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Delusional Search Engine Optimization & SEO Tips

May 8, 2004

Why do People Become Successful?

Usually it is the result of having extreme natural gift or a passion for a topic. Sometimes success is a function of luck. On the web it is the syndication of thought that makes people extremely successful.

Who Are the Best SEO's?

Many times the best SEO's are not known as the best. Some of the best work as affiliate marketers or only promote their own products.

The best SEO's will frequently distance themselves from the sites they work on to prevent others from knowing what they are doing.

Is He / She the Best?

Reputation does matter, but it is not the end all be all of search engine optimization. Often times success can cause people to lose their edge.

If I had to sell a marketing book I would love to hire Seth Godin to sell it. He knows how to market a book. He is exceptionally gifted at marketing as he understands the concepts of marketing. He is my favorite internet marketer, one of my three favorite authors, and I even went to his office to hang out one day last year.

As good as Seth is (known as one of the best internet marketers in the world) he may not be the marketer I would want to hire to market my products. Why?

Blinding Success

A large of our beliefs and value systems are based on our own experiences. Seth can say something which is 100% true based on his own experiences which may not be true to me or you.

The same thing happens with SEO. After people become icons they have these beliefs which are correct for them, but incorrect for others. I have a friend who is a high level editor for the Virtual Library. Other people know DMOZ editors. Recently I was given a really good price on some link rentals for a client because I know the guy I bought them from. I am an editor at some directories.

If You Hire Me

If a person hired me they would probably enjoy many of the hook ups I have and my hopefully growing position in the SEO community.

Not everyone who reads my articles will hire me though. My SEO advice might be somewhat skewed as I become more successful.

Content is King & Reciprocal Linking is Dead

These are perfect examples of statements by blindingly successful people.

Content is King

After you have a large following most of your best work will get syndicated by default. The world works such that there are a limited number of voices in each industry. Not everyone can write a compelling article worth syndicating. Many people can write compelling articles which still do not get syndicated due to greedy people not giving new people a chance.

The best copywriter can't compete with an industry expert at producing knowledge based information products. They may be able to write a better sales letter or have more sales, but they are not necessarily going to be able to craft ideas which compel inbound linking.

The type of content which is king is the content which inspires free inbound linking.

Reciprocal Linking is Dead

I try to help a bunch of people, but I do not work on sites cheaply. If I charge somebody $70 an hour to look for link trades and can find 2 per hour then that would cost $35 / link trade. Many directories only cost $40 or less to submit your site. While I can do link exchange work, I usually prefer to buy, rent, or just ask for links.

Since I usually buy or rent links and primarily look for one way links I could say reciprocal linking is dead, but I would be wrong. Occasionally I still look for some link exchanges, and not all people base their economic decisions based on the same math which I do.

Changes in the Last Year

At the beginning of 2003 I built and promoted a site for $100. He made thousands of dollars of profit within a few months. Most of what I did back then revolved around trading links.

Since then I have had way too much demand to be able to work that cheaply and still be able to keep up with demand. I do not do much reciprocal linking anymore, but the change is due to the fact that I have become more successful, not because reciprocal linking is dead.

If you are brand new to the web or do not have tons of money you still may want to use reciprocal linking as a primary means to promote your site. It is not easy, but everyone starts from somewhere.


Making scalable algorithms to organize the web is elegant. Reverse engineering those algorithms is not. I might be full of crap with every letter I type. You should check out multiple information locations before accepting anything as divine truth, especially in a market with so many self promotional experts and people interested in making a quick buck.

- by Aaron Wall, owner of Search Marketing Info & author of the SEO Book

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