According to the American Heritage Dictionary, Manifesto is defined as:
A public declaration of principles or intentions, esp. political ones.
I have every right to legally generate revenue from my own websites.
I have bills to pay, a family to feed and partners to answer to. I'm going to use whatever value I have available to me to make a decent living and pay my bills. That would include my site having value to someone because of its page rank or ability to get other urls spidered quickly, I feel that is much like an award or a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. I think it is awarded to you based on how a third party feels about your efforts and once given it becomes yours to enjoy and capitalize on, whatever that may entail.
These comments are excerpts taken from an interview with Pandia in August 2002.
My websites are mine. I have every right to legally display whatever content I choose.
No one has the right to dictate to me what I can and can't do with my site as long as I'm not breaking any laws. I am free to decide what risk I am willing to take to secure what reward.
As far as I know, no one has ever tried to tell me what I could or could not do on my own sites. I have had other sites do things I wished they hadn't, but I dont control them anymore than they control me.
A smart marketer will take the path of least resistance.
Hitting my numbers. THAT is what is important to me as a marketer. I must always keep my eye on the margin because it is not about what you make. It is about what you keep.
So, if I can see from my own experience that a certain technique secures conversions faster or for less expense, that is the course I intend to follow.
Listen to everyone follow no one.
There are a lot of smart people talking on the net, but I don't care who you are, keep talking long enough and you are going to say something really stupid. The trick is who to listen to when.
I don't want to "game" anyone. All I want is conversions and the first rung on that ladder is traffic to my page.
Search engines are merely a means to an end. No real marketer wants search engine traffic. They want conversions. Organic placement is time consuming, difficult and expensive. THAT is why PPC makes so much money. Not because it works so well, but because it works better than nothing and it is far easier and usually cheaper.
I wrote an article sometime in 2000 when I was writing a weekly column for some marketing ezine whose name now escapes me. The article was called the "Basic Concepts of SEO" and the idea was to answer a lot of questions we got every week asking how to get on top of search engines. It got kind of lost for a while and then in 2004 John Scott of V7N offered to publish it (dated as it was) on his site and has graciously left it there ever since. A part of that article happens to illustrate why I believe anyone professing to be gaming search engines or anyone accusing someone of gaming search engines, is not seeing how search engines REALLY work or they are simply pushing their own agenda. Below is an excerpt from that article:
SEO'S (whatever that is) do NOT manipulate search engines. I've seen SEO, (whatever that is) defined as the art of manipulating the search engines. That is false. If you set out to place a web page on the first page of results for a target keyword or phrase thinking you are manipulating the search engine, you are doomed to fail.
Thinking you are forcing the search engine to do anything is a mistake. Thinking you are hiding anything from a search engine is a mistake. The only answer to top placement is recognizing what a search engine does, accepting that, assessing the potential rewards and risks and working within those confines.
The only person who can manipulate a search engine, are the persons who have access to the admin panel and/or source code of that specific search engine. If you can't get to the admin panel, you can have no effect whatsoever on what that search engine does. All you can do is construct data that you feel is most likely to fall within the parameters of the algorithm. That is NOT manipulating a search engine, that is learning how search engines work and then manipulating your page. No matter how vehemently some may disagree, that is a fact! No one can "help" a search engine find what they are looking for anymore than anyone can "make" a search engine do what they want. Search engines just do what they do. They are only a machine!
Ironically enough, as an internet marketer, I see it more as a case of search engines manipulating SEOs (or trying to), than the other way around.
If you care to take the time, you can read the entire article here.
So what do I do about Google saying they are going to penalize link selling?
First of all, that is not what was said. All I saw was Matt Cutts asking for people to give them information to help them test something they were working on. I believe at some point he did IMPLY that the purpose was to learn how to better DEAL?? with paid links but that was the closest I saw to anything resembling a threat to anyone.
Google has as much right to do what they want with their site as I have to do with mine. I dont begrudge them trying to capitalize on the support they have from the web community. That is smart marketing.
I have read some people suggesting Google remove the PR indicator from the toolbar. In my opinion, they would be crazy to do that. That little green bar is one of the smartest marketing moves I have ever seen.
The toolbar offers a wealth of useful tools for anyone. It is simple to install, it is unobtrusive and a real time saver. BUT, what is the discussion all about? When is the last time you saw a post praising Google for making it easy to search from the toolbar?
I do believe they created a currency with the algorithm being based on page rank and then giving away a marketing tool to get people fixated on the display, and now they are going to have to deal with that. However, if there were no little green indicator, does anyone really think no one would have figured out the value of links anyway? I can guarantee that is not the case. They could remove the toolbar tomorrow and I would still be looking for the kind of links that would give me an advantage. They could make the little green bar three times as big and if links didnt move results, I would be looking to buy whatever did.
The toolbar has NEVER given anyone any real information. BUT, it has given the world a perception that whatever Google ranks that must be right. It has also helped to give Google millions of devout followers and millions more who are willing to give access to a lot of private data just to see a little green go a little farther to the right. BRILLIANT. So brilliant in fact I have never understood why MSN and Yahoo havent done their own white paper and give away a little blue bar to "prove" it works. BUT, that is why Yahoo and MSN seem to be losing market share. Not because their results aren't as good. It is because they aren't as good at marketing. I don't begrudge Google for that. I admire them.
So what will happen to Internet marketing if Google really does implement some kind of penalty for link selling?
The price of good links will go up.
Let's not forget that there has been the possibility of a penalty for that for a long time now. Just take a look at the SearchKing toolbar PR. With over 23,000 inbound links and Alexa STILL shows it at 158,000. I may hold the world's record for the best rated PR 0 on the web.
I hate to say I told you so, but
We all have a right to make money legally. If someone offers you money for a product or service that you possess, you should be free to accept or reject that offer without fear of being threatened or punished. If you want to make money by selling Viagra ads on your shoe site, that is your business. Of course there are risks involved. Possible risks to your image and credibility, but you should be free to make that assessment on your own and not be treated like a criminal or be threatened or attacked.
Back in 2002 when I first made those types of comments, there were few outside of SEO circles that were generating income from monetizing their property by selling text links. But in spite of SearchKing being made an example, the link industry flourished very quickly to where just 5 years later I would venture to say that the majority of websites on the planet now have some percentage of their income either directly or indirectly being derived from the legal and fair exchange of value for links. They do this by selling, trading, contributing, reciprocating or just you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours. That is not an action intended to cause harm to Google. It actually has nothing to do with Google, or me. It has to do with people and business. THAT is relevant.
That is how it should be. Making money from a website has always included selling ads in the form of links. Google just made it more profitable.
I recently watched a video interview with Matt Cutts and naturally the topic soon turned to paid links. Mr. Cutts, speaking on behalf of Google presumably, made the comment, "if you want to buy links just for traffic, totally fine just dont do it so they affect search engines".
This concept is completely flawed. This self serving philosophy is also at the very core of the problem. When the machine attempts to modify the behavior of people to satisfy its own ends, the machine is broken. What people do should not be seen as affecting the search engine. What people do should be the very reason for the engine to exist in the first place. If the search engine is being affected by the actions of people, is any logical person going to honestly assume that it is the people that are broken? That is exactly what is happening here.
So as marketers, do we accept that if there is a way to legally profit, people are going to profit and that makes them prospects and not enemies? Do we embrace how people act in the real world because THAT is the essence of relevance or do we keep clinging to a policy of insinuating people who just do what people do are "gaming" someone and must be "dealt" with.
For me, I choose to accept that people will always seek upward mobility by evaluating risk vs reward and then act in a way they feel gives them the best chance for success. That is good. That is what people do and when we attempt to interfere with the natural order it will be increasingly more difficult until we either alter our approach or fail.
The above manifesto was obviously not written by me (DazzlinDonna), but by Bob Massa, in response to the Matt Cutts Paid Link Snitch controversy. Bob was kind enough to share it with me, and I am now sharing it with you, with his permission. Whether or not I always agree with everything Bob says (and I do most of the time, btw), there's very little in his manifesto here that I could disagree with. What I most strongly agree with is, is his tenet that...My websites are mine. If what a search engine wants is also in my best interest, then my site decisions may also align with their wishes. If their wishes, however, do not align with my best interests, then I won't be blindly granting their wishes. Thanks, Bob, for an interesting piece, and thanks for reminding us that in many ways very little has changed in the past few years.