mail is a good channel to optimize sales too.
- Get educated ? there is a lot of SEO information out there. No one can follow all of it. But it is your prerogative as an online business to keep abreast of the most important best practices and pitfalls within the marketing channel that is providing you with the majority of your income. Had this business done their due diligence, they would know not to rely on only one stream of traffic, they would know that the practices used by their SEO provider are shady at best, they would know that they are paying too little for the SEO services for them to safely provide them with edge over their competition in their niche. They would also know what to do when shit hits the fan and not wait for a full year for the second hit which will ultimately decimate their business.
In this case, the business owner did say that they spent a lot of time trying to read on the internet about similar issues ? apparently they didn?t find any ?real? advice. Should Business Owners learn to navigate online information a bit better? Or should we, as an industry, make sure that the information found on these issues is top notch? But more about that further down. In this particular case, the owner of the business did several things ? tried reading about the possible problem, turned to an independent SEO (who told her to let the site die and start anew) and fired the agency that was probably the cause of all this. Still there was much more to be done and I hope other businesses will act differently in similar situations.
- Reach out ? as their ?we are closing the business? letter started circulating, more and more people started saying that they are willing to help. In a matter of minutes, both in public and private channels, a picture of what needs to be done to help this website started emerging. Getting this kind of analysis from industry experts can cost a lot of money, but if a business owner harnesses the benefits of the SEO community, either through Twitter, SEOBook Forum, Google Webmaster Central forums, SEOMoz Q&A forum, G+, Facebook groups, etc., they can get a pretty clear picture about what hit them and what needs to be done. They would be more aware of the risk levels involved with the SEO strategies they were using and would be able to move away from them much earlier, making the cleanup a more viable option. With all the misgivings of this industry, it has some of the most generous and helping people in it and this can be a tremendous asset for small businesses that are struggling to come with terms with the challenges involved in promoting your website in organic results.
- Spammy strategies ? one look at the CFS? backlink profile shows patterns of a backlink network.
Further conversations with people that are connected to the company showed that this is indeed the case. Bunch of footer links, clearly paid-for blog posts, sidebar sitewide links from non-related sites in non-English languages? You took a small business that doesn?t know what they are doing, promised them wonders at three-digit monthly recurring price and it worked for a while. Did you warn them about the risks? Did you tell them that if Google decides to target these link-building practices, their whole business can go down the drain? Or did you encourage them to enjoy the party while it lasts? Did you instruct them to take the profits of these short-sighted tactics and invest them in diversifying their traffic sources? No you didn?t. You are no better than a drug dealer, reaping profits from the lack of knowledge of unsuspecting client, allowing them to risk their whole business and you should be ashamed of yourself for that. You sir, are an ass hat.�
- No responsibility ? as the graph attached above shows, the CFS site was hit at two occasions, one in May 2011 and the other in May 2012. According to them, they have stopped working with you by the time WMT warning notices have arrived. Do you think that releases you from the responsibility for your work? What did you do in between those two dates? Did you take responsibility for CFS situation? Did you instruct them on how to fix their situation? How did you allow a business that found itself in a shitty situation, partially due to your actions, to get to the point where they have to close their doors? Do you honestly not care that people are going to be jobless because of the bad advice you have provided?
By allowing crappy linking strategies to work for so long, they have created a situation where the only viable option to stay competitive in certain niches was to join the bandwagon and use spammy links. You can stand on your soapbox only for only that long and preach ?whitehat? techniques while your competitors are laughing all the way to the bank and cashing in. So yes, at some point they will probably be penalized, but until then they will have developed enough capital to be able to safely switch to some other domain/SEO strategy and have developed their brand to the point where they are practically immune from algorithmic changes. You have created a situation in which following your Best Practices was a financially unviable option for a lot of small businesses and for this you carry a part of the blame
Furthermore, you should realize that the information you give out about these penalties is not read only by sinister SEOs spending their days and nights trying to reverse engineer your precious algorithm. Why is it so hard to tell the business owner what is it they are getting penalized for? Tell them ?your site has a large amount of paid links/unnatural anchors. You can find these links marked with a huge red exclamation mark in your WMT link report. Get rid of them?. Doesn?t Google have a responsibility of providing decent, informed content around these sort of penalties so that �a business owner can refer back to the source? When they penalize a business ? shouldn?t it be their responsibility to say EXACTLY why? Is a bland, notification in GWMT sufficient?
When you Google ?Penguin? or ?Panda? etc ? shouldn?t Google?s own written guidelines on recovery be ranked at top positions, so no one else gets scammed? Yes, it is not all Google?s fault that these businesses were told that it is OK to do whatever it takes to rank. Yes, Google does not owe anyone anything but it would be a sign of goodwill towards those that provide the content of the web for Google to crawl and serve ads on.
The SEO Community
How is the SEO community responsible? By greatly diluting the information space in our industry. The number of inane posts, all written in the same ?10 ways unrelated-X affects your SEO-Related-Y? format, all based on conjectures and rehashed hearsay, make it almost impossible for a non-industry person to get to the meaningful information. I have seen articles with link building strategies that were covered in 2006 being peddled as ?current? and ?cutting edge? in 2012.
Without knowing the authors, companies they work for, their level of experience and history of their posting, there is no way that a person who doesn?t spend significant amounts of time wading through the noise created in the SEO space can know what is reliable and what not. Furthermore, the lack of propensity to call out crap information when we see one, complete avoidance of confrontation within the industry, limiting critical discussion on quality of content behind gated walls of private Skype chats and limited Facebook groups, makes the pruning of this jungle of nonsense an impossible task and for that all of us bear some part of responsibility.
I am really sad for CFS. It depresses me that a business can go under so easily from causes that could have been prevented. There are real people behind these websites, making their living, in spite of Google doing a lot to make their success harder (by promoting big brands and at a switch of an algorithm button making previously acceptable and successful practices - damaging). I hope that this post will help other businesses make sure that they are doing everything possible not to find themselves in a similar situation.
Many thanks to Rishi for helping with editing and some background info.
Branko Rihtman has been optimizing sites for search engines since 2001 for clients and own web properties in a variety of competitive niches. Over that time, Branko realized the importance of properly done research and experimentation and started publishing findings and experiments at SEO Scientist. Branko is currently responsible for SEO R&D at RankAbove, provider of a leading SEO SaaS platform ? Drive.