Bing, Google or Blekko?

Last blog post I stated how I really wanted to give Bing an honest go, mainly on the back of getting increasingly pissed off by Google’s ever aggressive demands around social engineering. I wish Google would stick to what that do well (search) and don’t sod around with what they don’t do well (social media!).

 

Thinks aren’t all that Blekko

Anyhow, as people in search I’ve been recommended to use Blekko, mainly by Dita.

First off is the great trick that lets you find out which engine provides you the best SERPS. In the red corner Blekko, in the Blue Corner Bing, and in the striped corner Google. Yahoo hasn’t been invited to the party, but that’s no loss! Blekko Monte, like three card Monte- get it?

You basically add “/monte” to the end of every search and Blekko whacks up three anonymous options, you get to choose which you like best and then it reveals which search engine you preferred for that search.
 

Forwardslashing

Don’t quite get the usability benefits of the forward slash vertical search system, to be honest as a web user I find it a bit cumbersome.

Blekko for SEO

We have been using Blekko’s specific SEO tools. It’s all information that with a bit of nous can be accessed on Google but I like the fact it’s specifically marketed for SEO’s. See below for an SEO forward slash.

Getting busted by Google+

Don’t mess with the Big G!

I haven’t really been busted by Google+, instead I have had a Google hand on my shoulder and told to “slow down a bit Sunshine”. You don’t need a kite and a windsock to know which way the wind is blowing in SEO, and the weather vane is most certainly pointing to the importance of social interaction becoming more and more important. In the respect that a good side will have people sharing it via social media I think this is probably a good relevancy provider. Perhaps not as good as click through rate, but certainly valid.

However the SEO backlash against Google (company motto: “don’t be evil“) is in regard to the increased SEO reward disproportionately given to it’s social initiatives. Anyhow I can’t change the tide, we just have to do our best to float with it. As an early strategy we set everyone in our company a fun challenge to see who could get the biggest amount of followers on Google+. A crate of beers was given to the winner, and the loser had to spend a day making cups of tea for everyone else!

Busted

Busted on Google!

Not wanting to lose my own challenge, I set up a circle called “networking” and added everyone that Google+ suggested, eventually reaching around 5000 people circled. From this number I had around 7% of the followed people follow me back. In a bid to put out attractive content I tended to recycle the latest trends from Reddit, mainly cats in uniforms. I won the race, but have also got a network that is a little disjointed, and ultimately the charge could be levelled that it’s a bit of a spammy strategy. Eventually I got the aforementioned warning from Google+. I have now deleted the “networking” circle and am back to doing Google+ on a more social basis!

Bye Bye 5k

Bye Bye 5k

On a positive, of our team of a dozen people most built more natural circles of industry specific followers. In due course we will get everyone involved in our Google+ company pages and at least we have the start of a good footprint.

Bing it up!

As mentioned earlier I (like a lot of people involved in search marketing) am getting increasingly frustrated by Google’s ever aggressive revenue lead strategies. This week I hope to have at least one Bing Day, when Google won’t be used at all. A journey away from Google in small steps!

More will be revealed!

Apologies for the delay in updating this blog recently, it’s been a bit mental on the day job side, have a few more blog ideas coming up as well as some general housekeeping to do on WordPress.

Press Releases and Power of Experiment of Linking to Links!

Press Release Frenzy

Been quite busy recently with generating press release content. I have used a mixture of free press release sites and paid for services. I have only been spending time with press release sites that have rel=”dofollow” links, and the majority that I picked were based on competitor research and also looking at the metrics of the external links on the press release site. The main metrics that I looked at are SEO Moz’s Page/Domain Authority, Majestic SEO’s A/C rank and the much maligned google page ranks.

The response has been positive, and typically it has been get what you pay for. PR.com were pricey, but I was very impressed by their distribution, the content (and it’s anchor text of course!) was picked up and posted on loads of sites. Some of the sites that the press release was taken by included (pre Panda strategy) scrapper sites that operate within our sector so will be generating back links from our neighbourhood also. The other paid service that I dabbled with was OnlinePrNews.com, initially I was disappointed that their distribution network seemed smaller than PR.com and primarily focused on rel=”nofollow” links. However Christine OKelly did take the time to email me some responses to an initial complaint (including an additional future press release code), so I still remain open about their product, certainly their client support demands commendation.

Going forward I will be looking closely at the worth of the generated links and also doing some A/B testing between PR.com and OnlinePRNews.com

My initial suspicion is that we will see a return on the few hundred dollars that we invested, and that the links generated should have worth.

Experimental experiment on SEO!

Experimental experiment on SEO!

Experiment with linking to backlinks.

So, as to the mentioned experiment. I have previously blogged about the perceived benefit of social bookmarking to backlinks, as well as actually linking to backlinks from other backlinks. I know that companies exist who offer paid services to extensively social bookmark and I spend a bit of time each day bookmarking our sites and also backlinks. As previously blogged I have firefox set up with most of the add ons for ease of use, however it still takes time, especially link building to backlinks! So I figured it would be useful to conduct a bit of a test, and dovetail it in with my work on press release distribution.

Today I am setting up four press releases(A/B/C/D), all similar in character though non identical. I will be publishing each on two/three of the free distribution press release sites like PressBox.com.

When up I will then do the following for them:
A) Nothing
B) Social Bookmark
C) 4 Links
D) Social Bookmark and 4 links.

After a month I will go back and look at the four, look into the analytics and see what the results are.

How to get to the front page of Google in Two Steps!

You would never guess that my last blog was about writing catchy titles would you?

I wanted to boil down SEO, or “Search” or as Mr Fishkin likes to propose “InBound Marketing” to it’s simplest constituents, something I should be well equipped for as I’m a pretty simple man. The first of the 2 simple steps is something that I missed for a fair while, even though it was in front of me all along:Mini Me from Austen Powers

1: To get to the top of Google: do what the sites at the top of Google Do

Living in London as I type sat on my sofa I can see my Garden is covered in snow, perhaps the first tip could appear to merit as much worth as the advice “don’t eat yellow snow”. However this was told to me (not the yellow snow bit) and when I took it onboard the world of search became a little clearer. The deeper picture is to research your niche, then research keywords, and then when an angle is found research competitors that are doing well and replicate them! I have balanced too much time over the past few months reading about SEO theory, and too little time looking at what the challenging talent is doing (hark at me using the word “talent” – SpinalTapesq, yeah)!

A future blog (probably when I get back from a short break in Guernsey (can’t wait – seafood, nice Hotel – superb!) will talk about some of my forays into research. Mainly I have been using SEOMoz and Majestic SEO, with dabbles into SEM Rush and also a bespoke tool a consultant friend has given us access to. Very interesting.

2: Do good content, make good websites, be white(ish) hat

Another blindingly obvious one. Having immersed yourself in the world of SEO firstly you should try to have a good idea of what’s white(ish) hat – going back to the snow outside my front door, greyish, snow coloured but highlighted with a smattering of soot from the exhausts of some passing cars! For example I will aim to be copying some of our competitors strategies but not all of them as I feel that within the bounds of inbound marketing some of the paths chosen are a bit passe. For example one of Sportsbook Guardian‘s rivals is simply a rather transparent link network with varying C IP’s, ultimately I think this SEO policy will have less success as Google’s updates continue to sweep through the system.
Build good sites, write good content, the simplest (and hardest) way to get traffic, links, custom (etc..).

Spinal Tap back in black

Turn your Content to 11!

Debating which of the next two blog to write: “A guide to sucking eggs” or “How to build a network on Google+”. Hint the blog will focus on the one that is force fed to us, and doesn’t come out of a chicken. If you want to get a head start on the blog feel free to add me to your Google+ Circle. If you aren’t on Google+, get on, and do it soon!

Write Content like a King for Kingsize Traffic!

Unexpected Titles that will go Viral

Right, so I blog, and I read about blogging, but changing the habits of a lifetime is not easy. Most articles about writing blog content I nod along to and then promptly forget about. Okay, I get the principle that info-graphics are amazing, but I don’t have the technical ability to create them at present!

One thing that has stuck in the mind is get to the point quickly so I will stop waffling and point you towards this great blog by Dan Shure on writing punchy title tags. In short formatting great blogs will take time, but I can start with doing good titles! Especially in the world of Twitter and utilising Bitly to reformat urls it should really help propagate the content for Sportsbook Guardian (check out the new blog content we put on the front page this week).

The blog mentions title tips like creating a conflict, generating excitement, curiosity, emotive words. Very good.
 

Content is King

So good content is King, but becoming a King isn’t easy. Kings of Yore presumably worked hard, were good with swords, employed cunning and guile and dragged their way up from being Knaves. However Knaves need tools also, and hopefully I will bring into play Dan Shures principles to get me up the ladder with our content!

    Kestrel for a Knave

‘An Eagle for an Emperor, a Gyrfalcon for a King:
a Peregrine for a Prince, & a Saker for a Knight,
a Merlin for a lady, a Goshawk for a Yeoman,
a Sparrowhawk for a Priest, & a Kestrel for a Knave.’

 

Content King Webmaster for SEO

Content is King for SEO!

Get Linkbuilding success from using Pingo!

Pinging for google attention

Just a quick blog today, partly because I forgot some of the stuff I had intended to blog about. This is no doubt exacerbated by spending around 30 working hours doing quite laborious low hanging fruit with Link-building. In short my brain is turning somewhat into mush.

However not all doom and gloom as I am beginning to really look into in-depth research and will be starting on relationship building link out-reach from next week. This will have the aim of getting some links from both some good neighbourhood sites and also some authority sites. I will be writing a more comprehensive blog about this shortly.

Pingo and Pingomatic for linkbuilding

Pingo and Pingomatic for linkbuilding

The main suggestion to pass along is to use PingoMatic during link building to ping various search engines and hopefully expedite the crawling and indexing of your link. I have in particular been doing this when I have been updating profile pages that feature the ability to have a dofollow back link.

StumbleUpon kills link building

A week or so back I talked about how I have my firefox browser set up with the toolbars for all of the major social bookmark and “Digg” type sites. Reddit occupies the clear Google/CocaCola market leader position in this space. This is strange to my mind as I personally think their site is clunky with poor usability. Perhaps the best designed bookmark sharing site is StumbleUpon, so it’s a shame that they have this week killed the ability to link back by making their site iFrame based. This means that I will only “like” content that has a fair chance of going viral (not easy!). Worth noting that I only S/U liked good content anyhow, but will be a shame that this medium is now almost worthless unless used to stimulate genuine viral traffic. I can understand the rationale behind it however, as though S/Upon was user self policing perhaps their content was being devalued by link builders with low quality submissions?

Stumble Upon Toolbar kills linkbuiling for seo

Stumble Upon Toolbar, not used so often now!

Content Marketing – Be Common!

Creative Commons for SEO

Talked a bit recently about images, in one of my earlier blogs I shared some of my discoveries around optimising images. Increasingly I am trying to capture things of interest on my ever present iPhone and using unique pictures.
When optimised I make sure the images aren’t on social media sites that are crawled, namely Facebook’s pages (individual user profiles not crawled, the Groups fading away) and Flickr. This means that Google sees our image as unique.

Creative Commons for SEO

Creative Commons


Going a step further some images I am making a point of putting on Flickr with Creative Commons, hopefully I will strike up a few nice back links from this. Most of my images are betting related and I would hope that I can seed some backlinks from our neighbourhood. For example I was lucky enough to get to the Masters Snooker, there are very few pictures of the new trophy on the WWW. Ditto I make sure to capture good images whenever I go horse racing. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that someone writing about the betting ring at Cheltenham will want a photo of Cheltenham’s betting ring.

Twitter, tweet, yesterday’s beat?

My colleagues at work will remember that I spent most of 2010 banging on about twitter and facebook and was somewhat obsessed with the two channels. To be honest for SEO the time that I spent doing SM could have been better utilised. I’m sat in a Costa before seeing some friends on a Saturday night and I have just spent half an hour on SEO Moz, 2 years ago would have been Mashable. BUT, of course SMM isn’t dead, and I still do “keep the conversation going”.

However in terms of actual SEO I have been finding twitter very useful to broadcast content, and attract both traffic and links. Last weekend I was on top of the curve with Ascot’s dress code PR muck up, and feeling reasonably engaged by the subject I wrote a blog piece. Using twitter several of the racing community with whom I interact with were kind enough to retweet my piece. This group included two top racing journos, a Grand National winning jockey, and a couple of respected racing presenters. In all 30k+ followers were retweeted to and traffic went up accordingly.

Twitter Dead

Twitter Tweet Beat


My mistake – I didn’t use Bitly to customise the tweet link to something very clickable, if I had I would be confident that I would have got double the traffic for the piece.

New Content Rich Site

Can’t wait until our new front page goes live, will post a link up when it does.

As my late Grandfather used to say: TTFN (ta ta for now!).

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