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Tony Adam

Entrepreneur, Marketer, Aspiring Polymath

SEO

SEO
Top 7 Must have Firefox Extensions, Plugins, and Tools
June 9, 2008 at 10:32 am 10
  
     
Since I just bought my new Macbook Pro, I had to reinstall all of my Firefox extensions, plugins and tools. So, I figured, hey, why not write a detailed post with examples about my "Top 7 Firefox extensions, plugins, and tools" that are near and dear to my heart!

Top 7 Firefox Extensions, Plugins, and Tools:

1. Firebug: If you haven't used this yet and you are working on something internet related then you are surely missing out. I love the fact that I can pull it up to either fix issues, work on making adjustments on the fly, doing competitive analysis or a site audit. Here is a screenshot of the FireBug window open and inspecting a section of the page: FireBug for Firefox 2. Y! Slow: Since site speed is such an important part of conversion, you can use this to do some testing on your websites to test how they are running in certain environments. It provides data like overall page size and # of seconds the page took to load. Now, note that this all depends on your connection speed, always remember that there are people downloading pages at slower speeds, then you might be. Y! Slow shown here in the Status Bar: YSlow Extension for FireBug 3. SearchStatus: I love the SearchStatus tool because it has the ability to show me PageRank, Alexa Rank and Compete Rank. I know, I know, I think we are all passed using PageRank as a measuring stick (My PageRank is bigger than yours!...Ha! I've been dying to say that!), but still beneficial none-the-less. Also, search status is very easy to do things like turning on no-follow highlighting, link reports, meta tags, etc. SearchStatus in the Firefox status bar: SearchStatus Firefox Extension 4. SEOBook SEO for Firefox Extension: If you are an SEO, this is definitely a tool that you need to for competitive analysis, link building and even helps me when doing keyword research. SEO for Firefox in the SERPs: SEO for Firefox in SERPs SEO for Firefox links under the search field in Google: SEO for Firefox under Search Box 5. SEOBook Rank Checker: Another great tool from SEOBook and something that I end up using daily. (Yes, I'm addicted to rankings! Don't lie, you are too!) Rank Checker in Firefox (status bar icon is highlighted): SEOBook Firefox Rank Checker Tool 6. Web Developer Toolbar: This is great when I want to test pages with images off, javascript off, and many other important functions. Screenshot of the menu option, Tools -> Firefox: Firefox WebDeveloper Toolbar 7. LiveHTTPHeaders: Simply put this is great for checking HTTP header status codes, is great for verifying 301/302 redirects, 200's, etc. LiveHTTPHeaders in action: LiveHTTPHEaders Firefox tool Don't forget to follow me on twitter: Tony Adam
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SEO
Giving thanks, while also providing perspective on the SEO Community
June 6, 2008 at 11:50 pm 3
  
     

If you know me at all by now, you will know that I am typically a very humble and modest person that just sits back and enjoys the show. I never usually rant or get involved in heated discussions because I hate drama and thats why I have grown to LOVE the SEO industry. So, I apologize in advance if any of this seems out of character or if this is off topic from my general posting.

First and foremost, I want to start by thanking all of the great people I have met throughout the years of being an SEO and Web geek. People like Todd Malicoat, Dana Todd, Rand Fishkin, Oilman, Greg Boser, Brett Tabke, Brent Csutoras and Chris Winfield.

The reason I bring this up is because of how thankful I was to get involved in the SEO industry or community. From my first PubCon in 2004 to SMX Advanced just a couple days ago. I remember my first conversation with Brett and how it inspired me. I told him how awesome the show was and we talked about how I got into it, etc. and his words are what have pushed me daily. "Thats what this is all about, getting people like you interested and involved."

Now, I went to school to study Computer Science and never thought I would be involved in anything marketing related. But, I realized that some developers are the most egotistical people I have met. Don't get me wrong, there are still a lot that aren't and actually care. But, after going to SXSW 2008, I noticed that many are just touting their own ego. If you aren't one of the "cool kids" then good luck having conversations with them.

This really reminded me of what I love about the SEO community, you could have a conversation with just about anyone. You'll find they wouldn't judge you based on who you are. Maybe I am just being naive, but thats how I have felt.

Recently, I am seeing a "tipping point" or maybe a "breaking point" of some sort in the SEO community. Certain people cliquing, others acting as if they are similar to the "cool kids" mentioned above, etc. This is ridiculous especially because some people, if not most people, outside our industry still see SEO as spam. Stop bickering and start working together. Stop complaining and provide someone constructive criticism, but do it in a way that can be effective, without causing a stir.

I hope and pray that our industry does not break away from being a community that really cares about each other. Because, I am starting to see that happen and I am not sure if it is the immaturity of the individuals within the community. But, whatever the case may be, I have grown and loved is that we are a community and I do not want to see that change.

Remember, a few bad apples can ruin the entire batch community. I love this industry and community too much that I don't want to see that...

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SEO
An understanding of SEO Keyword Research
April 28, 2008 at 10:38 am 10
  
     
Keyword research is the base for any good SEO campaign and a large amount of your success will be truly dependent on how well you did your keyword research. Of course, this will be built into your overall SEO Strategy, but it should be the very *FIRST* item on your SEO to-do list. When you start you really want to think about your industry and use a top down approach to the seo keyword research and development. What I mean by that is, start by understanding the audience that you are marketing to. This is a very basic marketing principal and quite frankly the most important thing to understand within Internet Marketing. Once you understand the audience that you a speaking to, you will have established what types of keywords and key-phrases they are searching for on a daily basis. Now that you have established the audience that you will be marketing to, it is time to starting laying this out and putting it into your overall SEO Strategy. Since this is the base for your entire SEO Strategy and/or campaign, having these keywords and phrases handy will help you later with items like Link Architecture. Something I like to do is get the keywords layed out on either a whiteboard or something of that nature. Moving forward, you want to do some competitve analysis with the competitors and other industry leaders for the industry, community, etc. This will help you when you start getting into the real detailed data mining and using Excel or an application to maintain this data. On a side note, you not only want to make sure you note down the keywords, but, keep score of what company it is for later use, it can help you in your Link Building efforts. Finally, doing this analysis can also lead you to new and creative discoveries for keyword research. Figure 1.1 - Keyword Research Lifecycle: Keyword Research Lifecycle If you are keeping score at home, we have now plowed through the start of gathering the main 10-15 keywords to target for your site. We've done this by understanding our audience, the main industry terms and a doing a bit of competitive analysis. The next step is finding a keyword research tool that you like and enjoy working with. Keyword research tools all have different features and benefits. Some are free, some are expensive and some are bundled. I personally love doing some data mining and using different sources. Everyone has their own needs and wants though, so I would suggest finding methods that make your life easier or that you enjoy. That being said, here is what I have been using lately: Free Wordtracker Tool: I sometimes visit this page just to do some quick sanity tests on keywords that I am interested in. When reviewing pages, i sometimes pull this up to look at the product/services that are on the page. SEO Book Keyword Tool: So far, this has been the best tool that I have used lately. Aaron Wall has done an excellent job with this. Gathers a daily estimate for keywords and/or phrases based on a search term. I love that it has an aggregated listing of all the data I need. Finally, I love that I can export to CSV and import into excel! (P.S. Great job Aaron! As always!) Y! Search Marketing and Google Adwords: I always feel that PPC tied into your SEO campaigns. It gives you the opportunity to test/measure/adjust and so on. With that, I can get a little bit of data to use in the keyword research process. To be honest, lately, I have been solely reliant on SEO Book's tool. Just perfect for all of my needs at the moment. Next thing you need to do is do is run a query on your top 5-10 keywords that you have identified. Prior to doing all these searches though, you need somewhere to store all this information, as mentioned earlier, using Excel is a great way to do this. Truthfully, you need to find what works for you (and possibly, your organization). Based on your main keyword search you should be able to gather a pretty healthy (read as: LONG) list of your main and long tail keywords, seperated out somehow. If you are using a keyword research tool that exports this data for you, it should be a piece of cake! At this point, you will just need to "massage the data" to your liking. Now that you have this nice healthy long list of keywords, you have an insight into some importance of each keyword or phrase. You can organize this to your liking and will definitely assist you moving forward while doing things like Copywriting and Link Building. You can use this data as a basis for your overall SEO Strategy and campaign and build in overall statistics as well. (which could make for a very LARGE Excel sheet!) You can then use these stats to build charts, graphs, etc. of which can be used in presentations for upper management, executives, and/or consulting clients. SEO Keyword Research is a necessity! Contact us about SEO Consulting Services and get started with your SEO Strategy today!
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SEO
The Art of SEO Evangelism
April 21, 2008 at 7:53 am 4
  
     
Being an SEO Evangelist within an organization requires lot of energy, a lot of knowledge, thick skin, and a lot of relationships. Success is hard to come by and will require a lot of hard work, but it is definitely attainable. I would almost say that this does not apply to just SEO, but to all programs launched within an organization. Along with all that being an evangelist for the entire industry requires the same amount of tenacity. I have spent a lot of time doing this through consulting efforts by convincing SMB's to embrace the web and most importantly (at least to me of course!) adopting SEO. Each and every time was a struggle and required hard work, but was *always* worth the time spent. As I mentioned, getting organizations to adopt SEO when they (a) have never heard of it, (b) don't believe it is "really that important right now" (typically I've heard this from startups), or (c) still believe SEO is spamming. That all being said, here is my "guide" to the art of SEO Evangelism.

Knowledge of SEO

I start with knowledge, because it is extremely important to bring that into your conversations. Your knowledge and experience is crucial to your successes. Companies want proven success and someone that has the ability to deliver. This is especially true in the consulting world, as organizations want that track record of successful projects. In-house organizations are looking for a track record of successful performance. Be sure that you have done your research on an industry, a skill and/or an organization. Have an understanding for what the company is doing for SEO. Put together questions that you feel people should be asking. Make sure that you have the skill set to do the research, put together the strategy, and execute the plan. You also bring that knowledge to the table through the experiences that you have been through. Bringing only theories and ideas to the table will leave you in a weak position. So, that means that you want to speak in a strong tone and voice about your experiences. Using terms like "I think" or "i guess" or definite no-no's. In previous consulting roles I have started conversations by saying, "My experience..." or "Previously...", so that you are talking in terms of experiences. Now remember, you still need to be able to deliver, but I am assuming you already have that ability. Knowledge is an important piece of the salesmanship of your SEO Evangelism. Use your knowledge and experiences to your advantage and make sure that people know of your skills.

Energy & Thick Skin

Energy and thick skin go hand-in-hand because I compare traits of the evangelist role similar to a telemarketer. Have an understanding that people are going to do and say a number of things that will upset you. They will mock you, assume they have more knowledge, challenge you, etc. Don't let this get you down at all, keep your energy level high and keep going at it. NEVER get into a pissing match with someone about how important SEO is. That all being said, keep that intense energy level and constantly talk about SEO in meetings, in passing, at lunches, and anywhere else you can think of. SEO should be mentioned in almost every conversation you have. Start asking product teams if they are building SEO into their product lifecycle? How is marketing integrating SEO into campaigns? Show everyone that you are talking to that you care about their job more than your own and that you are truly vested in their success. Now, remember those people that did not want anything to do with SEO? Drop hints here and there, provide statistics and results, show case studies, etc. The more data that you bring to the table and the more fact finding you do will start to sell them, just based on performance and metrics. Keep going at it and let the data win them over!

Relationships within the organization

The most important piece of the puzzle, in my opinion, is the relationships you build. I feel this way about any new program that you launch. As always I feel it is especially important with SEO, because it is so hard to sell within an organization, to startups and getting buy in from individuals. Start developing casual relationships with everyone you meet. Keep in touch with the people you meet and continue to have conversations. Sometimes conversations will drift towards the interest (or sometimes lack there of) of SEO. Ensure that you are developing contacts that are spread out throughout the entire organization, in product, marketing and technology. You are looking to create evangelists within each organizational unit in the company that will then begin take SEO under their wings as well Creating relationships and empowering peers within these cross-functional areas will spread the word of SEO to their teams. This is very important because the knowledge you gain is not something that you can get by digging through analytics data. They can provide insight into their organizations key strategies, thoughts and challenges. The relationships that you build are crucial for that alone!

Putting it all together!

All of this is to your advantage because you can now start to build your SEO Strategy for the business needs and get buy in from executives about incorporating SEO into the product and marketing lifecycle and strategy. You can also find yourself with UX teams that are excited to fit keywords and phrases into content and create link architecture while building out a sites information architecture. Finally, technology will have no problem helping to ensure the meta data and tags on the page fit into the SEO strategy.

The cycle continues...

You will be consistently selling, re-selling, evangelizing, re-evangelizing, and so on and so forth. It will be a constant that you will always see within organizations as they change, adapt and bring in new people. The key is to maintain that same level of energy and continue to build those relationships!

Related Articles:

Web Standards based design and SEO - Win technology teams over by showing them you care about Web Standards Website Link Architecture - Empower UX to tie this into Information Architecture Dominate Search Engine Results Pages - Show executives how to protect your Brand's online reputation
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SEO
Internal Link Architecture for your website
March 27, 2008 at 2:12 pm 7
  
     
Part of any link building campaign should always include the internal Link Architecture that you have within your domain and off the domain for link building activities. I tend to use the term Link Architecture because it is similar to the Information Architecture (I.A.) that is used within your site. The Link Architecture will give you a naming convention for text links and image alt text used for links on your domain or for any other link building. To preface, I would say that it is important to have some sort of I.A. for your site prior to building out your pages. This can be done quickly by writing the information down on notecard(s). That being said, I would always recommend to create a formal I.A. and Link Architecture documentation. The benefit of creating formalized documentation is that you can pass it around within your organization to creative and development teams or an agency that could quite possibly be working with your organization. Documenting your Link Architecture and link text and/or image ALT text will provide a frame of reference. When a search engine crawls a web page it associates the link text to the page it is linking to, which then associates link value to your page. An example of this is using the link text "web design" that points to "web-design-services.php." Doing so will tell a search engine that the page you are going to is specifically about "Web Design." These are the types of associations that should be created, documented and implemented for any and all link building in order to get the most link value possible for the associated keywords or key terms. The naming convention used also applies to the image ALT text that are linked as well. All images that are linked should contain the contextual text within the ALT tag. For example, if you have an image that has a link pointing to a developer referral program page, the image ALT text should be example that, "Developer Referral Program." Something to look out for is using the terms "click here" and "this" for link text, which is a bad naming convention. Using this type of link text will not provide any context to the user and also to search engines, and along with that, it does not offer any link value to your domain. The crucial thing to remember is that associating keywords to the link text when performing any link building or submitting to directories will pass the link popularity and PageRank value to the keyword you have associated to a web page. This in turn, makes your pages more relevant to search engines and will most definitely increase your rankings. Related Article(s): Sculpting PageRank using rel="nofollow" for your internal Link Architecture
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SEO
Sculpting PageRank using rel=nofollow for Link Architecture
March 5, 2008 at 9:18 pm 9
  
     
Over the years I've been practicing a lot of different techniques with my internal link architecture. One of the things that I have been doing more and more of is evaluating when to use the rel="nofollow" tag on the internal links. Why is this important? Well, in order to make the content within your site more relevant, you need to tell the search engine what is and is not relevant. Using rel="nofollow" within your internal link architecture is a great way identify links that you do not want ranked well within the SERPs. For example, contact us pages, FAQ pages, help pages, etc. are really not pages that most people want to be ranking well. By using rel="nofollow" on those links, you are telling the search algorithm not to pass any link juice or PageRank (google specific) to the linked page. How do you do this? Start by establishing a listing of the types of pages that I talk about above. Next, you are going to want to do a site wide update of your links. For example, its as simple as updating your markup to the following: Now that you have all the major ones out of the way, I recommend taking a few minutes to analyze your links on a page by page basis to see where you want to distribute the link value within your web site. That's all! It is a fairly simple process, but one that I find especially crucial when I start looking at the Information Architecture and Link Architecture of any website. Related Articles: Website Link Architecture for link text and Image ALT text
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SEO
Social Media – Part 2: Dominating the Search Engine Results Pages
January 15, 2008 at 4:31 pm 4
  
     
Last week I talked about how to stay active, answer questions, etc. to keep brand awareness high and reputation management under control. This week, I'm going to give you an overview of how to dominate the SERP's (Search Engine Results Pages) by using Social Media to your advantage. We all know since the "Web 2.0 Evolution" there has been a massive influx of Social Media properties on the web. That being said, you can use this to your advantage from another Branding and Reputation Management aspect by using them to control the top 10 results listed in the SERPs for your branded search. (e.g. digg) Here is what you do: 1. Find Social Media sites that are relevant: Do some quick research and find the sites that are relevant to you. If you do real estate, using YouTube is a great site...at the same time...if you are a large tech company, TechCrunch's "CrunchBoard" is a great place to get a public profile about your company. Quick note though, keep this up to date...some brands do a bad job of this. 2. Build your branded social media page: Getting a public page on hot spots like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, etc. is very easy to do and build. There is already a template behind them, all you need to do is adjust it so that you are branding your page appropriately. Some sites, (e.g. MySpace) require some markup/css, but still very simple. Most organizations have already done this, if you have, GREAT!, you're already one step closer to success. 3. Subdomians: Google has cracked down on the subdomain issue as of late, but, that being said for branding purposes, it is still helping out in dominating the SERPs. For example, having a careers or jobs mini-site/subdomain on your brand (e.g. careers.myawesomebrand.com) will give you yet another listing. 4. Blogging: O.K., I realize this is not so much related to a social media site...but it is related to the SERPs and control them. Blogging around your topic and creating linkbaitable items will not only get you a ton of traffic, but the true success comes from the amount of links for your site. So, be sure to set your blog up on your domain as a subfolder (http:://thegreatestbrandever.com/blog) or as a subdomain (blog.myreallycoolbrand.com). Along with all of that, you can use your blog as a great tool to pass some great PR value and Link Popularity to your Social Media sites. 5. Link Building: Doing link building on your ".com" is not the only place to focus. Granted, that being said, most social media sites do contain some heavy PR value and a good starting point. So, with very little effort, but an effort none-the-less, you will be able to rank those pages. So, send a link from your ".com", your blog, etc. and a small link building effort should help. Now, remember, these are the 5 steps to achieving Search Engine Results Page domination. Doing only 1 or 2 of these things will help your organization, but, you will receive the most effectiveness by following the steps and ensuring the dependencies. Overall, your goal for the overall effort is reputation management and ensuring that your brand is controlling the SERP for a branded search (e.g. "Digg"). Doing so can have a tremendous amount of value and reduce a ton of negative publicity for your brand.
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SEO
Web Standards based design and SEO
January 2, 2008 at 2:39 pm 9
  
     
So, I figured to ring in the New Year of 2008, I would post about how the whole SEO industry should really start to take an understanding of Web Standards in the design of Websites. Semantic Web Design and using CSS for layouts is not really cutting edge people!! We have been doing this since 2001! I have been so thoroughly frustrated with the quality (rather, lack of quality!) that I am seeing in some of the top agencies and experts in SEO. Even being at Webmaster World PubCon this year and sitting in on some of the interactive site reviews I was horrified by the lack of real web knowledge. Now, as much as I love the SEO industry, I feel the need to call everyone out that is doing this. We are at a point where the web is becomming more and more semantic and browsers are standards compliant (See: Private Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 build passes Acid2 test). What I am not going to do is start giving you a tutorial for how to build CSS layouts or semantic websites. Although this is an area of expertise of mine, there are TONS and TONS of resources for this out there already. (Resources Below). Building Web Standards compliant websites that are semantic will add tons of value, not only to your services, but to your overall value as an organization. We are no longer in the 90's and do not have to use tables for design purposes and layout, CSS is extremely powerful now. Using a CSS layout will dramatically reduce the amount of markup on your page. Also, use semantic markup up in your html document, such as using semantic CSS styles, insert the appropriate HTML (e.g. paragraphs, strong instead of b), etc. There should never be a class named "style6" or a div id with the name "leftside." Classes should be named "footer" and similarly your div id's should signify the content on the page, (e.g. div id="logo"). Here are the two **VERY IMPORTANT** reasons that you should build Standards Compliant websites with semantic markup. Crawlability and Indexability is of course one of the most crucial things when working with SEO, because, the truth is, if a search engine doesn't crawl your site, you won't have any business. Standards compliant and semantic markup allows the search engine to read through your html documents with many pre-determined factors. To break this down in its simplist form search engines read through an html document the same way that we read through a written or "Word" document. From a User Experience stand point, page load times will drop and allowing the page to even render correctly will increase conversion. Websites Maintenance can be a big part of the work that is taken on for consultants, agencies, and SEO Experts. Especially in larger organizations that have hundreds or even thousands of pages. Using the methods that I have been talking about will allow you to dramatically reduce the time it takes to even put up pages or re-design pages on a site, thus reducing your cost to build new or update old pages. This leads to you offering discounted rates, increasing customer loyalty, and/or increased margins for your organizations. From an SEO perspective, the benefit of building a site this way is that you do not have to attempt to stuff keywords into your content, less markup will in-turn help with keyword ratios on the page. In summary, please build standards compliant websites that contain semantic markup. You will see a great benefit from it and help in cleaning up the web! Resources: A List Apart Articles - Great Web Design Resource Web Standards Project - Do I really need to explain this? Designing with Web Standards - A GREAT book by Jeffrey Zeldman that explains why Web Standards is important (yes, even for SEO) and goes into code level detail. If you are using Standards based design with your websites and/or are practicing SEO...please comment!...I'd love to hear and share your thoughts!
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SEO
Evangelizing SEO within an organization…
June 30, 2007 at 6:29 pm 0
  
     
Evangelism about SEO in an organization and spreading the word in a "grass-roots" sort of way is something that is very hard to do. I always think about it and get excited over the fact that I can make a difference and become a "thought leader" for an organization. The truth is, the evangelism of SEO within a traditional organization or small business can be painful. I've been faced with this a couple times at organizations and while sometimes it is great and can lead to tremendous success, other times, it ends up just being a painful battle without any change. So, basically I wanted to run through some of the things that I have done to try to get people excited about SEO and Search Marketing. I would call it by "Top 5 tips for SEO Evangelism," but I don't want to seem to cliche. (Oh darn, I already did!) TALK TO PEOPLE! - This is by far, the most important rule that I have given myself. Get people in the know about SEO. (excuse my cliche sounding rhyme's!...lol). Bring up topics going on in search, throw out numbers about how search is growing in popularity. SEOMoz does this well by putting quotes from well known articles on their homepage, these are things that you can total mention to people within your organization and hopefully build buzz. The main goal and hopefully you can get this going is to have people talking about SEO/SEM to each other. Baby Steps - On the marketing and creative side we tend to see a lot of "ownership" around pages. They don't want major changes to be made. So start with small things like meta tag, title tag and page naming changes in that could help certain keywords without changing your messaging or content. Web Standards - Work closely with your web development teams to get better at coding. WATCH OUT THOUGH, YOU BETTER KNOW YOUR STUFF! Do not attempt to make it an attack. Evangelize it, that is what this is all about, spreading thoughts, knowledge and wisdom to other teams for the overall good (sounds like i am trying to save the world a bit??). Anyway, to get to the point, you basically want to get people thinking they should be standards compliant, ensuring the design elements are CSS based and that your HTML is read like a document. This allows for better site crawlability and your HTML will be read better by spiders. Make Suggestions - Take a risk and go out on a limb by putting in thoughtful input whenever possible. Some things I have done with this is made statements in meetings about the amount of searches there are for a certain keyword or phrase that we could be capitalizing on. Use Analytics to your advantage - This will help put everything together. Give you an unbelievable amount of data to take back to your colleagues and counterparts. Oh and guess what else this gives you?! We all know that the "Big Wigs" like seeing the numbers quickly and to the point, so this is a great way to evangelize your successes, no matter how BIG your "big wig" is. Now that you have my secret and effective list of evangelism for SEO, you better put it to good use!! Spreading the word and starting a movement of sorts around will definitely help spread the word about SEO, building better sites, with a better user experience and great content.
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SEO
Tools for Linkbait and Viral Marketing
April 2, 2007 at 9:13 pm 0
  
     
Really understanding the value of good links and viral marketing seems to be a common struggle for many companies. This being the case, it is very easy for these companies to lose out on a lot of opportunities for link building or even linkbait types of opportunities. Capturing links through a means of viral traffic and linkbait is critical to becoming a leader in a specific industry or even a niche within it. Also, if done correctly, this can put you in a position to rank highly or even at the top of most SERP's. One of the things that I have found is that organizations completely disregard that everything link-worthy is hosted on their company domain. Creating knowledge-bases or tools that your organization will be using or distributing to various partners are great sources of traffic generation, and it doesn't end there. Not only can you direct traffic to your domain, but talk about a major viral method of increasing your link-authority. Creating these tools, knowledge bases or anything of that sort really gives you that edge over your various competitors. It is highly critical though that you ensure a few things are in-line though:
  1. First and foremost, ensure that you are creating this tool within your companies domain.  It is massively important that this traffic is being driven to your domain from not only a user perspective, but from an SEO and link building one as well.
  2. Appropriate naming and Keyword Research:  You know the space that you are competing in, you know your competition and you obviously know that industry if you are creating a tool of some sort.  Now, make sure you use that knowledge to distribute those links to partners/customers/etc.
  3. From a design perspective, you need to ensure that people don't get the message that you "overly advertising" your product.  You are creating this to drive traffic and become a leader.  For example, do not use your current web templates for this and your XXL logo.  You can subtly brand the page to your company's liking, just ensure that you are creating a RICH user experience for everyone linking to it, not just you.
Once you incorporate the previous items into the thought process of your tool or what not, you will notice tremendous results.  Many financial organizations do this well with "rate calculators" of some sort.  This can really apply to any industry with any content or tool.  Just ensure that you are doing so correctly, creating linkbait for others to pickup and virally spreading your message!!  You can even do this in a consumer directed and social media type of campaign, but make sure you follow the rules and you will watch your tools spread like wildfire and your rankings on the SERP's increase at a rapid pace.
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