Thursday, February 26, 2009

how to get high rankings at Google with natural links

Some years ago, it was enough to get many inbound links to get high rankings on Google. It didn't matter from where these links came as long as there were many links that pointed to your website.

As Google and other search engines continually improve the way they rank web pages, getting the right links is crucial if you want to be listed on the first search result page.

Unnatural links can be bad for your Google rankings

Google is able to detect unnatural linking patterns. That is why the following type of links don't work:

Link farms and automated linking systems

Some online services promise hundreds of links in a short time with no work involved. All you have to do is to put some code on your website or to join a system that will help you to get links from other sites quickly and easily.

These automated linking systems don't work and Google can detect them. Actually, Google thinks that you're spamming if you participate in such a system and they might penalize your website by lowering its position in the search results.

Paid links

Google's anti-spam guru Matt Cutts has made clear that Google considers paid links spam. If you don't want to lose your rankings on Google, you should be very careful when buying links.

Natural links have a positive effect on your Google rankings

Natural links are links that make sense to your website visitors. For example, if you have a website about Linux, a totally unrelated link to a car parts website would look strange.

100 percent natural

The links that point to your website should be from related websites and from sources that would "naturally" link to you, i.e. Internet directories, social bookmarking services, blogs, etc. The more related websites link to your site, the higher your website will rank on Google's result pages.

How to get the best links to your website

There are a few things that you can do to get as many good links as possible to your website.

1. Create a linkworthy website

If your website is only a collection of affiliate links then you cannot expect that other webmasters will link to your site. Create a website with good content. You might also consider creating web pages whose sole purpose is to get inbound links. This could be "How to" articles, top 10 lists or even a controversial statement.

The more interesting your web pages are, the easier it is to get links from other websites.

2. Contact related websites and blogs

Contact related websites and point them to the interesting content on your site. Do you have an article on your website that solves a specific problem?

Contact websites that also deal with that topic or bloggers who have written about that topic and tell them about your article. Chances are that these websites will link to your site. Our link builder can help you to find and contact related websites and blogs.

3. Submit your website to related Internet directories

Internet directories are an easy way to get inbound links. However, only submit your website to Internet directories that are relevant to your website and only submit your website to the right category.

A link from the right directory and the right category to your website can have a positive impact on your Google rankings. The semi-automatic submitter can help you to submit your website to relevant directories.

4. Make it easy to add your website to social bookmark services

Add a bookmark link to your website so that it is easy for your website visitors to bookmark your site.

5. Get links to different pages of your website and vary your link texts

Most links go to the home page of a website. It usually helps to get direct links to the web page that you want to promote on search engines. The websites that link to your website should use different but related texts to link to your site. If all web pages use exactly the same text to link to your site, this will look unnatural.

Getting the right kind of backlinks is very important if you want to get high rankings on Google and other search engines. First of all, create interesting and linkworthy web pages and optimize the content of these pages for search engines.

Make sure that your web pages are user-friendly and interesting. If you then get the right kind of links to your website your rankings will increase.

"Copyright by Web site promotion software."

MBA Internet Marketing Manager

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My reply to Josh Kaufman on PMBA

This article is the follow up of an answer made by Josh Kaufman to my first post “Reasons against PMBA. Personal MBA is not an MBA

Dear Josh,

Thank you very much for your response. I'm glad and surprised that you were able to read my original post. Regardless of our opinion, I think the discussion and the arguments outlined here and in the first post will give more information to readers about the PMBA and regular MBA’s in general.

Because your answer was very interesting and comprehensive, I’ve chosen to answer it by quoting your phrases in italics and giving my answer to each part below.

Here it goes…

“Thanks for your thoughts. It's clear that you place a high value on your own MBA - I'm glad you got a lot out of the experience“ (Josh Kaufman)

That’s right. Just as there’s a lot of people that didn’t find the MBA useful, too expensive, too long or not interesting, there are also people like me, that consider ourselves very lucky to have had the opportunity to undertake an MBA. Of course this isn’t something that could be generalized, but my MBA experience has been one of the most enriching experiences I’ve had so far in my life.

A few things to consider:

1. Books essentially allow you to learn directly from some of the best teachers in the world, regardless of your geographic location or your income.

Here you’re right, learning from books gives you access to some of the best teachers in the world; no argue with that. It’s one way to learn with advantages and disadvantages, being the most important advantages the ones you mention above.

2. MBA programs are not necessary or good uses of time for everyone, particularly entrepreneurs - sometimes it's best to focus on gathering ideas you can apply in the real world immediately.

Completely agree. MBA Programs are not for everyone. There are lots of other ways higher education: Post graduate studies, Masters in Marketing, Finance, etc; short courses; doctorates; online MBA’s, Part Time MBA’s, PMBA’s, etc. It’s also funny that you mention that MBA’s are not necessary good uses of time for entrepreneurs. Being and entrepreneur myself (I’m starting my Second Online Start-Up next month) my experience, which of course isn’t applicable to everybody, was that within the first 8 months of work to set up my company, I used and applied about 80% of the stuff learned during my MBA. I remember I was amazed by how useful and quickly applicable were most of the things I’ve learned.

3. You don't have to be a genius to self-educate; all it takes is interest in a particular subject and the desire to learn more about it.

4. Self-education in soft subjects like psychology, human resources, etc. is entirely possible - the key is to isolate the key concepts, then apply them in the real world to what you're doing. Books like "Influence" and "Hiring Smart" are very self-learning friendly.

Here is where with all the respect, we start disagreeing. I honestly don’t think self education is for everyone. Everybody can read a book and learn but comparing that with the learning that you might get in an MBA is going too far. To really learn something, is not true that all it takes is “interest in a particular subject and the desire to learn more about it”. To really learn something (not just read about it) takes much more than that. Takes working on a project about the subject with your classmates… takes doing exams, getting some things wrong and learning from that… takes a teacher to explain certain things that you by yourself can’t understand… and takes a classroom filled with bright people discussing about the subject. That for me is learning vs. reading about something.

5. I agree that a major part of learning is applying what you learn in the real world - that applies to classroom knowledge just as much as reading. You don't really understand something until you try to do it, which applies just as much to MBA-holders as it does self-educators. In my experience, self-educators internalize this relatively quickly, while many MBA-holders assume their degree has prepared them for more than it actually has.

Here you have an important point. It’s completely true that lots of MBA-holders assume their degree has prepared them for almost everything. We tend to have the “Graduate’s syndrome”: you learn so much theory and cases that after graduation you think you know everything and you’re prepared to lead any organization right away. That’s true and it also happens (on a different scale) to University Graduates.

6. The disadvantage of modern classroom learning is that you're very likely to focus on the professor's academic interests - which may or may not be practically useful. What is interesting to a professor is often not useful in the real world - the incentives in industry and academia are *very* different.

That argument, I’d say depends on the business school: It’s true for some Business Schools and not true for others. Not all business schools focus on things that aren’t applicable to the real world. You need to do your research before choosing your MBA and dedicate some important time to it. Does your future school focuses on business cases or lectures? In which proportion? Who are the teachers in your MBA? Do they come mostly from an academic background or are ex managers of real companies? If you do your research well, you’ll find the school with the right mix between academics and “ex-manager” teachers that suits your needs.

7. I agree that discussion is a major advantage - that's why I recommend finding like-minded people to work with as you continue your studies, either in person or online.

This is the biggest advantage of an MBA over Self-studying: you have 60-70 people (most of them very intelligent and from very different backgrounds) every single day to discuss every single business case. The learning you can get from these discussions is in my opinion, one of the best things you can get out of an MBA. Self-studying, if you’re really applied, maybe you can discuss some cases… with two or three people vs. every case every day with 60-70 people in an MBA.

8. Re: humbleness - in context, the quote you mention has to do with how people learn and retain information. If you're not interested in a subject, it's highly unlikely that you'll retain any meaningful information about it, whether you're reading a book or sitting in a classroom.

What you say in your reply is completely true: you retain information that is meaningful to you; but that’s not the point that I wanted to highlight. What I was trying to say is that How can you know what you need to learn and what you don’t? People with more experience might tell you to learn things are very important and that if you were just reading by yourself, you might have discarded as meaningless.

9. It's funny that you mention P&G - I worked there for 6 years in marketing. It's entirely possible to grasp the basics of marketing (and other subjects) via self-study, provided that you focus on key principles vs. getting caught up in the "sexiness" of things like advertising. Discussion with practitioners is always valuable, but in the case of MBA programs, the direct and opportunity costs of those discussions are often extremely high.

The direct and opportunity costs of an MBA are not the point here. They are valid arguments but not the point in discussion here. The point being discussed here is the value of recommendation/guidance by experienced people vs. what you can get from a book. I would prefer ten times to discuss a marketing case with you, learn from your P&G experience and hear your opinion than just reading a marketing book. That’s exactly what an MBA gives you: access to lots of professionals in different fields that bring along their experiences.

10. Even MBA-holders can reap huge benefits from dedicated study after graduation. Many of the people who follow the PMBA have MBAs - they use the reading list as a way to decrease the chance of spending time on not-so-good books.
Hope this helps!

The whole point behind my initial post was not to go against the underlying principles of the PMBA, which I consider in general OK, but just to stress that those principles and guidelines to self education don't really compare to what you learn in an MBA.

Self education is a great resource, you actually can learn a lot of things and the fact that there’s a group of people that recommend and have made a reading list of selected business topics is not per se wrong. That’s one way to learn and it’s perfectly valid. What I’m against is that this way of learning has been named “PMBA”, implying with that name that what you can get out of a PMBA is the same that you can get from an MBA. That my friends is just not true at all. Self-education by itself isn’t wrong and I’m not against it. As you mention, even MBA-holders can reap huge benefits from dedicated study after graduation. Self-studying can be a very good way of learning, but it has nothing to do with a real MBA. As I mentioned in my first post, the learning experience is totally different:

  • We need interaction with other people to learn, we need to discuss, we need different views from people with different backgrounds coming from different countries and we need to learn from personal experiences as well as much as we learn from books. And finally, we need experienced people to moderate these discussions and teach us what we, by ourselves can’t understand.

Believe me, the outcome of learning things one way or the other is completely different.

Copyright MBA Internet Marketing Manager

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Reasons against PMBA. Personal MBA is not an MBA

This article has been written as a personal opinion in response to the views of Josh Kaufman’s “Personal MBA Manifesto”

The Personal MBA (PMBA) movement

The Personal MBA Manifesto Starts with the following catchy phrase that will probably make everyone reading nod and assent by the time they finish.

"You wasted $150,000 on an education you could got for a buck fifty in late charges at the public library." – Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon), Good Will Hunting

That kind of summarizes very well the core ideas behind the Personal MBA (PMBA from now on). There is no need to go to a Business School and pay a lot of money for knowledge you can get your hands on for a couple of hundred dollars of books in Amazon or at a public library. The idea is very simple and maybe that’s why it was so successful: Self-education can be applied to advanced Business knowledge.

Some reasons why I think it just won’t work

It might be a good idea for the PMBA followers to watch that movie again and remember one little detail… In the movie, Will Hunting was a genius, not a regular guy. We’re not stupid, we all know that you can go to a library and get all the books you’ll find in an MBA (or any other kind of education) so Why doesn’t everybody rush to do that ? The reason is that we average people (meaning by average not geniuses like Will Hunting) just don’t have the capacity to learn that much by ourselves. We can go to a library and read an entire book but the takeaway we’ll get from it will probably be much less than if we learn that in a classroom with teachers and other students. Maybe… just maybe… that’s why our entire educational system (not just Business Schools), from elementary school trough University has been working that way for hundreds of years.

What I’m trying to say here is that I’m not against self education in general, but in my opinion, it only works if certain conditions are in place. First, it only works for topics like mathematics, physics or other exact sciences. In general any knowledge where you don’t need interaction with other people; any knowledge where you only need to acquire given theories and learn how to apply them. You could be locked in a room with tons of books about algebra and learn a lot but … Could you do the same if the subject was how to manage Human Resources? Do you imagine self studying psychology? Medicine? Or any other kind of knowledge where interaction with other people and learning from experience (not only books) is absolutely necessary? Well Business Skills is surely one of them; therefore self education in my opinion doesn’t apply.

Secondly yes, in these kind of subjects if you’re really smart you don’t need a teacher at all. But just like in the movie, it only works for extremely intelligent people that can learn just by reading a book and don’t need anyone else to explain them what they don’t understand; don’t do tests and don’t have someone else telling them what they did wrong and on which areas they need to improve. For average people, it just wouldn’t work… sounds great, but just wouldn’t work.

HUMBLENESS books are not on their reading list…

Another very important abstract from the manifesto is the following:

You're not forcing yourself to learn something because someone else tells you it's important: you're learning it because you know it's important and you value what you're learning.

It’s of extreme arrogance to think that you might be able to know what’s important to learn and what’s not. Do you really think that you know what’s important in the Marketing world, more than, for example, someone that has 20 years of experience working for Procter & Gamble? If you do, then the PMBA is your thing. For me the answer is Of course not !! It would be extremely arrogant to think that way but that’s exactly what that phrase is implying.

How come you know what’s important and what’s not? Or better yet: How come you know what’s important to learn and what’s not without a discussion with other intelligent people?

Final thoughts

Yes, It might have been something that started just as an article and became a way of life for its author Josh Kaufman, and I would guess a pretty decent source of income for him but besides that, I don’t think it should be taken more seriously. Education isn’t a list of books to read, is much more than that. We need interaction with other people to learn, we need to discuss, we need different views from people with different backgrounds coming from different countries and we need to learn from personal experiences as well much as we learn from books. And finally, we need experienced people to moderate these discussions and teach us what we, by ourselves can’t understand. This is what a real full time MBA gives you and a PMBA will never give you. This, in my opinion is real learning, not just a reading list and wishful thinking.


Josh Kaufman, the creator of the PMBA Community answered to this post. You can read my Reply back to Josh Kaufman here