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?

News on FastBlogFinder: Version 3.0 available next week

I started using Fast Blogfinder almost exactly one year ago. And I've used this genius dofollow-recherche tool quite intensely as no other SEO software helps me generate hi-quality dofollow links that fast. (Check my in-depth review). Automated commenting system are nothing but spam tools – at best, they don't damage your Google ranking. FBL however does not post any comments, but it's an effective tool to identify related postings in your topical niche, but the commenting itself is done manually. The new version 3.0 will be available on 10th of December and I got some first-hand details.

Also, working with FBL does have some highly welcome side-effects: I constantly discover interesting postings – and every time I run a search I always find a lot of input for my own articles. FBL 2.6 worked very well, but the upcoming version is adding even more precision – and some crowd wisdom:

Fast Blog Finder v3.0 has a new engine which recognizes new blog platforms and finds much more DoFollow blogs than the earlier version. When developing the v3.0 we spent many hours for manually verifying hundreds of blogs to ensure that the program determined the blog type correctly.
Despite this, we don't expect the program to be 100% accurate in analyzing the blogs. So, we added the “Report Wrong Blog Type” option to the program. Using this option you can send us the URL of the blog that was determined incorrectly by Fast Blog Finder. We'll check it out and make improvements in the program engine.

Julia did an in-depth comparison of version 3 – and the results are very convincing. Here's a screenshot of the new version:

Fast Blogfinder 3.0 Screenshot

How much does the upgrade cost?

As soon as I twittered the news, some of my contacts inquired the upgrade-price for existing users. I believe the pricing model is really fair:

  • New customers who haven't been using FBL before pay $99 for Fast Blogfinder Version 3.
  • Users who bought their existing license within a 90-day timeframe before the release of the version get the upgrade for free
  • Existing users with an older license pay $25 for the upgrade until Christmas holidays, after that the upgrade costs $44,50.

If you like to try before you buy, download the trial version – but I guess no pro-blogger can afford not to use FBL these days! :mrgreen:

Fast Blogfinder trial version [*.exe file, 150kB)
Buy Fast Blogfinder (If you buy the current version now, you get the update to 3.0 for free next week)

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 23/2009

Step in, ladies and gentlemen – welcome to the weekly Blogistan-round-up! It's my duty to entertain you (and sometimes maybe even piss you off), but who cares – it's all in the blog, st00pid! From Google Wave to the sluttiest brides in 2008, the blogosphere is here to cover your every information need.

Google announces Wave

The buzz is on – Google has announced the release of their newest project called “Wave” later this year. The stakes are high, as Wave claims to redefine the way we communicate and collaborate on the web. E-Mail, contacts social networks – Wave will tear down the boundaries between documents and dialogue:

A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.
A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.

Google posted a couple of screenshots, future beta testers can sign up here. This in-depth presentation from Google I/O waters my mouth; and btw: Wave will be completely Open Source.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_UyVmITiYQ[/youtube]

So much for Twitter's trending topics

“But all good things, they say, never last”, sang prince. And now TechCrunch is saying the same about Twitter's trending topics:

Up until recently, Twitters trending topics – which are prominently displayed on their Search homepage and now also in the sidebar when youre using the Twitter website – were an awesome way to get a feel of what was buzzing on the Web, in a way that virtually no other web service was able to do.

+

But then came the pirates and Michael is really pissed!

Today, when you look at Twitters trending topics, youll notice that the large majority of trends are memes started by a single user or a group of users, with the main goal offering entertainment rather than spreading information. Thats all fine and dandy – no harm in having fun – and I realize well that Twitters trending topics are not necessarily required to be giving you and me an overview of stuff that really matters, but I cant help but think its a pity that that list is starting to turn into the top 10 of chain letters people used to circulate through e-mail messages in the late nineties.

Oh dear gosh, I wish more people would recognize that manipulating social media platforms is so much more fun than obeying their “laws”…

The real name problem

Many native Indians have names like “Robin kills the Enemy”. Their name is in their passport, the same applies to people with exotic names like Lisa Strawberry. But if your name sounds like made up (but actually isn't), you might have trouble keeping your Facebook account. An article on Spiegel Online [in German] reports that a couple of users got deleted without any previous notice. Facebook's policy requires you to use your real name, and with the ongoing success of the platform a lot of users are running multiple fake profiles with strange names. Removing these might be a good idea for FB in terms of scalability and reliability, but the collateral damage has become so big that the group Facebook: don't discriminate against Native surnames!!! already has more than 4.000 members, among them the likes of Linnie Birdchief, Carl Fourstar jr. and Sandy White Hawk. Facebook speaks person Barry Schmidt admitted mistakes, and the said accounts have been reactived, but the waiting period is quite long as only 850 people are on the payroll of the world's largest social network.

Russian investors buy a share of Facebook

New York Times reports that Russian internet investment company Digital Sky Technologies acquired 1.96% of Facebook for the sum of $200 million:

Digital Sky won because its founders Yuri Milner and Gregory Finger have strong experience running Internet properties in Eastern Europe and Russia, and “a deep, advanced understanding” of social networking technology, Zuckerberg said.

We all know that FB is burning money at an amazing rate, but Zuckerberg still plays it cool – after all, he is running the largest social network in the world. Yet still numbers have gone down: when Microsoft purchased 1.6% in 2007 they had to pay $240 million – during the last two years, the overall value of the platform has decreased from $15 to $10 billion despite the growth in user accounts.

Happy B-Day, Mr. Shoemoney!

Jeremy Shoemaker turned 35 this week – congrats, man! I love your blog and there you're the person who taught me the most valuable lessons about online marketing and blogging – thx for your excellent posts and keep up the great work! You definitely got a fan in Vienna :mrgreen:

This week's href=”http://www.shoemoney.com/2009/05/29/friendshirtme-free-shirt-friday/”>T-Shirt of the week is also definitely worth a look: it was printed by Friendshirt.me. And the comments say it all… when I saw this app I instantly had to order mine!

What is a Micro-Scobble?

Robert Scobble is a tech evangelist and twitter legend. Disqus blog published and interesting interview with man responsible for the tweet-frequency-unit “Micro-Scobble”:

I grew up in silicon valley, I had no choice. My Dad was an engineer and I grew up in Cupertino about a mile from Apple Computers. I had an Apple Computer in 1977, in my junior high I was in the first computer club , and I got a tour of Apple when they were one little building. So yeah, Ive always been around tech.

My bride is not a slut. She just looks like one.

Judith sent me this great article – thx! Take a look at the Top 5 Sluttiest Wedding Dresses Spotted In 2009! Even though is nearly breaks my heart that Miss Carey is no longer single, I have to admit that with this elaborate sense of taste she'd get a job in any brothel in the whole world:

The Mariah Carrey slutty wedding dress certainly doesn't leave anything to the imagination. Fully equipped with garter belt, stockings, and a main fashion piece better off worn under the dress or on the wedding night, this dress starts us off with its moderately tame slutty fashion.

Video of the week

This one goes out to the Open Source Community – I usually don't publish ads as the video of the week, but in this case Redhead has done a fantastic job – and with over 3 minutes, in these short-clip times this is almost an online feature movie. Congrats to Peter Novak on this fantastic job!

Pic of the week

New to my weekly round-up: starting this week, I will publish a “pic of the week” – no special topics whatsoever. Since I started digi-SLR myself my appreciation for those perfect shots has grown immensely. Choosing the proper pic wasn't easy at all, but this Manasquan Reservoir by Joisey Showaa is one fantastic shot:

manasquan

And that's about it for this week – thx for visiting my blog, see you again next week!

Input for weekly round-upGot any news you'd like to read about in my weekly round-up of current blogosphere events?
Don't hesitate to contact me! Of course I'll include a backlink to your original story.

So don't hesitate – just click here for the contact form and give me an update on your issues: Give me input!.

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 21/2009

This weekly round-up comes with a free day of delay, as I was pretty business last night taking pictures of the sunset from Braunsberg. Riding my bike home I had to be very careful since a nightly meeting of a rabbit and a motorcycle is usually a very unpleasant experience for both sides. I haven't digi developped all pics yet, but this one turned out quite nicely:

braunsberg-sunset

So back to blogging business – what a week! We now finally know that there actually *are* differences when it comes to the two sexes using social media. Read more

SEO Kung Fu: Using CVs for linkbuilding-purposes

Backlink building with CV-sitesLet's face the facts that make feeble-minded webmasters cry: diverting online services from their intended use is a vital part of any effective link-building strategy. But while almost any self-employed SEO-consultant runs a couple of social network pages, curriculum-vitae site are usually left out. But that's a big mistake! There are, to be more specific, at least two online curriculum-vitae services where registration pays off if you're looking for a job, but for some juicy backlinks.

Of course these sites try to satisfy their targeted clientele, which means that the actual process of assembling your curriculum-vitae is really simple and fast, and both services are free. Also, this is not a fire-and-forget action: you can log in any time later to expand your curriculum-vitae by adding new paragraphs (and links). In other words: these are two juicy add-ons for your backlink-portfolio.

Emurse

Domain Pagerank: 6
Example: socialmarketing.emurse.com

“Create, share and store your resume online for free” – and spread your link-love. Emurse is the first choice as every user gets to chose his own subdomain. There are no limits to your copy-writing skills. The editor uses a special kind of link syntax, which is explained in the help section. Of course there's no nofollow-attribute inserted and there is no limit to the number of links (and images) you can include. (But you might want to limit yourself, too many outgoing links will decrease the flow of the backlink juice :mrgreen:) And who says that you can only have one curriculum-vitae?

VisualCV

Domain Pagerank: 6
Example: www.visualcv.com/socialmarketing

The second candidate also knows how to make a backlink-builder happy. Assembling the profile is as easy as one-two-three, the comfortable editor even lets you chose title tags for your backlinks. All you have to do is some keyword research and some writing and you're good to go. Don't forget to switch the privacy setting to “public” thought.

Doesn't pay off: ResumeSocial, Resumbucket

ResumeSocial has more categories than online CVs plus a Pagerank zero. Resumebucket gets a wee bit more G-love, but the ghost inside the machine is crippling every backlink – even the one to your own blog – with a nofollow-attribute.

Addendum: Both pages list the “latest CVs” on their homepages, but it's still a good idea to set up some backlinks pointing to the new subpages. After all, this is not a short-term measure.

If you have any interesting backlink building secrets to share, I'd be glad to hear about it. And if you're need a huge bag of nofollow-free backlinks, try Fast Blog Finder.

Fast Blogfinder update: Version 2.6 available

easy link buildingYesterday, G-Lock Software announced the release of a new Fast Blogfinder version. The main feature is a keyword suggestion tool that makes a very useful add-on. The option is called “Provide query suggestions” and offers additional keywords combinations. This is very helpful to narrow down your searches – and as always, the upgrade is completely free for all users who bought a license for a previous version (which costs the ridiculously low sum of about 50 Euros by the way), so hurry up.

Basically, the query provider works like any other keyword research tool and helps narrowing down the niche and finding new juicy backlink spots:

When you type your keywords into the search box, Fast Blog Finder automatically suggests you keyword phrases based on your keywords. You can review a list of suggestions and select any keyword phrase from the menu. Sounds great, doesn't it? If none keyword phrase suits you, type in your own search query and click Start.

DownloadFast Blog Finder Demo-Version:
Download
*.exe file, 125kB
OS: Windows XP, Vista

This feature comes in very handy and speeds up the process. The import/export wizard has also been improved, and the “Most Recent Post Date” row has changed to “Last updated”, which means that you can actually figure out if the author has recently fiddled with his blog, even if there is no fresh entry.

Once again, G-Lock has done an outstanding job – I've only been using FBL for a couple of months now and this is already the second major upgrade which introduces new features. I've said it before and I'm saying it again: FBL is the most efficient link-building tool currently available. Even if you only want to spend 30 minutes a week promoting your own site, you should get a license! And the fact that the user continuously finds new interesting blogs a nice side effect!

Fast Blog Finder trial version
Buy Blog Finder

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 48/2008

weekly round-up KW48Another week bites the dust: and much ado is going on about something that hardly anybody understands: the global financial crisis is spilling over from bankruptcy-filing banks to the car industry and plenty other businesses. Neither Obama nor the new Austrian government (if this comparison sounds strange to you: I live in Austria) will have an easy job: and while the EU is planning coordinated measures, I keep asking myself one question that nobody could answer so far: The governments deem giving cheap credits to banks appropriate. Why don't they hand out those credits – on the same terms – directly to needy companies?

After all, this money is supposed to fuel the economic fire, but so far the amount of money parked at the European central bank by national institutes has increased! Doesn't sound like a good plan to me… but luckily, online-entrepreneurs who specialize in marketing need little to no start-up capital: and that's one of the reasons, why our businesses will bloom in the near future.

Who to follow on twitter

Dan has dug the archives and came up with a list of twitter opinion-leaders:

One of the best ways to get started is by following the

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 47/2008

obamoidaNo more denial, it's official by now: no more outdoor swimming 2k8, winter has kicked in Vienna. Yesterday, the little white thingie called snow was floating around in the air, which is nice, if you live near the Alps (skiing season!), but which sucks, if you live in Vienna: as soon as the first snow is falling, car-drivers get crazy: no matter if the streets are actually slippery or not.

Seth on Trust: I trust you, says Seth, but if you abuse my trust once, you won't be part of the inner circle next time. No need to comment on that, expect: full akk:

If I believe I'm talking on the record, to everyone, I need to be a lot more careful in what I type. Of course, there's no way for me to enforce this. No way for me to sue you or something if you start taking my words (in context or not) and post them here and there. Except for one: I just won't trust you again.

Craig's face gets redder: Obviously, Facebook wants to re-furbish its marketplace. Classified are big business, which currently is largely covered by Craigslist, MSN and eBay (via Kijiji). According to TechCrunch, Facebook chose Oodle, who probably won the pitch thanks to their previous field-experience aka Walmart Classifieds – the relaunch will take place in December. If Facebook manages to offer a better product than their competitors, this could mean some big buck: the combination of a social network with a classifieds-system sounds like a very good idea – but obviously, something was missing so far, since the current marketplace is one of the least busy areas in FB-town; let's see if Oodle will change that.

Monty Python on youtube: No more need to illegally upload MP-sketches: the British comedians are going affirmative and created their very own Channel, which not only features the well-known pieces but also rarities from the vault. I bet fan-numbers will increase rapidly! [via Laughing Squid]

A quantum of what? Glad I don't have to watch the newest JB movie, as Dan reviewed A Quantum of Solace and came to the frightening conclusion that there is actually no bond girl in this movie. Actually, his resum

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 47/2008

Blogistan-PanoptikumThe last election parties have ended by now, the USA are looking forward to a new era of fairness and social improvement. Will the new president be able to live up to his promises in times of an economic crisis? Looks like Barrack Obama has got to deal with a difficult situation, as the crisis is now spreading from the finance sector to old economy and car manufacturers start facing serious troubles. Of course advertising budgets will be cut, which will eventually lead to more and more online-money being spent for performance based marketing. A rather bleak scenario for traditional advertiser, but definitely not the worst news for affiliates.

Going against Wikipedia: In Germany, left-wing politician Lutz Heilmann started a massive discussion among bloggers: the genius sued Wikipedia and had them remove the German article which contained among other biographical data on his history with the infamous Stasi. This is the perfect example of new media misunderstood: while Heilmann obviously tried to obfuscate facts, he provoked a flood of articles that give him a worse name than any Wikipedia page ever could have. The net is changing politics faster than anybody expected ten years ago…

Movement vs. Change: I love Seth Godins simple yet very illustrative examples of “the power of the net”. And I'm not a fan of Starbucks:

Simple example: the Starbucks in Larchmont, NY keeps their thermostat at 64 degrees. And the stores in Breckenridge, Colorado keep their doors wide open all winter. If you're raging mad about energy waste, you could say something. And nothing would happen. But if customers organized and ten people said something or a hundred people said something… boom, new rules. The system doesn't know what to do with a movement.

The ugliest thing of the week: it's a mixture between a car and motorcycle, and it combines the disadvantages of both concepts in perfection. I have no clue why Time Magazine has voted the Peravces Monotracer one of the best inventions of 2008. C'mon guys, you can't be serious – even the description sounds like a joke, but it's not:

You really need the mind of a Swiss engineer to come up with a vehicle that combines the lithe maneuverability of a motorcycle with the not-getting-rained-on-ability of a conventional automobile.

This week in Online Marketing: Google started rolling out a Digg-like feature where users can “like” or “dislike” search results. It seems they are currently running a few tests – I'm wondering if this social component will be used for the general index or for tailoring SERPs to the logged-in user's needs. And Twitter still is the new hot sh*t – even though the fail-whale returned today and SMS functionality is not avaible in most European countries, users still love their microblogging service #1. One of the reasons is the large number of mash-ups: the latest one even allows you to tweet from beyond: using twuffer.com, it's possbible to schedule tweets – so if you already know what you're going to do next week or next year, twuffer might be just for you. And if not you might still be able to use the service for marketing purposes :mrgreen:

Video of the week

How do you visualize a car that doesn't even exist yet? Infinity has invested a great deal of time and money to build a flexible and impressive 3D surroundig – this video explains the whole idea:

So much for this week – I wish you great Sunday, see you soon.

Fast Blogfinder: Easiest link building ever

easy link buildingBuilding backlinks to leverage your online presence can be a very tedious task – but it doesn't have to be: thanks to the social web, there are literally thousands of blogs that allow follow-links in their comments. No matter which niche you're working on, there's always a couple of matching blogs where one gets strong, free backlinks simply for leaving a comment. But the challenge lies in finding strong deeplinks with nofollow turned off, and that's where Fast Blog Finder comes in: this brilliant piece of software does automated keyword searches for blogs or other sites which allow comments. The results are grouped into follow- and nofollow-Blogs, all the important parameters like Google Pagerank and the number of outgoing links are presented in a very useful way.

DownloadFast Blog Finder Demo-Version:
Download
*.exe file, 125kB
OS: Windows XP, Vista

Fast Blog Finder is not spamming tool as there is no automated commenting feature. But the program saves every webmaster tons of time, as researching the right backlink-blogs is one of the most time-consuming tasks in online marketing. FBL automates the process up to the point when the actual comment is posted: webmasters need to do this manually anyways (after all, substantial comments have a much higher chance of not getting deleted), but they don't have to spend any time on backlinks research.

Glock sells the software for about $50,- which is basically gift considering the countless hours you are going to save. I've been working with Fast Blog Finder for a couple of weeks now and I'm completely satisfied. To me, this software simply is the best tool for quick and efficient link building: at this low price, even hobby-webmasters interested in driving more visitors to their site might consider buying FBL, but for every professional SEO it's a must. The manufacturer even offers a free trial version which is limited in its search capabilities, but it gives you a good impression of the software's immense value.

Fast Blog Finder trial version
Buy Blog Finder

The main screen

The main windows is separated into three sub-windows: the left column lists all your searches, the top middle windows lists the results which are freely sortable and in the bottom windows, an instance of Internet Explorer shows the current sites and enables the user, to leave his comment directly from within the program:

Link building in no time
Fast Blog Finder's main screen with keyword lists (left pane), active list (top windows) and built-in browser (bottom window).

Every search and user action is stored and there's an export/import function for result lists which makes customer reporting very easy. All of the feature are self-explanatory, take a look at the trial version and you will find that there's no quicker and cheaper way to build a large amount of high-quality backlinks.

Advantages of comment link

There's couple of advantages that qualify Fast Blog Finder for a large range of projects:

  1. FBL is the only link-building software I know which supports different languages. Of course if works perfectly in English, but the user can also switch to French, Italian, German and other indexes: I'm running a couple of sites in the German language, so this a killer feature for me.
  2. Almost any other link building program requires a registration and a monthly fee, which is usually higher than the price of FBL – which is a one-time flat fee and even qualifies you to receive updates of the program. (You're allowed to install the software on two computers with the standard license.)
  3. The internet offers a couple of free dofollow-Blog lists. But those are static, rarely updated and most importantly, the backlinks are not keyword-related, whereas FBL finds sites, which rank well in Google for an exact keyword (combination).

Still not sure? Try the trial version. I recommended this software to a lot of my colleagues, and I haven't heard anyone complain. Because after all, time is the most precious resource – and Fast Blog Finder helps you save tons of it.

Fast Blog Finder trial version
Buy Blog Finder