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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why I won't link to your blog

Today I received the above comment, unsolicited, and after about two minutes' investigation I moved it into the Spam category. Here's a numbered list explaining why:
  1. Although my name is part of the blogspot domain I use, and promote in most places, the message addresses me as "Webmaster", which is possibly today's equivalent of "to whom it may concern". Actually, I have interchangeably experimented with the vanity URL provided to me via my alma mater, such as on Technorati and STC.org.
  2. The request is for cross-linking, which already devalues the proposition (as it's a "black hat" practice). If this person truly valued my blog, he would link to it without asking me to link to his.
  3. The request uses my domain, implying that it is a "keyword". I've blocked out the destination URL and the keyword he asked for (which, although partially reflecting his website address, was also far too generic to stand a chance at ranking well for it with his SEO approach).
  4. His blogroll still retains the blogspot.com domain, which indicates to me that he isn't serious about using this blog for a business. (As an aside, I'm slowly working on masking my domain with a vanity URL that I've had for years; I may eventually hide mine altogether). Seeing as he has a *.net domain, I have no idea why he wouldn't give his blog address as www.*withheldbusinessname*.net/blog.
  5. The name he signs off in the comment body does not match the handle he signed in as. Furthermore, clicking through to his Blogspot profile, it offers no substantial information except three blog links, two of which share the same title but are totally unrelated to the SEO topics realm. The third link is related to SEO, but isn't a link to the blog he wished to promote as per his comment.
  6. The only author mentioned and profiled on the blog does not match in name to either the signed name in the comment I received or the handle with which he signed into Blogspot.
  7. The blog itself has a glaringly obvious typographical error, "...Quality Bakc Links", as found on the most recent post heading. There is also a 5 month gap between the most recent and second most recent post, which, when considering the most authoritative corporate blogs have daily posts, is remarkably poor practice). And finally, its assertion that their services are "100% ethical" was already quite undermined by all the points I've addressed in this post.
So, to the commentor who "visited" and left the message today on behalf of this company: the above are the main reasons I will not be cross-linking with you. Thank you, however, for finding me. And let me know if you link to my blog anyway. :-)

Friday, September 16, 2011

How I syndicate web content

Like most individuals who are working on establishing an online presence, I have multiple SNSs (social networking services) on which I wish to share content. The four main services that I use currently, along with my audience demographics are as follows:
  • Twitter: mostly topics of professional interest or music, and breaking news, scientific articles and alma mater related newsbits. My twitter follower audience is still small and largely impersonal, which encourages me to be mindful that tweets may be mined publicly by anyone.
  • Google+: add to my preferred Twitter topics, photos that I've begun to upload to Picasaweb, which is primarily Vienna-related. On + my audience is academic and more professionally allied than on Facebook, with very little overlap.
  • Facebook (The link to my FB profile is not publicly available, which was my deliberate choice): most of the above, plus the occasional "true status" - things on my mind that only actual friends would find of slight interest to read. Here we find the greatest percentage of people I knew and felt favourably towards from all levels of school, elementary through university, as well as a handful of LinkedIn contacts though not all.
  • LinkedIn: my topics largely overlap with Twitter, save the music and breaking news types of content. My audience encompasses most contacts I made throughout my career, some web-based friends and some school friends.
(And as an aside, I've recently joined XING, but only have a few contacts on it thus far).

Since the mantra I follow is "write (or share) once, publish everywhere that it's relevant", here's what I've ended up doing:
  • Use the Rob McGee Google+ Bot on + to post content that I wish for + public, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (via the use of the #li or #in hashtag) to see. This works best for professional and academic topics. I particularly like that the main image that one sees normally just in Facebook-native link shares also happens when the bot is used.
  • Use the + interface without the bot, for content I only wish for subsets of my + audience to see.
  • Use a private Facebook group I created for some topics, and then use lists to target my audience subsets.
  • Use LinkedIn's status feature to either post content specifically to LI, or also to Twitter.
  • Use Tweetdeck's edit retweet feature from my phone, to post both to Twitter and sometimes to LI. This I often do while winding down in the evenings.
  • Use Android-native apps on my phone (for Huffingtonpost, NPR, BBC News) to share content either to Facebook or Twitter (with the option of forwarding it on also to LI via the aforementioned hashtags).

Two more aggregators I've noted to try out are ping.fm and Yoono, both from my phone and computer. I may report back on these, when time allows.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bing's "SEO Fundamentals" are everyone's fundamentals

 
As a followup perhaps to the Bing/Yahoo! quality checklist, Searchenginejournal.com subsequently provided 18 points of what Bing expects web content publishers to implement for SEO.

Well, it seems to me that all their advice applies equally as well for those aiming to optimize their web content for any search engine. I think perhaps that there should have been a disclaimer associated with point 1, which concerned the implementation of robots.txt and XML site maps. It's still my understanding that both of these files only provide a set of suggestions for search engines, and their parameters may not necessarily be obeyed by crawlers.

Point 8, create an RSS feed, also may imply quite a few additional points, such as that new content is expected to be published with some frequency and that said feed can be easily subscribed to by those who may not know how to hack the URL (via point 11, enablement of social media).

Points 12 through 18 are the don'ts, and they also reflect the most prevalent of "black hat" practices such as link farming and buying.

In all, this list should help someone getting started with SEO efforts to perform a sanity check against their current web site.



Thursday, September 8, 2011

Trying out Technorati (claim code)

Their FAQ advises against using redirects, so this may not work - nonetheless, here it is:

M467DDBXQN92

I may need to re-claim with my actual domain URL.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Criteria for "quality" from Bing/Yahoo!'s perspectives

About a month ago, Searchenginejournal.com published this article on things that Bing have disclosed that they penalize web content for from a ranking perspective.

Most of the points they made concerned concision, but the final point on actively discouraging machine-translated text caught my eye. I'd posted in the past about how translation did not equate to localization, so I was rather pleased to imagine that someone was incorporating grammar and spelling checks into the ranking algorithm. However, I also have the following questions:
  • Do they verify that the language attribute found in the HTML matches the body text language that people read?
  • If the language is a distinct flavour, such as English as spoken in India or the Kansai dialect of Japan, is that taken into account during the linguistic quality assessment?
  • Do they penalize on slang, profanities or "text-speak" orthography, or will they process them accurately and take that into account in evaluating the tone of the site? The urbandictionary.com site comes to mind for this instance, where the main entries and definitions, not to mention examples, are rife with NSFW terms.
I'll follow up with a post, should I find information further to any of the above.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The benefits of trunk.ly



Some months ago my team lead had mentioned trunk.ly to me. It's a social bookmarking service that aggregates links that the user has shared out via various social media services. As I often try to share web content that I find interesting but rarely spend the time either completing an in-depth perusal of said content, I've found the cumulative archive of what I've been tweeting and publishing via Google+/Buzz and Facebook to be most useful. At the least, it spares me the effort of maintaining browser-specific bookmarks and trawling through my Facebook profile export or tweet history. LinkedIn shares are also supported, but due to the way I cross-publish, I haven't bothered to use it.


Furthermore, trunk.ly has a Top SEO Experts group, which I was able to join. Through it I can find not only the most up to date content that benefits me in my current role, but I can see via the number of shares, how popular or vetted the links have been.

Now, if only I had the time to read everything I wanted to. Perhaps if I didn't require sleep at all...

About Mayo

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Professional: As "Senior Enterprise SEO Strategist" in IBM's Digital Marketing division, I provide consulting and training services for both internal and external clients. Formerly I was involved in Natural Language Processing, software localization, quality assurance and documentation authoring.
Personal: INTJ Nikkei Nisei ex-patriated Canadian who takes photographs and enjoys Baroque through late Classical music. The G+ page shares some of the "best of" photos.