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General Search Engine Marketing Issues Forum

    
So you think you're an SEO expert?
Sometimes opionions and facts about SEO get messed up
5503landis




msg:4072702
 2:01 pm on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

My philosophy on SEO is that it is one-part art, one-part science. A strategy that works well for one client in one market, may not work well for a different client in a different market. For arguments sake, assume that both markets have an equal amount of competition.

What if I told you a website that continues to hold the #1 spot in Google for a couple of different search terms that represent a multi-billion dollar industry has done it through:

- a blog website with a total of twelve posts since 2006; none of the posts were compelling, they were simply self promoting
- the last blog entry was February, 2009
- there is very little meta information
- has approximately 100 backlinks from sites with a PR mix from 2-5
- of the 100 backlinks, every single one has the exact same anchor text; let me emphasize EXACT aka they are using one term and one term only with no variation. And remember, the anchor text they are using is a search term that is competitive - not something like "chickens who grow more than ten feet tall in a day."

I recently was hired to do competitive analysis for a company and after doing the research, the above is what I found. And it is not only the website in the #1 spot, six out of ten sites on page one of Google are all using the exact same strategy; this strategy is continued through for about 50% of the competition on pages 2 - 10.

So are you surprised at all by what I've uncovered? And if everyone at the top is utilizing the same strategy, which is to focus EXCLUSIVELY on quality backlinks, would you adopt the same strategy?

Thanks,
JZ

 

dertyfern




msg:4072705
 2:08 pm on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not surprised.

The PR of the backlinks is totally irrelevant. 10 links from high quality sites will work wonders--100 of the same type miracles.

Also, mentioning this site tops the serps for a multi-billion dollar industry sounds impressive, but if the term is their brandname, domain name, etc. then they have a significant leg up anyway.

I'm of the opinion that the very best quality copy and links work for just about any industry.

5503landis




msg:4072775
 3:41 pm on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

dertyfern - thanks for your input.

Three weeks ago I would have agreed (adamantly I might add) that copy and links is always a winning combination. But after seeing how content that is simple a place holder and great backlinks gave sites one up on their competition, it has me scratching my head.

And to your other point, the URL is very close to one of the search terms, but Google has been very generous in putting these sites at the top for like-kind phrases.

OMZen




msg:4072853
 5:12 pm on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

@landis - this is your chance to easily rule a lucrative segment of a billion dollar industry ;)

Personally, i have ceased to be shocked to see a manipulative domain rank at top. It's part & parcel of the battle for the top slot.

5503landis




msg:4073532
 2:58 pm on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

@OMZen - I wish. The only thing I discovered is that multi-million dollar SEO/marketing company has cornered the SEO market.

So in a nutshell, I've uncovered that someone else (a fairly large marketing company) is sitting on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

5503landis




msg:4073748
 7:41 pm on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Oops. Meant to say "...SEO/marketing company has cornered this lucrative market."

JPcinemamaster




msg:4081750
 1:35 am on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

that's pretty impressive.
I got a question, kind of relevant.
<snip> Web services are charge about $100 a month for a website to rank higher (SEO). How do these companies do it? white hat or black hat or both? Do they make a deal with Google? Do they optimize their client's site using traditional coding? And what happens when I stop paying $100 a month?

I'd love to know

[edited by: bill at 4:03 am (utc) on Feb 17, 2010]
[edit reason] removed company specifics [/edit]

leadegroot




msg:4082094
 12:32 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

@JPcinemamaster
How do these companies do it? white hat or black hat or both?

It depends on the supplier - different companies use different techniques

Do they make a deal with Google?

No.
Some of these snakeoil salesmen are only renting you an adwords account, whereby it is easy to get you to the top for a calculated amount.
Some of the will fob you off with stories ('but you're #1 for left handed bend wratchets!').
Some might actually be able to do it - but thee aren't many.

Do they optimize their client's site using traditional coding?

You mean markup? Again it depends on the company. Some of them will only do offsite work, and the benefit is only while you are with them, because they are pointing an army of their preexisting sites (or worse - their other clients...) at your site

And what happens when I stop paying $100 a month?

Ethical SEO will continue working, mostly. That other stuff.... well...

Wait - you're only paying $100 a month? You won't get much for that no matter what techniques they use. Wouldn't even get an hour of my time.

webboy1




msg:4082149
 1:33 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

@5503landis - This does sound impressive. There was another thread running the other day discussing why some sites seem to rank highly when they don't appear to practice the full range of traditional seo techniques. It was an interesting thread.

This sounds similar. One thing I would ask though is, rather than them ranking highly just because of links, is it possible that there is a "best of bad bunch" factor? You've mentioned 6 of the 10 sites on page 1 follow similar strategy. If nobody else is covering meta info, h-tags, good fresh content etc, then surely it can be ruled out as a competitive factor?

I guess what I'm getting at is, what would happen if one of the other 6 sites started practicing what could be refered to as traditional SEO techniques? Would they climb to number 1?

I should add that this really isn't meant to be negative at all, because I also see regular strange ranking similar to what you describe. Just adding my bit to the discussion.

JPcinemamaster




msg:4082655
 12:46 am on Feb 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes Leadgroot, I meant markup.
I really thought for a moment that this Intuit company or others were actually going to add me to the top of the list without adword. I can be naive sometimes. And you're right, I guess you don't get much for $100 a month

canadafred




msg:4084079
 11:47 pm on Feb 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Personally, I'd rather examine the situation myself to see if I reached the same conclusions. I find the scenario as described nearly impossible to believe.

5503landis




msg:4084187
 5:22 am on Feb 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

@webboy1 - you bring up some interesting points. I guess is some ways it is the "best of the worst" but with a twist.

There is a marketing company that specializes in a specific vertical market. The following is pure speculation on my part...Perhaps they were the first ones to go this route and gained inititial success. They could have then marketed themselves to other companies in this vertical market and said "let us design and optimize your website because your competition does and look at their success.

So then this has a snowball affect and the majority of sites figure this marketing company has the recipe for success. If they go a different route (use a different web design/marketing company), they feel like they are taking a bigger gamble.

There is one site that is actively using the good 'ol fashion SEO strategies you would expect and currently ranks #4 for a few key terms. It will be interesting to see if they are able to get to the top.

Mind you, my job is to get my client's site to the top, so I too will be intersted to see if those at the top are there because of a weird chain of events or because everything I thought I knew on "best practices" was not always the "best."

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