EDIT 2013 – NOTE – This tactic is very risky in 2013! I’d stay well clear of cheap directory submission services these days. Just because a tactic works, does not mean it’s safe to use, in 2013.
I often look for false positives in Google.
A false positive (in this sense) is when a site appears for a keyword search it is not relevant to. It’s like looking for microwave ovens and seeing a page for oranges. The page about oranges isn’t supposed to be there. A false positive in Google SERPS that sticks around is sometimes the VERY BEST way to getting a glimpse of how Google works under the hood.
False positives are usually caused by webmaster error, not really an error of Google. It can be caused by a misplaced 301 redirect or canonical tag screw ups, but that’s not what I am talking about here.
I’m talking about plain old linkbuilding tactics apparently causing these false positives. This is what I am on the look out for.
It’s like in (is it Eugenics?) when you are trying to prove genes influence a person’s behaviour more than environment, and so you need to find two twins who were separated at birth to prove a case. I think that’s ball park correct. Anyway – sometimes hard to find….
This is one example (I think).
I see a lot of seo saying directory submissions don’t work anymore – or that it depends which ‘quality’ directories you submit to, so I thought I would, rather than theorise, share a false positive that might indicate differently. This might show directory links can still count, and directory link building might still be worth it.
Personally, I think a lot of so-called ‘out-of-date’ tactics still work sometimes….. no matter what some say.
Here’s the SERP for “keyword stuffing” – see if you can spot the odd one out – i’ve made it kind of easy – though this is what I look for when I am not working:
Did you spot it?
My first reaction is always….
I wonder why that is?
I usually look at Google cache just to ensure those key words aren’t hidden on the page, though just because Google says it is in ‘links’ to the page, that can often be totally misleading too.
So I look at the website link profile using nothing more than Google itself, and here’s what i find buried away:
OOPs! Perhaps that webmaster should keep an eye on his directory submissions lol – I mean he even ranks no1 for ‘Keyword stuffing not allowed’ lol – above Wikipedia – (which also shows you proof a focused anchor text approach beats down even all the powerful relevance of Wikipedia – for all those seo who claim relevance beats links.)
Things to think about:
- You don’t need to use seo tools – in fact, you probably should not pay for any seo tools until you can USE Google properly
- The directory links have aged
- They are interestingly not incurring a keyword penalty – which is probably more to do with how Google views a link profile as part of the whole (I might discuss this later)
- The links beat out relevance of Wikipedia – proof LINKS beat RELEVANCE in this instance
- All the links *seem* to come from directory submissions that have gone wrong
- Pick any seo tool on the market today and they will tell you these links are next to worthless – (I might share something else which embarrasses most seo tools on the market today later on this week)
- What if, the fact that because these directory pages had “Keyword stuffing not allowed” in their titles too, and then linked to the target site, gave an ‘impression’ of relevance for that term? Who knows but it is always worth keeping an open mind.
I thought it was an observation worth sharing. Feel free to have a look and see if you can spot something I missed.
NOTE – I am never comfortable discussing somebody else’s seo strategies in public. This is a site I think I can discuss – cited as an example in
A Home Office spokesman says that the Government is concerned about the practice: â€œIndividuals producing or selling such documents are liable to investigation and prosecution by law enforcement agencies.â€
Anyway – the tactic employed used to be advised by Google – ‘submit your site to directories‘, I believe. I wouldn’t recommend your entire linkbuilding activity consist of just directory submissions, but there may just be a place for it as part of a wider link acquisition strategy.
PS – If you have any false positives you want to chat about, get me on Twitter or leave a comment below.