Treading the Backlinks Path

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Cropped image of the Wikipedia welcome page.

Cropped image of the Wikipedia welcome page.

Search engines have their own individual proprietary search algorithms. That is a purposely redundant statement. Regular internet users take search for granted, but internet marketers shake, mutter and ejaculate expletives with every news in search algorithm revisions. This on top of all the debatable things which marketers do.

Among the go-to tools in an internet marketers grab-bag is what’s called the backlinks.

As an activity, backlinking has been hovering between white-hat (organic backlinks) and blackhat (massive backlinking). Simply put, backlinking is the creation of links on other websites which point back to the promoted site. It can be done organically, through blog sharing and article mentions. It can also be done as a separate activity by creating profiles on sites which allow for member registration, as well as in blog commenting, and forum posts. For an effective backlink, the link should be a do-follow, where clicking on the text link would open the promoted URL on a new page.

There was a time when backlinks were in vogue. The idea was that search engines would index websites and count links to other websites. These links would be indexed and those with more backlinks would rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). The thinking was that a page with more backlinks would have more credibility because there are more sites which mention it. However, because internet marketers made too much use of this strategy, effectively they were spamming sites with backlinks. This resulted in SERPs which showed those sites which had the most backlinks. Internet users were then forced to skip the first page or two of the SERPs, in order to get to the more relevant web pages.

As an aside, I once had a client who wanted to have his website appear on the second page.

Google has since revised their algorithm to take into account backlink spamming. If a website suddenly has a spike in backlinks, then it is supposedly penalized. It seems that the backlinks weight is no longer included in computing for the page rank.

There are still a lot of openly available backlink pages which assure product credibility. One of which is Wikipedia. If you can get your product listed in Wikipedia, with their strict standards, and multiple references, then you have a solid product with a solidly credible backlink. This, to me, is the Mt. Everest of backlinks.

If a lot of the above statements seem conjectural, it’s because it is. Internet marketers can only deduce the direction of Google search algorithms. They don’t know what the code does, and they can only surmise what Google wants to happen. The only way for anyone to understand the algorithms is with the SERPs. A lot of internet marketing websites are affected everytime Google changes their algorithm. It then becomes an exercise in trial-and-error, in trying to find a strategy which works. This results in different opinions about different strategies.

Nowadays, the thinking is that backlinks work, but only if it is done slowly. Making a massive number of backlinks would spook off Google and penalize the website. However, if the backlinks are built up slowly, Google would not notice and think the backlinks are all created organically. There is, however, no consensus as to what the magic number is.

In addition, there are some instances where massive backlinking matters, simply because everyone in the market niche is doing it, or because the internet marketers don’t care if they are not mentioned or indexed on Google.

For SEO campaigns where ranking on SERPs is the goal, this is very important. Backlinks still matter.

For pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns, there is the opinion that backlinks don’t matter. Those employees tasked with PPC campaigns sometimes believe that SEO campaigns are outdated. Backlinkers (those employees tasked to do backlinks) have no answer to that accusation. Personally, I believe that PPC will not get anywhere unless there is some form of organic SEO and social media or social networking campaign in the background.

A typical PPC campaign would show an ad on the SERP, which is related to the keyword. My point is that if an ad appears on the top of the page, and tagged as an ad, and yet there is no link to it in the SERP, there is no credibility for the ad.

A case in point, if an ad appears stating that it is the best selling skin whitening soap, and yet I don’t see it in the first page of the SERP, I would have to question the credibility of the blurb.

Change.org Magcommute Online Campaign

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Magcommute Petition campaign

Change.org Magcommute campaign page

I’ve recently started promoting a site called change.org. Specifically, there’s a campaign on that site petitioning government officials to commute to work. Or in the case of President Benigno Aquino III, to ride the public transport at least once a month. He lives and works in the Presidential Palace and there’s no need for him to leave the place to go to work. He can work from home if he wants to.

As I was saying, change.org has about a hundred petitions asking different local and national government officials to take the bus, jeep or train to work. On the surface, this looks like a quixotic quest as there is no reason these public servants should accede to the petitions. They have access to government vehicles with allotted fuel budgets which they can use for whatever purpose they want. They do not have to justify their use of these vehicles.

The problem with mass transit in the Philippines is inadequacy and lack of focus. In Metro Manila there are an estimated ten million people living or working within its boundaries. This number includes those who live outside of the metropolis but work or study in the city. About 80% of the population do not have their own vehicles and have to commute.

There is a mass transit system built around three light rail lines. There are at least two light rail commuter lines set to start construction soon. There is a new elevated rail line connecting Clark and Manila. There is also the continuation of the Skyway project connecting the South Luzon Expressway with the North Luzon Expressway.

What these new projects will do would be to make it convenient to for commuters to get to the city. What THAT would result in would be a lot more people commuting to Metro Manila. Meantime, travel within the city will continue to depend on the existing light rail, buses, jeeps, and UV shuttle vans.

There is no space for road widening, and no space for new roads. The traffic is expected to worsen and then worsen some more. After it gets worse, it will get a lot worse.

Government officials have not been seen doing anything about the ordinary citizen’s daily plight. Commuting is a hardship for a lot of people. For office workers it could take up to two hours to get to the office. Some spend a total of as much as six hours daily getting to and from work.

The petitions aim to get public officials to experience firsthand the daily stress of the commute. There may be small chance of that but it is a way for citizens to express their disgruntlement before things get ugly.

Words and Meanings – Differences between SEO, social media, social networking, internet marketing, and others

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Sesame seeds are ground by dinners at Yabu to start off the service.

We found Yabu through the social media and passed through social networking sites. It’s fun to find new things as recommendations in blogs.

 

There are a lot of things to know about search engine optimization, internet marketing, online reputation management and so many other buzz words which are related to internet technologies and tools. The lack of understanding of these technologies and strategies have given rise to a new and distinct field in marketing. It has also created that most hallowed internet personalities, the internet marketing guru and the SEO master.

I say bollocks to those terms. The reason I say that is because for the most part, the only thing these people will agree on is how to gauge if something works. The important questions are “Did the rankings rise?” or “Was there an increase in sales with the larger online visibility?” If the answer is “yes” then whatever strategy they implemented works, if not, then it didn’t. The problem is that given a room full of gurus and masters, there would be two rooms full of contradicting ideas.

If you attend a seminar by a guru, what you most probably will get would be two days of introduction to ideas and techniques. If you map out those ideas, you would end up with a whole new section of people to do the work. You’re a one man entrepreneur working out of your home and you need that many people to promote your brand. Crazy, right?

In truth, there is no single correct answer. There is no single strategy which will work for all situations. At the end of the day, you have to understand what you want to happen, and also understand the theories, terminologies and strategies, but you do not need to use them all. I prefer one strategy, but if the client wants some other approach, and I see there’s no harm in it, it’s okay by me. I know it will work, sooner or later.

To begin with, all these terminologies are not the same thing. Neither are they exclusive of one another. When someone says that SEO no longer works, and that PPC works better, that guy is an idiot who doesn’t know that PPC is an SEO method. I don’t want to go there, that is an advanced topic. Very debatable.

Internet marketing is simply marketing using ideas, concepts and tools which work online. It means no billboards. It means that online ads are used differently from TV ads. The videos may be the same as TV ads, but these are used differently.

SEO is a goal. It is also a set of guidelines. It is also what a strategy is called. It is also the platform or environment. It starts with the rules search engines use to come up with their search results, going up to tricks and hacks, and simple things employed by practitioners to rank on those search engines.

Online reputation management (ORM) uses SEO techniques to manage reputations on the web. It could be organic and natural as if you were chronicling your life. It could be paid, like buying all the adwords for a particular keyword on Google.

Social media are web sites where various electronic media are shared. Social networking sites are where people get connected to other people. Depending on the social media site, these people may or may not know each other beforehand. They just need to connect and network, that’s why they are on the social networking website. If the primary reason of a website is to share a particular type of media (drawings, paintings, short stories, songs, speeches, music, pictures)¬†to the public, then most probably that’s a social media site. If the site mostly is about allowing people interacting with other people, like sharing, commenting, chatting, online real-time videos, etc, then it most probably is a social networking site.

Web 2.0 is like the old Web (beta) just more interactive, and more responsive to the users.

So the first question is what do you want to promote? The follow up question is where do you want this to happen and what kind of people do you want this to happen with?

You want to promote a soap? What kind of soap? What kind of people do you want to reach? Where do you want to reach them? Rather, how do you want them to reach you?

Hold that thought, and think about it.