SEO “Snake Oil”

You know what snake oil was, it was a 1920’s patent medicine that supposedly offered miracle cures and was frequently sold at exorbitant prices. Now, we have the FDA to protect us, but the very idea of “snake oil” has moved into the search engine optimization market.

If you don’t think that there are companies selling supposedly miracle traffic generation schemes, think again!  Then, there are other firms that simply persuade buyers to pay for services that may provide questionable results. Here are just two of the tactics that I have seen in just the last month alone.

1. Doorway pages created by a firm in India for traffic generation. When confronted with the technique, the firm stated that it was a rogue programmer who had installed them and that they were not providing the service knowingly. There were over 100 doorway pages on the client’s server and each page had clearly taken hours upon hours to create. Do I believe that this was an oversight? No, it clearly was a thought out and comprehensive plan.

2. Directory pages supposedly for link exchanges created by a service firm located in Baltimore, Maryland. On closer look the pages content content with fake anchor text. The <a name> tag contained stuffed keywords and the keyword dense visible links went no where on the site or the web. Clearly an effort on the firms part to build bogus keyword density by using important anchor tags. When challenged on the validity of this approach the SEO “expert” said we are leaving those links as in the future we may actually find someone to link to.

When it comes to organic placement and search engine optimization, there is simply no replacement for great content, clean source code, and hard work. There is no “silver bullet” to get site traffic. Some of the tactics that we have seen implemented just this month may actually penalize you and not help you. Buyer Be Ware!


Finding Content For Your Blog

After you have been blogging for awhile one of the biggest problems becomes “where do you find things to write about?”

Here are several techniques that I personally use to find content for my own three blogs.

1. Start a note card and keep it with you when you are out and about. When you think of an idea jot it down. Some of my best ideas come to me while I am sitting watching my kids at a soccer game or sitting in a waiting room in the doctor’s office. Another great time is while I am walking on my treadmill. I keep a card and pencil there to jot down new ideas.

2. I have a list of 10 topics written in advance and I have broken them into my various blogs and if I need a topic, I just pick up my list and start writing. As most of my blogging is done first thing in the morning before I start work and coffee has not cleared all of the dust from my brain my advance topic list is a lifesaver.

3. Use Google News. When I have to write and I am totally tapped out, I go to Google News and enter my top keywords. There is always something in the news that pops out. Although I may not blog on that topic, sometime the article gives me a new topic, viewpoint, or spin-off idea.

4. Subscribe via feeds to at least one professionals forum in your industry. I can easily follow what is happening and is the buzz in my own industry by rapid scanning topics and the first 250 characters of the posts using My Live as my RSS feed portal. I like My Live as it has no ads and is totally customizable. This provides a wealth of content ideas and new topics.

5. Write ahead if you can on the weekend. If you are using WordPress, I have found that to write ahead on the weekend and set your blogs for a future publishing date help to keep the pressure off of you. When you blog from your topic list and publish ahead, blogging stays fun and easy.