How I turned my competitor into a valuable, unsuspecting link partner [A SEO fable]

SEO life has its funny moments. While you might imagine nerds wading through endless keyword tables, the truth is that sometimes others' fails make one laugh hardest. Especially when the grudge one holds is unwillingly paid in gallons of precious, precious link juice.

The chronic of events described in this very blog post took place many long years ago. It was a different time and age back then – must have been around the time when Facebook started to skyrocket like crazy, probably 2011 or 12. Readers would abandon blogs a while before Google discontinued their RSS reader, and many a brave blogger gave up, completely discouraged by the utter lack of discussion activity.

My young friends, believe me, it was neither about social signals nor reach back then, but user activity we dug a lot. (The new currency on sm platforms, too – what a coincidence!) But even the most popular and the toughest bloggers had to wipe tears from their eyes every day as they stared at their statistics. Mad, yet powerless to stop Zuckerberg from sucking away their micro-communities.

Some even failed in giving up

A lot of blogs died – some quickly painlessly, others slowly and suffering more each day until the final trackback had faded away. Of course, more than a chosen few kept going, but I will talk about these heroes another time.

Because there was a third group: freeloading copycats who had turned their social media agencies' websites into fake blogs when the slightest smell of WordPress still sufficed to climb Google's top ranks.

And then that changed, and many of them forgot that they had once simulated authoring a blog. When you lose the big picture, you obviously do not care about the small details anymore, either. For example, an active comment function that passes out do-follow links like it's the Easter Bunny. Or a sidebar widget displayed on all postings *and* pages, also handing out free link juice like little bunny-brother.

Those guys may have known a thing or two about social media and SEO, but that wasn't enough in the long run. They sure did know a lot more things about public relations, though, resulting in an enormously powerful backlink structure including some of Europe's top domains, resulting in very powerful rankings.

The immoral ending of this story

Why would I know that? Because I analyzed their backlink structure as a favor before we both realized that further cooperation was unthinkable. They came to this conclusion because I had loudly complained that they had stolen some of my presentations, merely replacing the logo for their pitches. Me, because they had stolen some of my presentations for their pitches, merely replacing the logo.

Karma seems to have caught up rather quickly this time. Said agency is out of business since a couple of months, which makes me quite sad: Their website was taken down and I am sure going to miss* those hundreds of links, merely generated by commenting twice.

Sometimes it *really* pays off to be the last one to leave the party and close the discussion.

*) No, I won't. I probably could have relied on luck, but I did rely on Scrapebox instead.

On the declining organic SEO traffic for Bloggers

Nobody's really talking about it, but I suspect this is a wider trend: blogs aren't dying, but they are significantly declining. 2015 might be a rough year.In Is Google making the web stupid? Seth Godin suggests that the declining prominence of organic results in Google searches is significantly to blame.

Couldn't agree more with Marco. Read the full article – what are your experiences with SEO traffic and blogs?

Do social media services kill the blog?

Answering Klout questions is sometimes difficult, as space is very limited and some topics require more in-depth discussion than the equivalent of 3 tweets – ask any regular on Quora! In most cases, I manage to stuff my collected knowledge into a couple of lines, but today Klout asked a very interesting questions that has been sitting in the back of my mind for quite a while now:

Are social media websites like Twitter and Facebook killing the blog? Why or why not?

The shortest possible answer is of course no – one letter shorter than “yes” even, and the right answer, too. So here's the little song I wrote:

Social media has changed the blogosphere: instead of commenting, a lot of users “like” or “+1” and the remaining discussion has moved away from the blog onto social media services. But blogs are a more important content back-bone than ever – the format evolves.

This line of reasoning requires a little elaboration: back in the early days of blogging, weblogs were primarily a means to document/store/share the websites bloggers had visited and found interesting – hence the name which stems from “logging your web journey”. In bold ignorance of the harsh reality our web fore-fathers faced, nowadays I regularly hear web-experts spread a different founding myth – one in which the first blogs were “online diaries”. No, wrong.

Online diaries appeared on the scene a little later, together with the first content-rich blogs: instead of presenting their readers with an extensive list of hyperlinks and very little additional information, the new generation of blogs would change the ratio of the two main ingredients: more content, less links. That's when commeting became a vital part of the blogosphere and comment-rating plugins, an early form of social content structuring, became popular.

Enter social media: platforms like blogger or wordpress.com took care of the technical hassle, but is was Myspace that took the blogging phenomenon to a whole new level in terms of numbers. We've seen a couple of first-generation platforms go and we've witnessed the immense success of Facebook and Twitter's increasing popularity among geeks.

Bloggers these days have stopped whining about the decreasing number of comments – the discussion happens elswhere, the prime content still lives on the blog. Several technical solutions allow bloggers to pull back discussions from social media platforms to their blog and/or use these platforms as distribution channels for their postings.

Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest and all these other empty shells are ever-hungry beasts that call for fresh, new, entertaining and stunning content. They host pictures and videos and short status updates, but they're far from a library of knowledge, tutorials and in-depth analysis. Social media is channel, blogs are a publishing platform – both formats co-exist and influence each other, but nobody's killing anyone. At least not today.

Photos: Graffiti Sprayer at Danube Channel

The Danube Channel is a short, man-made sidearm of the river Danube which runs directly through the center of the city. About 10 years ago, spraying basically was an illegal activity anywhere in the city, but then some smart folks decided to officially turn the walls alongside the channel into the city-sprayers' official canvas. On a warm, sunny Sunday plenty of painting action takes place – I shot the following three pics using my EOS D and a lensbaby muse. (Click to enlarge.)

Viennese graffiti art 1 Read more

How WikiLeads cannot get shut down [Cartoon]

If you're a chef you've probably wondered why everybody is talking about these WikiLicks. And if you're into online marketing, you probably wondered why you are still struggling with Facebook while the competition is already generating WikiLeads like crazy. Calm down – it's WikiLeaks and it probably won't ruin you. Oh, you're a politician? In that case: be afraid. Be very afraid.

WikiLeaks Read more

TEDx Pannonia Videos: get inspired!

This year, Austria's first TEDx (an independently organized TED conference) took place in Burgenland, the part of Austria closes to Hungary. The landscape here gives a foretaste of the Puszta lowlands, and all us attendants enjoyed a great day filled with many inspiring talks. The Dream Academia boys have organized the conference and now they've done a great job with the videos: all the talks are online, video and audio quality are excellent: TEDx Pannonia: The Talks

TEDx Pannonia - New Energy

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Best dance video ever: TURF FEINZ – RIP Rich D

The TURF FEINZ of Oakland, California are a legendary dance crew that's famous for taking breakdance to the next level. In this clip, the originators of the so called turf dancing style express deep emotions via their moves. There's a sad background to this incredible clip: a while ago, Rich D, crew member and half-brother of one of the dancers, died in a car accident at the corner where this R.I.P. dance took place:

Yoram Savion of YAK Films documented the dance:

YAK began as a production team of young photographers and filmmakers dedicated to youth-led multimedia production which provides a voice for resistance and an alternative to played-out mainstream media. At its core, YAK is a visual wrecking crew built to use every form of expressive multimedia to share the voice of youth in urban America and promote change on every level. YAK's work with urban dance began with the legendary TURF FEINZ crew from Oakland, CA, innovators of the TUF dancing style. YAK is now evolving to take the lead in the street-based documentation of the global dance movement.

For more YAK videos, visit the producer group's vimeo channel: vimeo.com/yak.

Dexter Season 5: Preview the trailer

Great tv series and great restaurants do have a lot in common: temporary highlights are not sufficient, the producers must manage to keep the quality level. While many series start with a great first season but fail to live to big expectations afterwards, the authoring team behind Dexter kept delivering great stories for 4 seasons. On September 26th, the fifth season premiers in the US. Visitors of Comic Con 2010 were the first to see the official trailer. Luckily, the video is also available on Youtube since July 23rd, and by the time I publish this posting, 1.2 million people have already seen it. Attention if haven't watched season 4 yet: the trailer contains a serious spoiler!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUbCMbW-BRE[/youtube] Read more