October 04, 2010

Tapping Into Google's Freshness

By Li Evans

Reporting from Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East

This panel was a lot more interesting than I had anticipated it would be. The speakers on this panel shared a lot of insight into just what it is that Google likes in the way of freshness in content, links, and mentions when they are looking at content and applying the algorithm and displaying results to searchers.

Danny Sullivan was the panel's moderator and added a lot of personal insight from his experiences with running Search Engine Land that also brought a lot to the session. Janet Driscol Miller, Kenny Hyde and Joe Shehata were presenting on this panel and each had a unique perspective as to what they see in the way of relevance in the manner of "freshness" in Google.

Janet Driscol Miller of Search Mojo, led off the panel discussing "Query Deserves Freshness" factor of the Google Algorythm. The QDF has been around since 2007, but has really been brought to the forefront with Google's launch of Caffiene earlier this year. The QDF is used to determine what searches are "hot" and looks for the most recent information available for those trending queries.

Janet went into some great detail about the different Google tools that you can use to help keep up to date on trends and also if the keywords your marketing campaigns are focused on are also spiking for certain reasons. She went on to show the audience how Google insights can be embedded in a page and how marketers can leverage this tool to their advantage by writing relevant blog content around the insight that is spiking.

After Janet concluded her really informative presentation, Kenny Hyde took to the podium and focused on the three primary things that he has seen make fast changes in Google's search results. These three factors also allow the more authoratative sites remain pretty stable in the results, where sites who are not strong in these three areas tend to fluctuate a lot more.

The three areas that Kenny focused on were links, brand mentions and fresh content. He started off with pointing out that with links it's not just quantity and not just quality, it was both. Along with that the variety of the links and where they come from matter. The final piece of the linking puzzle that Kenny discussed was consistency in link building, that once you start building links, you have to continue at the same rate (or increase) if you want to remain "fresh" to Google.

The second area, brand mentions, isn't just using the keyword in the link as many would think, but more to the point that if there is a link you've attained, it's just as important to make sure that on that page there are other mentions of your brand. The sentiment of the brand mention is also an important factor as well.

When it comes to fresh content, Kenny pointed out a few things. The content itself doesn't have to be on a high ranking page, blog posts and syndicated content work well too. It also doesn't have to be on your site, where content such as press releases and reviews are perfect for this type of freshness factor.

The last speaker to round out the panel was John Shehata. John took a look at the freshness factor of Google and what matters in the perspective of Twitter and how it affects the search results. Getting your content retreated is probably one of the most important factors here. Google looks to this as an indicator of relevance. Some things to avoid though is using too many hash tags in your tweets, as the search engines have confirmed that they view this as a spam my tactic.

John also highlighted that not just the quantity but the quality of who is following you and retreating your content is rather important to the "Freshness" factor in Google. Getting influencers to rewet your content is taken as a sign to the search engines that this content is relevant more so when more people rewet it. John rounded out his information by saying it's just as important to encourage family, friends and followers to post your content in other social communities to further the relevance of the content.

This panel had a lot of great tidbits, advice and tips that I came away with some great information to apply here at SMG. Overall,if you can pick the brain of Janet, Kenny or John, I'd say do it!

February 21, 2009

SES London 2009 - Link Building Basics

By SEOidiot

This session is in the fundamentals track so a lot of the content may not be suited to people at a more advanced level already

Moderator:
Kevin Newcomb, Managing Editor, Search Engine Watch

Speakers:
Peter van der Graaf, Advanced Search Specialist, Netsociety
Debra Mastaler, President, Alliance-Link
Jonathan Stewart, Head of Natural Search, iCrossing UK
Brian Turner, Offpage Optimisation Specialist, Propero Digital

Debra Mastaler of Alliance Link:

Links are the soul of the web, sites that have a lot of links rank well.
Before we can do that we need to understand where this all came from.
Back in the 50's with the launch of sputnik the world realised that they needed a network that would survive if nuclear war happened and this eventually lead to the creation of the internet. Once the amount of pages on the net increased the search engines became the way to find information.

Google started with the view of course that the links between these sites were citations as sites voted for each other.

Link Popularity

Link quantity - Number of links
Link quality - The authority that is passed through the link
Anchor text - The text used in inbound links
Anchor text is most effective when these links point at pages optimised for that term.
Link relevance - establishes where your site is in the neighbourhood of links.

Authority sites
Sites that rank well and have strong positions within their niche and have quality inbound links that support that.

Avoid when link building: -

Try to build slow and steady to avoid sending a signal to the engines that this isnt normal
Repetitive anchor text - try to avoid just using one term and link deeply into the site rather than just to the homepage.
Reciprocal links - dont get stuck just using reciprocals
Links in the content rather than the navigation as these can appear to be potentially paid or out of full context.
Links that nofollow or are affected by robots.txt wont help you with your link popularity
Make sure the pages you are trying to get links from are indexed as a guide that it should pass at least some value.

Jonathan Stewart of iCrossing UK:

Links - its all about quality

  • Trust
  • Dofollow
  • Age of links
  • Page Rank
  • Content
  • Anchor text
  • Position
  • Relevance

Tools for link analysis

  • Google webmaster tools
  • Yahoo site explorer
  • SEO Elite
  • Linkscape

How to get links

  • Directories
  • Had a tough time of late (Google have even removed it from their guidlines)

Dont use to focus on big money terms (Better used for long tail)
Make sure the directory has good editorial and that the page you want is indexed and has a cache in google

Link reconfiguration

  • Approach webmasters already identified as linking to you and ask them to change the link to something more optimised or even add further links to additional content.
  • Agencies - use the clients email address to ask and be personal (phone, manual email etc)
  • Identify sites linking to a 404 page on your site and ask them to correct

Press Releases

  • PR Web
  • Response Source
  • Source Wire
  • 27-7 Press release

Embed links in the release
Google only takes the anchor text from the first link. So if three links in your release all point to the home page the first found is the one that google uses.

Creating great content

  • For a recent toyota blog campaign they looked at the fact that the car was aimed at people who are looking for fuel efficiency
  • They decided to do some hypermiling where they tested how efficient you could get the car to act.
  • Flickr photos
  • Twitter
  • Blog posts
  • Picked up and linked from some highly valuable sites.

Peter van der Graaf of Netsociety

Just sending mass emails isn't that effective
Stages of link building

  • What do i have and where do i want links from (Inc competitor link analysis)
  • Link bait creation
  • Distribution
  • Continue the relationship with people who link to you

Preparation

  • How natural and full is my current link profile
  • Do i have good links?
  • Do I have links that could appear paid
  • How does this appear in relation to your competition
  • Which possible link partners would help bridge that gap?
  • Can these possible link partners be grouped into possible approaches ?

Link Bait Creation

  • You have to match the content that you create that match the approaches that you identified in the previous stage. Do some research on a topic and create content based on that research.
  • Contribute to websites, content, providing tools, guest post, reward their visitors (discounts perhaps?)
    Linker rewards - reviews, testimonials, link trades (knowing the down sides of that now)
    Must see - shocking, funny, hot topics

Distribution

  • Email, as personally as possible. The more personal the better the results.
  • Take personal control of the most important targets to ensure the best chance of success.
  • Distribute through sites that already have some authority. Press releases, social, news etc
    Spread virally
  • Continue relations
  • Link value keeps building up so don't lose them.
  • Makes it easier for ongoing projects.


Brian Turner of Propero Digital

A lot of people misunderstand link building as they often look at links in isolation as a way to manipulate the results rather than making it part of the overall marketing process.

  • Link buying is a good example of an area that if focussed on getting links can cause you problems.
  • Google is developing newer methods than just links as signals. Human traffic values for example.
  • Link building therefore has to be part of a wider communications strategy.
  • By entering into conversations with people in your industry you are naturally inviting links
  • The internet is a social web run by people for people so engaging in conversations is a natural way to invite links as part of that conversation.

Q & A

1 link building tactic that works right now

  • Jonathan - Link reconfiguration
  • Peter - Reduce branding - people are far more likely to respond without a prominant brand
  • Brian - be newsworthy



January 07, 2009

Online Marketing Tips Video: Link Building Strategies

By Li Evans

This week's video is all about some simple concepts you can incorporate into your link building strategy.  Wondering about those emails that claim they can get you thousands of links for paying a minimal fee?  How about why people link to you?  Or maybe your boss doesn't want you linking out to anyone. 

In this short educational video, 3 simple concepts are discussed to help get your link building campaign off on to the right start.




Full Video Transcript After The Jump....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Link Building Strategies" »

March 18, 2008

SES New York: Igniting Viral Campaigns From a "Newbee" Perspective

By MarySue Eckstrom

Hi! I'm MarySue Eckstrom and I'm new to Search Marketing Gurus.  I'm also brand new to the Search Marketing Industry so my blogging will be from a "novice" or "newbee" perspective.

My very first session I attended here at SES New York,  was "Igniting Viral Campaigns".  Of course when it was suggested I attend this session (by Li), I assumed my head would be "smoking" by the time I left the room!  Much to my surprise, it was not!  I actually understood most of the things the speakers were talking about.

The speakers for Igniting Viral Campaigns were:

Moderator: Jeffrey Rohrs, VP, Agency & Search Marketing, ExactTarget
 
Speakers:

The things that I learned from Bill Hanekamp's presentation were:

  • You don't have to spend a lot of money in social media, but the content is important.
  • If you want people to talk about you, then give them a place to talk.
    Example:  Content (you write it), Comments (your visitors leave them)

Edward Kim was the next speaker and he spoke a lot about the "user revolution" and the tools his company has, along with speaking about Eric Jackson.

Fionn_downhill Fionn Downhill was a very interesting speaker to listen to.  She talked about a lot of different online marketing strategies and tactics, such as blogs, forums, RSS feeds, press releases.  Fionn said two things that really stuck in my head:
1)  The Key is Free
2)  You cannot control viral marketing, but you can enable it

The final speaker for this session was Conn Fishburn.  What I took away from Conn's presentation was that all medial wants to be social.  Humans are social animals.  Companies & brand have always been part of the fabric of society and that basically social media is here to stay.

November 28, 2007

Local Link Love at SES Local Search: ILM:07

By Li Evans

Sage Lewis (Sage Rock ) - don't put the  cart before the horse.  All link campaigns start with content.  Think win/win - in order to develop a local link campaign you must have some appeal for local sites.  Link-worthy sites are hard to come by, they require time, dedication and commitment.  So what's a linker to do?

  • Integrate the community into your corporate events
  • Create an offshoot service or product that helps the local community
  • Promote the good work you are doing in your community
  • Augment the values you have as an organization

You just don't build the site and hope the links will come, ask for the link!

Matt Stoddart (LinkWorth) - How do you get local links?  Where do you find them?  Get the obvious ones - the BBB, Chamber of Commerce links, search for "city/state  + associations" to find relevant organizations. 

Local is Social - local directories, calssified, review communities - citysearch, yelp, local.com, craiglist.  Join region-specific groups within large social sites - facebook, myspace, linkedin.  Find local & niche bloggers and interact - technorati, mybloglog.

Buying local links, search for relevant, non-competing businesses to buy directly from, ask them or offer to buy.  Buy through broker, or buy a link from google - $1995 a year, buy the google mini - they give you a link.

Be creative - donate to local charities and request a link from their site.  Sponsor a youth sports team.  Local restaurants, churches, retailers ... any local businesses with a website - offer specific coupons.

Ian McAnerin (McAnerin Networks)
- Seearch engines can be a great way to find links - its what they do!  To find a relevant directory or links page try searching for one using "directory indicators".  Look for "carpet cleaning" + "sumbit.php" or "addurl.asp" - "coffee" + "submit site", "philadelphia add url".

Other places, DMOZ, local associations, charitable work, contests, related sites (ex. Movers < > real estate agents), reciprocal links - stay on topic with these.  How do you ask for a link?  Wrong way - spammy emails to people.  Don't send an email about "Page Rank" or "being important to seo".  Right way - look for invitation (form, outbound links, etc.), stay on topic, get the address and name right - personalize it, explain why you're relevant.

Non-traditional - ratings & reviews, testimonials, press releases, contests, tools & utilities, entertainment.  Evaluating links - don't evaluate just on PR, its not the be all and end all.  Search position, # of other links on the page, context and relevance, neighborhood (good/bad), anchor Text, 302 redirects, cache.  Watch Out For:  nofollow attribute, frames. 

Use the phone!  More personal.

Local Link Love at SES Local Search: ILM:07

By Li Evans

Sage Lewis (Sage Rock ) - don't put the  cart before the horse.  All link campaigns start with content.  Think win/win - in order to develop a local link campaign you must have some appeal for local sites.  Link-worthy sites are hard to come by, they require time, dedication and commitment.  So what's a linker to do?

  • Integrate the community into your corporate events
  • Create an offshoot service or product that helps the local community
  • Promote the good work you are doing in your community
  • Augment the values you have as an organization

You just don't build the site and hope the links will come, ask for the link! 

Matt Stoddart (LinkWorth) - How do you get local links?  Where do you find them?  Get the obvious ones - the BBB, Chamber of Commerce links, search for "city/state  + associations" to find relevant organizations. 

Local is Social - local directories, calssified, review communities - citysearch, yelp, local.com, craiglist.  Join region-specific groups within large social sites - facebook, myspace, linkedin.  Find local & niche bloggers and interact - technorati, mybloglog.

Buying local links, search for relevant, non-competing businesses to buy directly from, ask them or offer to buy.  Buy through broker, or buy a link from google - $1995 a year, buy the google mini - they give you a link.

Be creative - donate to local charities and request a link from their site.  Sponsor a youth sports team.  Local restaurants, churches, retailers ... any local businesses with a website - offer specific coupons.

Ian McAnerin (McAnerin Networks) - Seearch engines can be a great way to find links - its what they do!  To find a relevant directory or links page try searching for one using "directory indicators".  Look for "carpet cleaning" + "sumbit.php" or "addurl.asp" - "coffeed" + "submit site", "philadelphia add url".

Other places, DMOZ, local associations, charitable work, contests, related sites (ex. movers<>real estate agents), reciprocal links - stay on topic with these.  How do you ask for a link?  Wrong way - spammy emails to people.  Don't send an email about "Page Rank" or "being important to seo".  Right way - look for invitation (form, outbound links, etc.), stay on topic, get the address and name right - personalize it, explain why you're relevant.

Non-traditional - ratings & reviews, testimonials, press releases, contests, tools & utilities, entertainment.  Evaluating links - don't evaluate just on PR, its not the be all and end all.  Search position, # of other links on the page, context and relevance, neighborhood (good/bad), anchor Text, 302 redirects, cache.  Watch Out For:  nofollow attribute, frames. 

Use the phone!  More personal.

October 16, 2007

SMX Social: Link Bait Panel

By Li Evans

SMX Social Media:  Link Bait Panel - Creating Successful Campaigns & Success in Social Media

Link Bait Panel featured Danny Sullivan moderating with Rebecca Kelly, Brent Csustoras, and Cameron Olthius.  The following is brief summations from their presentations.

Rebecca Kelley - SEOMoz

Benefits of Link bait- Links & Visibility
Successful Link Bait Creates a Domino Effect
    increases links coming in
    the more relevant Google sees your page
    One page can strengthen your entire domain
    Traffic stickiness

Who are you Targeting
    "Linkarati"
        Bloggers, web researchers, journalists
        Why?  Internet is evolving, people like to link - created content and give it to the right audience
    Do Your Homework
        Research your niche's link-worthiness
        Find things that were similar and see what worked what didn't, what can you improve upon
        Don't neglect your own industry
                can give you more "juice" because they are related to what you do

Brainstorming
    What would you find interesting?
    Ask coworkers and friends
    Write everything down

Continue reading "SMX Social: Link Bait Panel" »

October 07, 2007

Is "Outing" Unethical SEO / SEM Practices, Ethical or Just Fodder for Linkbait?

By Li Evans

Ethics_cartoon I have to hand it to Rand Fishkin, he knows how to bring fury (and controversy and snarky cartoons) upon him like a woman scorned.  However in this latest case, it's more like a few webmaster's scorned.  So this got me to thinking, is "publicly outing" websites for buying links, cloaking, scraping or hidden text or numerous other "unethical" practices search marketers know that can game the system - ethical in its own right? 

Lets face it, we all know of sites that are doing things that cross the guide"lines" of the search engines.  We all probably know of at least 1 or 2 major sites that are doing things that could get them tossed from the search engines' indexes if they were not the big time retailer, muti-media conglomerate or news sources that they are.  But because these are major sites, probably sites that are actually very relevant for their terms, do we really think the search engines are going to toss their sites from the index?  Look at what happened to BMW - isn't that enough to make people think twice?

Continue reading "Is "Outing" Unethical SEO / SEM Practices, Ethical or Just Fodder for Linkbait?" »

April 03, 2007

LinkBait Sexy Toilets

By Li Evans

There's been talk lately about what's link-bait-able and what might not be.  I think we all know, it's just the matter of thinking outside of the box, and making sure that it represents the client in the way that isn't negative, insulting, cruel or uncaring.  It doesn't matter if you're selling red swingline staplers or trying to make lemonade out of lemons, there's likely some kind of "hook" for any product you sell.  Heck, there's even a hook for selling Dog Poo (revenge pranks!).

Pimpedoutjohnphoto So what about a plumbing service?  Well after Google's little TiSP service Arpil Fool's joke - I'm sure some of you might have thought of some pretty interesting ideas.  But I have to hand it to the marketing team at Roto-Rooter for coming up with a viral hook that can truly and ultimately make it so a man never wants to leave the "John" and link throughout MySpace and Yahoo360 proclaiming - "Hey Honey - I wanna win this!"

Roto-Rooter offered the chance to win the ultimate pimped out John.  This baby comes complete iPod and dock, beer holder, TiVO, laptop computer, exercise bike pedals, TV, and an XBOX 360.  The toilet even comes with a beer frig and tap, and funky blinking lights.  There's even an "Emergency Roto-Rooter" button for those times where you just might need them.  Unfortunately for you men, the contest is closed, but it's still really neat to look at and wonder if you can do it to your own toilet!

Roto-Rooter hopes to reach out to a new generation with this contest, especially those who don't even know their jingle.  From the looks of it, it got some traction - Yahoo lists over 1,000 links to the site.  There was even a promo piece for the contest on MSNBC.  Wondering who won?  Stop back to the site to find out on April 25, 2007 - National Plumbers' Day.

It just goes to show you, even toilets can be "linkbait sexy". 

February 26, 2007

Responsibility or Linkbait?

By Li Evans

Controversywar After the MyBlogLog vs. Shoemoney fiasco over the weekend, it really got me to thinking about responsibility verses linkbaiting.  Yes, I thought about it all weekend.  Perhaps I might ruffle some feathers here, but what the hell, conversation is a good thing, right?

The fact is, we as bloggers have a responsibility.  As you become a more popular blogger, your sense of responsibility should trump your need to linkbait on your own blog.  As much as I like Shoemoney, I think that he crossed the line with posting the IDs on his blog, without first alerting the parties he was going to go and do so.  That's what I mean when I say responsibility.

Responsibility If it wasn't about linkbait, the post could have gone on without those id's.  It also could have been emailed to MyBlogLog first, then posted on the blog.  Of course, I'm sure some will say I'm Monday morning quarterbacking, and I realize and accept that.  I did check with Jeremy to hear it from him that he didn't ask for permission, and he honestly answered that "no" he didn't.  And it's not the point that anyone could have gotten those IDs - the point is, be responsible to your fellow bloggers (and friends) by giving them a heads up and say "hey I'm doing this, o.k.?"

That's not to admonish MBL from responsibility, what happened after they banned Shoe turned into a tit-for-tat comment and blog posting marathon, name calling and boycott-a-thon that made me just switch off the internet/blogs/bloglines for the entire weekend.  Let me tell you, it takes a lot to get me to do that.

MyBlogLog apologized, I understand why, and they should be applauded for owning up to taking the wrong path in this situation.  Sure they had an itchy trigger finger, it possibly could have been handled without a ban, but Shoe's not entirely innocent here either.  Every MARKETER in this space all know the exploit with the IDs was posted for linkbait and traffic bait, without regard for what it would do to those people who had their IDs posted.

I like Shoe, I think he's an intelligent, nice and sincere person.  I learn things from him, and I think what he's done with is life and his business is amazing.  However, today, I respectfully disagree with his actions with MyBlogLog situation.  When you are a blogger with an audience of his size, there's something that trounces the need for controversy and linkbaiting, it's called responsibility.

Jedi As bloggers, we all wield power - and perhaps I'm sound a bit "Jedi-ish" - but with that power comes a greater responsibility.  With one post you can unwittingly set things into motion, and knowing or unknowingly you can send someone else down a path you never intended.   Something as small as  what happened this weekend could end up turning out all wrong.

And one last note, MyBlogLog learned a new term this weekend, can you guess what it was?  Try "LinkBait."

So here endeth my thoughts on the matter - thanks for putting up with the rant, I can now stop chewing on this and move onto news, tips and strategies! :)

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