What is the point of forum spam?

Anyone that runs a message forum can understand the pain in the ass fun of forum spam. There is nothing worse than going through your forum to only to find one or a few “new” users that have littered your forum with posts that contain links back to whatever it is they are promoting. Used to, people did this to acquire inbound links. Now I have no idea why people do it, other than maybe to get traffic. So I thought I would blog all the reasons forum spam is a waste of your time.

My TOP TEN REASONS why forum spam is not good:

10. It does absolutely no good at all to build your link popularity. Think of it this way, a link counts for 1, a forum link counts for 1 MILLIONth of 1. (Join LinkWorth 😀 )

9. All it does is piss people off. Even the forum users can spot spam and they hate it as much as the forum owners.

8. If it’s a forum that has any activity and moderation at all, the spam will not last for more than 24-48 hours.

7. Very few people will follow the link and those who do, have zero thoughts of giving you a penny.

6. You run the risk of getting reported to spam reporting services which could really backfire on you.

5. If reported to your registrar, 99.99% of registrars prohibit any type of spam and can rip your domain out from underneath you. Then you sit with no site, no business and no friends.

4. If you are spamming your ability to offer SEO services or marketing services, all it does is tell people that the only thing you know how to do is SPAM, therefore resulting in zero sales. Along with making you look like a clown.

3. Your hosting provider will drop you quicker than a bad habit to prevent their own company from getting in trouble.

2. Since you are promoting one of your url’s, those who are having to put up with your crap can easily visit your website, acquire any and all email addresses pertaining to your company, then submit them to lots of opt-in porn, gambling and pharmacy mailing lists. 😀

1. If you are stupid enough to have a picture of yourself on your website, the end result could turn into a big laugh for others at your expense.

So the point of this post is . . . DON’T SPAM OUR FORUM OR ANY OTHER FORUM ! ! ! (our blog either. We have filters that sort out spam. Blog spam comments are never even seen by us)

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Our Industry Represented at SES NYC

As I’ve mentioned in previous entries, the SES is currently underway in New York City. My previous entry discussed the art of not putting a target on your forehead if attending and how to ask questions smartly.

Upon reading about our industry reps giving a session, it made me wonder about another thought. These sessions involve many search engine employees talking about what is good and what is not so good, including the business of buying and selling text ads. Is it a good idea for certain companies to get up and talk about exactly what they are saying not to do in the next room? I am all for spreading the word of our industry, but it seems like you would bring undue attention to your business. Chances are, they know all about us. . .well I know they know about LinkWorth, but it just makes sense to run low key and focus on helping your customers rather than networking yourself within the search community.

I need to follow up the paragraph above with our stance with the buying and selling of text ads. No matter what search employees say at conferences, blogs and/or forums, it is your choice to monetize your website or promote it. Search engines say “don’t buy or sell links”, but then they tell you to do so in their terms. If you market online, you have to do what you have to do to get a leg up on your competition. The buying and selling of links is not against their terms of service . . . read them here. It says not to participate in “schemes” or “trickery”, but what LinkWorth offers is not a scheme or trickery. We place text ads for apples on an apple website. Everything is relevant and all about improving your name recognition and traffic. Just so happens, the buying and selling of links helps this.

The last thing I’ll say about this is search engines themselves live off of text ads. It’s a little different model, but there is a common denominator in all of these methods, to make money. They do it, we do it and we help you do it. As long as you do it the right way, which LinkWorth does, everything will be fine. We’ve been doing this for a couple of years and are professionals about it.

Off that rant :D, the point of this entry is to give props to Patrick, Eric and the others who represented the text linking community well today at the SES NYC.

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Don’t Put a Target On Your Forehead

One thing I’ve learned over the past year or so is there are good and bad way’s of going about things in the search world. “What do you mean?” you may ask. . . let me explain.

If you market online, more than likely you’re going to run into a situation where you have several paths which you can take. Some people take the 100% white hat route, some people take the full on black hat route and some people may take a “grey” route. Obviously, white hat refers to straight and narrow, black hat is going directly against search engine terms of service and the grey route might consist of methods that are not listed in search engine terms, seem harmless, but a few people may have a different take on if it is right or not. Even if you think you practice only white hat techniques for promoting and optimizing your site, you still need to drop the target from your forehead because there might be one simple thing you do that you think is fine, but a certain someone reviews your site and dings you with a penalty unbeknownst to you.

What I’m referring to is the people that go to these conferences that the major search engine’s go to. There is a right way and a wrong way of attending these things. They can be an absolute gold mine of information and a great way to network with others in your industry, but they can also be a sure way to magnify the target you’re putting on your forehead.

Lets say you attend one of the sessions/classes and they’re discussing duplicate content. They open the floor for a little Q&A session and you decide to ask a question regarding your companies website, giving the url and hoping for some free helpful advice. Maybe you get some good advice, maybe you don’t, but one thing does happen that you are unaware of. A certain search employee is sitting in the crowd and starts digging through your site finding a thing or two he doesn’t like but has always seemed ok to your company, along with not being against the terms of service. With the click of a mouse, your site has been wiped from the search results. All because you threw your company url out for some helpful advice.

This is something that does happen and it can easily happen to you if you visit these conferences or even post your site url on popular forums. If you have questions, don’t offer your site url so all can hear. What is a complete disaster to the business/site owner is a mere game and fun to the search engine employees. They are really not up for giving advice (typically) or making constructive suggestions, they will just wipe you right out of their results. Google has talked about notifying webmasters when they penalize or ban their site from their results, but the truth of the matter is, it doesn’t happen at this point, so you only know when you disappear. Even then, it’s next to impossible to get an answer of what happened.

How you attend the conferences and/or popular message forums without jeopardizing you and/or your companies website with search engines, is simple; remain as anonymous as you can. The only people you or your company is interested in seeing your site are potential customers. If help is needed where the site is necessary to review, hire a specialized company that is on your side and will provide constructive and helpful answers.

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SES New York City Begins Today

The big Search Engine Strategies began today in New York City. LinkWorth was originally on the bill to exhibit and had the absolute best booth location on the floor map, but regretfully, we had to bow out. With our company growing, we needed to be in town for our expanding staff. In addition, we have a key strategic partnership brewing that needs hands on work this week.

For those who are interested in learning about what these conferences have in store, there’s a gentleman by the name of Barry, who is pretty good at attending the classes and blogging the whole event. There are many who blog on the events/classes, but Barry is probably the best at blogging onsite. For more detailed information on the conference itself, go to the Jupiter events website and read more.

Personally, I think New York City is the coolest city in the US. There is a certain feel to the city that is infectious and for that reason I am sad to not be attending this conference. The great part is, they’ll be back next year!

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Ever Use the Google Inventory Keyword Selector Tool ?

Did I get your attention? 😀 For many of us, the Overture Inventory Keyword Selector Tool has been a savior over the years and if they were to ever take it away, people would be scrambling to find a replacement. The problem is, Google doesn’t wish to share their information with us.

I figured I would share our little secret we use when trying to decide the number of monthly searches a given keyword might experience on Google. Please don’t use this as hard proof, because we all know it’s merely an educated guess, but it’s an educated guess that relates to year after year of looking at server logs and the overture tool.

The given formula is a very simple one. Search for a keyword with the overture tool and it will provide a monthly search total. Take that number and multiply it by 3. I realize this might seem like a lot more than you may have expected, but it’s something I have personally compared with server logs over the past few years and it’s usually spot on. Again, this can obviously vary tremendously on any given keyword, but it’s a good rule of thumb to go by.

Do you have a better solution? If so, give us a reply below and let us know.

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Free Web Pages . . Or More Control?

Seems as though Google has released a new product called ‘Pages‘, with a simplified page creator. Knowing that they own blogger.com, it is a bit confusing why they would waste their time on creating another product that seems almost identical, with the exception of the name.

If you follow the products being released by Google, you can’t help but think how they seem to be wanting more control over everything you do online. There are articles talking about the invasion of privacy angle Google is taking with their new toolbar, but who is really big enough to take this giant on? At this point in the game, I think they are a company large enough to do what they want to pay off those who are ballsy enough to make a stink about what they do.

All you have to do is take a look at the Google’s chat product and realize that their products are very lacking compared to others like Yahoo, AIM or Messenger. Google’s meat and potatoes is search, which has it’s own drawbacks, but when it comes to trying to compete with the other giants and their products, you’re probably served better by using other products that are more established. Be sure to protect your data if you’re going to use this product. You can learn more about data protection by clicking here. I’m sure down the road they’ll fine tune things and pry even more into our lives, but at this point, their new pages product is not worth the time. Do the typical American thing and use MySpace for your free pages. At least you can make friends there.

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Google’s Move to Similar Yahoo! Toolbar Features

If you have enough time to keep up with the constant new additions to the search giants, you will see each have near identical new features. Both have satellite mapping, image, video & audio searching, pay per click advertising surrounding natural search results, desktop searching and the list goes on and on.

Both have their own toolbars and each have their own nice features. I use both toolbars because each have tools that I use on a daily basis. Google is now offering their beta test of version 4 of their toolbar, which I installed and started reviewing the new features. Granted the beta version is for IE only, I’m sure a Firefox version will soon follow, the new features are so nice, I’ve been using IE more often since I installed it.

The new Google toolbar now includes many features that Yahoo’s toolbar offers and then some. One of the new inclusions in the crazy algorithms is ranking that includes bookmarking of websites. Guess what the new toolbar has? ? ? Yep, you guessed it, bookmarks. When you go to manage your bookmarks with Google, it presents a layout very similar to Google search results. Be sure to add that “BOOKMARK US” mention on your site!

Back to the new features, one of the coolest addition to V.4 is the ability to add your own customized buttons. You can manually add your own through the options tab or you can right click on any form field and select “generate customized search”. It will present you with a question or two and it appears in your toolbar. The icon will be the websites favicon, if it exists. Once the button is installed, you can edit the button and customize the button further.

If a particular website offers a SEO tool where you are to enter a website url, you can customize a button for that tool and while on any website, click your custom button and it will run the tool for whichever website you are sitting on. There is a better explanation with visual aid to help understand it.

So in summary, the new toolbar v.4 Google’s set to release, is a must have.

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SEO Contest – Win It With LinkWorth

For those of you that enjoy a great challenge, the v7n community is running a new one where you must get top placement for a unique and typically unsearched term (V7ndotcom Elursrebmem). John Scott is the editor/owner of the v7n network. My apologies for confusing him with another guy from there!! “Doh!” Sorry Tim!

Anyhow, the object of the contest goes like this:
These terms found here: http://clueless.webguerrilla.com/seo-contest

v7ndotcom elursrebmemThe rules for the competition are as follows:

1. In order to win the first prize, you must place first in Google (organic rankings) for the search term on May 15, 2006, noon, Pacific standard time.

2. Prizes for 2nd place through 5th place will be awarded based on web page placing in the corresponding positions in Google on May 15, 2006, noon, Pacific standard time.

3. For the purpose of this competition, indented listings in the SERPs will not be counted.

4. In order to qualify for the prize, a web page must include one of the following:

a. A link back to the V7N home page.

The link can be in any manner you wish, any anchor text you wish, with nofollow, without nofollow, JavaScript, cloaked or fried up and served with potatoes.

b. One of these Official V7n SEO Contest banners:

The banners may link to V7N, or not link to V7N. Linking the banner to any domain other than v7n will disqualify the contestant.

Just to make this very clear, the banner may be unlinked. You do not need to link the banner graphic to v7n. For those who do not speak English: you do not need to link el-banner-o to v7n-o.

c. The following text:

We support v7n.com

Please remember, in order for the web page to be compliant, it must contain at least one of the elements listed above.

If datacenters show different results on the 15 of May, the winner will be declared solely at the discretion of V7N. If there are any disputes as to the validity of the winner declaration, V7N will be the sole arbiter.

The Prizes for the competition are as follows:

First Prize:

$1,000 from v7n
$1,000 from Stoner3221
$2,000 from ShoeMoney
iPod from g00gl3r.com

Total: $4,000 + iPod

Note: This amount does not include the $1,000 from Greg Boser, the $1,000 from Todd Friesen or the $1,000 from Mike Grehan. We have no assurances that they will pay, nor are the conditions of payment announced. Stay tuned for updates.

Second Prize:

$500 from v7n

Note: This amount does not include the $500 from Greg Boser or the $500 from Todd Friesen. We have no assurances that they will pay, nor are the conditions of payment announced. Stay tuned for updates.

Third through Fifth Place Prizes

$100 Each from v7n

Note: This amount does not include the $100 each from Greg Boser and Todd Friesen. We have no assurances that they will pay, nor are the conditions of payment announced. Stay tuned for updates.

One of the crazy twists to this contest is the “Greg Boser” character that feels it’s wrong for them to require a link back to their site. It’s not like their asking for free links, there is a large prize in the end, but I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion. You know the old saying, “opinions are like elbows and asshole’s. . .everyone has a couple!”. So my response to this Greg POSER cat is that he sounds a little bitter. Maybe because he didn’t think of the idea? It just seems very childish to act such a fool over a contest someone is doing. Of course, my favorite part of the entire thing is how this guy offers his own contest to list without the links to v7n, yet point the links to Matt Cutt’s blog. HA! So what he said was, no, don’t do what he is doing, but do what he is doing and while you’re at it let me shove my nose up Matt Cutt’s tailgate and brown it up.
Well best of luck to v7n and I hope the contest is a successful one. We are actually participating in the contest, however, we’re doing it for testing of a theory we have. If by chance our test is listed well, we’ll happily pass the winnings on to the next person.

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How Google Learns & Detects

Sometimes if you try to really understand the crazy brains of search engines, you can have a complete brain lockup and fall asleep instantly 😀 . One thing to understand is in the Google realm, you are trying to understand the thought processes of phd professors who feel that the world just is not complicated enough for them. Matter of fact, the way Google gets these brains interested in working for them is they place billboards or ads out in the public that makes no sense to the typical human brain, but it actually has a hidden message in the ad only geniuses can figure out. Once the brain discovers the message, it will tell them if they figured it out, Google wants them. These are the people you are up against in trying to understand how Google works.

Of course, along with these genius types, there are also the normal typical techie nerds that are a lot more like us. Combine the two and things tend to get a little more understandable. So the point of this rambling is I thought I would explain how the googlebots learn and detect many aspects of our websites.

There are two definite parts that can penalize or ban a website; humans and computers. The human editing is obvious common sense. Someone, usually your competition, runs and tattle tells to Google if you’re doing something wrong, they visit your site, find the issue and penalize your website. The part that might take a little thinking is the computer side of things.

Computers that learn are able to learn based on patterns. Something that is repetitive is typically a way anything can learn. Haven’t you heard the old saying, “Tell yourself something at least three (3) times in a row and you’ll probably remember it later”? A good example is trying to remember someone’s name. If you do not repeat it, you might not remember it. If you say it a few times quickly, your chances of remembering are much better. Well, our brains are just like computers. Computers can learn if situations are repeated.

Now mind you, this is a very broad explanation. There is much more involved, but if you can grasp this notion, it might help you in preventing your site from being penalized for anything you do. Do not get involved with anything that involves an identical pattern one can easily spot. If you decide to buy text ads, do not buy them all from an identical network type or from the same ip address. Now we will always recommend focusing on buying text ads on like partner sites to boost your traffic, but the simple fact of the matter is, people buy text ads to help their link popularity. So since it happens, you need to know how to protect your online presence. If all of the locations you place your text ads are very similar, you run the risk of being detected. There is no guarantee they will catch you, no matter what those google people say, but there is no reason to risk it.

There are other text link broker services that offer links on sites that all have the same layout, linking structure and link placement. These places are easily being found by Google and while we hate to see it happen to our friendly competition, it is happening. This is the great part of LinkWorth due to our partner listings being unique site by site. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to answer what we can.

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Why Webmasters Target Google

At first the title may seem like an obvious point, for traffic. Today I was thinking about how the webmaster talk seems to always be on how to get listed better in Google rather than Yahoo, MSN or any of the other engines out there. I started thinking about the obvious and not so obvious points that make a webmaster become so focused on Google and realized this might be a good post on our blog.

The Obvious Reason – Traffic!
As anyone with half a brain knows, Google is the most searched engine out there. Why would you not want a percentage of the traffic within your respective market from Google? The percentage you would get from their users would probably equal all other engines combined. That doesn’t mean all markets, but typically our clients that track origination of users from search engines claim Google far surpasses the others. So this point alone would be the obvious reason why one would target Google.

The Not So Obvious Reason – The Challenge!
This could compare to an every day life phenomenon that seems to be a trait in all humans. It’s human nature to always want what you either cannot have or is tough to get. For example, women typically go after the men that treat them like crap or will not give them the time of day. Men typically go after women that are completely out of their league. It’s all about the challenge. Getting someone that throws themselves at you is usually not as much fun.

The same I believe goes into targeting search engines. Google is the obvious challenge search engine to listed well with. MSN tends to be one that throws themselves at you and getting good placement is fairly easy. Yahoo is somewhere in between the two, but compared to Google, is fairly easy. Google seems to have more of a “us against them” attitude towards webmasters. There are more penalties and filters put in place to defeat the webmaster’s ploy for top placement than there are new features to make their product better.

Speaking of penalties, who ever said “constructive criticism” was the way to go? If Google wants to penalize a website, whether it is a good move or Google’s mistake, they just do it and move on. It’s as if they think everyone knows about their webmaster guidelines and know the Google fact or fiction tidbits. What if someone just took Google offline and failed to mention it to them? Think they would freak out and want an explanation? I think they fail to realize that as big as they have become, people rely on what they offer to survive as an online business. A good practice would be to shoot a message to websites that are penalized or banned telling the website owner why it happened and what steps would be required to get reincluded in their search results. I believe in Google’s eyes, ever site owner will know if they are doing right or wrong, which is completely inaccurate.

I stumbled off topic a bit there, but the point of this post is to shine a light on the idea webmasters go after Google for more than just the obvious.

Not So Obvious Reason #2 – Self Accepting Trophy
Any webmaster will agree that getting listed well on Google is a great achievement. An achievement that is one we like to talk about to anyone interested in listening. So once it happens, not only is it a great traffic boost, but it’s a self accepting trophy that we can parade around with because we conquered that elusive challenge. Nothing like telling another webmaster, “We’re #1 on Google for our keywords!”.

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