Category Archives: SEO

7 Ways To Know You’re Getting Bad SEO Linking Advice

Before I begin I want to wish everyone who celebrates the Thanksgiving holiday a very happy family day, and I hope you’re eating as much turkey, dressing (many people call it stuffing but not me) and pie (I prefer sweet potato pie) today while watching football (I’ll be watching the Cowboys game while holding my breath) or however you end up celebrating the day. It may have a clouded historical past (don’t worry, I’m not going there today) but its meaning these days (I don’t mean the day before Black Friday) is an important one.

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Today I want to talk about bad SEO linking advice, why so much of it is bad, and how it’s ended up leading me to decide that I’m not going to accept guest posts on the one blog that I’ve been accepting guest posts on any longer.

With Google updates coming at what seems to be a furious pace, many businesses are scrambling around trying to get people to remove links that they paid someone to leave. Sometimes it’s contained within a guest post they paid someone to write for them with their links in it. And then they decide, after getting some “advice”, to try to get those links removed.

On my SEO blog I wrote a post titled Are You Being Used In Link Removal Requests (that blog is now gone), because there are some people who are writing blog owners asking for links to be removed by representing themselves as someone working for that particular company. Yeah, that’s pretty smarmy, but I’m not sure that’s the norm. I do know that the norm seems to be people writing me from Gmail addresses saying they’re representing someone, not calling me by name even though my name is all over all of my websites, and every once in a while threatening me with filing a disavow link; idiocy.

The final straw for me and my finance blog accepting guest posts came yesterday when someone who’d written two articles for the blog in 2012 wrote and asked if I would remove other links from those posts that were internal links from articles that I’d written, citing Google updates and anchor text links. I decided that I was done with it all, thus I wrote this post announcing the end of guest posts on the blog as soon as those which are already scheduled have gone live. In a way I was inspired to go this route by Kristi Hines, who wrote a post in March that I remembered saying she was ending guest posts on her blog and would take it over again.

With that said I thought it was time to address some of the stupidity (yeah, I said it) that keeps coming my way, either through these idiotic emails asking me to remove links or some of the other concepts that I’ve seen here and there. You don’t have to listen to me after you’ve read this though; just go do some research yourself and you’ll find that I’m correct if you’re reading the right authorities. Let’s begin!

1. Anchor text links are bad. No, anchor text links aren’t bad. A2 a matter of fact, if done right anchor text links are the best way to let search engines know what your post or website are about.

What’s bad? What’s bad is linking to the same exact word time after time with the same link or over-linking one specific word or phrase within an article. If you want proof that anchor text linking isn’t a bad thing, visit any news site and see how well they’re ranked. What you don’t see is, if they’re talking about a murder somewhere, them linking to that word over and over. And they could easily do that because murder seems to be the new recreational sport in the States.

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2. Comment links on blog posts can hurt your website. Really? Let’s be realistic here. Your comment link would probably hurt me more than it can hurt you. Using this blog as an example, there are over 27,000 links here. Unless you’ve employed a campaign that lays out tens of thousands of links on blogs all over the world in a short period of time, that’s probably not anything you should be concerned about. Overdoing anything is bad, but if you paid someone (which you probably did) to leave comments on my blog, most probably there are fewer than 5 comments from the person you paid over the course of time.

This is the type of thing that leads many people into believing that they shouldn’t ever comment on a blog that’s not in their niche. Let me tell you this; if the only reason you’re commenting is to drive traffic to your blog by getting a free link, you don’t think much of yourself; yeah, I said it. You should be commenting on things you’re interested in, whether or not it’s in your niche. Otherwise you’re a phony, and your comments are probably pretty lousy as well. I’d be surprised if most of your comments actually remain on many quality blogs; think of how many I delete from this blog on a daily basis.

3. Links in your guest posts back to your site are damaging you. Once again, unless you paid someone to overwhelm the internet with your presence, you’re not in any danger at all. On the post I wrote for Adrienne Smith’s blog titled 11 Essentials of Social Networking, point #3 was to link to someone else every once in a while, especially if your inspiration came from them. Anyone with any sense isn’t going to be upset that you’ve linked to them because it’s free one way publicity they’re getting, and you’re using that link in context; it’s a win-win for everybody.

4. Even internal links can be bad for you. Now you’re just being silly. One of the highest ranked websites on the internet per Google and their page rank is W3C.org, the folks that actually create the HTML standards that the rest of us try to live up to when creating our websites. They’re almost nothing but internal linking and almost all of it is anchor texts. In these cases what you’re doing is helping search engines figure out how your sites internal links are actually connected, and it helps your authority because you’re not trying to hide anything but make things easy for them to share with others. And, of course, that’s the best thing you can do for your visitors, link to other articles that are on the same topic you’re currently writing about that are related.

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5. You shouldn’t have any links in your sidebars to anything without adding the “nofollow” tag. Did you know that Google recommends that website owners shouldn’t try to sculpt their pages too much because it could lead them to looking unnatural? Did you know that my advice is to do what you feel is necessary as long as you don’t overdo it?

Both websites and blogs have lots of links if they’re worth anything. Worrying too much about the duplicate content thing as it applies to links is pretty silly; remember my news site comparison earlier? Where it’s bad is if you’re overdoing it on specific phrases again. On one site they used “wedding” as an example where a site might constantly use that word and follow it with others such as “dresses”, “rings”, “shoes”, “tiaras”, etc. That definitely looks spammy (what a strange word that is) and will get you and your site into search engine trouble. Do you really think your visitors will come to your site, know it’s about wedding stuff, and not be able to figure out that all those things are related to wedding stuff without your telling them?

This gets back to the old discussion of whether you should add things like a blogroll to your site. Trust me, you’re not going to lose much ranking or traffic because you support certain websites or other blogs, and they’re not nofollow. I’m of the opinion why put them there if you’re going to nofollow them?

6. If there are too many links back to my site, Google’s going to think it’s all my fault so I have to take care of it. What are you, a man or a mouse (or a woman or a… I’ve got nothing lol)? For an example here I’ll use my main business website. That site has been up 11 years now, and back in the day one would try to get onto a few directories for search terms we hoped to be found for.

For one particular search term that website is linked to more than 6,000 times. I certainly didn’t contact 6,000 sites to ask them to add me to their directories for that term. I didn’t pay anyone for it either. What you’ll find is that sometimes you end up on a list because many sites find things on their own or through their own robots and such and add you. This blog is on many lists of dofollow blogs, as my finance blog was on a list of multiple blogs that accept guest posts. Does anyone really expect me to contact all those people and ask them to remove my links from their site?

Google has recommended that people only go through this process if they send you a letter. They’ve also said that they’re going to try to give you examples of where you’ve failed. Trying to get everyone to accept what you’re trying to do is illogical. Any company promising you that they’ll get it done is lying to you. They might get many links moved but truthfully, it’s your fault for doing it in the first place. The best way to overcome it all is to start adding better content to your own site and working your way through things that way.

But since I know you’re not going to listen to me on that one if you haven’t listened to the previous 5, it leads me to my last point, that being…

7. Threatening sites with a disavow threat. Ooohhhh, I’m scared! Seriously, this is happening and it’s stupid. Actually, though I’m going to talk about it, here’s the link to Google’s disavow policy. You know what it says midway down the policy? Here’s the actual quote:

“If used incorrectly, this feature can potentially harm
your site’s performance in Google’s search results
.”

The disavow tool is meant for sites to ask Google not to penalize them for certain links. Anyone using it to complain that you wouldn’t remove a link that they actually paid someone to leave on your site could backfire if that’s the majority of what you had someone doing for you. If you paid someone to help spread your links and they’ve ended up spamming certain websites over and over, possibly even being paid for by someone else, those could benefit you. But you sending in a disavow request does nothing to me or anyone else whose site you’ve left a link on. Not only that but I’ve given thought to calling out some of these people for threatening me and also posting the email. Now, who would that hurt more?

As I said, you might decide I don’t know what I’m talking about but don’t just argue it with me. Go and do your research if you don’t believe me, or continue doing it your way. I can honestly say this. I’m Just Sharing did take a minor hit after the very first algorithm Google came out with, and hasn’t been touched since. My finance blog has never taken an algorithm hit. If your links were on either of those sites you’re good multiple times over. My business blog did take a big hit earlier this year but it’s back to where it’s always been now. What this proves is that it’s got more to do with you and your site than outstanding links for most of us. For those of you who went overboard trying to buy links… well, you’re probably the unlucky minority in this game.

I’m done; what’s your thought?
 

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Blogs Or Articles?

I’ve been in the business of business website consulting for 4 1/2 years at this juncture. Most of the concepts have stayed the same; great SEO, continuous new content, balance, etc. There are two things that have changed the landscape a bit in that time. The first is social media and how companies can use it in some form or another for their advantage. The second… the conversation about blogs or articles.

Back in the day it seemed a fairly easy conversation. Having articles on a website makes a lot of sense to a degree. If done properly they help enhance the authority of a website. They’re fairly easy to optimize and, when done well, end up with their own page rank and many more opportunities for websites to be found fairly high for their search terms.

Nowadays a couple of things have changed. One, search engines value new content more than static content; even a page ranked fairly high will only maintain itself for so long. Two, more website owners and businesses want the ability do certain things for themselves, which means they need an easy process; not everyone knows how to write code to add new pages to their website or links within the website.

This means blogging becomes a more viable option for some people. In some ways, blogging it easier. You can write multiple short posts and keep your website relevant. You can write long posts and keep your site relevant. You can easily add video or sound to a blog. Blogging is easy because you don’t have to know how to code anything. You should for maximum effect but you don’t have to.

So we come to this conundrum of whether a website should have a blog or articles. Actually, for me, it’s not a conundrum at all. I tend to believe websites need both. And I’m prepared to say why.

Websites should have articles that pertain directly to what they say they do. I’m going to use the example of my business website to highlight this. My business website says I basically do two things; leadership/management training and health care finance consulting. Within the health care finance consulting, there’s one thing I do specifically that’s more specialized, that being something called charge master consulting. Not all consultants do this, so it’s my edge, if you will.

Now, I could just write about this every once in awhile in my blog, but that’s really not strong enough for me. Since this is a core business issue it needed that specific link that I shared. However, if you follow that link to the page, which talks about the service I provide, you’ll see I have 3 other links on that page. All of those links are articles I’ve written that are related to what I do. That helps the search engines really zone in on what I do for business. My main search terms are all in the top 10, most in the top 5, for providing this service. I used to be number one for all of them but you just can’t always keep the big dogs down I’m afraid. 🙂

I have a similar page talking about leadership and management, and I link to some articles from that page as well. But there are many more people that provide these same types of services. Therefore, even with the articles I have, I need more of a boost when it comes to that topic. Hence, my blog talks more about leadership issues there than anything else. Doing that helps keep my site in the SERPS, although I still battle for recognition. My checking it last night when I was putting this together has me at 143 on Google, 103 on Yahoo and 136 on Bing. In a crowded field that’s not bad, but it can be better.

So, this is my argument for having both articles and a blog on a website. How do you see it?

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SEO Reputation Scam

It’s amazing how things sometimes just build upon themselves. Case in point, I’ve written a couple of articles in a row that indirectly tied into each other, and suddenly something else comes up that, well, just flows into each other in odd ways.

SEO scams

I thought about linking to both of the past articles, but I do that often enough and this time I’m going to let it go for a moment. It’s just easier to do a rehash here without it and then get to the new stuff.

The quick recap. On my local blog I wrote a review about a restaurant that wasn’t good. As a sidebar, I noticed that some bad reviews that had been written on a site called Yelp seemed to be hidden. Then I learned that Yelp filters reviews based on participation on the site, which brought about questions, at least for me, as to whether sites like that could be trusted for their reviews because maybe it was possible that companies paid to have those reviews removed or hidden.

Then I get an email from ConsumerAffairs.com pointing to a news story from April 15th that talked about small companies that get bad reviews and how SEO companies are contacting those companies and saying they can take care of these bad reviews. That’s what the article, titled Bogus ‘Complaint Removal’ Sites Prey on Small Businesses, talks about, mentioning how many business fall for this scam and then try to report them, but there’s no real place to report them.

Here’s the thing, if I may. We all have the ability to try to control how we’re portrayed online. If we’re not online and not managing our profiles, if you will, someone else can come along and put something up that will take over the search engines and put you at a disadvantage. If you’re a business, that could end up being a very bad thing indeed. For instance, if you go to Google and type in “Village Burger Liverpool Review” my original article comes up 4th, behind 3 reviews on Yelp, and I just wrote that last week. You can’t just type in Village Burger and find it because it seems that business name is all over the place; so much for originality.

There are many reputable SEO companies in the world, and I hope I’m considered as one. Sure, there are things you can do to help recover your reputation. But bad reviews will probably always be there, even if you have enough money to buy every person off that ever says something bad about you. Anyone that tells you something different is lying; don’t believe the hype.

By the way, there’s a brief follow up to what happened at that restaurant, if you will, and I’m writing it here instead of there because I got this information from a source that would be easily identifiable if I wrote it there, and I know none of those folks will come here because they don’t know about this blog. Anyway, someone mentioned that blog post to the owner and said they saw the picture I put up on the article. The owner’s response: “I need to buy smaller buns.” So much for customer service, a pattern that just keeps coming up more and more.

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SEO Your Blog; Two Quick Fixes

Man, sometimes I feel really stupid. I’ve been missing something for a long time that I’m betting some of you know, but most of you are also missing. As a matter of fact I just took a quick sample and it seems that some of you knew about this, but aren’t doing it right, and the majority don’t have it right at all. Well, that’s what I’m here for. What am I talking about?

SEO Your Blog

SEO for your blog, of course; didn’t you read the title? Here’s the thing. Many people talk about proper SEO tactics for your blog and they get into talking about your content, keywords, etc. I’ve been on record in saying that it’s rare that I get into doing all that much SEO when it comes to my posts. When I write, I write, and I rarely go backwards I’ve always figured that my content will eventually speak for itself.

But I’ve missed some important concepts of SEO for my blog, something I’ve actually never paid any attention to, that suddenly hit me last night and, dagnabbit, I wanted to slap myself silly. I’ve lost 3 years on this, and now I’m ready to capture my traffic, the search engines, and watch this baby flourish! I’m going to tell you what I’ve done, then I’m going to tell you how I did it.

Yeah, yeah, I hear you, get to the point. Okay, a quick SEO lesson on how search engines begin looking through webpages. They start with the Title, which is the area at the top of your browser that says what your site is all about. If you’re going to do it properly, what you want to have at the top is what your website is about, then the name of your blog. You don’t want any “stop words” or “stop symbols”; these are things like “and”, “the”, and, well, symbols. You never start with the name of your website or blog unless it’s what your site is all about because if people already know your name then you don’t ever have to worry about titles, or even being found on search engines, to begin with.

What did mine say? It used to say “I’m Just Sharing”, which is the name of this blog. Do you think anyone was out there on the search engines searching for that? Nope. What does it say now? It says “Blogging Writing Social Media – I’m Just Sharing“. That’s what it should have said all along. Now it begins with what I mainly write about on this blog. Now the search engines will scan my title, then be able to match up my content with it; nice start.

But that’s my title page. What about all the other pages? Initially, after the first change, all my other pages said that same exact thing. Not the worst thing in the world, but it’s not proper SEO & it doesn’t always work. For instance, when I write my diabetes posts none of what’s in the title is going to help there. What shows up for each article as my Title now? Whatever the name of my post is, that’s what. That’s what I decided to go with, but one doesn’t have to stick with that. However, since for the most part my titles do indicate what I’m going to talk about (like this post, for instance), I think I’m good.

Okay, how did I make the change? By using the All In One SEO plugin, a plugin I beat up on for a couple of years until I learned how to upgrade my server to PHP 5.0 and had it suddenly start doing some of what it was supposed to do. I haven’t fully used it correctly until last night, and now it’s going to help this blog grow; I just know it will.

The first thing I did was change the Home Title to what you see above in quotation marks; that’s what now shows in the Title area. If you decide to hit Save at that point your home title will change and you’ll at least have that taken care of. But that’s not all you want to do.

The next stage, of course, is to fill in the next two boxes for your home description and keywords. Your home description should be what your blog is about, as that’s what will show up on Google if someone is searching for your topic, so either say something, like a line or two, or just type in more words, which will look kind of odd on Google as a description but hey, it’s up to you. In the keywords of course type in some of what you do. This is kind of “meta” like, which search engines don’t exactly look at anymore (actually they don’t look at it at all according to them, but go with me), but it helps the plugin do things for you that you might not want to do for yourself later on. Anyway, once you’ve done that then you need to check the box next to “Rewrite Titles”.

That’s it. Now, every one of your posts will have the title you’ve given for your post as the Title that will show at the top of the browser, the one that Google’s going to be checking out. Leave everything else there the same unless you really understand it all; everything’s pretty set, except for some of the boxes you might want to check or uncheck underneath.

For instance, I really don’t understand the concept of Canonical URLs all that much, even though I read about it, so I left that checked. Further down, I have checked to use Tags for Meta Keywords, which I’ve seen come across here and there through Google Alerts, told it to generate keywords for post pages, and told it to use noindex for my Archives, though I’ll have to think about that one a little bit more. My thought on it is that if everything else is SEO’ing itself properly it might be overkill having it coming through the Archives as well; search engines might not appreciate that too much, as it might seem spammy.

The only thing to finish talking about is when you’re actually writing your post you need to know that you have the option of overriding what you’ve told the plugin to do automatically for your title and description. I rarely change the title, though I’ve seen some people do it, but sometimes I add a specific description, otherwise Google will use the first few words of your post as the description. For someone like me that likes to introduce things in kind of a story form, that’s not the best lead-in for me all the time.

So, I’ve just helped you learn how to SEO your blog better, and trust me, it’ll go much quicker than all this stuff I just wrote. Good luck!

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

SEO & Social Media Is A Process

“Digital marketing is not a one night stand.” – Mitch Joel, Six Pixels of Separation

I have talked about both SEO and social media on this blog. I believe both are important for one’s online presence. After all, if you have a business website or any type of blog and you’re hoping people will find you, having your blog optimized properly gives you the opportunity to compete with the masses that might do what you do. And social media gives you the opportunity to continually drive people to your site by helping you to keep the masses informed in some fashion.


by Emanuele Tolomei

In Joel’s book, he mentions that it’s easier to connect with people online than it’s ever been before. He also says that it’s a process; very few people are going to reach everyone the first time out. That’s absolutely true. Most of us have been to blogs that talk about the same issues I mentioned above, as well as many other things. Sometimes these concepts sound so easy that they seem to lead people into believing that if they do any or all of these things that almost immediately people will be flocking to their websites and they’re going to make tons of money.

Life doesn’t work like that. Even if late night TV commercials promise you the moon, think about how long it’s been since a human has been to the moon again. Goodness, the first trip to the moon took 8 years, and landing on the moon took almost 10 years. If the analogy were taken to its next step then you realize that the moon might be attainable, but it’s not easy and it’s definitely time consuming.

I was talking to someone about this subject last week. The conversation got to how long it would take before her site really started seeing visitors and taking off. I answered that it was an unknown; it’s a question that is impossible to answer for almost everyone. There are so many factors involved that if anyone ever gives a blanket response to this one they’re lying and are going to take your money, then give you excuses later on.

This is just a quick cautionary tale. Any advice you get as far as driving traffic to your site or blog, take it for what it’s worth and just realize that it’s all going to take time, and that you’re going to have to continually work on the process. It’s definitely not a one night stand.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell