* The Business of Software

A former community discussing the business of software, from the smallest shareware operation to Microsoft. A part of Joel on Software.

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Moderators:

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

What do you think of White/Gray/Black hat SEO services?

One of the best way to generate traffic is from search engines. With that said who here has tried SEO services? What kind of SEO service (E.g. Link Building, Press Release, etc)? How did it workout for you?  How much have you spent on it?

I'll share my results:
Overall, I had pretty bad results. I've only bought "White" hat services from BlackHatWorld, which were guranteed Safe and Effective. There were MANY reviews on how good the services were.

In total, I spent about $500 on these type of SEO service, hoping my keywords would get to top page on Google, thus generating much more traffic. 

My results were pretty bad though, My keywords I was trying to promote didn't go up much. No matter what kind of different SEO service I've tried. I think it actually hurt me more. After every penguin (Google Search Algorithm) update, my keywords dropped even more than the original position.

Well, I've learned my lesson. Time to figure out how else I could market my software.
John Senar Send private email
Monday, October 07, 2013
 
 
I'm guessing the SEO party is over and while sharks still need to eat, the sensible people will move on.
Scorpio Send private email
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
 
 
A few points.

1 - What results would you reasonably expect for $500?

2 - "The SEO party is over". Again?
Dave Collins Send private email
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
 
 
I'm not sure that SEO has a place any more. Google, since they sold out, now have no interest in serving up popular and relevant results. All they seem to want to do is serve up crappy ads that (obviously) make them money and keep the investors happy.

I, for one, would love the day where advertising (online, or not) is banned. The culprits keep saying that 'targeted' ads 'improve the user experience'. WTF!

If I want to buy something I'll do a search online for myself. I don't need to be sold to....

Ooops. Just bought a fake rolex and got a date with a Guy who is within 40 miles of me...
Ewan McNab Send private email
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
 
 
no advertising = no money = no Internet? (eventually?)
GregT Send private email
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
 
 
"no advertising = no money = no Internet? (eventually?) "

I doubt it: If that was the case, the entire (original) point of the internet would be blown up in flames. Oops, sorry, the whole point of the internet was that it couldn't...
Ewan McNab Send private email
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
 
 
No advertising, no sales, no products, no investment, no maintaining existing products...

Some people just want to watch the world burn.





AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
 
 
I don't think Google are as terrible as you're making out.  What they seem to be doing is clamping down on people who are gaming the system.  Which is no bad thing.

I was pleasantly surprised that my site was ranking pretty high for key words I made no mention of - I was being ranked on synonyms.

I think the goal (which has been achieved by Google) is not to concentrate on key words any more but to concentrate on content.  This is ultimately why people come to our sites.

Some SEO services may fall along the way, but their place will be taken by the demand for better quality writers.
DanDan Send private email
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
 
 
@AC

My point was that the internet was designed to be massively redundant, and well before the likes of Google/Facebook/Twitter came along.

Knocking a few of the increasingly commercial interests out of the picture wouldn't make a huge difference to the actual functionality.

When I hear of companies wanting to 'make the advertising experience better for customers', I cringe. Most people don't want to be advertised to/at (who would?), but it seems to be the only business model available right now, and the only way these big players can possibly make any money.

Maybe I'm just getting old :-)
Ewan McNab Send private email
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
 
 
"No advertising, no sales, no products, no investment, no maintaining existing products... Some people just want to watch the world burn."

Not sure what you mean by investment? If you mean 'Investors', then I've worked at several companies where investors were the problem simply because they want a quick return and, if they don't get it, close the company.

The big one (never worked there) at the moment is the Royal Mail. Watch this space...
Ewan McNab Send private email
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
 
 
@Dave,
A lot. Which is what they advertise.

I complteley agree with Ewan, I think Google is focused more on making money instead of relevant searches. Which hurts mISV in my opinion.

If they are more focused more content, I don't understand why there are 3 articles that is on the front page of Google for my keywords that were written in 2007.  Also a useless Youtube video created in 2009.
John Senar Send private email
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
 
 
"Not sure what you mean by investment? "

The basic cycle of capital investment of surplus profits into future products and the maintaining of existing ones.

Basically I'm just defending the concept of advertising :o)

It amuses me when people say the best business model, or even the only business model, is advertising.

Who what are these advertisers advertising? Products, services, things that people pay good money for!

Secondly, suppose you managed to come up with a really great product. Just pretend. Something really great... You just gonna create it with the "build it and they'll come" mindset? Because thousands have already tried that and found the customers don't come.

Why would they, if you never told them?

You want to tell them? Well that's advertising.

It's a bit like traffic. You're not stuck "in" traffic, you ARE traffic.  When you tell people about YOUR product, you're advertising. See how that works?



AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
 
 
"The basic cycle of capital investment of surplus profits into future products and the maintaining of existing ones."

That's a definition I would totally agree with.

There is a difference, though, when a company brings in external investors. They generally are not the slightest bit interested in the actual business but will have the influence to turn the business in completely the wrong direction and will either bail-out when the share price gets them 10% or when the business folds.

Capitalism, I guess....
Ewan McNab Send private email
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
 
 
*
If they are more focused more content, I don't understand why there are 3 articles that is on the front page of Google for my keywords that were written in 2007.  Also a useless Youtube video created in 2009.
*

I know every case is different but I completely agree with this.  I ca-author a hobby blog that is THE undoubted internet authority on the subject it covers.  Thousands of unique articles, thousands of in-coming links, no links built, just natural stuff too.  Lots of appearances in the real press too.  And still almost every search that we USED to dominate is now topped by useless eBay listings and cookie cutter catalogue / store sites.  It's extremely dis-heartening.
Mark Nemtsas Send private email
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
 
 
ugh, CO-AUTHOR.
Mark Nemtsas Send private email
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
 
 
Whew, now I don't have to Google "ca-author".

I've given my opinion before that paying someone for SEO services is a poor investment, but AC is right, everything that is sold is advertised somehow.  Shotgun advertising is getting less and less effective, where you fire pellets of impressions at the general location of your audience and hope to bag a few geese.  First it was TV ads, then radio and newspapers, now it's search engines where your ads don't impact people who want to buy something similar to whatever it is that you have to sell.

Which is what advertising is, letting potential buyers know what it is you have to sell.  The concept hasn't changed with the Internet, buyers will go looking for things to buy in the places where they expect to find reliable information.  For food, that's still the supermarket, you can examine the food yourself, see the exact price it  can be purchased for at that moment, how much food is available  and what varieties of food are available at that time and place.  If you are a food vendor, anything you do to convince buyers to buy your corn flakes over other breakfast cereals, or instead of vegetables, is advertising.

The days of convincing people to buy your cornflakes as they watched Ed Sullivan, or drove to work, or read the morning newspaper are over.  People are starting to stop using Google search to browse the Internet, they are now looking for something very specific, usually a URL that they have visited before.  Basically, to find the cat video they saw last week so they can point their friend to it.

So you have to find ways to convince people that they want to buy your software before they Google it.  It's not easy, most people don't buy software on a regular basis, so you can't expect people to visit a software store twice a week.  Software supermarkets aren't very good either, the only reliable information they provide is price, and there are very few opportunities to show visitors why they would want your program instead of the free ones on the shelf.  Below the discretionary income cutoff, the costs of time and anxiety are far more important to purchasers than monetary costs.

And don't let anyone tell that B2B is different, if anything, in the B2B world lack of time, potential risk and purchasing inconvenience trump price more often, because it isn't the purchaser's own money that is being spent.

My suggestion is to get your program close to places where people could use it to do stuff.  Kind of like setting up a hot dog stand at the fair.  People don't have to travel very far to get to your hot dog stand, eventually they will get hungry, and if you can capture their kids' attention long enough to stay in one place for 30 seconds, you should have a sale.
Howard Ness Send private email
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
 
 
Ewan - the organic results may be little more than a platform for serving ads, but that doesn't detract from their importance. Take them away and there will be no-one to click the ads.

DanDan - I absolutely agree with you.

Howard - most businesses don't have the time or expertise to do their own SEO, which is why we (and yes I include myself) keep pushing our own down the to-do list.

Paying someone to do this for you is infinitely better than never doing it.
Dave Collins Send private email
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
 
 
2 little points I'll mention while procrastinating over starting a new project...

I agree with Howard that more targeted advertising is the way to go, however broadcast adverts will always have a place - because it's still competition.

For example if you're advertising shoes you're not just competing against other shoe shops. You're also competing against all the OTHER things people might want to spend their money on, instead of shoes.

That's one of the reasons you can never really have a true monopoly. Even something as sufe-fire certain as being the only allowed telephone provider with fixed phone lines - that's still no protection against mobile phones, walky-talkies or VIOP for example.

Regarding SEO, there ARE certain techniques that still work well.

However the days when you could buy an ebook explaining them for $50 are indeed pretty much over. Such methods were always a bit out of date but generally worked. Today, by the time you hear of something you're only hearing about it because it doesn't work.

I have some clients that ARE still winning the arms race with Google but nope, I can't say who or what.

I CAN say that just this week I've had yet another example of what I've been saying for a long time regarding Adwords - and have been called names for saying too. I'll quote the client;

"I used A.dWords for three sites that were also getting free traffic from them.

When I wasn't getting any more sales from those campaigns, I deleted them.

Exactly 30 days after I deleted the campaigns, they took away all of my free traffic from their search as well (this happened a few weeks ago and isn't tied to any algorithm update).

All of my other sites on which I used identical SEO strategies were untouched.

Seems to me they are blackmailing their users or trying to get people to restart their campaigns as they are not getting any traffic now"



AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
 
 
@AC "I agree with Howard that more targeted advertising is the way to go"

I'm not so sure...

I don't like adverts. Why would I? There may be some suckers out there that believe that they can lose 50 pounds by taking a pill, etc. But it's not true.

Wrong advertising in the wrong place. Or... purely 'Gizz da Money'?
Ewan McNab Send private email
Thursday, October 10, 2013
 
 
Ewan, our definition of advertising is broader than sleazy pitches to take your money in exchange for something you don't want and would be eternally embarrassed to have in your possession .  Advertising is also letting the market know what is available for sale, and it is also dropping hints that Product A can relieve the itch you are feeling.  I don't like citing PR type studies, but when they say we are exposed to 500 or 1000 advertising messages a day, they aren't exaggerating.  Without advertising, commerce would be like passing money through a slot in the wall and hoping to get what you wanted passed back to you.  Advertising is like Elvis, it is everywhere. http://artists.letssingit.com/mojo-nixon-lyrics-elvis-is-everywhere-6kc4m4l
Howard Ness Send private email
Thursday, October 10, 2013
 
 
"I don't like adverts. Why would I?"

Of course you do, you LOVE them, as long as it's for a product you're interested in.




AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Thursday, October 10, 2013
 
 

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