Over the last couple of months I’ve noticed a step-up in sales pitches, ebooks and free guides covering just about any topic related to SEO, SEM and social media. How people make their living is no concern of mine and I get that our industry has gotten crowded making it necessary for people to be creative in their advertising efforts but – I do raise an eyebrow when I see things being pitched as the ” Ultimate Handbook”
or the “Definitive Guide” and some of the information in the so-called guide is blatantly wrong.
Recently an email hit my inbox from someone shilling an “Ultimate Traffic Blueprint” that’s supposed to be a ” …step by step guide to server crushing traffic“. I want to stress the “server crushing traffic” part, this piece was being pitched as a traffic guide, not a link building resource. It starts by outlining some basic and very well known ways to get traffic by various methods – blogging, press releases, video, and article marketing. In the info, two comments/issues caught my eye. The first one was about the effects of article marketing:
…”however, it was a bit of a victim of its own success, and people started to abuse article marketing – spamming article directories with crappy nonsense articles just for the links and search engine rankings. As you might imagine, Google frowns upon such things and suddenly links from article directories had little value”
Huh? Google is a bot, not a human, it doesn’t pass judgement or frown on how you market your content. One of the prime reasons article directories don’t pass a lot of link juice is because of the structure of the directory, not because Google doesn’t like them. Article directories are a lot like general directories, they don’t draw a lot of natural (editorial) inbound links, their internal structures are heavy and not always well linked and they have a ton of new content/pages being made daily. When’s the last time you’ve seen an authority source (or something other than a bookmark site or comment drop) point to content on a regular ole’ article directory? Anyone? Bueller?
But the advice given on directory submissions is what really got me going and I believe is blatantly wrong. The segement starts by recommending webmastasers add their sites to the Yahoo! Directory and DMOZ and goes to this:
Can’t afford Yahoo yet? Still waiting on DMOZ? Here are some other important directories that you can pay to be included in that are well worth their application fee:Business.com.Joeant.com.Zeal.com,Goguides.org,Gimpsy.com,Skaffe.com,Looksmart.com,
Does anyone see something wrong with that “directory” list? For starters, Zeal.com was offline for a very long time (since 2006?) and just recently came back but isn’t taking new sites. (click the submit link at the bottom of page). Looksmart used to be a directory but is now a PPC network, so no directory submission there. A couple others are algorithmically weak with minimal traffic making them not worth your time or money to submit to.
Keep in mind the purpose of this so called “report” is to tell people how to drive traffic, not build links. If it were a linking guide then I’d shrug about the directories, they’re algorithmically piss poor but a link from them would count. But to list several of them as significant traffic sources in a guide promising to show you how ‘To Get Thousands Of FREE Visitors To Your Website” ?? That’s just not accurate.
I’m not dropping this thread to be ugly or as a rally cry for standards or for any other reason save one: this report and other’s like it are a prime example of the garbage floating around by people who obviously don’t do their homework and are looking for a quick buck or a way to siphon off your email for the real sales pitch. Again, I have no issues with the way people conduct their business or email funnels as long as they’re pimping good info and not taking advantage of people. But when it’s dead wrong or pitches ridiculous statements like this:
“I can show you… The two most powerful links you can get – so powerful that a link from these two sites can vault you into the top 10 of Google”…
then it’s fair game to be poked at.
Before you invest time or money with any program, check it out and the people behind it. Any reputable company creating a source guide will disclose authorship and how it came to the conclusions presented in the guide. If you’re not sure about the content or wonder about grandiose claims like the one above, go to industry flagships and start reading. Spend time on forums, read sites like Sphinn, Small Biz Trends, Search Engine Book, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land and Search Engine Roundtable. Industry leaders, news sources and top bloggers contribute to these sites, they explain their viewpoints and provide reference links so you won’t find crappy, out-of-date-and-plain-wrong information there. If it sounds too good to be true or you haven’t seen it printed elsewhere, well… hello… there is probably a good reason for it.
Here’s a list of places I recommend you get involved with, they’ll keep you update-to-date with what’s working/not/hot/liked a lot in SEM/SEO. In no particular order:
1. SEOBook Forum (membership required)
2. Webmaster World
3. High Rankings Forum
4. SEO Refugee
5. Cre8asite Forum
6. Search Engine Roundtable
7. Search Engine Journal
9. Search Engine Land
10. Search Engine Watch
11. Search Engine Guide
12. SEO DoJo (membership)
13. UK SEO Forum
14. V7N Forum
15. BlackHat Forum ( yep!)
16. Wicked Fire
17. Small Business Trends
Yeah, I know… it’s a bunch of reading but if you want to stay up on what’s happening, it’s necessary. If you know of a flagship site (a site with multiple writers and presents news as well as opinion) or industry forum I’ve left off, drop it in comments and I’ll add to the list.