Fair Use Law Demystified

“Fair use is a basic principle of copyright law that says the general public may use certain portions of a copyrighted work without a license from the copyright owner, provided the use is for purposes such as commentary, criticism, search engines, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving or scholarship.” Read the full article at SiteProNews.

So when are you crossing the line when it comes to using someone else’s content based on the Fair Use Law?

  1. Are you using this for a not for profit site that is mainly educational or research oriented? If yes, then you may be okay. If you are a commercial business using content under the Fair Use Law you are most likely actually infringing on the copyright and not eligible to claim Fair Use.
  2. If you have taken the full piece without attribution and link you are overstepping and ending up in a copyright infringement area. Even for a non-profit to take the full work is pushing the envelope. Better yet is to be safe and quote a section and link back to the full piece on the other website.
  3. The copyright owner may fight any supposed Fair Use so the best bet is to just be careful and not grab what is not yours.

Here is the rule we have our blog writers follow.

  • Never take more than a paragraph of content. Always wrap what  you take in a quote and then attribute or link back to the original work.
  • Never pass off, even mildly reworded as yours something that is not truly yours.

I have been successful before in taking down an entire website through the host for copyright infringement when people have taken my content. Don’t be fooled into thinking that content you find on the Web is simply yours for the taking. Everything is copyrighted whether you see a notice or not. Fair Use may be a slippery slope and it is by far better to create your own content or link to other content than to steal it.


Footer and Link Use The Google Penalizes For

In the changing world of earning placement on Google.com, Google has been fairly forthright in regards to what it now does not like and will actually penalize a website for doing. What is important to understand is that what Google does not now like was a mainstream SEO and commonly used tactic.

When you see a site that has things like this in the footer:

lemon lawyer Columbus Ohio, lemon lawyer Cleveland Ohio, lemon lawyer Akron Ohio, lemon lawyer Dayton Ohio, lemon lawyer Dublin Ohio, lemon lawyer Wabash Ohio, lemon lawyer Siteville Ohio, lemon lawyer Cincinnati Ohio, lemon lawyer Hamilton Ohio, lemon lawyer Arlington Ohio

AND each one of those phrases is linked to a page on that topic which has very little unique content other than a city location change in the content. You should know that Google has specifically said they DO NOT LIKE content or links formatted or used in this way.

Here is a site to review that is using this type of tactic as an illustration of what not to do.

Google is not penalizing for navigational links in your footer that look like this:

Home | About Us | Web Visibility | Google AdWords Services | Blog Writing

Google understands that you may need to repeat your navigation at the bottom to aid readers to travel your site, but it is the repetitive use of keywords, locations and search phrases that Google is disavowing and penalizing websites for using.

Here are a few sites that I have found that are really bending the rules on Google and may already be receiving a penalty for over optimization:

Make sure to read this great article over at SiteProNews for other great examples of what NOT to do.


Can You Still Place Organically on Google.com?

This is the million dollar question isn’t it? In today’s search arena can you and should you even work to improve organic placement or should you instead just concentrate on pay per click advertising. Personally, I think that the answer straddles both sides. This is what I recommend for organic placement and good website visibility.

Do Everything Right Consistently

  • That means improve the quality of your content on your website. Write with your reader in mind.
  • Make sure you are blogging under your own domain so you get the spider benefits.
  • Look to add new articles, white papers, and thoughtful insights regularly to your website pages.
  • Syndicate some of your content on article syndication sites.
  • Do a monthly e-newsletter and archive it back on your website.
  • Get going with social media and try to become an active part of a community.

Invest in Pay Per Click Advertising

  • Put money into Google AdWords. Don’t break the bank, but make sure you have a presence and are using it to your advantage.
  • Make sure you are using conversion tracking and have phone calling enabled with your programs.

You’ve just got to cover your bases in this changing world of search engines. You simply can’t go wrong with these approaches, they are simply sure to pay off in the long run in regards to organic placement, link building, and website visibility.


Why I Am Watching Co-Citation?

I just asked all the time what are you watching, what’s new and exciting, what trends to you see happening? This week I will be writing three blog posts about what I’m watching and why. Today’s post is about why I am watching co-citation.

Google has made really sweeping changes to how it rates websites and what used to work for years to garner organic placement is not considered spammy by Google and may even run into a placement smackdown filter. This is why I am very carefully and intensely watching co-citation.Here are a few articles about co-citation that you may want to read:

SEOMoz take on co-citation

Jim Boykin’s take on co-citation

In lay terms, co-citation is close to link bait and article marketing but with natural growth. Both authors state that Google and Bing as so smart now that they do not have to be fed keyword phrases, they will decide on their own based on the content that links to you. But, here’s the change it is not the link text that they are weighing, but rather the jist of the content where the link to your website is embedded. In fact, the page that links to you may not even link to your service and may not even contain keywords on which you want to place. Instead it is an “authority” factor.

So here’s what I understand so far…

Google and Bing spider the web, they read incidents of mentions of your name and content, they spider your own website and get a picture of the services you provide, then they review how what people say about you and the authority of the site that links to your site talks about you. They then use this in their algorithm to place you in importance to being an authority on a specific topic. Way Cool!

Although I don’t think that anyone in my industry really knows yet what works for organic placement in this new world on Google and Bing, but it is clear that content, the sharing of your content will be a very strong impact for organic placement.


Matt Cutts Talks About Negative SEO

You’ll want to watch this YouTube video featuring Matt Cutts from Google talking about how Google feels about your competitors trying to sabotage your Google.com organic placement by setting up spammy sites to link to your website in a effort to push you down in the results if they can’t supersede you. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWJUU-g5U_I&feature=em-uploademail)

Typically small to moderate sized businesses will never run into problems such as this. However for very competitive industries, you may actually run into this problem. Google has created the disavow tool to assist in re-mediating these types of problems.


More on the Disavow Link Tool from Google

So you’ve used the Disavow Link Tool to re-mediate your website placement and remove spammy links that have nailed you in the SERPs, so how long do you have to wait to see improvement?

In this interesting article two heavy weights from my industry weigh in with Matt Cutts from Google stating:

“It can definitely take some time, and potentially months. There’s a time delay for data to be baked into the index. Then there can also be the time delay after that for data to be refreshed in various algorithms.”

You’ll want to read the full article and exchange between Danny Sullivan and Matt Cutts on this topic at SiteProNews.

The bottom-line is that anything to do with organic placement takes time. Give yourself six months easily to be doing everything right after you have corrected problems to see even a glimmer of results. But be careful about when you first see your site pop up in the results.

I have found once you start to move your site will typically fall in the results after the initial ranking. I like to test placement again four to six weeks out after the site has popped up to see where it will really fall in the index. Sometimes I will see a temporary high placement and then a drop to a regularly maintained level. Use the second ranking to evaluate if you have more work to do at that point.