You have probably heard a ton about Social Bookmarking or Social Media Networking, or …. it goes on; as within anything on the Internet there are a myriad of different terms to describe this phenomenon. What it comes right down to though are votes. Similar to a backlink to a website, social bookmarks are a method for the average joe to share a great online find with the rest of the world. As others share their favorite finds the bookmarked content has a greater chance of generating more and more interest. Content that gets the most interest will earn prominent visibility that can earn hundreds and even thousands of free backlinks. As a result, making it easy for users to socially bookmark your content is definitely in your best interest. From my experience the most popular bookmarking websites are Digg it, Reddit, and del.icio.us. Read more…
If you are looking for an alternative to YouTube, MSN has officially launched the public beta version of soapbox. For several months now it has been available on an invitation basis, but now the general public can go see what’s been happening.
The beta launch was announced with a very brief blog post yesterday by the “soap box team“.
With all the copyright issues and controversy surrounding Google and YouTube one must wonder if the same issues are possible with soapbox, and what MSN has done, or what they will do, to help avoid copyright issues.
Three SEO questions are answered in this Q&A article:
- Do search engines ignore stop words in domain names?
- I created a duplicate website to target my services to a different state. My intention is not to dupe Google but I don’t know what else to do. How would you approach this?
- What can I do to increase the number of backlinks I am getting from articles?
Question 1) ” I know search engines ignore stop words in meta tags and title tags. Do search engines ignore stop or common words in domain names? Example www.therealestate.com or www.arealestate.com ” – Corey M.
Answer: Yes, to the degree in which the keywords have any effect the more common words within a domain name would be ignored. It is, however, important to keep in mind that search engines only place a limited amount of weight on keywords in a domain name. In my opinion the only time where a site keyword within a domain name wins a ranking war is when all other elements are equal between you and near-ranked competitor.
Additional Info: I like to do my due diligence before answering any question because frankly I need to be sure the rules have not changed overnight. Here are a couple links to pages that relate to this question:
- WebmasterWorld Posting (membership required)
- What are stop words? By Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Watch.
Question 2) “ Hi Ross – I just finished reading your blog… “SEO Answers #7: ” What Determines Duplicate Content SPAM? “and I have a question for you. Allow me to give you a little background: One of my clients has expanded their business into another state with a different name, but it is ultimately the same business. In order to develop a Web presence for this new, duplicate company in a new area, we created a second Website that has its own unique design, etc, but is ultimately a take off on the original site, using the same content, just minor differences to allow for the new name, geographic area, etc. The original site is optimized and of course contains the original content. The duplicate site is not optimized. In no way is our intention to “dupe” anything, but will this cause problems with the engines? We are not trying to get mileage off of the content by duplicating it… this is simply a second company that offers the same services, just in a different state. Each site is in its own domain and has its own URL. Your input? Your suggestions for a different solution? Thanks for your time.”
Answer: Simply put if you are truly not looking to get any mileage out of the content then you do not want rankings for it which implies that the site should be blocked to the search engines. I would recommend using your robots.txt file to block the spiders entirely to that website so you do not negatively affect your rankings on the original site. The fact is that duplicate content, good intentions or not, is frowned upon by the search engines and you are gambling by having the site available for spidering.
If, however, you do want the search engines to spider the content then you must rewrite it to avoid duplicate content penalties.
As a final note I would like to pose a question; did your client absolutely have to create a secondary website? In many cases I find that a client need not have created a second site; they just needed to add a new section to their site to manage the new target marketplace. The other option, which may have been appropriate in this case, is to add a subdomain to enjoy the benefits of a secondary home page on a pre-branded domain and fresh marketable URL; nearly the same benefits of having a secondary domain without the headache of marketing an entirely new website. Even in this case, however, you would not be able to use duplicate content so you would be faced with the same issues; either rewrite the content or block it from spiders.
Question 3) “Ross, in an attempt to improve my ranking in the search engines, I have been writing articles for article directories in the hopes of receiving quality backlinks. Recently I came across a site mypagerank.net, which I decided to check on my link popularity. The result indicated that I only had 18 backlinks. What can I do to increase the number of backlinks I am getting? I would have expected more as I have written many more articles and submitted my URL to many directories. Thanks, enjoy reading your articles” – Peter
Answer: First, good work making the effort to write articles, they are an excellent medium for promotion and I commend you for dedicating the time to writing. I certainly understand the significant commitment to time and research required to write usable content. Fortunately, there are a few techniques that may help you squeeze some extra benefits from your hard work:
- Be Clear – Request Credit
Are you being very clear to those republishing your content that you expect a linked credit for the copy? Simply stating that you allow syndication but request credit laid out in a particular linked format will do wonders. At StepForth we clearly request credit and we occasionally troll Google looking for those who have republished our content without credit; it is usually a simple matter to have the content removed or the appropriate link added. Hence, if you see this article does not give credit and provide a link to StepForth.com then please drop me a note, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pick a Powerful, Timely Topic
Have you noticed a topic coming up regularly in forums? Perhaps a question that appears to be asked regularly? This is usually a good indication that an article discussing the topic would do well. Remember that many of the syndication networks online are looking for topics that will get readers and ultimately provide impressions for their advertisers. As a result, picking a hot topic will make a world of difference in how widely your article will get picked up.
- Optimize the Title
The title of your article needs to clearly relay the topic and should engage readers and editors alike. The title can make or break a story if it is too vague or boring.
- Refer to Your Own Content
It helps to provide inline links from your article to relevant previous articles or pages on your website. With practice and once you have built up a healthy reservoir of linkable articles it will soon be second nature to refer to links in a manner that is crucial to the article; so that editors note that the backlinks are relevant and play a legitimate role in the purpose of the article. Legitimacy of backlinks is crucial to make the ‘cut’ because editors are more likely to remove a link than keep one if it appears merely promotional.
- Give Praise Where it is Due
Within an article don’t be afraid to link to other sources where you have noted particularly good information, particularly other small business blogs. The fact is that some bloggers take a real shine to those who syndicate or give credit to their content and may just link back to you in thanks.
- Put RSS On Your Side
If you have not already done so ensure that your articles are syndicated on your website in RSS format as well. This can be easily accomplished by using a blog to publish your articles because most blog systems include automated feed creation. Many of the article syndication networks use articles solely through RSS. So as soon as you get a RSS feed you should go out and tell the world about it. Try using Google and search for “submit feed” or ” add blog ” and you are certain to find some great sites to submit your syndication feed.
There is a lot more information on this topic so I will provide some links that should help you further:
- Article Writing Tips – excellent resource I stumbled across
- Related forum thread in SEO Chat
- Related forum thread on Digital Point
After all this work is done, keep in mind not every proper (credited) use of your article will deliver the benefits of a backlink. The search engines are frankly too smart to give credit to every article link because of the obvious duplication and the unfortunate proliferation of article scraping sites (sites that republish articles to try and make their sites appear authoritative). That said, the links acquired from truly authoritative sites would pay off as backlinks and hopefully with the more important benefit – direct traffic.
As a final note remember that articles are meant for human consumption so be sure to proofread your work and ensure that the topic is either timely or originally written enough to be useful. I am not saying this applies to you, however, it is important that the quality of the content is high enough to merit wide spread syndication.
In a show of humility we are not used to seeing from Google, the Blogger team published an apology of sorts today regarding a hailstorm of Blogger outages this week.
According to the team the current version of Blogger is causing massive problems for a variety of reasons which can be summed up as one thing – they have outgrown it. The post is a good read and gives some enjoyable insight into the world of Google when it turns upside down; not something I figured happened over there Read more…
Online calendars have been available for many years now but the calendar-sharing feature that Google has included in Google Calendar has opened the door to a great a form of social marketing that is bound to make waves and possibly increase your bottom line.
What is Google Calendar?
If you are not a GMail user or even a fan of Google you may not know what I am talking about so here is some background. GMail is Google’s free web-based email program, which has many features that has helped it create a significant user base. After the emergence of Google Mail (GMail), Google launched a number of additional free applications for Gmail users, which culminated in a combined solution called Google Apps . One of these applications is Google Calendar, which is the subject of this article. Read more…
Search engine optimization, as a practicing sector of the greater search engine marketing industry, is seeing an upswing in business over the past few months. This trend is fueled by a number of concurrent factors, the least of which is the actual effectiveness of organic search placement.
Today’s search marketing metaverse is made up of a multiplicity of mash-ups. Paid and organic results now appear in any number of venues beyond the traditional SERPs that are directly or indirectly associated with a branded search engine or social network. While search has been big business for over five years, a growing sophistication is entering the marketing space as creative people find intelligent and interesting ways to get a growing number of applications to work together. Read more…
Noted search journalist Barry Schwartz (aka: rustybrick) is getting married on Sunday to his financee of eight months, Yisha Tversky.
Barry issued the first known marriage proposal via search engine when the folks at Ask Jeeves (now Ask.com) helped him pop the question by placing his proposal page at the top of search results for a keyword phrase he knew Yisha would be searching for (her name).
Yisha, who is about to marry one of the nicest guys in the industry, immediately said yes and hopeless romantics through-out the industry (like us here at StepForth) smiled and wiped stray tears from our eyes when Barry shared the news.
Due to Barry’s notoriety, the search industry paparazzi are rumored to be planning a stakeout of the wedding. Watch for photos to be published on Flickr sometime next week, or perhaps on the site, Yisha & Barry.com.
Congratulations Barry and Yisha. Best wishes from your friends (and readers) at StepForth Placement.
It has been an interesting and rather heady month here at StepForth’s news desk. Several times this month, we had the cursed blessing of realizing the absurd, awesome reach of our column, newsletter and blog.
One story we covered (or miscovered, depending on how one looks at it) led to the delisting of INewswire from Google News. Another, written eighteen months ago, was introduced as Exhibit G in the Motion for Dismissal filed as part of Traffic Power vs. BatteryFuel Suit. Lots of stuff we wrote about Google was quoted and reprinted in literally too many other places to bother trying to keep up with. The weirdest one though, the one even my mother probably wouldn’t believe is that someone at Cambridge University (the one in England) liked an article enough to reprint a hardcopy in their quarterly tech-mag. Read more…
What is Social Networking and how will it affect online marketing in the coming years? That’s a question a number of people have been thinking about since the dawn of the commercial ‘net. In the earliest days, online social networks formed between users of bulletin board services (BBS). People met each other by joining the board with planned, in-person gatherings taking over entire cafes. That was a time so geeky it seems quaint in remembrance. Today’s social networks are enormous, robust and sophisticated. The medium is a lot of things but these days, there’s nothing geeky about it. Read more…