Friday, January 28, 2011

Should Demand Media's SEO'd content be demoted in search results?

Dear Google: First and foremost, my letter to you is not personal. I am a big fan of yours and always have been. You have the best search engine in the World, better than Bing. You have the best web email service. Your Google Docs product is amazing. Don't even get me started on Google Earth or Google Maps, just unbelievable products. Your analytics product is excellent. Everybody loves Android. All you do is create and create and still give it all away for free. Your Adwords business model is even shared with other businesses so they too can make lots of money.

Obviously, you are a great company and despite what some believe, you are not evil. You are great for America and an asset to the World, in my opinion.

However, when you stated the other day that you are taking steps to make sure web pages from content farms don't show up prominently in your search results it follows that you Google believe that content farmers and web spammers are bad for the Web, or at least your search engine. You said it was feedback from your users that convinced you to go after these bad content makers. So Google, if they are bad (evil?) or simply not good for the Internet then why Google are they still your partners?

It begs the question, if you are serious about making articles from content farms show up less in your top search results why don't you just do it already?

Here's what I suggest:

Step 1: Define what a content farm is. By the way, please also define what web spam is. I mean very specifically so that everyone knows what is and isn't web spam. I think I understand what you are referring to, but I am not sure. I guess examples of sites that fit the various definitions of content farms, web spam and 'mostly duplicate content' ... would be helpful. I would then suggest that you threaten them ... again. That way the bad guys who are scared of you might just leave our Internet for a different one. Or, maybe they will change their behavior and start creating content that is not so bad. Right.... (sarcastic tone intended).

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

How to Use Directory Links for Website Promotion

If you have just launched your site, it will receive immediate visits from search engine spiders along with the indexing and listing that results from these visits. You can wait an awful long time for a search engine listing unless you use some way of providing a short-cut for search engines such as Google to discover your site. However, because an article or link directory is visited frequently by search engines, directory links will lead them straight to your web pages.

Unless the link directory or article directory uses the 'nofollow' attribute you will get a share of the Google PageRank of the web page on which your website or article is published. Some directories use the 'nofollow' attribute that prevents you getting that PR share, so avoid these if you can, although many provide the straight link for a fee. The benefits of the link are usually worth the money.

Another reason for website promotíon using directory links from a website or an article directory is that visitors to such directories will click on your link. With link directories, the link is the URL anchor link in the listing itself, while in article marketing, the link to your site comes from a URL you place within a section known as the author's resource box that usually appears after the main text of the article.

Writing articles is a particularly useful method of website promotion because you use anchor text for your links, regarded by Google as offering a better way of optimizing the article than just a straight URL. The anchor text should relate either to the theme of the article or of the web page you are promoting.

While website directories generally publish the URL of your domain, an article can be published in an article directory with the URL of any page in your website you want to promote. Links deep into your website such as these provide significant advantages in promoting your entire site in the search engines rather than just the Home Page.

How do you use directory links to promote your website? What are the mechanics? The procedure is really quite simple, and we'll discuss it here, first with link directories and then with article directories.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Getting the Link Train Rolling – Finding Links, Building Links, Growing Links and Monitoring Links over Time.

The key to any website doing well with search engines is Links, Links, Links! However you lay out your Organic SEO strategy for a project, it always comes back to links. Different types, which ones are best, who has which ones, how to find them, how to get them and how to target the anchor copy within them to your best advantage. Keeping to a natural pattern, whatever that is? I’m really not sure about this one, people are always going on about it, don’t gather links too quickly or you may get penalized and so on….

Listen, there is no perfect formula to follow, building links is hard work, you are never going to achieve the exponential growth that is going to put your website on the Google’s radar and get you penalized for unnatural rapid link growth. This status is reserved for the Pros, Black-Hats and Spammers. Just go for it, full speed ahead! You’re going to find it hard work and demoralizing but when you get a breakthrough and get a good quality link it spurs you on to keep going. Outsource it to India or the Philippines I hear them call; you can if you want, but you need to be in full control of your website’s destiny.

So, back to the wedding world online and more importantly how did I get Rik Pennington into Google’s Top Ten? I like to approach SEO bottom up for this type of business – Local, Regional, National and then International if needed.

The first thing for Rik was to get him listed in his Locale; he initially wanted to operate in the London borough of Greenwich. This is pretty easy to achieve in most industry sectors, no real research is needed. All you need is a handful or two of locally targeted reciprocal links, a few listings in locally focused business and government directories, post in local forums with the required anchored link text and in 4-6 weeks and hey presto you’re No.1 in Google for ‘Keyword Phrase + Local Location’ (e.g. Wedding Photographer Greenwich). Easy as that! Of course there are on page factors to address but we will look at those next week.

Once basic locality listings have been achieved, the focus switches to regional domination of Google’s Top Ten Listings – in this case Wedding Photographer London (Rik Pennington holds No.2 on Even though the focus has now changed, it is always in my mind’s eye when starting a project (Local, Regional and National). It’s important not to forget about your local success, be mindful and sympathetic towards your local achievements and protect them, throwing them the odd link and Blog mention to maintain your dominance at that level. When your focus changes up a level, tweaks to titles and on page copy can influence listings already gained. So you need to employ forward thinking and always remember to look over your shoulder. Multi-tasking is must!

Rik was No.1 for Wedding photographer London but has dropped a place to No.2; a good example of losing positions gained when the focus changes up a level to national/generic. It’s not easy juggling SEO eggs for the same webpage. I should have it back soon when I get round to addressing it. Ok, regional level SEO is a fair bit harder to achieve and you need stronger knowledge of SEO and well developed link building skills. We need to up our link strategy and start bring out some of the big guns to play. There are many types of links out and they all can affect your Google PageRank and online authority.

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Multiple domains

If you have several topics that could each support their own website, it might be worth having multiple domains. Why? First, search engines usually list only one page per domain for any given search, and you might warrant two. Second, directories usually accept only home pages, so you can get more directory listings this way. Why not a site dedicated to gumbo pudding pops?

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