All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

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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How To Write A Guest Post

What a last few days I’ve had! Social media is fun and interactive and, well, sometimes it can be good for your ego. Of course, you can’t take anything for granted, which means that I did end up putting a lot of work into the fun. This post is going to cover a number of things, but overall it’s going to contain some lessons in how to write a guest post.

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Andrea Costa via Compfight

True, I’ve fussed a lot about guest post requests, but this is something different. I was asked by my buddy Adrienne Smith to write a guest post for her eponymously named blog and it went live on Monday. I actually wrote it 3 weeks ago, and I titled it 11 Essentials of Social Networking. It’s an epic post if I say so myself because it was more than 3,000 words on, well, social networking, things to do and not to do to make better connections online. And it seems to have been well received, with at least 130 or more comments so far; that’s after 2 days.

But that was only the last thing that happened. Things actually got started last Wednesday when I had the opportunity to interview a lady named Meloney Hall of Big Uptick Social Marketing, who actually interviewed me and had me give some blogging tips to her readers via a YouTube video. She gave many tips on how to set yourself up for success in social media marketing, including supporting one of my major views that if you’re any kind of business or professional that you should be on LinkedIn. You can view that interview below:
 


 

Now, for most people that would be a steal and a nice grab for getting some success tips to help you and your business. But that’s not how I roll. I wasn’t satisfied with that, so I had a second treat for people. That treat was Ileane Smith of Basic Blog Tips, one of the top blogging sites on the internet and she’s one of the fastest rising internet stars we have. I’ve known Ileane for years and even wrote a guest post for her back in 2011 titled 5 Ways Your Blog Might Be Irritating People. That post actually had around 150 comments on it at one time, but Ileane’s been getting tons of spam on her old posts and she’s shut off comments, and for some reason it also had hidden all the comments that post had. Still, it was another pretty good post, coming in around 1,800 words or so.

In the interview I did with her I got the lowdown on how she got into blogging, why it will always be her first love but her second job, and her ideas for how to grow your blog and get people to help promote your posts without you even having to ask anymore. We also touched upon a subject that’s been on my mind for years, but you’ll have to watch the video to pick up any of that knowledge and let me just say that it’s the fastest viewed video I’ve ever had:
 


 

At this point, if you know any of the folks above, you’re probably saying “wow, that’s pretty good.” You probably also think it’s over already; nope. On Sunday I led the discussion for my Hot Blog Tips crew as I had the opportunity to interview one of the most prolific bloggers and writers on the internet, Kristi Hines of Kikolani.com, Search Engine Land, Mashable… you name it, she’s probably written for it. Once again, she has one of the highest ranked blogs online, and I knew that having her as our Sunday guest would be amazing, and it was. If you want to learn how she pulls everything together, as well as learn more about her new course on how to market and network yourself online (are you sensing a pattern here?), check out the video below:
 


 

See there? I didn’t hit the trifecta, I hit the… well, since I don’t watch horse racing, I have no idea what it’s called if you win 4 times in a row, but with the finale, for now, being the guest post on Adrienne’s blog, I’m thinking that’s some pretty stellar work in one week’s time. It also means that it was time to come back to my blog and put out something strong as well because I’ve played in everyone else’s spaces (well, two of those videos are on my YouTube channel but you know what I mean) and it’s time to come back home for a bit.

Guest posting; I’ve mainly talked about it in terms of having people coming to me or going to others asking if they can write a guest post for their blogs, and how the process often fails miserably, even though some guest posts do make it through. I can honestly say that every guest post I’ve ever written I was asked to write, and in doing so I’ve always followed guest posting tips that I wrote back in 2010 to a large degree. I’m glad I went back to share this post because it reminded me that I had written another guest post I’d forgotten about for my buddy Connie Baum of The Healthy And Wealthy You titled Internet Marketing Scams. I can’t say that one was epic, mainly because her audience was different than some of the audiences I’ve written for lately, and yet I did follow the commandments I wrote about back then.

This is now though, so it’s time to make the list of how to write guest posts just a bit more thorough. This is both for when you’re asked to write a post or when you want to write something for some else:

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Pablo Fernández via Compfight

1. Know the blog you’re going to write for. For the one blog I get a lot of requests for, people write and tell me how much they enjoyed a post on the blog, yet it’s almost always the most recent post on the blog. Man, can we spot a fake request a mile away or what? You can never know what a blog is truly about unless you take a look at 5 or more posts. If you’ve been a long time commenter on a blog then you probably have a good idea of what might work but if not, do your research. After all, it should really benefit the blog owner as much as you hope it’ll benefit you.

2. Know your subject well. I have to admit that many guest posts I get for my finance blog are fairly basic on their topics. Yet I allow them because I’m figuring that many of the readers might not know what all that stuff is, since there are a lot of financial items where I know the terms but don’t fully understand. However, it’s always easy to tell by the writing style whether the person actually knows what they’re talking about or whether they’ve done some research and have basically put together a mini term paper. If you want to stand out and be able to give your post a personal feel, know what you’re talking about.

3. Do an outline; do it! I just can’t believe how many people are scared of writing outlines for what they’re going to write about. I don’t do it for most of my own posts but if I’m putting together something for another person, it’s critical to do. You want to know what you’re going to address and have the opportunity to put it into the proper order; sometimes you want everything to flow in a specific pattern while other times you want to make sure you start strong and end strong.

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Dave King via Compfight

4. Unless it won’t fit with previous blog content, always try to write more than what you normally might. On my own blogs, I pretty much write like Mozart. That is to say that I write as many words as what my thoughts lead me to write and then I stop; no more, no less. But when I’m putting something together for someone else, I want to make sure I don’t leave anything out, and that every thought I have is thoroughly covered for each point; hence the outline. You can write more and if it’s consistent the blog owner will probably love to print the entire thing. If you’re asked to trim it down some it’s always easier than it is to try to add more.

5. Always give examples for the points you’re trying to make. In the post I wrote for Adrienne, I talked about how some people on Twitter are always posting links to their blogs or sales pages and it’s almost like they’re online 24/7, which means you know they’re automating everything. Yet if it was a TV show would you want to watch 5 minutes of a show and be marketed to 55 minutes to complete the hour? Things like that help to make your points memorable and people can relate to them.

6. Don’t write anything you don’t believe in with your whole soul. If you’re writing something you think people want to hear so you can appease them, you’ve already failed. Don’t ever be fake because everyone will know. If you hate chocolate, say you hate chocolate (and be prepared for me to come to your house to protest lol). If you like puppies proclaim your love for them and tell people why you love them (I love them because they’re just so innocent and cute and want to play). If you’re going to teach someone something teach it all to them, every single step, and don’t leave anything out. Don’t assume what people know; as Ileane said in the interview, everyone’s level of knowledge is different and you never want to leave anyone out.

I’m going to stop there before I make this one too long. Here are 5 tips, there were 4 on my other post, so I’m thinking you now have 9 total points from me and still have Kristi’s video and Ileane’s video to get more, since both of them have written guest posts. I mean, what more could you want? Well, I want you to read this, watch the videos, share all of it wherever you are on social media, comment here and on every video you watch, and above all send me chocolate chip cookies… wait, how’d that get in here? Please, let me know what you think below or somewhere; don’t make me hold my breath! 😉
 

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World Diabetes Day 2013

Today is World Diabetes Day and it’s the 4th time I’ve written something specific for this day. That those years were 2008, 2009 and 2010 are somewhat disappointing, along with the fact that out of the previous 21 times I’ve even mentioned the subject only 6 of them have been since the 2010 post, either means that I’m trying to ignore the fact that I’m diabetic or that I haven’t had enough incidences to even think about mentioning it.

The Pincushion Effect
duisburgbunny via Compfight

Of course that’s not true at all. The thing about diabetes is that even things like being in the sun for just 10 minutes can have a great effect on you if you’re not careful or paying attention. Eating properly or badly have effects on you that you’re never quite sure which way things will go. For instance, as I said in one of my recent videos, I ate lots of pretzels during my 2 weeks of low fat eating because they had no fat in them and had some of the lowest glucose readings ever, only to discover that what they actually do is make your glucose shoot way up and then drop way far down quickly, as there’s more carbohydrates in a serving of pretzels than there is in a serving of pasta; that’s not good.

Why is this such a big thing? Because it’s the fastest growing disease we have in the United States. There are more than 25 million people in the country who have been diagnosed as being diabetic, and another 79 million diagnosed as pre-diabetic; that’s not good at all. The FDA or EPA (I can’t remember who) is on the verge of banning trans fats from our food, and I’m betting most of you are like me in not even knowing just how prevalent this stuff was.

Diabetics have to worry about stuff like liver disease, heart attacks, kidney failure, neuropathy, amputations, nerve damage… let’s just face it, there’s a lot of complications possible. Most of the pharmaceuticals aren’t overly expensive but they still end up being a lot over time. Doctors want us tested more often, we’re put on medication even when we test normal because the standards change when you’re diabetic.

Then we have to deal with people who know that we’re diabetic and utter stuff like “should you be eating dessert” and “you should eat more vegetables” and “isn’t that fat going to kill you”, while pounding on us with stuff like “you know that Equal will give you cancer” and “don’t you care about yourself to eat better?”

Here’s the thing; of course we care. However, like most cancer patients who continue to smoke or patients who have heart attacks who go back to eating high fat diets, changing a behavior you’ve had for a lifetime isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. For me, I at least get some exercise in here and there, but I’ve never met a dessert I like that I can stay totally away from. I find that I eat less than I used to but I’ll binge here and there. I’ve also found that the healthy foods I sometimes eat aren’t always so healthy; that’s disappointing.

Nope, this isn’t a typical World Diabetes Day post. I’m not really out to make us seem like victims. Truthfully, most of us brought it upon ourselves, even if we didn’t really know better. I have so many relatives on my dad’s side of the family who are diabetic that I knew my day was coming, and yet I still let some of my binging make it come faster. I have good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, and the best thing I can say about myself is that I don’t have any of the permanent symptoms yet.

I write this because I hope those of you who aren’t diabetic take care not to get there. I write this because I hope those of you who think you might be but don’t want to go to the doctors to confirm it will go; better to know and have the chance to take care of it than one day suffering something you can’t overcome because you didn’t want to know.

And I write this because I want you to know that if you’re diagnosed, it’s not a death sentence like it was in the past if you at least take some precautions and so some of the things you should do. I’m not perfect, but in many ways I take care of myself a bit better than my dad did. In “some” ways that it. 🙂
 

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“Thank You”; Is It Really That Hard To Say?

You know what irks me? When I hold open the door for someone because I was taught courtesy and the person walking through it acts as if I was supposed to do it and doesn’t even acknowledge that I was there. What’s that about? Is it a privilege thing? Or is it just rude?

happy new year ♥ feliz 2012!
jesuscm.com via Compfight

I tend to say “thank you” a lot. Probably way too often if my wife has anything to say about it but I always figure that there’s nothing wrong with being policy. Truthfully, I’ve even written about it a couple of times on my business blog over the years, though we’re going back some time. One was called The Lost Art Of Thank You, the other called Gotta Love Thank You’s Both of those are related more to business than personal lives but let’s face it, if you didn’t learn it before you went into business you’re probably not thinking about it at work.

I thank people in restaurants whenever they bring me something, including the bill if I’m paying attention, and if I’m still sitting there when payment is made and they thank me I thank them for the attention they gave me. Even though I’m sincere about it, I find that if I go back to that restaurant and I’m recognized I get extra special service from that point on; nothing wrong with that if you ask me. At one restaurant out of town, a Japanese restaurant, they even give me free samples of things as they try to expand my palate; it’s worked slightly but I’m a tough nut to crack. lol

It’s not just in one’s personal or business life where “thank you” is a good thing. On social media, there’s a lot of opportunities to thank people for something they’ve done for you. I don’t do it on all comments but many a time I thank someone for something they said in the comment before a response. On Twitter I try to remember to thank people who share my posts, and I’m much better at it than I used to be, something else I learned from my buddy Adrienne. Oh, as a sidebar one day this month I’ll be the featured guest writer on her blog and I hope you’ll check it out when it goes live; I’ll probably mention it somewhere around here and I thanked her for asking me and she thanked me for writing it; see how that works? 🙂

If you’re a regular visitor you know I always talk about the need to be social on social media. At the very least one should think about ways of thanking people for something when there’s a personal interaction that could potentially benefit you. Heck, sometimes I thank someone for sharing something that I really like like a motivational quote or intriguing and cool images.

I just don’t think there’s enough courtesy these days, and saying “thank you” has to be one of the easiest things for people to do. But maybe I’m being too sensitive, or maybe my generation has it wrong. What do you think? And I thank you in advance for your comments.
 

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The Answer – Because I Like It

Last weekend when I was home I went for a walk at the lake with a friend of mine. He asked me a question about making videos that made me create a video about it. In essence he was asking me what I was getting out of making videos and I believe it was a question about publicity, making money, etc. My response wasn’t bad, which is why I’m popping the video about it below so you can check it out if you so choose.

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However, upon reflection I realized that when I responded to the question, I felt like my back was against the wall and that I had to justify what I was doing. Sometimes all of us feel like that, where we see a question or hear a question or are confronted with something we’re doing and we’re not quite sure how to answer it. And I realized that overall my response was, well… because I like it!

Frankly, I think that’s a great answer that can be applied to many things that we do… when it’s true. For instance, anyone who tells me they like smoking when they know it causes cancer and emphysema, or that they like getting drunk and passing out every weekend, I know is lying. Anyone who says they like brushing their teeth without adding “because I want to keep my teeth healthy and cavity free” is lying because it’s not something that’s done out of pleasure… well, there’s probably one or two crazy people who might love doing it. lol

But for many things it’s the perfect and true answer, even if it didn’t start out that way. When I started my first blog back in 2005 it was with the intention of showing business proficiency. All these years and extra blogs later, I do it because I like it.

When I first started doing video I did it with the intention of improving my craft of speaking as well as getting my face out to the public in case someone liked what I had to say and needed a speaker/presenter for their organization that they were willing to pay for. After awhile I realized that I like doing them as well.

Why do I eat so much dessert? Because I like it. Why do I eat a lot of hamburger? Because I like it. Why am I an independent consultant who doesn’t have a full time job, doesn’t have insurance paid for by an employer, and doesn’t get vacation time so I can go to all these exotic places knowing I’m still being paid? Because I like what I do.

Think about the different things you do. How many of them are you doing for the pleasure of it? How many are you doing because you feel obligated? How many are you doing because you ARE obligated? What can you give up? What can you make more enjoyable to move it into the “because I like it” realm?

Anyway, that should have been my true response because, when all is said and done, it’s my reality. I hope you check out the video because in the middle of it all I reveal something about pretzels; did that get your attention? 🙂

 


 

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