Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Michael on the blogging circuit...

Can't really think of much to say right now that wouldn't be a repeat of things said before. I'm still waiting on Dixie to finish my Tolkien blog, though. I might have grandkids by the time we get together on that project. She sent me an email Saturday afternoon saying something like, "You going to be home this evening?" A couple hours later I saw it and said, "I'll be going out later but I'm here right now." No reply. I guess the motorcycle was calling....

So, because Rand Fishkin says that when I'm having a bad day, links and readership for SEOMoz go up, I have been curiously using Google's blogsearch to look for my name and SEOMoz. There are only 26 hits on that search, but sometimes people mention my blog posts without using my name. Also, Google somestimes reports blog posts with my name in searches for other content.

Something ain't quite right with Google these days.

I love the post that reads "Michael Martinez at SEOmoz has found the lost tablet that we had all thought Mozes had dropped on Mt. Sinai (thinking Mel Brooks)". When I first wrote Four Fundamental Principles of SEO back in January, I was still trying to find an SEOMoz voice. I thought, "Maybe I should just explain where I'm coming from in general".

I believe the "lost tablet" comment came from Loren Baker at Search Engine Journal, but when I first noticed the comment it was reposted on hundreds of spam blogs in the primary search index of Google (presently I only see 2 listings for that expression). At first I hoped I had made an impression on the SEO blogging community, but knowing how the spammers like my content, I decided I'd better click on a few links. Yup. I was splattered across hundreds of spamblogs. Only the spammers' little robots liked me.

I did actually touch some sweet spots with What's in your link quality? (a title modeled on Capital One's "What's in your Wallet?" slogan). Many blogs in languages I rarely see mentioned it: Spanish, Italian, Russian or Greek (not really sure). Cool.

Another article that generated some buzz was Web Semantics: What do we mean by 'Semantic Web'?. Disappointingly, the only person who caught me using a palindrome was a bi-lingual Italian blogger using the curious title of dys.functional.surf. I don't read Italian, and Yahoo!'s Babelfish apparently doesn't, either. But I got the gist of the article and found it to be not only complimentary but also thoughtful and thought-provoking.

In fact, the Italian Web community is very interesting to me, not only for the fact that I've had several requests from Italians for permission to translate various works through the years, but because there are some smart people working over there. We Americans tend to think we're the only technologically dominant crew outside of Japan on the Internet, but that really isn't so. Europe has long been deeply immersed in the cybertech revolution and I find some really nifty sites in languages I have to translate and fumble through. The bi-lingual Web community today is probably only a foreshadow of what it will become in a few more years.

I am what Rand Fishkin (the owner of SEOMoz) calls a linkbaiter. People like what I write so they link to it. If only they saw how much stuff I start to write and never finish. They'd gag, I'm sure. I have written entire articles only to hit DELETE as soon as I was finished. I probably did that for about half my articles at Suite101. I've done it many times at SEOMoz. I've even done it here, where you would think I could say just about anything I want.

Being a link baiter means you have to maintain some standards of quality. Of course, I tend to ramble and that isn't much of a standard for quality, but my rambling is sort of like schmoozing a motorcycle along a winding country road at 80 miles per hour.

Jill Whelan says I bring links in to her forums at High Rankings. I guess I do. The little spambots scrape my comments out of threads and produce some darned interesting articles. For example, last year I wrote something about how many directory links a good SEO should be able to get. Someone reposted my comments (without asking, so far as I can recall) on MSN. Search Engine Marketing Optimization: Michael Martinez: Directories (Submitting to Directories) caught my eye in more than one search result.

The first time I came across it, I thought, "I never wrote an article like that...." So I clicked on the link and started to read it. I thought, "Hm. That does sound like something I wrote." Then I hit the bottom of the article and saw the link to High Rankings. Doh! Been sucked in by -- I'm not sure by what. This is a fairly lengthy snippet of text which, in my opinion, violates the standards of "fair use" doctrine. But it attributes the source and links back without carrying any ads. Nearest thing I can figure is that this particular blog is being used to increase link popularity for another Web site.

So far, the scheme is not working with respect to Google's search results. That is because (in my opinion) Google doesn't put much value into links coming from the MSN domain. Why do I say that? Because I've tested some MSN linkage on small sites chasing relatively non-competitive expressions. I cannot see any evidence of Google giving credit to MSN-based links. Why is that? It's one of those things that make you go, "Hm...."

I have been posting quite a bit at HighRankings for the past year or so. It's one of the few forums where moderators have not gone wacko and started moderating my posts in order to win arguments. Why do SEO forum moderators do that? Because they don't like being made to look stupid by someone who posts links to authoritative articles, or because they think they look smarter by making other people look stupid? I don't know, but I refuse to hang around SEO forums where the moderators and admins are unethical. Why give them free link bait?

And I've given Jill plenty of linkbait, according to Google. A search for "michael martinez" highrankings -site:highrankings.com indicates about 1800 hits. Some of those hits are references to me and Jill's forum on other forums or in SEO articles. But a lot of them are also scraped content sites.

I think it's a compliment to Jill's forum that some people have set up frequent scrapes of the individual posts by me and others for their SpamAd sites. This sort of scrape targeting implies that quality of content has become a greater concern for some of the spammers who expect you to click on their advertising links.

What's really odd is that I post most of my theoretical stuff at J.K. Bowman's Spider-Food Forums and they don't get scraped as much. So maybe the 'bots aren't quite so good at figuring out where the real meaty articles are. Or maybe they are semantically scanning for argumentative posts (since controversy and argument seem to be the most link-drawing elements in forum posts).

And now that I have rambled on about that, I do recall something I wanted to post over at Spider-food, so I'm off....


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