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Friday, October 14, 2005

SEM Company Dumps Link Buying

In this article by David Utter, he has found an SEO company I certainly admire. They have sworn off link buying and I hope others follow suit. I have never had full confidence in this practice and this is step in the right direction.


David Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2005-10-14

The strategy of purchasing text links on other sites to improve rankings within search engines may be having a negative impact instead.

British search engine marketing firm Site Visibility disclosed in a press release that it won't be buying any more text links. Further, they plan to prevent existing links they've purchased from impacting a site's ranking.

The rise of Google, Yahoo, and other search engines has made high ranking a priority for online businesses. Many companies have responded to the need for better search engine marketing with an array of strategies to garner better placement.

One factor impacting a site's ranking has been the number of inbound links to a site. Firms like Site Visibility would purchase inbound text links to sites on other sites. As the number of links increase over time, a particular site would be lifted in search engine results.

Site Visibility said it is taking this action to avoid endangering its clients from being penalized by the search engines. The usual penalty for sites that try to overaggressively game the system is to be banned from the search engine instead.

It will be interesting to see how many other SEM firms may follow suit. The company's John Everton, search engine marketing account manager, wrote more about the company's decision in the statement:

"While we do not believe that our link purchasing has ever negatively impacted search engine results, we have decided to change our approach and take a pro-active move towards helping search engines maintain natural search results." He goes on to add, "As an ethical search engine marketing company it is important that Site Visibility is seen as a business that only adopts SEO techniques that are considered ‘white-hat.' Any border-line search engine marketing practices are eventually picked on up by the top search engines and in our market we cannot afford to take risks with our client's brands and websites."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Big Oak SEO Newpaper Article

Well, I guess we are officially a real SEO company. Our local Richmond, Virginia paper The Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote an article about us in the Sunday business section. Excerpts are below:

TECH NOTES: 'Optimizers' can raise profile of your Web site


Oct 9, 2005

To get a sense how fast the Internet is changing, have a quick chat with Shell Harris.

He and pal Chris Alexander started Big Oak Inc. as a Web development company almost two years ago, and now the company barely does any Web development.

The sites they made looked great, clients told Harris. But no one could find the pages, and some Big Oak customers would rarely get business.

As sites popped up all over the Web, Harris needed to find a way to get his client's sites seen.

He began reading up on search engine optimization, or, sans the jargon, the way to make a firm's Web site get listed higher when it's Googled (a term used these days to describe surfing on any search engine, Google or not.)

Nowadays, development accounts for just 30 percent of Big Oak's work, and most of that comes from design on the Discovery Channel Store site.

The rest of Big Oak's work is in tinkering with programming codes to help companies make their sites more visible. It is now promoted as a search-engine optimization company.

"We're far busier than we were when we were doing Web design and development," Harris says, "not from the standpoint of only doing the work, but keeping on top of all the different things you need to do. It's unbelievable."

He's in a changing trade that is becoming more competitive by the minute, constantly updating code and keywords within the text to rank client pages higher.

Unless a business has a strong local presence, firms are as good as dead without a Web site.

"You're cutting off a whole marketing arm if you're not using" the Web, Harris said, and search-engine optimizers such as Big Oak can help business owners make the most of their digital domains.

But be wary.

Big Oak's Harris fire off a few tips for choosing a search-engine optimization company:

# Earmark enough in the budget. Even the smallest clients will need to have at least $5,000 over the course of a year.

The price, Harris said, goes toward upkeep of the site and keeping competition at bay. "They have to see more money," he said. "They have to see more sales when you try to convince someone to spend $4,000 or $5,000 on Web design."

Rule of thumb: The larger the company and more competitive the industry, the higher the monthly bill.

# Be sure you can pull a return on investment from the site. "Or what's the point?" Harris quips.

# Make sure the site development is done on site at the marketing firm, or at least know where the work is being outsourced.

The search-engine optimizer will work with clients' intellectual property, Baldwin said, so you never know who is seeing it or if the Web work is shipped overseas.

"You can't really have a good relationship unless you're talking to the people doing the work," Harris said.

# Ask to see the client work that the search-engine marketer has done. It will let you know if the model works -- or if the company uses unethical practices.

Does the marketer practice keyword stuffing, where sites use misleading words that don't represent the advertiser well? Or do the sites use cloaking, a "bait and switch" technique where the pages trick search engines into getting a higher ranking, but the actual site's content will have nothing to do with the actual search?

# Check to see if the company has a way to track who is visiting your site and what they are buying.

Monday, October 10, 2005

300 Years for Google to Index World Information (Internet)

Schmidt: 300 Years To Index It All
By David Utter

Google CEO Eric Schmidt responded to a question at a conference about how long it would take to index the world's information.

Taking questions during an appearance at the Association of National Advertisers in Phoenix, Mr. Schmidt disclosed it would take a pretty long time to get all the information in the world into Google's server farms.

CNET News noted his comment in a report. "We did a math exercise and the answer was 300 years," Mr. Schmidt said. "The answer is it's going to be a very long time."

Out of the estimated 5 million terabytes of global information, Google's only got around to about 170 terabytes after its first 7 years of existence.

During his talk, he extolled the virtues of online advertising, and noted he was a skeptic about their potential when he took the job as CEO. He made the most critical point to the audience, as the report notes:

Advertising is increasing on the Internet and cable television, and showing modest to no growth in newspapers and magazines, Schmidt said. "The cost per revenue dollar of online ad systems is so much lower than" for offline advertising, he said.

Mr. Schmidt has definitely found the value in Google's online advertising model now, since the company's non-traditional IPO and subsequent trading have pushed shares to more than triple their first price.

About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.