Is Wizzley Doomed to Join HubPages on the Search Engine Scrapheap?

Welcome to another new year and a rare update to my personal space on the Interwebs in this here blog with my real name on it. Time to put back on my Internet Marketer’s hat for a wild stab at yet another potential money making idea that is soon to be en expired money making flop. I’m talking about the new Hubpages clone, Wizzley.

I’m hearing a lot of good things about Wizzley and how it seems to have taken over from where Hubpages have left a gaping hole in the SERPs thanks to being unceremoniously shat upon by the Google machine that doesn’t much care for “content farms”. To a point, I actually agree with Google that such pages should not be cluttering up the top pages of their search results especially when the bulk of them are written by people like, well, me who may or may not know very much about the Hub page I created.

In my own defence, I actually did do a lot of research when compiling each Hub page, so the information on them was sound and factual. But what were they, really? How useful were they to people searching out information on a particular topic? In truth, they were just a collection of unrelated pages on a bunch of different topics that I discovered I could make money from by either cashing in on Adsense or grabbing some affiliate commissions from Amazon.

There were and still are many good writers that are still putting out sterling Hubs for no monetary gain whatsoever, but instead are using it as a platform to voice their opinions or show off their skills as writers. It has a great social side and should attract better recognition for that, but unfortunately Internet Marketers out to grab a fast buck did a lot of damage by pumping out pages and pages of little better than drivel to cash in on.

But that is the past. Hubpages were stomped on by Google for being a content farm and despite some panic-fuelled measures by the management of Hubpages to get back into Google’s good graces, the site has lost its authority and you cannot expect Hubs to rank as easily as they used to do.

So that brings us to the alternatives for people on a budget that maybe can’t afford to create and host their own websites, but want to make some money by putting out pages of content using some keyword research in the hope of hitting a lucrative vein of gold. The current buzz name is Wizzley.

Wizzley is another content farm similar to Hubpages. Whatever anyone might say to disagree and paint the site in a totally different light, you can be sure that as far as Google are concerned, its another medium for Internet Marketers to write pages of keyword researched, optimised, barely better than drivel content to make money with. Its a content farm and what does Google think of content farms?

You know the answer to that.

But there are plenty of “expert” marketers out there that think this is something new, different, better than Hubpages or Squidoo or any of the other many free repositories of people’s manic keyword optimised effluence. Those experts believe Wizzley will weather the storm and not be affected by algo changes or Panda updates or whatever search index altering shenanigans Google decide to implement next. People are writing pages of content for Wizzley and yes, some of those avid advocates of “keyword research” are even making some money from it. How long that will last for is anybody’s guess.

It’s my guess that it won’t be very long. Especially as some of the, erm, shall I say prominent or high profile Internet Marketers who are extolling the virtues of this latest money sharing dumping ground for keyword optimized content are being rather vocal about it. I wonder who might be listening other than the hoards of newbies (and some seasoned marketers at that) looking for a way to make some easy Internet bucks? Mmm.

So is Wizzley really doomed to join HubPages on the search engine scrapheap?

Put it this way. If I were the guy at Google responsible for taking a dump on Hubpages and I was hearing all these good things about Wizzley and how people who made all that money with Hubs are now switching to Wizzley to make great money, wanna know what I would do?

I think you know what that would be… 😉

Ouch!

Terry Didcott

Squidoo Do the Dirty on Affiliate Marketers

I just happened to check on one of my better performing Squidoo lenses today because I’d noticed a drop om affiliate sales coming from it. In fact a drop in affiliate sales coming from all of my lenses. Why should this be I wondered?

I know there has been some devaluation in Google’s search index of such web 2.0 properties like Hub Pages and Ezine Articles, but for the most part Squidoo has been left alone. Sure a lot of my lenses have dropped a little in the SERPs, probably a by-product of the recent and on-going changes that Google are making to their algorithm. But even with some of the low competition buying keywords that my Squidoo lenses are targeting, they were still ranking high enough to attract visitors looking to buy the product the lens was promoting, and converting into sales.

But as I said, sales have dropped noticeably and I needed to know why. Now I do.

First some background. For a several months, I’d known about a neat trick you could do with lenses to improve the conversion rate of affiliate sales by getting at least one ad banner above the fold. You could place the code in the lens bio with a couple of lines of text and that banner would more often than not be the one that got most clicks and most conversions into sales.

If you put ad banners inside text modules, the highest one is still below the fold because of the way Squidoo sets out their page design to place their own or adsense ads highest. Fair enough, its their site and their business which we are contributing to by building the lenses, for which lensmasters get a small reward from their revenue sharing scheme. It is only small change, but the value of lenses was increased many fold by being able to use a squidutils banner in the bio box to attract clicks and sales.

But no more. Squidoo have done the dirty on affiliate marketers using this necessary trick. They have somehow altered the bio box so that the code from squidutils (or any other affiliate banner code) does not display any more.

You know what?

I’m just about sick to the back teeth with these greedy buggers who run web 2.0 sites like that and pissball about with the earning potential of the handful of marketers who know what the hell they are doing.

Like me.

Well I’m done with them if that’s the way they are going to undermine the hard work I put into building and ranking their site for them. I’ll be looking at unpublishing those lenses I set up to sell affiliate stuff and once the content is de-indexed from Google, I’ll be putting it up on my own sites and taking ALL the earnings for myself. Geez, don’t these guys want our business?

Terry Didcott

Will Google Really Count Social Links? I Don’t Buy It!

I’m quite taken with Internet Marketing, especially as it is provides my living and it doesn’t matter where I am in the world, I can still make it as long as I have my laptop, a connection to the net and some coffee. Who wouldn’t be over the moon to be able to say that all the hard work I put in for my own good over the last few years is now paying off very well, thank you. So what is this post about? Well, it seems there may be a threat to the way many Internet Marketers make their living.

I’m not talking about the list builders who live off noobs to this business chasing the get rich quick dream like a bunch of blood sucking leeches, but those of us that make our money from affiliate commissions gained from attracting buying traffic to our websites and directing them to a variety of real products that companies are selling and picking up a pay-cheque for those buyers we send to them. We do this of course by working hard to place our websites high up in the search engines index by what is known in the business as SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Briefly, it is building highly relevant websites around a large group of those products and then building links to those sites. There’s more to it than that, but up until now and probably for a while longer, the more relevant links you attracted to your websites, the higher you would feature in the search engine results because they placed a higher level of authority on your site because so many other site owners linked to yours.

The threat seems to be coming from what is known as social links. In short, the rumour being spread around is that Google, who are the main search engine and the one we marketers aspire to reach the top of, intend to count social links obtained from popular social sites like Facebook and Twitter and add this to the level of relevancy they give to our sites. 99.99% of people don’t know or care about any of this, of course.

But for those that are concerned, I have a sneaky feeling that if this really is going to happen, it will be pretty temporary. Why?

Think about it (if you are a marketer with SEO knowledge, that is). Google has spent years battling against spammers who continually try to game their index so they can get their garbage sites to feature top for competitive, high value keywords. Spammers use a number of automated techniques and sometimes get a foot in there for a while. But the boffins at Google who write and tinker with their famous algo generally get the upper hand.

Google’s mission is to bring Internet users the best search experience possible by placing the most relevant websites at the top of their index for all keywords searched on. I know I’m right about that.

I also know that the getting of links to websites can be gamed to a certain extent. Its done by the use of placing links in blog posts of other people’s blogs that you guest post on, which is actually the norm, completely above board and acceptable. That process can be accelerated by using other people to write your articles and even automated to a certain extent, but the results are that real content has to make its way onto real blogs for this to work. It takes a lot of time, effort and hard work to achieve good results, so much so that almost nobody tries all that hard. For Google, this is not really the problem.

The problem is the automated linking systems and other blackhat techniques that are designed to game the index. Most of these the algo tinkerers have all but got on top of. Which leaves us with a fairly robust search engine that delivers mostly relevant results.

So why on earth would Google want to totally upset this particular apple cart by including social links in the algo’s mechanism for ranking sites?

Anyone who knows this stuff will know that automating the creation of social links is way easier than getting real links from blogs. Every SEO with enough knowledge to be dangerous will be all over this like a cheap suit. Blackhatters are probably already writing (or have written) automation tools to auto-generate so many social links as to place a ton of spam websites on the top of Google’s index the second they start counting them. There will be social groups and supposedly hidden groups set up in places like Facebook with the sole intention of generating thousands of social links to an army of websites.

Why would Google allow something like this to happen?

I’m sure they know full well what the consequences of counting social links (or “likes” or whatever they call them) will be. The answer? One of two things will happen:

1: Google goes ahead and count social links, “likes”, tweets and suchlike. Their index implodes under the weight of all the spam rising to the top like effluent rising to the top of a septic tank.

2. Google are really yanking your chain.

I like the second answer. I believe they already know all this and started the rumours deliberately. That way SEO’s everywhere will divert their time and attention to building social links, stopping them building the links that really count.

2a. Oh yeah, the algo boffins will be laughing their asses off at all the headless chickens scurrying around building social links like their lives depended on it!

Why am I writing all this, when clearly no one will believe it?

Something to do with all the time I’m saving by NOT wasting it on Facebook…

Terry Didcott