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February 07

Exploiting Google Filters

Joe Whyte recently wrote a blog post about Google filters and how you can get around them as well as exploit them. It seems it has been creating a lot of controversy because of the point he discusses.

What do you think?

December 06

Googleâs Click Fraud Rate is Less than 2%

Well departing from our normal foo & link building tactic posts, I think this post by Andy Beal is worth your attention: Googleâs Click Fraud Rate is Less than 2%

I’m not even going to summarize, because you’ll want to check out the post–it’s quite juicy, with graphs, exclusive interviews with Googlers, Venn diagrams and more!

Read it

May 06

Google Doesn’t Like Linking Streetwalkers & the End of ‘Tri-engine’ SEO for Affiliates?

Eric Ward has published a new article titled, ahem, Are You A Link Whore? (My quick answer before I even read the article: YES!)

His philosphy is one that I think has hit webmasters harder than ever with the latest of BigDaddy.

Google is algorithmically rewarding my good linking behavior over the course of the past 13 years.

There can be no other explanation.  Google doesn’t like link whores.

His choice of language sure makes him a link baiter, but I don’t think anyone can argue with his point.

I can say with 100% confidence that you can be successful and rank well without having to do anything even close to slutty.

Two questions:

  • How does this philosophy change if you can’t/don’t want to wait 13 years (or even 3) to rank?
  • Why does everyone seem to ignore the "other two" engines? As far as I can tell they like their links ‘fast n loose’. They also send visitors that convert very well, especially for affiliates in many profitable sectors.

Which I guess leads me to a third question. Are we getting to a point where it’s more cost effective for affiliates to take an either/or approach to ranking in Google or MSN/Yahoo! ? In my experience, if you target both, it’s hard to do GREAT in either (For simplicity’s sake I’m lumping Yahoo! and MSN together as they both seem to reward linking in the same general way.)

Whereas if you target only one (either Google, or MSN/Yahoo!), you can focus in like a laser and get rankings pretty predictably. (Usually, that choice is dictated by domain age — 2 year old domain? Go Google. 1 year or younger? Go for MSN/Yahoo!)

(And by the way, I’m ignoring ‘brand’ sites and ecomm sites, because they a) are inherently less risk-tolerant than affiliates so are more prone to a 3-engine, non-aggressive strategy, and b) the stakes are possibly greater as getting banned/filtered in one engine would result in not showing up for ‘brandname’ searches, and of course c) they are less likely to be launching new sites.)

But back to my question: you readers who have recently launched new affiliate sites — are you doing ‘tri-engine SEO’? Are you taking a Google-centric approach? Or is MSN/Yahoo! your bread and butter?

I’ll go first: MSN/Yahoo! is my bread and butter for new affiliate sites. The tradeoff always comes down to this: I can do XYZ and it will probably screw the site in Google, when it may have ranked well there 2 years down the road — but I’ll rank in MSN in a month, and Yahoo! in three months. Or I can skip XYZ which will make ranking in Yahoo!/MSN impossible but hey who knows in 2 years Google may want to rank my site! Doesn’t even seem like much of a choice, to me…

August 05

Google Admits the Sandbox

Rand Fishkin has it from the horse’s mouth that the Sandbox is a real, tangible thing (well, duh… but for some reason some webmasters pretend that it isn’t).

I asked him [a Google engineer] what Google internally called the sandbox. He doged my question fastidiously until saying that he would try to get the spam team to adopt our term, “sandbox”, so we could all call it the same thing. I asked him if they would continue using it and he said “definitely” or possibly “almost certainly”… He noted in words I cannot remember exactly that they felt it was having a remarkable effect on the quality of the index. We moved on to other subjects after this, but not before he was vehement in explaining to me specifically that they did not design it to affect “all new websites”, but that a “filter must be tripped” for a site to be “boxed”.

Refresher: Beat the Sandbox (a how-to)

  • Get links that are quality indicators. e.g., get a link from a well-established high-PR site, get a link from an .edu, get a listing in DMOZ
  • Get a few deep links
  • Mix up your anchor text

And then wait a few months. It ain’t rocket science.

July 05

martinibuster on Neighborhoods

Just found this post by martinibuster at SEW forums. If you’re into linking this is a must read.

I’m getting at is that when you make a map of all the sites linking to
you, and who is linking to them, it says something about your site,
patterns arise. These patterns are very important, because Google is
very much interested in statistics.

…The question I would like to pose is, if you have a golf website, is it
normal that you share a hundred backlinks with hundreds of seo

…I’m sure the notion of avoiding being mapped to directories that are
heavily mapped to SEO link networks will not sit well with many that
have a financial interest in those directories, but come on, it’s also
common sense.

I posted a bit about these neighborhoods and their role in the Sandbox in my Guide to Beating the Sandbox (WMW – Supporters only). I’ve aways thought directories were a great tool for link building, but lately I’ve scaled back a bit, and am now only working with those that I think are part of good neighborhoods.