From Marketing Strategy

SEO Poison 2.0 – Revenge of the Linkfarmers

seo_poison_2It seems like it was a millenia ago that I wrote this article outlining the dangers to your web presence of purchasing sketchy backlinks -> SEO Poison: What you get when you hire a link farmer

In it, I wove a cautionary tale to marketers who are fed promises of ‘Page 1 on the Google!’ by less-than-reputable companies who claim to provide lots of backlinks to your site to help increase your rankings. However, these promises come with a heavy does of black-hat SEO practises that end up causing far more damage to your website than you’d expect.

You see, Google doesn’t like websites that try to game the system. Google really, really doesn’t like them. In fact, as you may be aware, Google releases regular updates to their algorithm, called ‘Penguin’ updates, in order to filter out sites that use shady backlinking to try and rise up in search results. If you give in to the glittery lure of cheap backlinks, prepare to have your site stomped in to the ground when Google releases a new Penguin update. It’s happened before, it’ll happen again, so be vigilant and follow with legit backlinking methods. In other words, if it sounds to good to be true, it most definitely is.

And yet, what of my original SEO Poison article? Well, I’m glad you asked! In true head-shaking, face-palming, rage-inducing fashion, ever since that post went live, those spammy linkfarmers decided that my article would be the absolute PERFECT place to try to jam in a bunch of garbage backlink comments. And it’s been happening a lot lately.

Behold, the latest batch of crap comments that have been banished to the depths of spam hell:

2015-03-16 09.46.02 am

Oh, and here’s a few more…

2015-03-16 09.46.56 am

And just for giggles, a few more…

2015-03-16 09.47.32 am

 

THIS is what you’re paying for when you hire those people. They’re so relentless and single-minded in purpose, they fail to even recognize that they are posting crap backlinks on an article specifically written to call them out on the very sleazy practise they are employing.

In the words of Kent Brockman, “There’s only one word for that, ladies and gentlemen: IDIOCY”

Don’t. Hire. Those. People.

Backlinks, just like any other aspect of your web presence, need to be built based on QUALITY and RELEVANCE. You don’t get those attributes by gaming the system. Put in the effort to find relevant locations on the web to place quality backlinks and you will reap the rewards.

3 Questions Great Websites Always Answer

website19Great websites that convert visitors to customers answer these three questions.

Creating a great website requires much more than the latest widgets or a shiny new set of graphics. Truly great websites are those that not only deliver an impressive user experience, but also clear and concise answers to the top questions your visitors will have. The ability for your visitors to clearly understand the answers to their key questions directly affects their impressions of your brand and their view of the value you provide. Clarity, as you will see, is a key element of a great website.

The specific needs that your visitors have will definitely vary significantly from person to person, as everyone will have a unique set of circumstances that drove them to find you. However, before you are able to deliver solutions for their unique situation, your website must deliver clear and direct answers to these three overarching questions:

WHO

WHAT

WHY

WHO are you? – This is all about the identity of your brand. In essence, do they already know you? If they do, will they recognize you apart from your competitors? The importance of first impressions on your website cannot be emphasized enough. It can be something as simple as a unique and identifiable logo, tagline, or colour scheme. Whatever it is that makes your brand unique and identifiable, you must ensure that your website conveys this in a clear and effective way.

WHAT do you do? – This is all about what it is you actually do. Does your visitor know at a glance that you make product X, or deliver service Y? What’s the basic, core function of your brand? There are countless brands out there that have instantly recognizable logos or taglines, but are victim to the lack of clarity around what it is they actually do. Your website should answer this immediately, and with perfect clarity.

WHY should I care? – This is arguably the toughest of the three main questions you need to answer. Most brands have a clear idea of who they are, and what they do. All too often, however, they do not have the clarity they need to effectively convey WHY they do what they do, and WHY visitors should care. If your brand doesn’t have a definitive reason for being, a purpose, a mission, a core difference or driving passion, then to your visitors you might just be viewed as simply ‘another option’.

Go take a look at your website. Right now. Look at the home page and ask yourself those three main questions. Better yet, find someone else to do it and see what they say. Wanna bet their answers are different from yours? If they are, take a good long look at what the answers SHOULD be, and start tweaking.

list59Also, don’t forget to do the same kind of test to other pages that serve as entry points to your site. It’s crucial to always remember that search engines drive your traffic to the most relevant pages, and this is not always your home page. Check your Google Analytics to identify other top entry pages and work on refining those, too.

The name of the game is ‘optimization’, and that means continually tweaking and adjusting for best performance, so be sure to do this regularly. Your visitors, and your bottom line, will appreciate the effort!