Over the past few weeks I have been involved in discussing a topic that can’t seem to go away and as it gains a bit more traction among the media folks, it digs further under my skin. Kind of like a sliver you can’t seem to get with your tweezers.
I had the pleasure of joining my friend Julie Buehler and her co-host Geoff Bloom on Team 110 KXPS’ “Buehler’s Day Off” radio show which broadcasts out of California last week. The topic was the negative effects Social Media has on traditional media. This led to a great discussion that highlighted several interesting points. But it also spawned a storm of thoughts in my head and I couldn’t shake it. Hence why you’re reading this post right now.
So let’s dig right in and start tackling this. With the latest trendy topic of people being “Catfished” it made me wonder how many people out there in the social media galaxy are being “Catfished” themselves?
After leaving in 2009, I formed Elite Rank Marketing, a freelance SEO/Internet Marketing Company that still thrives today. So, without boring you with more talk about myself, just wanted to point out that my resume backs up any claim about being an SEO Specialist, Gure, Expert, etc.
But if we venture on to Twitter we find countless folks claiming they are Social Media Guru’s, Experts and Ninjas, without having an ounce of experience to back it up.
These folks simply think because they have mastered the technique of following people back who follow them and driving up their Twitter followers this qualifies them to be a Social Media whiz kid.
You’re not and it’s rather insulting to our industry that you claim to be anything but an enthusiast. You’re watering down our industry with, well, crap. Although I may not agree or necessarily be a fan of fellow SEO companies, I still respect our craft and the work involved.
Defining yourself as a Social Media expert when you have no idea how to utilize Social Media outside of hitting a follow button, or posting your Twitter stream on your website, is incredibly misleading and a flat out lie.
The fact is Social Media is an intensive, constantly evolving facet of SEO and Internet Marketing. Incredibly difficult to master, something that takes comprehensive understanding, hard work and years of due diligence to truly understand the power of Social Media and how to harness it.
I’m not the only one who has wrote about this, Adage.com and Media Bistro wrote about this and the Onion put together a great video making fun of this very thing:
Stop calling yourselves what you clearly are not. Social Media goes far beyond how well you build a Twitter or Facebook page, it’s more about the conversion of your audience than anything else.
For all you wannabes out there, here are a few websites where you can actually educate yourself on this industry, then you can properly use the term “Social Media Enthusiast” – Search Engine Watch - SEO Moz - Search Engine Land
News Flash – You’re NOT a Journalist, You’re a Columnist
Allow me to channel my inner-Charles Barkley from his infamous commercial in the 1990′s; “I am not a Journalist, I am NOT paid to be a Journalist“. Now 66% of the Twitter population say this in unison….
The fact of the matter is 6 out of every 10 people who i come across claiming to be a “Journalist” are not! They never received an education in Journalism, never had real media credentials as a journalist nor have they ever been associated with any writers guild that recognizes, you know, Journalists.
But rather than “Ethering” these folks as I did in my above rant (ala Nas to Jay-Z), I actually think this is a horrible misunderstanding. I really believe people don’t understand that they aren’t Journalists, but in fact something called a Columnist. So, bloggers, let’s cite Wikipedia and break down what a Columnist is, then maybe you’ll label yourself appropriately:
A columnist is someone who writes for publication in a series, creating an article that usually offers commentary and opinions. Columns appear innewspapers, magazines and other publications, including blogs.
Readers often open a publication with an expectation of reading another short essay by a specific writer who offers a personal point of view. In some instances, a column has been written by a composite or a team, appearing under a pseudonym, or (in effect) a brand name. Some columnists appear on a daily or weekly basis and later reprint the same material in book collections.
In defining a column, Dictionary.com provides a breakdown of a few popular subjects covered by columnists:
A regular feature or series of articles in a newspaper, magazine, or the like, usually having a readily identifiable heading and the byline of the writer or editor, that reports or comments upon a particular field of interest, as politics, theater or etiquette, or which may contain letters from readers, answers to readers’ queries, etc
Maybe now we can start seeing some clarity of truth on Social Media and there is truth to be found. But as the saying goes I wouldn’t hold your breathe.
If you are someone trying to build up your brand, like we all are trying to do, then just be honest with your audience. Sure, you may not be able to control who follows you and sure they may be robots, but you have 100% control over how you portray yourself to your audience.
Eventually, as you grow, people WILL do their due diligence and uncover the truth. You know who actually does that kind of legwork? People who are about to give you money or who are considering doing so.
We all see it from time to time when visiting the various sports blogs circulating through social media. Some call it “affiliates” some label it as their “partners” but in the simplest of terms, and as it is correctly labeled, it is a link exchange. It seems like a great way for two sites to cross-promote and in theory seems like a mutually beneficial venture.
But can this be a detriment to your blog?
In some instances it can be beneficial but more often than not, your spike in traffic and the clickthroughs from one site to yours is short term at best. But in some instances it can severely stunt your website’s growth and furthermore could negatively impact your websites traffic.
So why would someone want to do a link exchange?
1. It’s called “Teaming Up” or “Partnering”
Some blogs like to actively ask for logo exchanges via social sites like Twitter. We get them from time to time on SportsRantz and the process goes like this:
A. Website X tweets you asking to partner up, team up or become an sponsorship partner
B. You agree
C. Website X sends you a logo to place on your website linking to them
D. You place a logo linking to your site on Website X
So what possible benefits can exist when doing this? What could possible be the reasoning? Well, the answer is quite simple and to the average, everyday blogger could seem like a slam-dunk.
A. More Visitors to Your Blog
B. Your Logo prominent on another website
C. Free Advertising
While those are all reasons good enough to make any blog-owner jump for joy, it’s simply not the whole truth. so let’s examine why this isn’t as good of a process as one might think.
As with any advertising partner, you run the risk of being associated with their website. If your content is structured a certain way, or if your website is constructed a certain way you run the risk of your readers associating you with another site. It’s always good to do your research and check out who else these blogs link to.
What type of content do they post?
Are the posting original articles?
Do they link to gaming and/or porn websites that can negatively impact your website?
These are all things that need to be asked when you are posed with the proposition of partnering up. Keep in mind that the internet works a bit differently and things such as this, aren’t as cut and dry as they are in real life. Putting a logo on your site is not like posting a flier in your store, it has many possible consequences.
So before directing your readers to another blog, make sure its content you feel comfortable endorsing. Links are endorsements.
2. Risking Your Audience
This one is pretty cut and dry. Promoting a blog on your blog always runs the risk of decreasing one websites traffic only to increase the other websites traffic. If you point your visitors to check out another site, some very well may, but will they come back to your site?
It’s a question worth asking yourself. Is the risk worth the reward?
3. Potentially Damaging Your Website or Blog
Everyone knows how important coming up in search engines can be. Search Engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and others all have strict rules in guidelines in how they list their search results and where your site will rank.
Those of you who perform SEO or outsource for SEO work hard and have goals to increase traffic and visibility via the search engines.
Link exchanges run the risk of violating many of those regulations. If your site is viewed as violating said rules, then your site could be suspended from the search engines or worse, knocked out completely for violations.
One of the oldest methods in getting links to a website is by way of link exchanges. But the issue is, so many have exploited it’s benefits over the years that search engines are very mindful of how they value these exchanges. Most, like Google, see it as an attempt to manipulate their search results in order to create a clear benefit for a particular website. In that case, your risking losing your rankings and website power which will impact your traffic, cut down on readers and severely decrease the value of your website not only to you, but to potential and existing advertisers.
But don’t just take my word for it, read Googles Guidelines right here . I’ll point out three particular bulletpoints that should be very, very clear and should support what I am saying:
Excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”)
Linking to web spammers or unrelated sites with the intent to manipulate PageRank
Building partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking
There is is folks, proof that it certainly can harm your website.
In cases like this, you agree with another website to exchange links. They point one at your site, and you point one at their site. Keeping in mind that humans normally don’t follow this pattern, Bing can easily see there is limited value to such link exchanges. Don’t skip this as a valid link building tactic, however. New websites need links, and exchanging a link is a solid way to not only gain a trusted inbound link, but potentially to gain direct traffic form the other website. That traffic could easily bring with it more links as those new visitors spread the word about your own website.
Are all Link Exchanges Bad?
Yes and No, but you can see that search engines are bit sensitive when valuing such tactic. As you can see in Bing’s own response they do see a clear value in it, but caution that the process is mostly a pattern that humans don’t normally follow and something that comes with limited value.
What search engines want to see is the endorsing or promoting of good, quality websites. In a human manner. But if you have received a tweet, message or email asking you to do something like a link exchange, chances are you aren’t the first recipient, nor will you be the last, and this is a clear indicator the entity requesting the link exchange is already violating rules. So by linking to them, you’ll now run the risk of some negative repercussions.
Bottom line, if you’re asked to do a link exchange, be listed on a “partner page” or something similar or anything remotely close in description to these methods….Deny it. If they really dig your website or blog, they’ll list it without needing you to do something in return. If they don’t, no big deal. It won’t be as big of a traffic benefit as you may think.
Traffic is vital to the overall success of your blog, but most of you may be wondering; “How do I measure the traffic stats of my blog on SportsRantz?“. Glad you asked!
There actually has been a feature on SportsRantz for quite some time that allows you to setup Google Analytics and track your blog’s traffic. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen it yet, with so many features on SportsRantz it can be easy to lose track of some things in the shuffle.
So how do you setup traffic stats on your site? Luckily, we made this fairly easy to do in the following steps outlined below.
Once you have entered your website information you will be directed to a page that will have a Tracking ID it will most likely resemble this: UA-32950914-1
#2 – Adding Analytics to your Blog
Once you have that all setup go to your blog Dashboard. When you come to the Dashboard page look the the left menu bar and scroll down to the Settings tab and select Google Analytics
You will then be directed to a settings page to enter your Site Tracking Code, enter the code in the white box. You can also choose to track the load times, purely your choice. When you are done hit Save Changes
#3- Tracking Your Stats
After a day or two login to your Google Analytics account and you should be able to track your traffic stats. Keep in mind you will not be able to find your stats in your Dashboard, only in your Google Analytics account page.
Here at SportsRantz University I get my fair share of emails from readers asking how they can further their blog on SportsRantz. I also get a good amount of tweets and Facebook posts from existing members asking how they can gain more exposure with their blog. So I decided to put a quasi-checklist together so that anyone with a blog can ensure they are maximizing their potential.
So here is a simple list of things you should be doing to make your blog a success:
#1 Are You Blogging at SportsRantz.com?
Shameless self-plug? Yes definitely, but there is some truth to this statement. If you’re on another blogging platform you have to ask yourself how high the ceiling is for your potential. How hard is the website you are blogging on working for you to be successful? Are they just using your blog as a way to sell advertising? Food for thought.
At SportsRantz, we have something that no other sports blogging platform has. I can say this with 100% confidence. We are structured on strong SEO methods that provides an excellent foundation to build success on. SEO Drives traffic!
I personally crafted the SportsRantz SEO structure and I have been in the SEO industry for close to 10 years. I worked at one of the top firms in the entire industry and was their leading SEO Manager and SEO Specialist my entire tenure. I was in charge of accounts like Overstock, Vista Print, The Golf Channel, Pedi Ped and even Passages Malibu to name a few.
With that experience I was confident to start my own SEO Company and form my own unique methods. Since 2009, my company has worked on some incredible client websites.
Bottom line – NO website provides you the SEO tools, knowledge, advice and/or resources that we do. The proof is in the pudding. Keep in mind that just because someone owns a website, doesn’t make them an SEO.
With that being said, I strongly encourage you to fully take advantage of what we have on SR University.
#2 SportsRantz University
For those of you who want to take your blog to the next level and don’t utilize SR University…what on earth are you waiting for?
It’s common knowledge that nothing good is obtained without hard work. So if you are not actively learning how to make your blog better, educating yourself on methods or utilizing resources provided to you it’s going to be more of an upward battle. Especially if you want to make your brand popular. If you’re not doing all you can do to improve, your competition will pass you by.
I simply cannot stress enough how important reading the SEO section is and putting it to use in your blog. Also, learn about Branding and Social Media as well. Can’t hurt.
#3 How Unique is Your Content?
As soon as a news story breaks you have every blogger and writer covering it on some level. Bloggers are sure to regurgitate the same information but what are you offering that is different?
Give people a reason to bookmark your blog and trust your coverage. Do you offer opinions supported by facts? Do you have access to an interview or studies on information that goes deeper than the headlines?
People don’t want the same information over and over and they certainly don’t want the same information presented to them with the only difference being the tone and language is different. Be different. Stand out!
If everyone is selling glazed donuts, be the one to offer glazed donuts and coffee.
#4 Must Read Blogivision
So i did a bit of “play on words” there but think of this like TV. Reach out to other writers, athletes and personalities to do interviews on your blog.
Let’s face it, chances are Tom Brady won’t be available to do an interview on your blog, but try semi-pro players, players trying to make a team, etc. Offer interesting content and you’ll get dedicated readers
#5 How Interactive Are You?
This is a great point. If you’re solely relying on Rt’s from SportsRantz and Twittering to drive popularity to your blog, you’re not doing all you can do.
Are you sharing with people on Facebook? Are you in the SportsRantz Group on Facebook? Are you Tweeting RT accounts with your articles? Do you have a newsletter setup for your readers to sign up for?
Tools like this can help in the longrun.
I’ll expound on this article in the future, but for now here is 5 good bulletpoints to process.
Many of you may be wondering on how to make money on your blog. One of the best ways to do so is by selling Advertising on your blog page. But once you secure an Advertiser how do you add their ad to your blog?
You can do so a couple of ways with your SportsRantz.com blog.
To add any advertisement, you will go to your Dashboard then to Appearance and then to Widgets
Once you are at the Widgets page you can drag and drop numerous widgets in any order you please to the sidebar of your blog. Many themes available at SportsRantz already have Ad specific widgets. But for those who do not and for those who feel more comfortable going about things the traditional way, we suggest the following two widgets:
1. Image Widget
The Image widget is an easy to use widget that allows you to upload a picture and link it to you a specific page or site. This is the simplest way to add an Advertisement to your blog. Have them send you a logo, upload it to your Image Widget, add the link to their homepage and you are done!
2. Text Widget
The Text Widget is another great widget for ads. It can add HTML code, banner code and basic Text to your blogs sidebar. This is the best widget to apply Google Adsense to your blog.
Check out this video tutorial on how to configure some advertisements. It should help
Many of you who follow my SR University posts know my love affair with SEO and Social Media. I cannot and will never feel I ever will have stressed enough the vital importance of having some presence of solid SEO on your blog. SportsRantz.com is built on top notch SEO, elite SEO at that and we provide the basic structure of that to all of our bloggers. But you must maximize that.
One way of doing so (this is not the end all be all) is the SEO Plugin feature. If you have a blog on SportsRantz, you will see an SEO tab in your Dashboard.
So let me walk you through how to set up and configure that plugin. Please make sure to read my other SEO blog posts relaing to Co-Citation Interlinking, Keywords and Branding to fully maximize your online potential