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Thursday, October 09, 2008

SEO Value Attribution Links - Video & Widget Embeds

The value of attribution links on syndicated content is huge for SEO, but as is so often the case in SEO, some go way overboard and overdo to the point of spamming. Others correctly see the value as an incremental addition to their SEO tool set. I've long been an advocate for attribution links on flash widgets, video embeds, article syndication resource boxes and any other type of syndicated content.

Below is an example of a well executed attribution link. On a video embed

How to Search Specific Sites with Google -- powered by

Both of these use keyword focused attribution to the originating source of the content. If the content was unrelated to the keyword text links following those embeds, that would be the abusive and spammy approach I suggested above. The spammy approach has been used widely with web page counters prevalent on early web sites which linked back to spammer sites with entirely unrelated link text. But because the above video embed points to highly relevant and useful resource entirely related to the attribution link, it scores well in SEO.

The best approach is always to link to topical and relevant content, preferably, the source of the actual piece of content featured in order to score well in search engine relevancy and landing page quality.

I used the technique discussed in the video - site limited search - to find a copy of that syndicated content without the attribution link attached to the video player to show syndicated content that does the source no good other than the good-will of sharing their content.

The following gains zero benefit other than an occasional visitor who clicks through:

If anyone uses the second video, directly above, the second source site gains no benefit to providing the content. The top example source site gains a highly relevant link to the originating page of the actual video.

I've consulted with several video and widget vendors who look at me through quizzical sideways tilted gazes when I make this point, like I'm speaking Martian. That attribution link is highly valuable to the content provider. It offers the visitor a link equity to the content source and justifies the content provider bandwidth in delivering that valuable content to others who use the providers resources to display the content external to the provider. Why make your content to others without that link-back?

Here's another example on a widget:

Most Expensive Homes in Seattle

Relevant, interesting and useful information of interest to a highly targeted audience, with an attribution link to related information.

I've proposed this approach to link-building to easily a dozen client sites as they were about to launch major initiatives of distributed content. Most of them think the video or widget is a cool idea and respond to that, but many ask why that attribution link is necessary - a couple even removed it after development because they didn't like how it looked outside the player or widget. Great, now you are providing useful and interesting content - for free - on your bandwidth - with no return on investment - the link is worth it's weight in SEO gold.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Linking Strategies + Link Baiting - SES NY Day Four

If you click the link under the headline of this post, you'll land on Day 3 of Search Engine Strategies December 6, 2006 held in Chicago. That day included both sessions "Linking Strategies" and "Link Baiting and Viral Marketing Success", just as this current conference in April in New York. Both sessions are marked "Advanced" and suggest that you don't attend if you didn't attend the "Basic Linking" session earlier in the week. Nah. Only rank beginners not likely to attend a high end SES New York conference should need the prior session.

If linking is important to search engine ranking (and of course it is), I would expect SES New York to update and improve on those two linking programs, maybe add a new speaker or two for April 12, 2007. In fact it went backward, with Todd Friesen included on the panel in Chicago last year and dropped off the schedule for 2007, while Eric Ward was included both years and could not attend this year - he was replaced by Jim Boykin - who showed a very old powerpoint from a hosting conference he spoke at in 2005 - Ooops!

Both the Linking Strategies session and the Linkbait sessions played to a full house in August of 2006 in San Jose and again in Chicago and again in New York. Seems the line-up doesn't change, (and when it does, the presentations are old news) so the assumption is that linking doesn't change. Here's the Linking Strategies lineup from New York:

  • Justilien Gaspard, Internet Marketing Consultant, Justilien Internet Marketing Solutions
  • Jim Boykin, CEO, We Build Pages Internet Marketing
  • Greg Boser, President, WebGuerrilla LLC
And here's the Linkbait lineup:
  • Chris Boggs, Search Strategist, Avenue A | Razorfish
  • Rand Fishkin, CEO,
  • Jennifer Laycock, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Guide
  • Cameron Olthuis, Partner, Advantage Consulting Services
Shall we expect the same panel in August in San Jose? To be fair to SES and the speakers here, the show guide does show the sessions as "Four Star Rated!" Which means that they have occurred before and that they are wildly popular among those attendees who rank them.

NEW beside a session means exactly what it says, and I wish I had resisted the urge to attend the reheated Linking Strategies and Linkbait sessions in favor of the NEW "Content is King" session early morning and skipping the stale Linkbait (nothing "NEW" available in organic SEO tracks at that time). I think I see why Matt Cutts decided to cut out this time and stay home for a visit with the in-laws.

I'd also like to propose that the reheated sessions from last year be marked with a separate "NEW Material" classification - or maybe "NEW - Material - since - August - last - year - if - you -attended - that - show" designation. Well, I'm sure the shows are sprinkled about the country so that locals can attend, but I traveled for a total of 11 hours by plane to attend (and return home) and I wanted to get more out of this. Yes, I know, it's my fault!

So where are we on the state of linking in 2007? Is there anything new to consider, anything else we should know about? Yes. The most recent development is the soaring popularity of Widget Bait this year. This item was discussed by Cameron Olthius in the Linkbait session briefly when he pointed out thatMyBlogLog was acquired by Yahoo for $10 Million after their widget drove the growth of the company.

As an illustration of how the viral marketing industry circles in on itself, the top ranking results in Google for "MyBlogLog Acquired $10 Million" are Digg and Mashable as I do my background research here.

So here's an idea - Build a great new widget and do fantastically successful viral marketing on blogs or other social spaces, you'll get so many links, you'll gain national media attention, then get purchased by a big company. What? It could happen! Note to self - go to sessions marked "NEW" at next SES.

Mike Valentine is an SEO Specialist offering occassional commentary on Search Engine Developments through his Reality SEO Blog and developed WebSite101 Small Business Ecommerce Tutorial in 1999 to help educate the little guy to the intricacies of online business.

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