My Shared Links

As a part of my work and own development I read a lot of articles online. Per day I spend around 2 hours reading. Since I have no central place to store or keep the links which I’ve read, I started a My Shared Links section of this site, where I keep track of the most insightful, best or funny articles I’ve read.

A second reason I do this for, is to secure the link graph for the good content online. Due to the rise of social media sharing, Twitter or other ways of linking with no-follow links, the best content on the web suffers from lower number of links to these sites. A link is still an editorial vote for the efforts of the author.

As the Shared Links section is part of this site, I hope there will be some SEO value, or link juice flowing to these links. Keep the Internet alive, keep linking!

Humbling Lesson on My Own View of the World

Yesterday I highlighted the Info-graphic about the Pakistan flood. The Info-graphic was being used by a discount voucher affiliate website as a cheap way of getting more inbound links with their preferred keyword anchor tag. Although I was happy to call them out of heir shameless plug of the disaster in Pakistan, I blame myself of having an angle in my post which does not fully cover the load of this practice: The shameless marketing use of a disaster impacting millions of people in Pakistan

Instead, I highlighted the idea the use of an info-graphic in this story could be the end of info-graphics for link building. Shame on me for missing the deeper message which I intended to highlight! Andrew R H Girdwood is right when he wrote (bold pieces from me to highlight main message that made me think about my own post):

Are we horrified at this attempt at SEO?
Not quite. The title suggests the info-graphic is to blame!
The headline isn’t the attempt to profit off death. The headline isn’t the appalling unpleasant SEO approach on the back of human tragedy. No, the headline speculates on the end of the info-graphic.
Gah. I can see how this might have happened. Dennis had the info-graphic in mind as he started to write the post. He might have initially wondered why a voucher code site was writing about Pakistan at all. However, I feel, the dirt he’s dug up can be planted, fair and square, on the boots of the type of SEO that encourages the world to hate SEOs.

The comments I have seen on Twitter regarding this post better cover the load of what DiscountVouchers.co.uk is trying to do. Here are some of these comments, which obviously make much better titles for my original post:

@lyndoman: Its shameful that marketers are using the Pakistan flood to line their pockets http://twurl.nl/6ji6lc << via @wiep

@neyne a really important post by @TheNextCorner. stop using disasters for linkbuilding http://bit.ly/dmoeDh

@bitbang_search Pakistan Floodbait used to gain Links with infographic: the horrible and unethical case of DiscountVouchers.co.uk http://is.gd/eAHI4

@copestoneTeam Shameless use of the Pakistan flood disaster for search engine marketing campaign: http://bit.ly/dmoeDh via @jennysimpson #badmarketing

@stuartpt Pretty poor behaviour: http://thenextcorner.net/pakistan-floodbait-end-infographic/

@rmsimons Soulless, money-hungy, egoistic vultures. Bah. | RT @jodykoehler 'Pakistan Floodbait: The End of The Info-Graphic' http://bit.ly/dmoeDh

@robgreenseo FYI, you can contact the site that used a Pakistan Flood infographic for linkbait at @DiscVisc and press@discountvouchers.co.uk

From these reactions, it’s clear to me the majority of people who make the connection between discountvouchers.co.uk and the Pakistan floods are totally appalled from the marketing practice this company is using. Trying to get an extra push in the search engines, while even no-following the link to the charity website.

I updated the title of my original post to better cover the impact of what we see here: some marketeers don’t care on how they get traffic or customers, as long as there is growth and lot’s of them. 

It was a humbling lesson on my own view of the world. While writing the post, I was only thinking on how this company could do this. After finishing the whole post, I tried to think about a good headline which would cover the full load. With my SEO head on the full day, and still having a couple of emails open I’ve been working on, while browsing the Internet, I created the original title: Pakistan Floodbait: The End of The Info-Graphic. This title was pretty SEO related, which I know have changed into: Shameful use of Pakistan Flood Disaster to Gain SEO Links and Traffic

Shameful use of Pakistan Flood Disaster to Gain SEO Links and Traffic

IMPORTANT: Donate money to the Pakistan relief charity funds, find links at the bottom of this post!

Update: I changed the title from Pakistan Floodbait: The End of The Info-Graphic into Shameful use of Pakistan Flood Disaster to Gain SEO Links and Traffic for the following reason.

Everybody who knows and works with me knows I like the Info-graphics trend in Link Bait. These visual representations of mostly data and facts about any kind of topic, makes the story so much more consumable for the average reader. And I know, as I’m the average reader, I include myself in this group!

There are so many people jumping on the wagon of Info-graphics as a form of link building, that it almost becomes irrelevant. The cool kids are already moving on, and finding new ways of building links. Info-graphics will soon lose its value on the Internet. Why? Because there are companies like DiscountVouchers.co.uk who try to gain links using the Pakistan Flooding disaster to get ahead and get more business (I don’t place any link, because I despise the company for its actions, see for full story below).  Take a look at the image below here.

At first sight, I liked the info-graphic as it calls to the attention to the major humanity problem which is greatly ignored; the flooding in Pakistan. The info-graphic is very clear and focused on the floods in Pakistan and lack of clean water or any help for the people suffering in Pakistan.

discount-voucher-pakistan-flooding Above the Info-graphic you can find the following text (original info-graphic can be found on:http://www.discountvouchers.co.uk/pakistan-flooding.html) :

Flooding began in Pakistan in July 2010 caused by monsoon rains affecting the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab as well as parts of Baluchistan. It is thought that at least 2000 people have been killed and over 20 million are now destitute and suffering. We've created this infographic to demonstrate the scale of the disaster and the amount of relief that is still required. A link to a reputable charity can be found at the bottom of the graphic

Yes, they do place a link to a charity, a no-follow link! Let me correct these guys and place a good link to this charity, while I’m donating money at the same time. Donate for Pakistan Flood Appeal. I ask you all to donate to the flood relief as well, as more help is really needed! (More links for charity or help funds can be found at the bottom of this post).

One can ask himself what relevance discount vouchers have to the flooding and disaster in Pakistan. Are the Pakistani going to get a discount voucher from these Brits to any clean water? Is Discount Vouchers going to charter a plane with help packages of food after they got 10K links from this info-graphic? No, it does not seems so…

DiscountVouchers.co.uk is simply using a disaster in a far away land where so many people are suffering to get ahead in the search engines by combining this info-graphic for link building purposes. Their embed code is full of keyword rich anchor tags. Those keywords they would like to rank on…

DiscountVouchers - 2 for 1 Discount Vouchers

Here is the full code, where I removed any html links to prevent from passing on link juice.

<p><a href=" http://www.discountvouchers.co.uk/pakistan-flooding.html" _fcksavedurl=" http://www.discountvouchers.co.uk/pakistan-flooding.html"><img src=" http://www.discountvouchers.co.uk/DiscountVouchers-infographic.jpg" _fcksavedurl=" http://www.discountvouchers.co.uk/DiscountVouchers-infographic.jpg" border="0" alt="DiscountVouchers" /></a></p><p>Infographic by <a href=http://www.discountvouchers.co.uk/pakistand-flooding.html_fcksavedurl="http://www.discountvouchers.co.uk/"> DiscountVouchers - 2 for 1 Discount Vouchers</a></p>

As soon as one company gets a ton of incoming links using this kind of technique, competitors will follow to try to compete in the market place. And as soon as you go this route, it’s a slippery slope. Bam, Info-graphics are doomed! What has the world of link building come to; disaster relief link bait..?

I will know pledge myself not to get involved into any of these link building schemes, and will not link to this site, ever!

More places to donate for charity, clean water or Pakistan flood relief (taken from the list of The Huffington Post, I bet they don’t mind I’m copying as it’s for a good cause)

Update: I originally wrote the infographic was placed on DiscountVoucher.co.uk. This has to be DiscountVouchers.co.uk, which is a completely different site.

Universal Image Search Impact

For the last year the traffic on my Dutch San Francisco site suffered from the backlash of Universal Image search. Images of San Francisco outranked my homepage on the KW San Francisco. My listing was pushed down around end of April last year, and as you can see in the graph below, on San Francisco, I dropped in traffic.

Universal Image Search Impact

But since recently, traffic is returning. Today was the first time I checked on the actual rankings, and what you think… my site is above the images again! Hooray!

image

SearchLabs Sao Paulo look back

The purpose of my travel two weeks ago to Sao Paulo Brazil, was presenting on SearchLabs. I was invited to speak on SEO for large ecommerce websites. Usually, as an in-house SEO, I have not much appetite to go speaking at conferences. There is hardly any value your company can get out of the fact you might be giving away trade secrets, other than recruiting purposes or brand building. However, in this case, I was very interested.

My session was primarily focused on SEO for large websites, organizational structure and product life cycle. I touched on the new crawler insights we have since a couple of month, and finalized with some cool innovation like our redirect on special items like the Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich from years ago. As an extra added bonus, I discussed how you can use data from your site as link bait or story telling. Obviously my iPad export story I used a couple of times in other presentation is still #1 here.

New Imagesearchlabs-1Searchlabs-2

On the last day of the conference, the ending session was a Q&A with a bunch of the speakers on stage. Since we had been drinking Caipirinha before in the hotel lobby, more were ordered to drink on stage. Obviously this was not expected, but the audience could appreciate it.

searchlabs-5searchlabs-4searchlabs-3

Luckily, we did all the interviews already before the Caipirinha’s, so we could just continue after the last session to get some drinks and Mortadella sandwich.

searchlabs-7searchlabs-6searchlabs-8

I had a blast on the Searchlabs conference with Vanessa, Todd, Gillian and all the other speakers and audience. Thank you Miguel & Alexandre for having me and being such good hosts. And special thanks to Mister Juliano, who has showed what Brazilian hospitality is all about!

If you would like to book me to speak on a conference, you can contact me.

I got permission from Webord and Alexandre Formagio to post the pictures in this post.

Google-Bot going crazy

Anybody checked their stats already in Google Webmaster Central? Seems Google bot is spending quite some time on my sites, where more pages are getting crawled per day starting somewhere last week.

For this site:

image

For my SF site:

image

And for my Dutch Blog:

image

Obviously, the whole SEO industry is buzzing about algorithm changes and MAYDAY updates.

Eight Result SERP

If it wasn’t enough difficult to rank on the first page of Google, with all the competition, universal search includes. Now, Google is even showing less results on some search result pages. Normally, the first 10 results on any search query are already competitive. Most SEO’s will know how the click distribution on average is allocated to the different positions, with the majority going to the top 10. With less results on the first page, it will become even more difficult to get any traffic on relevant pages if you are not the brand owner, Wikipedia or Google.

Below you see a SERP for Zhu Zhu Pets on Google.nl, where the first page only has 8 real results. The page with 8 results looks so short… There is something missing!

Google-eight-result-SERP Zhu Zhu Pets

Testing SEO tagcloud

I’m going to test some fancy html tagclouds for SEO purposes. Right now, links are in the form of image maps to link to popular products, but anchor text rich links should make a difference, especially when the page is linked from the homepage!

Let’s see what the effect will be.

Strange things happen Google Image Search

I don’t always figure out how you can optimize for Google Image search. I used to get a decent amount of traffic on my Dutch blog for keywords White Shark (witte haai) or White Sharks (witte haaien). All that traffic was generated through image search.

image

After the traffic had dropped, I though there might have been less interest in the white shark. The image that I was ranking for was the following image of a white shark jumping out of the water:

Witte haaien

I used to appear on the very first spot in image search, and on the top of the normal search, even above the text results. Nowdays, the same image is still there, but it is hosted and taken from another site. They copied the image from my blog and pasted it into theirs. Even the watermark is still there!

witte haaien image search

Now the question is, how does Google rank images. As it is the same image as before, the one taken from the post: Witte Haaien in het Zwembad. I wonder if they take the most recent image that was published and update their rankings on recency?

witte haai image stolen

So a little test is underway; I wonder if my original post, or either this one will rank back on the position #1 for White Sharks.


Best SEO image I’ve ever seen



As an in-house SEO I always have work in training and explaining SEO to other folks in the company. We usually try to use existing examples of our own site how we rank, how the pages are displayed and how we can improve.

Explaining how the Page Title Tag, the Meta Description and the URL can have a big influence on the rankings and if the result is inspiring to click on is sometimes a challenge.

But today I found a perfect example of how you can simply explain it through an image:

SEO explanation of Title & Meta description

Original picture can be found here: Thesis Tutorial | SEO for Everyone