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"Unfortunately, I think that spam will always rear its ugly head."
This is definitely true, every time the search engines find a better way to stop spam, there is going to be a webmaster that finds an even better way to spam.
"And link popularity can be spammed. Easily spammed. I've yet to see the link popularity-based engines filter out the serious LP spam."
This is definitely what I consider the main problem with link popularity. But I do think the search engines have made some pretty big strides is this direction. I think with AV's use of themes, to compare and filter out non relevant sites (when determining link popularity) is a step in the right direction. It's easy to get a 1,000 sites to link to you, but is much more difficult to get a 1,000 quality sites about your topic to link to you.
Edited by: NFFC
Or start a links directory with a search tool and let people put that search tool on their similar topic pages.
I happen to run a banner exchange and some Webrings. I happen to run a popular directory with a remote search tool. I KNOW how to get people to link to me. Several thousand do that.
Okay, probably a couple thousand sites are simply linking to me because they like my content.
But a commercial Web site can use the same techniques I use to get people to link to me. What's funny is that the search engine rankings then become less important, as you eventually get more traffic from the inbound links.
Getting people to link to you, "quality" sites or not, is easy. Getting the search engine designers to understand how flawed the link popularity model is...that's the hard part.
>a commercial Web site can use the same techniques I use to get people to link to me.
Oh come on, they can use the same techniques, but that's about where it ends. You can write the world's best copy on 'toilets and lav faucets' and I'd still have serious doubts as to the number of incoming links it would generate.
>What's funny is that the search engine rankings then become less important, as you eventually get more traffic from the inbound links.
Naaah! SE's become less critical for your survival, but they shouldn't become less important --if you allow that to happen, you are turning away from one of the best, most cost-effective marketing ops available to today's business.
You'd be surprised. If you write funny articles, people WILL link to your Web site. But "toilets and lav faucets" shouldn't be as competitive as other fields.
Try going for "Pokemon". :)
>>What's funny is that the search engine rankings then
>>become less important, as you eventually get more traffic
>>from the inbound links.
>Naaah! SE's become less critical for your survival, but
>they shouldn't become less important --if you allow that
>to happen, you are turning away from one of the best, most
>cost-effective marketing ops available to today's
Right now my traffic from Alta Vista is negligible. However, as for search engine placement being cost effective, that depends on your perspective. Six months ago it was important to me to have high rankings. I wasn't getting the traffic I now get. The search engine placement was necessary. But now that more people know about me, and are linking to me, the search engine placement is no longer vital.
And if I had a million dollars to spend, I could generate tons of traffic (and inbound links) without worrying about search engine placement.
Of course, if I had a million dollars to spend, I'd think about investing it rather than spending it. :)
Try going for "travel" and/or "real estate" and making damn good money at it.
>that depends on your perspective.
My perspective is that of a small businessman (see profile). I used to spend tens of thousands of dollars annually on advertising that now has been 60% displaced by my web network in 4 years, give me 2 more and that will be 90%. Now, even my competitors begrudgingly pay me some fairly serious money to just be a 'logo-link' on my network. How much have I spent in direct advertising of this network by traditional methods? $426. Why do they -my competitors and other sponsors- come to me? When they go to the SE's, they can't get around me.
BTW, this network's link popularity sucks by comparison to its competitors. It's primary doorway domain (there are more than 30 active domains in the project) holds top 10, usually top 5, in just about any SE that's worth the keystrokes.
>But a commercial Web site can use the same techniques
If we are talking *relevant* links, trust me it's hard. The most relevant links will come from sites that are in competition with yours, no go. If we are talking FFA's etc that's easier, it just doesn't work.
>I wasn't getting the traffic I now get
Would that be because of your excellent rankings in the past, which bought those first time visitors to your site, who linked to you, told their friends etc.
>And if I had a million dollars to spend
It wouldn't buy you much, certainly not international recognition as a quality resource.
BTW how was Europe?
If someone wants to spam the Web and not get in trouble for it here are some of the currently tolerated methods. These are proven methods that bring in traffic.
And, btw, I'm one of those people who feels that online businesses which refuse to link to competitor sites are only hurting themselves. A good resource ALWAYS provides alternatives, and just as it's considered good business sense to tell customers where else they can look for hard-to-find merchandise and services when they walk into your store, so it's good to tell them where to look on the Web.
You'll get more sales from repeat customers than from one-time customers, right? Well, give them a reason to keep coming back to your Web site, and your chances of making sales increase.
Now, on to the list of acceptable link spamming.
1) Create a Webring. Don't JOIN a Webring, CREATE one. All the member sites will link back to YOUR site directly.
2) Create an award. Make it a serious, selective award, but one which is not hard to earn. Give it only to Web sites which concern your topic (and if you're a business webmaster, giving out awards will seem more credible than if you're just some fan site).
3) Create a banner exchange. You have to be able to host it on your domain, and you need to make sure people will include a text link back to your banner exchange Web site. It needs to be topical. Even a hardware store can create a banner exchange for do-it-yourself craftsmen and hobbyists.
4) Create an affiliate program. 95% of your affiliates will sell nothing. But they will ALL link to your Web site. How do you think Amazon.Com got to be so big and dominant?
5) Exchange links with people. I've heard all the excuses business Webmasters give for NOT linking to the competition, but it's a win-win scenario for both sites. You get free advertising, you increase your relevant inbound linkage, and you establish credibility with online customers who see that even your competition is willing to link to you (and it doesn't hurt that you are willing to give some credibility in return -- people LIKE Web sites that provide them with links to related Web sites).
6) Create a links directory. Why do you think so many people are starting up their own directories? Because the surfers want more links. The edge with a links directory, however, is that you want to let people search it from other Web sites. This increases your directory's visibility and brings in more submissions, and it increases inbound links. You don't have to limit particiation to just your topic. You'll get the quality links, but you'll also get a lot of other links, too.
7) Participate in online forums for your industry or hobby where you're allowed to include signatures and the messages are actual HTML files. These pages are still being indexed (and they can get high rankings). Don't spam the boards. Just talk about the topics and get your signature out there. People will follow the links from the boards and the engines will, too.
8) Post press releases on the free press release services (there are several, although most are hard to find).
9) Contribute articles to online magazines and news services. Make sure they give you links. Don't worry about whether they are going to pay you. If you're trying to make a living as a writer, you've got no time to run a business. :)
Notice I didn't say anything about getting listed with the right directories. All these methods ensure that you qualify the sites that link to you. Everything will be on topic. Relevance is a given.
Now, if you want some less than pristine suggestions, you can always create your own network of domains and sign them up for your affiliate program, run your banner network, join your webring, and promote your award program.
I would NOT give them identical or even near identical content. Nor would I give them the awards. I would have an "under consideration" graphic for the awards.
If you want to build up your link popularity in the search engines it's realy very easy to do. ANYONE can do it. You just have to stop telling yourselves you're the one exception. There are no exceptions to the rule, not as far as the typical small business or non-commercial Web sites go.
As with any marketing program, you'll get better results from a long-term approach than from an overnight approach, but if you wanted to you could boost your link popularity in about two weeks (it would take longer for the search engines to acknowledge that). You'd have to bust a gut doing so, and I don't think that's necessary.
But the bottom line is really this: once you have the link popularity, you don't need the search engines. Yes, they are still important, but if 3,000 Web sites are linking to you, people WILL find you. There is no way they won't.
And then you're going to learn that even being ranked in the top ten for your keywords on most search engines only achieves a certain plateau effect. You have to do other things to keep building your traffic.
The real benefit comes from the fact that every inbound link to your site is a free advertisement, and that people do eventually follow those links. And the more people who come to your site, the more people who will eventually link to it, especially if you do the things I suggest above. The search engines won't penalize you for creating these services and getting other sites to link to you. If nothing else, they'll recognize you as an "authority" in your field even though you may not know anything more than the next guy.
Like I said when I started this rant: the best marketers are getting the top-ranked positions in the link-popularity based search engines. It's all about marketing, and the top marketers don't say, "I can't do this" and "That won't work for me". They say, "How can I get other people to help promote me?" And then they go out and do it.
So the link popularity algorithms all fail. They are never going to beat the old tried and true methods of bringing in relevant results because link popularity is an easy thing to spam. You can be just as deceptive with link popularity as you can be with keywords. You just look more credible with link popularity.