Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Top Ten SEO Myths

Ever wonder what the biggest SEO myths are? I have taken the most prevalent myths that seem to be constantly resurfacing and examined them for you. This is a must read for anyone looking to hire an SEO firm or someone looking to do SEO for themselves.

Myth # 1: All Meta Tags Are Of Equal Importance

Some Meta tags are useful while others are not. I have stated this many times. Search engines are relying more and more about what is on the website than what the tags are telling them. The description tag is used by some (but not all) search engines. The same goes for the keyword tag. Keyword tags are used more by spammers and people using software to find you as a link partner than the search engines. In my opinion, the only tags you should concentrate your efforts on are the robot tag and the description tags.

Myth # 2: You Should Submit Your Site to Search Engines Weekly or Monthly

Honestly, I nevër submit any site more than 1 time and sometimes I don't even do that. If you submit your site once, you're good. The engines will come back on their own. You can sometimes speed up the process of getting your site indexed by linking it to a high traffïc or high PR site. The search engines will find the URL to your site and index it automatically.

Myth # 3: SEO is Too Expensive

Actually, SEO is probably the most cost effective förm of online marketing. Organic SEO is cheaper to set up and maintain than a PPC campaign or banner advertising. With PPC and banner advertising, you pay for clicks or impressions. With SEO, all clicks are Frëe. You simply pay for the set up and monitoring of your site's pages.

Myth # 4: PPC Is More Effective Than Natural SEO

In the short term...true. In the long term...false. Why, you ask? Organic SEO is preferred by searchers over 5 to 1 to PPC. People trust organic searches to return relevant results. People also know that the ads to the right of the page are sponsored ads. They have long ago figured out that anyone can bid on any term they want, as many often do, without even a hint of relevance. So, long term SEO structuring can indeed be more effective than PPC, especially when considering the preferences of search traffïc. A top 5 ranking may take some time to get, but once you are there (and provided you can maintain it), you will get better results than from a PPC ad.

Myth # 5: Hiring an SEO Specialist "In House" is Cheaper

The problem with hiring someone in house is that they are paid hourly or by salary. Most SEO firms charge per item or project. It doesn't matter how long it takes us, you pay a one tíme charge. When you hire a firm, it's like having a team of SEO experts on your payroll. Paying a flat rate saves you monëy and speeds up the time it takes to complete a job. Additionally, most SEO firms have specialists who write, submit, redesign sites, post pages, etc... Hiring one person who can do all these things competently is highly unlikely.

Myth # 6: I Can Only Optimize My Homepage for Key Terms

You can and should optimize every page on your site. Each page should have its own key terms, with no more than three phrases per page (preferably one).

Myth # 7: All I Need to do is Write Content with the correct Keyword Density and My Site Will Rank Well

Wrong...especially if you want to rank on Google. You will need off-site SEO as well as on-site SEO. Keyword density may work on MSN (for now), but it will take more than that to rank well for all search engines.

Myth # 8: I Shouldn't Aim for the Most Competitive Keywords and Phrases

If the keywords you are competing for are very competitive, should you optimize your site for them? Of Course! I would optimize for some high, medium and low competitive key terms. Cover all your bases. The worst case is that you won't rank well for the high competitive key terms and that's ok. You can always work to improve them. Don't shy away from top key terms just because they are competitive. You may nevër know how close you could rank for them unless you try.

Myth # 9: Only Work With Companies That Give You A Guarantee

Guarantees would be nice if they were worth the paper they are printed on. In fact, most guarantees from SEO firms have the same stipulation in them. This stipulation usually states that as long as they get one of your key phrases to the top of any major search engines, they have fulfilled their end of the agreement. This is irrelevant to the competition of the term. In other words...it's easy to be number one for terms no one is competing for. Don't be deceived by high rankings listed on SEO sites as they can be misleading.

Myth # 10: SEO Requires a 1 Year Commitment on My Part

It certainly shouldn't. Don't lock yourself into a year contract with any company unless you already have an established, favourable business relationship. SEO, in most cases, should be performed on a month to month basis with a mutual understanding of the objectives and relative timetable. Often, both the long and short term maintenance contracts that many firms insist on including with each job are unnecessary. As an example...If you have a new site optimized, especially right after an update, you may not see results for three months. Why pay for maintenance in the interim time?

Additionally, you may not be happy with the results of an SEO firm or even the level of service. A long term contract may only ensure that you receive a full year of bad service. So, don't lock yourself in with a year contract, at least until you are comfortable with whom you are dealing with.

Hopefully, I put a few common SEO myths to rest. Feel frëe to contact me with questíons you may have regarding these or other SEO myths you want more information on.

25 Ways to Add Quality Content to Your Web Site

1. A calendar of events. This is ideal for sites like real estate sites to show upcoming open houses; book stores to promote upcoming book signings or writers' meetings; collectors' sites to show meetings across the country, etc. Be sure to allow visitors to send in their own event to be posted to the calendar.

2. Maps. Consider real estate sites, hunting or fishing sites, camping sites, hotels, or any outdoor recreational sites for maps. Be sure to add content at the bottom of the map that describes the map and outlines its purpose as it relates to your site.

3. Before/after experiences. This is perfect for products or services you're selling where customers can write in and discuss how this particular product or service helped them. These could turn out to be mini articles, or use them as testimonials.

4. Pictures from your customers. You could set up a special place where past customers could post their pictures and journal entries on your site. This is ideal for vacation sites, recreational sites, wedding sites, baby sites, photography studios, etc. How could you use this idea on a Halloween site? On a flower site?

5. Online coloring sheets. Use your imagination here. If you set up some coloring sheets about your vacation property, kids could color those sheets and post them online before their trip in their own special online area. After the trip, their parents could post pictures and a journal of their trip. This is their "Web site" about their trip, all hosted on your site as a perk for booking through your vacation site. What are they going to do with this information? They're going to tell their friends, Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Edna, etc. They're going to link to it. You can use this perk as part of your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) when differentiating yourself from your competition. You'll be building one-way links from your past customers, plus visibility for future customers. Win/win situation. You'll think of many ways of adding coloring sheets (or similar creative activities for kids) to your site, if your site is the type that would work for kids.

6. Blogs or forums certainly add fresh content to a site.

7. Articles or new pages of interest to your target audience. Write new content on a regular basis – once or twice a week should be your goal.

8. An expert Q&A on the main page of your site. Get an expert to answer questions, and post one question/answer a week (or a day – whatever you can handle) on the main page of your site. Have past Q&A's in a searchable archive on your site.

9. Product reviews. If your industry has products or software to review, consider writing candid reviews of those products. Publish the reviews on your Web site as well as publish them in a few of the online publications. Readers are always interested in totally candid reviews, where the writer lists the positive as well as the negative aspects of a product. If you have a landscaping business, how could you use this idea? What products do you, as an expert, prefer to use, and why?

10. Short tips. If your product or service lends itself to short tips, write up a series and publish them on your Web site. Send them out in your newsletter. Get your readers to send in tips as they use the product. Offer a discount off additional products if they submit tips.

11. FAQ's. FAQ's are content – content that your target audience wants to know. As you get questions from your readers, add additional Q&A's to your FAQ's to keep them current.

12. How-to guides. People love "how to" guides. If you sell online plumbing parts, why not have a "how to" guide on installing a new toilet? Make it easy on your customers, and they'll come back to you again and again. Create a series of "how to" guides. Be The Toilet Guy on the Net. May not sound too glamorous, but if you're highly visible on the Net and are converting traffic to sales, you can afford to be glamorous OFF the Net!

13. Content that solves a problem. Why do people visit the Web? To look for information or to comparison shop. If you can solve problems for your visitors, you're giving them just what they're looking for online. For example, let's say that you sell Oriental rugs. Your potential customer might be looking for decorating ideas for her office. Her office is very small, and she's trying to think of a way to add color. Most of the wall space is taken up with windows and metal bookcases. You've created a series of content that shows pictures of problems/solutions that your oriental rugs have solved, including one with an Oriental runner. Not only does the content have pictures, it also has text describing each problem and the corresponding solution. Your potential customer found your page in the search engine results.

14. Historical data. Let's say that you sell steel pipes. What's the history of steel pipes? Creating a page outlining its history is quite appropriate. In fact, taking it a step further, creating pages that compare steel to copper and other types of piping; what causes rust; how strong is steel; how valuable steel piping really is (how steel piping is used in almost every building, etc.); how long will steel last; and on and on and on will create a whole section of extremely valuable content to a Web site.

Here's the catch. Is this valuable to the target audience of the steel pipe company? Think of one target audience: vocational education classes all over the US. This would be a great resource for them. If they linked to this site, all of them being .edu's, wouldn't this be a great link popularity builder for the site? Think about that for a minute. We're talking about quality content and quality link building.

Another example of historical data would be a hotel on St. Simons Island. The hotel could certainly provide historical data about the island on its Web site as well as tour information, etc.

How could a site that sells mustang parts use this strategy? A site that sells wedding dresses?

15. Interviews � the easiest way of building content yet! Interview an expert in your industry. Send the expert a list of questions and let the expert answer in his/her own words. Don't change any of the expert's answers, except to correct misspellings or grammatical errors. Always be upfront with the expert, and always maintain the integrity of the article and yourself. Write a series of interview articles, and highlight them on the main page of your site.

16. Seasonal articles. Is your industry "seasonal" in any respect? If so, seasonal articles are always extremely popular.

17. Statistics. Offering stats on your site is also another way of adding content to a Web site. If the stats aren't your own, always indicate where you're getting them. Quote the source! How could financial or mortgage sites use this strategy?

18. An advice column. This can be used for a dating site, or it can be used for other sites as well. How could an SEO site use this strategy? How could a decorating site? What about a plastic surgery site?

19. Winners of the month. Let's say you have a site where you sell cut flowers. Get your Web audience to send in pictures of bouquets and arrangements they've made with your flowers. Post the pictures online. Pick a winner of the month, and have that winner's picture posted on the main page of your site. Give the winner a $25 gift certificate.

20. Using the flower example, create video tutorials for creating flower arrangements. Make sure you sell all of the materials they'll need to create the flower arrangements they can make if they follow the video tutorials.

21. Again with the flower example, have customers send in an outline of how they created their flower arrangement, the materials they used, as well as the picture. Provide this information on your Web site. Link to all of those materials in your online store. Be creative. Can you do something similar with your own Web site in your own industry? What if you had a costume site? An art site? Give it a few twists and use it on a hunting or fishing site.

22. Send out a monthly newsletter offering your own tips, tips from customers, sale items, holiday ideas, the winner of the month, etc. Encourage readers to post their ideas to the blog. Post past newsletters on your site for more content.

23. A biography about someone's life, if it relates to your industry. You can see how this would work well if you have a Civil War site or a used book store.

24. News events pertaining to your particular industry.

25. Community-related page, if this is a local Web site. For example, you could discuss local restaurants, little league baseball, school openings, etc., on community-related pages or a blog.

We've only just begun with ideas. It all depends on the industry you're in and the products or services you sell. Put your creativity hat on and brainstorm.

In Conclusion . . .

Remember to think "quality" when it comes to creating content. These ideas should help get you started.

And think about this point as well. If you start creating quality content, what is certain to follow? Quality links. Sites will begin linking to your content, because you're doing what you should be doing: giving your customers what they want to see when they visit your Web site. They want to see new and exciting "quality" information that's updated on a constant basis. You become the trusted source of that information.

Don't try to take the easy way out. Success isn't dished out in soup lines. Success comes with hard work.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Using your blog to get one way links - Joe

Blogs are a great tool. They allow you to add new, fresh content to your site. They are also a great way to build readership. Think about all the blogs you read. I'm sure that if you're reading this, you're also likely subscribed to a few or at least check them on a daily to weekly basis. Why? Is it because it is entertaining, informative or both? Blogs have been given a bad name because of splogs. Darren Rowse has a terrffic blog (http://www.problogger.net.) where he posts daily with tips for bloggers. Darren has discussed the "Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers", which consist of tips from highly successful bloggers who tell you what they do and make suggesstions as to what you should do.

So, how does all this help you get one way backlinks. Preferrably, you want people to link to you naturally. The best way to do that is to give them something worth linking to. Let's say I was an MS Office guru. My blog might be about relatively unknown tips and tricks on how to use MS office or for creating calenders and spreadsheets. Many people who work with MS office would be interested in that. They may like the tips so much that they list it on their blog or site.

What makes a good blog? Information? Yes! Consistency? Absolutely! However a great blog has to have its own style and flare. A blog that invites its readers to participate in the post is a golden rule. That's almost a guaranteed way to ensure that people will be coming back for more.

If you want to get traffic to your blog, one of the best ways is to leave comments on other blogs. Keep in mind, however, that it has to be done in a smart way. People can always tell when something is spam, so avoid being so obvious. Limit your posts to those blogs that are at least somewhat related to your blog. If a blog is about automobiles and you try to plug your aquarium business, you'll do more harm than good. Go to blogs that are related and take part in the discussion. The more informative and intellectual your comments are, the better chance your post will stay around long enough to be read. That is how you can start to build your readership. If you can convince people what you have to say is worth reading, they will come and read it.

Regardless of what you do to get people to your blog, the proof is always in the pudding. If you can't keep them coming back, all the advertising and work you put into creating traffic will mean nothing.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

How to improve bottom line when using AdWords & AdSense PPC

First of all every one have to understand about the AdWords. Then he has to understand the Google Adwords. Let see what is AdWords: Many search engines provides an inexpensive advertising venue for businesses to advertise products or services to a targeted audience. Advertisers have the ability to control their budget, target their advertising based on keywords. Advertisers are also free to determine the ad contents. Unlike other search engines Google, to its credit, clearly denotes search listings that are paid placement. In fact, Google AdWords appear in a separate section down the left side of the screen.

Every novice is scrambling for news about the net - AdWords and AdSense that is. You've got to hand it to Google. AdWords is pay-per-click advertising program, but the Google AdWord pay-per-click advertisement management is other side of the coin, AdSense, makes it a powerful advertising program. Let's take a look at AdWords and how it works. Google AdWords allow for nearly instant traffic, which can be turned on and off. Traffic results can be measured, providing information on what is successful, what isn't and what needs to be changed. AdWords can be found that work by running a test campaign.

Any one can create his very own advertisements or can have Google's team design the advertising campaign for self with AdWords. When creating AdWords advertisements, they appear on the internet right away. Complete control of a budget as customer only pay when his ad is clicked on and he can set his very own daily limits for what he is thinking to pay. Minimum budget or locked in time is not a matter that has to run campaign. Choose the keywords want to target, so getting targeted traffic from the ads - people who are looking for specifically what he has to offer.
Advertising is doing so; it can make changes as needed when rely on Google for quick and knowledgeable support. Additionally, access performance reports that keep he informed on how well.

A powerful punch, to the Adwords program as well as giving website operates the ability to make money from their website displaying ads by Google, is the AdSense. It allows making ad content more accessible and useful. With own keywords and attributes, describe the content so users can easily find it when they search Google. The other cool feature is that you can choose to share a lot of your content, or just a little. You can post individual items by completing a simple UI form, or you can submit a bulk upload file with multiple items in standard formats including TSV, RSS.

So, as an AdWords advertiser, getting an advantage in that website operators are providing high quality content to browsers and because of the keywords, appearing ads on the websites in clear view of individuals who are looking for particular products or services.

AdWords and AdSense are welcomed additions to the world of e-business and internet marketing that will get targeted traffic to website at minimum costs by advertisers to the website operators to make money for having the ads displayed on their websites.

Out-sourcing vs In-sourcing

Organizations are turning to external suppliers for outsourcing everything from payroll processing to facilities management. The goal is better quality at lower costs, but too often the outsourcing results are disappointing-to-dismal -- simply because many buyers lack a clear outsourcing methodology.

Using the outsourcing concepts in this outsourcing survival site, managers responsible for outsourcing will learn to avoid typical pitfalls and ensure success. Readers learn how to:

1. Determine core competencies that should be kept in-house rather than outsourced
2. Align outsourcing with overall corporate strategy
3. Use outsourcing to support transformation strategies such as restructuring and TQM
4. Evaluate, compare, and select vendors
5. Develop targeted RFPs (requests for proposals), negotiate win-win contracts, monitor how vendors perform, and evaluate financial savings
6. Handle "recompetition" as contracts end.

The opposite of outsourcing, that is, a service performed in-house. It is a reaction to outsourcing that conjures up visions of employees aggressively defending their core competencies against cost-cutting senior managers and third party providers. The act of bringing together a function that was performed outside the organization (outsourced) to being performed inside the organization.

Of course outsource has captured current attention but this is not mean that in-souring is far. In-souring is current trend. What is less well publicized and understood is that "in-sourcing" also occurs in our economy. In-sourcing happens when foreign companies establish jobs in the United States. Conventionally known as foreign direct investment, insourcing has risen in recent years as more foreign firms set up operations in America.

Monday, June 05, 2006

8 Essential SEO techniques

1) Title Tag - The title tag is the most powerful on-site SEO technique you have, so use it creatively! What you place in the title tag should only be one thing, the exact keyword you used for the web page that you are trying to optimize. Every single web page should have it's own title tag.

2) ALT Tags - ALT tags were meant to be for text browsers because the images didn't show in text browsers and the ATL tags would tell the visitor what it's about. You should put your main keyword(s) in the ALT tags, but don't over do it because you could get dropped in the results or even worse banned for life!

3) Link Popularity - Link popularity is the most powerful SEO tool out of all them. Most search engines don't even consider web sites if there is not at least one or two links pointing to the web site. Having another site(s) link to your web site is important when it comes to getting your site a good ranking. Your keywords should be in the links you get and keep the keywords short. When you receive requests for a link exchange, check the site out before linking with them, check for spam (Repeat keywords, hidden text, etc.).

4) Keyword Density - This is also vital and should be used with research. You should use the keyword(s) once in the title tag, once in the heading tag, once in bold text, and get the density between 5% to 20% (Don't over do it!). Also use your keyword(s) both low and high on the web page, keyword(s) should be in the first sentence and in the last one.

5) Page Size - Your web page's speed is important to your visitors and the search engines. Why? Because the robots will be able to spider your web page faster and easier. Try your best to keep your web page over 5k and under 15k in size.

6) Rich Theme - Search engines are looking at themes more and more. Build content (Articles, FAQ, tips, etc.) much as possible and keep the web pages around 200 to 500 words. Create content that's related to your market and link them out to other related content on your site. Try to get 200 web pages or more.

7) Web Site Design - This is also important, if you want to get indexed! Text content should out weigh the HTML content. The pages should validate and be usable in all of today's leading edge browsers. Stay away from flash and Java Script, search engines dislike them both a lot.

8) Insite Cross Linking - This will help you get all of your web pages indexed by the search engines. Your web pages should be no more than three clicks away from the home page. Link to topic related quality content across your site. This will also help build you a better theme through out your web site. On every page you should link back to your home page and your main service(s).

Sunday, June 04, 2006

10 Tips for SEO Copywriting - Christopher Conlan

I found a great article written by Christopher Conlan about copywriting tips. I couldn't agree better with what Christopher wrote about SEO Copywriting.

10 SEO Copywriting Tips

SEO Copywriting is a skill. For most people it's really something you learn over time by doing it, paying close attention to what your competitors are doing and reading up on how to write copy for websites, blogs, press releases and articles.

There are some simple rules that will help the beginning SEO copywriter and keep the experienced "know-it-all" like myself grounded!

First let's start by really defining SEO copywriting.

SEO copywriting is the art and science of combining three elements:

(1) Valuable Content: providing the reader with content that affords them the opportunity to learn, experience or clarify a product, service, position or opinion. Key factors in creating "value" in your content include organization, a high level of detail, a birds-eye view, reader perspective, usability and specific calls to action.

Your content must provide the reader with "news you can use" if you will. The overall reader experience must take into account a variety of different levels of knowledge/proficiency with the topic. Here's where defining and organizing your thoughts come in. Start with a bird's eye view of the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How, then expand into greater detail on a point by point or step by step basis.

(2) Readability: The user must be able to understand what the heck you are talking about. A good rule of thumb is to write for the reader first, then make a second and third pass for the search engines.

(3) Structure and Formatting: Search Engines are becoming smarter about assessing the "value" of your content, but they still rely on a variety of distinguishable factors which are outlined below. There is no hard and fast rule for any of these tips. Use them all "sparingly" and remember #1 and 2 above.

10 SEO Copywriting Tips

(1) Use Bold, and Italics: Just like a regular old human reader the search engines give more weight to words and phrases that are in bold or italics. Just don't go too crazy or you'll irritate the search engines and give your reader a headache (unless you're selling aspirin, but that's a different article on subliminal copywriting!).

(2) Internal Hyperlinks: You are your own best resource, so use and to a certain extent abuse yourself. Hyperlink to other resources/pages of your site which are relevant to the copy you are writing. This will benefit the reader, increase the amount of time they spend on your site and help you with the search engines. Don't forget your ALT tags.

(3) External Hyperlinks: Incorporating links to external resources which will benefit the reader can help you in two ways (a) they provide a third-party validation to a certain extent of your "expertise" and (b) afford you the opportunity to pick up some extra coin if that resource provides reciprocal linking or has an affiliate program.

(4) Use Bullet Points: Using a bullet point or numbered system helps break up your copy into consumable pieces, aids in the clean design of your page and makes it easy for the reader to "go back" and reference previous points without wasting time reading through dense copy.

(5) Content "Mass": Never have less than 400 words on a page. If the content you are providing is in fact valuable you should be able to come up with around 1,000 words.

(6) Use Examples: to beef up your content with relevant keywords. (See #8).

(7) Keyword Density: I like to try for 7% density for no more than 4 sets of keywords or phrases per page. Segway to #8.

(8) Break your keyword sets/phrases into tiers or alternates to enable a better flow while maximizing density and penetration (based upon Yahoo!'s Keyword Selector Tool, WordTracker, WebCEO or a like keyword recommendation program).:

Example: Target: SEO Copywriting Tier 1: SEO Copywriting Tier 2: SEO Copywriter Tier 3: Writing copy for SEO Tier 4: SEO copywriting services

Example Sentence: "Instead of spending time evaluating SEO copywriting Services become a SEO copywriter yourself by following these guidelines and you'll be writing copy for SEO in no time."

(9) Write for what the reader is searching for, not what you think they should be searching for. Remember that your job is to provide the "solution" to the problem, not create a greater problem by making the reader/searcher feel dumb. If they are searching for Ham and Green Eggs instead of Green Eggs and Ham, give them Ham and Green Eggs - "The Searcher is Always Right" to paraphrase a service industry mantra.

About the Author

Christopher Conlan is Managing Director of Kaboodle Ventures, a SEO Specialist located in Scottsdale, Arizona. Mr. Conlan has over 17 years experience in direct marketing public relations, sales, web development and search engine optimization. Visit Kaboodle Ventures at http://www.kaboodleventures.com/SEO_Copywriting.htm

Friday, June 02, 2006

SEO Latest Spam Techniques by - Gord Collins

Search engine rankings are extremely competitive and Website owners are under pressure to do all they can to gain visibility in search results.

Those pressures come from many quarters: there are branding restrictions, style guidelines, legal issues, navigation needs, sales conversion demands, site interaction demands and more.

The fact remains, though, that search engines were designed for information purposes. This presents hurdles to businesses that try to exploit the search engines in order to attract users who seek in information, then try to sell them something. To overcome these hurdles, many businesses use increasingly ruthless tactics -- tactics that lead them into dishonest territory -- to gain those higher search rankings.

Exploiting the Engine

The exploitation of search engines today is a serious issue, but, like it or not, most businesses see it as something that must be done -- an online business imperative. To exploit a search engine, however, most organizations must exploit a search engine optimization company. In these arrangements, exploitation, or the gaining of something for nothing, becomes the central theme for interaction between client and SEO provider.

Thousands of SEO providers are now in business, and each ranking promiser is more famous than the next. For numerous of these service providers, quality is not an issue. What matters is making promises that beat the competition and win them the client. Faced with these enormous and often unreasonable pressures, ethical SEOs will withdraw from an optimization project. Unethical SEOs, however, will take on the project, saying, "No problem. I'll take care of it."

"Taking care of" an impossible situation means spamming. The client's demand for the impossible and expectation of something for nothing pushes the SEO or Webmaster to that sorry path of search engine spamming. This approach involves the study and nurturing of a growing list of tricky spam techniques.

The best way to diffuse the issue is to bring these methods to light. If everyone knows about a spamming technique, it will cease to work. This is the way to defeat search engine spam, and is the purpose of this article.

Who's Responsible?

Search engines value popular, content-rich sites; however, many Website owners either can't or don't want to spend the money required to create that type of content and popularity. The needed resources, such as researchers, Web content developers, copywriters and skilled SEOs, aren't available, or are beyond the financial resources of the company.

This is the something for nothing scenario that launches all spam projects.

TrafficPower is a SEO provider that was made infamous by Google's taking action to ban the company and its clients from their index. A Google rep was quoted as saying "I believe that one SEO had convinced clients either to put spammy JavaScript mouseover redirects, doorway pages that link to other sites, or both on their clients' sites. That can lead to clients' sites being flagged as spam in addition to the doorway domains that the SEO set up."

Now, it seems Traffic Power's clients are suing the company, but the damage is done. We still have to wonder who the guilty parties are.

In reality, when a site utilizes spam tactics, it is the client who's ultimately responsible, not the SEO provider. The client has control over a Website and its deployment. When spamming occurs, the Website owner is solely responsible.

The Lure of Top Listings

It is well publicized by some shady operators that rankings are cheap and easy to get. That lie -- and the expectation it generates -- forces some SEOs to offer a guarantee of top 5 rankings. This, in turn, puts pressure on all SEO providers to provide similar guarantees.

Besides angering search engine companies, such guarantees are misleading. Top rankings can't be put on a schedule like an advertising buy. Search engine-organic results are not for sale, and it is this element of honesty that ensures their continued popularity: that which cannot be bought is trustworthy.

When SEOs can't achieve rankings on schedule, they are forced to refund perhaps thousands of dollars. Since many are barely able to pay their bills, they can't afford to return that money. This sets the stage for SEO spamming.

There are spammers who don't care one way or another -- they don't mind cheating as they have no sense of ethics. There are also large SEO companies that are tasked to create rankings for clients that just shouldn't be attempted. They want to automate the SEO process in order to increase revenues. Search engines, in contrast, want to rid their indexes of automated material of any kind.

The Website owner's greed, combined with search engine spammer's opportunism, sets the stage for an unholy union. Here's just one example of a spamming site I've seen.

Spammingsite1.com used several types of spam to achieve strong results:

* mouse-activated redirects
* hidden table cells stuffed with keywords within < h1 > tags
* links from contrived Websites

The end users saw a different page than the search engine indexed. The search engine was tricked by these tactics, and, as is the case with all instances of spamming, lost control of the product it served to search users.

Spammingsite1 was a leader in the search results -- but only because of spam. A check of the sites that linked to Spammingsite1 revealed a list of dubious quality sites with which no legitimate site owner would have wanted to be associated. One of the sites was a growing list of open directory copies -- sites that draw all their content from the open directory project. Copies of Open Directory listings represent a huge problem for Google.The Perils of New Content Types

As Google and Yahoo! venture into spidering new types of Web content, they run the risk of being tricked by the complexity of the code itself. Spammers succeed by staying ahead of the technical filtering capabilities of search engines.

Search engines apply content filters as they spider sites, and afterward, in what¡¦s called post-processing. This sophisticated filtering is wonderful, however it's also limited by the imagination, foresight and programming of the engineers. Spammers can trick the system by exploiting cracks in the filters.

Sometimes innocent sites are penalized because they appear to have some characteristics of spamming. Is your site one of them? Why might a legitimate link to your site not be recognized? It probably looks like a paid link to the search engine. This is another huge problem for search engines: their filters are so complex that they become almost uncontrollable, and innocent sites are incorrectly penalized.

Search engines can only see and know so much about any given Website and its owners. One SEOs content and links are another's spam, so it¡¦s difficult to make statements about who the spammers are. The problem is further complicated by the fact that search engines have different listing and content assessment guidelines.

There are, of course, numerous tactics that are considered spam. Below are some of the most common spamming techniques being used right now -- tactics that should be avoided.

* Publishing Empires
* Wikis
* Networked Blogs
* Forums
* Domain Spam
* Duplicate Domains
* Links inside No Script Tags
* Javascript Redirects
* Dynamic Real Time Page Generation
* HTML invisible table cells
* DHTML laying and Hidden text under layers
* Humungous machine-generated Web sites
* Link stuffing
* Invisible text
* Link Farms

Let's discuss each of these in more detail.

Publishing Empires

When a publisher builds a vast array of interlinked Websites, it can generate high PageRank and subsequent rankings. This form of spam is difficult for a search engine to penalize, since the links are legitimate. Any single business entity has the right to interlink its own Websites. The company can create further overlap between the sites' content themes so that the links are truly valued by search engines.

This kind of activity is exemplified by one of the Internet's largest publishers. The business has 120+ Web properties, all of which are carefully linked to the others. Perform a search on one of these sites, and you're virtually guaranteed to see one of the company's other Web properties in the search results.

Many among the most successfully ranked sites use this system -- this form of spamming is extremely widespread. Perpetrators basically collect PageRank and link reputation within their network, then use it creatively to dominate the best keyword phrases. Search engines haven't found a way to stop this technique, but they'll have to. This form of spamming is a major threat to the quality of search results.


Wikis are Web repositories to which anyone can post content. They can be a great way to present and edit ideas without close censorship, and have proven extremely successful for the creation, management, and maintenance of projects that require input from users around the globe.

However, despite their considerable advantages, the often un-scrutinized nature of wikis makes them ripe for abuse. Like a link farm, a wiki's links are free for all. Ironically, the value of wikis is consistent with popularity-based search engines. Some of these wikis boast a very high pagerank, which can make the wiki an attractive place from which to gain a link to your site. But without close human control, users may simply add their links as a means to take advantage of the wiki's PR. Until another user of the wiki removes the link, the linked site enjoys the benefits of this unscrupulous activity. The search engine spammers have control.

Networked Blogs

Blogs can be a source of precise, up-to-date and technically detailed information, presented by specialists and experts. Blogs are thus very valuable to info-hungry searchers, and are extremely popular.

However, some spammers start a blog, plug it full of garbage content such as comments on what they thought at 5:15, along with a link or two and some keyword rich text. Keyword rich musings don¡¦t present real value to deceived searchers. Worse still, blogs often operate in a free-for-all link structure that further validates the linked sites in search engine indexes.


Like blogs, forums can be a rich source of relevant information.

Unfortunately, some forum participants make comments in forums only in an effort to publish links back to their own sites. This may be acceptable if the user provides help or assistance to another forum member. Indeed, they should gain credit for that information, which they may have worked hard to discover.

However, when the posts become excessive and are comprised solely of glib or irrelevant comments, then value of the link, or indeed, the whole forum, can be put into question. Some forum owners only start forums in the hope that they will raise search engine rankings.

Domain Spam

Probably the most popular spam technique today involves creating and hosting a number of Websites. These sites rarely have any intrinsic value other than providing ranking support for the owner's main Website.

I've had several former clients who had used this technique -- and had been penalized for it. After I got them to get rid of the duplicates completely, their rankings were repaired.

Duplicate Domains

Why can't Google detect two exact duplicate Websites that only differ on domain names? Why would Google give these same sites first and second rank for the very same phrase? This happens all too frequently and is due to Google's preoccupation with linking between topically related sites.

Domain spam is usually the result of a corporation's attempt to have Web sites for each of its company departments or subsidiaries. Those with many subsidiaries get a big boost from these domains. Realizing this, spammers are increasingly encouraging clients to have sites hosted on different IP addresses and even in different geographical locations.

The link pattern detection used by Google has difficulty dealing with this practice, and is currently failing to cope with it. Google's new emphasis on authority sites actually makes this matter worse, as the authority can gain trust it really doesn't deserve.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Forums and Blogs Can Really Help SEO?

Forums and blogs have become a very important part of the Internet landscape. I personally have learned almost as much about Internet marketing by diligently reading as I have from actual hands-on experience. With every positive experience, however, I have seen people trying to abuse the system. Forum and blog spammers, as Barry pointed out a couple weeks ago, can make the whole community experience a little less satisfying.

A couple of threads recently started at Search Engine Watch Forums has the same member asking about "Using Forums for SEO" and "Can I use someone else's blog to link to my site? " A few weeks ago, another poster detailed what he seemed to think was a new idea, saying "I was wondering if forums spam is something illegal with regarding to SEs?" he went on to describe his plan, but was a little worried about the Search Engines.

In my opinion, what they should really worry about is their status/reputation within their industry. In order to effectively do such a task and hope to get any SEO value from the links, they would have to be spamming a forum or blog somewhat relevant to their own industry. Imagine being known as "the guy/gal that's a spammer." Trust me, as a moderator at SEW, I have seen the reputation of seemingly very nice people go down the drain because of obvious link drops.

Not to mention many links that are placed within forums signatures and blog comments are blocked from being spidered by the site owner, and there ends up being no return on the time invested in spamming. Please give your thoughts or share your spamming success stories at any of the threads linked-to above.

I also dug up an older thread at Cre8asite Forums that has some good thoughts on this subject. -chrisboggs

10 Worst AdWords Campaign Management Mistakes by Tyler Huston

On today's highly competitive Google AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) search engine, it is now more important than ever to ensure that your PPC campaigns are optimized to their utmost potential. You should be achieving maximum return on ínvestment (ROI) for the keywords or phrases that are most relevant to your business and are most likely to provide you with targeted traffïc to your website. With ever growing cost-per-click (CPC) prices throughout the various PPC search engines it is essential that you avoid certain mistakes that will undoubtedly result in poorly performing PPC campaigns.

The Mistakes to Avoid

Long list of less than targeted keywords
Not identifying unique aspects of your product or service
Lack of keywords in your ad text
Directing users solely to your home page
Creation of single Ad Groups
Utilizing single campaigns
Using broad match only
Failure to optimize Ad Serving for your ads
Not tracking results
Entering the content network without modifying bids

Long List of Less Than Targeted Keywords

When you first set out to create your AdWords campaign it is of utmost importance that you do not go "keyword crazy". What this means is that you must not create long lists of irrelevant and generic keywords. For example, if you were an automotive dealership then it would not be in your best interest to target the keyword "truck". The reason being is that the cost-per-click (CPC) for such a generic keyword would be incredibly high when compared to a more descriptive relevant keyword such as "T-Z783 Extended Cab". An example of an irrelevant keyword which would not produce conversions if you strictly conducted automotive salës would be "tail light covers". The phrase may bring visitors to your website but, if they do not find what they are looking for when they get there, they will be gone just as quickly as they arrived.

Not Identifying Unique Aspects of Your Product or Service

Before implementing your AdWords campaign you must first understand exactly what it is that makes you stand out from your competition. By identifying your unique products or services you will have a lot more clarity on how to rise above your competitors and zone in on the keywords or phrases that are unique to your business. I would recommend that you perform an analysis of your competition, have a look and see what they are doing and which phrases they are using. After conducting a competition analysis and after understanding what makes your products or services unique you will be able to come up with a strategy that will topple your competitors.

Lack of Keywords in Your Ad Text

When creating your descriptive ad copy it is imperative that you find a means to inject your keywords into your title and description while maintaining the delicate balance of clarity and relevance. Your ad copy should be tailored in such a way that when read by a visitor they know exactly what they are getting into when they clíck on your ad, which brings me to my next point.

Creation of Single Ad Groups

Categorizing ads that are targeting related keywords into a common ad-group will allow you to have a much higher level of control over your entire campaign. Let's say that you run a sporting goods store, start by grouping all ads targeted towards hockey skates into a single Ad Group. You would then create another ad-group which would be targeting hockey sticks and another containing hockey gloves and so on. Organizing your ad-group structure in this manner gives you the ability to create in-depth reports on the perförmance of each ad-group.

Utilizing Single Campaigns

Once you have your Ad Groups sorted out into easy to identify categories you may then move on to the next step of creating relevant campaigns. From the example above you have created Ad Groups containing separate products of hockey skates, sticks, gloves etc. Now it is time to create a container for all of the Ad Groups into one campaign entitled "hockey equipment". You would then repeat the process creating Ad Groups for tennis, one group for shoes, one for racquets etc. and then once again you drop them all into a single campaign entitled "tennis equipment". Having highly organized campaigns is the key to determining which ads are creating optimal conversions.

Failure To Optimize Ad Serving For Your Ads

When you take advantage of the AdWords Ad Serving service basically what you will be doing is showing your most popular ads more often. The AdWords platform will give weïght to ads with the highest click-through rates (CTRs) and display them more often then keywords with lower (CTRs) within the same ad-group.

Not Tracking Results

In order to have any idea on your AdWords campaign perförmance you must be able to see the keywords that work as well as those that do not. Google AdWords supplies a vast array of very useful tracking tools. Google has also built into the user interface Google Analytics which is a marvellous web analytics tool that provides you with in-depth reporting on all aspects of your campaign perförmance. I cannot stress enough the importance of creating goals for your AdWords campaign to measure your success by.

Entering The Content Network Without Modifying Bids

Within the AdWords platform you have recently been given the ability to set different bids for the content network compared to that of the search network. If you do not set different bids on the content network for certain keywords, you will be paying more per clíck than you should be. After lowering the prices on certain keywords you will notice that the amount of click-throughs that you will be attaining will remain the same as they were at the higher bid.

Failure To Optimize Ad Serving For Your Ads

When you take advantage of the AdWords Ad Serving service basically what you will be doing is showing your most popular ads more often. The AdWords platform will give weïght to ads with the highest click-through rates (CTRs) and display them more often then keywords with lower (CTRs) within the same ad-group.

Not Tracking Results

In order to have any idea on your AdWords campaign perförmance you must be able to see the keywords that work as well as those that do not. Google AdWords supplies a vast array of very useful tracking tools. Google has also built into the user interface Google Analytics which is a marvellous web analytics tool that provides you with in-depth reporting on all aspects of your campaign perförmance. I cannot stress enough the importance of creating goals for your AdWords campaign to measure your success by.

Entering The Content Network Without Modifying Bids

Within the AdWords platform you have recently been given the ability to set different bids for the content network compared to that of the search network. If you do not set different bids on the content network for certain keywords, you will be paying more per clíck than you should be. After lowering the prices on certain keywords you will notice that the amount of click-throughs that you will be attaining will remain the same as they were at the higher bid.


The purpose for this article was to create awareness for common mistakes and to eliminate frustrations that may emerge when managing Google AdWords campaigns. The points mentioned above are compiled from management mistakes that I have stumbled upon time and time again in hopes to assist you in creating a marketing campaign that will generate dramatic increases to the profïts of your business.