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Discussion Starter #1
hi guys,

Just wondering if out-links to a site from forum boards like this one carry any value with Search Engines.

I've also noticed that there are a lot less Directory type sites getting ranked top 10 in the serps. and are showing up more in the paid ads sections like Adwords etc.

Any thoughts on this ?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Just wondering if out-links to a site from forum boards like this one carry any value with Search Engines.
There probably is some minimal value, but in my humble opinion, I think the greatest value of a link in a related forum is people value, not the search engine value. When you are part of a community, other members seem to be more inclined to do business with other members which can result in sales (in the right forums of course)

I've also noticed that there are a lot less Directory type sites getting ranked top 10 in the serps. and are showing up more in the paid ads sections like Adwords etc.
I still see some directory sites in the top 10 for some keywords. The directory sites I see in the adwords sections aren't really "directories". They are more of domain parking type sites where all the links are actually just more ads (styled to look like links) and there is no hand edited directory involved.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks Rodney.

hope this discourages out-link drops in the future.
I agree, the info one provides/contributes is key to gain the trust of the community.
 

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hope this discourages out-link drops in the future.
I think people will always try to get links in forums that allow them :)

Places like webmasterworld don't allow ANY links, so it makes for an interesting environment. Took a while to get used to, but it really works on that particular forum.

Linking to your site in a "public" forum can also be a catch22. You can get good exposure, but if you are talking about certain aspects of your business, you may not want your webname in your forum posts coming up in search engines when your customers are researching your business.
 

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Rodney said:
Linking to your site in a "public" forum can also be a catch22. You can get good exposure, but if you are talking about certain aspects of your business, you may not want your webname in your forum posts coming up in search engines when your customers are researching your business.
This is a very good point. I have been pondering this very same thing, lately.

In doing some research for things related to my business, I frequently get search results that include things that I've said here!

Also, in just checking SEO, sometimes this site will come up as a link to my site. Even without doing any marketing for my site, and without it being live, I still get quite a bit of traffic to it and a lot of it comes from this forum.

I have been very free with the help and info that I give, which sometimes includes detailed particulars, but I am certain that I don't want every one of my customers knowing the details of my business.

So, I'm seriously considering taking my url out of my signature pretty soon.

That's the catch22. Being active on the forums, and giving good sound advice may get me a few sales when I go live. But it also opens some of the details of my business to the general public.
 

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Comin'OutSwingin said:
That's the catch22. Being active on the forums, and giving good sound advice may get me a few sales when I go live. But it also opens some of the details of my business to the general public.
...well, you are in business. This means your doors are open to the public. I dont see a problem there, be it your site, this board etc... things that are confidential like your trade secrets etc... you dont post that in the window of your store, so why would you do it in a public forum ?

The hang up might be if this board has more in-bound links then your site where you provide the same info as you do here.... SE/peeps will continue to find you via the board and not your site.

I dont think Rodney will change that. :)
 

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That's the catch22. Being active on the forums, and giving good sound advice may get me a few sales when I go live. But it also opens some of the details of my business to the general public.
Exactly, which is why for some forums, leaving out your signature may actually be a "good" thing. You can still be active in the community and have your website listed in your profile (doesn't show up in search engines).

However, if you were on an "urban" or "hiphop" forum, then having the link to your particular clothing like would definitely be more of an asset.

It also depends on your business model and who you sell to.

For example, JoshEllsworth makes a LOT of helpful (non-advertising/non promotional) posts in this forum and regulary contributes and has a link to his site in his signature. If I was a customer of imprintables and I came across his helpful, professional, posts in this forum in a search engine result, that might actually be a positive factor in decision whether or not to buy from his company.
 

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Lucy, I don't necessarily know if it's trade secrets, but just my business being linked to the forum is the issue.

If my customers know that some of my shirts were printed on Proclub (which I don't keep secret) and they happen to see that the wholesale price for proclub is mentioned here (by me and others) along with printing prices, they might feel a little funny by coughing up whatever it is I want to charge for my shirts.

Not only that, but just the way the t-shirt business is conducted in general and discussed on the forums. From trying to get my site right, to pricing, wholesale selling, etc.

Like I said, not necessarily trade secrets, but still not something that one would want every customer to know.

(and with that, the url in the signature is no more!)
 

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If my customers know that some of my shirts were printed on Proclub (which I don't keep secret) and they happen to see that the wholesale price for proclub is mentioned here (by me and others) along with printing prices, they might feel a little funny by coughing up whatever it is I want to charge for my shirts.
I think in general, customers know that a Sean Jean, G-Unit, Phat Farm or other urban t-shirt brand doesn't cost $40 to make. I think customers are pretty saavy enough to know that they aren't getting "wholesale" prices when they buy a $50 Ecko t-shirt in the mall. I think they buy because they are identifying with the brand, not because they are looking for a deal.

That said, I don't know if you always want your customers to know your wholesale pricing, but if they did find out, I'm not sure it would be the end of your business.

There's actually some interesting articles out by some marketing "gurus" that say that increased "transparency" can be a good thing. Check out these two articles:
http://www.grokdotcom.com/topics/transparency.htm
http://www.grokdotcom.com/Volumes/volume08-15-06.htm

In some ways, it might help your customers "connect" with you more and see that you are a "real" person on their level.

It's definitely interesting food for thought!
 

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Comin'OutSwingin said:
If my customers know that some of my shirts were printed on Proclub (which I don't keep secret) and they happen to see that the wholesale price for proclub is mentioned here (by me and others) along with printing prices, they might feel a little funny by coughing up whatever it is I want to charge for my shirts.
I understand what you are saying. But I think professionals in the biz, buying or selling understand that you need a markup to survive.

Anyone who offers to buy from you in this case, at your cost, is what we call around here a " frugal buyers "....simply show them the door or sell to them. These types of clients are not loyal. They will buy from who ever has the lowest price.
 

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I understand what you are saying. But I think professionals in the biz, buying or selling understand that you need a markup to survive.
I don't think his target customer will be "professionals in the biz", they are your ordindary average consumer on the street. I think that's who he's worried about more than the "professional" customer.

Remember, not all the members here are printers and doing wholesale :) Many of them sell directly to the end customer at retail prices.

Anyone who offers to buy from you in this case, at your cost, is what we call around here a " dead beats "....simply show them the door friend.
Calling potential customers/clients "dead beats" is the kind of word of mouth that many would try to avoid having spread via a forum :) I know what you meant, but not all potential customers/clients will know if you're talking about "them" or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
thanks Rodney, sometimes one talks like a New Yourker ( with your heart ) but not all may talk like it and take it some other way. Good lesson to learn about boards.... Note the Edit.

Good point. :)
 

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I think the transparency issue is an interesting one. In relation to the topic of the thread, links from forums such as this one will definitely open you up to transparency. The question is: "Do you want to be transparent?".

Transparency in itself can be a catch22. Like Rodney said, some customers will like it because they can identify with you, and see that you are a real person. Others may not like the fact that they can figure out your profits and see the behind-the-scenes stuff. It may make them less likely to buy.

I guess the question is how much will it affect the bottom line. If it's a wash, I'd rather keep a lot of that stuff to myself.
 

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The question is: "Do you want to be transparent?".

Transparency in itself can be a catch22. Like Rodney said, some customers will like it because they can identify with you, and see that you are a real person. Others may not like the fact that they can figure out your profits and see the behind-the-scenes stuff. It may make them less likely to buy.
Yep, I think it might be one of those "depends on your market" type things. Maybe :)

For example, if you take threadless as a "case study". I'm pretty sure that most of their buyers and users know how much it costs to make a t-shirt, and know how much threadless is paying the designers, but they still don't mind buying the t-shirts. I think they feel like part of the threadless "community" for being "in the know" so much about the company details. Of course they don't know specifics, but the owners of the company have posted their sales figures in their forums, and the shirts still continue to fly out the door :)

shimala at threadless.com said:
You're crazy... our biggest concern with switching to another brand is the community. You can't just up and switch what you print on over night when you're selling 70,000+ a month. We've been trying different things and putting a lot of research into this.
Seems like with transparency, you have to take the good with the bad :) It's up to each business whether or not that's the model they want to follow.

Wash Meaning ?
I think it means if you weigh the benefits with the drawbacks and they are about equal, the "tie" for him goes to not keeping that info pubic.
 

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Comin'OutSwingin said:
I think the transparency issue is an interesting one. [...] The question is: "Do you want to be transparent?". [...] Like Rodney said, some customers will like it because they can identify with you, and see that you are a real person. Others may not
Exactly. Put simply: some customers don't want to identify with you on a peer level. They want to idolise the brand, not think "hey, I could do this!" - some people aren't interested in buying anything they perceive they could just do themselves.
 

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I like how my posts appear on page one of Google for many basic shirt related searches. :) I'm always finding Solmu, Twinge, and my posts popping up when looking for something.
 

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monkeylantern said:
I like how my posts appear on page one of Google for many basic shirt related searches. :) I'm always finding Solmu, Twinge, and my posts popping up when looking for something.
Hooray! Gone for half a year and still famous!

(I don't know that I'm still really 'back' per se; I'm still very busy these days. I'll try to stop by occasionally though. Surely a vertible wealth of information I've missed of the months.)


LucyRoberts said:
Just wondering if out-links to a site from forum boards like this one carry any value with Search Engines.
From what I've seen, there is a bonus, but it is fairly insignificant. Same if you're linked from your name when you post on someone's blog for example.

For perspective: Say you're trying to achieve 100 'points', which would rank you at the top of search results. Links from blog comments, forum signatures, etc. might give you 0.01 'points' in this scale. On the other hand, being linked on the front page of a very popular related website is worth a lot more.

Also keep in mind that search engines can often detect if you're being spammy about this -- if you're oging around to tons of forums and jsut dropping your URL you may very well be penalized or even blacklisted.



Comin'OutSwingin said:
In doing some research for things related to my business, I frequently get search results that include things that I've said here!

I have been very free with the help and info that I give, which sometimes includes detailed particulars, but I am certain that I don't want every one of my customers knowing the details of my business.

That's the catch22. Being active on the forums, and giving good sound advice may get me a few sales when I go live. But it also opens some of the details of my business to the general public.
I think the thing to realize here is (*based on what I've seen in general; I've not seen any info on this case specifically) that very few potential customers will be taking the effort to find out enough about your company to find pages like this. Those that do are going to be more likely to be saavy enough to know they can google 'wholesale t-shirts' and find aproximate prices that you might be paying, etc., etc. I would consider it a net gain; the 0.01% of customers that are looking that deep can see I'm a real person, that's fine by me =)


Solmu said:
Customers want to idolise the brand, not think "hey, I could do this!" - some people aren't interested in buying anything they perceive they could just do themselves.
Well, just because I can steal someone's cool t-shirt design and print it myself doesn't mean that I will, and I know several other t-shirt printers feel the same way.

Granted, I know that some people have (heck, I've even seen this happen to me with what little web exposure my site currently has), but seeing some of the details of the process won't necessarily make them want to try it themselves.

Besides, iron-ons are common enough that most people already know they can make shirts that way if they really want to 'do it themselves'.

Edit: Geez, only ~750 posts? More people passed me than I had expected, hehe. I remember when I was (briefly) ahead of Rodney even ;)
 

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Twinge said:
Edit: Geez, only ~750 posts? More people passed me than I had expected, hehe. I remember when I was (briefly) ahead of Rodney even ;)

Don't worry.... I think you're still on track to be the third black shirt. Rodney sends you $1000 in US bonds, which is nice.
 
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