Just within the last couple weeks I have been running an experiment on the effects of local citations on the rankings for local businesses. Because of the results of this experiment I am hoping to launch a unique citation service within the next couple weeks.
Why These Work Well Post-Panda
These citations are basically raw or branded linked URL with the business address below.
There’s no need to worry about over-optimization or getting tagged for unnatural link building. These are for the most part nice authority business directories which every business should be listed in.
What The Data Tells Us
Preliminary results look really promising. For businesses which are already on the map, I’ve already been tracking some pretty decent results from landing about 40+ solid citations.
Social Foundations – If you’re on our mailing list you received a pre-notification and a discount on this service about a week ago. It’s essentially a KnowEm alternative but with a much cheaper price. Have you claimed your keyword real estate yet?
Basic Press Release Package – If you’ve got your own syndication lined up, then our basic PR package is right up your alley. You get the same great press release written by my inhouse writer (Frank Scherer) plus syndication to 2 premium submission services. Both of these must-have elements at a new low price.
What We’re Working On
Comprehensive Local – As more and more businesses come online, they’re all looking for someone who can bring them to the top. Our upcoming Local SEO service combines a whopping 6 of the most important search ranking factors all in one simple package. If you have local clients they’ll love you for this one.
Every night before I go to bed I brush my teeth, pray to the mighty god’s of SEO, and then usually read the latest happenings on the Google Panda update. A few of my favorite sites were affected by Panda and this mishap has been the center of my attention for the past 2 months.
A recent thread I found questioned the connection between the Panda slap and scrapers reposting dupe content (Are DMCAs the Answer to Panda?). This thread poses an interesting question: Could you be getting punished because someone stole your content?
It’s a scary thought but some are coming to the conclusion that this just might be the case. For some people, their websites hardest hit by Panda are also the ones most scraped and plagarised.
I wanted to check out if that was the case for me, could my fitness blog hit hard by Panda just be a victim of hardcore copyright infringement?
Scaling the Plagarism Checking
After fumbling around with copyscape for, oh I don’t know, 3 minutes I realized this just isn’t going to work.
I needed to find a better solution, something that could check my website’s in BULK.
After reading the above post on there I downloaded the freeware Uncover made by textbroker.
Uncover: A Free Tool for Finding Duplicate Content in Bulk
Basically you can point Uncover to your sitemap or achives page and it will grab all the links on the page. You can even go several levels deep (more than 1) but I don’t recommend doing this. It will collect a bunch of URLs that you don’t need checked (like feed urls and plugin urls) and will make the checking a lot slower.
After it’s grabbed all the urls you want checked you can click the button and off it goes. This runs on your computer and depending on how many articles you’ve got it should be done within 10-20 minutes or so.
After it’s complete you can go through each URL checked one by one and it gives a little list of potential copies, how many words are copied, and what percentage % you’re copied.
An interesting detail about this program is that it seems to work even better than Copyscape itself. I cross-referenced the dupe content it was spitting out with Copyscape and it was picking up MAJOR copies that Copyscape wasn’t even reporting. Pretty interesting considering Copyscape seems to be the standard in the industry and not reporting on 80% copied articles is a bit alarming.
My Results from Using Uncover For Just 10 Minutes….Holy Auto-Scraping Batman
Only after checking the first 5 posts I came across a user that was set up about 3 years ago on Zimbio to scrape several of my blogs at a time using the autoimport feature. It was taking posts the very day they were published off a lot of my blogs and slapping them up there.
Same with a feed site I found.
What kind of affect this could have on my sites I’m not sure, but it certainly can’t be healthy. A couple support e-mails I’m sure the problem will be taken care of.
Usually I am just focused on building links/content, not protecting what I’ve already done. So I guess it’s understandable that it’s taken me this long to catch these CONTENT OFFENDERS.
There are a couple other random sites I found copying my exercise site’s content, I think a DMCA notice or two should do the trick here.
“I have a legal issue that is not mentioned above” ->
“I have found content that may violate my copyright” ->
“Yes, I am the copyright owner *or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.”
*Outsource this if you have a ton of these to do.
I’ve seen some people suggest finding offending sites e-mail and try to e-mail them to take it down. Unless its some kind of reasonably credible site with a support e-mail I think that’s pretty much a waste of time.
Therefore, we must release the DMCA dogs across all four corners of the web to smite our foes.
I’m a firm believer that the most cutting edge SEO methods aren’t found in the most popular blogger’s posts. The best edges you’ll find are from looking closely at the trails that the most competitive niche websites leave.
What are some of the most competitive and profitable niches online? Sex, drugs, and gambling. Top rankings for porn, poker, and pharmacy keywords can bring revenues of $1,000′s daily.
I understand that this isn’t the popular opinion as I read all of the 100% White Hat SEO blogs that dominate the majority of the SEO blogosphere. But the fringe, spam-happy SEOs are are worthy of at least a portion of your study time.
While I would never advocate spam or risk losing your money site over super-shady methods, there are a handful of techniques that are low-key, safe, and can be picked up by the average white/grey hat. You just have to take out your magnifying glass and look a little closer.
After reading a good Wickedfire thread posted by Guerilla from Drip Feed Blasts titled Analyzing a Number One Result I had the motivation to spend the day analyzing some of these kinds of websites and backwards-engineering their link profiles to see exactly what they do to rank. Guerilla pointed out a cool technique a top ranked site is using which I cover at the end, and decided to share it in hopes that some of us can learn a thing or two (and boy did I, thanks dude).
I also did a little bit of digging myself and found something cool which I’ll share with you now.
PLEASE NOTE: What you find below isn’t my attempt to call out anyone for bad link behavior, not at all (and I ask you don’t use the data below to go all link snitch on anyone, either). Merely reporting on some of my findings so that you can learn from it.
1. How Much Would You Pay For A Link on Huffington Post?
This is an interesting technique, not very blackhat-ish, and is very powerful. All it needs is just a little bit of social engineering and a paypal payment and you’ve got one of the most valuable links on the web.
The funny thing about these particular articles is the response and reception from readers. One of the articles gets double digit tweets, the other has people commenting about their favorite drug/pharm videos (wtf?). Yes, it’s really that stupid… but hey, it works.
I think this quote sums up the method perfectly:
“Knowing how to use automated/paid links properly is still a very powerful weapon in your arsenal. However, without getting those few precious authority links that the other, inferior SEOs cannot access, it’s going to be a long and unexciting ride trying to make a buck, if you’re playing in anything remotely competitive.” Offwhitehat – Social Engineering for SEO
Questions to ask yourself: How can this be replicated? What other powerful news/media sites contain their own private stable of bloggers that can be used to build these kinds of powerhouse links?
2. Building an SEO Foundation with Expired Domains: One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure
This is the method that inspired me to write this post and it is also probably the most controversial of the two.
It’s also a method that got SEO blogger Michael Martinez a bit angry in the past. This particular site I dug into had registered an old blog he wrote on and reposted all of the content. Of course he was not too happy, considering all of his hard work was now sitting beside sidebar links to cubans, pills, and poker links.
However, this method may be the single reason that this pharm site is ranking #2 for the term “Viagra Online”.
While I’m not going to get into the ethics of this method, I just want to report on the some of the findings behind this and a jist on how it works.
I have built some mini nets with expiring domains before, never to the scale that this site is using them and never to just slap a couple links up and expect an ROI.
Today I have officially emptied my cup so that I can re-learn this technique all over again:
A couple things should strike you when you investigate the SiteExplorer Link to the site above:
1. The vast majority of their links are all from homepage links on sites that they (most likely) own themselves. How can you tell? You’ll also find the sites linking to the same sites over and over. Some cuban, gambling, and other pharm sites.
2. The sites are using old, archived content from when the dropped site was active. Look at this site for instance: A bunch of sidebar links that don’t work. When you’re digging through the webarchive for old content most of the times it won’t be there, but you’ll get tidbits of it, usually the homepage. In this case the homepage and its content was recovered but not the sub pages, hence the reason the sidebar links are not active. The content on the site as it is now is actually from 2005 according to the webarchive.
3. There is little to no anchor text diversity. Put the URL into Backlinkwatch.com and you’ll find just how tight the anchor text is. The sage advice I’ve always followed is to always diversify your anchor text to look more natural to the SE’s.
Could link diversity really not matter or could you even be hindering yourself in ranking for a particular keyword by diversifying your anchor text? These are questions I don’t have answers for.
4. There are a crap load of homepage links. From the looks of it, their network could reach into the 1,000′s since it is a large percentage of their overall link profile (I share some of this data in the graphs below).
So How Are They Doing It?
In my opinion, using the old content is something that is necessary in the early stages of a newly-regged expiring domains life. It’s important to tell Google that you’re just the old site revived, and all the links, PR, and authority that the old site has should stay the same. While this is just a theory of mine, I have never done it any other way.
Registering expiring domains is something I won’t go over now, a simple google search will tell you what you need to know. I might write up something more extensive on this later.
The Pioneer of Building SEO Networks
This technique is not new, in fact one of the people I considered that pioneered this style of link building is Eli @ Bluehatseo. You can find a super-extensive post on building an SEO Empire which is a must-read for anyone that wants to dive head first into this. While his strategy is a bit different without the expired domain element, overall it holds the same idea:
The importance of building a strong SEO foundation.
This is actually the first time I’ve ever seen evidence of this strategy working at this kind scale, with a keyword of this caliber and competition, and with these kinds of results.
I spent a lot of the day re-thinking and re-learning about a strategy which I thought I knew all about. These kinds of days really get me motivated to retry something old and see where it takes me.
I think this really emphasizes how most of these syndication services drip your articles and links out for a more natural link building affect.
Free Traffic System was the network that surprised me the most. It outdid some of the paid services by a long shot. If you’re new to syndicating your articles using networks like these this would be a good place to start, you can’t beat the price!
After taking a year long hiatus from offering link building services in December of 2009 I’m back and better than ever.
A few things have changed, most notably the name. From Savvy Content to Marketer’s Center, I felt like Marketer’s Center fitted what kind of business this has evolved into. From 100% content creation services in 2006 to the full fledged link building company that it is today.
The services have also changed, a lot. We’re going to be offering some cutting edge stuff that you just won’t find anywhere else.