Attention to Those Looking to Outsource Link Building

I just found a link building service that provides link building for only $100/mo. For that you get the following:

  • To target 1 keyword/month
  • 250 directory submissions
  • 100 social bookmarks
  • 50 article marketing (articles)
  • A 5-link wheel
  • 5 blog comments
  • 2 blog posts.

~~~~~ Deep breath ~~~~~~

I’m sorry, does this sound too good to be true to anyone else? Even if you just take the 50 article marketing articles, wouldn’t you suspect that this one article is probably being duplicated 50 times? (duplicate content = bad) Who could possibly write 50 unique articles for $100? That’s $2/article. How about a 5-link wheel for $100? Are you telling me you’re creating 5 quality web 2.0 sites for only $20 each? That could be possible, I suppose. Still, unique content on each link? Probably not. Plus you get 5 blog comments and 2 blog posts on top of all that – not to mention 250 directory submissions (Which directories? Is this 100% automated?) Seriously, this is crazy cheap stuff!

So clearly I have a problem with this model. Obviously, I don’t believe you’re getting quality for your $100. But that’s not even my biggest problem with it. Here’s what I want to know. “What will happen to my keyword if I buy this $100/mo campaign? Will it move to page one?” Isn’t that the goal of SEO? No one buys SEO to move from page 10 to page 8, do they? “So then will $100/mo get my one keyword/month to page one? How many months will it take?  Five? Twenty?”

There’s no answer to this question on the website . . . because there probably isn’t a good answer. If you’re trying to rank for “personal injury attorney” or even “personal injury attorney kansas city”, you’re not going to have a chance at getting to page one for $100/mo. Maybe… maybe if you’re trying to rank for something like “mural paintings for children’s bedrooms overland park ks”, you might have a shot. There’s probably no competition for that keyword. But for a keyword that’s even slightly competitive, I’ve never heard a $100/mo success story. Never.

That’s why I don’t believe in cookie cutter SEO. When you talk to an SEO professional and you ask “How much?” the first thing out of their mouth back to you had better not be a dollar amount. It SHOULD BE A QUESTION! “What keyword do you want to rank for and where are you ranking now? What other SEO are you doing? Have you completed your onsite SEO? Are you doing any other link building?” You get the idea. Every SEO job is unique. The nature of the keyword, the competition, the current state of SEO, all of these things need to be taken into account before you can even consider buying SEO of any kind.

In fairness, this product/service is probably directed at SEO professionals and SEO companies looking to outsource link building. They should have a grip on their clients’ SEO needs and be able to make a judgment about what to expect from this deal. If this is you, then my only recommendation is to proceed with caution. Best guess is that there’s a ton of automation and duplicate content going on here – neither of which are good for your clients’ SEO needs. But feel free to try it out. Then come back and let me know what you find out. I’d love to know if something like this could be effective, but I’m not chancing it on any of my clients – even if it is a small financial risk, it could be a huge SEO risk.

If you’re looking for help with SEO or link building, I’d recommend talking with an industry expert or consultant before considering something like one of these cookie cutter SEO packages.

End of rant.

-David

Google’s Freshness Update – PROOF (Kansas City Search Engine Marketing)

I rank well for the keyword: David McBee. I have ever since learning about SEO and making an effort to make sure my website always shows up whenever anyone looks for me specifically. But what about other keywords? Truth is, I never tried that hard. Ranking nationally for keywords like: search engine marketing, SEO, even link building (which I write a lot about) is a pretty tall order. I’m up against hundreds of other SEO professionals and SEO companies who are experts at . . . yep: SEO.

So the next logical thing to try and do would be to try ranking locally. I live in Kansas City, but I work with companies all over the planet. Seriously, some mornings at 6am, I Skype with a client from Australia. He can only chat very early in the morning or very late at night.

But I digress. The point is, because I work with clients anywhere, I’ve never tried very hard to rank for keywords like: SEO Kansas City, PPC Kansas City or even Link Building Kansas City. That was, until last week when I wrote a brief post about the Kansas City Search Engine Marketing Association and their monthly meetup. Really, I was just trying to encourage local business owners and SEO professionals to attend the meeting. I love meeting others in the industry and I’m excited by the synergy that I almost always find with others who work in SEO and SEM.

Then this happened:

The day after I wrote that post, I started showing up in position three for “search engine marketing kansas city“. And while it may seem a little self-indulgent and big headed to share this screen shot with you, it illustrates a pretty powerful point – GOOGLE IS LOVING FRESH CONTENT!

Now I don’t know how long I’ll rank for that keyword. Hopefully a little longer since I pretty much stuffed keywords specific to Kansas City into THIS blog post too. (David, you’re so clever!) But for a little while at least, it’s a great keyword to rank for. And I’ve shown you exactly how I did it!

If you’re a do-it-yourself-SEO-er, take heed. Blog, baby, blog. Google is loving fresh content right now and if you’re smart, you’ll blog as much as you can about the stuff you want to rank for.

And even though I work with clients all over the place, don’t be surprised to see me throw the keyword Kansas City into future blog posts. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

Have a great day! -David

 

 

Kansas City Search Engine Marketing

Do you have any idea how much free information is available to people looking to improve their Search Engine Marketing campaigns? The fact that you read this blog says something about the fact that you do. You understand that blogs are a valuable resource for learning strategic do-it-yourself internet marketing. And in fact, I hope you’ve picked up a few tips from me here on my blog.

But did you also know that there are groups of people in SEM that like to get together in person?! Yes, it’s true. We internet junkies do actually unplug once in awhile for good conversation and the exchange of ideas. (Although some of us tend to speak in 140 character statements. LOL)

There are Search Engine Marketing Meetup Groups all over the world. I highly suggest you CLICK HERE to find one near you. I think you’ll find that, despite the competitive nature of our business, there are experts who are more than willing to share their insight for the price of a draft beer.

Personally, I don’t mind giving away lots of free advice. There’s not much that a search professional can do for you that you can’t do for yourself if you’re so inclined to learn how. That’s not to say that it’s easy. What SEO, SEM and even Social Media professionals do for a living is always changing and requires a great deal of knowledge to execute properly. Not to mention the time involved in any internet marketing campaign.

Anyway, here in Kansas City, we have a great group that meets on the last Tuesday of each month. KCSEM: The Kansas City Search Engine Marketing Association. Most of the time, they host a guest speaker who is happy to provide great insight into his or her personal marketing expertise, be it SEO, PPC, Google+ or whatever. Next week, however, KCSEM is offering a site clinic.  In their own words, “reviewing websites in quick collaborative sessions to provide insight on what you might want to consider as next steps in getting your site a presence for desired terms.”

In my personal opinion, listening to a room full of search engine marketing professionals dissect a website has a lot of potential as a teaching tool. I’m very much looking forward to it.  I hope to see you there. (Grab me and say hello if you come!)

Click here to learn more about the November KCSEM event

 

Seeding Your Infographic for the Most Views and Backlinks

You have an infographic. It’s cool. It’s colorful. It’s informative. Now what? It’s not going to do you any good just sitting there on your website.

The obvious first step is to post it to your facebook wall, put it on Google+ and tweet it like crazy, right? But that’s still only going to have limited reach. Even if it gets retweeted 1000 times, that may not create the backlinks you’re hoping for – and we all know that backlinks are one of the main reasons to create an infographic in the first place.

So if you want to “seed” your infographic in the hopes that it gets picked up by bloggers and other website publishers, you’ve got to get it out there on great sites, with lots of their own traffic. Ideally, you want your infographic on sites that are relevant to your subject matter. And the best way to do that is with webmaster outreach, plain and simple.

  • Webmaster outreach = Personally contacting website publishers to ask them to post a link to your site (or in this case, your infographic.)

If your infographic is colorful, fun, informative or special, webmasters will be eager to post it on their websites (with a backlink). It’s much easier to get them to post the infographic than just a link to your site.

Also, there are companies that offer infographic distribution. If they have a good network of publishers with sites relevant to your content, this can be an awesome shortcut for getting your infographic to go viral. Think of these companies like Miracle Grow for Infographics.

Need an infographic? Check out Dribbble.

Here are a few of my favorite infographics. I hope you like some of them enough to tweet my article or give me a backlink.  🙂

Infographics as Link Bait

Before this post will make sense, it’s important to understand how backlinks impact SEO.

Once you get how important links are to your site’s SEO strategy, using infographics as link bait can be very powerful, and I’m going to SHOW you a great example.

WordStream is a company that sells Internet Marketing Software, specifically software to help with PPC campaigns. I don’t know them or endorse their product, but I’m impressed with their linkbait skills, so we’re gonna talk about ‘em.

Take a peek at this infographic they posted on their blog. (I’ll link to the complete page at the end of this article.)


Now anyone could write a blog post about the top 20 most expensive keywords in Google AdWords advertising, but they “prettied it up” and made it interesting. Because of that, people liked and wanted to share the infographic. Check out all the social media love they had at the time of this posting:


Plus, they make it really easy to share the infographic on other people’s sites by including the HTML code, along with a PDF version and a links to the full story. They even sneak in a pitch to their follow up story and their AdWords Grader. Very clever.


Looking at the tweets alone, it’s clear that this infographic got a lot of eyeballs, and by association, so did WordStream.

But what about links? Aren’t I supposed to be talking about links? Okay, check out what Yahoo! Site Explorer has to say about the links – and note, I’m not measuring the backlinks to their whole site – just the infographic page.


So by taking a simple list of 20 keywords, a list anyone could have written up in a blog post in less than a minute, and making it colorful and visually interesting, Wordstream got a ton of tweets, a bunch of likes, a handful of +1s and a few Diggs and reddits. And best of all that, they got nearly 500 backlinks.

What a simple and cool way to get backlinks. Here’s the link to the complete infographic.

Need an infographic for your website? Check out Dribbble. Already have an infographic? I can help give it a head start by getting it posted on high quality, related sites.

Read my follow up: Seeding Your Infographic for the Most Views and Backlinks

Google Adwords Explained via Infographic

Infographic courtesy of WordStream. Click to enlarge.

How to Post Links in Forums Without Creating Spam

When I first started working with Forum Links, I did some research and found that it was hard to learn much about them. Wikipedia doesn’t even have a page for Forum Links. All they have is a page about Forum spam. That made me wonder if links posted in forums were even any good. If other SEOs are talking about forum links, it’s hard to find their stuff because there are so many sites selling garbage forum links.

Well, I’ve come to find out that, when done properly, a forum link can be a really great addition to a backlink portfolio.

Let’s start by using an analogy to help describe what I’m talking about.

Every college has that campus notice board that keeps students informed about the latest college happenings. It’s a place where activities are posted and students can stay current on news and events that are taking place. Anyone is free to post messages and announcements. Sometimes, these posts add value to the board (i.e. changes to class schedules or school policy changes). Sometimes they are spam (i.e. “1995 DELL PC For Sale” or “Electric Guitar lessons”).

The value of the notice board is often determined by the one who cleans it up once a week. We’ll call this person the moderator. He or she decides what notices add value for the students who read the board and what doesn’t. He or she has the power to eliminate some of the notes, while allowing others to stay. If this person is taking the task seriously, the notice board will be a good addition to the campus, providing quality information for those who stop and read it. If they are allowing anything on the board, or they ignore the board for weeks at a time, the value of the board degrades.

Let’s Translate.

There are a million forums online. Forums are simply places where people who have similar interests can communicate with each other. They are great for getting questions answered and for sharing content on related interests.

Personally, I’ve spent some time on Apple’s forums. When I switched to Mac a few years back, it was a little weird getting used to the ways in which it was different from a PC. The Apple forum was a valuable resource as I taught myself the new operating system. Other Mac users were happy to assist, providing insight into simple things like keyboard shortcuts or tips and tricks (I love SPACES on the Mac!) that aren’t available on PCs.

Search engines like forums too.

  • They are filled with valuable content. Google: “How do I use spaces on a mac?” and Apple’s support forum is the #1 result. That alone is very telling.
  • They often have PageRank and Domain Authority.
  • Forums get new content on a regular basis as users post questions, comments and answers. Google’s Freshness Update has got to love that.

So when you’re looking for a backlink to point to your site (to improve SEO and maybe even get some traffic), you should look for the same things that Google likes. That means that a forum is a great place for a link.

Whoa! Wait! That is way too blanket of a statement. Consider most campus notice boards. Would they be a good place to post your valuable content? Probably not. It isn’t going to get read, and it isn’t going to impress those finicky Google bots either.

So while I feel comfortable saying that forum links are good, I’d like to qualify that by saying that “Links on good forums are good.”

My next qualifying statement is this: “Good links on good forums are good.”

So before you go joining a bunch of forums and posting your links, let me give you a little more advice. Don’t create the spam that forum moderators hate. If you’re going to take the time to join a forum, you’ve got to participate in a way that adds value to the forum, so that the moderator doesn’t trash your comment (including your link).

Here are a few strategies to make your link look as natural as possible (to the moderator and the Google bots):

  • Only post on forums that are related to your site. (Don’t place a link to your landscaping site on a forum about skin care. Duh.)
  • Don’t use your keywords as your anchor text. (Instead, link to a random word in your comment.)
  • Don’t use your URL as your anchor text.
  • Don’t point the link to your home page. (Use an interior page – hopefully one that is super-relevant to the forum.)
  • Add value to the forum. Provide an answer to another reader’s question or provide interesting content. Don’t write something totally random that makes no sense on the forum.

Just use common sense. After writing your comment, ask yourself: if you were the moderator, would you leave the comment (and the backlink with it)? If your answer is no, then just take it down and start over, because that’s what the moderator is going to do anyway.

David McBee

Please comment or share this post with your network. Thanks!

Where Should You Post Your Status? Infographic

Just for fun… struggling to keep up with all the choices in Social Media? This Infographic by BREAKINGCOPY should help point you in the right direction.

 

 

How to Get Your Facebook Posts to Populate in the News Feed More Often

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece called The Do’s and Don’ts of Business Facebook Pages for thinkingBIGGER Business Media Inc. The title speaks for itself and like a lot of what I write, it was pretty high level stuff. Most of it was pretty common sense.

But since writing that piece, I’ve attended BOLO 2011, a great digital media conference with a huge focus on Social Media. That conference, combined with a great article from TechCrunch, and I’ve learned a thing or two that I‘m not sure the average facebook user is aware of – good stuff – the kind of stuff you want to know if you’re running your business’s facebook page.

In keeping with my “introduction to internet marketing” style of teaching, I’m here to do my best job of explaining EDGERANK in a way that anyone can understand.

EdgeRank is the formula that Facebook uses to decide who’s posts show up in the news feeds and how often. Wait. You thought all your facebook fans could see all your posts? Most of them, at least? Truth is, that depending on how many fans you have, as little as 10%-25%* of them could even be seeing your updates. That’s because, unlike twitter, facebook tries to show the most popular, most relevant, bestest stuff in the news feed.  And that’s what EdgeRank is all about.

First of all, when you post a comment, a pic, or whatever on facebook, it’s called an Object. When users interact with that Object (comment, share, like…) it’s called an Edge.

Next, there are three basic elements in the EdgeRank recipe.

Affinity Score measures relationships based on interaction. You’ll have a higher affinity score with a close friend whom you interact with on facebook more than you will with that old high school friend you friended but barely remember. If you’re commenting on a lot of Starbuck’s posts, for example, you may have a higher affinity score than another fan who never interacts with Starbuck. This might mean that you see their posts more often than others.

After Affinity Score, facebook measures the Weight of an Edge. It’s likely that a comment or share carries more weight than a like.

Then there’s Time. As the edge gets older, it becomes less relevant and loses a little of its EdgeRank.

source: livestream

From TechCrunch:

Multiply these factors for each Edge then add the Edge scores up and you have an Object’s EdgeRank. And the higher that is, the more likely your Object is to appear in the user’s feed. It’s worth pointing out that the act of creating an Object is also considered an Edge, which is what allows Objects to show up in your friends’ feeds before anyone has interacted with them.

In other, hopefully less confusing words, an Object is more likely to show up in your News Feed if people you know have been interacting with it recently. That really isn’t particularly surprising. Neither is the resulting message to developers: if you want your posts to show up in News Feed, make sure people will actually want to interact with them

So… here are some tips for getting more Edge:

  • Write short questions (less than 60 characters).
  • Use “Fill in the blanks”.

  • Provide value like coupons. (But don’t overdo special offers!)

  • Photos and videos generally outperform links.
  • When posting pictures, post three or more at a time.

  • Post when you see action on your last post start to drop off. That’s usually a good indication that it’s fallen out of most of your fans’ news feeds.

Here’s something else to consider. Let me ask you two questions.  One – how many pages are you a fan of? The average answer is probably somewhere between five and twenty. Two – in the past six months, how many of those pages have you visited? One, two, zero? The truth is that most fans don’t ever go back to a facebook page once they’ve liked it. So don’t spend a lot of time fancying up your facebook page or creating special tabs. Spend your time adding fantastic content that your fans will want to interact with so that you can get your brand into the news feed as often as possible.

* The statement: “as little as 10%-25% of [your fans] could even be seeing your updates” comes from statistics provided by PageLever.

 

  • NFO: News Feed Optimization
  • SMO: Social Media Optimization
  • FBO: Facebook Optimization