Thursday, July 29, 2010

Randy Fishkin's view's on linkbuilding: a worthy read


Greg Suhey provided a nice summary of Randy Fishkin's (photo) "out of the box" views at PubCon last fall on link building as a part of your overall SEO strategy. It is always about good content.


"Believe it or not, Google employs a team dedicated to searching for webspam. They invest lots of time and resources into finding and shutting down effective paid linking opportunities. This is the number one reason why you should never participate in paid links. Once Google finds you, you are done!

Paid links are paid links. They cost money! Rand hit on some better ways to invest your money in other avenues that will help you acquire links in a more natural manner. Here is what he said to do:

1. Spend the money necessary to increase your webpage load speed. This will decrease your bounce rate, make your visitors much happier, and possibly cause them to link to your content.

2. Invest in user generated content and contributions. Spending money to create content that will be on the internet for years is a much better way to go than purchasing or “renting” links.

3. Hire community managers. Managing your place in the online community can definitely help you obtain links back to your website. Providing your customers visibility into your business wherever they are is the best way to get traffic and drive links to your site.

4. Organize and sponsor events. At, we organize workshops for the local community that help us get links all over the internet. Rand and the SEOmoz team organized and sponsored a party on Wednesday evening. That party got a lot of attention and links back to the party page on their website. This can be a very effective way to get a lot of really good, natural links.

5. License content or technology for nominal fees (free if possible). Making something of worth available to your customers to either purchase or obtain for free can be a great way of getting links and promotion to your cause.

6. Issue press releases. We do this for many of our clients. Press releases are a great way to generate buzz about your business and get links back to your website, if you have something newsworthy.

7. Collect research data and share it with others. If you have collected truly valuable research data and you share that data for free, you can expect a lot of links coming back to your site.

8. Take some time to look at optimizing the link targeted content from a conversion standpoint.

9. Advertise link targeted content. It isn’t a sin to purchase links to advertise your link targeted content. You are trying to get the word out about what you are trying to offer or share with others. You aren’t trying to get rankings for that page with the purchased links.

These are most of the things that Rand spoke about. They are all really good ways to think outside the box and spend money on efforts that will bring natural links back to your website.

In closing, it is important to remember why we don’t want to participate in paid links. When you take a look at link acquisition speed, natural links grow organically or naturally. The number of links you acquire can and will fluctuate each month.

Not only that, natural links have less targeted anchor text, unlike paid links. You definitely don’t want all of your links to have the anchor text of your main keyword.

As with everything you do for your SEO campaign, you should always think twice when considering any gray or black hat tactics. Keep in mind that it is much more difficult to make your efforts look natural when you participate in anything Google looks down upon. When Google sees red flags, which they will, you are toast!"


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

To Micro Site or Not Micro Site - Vanessa has an answer

Marketing in the Age of Google
As a long time fan of Vanessa Fox's work, and her book (above) I found her thoughtful summary (below) of Six (6) reasons why its good to avoid a microsite strategy insightful. Below are some highlights.


1. You lose brand identity and audience engagement

You spend significant corporate energy on positive brand perception and awareness. And then you start over completely from scratch with an entirely new brand. Woo? If you are reaching an entirely different audience and your current brand would be confusing, then you may in fact want to build out a new brand, but that case, you probably won’t be launching a microsite, you’ll launch a full site. In most cases, microsites are subsets of or promotions for the main site, with exactly the same audience. Do you really want to work at building up multiple brand identities? And do you really not want to benefit from the brand building in one category for another related category? (This comes especially important with ecommerce sites, such as those operates. Even today, we don’t want to hand over our credit card information to just any site.)

Brand awareness has a search impact as well. As I note in the searcher behavior chapter of my book, searchers quickly evaluate the search results page to determine which result to click on. Many things go into that evaluation, but certainly brand recognition helps in evaluating credibility and perceived value.

2. You lose the ability to leverage your audience

Let’s say you launch an awesome site with a fantastic user experience, great products, and unrivaled customer support. For instance, let’s say you’re Zappos. Someone writes up a positive article about you in say, the NY Times. Readers start clicking over to your site. They see you sell running shoes. They just read about how great you are, so they feel confident about purchasing some products from your site. But maybe those same readers also need some clothes to go running in. If you had a separate microsite, you’ve just missed a great opportunity to reach a targeted and motivated audience.

3. You confuse people and search engines

Oh, I won’t have that whole NY Times reader problem, you say. I’ll just keep a complete copy of my content on my main site too! That way, I can reach the audience for my main site as well as get all the additional audience potential of the microsite. Oh really? First, that’s just confusing. If someone becomes accustomed to shopping for athletic clothes on your main site and then clicking over for shoes, but then one day they end up on and everything looks the same… and yet the shoes are gone — that’s just not the experience you want to give users. read more...

4. You may have to spend substantial additional resources

The microsites run by all use the same template and content management system. So it seems like low engineering overhead to maintain them all. But wait. As you build out the content of both sites, you have to decide which content to put where. And decide how to spend marketing, PR, and advertising resources. When you issue a press release, which site do you talk up? All of them? What if you have 20? And you likely are doing social media. Do you now maintain 20 Facebook pages and 20 Twitter accounts? I’m tired just thinking about it. Read more...

5. You cobble your search acquisition efforts

A big part of ranking well in search engines continues to be the strength of the external links to the site. If you maintain multiple sites, then you are diluting that external link value. If five people link to your main site and five people link to your microsite, each site is competing for rankings against the rest of the web with those five links. Instead, you could have one site competing with ten links. Anything that you do for offsite search engine optimization, you have to repeat for each site.

6. It can be difficult to match promotions to search visiblity

One common case of microsites is when a company launches a new promotion. It seems to make perfect sense to launch a microsite as part of that promotion. You can tie branding to the promo and it can be a lot easier to outsource the development of the site to the agency that is managing the promotion creative than to try to coordinate in-house resources and add a section about the promotion to the main company website. Read more...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The "great deception"

Having the right info is important; a worthwhile commentary from Charles Stanley.


The Rich Young Ruler

"Three of the four gospels contain an account of the young man who asked Jesus a very important question: "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (v. 18). A ruler with great wealth, he considered himself a moral man because he had kept God's commandments.

However, he was operating under the false assumption that good works bring salvation. He seemed to be asking Jesus what else he had to do to secure his place in heaven--besides all the good things he'd already accomplished.

This is what I refer to as the "great deception"--the false belief that eternal life can be earned through our own efforts. If we give credence to this lie, then we do not understand the problem of our sin and how it separates us from God. Scripture tells us that we have inherited a sinful nature from the first man (Rom. 5:12). Ever since that time, humanity has been in rebellion against the Lord and under His judgment. There is nothing we can do to pay for our sin. If this were the end of the story, we would be a people without hope for today or the future. But the good news is that the heavenly Father recognized our plight and mercifully provided the way to heaven (John 14:6).

When God made us in His image, He created us to live forever. So, though our earthly body will perish, our spirit will never die. The question about eternal life is important, as we'll spend eternity either with God in heaven or in an insufferable state, separated permanently from Him (Matt. 25:34, 41). "