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Illustrating the Long Tail

Posted by randfish

The long tail of search demand has been around since the dawn of web search and, since that time, search marketers have been attempting to tap into the powerful stream that high quantities of unique content can provide. I recently came across some great data from Hitwise (about 1 year old, but still highly relevant) showing off just how substantive the long tail can be. Bill Tancer’s post – Sizing Up the Long Tail – gives some stats:

…the head and body together only account for 3.25% of all search traffic! In fact, the top terms don’t account for much traffic:

• Top 100 terms: 5.7% of the all search traffic

• Top 500 terms: 8.9% of the all search traffic

• Top 1,000 terms: 10.6% of the all search traffic

• Top 10,000 terms: 18.5% of the all search traffic

This means if you had a monopoly over the top 1,000 search terms across all search engines (which is impossible), you’d still be missing out on 89.4% of all search traffic. There’s so much traffic in the tail it is hard to even comprehend. To illustrate, if search were represented by a tiny lizard with a one-inch head, the tail of that lizard would stretch for 221 miles.

Top 10,000 Search Terms by Percentage of All Search Traffic

The truth is my research is still greatly understating the true size of the tail because:

• The Hitwise sample contains 10 million U.S. Internet users and a complete data set would uncover much larger portions of the long tail.

• The data set I used filtered out adult searches.

• I only looked at 3-months worth of data (which were some of the slower months for search engines).

To help put this in perspective, I made a few spiffy charts that can help to illustrate these points:

Long Tail Search Traffic Distribution

In this first chart, you can see a representation of Hitwise’s data from the four chunks Bill broke down.

The Search Demand Curve

In this next representation, I’m showing the classic “long tail” style curve, but color-coded to help show the various areas of keyword demand. Note that you could conceptually say that the 9,000 of the top 10,000 terms should technically fit into the chunky middle. Bill classified them thusly in his post, but I tend to think that at those demand levels, we’re still talking about “head” of the curve figures.

For both of these graphics, there’s a large, high-res version available by clicking the chart. You can find lots, lots more on our Free Charts page :-)

Vogtland Suspension USA features high quality products manufactured by Vogtland, such as Audio Spring Kits, Audio Suspension Kits, Height Adjustable Coilovers, Sport Spring Kits, Sport Suspension Kits, Junior Suspension Kits and DONK Lift Kits. In addition they are paired up with Koni Sport Dampers, Koni Sport Valving, TokicoD-spec Dampers and Tokico HTS Dampers for the ultimate suspension product on the market today. Visit our store for great deals and savings from an Authorized Vogtland Dealer.

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Checklist: Is Your eCommerce Store Ready for Black Friday & Cyber Monday?

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the busiest online shopping days of the year!
Black Friday is the first day after Thanksgiving, and it is traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the entire year, for ecommerce as well as brick and mortar stores.
Cyber Monday is the next Monday after Thanksgiving, and this is another BIG day for online stores! The whole idea behind Cyber Monday is that people are back at work after the long holiday weekend, and ready to shop online.
If your online store isn’t up to snuff, you may lose a lot of revenue on Black Friday and Cyber Monday!
Here is a checklist of things you should do to make sure that your ecommerce store is ready for the shopping surge on Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
  • Make sure there are no broken links, slow loading pages or dreaded 404 page errors. Your website needs to be up to speed in every way and the keyword is SPEED. Internet shoppers are notoriously impatient. If your site is too slow for any reason, they will leave.
  • Be sure to submit your products and/or updated sale prices to the comparison shopping sites such as Shopzilla and Pricegrabber. You might be surprised how many consumers check with these sites before buying, shopping around and comparing prices. So, you do need to be there!
  • Check to make sure that your SEO is up to par. Make sure that your images, titles, categories and everything else is fully Search Engine Optimized!
  • Do make a point of decorating and tweaking your online store to reflect the holiday mood. There are lots of free images and graphics available on the internet for you to spruce up your website.
  • Make sure that all of your landing pages are optimized and that you have landing pages in place for your holiday ads.
  • You should be offering electronic gift cards! A lot of shoppers habitually purchase e-gift cards to send the people on their gift list because it is quick and easy. So, if you don’t have something set up for this—do it!
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest online shopping days of the year!
Don’t get caught unprepared and miss out on all those sales for your online store!

Start your own online dropship business today!

Vogtland Suspension USA features high quality products manufactured by Vogtland, such as Audio Spring Kits, Audio Suspension Kits, Height Adjustable Coilovers, Sport Spring Kits, Sport Suspension Kits, Junior Suspension Kits and DONK Lift Kits. In addition they are paired up with Koni Sport Dampers, Koni Sport Valving, TokicoD-spec Dampers and Tokico HTS Dampers for the ultimate suspension product on the market today. Visit our store for great deals and savings from an Authorized Vogtland Dealer.

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RT @vogtlandsprings About Vogt…

November 19, 2009 by  
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RT @vogtlandsprings About Vogtland Suspension USA | http://bit.ly/3CVgFo

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Charting ‘Unique Keyphrases’ Using Advanced Segments

Posted by RobOusbey

A useful indicator of SEO success is the number of unique keyphrases that send traffic to a website. An increase in this number is a reflection of increased trust in the site by search-engines.

Google Analytics can show you the total number of unique organic keyphrases at a glance, on the Traffic Sources ⇒ Keywords page. (Make sure you select ‘non-paid’ to exclude any CPC campaigns.)

This post will show you how to break that down to a more useful level of granularity and help you to create a table such as the following:

We’ll aim to categorise traffic into three buckets: ‘branded’, ‘head terms’ and ‘mid-long tail terms’. (In reality, we’ll actually calculate the first two, and the third one will be ‘everything that is left’.)

As we often can’t export enough keywords from Google Analytics to do the analysis offline, we will have to use ‘Advanced Segments’ to do this. This means that we can only group together ‘branded terms’ and ‘head terms’ in ways that we can explain through AND and OR statements.

The process for doing this goes like this:

  1. Plan to create advanced segments that define each group of keywords you want to track
  2. Define rules using ‘AND’ & ‘OR’ statements that describe which keywords should be in each group
  3. Apply these groups each month, one at a time, to the previous month’s data, in order to reveal the number of unique keywords.

Since this ‘rule defining’ will take place in Google Analytics’ Advanced Segments feature, we’ll be using ‘regular expressions’ – a clever but pretty technical method of defining which items in a set should be included in a particular subset. (More details about them at this site.)

The next sections may have particular appeal to the more ‘techie’ readers (or just those people feeling brave) – so do feel free to just skip down to the end to see screen-shots of these segments applied to the keywords report, if the nitty-gritty isn’t your cup of tea.

Creating the ‘Branded Terms’ Segment

If you’ve not really implemented Advanced Segments before, I suggest starting with Google Analytics’ help pages on the topic, but also having a play with the feature, to see how it works. (Really, do have a play. I’m going to assume you at least have understood what most of the main buttons do, and that’s a great way to find out.)

Planning the Segment

Let’s use a fictional company, TechNet, who make a product called the Vox9000. Their segment for ‘branded terms’ will include anything that mentions these terms.

Define the Rules, Create the Segment

To create the segment for branded terms, begin by clicking ‘Advanced Segments’ ⇒ ‘Create new custom segment’.

In the first ‘dimension or metric’ space, add a ‘Medium’ block (found under ‘Dimensions’) and set Condition to ‘Matches exactly’ and Value to ‘organic’. Then hit ‘and‘ to add another section. Place a ‘Keywords’ block here, with Condition as ‘Matches regular expression’ and a value that is all your branded terms, separated by the pipe character: |

(NB: the pipe acts as an ‘OR’ in these regular expressions.)

As an example, for TechNet (which people often search for it with a spaces, as ‘Tech Net’) that makes a product called ‘Vox9000′ (sometimes searched for as ‘Vox 9000′) would use the following string here: technet|tech net|vox9000|vox 9000

Give the segment a name, and save it.

Creating the ‘Head Terms’ Segment

Planning the Segment

The next segment – the head terms – is a bit more complicated, and you’ll see why it’s important for us to to specify rules that will define the head keyphrases.

Let’s imagine that TechNet sells laptops and notebooks in Philadelphia and Baltimore. (Therefore head terms will be those such as ‘notebooks’ or ‘laptops in philadelphia’)

In this example, the rules to define head terms might be:

  • the phrase can’t mention any branded terms
  • it must mention one of their product groups (laptop, notebook)
  • it can only have two words of 3+ characters (this allows for some short linking words, such as a, in, at, etcetera)
  • it can only have a maximum of four words in total.

Define the Rules, Create the Segment

The last two rules can be the trickiest to implement, so we’ll look at these first. Two insights help us solve these requirements:

Insight 1: Combining the two rules, and using S and L to indicate short words (1 or 2 characters) and long words (3+ characters) we see that the only twenty possible structures for keyphrases are: L, LS, SL, LL, LSS, SLS, SSL, LLS, LSL, SLL, LSSS, SLSS, SSLS, SSSL, LLSS, LSLS, LSSL, SLLS, SLSL, SSLL

Insight 2: The regular expression: \b[^ ]{3,50}\b matches a word of between 3 & 50 characters. It’s also necessary to know that ^ matches something at the beginning of an expression, and $ matches at the end. (Seriously, they do. Start by going through the examples at this site if you want to know why that’s the case.)

We’re now in a position to take the list of combinations from ‘Insight 1′ and replace ‘S’ with \b[^ ]{1,2}\b (matching words with 1/2 characters) and ‘L’ with \b[^ ]{3,50}\b, putting spaces in-between, wrapping in parentheses, and matching at beginning and end. Missed that? OK, here are examples of some of the resulting statements:

L becomes ^(\b[^ ]{3,50}\b)$
SL becomes ^(\b[^ ]{1,2}\b \b[^ ]{3,50}\b)$
LSL becomes ^(\b[^ ]{3,50}\b \b[^ ]{3,50}\b \b[^ ]{1,2}\b)$

You should join the twenty created expressions together using a pipe character, to create the resulting, massive, expression. To save space, I won’t post the whole expression in, but you can see what it looks like if you hover your mouse over this text.

NB: There seems to be a limit to the number of parts to an expression that you can put into Google Analytics, so I tend to break this up into two parts – say, those matching on three or less words, and those matching four – and put them as ‘OR’ alternatives in one section. I’ve done that below to demonstrate.

The resultant segment rules for ‘Branded Keyphrases’ look like this:

The image shown above reads:

    • Dimension: Medium, Condition: Matches exactly, Value: organic
  • AND
    • Dimension: Keyword, Condition: Does not match regular expression, Value: technet|tech net|vox9000|vox 9000
  • AND
  • AND
    • Dimension: Keyword, Condition: Matches regular expression, Value: laptop|notebook

Collecting the numbers

With our two Advanced Segments defined, we can head back to the ‘keywords’ page and set the date range to the last month. Click each image to see it full size.

We can apply each custom segment in turn, in order to collect the following numbers for September:

  • Total keyphrases: 64,278
  • Branded keyphrases: 393
  • Head keyphrases: 2,835
  • Other keyphrases: 61,050 (calculated from the previous three numbers)

You can now put these numbers in a spreadsheet in order to chart the change in number of unique keyphrases as months go by.

You can use these basic techniques to create and report on even more well defined segments of keyphrases (for example: you could group keyphrases by competitiveness, department, intent, etc.) If there are particular steps here that require more explanation, or you’re looking for more ideas about how to apply this to your SEO reporting structure, drop a comment below.

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Link Building Has Changed

Posted by randfish

When I first started in SEO, link acquisition was almost always a manual process. I’d search the engines for links that pointed to the competition, find relevant directories and link lists, email relevant sites and beg, borrow or bribe (aka buy advertising) to get a link. I tried reciprocal link building (and did some pretty dumb stuff). Then, as I got more intertwined in the SEO community, I found vendors who built large networks of sites, spammed blogs/forums/guestbooks and ran text link sales operations. I leveraged these services to help clients rank better, almost always with great success. Then I met Matt Cutts, found out more about Google’s webspam team, saw penalties and their impact (remember Florida?) and even found some sites we worked on in the Sandbox.

Over time, I got smarter. I read papers about HilltopTrustrank, Anti-Trustrank and many more. I saw sites escaping the sandbox once they’d earned greater quantities of trusted links. I started understanding that Google’s search quality team was only going to get better at recognizing and counting legitimate links (and tossing out the junk), so I focused exclusively on more “white hat” kinds of links. That’s when I discovered linkbaiting and the power of Digg, Reddit & StumbleUpon to drive traffic that would naturally link. We had success with quizzes (and after Matt left SEOmoz, he had a little too much success) and viral content that earned thousands of links overnight and started offering it as a service.

As our clientele and foci changed, we changed again. Linkbait gave way to broader viral marketing efforts. Social media marketing arose as a practical and high quality way to earn links. Our clients became larger brands and organizations and one-off link projects weren’t scalable, so we consulted on tactics like content and technology licensing, training editorial staff to earn links & participate in the social media world themselves, and incentivizing user-generated content, which in turn brought links from those users. We found ways to drive natural links to deep pages on huge sites targeting the long tail, how to combine embeddable content and user-adopted brand affinity to drive link growth. And we stopped buying links entirely.

I figured a visual history might make for a compelling view:

A History of Link Building Tactics

Now, link building is changing again. I’m of the distinct impression that the engines (nowadays referring to Bing & Google, since the others are all but out of the picture) are evolving to keep up with the web’s breakneck speed and new forms of data, along with new ways of analyzing links, are making themselves felt in the SERPs. My guesses/observations would include:

  • Twitter really is cannibalizing the web’s link graph, or at least, the blogosphere’s and Google seems to be using Tweet counts in some way (though possibly only in the QDF algo).
  • The acceleration rate of link acquisition and the freshness of new links is having a more dramatic impact than before, and the “old crusty links” paradigm may be fading a bit.
  • Brand mentions and keyword associations with brand names are influencing the rankings more and more.
  • Un-trustworhty link patterns are conferring more filters and penalties than ever before.
  • QDD is as strong as ever, and vertical results are more prominent than at any time in the engines’ histories.
  • Google and Microsoft both know more about traffic and surfing habits than ever before, and this data is likely being used to, at the least, quality control for potential algorithmic misses.
  • Ad blindness is worse than ever (16% of Internet users are responsible for 85% of all ad clicks on the web), forcing the engines to make ads more relevant and more obvious to continue earning revenue.
  • Paid inclusion is going away, and talk of potentially paying sites to be in the indices (the reverse model) is in the air (or maybe not).
  • Billions of non-linked “references” flow out across the web through social media messages, emails, tweets and IMs. Someone, at some search engine, is undoubetdly mining this data to see how they can derive value and relevancy from it.

As marketers, we have to evolve or be left behind by those who can better adapt. It’s hard to see the forest for the trees right now, but I think we’re closing in on a time when real-time, social and traditional web references are all a part of the rankings equation. The future may be less about links and more about brand building and brand participation. I don’t want to be the most-linked-to site in my niche; I want to be the site that’s synonymous with my niche.

Now we just have to figure out the tactics…

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Is Social Media ROI Unmeasurable?

Posted by Dr. Pete

I’m reporting live from Pubcon Las Vegas this week, along with some of the SEOmoz team. To be honest, we’ve struggled a bit with how to cover the conference here on the blog. As someone who only hits a couple of conferences per year, I know how annoying it can be to have to hear how great an event is that you already regret not being able to go to. On top of that, sometimes information that seems brilliant in context just doesn’t translate into a quick blog blurb or Tweet. So, in the interest of providing value to those of you who aren’t here at Pubcon, we’re going to try to take some deeper dives into the content, hopefully providing some of that context you may be missing.

Is That An Elephant?

No, I’m not trying to distract you. These first two days of sessions, I couldn’t help but feel that there was an elephant in the room with us during the social media sessions. The enthusiasm for social media (and especially Twitter) has been stronger than ever, but we all seem reluctant to dampen that enthusiasm by talking about an uncomfortable fact – very few of us have really found a way to measure social media success. Sure, there are internal metrics for any given platform – Twitter followers, for example – but without something external to tie it to, those are little more than high scores in the social media video game.

The B-word

Of course, the default answer is always “branding”. Unfortunately, much like “engagement”, branding is too often just a distraction, an intangible excuse we use to avoid the fact that we have nothing to measure. Ironically, during a session that had nothing to do with social media, I heard something close to an answer during Q&A. No matter what you think branding is, find a way to measure it. Here are just a few possiblities:

  • Direct brand mentions
  • Links with brand-related anchor text
  • Branded search volume

Where’s there a number, there’s a path to calculating ROI.

Target a Response

At this morning’s keynote, we had a chance to hear from the marketing departments of various Vegas hotels. Like the rest of us, these marketers are learning as they go, trying to figure out how to use Twitter and Facebook to drive real business value. Most of the hotel marketing departments see social media as a direct-response channel, and that’s certainly a start. Put out a special offer through social media channels, and you can measure the response. Where there’s a measurable response, there’s ROI.

MGM Grand’s marketing head hinted at another possibility – their employees monitor Twitter to spot dissatisfied hotel guests, dispatching staff to help solve the problem. What’s the natural next step? Measure this response. How many problems did they intercept? How many were they able to solve? What does solving one customer’s problem equal in real dollars? All of these questions can be answered, and from those answers comes tangible value.

Find a Comparison

Finally, during a session about how social media and search intersect, we heard a great example from Lee Odden about how to put a value on social media. Lee mentioned that his firm drives about 15-20 major media mentions per month from social media. He estimates that this equates to paying a PR firm $10,000/month. This may not sound like metrics in the traditional sense, but it’s an entirely valid approach. PR costs money to generate, and social media has replaced that value.

Just Measure It

When it comes to measuring social media ROI, what are we really afraid of? If I start measuring, will I have to admit that being a 307th-level Maniac on Facebook Mafia Wars isn’t providing solid business value? Stop making excuses, stop mumbling about branding, and find a way to quantify social media success in real dollars.

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Headsmacking Tip #16: Meet the Linkerati in Person

Posted by randfish

We all know about the Linkerati by now – how to identify them, how they’re segmented and why they’re the secret to SEO. Yet, time and again, I see link builders and companies pass up amazing opportunities to earn links and attention from those who have the best ability to help your content/brand spread virally.

I’ll lay out two scenarios below to help illustrate this point:

Scenario 1: Emailing a Prominent Blogger/Writer/Journalist/Site Owner/Social Media Personality/Etc. Hoping for a Link

You/your company:

  • Identify a list of Linkerati that may be relevant/interested in your business/content
  • Send a carefully crafted email to each individual, hoping to attract their attention and interest
  • Follow up with those who reply (and maybe those who don’t) with emails or even a phone call
  • Request a review of your product/tool/site/idea

Scenario 2: Meeting that Same Person First, then Following Up

You/your company:

  • Identify prominent (or even relatively less known) Linkerati in your city or at an event you’re attending
  • Schedule a meeting / invite them to coffee or to tour your offices (or even just go to an event you know they’ll be at)
  • Introduce yourself politely and humbly and mention you’re a fan. Exchange business cards, have a chat and let them know what you do (also helps if you can find some non-work related topics to bond on as well)
  • Follow up with an email thanking them for the meeting and asking if they’d take a look at your product/tool/site/idea

I’d argue that while Scenario 1 is more scalable, it’s also potentially damaging in the long run. When you first introduce your work to someone who can help it spread, you have that single chance to make a first impression. If the relationship matters and you’re seeking a high “conversion rate” for attracting attention from the Linkerati, use Scenario 2.

The beauty of these links is that they not only create value for SEO, but often attract second-order effects like increased brand awareness, links/tweets from the followers & fans of the Linkerati, and improved odds that you’ll be positively remembered and introduced when someone mentions they need “X” (whatever it is your product/tool/site/idea does).

In-person connections have always been powerful attractors of value for me in the SEO, social media and startup worlds and when I see early stage (and mature, later-stage companies) engage in this fashion, it’s almost always positive. Just make sure you’re professional, candid, friendly and never over-bearing in your interactions; chances are you’ll get much more than a link.

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New & Interesting Insights Into Google Rankings & Spam from Pubcon

Posted by randfish

Tonight’s post comes via the Pubcon conference in Las Vegas and is likely of interest to many in the webmaster and search communities. Today, during the Interactive Site Review Session, Google’s head of Web Spam, Matt Cutts, along with Vanessa Fox of NinebyBlue and Derrick Wheeler of Microsoft took thorough dives into a number of sites. The session was well coverd on Twitter, and in live form by Barry Schwartz at SERoundtable.

Google's Matt Cutts and Vanessa Fox of NinebyBlue on the Site Review Panel
Matt Cutts and Vanessa Fox on the Site Review Panel (photo credit: davecolorado.com)

A few points in particular stood out and are worthy of coverage:

  • Blocking Internet Archive may be a Negative Signal
    Matt Cutts noted that spammers very frequently block archive.org from crawling/storing their pages and few reputable sites engage in this. Thus, it’s a potential spam signal to search engines. SEO Theory has a good writeup on when and why there may be legitimate reasons to do this, but webmasters seeking to avoid scrutiny may want to take heed.
  • Web Page Load Time can Positively Influence Rankings
    Maile Ohye actually mentioned this at SMX East in New York, but Matt Cutts repeated it again today. In a nutshell – while slow page load times won’t negatively impact your rankings, fast load times may have a positive effect. This comes on a day when the Google Chrome blog introduced their new SPDY research project. I’m particularly happy about this news, because it’s also true that load times have a positive second-order effect on SEO. Pingomatic recently published some excellent research on load times from Akamai noting the expectations of users for faster web browsing have doubled in the past 2 years. In addition, fast loading pages are, in my opinion, considerably more likely to earn links, retweets and other forms of sharing than their slow-loading peers. This tool from Pingdom is a great place to start testing your own site.
  • It May be Easier to Walk Away from Banned Domains
    Sites that Google’s webspam team has severely penalized or banned entirely from the index can be very difficult to re-include, and thus, Matt suggested that “walking away” and “starting over” may be a more prudent strategy. In my opinion, this is largely due to link profile issues – if your site has a “spammy” link profile, it’s tough to ask an engineer to sort out the wheat from the chaffe manually (or algorithmically) and stop counting only the bad links. Thus, re-consideration requests may not be as effective a use of time as registering a new site and trying to re-build a more trusted presence.
  • Repetition of Keywords in Internal Anchor Text (particularly in footers) is Troubling
    During a specific site’s review, Matt noted that keyword usage in the anchor text of many internal links, particularly in the footer of a website, is seen as potentially manipulative. Yahoo!’s search engineers have noted this in the past and we at SEOmoz have seen specific cases where removal of keyword-stuffed internal links from a footer had immediate impacts on Google rankings (removing what appeared to be large negative ranking penalties sitewide).
  • Having Multiple Sites Targeting Subsections of the Same Niche can be Indicative of Spam
    Matt Cutts today mentioned that “having multiple sites for different areas of the same industry can be a red flag to Google.” Though Googlers have mentioned this before, today’s site review panel brought renewed attention to both Google’s ability and proclivity for carefully considering not only an individual site, but all the other sites owned by that registrant/entity/person. Given Google’s tremendous amount of data on web usage behavior, many SEOs suspect that they track beyond simply domain registration records.

I also presented at Pubcon today – on a panel called Linkfluence: How to Buy Links with Maximum Juice and Minimum Risk (live SERoundtable coverage here) – as the counterpoint speaker (on why not to buy links). I’ll try to have that presentation in written format early next week on the blog.

p.s. I was asked by a large number of attendees at the conference about our venture capital fundraising experience. I expect to be able to write about that very soon and certainly appreciate all the support. :-)

p.p.s. For those who are interested, my brother, Evan Fishkin (who works at Portent Interactive) had his head shaved by Google’s webspam chief. On a personal note, I must say I was particularly impressed with Matt’s ability to shave a head without nicks or cuts, and his foresight in bringing proper equipment. Unfortunately, I’m not fully briefed on why this occurred, but I do know that my little brother was in terrible need of a trim (photo of my shocked observance of the event here & more photos/video here).

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What Makes a Link Worthy Post – Part 2

Posted by chenry

This post was originally in YOUmoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc.

What really makes a blog post worth linking to?  In my last post, What Makes a Link Worthy Post – Part 1, I took a look at the 3,800 blog posts on SEOmoz and did some analysis on a few different aspects of the posts and their affect on the number of in linking domains (ILDs).  Some of the results were very interesting to me and it made me want to push it further.

I created a list of 40 SEO/SEM blogs that I read and feel are important to people in the industry and set those as my sample population.  I first crawled each website and collected a list of over 72,330 different blog posts from the 40 different websites.  Then over the course of the next few days, I crawled each post and collected the following information in my database:

  • Blog Post Title
  • Original URL
  • # of Links from Root Domains (Via Linkscape API)
  • # of ILDs (Via Linkscape API)
  • If The Post Had Images, Lists, Or Videos
  • Content of Post (No Comments or Other Text on Site)
  • # of Words in Post


Does the length of the post’s title affect how many domains will link to it?  The data suggests that posts with a title length between 10 and 18 words are on average more linked to than those with less or more.  The data also suggests there may be a “sweet” spot around 14 to 16 words in length.  The chart below was created without removing stop words.

This data proves to me that a descriptive title is what the linkerati is looking for.  Going overboard on the length of the title can prove to be a bad move also.



Post length is a long debated thing out there in the blogosphere.  Most bloggers will tell you that you should keep your posts around 500 to 900 words, and that might be stretching it.  When it comes to SEO/SEM blogs, longer more content filled posts are more linked to than those with limited amount of content.

From the chart below you can see there is a word range that seems to collect more ILDs than other word ranges.  Based on the data, the ideal length of your posts should be around 2328 to 2618 words.  In my previous post, the ideal length for only SEOmoz’s post was between 1800 and 3000 words.

The chart above shows posts only up to 2812 words, but accounts for over 99.55% of all the posts. Posts that were greater than 2812 words really had a low number of ILDs.  For this reason and for the display of the chart, they were removed.



Seos know that you want to keep your key content in as few subfolders as possible but does this affect the number of ILDs you receive?  The data suggests that the depth of your post doesn’t affect the number ILDs.  The graph below shows that just about half of the blogs out there place their content two subfolders deep, such as seomoz.org/blog/POST-TITLE.


What role does placing list, images, and/or videos in a post play on the number of ILDs?  The data shows that putting any one of the media’s in your post will increase the number of ILDs you receive.  Putting a list on your plain text post could double the number of ILDs you receive.  The results are even more outstanding when all three types of media are used.

Do I really believe that you can take any post, slap a picture in it and you will automatically receive more links?  No, but if you have decent content and media to support your post, it will appeal to more users and in turn increase the number of potential links.  I find it amazing that just by adding images and lists to your post could increase the number of ILDs by a large percent.  Images and lists are one of the easiest things to create and anyone can do it, so why aren’t they?  See the chart below for the full specs on adding media to your post.


So I’m sure you are all wondering what some good examples are of the different type of post along with the media.  Below are some links to some great posts that contain different types of media and have been successful.  Some of these posts should be your guide when creating new content for your site.










The data shows that there were certain domains that tended to use certain types of media in their posts.  Below I’ve put together two sites for each category so if you enjoy posts of a certain type you can visit their blog.










What role does a blog authority play in the number of ILDs?  Seems like a simple question and the data seems to show that if your an authority in your niche, you will generate many more ILDs than someone who is not.  Look at the chart below and you can see that Matt Cutt’s blog generates almost twice as many as its closest competitor, sugarrae.com!


Unlike SEOmoz not every blog places their post into nice categories and if they do, those categories will not match across all the sites.  So how do we determine what topics are attracting the most links and are good topics to create posts about?  We crawl 72,300 posts, determine the ILDs, and then extract the most used words from those posts to create a “super” group of keywords that result in link worthy blog posts.

The first thing I wanted to do was extract all the text and find the words that are most used in all blog posts, I was curious, aren’t you?  After pulling out 27,658,728 million words and sorting them, five words came out on top: Search, Google, Yahoo, Site, and SEO.  Was I surprised, no but it’s interesting to know and a good starting point.

Taking a look at the top 1% of all 72,330 posts, it was found that the words did change a little bit.  Some of the top words used were:  Search, Google, Site, Links, SEO, Content, People, and Social.   This data seems very similar to what was found in part one of this study, with the SEOmoz data.  Posts that are about link building are very popular but now we can conclude that they are attracting links.  When we look at a much smaller percentage say only the top 50 posts, you find that you are getting very similar words such as: Google, Search, Blog, Link, Pagerank, and Site.

So what can you really take away from the content of the top 50 blog posts?  Stick with the major engines: Google, Yahoo, and maybe even Bing, on a good day.  The linkerati likes topics including Link Building, Pagerank, and Social Media.  As my disclaimer stated above, these are not the rules but just observations from a small sampling of the blogosphere.  If I knew the exact topic that the linkerati loves, I wouldn’t be writing here, I would be out making millions writing all day.


  • The data suggests that posts with title between 14 and 16 words attract more ILDs than those with longer or shorter titles.
  • Contrary to belief, the data suggests that posts with more than 900 words are attracting more links than those with 900 words.  Shoot for post between 2328 and 2618 words.
  • The data suggest the location/depth of your blog post doesn’t seem to have an effect on the number of ILDs you will receive but may affect your SEO work, so be cautious.
  • If you’re interested in the top post with a certain type of media, check above.  Also if you’re interested in the blogs that tailor to a certain type of media, check above.
  • Authority plays a major role in the number of ILDs that you will receive on your post.  Matt Cutt’s blog receives twice as many ILDs as the next closest blog.
  • Hot topics that attract links include: Google, Search, Blogs, Link Building, Pagerank, SEO, and Social Media.


In summary, the takeaways above are generalization about a small group of post from the blogosphere and should not be taken as rules but merely as a guide to help you create content that will have the possibility to generate links.  Work on the authority in your niche and become that place people come to receive great advise.  While you’re waiting for authority to grow, make sure that your posts included visual aids to help readers get the takeaways quickly.


Special thanks to the SEOmoz team for the access to the Linkscape API.  Without the use of the API this post would have never been possible.

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Get Free Traffic to Your Dropship Website With Ad Swaps

You can get free traffic to your ecommerce dropship website with ad swaps!
What is an ad swap?
An ad swap is when you agree to let someone else put their ad on your website, in return for them allowing you to put your ad on their website.
It’s extremely simple, and can be quite effective in generating traffic for you.
First of all, you need to ad swap with someone whose ecommerce business correlates somehow with yours.
For instance, if you are selling dropship pet products such as food and treats, you might ad swap with another merchant selling pet crates or pet doors.
You get the idea.
In order for your ad swap to be effective and fair to both parties, there should be:
No conflict of interest. You certainly shouldn’t do an ad swap with a competitor or with any merchant whose basic message conflicts with yours. In other words, if you are selling vegetarian cookbooks, you shouldn’t ad swap with someone selling frozen steaks.
Good placement of your ad and vice versa. As they say in the real estate game: “Location, location, location.” Your ad needs to be in a good spot on the other merchant’s website. By the same token, you should display their ad in a prime location, too.
Equal exposure. If you have a high traffic website, you shouldn’t ad swap with a merchant who has a low traffic website. If you do, you’ll be getting the short end of the stick.
High relevance to your website. As noted above, the most successful ad swaps are between two merchants whose products complement each other. Your products don’t necessarily have to be in the same niche, but there needs to be relevance.
Don’t make the mistake of falling into a page view trading ring!
This is nothing but a totally nonproductive cycle because the traffic isn’t going to produce legitimate buyers, just other merchants like you—all of you looking at each others websites to stack up page views.
Ad swaps aren’t currently in fashion but they do work, and can help increase traffic to your ecommerce dropshipping website!

Start your own online dropship business today!

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