Review of James Schramko’s “How to destroy your website for $5”

English: In Car Footage from a Van Diemen RF01...

English: In Car Footage from a Van Diemen RF01 driven by Micheal Fitzgerald Cork Racing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My first take on James’s article was frustration…I mis-guessed his intention – I thought he was referring to fiverr.  Was I wrong.

“So I’ve seen an alarming trend when we get to do website reviews. Sometimes, we see figures that just don’t add up. Now, if our team of Research and Development officers can detect that a website has got unnatural trends then I’m sure that Google can too. So what am I talking about here?

What can you get for $5?

If you go along to some of the very popular sites where you can buy services from around, let’s say $5, you’ll see that you can now order 70,000 YouTube views for just $5. You can get 20,000 backlinks for just $5. You can get in front of 151,000 Twitter users for just $5. You can get 10 EDU backlinks, full follow, for just $5.”

James couldn’t be more right on this one…there is no excuse for leveraging cheap labor and cheap sites to get “ahead”.  I have been in organizations where they tried to use tricks and gimmicks to get rankings, and it worked for a little while.  Then – it crashed.  hard.

So listen to James:  “we do is everything by hand. We hand research. We hand create the content. We hand place it on carefully curated and looked-after sites, not spammy junky sites. So that’s what we do that’s different and I’m assuring you that there’s a big difference between cheap and good.”

If you argree – check out his blag at

Do old domains have any advantage from newer sites?

1959 Microwave

1959 Microwave (Photo credit: SportSuburban)

People often times talk about new domains – and how soon will Google index the site…but what about the old websites and its pages and previous rankings, how does that apply to what Google is doing?  What are the algorithm updates doing to those older domains?

If you have not updated your website since before Y2K – you probably have some updates to do to your website.

Matt Cutts talks about Old Domains

The fact is – most older sites tend to put the page creation process on “cruise control” at times.  The same vigor that got you to the top of the rankings in “the old days” with your seasoned, older domain – has much of the same value today…sometimes even more.

“The advice that I can gives you as the owner of the site that has been around for 14 years is to take a fresh look at your site. A lot of time if you land on your site and you land on a random website from the search results, even if they have been in business for 14-15 years, sometime the haven’t updated their template or their page layout or anything in years, and it looks like, frankly, a stale older site, and that sort of thing where users might not be as happy about that.”
Matt Cutts – Google

So basically – fight to stay number one or in the top ten.  Be hungry like these new site people are being.  You have to continue to push out new content, look at social sharing, new ways to do things – essentially you need to have your old domain stay current.  Old domain doesn’t mean you have to do “old” things with it.

If the site you are running is a WordPress site – there are tons of new, fresh themes out there to give you old site a new look.  If you’re not WordPress – many of the other platforms are doing the same.

Are links from article directories with relevant content OK?

Not that long ago – the main way to get more traffic to your website was using links…they were (and still are) the commodity of the web.  Now there are questions if you can still get/use without penalty links from relevant content in article directories and if that is seen as good or bad in Google’s eyes.

Matt Cutts talking about links from article directories:

Matt basically says the quality of the link directories has been on the decline.  I think Google’s ability to detect has just gotten better – many of these have been garbage for a long time.

“An article directory is basically where you write several hundred words of content and then you include a little bio or some information about you at bottom of the article, and you might have, say, three links with keyword rich anchor text at the bottom of that article. Then, you submit that to a bunch of what is know as ‘Article Directories’ which then anybody can download or pay to download them and they use them on their own website.”
Matt Cutts

These were a precursor to guest blogging, and people would search for keyworded content and if they found it – many use it or link to it on their site.  With all good things – it started out with good intentions and was essentially spammed away.

Google's Server Error page

Google’s Server Error page (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of the time – article directories are just poor man’s PR tools – where same amounts of copy and content are spread wildly over the internet.  Sometimes this was multiplied by auto-posting-bots which could literally post the article to thousands of blogs all over the world.

It appears Google has become wise to the auto-posters and it will be almost impossible to get SEO traction with ideas like these.  So – in conclusion, from a white hat perspective…probably a bad idea.


The Evolution Of SEO

Evolution: The Origin of Species

Evolution: The Origin of Species (Photo credit: MeoplesMagazine)

SEO: Search Engine Optimization – The art (or magic) of getting ones site listed in the search engines atop the organic search.  I sit back and reflect when there were many search engines to optimize for.  Alta Vista, InfoSeek (which became Go), AOL, MSN, Excite, HotBot, Ask Jeeves, Lycos, All the Web, WebCrawler, Dogpile, Mamma and Yahoo, I think I got them all. Those were the good ol days.

Then it started the wicked web of who was feeding who, which engine merged with who.  Which engine folded, which engine was bought out.  Back then SEO was fun in the sense you had so many choices to optimize for.  If something did not work for one engine it might have worked for another.

Submitting to the search engines had to be done manually.  Meta KeyWords actually mattered.  Keyword stuffing was OK.  There was no Florida Update, Panda Or Penguin.  The life of an SEO was pretty easy and simple.  Create sites but in some keywords and see what happens.  If that did not work tweak and see what happens then.  It was fast and dirty.

Social media did not matter.  No one cared if you were an “authority” site.  Then it happened, a multi-colored sensation – Blue, Red, Yellow, Blue, Green Red – GOOGLE.  It became a household name.  Like Xerox, and Band-Aid, you now are going to Google something which now mean do a search.   People would watch this engine grow and grow.

Google would make us watch it dance and update from Florida to Penguin to Panda.  The face of SEO would change and change in a big way.  Slowly the engines would disappear fading into the sunset.  Many of us wish there was more players in the game, one has emerged and sort of making little wave called Duck-Duck-Go.  Maybe this is the start of more engines to come.

SEO has changed in many ways now it is all about the user experience.  Well written content, link diversity, high quality content and to be an authority on your topic. It is all about the end user.  No more Google bombing, no more keyword stuffing, no more meta keywords, no more doorway pages you actually have to make a webpage that makes sense.  Many people have written articles about SEO being dead.  SEO is far from dead it is just evolving and SEO practitioners have to evolve with it.

SEO has changed from the old days but many new factors are still included, social media, content writing, link building authorship and many other factors to make SEO more “real”.

We all sit back and what for the next big thing but until that comes we have to wait for the next big update.  What will it be called, Polar Bear, Seagull or maybe they should go to wrestlers, The Hulk Hogan Update would be awesome.

SEO went from many engines to optimize for to optimizing for two Google and Bing.  Let’s see what the future brings.  My fingers are crossed

+ Stu Lieberman has been doing SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for over 15 years and has optimized sites from the top debt consolidation companies to large ecommerce sites.   Stu takes pride in his SEO work and is always atop the latest trends in the SEO and internet marketing world.

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Why does my site need SEO – Part 2/2


telescope (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this second post about “why does my site need SEO” and issues that might prevent you from ranking better, we’ll start with one of the most underestimated mistakes that webmasters make.

Why does my site need SEO? – Part 2

  • Failing to understand how Google prioritizes links.
    Here is a typical scenario for most websites: two links to the home page on the upper part of the site, one from the clickable logo and one from the navigation bar, the latter with the anchor “Home.”These links appear on all the pages, and make navigation easier, as they allow users to go back to the home page regardless of where they are.However, which one of those two links will Google prioritize? As we found out, this is what happens:

    • If you have only one link to a given URL, and it’s embedded in an image with an ALT attribute, Google will use it as anchor text
    • If you have two URLs in the same page, one as an image and the other as text, Google will prioritize the latter, regardless of its position or the ALT tag of the image link.

    Forget about the dear old “Home” as anchor text then, and try to use a more descriptive one. Also, remember two more things when it comes to links:

    • Google prefers HTML over Javascript
    • If the first link uses the rel=”nofollow” attribute, that will block the crawling of the second one, even if it’s not nofollow.

    The safe bet is to make sure that the first link to a URL is a keyword-rich text, as it will have priority in Google’s eyes on any other URL that might come further down in the page.

  • Moving to a different URL without letting Google know.
    If you are moving an entire site to a new URL, what happens to all the old backlinks, and how can you avoid losing your hard-earned Page Rank? The solution is a Google tool for webmasters, called Change of Address Form, whose purpose is to inform the search engine that your site has moved. On top of that, you want to put permanent redirections (called 301) from the old pages to the corresponding ones in the new site.The difference  between the tool and the 301 is that the first provides the information about the change at site level, whereas the latter is for single pages, but it definitely won’t hurt to use both (in fact, Google recommends it), and for two reasons:
    • The PageRank from the old URL will be passed on to the new one
    • Users that visit the old URL directly, from a bookmark, old backlinks or by typing it on the address bar, will be led to your new site, without getting the infamous “Page not found” response.
  • Building slow loading pages.
    Last but not least, don’t forget that users want speed, and so does Google. A slow-loading page will affect you negatively in two waysIf you use Adwords to promote your site, a high loading time will lower your Quality Score, resulting in higher Cost Per Click of your ads and a less favorable placement

    Whether you use Adwords or not, slowness will bring you down in the rankings.

So, do you still think you don’t need an SEO guy?   These should be some good reasons why does my site need SEO.

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