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August 15, 2007

Craigslist is Stealing My SERPs!

I was checking on one of our client's rankings with keywords "dallas dumpster rentals" today. I found the resulting Google SERPs astounding. I've seen spammy results before, but nothing quite like this lately. I checked up to the 10th page and found each one was riddled with Craigslist postings except for a handful of valid entries.

Craigslist Spam

Apparently someone has been quite busy spamming Craigslist. These pages are keyword stuffed with a link, each one pointing to a different location with the anchor text, "Find a Home Contractor". The link then redirects to http://www.servicemagic.com.

Below is just a sample of the text found on the Craigslist postings (link removed, anchor text in red). I did not include all of it as there are 2 1/2 pages worth of keywords crammed in there:

Find all types of Home Improvement Contractors at Find a Home Contractor All types of work and all trades, from dumpster rentals, handyman, painting contractors, floor installers, pressure washing, brick masons to heating and air conditioning, even find an architect or land surveyor. Also have things like gravel or topsoil delivered. All Contractors are pre-screened, save time. Send an e-mail and get contacted back for your estimates.

rental roll off recycling gutters clean shredded mulch buy top soil dallas dumpster metal stairs asbestos cost removal pool enclosure railing stair wood drafting business mobile homes move basement leaks home duct cleaning construction waste removal barbed wire fencing pvc gutters shed installation fire repair sprinkler fuel tank replacement water well information blown insulation pool built crushed stone window sills replace control bees wallpaper-hanger home fire protection cost fill dirt paint contractor washer and dryer repair fix a dripping faucet fire sprinkler installation synthetic golf green building architects

Some of the posts have been removed or flagged for removal and I'll probably try to report some of the ones still in there. I just can't seem to figure out how Google determined that all of these Craigslist postings are more relevant than a website whose sole purpose is in dealing with dumpster rentals in Dallas, without the use of keyword stuffing. It reminds me of the Google Maps spam abuse that happened last month.

So, aside from me going into each of these Craigslist posts and reporting them as spam, any tips on how I should deal with this and get these spammers out of my SERPs so my client can get back in there where they belong?

August 13, 2007

Setting Goals for your Web Site

When building your site remember to have a specific goal planned. I have heard business owners describe the purpose of their sites in many strange and bizarre ways. From a marketing perspective you should have a predetermined goal for visitors on your site. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are generally 3 basic goals for business web sites. There may be some odd ones out there but they can usually be narrowed down into these 3 groups.

1. Revenue Generating
This site has some type of e-commerce where visitor can come in and buy something or this site generates revenue by selling ads/ad space

2. Lead Generating
This sites main function is to generate lead either through a form that can be filled online or pushing visitors to dial into a call center

3. Brochure Site
This is generally an information site. Although not the best use of a site, theses tend to lean a little towards Lead Generating.

Revenue Generating by far is the most common one. Just about every site you go on is selling something or has links that are selling something. These sites can also have shopping carts incorporated into them to increase the ease of visitors purchasing more products. You are also looking into security certifications here for credit card orders.

Lead Generating sites will/should have their phone number plastered everywhere. They can also point visitors towards an information form for the company to call or email them back. Another variant, of this model is to give something away, some type of review software with a time limit, a book or report in soft copy but you must fill out the form in order to receive it.

Brochure sites will have their contact information listed but they are not really pushing to get your information. The goal here may not be as clearly defined. Generally, these sites were built simply to have a web presence. Although useful for adding credibility to your company, it should be geared at least, more towards the Lead Generating type.

The moral of the story here is to always have a set goal for your web site. This information will help in the development and growth of your site. By knowing in advance where you would like your visitors to end up, helps to create what you will need to get them there.

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