Yearly Archives: 2013

Social Bookmarking Site Networks Slapped by Google

google slapGoogle has been very busy updating its algorithm over the last year or so and many of the updates have hit certain social bookmarking sites. Note the operative word here – ‘certain’ sites, not all of them! There are most definitely some social bookmark sites that stand the test of time and enjoy high page rank and lots of traffic year after year.

IMAutomator allows you to submit to many of these high profile social bookmarking sites such as Delicious, Bibsonomy, Diigo, Bitly, FolkD and many others in just a few moments of your site. One of our goals is to ensure that our list of supported sites is always closely monitored and kept fresh. To that end we run a PageRank report daily which checks the PR of every site in the system.

Over the weekend just gone we noticed that around 8 sites in the system all dropped to 0 at the same time; they got Google slapped!

What was also significant is that all of these sites appeared to belong to some kind of network. They linked to each other which is in fact how we found them in the first place. We found one of the sites in the network, and then found the others through that initial site.

It’s easy to put up a social bookmarking site

Templates such as Pligg make it incredibly easy and quick to put up a social bookmarking site. Add to that the ease with which you can buy expired or soon-to-expire domains with PR for just a few dollars means that it’s very easy for someone to make a social bookmark network by buying up a few domains, putting Pligg or a similar template on them and then inter-linking them to keep the PR juice flowing.

We even tried such an experiment a couple of years ago. However, from our own experiments we found that this network idea for social bookmark sites was NOT a good idea. Within a few weeks, all the sites in the network had their Pagerank removed – they ended up at either 0 or unranked. With the purpose of social bookmarking in bulk being to get backlinks – have a bunch of PR0 backlinks isn’t going to do you much good! We removed that network.

Poor quality social bookmarking networks are short lived

poor quality social bookmark sites are short lived

However, because of this easy barrier to entry, new networks of social bookmark sites are popping up all the time. On the surface this seems like a good thing as there’s always fresh new sites for us to add to the system but in the long term it’s only good if those networks survive the Google algorithm changes. When a site drops to PR0 we deem it as too low value to be of benefit and so it’s is free of charge; and we remove them from the IMAutomator system pretty quickly 🙂

But there’s also another negative point that may not be apparent at first glance. Imagine you are the owner of one of these networks. You’re not creating it for fun; you’ll be monetizing that network in some way. Indeed we often find such sites are plastered with ads and some of them in a particularly intrusive way – full page ads that cover the whole screen, tons of pop ups etc.

For us, this is not actually a problem because once that site is plugged into the IMAutomator system, the members never see those ads – our submission engine sees them and our engine doesn’t care 🙂 However, coming back to the owners of these bookmark networks… if you have a large (or small) network of sites and overnight there’s a shift in the Google algorithm and all of those sites drop to 0 what is going to happen? They will almost certainly not be getting the traffic they used to.

There are thousands of social bookmark sites to submit and whether you submit to them manually or use an automated submission service such as ours or pay for a manual submission service – either way that is going to cost you in either time, money or both. So, anyone who uses social bookmarking as part of their link building strategy is most certainly going to want to get the best value for their time and money so all those PR0 sites drop to the bottom of the priority list.

Less submissions to the sites means less traffic for the site owners which translates to less eyeballs on ads and ultimately less income. What will happen to that bookmark site network that just got slapped by Google? The site owner will undoubtedly take those sites down before long and replace them with something else.

High PR links provide the best long term value

So if you are a link builder and you have put your time and money into building links on those sites only for them to disappear just a few months later – your investment is not as solid. What can you do about it. To our IMAutomator members what we suggest is to be sure that you bookmark your best content and the best sites. These are obvious – they’re the ones with the highest page rank that are in the system month after month after month,

We still suggest diversifying your link profile by including a wide range of sites so by all means throw in some of the more ‘throwaway’ sites into the mix but just be aware that these links may not stick around for as long as the high PR ones.

IMAutomator works with a credit system where the credit value for a site is equal to its Pagerank which means that a PR7 site costs 7 credits to submit to where as a PR2 only costs 2 credits. It can be tempting to avoid to the high PR sites and select just the lower PR ones as you’ll get a lot more individual backlinks for your money but if you are interested in the quality and longevity of those backlinks then its worth spending those few extra credits for your best content.

What’s the future of social bookmarking?

prepare for the future

My personal opinion from looking at what Google has been doing over the last few updates is that they will continue to penalize the kinds of cookie-cutter sites that are put up in minutes and not developed in any way. What makes the big sites like Digg, Delicious, Reddit etc so popular? These are high quality sites; they do so much more than just slap up a bunch of links. They monitor and filter submissions to keep the content high quality, they encourage user interaction etc. In other words they are building the kind of site that people want to use and this is exactly the kind of site that Google is pushing to the top of its rankings.

On the other hand, those people that use templates such as Pligg and do nothing other than leave the site as-is, may find their sites losing PR over time. That’s my prediction anyway. I’m not bashing Pligg as a platform – I think it’s great. But like with any website, it should be used just as a base; a building block and not as the whole package.

If you’re a blog owner, you’d most likely use WordPress to build your blog. But would you just install the base software, keep the standard template and then just leave it alone? No, not if you cared about your blog! You’d install a custom theme that matches your content, you’d install some plugins that are useful for you and your visitors and you’d keep on top of comment spam to ensure that your blog remains high quality.

I think in this day and age if somebody wants to create a new social bookmarking site that is going to hold its ranking with Google, then it needs to do more than just upload a cookie-cutter template site. It may even be that Google does indeed target Pligg itself as a platform! I certainly hope that’s not the case because for us, we’ve developed our software to work seamlessly with Pligg sites so we can add them into our system pretty quickly.

As always, time will tell!

Link Building with Misspellings

A little while ago I came across a blog post which is targeted towards big brands, but presents a technique for building links via misspellings. I had put it on my todo list and put it to one side; IMAutomator doesn’t really qualify as being ‘big brand’.

Link Building with Misspellings Technique

The basic technique can be broken down into a few steps:

  1. Take your brand name and use a tool such as the SEO Book typo tool to identify potential misspellings
  2. Construct the .com URL out of all of those misspelled words
  3. Use a backlink checker to find backlinks to those domains
  4. Identify possible link opportunities and perform outreach

I didn’t actually do step 1. What actually happened is that yesterday I was looking at the IMAutomator analytics and I was looking at some of the data over a long period of time. I spotted some misspellings which had sent me fairly decent amounts of traffic and when I had a closer look I found a lot of misspellings.

I exported them all and ended up with 223 misspelled versions of ‘imautomator’! And here I am thinking that I’d created a catchy, easy-to-spell brand name! Oh well 🙂 Actually I have to admit, I mis-type it myself sometimes!

Should you optimize for misspelled words?

Years ago some SEO’s would actually build targeted pages around their top misspelled words in a bid to get more traffic. It’s not really a good idea as if a potential customer was actually to land on one of these pages it wouldn’t really give a great impression if it looked like you had misspelled your own brand name on your own website!

But these days its entirely unnecessary anyway. Google is getting far more intelligent and will now automatically show you search results for the word that it thinks you had actually intended to type in. Indeed, I went through a handful of my misspelled words and plugged them into google and sure enough it said “Showing results for imautomator” and showed this website in the top spot. This makes sense, as these keywords are already sending traffic.

So back to the link building…

The purpose of this technique is actually  to build backlinks using these misspellings so I decided to put it to the test and see how well it worked. The second step is to put a .com on the end of each word. Many of my keywords actually had spaces in them such as ‘im automator’ and my absolute favourite, ‘i am automator’!

Incidentally, in case you have ever wondered, yes IMAutomator is all one word, and the IM stands for Internet Marketing.

So I removed all the words with spaces and other invalid characters and I trimmed the list down to 156 URL’s. Next I went to the bulk backlink checker of Majestic’s tools to see which of these had any backlinks.

misspellings-backlinks-majestic

Using Majestic SEO to find domains with backlinks

The first one that popped up was for http://imautomation.com. It looks like this used to be a site that did something very similar to IMAutomator, but is now dead. This has potential because any live site linking to that company could potentially link to mine as they offer pretty much the same thing. It had 68 backlinks according to Majestic and Ahrefs but as I only have a free plan on both those I looked at the handful of backlinks shown and then I used a crappy little backlink checker for the rest. It was a bit more effort but showed the data I needed.

build backlinks with misspellings

Using Ahrefs to look at the actual backlinks pointing to the domain

This tool doesn’t filter out internal links and it also shows entries for whois sites, ranking sites and all of that garbage. However, it did show the PR of the linking page which was handy. I only looked at ones PR2 or higher, as nothing less is worth the time. I actually found a couple of live resource pages, and contacted the webmasters and asked them to change the links. While I was at it I also used a broken link checker to identify some broken links on the page for them as a nice gesture.

The next domain of interest was http://iautomator.com/ which redirected to some guy claiming to be an Internet Marketing expert. However I couldn’t find any decent backlinks for that one.

Unfortunately that was it; none of the other domains showed any backlinks.

Conclusion: Linkbuilding with Misspellings Worth it?

This whole process took maybe a couple of hours and I ended up with only 1 solid link on which to perform outreach and of course there’s no guarantee that the website will even get the email, let along act on it. So, for me, it was not worth the effort.

However, I would suggest that you at least have a look in your analytics for misspellings. If you see some that are sending through a lot of traffic and you’re also the kind of site that gets lots of links then its very possible that some of those links are actually pointing to a mis-typed URL that should be pointing at your site and then it might well be worth doing the rest of the steps.

 

Remove Dead Links From IMAutomator (Free Broken Link Checker Tool)

Many IMAutomator members have submitted thousands of bookmarks to the system over the years and many of the older links may be pointing towards sites that no longer exist. These just clog up your account (and our database!) and get in the way when trawling through your existing jobs when you want to re-submit them for additional backlinks.

Remove dead links in bulk

There are two features which help you remove dead links in bulk plus a neat little plugin for Chrome called Check My Links. First of all, if you know that you have many bookmarks for a particular website which no longer exists, you can use the job search functionality to find them all at once.

Secondly, you now have the bulk job deletion feature which allows you to just click all the jobs you want to select and then click a button to delete the selected jobs. Of course, please do be careful with this feature!

Now what the chrome plugin does is quickly analyze all the links on a page and look for broken ones. Onces which are ok are highlighted in green and broken links are highlighted in red so its easy to see at a glance which jobs are pointing to dead links.

So all you need to do is use the search to pull up jobs from a site that is gone, click the ‘Check My Links’ button, click the checkmark next to any job that has a red broken link, and then delete all of those jobs. This technique will only take a few moments and you can easily remove dead links from IMAutomator in bulk.

SolveMedia CAPTCHA Support Added

You may have noticed that over the last few months a new type of CAPTCHA has been popping up all over the web by a company called SolveMedia. These captcha’s vary – sometimes you just type in the words you see (pretty standard) but other times you need to solve a puzzle, identify a brand and other strange things.

Many social bookmarking sites have started using this new style of captcha in their submission pages and until now we have been unable to support it and had to put those sites to one side. Today we have managed to get support for SolveMedia working which means that the range of social bookmark sites that we can incorporate into IMAutomator has just grown.

We’ve put 8 new sites on trial today – all PR3 & PR4 and as usual we shall monitor their performance over the next few days and add them into the live system if they work well. We have quite a large list of sites to look at so hopefully we can grow the list of our social bookmarking sites over the coming months.

I know I say that a lot and the list often stays hovering around 30 sites but now that we’re winding down the Article & RSS submitter tools more time can be dedicated to the social bookmark submitter. As always, we never know how long a new site will last so time will tell how well these new sites work out!

Social Bookmarking Sites Watch: December 2013

This is a new blog post idea I am experimenting with – doing a monthly post about the current social bookmarking sites supported by the IMAutomator social bookmark submitter, listing a new ones, any significant changes and so on. Hopefully it will prove insightful.

Social Bookmarking Sites for December 2013

As this is the first post of this kind, there’s no changes to report so here is the current list sorted by PR:

  1. Delicious [PR 8] – http://delicious.com/
  2. Bibsonomy [PR 7] – http://www.bibsonomy.org/
  3. Diigo [PR 7] – http://www.diigo.com/
  4. Link Arena [PR 7] – http://linkarena.com/
  5. bitly [PR 7] – https://bitly.com/
  6. folkd [PR 6] – http://www.folkd.com/
  7. BuddyMarks [PR 5] – http://buddymarks.com/
  8. Dropjack [PR 5] – http://www.dropjack.com/
  9. LinkaGoGo [PR 5] – http://www.linkagogo.com/
  10. News Me Back [PR 5] – http://www.newsmeback.com/
  11. Yemle [PR 5] – http://www.yemle.com/
  12. Boxwood Products [PR 4] – http://boxwoodproducts.com/
  13. MURL [PR 4] – http://murl.com/
  14. You Doze [PR 4] – http://www.youdoze.com/
  15. Legal Mentoring [PR 4] – http://legal-mentoring.com/
  16. Science Skills Match [PR 4] – http://scienceskillsmatch.com/
  17. Diggma [PR 3] – http://www.diggma.com/
  18. IndoFeed [PR 3] – http://www.indofeed.com/
  19. Auto Anttila [PR 3] – http://autoanttila.info/
  20. Drjwg-mn [PR 3] – http://drjwg-mn.info/
  21. Hang-Bag [PR 3] – http://hang-bag.info/
  22. Webdet [PR 3] – http://webdet.info/
  23. Traverso [PR 3] – http://traversoandpartners.info/
  24. Acymca [PR 2] – http://www.acymca.net/
  25. Startaid [PR 2] – http://www.startaid.com/
  26. 1 Look 4 [PR 1] – http://1look4.com/
  27. Alplist [PR 1] – http://alplist.com/
  28. Clickets [PR 1] – http://www.clickets.de/
  29. Easy Info [PR 1] – http://bookmark.easyinfo.in/
  30. Aradigin [PR 1] – http://www.aradiginhersey.com/

Whilst we’re pleased with the number of high PR sites in this list, we’d still like to have more sites to choose from – we’ve always aimed at around 50 social bookmarking sites but with the rate at which sites come and go on the Internet it can be difficult to maintain that many at once.

Earlier in the year we added in CAPTCHA support which allowed us to include sites that use one of these captchas on the submission form. This has been very useful as these days it is almost impossible to find a working social bookmark site that doesn’t use some kind of captcha system. However, there’s a new type of captcha out there which so far, is not solveable by the captcha solving service that we use.

We currently have a list of about a dozen social bookmarking sites that look like they could be viable additions to IMAutomator but they all use this new captcha. If we can find a way to solve these captchas then this will once again open up the amount of sites that we can offer. I’ll post a news on that front in next months post.

Credit Codes: Free credits for all members!

We have implemented a small new feature called Credit Codes to make it easier for us to give away free credits, which we like to do 🙂 You will find this on the Members page when you first login to IMAutomator.

How to enter credit codes

Scroll down a bit, to the ‘Submission Credits’ section and in there you will find a box where you may enter a credit code. This box is cunningly labelled ‘Enter a Credit Code’. Paste your code in the box and hit the submit button. After your code is accepted you can click the Members icon at the top of the site to go back to the Members page.

Your credit balance will have been updated with the credit value of the code (they vary) and it will also show up in the credit transaction report that you may also generate from this page to see a history of all credits going in and out of your account.

Your first free code!

Well here you go…. TS4EXT6ZANYH This code is worth 25 credits and also has an expiry date (most do not). It expires on December 31st 2013.

Free codes in EVERY email

We will be giving codes away all over the place – on our Facebook page, possibly Twitter (though we don’t really use our Twitter account), in blog posts like this one but most importantly – in EVERY email that we send out. When you sign up to the IMAutomator system we send out a series of tips emails approximately once per week and we also send out the occasional newsletter.

Email can be annoying; there’s too much of it these days and frankly, nobody has much time to read many emails so we want to provide a little incentive… Today we have modified all of those emails and have hidden a credit code in every one of them! This is just a little bit of fun and also a thank you for taking the time to read our correspondence which we hope you also find helpful and informative! We shall continue to do this for all emails we send out in the future!

Enjoy the free credits 🙂

Winding Down the Article & RSS Submitter Tools

Yesterday we did a review of the article sites, many of which had stopped working. A handful had died or turned into something else so those were removed and there were several that had stopped working due to a change in template. We were able to fix all of these by adjusting our code to match the modified template. However, whilst we were doing the review we also reviewed the usage of the tools.

The Article Submitter & RSS Submitter tools now account for only around 5% of all submissions. The vast majority are for the bookmark submitter with the directory submitter coming in second. In July we had a look back over the last few years at the search trends of various backlink submission techniques. This showed that bookmark submission is still going strong but that article submission is now a dying trend. We must have missed RSS submission in that post but it has also fallen steadily over the last 5 or 6 years.

We have reached the point where the time required to maintain these tools and continue to try and bring fresh sites into the system is no longer worth the investment. Therefore we have decided to let them wind down naturally. We shall continue to monitor the existing sites but as sites die or stop working for some reason, they will be removed but not replaced. Once we reach a very low number of sites, the tool will be removed altogether. We will of course let you know before this happens.

So Where is IMAutomator Going?

Our main focus has always been our Social Bookmarking Submitter and it will remain so for now. In our trends post we suggested that we may introduce some social submission tools in the coming year but this is still undecided. Posting to Facebook, Twitter and all the other social tools is far more about building your brand and creating a strong profile and a loyal following; there’s much more to it than just scheduling your submissions.

There are already a great number of superb social tools out there such as Hoot Suite which does so much more than make submissions and that is not really what IMAutomator is about. We have always been geared towards automation (it’s in the name!) and that’s what we’re sticking with for now.

Credit Prices Reduced Even Further!

A month ago we had a review of our credit pricing and drastically reduced the prices of the credits, particularly for the lower priced plans. At the end of that blog post we stated that we would be continuing to review the pricing on an on-going basis which is exactly what we’re doing now.

Low-End Plans Still Too Expensive

The idea behind a tiered system is to provide flexibility in the plans to support members of all kinds from those with just one small website and very little content to promote, to high volume members that use our tools across many sites or for client work. We could have just had a flat pricing across all tiers but that doesn’t then provide any incentive or reward to those customers that invest more with us so of course the higher priced plans have cheaper credits to make them better value for money.

Initially the price difference of the credits between the lowest priced plan and the highest one was huge – $5 for 100 credits on the lowest plan, and just $1 for 100 credits on the highest – that was a 500% difference in price – too much!

So in our August update we reduced the prices across all plans paying particular attention to the lower priced plans but the incentive was still there to upgrade to a higher plan. We still want to keep the incentive by making each plan better value for money than the one below it but we feel that our earlier pricing was actually penalising our lower volume members rather than rewarding our higher volume ones. We don’t want to alienate those members! Every member, no matter how small, is important to us.

So in this pricing review we have reduced the prices further for the first 4 plans, levels 5 & 6 remain the same. Now the difference between the credit pricing on the lowest and highest plans are not quite as marked. The new level 1 plan now offers credits at $2.40 per 100 credits – less than half of what we originally started with! We have also reduced the prices of the first two credit packs.

The New Pricing

This is the breakdown of the new pricing for plan levels 1-4:

  • Level 1 – $12 per month, $2.40 per 100 credits, 500 credits per month
  • Level 2 – $25 per month, $2.00 per 100 credits, 1,250 credits per month
  • Level 3 – $50 per month, $1.25 per 100 credits, 4,000 credits per month
  • Level 4 – $100 per month, $1.15 per 100 credits, 8,700 credits per month

When you login to IMAutomator, you are shown the members page. On here are two large blue bars with large orange lettering. The top one shows your username and the name of the plan you are on. The lower one in the credit section shows you how many credits you have on your account and what your monthly credit allocation is. These pricing changes have already been applied so you will now see the above values shown on this page.

And these are the new prices for the first two credit packs:

  • Pack 1 – $12, 400 Credits, $3.00 per 100 credits
  • Pack 2 – $30, 1,200 Credits, $2.50 per 100 credits

The 3rd and 4th credit packs remain the same.

Changes Are Automatic – No Payments Are Changed

We we are changing here is the cost of the credits, not the cost of the plan, which means that your Paypal subscription does not change, it just means that you get more credits per month than you did before. This change is automatic and takes effect on the next payment made so the next time your Paypal payment comes through you will get more credits allocated than last time.

Also, like last month when we reduced the prices, we will also retroactively allocate additional credits for any pack purchased since the 1st September and for any subscription that was renewed from the 1st September.

Whether you have purchased a pack or your subscription payment has come out, either way, please send us the Paypal Transaction ID of the payment that left your account, send us an email and we will allocate the additional credits for you.

Old $2.99 & $5.00 Plans Unchanged – Now is a Good Time to Upgrade

We still have quite a few members on the old Level 1 membership (now renamed Level 1a). We stopped offering this plan to new members last month as we felt that the number of credits offered with such a small monthly payment, even with a price reduction, simply was not enough to evaluate the IMAutomator tools properly. This plan remains unchanged, providing 125 credits per month. If you are on this plan and would like some more credits to play with, now is a good time to upgrade to the new Level 1 plan which now provides 500 credits a month at a cost of $12 offering 4 times as many credits for a little over twice the monthly cost – FAR better value for money.

If you upgrade, your old plan will automatically be cancelled for you.

Get Free, One-Way Backlinks from Testimonials

Writing testimonials for a product or service you find useful can sometimes be a unique way to get some high quality, one-way backlinks to your site. Getting automatic backlinks from the tools in IMAutomator are great, but that should not be your only source of backlinks. To have a well-rounded and effective link profile you need to build a wide range of backlinks from as many different sources as possible, and sometimes you have to think a little outside the box.

5 steps to getting one-way backlinks from testimonials

Writing a proper testimonial takes time so before you begin, you want to pick and choose your targets carefully and ensure you find ones that are worth your time. For any product / service you wish to target (I’ll cover brainstorming them later) you first need to evaluate the page on which the testimonials are likely to be placed.

1) Locate the page containing the testimonials.

first look for a dedicated testimonials page which you find for many companies. This is in fact the method that IMAutomator uses to display our testimonials. If there doesn’t appear to be a dedicated page, look on the main sales page and you’ll often find them sprinkled throughout. Lastly try the home page. If you don’t find anywhere that lists a testimonial then move on as you’d have to specifically contact the site owner and ask him to create a space for it which extra effort both for you and for the site owner and is much less likely to result in a link.

2) Check the Page Rank of the target page

Now that you have found the page, check it’s pagerank. I use browser plugins for both Chrome and Firefox that automatically show the PR (and some other data) for every page I visit as I browse – extremely useful. If you look at the IMAutomator testimonial page you’ll notice that it has a PR3! You can choose what your criteria is obviously. In some cases you may find that a site has testimonials on several pages – on a dedicated page, on a sales page and maybe a few select ones on the home page too. Check them all and see which has the highest PR.

3) Check for backlinks associated with testimonials

Next you want to look through the existing testimonials and see whether or not they have a link. Of course not all testimonials have links as many people write them and never even think to include their link but if there are no links at all then it might be that this particular site simply doesn’t want to include them. Personally I think that is an error as a testimonial with an accompanying link shows the reader that it has come from a live site, a real person which makes it instantly more trust worthy.

4) Check for nofollow links

Next, check to see if the outgoing links are followed or not. Again, I use plugins for both Chrome and Firefox to automatically highlight nofollow links as I browse the web so that this doesn’t take any time. You can then see at a glance which links are followed or not. If the links are no-follow then a backlink from your testimonial is not going to provide you with any link juice so you should move on unless you think the site is so popular that a good testimonial could actually provide you with some direct traffic.

5) Count the outbound links

Lastly, take a quick look at how many outgoing links there are on the page. Pagerank is divided up among the outgoing links on a page so if it already has 100+ links on it then you can still get some link juice but its going to be a lot less than a page that only has a handful of links. Our own page is PR3, do-follow and currently has 34 outgoing links which I check regularly. I remove any testimonials from sites that are no longer live.

Crafting a worthwhile testimonial that gets the link

As somebody who both receives testimonials and has written them for other products I have a fairly good idea about what makes a GOOD one. Here are the key points:

  • Make it positive, but realistic. You want to praise the product of course or your testimonial won’t be featured but don’t go overboard as that can sound fake, and don’t be afraid to mention a shortcoming or something that can be improved. That looks like a genuine comment from somebody who has actually used the product, which is exactly what you want!
  • Address the testimonial to others, not to the author / site owner. Many people write to me personally singing the praises of IMAutomator which is lovely, but I can’t really print that on the testimonials page as it doesn’t read well to other people. Write it as if you are telling a group of random people about your experience.
  • Don’t mention pricing / versions or anything else that could go out of date and render your testimonial irrelevant. When we moved from our Light / Pro versions to the new tiered membership I went through all of the existing testimonials and deleted any of them that referred to the Light or Pro versions as they were no longer available. I also removed any that mentioned a specific price point as the pricing had changed across the board. You want your link to stick long-term, so make it timeless.
  • Include your full name, your company or website name and of course your backlink. Sometimes I get a great testimonial from someone who simply addresses himself as ‘Rick’ or something similar. It simply does not look genuine. I do actually include a few of them on our page but not very often. The more information you can provide about yourself to verify that you are a real person, the better.
  • Construct your backlink to be in line with others on the page – if the only backlinks from other testimonials are links to the home pages of sites and only have company / website names as the anchor text then don’t try and submit a keyword-rich backlink to some deep page on your site as it simply won’t get accepted. On the other hand, if other people have used keywords as anchor text then go ahead!
  • Create the full HTML code for the link in most cases. There are exceptions to this. If the site uses a special format for their testimonials then they are going to format yours in the same way so it might be easier to just include the URL. However if they appear to be just pasted in from email then including the full HTML makes it a no-brainer for the site owner to include yours.
  • Make a good first impression. This may sound like strange advice considering that you are providing the favour to the company who’s product / service you are reviewing but remember that your goal here is to get a backlink and you want the highest placement you can get. If there are several testimonials on the page as there undoubtedly will be, you want yours to be as close to the top of the page as possible. Links higher up the page carry more link juice and there is more chance of somebody actually clicking your link. So, write a good testimonial!

Brainstorming targets to write testimonials for

Okay you have the strategy but now you need to find companies that will actually accept your testimonial. So lets look at a few ideas:

  • Online tools & software – we use software all the time, whether its a piece of software you downloaded or an online tool. Look through the software on your computer and look through your browser bookmarks. Make a list of all the software you use – I bet there’s more than you realise!
  • Sites & blogs – Your testimonial doesn’t necessarily have to be for an actual product or service. You can also give somebody a testimonial for their content alone and this is especially relevant for blogs. However be careful here as not many blogs actually feature testimonials. If you read a particularly high PR one though this could be the exception to the rule I mentioned in step 1 where I said to filter out any site that does not currently have testimonials.
  • Offline services – Got a gardener? Does he have a website? Many local services in particular really value testimonials as they are very important to their trade. It might not be as easy to get a link from your dishwasher manufacturer but you can always try!

A closing note on relevancy

One last point to consider when using this strategy – many of the companies that you approach to place your testimonial will not be in the same industry as your own website so the relevancy will be lowered. Google prefers high relevancy so if you have a website about dogs then try to think of all the dog related products & services you have used first before moving onto other things.

Submit Your RSS Feed Once – Get Backlinks Forever!

The RSS Feed submission tool is not used a huge amount and this is understandable as you don’t generally have a ton of RSS feeds to submit, but it is certainly a strategy you should use on every site you work with as it offers exceptional value for money because if you just submit your RSS feed once to each site – you don’t just get one backlink per site, you get a constant new stream of backlinks as long as your feed is updated for the price of that one single site!

How does RSS Feed submission differ to the other tools?

The bookmark submitter, article submitter and directory submitter tools all submit one piece of content to each individual site. That piece of content provides a single backlink (or up to 2 in the case of the Article submitter as you can put 2 links in the resource box.) RSS Feeds are different. The URL of the feed itself is not really a backlink; well it is, but not a terribly useful one in its own right.

However, it’s what that feed contains  that is the real hidden treasure here… Let’s assume you have a blog for your website and you most probably bookmark each new post that you publish. Every major blogging platform such as WordPress, Blogger, Typepad etc automatically creates and updates an RSS feed for your blog. Every time you publish a new post to that blog a link to that post gets inserted into your RSS feed.

So what happens when you submit your RSS feed to an RSS directory? This is where the magic happens – these specialised RSS directories don’t just store links to RSS feeds, instead they are crawling those feeds and publish the links contained within them! Every time your feed is updated with a new link, that’s a new backlink that is available at any RSS directory that the feed is published on!

One Credit Payment – Many Backlinks!

All of our submission tools work on a very simple credit system – each site has a credit value equal to its Pagerank and that is what you pay for the submission. So a PR4 site would cost 4 credits to submit to. The RSS feed submission tool works in this exact same way except that the PR4 site that you just submitted your feed to will receive as many backlinks as your feed contains and will continue crawling that feed and as long as you publish new content, you are getting new backlinks!

So, try out the RSS feed submitter tool today 🙂

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