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About a month ago everyone was buzzing about Build My Rank (BMR). Their post about shutting down was the official announcement that private blog networks were in fact taking a major hit.

They haven't been quiet for long.Today I got an email from them about a new upcoming service that they're creating. Although I strongly caution you to stay away from whatever they might be up to, at the very least you should know about their current situation - I don't have to tell you how important awareness can be in this industry, as new things constantly pop up.

Here's a quote from their newsletter:

"As always, our goal is to help you achieve the highest rankings possible and increase your traffic and revenue. This is why we are preparing a new suite of services that focus on quality over quantity. It's a new era in Internet Marketing and BuildMyRank is at the forefront."

(I did added the bolded emphasis.)

What do you guys think? Do you have any ideas as to what they might be pushing soon? And do you think this could be a new form of automated links that we'll once again have to fight & put up with?
Jason Nelson's profile photoNick Morris's profile photoJon Cooper's profile photoAllen MacCannell's profile photo
Will be interesting to see though what they come up with :)
I'm interested to see just what exactly they have up their sleeve...It is going to be yet another form of spam that the "good guy" SEOs will have to fight with. 99.99% sure that the same people who used BMR in the first place, because they lacked the ability to build quality links themselves, will flock to this service.
I'm sure it will be billed as a "white hat" service.
Hmm, it will be interesting to see what they come up with. They already know that Google is aware of them so they should be afraid that any new black/grey hat idea they come up with might be quickly slapped down again by Google.

The most white hat idea I can think of that would also work in a large scale system like they're trying to create would be something along the lines of a service that creates good quality content for people's websites (perhaps there would be different price levels for different qualities of content) and then markets/distributes that content to the appropriate linking/sharing audience.
My parents and little sister live in Bradenton. Jon: Web CEO should be just as famous as Raven and SEOMoz and this can be backed up by doing a Google search for "SEO Software" "Online SEO Tools" or "Search Engine Optimization Software" - all powerful keywords where we tend to blow away those whom a new elite group of American bloggers are calling the leaders in the SEO industry. We've got 850,000 desktop SEO software users and 42,000 online service users.

What we haven't done so well in the past few months is influenced bloggers like you to keep buzz going (been in business 12 years).

Could you consider doing a post about what online SEO tools companies actually get their own websites top positions for their own keyword(s)? I realize that we can't all win for all the keywords in our industry, but it would make for an interesting article all the same. In any other industry, you could say "Google has irrelevant results because the companies I know are leaders are not well represented in the top 10".

But not in the SEO industry. In this industry we cannot say "Gee, Silicon Valley pundits say that XYZ Startup leads the SEO Industry, why are they not in the top 10 on Google"?

In this industry, if we say we have great online SEO tools and we're in the top 10 for "online SEO tools", that isn't irrelevant. =)
Interesting idea Allen, but after hearing a few discussions on this same topic, we need to step back and look at which companies need and need not to do SEO, regardless if they're selling SEO software.

For example, I was in a discussion with Wil Reynolds in which he was talking about ranking for "SEO Philadelphia" (this was about 6 months ago before they finally hit #1). Sure, he could spend a lot of time & resources to rank #1 for it, but he didn't need to. Because he's proven himself to past clients and all of the publicity he gets elsewhere, the advantages of ranking 1st didn't outweigh the costs that it might take to get there.

Another real life example of this is The Atlantic (

You should also not hold it against other software companies who take advantage of SEO bloggers, and that strategy in no way reflects the quality of their product.

Lastly, just because you rank higher for that term doesn't mean your product is better. That might mean your team spends more time trying to rank for it & that you have better SEOs working for you, but it doesn't mean your product is better, because correlation does not prove causation.

Not trying to say anything bad about you Allen or Web CEO, but just wanted to give my 2 cents on those topics.
Hi again Jon - The operative sentence above is that Wil Reynolds actually did hit #1 for SEO Philadelphia six months later. =) The SEO software industry (online SEO tools industry) is the one industry where one's own SEO results should and do matter more than in other industries...for obvious reasons. An SEO agency, on the other hand, can get away with not optimizing their own site, because they are claiming the talent of individuals, not specific technology.

Sure, there is a latent period in SEO when a superior product or service needs to acquire the backlinks necessary to overcome previous leaders who have lost their product superiority (although they might find they hit a brick wall because the previous leader's product isn't inferior). In our case, we were slow to have a cloud version and SEOMoz and Raven Online could have eaten our lunch, even in the SERPs, if we hadn't moved forward and fast.

And, while we don't have a team working very hard at keeping the top positions we've held for 12 years, even if we did, if these hypothetical specialists of ours were using our own software to blow away the companies some new bloggers buzz about, then the bloggers themselves might consider that "current buzz" is not necessarily an indicator of other products' superiority either. Please take a $150 coupon from us and compare yourself. In the end, as long as bloggers have done the comparison, what they write about is cool.

The Penguin update helped us a notch. If the Google algorithm saw more relevant links to some of the competitors that new bloggers are talking about, you'd think they'd rate as being more relevant in the results.

Ask around about who the SEO leaders were "considered to be" just 4 years ago and determine, like Website Magazine has, whether Web CEO has somehow lost it's top position or not:

I wouldn't mind you if you were to write about Web CEO supposedly being a "has been" of the industry if you compared our products and came to a different conclusion than the editors of Website Magazine who said we're right up there and very much in the game.

What concerns me is that, having entered the field a year ago, you apparently don't remember a time when Web CEO was considered by bloggers to be the unparalleled leader. Nobody who was in the business 4 years ago would suggest that Web CEO might have the position it now has for any other reason than valid backlinks indicating a great reputation.

That would be a great topic: Have the SEO software leaders of the past been truly outclassed by a new breed of startups and, if so, why? Because of blogger buzz?

That said, I was actually complementing our two main rivals, SEOMoz and Raven, for having gotten their message to you in the short time that you quickly rose to be a great SEO blogger. All the old SEO bloggers knew us as being a top 5 leader in SEO tools and it's embarrassing to see a group of new ones out there who don't. That's our fault. One can't slack off in marketing to bloggers for even 6 months.

I didn't even know you existed. And, ironically, I once wrote an article in the 1990s about how good marketers need to make sure high school students know about their products because they'll be the journalists and customers of the future.

Meanwhile, Rand has been brilliant in creating a community around his site including the ability to create profiles, similar to Crunchbase, that are DoFollow and cause a community to grow around them.

As I noted above, you're not knowing about us when you did that ego bait article last year, would have had a lot to do with the fact that we delayed going to the cloud by a crucial 2 years (from 2009 to 2011) and that allowed some tech journalists to report about the online products of SEOMoz and Raven while leaving us and others in the Google Top 10 for "SEO software" left out in the cold (and for good reason - the cloud is the future apparently).

But if IBP, the profitable German SEO software company that you would have had to have known all about if you were an SEO blogger 4 years ago, released a great cloud version of it's SEO software tomorrow, I would expect every seasoned SEO blogger to sit up and take notice precisely because IBP has been a top 3 leader in the SEO desktop software for about a decade and because, in this industry, the position of your own products in the SERPs actually does matter.

It wouldn't be at all fair or intellectually honest for anyone to yawn or not take notice if that German company suddenly released a stealth cloud version that put the rest of us to shame.

As Oscar Wilde once wrote: "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about." He meant that the most popular person in high society five years ago could be surprised to find themselves considered a wallflower such a short time later...often only out of fashion and not merit.

IBP deserves respect for keeping it's SERP position despite not moving to the cloud and, no, they probably don't spend much time trying to game their position - they are getting honest backlinks because there is still a massive market for desktop SEO software.

And that brings to mind another aspect of Web 2.0 - where often only American companies are considered leaders in anything (and the exceptions don't disprove the rule) even if foreign companies have more users.

Did you know that a major company considered buying a leading SEO software company but decided against that because the company was and is currently based in Belorussia? That wasn't necessarily fair. That company now holds the #1 position for SEO software solely because of the quality of their, albeit desktop, product and the backlinks they are getting for it. If they came out with a great online product tomorrow, the industry should stop dead in their tracks and look.

Remember that Kaspersky is a Russian corporation and has to be considered in the top 5 anti-virus companies despite attempts, made several times by American bloggers, to pretend they didn't exist or weren't a major player.

In Web 2.0 we need to be careful not to allow a group of American VCs to spin the concept of what the list of any market's leaders actually are. They can do things like create loaded Quora questions such as "What is the best SEO Software, SEOMoz or Raven?" where discussion of WEB CEO would be considered spamming because it doesn't answer the question. =)

Leaving out names of competitors is an interesting trick and we've done it ourselves often enough. But about the probably innocent people who posed those loaded questions on Quora...we don't want to do the same thing and noone outside our company has a financial interest in doing that either.

In the end, Forrester and Gartner Group tend to decide what any industry's leaders really are. I'll be on the line with them again this week as we release a massive new site design (that can hurt us in the SERPs if we don't do it right). One has to guard against the possibility that one of those organizations would let an intern research the industry and come across the above described loaded Quora question.

That kind of thing happens all too often in every industry.

Anyway, please look into who the SEO leaders were considered to be only 4 years ago and whether they all deserved to be forgotten - either by being too slow to move to the cloud - or because they failed to see new bloggers make the scene, possibly being too busy dealing with the heavy traffic that their SERP positions bring - or by not expanding with VC capital and hitting the trade shows.
+Allen MacCannell that was long enough to be a blog post in itself :)

A lot of points you touched on, and I don't have time to address them all, but in general, there are a ton of tools out there, I think we can both agree on that. And IMO, it shouldn't be the bloggers responsibility to know each one inside out and decide which ones are the best.

And with so many tools, it would be hard to justify otherwise. I've come across a few tools that work great for me, and I really don't need anything else. Are there others like WebCEO that might be better for some purposes? Sure. Actually, most definitely. But I'm not claiming any to be using the best tools out there, simply because of the fact I just don't know. And in essence, a lot of blogging is sometimes opinion, and if you really want to be talked about, it's up to you to make that happen, not the bloggers.

That's why so many people have problems digesting the whole idea of "natural links". Very few succeed building links that they don't pursue. And that's the same with all of marketing. Creating a great product is only half the battle; the other half is promoting, and IMO, they're both equally important.

Hope some of that made sense. Always glad to chat Allen :)
True enough. We probably have better search engine position because we have more natural links, from proactively dealing with bloggers internationally over 12 years (we now have a Chinese version for instance). I only just noticed you existed as a new blogger who wrote a great link building manual and I wrote a rather long-winded introduction.

And we'll be using Google+ more often now. Most business people seem to have no idea how big a deal Google+ will be and our agency clients say it's like herding cats getting many of their customers to do themselves the favor of coming here. Now I just wish Google+ product managers would properly link the personal page to the company page that person works for. That's a major oversight. LinkedIn would be out of business if they tried that.
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