Friday, April 6, 2007

Time For You To Update Your 1999 Web Site?


A few things have changed since you created your web site. There are probably many things that changed you wished hadn't: 9-11, dial-up, YouTube.com, the Google stock price, maybe your weight or even your spouse... Has your web site changed?

Maybe in 1999 you had a web site that you had created by your next door neighbor's kid. Hey, it's 2007 now, and even if you still have your site created by the kid next door, the site is bound to be better as kids are even smarter and the software is superior.

Party Like It's 1999

I remember as we were leaving 2006 (and every new year before) and getting close to 2007 that many radio stations were playing the Prince song, "1999." It was funny that Prince actually released that song 17 years before 1999. Now that we are on the other side of 1999, that song will probably get less and less play, as we move further away.

Is Your Web Site Getting Less Play?

Your mortgage web site is also well into 2007 and you should have had a chance to update your pages. The most common error we are still seeing is web pages that have copyright 2006 (or 2005 or 1999 or ...) at the bottom of the pages. When your visitor views your site and notices an out-of-date copyright year or time sensitive content in the body (Happy New Year) that is several months past its pull date, the visitor begins to suspect the quality of your site.

There have been many changes to the internet since 1999, and what used to work, may no longer be viable, or may now even get your web site penalized. Let's discuss a few of the changes.

Multiple Directory Listings

It is in your mortgage company's best interest to have high quality links directed to your site. Links vary in value, but generally a link from CNN.com is better than a link from AuntieSarahsBurgerJoint.com. And a link from MortgageLinkFarm.com may be detrimental.

DMOZ Directory

DMOZ (DMOZ.org) is great to be included in as it feeds the Google directory results. DMOZ is also very unorganized as most of the categories use volunteer editors who often are too busy to stay current, or they have their own listing in a directory and they reason they volunteer is to keep out competitors like you. Regardless, DMOZ has its value in the Google feed and it is free.

YAHOO Directory

To be included in the Yahoo directory, start with finding the RIGHT DIRECTORY category http://search.yahoo.com/dir you belong in and then look for the link at the top right of the page that states "Suggest a site." It will cost you $299 to recommend your own site, but it is $299 well spent.

WIKIPEDIA

Some companies will even use novel ways to gain additional links. Most people are not aware that you can easily create a Wikipedia page for your own business. In example, DiTech uses Wikipedia.org, the online encyclopedia, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ditech.com) to promote its DiTech site.

"Ditech.com is a lender, offering mortgages and lines of credit as a member of the General Motors family of companies, specifically General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC). Ditech.com is a business unit of GMAC Mortgage."

ABOUTUS.ORG

AboutUs.org is similar to Wikipedia, except that its purpose is for businesses to insert their listings. Creating a page for your business on this site will also tend to rank very well for your business name.

In-Bound Linking Strategies

The Official Google Webmaster Central Blog http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com offers tips from Google staff members and can be useful in finding out what to do and, as importantly, what not to do.

Google Ranking Algorithm Devaluing Exchanged Links

One of the ways sites would obtain high rankings in Google was to have many sites link to their site. The thinking was that if other sites were linking to a specific site, then that specific site must be valuable to the Google searchers. Over time this theory became abused with link farms (sites set up to do nothing but link), paid links (you pay for a link to your site) and bogus site links (companies create fictitious web sites with the sole purpose of linking to a specific site).

The Google staff has announced that they have "tremendously refined its link-weighting algorithms. We have more people working on Google's link-weighting for quality control and to correct issues we find. So nowadays, undermining the PageRank algorithm is likely to result in the loss of the ability of link-selling sites to pass on reputation via links to other sites." In short, don't use sneaky techniques for inbound links.

Link Baiting

Link baiting is a technique which typically takes advantage of Web 2.0 social content websites and visitor rewarded content sites like Digg.com. The way the bait works is that you create high content or useful information as the hook. Hooks can take on a variety of forms such as: news hooks (what is the latest interest rates), contrary hooks (why to use a variable interest rates when fixed rates are 2%), attack hooks (how the Fed Reserve is ruining the economy), resource hooks (historical average VA and FHA interest rates) and even humor hooks (10 ways to tell if your blind date is really a mortgage broker).

Some people link bait their reputation by building an authority through services such as http://answers.yahoo.com. In this example a person might answer all the questions posed at Yahoo Answers (Should I get a fixed or variable mortgage? I have bad credit, how do I get a loan?) and others viewing the answers might find that person useful and be inclined to utilize their mortgage services.

Site Verification

See if you site is in Google using their Site status wizard https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/sitestatus and it will also tell you the last time the Googlebot last visited your site. If you are not listed you will find a link on how to add your site map to Google. Both Google (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/) and Yahoo (http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/) offer site verification and site mapping.A couple of advantages happen when you add your site, via your account, to Google and Yahoo. First, you are more likely to get indexed. Second, you have access to statistics and error information about your site.

Party Like It Is 2007

By the time you finish updating your site and submitting it to the various directories you will be ready to party... until it is time for the next round of updates.
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MortgagePromote.com is a leading Internet marketing web site that provides hundreds of articles & information tips on web site promotion, search engine marketing and search engine optimization; to help loan officers & mortgage companies increase their online sales. Aries and Farris has been providing nationwide mortgage leads & Internet marketing services since 1998.
Web site:
MortgagePromote.com

For online mortgage leads please visit our mortgage leads page.

Originally published February 2007.

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