Promotion Tips - #1: Text Links

Andrew Boon posted 26th of October 2011 in News. 30 comments.

You have your Dolphin site up and running, niche selected, texts adapted, logos and maybe template customized, modules activated and hosting streamlined. Your precious self and your virtual pelagic mammal are primed and geared up to warmly welcome some visitants. Cool, eh!? The only thing is that you may end up waiting and waiting, maybe honing your site some more, and still no one seems to drop by. What the heck!


Ah yes, that's the point when preparations are done and the big play begins. It’s time to promote your site, bring it to market, advertise it, create some buzz, beat the drum and push some ballyhoo. 


This next stage may feel like duck soup if your marketing budget is…, well let's say if there actually is a marketing budget. But what if your budget is comprised of itchy fingers, enthusiasm and a half-full piggy bank? Can you still get the ball rolling? Of course you can! You pretty much have all you need (plus the piggy bank).


BoonEx is a software company, but we have a unique community of people who have gathered ample experience in promoting community, dating and social networking sites. I am sure there are those who don't mind sharing their ideas, their success or failure stories, and maybe even giving specific tips and links that would help fellow members to market their Dolphin-based sites. We will be sharing our own experience as much as possible, but what WE actually know is an “eensy” crumb compared to the wonderful loaf that we can bake together. The proven experts are already “out there,” and pooling resources to learn what works (and just as important – what doesn’t!) is what we are after.


So, today we are starting the conversation. We will be posting periodic "Tips," and we welcome anyone to comment with their own experience or opinion regarding the specific topic of the week. Don't be too shy or secretive - once you start giving, you start getting. That's how community works!




Text Links


Links, being "the veins of the Internet" is what many consider as a starting point of any new site promotion. They are tricky. They have become somewhat like a currency in the SEO and web-marketing world. You will need to learn how they work, what they're worth, where to get them and how to get them. The same as with money, you will have to learn that you shouldn't always believe everything you read about them and that you should always apply a great deal of critical thinking before investing your time or other resources into obtaining them.


Common knowledge is that proper links improve your site rankings in search engines. 


To wit, you have a site about, say, seppuku (not an actual example, and not an endorsed niche). Members of your community are supposed to review various models of tango swords, discuss specifics of the ritual, share photos of disemboweled samurais and generally ponder codes of honor and the implications of not following them. An Internet populace intrigued about this subject will be searching Google, naturally, looking for sites just like yours. To make your site show up uppermost in the search results for their queries, you will need to get links from other sites with the words "seppuku", "hara-kiri" and "tango" in them. 


- The first point is to look for "relevant" sites to get links from. Relevant, that is, in relation to the subject of your site, and not the text of the link. So, dance studios will not do any good for your "tango sword" positions. Yeah, search engines are that smart.


- Second, you want those links to stay there for a long time. We're talking years. Search engines have gotten so tired of organized attempts to fool them that they now only care about links after some time has passed. You would need to convince/lure/bribe/seduce a linking webmaster into a permanent link placement. One great way to achieve that is to offer free content with links as references. A “Ninja-fans community” would likely be very happy to publish your historical overview of how assassinations were often dressed up as seppuku by elusive ninjas. You would get a link from a very relevant page of a very relevant site. You would also establish a relationship for further exchanges!


- Third, you want links that bring traffic. Links that are only for search engines will get you into trouble. Just think of your positions as an added bonus, but root for links that actually entice real people to click through to your site.  


- Fourth, people are sick and tired of "links exchange" beggars and spammers. Be smart, there're other ways. Dropping a link on a forum or within blog comments may also be a big no-no, unless you really, actually add to the discussion and your link is asked for. Don't be tempted by any "express" methods, black-hat techniques or other shortcuts. 


- Fifth, link building takes a lot of time and it may not yield much more than a handful of daily eyeballs, but it's a good start. Good content will multiply the effect, and Dolphin's community-oriented functionality helps to “crowd-source” that content so you eventually feel the effects of word-of-mouth. 


Now, paid links may be somewhat easier to get, but those will quickly drain your piggy-bank and may not be as effective as "organic" links (imagine that, they use the "organic" word to label good stuff here, too). We have tried some services that mediate and streamline the buying process. Some are quite good and convenient, but again, you don't have to pay to get good links.




Ok, so far, so good. Let me take a break here and let you add something. We will also be adding more in comments, updates to this note and in future notes, so let's call it a work in progress. A collaborative work in progress, guys and gals, so come on, start collaboratin'!







Part 2: Facebook Marketing




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Its a catch 22 situation for many new sites. You need to attract businesses, advertisers and the like to help pay the site costs, but no one will invest because there are not enough members - and you cant get the members because you cant afford to advertise or buy links. Getting a voucher for FB ads will not bring many results either. Concequently, the site does not grow.

Often, its not a case of what you know, but who you know. We were in this situation. Member density is low, but increasing see more daily. We now have a full stratergy by calling on professionals within our niche. These professionals can open the doors that we simply could not open. We also looked on Skills Pages and somehow have managed to find an entire team of top SEO, internet marketing and sponsorship professionals that believe in what we are doing enough to do all the work for free untill the site reaches the point of critical mass and becomes self perpetuating.

Their soul purpose will be to use everything at their disposal to build member density. This is several thousand bucks worth of professional help we will be getting for free.

Everyone involved in this has joined a steering comity with the aim of re-shaping and driving our product forward and making a huge success. We are now looking to recruit a seasoned Social networking guru who has troden this path before to join the comity.

These are the people - the team that is going to make the difference. We know that with these people on board we will reach our critical mass point before the end of the next year. My tip therefore is - well before you launch NETWORK within your niche and seek out those that can have the most influence within the market you intend to enter. Build a team. Don't do things on your own.
Andrew Boon
Excellent advice! Although it is entirely POSSIBLE to pull of a project on your own, the while experience isn't nearly as much fun as it may be with a motivated team. There's always an opportunity to find believers as long as you believe and there's no need to be greedy about your ideas - they come and go, but they may easily just die on you without a help of other enthusiastic professionals.
Text links aren't worth a darn. It used to be dofollow links are the most valuable and even more if they are keyworded anchor text. Google has been changing it up lately. But still anchor text beats a plain old text link any day. Text links are pretty much worthless, kind of like our Boonex forum signatures. The point is? They are worthless for seo anyway. I would take a nofollow signature link over a text link. There are tons of places you can promote your site for free and boost your rankings in see more the process if you want to take the time and do it right. Don't use the crap sites that aren't even worth your time, there are plenty of them out there or spam the heck out of sites or you are wasting your time. It's not that difficult if you take the time. A little time can pay off big time if you know what you are doing. Plenty of info out there on the subject. In the long run if you do it right your search rankings will increase, which will bring you more traffic. It can be done for free too. Do it wrong and you are just wasting your time or money for those of you that out source or waste money on poorly researched seo.
Andrew Boon
I guess it's useful to point out that "dofollow" is just a terms to refer to links that don't use a "nofollow" tag. They are still text links. So, indeed, the "dofollow" links would benefit you both as traffic source and as positions boosters, so they are better. more often than not, if you're using white-hat tactics, such as content-sharing you would be able to get proper dofollow links.
Well, a good signature line here at Boonex that would support a proper text link would be a great start for the community eh?
dofollow text link is the only thing can help your site to get good google rank I have dolphin for 4 years and my page rank still say 2 and the alexa rank sucks
Andrew Boon
Indeed, and I think the trick is to "forget" about SEO as such, and concentrate on natural way of link building - just as you would be asking for a referral from a friend. Give value, a reason for webmasters to link to you and you will be getting those healthy, nice, dofollow links.

One good example is proactive linking - you can write a GOOD review about a site or product and thus attract attention from the site's owner, and perhaps you'd get a link naturally. If not, at least you'd see more have some content, which also generates traffic.
I try everything @Andrew I also use many SEO tools I try to fix some html errors, validate my site but no changes I thing Dolphin realy need SEO but something TOP because in dolphin is missing a lot of SEO

I also still dont like the /m/ It would be nice if the url can be call: NO

It would be nice if we could add diferents titles, keywords and description to any page like videos. sounds, events etc. on admin panel deano have a module see more call head injection I never try that but I'm tier installing many modules to make my site better but still the same
Andrew Boon
Less is more. Strip down to only a handful of really needed modules and concentrate on content. You will also be able to optimise your site more effectively in every way. /m/ in url won't be an issue, not even in a small way. The idea that URLs matter much comes from 90s, when search engines were dumb. Now, they had to find their way through more dynamic, AJAX-driven and fluid web, so they do know their way through messy URLs, etc. Browse Google's own properties, watch the multiple redirects, subfolders, see more lengthy bunches of variables, etc.
Yes it's true that Dolphin is not very SE friendly out of the box. The URL's are bad. Link building does not work on it's own! You also need the old basics such as good page meta titles, meta description and keywrods. All of that content also needs to be in the page content with a good ratio for the most important words and phrases. Keywords in URLs also Do work, and image alt tags work too. Unfortunately dolphin doesn't have these SEO basics buit-in, and no amount of link building can fix that!
I also thing dolphin need a main rss feed url to read all the new content from videos, events, sounds, forums, photos articles, blogs, news, store because some module are missign the RSS url It would be nice if we could have a main RSS FEED URL for all the modules or each module need a rss feed url right now i'm only using like 6 rss url using the RSS Graffiti application for facebook to all my ans can see what is new and keep people coming to my site but some module dont the rss url
I have to agree witht he guys. SEO is a huge wakeness within dolphin. Yes, there are mods that can help a bit. But we are talking Social Community building here. Andrew - Dolphin should have the BEST seo, not the worst. This is all about communities, amd communities can not grow without members. We have been lucky enough to find someone that can help us out in our case, but many will not.

We, the dolphin users, have asked you again and again to make changes to dolphin that will make it into the see more best product in its class. You will never compete with the competition in any way, let alone beat them without making EVERY effort to make dolphin into the outstancing platform it can be. With weak SEO, this will never happen. We are not talking D8 here, but improvements that have been mentioned over and over. And yes, I know you have your hands full, but sometimes the best way forward is to stop, and listenand take stock before proceeding.
DRautenbach, you are right. It is the #1 market and competition weakness of dolphin. If dolphin was coded to win in SEO, we could probably complain a bit less about other weaknesses such as the multitude of bugs that are inherrent in every version of dolphin :)

The fundemental SEO weaknesses of dolphin, just for the record, are;

1) lack of meta description and meta keywords on pages.
2) Bad titles on many pages.
3) Too much junk text on pages... if you view a page as a search bot does, see more you will find loads of irrelevent, indexable words and phrases that are part of dolphin and not part of the site. They all detract from a webmasters own keyword weights. In other words, if you put a paragraph of keyword weighted text on a dolphin page, it gets swamped out by dolphin text, much of which is not visible on the page but comes from indexable code tags and such. Much of it comes before the actual content of the page, which means your paragraph of keyword weighted text comes low down in the page code, and end up being almost irrelevent.
4) Bad URLs - and why have "Boonex" in so many of them??!!
5) too many publically visible navigation and option links, many of which should be coded as no follow for SEO clarity and to avoid duplicate content.

Andrew, you say that search bots are too busy indexing ajax driven content to be bothered with URLs any more. Well that's not true. Keywords in URLs are still very relevant and carry weight. While javascript content is only indexable if it is coded correctly. Much javascript/ajax content gets missed by the bots, or worse still, creates clutter and detracts the bots from more important content.

I do think SEO should be more of a focal point for the dolphin developers, as SEO has become a focal point for webmasters these days, and for other web software developers.
your meta tags can be extended by manually adding to your /templates/base/index.html file..leave out the two values that are added via admin panel..
this is how my index.html is edited.
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
<html xmlns="">
<meta name="copyright" content="Copyright see more - All Rights Reserved Michael Newton 2004 - 2011" />
<meta name="robots" content="All" />
<meta name="cache-control" content="no-store" />
<meta name="pragma" content="no-store" />
<meta name="author" content="Micheal L Newton" />
<meta name="revisit-after" content="1 Week" />
<meta name="language" content="EN" />
<meta name="rating" content="general" />
<meta name="CLASSIFICATIONS" content="Webcam; Streaming Video; Webcams; p2p software; system software; Gate River Run Cam; Webcam Sites; Florida; Computer cam; Internet; Webcams; Entertainment; Webcams" />
I have run a site about how to make a personal webcam site that ranks high on google world wide..
I have never invested in promotions but rank very high on searches.. example search on bing
I rank 4th out of 1,680,000,000 results. Although the site is not driven to be a social site, just information. I get questions via the "contact" form mostly.

Another site, social one aimed at my city see more "Jacksonville FL" does well too, just by tweaking your site title to google searches.
Locals search the for "jacksonville video chat" and I'm 1st out of 3 million results.,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&fp=ec7fae886d32900d&biw=1280&bih=909
to me, its all in just a few words

I personally think the SEO for Dolphin is top notch.. Even my demo site ranks high on google.

So staying local or going global with Dolphin works perfect for me. It takes time.
Hope this is not misunderstood....
Agree!!......Not even the best SEO tools are going to help you if you don't know what you are doing.
Andrew Boon
Dolphin is quite good as far as SEO is concerned and may easily be adapted to your specific needs.

Dolphin URLs are simple and readable - trust me that /m/ in the URL makes absolutely no difference. Absolutely every public page in Dolphin is easy for SEs to crawl and is linked through a configurable menu that you can control 100%. Also, profiles and blocks that you can add via Builders can create even better cross-linking within the site to make sure all important pages are crawled often.

Now, see more with META tags - those are somewhat less important these days, but are still considered as meat and bone of SEO. They are not. Anyway, there's no hard-rule for creating meta-tags for crowd-sourced site. Unless you feel like going to even page and adding custom tags manually - there's no benefit from "generating" meta tags from the content - SEs do it all by themselves.

What REALLY matters is making sure you've picked a niche of the right size and information on your site is relevant to it.

With that said, we will still look at what can be done in terms of improving Dolphin SEO. Perhaps a 7.0.9.SEO edition is in order. Specific suggestions, anyone?
Andrew I couldn't disagree more, Dolphin is HORRIBLE in terms of SEO. If you create a Google Webmasters account you can see exactly what Googlebot thinks your site is about.. and with Dolphin it thinks your site is about "search, featured, calendar, tags".. it thinks ALL Dolphin sites are about those same 4 things. Most of my hits come from people searching for something with "calendar" in it.. needless to say none of my sites are about calendars.

If you want suggestions I see more have quite a few:

1. In the admin there should be a section where you can select a page (like the blocks builder) and then add a "description", "title", and "keywords" meta tag for each page. I know "keywords" isn't important anymore but the other two are.

2. There should only be ONE way to access each page. For instance /m/blogs/home and /m/blogs/ should NOT take you to the same page.. google HATES duplicate content and that is what it thinks these are.

3. Alt and title tages for links and images.. they should ALL have them. On photos, videos, sounds they could automatically be the title of the media. That should be easy to do.

4. Sitemap generator - this should be part of Dolphin out of the box.. it is KEY and currently you have to use a mod and even then it's a pain..

There are just a few, but to really bring Dolphin to the top we are going to have to fix this SEO problem.
1st--verry easy FTP uploader, move files, 4 edit, chance filename, upload zip fine and unzip it,....
! Note: u can delete all txt file with name: _webftp_de_IP_xxxxxxxxx.txt.
2.nd-- make a new translate php file:--- open en.php, save it: de.php; or fr.php (de=german; fr=france)
'_Aged from' => 'xxxxx xxxx', ( xxxx xxx= the language)
after Admin menue TOOLS / MODULES klick on apps(wall, or video,...) recomoile language
I guess I will chime in here;

It all starts with the SEO Basics (site structure and content). If you do not have a strong foundation to build upon, it will crumble (quickly). You can get 100,000 links, but if your site is not relevant, usefull or user friendly, they mean nothing but waisted time and money. Don't flood your site with modules, bouncy things, etc.. Keep it simple, relevant and useful for visitors. Sneak a little eye candy in there :) (on home page)

Here are the basics;

1- see more Content is KING!
Using Original, Relevant content throughout your site is one of the strongest (longgevity) optimization methods available. When I say "content" I mean, on site content (home page, blogs, forums, articles, extra pages, etc..), Page Titles and Descriptions (*Important*) and Inner Page Links. Having great original content will attract search engines and will be very helpful in getting do-follow links from other sites when requesting.
Of course page url's, domain name, domain name registration length, etc.. help but to start, content is king. .

2- Structure of Site-
Make your site user friendly, different and easy to navigate. You can promote your site all day long but if users come and quickly go, you are gaining unique visitors BUT destroying your individule/overall time on site and bounce rate (never mind retaining any members) . If a users find your site searching for "Tango Dancing" and click through only to click away quickly, search engines (this day and age) look at this as either irrelevant or not preffered to search term. What this does (after awhile) is lower your positioning and relevance score for any giving keyword or search term.
Make sure your site is somewhat different (or offers something different then others like it) and display that on the home page for visitors to see, to retain new member registrations.
Make sure you have a good sitemap, no dead pages (old links or pages), 404 error page with link(s) to another page or pages and Link Specific Targeted keywords throughout content to its approporiate pages. As changing the url page structure in dolphin could be a big pain, try and keep titles, description and content relevant to each other.
Overall keep your pages clean and not to busy.

3- Link Building & Social Media Marketing-
Link building is of course a real valuable way to gain positioning and become a trusted relevant site. Link building done the proper way (relevant authority sites (the sites that did all of this work already or just have it :) ) will dramatically help your positioning and overall optimization. Getting links from 3 or 4 reputable authority sites is far far better then getting 100 links from unknown sites. Don't just go out and get links everywhere.. Do a little research and go for better relevant sites even though it might take alot more time and work. Having great content and a useful site will make getting these links alot easier. Do not use any paid link service, grey/blackhat method or garbage .edu profile/forum/blog links. Might help a little in begining but will all crumble in short time.

4- Local - Targeted - Free- Who are you targetting?
If your targeting local to certain areas, change your page titles, description, content, etc.. to include local area keywords. You will rank alot better for local targeted keywords (long tail keywords) then you would generic or main keywords. Do a little research and you will find long tail keywords (with local city) will be alot easier to target then national or generic keywords.
There are many Free ways to avertise your business and gain a few easy quick links. To start of course setup Google Places, Yahoo and Bing (have a friend or two give you a review or 2 a week later lol). Also, enter/submit your site to review websites and bigger directory sites.
Another way we have found help alot of sites (not free, unless some business sponsores) is to give away something. We found (contests) giving away a $30 -$300 item from time to time will help get new members quickly and also hopefully get another site or two to link to your site for the giveaway (be creative). Market this to all social media networks (if local, market to other local websites). Make sure your site is user friendly and useful, otherwise you will have 1000 members but no active members as they just wanted the giveaway.

5- -Social Media Marketing-
As we all know, this world has turned into a FB frenzy. Capitalize on the fact that people are addicted to Facebook, Twitter, etc.. by marketing a give away, contest, free membership, classes, a car, etc. you will not only attract your FB friends on your list, but others will follow if done in an effective manner. The easiest way to promote or get the word out this day in age is Social Media. Everbody wants something for basically nothing, it's just human nature.

6- The Truth-
I know you do not want to hear this but, if you have tried all of the above and more for a period of time with un-satisfactory results and can't retain or get new members, then it's time to look back to square one, Your Site! You can take any site from nothing and get users to come to it one way or another (being creative and using other people/company tools to your advantage), but if visitors do not like the look, see anything different then other sites like it or is not useful for them, you will be spinning your wheels for a long time. Re-evaluate your site, niche market, site look, targeted prospects, targeted areas and marketing..

There's much much more then 1-5 in regards to seo, link building, marketing, etc.. but if you start with the basics and build upon that, you will not regret one second of it.. Don't just think building links will get you anywhere, it won't, we try many many different variables constantly and always see sites with proper structure and content outlive and rank far better then others without proper structure.

Suggestions for Dolphin-
- Give availabilty for titles and description for each page (there is a good mod in market to build upon, Deano's)
- IMG alt tags
- A social feed for videos, photos, blogs, etc.. - a simple link to share a post, video, etc.. to social networks (facebook, twitter, linkedin,etc.) would help in regards to distribution.
Share a link with proper titles and such will help in regards to site traffic, user interest and browsing. It's all about being social (stalking) these days...

Dolphin is SE friendly and can be alot better with a few minor touches.. Read some blogs/forums and see what the current trends are. BUT it's all about your Niche market..

Good Luck...
see moreHere is a site that explains the different techniques and methods of building links. Exactly what Google and other search engines are looking for in Linking.

Linking has to be, look and feel natural. The spiders have become very intelligent in the analysis of links and can pick up a link farm or a link just for linking with no relationship between sites.

Yes, I agree with what Andrew has commented on here.
Andrew Boon
Absolutely wonderful feedback! based on some of the specific tips we have now planned the next version - 7.0.9 to be a "SEO" edition, mostly focusing on SEO improvements. Should be a great update.
I started using this link selling site a few days ago, sign-up, add your site and people buy links that you put on your site. e.g They want a link to their site on your site, so you put it somewhere agreed, and get paid monthly :)

I've only just started it and I haven't sold any links yet, but i'll keep you informed and if it's allowed?? I can give people interested the link, just drop me a message.
This is great. My problem is that to get higher SEO I should be using several Domain names i.e. for Australia for New Zealand for England plus my website .com. Three days ago one of my developer friends sain the way to do this is by cloking. He did this and was working fine, this morning I found that It does not operate anymore. I dont know for certain what has caused this. I suspect that it may be Dolphin has switched of the cloking as each licence is for one domain. Does see more any body know how to get around this and who to contact. I have 5 licences Is it posible to use 4 licences to use 4 domain URL to cloke all on the one .com licence.
Use URL forwarding on your registrar to your main site from your other domains?
Many thanks, Ill try that this weekend.
I have had my hosting company do this already. There is a problem at the dolphin end It seams they say 1 domain = 1 licence. Many thanks for your help.
It is still one domain, same installation, same files, same folder on the server! lol You just point other domains to it...I don't see how that doesn't work, lol
Hi Andrew, thanks for the info, it's always good to share ideas and advice with the community.

With that in mind I would like to share a few thoughts myself.

1) Firstly, it is incorrect to say that search engines "only care about links after some time has passed". The only amount of 'time passing' that matters is the amount of time that it takes for the search engines to (re)index the page that your link sits on. That brings me onto..

2) One of the best keep secrets in SEO is linking see more to your links. Yes, the search engines will give more authority to your link if it in turn has links pointing to it, makes sense right? Also means links get indexed quicker, if they are not indexed you are wasting your time. e.g. write an article and then post the link on your social networking accounts.

3) Dolphin is pretty good for SEO in the main because of what it is. A social, community site. This means it is large (many pages to get indexed), driven by fresh community generated content that works even better since the google panda and refresh update.

Having said that I am sure improvements can be made to the structure and code but for the record, offsite SEO will massively outdo any onsite SEO setup, it is probably somewhere in the 80/20% range.... and that's being kind.

4) Make sure any link building that you do is natural. That means links for different types of sites, a mixture of dofollow (passes link juice) and nofollow (doesn't pass link juice but still counts). Also although you ideally want the majority of your anchor text to be the keywords you are targeting, you should also have a variety of anchor text including your site name, url etc to maintain the natural link profile.

5) Instead of struggling with SEO there is a tailor made way to get traffic via google. That is google news. I have suggested it before but I will do so again here.

If Dolphin (news section) is made compatible with google news guidelines then Dolphin webmasters would have traffic at their fingertips, just write a news article and google news will automatically put it into one of the most read news aggrigators in the world and also into it's main search results (providing your site gets accepted of course). No SEO required! Yeah (SEO is very boring, tedious and should be outsourced as soon as possible!).
Below is the legacy version of the Boonex site, maintained for Dolphin.Pro 7.x support.
The new Dolphin solution is powered by UNA Community Management System.