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April 07

Setting the Tone With Good Comments

The success of content submissions on social media sites is often dictated by the tone of the comments that take place early on. Even if a great piece of content gets a few nasty comments right off the bat it will have a very hard time succeeding and making it to the homepage.

Users often view the first few comments before even clicking through to the content and begin to form their opinion based off of them. If the comments are bad they will automatically assume that the content is bad too, since other members of the community also feel that way.

The problem with this is that some of the social media sites have audiences that are generally very immature. Sometimes even if the content is remarkable someone will come along that doesn’t agree with it and start flaming it in the comments. Others will see this and follow suit and before you know it your submission will be buried into oblivion never to see the light of day again.

If this is something that you notice happening to your submissions then start asking some of your friends on these social sites to read the content and leave positive comments early on. This will help set a positive tone for the submission and keep people from voting your stories down.

On the flipside of this, bad content won’t make the homepage just because there are a bunch of positive comments that have been left. So it’s not a technique that works if you’re trying to spam your horrible content to the homepage.

What has your experience been with the tone set by comments on social media sites?

April 07

How Not To Build Links

Over the past few weeks I have attended several conferences including SES NY, AMA Hot Topics and Ad:Tech San Francisco. Throughout each conference I have encountered tons of folks who are
interested in building or buying links, but most of them are going about it the wrong way. Here is what you should not do:

  • Same anchor text – if the majority of your incoming text links contain the same anchor text you probably are not going to rank highly for those terms. Search engines are getting more sophisticated and they can usually tell when people are trying to manipulate their search results.
  • Home page links – there is nothing wrong with having tons of incoming links to your homepage, but there is something wrong when the rest of your site has no incoming links. This does not look too natural so you should try and increase the number of links to your internal pages.
  • Growth – many of us are impatient (including me) which is why we want to grow our links 10 fold within a few days. Usually massive growth of incoming links smells of search manipulation, which is why you should try and grow at a natural pace. Granted you may get a burst of natural links rapidly from social sites like Digg, but if that happens there is really nothing to worry about.
  • Cross linkinglinking your own sites together if they are related is a good idea if you want to increase each sites traffic, but not search traffic. In most cases all of your sites are probably owned by the same person or hosted on similar C-blocks. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t link your sites together if it makes sense, but don’t do it just to manipulate search results.
  • Leveraging forums – one of the easiest ways to get paid links or link exchanges is by posting on forums asking for links. But by doing this you just created a written record that you are looking to build links. This is probably not a good idea, since the last thing you want to do is to give the search engines ammo against you.

There are probably many more things that you should not do when building links, but these are the ones that most people have asked me about at conferences. What other link building tactics should people not do?

April 07

Buying Links? Make Sure You Have a Well-Rounded Link Profile

One of the most common questions I get about link building is what the best type of links are. While I’m partial to building natural links through linkbaiting and remarkable content I also like to throw a few paid links into my overall link building campaigns.

One of the reasons I like to use paid links with my link campaigns is that you can not only pick high authority sites that are relevant, but you can also pick the exact anchor text you want to use. Those are things you can’t always do with linkbaiting. You just can’t always dictate who will link to you or what anchor text they will use.

Although it might be a little hard to argue in favor of buying paid links after the latest from Matt Cutts you can’t deny that paid links are still effective, if done correctly.

In my opinion, Matt’s post can almost be interpreted as a sign of weakness on Google’s part. They’re fighting an unnecessary war they know they can’t win and itâs obvious they’re having a hard time finding paid links with their algorithms. But that’s not really what this post is about. Instead I want to give a little insight on strategies for buying links.

The biggest problem I see with people who get dinged for buying links is that they’re lazy. Instead of working on creating remarkable content that will naturally attract links they throw a bunch on money at buying links and call it a day. If you’re guilty of this then you’re asking for trouble.

Buying links effectively is all about staying away from patterns. If you’re whole campaign is entirely based around paid links that will create a very recognizable pattern that can be picked up by the algorithms and filtered out. It may even result in penalties.

Paid links aren’t bad as long as your overall link profile is clean with no recognizable patterns that lead back to the links you’re buying. When those paid links are mixed in with hundreds of natural links they won’t stick out. If you don’t have those natural links the paid links will stick out like a sore thumb.



As you can see by the images if you don’t balance your paid links with your whole campaign they will stick out and sooner or later big brother will find out what you’re up to and ding your for it.

Whether or not Google’s new defense against paid links will work or not is still up in the air. In the meantime I’ll continue to throw a few paid links into my link building campaigns. What about you?

April 07

How to Increase Your Search Traffic through Writing

We all know that search engines can drive thousands of visitors to a website within a short period of time, but very few of us actually get that kind of traffic. If you are looking for more organic search traffic for your blog, here are a few blogging tips that can help you:

The long tail

In the past I blogged about going after long tail keywords because they are a lot less competitive, but how many of you actually go after them? Programs like HitTail are great at helping you determine which non-competitive terms that you can go after that drive tons of traffic. For all the blogs that I optimized such as TechCrunch and Mashable the majority of their search traffic comes from long tail keywords. You would be surprised at how long tail keywords can add up to 10,000 or even 20,000 daily search engine hits for these blogs.

Product / Website reviews

If you are a blogger you probably hate getting hit up by people with products who are requesting a review. In most cases these products or websites will not get popular so if you rank for them you will not get much traffic at all, but some of these terms will turn into brand names and can drive thousands of visitors. Just look at terms like youtube, bebo, myspace, facebook, and ebuddy.

You don’t always want to blog on things just for traffic but the goal with reviews is to write on stuff that will benefit your readers as well as drive tons of search engine hits.

Breaking News

The thing with breaking news is that you have to blog about it right away or else you will not get much search love on the topic. If you have the time to blog on news right when it hits it will not only drive tons of traffic right then and there, but it will drive traffic months after the news is old. One good example of this is all of the people who blogged about suing YouTube. They got tons of traffic for the phrase "Utube". On our company blog,, we get tons of search traffic for the term, even though the news is really old.

If you are having a hard time finding breaking news, you may want to check out sites like TechMeme.


Writing quality content for links and social sites is always a great way to improve search traffic. Sites like Digg, and Netscape can drive thousands of visitors and more importantly thousands of links. If you write how to guides or lists you will have a great chance of getting tons of natural links which will improve your overall sites search traffic. An easy way to find out what works well on these social sites is to do some searches and look for what was popular in the past.

There are probably tons of other techniques you can use to increase search traffic to your blog, these are just the ones I use on a regular basis. What specific methods do you use to increase your search traffic?

April 07

Using AdWords for Keyword Research

Here is a little tip about something I’ve found very useful over the years in regards to keyword research. I like to use Google AdWords to help me gather accurate data in regards to search volume and conversion rates for keywords.

You see, the problem is that just about all of the current keyword tools out there only give out information that’s based on a small portion of the total number of real searches. Because of this, the information that they give is often very inaccurate and incomplete. It’s possible that the numbers are completely off or maybe they just missing out on certain keywords altogether.

Assuming that you already have a good idea of what keywords you want to optimize your site for you can take that list and enter it into your Google AdWords account. I recommend using a combination of both exact match and broad match.

The reason I recommend using broad match is so you can find the keywords that people are searching for that you may not have thought of before. To do this accurately though you will need to watch your referrers in your server logs and analytics software. And once you have some good data from broad keywords you’ll need to enter those in as exact match so you can get exact data.

Now that you are gathering some data from your AdWords account you can start to narrow down the keywords that you will optimize your site for. It is important that you not only base decisions on the total traffic volume, but click-through and conversion rates as well. It’s possible that one keyword may have more volume than another but convert at a horrible rate. People often use different searching habits when they’re gathering information compared to when they actually want to make a purchase. So take those three things and calculate what a #1 ranking is worth to you and pick the appropriate keywords.

Using Google AdWords is very effective for keyword research as there is no other software or tool available that can give you this information quickly and accurately.