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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. And now this happened.

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. 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)

The Twitter Auto-Follow accounts list…

The Twitter Auto-Follow List …is deprecated. When I started this project a couple of months ago, Twitter was in its early stages and far from being as spam-flooded as now. While the system worked perfectly for a couple of month, at some points more and more users began turning off the auto-follow feature as an increasing number of spam accounts became more and more annoying. Keeping in mind the current state of Twitter, such an auto-follow list doesn't make sense any more, so I decided to remove the list.

But the increasing success of Twitter did not only show us the downsides of tweet-spam but also produced a couple of very interesting mash-ups. In the Last weeks I found out that TweetLater Pro's brand-new “FriendFinder” feature and Pretty Link Pro's Pretty-Bar are the two most efficient strategies if you want to increase your followers with targetted micro-bloggers and leave spammers and feed-accounts out in the cold. Take a look, TweetLater, an online-mash-up service as well as Pretty Link, a WordPress plugin for using your own domain as a URL-shortener, are available in free trial versions:

tweetlater-250x250prettylink-250x250

For historical reasons…

…I've left the old text online. Thanks for visiting – I'll keep a sharp eye on our favorite micro-blogging service and I will keep you updated about my experiences (by now I run one of the largest European accounts with more than 30k followers. Feel free to follow me; I don't auto-follow any more, but I take a short look at the timelist of all new contacts and follow back everybody who has something interesting to say:

twitter.com/datadirt

Like all web 2.0 services, twitter works best on a give-take (reciprocal) basis. That's why I am starting this list which will help you to build a lot more twitter followers much faster than you usually could, and it's a great way to promote your own account, too! There are a couple of services out there that offer an auto-follow option meaning that you automatically follow every new user who follows you. This is a list of such accounts – which basically means that all you have to do is follow those guys and you are sure to increase your twitter-followership very fast, which is extremely useful if you start new accounts. Update: I have a done a major update today (2009-04-26) and split the list into three sublists: English, German and other accounts. This will make the list a lot more usable as it keeps growing and growing. Also, I've added a mini-FAQ: please read and save you and me some time.

To make targeted following a little easier, I added a couple of additional info. Every entry consists of a link to the twitter account, three tags that specify the general topical field of the account and finally and optional language entry which only applies to twitterers who are not tweeting in English. Being part of this list of course means that you will gain many followers yourself – the longer this list, the greater the gain for all tweet-geeks involved.

Xsara, Diaries of a SEO dog #8

In times of financial crisis, good advice is even more expensive than usual. Many dogs are frightened to lose all their fortune. Instead of just watching bones go down the drain, Xsara decides to take her fate into her own paws.

Xsara, Diaries of a SEO dog #8

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Xsara, Diaries of a SEO dog #6

This week Xsara is making an important experience the hard way: even in the world of SEO dog enterprises, human ressource planning turns out to be a crucial factor in business success!

Xsara diaries of a SEO dog #6

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Xsara, diaries of a SEO dog #4

Who let the dogs out? It's happening again! Google, the old dog catcher, doesn't like sold links at all, so Xsara has to cover her trails. But there's something she might have overlooked…

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Xsara – diaries of a SEO dog #3

The contract about her 24/7 online-life has been signed long ago – with a loud “wuff”. But now Xsara gets to know what it really means to spend every hour observed by the public, while paparazzi follow her every footstep – and she loves it.

Xsara - diaries of a SEO dog #3

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Pillar-Content: How to write a blog sentence

Yaro Starak, the Aussie “make-more-money-online-you-dimwit” guru tells me I gotta have pillar content for my blog. These articles constantly are going to drive unwanted traffic to datadirt. And Yaro says that How-to postings are a good way to achieve a strong pillar effect, so first I wanted to blog about how to blog (how to find the proper topic, that is.), but then it suddenly hit me: first things first, mate! All postings consist of proper sentences in the first place, so I decided to go on rambling about how to write a blog-posting sentence. I hope this will drive all desolate creatures out there – SEO dogs, bloggers and the like – to my blog for eternity.

Maybe I'll tell you how to find proper topics later on. And thanks for the reminder, but yes: I know that all sentences start with words, but I'll tell you how to find the proper word later. Maybe this is even going to turn into a pillar-content-series. No fillers, promised! (But there's tons of affliliate links to come.)

So first, we gotta ask ourselves: what exactly is a sentence? English teachers tell us it's basically a big or small bunch of words, thrown together in proper order and finished by an infinitessimaly small dot. Or a question mark. Or an exclamation mark. Generally, it's a good idea to first choose a proper stop-mark for your sentence in order to let the read know that a new sentence is about to begin. Once you've managed to complete this extremely important task, you should now go for…

The first word of the sentence

There are many words, you can find some of them online. But be careful: not all words are apt as a starting point. Like “crud”, which is a word but yet again a whole sentence in itself. Or cunt, which is not so good for more obvious reasons. Personally, I prefer words beginning with the letter A or T, for example “Asfixation” or “Tourette Syndrome”. If you're totally undecided, you can always go with I – but not every time, as changing the so called ferstwerd (author slang) is vital. Sometimes it's even enough to just change the ferstwerd and put add a simple “,too” at the end of your second sentence:

Asfixation kind of sounds like ass fixation. Tourette Syndrome kind of sounds like ass fixation, too.

Young sentence builder, you're good to go now: once the first word has been written down, it's very easy to complete the sentence. Don't get distracted by style guides and know-it-alls you tell you to put focus on the verb. The verb totally doesn't matter. For the first couple of weeks, “to be” will do:

I am being totally happy. Christmas is this year.

That's what pros call the “ontological writing style”, which is totally uber-important for all pillar articles, as you're trying to define something here, right?

Multi-sentenced sentences

Once you advance in writing level, you'll probably want to start using commas as well. But be carefull though: stick to one sentence whenever possible, or you're bound to confuse your readers:

I am suffering form asfixation, I am suffering from Tourette syndrome, too, I decided to write this article, I hope you are now reading it.

Most writers tend to over-use new tools, it's basically the same problem with people who start using word and insert a wordart graphic on every single page. Just keep these advices in mind and your sentences will rule supremely over anybody else's!

Wanna know more? Enlist in my online course “How to write other sentences than all most other people.” The course covers a variety of vital topics (sentences that don't start with I, other verbs besides “to be” to name just the two most important ones.) It's just 300 dollars a month, or you pay me 3.000 dollars upfront – and you'll see where this gets you. Just look at me. If I hadn't paid for my own course, I could have never written this many sentences! And don't forget: once you know how to write succesfull sentences, the money will come back to you. No, it will flood you. You'll wish you never made so much money as you gonna need a way bigger flat to store all your brand-new 100 dollar bills. And a bigger car to transport them. And a bigger anus to stick your own head into, as you gonna be so self-satisfied that it actually hurts.

Don't even think of blaming me if you scheme won't work. It it doesn't, it's purely your fault, you dimwit. Didn't I tell you to stick to simnple sentences for the first few weeks?

Xsara – Diaries of a SEO dog #2

Back in the days the pagerank algorithm was the greatest invention of all SERP times, and Xsara has learned the importance of organic link growth very fast. And since other SEO dogs know this as well, she now wants to increase commenting activity on here blog via the use of a dofollow-plugin. And she strives to be number one for the query “nofollow dog blog”… but there's a long and winding road in front of her!

xsara - diaries of a seo dog #2

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Xsara, diaries of a SEO dog

Naturally, dogs prefer to do things doggy-style. Like Xsara, who recently found out about the advantages of Google knol. Ever since, I can't seem to interest her in social bookmarking any more…

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