Weekly SEO news: 27 January 2009
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter in 2009.

This week, we're telling you how to write a link exchange request that does not look like spam. If you want to get links from high quality authority sites, there's no way around sending link exchange requests.

In the news: Google's Matt Cutts explains how Google defuses Google bombs, Google tests favicons in the search results, Google might plan to access your PC and more.

Table of contents:

We hope that you enjoy this newsletter and that it helps you to get more out of your website. Please pass this newsletter on to your friends.

Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. The art of writing a link exchange request that is not spam

Got links?Link exchange requests have a very bad reputation. The reason for that is that many people send mass link exchange requests that are nothing more than spam.

However, if you want to get links from authority sites, you have to send link exchange requests. The secret of successful requests is to write link exchange messages that aren't spam.

Get the reader's attention

If you want people to read your link exchange message, it should not sound like the dozens of other emails that the webmaster receives. Use the recipient's real name throughout your message. If your message starts with "Dear webmaster" then it's likely that it will be moved to the trash. Be personal. Write a personal message for each recipient.

Use a real email address with a real name as the sender address. Free email addresses and email addresses with numbers look spammy.

Get the reader's interest

What's in for me? You should answer that question as soon as possible in your email.

Do not list any features. Focus on benefits. First, nobody is really interested in the great features of your website. Tell the recipient how your website solves his problems or the problems of his readers.

Appeal to the ego of the recipient. Tell the recipient that you list only 10 websites in this special category and that he is in that top 10 list. It's easier to convince people if you appeal to their ego.

Create desire

The recipient of your link exchange message won't react to your request if you don't create desire.

To create desire out of interest, you can tell the recipient that you downloaded his ebook, subscribed to his newsletter or RSS feed, etc. The other webmaster is more likely to reciprocate if you have done something in advance.

Give the recipient the feeling that he's special. Include your phone number in your email message. Summarize why the recipient benefits from linking to you.

Make action as easy as possible

Don't make the recipient think. Make the linking process as easy as possible by giving him copy/paste HTML code with your link information. Of course, the code should only be an option and you should not insist on that code. If the webmaster want's to use another code to link to your site, that's okay.

Further information on how to write link exchange messages can be found in our free SEO book. If your website needs more inbound links, take a look at this tool.

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2. Facts of the week

Matt CuttsGoogle's Matt Cutts: detecting Google bombs

"We do two different things — both of them algorithmic — to handle Googlebombs: detect Googlebombs and then mitigate their impact. The second algorithm (mitigating the impact of Googlebombs) is always running in our productionized systems.

The first algorithm (detecting Googlebombs) has to process our entire web index, so in most typical cases we tend not to run that algorithm every single time we crawl new web data."



Google testing site favicons in search results

"Out of the blue, there was a favicon next to each listing in SERPs for every 'site:' search for a period of about 30 mins. [...] We do a ton of tests every year, so I wouldn't be surprised to accidentally stumble across something like this."



Search engine ChaCha is raising another $30 million

"In case you've never heard of ChaCha, it's essentially a search engine that lets users ask questions to a real person, called a 'search guide', via the web, text message or a mobile website (answers are only provided by mobile).

We've called it a dumb idea in the past, and unscalable on numerous occasions, but it's not the only startup that's taking a crack at a human-powered Q&A service."



Danny SullivanSearch start-ups won't do much to stop Google habit

"The competitors may be aiming at Google, but don't expect them to take it down. Those weapons of mass search destruction, such as 'natural language search,' 'semantic search' and 'social search,' will just bounce off Google's Teflon engine."



Google plans to make PCs history

"Google is to launch a service that would enable users to access their personal computer from any internet connection, according to industry reports. But campaigners warn that it would give the online behemoth unprecedented control over individuals' personal data."



Search engine newslets

  • Fast Search and Transfer CEO Lervik sacked by Microsoft.
  • 2008: the year in spam.
  • Google AdWords requiring one domain per ad group?
  • Ads back up on Blogger.
  • Yahoo! profits likely down, more layoffs possible.

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3. Success stories

Ivo Streiff"With IBP we managed to rank first in Google."

"We opened a lingerie shop in Switzerland 1 year ago. With IBP we managed to rank first in Google for our most wanted keywords. After one year we have managed to get about 15,000 unique visitors a month! What started as a beer idea has become a real business.

IBP really contributed a lot to this success and we will continue to use it in the future to keep and increase our rankings! Thanks a lot."
Ivo Streiff, Ungezogen-Angezogen.ch



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Let us know how IBP has helped you to improve your website and we might publish your success story with a link to your website in this newsletter. The more detailed your story is, the better.

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