We have exciting news! Our little domain, complete with brand new CMS and updated content, has been cached by Google! The Search Team at Oxiem is very excited, but at the same time we feel bad about our little domain: it never did anything to us and now we’re gonna destroy it. But boy are we having fun.
We decided to target four main keywords with our backlink campaign:
Currently, our domain does not rank for any of these keywords, which is no surprise because the plumbing industry is extremely competitive: some plumbing-related PPC ads are upwards of $50/click! Over the course of our experiment, we will buy a myriad of spammy backlinks with our keywords as the anchor text and see if we can get our site to rank for these keywords.
And Our Backlinks are Live!
We Googled “Black Hat Link Builder” and purchased our links, which ended up costing about 0.5 cents/link: not a bad deal!! (Of course this is a terrible idea. NEVER DO THIS: you’ll kill your site! We’re trained professionals, never do this at home.) After a few days of nail-biting uncertainty, in exchange for 1 easy payment of exactly $45, we received 10,013 backlinks! And these links are baad. We’re talking Russian directories, completely unrelated content, you get the idea.
Our site is cached, and our 10,013 links are live. Now we watch the SERPs to see what happens. Stay tuned!
(We can’t post the name of our site, because we don’t want Google making the connection between our SEO efforts and our domain name. If you want to check out the site, comment below, and we’ll message the link to you.)
Written by bsterzenbach | February 28, 2012 3:09 pm
Update. We’re seeing lots of news that Google is actually discounting certain link types. This is actually great news for real SEO.
What do WE See
We’re seeing traditional non-relevant links performing much more poorly as a result of this recent update. SEO folks from around the world are reporting the same results. The interesting thing is, forums, blogs,etc are still working GREAT where there is actual contextual relevance.
Work your social signals. Get on REAL message boards, get real clicks from real users.
Ah sweet deja-vu. I seems like it was only 8 years ago when Google announced how they would change the way links are handled. Wait – it WAS 8 years ago…
Alright, I might be exaggerating a bit, how about Hilltop refreshed?
Today Google announced MAJOR CHANGES to how they will be handling links moving forward. My professional opinion – I’ll believe it when I see it. This recent announcement looks like Hilltop redux with an emphasis on ignoring anchor text.
The changes that have the SEO community concerned are their ambiguous references to retooling how they handle links.
What does this mean for you?
Nothing. If you built your entire SEO campaign with anchor text optimized backlinks, at some point you might see a shift, but if you did “the other stuff” you will probably notice that the other guys who did more and possibly spammier link-building will be less of a threat.
Is Google Moving in the Right Direction?
I don’t know. If you look at their PPC philosophy (basic economics will police search results) then link-building follows that model to the letter and should be fine for their results. Think about it like this, in PPC, quality of results are controlled by the bidding system – ostensibly people won’t place high bids for keywords unless they bring high-quality visits, meaning they will not spam the results as it’s economically silly to do so. The same philosophy should apply to link-builders. Why would a site spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on links only to bring non-targeted visitors? The real question we should be asking is “what’s wrong with basing SERPs on inbound links?”.
What should you do?
I’d say sit tight. If you’re building spammy links, you should have stopped doing that about 12 years ago anyway. If you’re building questionable links, let’s wait and see if Google really starts to disregard them. You’ll see it in your traffic soon enough.
Written by jordanlink | February 23, 2012 12:38 pm
“I got an email promising that my website could get high organic rankings in a short time for $39.99. Does this work??”
At Oxiem, we have this conversation almost daily. Here’s our answer: the only way that these (spammy) SEO companies could guarantee ranking success is by pointing a multitude (we’re talking thousands) of spammy backlinks from dirty, low-quality websites at your domain.
We of course advise you to never, ever enlist these (spammy) SEO companies to “help” your site.
The Consequences of Bad SEO
Google places a high value on backlinks, viewing them as “votes” that proclaim the relevance and authority of your site: more backlinks=higher authority of your site=higher rankings (not that simple, but you get the idea.)
It is very dangerous to try to “game” Google’s Algorithm with spammy backlinks, because if the GoogleBot can make the connection that you are trying to circumvent the system, Google will penalize you immediately.
“Sandboxing” or “Negative Fifty”
This is the first consequence of bad SEO: “sandboxing” involves dropping your site immediately to anywhere from Page 4 – Page 6, no matter how well you used to rank for your keywords. This is to punish you for perceived bad SEO practices and prevents you from being rewarded with high ranking while Google evaluates the authenticity of your SEO efforts. Nothing you do will help you get unburied, and your site will stay in the “sandbox” anywhere from 3 – 6 months.
If Google figures out that you are trying to “game” the system, they might just de-index your site, which is essentially SEO death. (De-indexing: taking your site out of the Google index, which means your site can no longer be found using the Google search engine.)
If your website is de-indexed, there is a grinding, lengthy re-inclusion process, which can be costly to your company since you are getting zero organic traffic from Google in the meantime.
Yes it’s risky, yes it’s dangerous, but can bad SEO actually work?? We’re going to find out.
Oxiem purchased a domain that has great age (8 years) and no flags against it. (To avoid any connection with Oxiem, we can’t list the domain here, but comment below and we’ll send you a link. Over the course of this experiment, you should be able to figure out which domain we’re targeting, based on the keywords we’ll be trying to rank for.) We’re going to use all the terrible SEO practices that we’ve been advising against for years, and we can’t wait to see what happens.
We’re looking forward to learning from this experiment, and ultimately trying to kill our little domain. Stay tuned!
Written by crystalolig | February 20, 2012 11:34 am
The makings of a viral video — you just never know what is going to be a hit.
Last Friday we posted a fun, silly video we did as part of our weekly huddles at Oxiem. Usually huddles involve talking about cool new digital campaigns we’ve seen, sites with features we love, brainstorming app ideas, or finding ways to connect ideas from packaging or environmental design into web design.
This video came out of an effort to get up and get moving instead of sitting around a table talking. We discovered that no one had yet made a video from the (yes, already passe) “Sh*t People Say” internet meme for our home city of Columbus, Ohio.
We also have some pretty darn funny people and a camera — why not, we figured?
Today, four days later, the video that had 56 views on Friday morning (us and our moms) has more than 12,000 views[Update: Six days later and we're up to more than 25,000 views] and more likes than dislikes. We’ve gotten notes from friends at the chamber, clients from all different industries, potential hires and even a few competitors, all with positive comments. And of course, like anything you post on the internet, we received some criticism as well.
Were we a little scared to put ourselves out there? Of course, we’re people. Were we careful in what made it past the cutting room floor? Of course, we put our company’s name on it.
What did it teach us that we can use when we counsel clients who want to really get out there online?
Remember that it is never easy to put yourself, your ideas and your company online for all to see and comment on. We do it every day for clients and that sensitivity is easy to forget.
Find a reason to use your in-house talent to do something extraordinary, maybe for no better reason than the fact that you can. You never know who will be interested.
Sharing corporate culture (even if it’s a little wacky) can be a good thing.
We wrote the script over lunch, so we certainly left some things out. Columbus folks, what did we forget?
Written by billyfischer | January 31, 2012 9:25 am
Oxiem’s Newest Launch Showcases Wide Range of Capabilities
Oxiem recently had the chance to work with Twenty First Century Communications, one of the nation’s largest mass text or notification providers in the world, on the launch of their newest product. AlertFirst is a mass notification system for businesses, organizations, teams and more. Oxiem had the opportunity to lead a comprehensive program including:
Research, strategy and naming
Logo & brand development
Website design & development
Search marketing (SEO & SEM)
Social media strategy
HubSpot landing page integration
Our team worked with TFCC to develop a name and brand identity that would stand out in the cluttered space. After exploring many name options, domain availability and passing the test of the legal department, we settled on “AlertFirst.” As for overall identity, many of the competitors were either too techie or too playful. We wanted the identity to communicate simplicity and speed with a clean, professional image.
Because the website will serve as a large lead funnel for AlertFirst, the overall user experience design was extremely important. Using our experience in SEO and lead generation, we designed the website to convert. Visitors are immediately presented with the opportunity to test a call or sign-up for 25 free credits. In addition, we’ve designed multiple PPC landing pages, which will be even more focused based on the searcher’s behavior.
With the help of our talented friends at OnScene Productions we were able to create a video that captures all the possibilities of AlertFirst. This video will be utilized in multiple ways across multiple mediums.
Written by bsterzenbach | January 17, 2012 2:46 pm
Just got off the phone with our Google rep and he told me about a site I had not yet heard of. Google has recently released a pretty interesting site – ThinkWithGoogle.com. This site contains some pretty interesting facts, insights, and trends. I’ve been perusing their platform stats page:
Some interesting facts:
71% of smartphone users have searched after seeing an ad.
53% of searchers purchase as a result of a smartphone search.
70% of smartphone users use their device while shopping in-store. I have to say I’m included in this stat.
Only 33% of advertisers have a mobile optimized website.
If you provide industrial services in Ohio, you’ve heard of fracking. If you’ve not heard of it, here you go.
What’s this got to do with search?
The search trends we’re seeing in exclusively the Cleveland and Columbus area are staggering. Take a look at the chart below. This is the number of searches for the term “fracking” that have taken place in Cleveland within the last 30 days. Searches for fracking have over doubled.
Why Should I Care?
If you provide any services that support this technology, you need to investigate a geo-targeted search campaign promoting your services. I’m thinking mechanical services, hydraulic services, mobile repair, lubricants, etc. If you’re not in the industrial services/supplies sector, you should also be thinking “what do guys out there doing this need day to day?”. Here we can get into mobile food services, lodging, and much much more.
Large, geo-centric spikes such as this one offer an incredible opportunity for those who are tuned in. We can help you monitor these signals and give you the intelligence you need to capitalize.
Written by bsterzenbach | December 24, 2011 10:40 am
While not a new technology, NFC is gaining popularity through adoption in more devices. In addition to the organic buzz that comes with any tech, NFC got a recent pub-push through Apple’s apparent snub of the technology in the 4s. Apple will certainly be including NFC in upcoming devices, but the recent disappointment brought the technology back in the spotlight.
NFC is essentially Bluetooth without the pairing process. You could also say it’s two-way RFID. Yes, these are over-generalizations, so if you want more info, you know where to find it.
What do You Need to Know About NFC?
It’s going to enable more “wallet” technologies and enable quick and easy sharing of “light” data. It’s a relatively slow technology, so only suitable for transactional exchanges such as contact info, purchases, notifications, etc – but it’s real power will be in its “a stranger is just a friend I’ve never met” perspective on communications.
Cool Uses for NFC
Tagging deals at storefronts. You could have your deals setup as NFC tags and passers-by could wave their devices to see any deals you’re offering. More sophisticated technology will emerge to allow you to see only deals that might interest you of course. No, I won’t be making the Minority Report reference, so you can stop watching for it.
Why Pay Attention Now?
I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing Near Field in the iPhone5. With this will come new apps that exploit the technology in ways we haven’t yet imagined. My suggestion – start imagining now.
Written by billyfischer | December 22, 2011 11:43 am
Are you using the best keywords to drive more potential customers to your website?
It’s no trade secret by now that the keywords your company’s web content contains make a big impact on whether potential customers find your business online—and ultimately whether you generate sales from web leads. Are you in the practice of regularly reevaluating your keywords to make sure you’re driving the right audience to your website?
Here are some quick tips for improving your keyword selection to match the terms your potential customers are using on search engines. Ask yourself:
1. What do we sell most?
Is there a specific model, style, design or brand that your company emphasizes? These could be important indicators to help you determine effective keywords. By pinpointing the products you sell in your keyword selection, you can eliminate the ones that are too broad.
Consider, for example, Aerospace Industry Company (AIC), which manufactures “Part-A.” Much of the content on AIC’s website is about airplanes, and when people search for “airplanes,” AIC ranks very high. However, we know that the vast majority of people who search for “airplanes” are not looking to buy Part-A. Instead, they may be looking to get an aviation license or read about aircraft history. Focusing on more specific keywords such as “Part-A” will help AIC rank higher in search engines for more relevant searches.
2. What keywords are our competitors using?
Doing some Google, Bing or Yahoo searches for the products that your competitors sell can provide some insight into what keywords you may want to rank for (another good place to start is the free Google Keyword Tool). This reconnaissance-style research method can help you guard against another common keyword mistake—focusing on phrases that are too specific.
Here’s another example: The primary product manufactured by Electronics Engineering Company (EEC) is a motherboard called the “JLS-5 chip.” Most of the content on EEC’s website refers to that part name, so when people search for the “JLS-5 chip,” EEC’s website comes up. However, most potential customers would simply search for “computer motherboard,” meaning that EEC should optimize their website to rank in search engines for the keyword that their potential customers are actually using.
3. Has the terminology our customers are using changed?
Have your products or services changed? Or are you targeting a new market or geographic area where keyword search terms may be different? If so, your website keywords should reflect these changes. (Google Insights is a free tool that allows you to compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories and timeframes.)
Feeling overwhelmed? Oxiem Interactive can help you conduct advanced keyword research and site evaluation to help you determine exactly what keywords your company should be targeting in 2012. Contact us today for a free search marketing analysis. We look forward to helping you make 2012 a record sales year!