Archive for 2007
Friday, December 28th, 2007
Update 6/18/08 - We created a human resources directory for a client and provided links to their main site. So it was a external directory site, but if you notice in the screen shot the directory is the #1 result for the term “hr directory” and has Google sitelinks. This site is a great one-way link for our client.
If you have been playing the SEO game for long you know that using directories are one way to build links. How effective this is to your SEO campaign is debatable nowadays. But I’m not talking about submitting your site to other directories, I’m recommending you start your own directory. I can practically hear the moans and protests through the Internet now. Let me explain my modest proposal. Here are some ideas for creating your own wonderful super awesome resource directory.
Build the directory on your current site. Do not start a site just for the sake of being a directory. There are thousands of unsuccessful directories and we shouldn’t be adding to the overcrowded market. You can see an example of a resource (vendor) directory we have created for F. Curtis Barry & Company. The directory was created as a subsection of their business site so it resides in their main domain.
Be selective. This directory isn’t supposed to be all-inclusive, it is being created to be a resource for your customers. It should have perceived value so only include vendors that are recommended by you or your company.
Be opinionated. This is YOUR directory, right? Well, say what you want but back up what you say. Give your opinion. Why was this vendor or company selected for placement in this directory? Let your audience know.
Be verbose. Make the directory worthy of being read. After all, you aren’t including many companies. Remember, it is a privilege and only the best get included so you won’t have to write about a large number of companies or products, but you should write enough to be helpful about each one. Each listing should have its own detail page – often the company selected will give you all the text you need. If you don’t like what they have written or the tone of writing ask for edits. More than likely they will accommodate.
Be Greedy. The point of creating this directory is to build links. This can be accomplished in two ways. The first is through reciprocal linking (more on the other link building method later). Your directory is free or at least it should be. You don’t want your directory listings to be paid, it would reduce the validity of the listings. If you are gong to provide a link to outside companies with content and a recommendation, then asking for a link in return seems reasonable. At the least, they should link to their own detail page.
Be Proactive. This isn’t a “build it and they will come”scenario. You will have to solicit companies you want to include in your directory. After you have set up your categories (if needed) and have added a few companies you may start receiving requests at some point, but be vigilant and only let in the top companies that you would recommend. You don’t want to compromise your directory’s integrity with low-quality listings.
Reap the benefits. Here is the second way to build links. Now that you have a selective and high quality directory, other sites will be more inclined to link to it of their own accord. You have created “link bait” and will attract links pointing to you industry resource directory.
To wrap this up, here is the main idea to keep in mind. The directory should be considered useful by all parties. You should request links and use the directory as a link bait opportunity. The directory should represent only the best, recommended companies in your industry and should be focused.
This will require some work but you will also have created a useful tool that will attract attention. The time you use to build this directory will be well spent. You may even show up in the search results for the companies you list.
Good luck on your wonderful super awesome resource directory.
52 SEO Tips
I also want to thank everyone who reads this blog and has been here for my year long commitment to creating a new SEO Tip every week. This is the final tip out of 52 SEO Tips for the year 2007. It started as something I thought I could in a few minutes once a week, but turned into a much bigger effort as I tried to create tips that were more than just writing “Do keyword research.” It has been fun and frustrating and I’m glad to have completed my goal. There will be more SEO tips, but not every week. I’ll also be attempting to write more commentary now that I can focus less on SEO tips. So keep coming back and keep commenting and maybe we can both learn something.
Friday, December 21st, 2007
How many companies can make Google Blink? At least one and that company is eBay. Take a look at the no. 74 in the 101 Dumbest Moments in Business as reported by CNNMoney.com. You’ll read that Google invited eBay’s top sellers to a party promoting Google’s Checkout payment system, a competitor with eBay’s PayPal. eBay found out and pulled its ads from Google for a week, just to test. “Mysteriously” Google’s party was canceled.
Its good to know Google “respects” someone. Even it is must cost them a lot of money before they do
Thursday, December 20th, 2007
I am a big fan of Marketing Sherpa and I have recommended them before when I posted ‘About Us’ pages can increase conversions. Well, another Marketing Sherpa study has caught my attention, describing how words increase conversions.
A few months ago I wrote an SEO tip explaining why you don’t want to use ‘click here’ for SEO, but we also know conversion rates increase when visitors are instructed to ‘click here’, ‘read more’, ‘buy now’ and so on. What is an SEO company to do?
How can search engine optimization and good user experience coexist? Both are important to the success of your website, but at times they seem at odds with each other. The solution is very simple, if not well known. Use the “nofollow” tag on the ‘click here’ links and make sure you also have a descriptive link with keyword-rich text available as well.
While the “nofollow” tag was originally set up as a spam fighter, it can be used with surgical precision to increase conversions, without hurting you SEO campaign. (Read more about the uses of nofollow) It helps because it will tell the search engines not to count or follow the link with the nofollow attribute. This means the keyword-rich link, without the nofollow, will be followed, helping the destination page’s link popularity.
How do you use nofollow?
<a href=”http://www.site.com/page.html”>Click Here</a>
Adding the nofollow attribute:
<a href=”http://www.site.com/page.html” rel=”nofollow”>Click Here</a>
Using it on your site might look like this:
Click here for the best deals on dog treats.
The HTML code would look like this:
<a href=”http://www.bestbullysticks.com” rel=”nofollow”>Click here</a> for the best deals on <a href=”http://www.bestbullysticks.com”>dog treats</a>.
Finally, SEO and Site Usability living in perfect harmony, until we start talking about graphics vs. text.
Friday, December 14th, 2007
Well, I’m almost done with my 52 SEO tips, only 3 more to go so I’m trying to finish strong. And since going green is the theme lately, I’m following the trend. Recycling links can be an important part of your link building campaign.
We often overlook the links we already have or links we didn’t actively build ourselves. Your site may already have links pointing to it, but if those links aren’t keyword-rich links then you are missing out on potential SEO benefits.
Let me give you a great example of a missed opportunity. SnagAJob.com is a leading job search website and the have thousands of links pointing to their site. A large number of links is a good thing, but the majority of their links have the link text ‘Snagajob’ in the anchor text. Many of these links are on EDU sites which pass along wonderful link popularity but so much is wasted when the anchor text is your domain name, or worse, your website address (www.snagajob.com).
As part of our strategy for SnagAJob we have been contacting sites with SEO-unfriendly links asking the anchor text to be changed to keyword terms they are trying to rank for such as part-time jobs, jobs, job search, etc. Our success rate is much higher than seeking out new links. And keyword-rich links that have age is a great combination for moving up in the search results.
Do a backlink check with MSN for your site. MSN allows you to search for anchor text too which you can see how to do in my MSN backlink check post. Look for links that could be improved such as those using just your domain name and start contacting those sites linking to you. Requesting changes to your anchor text is a worthwhile investment of your time that could reap better rankings in the search engines.
‘Going Green’ never felt so good and your site may thank you with an influx of new traffic.
Thursday, December 13th, 2007
I have started doing something I hope catches on in the blog community: Commenting with purpose. Being the owner of this SEO blog I’m always delighted to see comments, especially since this means someone thought enough of what I wrote to read it and then comment on the content.
It can be discouraging when a commenter is taking advantage of the fact that I do follow comment links, but if they have said something worthwhile I feel it is a small price to pay if I give away some link juice. It can also be disheartening to see I have three comments on a post, but the total word count for all three comments is about 30 words. Sometimes three simple comments like, “Nice post, I agree with your thoughts,” can be nice, but more often I would rather have one comment that says something more and even challenges what I have written.
So, I have committed myself to commenting with purpose. When I visit other blogs I will make every effort to make an intelligent, thoughtful and interesting comment that actually adds to the post. It may not always be lenghty, but my comments will never be boiled down to a “Nice Post” comment.
I hope those commenting on my blog will try to do the same, and I also hope my readers will not feel pressured to write more than they want. After all, I would rather see a short post with gratitude than nothing at all. Thanks for reading and for commenting. And when you do comment, use your name, not your keyword, it cheapens the comment, in my humble opinion.
Update: Well I’ve made one comment per day this week and I feel good about my contributions. Here is one of the comments I made on a post by Jill Whalen about changing urls.
Tuesday, December 11th, 2007
Social Bookmarking is in fashion and many people are submitting web pages to digg.com, stumbleupon.com and delicious.com. I have written about the advantages to bookmarking your own web pages with these social sites and how your traffic can increase (see StumbleUpon Shark Surfaces). But what do you do if you have nothing worth bookmarking at the moment but want to get involved and build links at the same time? Try intelligently commenting on other bookmarked pages. I’ll use Digg as an example since they follow commented links and are the giant in social bookmarking.
Take some time and search through Digg for a article that has been “dugg” and is related to your site’s content and make a comment on it. Usually there are relatively few quality comments and as long as you are genuine and thoughtful you stand a good chance of keeping your comment and your link. The key is to make sure the link to your site is related to the dugg subject matter. While this can be done easily, what else can be done to utilize Digg’s popularity?
Try following the link to the dugg web page see if that allows comments. If the content is on a blog you can probably comment on it there as well. That page will have many links coming to it, especially if it was popular on Digg, so placing a comment with a link to your related web page will benefit from the Digg popularity.
Maybe this is perceived as an around about way to get a link, especially since it may be a no-follow link, but the traffic will usually be more targeted traffic with a higher chance of converting once the visitors reach your site.
Wednesday, December 5th, 2007
Having the best blog in the world, won’t do any good if no one knows it exists. Make sure Google visits and indexes all your posts with a few simple plugins. These are for WordPress only, but why would you be using anything else? The following WordPress plugins will help provide numerous links to older posts on your blog that might otherwise be buried. The added benefit is your blog readers will also be inclined to read more posts when using these plugins.
This plugin will search the text of all posts and display other posts which are similar or related. This will help provide links to older posts making them more accessible to the reader and to the search engines.
All in one SEO Pack
This plugin is a must have SEO plugin and combines all many SEO features in one plugin, where beforehand you needed two or three. You can control the following options with this plugin:
- Define your home page title, description and keywords
- Define your post, page, category, archive, tag and search title formats
- Use categories for META keywords
- Avoid indexing of duplicate content (prevents indexing of category, archive and tag archive pages)
- Autogenerate descriptions
This particularly replaces the SEO Title Tag many blogs use.
This plugin will post your most read blog posts automatically a blog page, providing a good starting point for new readers. While giving new readers some direction if you have an overwhelming number amount of posts, this will also provide the search engines with a direct link from a top level page to deep posts in your blog. Think of it as a super sitemap.
You can also create a smaller top post list that can be shown on every post of you blog in the right column.
Making sure your blog is well read by readers and well known by search engines is a critical step towards increasing your blog’s popularity.
Tuesday, December 4th, 2007
I have been a subscriber to Search Marketing Standard for a while now, and I am pleased with the information and topics discussed. Now is a great time to try it and get a 67% discount, so a 1 year U.S. subscription would be $4.95 (International – $6.60).
The coupon is: HOLIDAY67 and here is the link to the subscription page.
This promotion is for new subscribers and will remain active until Dec. 10th. At that time, they will also send a donation check to Toys for Tots – $1 for every subscriber that used the coupon code during registration.
Great information and a great cause.
Wednesday, November 28th, 2007
Should you buy links through a link service? Ever since Google slapped Text-Link-Ads.com (it no longer appears in the first 30 results for its own name), that is a question webmasters have had to wrangle with more than ever. Generally, Google regards buying links as a form of spam and as threat to their business model.
Google hasn’t been shy about punishing sites who engage in this behavior lately either. Many who bought and sold links with Text-Link-Ads have reported a significant drop in their PageRank since the last Google update. This is partly because escaping the eyes of Google is difficult. Doing a search for function tla_ads will uncover all the sites selling links using Text-Links-Ads who have not yet upgraded to the latest TLA plug-in, which hides this information. If Google can see who is selling links, they can logically conclude who is buying them as well.
JohnChow.com’s recent Google slap represents one of the more drastic punishments doled out to a webmaster. Chow had ranked number 1 in Google for the keyword “make money online” for over a year, but he also aggressively pushed link selling services. Now, he doesn’t even appear in the top 30 results for the keyword “John Chow.” (He clocks in at #57 from the datacenter I’m hitting).
Analyzing Google’s behavior becomes confusing when one considers that Chow’s site still has a toolbar PR of 4. Likewise, Text-Link-Ads still boasts a PR of 7.
If one wants to remain in the good graces of Google, avoiding the use of link brokers such as TLA or TNX.net would probably be judicious. But reading Google’s mind is not an easy task, as evidenced by the erratic nature of their penalties.
Wednesday, November 28th, 2007
How well does Akismet stop comment spam? The Big Oak SEO Blog has been running since October 2006 and as of today, November 28, 2007 it has protected this blog site from 10,608 spam comments
Nicely done, Akismet. I couldn’t have done it without you.
Of course it does say a lot about the pervasiveness of comment spam today and how active it still remains, sadly. But it is also a confidence builder for using the DoFollow WordPress plugin without the fear of comment spam overrunning your site. Akismet can protect you from comment spam 99% of the time even with 10,000 spam attacks.
Tuesday, November 20th, 2007
Update 1/15/08: This feature is no longer working with MSN Live.
Check on the backlinks from your competitors is part of the competitive analysis of any good SEO consultant or “expert”. Up until recently using Yahoo to research competitor backlinks was the only search engine you could do this in effectively. Well, now Live.com is also back in the game and showing you backlinks to websites. But they also have a nice trick for using keywords to narrow your search.
If you visit Live.com and search for the following: +linkdomain:www.bigoakinc.com “seo tips” you will be show search results that have links pointing to bigoakinc.com and also have the phrase ‘seo tips’ on that page that links to bigoakinc.com. Be sure to include the plus sign (+) at the front or else you won’t get any results. You can click this link to see the Live.com search results for yourself: +linkdomain:www.bigoakinc.com “seo tips”.
This can be an extremely useful research tool and adding the keyword phrase to the search makes it a even more valuable tool in your SEO toolbox.