Archive for the ‘SEO/Marketing’ Category

On Web Directories

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

If you are a webmaster you are wondering why lately everybody and their grandmother has a web directory. Well, today I have decided to answer such a rightful question, since after all, I own a web directory too, right? Believe it or not, the answer is quite simple. Most of the directory owners are mislead by the illusion that owning a web directory is a very easy way to make money. This is false. Below I shall outline the reasons why these people will NOT make money off a web directory, until they fix up their thinking.

Owning a web directory is a huge responsibility and requires a lot of work. Most of the people who own one, fail to realize this, thus never truly achieve success. Such web directories are easily recognizable. You can identify them easily by sitewide links to totally irrelevant sites. Or if relevant, way too many outbound sitewide links. I understand a good directory can still exist with a couple of outbound sitewides, but once you link to over 5, where is the link juice for your clients? Also, linking to gambling, pharmacy, and other stuff like that, sitewide from a directory is a big no-no. People who adhere to such measures are desperate to make money off their web directory and are making their biggest mistake in the market.

Another thing I have noticed that poor quality directories do, is mass production. By this I mean the owner will usually have over 40 directories all open to the general public. None of these directories gets the attention it needs. It is not only about approval time, I understand if you sit on your computer all day and approve sites on each one of your free directories (which hope to sell some paid featured listings), you might be able to do it. But where is the marketing? For a directory to become good it has to become perhaps your #1 priority in Internet life. Have you noticed the successful directories lately? You stop hearing about the other business these people own, and all you hear is about their directory. Their one and only directory. This is how its supposed to be. Focus your concentration on your main directory. Work on it hard until it has become a success. If you have managed to lead it’s way up there, then, you can think of starting a new directory (if you think you have the time and will to go through all the work again).

The two major points are now out of the way, however, there is still plenty to talk about. In particular it has to be mentioned that accepting any paid listing is a big mistake. Just because someone offers you money you should not accept them. Make sure you accept only sites that you would actually like to visit some day if you are looking for information. Remember that if you list a bad site, this will be a potential turn off for new customers. Which brings me to my next point.

A good web directory has to keep their customers coming back. How would you do this? Well the idea is quite simple actually, the execution of it requires work (as does everything else I have mentioned above). Make your directory unique. Give your customers something to remember you by, be it a unique layout, or some special features, coupon codes, etc… Don’t rip off other successful directories (although getting inspired by some of their ideas can be good) you need your own, signature feature that people will remember you by.

Even though already mentioned above, I’ll stress this again. Don’t forget marketing! Marketing only ONE directory, until you are successful is key to progress. And remember, it is not all about link building and getting a high PR (although its needed of course), branding is key as well. The more webmasters remember your name the better off you will be in the long run. Invest most (if not all) of your directory profit into further marketing it and you will taste success sooner or later!

I hope this post has opened a few eyes, and we’ll start seeing more quality directories pop up. It has to happen, before Google devalues all these sites into simply, link farms.

SEO is a MMORPG

Sunday, November 12th, 2006

Search Engine Optimization is nothing more, but one of the many Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games out there. The concept is so similar, and everything works pretty much in the same way as a common MMORPG (WoW, Anarchy Online, Lineage, etc…). This comes from a MMORPG player who has gone from one game to the other, my previous game was Anarchy Online (couple of years back), and now I am so addicted to SEO.

First, let’s compare the basic principle of each. When you are “playing” SEO, you have websites, and the objective is to move up in rankings in the major search Engines. MSN, Yahoo, and Google. When you are playing a MMROPG, the objective is to move up levels with your fictional character. Okay, that said, let’s compare the two in a more close up level. I’ll be doing this from the point of view of SEO, of course, since I am trying to prove it’s just a MMORPG.

The World

The SEO world consist of Google, MSN, and Yahoo!. There are other smaller worlds which are struggling to gain interest from players, but that maybe someday will offer enough loot to attract players.

Your Character

When you are playing SEO, your character is nothing more than your real life self playing in a online virtual world.

The Levels

The levels are nothing more than the SERPS of your items. You move up levels by participating in battles and gaining experience points. You can also gain experience points by completing missions and crafting. The higher up in levels you are, the easier to generate good loot.

The Weapons

Your websites are your best friends, they are your sword, or your gun if you will, that will take you through the long journey of completing the SEO MMORPG.

Battles

Battles with other characters, or AI managed characters, are determined when you are trying to beat them with your weapon (outrank their site) who is competing for the same battle title (keyword) as you. Competing for the keyword, is the actual battle.

Missions

To complete missions in SEO, all you have to do is achieve one of the various objectives available in the game. For example, get listed in DMOZ, Yahoo! Directory, make it to Digg, etc. Everytime you complete a mission you gain experience points.

Crafting

Crafting is very useful when you are participating in battles. This includes link building in order to help your site win battles. The product of crafting can range from a miserable product to a good one, and this depends based on your previous experience with crafting. For example, if you are a newbie, and achieve a link on a page with 25 outgoing links, and barely any content related to yours, you are not as better off as the good craftsman who got a link on a related niche page, with few outgoing links.

Loot

Of course, like in any normal MMORPG, SEO also offers valuable loot. This loot can range from randomly found inbound links to your site (items) to valuable real life currency earned through various affiliate programs and google. Unique visitors to your site are also loot. Many enjoy finding prestigious items in ceirtain areas much more than currency and unique visitors. This is obvious, as if you can show off an item you found at the end world, you will be considered cool. In example, that link some important person from a PR9 blog gave you for free, could perhaps be considered the ultimate item in SEO.

Social Importance

Like in any MMORPG what other people think of you is important in SEO. If you are a major ganker* (black hat), or just a good regular player (white hat), your friends and connections matter. If you have no friends or reputation built in ceirtain areas of the game, ie: DigitalPoint, V7N, Namepros, DNForum, among others… you will have a harder time to sell your loot at good prices, or buy at cheaper prices. If you are trusted more, you will have an easier time overall, in every single aspect of the game. This also brings us to another aspect many MMORPGs have, guilds. In SEO you can be in many guilds at the same time, but your primary guild is the one you visit the most. For example, I’m a proud member of the DigitalPoint guild.
*ganker: a term in MMORPGs that refers to people killing normal users that are much weaker than them, perhaps in a state of battle with something/someone else. In other words, no one likes them!

Addiction

Well, that pretty much should do it. This should prove my point that SEO is nothing but another MMORPG, oh no wait. The last point. Just like any MMORPG gets you addicted and playing until you have reached the ultimate goal. SEO does the same, however, SEO manages to do this better than any other MMORPG as it seem every players ultimate goal keeps rising after they have achieved their previous goal. In other words, this is a vicious cycle, once you start playing SEO you’ll keep playing and playing. You won’t be able to stop!

If I missed any points that could prove my point further, feel free to add them to the comments! I hope you enjoyed the article, as I had a lot of fun writing it!

“Weird” Advertising

Thursday, November 9th, 2006

When the Million Dollar Home Page launched everyone was surprised at the new concept of advertising. Many people were skeptic but at the end the creator proved them wrong, and by achieving incredible media attention his site became very popular and widely known. So of course, advertising on this site was worth it.

Shortly after, there was a whole new generation of “million dollar home pages”, of course, everybody wanted a piece of the new idea. However, without traffic, advertising on a site is pointless and a total waste of money. All these new sites did not seem to understand that it was not the idea that drove the Million Dollar Home Page to success, but rather all the free marketing he received for being the first one to think of it.

It has now been a while since the Million Dollar Home Page dissapeared, and even though exact copy cats have stopped appearing every few hours, there is a whole new generation of websites generated solely to sell advertising. Now the big question, do people really want to come to a site where all they will see is advertising?

Well surely the answer must be no, but webmasters have made it a bad habit to go around and buy links on these kinds of sites if they think its at least a little bit of a good idea. I can’t blame them, there was a good one, one of them worth mentioning is the Link Experiment. Another one which seems like a flop is Mmmzr, which at first looked like it was going to be big, but a good example of why such sites fail, shortly after its increase in popularity came its demise. I believe that most people checking the web site today are just webmasters to see if the poor webbies who spent $4K in a link have gotten their money back yet. The way things seem to be going I doubt there will be any more sales, as for a week things haven’t moved and the guy has not posted anything on his blog. This brings me to my next point.

Most of the people visiting these sites are webmasters, who are either: 1) like your site and try to create a competitor site, because they believe there is money in your idea. 2) forget about your site next day. And here is another big key to the problem with these sites, most advertisers are looking for other kinds of audiences, and yet they are still advertising on these kinds of sites. This has to stop. This advertising is definetly not going to get more Media attention, unless of course, your local newspaper has such boring news that it is going to write about one of the thousands of new sites of this type out there.

Bottom line is, open your eyes people, purchase some targetted Google Adwords clicks and you will have more valuable visitors than one that comes from this kind of websites, of course, unless you really are looking for curious webmasters to click on your link. Good luck either way!

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