Please Just Be Honest When Asking For A Link Removal

404 - Broken Links In Google Webmaster Tools

Can we just be honest when asking people to update or remove links?

It happens to all sites. Links move or change, posts occasionally get deleted, categories get restructured and despite your best intentions, you still have broken links coming into your site.

At this point you can either set up 301 redirects to a new location or relevant content, or you can reach out to site owners and ask them to alter or remove their links. Most site owners will be happy to update broken links, but a little bit of honesty will get you a lot further than trying to scare site owners by saying that Google is penalizing your site and the same will happen to them.

I’m seeing it happen a lot lately. Instead of just being honest and saying “Our bad, we restructured our site and don’t care to put 301’s in place” or “We deleted the content you were linking to” or (and perhaps most honestly) “we’re engaging in some reputation management”, most emails of this type appear to be defaulting to the “Google is penalizing us and if you don’t delete the link Google will penalize you and your site will never rank again” tactic.

The truth is that a handful of broken links on my site spread over thousands of posts isn’t going to result in Google issuing my site any kind of penalty.

While you’re at it, make it as easy as possible for me to find the link you want removed. Provide me with the name and URL of the post in which the link appears. Sure I could search for the URL you want removed but that’s more work for me. The easier you make it the more likely I am to actually do what you want.

Do not, ever, ever, ever send me a list of URLs from my site that include category indexes, tags etc. That’s pointless and making more work for me. Just 1 URL. That is all. Show me you’re not lazy and actually care.

Finally a tip for managing and detecting broken links on your own site.  You really should be fixing broken links yourself as it improves not just your SEO but also the user experience. If you’re using WordPress try using a plugin such as “Broken Link Checker” to stay on top of things. Regardless of what platform you use, you should also be using Google Webmaster Tools which also report crawl errors and broken links.

An SEO Expert Walks Into A Bar

I couldn’t help but giggle when I saw this post on TNW this morning. It just reminded me of all those people who claim they are they do search engine optimization but actually engage in little more than keyword stuffing, social network spamming, and placing a few links in free directories.

An SEO expert walks into the bar

Guest Post: Aaron Wall – Tips on using video in SEO

I have a special treat for you guys today. Aaron Wall of SEO Book has done a special guest post for O’Flaherty with tips about using video in your SEO. Enjoy!

I think video is a huge boon in many markets. It does an especially strong job of conveying trust to get people to want to learn and/or buy from you, showing things that are hard to describe with words (visualizing them somehow makes them more real … that is why so many e-books have fake covers after all), and sharing humor (as laughter is contagious and video can put you in an atmosphere where others are showing an emotion with clarity).

I added a bunch of 5 minute videos to many of my SEO tools and saw a drastic decrease in support queries. Some people who are too lazy to read a 10 page how to guide will gladly watch a few minute video to learn how to get the most out of using a tool.

In addition to those benefits, video is also easy to syndicate to other sites (via embed widgets you offer directly or via YouTube). If someone embeds your video in their blog they often link back to your site (especially if you use watermarks and/or aggressively brand your site in the video) plus someone embedding a 5 minute video from you  tells your audience that they really trust you.

I think the singular biggest error many people make when syndicating video to YouTube is not also adding more value on their own sites. A transcription of the video placed on their own site adds a lot of descriptive keyword rich text that they can rank for, plus adding a bulleted list synopsis to your own site ensures that your site aspires to remain the destination rather than letting YouTube get all the links you earned. I tried to do a pretty good job of the later when I posted the videos to my blog, but my videos sub-domain is still a bit sloppy and could use some work.

With video content Google does not have much textual content to weigh the videos against, so it is best to use short keyword dense descriptive titles with meta descriptions that help back them up. On many of the videos I submitted to YouTube I made titles that were a bit too long and perhaps spammy to be optimal.

My wife has been playing around with YouTube and has  done better than I have at getting her videos included in the search results than I have.

Six more bonus video optimization tips:

  • When in doubt, shorter with better clarity is typically better than comprehensive. And slower / calmer voice is better than quick speaking.
  • Annunciation matters. If you have trouble speaking clearly for long periods of time practice, and then record in smaller chunks. Buy a nice microphone with a pop filter. It is worth it. It makes everything you say more clear.
  • If you post to your site and YouTube try to use a different title on your blog such that you can try to rank for a wider net of keywords.
  • If you have the time to it may be worth submitting to Google Video, MetaCafe, and a couple of the other video sites. Some of them pass link weight and many of them have good authority.
  • Read this TechCrunch post …it offers lots of great viral video marketing tips.