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1. Find the time listed on the bottom right hand side of your monitor.
2. Place your mouse cursor over it and double click
3. Please change the year on your calendar from 2003 to 2006
Now you might actually get to focus on doing some productive marketing for your website. Notice I said marketing, and not link development. The bar has been raised. You can fight it or meet it – the choice is up to you. There is more sophistication in the algorithms of today, there is more sophistication in the level of competition and there is more sophistication from our sites expected by visitors.
Link development has morphed into traffic development people. Stop going after the exclusive 146th listing on the tenth page of an unrelated site’s reciprocal links section thinking you’re going to fool a good engine into thinking that means you’re worth something.
Stop aiming for the engines and aim for real, live human beings. Aim for obtaining traffic and not backlinks. Aim for obtaining attention and not pagerank. Stop aiming for the affections of a mathematical computation and aim for commendations from breathing individuals.
Out With the Old (Link Development), In With the New (Traffic Development)
Send out hundreds of reciprocal link emails each day you find with an automated program explaining to webmasters how SEO works and how linking to your brand new website can help *them* in the search engines to the three separate emails your program scraped from their site.
Find sites that are about your topic in general but are missing pertinent information that you provide on your site or that you can create an angle to merge with their topic and email the webmaster at one email address with a personal email that notes things about their site only a human visitor would and explain why you think linking to your content would benefit their readers.
If you own a site selling film, write an in depth article on getting the best low light results on your site and then contact photography clubs explaining that you have an article on your site that their members might find useful and you were hoping they would consider including it in their resources/favorite sites/information section. Get enough camera clubs linking to you and you’ll start to see a nice trickle of visitors as well.
Buy links on any site with pagerank hoping the engines will see the links and think wow, your site must be great to be linked from such a popular site. Even better if you can get a range of site in the bottom footer and get 5000 links for the price of one. Just find a big network with a stable of link sellers and buy from their handy dandy list.
Buy links to get the resulting traffic and having that link placed somewhere on the page where visitors will actually see it and pretending search engines don’t exist when debating a purchase. And if you’re going to buy a link, make private deals with site owners or use brokers who do the same with a very limited clientele of purchasers.
If you wouldn’t purchase a link if it had a link condom on, then you have no business purchasing the link without one. Buy traffic, not green pixels on the Google toolbar. You will need to sustain a link for a long period of time to get maximum effect and you can’t do that if you’re not getting any ROI from your purchase. Enough said.
Write 300 word articles of medium quality and submit them to 50 article directories. Wash, rinse and repeat 50 times for the same site to the same 50 directories using the same bio line in all of the submissions at the bottom of the article.
Write 800 word articles for sites that accept submissions that publish based on merit and not that you know how to fill out a form and giving them a custom article written only for their site. Link out generously to other sites in the article and be sure to include a link of your own (to something legitimately helpful to readers of the article) within the article if possible.
Own a site that caters to business owners? An article on a site like entrepreneur.com is going to be worth far more than submitting an article to 30 article directories in terms of traffic. Sure it takes more time, more effort and is less certain – but the rewards of success are also much greater. Be sure to ask about linking guidelines within the article. Most sites are ok with you linking from within an article provided it isn’t biased, repetitive and makes sense.
Find the top 50 keywords for your sector and write a drab article aimed at each one basically regurgitating the same information available on every other site. AKA – “How to find online deals on discount widgets.”
Find the top 50 keywords for your sector and write an interesting piece that relates to the topic in an unusual fashion that won’t bore people to death if they bother to read past the first paragraph.
If you have a content site focusing on widgets, contact the big companies who make them and ask what their media policies are for an interview about their newest product or their company in general. You get new, unique content no one else has (because you’ve created the questions – i.e. the area of the answers) and people are far more likely to link to a page showing an interview with ABC Widgets talking about their new widget development techniques than a page talking about how great (yawn) ABC Widgets are.
Submitting press releases for no reason aside from getting your site another inbound link from the press release distribution sites.
Waiting until you have a newsworthy topic (or creating one) and submitting a carefully crafted press release focused on getting media attention and making sure it is viewable in all the big news engines.
If you have a site selling 16 different brands of the same widget, create a comparison engine that allows users to select four widget brands and see a comparison between them. Then create a press release that mentions how your site developed this “propriety technology” to help consumers of widgets and how your site is the only site in the industry offering such a service. Cross your fingers and hope a reporter gets interested. At worst, you get a ton of traffic when people search your topic at a news engine for a week or more.
Submitting your site to 200 free directories and a handful of paid directories with decent pagerank and a low listing fee in an effort to increase your link count.
Not wasting your time unless the directory itself has a large following or pageview tallies (meaning it will send a lot of traffic).
Submit a test site (or simply take a look at the logs of a website following the tired tradition) and after six months, take a look at the total referrals from your logs. Anything that doesn’t produce a valued amount of traffic or sales (depending on your objective) should be cut from the list. You’d be better off during those 2 days of submitting to those directories to put that time to good use on another method that will actually bring you eyeballs.
Deciding on ten keyword phrases and developing links to fit within that mold (having all of your links using 1 of your top ten phrases). Contacting webmasters who don’t give you the desired anchor text and requesting changes.
Encouraging extreme variety in anchor text of your inbound links and letting people link to you using whatever anchors they feel necessary.
Stop sending out pre-written anchor text in requests for links. Let the site owner know about your site and if they choose to link to you, do so using whatever anchor text they feel necessary. There is no better way to accrue *natural* anchor text than by letting people label your anchor with whatever they deem fit. Site owners know how to speak to their readers and how to make them interested.
Making hit and go forum posts to get a handful of backlinks a piece from 50 different domains.
Finding one (or a few communities) and becoming a regular, valid and helpful contributing member.
By making yourself at home at a limited number of places, you give yourself time to really contribute and be a visible and helpful member. Rather than grabbing a few links on various identifiable forum domains, you build up a reputation (aka trust) which gets you a good amount of traffic through your profile or signature (targeted traffic too, since you will be posting to people on a forum relating to what you do or sell) and can also get you off forum mentions as well (for example, someone may go post on their blog that your name did a great post on widget making – linking your name to your site and widget making to the appropriate forum thread).
Button pushing to get thousands and tens of thousands of automated links on blogs, guestbooks and forums.
People pushing via hiring people to help out with traffic development efforts and ideas.
Blind mass links are going the way of the dodo (though mass, mass quantities still work – at times – for now). Spend the efforts of your programmers on developing useful tools for consumers/site visitors and employ people to write great, quality content rather than buying cheap links from reciprocal link farms – excuse me, I mean firms. You can get a lot more *long term* bang for your buck and it will get you visitors who appreciate your content – not angry victims of comment spam looking for ways to dig your heart out with a spoon.
Creating a blog on a free subdomain to put up nothing more than posts about how great your products are and linking to yourself freely in each one.
Creating a blog that has real value and traffic attraction on your own domain (or a separate domain if branding is an issue) which leads readers into the commercial area of your site during opportunities within posts or the blog design where it makes sense.
If you sell widgets, make an accompanying blog that acts as a review center for *all* widgets. Be fair and include all products whether or not you sell them. Do a write up of each product that acts as a general “spec” overview and allow users to leave reviews in the comments section (I recommend you set them at moderated to check for quality, spelling, language, etc if that matters to you.) and link in to the products you *do* sell where appropriate.
Well, I’m going to stop there as I like my farm. ;-)
The best part is that all of these ways of developing traffic have the side benefit of doing exactly what you wanted to do with traditional link development. By aiming for traffic, you end up acquiring (purposely anyway, scrapers will continue to exist) a dream team of inbound links for SE purposes.
Does this mean there are no sites ranking on the old methods?
Sure there are. But, I’d have to venture to say the age of those links acquired from the old methods may have something to do with it. In addition to the fact that being at the top of the engines several years ago probably got them a handful of traffic as a result from good sites. I don’t think people trying the 2003 approach to link development would find the same success in a smart search engine in a half way competitive industry on a site they launched tomorrow. Traffic development, in my honest opinion, is the road to long term success.
Hopefully this gets a few people thinking about ways they can apply traffic building to their own sites and gets some others moving towards to realization the standard, tired methods of link development that used to work are no longer the best way to assure new site or long term success in the engines.
Anyone else with thoughts or suggestions on traffic development are encouraged to add to the list. ;-)
I'm playing devil's advocate here but what if you have a website that has decent content, with 1,000 links from authoritative sources, but has never received a single visitor in its history. Unless Google takes into account traffic to a site (which I don't think it does or should, and don't know how it could accurately assess traffic data for all websites anyway), this website with 0 all-time visitors/hits will most probably rank very well. Also "good" is a very subjective word in reference to websites and traffic.
"Good content is what gets you the good links which is what gets you the good ranks."
I agree with this approach, however there are a ton of sites that are not designed to be content-sites, that have mediocre content (if any) at best), which have links and rank very well... and I'm not referring to scrapers but just e-commerce oriented sites.
"A smart search engine is not ranking *new* sites on crap exchanges and directory listings for competitive terms."
This I agree on as well, because they're looking for trust-based links before trusting most new sites to rank high for anything.
"As someone else here previously mentioned in another thread - thinking in the little metal box of SEO=same old tired links=ranks is not the wave of *today*."
I don't like to exclude any methods of SEO, so I'm only looking for the methods that are working and will work in the future. More often than not, building great content so that other sites link to yours is not practical for many types of online websites/business. And even if you build the good content, what happens if you have 20 competing sites also with pretty good content on the same subject, with roughly the same amount of backlinks, and you need to beat them to the top of the SERPS. That is where I see the SEO pro must earn his bread and "optimize" to see results.
That would never happen. A site getting thousands of inbound "authority" links is going to have visitors just like you will wake up tomorrow morning and the sun will be in the sky. That's the whole point. Good sites earning good links get traffic.
>>>that are not designed to be content-sites, that have mediocre content (if any) at best)
Content is what most people here have to differentiate themselves. But, at times, a cute video, a software program or a product offering have enough uniqueness or value to people on their own, without content, to garner quality links. In the age where affiliate marketing and content sites with contextual advertising is a very, very large market - content is how you can set yourself apart in a lot of cases. There is always exceptions to a rule. I can't sit and detail every case for every type of site - my attempt was to give a general guideline to people with time and/or resources to devote to a site and those new to Internet marketing looking for the best way to promote a site that will hopefully last for years and years to come.
>>>That is where I see the SEO pro must earn his bread and "optimize" to see results.
That is where I see the need for a marketing pro to come up with a way to differentiate said site and then go out and make sure the world knows about it.
You're right - not every site is built on the foundation of content - so make your content better, product better, offering better, services better.
The point of the post was to serve as a guideline for a most common type of site - affiliate and content and lead people with other needs to think of ways to adapt the ideas to themselves and their offerings.
I'm not arguing that optimization is involved - but optimization *also* involves marketing now. SEM.
But, as I said, to each his own.
Most of the time this is the problem. As search engines get smarter those ahead of you using cutthroat methods may be cutting their own throats in the long term. By following these cutthroats you may be cutting your own throat.
Search engines will always go after manipulators. They want natural quality. Build a strong website on a foundation of high quality content creating a web of high quality followers, links, and whatever will help secure a long term existence. This existence means being included in serps as well as being able to exist without search engines.
So as you play cutthroat with compeditors ahead of you...someone else behind you is playing the quality game. When they out quality you while your head is turned, you may get a rude awakening when they pop up ahead of you with a stronger postion that cutthroating just can't touch.
SEO is Search Engine Optimization, which is aimed towards increasing targeted traffic for certain keyterms from the Search Engines themselves.
I agree that there are many great ways to get traffic. And I agree that getting actual targeted traffic is a great way to boost rankings in the search engines. It's long-term machinations that you espouse, along the lines of the Filthy Linking Rich or The Rich Get Richer story. It's certainly not the bootstrap-your-website-to-the-top type of ideas that will make anyone filthy rich without quitting your day job type post. For an established site that is interested in differentiating itself and is making money and wants to entrench itself more into the cyber-psyche, then your post rules. Hands down.
For me, SEO is still very much a factor of doing an "allinanchor:keyterm" and moving my target site to number one for that anchor, in which case it should rank #1 for that keyterm in a common search. If it doesn't, tweak the title and content of the page until it does. SEO is really that simple.
I'm not saying content isn't king, Jill's been saying that since before she knew what SEO meant, and she was right, it's what drives a successful site. You have to distinguish yourself to truly domainate any particular industry. You have to provide a significant benefit to your visitors that they can't find anywhere else.
I can see airpal's site with thousands of incoming links with little to no search engine traffic, such as some paleoanthropological site about some rare grub worm, wonderfully structured and documented and cited by lots of relevant sites with very little to no traffic. Such a site with great consent, if you are the extremely rare person who needs that kind of content, and which is linked to as an authority site, but with little real traffic because people just don't have a real interest in grubs, even if they have played a large part in the play of human evolution, such a site would rank great for their keyterms, absolutely. (And such a site would be a great site to get a link from.)
Telling us all to come up with new ideas is great, but I can give you a dozen web industries, top industries, where the "allinanchor:keyterm" search rules. A site can be run-down and un-updated for 3 years and still be top of the SERPs as long is it is first in allinanchor.
On top of that, I've seen a site rank for his keyterms, all of them, way above his competitors, even though most of the links are to his jokes page. He's just a guy that trades jokes with people, and publishes the best ones about his industry on his website, and people link to his jokes. But his jokes aren't his business, they are his pastime. Yet still, the fruit of his pastime is that he ranks #1 for all his keyterms, simply because he has so many links to his jokes page. Go figure.
Also, there's no need to rip into link exchanges in general. Most of us know that there are link exchange methodologies that will not help a website, and that getting links from sites that exercise discretion in who they link to is what link exchange is all about, and that kind of linking will always be underlayment upon which the web is built.
Three years ago we were here telling people they needed to get links from related sites, and today, that lament is widespread. I was one of the first on that boat, and I in part regret it because thinking of getting links from related sites restrained me from getting all the links I could. And I'll repeat. The Allinanchor still rules.
There are a lot of filters in place to prevent link spam, that play havoc with sites that compete upon the allinanchor rule, and the solution is all that you post. That sites need to seek variation in their links. Link spam doesn't work like it used to.
One sad fact that you surface without pontificating upon is that most companies are going to need to put a lot of resources into following these routes. You are asking quite simply for a lot of brain power to be applied. While this might work for one website, or stretched across a couple, it's not going to work for those that have a dozen or more different websites in the same industry. I know, having dozens of websites in the same industry is nuts, but still, there are a lot of such industries that are dominated by such consortiums.
What I do like most about your post is that you recommend linking out without thought of recourse, and to link out thoughtfully and generously. Press releases are great places to link out from, because so many will link back to such, and to you.
In a way, I'd nominate this to be appended to Brett's famous [webmasterworld.com...] Successful Site in 12 Months with Google Alone post, as the next generation, looking forward.
Another thing you don't mention, but really should be mentioned in such a comprehensive SEM plan as yours, is that the search engines have explicitly expressed that commercial sites should pay for their traffic, and that such paid for traffic should not be counted by the ranking algorithm. The major implementation of this is adsense, in which the posted commercial links do not effect the listing of any of the engines.
While google has yet to perfectly apply this to bought advertising traffic generating links, it's stated intention is to do so.
What I think is that your post is dead on; well thought and delivered, but it should be better delivered to the advanced class, it's post-grad ideas that should serve the newb well for the coming years to come.
Heres what I also notice.
Many people talk about 'unique content', 'unique selling propositions' in a high competition market.
However there are some things that are being overlooked here:
People don't always want unique ideas, and I can tell you this first hand. If they did, why would Mcburgersandfries remain number one? It's not exactly like they have revolutionarized the fast food industry. They stay on top via marketing and sheer numbers, very similar to the allinanchor.
Many people on the net are searching for the same information, the same products. This is part of the human condition - simplicity - what works. I know this by being in the music industry as well. If unique ideas ruled then Popular music, in it's entirety, would cease to exist in it's current form.
Why would someone buy a new twist on a product if the old product worked fine?
Some people were talking about outsourcing. Talk to your local colleges and see if you can connect with a student in their creative wirting or english major classes who wants to write. You can guide them towards writing for the web and give them a few assignments as a trial. Some tweaking from you on the first few will give you and idea if they will work out. Do not buy articles from articlenbanks or "content providers". It is only when everybody takes a more professional approach and stops encouraging these tactics by not buying them that our industry will become more stable.
The problem still with all this is that clients do not want to pay for good quality marketing like Sugarrea describes. It does not bode well for the new Moms and Pops though I think the days of those sites doing well are well and truly over.
none of these concepts are new. its funny to see people read over this and think that an evolution has just occured.is300, For someone who seems to know alot, or at least feels as though they know enough to put someone elses post down, you sure do ask alot of questions in your posts.
none of these concepts are new. its funny to see people read over this and think that an evolution has just occured.... now that I think about it, this post was just a combination of 100+ other post that have been left on WebmasterWorld over the last five (5) years.
Ain't is so? Don't you just love it when someone comes along who has read all those posts over the past 5 years here at WebmasterWorld and so succiently and informatively just wraps it all up in a handbasket so that we don't have to weed through those hundreds of posts to get to the wisdom?
Our every understanding is significant. Our every mis-understanding is significant. Most often new ideas are the mutation of an idea previously held. Novel ideas do not come out of the mist of obscurity, but out of the mass of knowledge we already have before us.
Those 5 years of posts you are talking about are a mishmash of insights. This post by sugarrae is an amalgamation of the wisdom disparately accumulated here over the years, a cohesive epiphany, much to be lauded, and for none to be deplored.
He's done a nice job distinguishing between concepts he thinks aren't as effective, or are fast becoming outdated, and concepts he thinks are more effective, or are "the next big thing" -- and provided his insights in a humorous manner, which was fun to read.
Buy trustrank, not pagerank :-)
Write articles on how to choose a reputable pharmacy or about legislation relating to online pharmacies, the huge price differences between pharmacies and the fact that the drugs are the same, Put up polls on your pharmacy site to see what visitors safety concerns are or what types of questions they have and write articles that address those concerns in general (not just relating to your site), articles about how to research side effects of popular medications, etc.
As long as the content of the articles is legit and not BS it should work.
An off the top of my head sampling of things to write content that people will find and many probably would link to.
I think that answers the question to some degree but maybe I'm missing the point of the question.
The discussion is now revived for 2008. Add your thoughts:
[edited by: tedster at 1:19 am (utc) on Dec. 8, 2008]