SEOGoodGuys: The Singapore SEO Blog

SEO EPIC FAILS ~ My Experiences With Them

seo epic fail facepalm

These SEO methods should stay in 2012.

Epic FAIL. My first reaction when I encountered them. Now, I wouldn’t say that I’m an SEO guru by any measure, but I do know what a serious SEO “offence” is when I see one. I’ve seen these negative examples when I look at other people’s blogs, but sometimes, I can personally experience them myself.

Kids, do not try these at home! (Or anywhere else actually)

Link Exchange

This used to be popular in the past because it was a quick and easy way to get links from others. You just had to ask a stranger on the net to place your link somewhere in their site, and you will reciprocate by placing their link on yours. Chances of success were extremely low, so webmasters relied heavily on spamming others.

And this happened to me.

negative seo link exchange example
Sorry Amy but I’m attached.

 

Dear Amy, at least you had the decency to link me to (somewhat) SEO related websites. However, I did a little research and I noticed your sites were full of links to other spammy sites, and your reputation on the net is less than pleasant. Epic Fail!

Link building is about forming relationships online, and building trust is a big factor. If I were to link out to websites that I personally do not endorse, it will reflect badly on my own reputation. The link in this case isn’t useful to my readers, and does not relate well to the content in my site.

Proper method: 
One is better off spending the time building real relations with authority figures in your niche, and getting a one way link – which is a much better endorsement. If a link exchange HAS to be made, make sure the other site is reputable and has content that can actually benefit your visitors.

Mass Link Building Proposals

The following company offering link building services might not necessarily be bad, but there is nothing in the email that explains how they will accomplish their link building. So in my opinion, Nope!

negative link building proposal example
Sorry John – not my style!

 

At first glance, it doesn’t look THAT bad. I can’t really say that it is an epic fail unless I know how they will do their link building.

Based on experience, such link building services rely heavily on blog commenting and forum posting. To churn out such a high number of links, they tend to rely on spamming blogs and forums. Notice that they did not specify whether they will link to relevant sites, or whether the links are NoFollow or Dofollow?

Furthermore, such link building campaigns that focus on a large number of links might not be good for everybody. Suddenly getting a huge number of links is just too unnatural, especially for a new site. Google has been known to catch on to such schemes and taking action.

Proper Method:
There are plenty of methods to build links. Check out this awesome article from SEOMOZ about the many ways to build links.

Blog Comment Spamming

Speaking of blog comment spamming, I never thought I would be a victim of them within days of publishing my first few contents.

blog comment spam example
Sorry but I have no need for Viagra ūüėČ

 

Surprisingly, automated blog comment spamming still works for some lucky people out there. They are lucky because

  1. Google hasn’t sifted them out and punished them yet.
  2. The webmaster did not check all their comments for spam – to remove them like I did.
  3. Companies are still providing this spamming service despite it becoming less useful and majorly frowned upon.

Spam comments add zero value to the content; they serve just to obtain a backlink. Many comment spam come in the form of “nice post!”, though you can easily tell that they are spam because they have lousy grammar and contain a spammy looking link.

This is an Epic Fail because seriously, comment spamming is so out of fashion. The comments end up in low authority, low PageRank, and non-relevant sites that add close to zero value to your Search Engine Optimization efforts. Worse, if most of your links come from comment spam, Google can devalue your site!

Proper Method:
Blog Comments and Forum Postings should be used wisely. If you have to leave a comment with a link back to your website, make sure the comment is constructive and adds value to the post. You can contribute additional points, or give a view from another perspective. The link also has to point to something that relates to the article, or further adds to the topic.

More Fails?

As long as there are people who are not up to date about the latest changes in the Search industry, we can witness more errors made. Unfortunately, many of the fails are actually committed by ill-informed and outdated SEOs. Do yourself a favour and ask your outsourced SEOs what are their strategies for you, and what they implemented.

Still hungry for more fails? I will leave that for another article. I have come across more examples, but they relate more to my clients. Example: One of my clients previously hired an SEO that did link building for them; only to create backlinks from adult sites.

Juicy story? Till the next time!

Have a good Fail story to share? What other SEO errors have you seen? Share them in the comments below!

5 Reasons Your MLM Site is Bound to Fail

reasons why people fail in MLM

… If You Make SEO Mistakes.

Let’s get this straight.

  1.  SeoGoodGuys will not sell you any products or try to recruit anyone into an MLM business.
  2. ¬†I’m not here to debate the MLM system, or the ethical issues behind it.
  3.  I am not saying that MLM cannot work, but I am not here to endorse it either.
  4.  I will not say that ALL MLM sites will fail. I am here to explain the technical side of why most MLM sites do not succeed.

About MLM Websites

MLM stands for Multi-Level Marketing a.k.a Network Marketing. It is a controversial business model that while endorsed by several well-known business celebrities (like Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki), is also at the same time reviled by pretty much everyone else. To learn more about it, click here.

robert kiyosaki and donald trump recommends MLM

 

Since the early 2000s and the widespread embrace of the Internet, traditional MLM businesses have turned to the Internet to market their products and to recruit new agents. It evolved into some new terms, like Internet Network Marketing, Online MLM or Affiliate Network Marketing.

How these online MLM businesses function:

1. The main company (which carries the brand) has a main website where customers can directly purchase products and people who want to earn money can join as a member.

¬†2.¬†The member becomes a Distributor, which gives them the opportunity to earn commissions when they recommend others to buy the product. They are also able to recruit similar Distributors as their “downlines”.

¬†3. These Distributors will open an account on the main website, so that sales registered on that account will be attributed to that Distributor. The distributor will then used any method to get customers to buy products through this account. Any sales done by their downlines will also be registered into that particular Distributor’s account. Sales will be tracked, and commission paid accordingly. (This is the old school way)

 4. In recent years, online MLMs have begun to give distributors their own Business Development Kit, which is basically a simple blog builder software, and some training and marketing materials. The Distributor is able to set up a simple blog/website to market the products. Sales and recruitment will be tracked through that personal blog, and the commission will be paid accordingly. (The new school way)

5. MLM has always been a numbers game, and network marketing emerged online to tap into the huge internet market. MLM sites need a lot of traffic for sales, leads, and recruitment – and without a doubt, search traffic accounts for a large percentage of site visits. Smart network marketers will optimize their site to capture search traffic. This is where Search Engine Optimization comes in.

5 Reasons Why Most MLM Sites Do Not Work

 #1 Traditional MLM methods do not work for internet marketing

Most MLM distributors are great at what they do – traditional MLM. However, the same success does not easily translate into success for internet marketing. These people are just not trained in online marketing, and the knowledge needed to excel in this field is quite specialized.

There are far more technical knowledge that you need to know in order to make your website successful. You cannot rely on your interpersonal charm or your verbal charisma.

Suddenly you need to learn about Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Conversion Rate Optimization, Landing Page Optimizing etc.. Sure, there are SEO blogs that can teach you, but it can get pretty daunting for the internet unsavvy.

reasons why people fail in MLM
This month eat grass liao.

 

The dynamics of the business also changes with the shift online.

Your upline and even your downlines can become your immediate competitors. Everyone is fighting for real estate on the SERPs. A lot of the information about how to truly succeed in online MLM is vague and generalized, because no one wants to share their secrets – even to downlines.

#2 Duplication works in Traditional MLM, not for the Internet.

In traditional MLM, they tend to preach that if you follow “the system”, you can find success by walking in the path of someone who found success using a proven formula. This makes a lot of sense, and is the basis of why franchises are so successful. However, when it comes to internet marketing, nothing could be worse than duplication.

Most MLM companies will supply marketing materials and product information to their members for their use. What happens is that when you have hundreds or even thousands of websites using the same description for that business and its products, you have a serious case of duplicate content.

Google has a tough stance against duplicate content. Sites with thin or duplicate content have been penalized by Google. As a result, they have been pushed way down the ranks, or even gotten unindexed.

#3 Poor Link Profile

MLM sites usually suffer from bad link profiles. They tend to have many inbound links from similar sites with similar content, because these sites are part of a network. It is easy to get links from your downline’s websites, but these links are low in quality.

Because many sites in that network of distributors will inevitably link to each other, this creates a low quality, spammy link neighbourhood. Having plentiful of such links from spammy MLM link¬†neighbourhoods will cause you to be penalized due to Google’s Penguin updates to weed out spam. You might even be banned. OUCH.

Furthermore, think about it. Which site will tend to get the most inbound links? Which site will get the most linking domains, with Branded Anchor Text? The MAIN company site! That site will be pushed to the top of the ranks for your important keywords because almost everyone else is linking back to it. Your clients will inevitably buy products from the main website that not only looks the most legit, but also ranks the highest.

#4 Bad User Experience

Many MLM affiliate sites suffer from this. There are many factors that contribute to a poor user experience, but it is not entirely the fault of the distributor. They are just not well educated about what it takes to do well online. Few of them know about proper on page optimization.

Thin content is one major issue. These sites mainly get their information from the Business Building Kit that is supplied to them by the company. The quality and diversity of the information is of too little value to consumers.

Bad design and poor site structure are also problems some of these sites face. Some sites look like they want to sell a product, but end up trying to capture leads. Others want to capture leads, but end up turning users off with “too much selling”.

Google’s Panda¬†algorithm updates aims to weed out sites that provide poor user experience. Most MLM sites do not survive the cut.

 

Bad design, bad user experience, thin content, low value adding
Wrong branding, bad design, bad user experience,wrong method of marketing

 

#5 Wrong Branding

Most MLM sites approach branding wrongly. They obediently set up their site and start promoting their company and its great products. The one that stands to gain the most is the company, because it has the highest number of brand mentions, inbound links, and descriptive anchor text.

Doing MLM in real life, you are selling yourself as a salesman or a testimonial. Successful internet marketers learn to do that online. The trust factor on the internet is already way low, and it becomes even harder for your consumers to part with their money if they can’t trust you, or your website.

Visitors can very easily locate the main company and spend their money there (it is far more profitable for the company if consumers do that too actually). Window shopping online also makes it easier for your visitors to open many Tabs in the browser and find the best deal. There is only very little you can do to control whether they buy a product from your website, or a competitors. Recruitment goes the same way too.

Conclusion

Sorry MLM people, please don’t hate me!

Many of the reasons listed above are also applicable for Affiliate marketing websites. They face many of the same problems too. In fact, there are other non-SEO related reasons that add to the downfall of most MLM and affiliate websites.

I will not be touching on the topic of how to make MLM sites profitable. That isn’t the purpose of this looong article. Ironically, you can Google “Why do MLM sites fail”, and you will find a tonne of sites that teach you how to succeed.

I have clients who request my SEO service for their MLM website. I tend to turn down such requests because the competition is too high, and the time needed to create quality work will put off the clients. People in the MLM industry tend to want quick results but are unwilling to put in the time and effort needed to build their brand.

If you are planning to build your MLM business online, I hope you can avoid these pitfalls that many have fallen into. Remember, SEO is not a miracle solution, and will not be able to replace great content and awesome products.

You survived! Do you have anything to share from experience? How else do you think MLM and affiliate marketers can improve? Sound off in the comments below.

[SEO Infographic] Not Just a Hype! Are You Keeping Up?

Rising Importance of SEO for revenue

Why It’s an Exciting Time for Search in the Enterprise

A while ago, Mavenlink.com released an infographic  that pretty much showed how businesses are increasing their efforts on SEO. That was a result of a survey of marketers and business owners over the past year. It was good news for us in the search industry because it meant we could still put food on the table. More importantly, what does it have to do with you?

Information Breakdown

Now I am not going to explain every statistic in the infographic because most of them are pretty self-explanatory. However, there are some important trends I need to point out, and to explain their significance to startups and small businesses.

66% of Marketers increasing their SEO budget - SEO Statistic

66% of marketers say their budgets have grown.

SEO is often called a race, though it is more often a marathon than a sprint. A constant effort is needed if you want to stay ahead of the competition at the rankings. As more businesses understand how search engine optimization can directly affect bottom lines, more of them are willing to invest more in SEO efforts. If you remain stagnant, or have not even started optimizing your website for search, you will stand to lose out.

Getting visibility on organic search is a great way to attract new visitors to your site. Although I would not stress search rankings as the most important contributor of traffic, it is still evident that you will get significantly less views the lower you are ranked on search results pages.  Rankings are constantly changing, and you cannot rest on your laurels just because you are ranked top for your targeted keyword. If your rivals are revving up their SEO efforts, what are YOU doing to counter that?

 

Growth of SEO in the work space - SEO statistic

 Search is getting its own department, with increased headcount. 

46% reported that SEO is under the jurisdiction of the Marketing department. 16% surveyed said that Search has its own department – and the number is climbing FAST. The number of people devoted to SEO is also increasing, and 60% of those polled said they are expecting to increase further.

Do you have a designated team member for search optimization? Does your webmaster have SEO knowledge, and is able to do on page optimization at the very least? Do you have a regular blogger to churn out quality content and who understands keyword targeting? Do you have time to do outreach and networking to build relationships with your peers, customers, and the online community?

I hope you can answer Yes to those, because they are essential to the longevity and success of a website.  

 

More executives becoming familiar with Search

63% of executives feel that their familiarity with SEO has increased.

Business leaders are feeling compelled to understand more about SEO. It makes perfect sense. If something can contribute directly to your company’s sales, wouldn’t you want to know how to improve it? If you are still in the state of mind of “I have heard of it, but I’m not sure how it can help”, please check out some SEO Blogs to get a little education ūüôā

As a business owner, you also need to know whether your Search team is using the right methods to implement SEO. Are they putting the brand of the company first when they do manual outreaching? Are your external SEO consultants using black hat techniques instead of using white hat methods?

 

Rising Importance of SEO for revenue

 65% Agree that SEO has a role in the bottom line.

While optimizing for search may not bring significant advantages for every business in every industry, there is no denying that it will play a part most of the time. As more businesses shift online, and even brick and mortar shops understand the need for an online presence, it just shows the importance of getting search visibility.

SEO has been shown to give good ROI numbers, moreover, it can bring other intangible benefits other than revenue. For startups and small businesses that might not be able to compete in terms of brand recognition on the streets, solidifying their brand online with search dominance is a good alternative.

Top 5 Search Goals of marketers

 The Future Of SEO

SEO will take a greater role in a company’s activities than ever before. These are the top 5 search goals for marketers in 2013. Content developmental strategy is becoming a big part of SEO because of the rise of content marketing. As usual, keyword targeting is still a big focus in optimization efforts. There is also increased emphasis on social media – whether it is social media marketing or using Google+ to gain an upper hand on SERPS. Including these goals into your search strategy would be a good idea.

As you can see, you can no longer neglect Search Engine Optimization as part of your business development and marketing strategy. More businesses will invest in SEO as it gains prominence and the advantages it brings become more measurable. Startups have greater adaptability than big companies, and you should use that advantage to make sure you can keep up with the changes in the SEO landscape. If you do not stay ahead of the game, your competitors are more than willing to overtake you.


What are your search goals for 2013? How are you planning to increase your SEO efforts and stay ahead of the competition? Sound off in the comments below!

What The Heck Is SEO?

what is seo, search engine optimisation

Search Engine Optimization

Okay so you probably knew that. If this is the first time you are seeing the term SEO, then you might want to read closely. Unless you stumbled onto us mistakenly wanting to know more about Korean artistes with Seo in their name.

In a nutshell, search engine optimization is about making your website more visible on a search engine’s organic results page, through techniques that improve on-page factors or off-page factors. (or see Wikipedia definition) However, that is a very simple explanation which might have created more questions than it answered.

Let’s take a closer look at what SEO is.

what is seo, search engine optimisation

A little about Search

To know why search engine optimization exists, you need to know about this tiny thing called the Search Engine. Without delving too deeply into what a search engine is and how it works, here is a quick explanation. Search Engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing are online services that help locate answers for queries that a user types into the search box. The answer comes in the form of a list of websites arranged from what the search engine thinks is most relevant to what you are searching for, to the least relevant. (Learn more about how search engines work from one of my favorite SEO resource sites.)

With more than 70% of people online using search engines to find local businesses, you bet it is important that your customers are able to find you with a search engine. One way to make yourself more visible on search engines is through Search Engine Optimization. It means to tweak your site structure, its contents and its links so that it becomes more relevant for people and search engines.

It is like giving your site a make-over so that your customers are able to find the information they need from you easily, and search engines are able to determine that your site is in fact more relevant to your customer’s needs relative to your competitor’s site.

Ideally, the more useful and relevant the information you provide, the higher you will rank for search results related to your content. As a result, you are more likely to attract the clicks.

On-Page versus Off-Page

There are two main phases in the optimization of your website. The On-page Optimization and the Off-Page Optimization

On-page optimization deals with the items on your website/webpage. Factors include

  • Title tag and Headers
  • Proper HTML Tags
  • Meta Tags
  • Internal Link Structure
  • Keyword Optimization
  • URL and Domain name

Off-page optimization deals with items that are not on your website(duh). Factors include

  • Link popularity
  • Social media activity
  • Relationship with other leaders in the industry
  • Number of quality inbound links

Exactly how do we optimize those factors? That will take a whole other article (or read this SEO tutorial) to explain in greater detail. But basically, if you knew how to optimize all the given above, you will stand a better chance at performing better at attracting human viewers and ranking well in search engines.

SEO is not a miracle cure

That said, even the best SEO efforts may not help you achieve some of your goals. It is definitely not the ultimate cure-all for all your traffic woes. While making sure that your site is properly optimized should be the top of your list of must-dos, it does not mean that SEO will guarantee you success.

It all boils down to how good your product or service or content is.


Any other questions about SEO in general? Sound off in the comments below!

Top 3 Reasons Why SEO Is Important For Startups

search engine importance

SEO gives you a fighting chance.

Picture this scenario:

1. You think of a great business idea while taking a dump in the toilet.
2. Excited, you think of all the possibilities of having the business online, the potential markets, the success, the fame, the money, the girls..
3. You do a quick search on Google, and realize some big name brand already dominates the market.
4. You give up your idea, pull up your pants and forget to clean up.

Okay so maybe that only happened to me… but you get the point!

Starting up a new business online is not as easy as it sounds. Even if you have the best idea, there are plenty of road blocks that would hamper your progress. Capital, logistics, experience, manpower, time… the list goes on.

Even if you manage to overcome those, finding success still eludes most startups. They are forever stuck in the internet limbo, doomed to never make it past 10 Likes or 10 Followers or 10 Customers.

This is where Search Engine Optimization can help. These are the Top 3 Reasons why  SEO is important for startups.

search engine importance

#1. Perfect for the budget conscious

Also known as the poor bastards. (I kid I kid..) I started this website having close to no money to do pretty much anything, and so I understand the pains that startups have when well, starting up. Having little capital and a tight budget means every cent counts. As a result, most small-medium-businesses have very little to spend on the “frivolous” activities, like Marketing.

SMB annual marketing budget

 

Of that marketing budget, you definitely want to make the biggest bang for your buck, and SEO is a great choice for that. With search engines accounting for much of the traffic to a website, ranking well for your important keywords would pull in good organic traffic. SEO can even be done without spending a single cent (provided you have the time, manpower, and know-how). Even hiring an external SEO service is usually better for your ROI. This is great news for you budding entrepreneurs!

#2. Dominate your niches for a start

Most of you know that choosing the right niche will help you attract your initial customer-base. Most startups choose to focus on a market that their bigger name counterparts have neglected, but does your niche really hold that much potential? Are you sure no one else is competing in that market?

With keyword research and properlytargeting the right keywords, you can corner the market with the best keywords that describe your business or website. You will not find overnight success, but having the right start will save you from countless pitfalls in the later stages of the business.

#3. Build brand recognition and online reputation.

As a startup, it is hard to have the same level of brand recognition as the older, more established brands. However, with the right SEO strategy, you can even rank higher on search engines and become more popular online than these brands.

Though higher rankings on search engines are by no means a reflection of the actual authority, success, and scale of a business, most people have come to accept that if you rank near the top for some search results, your website can be trusted. You can also gain brand recognition and become a subject matter expert through your content creation and with the help of our link earning process.

You may take years to beat your established rivals for overall market share, but you can easily become a cult favourite online. With SEO, you can target the right niche, work towards building a brand for the long term, and do it all with a modest budget.

Try this. Google “get credit card” on Google.com.sg. You will find that one of ¬†the top results (if not first) is a small blog talking about money. There are some other blogs on the first page that are not easily recognisable brands. Wouldn’t you expect the big banks to dominate a term like “get credit card” ?

That’s the power of SEO. (and good content)

Some entrepreneurs when starting up, tend to neglect the importance of marketing. If your business has an online presence, all the more essential that you invest some time in SEO. It is becoming less of a good-to-have, and more of a must have.

Why else do you think startups should invest time in SEO? Share your thoughts in the comments below.