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Internet Marketing Idea – Sidewiki Easter Eggs

October 8, 2009 1 comment

Easter-EggsBased on my travels around the web in the last day, Google’s Sidewiki is being talked about, but not really used very much.

There is some debate as to whether it will take off and that has a lot to do with how Google promotes the software and whether website managers embrace the technology.

For me, it’s the perfect Easter egg hunt.  We can have a lot of fun with it if we want.  I’ve gone and left messages for friends and competitors and even visitors to my own sites.  For instance on my Facebook business page, I left a special message anybody can see, but only visitors who join can implement and it benefits everyone.  But to see the message, you need the secret decoder for the invisible ink.  I’ve left welcome messages for visitors on all my SEO sites.

There are a lot of creative ideas for webmasters and bloggers to create amazing Easter eggs for site visitors using Sidewiki.

  • Hidden links only viewable on the wiki.
  • Special offers.
  • It’s endless!

Like any media Easter egg, there is a work around without having to hunt all over the Internet.  The Google profiles associated with the software record all comments made and provide links to the pages where comments were left.  If enough data is entered into the profile, it becomes searchable.  That is the SEO aspect of Google Sidewiki.

I was just fooling around so I didn’t go into any secret stealth mode to hide my eggs.  However, that’s something to be considered for an extensive Sidewiki Easter egg marketing campaign.

Whether this technology is widely adopted certainly remains in question.  But it’s pretty easy for any web manager to provide a web message on their home page for Sidewiki.  An extensive Easter egg campaign isn’t necessary until we see more signs the technology is being used.  Or it could be such a campaign might just differentiate your site?

Three Ways to Out Rank Your Competitors on Google

September 28, 2009 10 comments

head to headTaking on the big dogs is always hard to do.  That’s what I did when I started optimizing for “Salt Lake City SEO.”

One of the fundamentals of SEO is established sites tend to out rank new sites because they have more links and more content.

While researching for that post, I found I could easily out rank my competition on the blog side, but out ranking on the website side would be much more difficult.  That’s OK.  I have a plan.

Use established sites to gain search engine ranking -

There are probably a million sites to leverage to get a good ranking, but I like to submit to sites that will duplicate my work through RSS.

Article Directories

The easiest way to do this is submit content to article sites.  Article sites have been around a lot longer than any new websites, so they’ll show up in search engine results higher and sooner than anything else.  They also act as a filter for the visitor because if someone reads my article, then comes to my site for more information, it seems they are becoming a pretty well qualified prospect.  I only submit to article sites that allow anchor text so I am maximizing my time.  Other websites that use syndicated content take those feeds as is, so my anchor text gets duplicated all over the web.  I can even submit older articles from this site verbatim without worrying about a duplicate content penalty.

I am currently submitting articles to three of my favorite directories.  I will let you know how that turns out.

Press Releases

Press releases are one of my favorite ways to generate buzz, branding and inbound links.  They are great for new sites because the fact you’re launching a site is newsworthy in itself.  Press release sites not only distribute to major news sites, they also utilize RSS so blogs and other news aggregators scrape and publish your content.  To get the best distribution and the ability to use anchor text, it will cost you money, but the exposure is well worth it.

The key to writing a successful press release is making it newsworthy.  While it’s worth the money spent just for the links and the distribution, ideally you want to generate a release that will create press.  Too many web marketers submit press releases that are poorly written or just plain spam.  By taking the time to write something newsworthy, you will create something worth your effort.

I have not submitted any press releases yet, but I came up with two newsworthy ideas I think will generate some press.  I’m still working on some details, but plan to have idea one fully implemented this week.

Directory Sites

While doing some research on my targeted key words, I found some localized directory sites I thought would be worth submitting to.  Besides Blogtopsites and Blogtoplist which I always submit to, I found Blogcatalog and MerchantCircle.  Much to my surprise, I found the following for my key phrase a couple days ago:

Hi front page of Google!

Hi front page of Google!

Over time and after implementing some of my other strategies, I believe this site will rank in the top ten, but for now I’m pretty pleased.  Look out big dogs, I’m nipping at your heels!

If you want a hint about the future of SEO, this is it.  Other sites are the place you want to be; Facebook, Twitter, Directories, Google Maps, etc.  Don’t believe me?  Ask Seth Godin.  He’s launching Brands in Public, a content aggregator for companies.  For $400 a month you can get some pretty cheap SEO, but the idea has its detractors.  No matter how much people hate it, it’s going to happen.

Embrace change.

Salt Lake City SEO – Guerilla Marketing

September 18, 2009 4 comments

guerilla gorillasI wanted to provide an update of the strategy I tried last Friday to try and get some search engine rankings for this blog for the term “salt lake city seo.”

I based my strategy from tip number three in this article.  Please understand I wasn’t “testing” this strategy, I was implementing it.  I have carried this out before with great success in gaining new readers and obtaining links from more authoritative sources.  Yes, some of the companies mentioned in my article took notice.  Yes, they are considering using my services.

However, that wasn’t my main goal.  My main goal was to get ranked on page one of Google for my key phrase, “salt lake city seo.”  First of all I knew to be realistic.  There is no way this blog will get ranked on the first page of Google for my key term because it doesn’t have enough inbound links and it hasn’t been around as long as the others.  Looking at the search results this morning confirms my thinking.

salt lake city seo website results

Eventually it will get up there, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never claim the top spot, unless MWI does a site redesign and makes a mistake in the migration.  I don’t think they will.

I know I can’t compete on that playing field, but I can compete on another…the blog search results.  Yeah, yeah, people don’t search there very often.  But if they do, I think they’re probably a pretty qualified customer.  Perhaps they’re a competitor doing research?  Anyway, I know this blog can dominate the Google blog results for my key term…and it does.

salt lake city seo blog results

Between the several posts I made about this topic and my RSS copiers, these articles take up many of the search results.  Even better?  I’ve earned a top position on the page that won’t disappear.  You see someone else could write an article about Salt Lake City SEO and push my position down because the blog posts typically rank based on freshness.  By owning that top position, it doesn’t matter if my articles move, because this site has gained enough authority to keep that top spot as a relevant site.

From my perspective, these have been great results.  I hope I’ve been able to turn a boring topic into something interesting and hopefully you’ve learned something.

Use Photos for SEO!

September 17, 2009 5 comments

Photos can help SEO

Photos can help SEO

A few weeks ago, I suggested/informed/declared that Flickr was a great place to get a little extra traffic to your site.  A photo site?

Yesterday Bing announced a visual search where photos would show up instead of text.  I believe this is something every SEO company should be aware of…and exploit.

Google already has an image search.  It’s something I use for almost every image used here and elsewhere.  Sometimes the search term I use to find a photo reflects the topic at hand.  For this post I knew I would be talking about photos.  In my mind it was a lot of photos, not a specific one.  So I searched for collage, found the one displayed here and saved it to my hard drive as a file called “photo seo.jpg.”  Then I added the “alt” tag  “photos can help SEO.”  This is a little SEO trick to help this page and to help the photo show up on Google images.  I could have kept the original file name or left off the alt tag, but why let such opportunities go to waste?  Plus I want my photo to be more relevant so someone doing a search for seo photo might actually read this article.

Sometimes I pick a photo that’s ironic or funny.  Yesterday, I did a search for apples and oranges to represent visually how different Facebook and SEO are.  I didn’t change the file name which was applesoranges.jpg or some such thing.  I also didn’t use an alt tag.  The file name was perfect.  I assume that’s a pretty common search term and I’m hoping that article will show up.

For the Facebook article, I didn’t use the best photo I found.  I really liked the one where someone had hand stiched half an apple and half an orange together and then taken a beautiful photo of it.  When you use images, there are copyright issues to consider.  Here’s how I handle it.  If I see a copyright, like I did with that image, I steer clear of it.  If I see the same image over and over on different websites, I assume it’s fair game.

The image I used yesterday was also an original image, but had no copyright info on it.  I supplied a link back to the original and feel pretty confident I won’t have any problems.  If for some reason the site owner asked me to remove the image, I would comply in a heartbeat and find another suitable image.

Why don’t I link right to the image instead of saving it first?  This practice, known as hotlinking, has become quite dangerous for several reasons.

1.  By linking to the image, you’re using the other site’s bandwidth.  I know I don’t have enough traffic yet to impact anyone, but it’s bad form.

2.  The site hosting the image may go down, and your site will have an ugly gap.  Sites come and go.  It’s a fact of the Internet.  Never rely on someone else’s site.

3.  The image may be changed.  Any one can name any file, anything.  It’s happened in the past where a completely benign file name that was hotlinked, suddenly became a pornographic image because the disgruntled host realized someone was effectively stealing their bandwidth.

If you’re not using images in your blog posts or website, now is the time to start.  Here are some quick tips.

Use Flickr to host your original images.  Do fill in the description tags and use an SEO friendly file name.  Do provide your website in the description area as well.

Always save and reupload images you find on the web.  Do rename the image if necessary.  Do use alt tags to enhance the image’s description.  Remember that humans can read the alt tags, so don’t simply keyword stuff.

Don’t steal images!

Remember that photos provide additional SEO exposure especially on Bing and Google.  Plan accordingly.

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