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Reputation Clean Up via SEO

Hello!

I'm interested in an article you wrote here: http://seoto.blogspot.ca/2013/05/badboyreportcom-sued-for-40m-because.html

The reason being I've recently found myself a victim of this site. 


Information was posted about me on CheaterVille.com. I contacted the person who the account belonged to - an ex - and asked her to remove the information. At the same time contacting cheaterville as well. In a matter of hours it was removed. So imagine my anger and frustration when I found the same information on badboyreport.kr.

I'm asking if you can give me more info about this lawsuit because I don't seem to find anything about this online and the person that made the original post is unable to remove what is on badboyreport, because it is in fact a scrapping site. As well, the bad boy site is not done and is still up and running. Imagine when I read in your article that it also owns slander911. smh. because I was looking to contact them as a way to remove my info.

A little frustrated as to my next move, litigation or what to be honest and any info you have would be much appreciated.

Really frustrated.
(Name Omitted due to Privacy Reasons)



OUR RESPONSE


Hello!

I first got interested in the Bad Boy Report case because it started happening soon after I had been contracted to do SEO for a man who wanted to clean up his online reputation. Someone had badmouthed him all over the internet and many of the top 10 search results for his name were bad. So our goal in cleaning up his reputation was to diminish the bad results and bring forward all the good charity work he has done in the past, thus improving his image online.

What I can tell you however is that Bad Boy Report used to be a .com website until they got sued in California. Their website was shut down and then they went overseas and set up the Korean website. The site (as you probably already know) makes money by tricking people into going to a phony "clean up your reputation" website where you pay $$$ to have posts removed, but then a year later they report the bad stuff and try to extort money from you a 2nd time. Their goal essentially is to keep ripping people off annually.

My client hired me to do the opposite, not get rid of the bad stuff, but to simply drown it in good stuff so that nobody would ever believe the phony stuff. Thus my goal was to make lots of high profile websites mentioning his name in a positive way. Since then we have pushed the Bad Boy Report page down to the 2nd page of Google results and page 1 results are all positive. So that campaign was a complete success. I can tell you that other people are probably making efforts to have the Korean version of the website removed, but even if they did get it removed the owners of Bad Boy Report would just move to Vietnam or some other country, as their illegal profits depends on keeping their website up and being a nuisance.

When I type in your name (name omitted for privacy reasons) I get photos of people with the same name, various linkedin profiles, facebook, 2 other websites and then Bad Boy Report comes up as #6. I presume this is either you or someone else with the same name?

(link not shown due to privacy reasons)

If you wanted a SEO campaign to bolster the good things you have done in the past (or are currently doing) let me know. I enjoyed working on that reputation project as it was a welcome change from my normal SEO campaigns for the real estate industry. I would totally do it again.

For me doing a Reputation Management job was quite enjoyable. Definitely a change of pace.

:)

PS. If you need help cleaning up your online reputation please contact designSEO.ca for Online Reputation Management Services in Toronto

6 Tips for Building a Great Resume

So you want to find the job of your dreams, a place where you can work, make money and love what you do.

Imagine trying to get your Dream Job with a resume that isn't designed very well, has lots of types/spelling/grammar mistakes, and doesn't show off your best qualities as a potential employee.

Tip #1. Always spellcheck everything on your resume. Double check it for accuracy.

Tip #2. If your Word Processor has Grammar Check, turn it on and start using it more often.

Tip #3. Ask a friend or colleague to edit your resume for you. They might have suggestions for ways to fix it that you would overlook.

Tip #4. Hire a professional resume writing company to edit your resume for you. There are companies out there who deal in essay writing services, research work, resumes, etc. If you can afford to hire a professional to help write your resume why not do so in order to ensure you get the best results?

Tip #5. So employers can snoop on you more easily include a link on your resume to your Facebook profile, your LinkedIn profile, your Twitter account, etc - and clean up your web presence so there is nothing on there that would discourage employers from hiring you. eg. Photos of you drunk, shirtless and passed out on the lawn should be deleted immediately. Employers these days always snoop on candidates Facebook pages these days so you might as well clean up your act and make yourself look presentable.

Tip #6. Avoid using ridiculous fonts on your resume. You want to look professional, not like an outlandish fop.

EXTRA TIP - Years ago there was a story in the newspapers about a man who used Google Adwords to make several ads for the top CEOs of companies he wanted to work for. He created ads for the names of the CEOs so that when they Googled their own names (as people sometimes do for fun) they would see the ad for themselves above the results, and if they clicked on it the ad took the CEO to a website designed specifically for the CEO in an attempt to woo the CEO into hiring the individual. They saw an intro paragraph explaining the webpage, why the man wanted to work for the CEO's company, the man's resume, etc. And it worked. Within a few months he was hired by one of the companies because the CEO saw the ad, felt it was ingenious and decided to hire the employee.

So the tip here is to think outside the box when it comes to landing your dream job.


Marketing Yourself and Your Business

Let us pretend you are running your own small business. How do you market yourself online and offline?

Online

#1. Learn how to do SEO and/or hire someone to do SEO for you. eg. designSEO.ca is a Toronto based company that does both website design and SEO.

#2. Have your website designed by a professional so it looks chic and very well made. A stylishly designed website brings in more customers.

#3. Include AddThis codes on every page of your website so people can share the website with friends/etc via Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc.

#4. Don't bother making a Twitter or Facebook account for your company. They're mostly a waste of time unless you plan on offering online coupons via FB/TW.

#5. The only way you will see a bump in sales from Facebook or Twitter is if you produce quality content on your website, and AddThis will make the difference by having other people promoting your content virally. Trying to artificially create a viral campaign via your own Facebook or Twitter account doesn't work, so don't waste your time. Your time is best spent writing quality/unique content.

#6. Research which keywords bring in the most customers and what neighbourhoods in Toronto your customers live in. Create AdWords campaigns using as little money as possible (bid very low) in an effort to experiment and see which keywords bring in more customers.

Offline

#1. Advertise in appropriate newspapers/magazines that market to your desired audience. Limit your advertising dollars to the target audience in order to maximize your Return On Investment (ROI).

#2. Get business cards and stationary printed up. Pass some of them out to colleagues and friends.

#3. Network and find new colleagues, people in similar businesses, people who are both competitors and non-competitors in similar fields.

#4. Don't be afraid to shamelessly self promote in a funny manner. Heck, record yourself doing so and post it on YouTube so you can reach a larger audience.

#5. Word of mouth marketing works great, but to do so people need to know your name and your name needs to be easy to remember. Introduce yourself, say your name, use a name that is easy to remember, mention your company's name and say it in a manner so that it sounds like a jingle. Jingles are easier to remember.

#6. Go outside and socialize. Go to meetups, go to networking events, go to events related to your business, meet new people, learn how to do a proper handshake (firm but not squeezing and don't hold it too long), be polite, follow etiquette, and you will do fine.

#7. Sponsor events (this can also get you extra links to your business online too) and make sure the organization being sponsored knows who the sponsor is. For best ROI focus on sponsoring events related to your business. Red Bull doesn't sponsor the Toronto Poetry Club because it doesn't make sense for them to do so.



How to Build a Successful Blog or Website

Content Magnet
So you're thinking of making a profitable website? Well, I have some tips on how to do that.

#1. BUILD CONTENT

You need to be adding 80 or more new pages / posts per year. This is EXTREMELY important. Building new, high quality, unique content is the bread and butter of any website. The content has to be uniquely yours (not stolen from another source or found anywhere else), the writing should be quality and original, and you should update the site with new content regularly. I say a minimum of 80 pages per year if you want the site to be truly successful.

80 is the MINIMUM if you want to make the website a financial success. There is no maximum. If you can write hundreds of new posts per year then all the better. More power to you!

#2. PAGERANK 2 or BETTER

You want to reach a Google PageRank of 2 or better in the first 6 months. You will need to invest in a SEO campaign in order to do this, either by hiring someone else (eg. designSEO.ca) or you take a Do-It-Yourself approach. Either way it needs to be done.

Your long term goals should be get a PageRank of 3, 4 and eventually 5. But that will take years to accomplish.

#3. DOMAIN NAME

Your website should have its own domain name (as opposed to a free typepad, blogspot, or wordpress page). It will cost you approx. $10 to $20 for the domain name per year, but you will make that back easily in Google Adsense advertising if you actually write lots of blog posts for your website (see #1).

#4. MONETIZE YOUR WEBSITE

Many ways to do this. Have advertising on the side. Offer product reviews. Sell eBooks that you've written. Offer a service that is both desirable and profitable. Sell products you've made yourself.

#5. NICHE TOPIC or BROADER TOPIC

Depending on the topic of your website it might be a niche topic such as "archery lessons in Toronto" or it might be a broader topic like "Toronto real estate". Both are profitable. The archery lessons bring you cash from local Torontonians looking to learn how to shoot an arrow - whereas the real estate blog will bring in advertising revenue from real estate agents and brokers in Toronto and the GTA.

The real lesson here is that it pays to be LOCAL.

Unless of course your topic is more international, such as "art history", which means you are likely advertising to anyone who speaks a specific language and is interested in art history. It is a broad topic which you can build a lot of interest and gain advertising revenue - but it is also a HUGE topic. You might be better off to sticking to one branch of art history such as "DADA" or "Canadian art history", because otherwise you will end up with a website which is half finished and looks incomplete.

#6. PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

Make unique photographs and videos for your website. Make your own graphics. Logos, buttons, etc. An unique look and lots of unique content helps. Post the videos on YouTube and Facebook and get a lot more traffic.

#7. BUILD A SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE

Every time you post a new page mention it on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.

#8. PROMOTE YOUR PROFESSIONAL IMAGE

That means business cards, business listings, official photographs, logos on your photos and videos - remember to keep things family friendly and avoid anything that could draw negative publicity. Maintain a positive reputation.

How to meet other Business People via Sports

Yes, you can meet other successful people by hanging out and playing golf. Golf is the standard when people think of business deals and sports.

However not everyone likes golf.

And some people from various fields prefer other activities.

So if you decide to take up a sport or activity with the hopes of meeting new people and handing them your business card here is some helpful suggestions.

#1. Get lessons. ie. If you take up archery (lots of IT people do archery) then you should get some archery lessons so you don't look helplessly inept since archery is a lot harder than it looks.

#2. Do not try to hand people your business card at the gym or yoga studio. Its actually kind of creepy and makes you look desperate. Choose a sport that has a more casual and talkative setting.

eg. Billiards and darts are good sports to talk during.

#3. Avoid team sports where you can only talk AFTER the game is over.

eg. Volleyball and gun marksmanship are too busy and noisy to talk during.

#4. You want a sport which allows you to carry your wallet in your pocket the entire time, that way you can pull it out and hand out your business cards easily.

eg. Swimming doesn't work because you can't carry business cards in your bikini or swimshorts.

#5. Always remember to have a good firm handshake (but not try to squeeze their hand like a jerk). A limp handshake makes you seem weak and ineffectual. Make a good impression.

Archery and Innovation in Business - Balance, Aim, Shoot and Run!

To some extent, business innovation does not differ much from archery.

Metaphorically you have your quiver with your arrows by way of ideas, you have your shooting skills in the vein of creative and innovative skills and you finally achieve more or less success depending on the number of arrows that hit the target, that is, the number of ideas that are implemented successfully.

However, when it’s business innovation we often overlook some things that turn out automatic when we do archery. Things that we take for granted and that we don’t catch when innovating. Being aware of these obvious issues is critical for the success and sustainability of an innovation system. Fortunately, fulfilling them is very easy, just do the following: aim, shoot… and run!

Balance

Before you can even aim at a target you need stable footing. In business we sometimes think of this as being location, location, location - but in archery balance also includes attention to details and the quality of your form. For business this means the quality of your business model, the attention to detail with respect to your clients, your products, your services - and paying attention to things that might effect your chances - like wind and rain.

Aim

What is the best way to hit the target? It is so obvious that often we don’t even see it… So make sure you have a target!

Most likely some of you are thinking “What nonsense, of course you must have a target!”. However, how many times do we get down to innovation without having a clear goal? And when I say clear I mean as concrete and specific as a bullseye. Think about doing archery, do you maybe shoot the arrows “over there”? Of course you don’t aim them at a nonspecific area but towards a specific bullseye, with its central circles. Moreover, it makes no sense talking about aiming if there is no target.

Of course, we can devote ourselves to shoot arrows in an intuitive way without pointing to anywhere in particular. Then, if we shoot a great amount of arrows, a few of them will maybe hit a profitable target (it depends on the circumstances of the company and the market). However, won’t we have many more chances to succeed if, from the first moment, we aim our arrows at the kind of goal that interests us?

Some people tend to think that innovation arrows are magical and find their own way. That’s not right. It is a question of volume of ideas or goals. The difference is in the percentage of success. What do you prefer?

You know your company, where the business opportunities are and which the keys to success are, so it can be said that this is your firing range. Set your specific targets there, perfectly quantified, and surprise yourself by checking how your success rate skyrockets.

Shoot

Second obvious issue: You have to shoot! It’s not enough to know how important innovation is, or to mobilize people at an exciting event at your company. It’s not even enough having a good handful of ideas (the quiver of arrows). You should do something to make arrows go all the way from the bow to the target. As surprising as it may seem, just at this moment when the quiver of innovation has been filled with a lot of ideas, is when most of the companies that begin with innovation get blocked.

Omitting this subject is terrible, it’s true, but there is an explanation: very often the company doesn’t know what to do with that heap of ideas; they don’t know the process. If we take the uncertainty because of ignoring the concrete steps to be followed and we add the uncertainty of innovation, what we get is a situation sufficiently uncomfortable and confusing as to paralyze people (and therefore the company). Do dissipate this uncertainty by designing a process with concrete steps, that allows people to know where they are and makes them feel that they have a reliable map to go into the innovation adventure.

Therefore, make sure to design an agile and clear innovation system. From the moment that the innovation goals are identified, through the generation of ideas, until developing them and putting some ideas into action. Avoid redundancies and unnecessary meetings, quickly detect the stagnation and eliminate or surround the obstacles so that every minute and dollar allocated to innovation is spent to add value.

Run!

Unlike archery, where each archer has its own target and archers typically stay stationary, on innovation there are usually several companies aiming at the same target, the window of opportunity. Accordingly, it is not enough to hit the target but to hit it soon in order to exploit that advantage ASAP. All the windows of opportunity get closed sooner rather than later, so being able to arrive quickly can mean the difference between coming across an open or closed window.

Arriving sooner also means having more time to take advantage of the opportunity and strengthen your position. On the other hand, a poor time-to-market usually means that all the effort of people, time and money spent on innovation has not been useful for anything.

Once you have chosen your targets, don’t waste time: aim, shoot and run! And when you hit the target, run again to identify other windows of opportunity and set new targets towards which the ideas of your company will be shot.

BadBoyReport.com sued for $40M because they stole content

LAS VEGAS - Operators of Cheaterville.com last month filed a $40 million copyright suit against new rival BadBoyReport.com, a social network site that is stole content / "scraped" data and photos from Cheaterville.com.

As a result BadBoyReport.com has been shutdown, pending a trial outcome, and any attempts to go to the website redirect to Google.com

The lawsuit, filed at U.S. District Court in Las Vegas by adult industry attorney Ronald Green of Randazza Legal Group, says that BadBoyReport stole a lot of its content by an automated process known as “scraping”, using an information collection bot to steal information from another website and then repost that information on another website without permission.

Cheaterville’s website has operated for two years by allowing users to create accounts with the service, and then create profiles for known “cheaters” - those people who have been involved with violating the fidelity of an exclusive relationship by cheating on their partner - with user-generated  written, picture and video content.

BadBoyReport, according to online archive records, has only been on the web for several months and includes categories for cheaters, criminals and escort bad boys - and stole a lot of its information from its rival website in order to get a lot more content in an hurry.

From a SEO perspective this is a thing NOT TO DO. Stealing content is bad for your SEO, and as it turns out, it is also bad for your legal reputation because you can be sued for millions.

Cheaterville notes in its lawsuit that BadBoyReport, based in South Korea, also owns and operates Slander911, a service that will remove posts if it is paid $499 through a U.S. PayPal account. Basically its a dubious way of blackmailing people who have their information posted on BadBoyReport.

Even posts that have been adjudicated as false or defamatory remain up unless the target pays up, the suit said. So even if you try to sue BadBoyReport, their false claims stay up unless you pay them. And even if you do pay them, more false claims can reappear months later.

"The increased traffic BadBoyReport realizes from displaying its unlawfully obtained content from Cheaterville and using its trademarks in commerce without authorization leads to an increased number of removal fees, costing customers of Slander911 at least $499, and donations third parties make to BadBoyReport through PayPal, as compared to the donations BadBoyReport would received without using Cheaterville’s intellectual property," the suit said.

Cheaterville.com, operated by parent company ViaView Inc., has asked for statutory damages of $25,000 per copyright violation for a total of $40 million, plus unspecified punitive damages and attorneys fees. It also has asked the court to place a registry lock on BadBoyReport to freeze all PayPal assets pending the outcome of the case.

Operators of BadBoyReport have not responded to the lawsuit, but their website will remain shut down indefinitely if they fail to show up at court. (They are overseas after all, so they don't have to show up.)

Chances are more likely that the owners of BadBoyReport will just design and build a new website - and this time try to do the same thing, but without using content stolen from other websites.

6 Tips for getting Startup Funds

By Charles Moffat - February 2010.

There are lots of creative people out there who come up with great ideas for a business or a product. I know I come up with several ideas every week, but the key discriminating factors are availability of time and money. Whether the ideas are worthwhile and worth investing time and money in is the next factor.

If a person is able and willing to set aside their current career to run with their business idea, that conquers the issue of time but the question of startup money is critical.

Lets say they've made a new type of ant-farm, except instead of ants they used Fireflies. The Fireflies live inside a glass and plastic container, along with the necessary flowers (fireflies eat pollen and other organic material) needed to keep them alive and dirt so they can lay their eggs, reproduce and burrow underground.

Before attempting to market this product they first need to determine how many fireflies the need, how to build the containers, and which plants work best for feeding them. If their plan takes off it might be difficult to catch/breed enough fireflies to keep up with demand.

Getting the necessary funds to market and sell such an idea might be difficult however. Some people might just scratch their heads and go "Wait, you want to sell fireflies as pets?" and will evidently think you've lost your marbles. Others might respond with "Wow. I want one!" Some people just really like anything that glows.

A more reasonable business idea might be recycling gold and precious metals from trashed computer parts. Right now those electronics parts are sent overseas to Asia where they are ripped apart, melted down and then recycled. A single trashed PC contains more gold than 17 tons of ore. Researching how to recycle the metals, melt them down properly and then selling/recycling the gold is a more promising business plan than "selling fireflies" because gold is a highly valued commodity and unlike fireflies gold won't die by accident.

You could in theory take out a straight loan from the bank, but there are other ways to find financing.

#1: FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Often when looking for an investment people will look to friends and family. "Love Money" comes with its own pros and cons. Your friends and family will want their money back eventually and you will have to put up with them occasionally bugging you about how the business is going and even offering advise, whether its wanted or not.

#2: ANGEL INVESTORS

There are variety of hard to find companies out there who invest in startup companies, providing capital to pre-screened entrepreneurs. York Angel Investors Inc. in Toronto is an example of one such company. Their goal is to determine which startups are worth investing in and then they help provide their collective wisdom to make certain the company starts on the right foot. These investment groups don't like to advertise however and can be difficult to find.

#3: TRACKING YOUR BUDGET

Entrepreneurs often underestimate the costs of bringing a product to market. They don't realize the full extent of their costs, overestimate cash-flow projections and often make assumptions about how big their niche market is and how big they can grow. Keeping track of their budget means having a complete, fleshed-out strategic plan, not just cash-flow projections. Who are you hiring? When and why? What benefits or time off are they getting? What is the overall cost of staff, office supplies, new computers, IT support, photocopier repair, etc? What about emergencies? Does that match up with your spending projections?

Startup companies have a tendency to overspend, buying the best equipment and materials, thinking "Oh, we'll make it back later." But not immediately. Its a procrastination tactic. As such its important to have other people look over your costs and expenditures and see if you're missing anything.

"Wait, have you figured out how you're going to transport these fireflies?"

"Oh oh, I totally forgot about transportation costs."

"And what about insurance?"

Stunned silence.

"And have you determined your packaging?"

More stunned silence.

Knowing what your costs are is an important step for getting an investment. If your investors have doubts about your ability to stay on budget they will have serious second thoughts about giving you money.

#4: KNOW YOUR VALUATION

How much is your company worth? Don't use projected revenues for the next year or 10 years, how much is your company worth RIGHT NOW. Don't assume that just because you've spent $100,000 on your business that is how much your business is worth. You've got debts, obligations and your cash flow must not be that good otherwise you wouldn't be looking for investments. Its probably worth a lot less, especially if you don't own any patents or copyrights.

When approaching potential business partners you want to downgrade your valuation in the event that your partnership will become "value added". For example if you have an exclusive deal to sell your product through a major chain store that adds to the value of your company.

What you want to avoid however is "depleted value", wherein you sign a deal where you can ONLY sell your product to that one business partner. If they already have a competing product (ie. ant farms and fish aquariums) they might decide they don't really want your product and will keep you on the sidelines, your product wasting away in storage.

Its all about who you want to work with at the end of the day. Some business partners might not fit right or be suitable. Some investors might have a lot more experience with your chosen market and you'd be foolish not to take advantage of that if they're willing to give a more hands-on approach.

If they don't know much about the market however their offers to help might become quite cumbersome and not really helpful.

#5. KNOW WHO YOUR BUSINESS PARTNER IS

If you're meeting with an investor you will want to know more about their personal beliefs. Are they a green company? Are they currently being sued or in litigation? Do they have lots of business partners / clients? How much experience do they have? What is their profit margins? Are they doing any questionable business practices that might result in future lawsuits? Did they lose money in a Ponzi scheme (or worse, are they operating a Ponzi scheme)?

#6: BE HONEST AND OPEN

If you start lying about your finances or exaggerating how big your market share is the company you are dealing with might do some background checks and find out you've been covering up some horrible warts (ie. your debts to your family and friends). This could backfire in your face horribly, wasting both money and time.

An eleventh-hour discovery that you've tried to hide a major flaw will kill the deal.

Be honest about the challenges facing your company. Investors don't expect you to have all the answers.

A Guide to Link Buying in Toronto

I included the word Toronto in the title of this blog post for a reason.

Why, because link buying Toronto is really the operating keywords I am going for.

When it comes to getting Local SEO - and more importantly, attracting local clients for your company - it is super important to have your company website optimized for the city, province, state or country you are living in.

So for example, as I specialize in selling SEO packages to Torontonians from websites based in Toronto, it is therefore a necessity for me to attract local clients. If not from Toronto, then at least from the GTA.

Link Buying Advice 101

In a nutshell the concept of buying links (for those who are not familiar with such methodology) is focused on getting high quality, keyword links to your company website.

You can buy such links via intermediary companies such as LinkVehicle, Teliad, LinkWorth, Text Link Ads, and similar websites. Such websites are more expensive, but if you are savvy you can sometimes get deals on higher quality websites (only trick is often you don't know what the website is that is giving you the link, as everything is kept partially anonymous).

Or you can purchase links by contacting websites directly and asking them (politely) if they would be interesting in advertising your website in exchange for a small fee. The industry standard for such an offer is $30 annually per link. More if the website has a higher pagerank, more if you want a banner ad, more if you want it in a prominent place on the website. So you could potentially pay $100+ for a single high quality link.

What you want is one-way-links from websites featuring pages with a high PR - and you want the website linking to you to be LOCAL, so in this case it would be best if the website was in Toronto. Buying links from a website Singapore or India isn't going to help you much.

Further more you want the website to be ON TOPIC with yours. Which could be tricky if they are a competitor website. But not so difficult if you are selling premium dogfood in Toronto and are approaching dog breeders in Toronto and asking them to link to your website. You might even send them a free sample of your product - which is even better, because then you could potentially get a glowing review and a new regular customer.

You won't be able to do that if you use various “link broker” websites. Thus the DIY approach to purchasing advertising is definitely the best way to go, but only if you have the time and knowledge on how to do so. Finding people willing to accept links pointing to your site can be tricky if you don't know how - or worse, don't have time, which is why you should hire a SEO expert.

The purpose of such advertising is not to generate organic traffic from those links, but rather to “simulate artificially” a strong link popularity factor by having links pointing to your site from web pages featuring a high PR. Google and similar search engines track link popularity and then boost your websites search engine results rankings based on the keywords used on your website, in the links going to your site, and the content of the sites linking to you.

The higher the PageRank, the more expensive the advertising space. Link brokering services also allow you to target the industry of the website from where such links will be posted. Thus you can find publishing websites who are willing to advertise you for $$$.

However many brokering companies don't mention WHERE the website is. It could be in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or some place you've never heard of (Bhutan!)... which is really counter productive when your goal is local traffic from people in Canada, Ontario, Toronto or the GTA.

If you have the money its better to hire a SEO expert to do all of this for you, Toronto SEO companies like designSEO.ca for example which specialize in Pinpoint SEO / Targeted SEO. If you get a good quality SEO expert you can get 10 high quality links for $300.

Lets pretend for a moment you wanted to follow the DIY approach.

If you were offering tour services in Toronto, you could buy links from websites related to tourism, Toronto tourism, Toronto attractions, etc. Which would be good, because Google has been programmed to reward websites for quality links and not for the amount of links. The quality of the sites linking to you is crucial in terms of ranking benefits. The link quality is enhanced by linking to websites that are “keyword family” related.

Thus if your goal is tour services in Toronto, you want anything that is related to those keywords. Tours, tourism, tourists, Toronto, GTA, Hogtown, Downtown Toronto, the CN Tower, the SkyDome and various other Toronto related topics. Even the names of local celebrities or politicians (eg. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford) can help you. It is one time it pays to be a name dropper.

Back to my aforementioned example: If your website promotes tours in Toronto, your site would not capitalize from being linked to from a popular forum discussing video games or computer games.

Some people also argue against buying SEO advertising altogether, claiming that people should follow traditional marketing routes such as newspapers, magazines, television, etc. Although it should be pointed out that its typically people who WORK for magazines, newspapers, etc that are spouting that piece of advice... And they're ignoring the fact that television advertising is too expensive for most people, and that magazines and newspapers offer a very low Return-On-Investment. You could easily spend $500 on a single ad in a magazine and not get a single customer from that ad. This happens a lot, so much so that people are now disenfranchised with traditional marketing because they are not getting any return on their advertising investment.

Thus if people want to bash agencies brokering links or the SEO industry, fine, bash away, but at least know your facts first. If you are going to point fingers at websites making a buck from selling link space - or writing blog posts / product reviews, remember that traditional marketing in newspapers and magazines doesn't work any more. The system has become broken and the new solution is SEO.

I have a client in the Toronto real estate industry who loves talking about how online videos are the future of advertising. He will drone on about how YellowPages used to be the place to advertise, except nobody uses the YellowPages any more. Instead everyone is using Google... and if you want to really grab the attention of buyers, at least when it comes to real estate, he is really pushing videos.

And he is probably right. Video will play a huge role in the future of advertising. But text and photography will continue to play important roles too.

The whole SEO industry started because of Google’s link popularity ranking algorithm. The basic essence behind such algorithm was brilliant. However, not every site has the profile for one-way-link enhancement. Due to the nature of some sites, building genuine organic advertising is almost impossible without being “innovative” - and that requires creativity on the part of the publisher / blogger / content wrtier.

And creativity costs more money.

You can't get creativity for free. And trying to get it for cheap will result in two things = crappy content and crappy links.

Google’s determination for rewarding a quality link popularity profile has led to brokering agencies to become what they are - if the leopard changes his spots, the rabbits all do the same thing in order to adapt and survive. In order to please Google’s ranking algorithms, a whole industry was born and flourished.

Website publishers and bloggers saw an easy opportunity to generate income from their sites, while brokering agencies packaged the service based on the popularity of pages accepting advertisements.

Thus “link-buying” became an industry standard and an integral part of almost every SEO strategy. You could try to use Social Media instead (which works well for fashion, but not if you are selling insurance) or you could try using videos (great for promoting documentaries, films and real estate, but crap if you are selling anything that is difficult to visualize).

Hiring a SMO expert or a videographer is certainly a possibility, but you have to think logically from their perspective - those things require CREATIVITY - which again comes back to the issue of creativity costs more money.

So you're still stuck with the same problem. Unless you want to try creating your own SMO / video marketing campaign, then you probably won't succeed much. And even if you do, are you so certain your products / services are that interesting that people will want to Twitter / mention it on Facebook? Chances are they won't.

Thus you're stuck with buying links.

Some people also have problems over the ethical character of link buying and building a SEO marketing strategy and how such activities is questionable from normal organic links from Mavens (people who link to your site without being asked or paid). First, let me point out that Mavens are RARE. Like trying to find Waldo in a Harry Potter book. He might be in there, somewhere, but good luck finding him. So don't expect Mavens to magically appear and promote your website for free. They don't do that unless they really like your product/service.

Back to the topic of ethics I would like to point out that Google has no problem with advertising things on its websites. Newspaper and magazine websites do it too. Pretty much anyone who is an online publisher accepts advertising, in some way, shape or form.

Google rewards a website for the quality of the links, so buying erroneous links with websites that would never refer to you unless they sold space is basically a way to say, “If Google wants links, I’ll give them links!!”... and the end result is shoddy SEO. You want to avoid that if you can so avoid buying advertising from sites that are really off-topic. You want to focus on:

Local sites that are on topic or closely related to the topic.

Now admittedly buying such advertising defeats the original premise behind the link popularity concept. Because if numerous online users are speaking about your site on specialized blogs & forums, if keyword-enriched genuine articles are being published about your site, if regular press releases are being published professionally in regards to your site, if a lot of social networks refer to your site...then Google considers your site to be active and alive - and being seen as such boosts your popularity a lot and your search rankings. Whether this is done artificially or organically (or both) it doesn't really matter.

If anything your goal should always be to have your site start off artificially and then switch to organic over time. A gradual shift from one to the other.

But if you're selling insurance, or real estate, or even used cars then you're probably going to need to continue to invest in SEO for many years to come. Because if you don't, then your competition will.

The link popularity factor was a healthy concept to gauge the live and ongoing presence of a website. Brokering links via intermediary companies just to improve PR is a way to dilute the effectiveness and the ranking fairness within a particular industry because it messes with the architecture of the link popularity ranking algorithm. But if you don't do it, then your competition, especially in a field like real estate, is doing it anyway.

You might say, hey, I don't want to buy advertising from websites, because I don't want to cheat and try to beat the Google algorithm... and meanwhile the other real estate agents are all doing it and you're the only one who isn't. Their websites all have 100+ links going to their company webpages, and meanwhile your company has less than 10. And less than 10 is just plain pitiful.

Yesterday I had a meeting with a client who was thinking about purchasing a website. He wanted to know if the website was worth purchasing based on the quality of its content, its design, its framework and its SEO. On the SEO side the website in question had only 10 links going into it.

I then showed him a website which had over 600+ links going into it. And showed him the differences using Alexa statistics, how often the site was updated, and more. I won't go into much more detail, but basically it was an eye opener for him that the website he was thinking of purchasing wasn't very popular - and probably not that profitable.

That is really the big issue isn't? Is your business profitable? If you are so busy you can't keep up with the demand then you probably don't need SEO. If anything you need to raise your prices slightly.

If you have excess time available and not enough customers, then you can spend that time doing DIY SEO.

But if you lack time because you are so busy, but always need more customers - that is when you need to hire a SEO expert. Especially if you are in a seriously competitive industry like real estate.

Now you might say "Who is to blame for this link buying status quo?"

You might say it is Google who is at fault. Or the people who just follow whatever Google does. It’s easy for internet pundits/critics to criticize Google technology, but criticizing it won't get you anywhere. Google.com is still the father of all decent search algorithms and has over the years successfully circumvented the challenge of its overwhelming database growth. The fact that it accidentally gave birth to a whole “link brokering” industry is only normal.

eg. You can't blame the big grocery store for selling melons and then the small green grocer stores follow suit and start selling melons too. That is normal in any industry.

Anyway, as you might know, SEO services through “link-buying campaigns” may be a controversial issue for some people - but I can tell you with all honesty that the magazine and newspaper industries have no problems with selling links. Its their bread and butter.

You might also think that SEO is a gamble. In truth, all advertising is a gamble, but anyone who has studied the history of marketing will tell you that a quality marketing campaign uses tried, tested and true techniques that are much more likely to be successful - when it comes to online SEO then what you need is local advertising on local topic-oriented websites.

Black Hat SEO / buying links from India / shoddy SEO... well that is just going to hurt your website's reputation.

Google started cracking down on link-brokering agencies by dropping either the PR of the syndicated websites offering link space for sale or simply by dropping their rankings. A company like Text Link Ads, which has been and still is the leader in the industry for years, recently lost their PR, and after recovering the PR, they lost all rankings ... Just Google “text link ads” and you will see that, even with the 3 words that make up their URL (text-link-ads.com), they are probably nowhere to be found.

Not to fingers, but basically Google was punishing the company for using Black Hat SEO. So be forewarned about buying links from India and similar companies which specialize in bulk crappy links.

Not only are link brokering agencies being kicked by Google, but new algorithms are being released to penalize websites selling link space. If the website is popular enough, they can take the hit fortunately, but the link popularity algorithms are the core of Google technology - and it seriously undermines the question of what is fair and what really matters when it comes to SEO.

From Google's perspective what they also did was increase the ranking of websites being linked to from blogs and social media websites. With blogs this is okay from Google's perspective, since they own blogspot, but it becomes tricky because it means giving rival Facebook more credit.

But whatever. The SEO industry is an ever changing marketplace.

Making one little change gives birth to a new advertising-brokering industry.

In most cases, buying link advertising is simply trying to outsmart Google for better rankings - but in competitive fields like real estate where everyone is doing it, if Google changes an algorithm it effects the whole industry.

Which is why it becomes ever more important to have quality SEO from the get-go. Shoddily done / Black Hat or poorly executed DIY SEO will result in the next time Google changes an algorithm that your site could and probably be hurt/punished during the change.

The best links are those that you will earn through business dealings, partnerships, etc. That is true. But you first need to attract those clients in the first place, which means you need to use marketing savvy to get them because they just aren't going to fall out of the sky and land in your lap.

Important DIY Buying Tips

#1. Only buy links from local companies that are on topic or closely related to your topic.

#2. Aim for higher PageRanks, at least a PageRank of 1 if its on topic, or at least a PageRank of 2 if its closely related.

#3. Don't buy too many links at once. That raises red flags.

#4. Alternate what link text you use for the keywords.

#5. Don't just buy links for your main index page. Advertise specific subpage topics for your products or services and use keywords specific for those pages.

#6. If you can't find local sites to buy links from, build your own! Start a blog, a video blog, or create historical / information websites on topic with your site.

#7. Add more content that is on topic for your products / services to your own website. The more quality content the better.

#8. Always go for unique content. Never copy paste the work of others (Google ignores duplicate content).

#9. Think entertainment when writing content yourself. Even if the topic is real estate or insurance, people still want to be entertained.

#10. If you don't have time to do this yourself, hire a SEO expert from designSEO.ca.

The Three Rules of Marketing

Its something they teach in marketing / advertising classes in colleges and universities: The Three Rules of Marketing.

Sadly it is often forgotten about when it comes to online marketing.

RULE #1 -  BRANDING AND POSITIONING

You need to brand your product / services and position your company either as a niche market or a general "all purpose" company.

When it comes to online SEO this means getting a good domain name and then positioning your content towards your target audience.

RULE #2 - ADVERTISING

You need to be BIG and BOLD. Nobody pays attention to small dinky bulletin boards. You want your ads to be IN YOUR FACE, brightly coloured, easy to notice, and appealing to people (eg. sex sells).

When it comes to online SEO this means making your ads on big / popular websites and you want a big bold banner placement on multiple pages.

RULE #3 - GET PAID UPFRONT

Why? Because nobody believes in marketing. And if you don't get paid upfront, then you don't get paid at all.

The industry standard for ad prices are a MINIMUM of:

$30 for a small link ad annually.

$50 for a banner ad or premium link ad (better location) annually.

$70 for a premium banner ad annually.

And when I say minimum, I do mean minimum. Really popular websites will want a LOT more.

And also remember that those prices are per annual ad on one webpage. Its not worth the publisher's time and effort if you want to only pay $5 for a 1 month ad. You're just wasting their time. When it comes to link buying you have to buy for the whole year otherwise they won't be interested.

Some really super popular websites might take ads for 1 month or so at a time, but they might be charging $50+ per month, so its worth it for them.

As a rule of thumb expect to pay a minimum of $30 per link on websites with a PageRank of 0 to 3.

A PageRank 4 website will typically cost $60 to $100 annually.
A PageRank 5 website will typically cost $100 to $300 annually.
A PageRank 6 website will typically cost $300 to $1000 annually.

And you probably cannot afford anything higher than that.

And that is for 1 little link ad. Expect a lot more if you want a premium banner placement.

Now you could buy links on cheap websites made in India... But don't expect much in terms of quality. You could get a link for $15 from a Made-in-India website, easily. But it will be shoddy SEO and shoddy writing... or worse, it will be Black Hat SEO or a link from a link farm. Which would actually hurt your website's reputation and possibly cause Google to ban your website.

No, if you want good quality SEO - hire a local SEO expert in Toronto or whatever city you happen to live in or near. Local SEO will get your company the best results.
If you need SEO, SEM or SMO help in Toronto then you need to contact designSEO.ca
Get started by emailing contactus@designseo.ca.
Consultations are $30 per hour.