Thursday, August 31, 2006

Matt Cutts leaves Google for

Following the announcement of Danny Sullivan leaving Search Engine Watch, Matt Cutts blog mentions his decision to leave Google and join for an undisclosed amount.Um, ya...never happened. But the headline got you here, and I suspect there was even a brief moment that you had a mild panic attack.

Link baiting (sometimes also referred to as 'Hoax Marketing') is an interesting ploy, but is it worthwhile?
Although the question of ethics is certain to come up, there’s no denying the merits of this form of link building. And I bet you’re thinking of the possibilities as you read this.

While stories like the prototype car runs 100 miles on four ounces of water as fuel are designed to infiltrate the ‘attention economy’, the art of link baiting requires a topic of interest with a spin on it.

Link baiting is a two step approach and starts with setting the bait. The story, post or lead needs to grab their attention . But the real trick is to close the deal and earn a link. Before I heard the term link bait, I used to think of this as search marketing public relations.

Of the leading link bait experts, the first to come to mind would have to be Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz. Another great post on the subject is at Jim Westergreen's blog.

What works? It really depends on your field.

SEO Tools or contests (like v7ndotcom elursrebmem ), Pranks, hoaxes, controversial stances, and many of the techniques commonly used with public relations. Disclaimer – I do not endorse and link baiting pranks, hoaxes or similar.

My favorite example of hoax marketing (and link bait) would have to be Beta 7.

A clever buzz/hoax marketing strategy to promote the launch of the new Sega game ESPN NFL Football. By seeding forums etc with rumors of a beta tester that began to experience blackouts during which he would engage in unpredictable behavior (such as randomly tackling people). Beta-7 (the name of the game tester) claimed that the game caused a reaction in a small percentage of people, and that Sega knows about this and is trying to cover it up. With the release of info on Beta 7’s blog, as well as picture and even video clips, I consider this the most successful hoax marketing stunt to date. The entire campaign lasted almost 6 months. A well thought out strategy with excellent execution. Further reading at

As for the weird file, this may take the prize.

Maybe it is SEM PR after all?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Search Engine Watch without Danny

Recent news of Danny Sullivan leaving Search Engine Watch (SEW) has created quite a stir within the SEO community. News first appeared on Danny's blog and spread quickly.

For me, the name Danny Sullivan is synonomous with the term SEO. Danny first started the website SEW as a page of tips to rise in the search results in 1996. The following year he sold it to MecklerMedia (later Jupiter) which was resold to Incisive Media in 2006.

I think Incisive Media has made a huge mistake, but this could very well be an opportunity for Danny, and the SEO industry to evolve and grow. And like Joseph Morin says, if Danny chooses to create his own SES conferences (conveniently scheduled on the same dates), who do you think many of the speakers might follow?