If It’s Too Good To Be Fricking Link True…

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:

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

8.  Sphinn

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.


  1. RegisterNuke.com says

    I would have to agree that my inbox and those of my associates are just flooded with a variety of Internet Guides and seo handbooks that do not really have a genuine source or author that is well founded. There is a big difference between stating what one has an opinion on their thoughts and then saying that they are an “authority” on the subject matter and therefore relate their “expert” experience on how their ebook is a must have on how to receive thousands of hits in a matter of days. The sad part is that it is only going to get worse and pretty much everyone is going to be a so called expert. There are few sites that one can really trust for accurate and up to date info. I will check out a couple of those sites that you have posted and if I may add seochat.com also to the mix. They have a variety of different authors who I have found to be helpful and have been around for awhile.

  2. Debra says

    @David I didn’t say article directories didn’t pass link juice, I said they didn’t pass a lot. :) And I totally agree with your comment here:

    “I would never suggest building a link-building campaign on article marketing… But I believe it can be a very effective part of a broad link-building and traffic-building strategy.”

  3. Yatin Mulay says

    Spot On article Debra but why single out Zeal.com or any XYZ.com for that matter?

    Almost every quality resource I’ve read since 2007 recommends BOTW, Business.com & Yahoo dir.

    So I went ahead and added couple of sites in the above 3

    ZERO traffic from BOTW but at least good co-citation benefit ( ranks very low in my linkspace link count so i know it’s not passing much equity )

    Yahoo dir sends some traffic but no coversions so far. That’s ok. I am happy to have quality link at least

    Business.com is UTTER CRAP. No referral traffic. Does not even figure on 1st page of IBL’s in my linkspace or YSE or OSE.

    MOST WRONGLY HYPED directories by “regurgating seo’s” – as bad as the “traffic surge” pseudo gurus……

    My 0.02$


  4. says

    I miss Microsoft’s Small Business Directory… wonder why it’s not on the list of (defunct) must-submit directories?


  5. Kendra says

    I use the free directory list at vmoptions.com for submissions because they update alot. They also have a paid directory list but the directories on that list are very expensive except for a few. Most of these lists of paid directories are outside of my small budget!

  6. says

    Good post. I think Zeal disappeared a lot longer ago than 2006, but I am surprised to see it back.

    I am not so sure that article directories are a poor source of link juice, and here are my reasons:

    1. Unlike directories, they have content. That in itself likely makes them at least somewhat better than directories.

    2. With content, these pages themselves will in some cases rank well for long-tail searches.

    3. With content and ranking for some long-tail searches, come human visitors, which means more traffic to your website.

    4. Human visitors means human eyes, and if your article is any good (and sometimes if it’s not) republishing (hopefully with your links intact) elsewhere. More links! (Let’s see a directory link do that!)

    5. Even with very little PageRank to pass on, links in 10,20 or 100 different article sites still counts for something.

    6. The pages are naturally optimized for maximum relevance to your links. Maybe some people don’t count this is “link juice”, but that’s their loss.

    I would never suggest building a link-building campaign on article marketing, although some have done this. But I believe it can be a very effective part of a broad link-building and traffic-building strategy.

  7. bridal hair combs says

    I get enticed by services that say they will do link building for you and I really want to sign up but in the end I’m afraid they may do more harm then good so I just work on it myself.

  8. Debra says

    @Bob LOL… yep both charge $299 a year. Hope you’re well!

    @Ann They are good resources! I always head to one of them when I have a question or need help. The forums in particular are a wonderful resource but you definitely wouldn’t find anyone recommending Zeal there! ;)

  9. Debra says

    @Steve Jennings, Thanks for the suggestion. Dan is an old and very dear friend and I totally agree his SEOFS is a great resource but I wouldn’t call it a flagship site or a forum.

  10. Oliver Scrogham says

    I just came from looking for a good page on Bing and came to yours. I have to say these templates are great. Thanks for mentioning them in your article. I will be sure to bookmark this site and return again.

  11. says

    I recently did a presentation ‘How (NOT) to be a Social Media Guru’ trying to point out some of these practices to people starting out with social media networking. I wanted to add funny examples of ‘bad’ practices (whether intentional or mis-informed) to balance against good examples. The sad thing was that those I’d put as ‘Don’ts’ had loads of followers and were probably making wheelbarrows full of money a day.

    I’ve been ‘preaching’ a lot about these sorts of practices and so it’s great to see you put it so well. It bugs me because people pay for these books or follow the advice and don’t get results so think that online marketing/SEO/SEM/etc doesn’t work — thus making it hard for those of us trying to make an honest living!

    Great list of resources – many of these I follow based on the good advice given consistently over the years.

  12. Steve Jennings says

    Great list – I’d add Dan Thies’ SEO Fast Start as a good free resource for newbies.

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