Last night I attended a book launch party here in Honolulu. At that party I met a marketing person from a SEO startup who told me a little about what they were doing in the search optimization space. I found it very intriguing and as competition is very tough in the SEO space he was not willing to say a lot about their strategies.
But I do know it includes mainstream “A” list bloggers in their “specific” categories who are paid to link to specific sites. While this is not new per se, some of the other things he hinted at (such as how the linking was done), were unique, in at least that I have not heard of the practice before.
So as I was driving home I got to thinking about the way tech blogging has changed in the past year. Many Tech Bloggers use Techmeme.com as a prime source for material. Because public relations firms are feeding stories to “A” list bloggers before everyone else the “A” list bloggers posts of those announcements drive incredible weight in TechMeme.
As an example, a recent post on TechCrunch.com achieved a top listing on TechMeme.com only after 3 other sites had linked in to the story. While I watched that story grow to have nearly 25 sites linking to it, giving it the long tail effect, which is a Public Relations Manager’s dream.
You have an “A” list site like TechCrunch that rarely writes a negative review, you then have a auxiliary base of 25–100 blogs that link to the same review as their sourced material. Then Google comes around and indexes all the sites.
What you have just achieved is a #1 spot in the Google Search Results for an article on a product update or new site release. While this is not PayPerPost it is definitely “Public Relations Gaming” of the Tech Blogging community.
All bloggers pay attention to tagging and titles of our articles, so of course this plays into the hands of the PR people, too.
So what has changed? In the past before Techmeme.com we all had a larger daily reading list of RSS feeds; thus, we all may have linked to sites that were covering something yet may not have been the initial source. Thus, the companies did not get such a huge bump in Google Juice ranking.
I am not sure what can be done to fix it with the exception of no longer reading Techmeme.com and other sites that pull together top stories of the day. It is time to go back to a broader review of websites daily on topics and spread the link love a lot further.
This means reading the 600+ blogs I used to read each day instead of going straight to Techmeme.com