Friday, August 31, 2007

Anchor Text: Switch it Up

From time to time, I check the bookmarks of SEOs who are using SB sites for link building. One thing I've noticed that is a big no-no -- you're not alternating the tags.

Anchor text is one of the most important indicators that Google and MSN use to determine what a website is about. Having the same tag, or anchor text, associated with a link on all of your SB sites will diminish their own effect, plus minimize the possible advantages granted for the link itself.

There is always a temptation to use onlywire or one of the other automated bookmarking tools. If you do use them, make sure to split it up amongst 3 or 4 different submissions. In other words, use the tools, but submit a site once with only a few SB sites checked, then resubmit with another set, and on and on.

Google doesn't like it when the same anchor is used constantly. They want websites rankings and link building to be natural. They don't want googlebombing or any other form of SERP manipulation.

It will take more time, but it is worth the effort.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Digg Becoming More about Photos than News

Photos have always been popular on Digg. Now, they are becoming more "Popular" as an increasing amount of users digg the sacred word pic normally written in parentheses to indicate 3 things:

1) It's probably funny
2) It won't take any time to get the full effect
3) It won't require any thought or reading

This screenshot of "Top 10 in All Topics" was taken shortly after midnight cst, 8-20-2007. It is clear that the key to not only going popular but also making the most of it after going popular is to add 5 characters to the headline, ( p i c )

With Google Universal Search starting to have effects on the results, we should start seeing an increase in Digg's power over the search engines.

Social Media Marketing

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kevin Rose's First Digg that DID NOT Go Popular

It's official. Kevin Rose, the Digg Master, has submitted a story that did not make it to the Popular front page. His 285 submitted story, "XREP - Taser via Shotgun", was submitted on August 7th.

It has stalled at just over 100 Diggs and did not make it over the hump.

Proof positive, in case anybody doubted, that Digg is truly algorithm based without manual override.

The funny part is, that story will probably get more hits now than it would have had it gone popular. You have to admire the guy, not just for creating the most powerful social news network on the planet, but also for "keeping it real" in most situations and not abusing his fame and power. Unless...

Why would he have submitted this story? It doesn't seem to fit with his standard Digg-related or tech related-story submittals. Did he just find the story interesting, or was it one of my possible conspiracy theories?

1) He was paid. Lots. The company with the product or the website with the story (or both) sent him a large check with a url.

2) Someone close to him was kidnapped. The ransom was one crappy Digg submittal.

3) Blackmail. Someone found a deep, dark secret about Kevin and they forced him to submit the story in exchange for their silence.

4) Hackers. His account was hacked and he either hasn't noticed or he's keeping it quiet until there's a full FBI investigation.

5) Disinformation. The algorithm IS rigged and they wanted to ruin his perfect record just to prove it.

6) Stocks. Kevin bought a ton of stock in a company that manufactures the Taser XREP and he's trying to cash in.

7) Attacked. Someone hit Kevin with the XREP, knocking him unconsious. They had just enough time to submit the story, and since there's no way to unsubmit or correct errors like there should be (like with comments) he was unable to correct it and just hoped for the best.

Whatever happened, I give my full kudos and respect to Kevin Rose...

...but something seems fishy.

Social Media Marketing

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Creating a Social Network for Links (oh, and networking)

MySpace. Facebook. LinkedIn.

Yesterday's news from an SEO point of view.

The use of redirection, no html in posting, nofollow, or whatever other methods that these and similar social networks are using is making them less valid for search engine optimization. They still draw some traffic depending on what you're using it for, but in reality, they don't help making your own websites rise in the rankings.

Social bookmarks are still currently strong, but it's time to to hedge bets and go somewhere between the blogs and the social bookmarking sites. It's time for personal social networks.

What is it? A personal social network is one that is created by an individual or company using Ning, Goingon, or one of the many emerging websites that offer the service. You create a site, formatting it as a blog, an RSS site, a commenting or forum site, or just about whatever you want from it.

You invite people or get found on its own merits. People can join, post photos, videos, articles, or whatever you want your people to be able to post.

I will show you Ning in this post. I created a few myself, but my focus is on Automotive Network. Searches for "Car Dealer Social Network" or "Auto Dealers Social Network" on Google will show that it is currently #1 as of the time of this post. The site itself has only been up for a couple of months.

Through the blog posts, through the editable text boxes, a good SEO can really create some strong, relevant links on a separate server that are under the website owner's control. It's a brilliant method from the perspective that it serves two purposes -- you can create the links with ideal anchor text and you can find like-minded people who can become partners, collaborators, contributors, or even customers.

Car dealers like Toyota Portland and Glendale Nissan will be able to connect with their customers and connections in return by building their own social networks.

Any business, automotive or not, will be able to have their own website that can rank well for their brand name (if optimized) and push down any negative blogs or reviews that also show up for the company name.

Of course, there is a cost. Time. From a financial perspective, it's perfect. It's free.

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SEO with Social Media

Monday, August 6, 2007

Online Marketing: Digging the Competition

This is a terrible, nasty, devious, evil technique that I am ashamed to even post. I am compelled because someone, I’m sure, already has posted it and others will follow. That doesn’t make it right, but at least it justifies my intentions in my own mind and makes me feel better about myself.

Digg your competors. No, not their websites. Most companies have someone who has had a bad personal experience in their dealings. The internet, which is often a place for people to vent publicly, likely has a documented incident that they do not want read by many.

Even better, if you can find a news report about them that portrays them in a bad light, you want that up there.

Best possible scenario, there is a court document out there that truly is “dirt” against them.

Find these stories, pages, documents, whatever. Research them and see how old they are. Brand new posts are often not the best, as they do not have enough history in Google to do well. Try to find something that is not too old that it no longer applies, but that is old enough to have been indexed and perhaps even linked to from other sites.

Digg it. Furl it. StumbleUpon it. Reddit,, simpy – all fair game. The key is to make the title of the Digg or tag or seed the name of the company. You will have a hard time getting to the top spot if they optimize their website at all, but you may get on the front page, even as high as number 2.

Man, it’s dirty. Really, really filthy as a technique, but if I didn’t post it, someone else would have. Heck, I’m sure it’s been posted a hundred times. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself so I can sleep at night.

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Social Media Optimization