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Old 1st December 2005, 01:41 AM   #7
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Search Engine Guide Blogger


Before I begin, again, I think watching Jenn work her magic is fantastic.

CafeExpress linkage is an asset. This asset isn't readily available to some Start Ups (service industries, portals, etc.). I will gladly hang off a visible site to improve my visibility and I am sure others would to.
There are a million different ways that I could have gone about starting a business. The fact that the business that I chose to start doesn’t directly match up with the type you run doesn’t make the experiment unrealistic, it simply makes it different. I’m not saying this to be defensive, simply to point out that this was simply the route I chose to go. In fact, I’ll even point out that I chose CafePress for that very reason…because they were already established. It’s the same reason why I might have selected eBay or Yahoo! stores as an option…built in traffic.

To say links aren't mandatory to climbing search engine flies in the face of even the search engine's recommendations. Yes, relevancy is very important. However, I am confused - I see that 'thelactivist' site is back-linked from sites in the Netherlands (,,, etc.). Is the data wrong? If not, how does a Media Fact site in the Netherlands relate to Breastfeeding T-Shirts? Some of those lil quips are fantastic - but I am not so sure they will translate well in Dutch.
That data is not wrong and the site does have links coming in from those countries. Those links are coming in because the people running those sites are interested. If you think about it, it also makes sense that a marketing site would talk about this project. Do you think that I would have gotten the links and blog discussion about the project that I have if I was selling ink toner? It’s doubtful. Part of the reason that this series has taken off and that these links have come in is because I’ve picked a topic that can spark some real conversation and presented it in a way that is entertaining. I wrote in the early days of the series about the need to pick a very niche market if you want to have any shot at all of starting a business on a shoe-string.

In addition, are you suggesting not seeking relevant/quality links?
I don’t think anyone is suggesting that. I think what’s being said is that sending out zillions of requests for reciprocal links is unlikely to do you any good. Throughout this entire project I’ve asked for a total of two links. The first was the link from Jason Dowdell at Marketing Shift. The second was from a friend that used to run a blog about funny t-shirts. He’d shut that blog down, so I didn’t get that link. Every other link to the site is unsolicited.

That shows the power of creating content that is interesting enough to attract links on its own. Search Engine Guide has like 75,000 backlinks showing in Yahoo!. Do you know how many of those are reciprocal links that we requested? Pretty much none. People link to our site because they like what we have to offer. This is what you want to focus on when building links for your own site…building one that is worthwhile enough that you don’t have to “trade” links. I covered this pretty in-depth in an article at Search Engine Guide.

Spend 15% of my time on SEO work? This too is confusing since Jenn created 1000 uniques in 8 days, demonstrating her SEO skill.
This is where your assumptions are off. I created 1000 uniques in 8 days without a drop of Search Engine Traffic. Search Traffic didn’t start coming in until the second week and even then, only 8% of my total traffic has come from search engine referrals. It’s the viral marketing efforts that have really launched this project. It’s the half dozen parenting forums where someone that’s visited to the site made a post about it, or the parenting blogs that have started adding The Lactivist to their blogrolls… Those are the links that are generating the success for this product. I’d argue that my SEO skills have had almost nothing to do with it so far. (though that will obviously not be the case over time as I expect search traffic will start to make up at least a third of my referrals…)

I’d say that Logan’s estimate of 15-20% of time on SEM is about right for what I’ve done so far. Content creation has sucked up the majority of my time. From t-shirt ideas to blog posts to actually setting up the store and web sites…that’s likely more than 50% of what I’ve spent time on.

Yes the traffic from peepers to the exercise will not result in sales. But buzz is buzz and it does make it difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. Conduct the exercise, and then post the diary?
Possibly, but why not take advantage of whatever buzz you can generate? I had an incoming link show up the other day from an Architecture firm that is doing almost the exact same thing that I am… What’s wrong with wrapping your business launch in an information project as a way to generate buzz. Some might say that the very fact that I’m doing this article series is nothing more than a brilliant marketing ploy for launching a business.

Re - Linking the 'thelactivist' to 'smallbus....'. It would be very nice if we all had GPR 3 + contacts.
That’s true…and it would be nice if I knew anything about running a business, or could spell for a darn or could write CSS code.  I don’t do any of those things well…so I’ve had to find help where I can find it, or learn it as I go. Isn’t that part of running a business? Couldn’t we all come up with areas that we “lack in” and claim those as a reason for our failures? Or…is part of being an entrepreneur figuring out a solution to the problem at hand and making lemonade out of your lemons?

I concur with your comments about building name or brand as the case may be. However this formula isn’t a fit all. Giving it a quick thought, seems like a great formula for the cottage or niche business out there.
Of course, and that’s my whole point! You’ll note that in the very first article I said that I knew if I wanted to start a business with zero dollars it had to be a business that was very focused on a specific niche. It had to be something with a built-in, un-tapped audience. In other words, if you want to launch a business on a budget, then cottage industries are the way to go. Why does that make this series any less valid?

Confusion Area #1 - I ran Jenn’s web page through WEBCeo . There were no meta keywords, or keywords period. Is this a strategy?
LOL! You caught me! I never dreamed that Google or the others would start indexing so quickly, so I simply hadn’t gotten around to throwing any tags in there yet. Heck, the title tag of every page was still showing as “the lactivist” up until this afternoon. Is that proof enough that SEO really has been a secondary part of this process? And to note…while I’ll throw meta tags up just to have them there, they are far from the secret to search engine marketing success. I’ve never had a problem getting great rankings without them. (note…I mean keyword tags, not the title tag…title tag = moocho important!)

Confusion Area #2 – What is the link strategy being advocated, no links, quality links? If links, how does the Small Biz link help the Breast Feeding site? To say nothing about the .NL sites, if the data from WEBCeo is good.
Quality links. Quality incoming, non-solicited links from authority sites. What’s wrong with a marketing site linking to a business? Wouldn’t it make sense that sites that discuss business and marketing might point to the sites that are doing a decent job of it? Why would Google find that irrelevant? At the same time, consider all those links coming in from the parenting forums and the blogs written by moms. How could you get any more relevant than that? 

Not to get to far ahead, but I have extreme confidence in Jenn and her magic Given success, it will be interesting to assess the success factors? Who wins the biggest wedge in the pie chart?
Links from other web sites…hands down. My guess is that by the end of this game, if I discount the Search Engine Guide links, discussion forums and blogs will still be driving more traffic than search engines…

Current Reality is -
Content - 10%
SEO Tuning - 90%

Isn't Jenn demonstrating that SEO Tuning is key? The greater the success of the exercise the more this is demonstrated!
Not at all…but I’ve already covered that above. Also, toss aside Web CEO. You don't need computer program can replace the human brain when it comes to thinks like search marketing. They make it to easy to get caught up in formulas rather than guidelines.

Loving this conversation. I hope you stick around.

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