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Beware Of Link Requests In Non Click Clothing

10/10/2006

Linklove2 Girlfriend, are you finding link requests are way far out of control .. not to mention (for the most part) sooooo annoying!?

What use to be a secret strategy to increase search engine rankings is now being shouted from virtual roof tops. It seems like the entire internet world has jumped on the-more-the-merrier inbound links band wagon. A search for "link strategy" on Google produced 25,300,000 results!

It's not a big surprise that Diva Marketing gets a bunch. Diva "Googles well" and holds a 6 ranking.  Even my boring, lowly Bloomberg Marketing corporate website gets asked to the link party a couple of times a times a week. But 99.89% of these requests are completely off target, the exchanges are not equitable and to top it off the linkers request are arrogant and in-your-face self-serving.

Today I received a request from a commerce site selling candles, bath products and Christmas gifts. The site owner ever so kindly informed me that he had added a link to Diva Marketing (Blog). I was curious so I did a little follow the link game. I found a " resource directory" that wasn't linked from the home page and when I tried to follow the navigation I got lost and I never did find the link to Diva. What I did find was a category page that had Not One link to any website.

Are links really a good strategy? And if so how do you create link love with out being obnoxious? I asked a few of my favorite Search Engine Optimization/Marketing experts to help me create a Best Practice Guide For Link Requests and For Link Acceptance.

Best Practices: What To Do

Do link to blogs and blog posts that are of interest to you and to your readers. Being associated with high quality and informative blogs will enhance your own blog's reputation and provide helpful ideas and information to your readers. Think in terms of what helps your blog visitors. as well as your link partner, and your link exchanges will be mutually beneficial. Wayne Hurlbert, Blog Business World

Sometimes people will "nofollow" a link (i.e. add the rel="nofollow" attribute to the link, which means it doesn't count towards link popularity) so that the link back to them isn't devalued as a reciprocal link. Stephan Spencer, NetConcepts

Six Keys To Link Building
1. Quality is more important than quantity.
2. The text used in the link (anchor text) must include the keyword phrases you want to be found for
3. The text before and after the link are also important
4. The fewer links on the page linking from another site to you, the better.  Otherwise, the value of the link is divided across multiple sites
5. The value of reciprocal link programs has been reduced.  If you link to a site that links to you, it is not as valuable as a link to your site without a link back to them.
6. Link building is the most important part of SEO, as it is the number one reason sites rank well in Google.  It is also the most time consuming and expensive.
John Waddy, TwentySix2Marketing

Best Practices: What Not To Do

Don't link to blogs that send unsolicited link exchange requests to every blogger they can find. They are seeking links for their own blog at your expense. That expense is especially high if they are what Google considers a "link farm" and a "bad neighbourhood". That seemingly harmless link exchange can get you a penalty for guilt by association. Wayne Hurlbert, Blog Business World

From an SEO perspective, exchanging links is pointless because reciprocal links are discounted by the engines.

5 Link Request Verbiages - Guaranteed To Doom Your Request To The Delete Key!
1. Hi, Let?s swap links! - Most recipients would like to swap links as much as they'd like to swap STDs.
2. I've already linked to you. - Yeah, using a link spam robot that will undoubtedly remove the link several weeks later
3. Great site!?, "Loved your site!" etc. - Sounds ingratiating. Probably the sender didn't even look at the site.
4. You already link to our competitor XYZ.com and we offer a better product. That's what they all say!
5. Please use the following text in your link. Can you be any more obvious that you're trying to manipulate the search engines Stephan Spencer, NetConcepts

Update: From Stacy Williams, Prominent Placement
The best way to get links is to not have to go out and request them.  If you can create truly unique, valuable content that people can’t find somewhere else (a free tool you’ve developed, “how to” articles, a blog with a unique voice, etc.), then you’ll get linked to naturally.  What a relief to have people linking to you that you don’t even know and didn’t contact.  Of course, this is easier said than done – the challenge becomes creating the unique, valuable content and keeping it updated.

For more about SEO/M (Search Engine Optimization/Marketing)
Wayne Hurlbert - Blog Business World / Blog Business Success Radio
Stephan Spencer - NetConcepts / Blog: Stephan Spencer's Scattering
John Waddy - TwentySix2Marketing
Stacy Williams - Prominent Placement

Thanks to Wacky Comics for the use of the graphic.

Friday Fun: Behind Enemy Lines

10/07/2006

Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

Okay, I have blogger guilt. Not only have I been lame this week in posting to Diva but Friday Fun is now Saturday Smiles. Or will be if I beat the clock.

Marthe_cohn__behind_enemy_lines Every once in awhile you find a story that has to be passed along. I was clicking through TV shows and stopped to listen to a Book C-SPAN 2 repeat interview with Marte Cohn. I've never heard of Marte Cohn but the title of the book intrigued me Behind Enemy Lines: The True Story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany.

Few people knew what Marte Cohn did during WWII. Not her husband. Not her two sons. Not her friends or grandchildren. Few people knew that Marte Cohn was a true heroine. As she said on C-SPAN 2, she was "too busy" to tell her story living her life. It wasn't until she turned 79 years old that Mrs. Cohn found the time to write her book about joining the French Army and her covert missions behind enemy lines into Germay.

When she was eighty, Marthe Cohn was awarded France’s highest military honor, the Medaille Militaire for outstanding military service. With this award came official acknowledgment of the heroic exploits of a beautiful young Jewish woman who faced death every day as she sought to help defeat the Nazi empire. In 2005, she was awarded the title of Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur.

This compelling memoir is a testament to how extraordinary circumstances can transform a life—and how an extraordinary person reacts to difficult circumstances. Publishers Weekly

It is also a testimony to .. you are never to old to undertake a new venture. So I pass along what I hope will bring you a bit of inspiration to jump start your week.

Sidebar: When is  C-SPAN going to develop podcasts or vlogs from its author interviews?


Astrology_15 business astrology for fun -
from The Astro Divas
Paula Dare & Donna Page

This full moon on Friday is asking us to look within our heart, within our company policy, and our personal interaction with others to discover what is out of balance.

Are you playing the game of business to win at all cost? Even at the expense of your integrity? Create and reformulate the mission for your company to have enormous profits and success based upon tremendous value that you give to your customers and clients. There may be coworkers or people you are in negotiation with that may only be thinking about what they can get.

Be willing to walk away from any arrangement that you would eventually resent but first speak your truth without anger but from a place of clarity and peace. With the sun and Venus in Libra and the moon in Taurus Sunday and Monday are great days to bring home a purchase that supports a hobby you have that lets life be your own work of art.

Make New Friends The My Space Way

10/02/2006

Girl_scout_cookie Make new friends but keep the old
One is silver and the other gold

In another lifetime, I was a  Girl Scout leader in Boston (Talk about divas' in training .. the little girls in my Brownie troops were from the Back Bay and Beacon Hill.)  Make New Friends was a favorite song of my Brownies. Little did I know that years later making new friends would be a critical tactic of a marketing strategy.  Girlfriend, I'm not talking building relationships I'm talking collecting friends as though they were baseball cards except you don't get to trade.

Sidebar: I'm involved with a Smash-up video campaign, Get Out Of The Dog House, that uses MySpace to hold the content and YouTube to house the videos. Read more about the back-story and how you can win over $1000 worth of GourmetStation meals delivered right to your front door. 

Marketers are tentatively making their way into social media communities. First it was the blogosphere where brands are still not welcomed with hugs and kisses if they color outside the lines. With over 50 million Friends to pal around with, MySpace is a natural for marketers to explore. MySpacers seem to care less about "authenticity" and following MySpace "rules" than bloggers do about that stuff. At least the ones that I've found. If they don't like you or don't get you .. they simply don't Friend you.

Especially for marketers, Friends are very important. MySpace Friends are your entree to direct communication with your target audience. As a MySpace Friend there are four communication avenues available to you.

  1. Addition to the Friends Gallery
  2. Ability to post comments
  3. Ability to send bulletins
  4. Ability to send event notices

Friend Gallery - addition of your photo icon that links to your MySpace page. The coolest friends are shown on the top.  Many a Friend Feud has been known to occur from a Friend being moved from the top box.

Comments - Unlike traditional blogs where if comments are open you can post your remarks, only Friends are allowed to post comments that appear on the front page. And comments dear Diva are where it's at. You get to be front and center for all the world to see and click to.

MySpace is a culture within a culture within a culture. Not everyone wants to be your friend (so high schoolish!) and those that do may not approve your comment if you self-promote or add HTML bling. In that sense reading a few comments before you post (a la bloggy style) is a good idea. However, many MySpacers love splashy glitter, animation and are cool about promoting their Friends' latest gig allowing huge in-your-face graphics.

Check Out Blinkyou.com for thousands of custom glitters and layouts

Sidebar: MySpace does include a regular blog function but MySpacers don't seem to used it very often; also it's a click down. Only headlines are posted on the main page.

Bulletin - is a feature that is included in many social media communities. Bulletins are text only messages that show up only on your Friends' administrative page. They're great to use for reminders, new stuff, call to actions, to drive traffic to a MySpace, website or blog.

Event - similar to a bulletin but used to notify about performances and special live events 

Caution! If you're use to reading blogs, that take their cues from structured website navigation and design, your first visit or 2nd visit or 3rd visit into MySpace will be a culture shock. Be prepared for loud, big and messy.

The 5 Marketing Cs of MySpace

  • Cluttered
  • Chaotic
  • Crazed
  • Confusing
  • Creative

If you want to quickly expand beyond family and friends hop a ride on a MySpace Train - an automated system for gathering large number of friends. Dale Evans has a nice explanation of MySpace Friend Trains.

MySpace Marketing Promotions

A MySpace promotion for the film Clerks II involved putting the names of the film’s first 10,000 MySpace friends in the credits. They thought the contest would go for weeks. They had the names in two hours.

Authors using MySpace to extend their visibility and fan base.

Get Out Of The Dog House viral video campaign.