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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

SEO - Is there A Way for MicroISV?

We use google adwords, but costs are getting a bit out of hand lately. So, I read some books on SEO, and it seems obvious that maintaining that will take a big slice of time (which as a MicroISV, is difficult to find).

Does anyone have any experience with some of these programs like Traffic Imperium (or any others) good or bad? They have 'get rich quick scheme' written all over them, but heck, if I can spend $100 to save even 1/10th of our google adwords costs, it may be worth the risk.

Any other suggestions are welcome. Thanks -
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Ignore quick SEO schemes at all costs, they'll kill your SEO. Just play it straight. If you do a good job you'll make some progress in 6 months or so.
Ian L Send private email
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I disagree that SEO for mISVs takes a lot of time, unless SEO is your code-word for Internet marketing at large.

Basic SEO principles should be easy for any developer to understand and apply.  Here is an SEO anti-pattern that may amuse or inform:
Martial Arts for Personal Development Send private email
Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ugh. I think I'm going to be sick.

My guess is that any traffic you get will be completely untargetted and a total waste of money. But I rather hope you try it and let us know how you get on.
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
> My guess is that any traffic you get will be completely untargetted and a total waste of money. But I rather hope you try it and let us know how you get on.

I am really not concerned about spending $100 (or even $500). What I DONT want to happen is unethical or spamming of our web sites, which no amount of money can undo.

I am tempted to sign up just to wee what it is, but I was hoping maybe someone here had already done it (or, perhaps has used a similar program or service) and can provide some experiences.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I bought SEO Spyglass when it was on bitsdujour for ~$35.  Some people aren't into that type of thing, but I really thought it was a huge time saver to find where my competitors were getting links from and then work it from that end.
ian Send private email
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Oh, and WebCEO has a free version that I just started playing with too.  Not sure on it's usefulness, but the free version seems to have some good tools.
ian Send private email
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Two pieces of advice:

1. Forget the quick fix, magic software, instant result blah blah. At best, you just waste your money and time. At worst you will be blacklisted by google and die.
2. Read what Dave Collins has to say re SEO etc. This guy does this fulltime and has for years. http://mymicroisv.com/index.php?s=Collins&submit=Search

my micro-ISV 2.5 cents worth.
Bob Walsh Send private email
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Thanks for that link Bob - that was a new one for me.  Cheers.
Johnny Send private email
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I find creating a site with Citydesk is very helpful in saving time. Also you should add things every week. Not hard with Citydesk. Watch you logs. They tell you if you are making progress. I find its like cooking. Lots of little changes of time make a difference.
Joeinmi Send private email
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Ok, two things:

1) Traffic Imperium looks like something we tried ages ago. Get ready for thousands of hits to your front page and nowhere else. No leads, no conversions. Noone "invents a way" to magically drop thousands of "targeted visitors" onto your website. The only way anyone can get real traffic that they are willing to give to someone else is if the traffic is coming from domain camped websites, or something of that quality, in which case the traffic is not quality at all. More than likely though, the traffic is a PHP click script network.

2) Yes always make sure you optimise your site to make it search engine friendly, but the days of blackhat search engine manipulation are drying up. Want the number one way to get your site to the top now? Build a site that actually deserves the ranking it gets. This means thousands of people visiting your site, referencing the site and linking to it. This is the *only* way you are ever going to sustain a proper ranking and/or get lots of organic traffic on a daily basis. I recommend Aaron Wall's blog and his product that he sells there as well. If you want to spend money, buy it. You'll get a tonne more value than you will from that traffic imperium rubbish. http://www.seobook.com
Nathan Ridley Send private email
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
There are only three things I have done that have had a big SEO impact.

1. Write content for my site. Small bump.
2. Do on-site optimization (title, h1, keywords). Small bump.
3. Do a link building campaign. Major bump.

You can either do #3 yourself or pay someone.

Things I've done that didn't amount to squat:
1. Software directory submissions (most links are redirects).
2. Directory submissions.
Nicholas Hebb Send private email
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
This one is for Nick Hebb

>>3. Do a link building campaign. Major bump.

What sort of site did you target? I presume they are related in some way but the only related sites I can think of are my competitors, am I missing something? Did you target blogs or something similar?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
In my mind one of the good things of the Internet is the ability to sell goods without the burden of having to pay for high-street real estate.

The Internet should be the great levellers, allowing a small team of programmers (or even 1 person) to produce good software and make a living from this.

However Google in its greed is changing the Internet. They suck the life blood of our their advertisers. There was fraud in their Content Network and these jokers sent form emails to the people who complained to them. They were double-billing due to double-clicks and they took longer than they should to fix it.

Google is making the whole Internet more expensive.

People can change this. Switch to use other search engines such as live.com
Google Are Leeches
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Hmmm, I have to say I am more than slightly suspicious about the previous poster's bias. Looks to me like a paid Microsoft FUD agent promoting their own search engine.

Google are where they are because they earned their place there. If they no longer deserve it, they'll gradually lose their throne.
Nathan Ridley Send private email
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
The scary thing is, as expensive as Google ads are, they are still cheaper than the so-called SEO experts. I mean, have you seen the prices they charge?

I mean, I went to the link suggested above (http://www.seobook.com), and their rates for a small business are $500 to $850 for 1 to 1.5 hours on the PHONE?? And I thought Google was expensive. At least with google, I pay for results only. SEO means I *may* get better results, but no guarantees. How any small company can pay out that kind of money without some sort of results guarantee is beyond me.

There has got to be a better way. At this rate, the Internet will be owned by large corporations and us small-time companies wont be able to compete.

The link-building sounds interesting. Any good (and reasonably priced) services out there that anyone has tried that they have had success with?
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
To be fair to SEO Book, he (Aaron Wall) is among the top 5-10 SEO consultants in the world. Search for the term "SEO". He is on the first page. He has to charge that amount to weed out the number of inquiries he gets.
Nathan Ridley Send private email
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
There is nothing called as Quick SEO. Rather is nothing called Quick which will pay you for long. Stay away from that. Do organic SEO.

With regards,
Mandar Thosar
Mandar Thosar Send private email
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
FreddieK: Another point on SEO consultants - people such as those you mention are not targeting small businesses.  They want blue-chip clients that can pay the fees without flinching.

The point about the high fees is this: is it worth it?  ie. am I going to make more money from my increased website sales than I am paying the SEO consultant?  The answer (I would hope) is a big yes.  That's why consultants in any field charge what they do, and people pay - they get good results.

Consultants charge what people are prepared to pay.  And people are paying for the consultants considerable expertise.  There's little point complaining about it. 

Did you really expect (or need) to hire one of the top SEO consultants in the world for peanuts..?  There many many other cheaper consultants around.
Just passing...
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Slightly OT, but here is one way to boost your ranking.

Write more articles.

Now... how do you get article topics?  Check your logs.  What keywords are people using to find you website?  Write articles based on those keywords.  Even if you have similar articles... write a NEW article.  Just be sure it is a new article, and not a simple swapping of text.
Eric D. Burdo Send private email
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
You think 500$ is expensive?

SeoMoz.org (Top SEO consultancy) charges 1000$/hour.

JD Send private email
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Blatant plug:

My startup (http://www.hubspot.com) is building an internet marketing platform for small businesses.  Our focus is on helping companies improve the number of visitors to their website -- and convert more of them to clients.

However, the product (at $250/$500 month) is out of the price range of most Micro-ISVs.  Most of our clients are venture-funded or have existing products that are higher-end so that the lead generation is of great value to them.

Having said that, we've taken a lot of what we've learned about SEO and embedded it into a simple (and currently free) tool here:


I think you might find it useful and a good place to get started (the software has been used by over 28,000 websites now and most sites have some simple improvements that can be made easily to improve SEO)

Dharmesh Shah Send private email
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
> This one is for Nick Hebb

> What sort of site did you target? I presume they are
> related in some way but the only related sites I can
> think of are my competitors, am I missing something?
> Did you target blogs or something similar?

One of the smartest things I've read lately is some simple advice from Danny Sullivan. The search engines are already telling you where to get back links from. Do a search on your keywords. The top (non-competitor) search results are the ones it values most in the genre.

But, keep in mind that links just from on-topic pages aren't necessary. Authority (a nebulous term) matters most. And even low PR pages pass link juice. John Scott of v7n has written about this a lot. He also has a good point in that back links containing only keywords are not going to look natural to Google's algorithm. Your link building campaign should include non-keyword phrases like "click here", "more info", your domain name, etc.

There are only a handful of "SEO gurus" worth reading. The guys like John Scott, Aaron Wall, Danny Sullivan, and others who actually test, test, test know what they're talking about. The rest are just regurgitating material they've read elsewhere.
Nicholas Hebb Send private email
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
> Google are where they are because they earned their place there. If they no longer deserve it, they'll gradually lose their throne.

They'll only "lose their throne" if people choose to use other companies instead. Therefore someone who thinks google isn't very good would, naturally, reccomend doing the one and only thing that imples google "losing their throne".

Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Now that Google has established themselves as the search engine of choice there is no reason for them to improve.

If the improve any further, they will get less business from paid search results.

The only thing they are releasing is Google Checkout so they have a monetary way to put the results that give them the most money first.

What they should be doing is rotating the first 5 positions so that a variety of companies can get a share of the action.

But they won't. Because they love money too much.

I hate to say it but Google are the leeches of the Internet.

They initially did good work, but over time these people will drain all the money from websites.

It doesn't have to be this way. Start moving to yahoo.com and live.com searches now.

If Google gets any bigger we will all suffer.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Here's a couple of basic ideas.

I track users with Statcounter (free). I keep a very close eye on StatCounter's "recent keyword activity" list that may have lead someone to my site. Its easy to check these key words, and sometimes I find that I may be listed on page 5 of Google for a fairly obscure term. Then I'll build a quick page on the site that optimizes that term, submit it manually to the big engines, and over time this generally will bring my site up to the top. My goal is to be on the front page of Google for as many obscure terms that people might ever want to type to find my software.

Another thing we've done is to purchase domain names for some of the more frequently used search terms that bring visitors to our site. If "dead fish bait" is what users are typing in Google to find your site, go out and register "deadfishbait.com", place *unique* optimized content on it, and let it rise in the rankings.

There's a lot of art to this, and some science. I'm not an SEO pro, but these things have been easy to do and are working for us.
Voltage Spike Send private email
Thursday, May 31, 2007

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