Online Marketing | Gaming Industry | Advertising Campaign | Search Engine Optimzation | Search Engine Marketing | Sports Betting

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Social or SEO – Which is better?

There has been a lot of talk about social media and social book marking as taking over the tradition SEO industry. While it is true that some of the major social media sites are taking over the top listings in Google.

These days it isn’t unheard of to see multiple listings for the same content that has been linked to from the various sites like Digg and Boxxet. Sure these sites will help you get your content spread all over the search engines but is it the same as getting your page to rank high in the search engines? The short answer is no.

You see the reality is this; your content will rise to the top of the engines quite quickly but not for your site, it will be for the social sites that are hosting the snippets of content from your site. Good for the social site and if anybody actually visits those links, it could be good for your site as well.

Another way that this is different is in the amount of time that your content stays at the top of the search engines. At the time of this writing these social sites usually were ranking for about 2 weeks before they disappeared from any meaningful rankings. This is not too bad for content that has a short shelf life but what about content that has a longer shelf life… not so good.

Also, how long do you really think it will be before Google steps in to the fray to deal with what in essence is nothing more than duplicate content diluting their so called “quality results”? Does anybody truly need 20 or 30 listings to the same story spread over just as many social domains? I think not. Do I take advantage of it? I sure do!

Now what about SEO – is that going to disappear as a marketing tool? The quick answer is hell no. If you were given a choice on getting your site/pages to rank at the top of Google for years or weeks I am pretty sure which of way you would go.

Back in 2004 I obtained top 3 rankings for some fairly competitive gambling related terms in Google and those sites have had almost no updating or link building since then and yet they remain at the top of Google. You are not going to get that kind of sustained ranking with social book marking.

At this time the best thing one can do is to use the social book marking while it still works, to help your sites gain some ground in the search engines by combining it with solid SEO tactics.

Yesterday I wrote a quick little tongue in cheek article about the alleged Jessica Simpson Curse. Fairly topical these days given the NFL playoffs are quickly well underway. I added this to my sports betting blog and then I added the article to some social book marking sites. Within an hour not only was my blog ranking in Google but so was the social book marking listings.

When my blog got listed in Google there were a few sites that ranked higher for the search term “Jessica Simpson Curse” but not for long. Within 24 hours my blog page took over top spot in Google* for that term and the social book marking pages started to slide in the rankings. While it was good to have multiple page 1 rankings for my blog, I think I still prefer to have my actual page ranking in number 1 rather than somebody else’s social media site.

Social Media is the buzz right now but it can’t last as it is way too easy to exploit just like some of the other techniques of old – can you say keyword stuffing? Use it while it lasts but trust me – it ain’t going to replace solid SEO tactics. That will come later when there is a breakthrough in artificial intelligence brought on by semantic search but that is for another rant.

* results may vary depending upon datacenters

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Link Requests – A waste of time or just a waste of my time?

Own a website? Expect link trading email offers – it is a given. A lot of time and energy is devoted to this simple task; I just wish that the efforts put forward for these types of email requests demonstrated some rationale thought and offered a value added solution. Unfortunately this is rarely the case as more often than not; the requests come in as a selfish deal skewed towards the requester.

I am the project manager for one of our sites This is a content rich site that deals with poker and is rapidly gaining an authoritative nature due to all the content we provide to major sites, publications and organizations.

Take this request I received this morning as it is pretty common. (Example edited to remove references to where the email came from and to what site they were trying to promote.)

Currently we are carrying out a 3 – Way link exchange program.
This gives us
both a better footage in Google ranking. I’ll link to you from one of my site,
and then you link from your site to my another site.

If you are
interested in exchanging links with us, please upload the following information
on your website

It goes on to say…

Please notify me when you upload our link and mail me all your link

Hoping for a successful deal

Now as far as requests go it isn’t too bad with the following exceptions.

  • They expect me to place a link to their site and notify them on the location prior to informing me of the URL of where they will place my link.

I took a look at the site they want me to link to and it is just another one of those poker portal sites that offers nothing to the viewers except for a way for the viewers to help make the site owner some money through affiliate links. What would be the value to our readers?

Good only knows what kind of lame ass link directory they would be placing my link on?

If you are going to spend time looking for quality sites to link with don’t you think it would be a wise idea to offer the other site a high quality link in exchange? Barring that, don’t you think you should at least disclose where you were planning to place the reciprocating link?

What we have to keep in mind here is that when linking to another site that link is considered to be a recommendation to your readers to visit that other site. As such don’t you think that you should make sure that the site you are linking to is of a value?

I know that the strategy here is to get me to put a link to their site and then hope that I forget about it so that you get a nice 1 way link. This may work for some sites because the site owners don’t know any better but I mean come on… if the site you are trying to secure a link from is miles better than yours and it offers something of real value, should you be trying these bullshit tactics?

Come on people; practice a little linking responsibility in an effort to make the Internet a more useful place for everybody. Don’t pollute the web with your pitiful attempts to make money by promoting your garbage sites with third rate linking schemes. If you want to use a 3 way link system, offer the other site in your triumvirate something of value and fully disclose everything up front.

I can’t really say that the request I got this morning was totally useless as it did offer me the opportunity to blog about something today.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

We are not Spammers! You sure about that???

Well well well - what did I get in my inbox this morning? You guessed it, more emails from the same people I wrote about a few days ago. If you recall their email said that...

NOTE: We are not spammers and are against spamming of any kind.We are sending this mail with sole intention of link exchange for mutual benefit.If you are not intersted in Link Exchange then you can reply simply "NO", We will never contact you again.

It seems that they do not live up to their claims regarding contact as I clearly sent them email say "NO". Hell I even went a little further and included some other information in my request, might have been about "sex and travel" or it could have been something about "autonomous sexual relations". Any way it really doesn't matter as I clearly spelled out the word "NO" and clearly they do not understand the concept of NO.

These latest emails came with another invitation to be excluded from further contact.

NOTE: We are not spammers and are against spamming of any kind.We are sending this mail with sole intention of link exchange for mutual benefit.If you are not intersted in Link Exchange then you can reply simply "NO", We will never contact you again and also if you have already added our link on your sites then please change our following link info(Title,Description) given as bellow.For this we give you a new link back from my other relevant and quality site.

Now it seems that I will have to go one step further and contact the company that hired this outsourced SEM service and let them know that while they may be saving some money by employing some India based SEM sweat shop, they are in fact hurting their reputation by using them. Does the money you save by outsourcing equal the potential loss of reputation? I highly doubt it.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

We are not Spammers?

How often do you receive unsolicited email that starts off with the line “We are not spammers”? These types of email usually have something to do with a request for a link trade. The sad part is that they usually offer to do a 3 way link exchange where they offer to put your link on some useless domain that doesn’t offer a hope in being taken seriously as a directory, and request that you give them a link to their main site.

Here is an exact copy of the first part of the email;

NOTE: We are not spammers and are against spamming of any kind.We are sending this mail with sole intention of link exchange for mutual benefit.If you are not intersted in Link Exchange then you can reply simply "NO", We will never contact you again.

I have once again requested that these dip shits stop sending me emails, I wonder what part of the word “NO” they don’t understand, perhaps the quotation marks are throwing them off?

Every once in a while I will have a little fun with these “outsourced” so called experts and respond with something like this;

“I would love to exchange links with you on this condition – you link to my site from your main site and I will link to your shitty site (site’s name left in on purpose) with some spammy, phoney, link directory site that I will develop specifically for you.”

Of course just to avoid any confusion I don’t use quotation marks. Perhaps what I will attempt next time is to translate the above mentioned response into a whole bunch of languages so that I can have a hope that these sweat shop “experts” might finally understand.

These websites that use outsourced SEO services, perhaps you need to take a look at what these companies are doing for your properties. Myself, when I get these spam emails from the same services over and over again I make note of the main website they are trying to build the link popularity for and I go out of my way to inform my counterparts for this industry to avoid that site like the plague.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Yahoo Directories Can Hurt Your Site!

About 1 year ago I contacted the fine people at Yahoo to find out why I could never get a client’s site indexed beyond the main index page. After checking to make sure that the site wasn’t in violation of any of their rules I sent an email to Yahoo to discuss my findings.

The only thing that I could discern was that the earliest information regarding this domain was still being listed in several of their directories. Normally this wouldn’t be a bad thing but seeing as the site changed ownership and focus back in 1996, the old directory listings are completely wrong.

Provided with this information it was fairly easy for someone at Yahoo to ascertain that this was the issue and I was told that they would address this issue soon. They even went so far as to extend to me an invitation to send in follow up questions to which I only received a standard form email, totally unacceptable! Well it has been a long time now and Yahoo doesn’t seem to want to address this issue.

After a few months of waiting I asked if it would be helpful if I were to resubmit my client’s site to the directories and paid for re-inclusion. Typically – I got the standard form response once again. With this kind of customer service is it any wonder that is losing market and search share?

My only hope now is that someone over a Yahoo might read this and become concerned enough about their product to try to improve it. While I can’t reveal the site here, as that would not be appropriate to this forum, I can assure those of you who might read this; the site is obviously an old site and probably one that predates Yahoo itself.

If the Yahoo directories are so flawed that it takes more than 11 years to update the information contained within, what good are they? If these old directories are having a negative effect on my client’s site and have been doing so for more than a decade, I can only suggest that if Yahoo refuses to fix this issue then I would strongly suggest caution to those webmasters who were thinking of including their sites within the Yahoo directories.

It would be cool if someone from Yahoo were to contact me through a private email in this forum and follow up on this issue.

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