Hot At Sphinn: Links From Panda-Hit Sites, Social Media For Old Folks & More

Sphinn had a super busy week last week with discussion happening on more than a third of the published stories. None of those stories saw more comment activity than the "Discussion of the Week," which asked Would you want a link from a site that was hit hard by Panda? After a majority of "Yes" replies, the discussion expanded into whether links from Panda-hit sites are now less valuable and if Panda had an impact on PageRank. Our favorite comment in the whole discussion came from Sphinn member Michael Martinez of SEO Theory, who said this about the value of Panda links and so-called low qu [...]

Hot At Sphinn: Outing SEO Companies, Affiliate Marketing Explained & More

Outing other SEO companies and consultants seems to be all the rage these days, particularly in the mass media where several major publications have reported on large companies that have violated Google's guidelines. But this has been going on for years inside the SEO/SEM industry, and it was the hot topic last week on our sister site, Sphinn. In our "Discussion of the Week," we asked Do you support the "outing" of SEO companies that violate search engine guidelines? So far, that's prompted more than four dozen replies -- about double or triple what we normally see on a weekly discussion. S [...]

Hot At Sphinn: How To Explain Twitter, Small Biz SEO Checklist & More

Ever been frustrated trying to explain Twitter to a client, friend or relative? You're not alone. Twitter can be different things to different people, and a lot of people use it differently. Heck, if Twitter itself has struggled over the years to explain it simply and concisely to non-users, you know it's not easy to do. Our discussion of the week last week on Sphinn asked, How do you explain Twitter to someone who's never used it? Sphinn member Jim Magary of Boomient Consulting supplied our choice for comment of the week when he replied this way: I think newbies enjoy understanding the [...]

Hot At Sphinn: Explaining Your SEO/SEM Career, Affiliate Marketing Scams & More

If you've ever had friends or relatives whose eyes glazed over as you try to explain your life as an SEO/SEM consultant, you wouldn't have been alone last week on Sphinn. In a more lighthearted "Discussion of the Week" than some previous topics, we asked: How do you explain being an SEO/PPC/Social Media marketer to the non-tech savvy? At the moment, we've had 24 replies -- but no one made us laugh as much as what Sphinn member John J. Curtis of L2T Media. John said he tells people, "I fight robots for a living" and here's one of several reasons why: It ensures you are not talking to ano [...]

Hot At Sphinn: Inspiring SEO Clients, Content Farmhand Confessions & More

The "inspiring" in the headline isn't about SEO clients that are inspirational; it's about how to inspire SEO clients to take/continue action. That was the subject of the "Discussion of the Week" last on our sister site, Sphinn. It may have only generated a handful of comments, but there were plenty of quality ideas in the conversation. Our choice for best comment comes from Sphinn member Alan Bleiweiss of Search Marketing Wisdom, who talked about the impact of pricing on client response: The first step I took to inspire SEO action was to start charging for every audit, regardless of siz [...]

Hot At Sphinn: Who Needs Websites, Death Of Check-Ins, Infographic Tools & More

Quite a bit of variety last week on our sister site, Sphinn. The most popular stories ranged from things like white hat SEO examples to tools that help you make infographics to a discussion on the necessity of having a website. The latter was the topic of our Discussion of the Week. We asked a simple question: Does Every Business Need a Website? The general consensus so far is that, yes, all businesses need a website -- although a couple commenters preferred to say they "should" have a website, instead. Our favorite comment came from Sphinn member Rob Croll of Marlannah Internet Marketing, [...]

Hot At Sphinn: SEO/SEM Standards & Certification, Black Hat Vs. White Hat & More

The opinions were flying last week on our sister site, Sphinn, mostly in two discussions about a couple hot topics across the SEO/SEM industry: black hat vs. white hat labels and industry standards/certification. Sphinn member David Zimmerman kicked it off by starting a discussion about getting rid of the terms "black hat" and "white hat" to describe industry tactics. That conversation led into our "Discussion of the Week," which asked Is It Time for SEM Industry Standards/Certification? That conversation currently has more than two dozen comments and, since it's such a hot topic, here are [...]

Hot At Sphinn: Impact Of Google’s +1, Self-Destructive Corporate Tweets & More

Google's new +1 feature was far and away the hot topic last week on Sphinn, dominating both the on-site conversation and the off-site tweeting and liking. In our "Discussion of the Week," we asked readers to assess the impact of Google +1, and we currently have close to two dozen replies. Our favorite comment came from Sphinn member Tad Miller of Search Mojo, who said: The real question, as with Social Sharing, is what is the impact on results BEYOND personalization. Yes, volume of +1's seem like an obvious signal, but I'm guessing "who" did the +1 is important from the perspective of [...]

Hot At Sphinn: DIY Link Building, ‘Sexier’ Google Analytics & More

Is it possible -- and smart -- for anyone outside of link building consultants/agencies to successfully scale a link building campaign? Should a "regular Joe" follow the timeworn advice to mine competitors' links, contact link targets and ask for links? Is that the best use of marketing time and resources? Our "Discussion of the Week" last week on Sphinn asked, Is DIY Link Building a Good Idea?, and we got a good variety of comments. Our favorite comment came from Sphinn member Cindy Lavoie of Sound Web Solutions, who said: It's labor-intensive work and hard to do if you have another rol [...]

Hot At Sphinn: Overrated SEO Tactics, E-Commerce Product SEO & More

SEO was the dominant theme on Sphinn again last week, thanks to a couple popular discussions and several SEO-related stories that resonated with Twitter users. Two weeks ago, we asked about underrated SEO tactics. So, last week's "Discussion of the Week" flipped the coin and asked about Overrated SEO Tactics? And there were plenty mentioned: XML sitemaps, HTML validation, buying old sites, keyword density, microsites and much more. Feel free to join that discussion today or just catch up on any comments you missed. Our favorite comment of the week, though, came in a user-submitted discu [...]

Hot At Sphinn: Underrated SEO Tactics, SEO Excel Guide & More

If SEO is your thing, Sphinn was a good place to be last week. Almost all of the most popular stories on our sister site had something to do with SEO. At the top of the list is our "Discussion of the Week," which asked what's The Most Underrated SEO Tactic? That topic generated about two dozen comments and serves as a great list of SEO tips that you may have overlooked. The most oft-mentioned tactic seemed to be internal linking, which was mentioned in our favorite comment of the week from Sphinn member Annie Cushing of BlueGlass: When I look up a site in OSE and see its top pages and th [...]

Hot At Sphinn: Google’s Farmer Update, How It Should’ve Worked & SEO Help For Affected Sites

It should be no surprise that Google's Farmer update (AKA "Panda" update) dominated the conversation and activity on our sister site, Sphinn, last week. Several stories related to the Farmer update were popular among commenters, Twitter users, and Facebook users -- including discussions about the update itself, articles about how affected sites should react and how Demand Media avoided Google's axe. Our favorite comment of the week came in our "Discussion of the Week," which asked: Google's Farmer Update: How should it have worked? In that discussion, which currently has 16 comments, Sphinn [...]

Hot At Sphinn: Google’s “Farmer” Update, Educating Media On SEO & More

Even though the news didn't hit until late Thursday, Google's "farmer" algorithm update was one of the hot topics lastweek on our sister site, Sphinn. Three of the most tweeted Sphinn stories of the week were related to the "farmer" update, and several discussions about it are still ongoing this morning. One of those discussions produced our favorite comment of the week. In the story, Google Farmer Update: Quest for Quality , Sphinn member Aaron Bradley of, had this to say about the "farmer" update: Until now I would have said that Google was primarily aimed at returning [...]

Hot At Sphinn: Hiring An SEM Consultant, Black Hat E-Commerce SEO & More

"Variety" seems to be the primary keyword when it comes to the hot stories last week on our sister site, Sphinn. A story about Twitter tools was popular among Facebook users and a discussion about defining the "long tail" garnered several comments, but the biggest stories of the week involved black hat e-commerce SEO and a discussion about hiring consultants. In our "Discussion of the Week," we asked How to Hire an SEO/SEM Consultant?, and that was the most popular conversation of the week. But our favorite comment of the week came in a discussion about the NY Times outing JC Penney for vio [...]

Hot At Sphinn: Can You Ignore Facebook, J.C. Penney Slapped, HuffPo’s SEO & More

Another busy week on Sphinn included a couple well-known brands having … shall we say SEO "issues"? Slate pretty much called out The Huffington Post on part of its SEO strategy, and the New York Times did a big exposé of how J.C. Penney managed to use low-quality links to reach the top of the search results for all kinds of popular, short-tail terms. Those were a couple of the most popular stories over the past week on Sphinn. In the "Discussion of the Week," we asked Can Marketers Ignore the Facebook Opportunity?, and that led to the most active discussion of the week. Our choice for be [...]

Hot At Sphinn: Google Vs. Bing, Affiliate Review Sites & More

If you guessed that last week's Google vs. Bing "copycat" saga was the main discussion topic on Sphinn, you're right. There were several stories published that attracted comments and other activity, and a separate story about affiliate review sites was the most popular Sphinn story of the week among Twitter users. Our "Discussion of the Week" captured the most comment activity with the question, Google vs. Bing 2011 Copygate: Who won?, but there was almost no agreement on the answer to that question. Commenters suggested Blekko, Bing, and "no one" as winners. And the comment of the week com [...]

Hot At Sphinn: Traits Of Great Clients, Google Indexing Search Results, All Links Are Paid For & More

With nine new editors helping to find and publish great Internet marketing stories, Sphinn saw one of its busiest weeks ever last week. Close to 50 articles were published to the home page and many of those saw a lot of comment, Twitter, and Facebook activity. The most commenting activity surrounded our Discussion Of The Week, which asked What Makes a Great Client?. Click the link to read an excellent list of traits from more than a dozen online marketers. But, for the best comment of the week, I'm picking Sphinn member David Ogletree of, who said this during a discussion on [...]

Hot At Sphinn: Google Favoritism In Search Results, Eric Schmidt Steps Down & More

The idea that Google might be favoring its own properties and content in search results was a big topic of conversation last week on a lot of blogs, forums, and social networking sites -- and it was also the big discussion topic on our sister site, Sphinn. News that Eric Schmidt will step down as Google CEO and an article about PayPal's impact on conversion were both popular among Sphinn users on Twitter. Our "Discussion of the Week" asked, Does Google favor its own properties in the SERPs? That story got the most comments last week on Sphinn, and we'll single out one of those as our comm [...]

Hot At Sphinn: Email Marketing’s Death, Desert Island SEO/PPC Tools & More

Two stories kept Sphinn users quite engaged last week and led to one of the busiest weeks for user comments that we've seen in a while. In our "Discussion of the Week," we asked readers to choose their "desert island" SEO/PPC tool. Yep, just one. If you were stranded on a desert island and could only use one tool, what would it be. Web analytics -- and Google Analytics, in particular -- seemed to rule the day, but there were strong cases made for a variety of different tools. But a different story, Email Marketing is Dead - The Statistics and Social Proof, garnered even more comments an [...]

Hot At Sphinn: Google Search Quality Declining, Scaling Local Marketing & More

Activity is picking back up after the holidays on our sister site, the Internet marketing hub Sphinn. Last week, as most of us settled back into a regular work week, the hot topics on Sphinn centered on whether Google's search quality is declining and how to scale local marketing. In our "Discussion of the Week," we asked Does Local Marketing Scale? and received a handful of replies on that topic -- but not a lot of agreement. But our pick for best comment of the week came from a different Sphinn thread, Three's a Trend: The Decline of Google Search Quality. In that discussion, Sphinn memb [...]

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