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Of Spam and Sandboxes
About a month ago I had the privilege of giving a demo of the next version of Sonic Page Blaster to the attendees at Yanik Silver's "Underground Online Marketing Seminar". I fielded a couple questions afterwards that bear a better treatment than I could manage on the spur of the moment and in less than 60 seconds.
Q: If we create "feeder" sites that point to our main sales page or "money site", won't they be adversely affected by Google's sandbox?
A: Let's first define what we mean by the "Google sandbox". Over the last seven months or so it has become apparent that new web sites do not tend to show as high a page rank as older established sites. The reason for this is not a raw prejudice against new sites. According to my sources, it is instead an attempt by the search engine giant to discount the effect of reciprocal linking, especially paid linking. If links cost you money and they have no immediate effect, chances are most people will abandon the practice.
And that's exactly what Google is hoping for. Frankly, I understand and support this move. The reason is that Google's motives and mine coincide. Google is trying to make sure they return the most relevant and highest quality results available for a given search term. If I have the most relevant and authoritative web site for a given subject that encompasses those same search terms, I want Google to return my results at the top of the heap. I don't want spammy link farms to change this.
The key is quality. Really, over time, the best search engine marketing strategy is to create a killer web site. Wouldn't it be nice if all the energy we direct towards search engine optimization could instead be focused on the quality of our web site? Google feels the same way, believe me, and the refinements they make to their alogorithms are designed to move in that direction. For that reason alone, the quality and focus of your web site is your best long-term SEO play.
Q. Could automatically generated web pages be penalized as "spam" by search engine spiders?
A. I call Sonic Page Blaster "SPB" a lot, and I definitely don't think of the "S" as standing for "spam". On the contrary, Sonic Page Blaster simply saves you time in creating search engine-friendly web pages that contain really good articles that pertain exactly to the content of your web site. No "automatic" content system can find the content that best fits your niche. You need to either write or find the articles that will help your web site visitors or subscribers the most. I know that a few of the seminar attendees I talked to had spam-filled stars in their eyes when they saw SPB churn out a bunch of pages at the push of a button.
Trust me, you don't want to go there. Google will eventually punish you in a big way.
Here are some rules that I believe will not only help your search rankings, but also drive the right kind of traffic to your primary web site (at the seminar Jeff Johnson called these "money pages").
1. Do not post duplicate content at multiple web sites, especially if you own them all, if they are on the same server, and if they link to each other. SPB makes it so easy to generate article mini-sites, why would you want to duplicate content, anyway? With SPB you have a huge advantage over those who have to manually create web pages. Use your advantage. Create many web sites that focus on narrow subject matters, each having their own set of articles.
Worried about duplicate content and potential search engine punishment? Good. You should be. Don't do it.
Ah, but what about duplicate content on other people's web sites? If they don't link to you, you don't have anything to worry about. I'll save a further explanation about that for later, but I don't believe it makes sense for Google to punish you for something that is not giving you any advantage. Besides, they understand content syndication. Google's developers and designers are anything but stupid.
2. Your money site does not necessarily need to be extremely narrowly focused on a few key words, but your feeder sites should be. For example, I will soon be starting a web site for those folks trying to develop an online business in their spare time. That is, they hold down a regular job and do this stuff at night. The site is called MidnightMarketer.com and it is not live yet (but the sign-up page works). Anyway, that will be one of my "money sites". It will cover a plethora of topics related to internet marketing, time management, technology, and even health.
In order to "feed" it potential customers, I am also developing "feeder" sites that will focus on each of those more focused topics. The feeder sites will contain as many highly focused articles on their subject matter as I can find. My goal is that the search engines will (rightly) see them as quite valuable and relevant results for some important search terms. Then visitors will see the links and ads for MidnightMarketer and head on over. I can even make a little money off those that don't click through to MidnightMarketer.com, thanks to Adsense ads mixed into each page by Sonic Page Blaster.
3. Don't use reciprocal links, especially between your feeder sites and your money page. Yes, I know that flies in the face of conventional wisdom. But try to understand Google's motivations--that is the key to predicting what they will eventually do. They understand that one-way links are usually more meaningful than reciprocal links, which are often just trades between webmasters. A one-way link usually points to something useful.
OK, I'll back off on this just a little: When you can, get one-way links. When there is no other choice, reciprocate. And yes, you can be sure Google keeps track of all links into and out of a web site.
4. Do use a blog, hopefully even more than one. Blogs don't have to be on your server(s), they're not owned by you, and it is going to drive Google's software gurus nuts trying to sort the wheat from the chaff in the blogging world. Even though I support Google in most things, it is kinda fun to do something that makes them a little crazy. [I mean that in a good way, Sergei.]
== Rossaroni, no baloney ==
Copyright 2005 Ross Lambert
Beware Of Spam Withdrawals
Q: I am so sick of all the spam that is sent to my business email address. I spend an hour every morning just trying to sort out the good email from the bad. I know I could just delete it all, but I'm afraid I'll accidentally delete email that might be important to my business. Short of unplugging my computer, what's the best solution for dealing with spam?
Eight Quick Tips For Stopping SPAM
If you are buried in SPAM then you're not alone. It's been suggested that as much as 50% to 75% of the e-mail traffic on any given day is SPAM. Reading through SPAM is a waste of your time and it subjects you to potential viruses, trojan horses, and sexual material which can be quite offensive. Here are some tips on how to win the SPAM war:
Evict the Spammers from Your Inbox
Block Spam and Other Email Threats From Entering Your Gateway Spam, commonly defined as unsolicited commercial email, is a powerful advertising channel for many products and services. As a result, spamming has become a profitable business, driven by the low cost of sending email compared to other direct marketing techniques. The high return on investment for spammers has resulted in an overwhelming volume of unwanted messages in personal and business email boxes. Consider this: Conducting a direct mail campaign costs an average of $1.39 per person, meaning that a response rate of 1 in 14 is necessary just to break even on a product with a $20 gross profit. Selling the same item via unsolicited spam email costs only $0.0004 per person, meaning that a response rate of 1 in 50,000 gets the seller back to break-even; anything above that is gravy. With profit margins like these, it's easy to see why spammers will try anything to get past anti spam technology to deliver their messages to your inbox.
Ignoring These Tips Could Result in an Inbox Full of Spam
Although there still seem to be some differences among the US Government, the lawmakers, the anti-spam organizations and the spammers regarding what is spam and what is not, identifying it is actually pretty easy: if you did not ask for it, you did not sign up on a mailing list related to it, and did not leave your e-mail address on a web form asking for more information on it?it's spam! The spam issue is not about content, but solely about delivery method. The content of spam is and has always been irrelevant.
Kill The Messenger (Service)
You are familiar with the software applications that you run on your computer, but you may not be familiar with the dozens of programs running in the background on your computer. These programs, called "services" handle tasks like event logging, spooling files to the printer, and networking. One of these services, the Messenger Service, can be reconnoitered by spammers.
Spasms & Spamocidal Mania
Below is a letter I wrote to the following organizations:
Spam - Its Whats For Breakfast
The first thing I do every morning when I wake up is head for my computer. It holds the secrets to my day. I read my e-mails from several accounts, check my schedule on my Outlook calendar and even find out how much money I can spend that day from my bank's Web site. I'd be lost without my computer.
Internet Tip of the Week: Cease and Desist
While we all admit that unsolicited commercial email is a real pain, I sometimes wonder if the anti-spam zealots are going too far. Last week I was in Costa Rica, and the only practical way to communicate home was by email. I maintain an AOL account just for that purpose when traveling, and was amazed to find out when I got home, that I only received about half of the email which was sent - some of which was important.
The Cybermagic of Whitelists
Before we start getting deep into the meat of this article it's important to explain some standard terminology to make sure the rest of this article makes sense.
The Fastest Delete Finger in the Midwest!
There are hundreds of thousands of people who are trying to make an honest living on the Internet these days. The Internet is a great opportunity for starting your own business. There is not a lot of start-up cost, you can reach the whole world from a small corner of your own house, and the income can be exceptional.
Lockspam Free 3.0 Released!
6 August, 2004: Polesoft Inc., home of Professional anti spam software, announced today that Lockspam Free 3.0 (see also Lockspam Pro 3.0 in the end) is now available.
Spam with Typos: Why Do They All Have Spelling Errors?
A friend asked me: I don't get it. Why do spammers have such a hard time spelling things properly? I get mail trying to sell me "viagggra", increase my "brest" size, or save me money accessing "pr0n" sites or buying "seks toys". Even more puzzling, there are plenty of spam messages where it takes me a few minutes to even figure out what the subject actually is, with subjects like "sa vem oneyo n vviiiaaagra" or similar. What's the story? Why can't these people use a spell checking program??
Do You Know Whats in Your Trash?
A hearty welcome to all the spam fighting filters and programs created to rescue us from the deluge of unwanted e-mail! There is practically a "solution" for everything. But as with most online "solutions" filters and programs are only tools that users need to make some effort to use properly to reap the benefits.
Are You A Spam Zombie?
Over the past few years you've all become familiar with the terms spam, spam filter, whitelists, blacklists and a whole myriad of other terminology associated with the problem of spam. You now have to add a new and extremely worrying phrase to that list - spam zombie.
How Can I Stop Getting Spam?
Are you getting too much spam? We all are, but if you're a webmaster the word spam takes on a whole new meaning.
A War on SPAM: Attacking The Evil
As most small, medium and large businesses in this country have seen the SPAM Emails have hurt our productivity and caused excessive costs.
How To Stop Spam (Especially If You?re Already a Victim)
Spam. Those annoying, time-consuming emails that clog your Inbox and ruin your day. You wonder: How did it ever get so bad? While it's not possible to completely eliminate spam, there are quite a few things you CAN do about the problem to reduce your burden.
Customers Demand Internet Privacy
... and you'd better sit up and take notice! Customers concern over Internet privacy issues is on the rise, and for good reasons.
What Is Spam?
If you've been around the interenet any length of time then you probably know what spam is. However, if you're new to the internet you might be asking yourself the question "What is Spam?"
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