Policy

Comment Policy
Link Policy
Privacy Policy
Visual Aids
Affiliate Links

Comment Policy

Author Links

The Author Links content below is my original policy. Currently, however, all comment author links are disabled and author names are rendered as plain text.

Your name will not become a link until you have 10 previous approved comments. In some circumstances, I will manually whitelist an author, even if they don’t have 10 approved comments. I do this for people who make a significant contribution to any given post or discussion. For example, if you write a 500-word comment that completely disproves everything I said in that post, then I will probably whitelist you.

I know! I’ll just leave 10 shitty comments and activate my author link as soon as possible! Plus…I’ll use the author name “Cheap Online Pharmacy,” and link to my cheap online pharmacy website! Ha ha ha…I’m a genius!

Not so fast, slick. Leaving 10 comments is no guarantee. If your comments are worthless, I’ll revoke your white status and exile you to the land of blacklist. And if your author name is clearly a keyword phrase, then I’ll probably never whitelist you. Something like “SEO Mofo” is fine–in fact, that’s a great name–but something like “SEO Consulting Services” is tacky and insulting to everyone else participating in the discussion.

Comment Links

Comments that contain any links are automatically held for moderation. If the link(s) are relevant to the post and they link to reputable domains, then they will be approved, but not necessarily followed. If the link(s) point to high-quality content that I personally endorse, then their nofollow attributes will be removed.

Censorship

I’m generally against censorship, so you can pretty much say anything you want. An exception to that might be: if your comment has the potential to harm this site in any way, then I’ll probably edit it or delete it. If your comment is insulting towards me or anyone else, then at least have the balls to identify yourself. Anonymous insults will be edited into ambiguously-gay compliments.

Link Policy

I Don’t Link to Shit

I am extremely particular about who or what I will link to. In fact, it’s probably just a matter of time before I remove all comment author links, because monitoring the “link-worthiness” of those domains is too difficult. I prefer not to link to other pages with nofollowed links. If I don’t trust a URL or I don’t endorse its content, then I simply don’t link to it. In my mind, linking out to a web page is a conscious decision to improve that page’s rankings. If it’s not useful, informative, interesting, or entertaining…then why would I help it rank better?

I Don’t Buy or Sell Links

This isn’t really an issue right now, because I’m not monetizing this site’s traffic in any way, and no one wants to buy links from me. But if it ever comes up…the answer is no. If you want me to link to you, show me something worth linking to. It’s that simple.

Also, sometimes I go out of my way to link to something, using very keyword-rich anchor text. By that I mean I will link to certain web pages in a deliberate effort to help that page rank higher. In fact, if I really like a particular web page, I will check its rankings for several keyword phrases and pick the one it would benefit the most from (e.g. a phrase that it ranks #2 for). To some, these may look like paid links, due to the anchor text being “too good to be true,” but I can assure you that none of these websites are paying for their links. They earned them the good ol’ fashioned way: by not being worthless.

Advertising, however, is a different story. If you want your advertisement to reach at least 15 people per day…then we might be able to work something out. But keep in mind…I will make sure you get absolutely no PageRank or search engine recognition from your ad.

Privacy Policy

I should probably find some legal jargon to copy and paste here, but I’ll just spell it out in plain English instead. I don’t collect any personal information from you. The only information I have about you is the information you provide when you leave a comment. When you fill out the comment form, it asks for your name, email, and website.

Your email address is used in 2 different ways: (1) WordPress checks the Gravatar database to see if your email address is registered there (this only occurs when I have enabled avatars to appear next to user comments), and (2) WordPress sends notifications to your email address if you choose to be updated whenever someone comments on that same post. Also, occasionally I will send someone a private message (e.g. SEO secrets, death threats, etc.).

Your website address is not shown by default. You must have 10 approved comments on the site before your author link becomes active. At that point, your name will link to your website.

This site collects information on visitors’ browsing activity, but none of it is personally identifiable information–just anonymous traffic statistics. This is done through Google Analytics and server logs. This information is aggregated and presented to me for my viewing pleasure. There’s probably a good use for it, but usually I just look at the weird keyword phrases that brought traffic to my site…and I laugh. If you want…you can go read about Google’s privacy policy. Or, you could just accept the fact that no one cares who you are or what you’re doing.

Visual Aids

Throughout this website, you will find certain icons, formatting styles, and other visual clues that add context to the written words. Here is an explanation of the visual aids you may come across.

Self-serving, Semi-relevant, Context-independent SEO Links

Description:
These links include the class="selfish" attribute in their anchor tag. This style class is dark and removes the underline from text links, which makes them difficult to distinguish from regular text. This is done intentionally to improve readability. The goal of this style class is to create very subtle anchors that minimize the chances of readers being distracted by them. Read below for a more-detailed explanation.

Example:
This is a tip for all you aspiring advanced SEOs out there. If you’re serious about achieving SEO greatness, then you’ve probably realized what a valuable source of information patents can be–especially patents assigned to Google.

Explanation:
In this example, there is a link to my “Advanced SEO” category page and a link to my home page. The former was implemented to help my site rank for [advanced seo], and the latter was implemented as a joke, in reference to my self-proclaimed title of “World’s Greatest SEO.”

One of the things I’m really particular about is how I manage internal linking. Most WordPress-based websites have very sloppy internal linking, meaning there are a million different ways you can access any given post. Examples of these navigation paths include links from the home page, category archives, tag archives, date archives, author archives, and surrounding posts. I like to have much tighter control over my internal links, so I’ve intentionally killed off most of the WP default archives. This puts a much greater emphasis on the importance of inline, post-to-post links.

However, one of my pet peeves is websites that include like 50 internal links in every one of their posts, to the point where it’s actually a distraction from the article’s main content. Therefore, I have come up with my own special formatting for this class of links, in an attempt to convey the following message to my readers:

The primary purpose of this link is to help improve the search engine rankings of the page it points to. If you click on this link, you will be taken to a post on my website that is relevant to this anchor text, but not necessarily in the context of the post you’re currently reading.

If it helps, think of these links as “Wikipedia-style” links. If you only want to learn about the topic of the original post, then you can safely ignore these links. If you want to get sidetracked by exploring new posts you never intended on reading…then click these links and get lost on the info mofo superhighway.

Affiliate Links

Description:
These links include the class="affiliate" attribute in their anchor tag. This style class creates green anchor text and changes readers’ mouse pointers to a custom link cursor hand with a green dollar sign ($) on it. The goal of this style class is to allow readers to easily identify affiliate links. Read below for more details.

Image Example:
Thesis theme for WordPress

Text Example:
This blog is built on the Thesis WordPress theme.

Explanation:
One of the common ways for webmasters to make money from their websites is through affiliate marketing. Basically, affiliate marketing is a business strategy whereby a company (e.g. DIYthemes, LLC) pays content publishers (e.g. me) to generate sales of their product (e.g. the Thesis premium WordPress theme). In a typical situation, the content publisher is issued an affiliate ID, which is included as part of the URL the affiliate link points to. Here is a made-up example:

Let’s say there is a company called “Face Punches, Inc.,” that sells punches in the face. They want to increase sales at www.FacePunches.com, so they create an affiliate program. I have a blog that talks about punching people, so I decide to sign up for this affiliate program. My application is accepted, and I’m issued an affiliate ID of SEOmofo. Now whenever I talk about punching people in the face, I make sure to include a link to http://www.facepunches.com/affiliate?id=SEOmofo. If my readers click on that link and end up buying face punches, then Face Punches, Inc. will pay me a percentage of that sale.

The problem is…affiliate marketing is inherently dishonest. For example, you can probably see how tempting it would be for me to recommend www.FacePunches.com to all my readers, even if I’ve never actually purchased a punch in the face from there. In other words, regardless of how I truly feel about www.FacePunches.com’s product, I’m going to promote it as much as I can…because I get a cut of whatever sales I generate.

Due to the temptations of affiliate marketing and the potential for consumers to be mislead by undisclosed endorsements, the FTC created the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, which was recently updated in 2009 to include the new types of media that have emerged since the document’s original publishing in 1980. The FTC basically tells us that all paid endorsements must be disclosed to our readers.

So ultimately, this custom link style is how I tell my readers:

This is an affiliate link. If you click on this link and buy something from the website it points to, I will probably make money as a result.

It should be obvious to my readers that I would NEVER endorse something I don’t truly believe in. Therefore, if I openly recommend a product, you can be sure that my recommendation has nothing to do with whether or not I’m part of that product’s affiliate program. But also, keep in mind that I may drop affiliate links in relevant articles…but that doesn’t automatically mean I recommend the product. Make sense?

The other way you can spot an affiliate link is if the URL begins with http://www.seomofo.com/affiliate/. This is a virtual directory I use to redirect my affiliate URLs, but it is blocked in robots.txt to prevent search engines from counting affiliate links as normal links.