Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category

3 Ways to Make SEO Reporting Easier

Every SEO I know hates the first day of the month.

Which is funny, because they also get paid on the first of the month.

What makes SEOs so miserable on their pay day? Reporting.

Almost all agencies and many in-house groups spend the first part of the month creating extensive reports of their activities and results.  And almost all of them take tons of time to fill out, are far from actionable, and are rarely billable.

 With that in mind, here are 3 ways to make your SEO reporting simpler, faster, and more effective:

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mozCon 2012: My Takeaways

MozCon 2012 has come and gone and the big topic of the conference was content marketing….shocking, I know. ;)  Overall, the quality of the speakers and content was very strong and it was a great week in Seattle.

What I found interesting was how many of the speakers had seemingly conflicting views. Rand says that SEOs should focus on content instead of links because “the ultimate link building tool is the publish button.”  But Paddy’s take is that Rand’s advice is great if you’re an influencer, but most companies can’t afford not to do link building. Hmmm. Well, maybe Ian Lurie can break the tie for us. Ian’s take?… link building and content marketing don’t even exist as tactics. They’re both just the result of great marketing.   

Well that clears things up. :)

The good news is that when you dig deeper into what each of the speakers was saying, they actually agree much more than they disagree. Whether you’re looking at the link building tactics that Paddy detailed, the big picture thinking in the first half of Ian’s presentation, or Greg Boser’s explanation of BlueGlass’ business model changes, there were common themes.

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Major Product Update: Inline Editing and Customizable Views Are Here!

When it comes to managing relationships with influencers and managing links, people have a love/hate relationship with their spreadsheets.  On the one hand, spreadsheets become impossible to manage as you scale your efforts.  On the other hand, they’re flexible and fast.  So, for us, the trick is building a system that makes it easy for people to scale their efforts without sacrificing any of the speed and flexibility.  With the release of Inline Editing and Customizable Views this week, we think we’ve made a big step towards that goal.

Our customers have played a big role in the development of both of these. They really drove the vision of these as they were being developed.  So thanks to all for your input and insights as BuzzStream continues to evolve. All right, let’s take a closer look.

Inline Editing (See Video)

This is kind of the “2″ of a “1-2 Punch” that includes Customizable Views. We’ve added in-line editing to the list view. This is a huge time saver when having to make a few quick edits on the fly. Instead of clicking into each individual record to edit you can do so from the list view. Just click the record you want to edit and update the the fields you need. This makes doing multiple edits a breeze.

Customizable Views (See Video)

Now you can see your Contacts, Media Outlets, Link Partners and Links how you want. Select the columns you want to see, and move those columns where you want them be. We’ve made it super-easy to customize the “list view” of all your information so you can work with it how you want to. This is our first stab at it and we will be refining as we go.

Other Quick Fixes and Changes

Twitter Messages

Fixed a small bug that was effecting the collection of Tweets between you and your contacts.

Blank BuzzMarker

Our beloved BuzzMarker would show up blank when reaching your Contact or Link Partner limit during BuzzMarking. You will now receive a handy prompt to upgrade your account.

Relationship Stage Updating

The relationship stage was not updating for individual records copied across multiple projects.

Better Delete Messaging

We’ve cleared up some of the messaging in the product to make it more clear when you’re deleting a contact and when you’re just removing it from a project.

Twitter ID’s in the BuzzMarker

Fixed a small issue where “twitter.com/profilename” was being marked as the Twitter ID.

Twitter OAuth Verification Fail Message

You will now get a friendly error message when Twitter fails to link your Twitter account to BuzzStream.

Import Feature Loading Faster

We were experiencing a little lag time after clicking “Import” and the feature opening up. We thought it was a bit annoying, so we fixed it.

Faster Tag Loading

If you have a bunch of Tags things may have slowed down a bit for you when you needed to edit tags in bulk, edit a records’ details or use the BuzzMarker. We put in a fix to speed things up.

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3 Ways to Improve Your Blog's Search Engine Rankings

Look out! It’s a guest post by Elisa Gabbert. She is the Content Development Manager at WordStream, a provider of advanced SEO tools for researching, organizing and grouping large numbers head, mid and long tail keywords. Elisa is a frequent contributor to the WordStream Internet Marketing Blog and you can follow her on Twitter: @eGabbert. Now go ahead and dig in.

Even if your business has embraced search engine optimization (SEO) techniques for its website, your corporate blog may be less than optimized. Because of the fly-by-night nature of blogs (posts go live quickly and then quickly disappear below the fold), it’s tempting to short-change or skip over SEO.

But it’s just as important to optimize your blog as it is to apply SEO to the rest of your site. Because blogs are frequently updated, a signal that search engines look upon favorably, blog content often ranks well in search. Blog posts also present an opportunity to rank for timely searches—for example, a new product that has been launched in your space, or a relevant news story or industry announcement, often leads to a spike in search traffic. Optimizing your blog posts for the right keywords can attract a new audience that may stick around, link to your site, or come back to convert.

Here are three simple ways to improve your blog SEO and increase rankings and traffic for individual posts:

1. Optimize your title tags

As with a conventional web page, the title is one of the most important elements for SEO. First and foremost, your title needs to:

  • Include the right keywords so search engines can find it
  • Be clear and concise so users know what the post is about

Do keyword research for every post, before you start writing if possible. Aim for a balance between popularity and targeting. “Apple iPad” is an extremely popular keyword, but that means it’s prohibitively competitive as well. Try narrowing broad topics down to a more focused keyword, like “Apple iPad ship date” or “Apple iPad Twitter reactions.” Include whatever keyword you choose in the title.

The title also should accurately convey the content of the post. A clever, punny post title like “The ‘Apple’ Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree” won’t necessarily make sense or stand out to someone searching for specific details about the iPad in Google. Remember, you can always choose a slightly different (and more clever) title to promote the post through social platforms like Twitter and Facebook, but search engines and search engine users should see a clear, keyword-focused title.

2. Improve follow-through on keyword research

Getting your writers to do keyword research before they write is one hurdle. Getting them to actually apply that research is another! While including keywords in the title is important, you also need to work your keywords into the body of the post.

A great way to improve follow-through on keyword research is to use an SEO plug-in for bloggers. One such example is WordStream SEO for Firefox, a plug-in that comes bundled with the company’s SEO Keyword Management software.

WordStream SEO for Firefox allows you to conduct keyword research, or consult the research you’ve already done, as you compose a post in blogging applications like WordPress, Blogger and Drupal.

wordstream

In the “Enter a Keyword” tab, you can find keyword suggestions related to your topic on the spot, categorized as phrases, single words, or questions. (Questions make great blog post titles, since many people enter them directly into the search box.) This tool is also a good way to generate topic ideas, when you’re not sure what to write about. In the “My Keyword Research” tab, you can access your historical research (via access to your paid WordStream account).

The plug-in also keeps track of how many keywords you use in the post as you write, ensuring that your research actually gets where it needs to be for optimization.

3. Optimize your images

A third way to increase your blog’s search engine traffic is to optimize your images for search. Including pictures and graphics on your blog not only adds visual interest (which is key for keeping readers engaged), it can actually boost your rankings. Why? Because many people use the image search option in Google and other search engines, and images give you another opportunity to include relevant keyword strings.

Keep these tips in mind when adding images to a blog post:

  • Include keywords in the file names of your photos: Don’t save an image with a generic file name like “photo1.jpg”—the file name should describe the content of the photo (e.g., “leopard-print-flats.jpg”).
  • Don’t ignore the alt text attribute: Many blogs neglect to utilize this useful tag. It provides another signal to search engines of what the photo contains. In addition, if a user’s computer fails to load the image, they’ll still know what the image conveys.
  • Use high-quality, high-resolution images: You don’t have to be a pro photographer to add a nice visual dimension to your blog. Many images are available on the Web through creative commons licenses.

While the list of things you can do to improve your blog’s SEO is virtually endless, applied keyword research, strong titles, and attractive, relevant images are three elements that make a huge difference, and you don’t need to be an SEO expert to master them.

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New Release: Link Performance Reports, Custom Fields, Import Templates

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Our customers steer the ship at BuzzStream and that keeps the daily evolution of our product going. We add “newness” all the time and it is the our customer’s feedback and ideas that drive us to make BuzzStream the best fit for you! We dropped a few nice features this time around, so let’s get to it.

Custom Fields

In our last release we added Link Type and Link Partner Type fields. This offered a modicum of customization that we needed to build on. Now you can add custom fields to Link Partners, Links (for Link Management) , People and Media (for PR & Social Media). You can easily add custom fields by clicking on “Settings” and going to the “Configuration” tab. Below is a quick run through.

1. On the “Configuration” tab click “Create your first customer field…” under either Link, Link Partner, People or Media.

custom1

2. Choose a field name, field type and choices (available in either check box, drop down or text). Click “save”.

custom2

3. Your new custom field will show up in 3 places.

The Configuration tab:

custom3

The Link, Link Partner, People or Media record:

custom4

The BuzzMarker:

custom5

Import Templates

We know you’ve got contacts and link partners in all kinds of formats that you need to import. This can be laborious and time consuming process. Let us do the heavy lifting by setting up custom import templates in your account. You send us a spreadsheet and we’ll map that information to the proper fields in BuzzStream, even your new Custom Fields! Once the template is locked and loaded you can select it from the import screen and upload your info.

import

BuzzMarker: Contact Info Highlighting

Seconds add up to hours when pulling together contact info from the web. Our developer Tobias came up with a cool fix to ease the pain by highlighting all potential contact info on a page that you BuzzMark. A simple but smart time saver we hope you like. ATTN! Delete and reinstall your BuzzMarker to use this feature. Click here to reinstall!

highlight-contact-info

Link Performance Reporting

Slice and dice your link reporting in a multitude of ways and see your reports as tables, charts or both. Need to know the number of new links a user has landed in a certain link partner type? We’ve got you covered. How about seeing the average page rank for each user’s links per partner type across a date range? Yep, we can do that to.

link reporting

Need to take that data to go? You can export all that data into either PDF, Word, Excel or HTML. We’ve had a lot of requests for this and delivered the particular features you said you’d find most useful. No fluff, just actionable data. This is our first take on reporting with Social Media and PR reports on the way!  We want to know what you think and what else you’d like see from it.

That’s it for this release! We love your feedback so post your comments below or hit us up at customer-service@buzzstream.com.

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New Release: Improved Filtering, Link Checking and Reporting

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We always receive great feedback from our customers and the in the last couple weeks you’ve given us some great ideas. We love it as your ideas play a huge role in the feature additions and updates we make; so please, keep them coming. A majority of our recent updates revolve around organizing, labeling, reporting and assigning. Let’s dig in

Quick Search Filters for Links & Link Partners

We love anything that makes a process faster for you. Sorting through your link relationships can be a bit tedious so we’ve added a couple Quick Search filters to ease things along. To use them just click on Filters and you’ll see Quick Search at the top of the drop down. We’ll be adding more search filters in the near future. If you have some that you’d like to see, let us know via customer-service@buzzstream.com.

quick-search

Ad New Users to Projects

Small changes can equal big differences and we’re glad that this was pointed out. It’s tough for a new user to work on a project when one is not assigned. Now from the get-go, you can assign new users to a project while setting up their profile. The first time they log in they will already have projects assigned and can get cranking on projects.

new-user-project

Added Link Type and Link Partner Type

Categorizing your links can be a big help, especially with large campaigns. To ease the pain we added two customizable fields allowing you to add “types” to both the Link and Link Partner. Name them what you will, it’s up to you. These “types” will show up in Buzzmarker, link partner records, links and filters. The big plus is once we add reporting (coming in a couple weeks!) you will be able to break down link building performance by type (blog/media mention, social bookmark, guest post, affiliate link, general directory, blog comment, etc.).

Here’s how you do it:

1. Click on “Settings”

setings

2. Click on “Configuration” tab

config

3. Click on “New Link Partner Type” or “New Link Type” (not shown)

link-partner

4. Enter in link “Type” and click Save

enter-link

Filter Memory

You’ve gone through all the trouble to set up a bunch of filters and they go up in smoke once you have logged out or leave a page. Yes, very annoying, so we fixed it. If you leave a page or happen to log out you can return with all your filters in place. An added bonus is you can now see what your current filter is with out jumping into your filter preferences.

filter-save

Backlink Checker Update with Email Reporting
It’s been easy to get the current state of your link but the reporting has been a bit light. You told us you needed help identifying changes to the actual links and wanted those changes sent to your inbox. We are happy to meet the need. We’ve beefed up the Backlink Checker and added some simple email reports that give you an accurate snap shot of any crucial changes to your links.

Backlink Checker

  • Changes to the page it is linking
  • Changes to nofolllow/dofollow status
  • Changes to anchor text
  • Changes to the number of outbound links on the pages

Email Reporting

  • New links that were added since the last check, including critical info you need to evaluate it (PageRank, #of links on the page, presence of “flagged words,” whether it’s a dofollow or nofollow link)
  • Links that you’d previously received that have changed (also includes the details of what changed)
  • Links that have been removed since you last ran a backlink check

Upcoming Features

Your feedback keeps us going so please don’t hesitate to comment below or send suggestions straight to customer-service@buzzstream.com. Thanks for helping us make BuzzStream into the tool that you need it be. Check out new updates and features we’ll be adding in the coming weeks.

  • Easier Import Utility: Making it a breeze to import your own links
  • Custom Fields
  • Reporting
  • Contact Info Highlighting: When the Buzzmarker finds contact info, we’ll highlight the place on the web page where we found it.
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BuzzStream Release Notes – 3/7/2010

It’s about that time. Time to lay out what we’ve been up to since our last post. It’s been a while; we know it and it’s no OK with us. Why the blackout? A ton of new customers, continued product enhancements and infrastructure upgrades have had everyone juggling fire. We don’t like burns so unfortunately the blog has taken a back seat. Now that the acrobatics are over, we’ve got a bunch to share. Let’s get to it.

Speed of the Link Buzzmarker

If you’re using BuzzStream for Link Management, you’ll see huge improvements in the time it takes for the Link Buzzmarker to scan the page.  This will make your link research and link documentation efforts much more efficient.  I was testing sites last night that had been taking 10-15 seconds to load and they’re now loading in 2 to 3 seconds.  We’ll make similar improvements to the Media Buzzmarker in a future release.  This will be a continuous process…the end goal is to get it to where there’s virtually no wait time when you click the Buzzmarker.

Tag Management

One of our most frequent requests from people who have been using the product for a long time is that tags quickly become unmanageable once you have a lot of contacts or a lot of people using the product.  We’ve taken the first step to addressing this by adding tag management capabilities.  Now you can select multiple contacts and add, edit or delete contacts for those contacts.  So suppose one person was using the tag “social media” and another person was using “social_media,” you can now fix this by filtering on the tag you want to remove, selecting all the contacts, removing the one tag and adding the other.

Enhancements to Tasks

We continue to extend our Task Management capabilities so that you can better track and manage your influencer outreach efforts and your link management activities.   Here’s a list of the things we added since our last Release blog post:

  • The ability to add a task while Buzzmarking a contact
  • E-mail notifications of your daily agenda as well as notifications when tasks are assigned to you by someone else
  • The ability to add follow-up tasks when you’re adding notes, editing links, etc (for example, after adding the note “Talked to John about the product review,” you can create a follow-up task titled “Send screenshots” that’s associated with the note)
  • Task filtering on the Dashboard – this will enable you to see tasks associated with a specific project, tasks that are due at a certain time, and tasks that are assigned to someone on your team.

BuzzStream's task management capabilities

Bulk Operations

In addition to Tag Management, we’ve added  a number of other operations that can be conducted on multiple contacts at once.  This is particularly useful when you’re working with a large number of contacts.  Our bulk operations currently include:

  • Select specific contacts to copy or move to a different project: you no longer have to move/copy all of the Link Partners that are in the current filter…now you can specifically select the ones that you want to copy or move.
  • Bulk delete
  • Ability to change the “assigned to” field for multiple Link Partners at once
  • Ability to change “relationship stage” for multiple Link Partners at once

BuzzStream bulk operations - changing influencer ratings for multiple contacts

Improvements to Search

We implemented Lucene as our search technology, which will give us much more power for searching.  In the near-term, this means you can now search on any term in the fields we look at.  In the long-term, it’ll mean that we’ll be able to search across much larger data sets.  This will become much more important as we enhance our influencer monitoring capabilities (i.e., you’ll be able to do things like look for any of your influencers who have written about a certain topic in the last X weeks).

Improved Performance

We added a number of large customers last week and we’re optimizing to make sure that performance keeps up.  We’re addressing this both with code optimizations and by adding more hardware.  Things seem to be humming, but please let us know if you see any issues.

Usability Improvements and Bug Fixes

In addition to these new features, we also made a number of usability improvements and fixed some remaining bugs.  Here’s the list:

  • The Quick Search box now clears when you click “Clear Filters”
  • For monitoring, the “Manage” tab is only available to Administrators
  • Fixed a bug that was preventing retrieval of Twitter metrics when you’d click “Update Metrics”
  • Links to external websites now open in a new tab (instead of a new window)
  • Fixed a bug that was making some social profile URLs unclickable (e.g., some facebook URL formats)
  • When you click outside the Projects drop-down, it now closes automatically
  • When you finish an Import, the “Cancel” button now changes to “Close”
  • Increased the character limit for the “About” fields on People, Media Outlets and Link Partners
  • Fixed a set of user interface bugs on Internet Explorer.  These include:
    • Cursor wouldn’t turn into a pointer when you hovered over the Delete icon
    • “Link out” icons were getting cut off on some pages
    • Text in “Recently Viewed” section of the Dashboard was getting cut off

Lots of tasty goodness in our near-term roadmap as well…some of the things we’re working on:

  • Reporting: our highest priority for our next major release
  • Filter memory: BuzzStream will remember your filter.  So, for example, suppose you’ve filtered your list to only show contacts assigned to you.  If you go to a different page or log out, the next time you return to the list, you’ll only see those contacts (this is a first step towards Saved Filters).
  • Highlighting contact info found by the Buzzmarker: When you Buzzmark a page, we’ll  highlight the section of the web page where any contact info is found.  This will reduce the time required for research.
  • Complete upgrade of the Backlink Checker e-mail in the Link Management product
  • More bulk operations
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Measuring Inbound Marketing

I just spoke to the Austin Web Analytics Wednesday on the topic of PR, Social Media, and SEO measurement. Great group with really thoughtful questions and good conversations. I discussed my view of Inbound Marketing as a funnel: Listening > Engagement > Relationship > Coverage > Links > Search Rankings > Traffic > Leads > Sales. Would love to hear feedback. What did I miss?

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Is Page Load Speed Google's Next Organic Rankings Factor?

Example of a dead heat in horse racing

A tweet out of SMX Advanced last week got my attention:

Tweet by @MissDeFacto saying load times increasingly a factor in SERPs
posted by Meaghan Olson (@MissDeFacto) from TotalAttorneys.com

We’ve known since March of 2008 that Google factors page load time into the Adwords quality score, which helps determine ad rankings. But there’s been no discussion of whether speed matters for organic rankings, except that many suspect it might.  Even SEOMoz’s factors list deems server response time as “Moderately Important,” and then only from the perspective of being crawler-friendly.

So what to make of this hint dropped over lunch at SMX? As I see it, an algorithm change is in the works, and sites with merely a passable page load times can expect to lose rankings to their speedier competitors shortly.  Don’t be evil; be fast as hell.

Google Giveth

Perhaps it was coincidence, but the very next day, Google released a speed tool for developers built on Firebug. The comments on TechCrunch were pretty much along the lines of this one from Patrick, “Yeah, this is exactly like YSlow. Google has to build all of their tools themselves though to prove how smart they are.”

WordCamp SF - Straight from Google - Matt Cutt...
(cc) Kenneth Yeung – www.thelettertwo.com

Maybe.  But why would Google release an app that’s almost identical to Yslow? Perhaps because they need one of their own.  Why?  Because in a few months, Matt Cutts will be holding a microphone telling anxious Webmasters the algorithm now factors in page load time, so they need to focus on optimizing page loads.  Directing people to Yahoo would be a bit busch league, so that’s why Google needs a tool of their own.  To me, it’s totally Google’s style: let’s not be evil by changing the algorithm without giving Webmasters tools to test page load speeds.  So viola, Google Page Speed.

How Big a Factor?

My guess is we’ll see page load speed as a factor impact long-tail SERPs where trusted sites are offering relatively similar information. For example if you search “real estate casis elementary” on Google, you get a cluster of sites like Yahoo Real Estate, Trulia, and Zillow who take feeds from Education.com or Greatschools.net (who also rank) with similar (but not duplicate) content. Which one is best to show– the page from the more-trusted site or the page that loads faster? Increasingly, I think the answer will be “the fast one.”

What to Measure: HTML Serve Time, Page Serve Time, Page Render Time?

If this is all true, I think it’s worth stopping to consider what exactly is Google measuring? The time it takes my server to spit back HTML? The time to retrieve all the Javascript, CSS, and images for a page? Or the time it takes the browser to render everything?

Meaghan told me that the Google engineer focused mainly on page serve time, but said client-side “matters because it annoys users.” So I suspect Google is working hard to measure total client-side page render time, and coincidentally that’s what Page Speed measures.

Also, if you reel back the tape to Matt Cutts’ keynote at Pubcon in Austin, we heard him say, “The team there only thinks about speed. They want to get the results back to users as quick as humanly possible.” Now I realize Matt was speaking about how fast Google returns its own results to users, but if you pay close attention, he was talking about how Google tries to improve client render time. If improving client render times is good for Google users on google.com, then you can bet they believe the same is true elsewhere.

Upshot: Panic!

Just kidding.  If you run a site with highly unique content (e.g. a blog), diverse competition, and solid current rankings, I’d expect to see less impact on you. But if you’re responsible for a site with similar content to competitors (e.g. real estate listings sites) and the competition is clued into the standard SEO tricks, then I won’t be surprised to see faster sites outrank slower, higher authority sites in some cases.

How exactly will Google measure?  In the short term, they’ll probably measure the time it takes your server to spit back HTML.  But in the long term, I expect it will be total browser render time.

I’d love to hear what others think about this situation. Any guesses what happens if you have long, text-heavy pages? Theoretically, they’ll have poor page load times if measured purely by HTML serve time.  Will Google adjust your page load time time for the amount of content you’re serving up? If not, won’t that effectively penalize long, text-rich pages? How well can Google measure the render speed of pages served by JS-AJAX heavy frameworks like Wicket?  How can this be gamed– are there scripting tactics to hide object loads and make pages appear to have less cruft than they really do?

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Anatomy of Link Building Pitch Spam

The Bad Pitch Blog is a great place to laugh at the foibles of unwitting PR hacks who send out spammy, untargeted, impersonal pitches to journalists.  I’d love to read a blog like that for link builders.  However, I worry that spammy link pitches are too much the norm in our industry, so the blog could get kind of boring.

Here’s a recent example of something I got.  There are a lot of reasons why this pitch will got straight to the trash, but for fun I thought I’d dissect it:

The Suspicious Sender

The “from” address is “@indiasem.net” but he’s asking for links on 3 websites, so it’s obviously not from the site owner.  Well, that’s ok, I know there are quality folks like Eric Ward who do link building for their clients.  No harm in having an agency, right?  But wait, why doesn’t this guy, Julian Levin, have an email like jlevin@indiasem.net.  It just says “custom@indiasem.net”.  That’s kind of weird.  Sort of makes me think he forgot to replace “custom” with something more personal.  Might some mass mailing software be at work here?

You Had Me at “Dear Webmaster”

Boy, it must be hard to check the About page on a site to see who founded it.  Or maybe search Linkedin.  But no, Julian did not deign himself to either of those steps, going for the ever-effective “Dear Webmaster” opening.  But let’s see what he has to say.  Maybe Julian used the time he saved in not researching who runs the site to draft a really awesome, personalized note…  Ok, so he writes, “I have visited your site and thought it was excellent. I particularly liked content of your site.Your site is professional and offers excellent value to your visitors.” Wow, thanks!.   So you’ve written 3 sentences that state wholly generic platitudes that could obviously be sent to ANY website.  Well, personalization shall go wanting today.

Hey, have you even LOOKED at My Site?

As I read more, the text generally doesn’t make sense (“I noticed that you have linked to other sites and thought my website might be of interest to you and your website visitors” — um, no I don’t have any links on the page you mention (it’s just the URL contains the word “Links” as in “golf links” perhaps an idiom with which you lack familiarity).  Maybe you’re using Google to search “allinurl:links” and spamming every site on the list.  Hey, I’ll bet you never even looked at my page.  You realize of course that my page is specific to a small city in Florida, right?  But yet you don’t mention why you’d want the link there…

Why Again Should I Link to Your Paper Bag Site?

Then Julian writes “Please add links here…”.  Wait all you care about is getting your links to paper sacks, corrugated boxes, and commercial warehousing on some deep-ass page of my site (that you mistakenly stated has other outbound links) without explaining in any way why it makes sense. OK!

Poorly Written Site Descriptions

And then he provides title, URL, description for 3 sites.  Hey Julian, have you ever heard the expression beggars can’t be choosers.  If I do add your links, it’s going to be because I think they add value to my content and make sense for my users.  And btw, the proper grammar is “We specialize,” not “Web specializes” and it’s a little wordy not to mention your punctuation is a disaster.  That’s ok, if I add a link, I’ll probably have to rewrite it (but then again, that’s one more bit of work for me to do now).

A Little Bit ‘O Black Hat

Then comes the quid-pro-quo (“Sites where i shall publish your links”) followed by a list of 5 directory sites (notice the mixed formatting, likely from copying and pasting without paying enough attention).  Oh, I get it this is a pyramid/triangle link swap deal you’re proposing.  Well, let’s have a look.  The first site I go to (SurfGizmo) is flagged by Firefox as a “Reported Attack Site” which means, “Attack sites try to install programs that steal private information, use your computer to attack others, or damage your system.”  Sweet.  Good thing it’s been months since you first emailed and Firefox caught this.  If I’d given you the link straightaway, I would probably now have a link from the worst kind of neighborhood.

Offering Link Exchanges from Oversubscribed Pages

So let me get this straight… I’m going to give you 3 links on my site to unrelated content and in exchange you’re going to give me 1 link on 5 crappy sites that are security threats, low/non-existent PR, may or may not be indexed by Google (btw, I’d need to go research this for each site), have hundreds of existing external links, and were obviously created to have loads more (so any links I get from you will diminish in value over time).  How can I refuse!

By the Way, Do You Exist?

And then there’s the question of “Julian Levin”.  Is this a real person?  Well, let me Google that and find out… hmm, lots of Julian Levins, but none who seem to be associated with IndiaSEM.net.  Well, maybe IndiaSEM.net has an “About Us” page with bios of their staff.  Maybe Julian is a straight shooter and I just don’t realize it.  Oh wait, their site has no information just a strange form for “Just Financial Administration.”

Well, I could go on.  But you get the idea.  This is a classic example of spray and pray pitching.  Relevance is an afterthought.  I hate to think  this guy’s clients are paying much for this “service” which frankly could be automated with a robot (and let’s be honest, 95% of the work probably was).  Sadly, even SEO firms with good names are taking the low road.

I’ll post shortly on the right way to pitch a link.  But let me say this, Julian, I think job #1 would be to actually look at the pages where you’re requesting links before you email anyone.

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