Link Building

18 06 2008

“Links Are King. Links Are Dead.”

Okay, so maybe you’ve heard both sides of this story… and you wonder which is right.

Here’s the skinny on Links and the importance to your site.

IMHO links are the single biggest aspect of successful top rankings in the SERPS. Back Links specifically is what I am speaking about here of course. That is, how many links point to your site.

A little background:
Links or back links are, in effect, votes for your site. That is to say from Google’s stand point or the other top SE’s, the way in which they determine your sites popularity or importance is the number of links pointing to your sites pages. Links = popularity or votes. And the more links or votes the more the SE’s see that your site is relevant and since the primary purpose of a SE is to deliver the most relevant search results for a searcher or their customer… you can see the logic here of why Links=Votes is crucial factor in determining which results to return first to last.

If other sites are linking to you or voting for you, they are saying that your site is relevant for 1) what the anchor text says the link is about 2) and what it is point to on your page– what the content is about. And if both of these things match, then even more power of the vote is given. AND if the site voting for yours falls within topical relevance, well, that’s a home run link my friends.

Case in point: Say your site is about Widgets and you have a link to your site that says “Best Widgets Anywhere” and it goes to your Best Widgets Anywhere Page and the site sending the link is the Widgets Manufacturing Association … well, then you can see that this is a tremendous valuable link given what the search engines are trying to return– which again is? Relevant pages to their searchers/customers.

Let’s turn things around with this example and say the anchor link text to your site instead says “More Info” and it goes to your home page or another page that isn’t as specific as the Best Widgets Anywhere page AND it is from a site that is about Footprints on the Moon. And the Footprints on the Moon links to you from a page that has dozen upon dozens of links going everywhere… Okay, this isn’t going to have the same weight as the first example. Agreed? The SE’s are just not going to think your site is all that and a bag of chips and that link is not deemed as very important. The vote just really doesn’t count.

So while number of links, the sheer size, a site has is still important — The “Links Are King” strategy. But Links ARE Dead in the old manner of thinking that any old link will do. It won’t. The truth is, relevancy of that link is  much more important today– especially to the leading SE; Google.  So “Relevant Links Are King” is the more accurate way to think of link building in today’s market.

So you want to rank high in the SE’s, then go after contextual relevant sites to link to your topically relevant pages.


SEO vs PPC follow-up

14 06 2008

Okay okay — by the amount of critical emails I just received regarding my last post wherein I basically said that in order to have a successful SEO campaign you had to run a PPC campaign, I guess I have to clarify some things.

IMHO all start-ups and new ventures with no background market & analytical data should run a PPC in order to learn what the market parameters truly are and which keywords/phrases convert, which offers convert, which headlines, etc keep searchers on the page, etc.

If you have had a site up for a certain period of time and feel comfortable that you have a good knowledge of the market and know what to SEO for then, no, a PPC is not as critical and the SEO money is not a ‘colossal waste of funds.”

Everybody happy now?!?

But with that said, the quickest way to get market data and know what searchers are truly searching for is via PPC… and an ongoing PPC campaign will tell you this information as things evolve and change within your given business niche.

SEO and PPC: The one, two punch of SEM professionals.

13 06 2008

Had a friend launching a website who recently called me to pick my brain about getting his site into the top of the SERPS for his particular niche. The call went something like this:

Rich: “Hey, Joe, ol’ buddy ol pal, I have a new site and I need you to SEO my site.”
Me: “Are you putting together a PPC campaign?”
Rich: “No, why? I want my money to go into SEO efforts so that I get on the first page of Google.”
Me: “If you don’t do a PPC campaign first I think the money you’re going to spend on SEO is going to be a colossal waste of funds Rich.”
Rich: “What? Why? I thought you were some SEO wizard, what gives? Why do I need to spend money on ads to SEO my site? What a crock!”
Me: “Rich, SEO is torturous mistress that, like a building, takes time to erect and a wealth of patience to sustain and the expertise and experience to adjust to changes in the search engines and continual refining and readjusting to those changes.”
Rich: “Huh?”
Me: “It doesn’t happen overnight Rich. Pay per click happens overnight, not SEO.”
Rich: “I don’t follow.”
Me: “Rich, PPC is the forefather of SEO.”
Rich: “….? ”

Read the rest of this entry »

What is SEO?

2 06 2008

Thinking about what I should write today it occurred to me after having a conversation with a friend that is just entering the online business world that had no clue what SEO was, that it would be good idea to explain just what SEO is.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the art and science of making a website system and/or design as effective and functional as possible for ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ search results via the search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc) for specific targeted keywords and keyword phrases. As well as making the site as pleasing and functional as possible for the searcher.

The process of SEO consists chiefly of keyword research, content creation and placement, site layout/design and architecture, link building and link structure.

Okay, so that sounded a little ‘dictionaryish’ didn’t it? Basically it’s doing specific things to the site that search engines like to increase it’s placement in the natural searches for it’s most important keywords. Read the rest of this entry »

301 Redirect

1 06 2008

I thought it would be appropriate to write the first post on my new SEO blog about 301 Redirects since I’m handling that right now for a client. And needless to say those of you that have had to do can attest to, it’s not a simple thing and there’s nothing perfect about it.

For those of you looking at doing a 301 Redirect or wondering what a 301 Redirect is — let me offer a little background information on what exactly a 301 Redirect is and why you would ever need to employ this.

If you have a website set up with a certain domain name and then later you decide to change the domain name you would use a 301 redirect. But as the Dark Lord himself Leslie Rhode (SEO God) has told me, never use one unless you absolutely have to… but it sure seems there are lots of “absolutely have-to’s. “

Okay, so, a 301 redirect is the most efficient and spider/visitor friendly strategy around for web sites that are hosted on servers running Apache (you can check with your hosting service if you aren’t sure). It’s not that hard to implement and it should** preserve your search engine rankings for that particular page. If you absolutely have to use a 301 redirect — it’s the safest option. A 301 redirect is implemented in your .htaccess file.

Okay, okay, I can hear you saying “But, Joe, what the hecks an .htaccess file?” Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to SEO Suggestions

5 05 2008

I enjoy helping people find solutions to their problems. I’m part analytical and part creative. I suppose SEO is the perfect endeavor for somebody like me. It’s competitive, ever changing and rewarding. Why is this site new and who am I and why am I just starting a blog on this subject now? You can read more about me and it’s genesis here.

I’m hoping to share with readers knowledge and lessons learned and have some lively discussions and debates as well as getting feedback and other peoples perspectives, ideas and knowledge.

This is the reason for starting (finally) a blog the topic of my profession. I look forward to this process and being able to meet and share ideas and information.