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Here’s a sure-fire way to get ranked high in Google.

Piss people off.

Reportedly, DecorMyEyes founder Vitaly Borker was arrested and charged with defrauding customers, and making repeated and violent threats to customers who attempted to return defective goods.

Not a fan of “How To Win Friends And Influence People”, then :) This bit will interest SEO fans:

Hello, My name is Stanley with,” the post began. “I just wanted to let you guys know that the more replies you people post, the more business and the more hits and sales I get. My goal is NEGATIVE advertisement.”It’s all part of a sales strategy, he said. Online chatter about DecorMyEyes, even furious online chatter, pushed the site higher in Google search results, which led to greater sales. He closed with a sardonic expression of gratitude: “I never had the amount of traffic I have now since my 1st complaint. I am in heaven

If you look at the backlinks for, you’ll find a significant volume of inbound linking, some of which is junk, but also includes links from the likes of the New York Times. The high-profile links are a direct result of bad publicity.

Of course, this has always been the fly in Google’s ointment. Google’s link-oriented approach to ranking reflects the attention a site receives. This doesn’t necessarily mean the site is endorsed, and in this case, the opposite is true.

Facing a PR disaster, in all senses of the word, Google were quick to act:

We were horrified to read about Ms. Rodriguez’s dreadful experience. Even though our initial analysis pointed to this being an edge case and not a widespread problem in our search results, we immediately convened a team that looked carefully at the issue. That team developed an initial algorithmic solution, implemented it, and the solution is already live

Hmmm….was the algorithmic solution “if domain =, then PR=0″ :)

Jokes aside, Google outlined the options they could have taken to prevent such a problem, but chose not to, then cryptically hint at the step they did eventually take:

Instead, in the last few days we developed an algorithmic solution which detects the merchant from the Times article along with hundreds of other merchants that, in our opinion, provide an extremely poor user experience. The algorithm we incorporated into our search rankings represents an initial solution to this issue, and Google users are now getting a better experience as a result

Reading between the lines, it is clear that…….erm…….hmmmm………I don’t know about you, but I’m none the wiser! That could mean anything! Assembling a team of hand editors to baby sit the results of an algo, or the beginnings of some frightfully clever semantic analysis.

Hard to tell.

Google make out the case is an outlier, although that would only be true on the surface. The fundamental problem, for Google, is link context, and that is a far more difficult problem to solve.

Link As A Vote

When Google started, they used a clever backlink check as a form of voting. The more backlinks a site had, from sites deemed to be authoritative, the higher the rank.

But the web has changed.

These days, we have Facebook and social media. Most people on the web aren’t web publishers in the traditional sense. Most people participate on the web, but don’t have their own websites. They post on other people’s sites, over which they have little control. Google has to make sense of all this, because Google still wants to know what information people pay the most attention to.

The beating heart of a link is a mark of attention.

Google collects markers of attention.

As the PR – as in public relations – problem with DecorMyEyes reveals, popularity and authority calculations are not enough. Google’s black box also has to figure out context. Most SEOs would guess Google is putting a lot of work into semantic analysis.

This is why it is becoming increasingly important to treat SEO as a public relations exercise. Links can come from anywhere, and whether they are no-followed, scripted or otherwise, they are all markers of attention. Google’s job will always be to collect them, and make sense of them. To the webmaster, all markers of attention are valuable.

Well, almost all.

DecorMyEyes turned it into a marketing strategy, but in terms of SEO, it was never going to last. First rule of SEOClub is that you don’t publicly embarrass Google.

The Lesson

Be interesting.

In a useful way.

Oscar Wilde said “the only thing worse than being talked about was not being talked about”. Malcolm Mclaren said something similar: “bad publicity isn’t as good as good publicity, it is ten times better”. Brendan Behan “All publicity is good, except an obituary notice”.

Get positive ratings. “Encourage” reviews. Go to where your customers are, and get the conversation started. Do you have a story? Be controversial, if it suits. Find an angle and work it. Link out.

When you think PR, think Public Relations.

SEO – Learn. Rank. Dominate.

For years Google has championed the concept of an open web. Some took it as an altruistic sign, while others thought it was a convenient angle to commoditize complimentary business models.

Google pushed for net neutrality but made wireless connections an exception. Why would they do that? Could it be they are invested in disrupting that market elsewhere?

As Google started to reach the bulk of potential returns based on direct response they started to lean on brands as a signal of quality & recommend brands more in their search results. When you search for Amazon you might get 8 or 9 links from the official site & even on some generic keywords Google recommends associated brands.

When you think about what brand is, it is a mental shorthand for a concept. It leads to increased recall, fatter sustained profit margins, and thus the ability to spend more on marketing. If Google is to put more weight on reviews and look at sentiment analysis then of course that will benefit the larger players who invested into establishing positive associations, even at a young age. The results of such branding efforts are quite powerful.

And even moreso if you don’t use them for evil, Pepsi! :D

In the past Google has positioned that affiliates are evil (the body language says it all IMHO), though there are Google’s remote quality rater documents which provide further proof to anyone with lingering doubts.

As Google is becoming the affiliate they are getting direct signals into what consumers like most & are able to serve them a personalized recommendation engine. New extended ad formats & using location data will allow Google to further drive down the organic results.

Not only does Google sell CPA priced product ads on their search results, but they also allow your Google Base account to drive additional product links, which gives them over 150 million products to advertise. The name of the game is to give Google a bit more data to get a higher clickthrough rate & thus have a higher quality score & be enabled for additional profitable opportunities sold at below fair market rates. That seems like a free lunch and works great, up until the day Google decides to use the aggregate data to compete directly against you. ;)

Google now runs a thin affiliate site in Google’s ability to recommend consumption behaviors not only impacts ecommerce, but every type of media in the world. They control the ad rates of various advertisers & can create custom ad integration opportunities.

Youtube offers related videos, a never-ending personalized streaming service in LeanBack and ads which users can select from.

When Google started scanning books it was supposed to be for search, rather than to have ebooks for sale. A couple lawsuits later and today Google finally opened up their ebook marketplace.

One of the leading features of Google’s ‘open’ marketplace is DRM: “Publishers can choose whether or not to lock down their books with DRM. Google also says it will have a strict privacy policy that forbids it from using your book buying habits to advertise to, or profile readers.” If you are outside of the United States the store is simply unavailable. That same article states that “Google hopes to layer on social features into the service in the near-future and says the infrastructure is in place to let people buy both a digital and paper copy of a book in a bundle.”

Would that be Google moving from pushing bits & people to pushing physical products?

Google announced their copyright “improvements” in front of the Viacom vs Youtube copyright lawsuit appeal.

Meanwhile Google is the same company which published this & recommends keygens and serials when you search for a brand. Google promises to fix that later issue – something that has only took them a few YEARS to do, even though they were blocking porn words (& other words that could have earned them negative press) much sooner.

In much the same way that Google has captured most of the revenue streams they will be able to with direct response ads, I think they realize that they will need to work better at managing property rights of big media & other publishers if they really want to drive brand advertising revenues. This will likely lead to a decline of the “anything goes” web.

If you think of the whole reason Google was so liberal in their approach to supporting (and even funding) copyright violation it was so that they could weaken the positions of the companies that hold those rights, such that Google can eventually negotiate a deal with them. But the main thing holding back Google music is that based on Google’s past performance the labels do not trust the idea of a digital music locker hosted by Google. After all, Google AdSense ads are what allow sites dedicated to downloading MP3s from Youtube to be monetized today.

Google offers promotional links on Youtube & knows how much money they are missing out on. Google’s boondoggle of using public relations to paint a clean show publicly while using legal loopholes to circumvent the intent of the law was good for getting them into a strong market position, but if they want to have a leadership position in more big media markets they will need to get buy in from established players.

Google wants to get big into television ads. And that is going to mean having better respect for copyright. To some degree as we see the Google business model change we will see their approach of “paying anyone to steal anything & wrap it in Google ads” (to soften up copyright) change to a model where the put themselves as a gatekeeper on DRM content & push the “official” sources of the media (and try to make a cut of the profits). Already on Youtube if you view certain content from outside the United States they will tell you that it is unavailable in your area.

Google’s first video store was a complete failure. Once again they are pushing hard on video with Google TV & by buying the DRM company widevine. Big media companies have opted out of Google TV awaiting more favorable deals.

Part of such deals will ultimately rely on backroom payouts coupled with hard coded promotions. There will be a lot of collateral damage as entire categories become unprofitable. I think we are seeing the organic search results take a page from the ad book: pay to play.

Google’s old model of paying people to scrape content & wrap it in ads was leading to a market for lemons, driven by Gresham’s theorem. Much like how the most fraudulent banks could afford to buy out less fraudulent ones, and how Chinese milk with melamine was cheaper than real milk sent real companies into bankruptcy, the search results were suffering from the age of scrape/mash/publish. Given the surrounding economic forces crushing newspapers, Google was making things worse than they needed to be.

Those who are creating original high-quality content have real business costs. Google paying scraper sites like Mahalo and Ask to borrow your content & wrap it in ads means that you are sometimes getting outranked for scraped duplications of your own content. That drives down publisher margins and pushes marginally profitable publishers into losing money.

Google news has been described as a sewage factory plagued with nefarious players & is now undergoing clean up as well.

Slowly but surely the search results will fill up with official hotel sites, official music sources, official video sources, official ebook sources, etc etc etc … with Google putting a big foot on the gas & accepting whatever cut they can get. If they want to avoid regulatory scrutiny they need to work with the official sources (which are every bit as politically connected as Google is).

As that shift happens the longtail spam model will lose out on its profitability because it will be forced to compete with higher quality content that is automatically mixed into the search results. (The whole point of universal search was to allow Google to short cut certain types of information right into the core search results…as they start making money from micro-payments and such look for that trend to accelerate).

Ultimately what has doomed most portals was that they were willing to produce second rate holder stuff that filled out a vertical and was ‘good enough.’ What makes Google so powerful with the stealth backdoor portal approach is that it allows them to mix 3rd party content without forcing them to either absorb the cost or create low quality backfill stuff on their own.

One area that is ripe for ad innovations is books:

I’m genuinely glad to have Google enter this market because it will be reaching potential customers at a unique point in their book-buying journey: at the point of web search, not at the point of searching the bookstore. This means many things you didn’t realize a book can help you with—overcoming depression, remodeling a bathroom, making friends and influencing people—will now be surfaced alongside all the YouTube and other results Google will offer. This is a net plus for books.

But the ultimate effect of Google e-books, if Google knows what’s good for it, will be the creation of an ad-supported publishing model.

Now that books are digital & Google has rights to sell them I would expect in the next year or 2 that Google starts to display them in the organic search results more aggressively. The free samples can be monetized via ads & upsells of the whole book. That endless stream of editorially vetted content could put a dent in the content farm business model.

SEO – Learn. Rank. Dominate.

Build a following as a consultant

Consulting GroupAre you a consultant? Whether you are independent or not, building a following will directly affect your bottom line. Your success as an advisor depends on a number of elements, the first of which is your credibility. Credibility can be built entirely online, here are a few ways to DIY your public relations.

1) Start a blog with a Q&A section.

Question and Answer sections in your website will allow you to display your level of expertise as well as the verity of knowledge in a helpful and search engine beneficial format. Building this section of your website can be controlled and flexible. You can use a verity of ways to create this including video, blog commenting, or a contact form.

2) Use Social Media to promote your advice and “quick tips”

Social media will provide the most invaluable key to your online promotion. Social media can be easily integrated into your website, as well as provide you an online distribution tool for your articles. The two most important Social media tools to develop and grow include your Facebook Fan Page and Twitter Following. Each with the right website designer can be automatically updated every time you publish an article to your website.

3) Capture an audience and build a following through Email Marketing

Email marketing is important, however social media is growing and will be more valuable in the future as it becomes the default for messaging. Capturing information about your audience can be done through your website using a contact form or service such as aweber or constant contact. Give away a free information packet with a sign-up or use Google’s Feedburner to grow your audience easily using Email Marketing.

4) Encourage feedback and comments

When you construct an outline for your articles you should leave the reader the opportunity to answer your article with a followup question or comment. Using a blog format to publish your information automatically lends itself to this type of atmosphere. Ways to encourage comments include picking controversial topics, ending your post in a question or just asking for opinions.

5) Publish your information through online article directories

Publishing your information to your website is great, however you’re missing a lot of free traffic by not taking advantage of these highly regarded free resources. The 3 top article websites are:,,

Joel Goldstein

Those who have embraced social media have, for the most part, truly embraced it.

Those who haven’t, haven’t.

This great video by timetogetsocial gives an “in your face” version of reasons to care about social media as a business. Watch the video and then see the transcript of the reasons after the jump.

Here is a breakdown of the reasons listed in the video:

  1. Social media is now the number one online activity, beating porn and personal email to the top spot.

  2. Because 2/3 of the global Internet population visit social networks.

  3. Because time spent on social networks is growing at 3X the overall Internet rate, accounting for 10% of all Internet time.

  4. Because online, including social media, has become the most influential source in helping consumers make purchasing decisions.

  5. Because millions of people are creating content for the social web.

  6. Because the next 3 billion consumers will access the Internet from a mobile device.

  7. Because Facebook is now the operating system of the social web.

  8. Because Twitter believes it will have 1 billion users by 2012.

  9. Because one way marketing has had its day.

  10. Because in almost all cases social media is free.

* * *

Read more about being social on this social media blog.

Post image for Sonos Wireless Dock Review

Since my last Sonos post a few months ago (see Sonos Review), I’ve really become a big Sonos advocate. I’ve been telling people about it and recommending it to anyone who asks. In fact I’ve even added a Sonos S5 to the master Bedroom. So when Sonos asked me if I wanted to review their new Wireless Dock, I was pretty excited.

The wireless dock is a dock for your iPod/iPhone/iPod Touch that allows you to connect to your Sonos music system. You plug the unit in to the wall, sync it with your Sonos system and, in less than 2 minutes, you’re ready to start playing music. The best way to use the wireless dock is to put it near your main audio system, so if one of your friends come over you can play music directly from their player throughout your house without needing to move files around. It’s really painless. The second best way is to put a  Sonos S5 in a guest room so your guests can play their own music. When you set up a wireless Sonos dock, my advice is to configure it to autoplay on the most appropriate Sonos Player.

There is one criticism I have about the wireless dock: it won’t work with an iPad. Right now I’ve got a jury rigged iPad Dock and JVC Soundstage for when I’m watching Weeds Reruns on Netflix while making dinner … err …  I mean Ted Videos … yeah, that’s the ticket … ’cause the native iPad speaker is too low. If the Sonos wireless dock had a slot that accommodated an iPad I could replace those two with one unit. Other than that, it’s a nice addition to the Sonos product line.

Disclosure: This is not a paid review; however, I was sent a Sonos Wireless Dock for review.

Creative Commons License photo credit: seyed mostafa zamani

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Sonos Wireless Dock Review

Michael Gray – Graywolf’s SEO Blog

Posted by Justin Briggs

If you want to boost rankings, few things are as effective as link building. It’s also the one of the hardest and most time consuming parts of SEO. I’d love to hear from others, so in the comments below share your best or most unique tips for link builders.

Following are nine of my tips to help you as a link builder. You may already be using some of these, but hopefully you’ll find a helpful nugget of information in here.

#1 Hide Behind Content StrategiesSomeone Hired a Link Buildersomeone hired a link builder

If you want to want to engage in less than pearly white link building tactics, do it behind cover of content based tactics.

Consider some of the tools available today, which can publicly show link velocity graphs (links acquired over time).

Graph from

If a spike in links acquired happens without any other change to your site, it may appear a bit suspicious. I recommend starting your link building push at the same time as launching content. This way, there is a corresponding purpose behind a spike in your link profile.

#2 Be Approachable

When sending out link request emails, try to be approachable. I recommend including an offer to speak with them over the phone. It’s just one more trust element, and can set you apart from mass link request emails. Another way to be approachable is building links as a girl. Girls seem to build links more effectively than boys.

girl link builder Geoff, who’s been working with me on link building recently, wrote a pretty clever post about using OKCupid data to improve link requests.

Being non-traditional can help put people at ease. Recently, I got a link by using this in a link request email.

 "I think it’d be epic to bust out in Spanish like Stewie on Family Guy while blowing the head off a zombie with a shotgun"

A non-conventional link request is more effective than a standard "Dear Webmaster" email. And always test your emails, because some small changes can go a long way. I was able to increase my response rate on a campaign from 20% to 87% by reframing the link request. I find that less formal emails work better.

#3 Know the Basic of Sales

A few of my more valuable experiences as a link builder were the ones that taught me how to be better at sales. Knowing how to be persuasive can improve your link building. I recommend approaching a link building request as a sales pitch to be closed.

  • Build a relationship first.
  • Help them out.
  • Be a bit manipulative.
  • Frame the request.
  • Create a sense of urgency.
  • Overcome objections.
  • Make them a hero.

Some books I’ve enjoyed reading are Never Eat Alone, Predictably Irrational and the Little Red Book of Selling.

#4 Mining for Information

Dig in deep to find a prospective linker’s contact information. It’s a bit like stalking, but spending the extra time to find a way to get in touch can pay off.

I’ve found it useful to search email address on major social media sites, then cross reference any usernames or screen names I found with KnowEm. This can help find alternative ways to connect with a webmaster other than email.

I recommend using CTRL + F to search for rewritten email addresses. For example, check for [at], (at), a/t, [dot], d0t, etc. A lot of webmasters hide their contact information from spam bots by rewriting it. This destroys any obvious pattern, which can make finding the email tricky, but searching for some common rewrites usually does the trick.

#5 Get Smarter About Guest Blogging

“Matt made a point to mention that users are more likely to click on the first link in an article as opposed to a link at the bottom of the article. He said put your most important links at the top of the article. I believe it was Matt hinting to SEOs about this.” – Search Engine Land

As guest blogging becomes mainstream, it’s getting spammed more. I think guest blogging is great, but if this becomes a spammed link building tactic, expect it to become less effective, especially as SEOs start to automate guest blogging.

#6 Paid Links Work

Although I don’t support paid links, let’s just say that paid links work. There is a lot of risk associated with buying links, but if you’re going to.

  • Don’t buy obvious paid links.
  • Don’t buy from networks.
  • Don’t buy from anyone who discloses selling links.
  • Don’t use perfect anchor text, especially high value terms.
  • Buy links to link magnets and linkbait.
  • Mix it up and have no pattern.
  • Buy for juice / trust and not just anchors.
  • Donate and sponsor.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean I’m saying you should. SEOmoz doesn’t endorse buying links and there are ways to buy links without buying links.

#7 A Robust Profile, Not Just A Robust Link.

We all have a concept of the “perfect” link, but obtaining a link that’s relevant, high authority, and has the right anchor text is challenging.

I recommend building out a robust *profile*. Get what you can, where you can. I can get my juice in one place and my anchors somewhere else.

A lot of tactics that shouldn’t work still do, especially on sites that have an authoritative link profile otherwise. If you have a site with a strong link profile, but lacks anchor text optimization, think of some easy ways to get the anchor text you want.

#8 Understand Diminishing Returns

Shoot for domain diversity when building links.

At a certain point, the marginal value of a link from a particular domain starts to reduce. If you look at a factor like anchor text, the marginal value of a link may become negative.

diminishing returns

  1. Get a link from a domain
    and move on. (20 links on 20 domains > 20 links on 2 domains)
  2. Vary your anchor text often. (Over optimization can suppress rankings)

#9 Keep Up With New Tips and Tricks

Some of my favorites over the last few months are link profile visualization, Multi-links for Firefox, and that Excel and Google Docs have hyperlink functions. (Thanks to Tom & Ben for the hyperlink protip.)

I’ve even shared one of my own tricks, which is using GCSE to replace Yahoo! linkdomain.

Keeping your finger on the pulse of the link building community can help you find these little nuggets. Other than SEOmoz and Distilled, I really like stuff put out by Wiep, Ontolo, SEER, Blogstorm, and SEO Gadget.

I’d love to hear everyone else’s tips and ideas.

Feel free to connect with me on Twitter if you ever want to chat about link building. 

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SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog

If there’s one thing that’s certain on the Internet, it’s that people like to express their opinions and have others hear (read) them.

Blogging has transitioned over the last decade from a medium of personal expression meant for few, if any, to read to a full-blown contender in the news. Many blogs have emerged and become better reference points on their topic than mainstream media. If you have a question about technology, do you go to the tech section of The New York Times or do go to Mashable or Engadget?

This Infographic by our friends at Flowtown breaks it down for us and takes us down the path from inception (no, not the movie) to where we are today. Blogging is now and it’s here to stay. Where do you fit in?

Click to Enlarge

* * *

Read more on this Social Media Blog.

Soshable | Social Media Blog
This is actually wonderful. Barbie’s had 124 careers since 1959, ranging from Stewardess to Paratrooper. Today she gets her 125th: computer engineer. You can tell she’s smart ’cause she’s got glasses, and reads nothing but binary.

Barbie’s latest career move is also significant for being the first decided entirely by online vote. Though maybe it’s not so surprising that the internet community was especially inclined to see a Bluetooth-rocking geektastic Barbie.

She’s been around for decades, but Barbie’s every bit the influencer that she’s always been. Will this inspire a generation of women to become computer scientists scientists? Probably not. But it might go a long ways towards dispelling any unfair preconceptions about the computer sciences.

Full release below, but first: can anyone tell me what the binary on her screen says? I hope it’s not just a bunch of stories about unicorns. That might defeat the purpose.

The Vote Is In: Barbie® Unveils Her 125th and 126th Careers
For the first time ever, Barbie® asked the world to help her select her next career. Over the past few months Barbie® did research around the world and also conducted an online voting campaign, calling upon the world to vote for her doll’s next career – Barbie® has asked her Twitter followers and fans on Facebook to help her with this important career decision.

But that’s not all! Consumers loudly campaigned for another Barbie® career. The winner of the popular vote is Computer Engineer. Computer Engineer Barbie®, debuting in Winter 2010, inspires a new generation of girls to explore this important high-tech industry, which continues to grow and need future female leaders.

“All the girls who imagine their futures through Barbie will learn that engineers – like girls – are free to explore infinite possibilities, limited only by their imagination,” says Nora Lin, President, Society of Women Engineers. “As a computer engineer, Barbie will show girls that women can turn their ideas into realities that have a direct and positive impact on people’s everyday lives in this exciting and rewarding career.”

To create an authentic look, Barbie® designers worked closely with the Society of Women Engineers and the National Academy of Engineering to develop the wardrobe and accessories for Computer Engineer Barbie®. Wearing a binary code patterned tee and equipped with all the latest gadgets including a smart phone, Bluetooth headset, and laptop travel bag, Computer Engineer Barbie® is geek chic.

Always a trailblazer, Barbie® continues her impressive career path in 2010 and throughout the new decade as she takes on these two new aspirational careers. Both News Anchor Barbie® and Computer Engineer Barbie® are currently available for pre-order exclusively at

Posted by Aaron Wheeler

 And now it’s PPC coming into the ring… he is looking ready to rumble! Pumping his fists, he’s showing off to the audience – looking to the left, to the right, and – wait, what’s that!? The crowd is going wild! PPC just straight out dissed SEO, who’s in the other corner, looking ready to strike! I tell ya, folks, I haven’t seen a rivalry this bitter since the great Northeastern College of Computer and Information Science Star Wars vs. Lord of the Rings debate of ’07! Well, maybe more bitter than that, actually… the point is, PPC and SEO may be siblings, but their contention with one another can run deep. Danny helps us sort out the strife and bring this band of brothers together (and actually keeps his bias out of it, kind of!). Don’t forget to use your nails, boys!

Embed video
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Video Transcription

Hello, everybody. My name is Danny Dover. I work here at SEOmoz doing SEO. Today I’m excited about Whiteboard Friday. We’re doing "Sibling Rivalry: PPC versus SEO." As you can probably assume, I’m a big SEO junkie. I like making fun of PPC. I was talking to the PPC people on our team, Joanna Lord, who does that for us here, and she told me that I need to be on my best behavior. I need to try to be unbiased. I am going to try my hardest. I invite all of you to submit videos if you think that I am being too biased and you want to submit your viewpoint. Please submit them to my email address If it’s good enough, we’ll embed it on this blog so we can give people the biggest perspective possible. I know that working video cameras is hard for you PPCers. Just remember to hit record and take the lens cap off. This is not a good start to being unbiased.

Okay. So, PPC and SEO, the thing I’m talking about, of course, is what you see on search engine result pages. You’ll see on the top and on the right in the United States are ads. You’re going to pay for those. Those are what I am referring to when I talk about PPC, pay-per-click. SEO, search engine optimization, will be the rest of the page. Both of these, you know, they’re two different channels for marketing. They’re trying to accomplish the same goal. They’re both trying to drive traffic to a specific thing. Whenever you are looking at two different channels of the same thing, it’s important to figure out what are the pros, what are the cons, what are the strengths, and what are the weaknesses. How can these work together? When is it more appropriate to use one rather than the other? Let me talk about the pros and
cons of PPC and SEO.

The cons of PPC are really, really long, but I had to simplify it so I could fit it on the whiteboard here. With PPC, it starts really quickly. So, if you want to be showing up in Google for example, you can create an ad campaign and in the same day your ads will be showing up. It’s also a lot easier to measure than SEO. In fact, this is something I’m envious of PPCers. While I can use analytics and stuff, it gets complicated to try to measure SEO because you cast such a wide net. Whereas PPC, Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and everyone else have built some great interfaces. They’ve done some great things. So it’s a lot easier to measure your direct ROI on PPC.

The downside to PPC is that it cost a lot of money as compared to traditional SEO. You’re going to pay for every single click that comes through. That’s going to add up over time. In case you don’t know, it works on an auction system, so you’re going to pay more for more competitive keywords, which is not necessarily the same system with SEO.

With SEO it has a slower start-up. So, in fact, SEO can take a long time to start working. But it is essentially free. Once you do it once, it is in place and assuming best practices don’t change, which they usually don’t, it’s going to build on itself over time. The start-up cost is slower. It costs you less money, and it builds on itself over time. By that, I mean, with SEO if you get a link from The New York Times for example, that link’s going to help you for the lifetime of the link. If you run an ad with PPC, an ad that ran a year ago is not necessarily going to help you. To be fair, it could, you could argue it could help you from a branding perspective, but not in the same way that a mention in The New York Times would and actually give you direct link to and help you rank higher in Google.

On to the major contention points. This is where it gets a little bit more fun. The first one is budgets. PPC and SEO are generally put in marketing departments in companies. It varies of course. That means that they need to fight each other for budgets, along with all the other marketing channels. So, this is where I see the biggest contention. I think generally people realize that PPC and SEO are trying to accomplish the same thing — drive traffic. But PPC costs a lot more money up front. SEO costs a lot more money down the road to get these big initiatives through.

The next one is dev resources. Admittedly, SEO is much more dev heavy or development resource heavy than PPC. You could technically run a PPC campaign without any developers. But if you want to be creative and a better person, you could do SEO, and you’re going to need the help of developers. With marketing resources, people who are writing the ad copy and the people who are planning what the campaigns are going to be, it’s going to take more of your traditional markers, marketers to do that. Not markers. Although markers, you do use markers. So that could work. See that made sense. It did.

Lastly are the conflicting best practices. This is actually where when I am working with people at SEOmoz this is where we butt heads. With things like, especially when it comes to tracking, tracking parameters, this can be one of the biggest pros of PPC. It is really, really easy to measure. Part of that is implementing things that are not best practices for SEO, be it URL parameters or putting in a lot of duplicate content so you can test lots of different landing pages or be it keywords, keyword cannibalization. A lot of times you’ll be targeting the exact same words with your PPC campaigns as your SEO campaigns. That’s a good thing usually, because you want to dominate the entire SERP. But it also means that you can run into keyword cannibalization issues where pages you don’t necessarily want to rank organically start to. Don’t worry. I’ll talk about how to work with some of those things.

That brings us right into the tips for playing nice. The first one I think is probably the most important. Understand that you’re both working on the same team and that you need to unify your message. I said already, this will be my third time, you’re both trying to drive traffic. Make sure you are using similar phrases and that you’re trying to get to the same end goal when you’re doing this.

That segues nicely into the other one, which is learn each other’s jobs. I’ve actually learned a lot about SEO by trying to understand PPC. The same thing goes the other way around. Someone who knows a lot about PPC can learn a lot about improving their quality score by learning SEO basic best practices.

Share research and win. There are two important points here. The research. The first one that comes to mind is most of the SEO keyword research I do is through PPC tools. If you’re both trying to target the same words, it would make a lot of sense just to share that data. If you’re seeing words in SEO, like organic listings convert really well, you should probably tell your PPC person that as well. It’s just going to help the company as a whole.

The second one is share wins. Some days you’re going to have SEO wins. Some days you’re going to have PPC wins. It’s important to celebrate each other’s wins. You’re going for the same goal here. Plus, you get to celebrate more. If you’re at SEOmoz, this might be a Champagne Wednesday or something, right? The more you can drink in the office, the better. Share your wins. I highly recommend it.

This one over here is design campaigns together. I don’t necessarily mean have your SEO writing copy for your PPC campaign. I do mean talk about implementation. How are these landing pages going to be structured on the site? What are they going to look like? Are they nofollow? Are they blocked by robots.txt. What general ideas are you trying to target? The same thing with SEO. What message are we conveying through this URL structure? How is it going to affect quality score? Important things like that. Just make sure that multiple people working on these two different channels are working together when planning these different campaigns.

Number five is understand each channel’s strengths and weakness. So, PPC for example is great because it can be very temporal. If you want to get an ad up today and be what looks like ranking for something, which it’s really not, you can do it day of. It you just want to spend a lot of money, you can rank number one for whatever it is you want depending on your budget. Whereas SEO, you can’t do that. SEO, on the other hand, it will take you a lot longer, but for relatively low budgets you can rank competitively for high term. We see a lot of startups do this. They’ll have a great SEO campaign. They’ll do great content. They’ll start ranking for ridiculously competitive things. did this originally. Their blog ranks extremely well for personal finance related things. They have a lot of great marketing channels, but SEO is one of the ones that really kicked butt and saved them, at least I’m assuming here, saved them a lot of money because they didn’t have to pay for the PPC ads, although they did on the side. But they didn’t need to. They drive a lot of traffic organically.

The last one is be liberal with rel=canonical and meta robots. This is more from an SEO perspective. By this I mean rel=canonical, if you’re going to have lots of URL parameters that show up a lot on blogs for tracking things, be liberal with this. Use it as much as you can. At SEOmoz, we’re trying to get it implemented on every single page so that if someone has a bunch of parameters through our URLs, it will always go back to one canonical version.

The second part of this is meta robots. There are very, very few cases where you should ever use robots.txt to block a page because you’re just creating a black hole in your website and you’re wasting links. But with landing pages for PPC it make a lot of sense to noindex them so they don’t start competing against pages that are SEO driven
, but you should share the link value within them. So, using a follow. There’d be a meta robots noindex follow.

I think that’s all I got, other than PPCers are big dum-dum heads. I invite you to share your own video clips explaining the other perspective of this. I appreciate your time. I’ll see you next week on Whiteboard Friday. Thank you.

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Post image for Dealing With a “Scam” Listing For Your Company Name in the SERPs

Anyone who deals with the public sector will have to deal with negative listings about them in the SERPs at some point. The most damaging of these is the “scam” listing. In this post I’ll discuss some tactics you can use to handle them.

In this age it’s inevitable that some will say something negative about you and you need a strategy to deal with it…

I got the idea for this article when I read a post by Tim Ferris called Tim Ferris Scam – How to Deal With the Haters. The article offers some practical real world advice ( I’m particularly fond of the Colin Powell quote), but this post is really just about dealing with the SEO aspects.

First and foremost, approach the problem from a customer service perspective. Drop the person an email or, better yet, a phone call and FIX THE PROBLEM. If someone wrote a bad post about you when they felt they got the shaft, chances are good they will post another when you bend over backwards trying to fix it.

Let’s say that won’t work–or maybe you’re in an unsavory industry, like one that engages in rebilling. What do you do? Because you are almost always going to be an authority for your own name, ranking for “brand name + KWD” should be easy. One post, a bit of internal anchor text, and a few scraper links should do the trick. Make sure you use “brand name + scam” in the title and in the anchor text when linking to the page and try and use the phrase in the main body copy at least once.

Have more than one negative listing you want to displace? Wait til your post is scraped, rewrite your original post, and link to the most authoritative scraper and that too. Need another? This is the time to maximize the list of parasite SEO sites, like squidoo, google knol,, and others.

So what should you talk about on these pages? Explain why your product or service isn’t a scam. Speak directly to the problems or issues people are having. Don’t sidestep or put a spin on it. You can fool some people, but most people know when they are being lied to.

In this age it’s inevitable that someone will say something negative about you, and you need a strategy to deal with it. You can choose to be part of the conversation, you can use some of the tactics discussed here, or you can try a combination of both.

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This post originally came from Michael Gray who is an SEO Consultant. Be sure not to miss the Thesis WordPress Theme review.

Dealing With a “Scam” Listing For Your Company Name in the SERPs

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