Proof of Effective SEO and Marketing Techniques

    January 11, 2007

I saw an email with the subject line of PROVEN Adsense Templates, but given Google’s recent change of TOS how can they be proven?

And what are they proven to do? Are they optimized for earnings so much that they cut into the site’s authority or linkworthiness?

This template is probably proven
but also is useless to people visiting the site.

If your site design looks similar to designs of sites that were optimized for earnings first will people think lowly of your site because of the information quality of similar sites?

Yesterday one of my AdSense sites made about $500. The same site made $600 a month just over 6 months ago, and it is still growing quickly, does not look like an obvious AdSense site, and is still gets many organic citations. Is that proven? Well to me it is, but there would be no reason to put that URL out there as an example site unless I was trying to use that for self promotion. I probably could bump that same site to $700 a day if I maximized its current earning potential, but that would be at the expense of future earnings.

The idea of proof in marketing techniques is silly because invariably consumer habits and markets shift. Read some old articles about making money from banners and I bet the author will sound short-sighted.

SEO can change even quicker than content formatting strategies, and there is a sea of outdated facts to swim through on the path to learning SEO. In something like SEO a technique may only be effective because it is rarely used, and by the time everyone knows to do it the relative value of manipulating that variable is reduced to where the ROI is nowhere near as good as it once was, and if excessive manipulation of one variable becomes so important to your strategy

  • Might search engines discount sites with similar footprints if that footprint is generally associated with low information quality?
  • Might a former signal of quality be turned into a signal of low quality used for demotion?
  • Might pushing too far on some fronts cost you the ability to pick up other signs of quality?
  • Might you be missing easy opportunities to create legitimate value in your marketplace by filling market needs that have gone unserved if you spend too much time thinking about market manipulation from an algorithmic perspective?

Some people using outdated techniques will ask to know everything you do and call your stuff rubbish if you don’t share it (some guy going by the name of DomainDrivers recently did this on my blog here and then pitched similar self-promotional stuff on LED Digest), but why be specific beyond the point of being useful? One of the biggest problems with Internet marketing in general is that we read one article at a time, and until you have some experience and a solid framework set up you think one idea is the key. And then you read the next article and suddenly that is the most important thing.

People like the idea of neutrality and the idea of proof, but ultimately beyond self promotional purposes those words rarely have much value. If you are too systematic in your marketing you miss understanding some of the synergistic opportunities created by your brand and market position. If you optimize for any one aspect too much then you increase short term earnings at the expense of your long-term profit potential. Effective optimization is realizing that there are many stakeholders in your site, and creating cost effective ways to as many of them as you can.

Unless someone is a great friend helping another friend you won’t get told exactly where to do exactly what works at a set price. The reasons are many fold:

  • every market is unique
  • every site is unique
  • we all know markets shift
  • if there is an exact known cheap formula and it is exactly shared we reduce our work to the value of commodity workers in 3rd world countries, who we soon will be competing with… as an example, I have had offers for some of my high ranking domains from people who I was almost certain were low waged and in third world countries
  • how can we justify charging our clients some rate for our work then sharing everything we did together with all their competitors?
  • the whole reason many techniques work is that few people use or abuse them relative to how often they occur as natural parts of the web. share all your tricks and secrets and all you do is push yourself toward becoming a commodity.
  • the whole reason reciprocal links diminished in value and effectiveness because the technique has been abused and is generally associated with low information quality
  • any real website with a real brand should have some intrinsic value associated with it that is not easy for competitors to duplicate
  • you can push frameworks of thinking and observed general algorithmic trends, but there is never a point in giving exact details of everything you do on one specific site unless your goal is to get media coverage for your own brand and/or that site and use THAT as a competitive advantage.

The value of any web page or idea is next to nothing until you add marketing experience and context to it. The web is a series of incomplete thoughts. All information is biased. And almost all of it is self promotional in nature, especially if it is packaged as proven or formatted as facts.



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Aaron Wall is the author of SEO Book, an ebook offering the latest
search engine optimization tips and strategies. From Aaron
gives away free advice and search engine optimization tools. He is a
regular conference speaker, partner in Clientside SEM, and runs the
Threadwatch community.