There are lots of ways to build incoming links.
For a small window of time (about six months until April of this year) sponsoring WordPress themes was a great way to get varied links from lots of different independent websites.
Of course these links wouldn't be going on top PR sites generally (custom themes) and you don't have control of the theme of the site.
On the other hand, you do have control over the anchor text, which is already not bad.
And previously it was quite inexpensive - you would pay about $40 or $50/link on a two sponsored link theme and around $70 to $100 for a single sponsored link theme.
Things have changed - most theme developers are pushing three sponsored links and are trying to get $100 or more per link.
With the inflation and feeding frenzy, a lot more lousy developers have thrown their hats into the ring, so there is an oversaturation of themes.
The developers all talk a good game of how they promote the theme on sites such as:
- http://www.themesbase.com (PR4)
- http://forums.digitalpoint.com (PR7)
- http://www.wpskins.org (PR4)
Unfortunately on all or most of these high PR authority sites, your sponsored link will be nowhere to seen. Just a link to download the theme and some jpegs of the theme.
The developers will also try to shout and scream about 450 downloads, 1037 downloads for past themes. But for link building number of downloads accomplishes nothing for you.
What you are interested in is the number of sites which use the theme and include the sponsored links. For the purposes of sponsored links, a single is much better as the end user is less likely to rip out the links. By the same token it would also be better if the links were discreetly nested and not in electric green (where they are likely to attract the attention of the site owner and his visitors and finally get ripped out). An exception could be made if your site is likely to go viral and has a very wide appeal. In that case, clicks from sponsored links might actually contribute to your business. For my regional websites, we are not looking for random clicks. It will never generate any business for my clients and the more discreet the sponsored links the better.
Like everybody in search we are having to get more involved in Social Bookmarking than we used to be.
Like most people in search, normally we don't have a lot of time for social bookmarking. It's a pretty busy year.
On this weblog, we've implemented Denis de Bernardy Bookmark Me plugin which gives direct access to 25 services (del.icio.us, Digg, Furl, Reddit, Ask, BlinkList, blogmarks, Blogg-Buzz, Google, Ma.gnolia, muti, Netscape, ppnow, Rojo, Shadows, Simpy, Socializer, Spurl, StumbleUpon, Tailrank, Technorati, Windows Live, Wists, Yahoo!).
We've selected del.icio.us, Digg, Ma.gnolia, StumbleUpon and Technorati for now. I would really hate to see more than five icons at the bottom of my posts. Even that's a bit of a stretch. The PR drain would be terrible but Denis de Bernardy very sensibly allows us to automatically put no-follow tags on all bookmarking services with a single checkbox.
Announcing extended post on hacking WordPress template files. Step one – identifying the template files from the front end.
Some well-known SEOs are advocating using
Add nofollow on all of the links that point to other sites, unless you have agreed to a direct link for some reason.
This is the most narrow-minded tripe I’ve ever heard. Google will rank websites higher who don’t link to anyone else? Such a strategy makes a mockery of the whole essence of hypertext and the WWW (world wide web).
This school of thought has its origins with Leslie Rohde from his Optilink/Optispider cult days (circa 2002-2003). The clunky and overpriced Optilink has since been superceded by Brad Callen’s Link Proctor, later renamed SEO Elite. Aaron Wall has some free tools (alas some of them broken now – SEO Elite is more reliably updated) and there are lots of other pay tools out there now which track your backlinks.
What is valuable advice is not hoarding PR, but channeling Page Rank. I mean really – you don’t increase your wealth by putting your money under your mattress. You increase your wealth by reinvesting your money wisely. And the same thing applies to Page Rank on the internet.
Is it possible for the medium sized guys to make money?
Network Solutions, bought for $20 million in 2003, was just sold for $800 million three years later.
And amazingly enough, this deal was done by a Persian – Iranian American Jahm Najafi.
So do the Iranians know how to play a poker hand?
It certainly looks like yes. No wonder the Israelis want the Americans to bomb the Iranians to smithereens. Competition isn’t fun.
Anyway here’s Najafi’s story:
Philip Dow’s Journler
Philip Dow is the developer of the very well received Mac PIM (personal information manager) Journler about donationware. His application Journler had an open donation policy for personal use. Contribute whatever you like. A single commercial use license was/is $25.
Phil is going full-time as a developer now and is starting to feel the pain – lots of downloads and good press, but not a lot of revenue rolling in.
Out of 580 registered users, Phil had received an average donation of $17. That makes a total of about $9800. But in the end, Phil feels that some are abusing the donation system.
Some gentlemen search colleagues are thunderstruck by the acquisition of 24/7 Real Media by advertising holding company WPP for $649 million (a tidy sum it is – congratulations 24/7 – although I’ve always hated your technology). Raycam wonders why more ad agencies aren’t snapping up the smaller search houses.
It’s simple. All the assets go down the elevator every night (David Ogilvy is reputed the first to coin this phrase).
Lost an hour today to trying to debug Ecto posting to this weblog (if you’re not using Ecto, you should consider it).
I was constantly getting this error:
XML-RPC server accepts POST requests only
Finally I wrote up a nice little support ticket for Dreamhost with all the details. Surprisingly I got the fix back in relatively short order.
I was wondering what the problem with WordPress was. It turned out to be a PHP 5.2.2 bug. The file xmlrpc.php is broken under PHP 5.2.2. As WordPress is the weblog system in widest use in the entire world, it would be nice if the PHP team would get with the real world and debug their releases before rolling them out.
At popular news site Digg users vote stories up and down. Stories either rise to the front page or top of category pages or are buried.
Some of my SEO colleagues are bemoaning their lack of success in getting their annoying marketing materials to the front page of Digg.
They justify their indignation with a chorus of "the others are doing it, the others are doing it".
In the words of Andy Hagans:
Nearly every story that makes it to upcoming/most – whether it makes it to the homepage, or gets buried -has a ‘gaming’ group that votes together. Like I said even top users without site affiliations will plug stories to friend, and nevermind the ‘fanboys’ that vote together.
It’s rather amusing if it weren’t so sad. These SEMs support their position with convenient libertarianism:, accusing Google or Digg or hypocrisy for trying to keep them out:
It’s official – Google will be kicking the AdSense spammers off the network.
What AdSense spam is are those sites which you arrive on via either organic search or PPC results (usually the former) and you find nothing but RSS feeds or chopped up articles on a very basic template. The sites rarely have any contact information. To be blunt, they are of no value at all except to their owner who brings in traffic at one price and sells it off at another price.
We are currently relatively happy customers of SiteCounter.
I even worked with Aodhan on getting improving the keyword stats. Out of our discussions in 2005, the single and opaque Keyword Analyis became three separate: Keyword Analysis, Recent Keyword Activity and Search Engine Wars. Aodhan was a joy to work with.
John and I have often quarreled over the appalling WordPress login visuals.
Every site has to go to the same ugly login page:
The login page gotten somewhat better since version 2.1 but it still just doesn't fit in with the rest of the site. Which site? Any site!
Just discovered a very nice shopping cart for WordPress. Fits in well with the upcoming FolioPress release. We will take WordPress from weblog software to CMS, bypassing bloat.
The WP e-Commerce shopping cart plugin for WordPress is an elegant easy to use fully featured shopping cart application suitable for selling your products, services, and or fees online.
WP e-Commerce is a Web 2.0 application designed with usability, aesthetics, and presentation in mind. Perfect for
- Bands & Record Labels
- Clothing Companies
- Crafters & Artists
- Books, DVDs & MP3 files
All is not rosy however with WP e-Commerce lite. The URLs for shopping cart pages are atrocious, something like:
That takes us back to the bad old Mambo days. At some point John and I should do a rewrite of the plugin to incorporate search engine and people friendly URLs so that the above would read:
There’s a big discussion going on now among SEOs (search engine optimisers) about Google’s pronouncements about paid links. Basically Google has banned them and promised penalties for using paid links. This is a kind of totalitarianism – Google is free to do what they want with their own algorithm but that does not give them the right to dictate how and when you should advertise.
People have been warning of an impending Google oligarchy and it seems to be coming true faster than planned.
There is some confusion about how much Google knows about your website and your incoming links. Don’t be confused.
A site called Touchgraph.com will show you a lot about what Google knows about your vertical in a java application which loads directly in your browser.
Touchgraph runs off of the similar pages data in the Google serps’s (look for it).
Particularly useful is the simplicity – click on a link and see the home page in a new window.
What is frightening in the new Oz is that Google has much better technology behind the curtain. I’m sure Google has a similar chart but with the spam and trust numbers for each website popping up. As they analyse a single vertical forensically, to improve the SERPS (at this point that’s pretty much what they’d have to do, as SEO spam is getting better), they can apply the algorithm tweaks across dozens of verticals hypothetically. If they like what they see, new algorithm gets rolled out.
Even as a client you will find it interesting to plug in your key search terms and have a look at the results. Who is in your group?
Ideally you’d want a link from nearly every site in the vertical to your website.
There is a raging debate right now about the sponsored themes at themes.WordPress.org.
Given the garbage currently being submitted with up to five credits including anchor text like web directory (x 3), Make Money Online and bid for links (a real single example), this is no surprise.
Matt Mullenweg has come out hard against all theme sponsorship.
Guidelines (strict ones) are what we need here, not an absolute ban.
The web is undergoing another major shift right now.
The first shift was from direct navigation and directories to search.
SEO was all the rage and we are Foliovision were and are very good at it.
The next stage now is Online Communities or The Social Web.
Manifestations of online communities:
- social websites like MySpace and LiveJournal (perhaps the more exotic AdultFriendFinder could be included in this group)
- forums (countless, for every industry there are usually a few big ones: one of the originals was slashdot)
- social bookmarking sites (delicious and digg spring to mind)
- specialty topic sites like WikiPedia or Squidoo
What's bad about this is that all the black hat search guys are coming up with ways to pollute these communities. At one webmaster forum there are hundreds of paid forum posters available to go out and sign up accounts and start spewing out whatever you want in mainly broken English for literally pennies per post. These guys are harder to catch than the black hat forum and comment bots so the human version must be considered worse.
A very interesting discussion on Aaron Wall's SEOBook about whether Google is contributing to web spam. The best part is in the comments (sorry Aaron!) where two readers to the numbers on AdWords for relatively high priced PPC words.
Basically they just don't add up.