When you are a default category leader you no longer compete against others in your category. They could have offered awards for collector of the month, seller of the month, buyer of the month, and done interviews with the winners. They could have a section called deal hunting where they offer tips on how to find the best deals. They could have a section called "good as new" where people talk where people talk about old items that are a bargain, and in some cases even better than new. They could have allowed sellers and buyers to build editorial communities and collections on the eBay site. What if eBay could have got you to tag just about everything you owned, and then told you roughly what it was worth (based on recent transaction data) and had you put a buy it now price on it? Rather than improving their network feedback mechanism and making a deeper network, the new eBay strategy is to try to be more like Amazon, but that won't work. A business model that contains subtle white lies that are familiar and easy to like is often far more profitable than a business model built around attempting to change people's identities. As an entrepreneur it is worth considering the above quote when thinking about new business models, new platforms, new formats, and new algorithms. Start with a socially active core that identifies with what you have to offer and give them the tools to help spread your message.
For any keyword, the Google Search-based Keyword Tool will show up to 800 related keywords with cost and search volume estimates.
If you are a paying subscriber, this thread has a few more tips for how to get the most out of this tool. At WembasterWorld Pubcon Brent D Payne mentioned that if you were covered in the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, or any Tribune Interactive publication, but were not linked to, then you can send him a tweet on Twitter and he will try to get your link added. I wrote a guest column for Search Engine Land about how using a consistent site structure helps build your SEO momentum.
There is a big difference between working on your own sites, and working on sites that belong to others.
When you work on your own sites, you can execute changes quickly, and you don't need to convince anyone else of the merits of your actions.
In this article, we'll take a look at the problems the SEO who is either in-house, or working on a clients site, faces, and a few ideas on how to deal with them.
The first step to achieving good SEO outcomes within an organizational structure is to get management buy-in. Given that management have probably already hired you, this should be a relatively straightforward step. Once these factors are agreed to, you'll have the backup you'll need to undertake the hard part. Look to establish rapport with, and train, the various people who occupy these important roles. You must have buy-in from the person with the most control over the business unit responsible for web strategy. This is why it is important to frame SEO in business terms, as opposed to just a technical process. Writers, especially if they have been writing professionally for a long time, can often be very set in their ways.
Once you've got people onside, you need to start building procedures into the work-flow itself. For example, when writing articles, writers should search for existing published articles, and include them in a related articles section. Even when you have a market leading position, keep investing heavily in complimentary markets to reinforce your position as the default. When you tap out the potential of your product or service look for ways to make it deeper is select high value verticals. When you have enough leverage and a large enough lead, change the market to put yourself at the center of it. So, the best thing for my company to do, if we want to stay out of the fire, is to make sure that We Build Pages adheres to the Google Guidelines, and that means we won’t be getting any more paid links for manipulating search engines.
When I first got on the SEO scene and quickly started buying links, one of the sites I kept running into was WeBuildPages. When search click distributions may end up similar to the below graph how can one not want to push the limits?
For some keywords (and some entire business models) one or two rankings difference can be the difference between a profitable business model and a money loser.
Most business models are arbitrage, and Google wants to claw away as much of the easy value as they can, forcing you to spend on brand building. Many regional offline brands are dying because their cost structure does not work on a network of infinite competition. Many online brands are money losers or break even at best, with some losing hundreds of millions of dollars before coming profitable. Part of Google rising to such dominance was their aggressive bundling of their toolbar on computers through deals with OEMs and other software companies.
Sundar Pichai, Google Vice President, Product Management, revealed that Chrome will be ready to come out of “beta” testing by January, and that the search giant was looking at ways to make Chrome the browser of choice for the everyday user.
Knowing how good Google is at marketing and that they are still gaining marketshare, do you still buy links?
There is a big difference between arbitrary ranking in search engine listings, and ranking for focused keyword terms.
A common objection, usually made because the client can't determine the amount of work required, or the the value added. Cite "This Boring Headline Is Written for Google", an article about how The New York Times changed their writing practices to accommodate SEO.
Have case studies on hand that demonstrate how you've solved search marketing problems in the past. Seriously though, such objections usually come from designers who place a lot of emphasis on site appearance, or want to play with the latest toys. Did you know that 20% of the queries Google receives each day are ones we haven’t seen in at least 90 days, if at all?
Simply by being pre-prepared for objections, you help negate that risk, and can quickly move the client towards make a decision.
I met Greg Jarboe at my very first SEO conference about 5 years ago and have chatted with him many times over the years. You are speaking at Chicago SES next month on a variety of topics from the first timers guide to SES and SEM, to an introduction to SEM, to SEO for video content. I'm also speaking about turning PR efforts into SEO results as well as teaching the optimizing for universal search workshop with Amanda Watlington of Searching for Profit. Hosting video content on your own site was the right thing to do in 2005, when Google Video, Yahoo! Of the Search Engine Strategy conferences in the US, Chicago has traditionally been one of the smaller conferences. When I first got started with SEO, I remember sitting at a table with your partner Jamie and you, as you guys discussed some of your tips. With universal search and authority based search relevancy algorithms it seems Google keeps placing more and more weight on public relations. Actually, David Dalka posted an item to his blog about a year-and-a-half ago that said, "One can’t help but notice that if Greg Jarboe had gone to Google and designed Universal Search himself he likely couldn’t have designed it (better) to play into his strength areas in news and pr related issues." But, I didn't go to Google and I didn't design Universal Search. When should people consider outsourcing PR, and how much of it should be driven by internal resources? Check out SEO-PR to learn more about Greg and the intersection of public relations and search. Google have announced the release of SearchWiki, a way for you to customize search by re-ranking, deleting, adding, and commenting on search results. These changes will only appear in your Google account, and won't influence the result sets as seen by others. SearchWiki could also be seen as another distribution channel and potential link source ie: the people who look at the SearchWiki are likely to be webmasters. If we follow this “make good content” path eventually the search engines will fail to deliver meaningful search results, either because of the excessive noise or because they enjoy such a monopoly they find market exploitation irresistably more rewarding.
So much is lost in the attention whoring that is claimed to be professional SEO that less than 1 in 100 "professionals" understand the above and are willing to think it through to its end.
Just in time for the holidays, Media Whiz's Text Link Ads launched a new links product named InLinks, which puts text links inside the content of sites powered by Wordpress, MovableType, and Drupal. The irrelevant links at the bottom of a page, which will not be as valuable for a user, don’t add to the quality of the user experience, so we don’t account for those in our ranking. Matt Cutts was quick to say that this link buying program violates Google's TOS (and might be against an FTC guideline), but Shoemoney highlighted how Google is known to look the other was on such decisions when it is profitable to do so. Every time paid links is brought up Matt Cutts brings up the FTC’s “suggestions” on bloggers disclosing things they have been compensated for.


When Google launched their affiliate program, you could only tell that the blended inline text links were affiliate if you read a small blurb when you scrolled over them. This entire page is a Google advertisement with no disclaimer on itIt appears Google needs to clean up its own act before people will take that FTC comment seriously. Logic would dictate that anyone concerned about the risk of being penalized by Google, is actually worried about losing something they already have. But far more often than not, when I take a look at the site belonging to the askee, I see a site that looks like a third graders ransom note and written by a Marlon Sanders school of “But Wait – There’s More” drop out with a title tag that reads, index-Mozilla Firefox.
I spoke to some folks at Text Link Ads who said that the InLinks inventory is separate from their traditional old-school link inventory. For the relationship to build, you must create more and more value for the client on an on-going basis. With little more than a glance at many of the more popular SEO hang outs, I believe it is obvious even to the uninitiated, SEO is pretty much focused on traffic generation. In this guru’s opinion, too many opportunities for genuine marketing discussions get reduced to yet one more twittershitter to be dug up and stumbled upon.
Serious discussion about honest to goodness marketing often gets buried by linkbaiting headlines that offer little more than a boost to the ego of the master baiter. For example, I saw one nice piece of SEO work recently where the client remarked "I don't know what you are doing but we are getting lots of large custom order requests!". Think about ways to grow the the clients business when you structure your service offering. Offering integrated marketing services - monitor keyword trends, referal trends, link search keyword to desireable action, provide custom tracking and analytics services,etc.
Locking in clients with propriety software- Some companies muddy the waters by selling intermediary SEO services that sit between the clients site and Google. Once you've got your business model sorted out, and you're in a position to build value for the client over time, you need to nurture the relationship. In order to spend more time nurturing the relationship, you're probably going to need to free up existing time! One great way to increase the chances of word-of-mouth recommendations is to under promise and over deliver. Once you get the job, and find you may not be able to deliver, let clients now well in advance.
This is a tricky one to pull off without sounding like a braggard, but the client does need to understand how much value you're providing them. Not only are these clients a pain, but they reduce the time you can spend with great clients. An encyclopedia that costs $3,000 is covering the field of SEO, but with the speed of information online there is going to be a cap on how accurate and deep a generalist volume can be. Most content is a commodity, and it is hard to build a loyal PROFITABLE audience if you are in a generic vertical like news.
Almost all of the popular blogs today are commercial ventures with teams of writers, aggressive ad-sales operations, bloated sites, and strategies of self-linking. Going forward the company sees secondary market domain name sales becoming a much more significant component of the industry .
P&G's Ted McConnell pointed to the drumbeat of complaints about social networks being unable to monetize their sites. The web allows you to connect with people and build communities based around a shared interest.
And if you can be the host of a great presentation by a guy like Seth Godin that is even better. To this end, journalistic agencies issue press cards to their reporters, columnists, writers, and photographers.
What I would still love to get is a larger scale Landor colour model from BA, preferrably DC10 or Tristar. View my Lufthansa model-collection at To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. While eBay spent a decade alienating buyers and sellers (with no innovation, shifting fees, encouraging a market lemons, etc.), Amazon was off building user loyalty.
This is precisely why so many business models are built around for Christians, for bloggers, or for charities. You could spend all your time trying to prove your vision of the truth, or modify it slightly so that others are willing to do the work for you.
This tool also works to show you 100 keywords related to a site, and if you own a website they will show you thousands of keywords that they think you could bid on which are not already in your account.
Export these different lists a variety of times and you can quickly build a list of thousands of high value keywords. Thomas Jefferson, meanwhile, has a strong brand, and he's only on the 2, and there are hardly any of those in circulation.
He is probably amongst the top 3 social media marketers, along with Brent Csutoras and Christopher Angus. There will be people who will be openly hostile to someone else insisting they change the way they work. For example, marketing managers often have traffic goals, and similar visitor metric milestones.
Without management buy in, and aligned business goals, you're unlikely to get support for the technical changes you need to do. Writers schooled in journalistic and copy writing techniques use methods that predate internet search engines, and often the internet itself. Show writers how much potential traffic there is out there and how keyword research can be used to suggest article topics and title ideas.
De La Garza showed editorial employees that, for some articles, deciding on about 10 main keywords before writing could help increase their number of page views. Developers need to be aware of the need for site response speed - they probably are already - and ensuring the site is crawlable. For example, try replacing JavaScript behaviors, particularly for menus, with CSS techniques.
The more people who understand what you do, and how and why you're doing it, the easier your job will be. Suggest that other companies are doing this, and what you're telling them is industry best practice. Short-term contractors usually aren't part of the political machinations of fighting for position and internal power plays, and can often be more successful at implementing change. Have the designers build a "Related Articles" section into the template, so it becomes a natural part of the article creation process.
Keep making small changes and talking about how important they are so you stay in the media. One of my friends jokingly called me "the original link spammer" but Jim Boykin started buying links before I did and was doing it with more scale than I did. Yes real businesses should not be so reliant on Google that Google can chose to kill them, but there are a lot more people doing business with me too offers than there are creative and original people offering significant value added services from a unique approach. When one company controls 70% of the search market (closer to 90% in some niches and some geographic regions) it is easy for them to exert enough influence on a business (through quality scores, hand edits, threats) to move it from having 10% profit margins to losing money. We tend not to make a lot of noise,” said Jeff Huber, senior vice president for engineering at Google. And while Google is getting credited for "not making noise" and "being exceptional" they use their ad platform to give themselves free distribution in any vertical they want to compete. Here are nine common objections made by SEO clients, and a few ideas on how to deal with them. Demonstrate to the client the value of appearing under a wide variety of targeted keyword terms, as opposed to this being a random process.
If they already rank for valuable terms, try to get them to track the business derived from those rankings, and show them the upside potential of increasing rank. If the client knows your rate per hour, then they will be more able to determine if the cost is fair. Again, try printing out the PPC bid prices for the same keyword traffic, and show how your work effectively undercuts that price.
Sometimes this objection is legitimate, but it is often used to avoid having to tell you "no, thanks". I ran a few search reports on generic searches, such as kids t-shirt, babywear, etc, and showed the client the traffic numbers. If they want to keep designing in Flash, or other technologies that make crawling and linking difficult, then suggest workarounds that don't affect the design.
Again, if you can demonstrate clear commercial benefits over and above the cost, then "hell yes!". Do you recommend submitting to YouTube and other third party sites, or hosting video content on your own sites? However, it is hard to imagine that Google won't take note of such signals, especially if they see broad patterns emerging, and then feed this data through into their algorithm development.


Rather than links sticking out like a sore thumb by putting a rail of paid links in the sidebar or footer (the old text link brokering model) this allows for a more efficient marketplace that is more likely to pass link juice and be a bit harder to detect. All of those links might still be useful for crawl discovery, but they won’t support the ranking.
Most of the people who ask me that question are the people who least need to worry about the risk.
Absolutely, but then what did Google expect when they only penalized one link broker while letting all the others rank? I wouldn't use this type of linking program to try to go from #103 to the first page, but if you are ranking #8 or #12, buying a few of these links might be all you need to capture a profitable top Google ranking. Try it out, see if you like it, see if it works for you, and cancel if you don't see the movements you were expecting.
Because it can be a costly process to acquire new clients, it makes sense to spent time nurturing the clients you already have. You go in, you fix up crawling issues, you restructure the site, you change copy, and you build links. Things like conversions, demographics, analytics and increased website revenue generation from upselling take a distant back seat.
The technique was little more than placing some well-chosen keyword terms on the front page, however these words were also a strong call to action for large orders. Certainly one way to get on-going revenue, but vulnerable to the whims of Google, and it could be argued not in the clients long term interests compared to improving their actual site.
Business is about people, and people need to be recognized, praised, and made to feel good.
Chances are, you'll get time enough to make up for it, and most clients are mature enough to realise that mistakes can happen.
Make a list of your clients and rank them in order of who will provide the greatest chance of regular, high value work. Some are good, some are boring, but to argue that they're part of a "blogosphere" that is distinguishable from the "mainstream media" seems more and more like an act of nostalgia, if not self-delusion.
Where is the value in going with a no named ad network to sell inventory when you can change your business model from being a publisher into being a publisher & retailer?
That is why Graywolf launched Viral Conversations, a new blog oriented ad network around reviewing physical products and real world services, marketed by giving away great content on how to keep up with the latest buzz. Over time, people will come to recognize and trust your organization’s official pass. It is not owned by me nor do I have copyright, but what makes a good shot even more popular than letting everyone see it ?! A nice collection you have there - but one question has to be asked: No Lufthansa models in Hamburg???
If those wings were detachable I would have told you to send them to me and I would have fabricated 2 identical outboard engines. And now Amazon is out working public relations with a holiday customer review team and extending their platform in new dimensions - offering digital downloads, the Kindle, selling utility computing, and selling their shopping platform. In addition they show your search share of voice (via ads and organic search results) for keywords. Failure to get that buy in can severely compromise the effectiveness of the SEO, which might - rather unfairly - see the SEO out of a job. Prepare presentations that demonstrate your proposed strategy, how it supports the business case, how long it will take to achieve, and what your measure of success will be. The important thing to determine is who has the control, especially over aspects such as site structure, content production, and overall strategy.
Architecture and design are two areas where you are likely to experience a lot of push-back. If the designers think the SEO is compromising the look, feel and operation of the site, then you're not going to get very far, no matter how good your intentions are. For example, breadcrumb navigation can be great for usability and SEO, as they allow for the propagation of keywords, and provide internal link structure. Show them that by following a few SEO principles, they can get more readers reading their stuff. This job has been made somewhat easier, of late, given the introduction of Google Site Maps. Maintain that your success is because superior products even while you are buying marketshare. To see Jim dismiss link buying outright seems like it is either over-reaction or link buying is nearing its death. It is like the difference between advertising where few people are looking, as opposed to appearing on a string of billboards in prominent locations. It could also be argued that organic listings have a higher trust level amongst users, making the traffic potentially even more valuable.
If you can, try and get information about how much the client spends on other channels, and do a side by side comparison of the relative merits, costs and benefits. The client cites an authority, who isn't present, implying that any further negotiations with the client will prove fruitless.
Once you're demonstrated that writing effective copy can result in an increase in visitors and conversions, you'll have more sway when it comes to changing the rest of the site. Try to focus on the clients business problems, and be prepared to demonstrate how the SEO spend will solve those problems in cost effective ways.
The risk motivating the question being whether or not they may be penalized by google instead of the risk being about going broke.
We'll look at ways to both structure the offering to ensure on-going revenue, and the simple things you can do to maintain and build relationships. Were it not so, topics like social media manipulation for the primary purpose of link acquisition and when PR will be updated would not dominate the interactive real estate to the extent that it does. One great way of doing this would be to lock-in clients with propriety reporting and tools, sold on a subscription basis, that build - and demonstrate - on-going value. Is it better to go to another search marketing conference, or would your time be better spent going to a confernce that relates to your clients business? If the client only hears from you when you're trying to sell them something, it's not much of a relationship. You'll get people who don't want to pay much, who won't pay you at all, who don't value the relationship, who miss deadlines, and who are never satisfied.
As such, card-carriers may be better able to obtain interviews, acquire information from law-enforcement, or gain access to exclusive venues. Be on the lookout for other areas that require little change and provide natural synergies. Show people how having knowledge of SEO adds to their skill set, and thus increases their value to the employer.
This is the part of the site that gets crawled and seen by search engines and search visitors, while the designers can still focus on their elaborate designs.
However, a lot of the value is created up-front, which can make it difficult to build on-going, high value relationships with existing clients. Making money, online or off, takes education, dedication, focus, and even with those assets in place, it does little more than give one the ability to be right more often than wrong. Virtual assistants can take a lot of the drudge tasks off your hands, which frees you up to focus on your clients. Here's a great article on identifying the types of clients you don't want, and what to do about them.
During the downturn the best voices will keep building relationships, mindshares, and marketshare - even if it is not that profitable. Almost as good looking as the Il62 Back in '93, I worked for a year with Aeroflot in both their central London offices and at Heathrow. Losing what you already have or at least losing a perceived opportunity that you have already made an investment in, (which was a calculated risk the minute a decision was made to put up a webpage and long before this question ever came up).
It is much easier to close word-of-mouth recommendations than any other type of sales close.
In the cellar at the reservations and sales centre, there were many models, mainly Il62, Tu154, and one Il86 which now lives with me! As the advertising component of the industry has declined, industry profitability plummeted. Many service businesses that rely exclusively on advertising are no longer viable and the industry is ripe for consolidation.



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