HOSTSEARCH: Matt - nice of you to speak to us like this. First of all, why don't you give us an overview of Addme.com and your role in the organization?
MATT HODGSON : Addme.com is a search engine marketing website and free e-zine. It's is a resource for the latest news and advice for affiliate marketing, email marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Paid Per Click (PPC), and Web Analytics. It also keeps you up to date with the latest trends in Internet marketing with a fortnightly free newsletter.
HOSTSEARCH: When did the company start? Have you been with the company all of the time?
MATT HODGSON : Addme.com was launched way back in 1996 - it has always been a source of information relating to Internet marketing. Addme was recently purchased by it's now parent company Trellian.com. Trellian are providers of industry leading search tools such as keyworddiscovery.com, prioritysubmit.com and ci.trellian.com - Competitive Intelligence. I joined Addme.com 3 months ago. Previous to this I worked for a variety of search marketing firms in both Australia and the UK over the past 10 years.
HOSTSEARCH: It's great that a tool like Addme.com exists, and I have to admit, I have used the site to register lots of my own websites - in fact I have never used anything else. When I first started building sites things were easy - if you built a new page on your site you just went to Addme.com, registered the new URL, and you'd see it in a couple of days. Things aren't that simple now. Are there any golden rules as far a search engine submission is concerned these days? Are there any specific does and don'ts?
MATT HODGSON : The main thing about search engine submission is to be patient. Though you have completed the submission it can take the engines some time to include the submission into their index - this is basically a list of all the websites submitted to the search engine. Inclusion into a search engine index will vary from 1 day through 2 - 3 months. Be sure to space your submission out evenly, do not resubmit every week, you may well get banned from the engine! Once a month is fine. There is another method of search engine submission / inclusion available - this is via "Paid Inclusion" - you pay a fee to have your website directly submitted to the search engine and reviewed, maximum turnaround time for this is 7 days.
HOSTSEARCH: In the world of web hosting, there is a problem in that you have a tremendous number of organizations fighting over the same keywords. In a nutshell, what recommendations would you give a new web host who wants to get his or her site in the top 10 of Google, Yahoo! and MSN?
MATT HODGSON : Don't give up! Search engines are becoming more and more user focused these days, thus, generally speaking, if you can provide value to a visitor on your website you will gain greater rankings and position in the search engine results page. Post regular informative articles on your site, host public blogs and forums - these are also great for content - and constantly look for new linking partners. Do not look at your website as the index page is the only entry point - the more pages you have the greater entry points you will have to your website. As far as navigation is concerned, I constantly come across sites that have poor navigation. This in turn means search engines are unable to crawl through the website and find all the pages. All your powerful, keyword rich content is lost, hidden away in a website these simple search engines cannot read
HOSTSEARCH: And once they get there, what do they have to do to stay there?
MATT HODGSON : Don't stop! Search engine optimization is an ongoing project, search engines are always changing the way they return and index sites as must you. Maintain the fundamentals such as fresh regular content, clean optimized navigation and link building, and you're on the right track!
HOSTSEARCH: Search engine results placement is seen as the make or break for an Internet-based business, and so much is written about Search Engine Optimization that often what's written is entirely contradictory. I know you are not an SEO expert per se, but from your perspective, is there any value in immersing yourself in the massive volume of information available on SEO? Will it help in the long run?
MATT HODGSON : Getting involved in SEO can be like opening a can of worms. Once you start, you can often find yourself lost amongst 100's of different opinions and ideals about the best way to optimize your website and gain better positions. By all means, read up on the "ART" of SEO, though you are often best to leave this up to the experts, in other words, outsource your SEO, giving yourself more time to focus on more important things like running your business. If there are any particular questions that need answered regarding SEO - I suggest contacting the Addme team.
HOSTSEARCH: I have read on numerous occasions that some of the traditional ways of keeping a website high in SERPs - things like article submission to directories, swapping links with other sites, making posts on forums with a signature in your post, these sorts of things - are now redundant. Is that true, or is it part of SEO's urban mythology?
MATT HODGSON : Every little bit helps! Being active on forums and blogs may not directly help with passing page rank though it can help build brand and increase website refers. I have always looked at SEO as a common sense type practice, the more you are out there, the more people know about you, the better you will perform in the search engines.
HOSTSEARCH: I even heard recently that newsletter marketing is dead - how can that be?
MATT HODGSON : If newsletter marketing / email marketing was dead how come we are still receiving so much spam? The dynamics have changed; it is getting harder - though it is far from dead!
HOSTSEARCH: Your free registration service submits sites to I think 14 search engines. Your paid service, substantially more. Realistically though, is there any point in registering with anyone beyond Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft?
MATT HODGSON : Every little bit helps - granted, Google, Yahoo! 4and MSN do command the top end of the market - though you would be surprised how many other engines are out there, alive, kicking, and referring traffic to your website.
HOSTSEARCH: One thing I have found curious is that a lot of the websites of SEO consultants I visit often have low PageRanks. Isn't the term SEO consultant a bit of a misnomer if they can't get themselves higher PRs - or is that being too unkind?
MATT HODGSON : Though PageRank is helpful in getting an understanding of how successful a website is - this is simply a measure. I feel we are seeing the end of page rank, or at least the direct measure between a site' s success and it's PR; there are many other areas of a website and measures that should be taken into consideration. One of many measures is back links, Google only tells you about a small percentage of back links to your website - I suggest using a back link tool such as the one on our site http://www.addme.com/popularity.htm
HOSTSEARCH: I think right now it's safe to say that Google is well ahead of the search engine pack. Do you think if Yahoo! and Microsoft get together, that situation will change at all?
MATT HODGSON : If Yahoo! and MSN combine forces, I would expect the paid search industry to be "shaken". I don't think this will affect the natural search space - Google will maintain a strong hold on this for some time yet. But, if MSN were smart, they could blow Google out of the water. How many people still use Internet explorer? How many people still run Windows? If Microsoft were to really flex their muscle we could see the end of Google!
HOSTSEARCH: We ask this of almost everyone we interview - what do you think will be the next big thing to hit the Internet and how will it impact people?
MATT HODGSON : www.addme.com in 2008
HOSTSEARCH: O.K. - fair enough ... (laughs) ... So, when you aren't in charge of Addme.com, what do you do in your free time?
MATT HODGSON : You could say I'm somewhat of a social butterfly, so spending time out and about, down the beach, gym, of course my travel... and photography!
HOSTSEARCH: Thanks very much for your time today...
MATT HODGSON : No, thank you - it has been a pleasure chatting. You guys are doing a great job, keep up the good work