Sunday, 3 April 2011

Trusting The Written Word, Spreading The Electronic

I've been reading up on the subject of Internet Marketing in recent months - and by "reading up" I mean looking at many websites and the few books I could get access to without paying. Why? Because I'm cheap and because the Internet is an ever-changing playground: by the time a book on certain aspects of it is published there's a good chance the context will have changed.

A great example of this is SEO - Search Engine Optimisation. All websites want traffic and traffic comes from search results for most sites. Therefore you do things (the technical term) to a page so that search engines like you and rate you highly. Google handles over 70% of searches in the Western world so SEO means doing what Google likes. And what Google really likes is to change their rules. Professionals in the field watch Google like a hawk; others wait for comment to filter down. One universal rule to increase traffic was to get backlinks, ie other sites linking to your pages. Then it was "get relevant sites linking to you". Then it was "Don't get irrelevant sites linking to you".

Why? Well, a link from a page on libraries to this blog is from relevant or related content - so it's more likely to be a useful link - or rather I'm more likely to be useful to readers of that page. If the site containing the page on libraries is a "good" site, such as The Guardian then it's even better. That's long been known about Google's preferences.

So, get loads of links from pages that are on similar subjects to yours. "How?" many of us ask? Two common ways have been to get links in directories (free or paid) and to write articles and get them published on article sites. Easy way to churn out an article is to copy your blog page; easy way to write lots of articles is to keep copying your blog page.

Now however, Google is responding to complaints from users that searches produce pages of irrelevant or duplicate results. Crappy link directory - ignore it and downgrade the site linked to. Duplicate content - ignore the copies and downgrade the site linked to or drop it completely. This latter has hit many thousands of people recently, from solitary bloggers to major businesses. And as Google rules the waves, so you can wave bye bye to right of appeal - you're sunk if Google says you are.

Okay, back to books: there are many on SEO and suddenly most of the work published more than a month or two ago is likely to be either irrelevant or actually wrong - or even harmful. It's not easy to recall a few thousand printed works and get the Tippex out. Obviously then, get your info from the Internet, that ever-changing cornucopia of information.

Erm, not quite ...

It also takes time to update websites, especially if they're multitudinous and all pointing at a product that claims to help you get traffic to your site. There are a few good products out there and many poor ones, and indeed many abysmal products. Consider a couple of the types:

Article Submission Software

It's boring and time-consuming to post an article in lots of places - better if you can automate part of the process - so there are systems that do just that. Of couse, most don't give a damn where the article goes - they'd drop my review of Green River Rising onto a site about great rivers of the world - or onto a site about the care and treatment of haemorrhoids for that matter. You've made my crap product, you've signed thousands of affiliates to flog it for you, why change anything - loads of mugs buying it who wouldn't know a Google algorithm from their elbow so they'll keep on buying.

Actually, this is an opportunity to push article spinning software. "What?" you ask. Software that takes an article and changes bits of text subtly to fool Google into thinking it's not duplicate content. Clever, huh? No, as most of you will be answering. It produces horrible and tortuous constructions and Google's semantic analyser is way cleverer than the spammers. Don't waste your money.

Link Submission Software

Ten thousand links on quality sites! Guaranteed traffic! Customers waiting for your site!

"I'll have some of that" you think, and cough up your $47 plus chance to step up to premium product for a monthly fee of only $21. If you're daft, that is.

Ever used a forum and seen those horrible spam posts? Where do you think they come from - it's not some Oriental scammer, it's an automated process. Forums, comment facilities, the aforementioned crappy directories - all are grist to the submission mill. There's even a variation: they'll add your ad to pages of a hundred ads rotating and some poor mug will click on it to earn a fraction of a penny. Earn RSI at home, it's called. Does it help you? No, tracking software measures referrer (where you come in from), time on page and exit point - pretty easy to spot the paid clicker.

Right, most books useless and most sites fraudulent - let's just give up and hope our mum reads the damn blog. Nope: look around for sites that you can trust - see a blog post I wrote on How to avoid Internet Marketing scams for some detailed advice on this, plus some links to trusted sources. Speak to friends whose judgement you trust, find sites and evaluate them yourself.

That goes for books as well: some of the principles stay constant - check the reviews and see what the content covers.

How to find them? Google of course. Yahoo/Bing is useless.

To repeat that blog address: Internet Marketing: Avoiding Scammers

Try also Five Internet Gurus Reviewed Whilst you may not be trying to make a fortune there are techniques you can adopt for any site and this post gives links to more free resources.


Clare Floyd DeVries said...

A useful and timely-for-me post, since I'm trying to get word out about a new book and blog. Thanks! I'll visit again. I just found you via your "Desert Island" book list on Squidoo (where I have "World Building," start of a series on imaginary places in which Middle Earth will eventually appear.)

Paul said...

Hi Clare, sounds interesting - let me know when you publish.

Kimberly Hiller said...

WOW! I didn't even know thous programs existed. Great information and insight!

Tony Payne said...

I definitely agree, the rules are changing all the time, so if you do buy a book, the chances are that it was out of date the day it was first published. Free resources are a far better way to go, especially if they are online ones.

Post a Comment

What do you think?