Filed Under (Social Media) by Mani Karthik on 14-05-2008

Many a times, I get asked, what do you do in social media marketing? And before I answer, there would be a warning saying - I already submit to Digg and other social media sites…so what is it that you do apart from that?

That’s an interesting question altogether. The fact is that social media marketing is not just about Digg, or submitting to a few sites as Digg. There is a much larger picture to be revealed.

Submitting to Digg is in itself a big chapter. We’ve discussed it on this article and this one.

Anyone can submit to Digg. But not all of them get popular, be it a great story or not. There are strategies you must follow while submitting to Digg, a lot depend on who the submitter is, what the crowd is, what your story is about, who are your contacts, how long have you been digging…and 1432 other things as well. And that’s exactly the reason why everyone’s story isn’t the top dugg one. Precisely, that’s why you need experts help on it.

Coming back to social media, there’s more to it than Digg. It’s about connecting the dots. Between you and your target audience.
Your target audience is spread out and scattered everywhere on the internet. But what’s interesting is that every online entity has a target audience. Be it a porn site, a scientists blog or a movie review blog. The problem why your site is not popular is because you have either not connected to your audience at all or that you are with the wrong audience.

And the initial step of a social media marketing campaign is to find your target audience, define them and track them. Studying them for their behavior and delivering them “food” is the final stage of social media marketing. It almost ends with it. Post this phase, you start getting results and the beauty is that the bounce rate is very minimal unlike SEO.

So essentially, Social Media Marketing doesn’t end with digg or SU, it only starts there. A careful full stretch social media marketing goes through as many processes and steps as a market researcher and an ad-agency would go through combined with that of an SEO. It is a healthy combination of all that, and only someone who is well verse in all of these fields can help you through a successfull social media marketing campaign, or else you get stuck with a few submissions on digg with one number diggs.

(2) Comments   

Whenever someone’s copied your content,  out of ten people who have talked to me on this, nine panic !
After all, someone’s copied your content and is not a good thing. Plagiarism and scraping have been there on the web since blogging, but largely popular these days. Earlier, only high traffic, money making blogs were scraped but these days even smaller unpopular blogs are copied.

The Wikipedia says-

Web Scraping (sometimes called harvesting) generically describes any of various means to extract content from a website over HTTP for the purpose of transforming that content into another format suitable for use in another context.

So is scraping bad? How does it affect you and How can you block scrapers?

First off, I’d suggest that you relax in such situations. There’s nothing to panic as such, when someone is scraping your website/content.

The reason - If someone is stealing your content, that means that guy is clearly a struggler and has a fairly new site, with no authority whatsoever. And in most cases, the site will not have any original content at all, with lot of outgoing links, and the content on the site will be far too similar (remember those templates they use where only your name is changed?) and there’s duplicate content all over the place.

So in effect, he is not going to affect you in any ways, either in stealing your traffic on Google SERPs or in any other way.
All he is doing is copying content from different sites like your’s with a pre made template, in the futile hope that aggregating all the content will automatically throw him up on the SERPs. Which clearly does not happen.

Now, the case is different when an authority site or a relatively older/popular site scrapes content. While I have all the guts to believe that an authority site will not do such practices, accidents can happen.

An example here - Yahoo India had offered it’s content development outsourced to a private firm in Bangalore. These smart chaps went around the Internet copying all the content related to the Yahoo requests and provided them in plenty. What they did is actually rephrasing of the already existing content, and re-packaging it for Yahoo. But there were content like Indian cooking recipes, which had very little content to “rephrase”. So they ended up providing the same thing to Yahoo.

Now, the original site who wrote the content came to know about this, and files a complaint. Long story short - Yahoo lost the case and sacked the outsourcing partner.

The problem here was that, the outsourcing partner copied content from a relatively lesser known site (but with original content) and provided it to yahoo. Now Yahoo being an authority site, ranked better than the original site for all the same content. And this infact troubled the relatively lesser known site.

So in such cases where the “copy cat” has more authority, you have a reason to panic but not otherwise. Mostly in the cases of XML Scrapers, there’s no need to panic.

How can you block scrapers copying your site’s content?

There are more than one way to do it.

  • Always link to one of your previous articles on the blog
    A simple text link in your article that links to one or more of your previous articles will make sure that while the scrapers are copying your content, the link still remains and you can trace them from the backlink. And it sometimes help you with another incoming link, it helps when counting number of backlinks on Yahoo, if not Google and some folks even think this is a good thing.
    So include a text link to your blog articles and you have a solution.
  • Use partial feeds
    A main source of scraping is XML feeds. As all the blogs these days have a full feed published, it’s easy for scrapers to just leech out the content from teh full feed. It is a clever option to offer only partial feeds, but this could also result in unhappy genuine subscribers. So it is your take to decide whether you want to do it the harsh way or not.
  • Use a copyrighter plugin
    If you are on Wordpress there ar plugins available that will help you to include a copyright notice on your XML feeds.
    You can get a nice plugin here
  • Use a linkback and signature credit text
    A wiser option is to use a signature text on all your feesd, that may contain a linkback to the original blog and your signature. This will appear on all the scrpaers site too, thereby ensuring credit to your blog.
    Ex:- The one Lorelle has on her articles

If you are looking at content theft and how to fight it legally, Amit has a good article on it.

There are more technical ways to curb the scraping issue, but I leave that to the discussion as I’m unsure of them. Essentially, the fact is that while scraping or copying content can be annoying, there isn’t much you have to worry about becauase these copycats are going to weed out soon.
So ignore them, they keep mushrooming here and there, and is not worth the attention, and like someone said, use them may be for getting some backlinks, I can’t agree that they are of any good use, but yes if you are fond of numbers, may be it will help.

(3) Comments   
Filed Under (Fun) by Mani Karthik on 26-04-2008

TR Cosby, is a graphic designer from Atlanta, Georgia. An ardent reader of DailySEOblog, Cosby sent me a testimonial today, I thought you might find it interesting. Here it is..(psst..bragging is a shameless thing to do I know, but this one sure is interesting, so…)

Before I read the Daily SEO Blog written by Mani Karthik, I was clueless as to what in the world I was going to do to try and learn Search Engine Optimization. I was new to blogging, and my expertise in the area of HTML, linking, keywords, titles… was virtually non-existent. I was an internet moron who didn’t have a prayer. I own several businesses and I have written a published book, so I knew I had to get on the ball at some point. I don’t remember how it happened exactly, but one night I was surfing the net and I came across Mani’s blog by accident. Thank God I did. Because of Mani’s amazing knowledge and willingness to help people, I am now quite schooled in the areas of blogging, HTML, keywords… and I am growing more confident with all of it every day. It’s safe to say, and it may sound rather cliche, but it is true, Mani Karthik has changed my life. When I do go on to make an online fortune I will be coming back and thanking this awesome SEO Professional. I salute you Mani, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your blog. - T. R. Cosby - Atlanta, Ga.

If you’d like to sent me a testimonial, feel free to do so here.

(Cosby, Thanks for the testimonial. I’m sorry but DailySEOblog will rank better hereafter for a google search on your name, hope that’s okay.)

(4) Comments   
Filed Under (Social Media) by Mani Karthik on 12-04-2008

Habits of Power users on Social medias

Social Media is the buzz. And it’s the carrot to many. A power user is a member with influential powers and has the potential of making any given article popular on the social medias.

Becoming a power user on all the social medias is sure big deal, despite everyone using the social media only a few make it to the top or grabs the powers of a power user. Now, it’s a fact probably that no one can make it easily to the top as a power user in a short time. It requires the effort and time that it deserves. But there are pointers for sure that will help you make it to the top if you get your basics right. It’s all about doing the right thing and following the right methodologies daily in a very religious manner, and one day you’ll find yourself there on the top showered with digg and stumble requests and friend invitations.

So what are the good practices that you should follow to make it  to the top as a power user on the popular social medias?

Understanding Which Social Media works best for you - The behavioral differences of the popular social media sites

First off let me tell you that each social media channel has it’s own unique quality. You cannote use all the media at the same time to get a story popular. Each community has it’s own characteristics and behavioural pattern.

- Is a news oriented website where there’s no place for internet marketers and bloggers.
- The community gives more importance to breaking news, exclusive stories and articles.
- The community is more techno savvy and if you are targeting to get the attention of technology related crowd, then Digg is the best place for you.
- Digg community does not entertain marketing, self promotion and press releases kind of articles.
- They give more value to the “uniqueness” of the stories and the real value it passes on to the community.
- The secret of getting popular on Digg is to get the maximum diggs in the shortest time span. If you get late getting the diggs, you lose the game.

Stumble Upon
SU is a community which has a different chemistry altogether from Digg - it loves sharing all the lite things(photos, videos, funny stuff) and in between some news articles too.
- SU community does not like anything that is related to promoting your blog.
- Neither does it like people selling their service or products.

Linked in
- Linked in has a very focused community.
- It’s a no nonsense one with no frills but all serious guys out there. Business consultants, CEOs, bloggers and the like.
- If it’s business that you’d like to promote, then probably this is the right place.

Here are the good practices to become a social media power user.

  1. Share
    Social media sites are nothing but places to share. If you used to share interesting stories on email two years earlier, now you have Digg and Su to share. This way the original sources of the story also gets benefited and you get a place to share thoughts with like minded people too.
    So rather than seeing them as platforms that generate traffic, see them as places to share ideas, stories and interesting pieces of articles over the internet.
  2. Participate
    Social medias are all about participation. Along with user generated content they are also platforms where lot of ideas and thoughts are shared. Most of the social medias today has the groups feature where people create groups based on their interest. These are excellent places to find similar minded people. I’ve seen that making use of these groups and participating in them attaches a special honour to your profiles in the social media and it helps you get make more friends in the community.
  3. Be proactive
    I’ve seen many guys complain that one of their friend/friends on the social media never responds to their nudge and they are simply pissed off. It’s completely understandable a problem. It may ask you - why did you add him/her as a friend in the first place?
    The answer to this question is to get proactive. By getting proactive I mean, making sure that you do everything in the first place that you want your friend to do. If you want your friend to digg your articles and respond to shouts, you respond to other peoples shouts first.
    So give before you start to take. If you make a habit of this, it makes life easier at the communities.
  4. Contribute to the community
    Social media sites out there are not marketing channels. They are not out there to buy somethign from you. instead they are out there to learn from the internet, from you. So give them something to learn, if you have the resources pass them on, if you don’t pass it on from other useful resources.
  5. Be Regular
    Imagine you were with your friends, wouldn’t you be spending time with them daily? And not approach them when you have something to show off?
    The same formula works here. Be a frequent participant in all the social medias that you want to be popular in. Many of them shows the last login time details so others can easily judge from your login patterns as to whether you are a frequent member or not. If you are not, they probably will take you for a spammer, and I think they have all the right to believe so.
  6. Be generous, pass information
    While in the community, make sure that you are a generous person. A generous person is someone who will share value with others without a second thought. In a community others give respect to you based on whether you are generous or not. No matter where you get it from, if you are someone who provides valuable conent to the community, then others will accept you and respect you as a master, yes , even if the information you passed on was not really yours.
  7. Buy ideas never sell
    Communities are for everyone, for those who are buying and selling. But make sure you are always on the buying part. At least for a major part of your time. Because there are more sellers in this world than buyers. So when everyone is looking for a buyer, be one, so that you have their attention. At a later point, may be, if they find you interesting, you could be a seller. But let that not be your point of interest.
  8. Never promote yourself
    Do you have a product to sell or  service to offer? I’d suggest that you keep away your marketing strategies away from the communities. The problem is that the social media community is so sensitive that they can easily make out a marketing guy and a contributor. So don;t act smart trying to sell your product/service by promoting yourself. That’s for the community to decide.
  9. Adapt to the customs
    Every social media site out there is a community. And every community has its rules and customs just like in real ife. So in order to get in to one you got to gel to their customs first. If you stand apart from them, you’ll probably end up being an island. You don’t want that to happen.
  10. Its almost like real life
    See communities on social media just like real life communities. They are not a bunch of robots out there. They are indeed a bunch of clever guys like you sitting at eth other end of the world. So try to make friends with them treating them just like you are meeting a real person.
  11. Make friends
    Forget diggs or stumbles. During your initial days in the social media, make sure you make more friends than anything. Communicate to them through comments, groups etc and make yourself comfortable with the community and learn what’s happening there. Sit back relax and study tha patterns. Don’t do the mistake of going ahead and digging your favorite story in the very first day. There’s no problem as such but had you submitted after making some friends, it would’ve got a better visibility.
  12. Never beg
    One of the mistakes I see people repeating time and again is to beg for votes. Well, I’m not talking about you letting know your friend about a new submission or shots. But begging someone , a stranger may be, to vote for you. This creates a negative impression about you to the other perrson and although he may digg your story, the next time you approach him he’ll avoid you. Because you are not passing any quality or value to him.
  13. Develop niche groups within
    This is one of the very effective strategies I’ve seen people use in social media communities. Develop small interest groups within the community so that you can share and communicate with the like minded people. Although, please do not confuse this with closed communities. I’m totally against closed communities, they are no good for the sharing purpose. Let your communities be open so that like minded peple can jon and communicate within.
  14. Reply and respond
    I understand that you have no interest in responding to shouts on email or IM, and yes you may be completely true. Why do you want to reply to those emails, after all you have someone whoting eery minute. But hey, let me tell you, if you does not reply to any of them - fine, nothing bad. But try responding to each of them. Yes respond to every shout you receive and see what happens. I can assure you that, you’ll have at least 10 guys daily adding you as friend on the network. And that’s not a bad thing. All those guys add you as friend because they respect your actions and they see value in you. So I’d suggest that you try reply and respond to every little nudge that you get on the network.
  15. Quick guys are smart
    You knew it already. Quick guys are smart. Here in the social media, being quick means being being qucik in responding, being quick in digging stories up the top, being quick in all the activities in the community.
  16. Be the first
    if you got to do exceptionally good in the community, one short cut to getting poplar is to be the first in submitting breaking news or interesting stories. If you pick up the best happening story first, others are sure to follow. but this is no easy task, you got to keep a hawk’s eye on the news that is of interest to the community and act quick once it’s out.
  17. Believe in quality
    It’s all about quality. If you have 1000 submissions with all of them stories that have been heard before, no one’s going to even bother talking to you. but if you have a couple of breaking stories and interesting, exclusive ones, that sure is going to earn you the respect you deserve.
  18. Give before you take
    Essentially the point to keep in mind is before you start thinking about your returns, learn to contribute and share. Don’t count your returns on the very first day. It’s a natural process of getting popular and doesn’t happen over night. Once you have your basics in place, it will automatically throw you up to the top.

I’d love to hear your contributions/additions to the above points.

(8) Comments   
Filed Under (Blogging) by Mani Karthik on 11-04-2008

So it all happened like this.

Heard someone is making lot of money blogging. Impressed.

So, checked out a few blogs. John Chow, Amit Agarwal, Shoemoney….all of them. (Ahha, these dudes are writing basically s***t. I could write better than them.)

However, can’t ignore the fact that they are making money. Shoemoney can’t be lying to the whole world with that cheque image!

Checks out the blog, the contents and a few posts. Hmm impressive!

But now, what’s the big deal? I can do what Amit is doing. I can write better than John Chow.

Searches for free blogging platforms. Okay Blogger seems to be cool and with the Google support, let me not look further.

Starts up with a brand new blog. Selects a damn good template.

Writes the first post. Sends out email to friends and guys on IM.

All of them say - “Wow! You have a blog? Cool.”

Tries out posting another post. Sends out email to friends. Same reaction.

Repeats the above last point quite a few times, there is no difference apart from the fact that some of the guys on IM have started to avoid you by not responding.

No traffic. No attention. Demotivated.

Now, this my friend, is a typical bloggers story who sets out to conquer the world in 1 or 2 days. He sadly ends up in despair getting no attention to his blog because he hadn’t done the homework and hadn’t adopted a process.

A strategy and a process is essential in getting you to your target. Haste, shortcuts and smart work will only help you in the short time and will take you away from your target.

As I see it, a major problem with all the budding bloggers is that they are reluctant to adapt to a process or a strategy. This is a fatal mistake.
Dreaming big is cool. But to get there, you need to take calculated risks and adopt a strategy.

John Chows’ strategy is to show himself as a wicked guy. He is comfortable doing that probably. But he is successful in branding him as a smart, clever wicked guy (in the right meaning) who mints money doing clever tricks and short cuts. He probably knew that a large part of the internet actually will identify themselves to it.

Since the guy came in at a later stage to blogging, when there was already Brian Clarks and Darren Rowses reigning as probloggers, John was right in branding him as the clever guy in the bunch.

The point here is that John himself had a strategy. He probably knew that he’s going to be penalized by Google once he asks everyone to link to him. But he went boldly advertising the competition getting the maximum backlinks. But on the other side he also made sure that he’s getting a lot of attention as the clever marketeer.

Had John thrown an image of an angry guy or a pissed off guy to Google, he wouldn’t have had the fan following as much as he enjoys now.

So essentially, the point is -  we all need to device a strategy unique to us. That will helpn us brand ourself as a unique blog, as a unique service, as a unique product as such. And work towards it with a set time frame in mind. Popularity and fame does not come in a days time, it takes more time and effort, but once it’s come to you, it’ll stick around.

Coming back to the article. Why aren’t you getting the attention that you needed ?

It’s because you haven’t created

- a unique blog,
- unique content
- and doesn’t have a brand of it’s own.

It takes time to achieve all the three. There are exceptions when some blogs have excelled well in either one of the categories, but I’d suggest that you use all the three points in positioning yourself as a blogger and over the period of time, people will find the value in you and give you the attention that you deserve.

Like someone once said - “Attention is gifted not bought.”

(Okay, I cooked that up) ;)

(10) Comments   

I used to blog because I never did write diaries or took notes and it was comfortable doing the same on the PC with notepad (Yuck!) .
Well, trying to say that everyone has a different and unique reason to blog. After all what is it that motivates you to sit in  front of the PC and type rapidly entering all those random thoughts into bullet points? There’s got the be the carrot somewhere isn’t it? Let’s see…

  1. Fame for the blog (Behind the scene masters)
    Some of us like Dosh Dosh or Daily Blog Tips, are more heard of by their blogs name and not theirs. It is one way of motivation - to get a brand of yours to the top into a recognizable one among the crowd. And when you are the man behind it you get sort of a satisfaction from it isn’t it? A large part of such bloggers remain anonymous or in pseudo names.
  2. Fame for the author (Publicity freaks)
    While in some cases, it’s the other way round. People blog because they want to get popular themselves. These guys are lucky , they are likely to see dreams where they have their portrait super imposed in the on the front cover of Maxim, or The Week for that matter. (Ahem..Ahem!)
  3. Money from AdSense (Wanna be John Chows)
    Some smarties blog because someone told them about the little Google magic! Blog and ye shall receive!
    I fact, the larger population of the internet is after this formula and end up being a “hypnoticed” follower to an AdSense guru or Affiliate Marketer.
  4. Status as the Guru (Smitten by Rand Fishkin)
    Some people blog so that they can become something that they never were. Gurus. AdSense gurus, SEO gurus, Social Media gurus and what not? Name it and you have them. Spend a little time with them and they ask for your money. You say no and start being a guru yourself. (May differ according to situations)
  5. Living from money online (Hail Shoemoney and the cheque picture)
    Some people are damn lazy. All they wanna do is earn some quick cash by doing no work but anything that will get them money. They sell affiliates, sell services on Digital Point, click their own Google AdSense ads and “make money online”. They are the most clever out of the whole bunch.
  6. Appreciation for writing (Attention Deficit Syndrome)
    And then there are those serious guys out there who failed to impress publishers on their writing skills. They write stories, poems etc.
  7. Platform to express your thoughts (Introverts)
    Some people express better while they type on keyboards. They never talk loud or join discussions. But they are superstars in the blogosphere.
  8. Brand Marketing Service/Company (Hoardings)
    These guys would have a company, a brand to promote and they see Rand, or Nate and jump in. Jason branding the “Mahalo” flower all over social media is an example of good (?) branding. But this is a very good and effective strategy seen in the recent times. At the end of the day you have a clear brand with good recall value and also the “potential clients” read your message as well.

No wrong ideas please. Please take this post in the right/left/non sense, and don’t ask yourself the question - “Which category would you fall in to?”. Seriously.

(10) Comments   

The Wikipedia says,

Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a form of internet marketing which seeks to achieve branding and marketing communication goals through the participation in various social media networks such as MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, YouTube, Dailymotion, Hi5,, social web applications (webapps) such as reddit, Digg, Stumbleupon, Flickr, iLike, Wikipedia, Squidoo,, Twitter, Eventful, ePinions and others as well as within 3D virtual worlds such as Second Life, ActiveWorlds, Moove and
The goals of each SMM program or campaign will differ for every
business or organization, however most will involve some form of
building an idea or brand awareness, increasing visibility, encouraging
brand feedback and dialogue as well as to possibly sell a product or

Now, whether you are a social media enthusiast or not, I know for sure that you’ve been using either Twitter or Orkut or Facebook or Linked In just to name a few. So essentialy all of us are hooked to social media one way or the other.
Now, who are the guys who really benefit from social media marketing? Of course, the big guys who are successful in marketing their ideas, their products or their brands (and mad some fortune on it).

Let me be honest with you my friend, I really don’t think the so called A-Listers are worthy enough to be in the social media networks. I mean they shouldn’t be included.


  1. They are mostly confined to a small group of like minders who have vested interests in selling their products and services.
  2. They never are honest to so called “no-vices”/common blogger.
    You have to pay them to get a consultation, damn it !
  3. They never reveal.
    I understand when Mandrake says - “Magicians never tell”, but over here?? C’mon this is no magic. We are here for sharing information and having fun (I’ve no clue how, but yet, that’s the whole concept).
  4. They don’t approve you as friends, while you keep trying.
    Ever heard of someone being invited by an A-Lister into his network? I bet never.
  5. They are not here to participate but sell their stuff.
    While the whole idea of social media is about building communities to share knowledge, here is a guy who comes in to sell his e-book !
  6. They belong to their own mafia. LOL
  7. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer while they are here.
    Not blaming it on them, but yes it’s a fact.
  8. A-Listers have a heavy attitude.
    None of them thumbs up or Digg your article, do they? While you might be doing it on their articles daily, to get their appreciation, lol you silly boy !

So there you have it. All the reasons you need to know that the real losers in Social Media are the A-Listers. The Social Media as such belongs to the masses and the crowd, and there’s no stopping them. We belong to the bigger chunk of the population on the Internet, and not the group of A-Listers who are here to sell their products and make you buy their e-books.

Three cheers to the true spirit of social media !! Down with the A-Listers !

Image Courtesy istockphoto

(1) Comment   

But why?

Indexing frequency can be explained as the count or the number of times Google or the other search engines, visit your website to index your content.

And, the higher the frequency, the better you chances for a better rank or your importance in the SERPs.

Can’t believe? Neither did I, once upon a time.

Well, do you know that the best and the top blogs on the internet gets the best indexing frequencies? That is the content published on them gets indexed quicker that anyone else and gets more importance on the SERPs. Examples are and

Content published on TechCrunch and Problogger gets indexed in minutes. The closest we have measured is like around 8 minutes or so. Yeah that’s right, when a content is published on Problogger, it is very likely that the next moment it is on the SERP’s.

At DailySEOblog, I’ve seen content indexed in 30 minutes or so, which is good.

Now the point here is that, if you are writing the same content as the above blogs, like for say example a movie review or so, it is highly likely that even if you have better content, TechCrunch like blogs are likely to get higher on the SERPs.

So they clearly have an edge of having the crawlers index them faster.

Now, how can you get this edge? How can you make crawlers index your content quicker as well?

Several factors.

1. Rapidly changing content.

2. A good sitemap structure.

3. Good pinging tools.

4. Good meta tags that tell the crawlers to visit more often.

5. Easy navigation structure.

Well, so many other factors as well. But these are the best of them I’d say.

Essentially, if you have rapidly changing content, that is made available to the crawlers through a well maintained and updated sitemap, that itself should take care of the problem.

For maintaining the sitemap, of course you’d be using the AllinOne SEO plugin right? That’s a good one.

Also, make sure that you have a regularity in posting. If the crawlers find that your content is being updated on a regular basis, like daily or  hourly, then they will set their crawl frequency(if not manipulated by META tags) to hourly or daily basis, however it is followed on your site.

This is exactly the same reason why blogs have an edge over static websites. It is easy for crawlers to find a pattern in your posts and hence they find it easy to follow the pattern.

You can find more information about this concept over here and here.

(17) Comments   
Filed Under (Blogging) by Mani Karthik on 21-01-2008

I’m unsure how by metrics am I going to depict this, but it is surely a remarkable reference. Some would agree and some ould not, just as it should be. What are the things that you’d take into consideration before linking to a site?

If we were to dissect out the essentials of blogging, links play a vital role. Links as many calls it are votes given by one person for the credibility of another. Every time someone want to link to a site, he things twice. There are many thoughts that goes through your head. Some bloggers are voracious linkers like John TP, some are selective like Darren and many are in between.

Now, if we all know that links are the building blocks of the internet and the blogging world, why do we hesitate to link?

After all, a link is important to another person as it is to you. So why do you not be proactive and link to others?

What are your mental blocks?
Few of the things that keep you from linking to a person are these questions.

Is extensive linking good?

Many a times, people ask me, Mani why do you keep linking to Google , AdSense and such sites often, Is it good for SEO?

Well, not really. I link to them because it helps as a reference to even novice readers who might be new to a product like AdSense. It might help me in SEO in very little amounts, but that’s not my interest first.

And, I’ve never recommended anyone not to link too much. It all depends on how many incoming links you’ve got. If the ratio of incoming to out going links is fat, you are in good shape, if it’s thinner then you might not want to link too much. That’s the point.

So provided you have a healthy number of incoming links to fight the competition, you can go ahead link to various resources and content relted websites, that’s not a problem at all. Having said that, make sure that you dont go about inserting stand alone links on the sidebar and the footers as non contextual links. When Google spiders a page, it can easily make out the contextual links and the non contextual links.

If there are 10 links within an article write up, referring to content related websites, it is perfectly fine. But at the same time, if there are 10 links on the sidebar referring to websites (which cannot be determined if it’s contextual or not), it may not be ahealthy situation.

So please expel your doubts on linking and number of links. If it’s all well withing the article and it supports the article, Google sees no harm in them.

Does the guy who’s linked deserve the link?

This is yet another popular factor. Before linking to (mostly personal sites) a site, it is normal for someone to think as to whether the person being linked to is actually deserving the credit. Well, the choice is your’s. If it’s not a relevant content you better not link. Keep in mind that you are not linking to a person to make him happy. You should be linking to a site because the content in the website is interesting and you like to refer it to someone else. Simple as that.

When you think in that sense, you might link to a person boldly than otherwise.

Will he reciprocate?

Again, here are two situations. 1 - If you are linking to a person to make him happy, then chances are that he would just be happy with your link and never link back to you.

2- If you are genuinely linking to a person because you think the content is interesting and you agree/disagrre to it, then he sees some value in your link and is more likely to reciprocate.

So, when you link, let the question be as to whether your link is passing on value or not rather than it is to make someone happy.

Will he acknowledge it?

This is interesting. There is no thumbrule to this, but from experience I’ve found that genuine and gentlemen bloggers do acknowledge links. Some of them I can name are Nate Whitehill, Michael Martine and Kevin Muldoon. They are big names in the blogosphere but rarely miss a chance to acknowledge genuine links. I’ve experieinced it over the years.

So if your link is genuine and passes on value, people are likely to acknowledge it. Again, it depends on whom you are linking.

Will he just enjoy the link or will he return it back?

This might be of interest to all those link-exchange freaks out there. My sincere apologies to all of you. But this practice is something that I don’t recommend. If you are linking to someone assuming (or even nudgin him on chat) that he will link you back, then I’m sorry even if they link back, it is not going to give you any value. It just becomes an excercise that is not going to help in long time.

So essentially speaking, when you realy have to link to someone, because an article he wrote is interesting or you’d like to refer it to your reader, please do go ahead and link to him even if you don’t like his hairstyle.

But never link to someone in the hope that tommorow he will link back to you or send you some money over paypal. ;)

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Before writing this article, I had two thoughts. Should I be really telling this out to the world? The trade secrets that is. As a matter of fact, off-site optimization is the trump card up every SEO’s sleeve and so is mine.

It is my favourite tool, and experience has proved that out of all the weapons in my armour, off-site optimization works best that anything else. But, I thought I should let you guys know some of the secrets in off-site optimization, after all information and knowledge is to be shared. So here I go, hope you enjoy it and make good use of it.

So what is off-site optimization?

Off-site optimization includes all the strategies an SEO implements other than on the website, to increase the chances of ranking higher.

So that means everything except title tags, meta tags, keyword density, internal links, layout/design etc fall into the brackets of off-site optimization.

What are the factors in off-site optimization?

Off-site optimization consists of many factors that directly and indirectly affect your rankings. Having said that, they are not non comprehensive.

The Incoming links

I’m sure all of you are already aware of this. The incoming links to your website is the biggest offsite optimization factor that directly affect your rankings. Incoming links are of various types based on their relevance and importance in SEO. Though they are all essentially the same in code, based on where they are located, their weightage and placement, each of them carry a different weightage.

1-A sitewide incoming link,
2-A contextual incoming link
3-A homepage icoming link

A sitewide incoming link, is one in which an incoming link is repeated in every page of a website with the same anchor text. Examples are links placed in teh sidebar of a blog, footer of a website, navigation bar of a website etc. Essentially, a sitewide link will carry more importance than any other type of incoming link, as the link is more relevant. But there are problems with it as well.

When the link is placed at areas like the sidebar/navigation bar/frames, there is no textual content near the links most of the time, since the code is seperate for the sidebar or frame. But yes, if you can manage to get a couple of authority sites giving you sitewide links, nothing else like it.

A contextual incoming link, is the one that is placed in a relevant link, among all the other textual content on a webpage. Examples are the normal links a blogger would place in an article. Even though such links carries a good amount of weightage, and increases the relevancy of your webpage, it will not help you beat your competition, if you have a few of those. You need to have a healthy (not huge) number of contextual links to prove your point on the SERPs. But Google gives much importance to a relevant, contextual link than a sitewide link. When considering competition, it all comes down to numbers and equations.

A homepage incoming link, is obviously the link that is placed at the homepage. It carries a certain level of importance and when combined with other factors of the link provider can work wonders. But again the number factor will play a huge role when deciding your ranks, as a single homepage link from a single site may only give you a push of two-three positions.

So mostly, though the different types of incoming links carries their own importance levels, it’s ultimately a mix and match of these factors that gives you the results. Like when sometimes several single homepage links fail to give you the desired result, a single sitewide link may do the trick! Again, the competition is the factor that decides what is the equation that has to go into it.

The nxt most important factor in off-site optimization is the quality of the site that links to you.

A true quality website is not always the one with a high PR. Clear that mis conception off your head first off. Many a times, SEOs refer to sites as “authority websites”. Well, authority websites are the ones that have already managed to get into the Googles good books basically. One peculiar feature of authority websites are that they are listed at the DMOZ directory. Of course, that is not the litmus test for an authority website. Every website cannot find it’s way to the DMOZ directory after all. But yes, many of the top authority websites would be there on the human edited directory - DMOZ.

But I have a different take on the authority websites theory altogether. I don’t think that authority websites are those that are on the DMOZ or those that have a high PR.

To me, authority websites (in the context that they will be a sure shot way to boost rankings), are the ones that have quality backlinks, and have been around on the internet for quite some time. Sadly, all the authority websites in my list are not on the DMOZ.

Some factors that may be taken into account when deciding authority of a website are the number of incoming links to that website, the number of outgoing links, the amount of information rich pages, the number of pages listed on google, the number of supplementary pages, the age of domain etc.

The moral of the story is that, out of all the seo methods, on-site optimization may fail, but if there’s one thing that will give you an edge over others, it is indeed off-site optimization. So forget the header tags, and H1 tags go for some serious link building my friend, that’s were the soul is.

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